- Goodbye Ed Kowas
- Remembering Harry Bridges
- Sheriffing Around Mendocino County
- Catch of the Day
- State Mismanagement Kills Fish
- Political Action on Cannabis Heating Up
ED KOWAS is gone, dead of a heart attack at 73. His talk show on KMFB out of Mendocino was a must-listen for years, and continued to be a must-listen after Ed returned to the Coast after a stay in the federal prison at Lompoc. A garrulous little guy, Ed was living proof that Mendocino County is America's makeover capitol, that an intriguingly large number of our citizens are people who've come here to start over again. Ed, though, was on the lam. He'd been a probate judge in Michigan where he also occasionally functioned as a juvenile court judge. Apparently Ed dipped into some public accounts to indulge his youthful taste for the high life, and it soon became obvious to colleagues and friends that his spending was way north of his salary. When he could no longer plausibly juggle the books, Ed, abbreviating his name from Leon Edmond Kowalski to Ed Kowas, took off from Michigan for a new life in Mendocino, supporting himself as the manager and caretaker at the Caspar Campgrounds. A devout Catholic, Ed had seemed to overlook the thou shall not steal vow, a part of his past which I'm sure tortured him all his days. At Caspar, Ed took in lots of difficult people who otherwise would have had no place to stay. And after taking them in, Ed spent untold hours babysitting lots of them. Charity was a vow he did not violate. He also became a morning talk show host at KMFB, the only public affairs show in the County at the time, and the only one before or since that didn't run from controversy. For a guy on the run from the feds, talk show host, even deep in the California outback, is hiding in plain sight. It was only a matter of time before the long arm of the law reached out and grabbed Ed by the neck.
ED'S SHOWS were always a form of rhetorical roulette. You never knew what he was likely to say. Ed, with me, prefaced his questions with 500-word slurs. “You're On The Air with Ed Kowas talking to local troublemaker Bruce Anderson, a radical socialist anarchist bomb thrower type of guy in and out of the Mendocino County Jail who's critical of everybody and everything, and what we want to know is, How do you stay in business in Boonville, California, a tiny community of good people and there you are a guy who doesn't like anything or anybody doing and saying the things you do and say? No way anyone's going to buy your newspaper, right? So, how do you get money?” Follow the bouncing ball! I'd try to defend myself only to get hit with another slanderous blast. One morning I told Ed I wanted to fess up. “Moscow gold, Ed. The Russians send me a coupla grand a month.” He came right back with, “Well, folks, there you have it, right from the horse's mouth.” But it was always good humored and lots of fun, with Ed's sidekick, Lindy Peters, then the mayor of Fort Bragg, and even George Anderson, the owner of the station, unable to resist joining the on-air merriment. Later, post-prison, Ed's girl friend, the late Andree Connor, a pioneer hippie whose vagabond van is on display at the County Museum, often functioned as Ed's co-host, tossing woo-woo asides into the talk gumbo. “Maybe you just need your chakras adjusted, Bruce,” she'd say. All that and call-ins. I was continually surprised at the number of random people I'd meet who'd mention that they'd heard this or that Kowas hour and how much they'd enjoyed it. (Lots of people called him “Ed Chaos.”) I've wondered ever since why the County's AM radio stations have never again attempted to do local talk. Ed was a hard act to follow, but he packed in the listeners and I always heard that advertisers were quite pleased with their returns.
SO, ED'S sailing along as a major Mendo personality when the bad news hit, and hit hard in all the big-circulation California newspapers. “Leon Edmond Kowalski, 47, who broadcast under the name of Ed Kowas, has been arrested.” We soon learned that Ed was from Baldwin, Michigan where, in 1979, he'd been appointed as a judge. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Grand Rapids in 1986 on charges of evading nearly $75,000 in income taxes by filing fraudulent returns in 1981 and 1982.
GEORGE ANDERSON, a stand-up guy if there ever was one, immediately posted Ed's bail, and Ed was quickly back on the air while he worked out a deal with the feds that included, as I recall, a total of 18 months in prison and a restitution plan. KMFB, now called KUNK as in the Skunk Rail Line, has changed hands several times since Ed's reign, although Lindy Peters is still there. Ed, Lindy and George, and Andree made up the station's best days and some truly memorable Mendo radio.
I WAS SURPRISED that Ed was carried off by heart attack. A fit, wiry little guy, Ed bicycled everywhere and, I remember hearing, had become a vegetarian at the urging of his friend, the vividly memorable, Ms. Connor. Ed is survived by a daughter and mourned by everyone who knew him.
Having an afternoon beer and reading Off the Record on my kindle when I came across your mention of Harry Bridges. Just the day before, in San Pedro, I took a picture of Harry and the flowers commemorating Bloody Thursday, July 5.
THE FOLLOWING PRESS RELEASES from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office on Monday in a bunch…
ON JULY 3, 2014 at approximately 9:51pm, Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to a domestic dispute which occurred at a residence in the 1800 block of Center Valley Road, Willits. When Deputies arrived at the location they contacted the victim and learned that she had been involved in a verbal argument, which turned physical, with boyfriend Brandon Martin, 28, of Willits. During the altercation the verbal argument escalated when Martin struck the victim in the ribs with a closed fist, and then pushed the victim backwards making her fall to the ground. Deputies observed the victim had visible injuries to her ribs, which were consistent with that of a physical assault. During the investigation Martin was contacted in the 2000 block of Valley Road, Willits. Martin was placed under arrest for Corporal Injury to Spouse/Cohabitant. Martin was then transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail. (Sheriff’s Press Release)
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BETWEEN 06-01-2014 and 07-03-2014, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies received and investigated multiple cases involving theft, burglary, and forgery committed at several local businesses in the Gualala and Point Arena areas. During the early stages of those investigations, Latisha McCloud, 29, of Stewarts Point, and Claudia Marrufo, 51, of Stewarts Point were identified as persons of interest.
On June 28, 2014, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies made contact with Marrufo in the Gualala area, after she was observed at a closed business during early morning hours. During that contact, Deputies learned that Marrufo was on active formal probation for attempted theft. Deputies searched Marrufo and her vehicle in accordance with her probation terms. During that search, Deputies seized several items as potential stolen property from the above investigations. (Sheriff’s Press Release)
On July 3, 2014, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies and Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputies served a search warrant at McCloud’s residence located in Stewarts Point in Sonoma County. During the service of that warrant, Deputies recovered several items of evidence connecting McCloud to the above investigations. McCloud, who was present during the service of that warrant, was arrested for 4-counts of forgery, 4-counts of burglary, 1-count of theft and 5-counts of violation of probation. Deputies submitted 3-counts of violation of probation, 2-counts of attempted theft, and 1-count of possession of stolen property to the Mendocino County District Attorney against Marrufo, who was in-custody in the Mendocino County Jail at the time of the search warrant service. McCloud was also identified as the suspect in a forgery investigation in Sonoma County that will be pending prosecution in Sonoma County. A loss of approximately $1,500 in merchandise was estimated between all stores in Mendocino County. (Sheriff’s Press Release)
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ON JULY 5, 2014 at about 12:50 AM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were summoned to an apartment complex in the 3300 block of N. State St. Ukiah, California regarding a physical fight between 4-5 subjects. Upon arrival deputies contacted two male adult victims who had visible injuries. One of the victims had serious visible injures to head and face requiring the victim to be transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. The victim’s reported they were attacked by three male adult subjects who had fled prior to law enforcement arrival. Deputies with the assistance of Ukiah Police Officers conducted a search of the area for the three male suspects and located suspect Trevor Partida, 25, of Ukiah hiding behind the apartment complex. Deputies observed Partida was intoxicated and learned he was on probation out of Mendocino County and is not to consume alcohol per the terms of his probation. Partida was identified by one of the victims as one of the attackers. Partida was arrested and incarcerated at the Mendocino County jail for Battery with serious bodily injury, Violation of probation and Public Intoxication, and was to be held on a “No Bail” status. The investigation into the identity of the remaining suspects is continuing and anyone with any relevant information is requested to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. (Sheriff’s Press Release)
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ON JULY 7, At 2:22 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were summoned to the Hopland Subway, located at 13460 South Highway 101 in Hopland for a reported armed robbery. The clerk at Subway reported that an unidentified white male adult came into the store, waited for other patrons to leave, then ordered a sandwich. After the sandwich was made and the subject was told the amount due, he produced a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded money from the register. The clerk turned over an undisclosed amount of money from the register and the suspect fled the scene southbound in a vehicle. The suspect is described as a white male adult, approximately 30 years of age, dark complexion, with brown hair and an unkempt beard. The subject was further described as being approximately 6'3" tall and weighing over 200 pounds, and wearing a blue Polo style shirt and dark colored slacks. The vehicle was described as a black or dark colored mid-size sport utility vehicle, similar to a Hyundai Santa Fe. No license plate was provided. Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies checked the area with the assistance from the California Highway Patrol and Hopland Tribal Police and were unable to locate the suspect. The investigation is continuing. Anyone with any information as to the identity of the suspect, or further description of the suspect or suspect vehicle, is encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip Line (707) 234-2100. (Sheriff’s Press Release)
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ON JULY 6, 2014, at about 5:50 AM, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received an incomplete 911 call from the Manchester Rancheria, 162 Rancheria Rd., Manchester. A female voice was heard calling out for 'help' and the call was disconnected. As Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies responded, a call was received from Constance Lopez, 32, of Manchester, who reported having been involved in argument with Steven Vancleave, 36, of Manchester, and calling earlier. Deputies located Lopez and Vancleave's residence and Lopez reported that during the argument Vancleave had thrown a knife, endangering their children, and he had also assaulted Lopez. Lopez also reported that she had called 911 and Vancleave had wrested the telephone from her in an attempt to prevent her from summoning aid. Vancleave was located and arrested without incident, and was lodged at the Mendocino County Jail with bail set at $25,000. (Sheriff’s Press Release)
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ON JULY 6, 2014 at about 10:25 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies contacted suspect Deonna Fowler, 22, of Ukiah loitering in front of a closed industrial storage shop complex at the 100 block of Feed Lot Ln. Ukiah, Ca. Fowler told deputies she was going to be staying the night in one of the storage shops at the industrial storage complex. A consent search of Fowler's purse revealed a baggie which contained an approximate half gram of crystal methamphetamine. Fowler was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. She was transported and incarcerated at the Mendocino County Jail where she was to held in lieu of $10,000 bail. (Sheriff’s Press Release)
CATCH OF THE DAY, JULY 7, 2014
PEDRO AHUMADA, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, weapons concealment (Dirk or Dagger).
JASON ASBURY, Leggett. Misdemeanor domestic violence, driving without a license.
WILLIAM BARRY, Ukiah. Public intoxication, failure to appear.
RICHARD OLSTAD, Fort Bragg. Probation revoked.
JAMES PAGUIA, Covelo. Fighting (as his face attests), public intoxication.
MARIO PALACIO, Covelo. Felony possession and sale of methamphetamine, fugitive from justice.
DONALD RAMEY, Redwood Valley. Assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm.
STEVE VANCLEAVE, Manchester. Felony child abuse, misdemeanor spousal violence, prevention or dissuading from making a police report.
KELLYMAY WATTS, Fort Bragg. Felony possession for sale of methamphetamine and controlled substance without prescription, possession of paraphernalia, revoked probation.
STATE MISMANAGEMENT KILLS FISH
Re "Fish evacuated from American River hatcheries due to drought" (Sacramento Bee, June 16, 2014): The evacuation of 1 million rainbow trout from the American River Fish Hatchery and 430,000 steelhead from Nimbus Fish Hatchery over concerns the water will become lethally warm puts the spotlight on the terrible government management of our water resources in a drought.
The state and federal governments drained Folsom, Oroville and Shasta reservoirs in 2013 to deliver water to corporate agribusiness interests. Folsom Lake was left at only 17 percent of capacity and 34 percent of average by January 2014. If the water had been better managed, there would have been more carryover storage in Folsom to maintain a cold water pool this year.
Rather than supporting the environmentally destructive peripheral tunnels plan, the state and federal governments should embrace the Environmental Water Caucus Responsible Exports Plan that sets an annual cap on water exports of 3 million acre feet, preventing the draining of Folsom and other reservoirs.
— Daniel Bacher, Sacramento
LoCO On the Pot: Humboldt’s New Pot PAC and Sacramento’s Devious Moves
There is a bill to regulate medical marijuana ambling its way through our state legislature. This is SB-1262: Medical marijuana: regulation of physicians, dispensaries, cultivation sites and processing facilities.
There have been many attempts to clarify the medical marijuana scene at the state level over the years, with little success to speak of. All the while, local governments have taken liberties to enact their own regulations and bans to maintain some semblance of control. Now there’s an epic mishmash of regulations from city to city and county to county.
So SB-1262 seems to be getting somewhere, like it’s actually moving through legislative committees and that bureaucratic morass. And the lobbies for cities and law enforcement, those that have historically stifled any form of medical cannabis reform, are now supporting this bill, along with medical marijuana advocacy groups, like Americans for Safe Access.
The bill would create new parameters around the state medical marijuana industry, but it would preserve local protections too, this patchwork of bans and regs we have in local municipalities. The bill would create some kind of oversight agency for medical marijuana. And the bill may make medical marijuana recommendations harder to get.
There are a grip of news stories and commentaries on the interwebs with projections and analyses about whether SB-1262 will make it into law with such novel alliances behind it. I like Chris Roberts’ July 2 SF Weekly coverage: “New Weed Order: California Cops Are at Last Willing to Make a Dope Deal.”
A new PAC called California Cannabis Voice formed in the midst of this movement at the state level. This PAC is making waves in the Emerald Triangle. (Learn more about CCV and its 12 guiding principles here.) There are definitely cannabis PACs out there: NORML has a PAC. The Marijuana Policy Project has a PAC. The California Cannabis Industry Association associates itself with three cannabis PACs. PACs are the mechanism by which groups of people can funnel money to political campaigns for or against ballot initiatives, legislation or candidates for office.
So the CCV staff is comprised of two SF-based cannabis activists, attorney Matt Kumin and Terrance Alan, plus Eureka-based Allison Edrington. CCV formed earlier this year, and the team started to engage with Emerald Triangle growers around the end of May, beginning of June. CCV is rallying growers and advocates around its guiding principles and around the assertion that “SB-1262 will not protect the rural cannabis community.” (CCV is not down with SB-1262.)
There was CCV-driven community meeting in Harris on June 3 when, according to this CCV press release, “approximately 40 members of the cultivating community raised $20,000 for local lobbying and educational activities.” Dayum. Twenty Gs is pretty good.
Kumin and Alan interfaced with Mendo growers too. Jane Futcher did a great write up in the Anderson Valley Advertiser about the CCV activists’ visits to Mendo in May and a subsequent meeting in June led by local cannabis activists. Her story captures the essence of both growers’ and patient advocates’ concerns about SB-1262, along with some of the drama that is part and parcel of community organizing.
According to Futcher, the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council, a community cannabis farmer advocacy group, was born after the initial “colorful and slightly chaotic public meetings” with the CCV peeps. FYI: There is another community meeting coming up with the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council at 2 p.m. on July 8th at the Little Lake Grange in Willits. This Mendo cannabis activist group might be about to formally jump on the CCV train… Hit up the meeting to learn more about what the Mendo crew is up to.
There are Humboldt people on the CCV train, for sure. Indeed, “CCV Humboldt” is now in play, with Richard Marks as its spokesperson/organizer. Kerry Reynolds of KMUD News aired an interview with Marks on June 27 about his recent CCVH appointment. The segment also features commentary on CCVH plans and dynamics from Treasurer Luke Brunner. (Listen here.) And LoCO posted a press release from CCVH about its employment of Marks this past Tuesday, complete with a bunch of links to Marks’ reviews of local food establishments on his Samoa Softball blog. (Munchies much?)
Marks is a sports-loving local dude that worked on the recent Virginia Bass campaign. He’s very active in the community; he’s got a track record of successful organizing. Dude knows important people. Dude is an important person — he’s a Harbor Commissioner. But is he a cannabis person? No, not so much. In her KMUD interview, Reynolds asks Marks about his personal relationship with cannabis. He said that he does not partake (smoke). He did not say whether or not he farms cannabis. (From the way he framed his response to her question, I’m guessing not.)
So Marks is this well-connected organizer-spokesperson that is advocating in the interest of growers that are throwing cash toward their cause. With his thorough community connections and with grower cash behind him, will Marks be able to make more of an impact than the Emerald Growers Association or the individuals that have been speaking out for progressive pot policies for years? Is Marks and CCVH about to usher in a new era of weed-farmer-friendly local government?
Will Humboldt County become a place with progressive pot policies, instead of the place with a ban on new dispensaries and potentially punitive restrictions on cultivation? Is big cannabis money about to start making a palpable difference in our local political scene?
And beyond all the local scene, will CCV and its factions be able to impact the course of SB-1262? These latest developments are proof that the Emerald Triangle and statewide cannabis saga is going to keep interesting in the next few years. This isn’t even to mention what outright legalization might look like… My, my.
For more insight on Marks’ view on the Humboldt weed situation, check out his June 26 Samoa Softball blog post: Time for Humboldt County MJ business to “Grow Up.” And Organize! Nice pun, dude. Keep ‘em coming.