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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, July 12, 2014

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(Proposed unnumbered resolution for the Fort Bragg City Council meeting, Monday, July 14, 2014.)

Resolution No. ___-2014

Resolution Of The Fort Bragg City Council Approving An At-Will Employment Agreement With Steve Willis For Interim Police Chief Services For The Police Department And Authorizing City Manager To Execute Same (Amount Not To Exceed $61,756.80; Account 110-4200-0100)

Whereas, Fort Bragg Police Chief Scott Mayberry and Lieutenant John Naulty are both on medical leave and it is uncertain when they will return to work; and

Whereas, in order to ensure leadership and direction of the Police Department’s operations for continuity of services to the Fort Bragg community, the City Council has determined its need for the services of an Interim Police Chief; and

Whereas, Stephen Willis is an accomplished and experienced Police Chief, having served with the Sausalito Police Department for 30 years and as an interim Police Chief for the cities of Cloverdale, Fort Bragg, Healdsburg, Sonoma, and Seaside; and

Whereas, the City Council is seeking the specialized services of an Interim Police Chief for a period of limited duration; and

Whereas, the City Council wishes to enter into an agreement with Stephen Willis to serve as Interim Police Chief effective July 15, 2014; and

Whereas, based on all the evidence presented, the City Council finds as follows:

1. Appointing an Interim Police Chief will ensure continued leadership and direction of the Department

2. Stephen Willis is an accomplished and experienced Police Chief, having served twice before as Interim Police Chief for the City of Fort Bragg, and has the specialized skills needed to perform the duties of an Interim Police Chief.

3. Stephen Willis has agreed to serve as interim Police Chief within the fiscal constraints imposed by the City’s budget and CalPERS Post-Service Retirement Employment Requirements.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that the City Council of the City of Fort Bragg does hereby approve an At-Will Employment Agreement with Stephen Willis for Interim Police Chief services for the Fort Bragg Police Department, attached hereto as “Exhibit A,” and authorize City Manager to execute same (Amount not to exceed $61,756.80; Account 110.4200.0100).

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SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE told his colleagues at last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting that the closure of the Buddy Eller homeless shelter in Ukiah has had an unexpected impact on the Coast’s capacity to deal with the homeless (or whatever you want to call them).

“As you know the city of Fort Bragg sent a letter to the Board expressing their concern about the closure of the Buddy Eller Center in Ukiah. It has in fact closed. In the month of June they were not taking in any new patients, or customers. The city of Fort Bragg has the only remaining homeless shelter in Mendocino County and it has 22 beds. The City of Fort Bragg has secured a number of grants to rehabilitate the property which was actually my great-grandparents’ house but it has about doubled in size over the years. During the month of June that facility has seen a significant increase in the number of people coming to it because of the closure of the Buddy Eller Center which was not taking in new customers throughout the month of June. Some of these people have some significant behavioral problems. We had a meeting I attended at Fort Bragg City Hall with the operators of that facility, some of their nonprofit board members and staff, a sergeant from the Fort Bragg Police Department, Council Member Heidi Kraut, Mayor Dave Turner, City Manager Linda Ruffing, community development staff member Jennifer Owen. They discussed what really needs to be the game plan here. With the only facility now in the county being on the Coast — it is really not equipped to handle all people that were at the Buddy Eller Center — they had 64 beds at the Buddy Eller Center. So they are looking at a number of possible actions. One action, frankly, is they may not take new people in at all because they can't handle it. The Police Department cannot deal with this influx that is coming to the Coast. The weather is heating up over here in Ukiah, but there is no facility over here. It's a four-hour round-trip for the Fort Bragg Police Department to take someone to the jail who may violate some law, check them in, and take the time to book them in at the jail. So there are a number of steps that are being contemplated. We have another meeting, a small group meeting next week, and there will be a public meeting the following week in Fort Bragg. This will become a very big issue in Fort Bragg and in Mendocino because as you know there are soup kitchens seven days a week in Fort Bragg and several days a week in Mendocino and there is this one homeless shelter for the whole County. So basically the city is seriously looking at taking some strong steps to curtail the soup kitchens, asking the soup kitchens to curtail whom they serve because the Fort Bragg area and the Mendocino area combined are about 25% of the county population but they are not really equipped to absorb 90% of all the homeless in the county on the Coast. Social Services has contracts with the Buddy Eller Center. There is a plethora of services in Ukiah that don't even exist on the Coast. It's kind of baffling that there is no functional facility in Ukiah. We have been told that the Buddy Eller Center will be operating again, but not until November. So that leaves the entire summer — we are already seeing a significant increase in the number of people showing up from here in Ukiah over there on the Coast. There is a significant amount of frustration and anxiety about what's going to happen this summer on the Coast. This is a festering issue I sent an email to the Social Services department recapping what happened at the meeting the other day. I really hope the Social Services department steps up and gets a temporary facility over here in Ukiah until the Buddy Eller Center reopens in November. It's just not really acceptable to have so many services here in Ukiah and not have a homeless shelter of any kind during the summer. This may also be an opportunity to rethink how these services are being provided here in Ukiah and in Fort Bragg. Maybe this will lead to some changes that the community is looking for anyway. Every time there is a crisis there is also an opportunity and maybe this is an opportunity to do things in a better way. But currently there needs to be a balance between the services that are delivered both in Ukiah and in Fort Bragg. Again, there will be a meeting this week in Fort Bragg and there will be a very public meeting at the Episcopal Church hall the following week. We will continue to hear more from the city and from the police department and probably from the Sheriff's Office because they have a round-trip from the Coast to Ukiah which takes the same four hours that it takes for the Fort Bragg Police Department.”

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NOT TO STEAL his thunder, but Todd Walton has a timely column coming up on inflation, which reminds us that our government does not count food prices as it calculates the rate of inflation. The Fed doesn't, I mean, but other agencies? The Fed's sole interest seems to be the welfare of the big banks, not Main Street.

BUT EXCLUDING food prices from inflation calculations means the true rate of inflation, as it affects everyone, is not known. Anyone buying food knows food prices are going up rapidly, so rapidly that people on fixed incomes, or incomes already inadequate to the real cost of living, are missing meals. All you hear, though, from the government is that inflation is "in check."

PEOPLE ACCUSTOMED to living with the wolf at the door are better at coping. Recent immigrants go straight to rice and beans, whose prices also continue to rise as I see in some Chinese stores in San Francisco where the price of rice is listed in chalk because it fluctuates so often, and mostly in an upward direction.

THE AVERAGE Wolf-At-The-Door American has a much harder time finding cheap, nutritious foods for several reasons, but a big factor has got to be that with the Depression-era generations dying off, millions of us don't know how to find and prepare cheap food. All we seem to hear from the "experts" is how terrible it is that we're so fat from stuffing ourselves on the handy negative food value viands. How so many people can afford the cash outlays on greaseburgers and giant slurpies is one of the mysteries of American life, right up there with the legions of semi-derelicts who drink in bars. Where are they getting their funding? The price of all of it is a much more fundamental problem that's only going to get worse.

NOT TO BE TOO SIMPLISTIC about it, but among the many useful subjects no longer taught in the schools, home economics is one of the larger losses. During the Depression, millions of people got by out of kitchen gardens, a neighborhood cow and a few chickens as mom and grandma slaved at the end of every summer canning fruit and vegetables for the family larder.

MILLIONS of young people used to be taught both the basic economics of food and how to cook cheap, nutritious meals. No more. Most young people pass their edu-hours not learning much at all in the way of either practical or impractical skills. The basic use of tools, for instance, and elementary instruction in marketable trades like plumbing and carpentry, are long gone, as is Home Ec. Now, almost all of us dangle at the consumer end of improbably lengthy supply chains fueled by oil, a destructive and finite resource.

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NOT BEING A BIG THINK GUY, and not too good at Little Think either, I'm still entitled to my opinions. Which, is only true with one big caveat. There's a second part to the entitlement deal. You may be entitled to your opinion but, if you're a reasonably ethical person, you're also obligated to have some idea what you're talking about.

IF OPINIONS WERE LICENSED, I probably wouldn't qualify to throw out an opinion about Israel and the Palestinians. Some months ago, I got into a real stupid street hassle with a youngish old lady who'd just maneuvered a big, expensive vehicle into a tight space near my place in San Francisco. I could have sworn she got out of her car looking for an argument. I also could have kept my yapper shut, but I couldn't help noticing that her SUV featured a bumpersticker that said, “Another American For Israel.” That tore it. “I'm another American for the Palestinians,” I said, and of course she comes right back with, “Well, you're the only one.” And she walked off, obviously not wanting, as they say at KPFA, to further “engage.” I felt pretty silly for having said anything. “Has it come to that, Anderson? Starting arguments with strangers?”

IN FACT, on the subject of Israel I'm a flab-glab lib-lab, a two-state solution guy, a '67 borders guy. The renewed fighting this week with, as always, the Palestinians on the receiving end of disproportionate retaliatory violence, I've come to really despise Hamas. That's right, Hamas. I've despised Israel's persecution of Palestinians for years.

I KNOW, I KNOW. Hamas resorts to random rocket attacks because they are weak, Israel is strong. But this is the be all and end all of their strategy? To get all the people they claim to represent, killed? WTF?

NPR'S COVERAGE of the latest atrocities mostly inflicted by Israel on Palestinians, has been truly disgusting, and always prefaced by something like this: “Israel launched air strikes on West Bank areas today in response to Hamas rocket attacks…”

THE REALITY? In response to mostly homemade rocket attacks that so far have killed no one, the Israelis take out schools, hospitals and apartment buildings full of non-combatants. War crimes in any other context.

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by Jeff Costello

This is the first movie I've ever called a "must see."

Notwithstanding Plato, who supposedly said in 476 BC, "Strange times are these when... (the) young are taught falsehoods in school, and the person who dares tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool," Gore Vidal was never to my knowledge regarded as a lunatic or fool.

If one believes the Plato quote, it becomes apparent that things haven't changed very much. This film documents the fact using archival footage and interviews with Vidal. It includes the famous incident when Vidal appeared on William F. Buckley's TV show. Buckley, the right wing intellectual blowhard (the right has no intellectuals these days), calls Gore Vidal a "queer" and threatens to smash his face, betraying despite his vocabulary and quick wit the basic bigoted and warlike nature of conservatives. Buckley even sinks to boasting about his military service.

Vidal was born to wealth and privilege, and moved easily through corridors of power, but his life remained the exception to the rule governing most such people. His close observations of the political world were always cynical in the best sense of the word - accurate. Celebrities of all stripes flocked to socialize with him. Chris Matthews of MSNBC attends a Vidal book signing. You'd never know quite what an ass-kisser Matthews is until you see him with Gore Vidal. Alex Cockburn's former friend and nemesis Christopher Hitchens appears clearly in awe of Vidal, although like Cockburn, Vidal has only scathing comments about Hitchens' going over to the dark side and cheering the Iraq war.

Vidal, throughout the movie, puts the lie to any notion that democrats are really much different than republicans, and speaks knowledgeably about how big corporations are in control of all the politicians. This is not new stuff, it's just better publicized these days, mostly with a lot of indignant whining on facebook.

The film played only for a short time at the local "art" theater, one of very few in Denver where one can see movies without loud spectacular explosions and overwhelming computer effects. But even that crowd didn't much care for this one and it was gone before I had a chance to see it. Luckily I found it available on a pay cable TV station. Find it, see it.

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KIERKEGAARD had his own quite peculiar way of having coffee: delightedly he seized hold of the bag containing the sugar and poured sugar into the coffee cup until it was piled up above the rim. Next came the incredibly strong, black coffee, which slowly dissolved the white pyramid. The process was scarcely finished before the syrupy stimulant disappeared into the magister's stomach, where it mingled with sherry to produce additional energy that percolated up into his seething and bubbling brain —- which in any case had already been so productive all day that in the half-light [his secretary Israel] Levin could still notice the tingling and throbbing in the overworked fingers when they grasped the slender handle of the cup.

— Joakim Garff, 2000; from "Søren Kierkegaard, a Biography"

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THE FOOD POLICY COUNCIL of Mendocino County released a Food Action Plan, or FAP, this week. The FAP aims to foster the expansion of the local food system by supporting locally-grown farming. The Council invites local community members to read their plan, which is available on the website, and to attend their next meeting on Monday, July 14 from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at 890 N. Bush Street in Ukiah. (Charley Gibson)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 11, 2014

Bienvenu, Ellison, Golyer, Gonzalez, Hannah
Bienvenu, Ellison, Golyer, Gonzalez, Hannah

JASON BIENVENU, Covelo. Under the influence of a controlled substance, probation revoked.

TERRY ELLISON, Covelo. Driving under the influence, driving with a suspensed license, reckless driving, failure to appear.

PAUL GOLYER, Ukiah. Felony concealed weapon, animal abuse, failure to pay, probation revoked.

JAIME GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Felony possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revoked.

PAUL HANNAH, Redwood Valley. Felony domestic violence, felony forgery/alteration of vehicle registration, felony possession for sale of marijuana.

Hernandez, Lenhart, PcPhail, Nemethy, Thurman, Timberlake
Hernandez, Lenhart, PcPhail, Nemethy, Thurman, Timberlake

AHAMED HERNANDEZ, Willits. Misdemeanor DUI - drugs only.

MARKUS LENHART, Healdsburg. Under the influence of a controlled substance.

MICHAEL MCPHAIL, Ukiah. Felony marijuana cultivation, felony marijuana possession for sale, felony possession of an assault weapon.

IMMANUEL NEMETHY, McKinleyville. Felony marijuana cultivation, felony marijuana possession for sale.

TORREY THURMAN, Fort Bragg. Driving with a suspended license, probation revoked.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, Ukiah. Public intoxication, probation revoked.

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ON JULY 6TH at about 5:05 PM Ukiah Police responded to the Orchard Plaza Center, at 225 South Orchard Avenue, for a male subject who’d exposed his genitals while riding a skateboard. Officers learned two teenaged girls were walking in the shopping center when the male suspect approached riding a skateboard. The suspect called out to the girls to get their attention, then grasped his exposed penis. The suspect then rode away on his skateboard. A description of the suspect was broadcast. At about 5:35 PM Officers responded to another report of indecent exposure by a male on a skateboard that had just occurred at the Alex Thomas Plaza at 300 South School Street. Officers learned the same suspect on a skateboard had approached a female and engaged her in conversation. The suspect moved his clothing aside and exposed his genitals to the female, then rode away on his skateboard. At about 6:00 PM Deputies with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office spotted the suspect and detained him in the 700 block of North Bush Street. The suspect had been drinking and was identified as 29 year old Sean Paul Adams, who stated he had earlier ridden his skateboard through the Orchard Plaza and the Alex Thomas Plaza. Adams said he had spoken to two girls in the Orchard Plaza and to another female in Alex Thomas Plaza, but denied exposing himself. Adams was positively identified and was arrested for two counts of indecent exposure. (Ukiah Police Press Release)


ON JULY 7TH at about 11:50 PM Ukiah Police responded to the 500 block of South Orchard Avenue for a subject who’d called wanting to go to the hospital. Officers spoke with 47 year old Jeffrey Allen Jones who stated he believed he’d been drugged, and wanted to go to the hospital to learn what drugs were in his system. Jones could not provide details regarding why he thought he’d been drugged, but was clearly under the influence of a controlled substance as he spoke of people following him and of random subjects. Jones was arrested for being under the influence of drugs. (Ukiah Police Press Release)

ON JULY 9TH at about 2:05 PM Ukiah Police responded to the lobby of the Ukiah Police Department, at 300 Seminary Avenue, for an assault. Officers contacted 35 year old Jennifer Michelle Garcia, who stated she was assaulted 3 days prior, but didn’t report it sooner because she didn’t have a phone. Garcia refused to provide further information regarding the assault, but displayed symptoms of having used methamphetamine recently. Garcia was found to be under the influence and was arrested. (Ukiah Police Press Release)

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Borderline Personality

by Clancy Sigal

“This isn’t theatre…it’s a problem,” mealymouths Pres Obama who has oodles of time to play pool, drink beer, fund raise and slap politicians on the back but refuses to put his body on the line, in solidarity with the children and their local caregivers, and let us see him in the immigration border states.

He finds in his heart to angrily denounce Central American parents, “Don’t send your children to the border…they’ll get sent back.” But he’s too austere, detached, ill-advised and just plain nonchalant to go down there and spend time with the problem kids we helped create.

Obama – and we – seem to have forgotten our history. Dismiss our military and political interventions to protect American business interests in the 1910s and 20s. Don’t worry about Cuba or Haiti. In our lifetime the U.S. backed the Salvadorean military killers, and under Obama’s “war on drugs” has sharply increased military aid to the worst killers below the Rio Grande. Millions funneled to the Guatamalan military who, ever since the CIA engineered the 1954 coup against the democratically elected reform president Arbenz, have become addicted to a habit of expunging civilian officials. Under a “military assistance pact”, the State Department gives weapons to the murder state of Honduras, the original banana republic, whose farm exports are monopolized by two American companies, Dole and Chiquita (formerly United Fruit).

Probably more than gang violence a pivotal reason for the outflow is the US-sponsored North American and Central American (so called) Free Trade Agreements that, among many other devastations, has forced rural families off their lands when, for example, we dump cheap American corn on the market.

Obama is wrong that the border isn’t theatre. The crisis is human drama at its most extreme. He is missing not only the show but the point.

Since he is so in the wrong why hasn’t his liberal base – that’s us – climbed all over him to make him do the right thing?

Obama is able to get away with his untheatrical cold-heartedness because we let him.

(Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives.)

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A card table in the library stands ready

To receive the puzzle which keeps never coming.

Daylight shines in or lamplight down

Upon the tense oasis of green felt.

Full of unfulfillment, life goes on,

Mirage arisen from time's trickling sands

Or fallen piecemeal into place:

German lesson, picnic, see-saw, walk

With the collie who 'did everything but talk' —

Sour windfalls of the orchard back of us.

A summer without parents is the puzzle,

Or should be. But the boy, day after day,

Writes in his Line-a-Day No puzzle.


When the puzzle finally arrives, after days of waiting, it is described in detail:


Out of the blue, as promised, of a New York

Puzzle-rental shop the puzzle comes —

A superior one, containing a thousand hand-sawn,

Sandal-scented pieces. Many take

shapes known already — the craftsman's repertoire

nice in its limitation — from other puzzles:

Witch on broomstick, ostrich, hourglass,

Even (not surely just in retrospect)

An inchling, innocently-branching palm.

James Merrill


  1. John Sakowicz July 12, 2014

    I love James Merrill. Love James Merrill. His 560-page postmodern apocalyptic epic of occult communication with spirits and angels, titled “The Changing Light at Sandover” — published in three volumes from 1976 to 1980 — is one of the trippiest collections of poems ever written. With his partner David Jackson, Merrill spent more than 20 years transcribing supernatural communications during séances using a ouija board.

    In live readings, Merrill was able to impersonate the narrating voices of (deceased) poet W. H. Auden and late friends Maya Deren and Maria Mitsotáki. He also claimed to give voice to otherworldly spirits including a first-century Jew named Ephraim, and Mirabell (a ouija board guide). Merrill read like a man possessed.

  2. Jeff Costello July 12, 2014

    American eating habits… well, I see a lot of people who seem to eat only things that are advertised on TV. This seems to me a form of mental illness as well as an overall health issue.

  3. Sonya Nesch July 12, 2014

    Now that the Coast is getting 90% of Mendocino County’s homeless population since Ukiah’s homeless shelter closed; the lack of mental health services provided by Ortner and the County will be accentuated. Perhaps this will get the attention of the other 4 supervisors so that they might understand there are costs involved in not providing crisis and recovery services in our communities.

  4. Jim Updegraff July 12, 2014

    The demographics are working against Israel. Soon, if not already,the population of arabs in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel will surpass the Jewish population in Israel. In Israel where there is an annual population study Jews are down to 75% of the population while arabs are 20% and others 5%. Given that arabs have a higher birth rate the percentage of Jews will continue to decrease. At some point what happened in South Africa will happen in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.

  5. Joan Hansen July 12, 2014

    We now have a crisis in Fort Bragg because the homeless shelter closed in Ukiah. I don’t think advising the soup kitchens to not feed the increase of the homeless, who have nowhere to sleep, is the answer. A mental health system that provides recovery and crisis intervention managed by a group that has demonstrated knowledge and success is the answer to the crisis.

  6. Bill Pilgrim July 12, 2014

    22 beds for the homeless… in the entire county?
    The least they could do is throw around a couple dozen pop-up shelter tents.
    There’s even a newly designed rolling shelter – a shopping cart that unfolds into a mini-shelter for sleeping.
    The throw-away society, populated with the hidden unpeople.
    The heart aching evidence increases daily.

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