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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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NO ONE IS TALKING, but Scott Mayberry, Fort Bragg's chief of police may be on the way out the door. Mayberry has been out on paid “stress” leave for the past month, as has his second in command, Lt. John Naulty. It's understandable that the two cops deserved a few days off in the wake of the Del Fiorentino murder by an Oregon meth head. Naulty, backed up by Mayberry, shot the killer north of Fort Bragg before he could do any more harm. Naulty was on-scene first, with Mayberry hard on his heels. But you need months to recover from a violent episode? If every American was entitled to endless paid time off every time he or she experienced violence or sustained unpleasantness, few people would remain on the job. But rumors say Mayberry may not be returning to his job as Fort Bragg's top cop for reasons unrelated to the Del Fiorentino tragedy. Meanwhile, Fort Bragg's feckless city council is paying lots and lots to an interim chief.

THIS IS WHERE it gets a little sensitive with the law and order sectors of our population. Cops taking prolonged paid stress leaves is not defensible. The job, by definition, is stressful, which is why policemen everywhere are now quite well paid and enjoy early, lushly compensated retirements. They voluntarily sign on for the job.

IN MENDOCINO COUNTY, the early retirement due to “stress,” has been abused, as has simple stress leaves by non-cops, an assistant DA for one. Three Sheriff's Department veterans have been granted early outs for stress where there was none visible. Of course stress isn't visible, is it? And that's where the psycho-scamming begins with a friendly shrink backing up the phony stress claim with a lot of pseudo-scientific lingo. These claims cost the taxpayers a lot of money. They're also a fairly recent development in a County where they were unheard of twenty years ago.

YES, COPS do a difficult job. Most of us appreciate them for doing it. I do. I wouldn't have the patience for it. It takes a special kind of person, as do lots of tough jobs. Stress claims by cops should be stopped.

THE DEL FIORENTINO murder, and the subsequent shooting of the killer by Naulty and Mayberry, still awaits CHP crime scene reports before the DA's final report can be made public.

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THE SECRET LIFE of Anderson Valley! I swear, this place can be as oblique as an Indonesian shadow play, what with the seethingly constant undercurrent of gossip and behind-the-scenes maneuverings. Take recent developments at the Anderson Valley Health Center, for handy example. The recent turmoil there turns out to be not as wacky and arbitrary as it may seem. There were problems that went beyond paperwork snafus, problems which, if they became public, would cause more pain and turmoil than we've seen. Let me say I sympathize with the Center's Board of Directors, and I think Ric Bonner, board chairman, has handled things as well as they can be handled.

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ISRAEL-PALESTINE in a nutshell. Gaza is roughly the size of Anderson Valley, population maybe 5,000. Gaza's population? Nearly two million. Imagine Anderson Valley with two million people. Further imagine Anderson Valley under attack from offshore artillery and, now, an armed invasion by ground troops supported by tanks and heavy weapons. How did this come about? In 1948, rightwing Jews called Zionists, citing the Old Testament to support their claim, said Palestine was their homeland, and forcibly removed the Arabs who lived there. The rest is history.

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My doctor is Mark Apfel, wherever he may be practicing. If he is denied residency at the Boonville Clinic, I will no longer attend or support that institution and would encourage others to do the same.

Daniel Myers, Philo

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by Lee Romney

The California National Guard on Monday joined more than a dozen other agencies to help the Yurok tribe combat rampant marijuana grows that have threatened the reservation's water supply, harmed its salmon and interfered with cultural ceremonies.

Law enforcement officers began serving search warrants at about 9 a.m. in the operation, which came at the request of Yurok officials and targeted properties in and near the reservation along the Klamath River.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Drug Enforcement Unit coordinated the raid and was joined by, among others, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Justice' North State Marijuana Investigation Team, and Yurok police.

State environmental scientists were standing by to enter the properties and survey for damage once the sites were secured.

Yurok Tribal Chairman Thomas O'Rourke joined officers as they staged at a hillside fire station Monday morning and thanked them for assisting in what was dubbed “Operation Yurok.”

“They're stealing millions and millions of gallons of water and and it's impacting our ecosystem,” he told the officers. “We can't no longer make it into our dance places, our women and children can't leave the road to gather. We can't hunt. We can't live the life we've lived for thousands of years.”

Yurok Interim Public Safety Chief Leonard Masten said tens of thousands of plants are likely to be eradicated over the next week and a half. They will be chipped on-site.

Though growers in the region once “brought their fertilizer in in batches in the dark,” O'Rourke said dump trucks now enter reservation land with impunity in broad daylight and use heavy equipment to carve roads on tribal land.

Bald Hills Road, a remote and winding route that connects the upper reservation to tribal headquarters in Klamath, used to be traveled almost exclusively by tribal members, O'Rourke said. Now, “it's one in 10 that I recognize and every fifth car is an out-of-state plate.”

California's largest tribe has sought help combating marijuana grows in the past but until now never received such a vigorous response. Then the drought hit.

The strains on dual water systems that serve 200 households and rely entirely on surface water became apparent last summer, when residents began complaining of plummeting pressure.

Tanks that were full on a Friday, Masten said, would be nearly empty by Monday.

When tribal staff surveyed the land from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, they were startled at the number of grows. By this summer they had tripled, Masten estimated. And when the marijuana crop was planted in late spring, community water gauges once again swung low.

This time, creeks ran dry.

“Streams I’ve seen in prior years with more severe droughts where water ran, there’s no water now,” said O'Rourke.

To strengthen its enforcement abilities, the tribal council last fall approved a new controlled substance ordinance that allow for civil forfeiture in circumstances where cultivation has harmed the environment.

(All growing on the reservation is illegal, as the Yurok tribe does not honor state medical marijuana law.)

The breakthrough came in April when governor's office staff was discussing the drought with tribal officials. Gov. Jerry Brown, tribal officials were told, had pressed for California National Guard assistance with marijuana eradication and specifically urged the Office of the Adjutant General to assist in the Yurok operation, said Captain Pat Bagley, operations officer in charge at the scene.

He was expecting to haul out two miles of irrigation hose at one grow alone.

For the Yurok, the damage is broad. Sediment and chemical runoff have suffocated juvenile fish, and warmer, shallower water has triggered an increase in the parasite Ceratomyxa shasta, which targets salmon.

Rodentide has poisoned the Humboldt marten and weasel-like fisher, which the Yurok consider sacred. The danger of encroaching on a guarded grow site has made it unwise to gather medicine, acorns and materials for baskets, or to prepare sites for ceremonial dances.

The White Deerskin Dance – a biannual ceremony that was banned for decades along with other cultural practices -- takes place this September, but Masten said access to the site for preparations is currently blocked by a grow.

“We are coming close to being prisoners in our own land,” O’Rourke said. “Everything we stand for, everything we do is impacted.”

On Saturday night, as the raid loomed, he and Masten were participating in a Brush Dance -- a dance for the health and vibrancy of a child. At a village site near the mouth of the river, tribal members entered the dance pit in groups throughout the night as a medicine woman and two helpers tended to a young mother and her infant boy.

After the sunrise Sunday morning, they appeared elaborate regalia passed down for generations and imbued with the spirits of ancestors. Otter skin arrow quivers intricately adorned with woodpecker scalps. Dresses of abalone and dentillium shells. Intricately woven basket hats.

The Brush Dance is hosted by family groups and the frequency of the ceremonies has increased in recent years as the tribe reconnects with its culture, and more youth participate.

“I think this is not only a strong opportunity to take back our land but to set an example that the tribe has got a zero tolerance policy” toward cultivation, Masten said. “Whether you're an Indian or a non-Indian, you've got to go.”

(Courtesy, the Los Angeles Times)

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GARBERVILLE-BASED Congressional candidate, Andy Caffrey, blasts Craig Stehr:

Andy Caffrey Responds!

No funds have come forth to date. You are not welcome to stay in my apartment or office in Garberville. Three other people are renting it. I still have to make arrangements to pay off $1,755 to the sec of state (this week bill collectors began to call) and $420 to sect 8. Also my brain function is at about 30%. Fuck you for not giving a damn about any of this, me, or anything that isn't Craig World. Drop the ego trip dude. You're a Hindu poseur and haven't come close to achieving a transcendent self. A KMUD friend, Cuzin' Marc, is dying in the Garberville hospital and I am attending to him every day until his last. — Andy

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Warmest spiritual greetings. Please know that I am prepared to return to California after Wednesday, July 23rd. The woman anarchist organizer (Bork) whom I have been in-house assisting in New Orleans is much, much better now. My social security retirement check hits my Berkeley checking account on Wednesday, and would allow me to get to San Francisco via Greyhound. However, I would then have no money for a month; also, my Cali food stamps were cancelled because I left the state, and I would arrive in Cali homeless! Your cooperation would be appreciated for me to have a place to go to upon arrival. I thank you, and also you are welcome for all of the good that I have been doing lately benefitting our comrade Bork, the American society in general, and the planet earth when time allows. Please leave a telephone message for me with Bork at (504) 302-9951. Peaceout, Craig Louis Stehr. Telephone messages: (504) 302-9951. Permanent email address: Snail mail: 333 Socrates Street, New Orleans, LA 70114.

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ON JULY 21, 2014 at approximately 11:15pm, Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies contacted Steven Munson, 56, of Willits, within the 100 block of Baechtel Road in Willits, after observing him operate a bicycle without proper (required) lighting equipment. During the contact Deputies found Munson to be under the influence of a controlled substance (methamphetamine). Munson was placed under arrest, and during a search incident to arrest Deputies located a plastic bag containing approximately one gram of methamphetamine on Munson's person. Munson was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance and being Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance and then transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

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by Roberta Werdinger

We all have a story to tell. We all have narratives of risk, adventure, trial and triumph that knit us into time and into the dimensions of the families we love and the places where we have lived. Even though we arise from different histories, we all begin and end in the same place, and we have the same soil under our feet.

The Mendocino County Historical Society is a repository for all the stories of all the people who have called Mendocino County home. Whether they are natives who have walked this land for thousands of years, immigrants who arrived from other continents or other states several generations ago, or recent arrivals who came here seeking new jobs, new homes, or new visions, all of them leave behind traces of their lives. The Historical Society has been dedicated to collecting, preserving and presenting these stories for close to 60 years. “If you've been here for 15 minutes, you're part of Mendocino County history,” is how Paul Poulos, Director of the Held-Poage Library, puts it.

That history is now carefully stored in a gracious 108-year-old mansion that sits on a large plot at the corner of Dora and Perkins, just west of downtown Ukiah. It belonged to Judge Held, a prominent attorney and politician who once served as mayor of Ukiah, until his children donated the building to the Historical Society in 1969.

Now the rooms and outbuildings of Judge Held's home are brimming with valuable and fascinating historical documents and artifacts: complete sets of most of the county's newspapers, Pomo Indian baskets, original maps, real estate deeds and blueprints, high school yearbooks, and jail and census records dating back to 1873, some of them elaborately handwritten. The original notes of noted horticulturalist Carl Purdy are here, along with a hand-carved scrapbook from Ukiah's 20/30 Club.


The Historical Society also holds 13,500 historical photographic negatives and 4,500 books on local, state, and national history, including an extensive poetry collection. It holds quarterly meetings at four different spots throughout the county and publishes a number of books and pamphlets on matters of historical interest.

Many of the older documents in the collection are very fragile, with pages that are cracking and bindings that are wearing away. Due to a shortage of space, some of the documents are stacked on top of each other in a less than optimum way. The Historical Society plans to construct a new and separate 3500-square-foot building on the plot of its present space that would serve as a research library and archival space to preserve its precious documents and to better serve the public. The new building, which would be fire-safe and temperature-controlled, would also have space to train volunteers in important archival work.

Since history is always being made, the collection of the Historical Society is still expanding. While many documents are handled in digital form, they still need to be scanned, catalogued, and carefully stored, with additional backup copies carried and stored offsite. The Society has digitally scanned about 38,000 photos, with a volunteer dedicated just to doing that, and is in the process of cataloguing 50,000 more. The new building will free up space in Judge Held's old house to allow for the cadre of volunteers to expand, for the present volunteers to have more space in which to work, and for the public to visit and have documents retrieved for them.

The estimated cost of the new building is $500,000 to $600,000. The Society has already spent about $75,000 on plans and permits. It has received small donations of money from the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and from the Community Foundation. Now it is time to ask the greater community to step up and support an undertaking that preserves the memories of Mendocino County's residents with the care they deserve.

For $275 donors can “purchase” one square foot of the new archival building for the Held-Poage Home and Library. For $2450, they can donate a full square yard of the room of their choice. A gift can be in the form of a purchase of a square foot, a square yard, or even an entire room, a memorial donation, or a designated gift for a friend or family member. No donation is too small or too large. Donors will be permanently listed on the Donor's Wall regardless of the size.

In addition, anyone can join the Historical Society for $20 a year and receive a subscription to the Mendocino Historical Journal. Edited by Paul Poulos and Necia Liles, each quarterly issue is brimming with stories, photos, and anecdotes, focusing on anything from state parks to local artists to profiles of local families and individuals. Reading through an issue of the Journal is like getting a mini-lesson on one or more aspects of the county's fascinating history and ongoing issues.

Even as these workable and inspiring blueprints for the future are being put into place, the Historical Society continues to buzz with volunteers who lovingly tend to a multitude of stories about the past. As Poulos puts it, “History is now.”

The library is open to the public on Wednesday through Friday from 1 to 4 pm. To find out more, call 462-6969 or visit the website at (The website also has helpful links for those interested in researching their family history.) The Mendocino County Historical Society would like to thank the Community Foundation, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, the Fran Poulos Memorial and other contributors for their help.

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You are invited to join the North Coast Coalition for Palestine Wednesday, July 23, from 5 to 6 p.m., to protest the Israeli invasion and bombardment of Gaza. We will be bringing signs that graphically depict the toll this attack is taking on the people of Gaza and Israel, including language such as: Your tax dollars at work in Gaza. Please bring your own signs if you wish, and anything else you believe would portray this atrocity in a non-violent fashion. We will gather at 5 p.m. at the corner of 4th Street and Mendocino Ave. in Santa Rosa. See you there North Coast Coalition for Palestine

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 22, 2014

Alvarez, Berry, Biord, Blackwell, Brito
Alvarez, Berry, Biord, Blackwell, Brito

KELISHA ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Court order violation, probation revoked.

LACEY BERRY, Ukiah. Domestic Assault.

CHRISTOPHER BIORD, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer)

ERIN BLACKWELL, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer)

RUDY BRITO, Modesto. Receiving stolen property, probation violation.

Choate, DeGroot, Gomez, Madison, K.Nelson
Choate, DeGroot, Gomez, Madison, K.Nelson

ERNEST CHOATE, Ukiah. Parole violation.

JENNIFER DeGROOT, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

SALVADOR GOMEZ, Elk. Probation violation.

SARA MADISON, Willits. Battery of cop.

KENNETH NELSON, Ukiah. Annoying/Molesting child(ren) under 18.

T.Nelson, Schleuder, Shepard, Watchempino, Willis, Yanez
T.Nelson, Schleuder, Shepard, Watchempino, Willis, Yanez

THERON NELSON, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, court order violation, probation revoked.


JAMES SHEPARD, Potter Valley. Drinking in public.

VALERIE WATCHEMPINO, Willits. Marijuana growing/sale, possession of meth, armed with firearm.

SCOTTY WILLIS, Ukiah. Carrying a switchblade, probation revoked.

ANDY YANEZ, Fort Bragg. Driving on suspended license.

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Human Rights Watch documents 'sting' operations

Report raises questions about post-9/11 civil rights

by Spencer Ackerman

Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the “direct involvement” of government agents or informants, a new report says.

Some of the controversial “sting” operations “were proposed or led by informants,” bordering on entrapment by law enforcement. Yet the courtroom obstacles to proving entrapment are significant, one of the reasons the stings persist.

The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system's ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.

“In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act,” the report alleges.

Out of the 494 cases related to terrorism the US has tried since 9/11, the plurality of convictions — 18% overall — are not for thwarted plots but for “material support” charges, a broad category expanded further by the 2001 Patriot Act that permits prosecutors to pursue charges with tenuous connections to a terrorist act or group.

In one such incident, the initial basis for a material-support case alleging a man provided “military gear” to al-Qaeda turned out to be waterproof socks in his luggage.

Several cases featured years-long solitary confinement for accused terrorists before their trials. Some defendants displayed signs of mental incapacity. Jurors for the 2007 plot to attack the Fort Dix army base, itself influenced by government informants, were anonymous, limiting defense counsel's ability to screen out bias.

Human Rights Watch’s findings call into question the post-9/11 shift taken by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies toward stopping terrorist plots before they occur. While the vast majority of counterterrorism tactics involved are legally authorized, particularly after Congress and successive administrations relaxed restrictions on law enforcement and intelligence agencies for counterterrorism, they suggest that the government’s zeal to protect Americans has in some cases morphed into manufacturing threats.

The report focuses primarily on 27 cases and accordingly stops short of drawing systemic conclusions. It also finds several trials and convictions for “deliberate attempts at terrorism or terrorism financing” that it does not challenge.

The four high-profile domestic plots it found free of government involvement were the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing; Najibullah Zazi's 2009 plot to bomb the New York subway; the attempted Times Square carbombing of 2010; and the 2002 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport's El Al counter.

But the report is a rare attempt at a critical overview of a system often touted by the Obama administration and civil libertarian groups as a rigorous, capable and just alternative to the military tribunals and indefinite detention advocated by conservative critics. It comes as new pressure mounts on a variety of counterterrorism practices, from the courtroom use of warrantless surveillance to the no-fly list and law enforcement's “suspicious activity reports” database.

In particular, Human Rights Watch examines the extent and impact of law enforcement's use of terrorism informants, who can both steer people into attempted acts of violence and chill religious or civic behavior in the communities they penetrate.

Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, a social services agency, told the Guardian she almost has a “radar for informants” sent to infiltrate her Brooklyn community.

While the FBI has long relied on confidential informants to alert them to criminal activity, for terrorism cases informants insert themselves into Muslim mosques, businesses and community gatherings and can cajole people toward a plot “who perhaps would never have participated in a terrorist act on their own initiative,” the study found.

Many trade information for cash. The FBI in 2008 estimated it had 15,000 paid informants. About 30% of post-9/11 terrorism cases are considered sting operations in which informants played an “active role” in incubating plots leading to arrest, according to studies cited in the Human Rights Watch report. Among those roles are making comments “that appeared designed to inflame the targets” on “politically sensitive” subjects, and pushing operations forward if a target’s “opinions were deemed sufficiently troubling.”

Entrapment, the subject of much FBI criticism over the years, is difficult to prove in court. The burden is on a defendant to show he or she was not “predisposed” to commit a violent act, even if induced by a government agent. Human Rights Watch observes that standard focuses attention “not on the crime, but on the nature of the subject,” often against a backdrop where “inflammatory stereotypes and highly charged characterizations of Islam and foreigners often prevail.”

Among the informants themselves there is less ambiguity. “It is all about entrapment,” Craig Monteilh, one such former FBI informant tasked with mosque infiltration, told the Guardian in 2012.

Informants, the study found, sometimes overcome their targets’ stated objections to engage in terrorism. A man convicted in 2006 of attempting to bomb the Herald Square subway station in Manhattan told an informant who concocted the plot he would have to check with his mother and was uncomfortable planting the bombs himself. One member of the “Newburgh Four” plot to attack synagogues and military planes — whose case is the subject of an HBO documentary airing on Monday — told his informant “maybe my mission hasn’t come yet.”

Once in court, terrorism cases receive evidentiary and pre-trial leeway rarely afforded to non-terrorism cases. A federal judge in Virginia permitted into evidence statements made by a defendant while in a Saudi jail in which the defendant, Amed Omar Abu Ali, alleged torture, a longstanding practice in Saudi Arabia. The evidence formed the basis for a conviction, and eventually a life sentence, for conspiracy to assassinate George W Bush. Mohammed Warsame, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, was held in solitary confinement for five years before his trial.

Another implication of the law-enforcement tactics cited the report is a deepening alienation of American Muslims from a government that publicly insists it needs their support to head off extremism but secretly deploys informants to infiltrate mosques and community centers.

“The best way to prevent violent extremism inspired by violent jihadists is to work with the Muslim American community — which has consistently rejected terrorism — to identify signs of radicalization and partner with law enforcement when an individual is drifting towards violence. And these partnerships can only work when we recognize that Muslims are a fundamental part of the American family,” Obama said in a high-profile 2013 speech.

Yet the Obama administration has needed to purge Islamophobic training materials from FBI counterterrorism, which sparked deep suspicion in US Muslim communities. It is now conducting a review of similar material in the intelligence community after a document leaked by Edward Snowden used the slur “Mohammed Raghead” as a placeholder for Muslims.

(Courtesy, the Guardian of London)


  1. Bill Pilgrim July 23, 2014

    RE: The Gaza Assault. It’s well nigh impossible to hold a civil conversation on the topic, especially here in the US. So entrenched have the Israel-firsters become in nearly all areas of social information outlets that a well informed, unbiased assessment of the situation is too difficult for most people to bother taking the time to locate.
    There is one thought that has been with me for years: one would think that a group so aggrieved and persecuted throughout history (Jews) would become the world’s principle proponents for human rights, and direct the attention of the world to major violations wherever and whenever they occur… witnesses to the rightful dignity of all. Instead, sadly, the Israelis (broadly speaking) choose to be as racist, separative, oppressive and wickedly cold-hearted as almost any other historical regime. They could have been a great Beacon of Justice, rather than self-pitying, fortress bound rationalizers of their own exceptionalism.

  2. Harvey Reading July 23, 2014


    You’d think most of us would already be aware of this. It’s been public knowledge for several years now. But, I guess reinforcement is necessary for the willfully ignorant.

    The restrictive, and privacy violating, laws passed since 911 were never about terrorism. They were simply a logical advancement of the fascist police state that began here in the 70s with the war on drugs. Its has increased its authoritarian reach, by leaps and bounds, since.

    The effectiveness of the effort is shown by the recent Quinnipiac poll showing that the moron, and FBI rat fink, Reagan is, by far the most popula postwar (second world war) president of all. All of them were awful in my opinion … nothing but pawns of the wealthy, trying to return us to the late 19th Century, at which they succeeded. And, we commoners continue to shrug our shoulders and bawl fascist slogans.

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