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Off the Record (July 23, 2014)

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. 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.

THE COUNTY remains mired in negotiations with County workers, including Sheriff's Department deputies. The deputies, to put it gently, are unhappy. Because of short-staffing, deputies are working a lot of overtime, and someone really ought to do some serious math here. Is overtime pay equivalent to or greater than not hiring more people? And, like almost all the rest of County employees, the deputies have not had that 10% pay cut restored that all employees took three years ago to save the County from even more dire fiscal circumstances.

THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT can't be broke. In addition to its normal funding, the cops get about a million a year from DA Eyster's pot prosecution program. Given that the cops not only have to deal with a lot of dangerous people, they also function big time as Mendocino County's default mental health program.  They should get the 10% back now, and they should be first priority for the modest cost-of-living increase of a little more than three percent they want.

THE COUNTY IS HEADING for major labor probs, totally unnecessary labor probs, for which County management must bear primary responsibility, with the clownish SEIU's reps running a close second. The County is paying outside negotiators, who seem just as inept as SEIU's revolving incompetents, $250,000 for 12 months “work” working out fair rates of pay that reasonable people could work out in about ten minutes with a WalMart calculator and basic civility. Negotiations should be handled by the County's own lawyers at the County Counsel's office but for some reason employee negotiations are beyond them.

EVEN IF THEY could handle negotiations, County Counsel Losak and his lieutenants apparently don't know anything about labor law. One supposes it would be too much to ask Losak to hit the books at night rather than drive the midnight hours with dope and a loaded gun as Losak famously did prior to his hiring (only in Mendo!), Losak doesn't know the basic rules for the Board of Supervisors, like how many votes are required to take action. The answer is a majority of the Board, no matter how many are voting. So if only three are able to vote on an issue, as happened recently, it still takes three votes. But Losak told the Board a majority of the quorum was sufficient. Pinches helpfully asked, “Are you sure?” which should have been a signal for Losak to check his rulebook.

SEIU is beating the drums for a strike and also preparing for the inevitable unfair labor practice charges they'll file, all of this funded by County employees one way or the other. The last contract with SEIU expired on June 30th of last year. SEIU's strike strategy has so far resulted in that the-one day farce last year, and their Sacramento and Bay Area-based reps have been soliciting donations for a strike fund for six months or more. (And how stupid would a County worker have to be to contribute to that?) SEIU rakes in about half a million a year from County workers in union dues, for which County workers get absolutely nothing in the way of capable representation.)

SUPERVISORS GJERDE AND McCOWEN voted against the current $250,000 contract for 12 months for the County's outside legal eagles. The previous contract, as amended, was $250,000 for 18 months. A lot of that was labor relations, which included negotiations, but also substantial chunks for the unfair labor practice charges (with the County and SEIU both crying foul) and the so-called “fact finding” process. But apparently they are doing more than negotiations. CEO Angelo seems to call them every time she needs legal advice, for example, responding to the Grand Jury report on the library. That response took 49 pages when one would have sufficed, and you can be sure the County is paying tax money above the basic contract for this extra bill-padding.

THE POINT ARENA CITY COUNCIL, always on civil society's cutting edge, has just passed an “urgent” ordinance (without the usual 90 day posting) to authorize the cops to immediately round up the drunks and stoners infesting PA's mean streets. Leaving nobody after nightfall? Take the stoners and the drunks out of Point Arena and we're talking Ghost City.

A POINT ARENA old timer, though, says the town, especially after dark, can resemble The Night of the Living Dead. “I no longer go there at night except to see the occasional movie but it can be really, really creepy, especially when it's foggy — it's like something out of a scary movie. When I moved here many years ago, PA still had the Air Base with about 200 airmen and their families, the bowling alley which had both adult and youth leagues as well as a bar and snack bar, the funky bar/restaurant down at the pier which was really good, an Italian restaurant and bar, a steakhouse restaurant and bar, a diner/soda fountain. The only one that remains, the Sign of the Whale (the old Point Arena Hotel) once had an outstanding French menu as well as great bands several times a month. Except for the Whale and the theater, all these places are gone and most people stay home at night watching TV (PA had virtually no TV until the 1990s) or playing on their computers. It's very sad. The town is now left to the mentally unbalanced, a lot of them tweakers, who live on disability and roam the streets at night.”

DESPITE THE POINT ARENA CITY COUNCIL'S fresh resolution to depopulate Mendocino County's smallest incorporated town by removing drunks and drug addicts from its streets, the jewel of the fog belt will, if they can muster enough sober citizens, celebrate the federal acquisition of Stornetta Lands this Saturday (the 26th.) The Stornetta property, at least the seaside portion of it, is now part of the federal park system.

IN KEEPING with our reputation with no one as a highbrow publication, herewith the greatest short poem in the language:


The apparition of these faces in the crowd:

Petals on a wet, black bough.

— Ezra Pound

BOONVILLE REDEMPTION, the movie partly filmed here, doesn't seem headed for blockbuster status. Even its on-line description is unpromising. “Thirteen year-old Melinda (Strike one! — any movie featuring a kid is, by definition, awful, even if the kid can act) “is angry about the hand life has dealt her,” an anger shared by most sentient beings and so what? “Being born out of wedlock and scorned by many, Melinda desperately wants to know what happened to her real father. No one will tell her.” Most so-called illegitimate kids are better off not knowing. “Alice, Melinda’s mother, feels that God has abandoned her and now relies on superstitions to cope with her guilt.” But God has always been, ah, inattentive, and Mendo is indeed a kind of national woo-woo center. But Mendo wasn't woo-woo heavy in 1913 when this epic is set. Woo-woo arrived in '67 with the hippies.


I BRING IT UP because Boonville Redemption features the well-known actor, Ed Asner, who undoubtedly got a nice hunk of dough up front for appearing in the thing. It reminds me of Lannie Cotler's made-in-Mendo film, The Golden Ding Dong or whatever it was called, produced in and around the County's garden spot, Willits. That box office non-smash starred Jason Robards, Hillary Swank's breasts and, for local color, Holly Near. (Mike Geniella, before he retired as the Press Democrat's Ukiah Bureau, wrote a pufferoo about Holly that announced the Ukiah singer's return to heterosexuality. The piece was also generally hilarious.)


COTLER'S uniquely nutty film (even by Mendo standards) came with no discernible narrative, not even a thread. It seemed to be about mentally challenged people wandering around in the woods looking for a literal pot of gold. Cotler, a Willits trust funder, paid Robards, as I recall, a half-mil for a few minutes on-screen. Boonville Redemption is clearly in the grand Mendo film tradition.

ENOUGH NEGATIVITY! I come to praise Michael Kisslinger, not to criticize him. Of course I don't know the dude personally, and I doubt off the discouraging evidence of his daily press release recitations on KZYX News I'd want to spend quality time with the guy, but Mike has kinda grown on me. I've found that superficially boring people like Kisslinger, if viewed clinically, objectively, can be extremely interesting. Kisslinger's audibly nuts, and I'm guessing that it's only a matter of time before he goes all the way off, hopefully on-air. Which is why I now hustle in from my hour of serious aerobics just so I won't miss him at 6pm, and when Mike intones, “And now for the weather....” I leap from my chair and press my ear directly to the radio's speaker. Today could be The Day! Darn. Nope, he merely tells me how hot it is in Lakeport, invaluable information in its own right, clinically considered.

THE STATE WATER BOARD SAYS Californians have increased water consumption this year despite the drought, despite the governor's pleas to save water, despite Central Valley farms left fallow, despite rapid depletion of state reservoirs. The State Water Resources Control Board released the updated results from a water-use survey that said overall consumption had risen 1%, even as Gov. Jerry Brown has called for a 20% cutback. $500-a-day fines will soon kick in. Those will include requiring water districts to stop leaks in their pipes, which account for an estimated 10% of water use, stricter landscape restrictions and encouraging water agencies to boost rates for consumers who use more than their share of water.

ON-LINE STATEMENT OF THE WEEK: “Regarding San Francisco's latest experiment to try to get people from using the streets as bathrooms, for those who say there should just be public toilets available on the streets, please realize this has been tried and it didn't work. People damaged and vandalized the toilets, and used them for sex and camping out in, unbelievable as that sounds. We just have too many indecent people in SF for public toilets to be available to them. In fact, even in places where the folks are mostly decent, where the toilet users are not homeless, mentally ill, or drug addicts, I am often quite disgusted at how supposedly normal folks treat public bathrooms. Toilet left unflushed, or unflushed PLUS huge wad of toilet paper in it that looks like about 1/2 a roll, urine on the toilet seat, urine on the floor, toilet paper all over the floor, feces smeared on the name it. And this is in places that DON'T have a problem with street people using their toilets all the time. So just imagine this about 10-100 times worse when homeless do use that toilet regularly.”

WILL PARRISH’S RESTITUTION HEARING which had been scheduled for last Thursday morning in Judge Behnke's courtroom, was postponed again. The DA's office apparently wants to pursue out-of-court mediation prior to a hearing. Parrish has been fined out of all proportion to his offense, which was getting in the way of illegal CalTrans work at the Willits Bypass.

SIX PEOPLE, including incumbent Phil Baldwin, have taken out papers to run for the Ukiah City Council. Kevin Doble, Mark Hilliker, John Johns, Miranda Mott and Maureen Mulheren. Former Mendo probation chief, Jim Brown, is also telling people he may become a candidate.

KEVIN DOBLE has been on the Ukiah planning commission for several years and has a reputation for doing his homework and taking a practical and logic-based approach to decision making. Doble seems to be the consensus choice with supporters from across the political spectrum.

JIM BROWN is the retired Chief Probation Officer for Mendocino County. He has never been known to take a position on any public issue, but would likely be a strong supporter of public safety.

MAUREEN ‘MO’ MULHEREN seems to be driven more by ambition than a clear vision of what she hopes to accomplish. She will have the solid support of the business-oriented Employer's Council types. She may also be seeking family redemption by avenging her father's history of electoral defeats. James “The Ever Pleasant Jim” Mulheren ran and lost at least twice for City Council and once for County Supervisor. Although he lived in a rather palatial house with a swimming pool and a six-car garage just outside the city limits, Mulheren claimed he really lived on Waugh Lane in a tiny cluttered office above his cabinet shop. He did admit that his wife lived in a nice house where he sometimes visited.

MARK HILLIKER had been a firefighter for some 30 years with the City of Ukiah. Now retired, Hilliker draws a nice pension while double dipping as the County's “safety officer.” He has been a leader among Ukiah firefighters unhappy that the public safety sales tax measure can be used for police department personnel and operations, but only for fire department's equipment — not fire department personnel and operations. The fire guys lobbied for parity but the present City Council shut them out.

MIRANDA MOTT recently participated in the Climate Ride fundraiser, pedaling her bike for five days and 250 miles from San Francisco to Sacramento, so she at least ought to be physically fit. She was joined by Ukiah couple Will Van Sant and Hannah Bird who were celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary. Funds raised by their team were donated to the Solar Living Institute where Bird is employed.

PHIL ‘RED PHIL’ BALDWIN, is the only incumbent running. A jolly retired schoolteacher, Phil, a liberal, is widely viewed as a Bolshevik by the more primitive sectors of Ukiah public opinion who conflate libs with communists. He is well known to the public after 16 years in office. Phil is famously opposed to leaf blowers, medi-vac helicopters landing at the hospital, motorboats on Lake Mendocino, and developments like Costco that pay gushers of sales tax to the City of Ukiah. He seems to see the City of Ukiah as an Edenic preserve of the righteous, seemingly unaware that the County seat, like its squalid sister city 20 miles to the north, long ago went over to irreversible decay called “progress.” While the guy deserves high marks for looking out at State Street and seeing the Champs-Élysées, other people see him simply as delusional as a man wholly committed to the indefensible, i.e., Ukiah.

JOHN JOHNS is an organic vegetable farmer who sells his produce at the local farmer's markets. Johns lives near the east end of Clara Avenue and may be the only candidate who does not live on Ukiah's precious west side.

YOKAYO BIOFUELS of Ukiah is closing. For more than a decade, Yokayo has transformed cooking oil from local restaurants into biodiesel which it sold at its South Ukiah outlet and to other biodiesel businesses. The two-man company failed to qualify for federal matching grants and is unable to continue.

THE HUMBOLDT COUNTY Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously to declare a drought state of emergency. Seven tribal water systems and three municipal water systems in HumCo are described as vulnerable, a designation meaning that they are likely to run out of water in the next 61 to 120 days.

LAKE MENDOCINO is going, going, gone in about six weeks if Mendocino County's futile leap at the centerfield wall to catch a last trickle is unsuccessful.

SPEAKING TO GLENDA ANDERSON of the Press Democrat, Sean White, director of the Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District, declared, “We want to make sure we take every action possible to avoid an impending disaster.”

MENDOCINO COUNTY owns a mere 8,000 acre feet (about 20%) of Lake Mendo's drought-parched and fast emptying reserves. Most of the Lake's water is owned by Sonoma County because SoCo put up most of the money to build the Lake back in the middle 1950s. And Lake Mendocino itself is dependent upon and fed by the equivalently parched Eel River diverted at Potter Valley through a hundred-year-old hand-dug tunnel.

THE DROUGHT is making clearer than clear how precarious downstream supplies have always been, and are now dire between the Ukiah Valley and Healdsburg. The Russian River between those two points is likely to dry up altogether by September unless the feds somehow agree to hold back a Lake Mendo trickle for late summer. Which they really must do or imperil the upper Russian as a fishery.

AND THERE'S THE RUB. The feds are mandated to release a certain amount of water for the welfare of the perennially beleaguered fish, and those releases out of the already hugely diminished lake are fast drying up the scant water remaining. Mendo's standing in all this is similar to that of an unwanted stepchild — i.e., low priority.

TO ACCOMPLISH a reduction in releases from the Lake to guarantee minimal water for the Ukiah Valley's water districts, Sonoma County, at Mendo's plaintive request, must get the feds to agree to a reduction in releases. Will SoCo make the request? Stay tuned.

VINEYARD OWNERS from Ukiah to Hopland Russian have already been ordered not to extract water from the upper Russian River while Cloverdale and Healdsburg have begun mandatory conservation efforts.

IF THE DROUGHT PERSISTS, water from Potter Valley south to Healdsburg will be scarce indeed. The state and federal governments will have to supply household users while grape farmers will be unable to either irrigate or frost-protect from Potter Valley to Healdsburg.

RE: HUFFMAN, a reader writes: “Twenty-five bucks for an “intimate reception” with my congressman? That’s much cheaper than the streetwalkers in the east side of Oaktown. And considering they’re in the same trade – although at different political ends of the business, as it were – a bargain! When is the last time a congressperson representing this district held a genuine town hall meeting, rather than the managed, circumscribed “receptions” or phone chats we get today? When is the last time a congress person representing this district stood in front of us on the dais and asked: “So, what’s on your minds?” The only sensible explanation for this absence is the simplest: They’re terrified. They are enabling the perpetuation of a colossal FUBAR, and they know it, and they know WE know it. 6% approval rating? I’d probably stick to wine lubricated soirees, too.

BRUCE MCEWEN WRITES: “Looking online at the Ayr Advertiser, Scotland's Oldest Weekly Newspaper, and checked the headlines (subscription needed to read the stories) by my counterpart there, court reporter Eddie Harbinson, just to see if we're really much different... Here's a sampling: Drongan Thug Threatened Pregnant Woman (sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work — community service, as we say in Mendo ... Drunken Pervert Touched up Young Girl (sentenced to unpaid work)... Police Nab Booze From Beachgoers at Troon Station .... Coylton Hit by Gun Raid ... “Coylton was the center of a police gun raid...” Would be interesting to read some of these stories, I am going to try to friend Mr. Harbinson on facebook.”

PHIL FRISBIE, CALTRANS SPOKESMAN, said last week on his Facebook page that Big Orange has cleared Army Corps of Engineers' environmental complaints about work on the Willits Bypass. “We officially have our permit modification! There are more terms, such a small amount of additional mitigation, but we are now moving forward to begin to ramp up work at the north interchange. There seems to be just ONE more step: our contractor is still waiting for an approved timber harvest plan, but I am not clear if that affects all soil removal or not. Phil at Caltrans.” Work on the Bypass has resumed.

BAD MONEY AFTER WORSE: The Mendocino County Office of Education, as part of a six-county edu-consortium, will get $1.9 million over three years from a California Career Pathways Trust grant administered by the Sonoma County Office of Education, another black hole into which public ed money regularly disappears. Before one dime, if that much, reaches an actual student-type person, anywhere from 2 to 5 “administrators” will have taken a big whack for shuffling some paper around.

WHICH REMINDS ME that it's time for my quarterly riff on the Mendocino County Office of Education. Ready, class? Here goes: The Mendocino County Office of Education, an agency with a criminal history run by illiterates, does not perform a single task that the individual school districts of Mendocino County could not do better and a lot cheaper.

A MENDO COAST RESIDENT, writing on the MCN-Coast Listserve asks, “Who pays for water when a rented home's well runs dry?” Adding, “Big issue around here and I might be looking at it myself. Any California codes that address this?”

THE FIRST REPLY: “I think your lease or rental agreement would have that info. In my own, the owners buy the first truckload, I buy the second, etc.”

THE SECOND REPLY: “A quick google search shows most states require the owner to provide running, potable water. But, as I've found out from being a renter on the move many times in the last 20 years, tenants rights are hard to enforce, even if they are fair and logical.”

THE BOARD of Supervisors, at their meeting of Tuesday, July 22nd, will discuss, “Informational Update Regarding the CEO's Response to the Grand Jury Report on the Mendocino County Free Library.”

WHICH is a lot nuttier topic than its soporific title suggests, and talk about molehills into mountains! The Mendocino Grand Jury has issued a report critical of the County’s financial handling of the Library’s funds. Boiled down, the criticism said the money should have come out of the Oink-Boink account rather than the Ook-Flook fund. The GJ's report was issued June 9, 2014.

THE COUNTY pounced, perhaps on the same day the GJ's report became public, which would be a new national record for government response time if the date isn't a typo, and if it wasn't a typo how come the County got it so fast?

BUT EVEN if you think there’s some kind of mix-up in the dates on the documents, you’d also have to wonder why County CEO Carmel Angelo, still moving at the speed of light by government standards, issued a press release on June 17, a mere eight days after the Grand Jury criticism of Library funding. Angelo quoted her old pal, then-County Auditor Meredith Ford as saying, “The Library's ‘costs of doing business’ are legitimate incurred expenses, like any other Non-General Fund department. Even after reading the entirety of this report, I am still mystified as to why they would be deemed illegitimate.” Angelo goes on to add, “The County Executive Office has 60 days to respond, and will address the claims made in this report.”

SO, SIX WEEKS LATER, ANGELO AND CO. have come up with a 49-page (count 'em!) response which the Board will discuss on Tuesday. The 49-pages strongly dispute the core allegations in the Grand Jury’s Library report, backed up by a series of bland assurances by newly elected (unopposed) Auditor Lloyd Weer who simply says everything’s hunky dory, and, basically, that the Grand Jury’s mistaken claim that the Library was a “special district” as opposed to a “Special Revenue Fund” was at the bottom of the Grand Jury’s complaints.

NOTHING will come of this silly dispute, because it's insignificant and the County, i.e., Angelo and her office, is probably right.

WHAT'S INTERESTING, however, is the unprecedented urgency that surrounds this particular Grand Jury report. Why did the County feel it necessary to issue a press release denying the Grand Jury’s conclusions just eight days after the report was released? And why did Angelo rush to assemble a detailed and over-long 49-page response so it could be put on the Board’s agenda just seven weeks after the Grand Jury report was released?

COMPARE THIS LIBRARY OVER-REACTION to the County’s non-response to the much more important Grand Jury report documenting a clear “appearance” of a conflict of interest of Mental Health director Tom Pinizzotto during the Mental Health privatization contracting process. That process, steered by the self-interested Pinizzotto, awarded millions of tax dollars worth of contracts to Pinizzotto’s former employer, Ortner Management Group.

THE GRAND JURY report on that extremely suspicious deal was also dated June 9. But there was no rush-job press release, no response hustled onto the Board’s agenda, and no reference to Ms. Angelo’s 60-days-to-respond deadline. (Actually, the County has 90s days to respond. Officials have 60 days).

IN A NUTSHELL: If the Grand Jury complains about confusion over what category of funding the Library revenues should be in, the County quickly issues a denial and follows it up with a lengthy, hurry-up response. But if the Grand Jury complains that millions of dollars of public money was probably illegally shoveled to a company with strong connections to the official overseeing the contracting process, the County is officially mum.

JUSTINE FREDERIKSON'S story in Saturday's Ukiah Daily Journal begins, “The Ukiah City Council did not vote on the future of the former post office mural this week, but most members supported staff continuing to negotiate with the United States Postal Service to see if an agreement could be reached that would allow the city to display it, at least temporarily…”

THE MURAL in question is a WPA job in the social-realist style inspired by then-Mendocino County's basic income producers — timber and agriculture. Booze and dope now comprise the backbone of County enterprise.


THERE IS NO NEGOTIATING with the Post Office, especially if one end of the negotiations is conducted by the City of Ukiah. The Post Office will win.

THEREFORE, THE AVA SUGGESTS a pre-emptive removal of the mural for local safekeeping. It was inspired by Mendocino County, it was painted by a man who lived here at the time and it should stay here on permanent exhibit in a suitable public place where the public can see it. This mural belongs to Mendocino County, not a gang of incompetents employed by the USPS. Take it first, Ukiah, THEN negotiate with the Post Office.

FORT BRAGG'S NEW WATER PROJECT. A reader reminded us that Fort Bragg has a new water project in the works to supplement its perennially fragile water supply, suggesting we check out the permit application on the State Water Board’s website. It’s not there. But there's a description of the project on the Fort Bragg City website, which is probably what Supervisor Dan Gjerde was referring to recently when he described a project which would divert winter flows from a tributary of the Noyo into a reservoir for Fort Bragg’s late summer usage. Why it’s not on the Water Board’s list of pending permits/projects, we don’t know.

THERE WILL INDEED be a public hearing on the proposed development of a 6.5 acre reservoir of 45 acre-feet of water, to be built on an 8 acre site, at 19701 Summers Lane — approximately 1.5 miles southeast of the City of Fort Bragg, and one mile north of Highway 20, at the north end of Summers Lane. This project will presumably have considerable impact on future development in the Fort Bragg area, by addressing the long-standing limiting factor - lack of water. All members of the public are invited to attend this hearing, and to submit public comments, at the regular Fort Bragg Planning Commission meeting, on July 23, 2014 at 6:00 P.M., Town Hall, 363 North Main St., F.B. For more information:

DAVID GURNEY COMMENTS on the Summers Lane project: “What I do think is interesting, is that they cc'd ‘property owners within a 300' radius/ Residents within a 100' radius’ — like a property owner needs a greater buffer of informity than someone who actually LIVES there? They also cc'd, with advance notice of the reservoir project and hearing, 22 other official agencies, and one individual. But it's not cc'd to A SINGLE media or pubic information outlet. And I just checked — The Fort Bragg Advocate has nothing in their on-line edition about the hearing. I doubt if their print edition is any different. Not even mistakenly notified. And do you think the Fort Bragg Planning Commission notified KZYX? When you stop laughing, keep dreaming. And this is obviously the first you've heard about it.

“SO IT SEEMS, de-facto, the public has been intentionally left in the dark by our county and state bureaucrats about this major project. I wonder why do these highly paid ‘public servants’ seem to think the public comes LAST — if at all? Who benefits from keeping this whole deal under the radar? Think about it.

“Bottom line: They (whoever they is...) are getting their ducks in a row for development of the mill-site property, and once the water issue is solved, it might be time for that and other development projects that a 45-acre feet of reservoir might support.”

WE'LL CHECK with 4th District supervisor, Dan Gjerde, and report back. There have been development schemes of all types dreamed of by some Fort Bragg investors, but those schemes have always remained in Slumber Land for lack of water. There was a housing development north of town that was talked about for years. And there was talk of a WalMart in the Todd's Point area south of town. The mill site, of course, is the all-time Fort Bragg development plum, but since it's owned by the Koch Brothers, Fort Bragg will wind up taking whatever the Bros shove down Fort Bragg's throat, just as Dominic Affinito had his way big time with civic Fort Bragg, especially with then-city manager Gary Milliman running interference for Affinito. (Gjerde, Michelle White and Vince Benedetti deserve eternal credit for standing up to Aff.) Given the economic givens, though, one wonders how much development might be viable for Fort Bragg even with an expanded source of water.

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