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Letters (July 23, 2014)

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A recent letter to the Editor by Nancy Mayer attempted to define overtime pay, but was missing an important aspect as found on the California Department of Labor website: “Ordinarily, the hours to be used in computing the regular rate of pay may not exceed the legal maximum regular hours which, in most cases, is 8 hours per workday, 40 hours per workweek. This maximum may also be affected by the number of days one works in a workweek. It is important to determine what maximum is legal in each case. The alternate method of scheduling and computing overtime under most Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders, based on an alternative workweek schedule of four 10-hour days or three 12-hour days does not affect the regular rate of pay, which in this case also would be computed on the basis of 40 hours per workweek.”


Jim Boudoures,


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Lately, Will Parrish — and his coalition known as “Save Little Lake Valley” — has been getting a lot of ink in the local newspapers. Most recently, Parrish has been highly critical of Congressman Jared Huffman's intervention in getting the Willits Bypass back on track after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended the environmental permits held by Caltrans.

I think Will Parrish's characterization of Congressman Jared Huffman is unfair. Huffman is one of our strongest environmentalists in Congress. For that reason, when Huffman was elected to Congress in 2012, House leadership named Huffman to serve on the House Natural Resources Committee, where Huffman sits on three — I repeat, three — subcommittees.

They include: the Subcommittee for Water and Power, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, and the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. Sitting on three subcommittees of any one Congressional committee is exceptionally rare, especially for a freshman in Congress, but it speaks to Huffman's environmental credentials.

Huffman was also appointed to the House Budget Committee, again another assignment which is rare for a freshman in Congress. The Budget Committee is one of the most powerful committees. Its responsibilities include legislative oversight of the federal budget process, reviewing all bills and resolutions on the budget, and monitoring agencies and programs funded outside of the budgetary process. That assignment speaks to Huffman's rock-solid credibility.

Huffman is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Huffman’s voting record and sponsored legislation during his first term in Congress is entirely consistent with the highest environmentalist ideals. Consequently, Huffman earned perfect or near-perfect ratings from environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Environment America, the League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action California, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, Food Policy Action, and the California Park and Recreation Society.

Concerning his environmental record before being elected to Congress, from 2006 to 2012, Huffman was a member of the California State Assembly, representing the 6th district. Huffman chaired the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, and he also chaired the Assembly Environmental Caucus. Close to home, Huffman helped saved Hendy Woods and the 15 other state parks in Mendocino County threatened by closure in 2012. Understandably, Huffman was elected to Congress in November 2012 with more than 70% of the vote.

Regarding the Willits Bypass, I would have hoped that Will Parrish would have kept in mind the following six factors:

One, almost from the very beginning many years ago, Congressman Mike Thompson supported the Willits Bypass. Congressman Jared Huffman inherited the Willits Bypass. He inherited it as a legacy project.

Two, according to Mendocino County 3rd District Supervisor John Pinches, 80 per cent of the people in Mendocino County’s 3red District support the Willits Bypass Project. Johnny Pinches is very close to constituents, so I don’t doubt this estimate of local support.

Three, also according to Supervisor Pinches, the majority of people in the counties north of Mendocino County support the Willits Bypass, including people in the Counties of Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity. The Willits Bypass is an economic development issue for them. The Willits Bypass is a project of great regional significance. Remember too, all of these north counties are in Congressman Huffman’s district.

Four, the unions and other workers involved in the project were badly hurt by work stop order for three weeks, and they became increasingly angry. They were furloughed. Out of work. No paychecks. Unions and working people are core support for Democrats. I’m sure this fact is not lost on Congressman Huffman, especially in an election year.

Five, the work stop order on the Willits Bypass for three weeks cost Caltrans and the State of California approximately $100,000 a day.

Six, opponents of the Willits Bypass had 20 years of public hearings and other opportunities to make their opposition to the project known. We are now long past that point in time.

In conclusion, I hope folks are fair to Congressman Huffman. He took a balanced and rational approach to the completion of the Willits Bypass. Huffman worked tirelessly, diligently, and in good faith, for three weeks, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Caltrans, and Congressman Thompson, to get the Willits Bypass back into compliance with its permits. Huffman advocated for environmental compliance every single step of the way.

Congressman Jared Huffman is a strong environmentalist of whom California’s 2nd Congressional District can be proud. Hopefully, the arrogance or ignorance we have come to know at Caltrans, North Region Division, with regard to environmental requirements, will mean no additional project delays, disruptions, or cost overruns in the future. If they mismanage the project again, I'm sure Will Parrish will be all over Caltrans — and rightly so. But Huffman would be all over Caltrans, too.

Parrish should have no beef with Huffman.

John Sakowicz


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Unfortunately, Mr. Sakowicz's letter reads like a press release from a Huffman staff member. Its narrative regarding the Willits Bypass is roughly this: “CalTrans made has made a good-faith effort for 20 years, as part of a democratically determined process, to design a freeway. The freeway is very popular among local people. Last month, CalTrans was out of compliance with its permits. A hard-working regional environmental hero, Rep. Jared Huffman, has worked tirelessly to rein them back in. Everything is okay; please stop objecting to this project now!”Sorry, but all of that is just absurd.CalTrans has been out of compliance with its permits since Day One, and that's even after the permitting process was tilted in Big Orange's favor even more than it normally would be thanks to the efforts of Congressman Thompson, et al. (See: CalTrans, A Rogue Agency.)Huffman has never made any effort to bring CalTrans into compliance with environmental regulations.Bypassing Willits is a popular idea, of course. The CalTrans version of a Willits Bypass, on the other hand, has met with relatively deep-seated opposition. One tires of making the exact same point yet again at this late date, but here you go: The Bypass is an overbuilt boondoggle. CalTrans systematically excluded from consideration any two-lane option for a bypass, just as they exclude smaller projects from consideration in lots of other places: Willits & The Erin Brockovich Bypass.In the midst of a global climate emergency, to use lingo Huffman could probably understand, CalTrans has appropriated roughly $300 million to move 5,000-10,000 cars a day around Willits, when the same task could have been easily accomplished for a fraction of the cost. Now, somehow, concern for taxpayers' bank accounts appears on-stage during one of the final acts.Regarding the notion that there were previous opportunities for “public input,” Orwell wrote in 1984, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” If you want a picture of the present, imagine a government regulator sitting behind a name plate, wearing a plastic smile and saying in a nasally voice, “Thank you for sharing!” It stands to reason that Huffman's friends in the Democratic Party appointed him to lead environmental committees. He is, after all, very adept at sponsoring environmental legislation that avoids discomfiting the wealthy and powerful.Huffman helped save Hendy Woods? Please. Hendy Woods was saved by locals and by the Sacramento Bee's disclosure of the $55 million slush fund the Parks Department was sitting on, which Huffman never demanded be spent on keeping parks open.

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County Free Library – The Grand Jury Report consistently refers to our Library as a County Free Library, set up under the California Education Code and subject to the provisions of that code. One such provision is that the County Librarian NOT be paid from Library funds, but from the County's General Fund. The GJ finds that for about 20 years our County Librarian has been paid from Library funds, not from the county's General Fund. That finding generates the GJ's further finding, that the County owes our Library an eye-catching $1.28 million as restitution for the County's inept or tricksy or illegal diversion of money. (My adjectives.) -- As I mentioned (6/26), the GJ's finding of this million-dollar misallocation of our money seemed to depend on whether or not Mendocino County actually has a Free County Library, as described in the Cal. Ed. Code, or, instead, we have some other sort of legal entity, subject to a different code and just masquerading as a county library. – No more seeming, Gertrude. In 1963, our Board of Supervisors passed ordinance 8.28.010, with the heading "County Free Library System Established." -- I'd score that as a palpable hit for the Grand Jury.

Unincorporated areas - Ordinance 8.28.010 summary reads: "A County Free Library System is hereby established for the unincorporated areas of the County of Mendocino . . . as provided in Chapter 2, Division of the Education Code . . .". There's one CFL outside the 4 incorporated areas of Mendonesia (it's Round Valley/Covelo.); however, the now famous Education Code provides for existing city libraries to opt into the CFL system. I have not yet found our 4 city libraries' articles of opting-into, but the County has been using Library money as though all 5 libraries form a single County department, for micromanagement, beheading & budgeting purposes. – Adverse possession? (Non-legal usage.)

Library Divagations – looked up library in the City of Ukiah municipal codes. Two hits in 108 years of records: (1) Ukiah Library founded in 1906; (2) Library referenced in an elaborate parking code matter. – Willits municipal code, also 2 hits: (1) Library founded in 1906; (2) founding ordinance repealed (95-7). WTF? City of Ft. Bragg, one hit: mention of library in a budget ordinance. Pt. Arena, no mention of Library. Covelo screen flashed a warning, "It's a trap!" & warned of phishing.

Jonathan Middlebrook


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It's not over yet, but as of two weeks ago we now seem to have received some preliminary new reassurances that a permanent ban on subsea oil and gas pipelines will likely accompany our new Sanctuary boundary expansion here in Point Arena.

With this welcome new change in plans, I have therefore now come to believe that a very limited exclusion of the immediate waters of Arena Cove from the new Sanctuary protection could be helpful in light of the stated position of the Point Arena City Council and many in the fishing community.

Such an exclusion from the protection does not overcome the larger long-term conern that small harbors, very similar to ours are vulnerable to the major onshore coastal industrialization that inevitably accompanies drilling offshore. On shorelines elsewhere, whenever the petroleum industry seeks to build onshore support facilities or coastal oil and gas processing installations, I've seen the large-scale shoreline impacts that accompany drilling offshore. But we need to get the overarching Sanctuary protections for our Coast finally accomplished here, and if a few long-ignored concrete mooring blocks on the floor of Arena Cove prsent even a potential stumbling block — no pun intended — then it looks like it will be necessary to simply leave these moorings outside if the Sanctuary for now.

Since 90% of any possible oil and gas potential is thought to lie to the north of the new Sanctuary expansion area, we will therefore obviously need to redouble our collective local and national efforts to make sure that the rest of the Mendocino Coast and beyond also ultimately receives permanent protection from outer continental shelf leasing as well. Only a countywide marine sanctuary can address the future implications of offshore drilling inlcuding the very real possibility of bringing petroleum infrastructure into Arena Cove to the detriment of the fishing industry.

Richard Charter, Senior Fellow

The Ocean Foundation

Bodega Bay/Washington DC

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I want to thank you for sending me the greatest newspaper there. I have recently been transferred to Sierra Conservation center in Jamestown and I would lke to continue receiving your great paper. It helps keep me close to home. I would also like to give a shout out to all the fellas at CMF: Mike W., Roger C., Joseph and Wind-Bill. I would also like to send my love and respect to M. Parker, aka “Drifter,” my little brother up at Suzie’s house. I love you life little brother.

Bryan “Big-B” Hartke


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A Response to the Recent Grand Jury Report about Mendocino Animal Care Services: Having been a volunteer at the Mendocino County Animal Care Services Shelter in Ukiah for the past 8 years, I feel an obligation to correct several misstatements and add a few points, in regards to the Mendocino County Grand Jury's report on, and a Ukiah Daily Journal opinion piece about, the shelter. While I appreciate the time, energy and concern the grand jury afforded the ongoing operation of the shelter, and recognize that most institutions, etc, can always be improved, I feel several facts from the report were unfair, untrue, and inflammatory.The report states that the shelter is overcrowded, and this comment is, unfortunately, correct. The shelter was designed and built with 46 double-sided dog kennels in 2003; a better time, perhaps, in our county's care and concern of pets. According to the report, "The Shelter attempts to house 100 to 150 dogs and 70 to 80 cats per day. The grand jury observed there is insufficient housing for this number of animals. Overflow animals are housed in various animal crates."At times when the shelter is crowded, several kennels are doubled up; but with only 46 kennels, dogs would need to be tripled up in every kennel to allow for 150 guests, which is simply not the case. (As I write this, Sunday, July 6, there were 55 dogs at the shelter.) There are various stand-alone crates in several staff rooms, used to house small and timid dogs who need special attention and care.The report continues: "Overcrowding is so severe that the facility cannot do its core job (finding homes or disposing of animals) with respect to animals placed in its care." This statement is particularly vexing, because in reality, whatever the faults at the shelter, the adoption rate is pretty astounding -- with the average being 40-45 dogs a month; that number has gotten as high as 65. (This figure does not include dogs transferred to rescues, foster care homes, or found by their owners and returned home. If that number of adoptions doesn't impress, try thinking of it as two to three adoptions a day.While I cannot speak for all the staff and volunteers at the shelter, I believe most of them would disagree with the report's finding that the overcrowding has a "very serious effect on staff morale and is severely detrimental to the well-being of the animals." Instead, the overcrowding usually has the effect of making an already admirable, hard-working, dedicated staff work harder; calls are made to rescues and foster homes, advertising in print and social media is increased.The Daily Journal's opinion piece stated throwing money at a problem is not a solution, and though I can agree at times with that statement, in the case of the shelter, I think increased funding would be the start of a solution. Yes, the shelter is run down, has a rat "problem," and apparently has a headache-inducing computer software issue with Animal Control. But these are not new problems or a result of current management as much as administrative short-sightedness. And though I cannot speak to the assertions that Animal Care and Animal Control have an acrimonious relationship, I can say that in eight years I have not witnessed people being turned away when attempting to surrender a dog, as the grand jury reports.As I mentioned, the shelter contains 46 kennels, a small number when seen in light of the county and city's growth. Current financial strain has forced countless individuals to surrender their pets. And for every dog adopted, you can bet two or three enter the shelter system. It's a continuous, daunting, tough environment to be in, and that makes the staff and volunteer's dedication more impressive. For those of us who have watched the shelter change from a place where animals were sold for medical experiments, then held and euthanized in several days, to the current setup, going back in time would be heartbreaking. While not perfect, the current shelter is a place that attracts people from near and far because of the variety of the dogs and the concern and assistance of the staff. (Again, as I write this, yesterday three adoptions were made to folks from Walnut Creek, Oakland, and Oregon.)So, what is the answer? Right now there's a good amount of finger-pointing but not much in the way of solutions. Can the shelter improve? Of course: in the past half a year, the rat problem has been addressed; much-needed and often-requested updates and weatherization to the kennel areas have been installed, which will keep the dogs warmer during the winter. (Volunteers dream of air conditioners or fans for the outside kennel areas.)We wish people would recognize their obligations towards their animal friends, neuter their pets, and make sure they are safe. But unfortunately, man's best friend is treated as so much disposable entertainment. Until people become responsible, pet overpopulation resulting in over-burdened shelters will continue to be an issue and problem. Our shelter is just one of thousands across the country, but with all it's shortcomings, we do a pretty amazing job.I've watched the shelter go through several organizational changes over the past eight years, and as such, I don't believe a transfer to another county department is the answer. The concept may sound good on paper, but I would like to know the consequences and repercussions of such an action.In the meantime, volunteers are always needed at the shelter, and folks are invited to attend a one-hour orientation every first Wednesday of the month. If you are unable to observe the shelter first hand, please keep in mind that every day, dedicated staff and faithful volunteers are trying their best to aid and comfort our pets. Please spay or neuter yours, get your dog microchipped and make sure the information is up to date. Keep your pets safe, but if for some reason your dog or cat is lost, visit or contact the shelter immediately.

Kathy Shearn


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Letter to Interim Library Director Mr. Wally Clark

To: Wally Clark, Interim County Librarian

105 N. Main Street, Ukiah, CA 95482

Dear Mr. Clark:

It has recently come to our attention that the Mendocino County Public Library put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for upgraded broadband services at all five branch libraries in the county, and received proposals from several companies. A local Internet provider, WillitsOnline, was selected as the winning proposal. This proposal was contingent upon funding from the federal E-Rate program. Recently, WillitsOnline received the Funding Commitment Decision letter from the Federal E-rate program’s administrative authority approving funding for this project. The Broadband Alliance of Mendocino County wishes to express its full and complete support for this project and a local company, WillitsOnline. The Coast’s library branches and other inland branches do not meet the California broadband standards of 6 Mbps download and 1.5 Mbps upload; this lack of connectivity impacts all of our County residents, as libraries are often the only provider of free public access in a community.1 Students without broadband access at home rely on their local library for online classes that are so crucial to growing one’s own education and career prospects. There is a widening urban versus rural college completion gap which has now grown to 12.6 percentage points.2 Distance learning can help close that gap for our rural areas, but broadband is an absolute necessity for taking part in today’s online curricula with its reliance on graphics, audio materials, films, and real-time conferencing. Every percentage point decrease in college graduation rates represents lost wages and economic activity for individuals and rural counties. WillitsOnline has been in business for twelve years, and has provided many hours of volunteer effort on behalf of our libraries and communities. The proposal is a great deal for the County, providing all around superior service to every branch of the library. In addition, WillitsOnline plans to leverage the E-rate libraries contract to create a business case to expand services to surrounding communities and businesses wherever possible. This type of innovative and community-minded approach has happened before, but not nearly enough. Having a vision to leverage a good project even further is what is needed to begin to close the Digital Divide in our county, and level the economic playing field to bring prosperity to our county.We applaud the County for their foresight and vision in selecting our local provider WillitOnline for this contract, and we respectfully request that the contract be signed without delay so that this project can be started as soon as possible. Our libraries – and their surrounding communities – are in desperate need.Jim Moorehead

Chairman, Broadband Alliance


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With all due respect I believe that Steve Heilig ('The Sounds of Sierra Fest,” July 2,2014) is projecting his own politically correct beliefs into his presentation of reggae and Jamaican music vis a vis the SNWMF Boonville Music/Reggae Festival. First of all, the definition of “conscious” which he presents in his review entails something of not portraying anything that we the enlightened people of Northern California would consider sexist or anti-gay. Well that is a broadly ignorant statement for someone who has covered Jamaican music for so many years in Beat Magazine. Perhaps with your medical background Steve, conscious would entail something to do with breathing and being awake? I don't know, I'm not the professional. In the Rastafarian/African/Christian/Jamaican world view portrayed through much of the Jamaican music and artists we are talking about, any “conscious” or positive statement to be made by someone would by definition be traditional, conservative, and yes many times anti-gay. As far as Jamaican dancehall goes, well it can be downright rude, slack and disrespectful entertainment that mostly working class people in Jamaica and worldwide thoroughly and energetically enjoy. So one portrayal of the antics of the controversial Shaggy performance at SNWMF on Saturday night is that from his background he was coming here and saying “Hey all you fagged out hippies should get off your ass, show some energy to some uptempo edgy entertainment, knock the dust off your libido, have a real adult party and put your damn kids to bed instead of getting high with them.”The point is that other religions, cultures and classes view and present things in radically different ways than we do. I see joy and more of an intellectual challenge in the diversity and seeing how people see and present things in such radically different ways, even if it can somehow be perceived as offensive to me personally. I grew up in Chicago where the Nation of Islam was historically strong. From a young age, instead of being personally offended by their statements, I strove to understand what would make them say the things they did and what was the true nature of their grievances. Why being poor and black made someone look at the world so differently from someone who was middle class and 'white'. I didn't learn anything by projecting my middle class values and sensibilities onto people and ideas that I met that were coming from a different place than I.The progressive/liberal western cultural agenda of promoting all things gay and feminist seems to be going a long way toward trying to homogenize all opinion, art and culture. To say that some art is not, could not or should not be anti gay is not only blatanly untrue, it is eerily Orwellian. So Steve if by your journalism you are intending to promote ideas and debate, as the soul of the AVA seems to me, then perhaps you should attempt to portray your subjects with less personal cultural bias or you just come of as a the type of cultural baby boomer generation hack that are assailed on a weekly basis in the great AVA.

Nate Collins


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So a reader who wasn't even at the festival writes of taking “joy” in music celebrating misogyny, gay-bashing, and so forth? To be consistent, would he also celebrate “diversity” featuring white rednecks lynching people and beating women? Reggae music was originally “conscious” about uplifting a race, equal rights, and spiritual messages. But as the great reggae singer Alton Ellis once told me, “Brother Bob (Marley) is lucky to have passed on before all this shameful (dancehall) rubbish happen.” I want to assume that Mr. Collins' garbled missive is sent in jest; no dedicated reader of the AVA could be so clueless about reality, morality, and yes, reggae music, and so desperate to appear “multiculturally correct.” Right? But please thank him for writing anyway.

Steve Heilig

San Francisco

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Dear All,

Filigreen Farm is happy to offer Demeter certified Biodynamic blueberries and peaches.

Here are the details:

Blueberries, by the flat $40 (twelve punnets to the flat) : South Moon and Misty Peaches, by the flat $25 (ten pounds to the flat) : Blazing Star Blueberry “seconds,” by the gallon zip-lock bag $15: great for processing, freezing, pies and smoothies.

Pick-up is at Filigreen Farm 11600 Anderson Valley Way (about half a mile on the Philo side of the Elementary School), Saturday, July 18th from 11am until 1pm.

To reserve fruit please email us at by 10am on Saturday morning.

Your order will be waiting for you!

Filigreen is restoring the little shed on Anderson Valley Way used as a farm stand by Velma Farrer in years gone by.

Tomorrow’s offering will jump-start availability of local fruit for local people at the “new” fruit stand.

Thanks so much,

Stephanie Tebbutt, Filigreen Farm


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Dear Editor,

With the world groaning under the weight of human overpopulation, perhaps the great contribution the Roman Catholic Church could now make to humanity is to reverse its policy on birth control. If the Vatican had done so 20 years ago in Latin American, perhaps the US would not now have to face the humanitarian crisis of thousands of destitute and desperate children at its southern border.


Bill Brundage

Kurtistown, Hawaii

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Memo Of The Week

Green Diamond Resource Company is pleased to announce the reopening of the Chip Dock located at Samoa. Upgrades were initiated at the Chip Dock in March of 2012 with all of the work accomplished by local contractors. The vessel Crimson Polaris will arrive on Monday morning and begin loading a cargo of wood chips representing the inaugural shipment for the newly renovated facility.

“We are pleased that our facility is part of the revitalization of the Port of Humboldt Bay and the Chip Dock is providing much needed infrastructure to support the local timber industry and creating jobs,” said Green Diamond Senior Vice President Neal Ewald. The chip facility employs 12 people on a full-time basis and 20 workers during ship loading, as well as longshoremen, tugboat operators, a local shipping agent, and local trucking jobs.

The project is the result of a cooperative effort by the company and many community leaders interested in growing the Humboldt County economy. Jack Crider, CEO of the Humboldt Bay Harbor District, is enthused by the project. “The Harbor District is encouraged by the reopening of this facility,” he said. “The Green Diamond Chip Dock is an important part of rebuilding infrastructure that will provide increased ship traffic at the Port of Humboldt.”

County Supervisor Virginia Bass agrees. “It is great to see this facility reopen and new jobs being created. Hopefully this new activity signals the beginning of new opportunities for our Port.”

The Crimson Polaris is 656 feet long with a beam of 106 feet and a draft of 37 feet. The ship is expected to be loaded and on its way by the end of the week, with the cargo bound for China.

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