Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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HEY! NO PROBLEMO

Dear AVA,

The paper has printed a number of letters from community members who have concerns and observations about the Anderson Valley Health Center and the care received by patients there. Unfortunately, many of these letters have promulgated significant misinformation. Additionally, a number of people attending the Health Center’s Board of Directors meeting on August 25, who expressed their concern for Dr. Apfel, repeated much of the misinformation that has been published.   Although we cannot always comment on particular points, we can make general statements that we hope will alleviate some of the concerns.

Many people have expressed their strong support for Dr. Mark Apfel and the patient care he has been providing at the Health Center for many years. The Board completely agrees. Dr. Apfel has been skillful and dedicated in serving his patients. The Board respects Dr. Apfel and the care he gives patients. We are not trying to fire him. We want Dr. Apfel to continue to serve his patients at the Health Center.

Dr. Apfel is not retiring at this time. The current plan is for him to be working 20 hours per week in patient care and an additional 6 hours per week on projects that will enhance patient care. He will continue to receive full benefits.

There are many rural communities throughout the country that have been unsuccessful in finding a family practice physician to replace a retiring doctor.  Those clinics have either had to close their doors or severely limit their hours of operation. Anderson Valley Health Center has been proactive in planning for obvious eventualities and working to ensure a high level of patient care. We competed with other clinics and hospitals in California for Dr. Logan McGhan's services, and we are honored that he has chosen us. Dr. McGhan's services were secured by the combined efforts of the management team, the AVHC Board, and Dr. Apfel.

There have been bumps along the road of this transition. I’m sure I speak for the entire staff and Board when I say that we look forward to successfully completing this process. The members of the Board are all long-standing members of the Anderson Valley community who are committed to a strong, locally managed Health Center that is fiscally sound, legally accredited, and that delivers quality, affordable patient care. If there can be said to be a bright spot amid the turmoil, it is the recognition that our community cares about Dr. Apfel and the continuation of the excellent medical care delivered by the staff of the Health Center. It is the Board’s mission to ensure that tradition carries on.

Sincerely,

The Board of the Anderson Valley Health Center

Ric Bonner, President; Lynne Sawyer, JR Collins, Gaile Wakeman, Eric Labowitz, Wally Hopkins, Sandy Parker

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To The AV Health Center Board

We have spent most of our 80 years in the Anderson Valley. We have been with the Health Center from Day One. When Dr. Mark Apfel came, we were his patients. They have both served us well. Four generations of our family have used the Center and Dr. Mark. It has saddened us to hear what is happening to him. Most of us don't understand why. Yes, there were meetings but the public didn't seem properly informed. Therefore, it has left many of us wondering why.

Dr. Mark has been one of the most conscientious doctors one could have in the community. When Bill had his heart attack he was taken to the Center and treated by Dr. Mark. Bill was then sent to Sutter Hospital in Santa Rosa for further tests. Sutter Hospital was amazed at the care Bill had received from Dr. Mark. He did all the right things preparing Bill for surgery.

Remembering when my mother, Annie Pardini, was passing, Dr. Mark came to our house to be with us at a difficult time. When my sister-in-law, Donna Pardini, was diagnosed with cancer, Dr. Mark made it possible for her to spend the last three months of her life at her home instead of the hospital. He came every day to check on Donna and her caregivers. This is the person and doctor he is.

We are asking the Health Center Board to consider all the wonderful things he has done for us and our community for many years when making your future decisions.

Bill & Eva Holcomb, Boonville

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THE BLANDLY DECEPTIVE letter from the Anderson Valley Health Center Board appears three months late and takes 500 words to say all the letter writers are wrong, the Board is correct and everything is fine. Naturally, the communique ignores the Board's seminal role in creating the community upset.

THE LETTER is clearly the work of a lawyer or a team of them. I particularly enjoyed the colorful metaphor “the bumps along the road.” Those bumps seem to have been the bodies of Kathy Corral and Dr. Apfel, both of whom have been treated like stray dogs — worse than stray dogs who at least have the SPCA looking out for them. The Board and whoever is running them, probably Ms. Agee of the Gualala clinic, is trying to push Apfel out. Why remains a mystery.

I SECOND the letter from Bill and Eva Holcomb. Apfel is probably the only doctor in the county, and certainly one of the few in the country, to make home visits. In my case, both Apfel and Judy Nelson provided in-home care for an old friend of mine passing her last days on Anderson Valley Way. Without them, Old Friend would have died in one of those ghastly, end-of-the-trail, bars-on-the-windows Ukiah charnel houses. (Note to self: Do not get defenseless old in this country.) On other occasions, Apfel came to our house in the middle of the night to offer emergency care to my disabled sister. He did that several times. Countless other locals have similar accounts of Apfel's unique attentiveness to the people of Anderson Valley. He deserves to be treated with respect.

WHATEVER the truth is of recent events at the management levels of the Health Center, the Center's board of directors has again only fueled discontent at the consumer level. Sure, there are people who complain about Apfel. They'll say he misdiagnosed this or that and so on. But isn't an occasional error inevitable with a general practice doctor who sees everyone? Does any reasonable person expect infallibility from a doctor? Any doctor?

THE MAIN BEEF most of us have remains: Dr. Apfel is being shunted aside, and is being rudely treated for reasons the Center's board of directors won't or can't divulge. The whole situation continues to fester and, as a doctor might say, should be cauterized before we lose the patient — the Anderson Valley Health Center.

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WHY UNIONS ARE CRUCIAL

Today the US has the most unequally distributed income and wealth of all developed economies and one of the worst in the entire world.  Few Americans other than the One Percent have a stake in the American economic and political system. The imbalance in the distribution of income and wealth cannot be corrected through the tax system. The imbalance is due largely to the loss of the jobs that provided the economic basis for the middle class. Correction requires a retreat from globalism and the return to a largely self-sufficient economy, which the US economy was during its glory decades.  Globalism is a scheme for impoverishing First World labor and taking power and influence from the hands of the many and putting them in the hands of the few. The champions of globalism are the champions of America’s destruction. Whether one has a favorable or unfavorable opinion of unions, their demise is also the demise of countervailing power.  A system in which there is no countervailing power is a tyranny in which power is unconstrained and unaccountable. Today the Republicans are demolishing the public sector unions.  These jobs can’t be outsourced, but public schools can be replaced with charter schools, prisons can be privatized, and many public services can be contracted out to private businesses. (cf Mendocino County's gift of mental health services to a private contractor.) Public sector unions never had as strong a case for their existence as manufacturing and industrial unions. Moreover, strikes by firemen, police forces, school teachers, and trash collectors undermined public support for public sector unions as did many unpleasant experiences with the licensing bureaucracies of state and local government departments. Nevertheless, public sector unions could serve as a check on ambitious executive and legislative power. (Paul Craig Roberts)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 1, 2014

Adkisson, Avants, Guzman, Leum (2011), Leum (2014)
Adkisson, Avants, Guzman, Leum (2011), Leum (2014)

THOMAS ADKISSON, Laytonville. Felony failure to appear.

JAMES AVANTS, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

JESSE GUZMAN, Potter Valley. DUI.

LEONARD LEUM, Point Arena. Refusing to leave non-public place (in Fort Bragg).

Kellar, Mangione, Pardini, Quinones, Ryan
Kellar, Mangione, Pardini, Quinones, Ryan

MATTHEW KELLAR, Ukiah. Driving without a valid license.

JOSEPH MANGIONE, San Antonio, TX. DUI.

JANET PARDINI, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

MICHAEL QUINONES, Stockton. Domestic battery, destruction of someone else’s property.

DANIEL RYAN, Calpella. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

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DEMOCRATS ARE DOOMED

Unless They Make the Minimum Wage the #1 November Election Issue

by Ralph Nader

If you were the Democrats and you were looking for a good vote-getting midterm election issue, what criteria would you use? How about an issue with 70-80 percent support in polls? How about one that is bipartisan — supported by Republicans like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum and Bill O’Reilly? How about one that is national in scope, with plenty of local, grassroots energy? What about one that is simple and easy to understand, unlike Obamacare. What about one that offers tax savings and stimulates our economy understandably and is concrete — a real pocketbook issue. What about one with a big constituency, specifically 30 million hard-pressed workers and their families, needing the necessities of life?

If the Democrats want any chance of succeeding in defeating the cruelest, anti-worker, anti-consumer, corporatist Republican Party in history this November, they have to get into serious high visibility mode about raising the federal minimum wage. No more lip service or half measures! As corporate profits and CEO pay soar ever higher, 30 million hardworking Americans — two-thirds women and two-thirds employed by large corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s — are making less today, adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1968! Raising the stagnant minimum wage, which has been stuck at a paltry $7.25 per hour since 2009 must be the front burner issue for the upcoming November elections.

With polls predicting that the Republicans are likely to control the House and Senate next year, President Obama better barnstorm the country and meet with hard-pressed workers of all backgrounds for a $10.10 federal minimum wage.

Just take a look at recent polling data which shows that over 70% of Americans are in favor of raising the minimum wage. That’s nearly three out of every four Americans. With such overwhelming public support, where is the Democratic leadership in Congress? Why are they just talking about it but avoiding an all-out offensive on this decisively winning election issue? If they are not willing to vigorously act in the interest of these American people, then why don’t they escalate the media buys and the grassroots organizing in the interest of the survival of the party? The minimum wage is buried as one of seven points in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) so-called “Middle-Class Jumpstart” package.

Last March, Democrats in the House of Representatives proposed an amendment to a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage. It was unanimously voted down by the clenched-teeth Republicans. Following in April, the Senate tried to bring legislation raising the federal minimum wage to a vote. Yet again, corporatist Republicans opposed raising the federal minimum wage by threatening to filibuster. The Senate leadership was short of the 60 votes necessary to defeat the emailed intention to filibuster.

Speaker John Boehner once told The Weekly Standard that he’d “commit suicide” before voting on a clean minimum wage bill. And just this week, a leaked audio from a meeting of wealthy conservative funders revealed U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowing to block any vote on the minimum wage. “We’re not going to be debating all of these gosh darn proposals,” McConnell told the audience of millionaires and billionaires. “These people believe in all the wrong things.” Shouldn’t these cruel words be widely disseminated to beat McConnell in Kentucky and his party of plutocrats in November?

The Democrats should be steamrolling these Wall Street Republicans.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 (H.R. 1010), sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-CA), seeks to partially rectify the dramatic decline in the purchasing power of the minimum wage by modestly raising it to $10.10 over three years. Most Congressional observers believe that if H.R. 1010 is brought to a roll call vote, it will pass. Thus, simply forcing a minimum wage raise vote past corporatists like House Speaker Boehner and McConnell is all that is standing between 30 million Americans and fairer wages.

The benefits are many. The low wages offered by America’s profitable corporations do not just affect workers; they affect all taxpayers as well. Workers making $7.25 an hour often cannot afford to buy food, pay rent, or get adequate healthcare. As a result, these employees must turn to taxpayer-funded government safety nets such as food stamps, Medicaid, the earned income tax credit, and housing-assistance programs. A $10.10 minimum wage would make life easier for these workers and their families. It would even strengthen the economy by increasing the consumer spending of millions of Americans. Therefore it’s no surprise that some prominent out-of-office Republicans like Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty have expressed their support for raising the federal minimum wage.

Earlier this year, Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) filed a discharge petition to force an up or down vote on H.R. 1010. To date, 195 House members have signed the petition. Only 23 more member signatures are needed to bring H.R. 1010 to a vote.

There has been a stunningly insufficient effort by House Democrats, the few concerned Republicans, labor unions and poverty organizations to mount a serious effort find and persuade 23 more House members needed to activate the discharge petition to get the vote. Shockingly, few progressive leaders have raised the discharge petition to the press nor pressured non-signers publicly since March. The silence from Democratic leadership and the White House is shameful. What are they waiting for? (U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is a notable exception — he made a cross-country speaking tour this past week on the occasion of Labor Day discussing the benefits of raising the minimum wage, among other issues.)

The Time for a Raise campaign just released a study identifying 55 Members of Congress who have yet to sign H.R. 1010′s discharge petition to bring a federal minimum wage raise to a vote, but who could be susceptible to pressure on the issue. Visit Give1010AVote.org to see the report.

Here’s a fact that might jolt some apathetic citizens into action, as well as make some members of Congress sweat: While tens of millions of Americans live on a poverty-level $7.25 per hour, their hired hands in Congress, working a 40-hour work week, are making $83 per hour plus generous healthcare and pension benefits. How can these elected officials “represent” millions of Americans earning poverty-level wages? They can’t when they are beholden to the Walmarts and the Wall Streeters.

Labor Day weekend is an opportune time to press members of Congress to get serious about the necessities of 30 million long-suffering American workers. It only takes five minutes for you to call, write or email your member of Congress and ask them to sign Rep. Bishop’s discharge petition, if they have yet to. Even better, rally around the local offices of your Senators and Representatives. It’s time to get serious; it’s time to give $10.10 a vote in September.

(Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.)

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ON-LINE STATEMENT OF THE DAY

Follow the money! Seems like every article I read about politics and the inability of our elected officials to act with their constituents in mind is about political contributions and staying in office. A few recent examples: the requirement for insurance by Uber/Lyft gutted down to $200k. The recent attempt to reform for profit education industry receiving state (read taxpayer) money for GI scholarships to unaccredited schools, gutted. This law passed so it looks like the legislation did something yet there is nothing in the bill to reform these corrupt practices. The more I follow our state legislature, and I am a Dem, the more I believe like most states, State Congressmen and Senators should be a part time job that only meets 90 days a year. At that point get rid of term limits, with no great perks perhaps we will get the government we deserve. This is not a liberal-conservative, D versus R issue; this is about following the money and getting it out of politics by making our elected officials more about serving the people on a part time basis and less about making it such a lucrative career.

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LETTERS HOME

Opening Reception For "Days Of Grace" Features Dramatic Reading

by Roberta Werdinger

On Saturday, September 6, a reception will be held at the Grace Hudson Museum for the opening of its new exhibit, "Days of Grace: California Artist Grace Hudson in Hawaii," a landmark showcase of the artwork Grace Hudson created in 1901 during a solo sabbatical in Hawaii. Beginning at 2 pm is a performance, "Letters from the Heart," by Seattle actors Laura Ferri and Michael Loggins, a dramatic rendition of the letters Grace exchanged with her husband, John Hudson, in 1901. Light refreshments will be served after the reading. The event is free with Museum admission and all are warmly invited.

In 1901, California painter Grace Hudson arrived in Hawaii not sure if she would ever paint again. Exhausted from a demanding career creating portraits of the native people of Mendocino County, Grace was also seeking time to assess her life and marriage. Meanwhile, her husband, John Hudson, had just embarked on a new career studying California Indian peoples for Chicago's Field Columbian Museum. The letters they exchanged are full of lively observations drawn from their distinct yet equally fascinating lives, as John collected artifacts from California Indian tribes in remote locations and Grace discovered the lush landscapes of the Islands and resumed painting. The letters conclude with John telling Grace, "It's time for you to come home," a request she eventually acceded to, after spending 11 months in Hawaii and producing 26 paintings.

This glimpse into Grace and John's life and marriage will be brought to life by Laura Ferri and Michael Loggins, a married couple living in Seattle who trained at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and regularly appear in stage and screen productions. Laura Ferri, who has played Grace Hudson in other Museum programs, spent time transcribing the Hudsons' letters (now housed in the Museum's collections) from which she crafted the script for "Letters from the Heart."

The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah and is a division of the City of Ukiah's Community Services Department. The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm, and Sunday from noon to 4:30 pm. General admission is $4, $10 per family, $3 for students and seniors, and free to members on the first Friday of the month. For more information please go to www.gracehudsonmuseum.org or call (707) 467-2836.

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GOT IT WRONG, MR. McEWEN

Editor,

I shall not beat around the bush with a fancy introduction to this letter, nor shall I attempt to hide my shock at the laughable review written by Bruce McEwen of the UFO talk given at the Philo Grange a couple weeks ago.

It is a cocktail of misquotes, twisted information, convenient omissions, the pairing of unrelated information and quotes, and blatantly fabricated quotes — shaken then strained to justify his misinformed preconceptions and prejudices. It would not surprise me if any individual from the audience, no matter how skeptical, would scoff and shake their heads upon reading the review, and maybe even question if McEwen had indeed attended the same event as them. The opening shot, for instance, about Maitreya being the new God, is a result of McEwen filtering the information given in a manner he desired to hear. Allen clearly explained who Maitreya is — an evolved soul here to help humanity from destroying ourselves, and more than once stated that He is no one to be revered or worshipped, and is not the Savior. He also never said Maitreya controls the UFOs or makes the crop circles.

As for the UFO photographs, all of them had been scrutinized by photo experts who did not detect any tampering. Indeed, there was a photo of an incredible, perfectly smooth swirling light in the sky that many claimed was a failed rocket….paired with an actual photo of a failed rocket. The two are not even slightly comparable. Mr. McEwen left not five minutes before the showing of videos uploaded to YouTube by everyday people who had filmed “amorphous blobs of colored light” that were swirling, changing color and shape and blinking on and off fiercely, all commentated with words and sounds of awe, wonder, and confusion.

Another important point of the talk, repeated by Allen throughout, was that all of the information presented was for the audience’s consideration only, and was not presented in any dogmatic spirit (probably the inspiration for McEwen’s use of that particular word.) McEwen also conveniently didn’t mention any of the reports read by Allen of the ex-CIA officials, military officials, soldiers, marines, scientists, etc. who insisted they were either active in the government cover up, had witnessed intense UFO activity, or had been in charge of handling top secret information about UFOs.

I could easily break the review down paragraph by paragraph to illustrate exactly how the information given was horrifically warped, point out every misquotation, and every instance where unrelated information was paired together, but a few highlights should suffice. (And how about that crop circle paragraph, eh? I’m not even sure what is being said there…) In all honesty, it is rather hilarious how inaccurate the report is, and should have been embarrassing for a reporter to have submitted a work so rife with falsities. His words were obviously filtered through the cloudy and prejudiced lenses he chose to see the presentation through. Did Allen say: "all clouds are UFOs," straight up? No! He absolutely did not. And he never said the great philosophers were disciples of the ETs.

Yes, when the British man asked a question, the speaker certainly could have responded in a better fashion, but his response was a direct answer to the question (“No, we do not have any of those photos”) and it was not until the second question was asked when he said he would not be taking any questions at that time. He did not want his presentation interrupted, and although his tone could have been more amiable, he did take questions at the end, as was his intention.

By reading the review, it is apparent that McEwen already had a mental outline for the hatchet-job he would write, and it was not going to be a neat drink, but on the rocks with a muddled chaser. Due to his misconstruing of information and his connection of pieces of unrelated material, it is evident that McEwen sat in the audience without any intention of listening with an open mind.

I will conclude with my lament for the complacent and cynical nature of so many human beings. As soon as something new with a positive and hopeful message is introduced, it is belittled. McEwen is a perfect example of someone who hears about a new spiritual idea and instantly makes it out to be a new cult or religion intended to string people along. Perhaps if more members of the Valley had attended the talk, Mr. McEwen would not have had the confidence to submit such a brazenly inaccurate report. Maybe some spirits got the better of him, and he actually believed he heard what he wrote.

Apparently for McEwen human beings are the most evolved creatures in the universe. This is obvious by our compassionate treatment of the earth, our just treatment of each other, and the countless colossal international acts of peace and brotherly love that make up our history. There is no need to hope for a change in our future, because we are already perfect; alone in the universe, and utterly perfect.

Olivia Allen

—Mr. Allen’s “devoted daughter” - devoted to the concept of a just and peaceful world, devoted to the work of inspiring humanity to retire its hate, and realize we are all one people.

Bruce McEwen replies: Beautifully done, Ms. Allen. Bravo!

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AUTHOR, JOURNALIST CHARLES BOWDEN DEAD AT 69

by Matthew Casey & Kaila White

CharlesBowdenCharles Bowden, an author and hard-boiled investigative journalist who often wrote about the American Southwest, died Saturday in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he had moved from the Tucson area. He was 69.

Bowden's partner, Molly Molloy, said she found him dead at about 5pm Saturday in their New Mexico home.

Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll, a close friend of Bowden's, told The Arizona Republic that he had been battling an undisclosed illness and died in his sleep.

Bowden, an academic with a Ph.D. in history, built a notable second career in Arizona as an investigative journalist with a nose for regional issues. He wrote scores of books and penned articles for national magazines such as Harper's and Esquire, as well as Arizona newspapers.

The decade he spent writing about the drug wars permeating the Mexican border city of Juarez brought national attention to the city's culture of violence.

As news of Bowden's death rippled out Sunday, loved ones and friends in Arizona's literary community recalled Bowden as a gifted and singular writer who was generous with his time and mentored younger colleagues.

"He was a journalist's journalist," said Carroll, who befriended Bowden in the late 1990s. "The guy drilled deep into every subject matter. Whatever Chuck Bowden did, he did with all his heart."

Writer Barry Graham, a former Phoenix resident who lives in Portland, Oregon, remembered an evening they spent together in the 1990s that he said sums Bowden up.

"He cooked dinner and it got very late; we drank copious amounts of red wine and I slept in the living room. Even though he'd drunk a lot like I had, hadn't much sleep, at 3 in the morning I heard him get up, stumble to his desk and start writing in the dark," Graham said, laughing. "That was how he managed to be so prolific."

Work ethic aside, Bowden was most proud of his ability to tell the truth, Valley resident and Arizona journalist Terry Greene Sterling said Sunday.

Graham, citing Bowden's work on drug violence, echoed that sentiment: "He kept saying that he was proud of his ability to be a witness. He was very proud of the voices he gave to people who didn't have a voice."

In addition to his "vast talent as a writer," Greene Sterling said Bowden will be remembered for the help he gave "younger writers, writers coming up."

"Because he was so kind to me and generous with his time, helping me out, I try to model that with younger writers and that's, I think, the largest lesson he taught me," Greene Sterling said.

Bowden was born July 20, 1945, and moved from Illinois to Tucson with his family as a young child for the health of his sister, Graham said.

His career began in American history, and he frequently joked that "he was the only person to get a Ph.D. to become a redneck," Graham said. He left a position teaching history at the University of Chicago, worked in manual labor for some time, and eventually became a reporter for the now-defunct Tucson Citizen. There he spent years reporting on gruesome crimes before he moved on to other investigative journalism, Graham said.

"He would actually refer to a book or an article as a song," Graham said. "He taught me to go to some of the ugliest, darkest places in life but not to write a horror story about it. To go where most of us really don't want to go but, essentially, to sing a song about it. To capture the music of what happened."

Though Bowden moved to Las Cruces from the Tucson area about five years ago, he had recently visited southern Arizona and was still deeply connected to the region, Carroll, the county supervisor, said.

"The first week in August he went back to Las Cruces because he wasn't feeling well," he said.

Bowden's death stunned and saddened his partner Molloy.

"He was my best friend and definitely one of the smartest people and best writers that I've ever known, friend or not," Molloy said. He was "compelling, because he drew people to him and he was drawn to people and dogs and birds and nature.

"I never have known a person who could talk about almost any subject and make you want to listen all the time because he would always say something you hadn't thought about or didn't know," she said.

Bowden's books include "Murder City," "Down by the River" and "Blues for Cannibals." He received a United States Artists Fellowship Grant for Artistic Excellence in 2010.

An autopsy will be performed at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Bowden had quit smoking, was lifting weights and was taking better care of himself.

"He was just trying to catch his second wind," Carroll said.

In addition to Molloy, Bowden is survived by his son, Jesse, 27, of Tucson.

(Reporter Yihyun Jeong contributed to this article.)

(Courtesy, The Arizona Republic.)

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WATER ‘SECURITY’ — WHO CARES?

by Betsy Cawn

California's non-delivery of a water supply security system (including prevention of invasive species such as the Quagga/Zebra mussel) is overshadowed by "drought emergency" power-flexing for instituting new state-wide "water management" authorities.

If water security were the highest priority, every freshwater body in the state that does not contain Quagga or Zebra mussels would have been closed to recreational traffic (until such time as full shoreline protection is effectuated) in 2007 when the adult mussels were found in Lake Mead.

But the California Departments of Water Resources and Public Health play no part in protecting our lakes and reservoirs as water supplies, because the State's program is focused on recreational interests served by the California Departments of Fish & Wildlife, Boating & Waterways, and Parks. [1]

Only the California Department of Food & Agriculture aggressively controls invasive species in statewide water supplies (where those supplies serve agricultural purposes), under California Code of Regulations Section 4500. [2]  CDFA provides an "Invasive Species Council of California" consisting of all the relevant state-level agencies (Cal EPA, Transportation, Health & Human Services, and Office of Emergency Services) that could act on a state-wide level to protect critical water supplies, but sadly does not. [3]

Meanwhile, the California Office of Emergency Services recognizes the necessity for protecting "critical infrastructure," and the California Public Health Department's Division of Drinking Water and Environmental Management (DDWEM) provides "emergency water quality sampling kits" and "crisis and emergency risk communication" tools for safe drinking water distributors. [4, 5]

Most importantly, DDWEM implements HR 3448, the "Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act," which states "Each community water system serving a population greater than 3,300 persons shall conduct an assessment of the vulnerability of its system to a terrorist attack or other intentional acts intended to substantially disrupt the ability of a system to provide a safe and reliable supply of drinking water."

"Each water system must complete its VA [Vulnerability Assessment] and update its ERP [Emergency Response Plan] to incorporate the procedures to prevent the threat of terrorist or intentional acts that may interrupt the ability of the system to provide a safe and reliable supply of drinking water."

"Should Biological Invasions Be Managed as Natural Disasters?" (Bioscience Magazine, April 2011) clearly describes our risks and management issues:

"Invasions also resemble catastrophic accidents in high-tech industries (e.g., nuclear power, petrochemical, aerospace) in that (a) they are generally inevitable, (b) they are subject to hidden interactions, and [c] their timing and magnitude are largely unpredictable because of the tight coupling of anthropogenic and ecological systems (perrow 1984, Sornette 2002).  An alarming example of this coupling involves Eurasian freshwater mussels (zebra and quagga mussels, Dreissena spp.), whose filtration activities in Lake Ontario have stimulated excessive growth of filamentous benthic algae (Auer et al, 2010).  Massive floating mats of detached algae can clog the water cooling systems of power plants and in fact forced an emergency shutdown of New York State's James A. Fitzpatrick nuclear reactor on three occasions in the autumn of 2007.  These low-probability and often unimagined events challenge a society's ability to react adequately to control potential damage; they also underscore the need to have rapid response measures in place to prevent the establishment of damaging invaders, or to eradicate them where possible." [6]

"Anthropogenic" threats are those of human activities, such as boating and fishing, that endanger our water supplies.  Regionally, the endless pissing contest between agencies responsible for protection of our public assets -- Lake Sonoma, Lake Mendocino, Lake Pillsbury, Blue Lake, Clear Lake, Lake Berryessa, and Lake Hennessey -- threatens our drinking water, our property values, and our economic futures in five counties.

Legislative distinctions between jurisdicational boundaries within which these important water bodies lie artfully ignore the multi-county recreational "circuit" greatly enjoyed by San Francisco Bay and Sacramento area families almost year round.

The recent announcement of more stringent measures for protection of Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino, in the Press Democrat's article of August 29, serves to illustrate the lack of public and agency comprehension needed to effectively preserve our regional aquatic commons. [7]

Significantly absent from that comprehension is the risk factor presented by the County of Lake's inability to control access to Clear Lake.  Depending entirely on an "honor system" for obtaining "stickers" that purport to certify that the bearing vessel is not contaminated, the entire shoreline of Clear Lake is a porous uncontrolled margin open to access 24 hours a day with limited law enforcement services to "catch" violators of the County's administrative regulations.

Unlike regulated water supply storage systems, such as those in the San Francisco Bay Area, Clear Lake's recreational prioritization derives from a 1973 State Lands Commission delegation of authority to the County of Lake for "lakebed" management. [8]  Revenues traditionally available from the recreational management of Clear Lake barely support pre-invasive-threat operations (navigational aids, aquatic nuisance weed abatement, and  encroachment permitting).

Lake County's inability to protect our water bodies from "intentional acts" such as violations of poorly crafted local ordinances (a violation does not occur until an "unstickered" vessel is caught in the water by a part-time law enforcement agency, and the judiciary refuses to prosecute those few violations that are cited) is emblematic of its piecemeal approach to watershed and water resource management as a whole.

Likewise, the state's new-found powers for regulating water supplies, in reaction to the "recent discovery" of over-permitted uses and unregulated extraction over the last 50+ years, fail to address environmental threats to our critical water supplies.

Protecting our "aquatic commons" is a monumental task, and one demands intelligent local leadership, multi-disciplinary professional services, and cooperative state-wide agency support.  In the words of the immortal Walt Kelly, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." [9]

[1] https://www.dfg.ca.gov/invasives/plan/

[2] http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/ipc/noxweedinfo/noxweedinfo_hp.htm

[3] http://www.iscc.ca.gov

[4] http://www.calema.ca.gov/InfrastructureProtection/Pages/Infrastructure-Protection.aspx

[5] http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/EMB.aspx, http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/drinkingwater/Pages/Security.aspx

[6] http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/61/4/312.full.pdf

[7] http://www.pressdemocrat.com/newsletter/2617076-186/fight-against-quagga-mussels-comes#page=1

[8] http://www.slc.ca.gov/Granted_Lands/G22_Lake/S1973_Ch639.pdf

[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogo_(comic_strip)

By: The Essential Public Information Center, Upper Lake, CA. September 1, 2014.

* * *

DOGS: BETTER THAN KIDS

Editor,

Cruising thru last week’s AVA I came across a paragraph in Off The Record. A local citizen expressed his annoyance with the city of San Francisco where soon dogs will be welcome in restaurants with outdoor dining. He also expressed his dismay that locals bring their dogs to local establishments.

I have two dogs, they are members of the family and I take them all most everywhere I go because I love them and enjoy their company. I am often annoyed by businesses that are not dog friendly and avoid patronizing them for that reason. Small children suffer no such restrictions. They are allowed everywhere, spreading their germs, crying, screaming, running around in restaurant like it is a playground and the rest of us are expected to put up with that and even find that endearing. My dogs are very well behaved and would never spread germs, cry or scream and certainly would not be permitted to run wild in any establishment. In Europe most restaurants welcome dogs not only in their outdoor dining spaces, but inside as well with no problems.

Many dogs in the Anderson Valley and the rest of Mendocino County live horrible lives. Tied up or confined to a tiny space, never allowed to run or play. Why have a dog if you don't have or feel like spending any time with them? I will never understand it. And our animal control laws are so lax that dog owners can abuse, neglect and torture their animals without much worry about being held responsible.

Monika Fuchs, Philo

3 Responses to "Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, September 2, 2014"

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