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Mendocino County Today: Friday, September 5, 2014

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SOME VERY ODD THINGS turned up in the July minutes of the County’s Retirement Board, and if I were a retired County employee I'd start paying very, very close attention to my money.

ACCORDING TO THE RETIREMENT BOARD'S "report” for July 2014, “Mr. Sakowicz, Mr. Goodman and Mr. Stephens estimated an annual negative cash flow of $6,000,000.” Which none of the board members seemed concerned about. In fact, they went on to approve spending as if they had plenty of money on hand, hiring a recent college grad named Stan Conwell as “financial investment officer” to run errands for the Pension Fund Administrator, which is the pension fund's top position currently occupied by “Interim Administrator” Jim Andersen who retired as administrator a couple years ago and is now back (double dipping?).

ANDERSEN was succeeded after his retirement by the aptly named “Rich White,” a retired LA cop who only lasted a couple of years before resigning last year, not long after The Board of Supervisors denied his request for a “financial investment officer,” a position now filled by young Mr. Conwell. "We had a lot of applicants, and we feel we hired a really strong candidate," Andersen told the Ukiah Daily Journal. "We really needed someone to assume those duties."

NO, THEY DON'T. A private business running at a big annual deficit would leave the job vacant, and probably wouldn't have created the "job" in the first place. And any time a local hiring board, typically after a "national search for excellence," says they've hired someone who will FER SHURE run the trains on time, they've hired someone exactly like themselves. Local school boards are great ones for excellency searches, inevitably coming up with versions of Paul Tichinin at the County Office of Education.

BUT ACCORDING to the Retirement Board's July minutes, Mr. Conwell was such a strong candidate that the Board packed him off for several weeks of expensive additional training at Scott German, Fetcher & Co., a CPA firm, where he learned “monthly financial and investment reporting,” after which he will need additional training “in closing out the books at fiscal year end.”

ER, EXCUSE US, but this is stuff the lad should have learned before he got this particular job, not post-hire job training at public expense. (Half of the retirement fund's disappearing reserves come straight out of County property tax revenues.)

O WELL. Of course the Retirement Board and Mr. Andersen have been preoccupied with more important high-finance matters. They agreed to pay an outfit called “Alliance Resource Consulting” to “prepare a draft Retirement Administrator profile,” under the terms of “a formal agreement” so the consulting outfit could tell the Board what a retirement administrator is supposed to do. (Although the Board has been around for years they apparently still don't quite know what their Administrator is supposed to do so that they have to pay through the nose to have a consultant tell them.)

THE BOARD also agreed to pay a recruitment firm to find a new Retirement Administrator to fill the position described by the consultant's profile. (A national search for excellence?) It came as no surprise that the recruitment firm chosen was the same Alliance Resource Consulting they had just voted to buy a profile from. Andersen told the Board that Alliance was “more expensive than” the other bidder, “but has more 37 Act exposure.” (Andersen-ese insider shorthand for California's 1937 retirement law which governs most of California's rural county pension systems.)

SO, OF COURSE, the more expensive outfit was paid $37,500 to find someone to succeed Andersen who, we learn from the minutes, has been busy renewing the insurance coverage on their building, getting bids to remove a tree from the parking lot, arranging to have the office carpet replaced, and, after “two releases from the water system in the past month,” figuring out ways to stop the sprinkler system from “unplanned releases” spraying out and damaging the organization's piles of paper (or the carpet?).

YOU CAN'T have just any old body doing this stuff, which probably accounts for the Board budgeting $549,451 for staff expenses for July-2014 to June 2015, including salaries — up from last year's budget of $423,591. The money for all this comes out of employee contributions, county contributions and (theoretically) investment returns — unless the investment “returns” produce a $6 million negative cash flow.

METAPHORS, anyone?

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WORKERS fed up with flipping burgers for what they consider peanuts launched a nationwide strike Thursday in a bid to have their wages doubled to $15 per hour and to be granted the right to form a union. Workers from McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and KFC among others left their deep fryers to picket on the streets of New York, Detroit, and more than 100 cities across America. Many fast-food workers say they can't live on the minimum wage, which has been stuck on the federal level at $7.25 per hour since 2009. Their action includes civil disobedience as well as work stoppage. Police reportedly arrested about 20 workers at a McDonald's in New York City's Times Square, and several other workers were handcuffed in Detroit.

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ON SEPTEMBER 3, 2014, at approximately 5:07pm, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding shots fired and a deceased female at a residence in the 4400 block of Fieldbrook Road, Fieldbrook. Deputies and medical personnel were dispatched to the scene. While deputies were enroute the Sheriff’s Office received additional calls with the callers saying the female was deceased near a trailer on the property and there was a male yelling for help in the driveway


The first deputy arrived on scene at 5:17 p.m. The deputy immediately learned there were two victims, an adult male, later identified as Harley Wayne Hammers Jr. 37 years old, from Eureka and an adult female, later identified as Angel Robin Tully, 37 years old, from Eureka, both whom had been shot. Hammers was located by the deputy across the street from where the shooting had occurred. Medical personnel treated Hammers for gunshot wound injuries and transported him Mad River Community Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Tully was declared deceased at the scene. Sheriff’s Office Detectives responded to the scene, and the California Highway Patrol, and Humboldt County Public Works assisted with closing Fieldbrook Road, from Anker Lane to Wagle Lane, which had become part of the crime scene. Sheriff’s Deputies and Detectives searched the area for a shooting suspect and spoke with witnesses. Detectives learned during their investigation the suspect was Jason Michael Arreaga, 29 years old from Lucerne, California.


Arreaga had been in an argument with the victims. Detectives learned Arreaga was driving a Gold 2001 Buick four door sedan. A be-on-the-lookout was broadcast for the vehicle to law enforcement agencies. At approximately 12:30 a.m., 09-04-2014, a Eureka Police Officer spotted the Buick driving southbound on US 101 as it was passing through south Eureka. The Eureka Police Officer followed the vehicle until Sheriff’s Deputies arrived and assisted in the traffic stop. The vehicle was stopped on US 101 at Singly Hill off ramp, Loleta. Arreaga was driving the vehicle and Arreaga was arrested for two counts of homicide and was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked into jail. He is being held on one million dollars bail. Detectives are still on scene, and still actively working on the case. They have requested Arreaga’s photograph be withheld at this time while they continue interviewing eye witnesses. The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has scheduled the autopsies to be conducted 9-6-2014. Additional information may be released at a later time as it becomes available, this is still an active investigation. Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539. (HumCo Sheriff’s Press Release)

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August 27, 2014

Mr. John Sakowicz

Dear John:

Overview and summary

Please refer to the KZYX & KZYZ Station Handbook revised August 2003. See Section II: Station Policy, Station wide Rules and Regulations. That section contains a set of house rules for the station. The first house rule reads as follows:

“Treat others with respect and the building and equipment with care.”

Over an extended period you have pursued a pattern and practice of violating this house rule. In 2014 alone, you committed at least four serious violations of this Rule by making false statements about KZYX that hold it up to ridicule; disparage the competence and integrity of its Board and management, and undermine public support for the station. All of this constitutes serious failures to treat others with respect.

You're already on suspension as a programmer. We have required you to meet certain conditions before you can be reinstated as a programmer. We are now adding to that set of conditions the further condition that you publicly retract the four false statements that we discuss in detail below.

Your false statements.

False Statement 1.

“Former board director Doug McKenty who I believe will also be joining me in writing to the FCC has complained about the board’s bylaws which have been changed or discarded without public notice or approval. This is unacceptable. It further consolidates power in Mr. Coate."

You made this false statement in January 2014 as part of a petition to deny the renewal of KZYX’s license that you filed with the Federal Communications Commission. A copy of the relevant page of that petition to deny is enclosed under Tab A-1.

Proof of Falsity of Statement 1.

No board bylaws have been changed or discarded without public notice. Your statement "this is unacceptable" is a non sequitur because the premise is false. There was never any change in or discard of any bylaws without notice and proper process. Indeed, there has been no change at all in the bylaws since 2010. And because "it" never happened, it is also false that "it" led to the consolidation of power in anyone.

Enclosed under Tab B is a copy of minutes of July 12, 2010 Board meeting at which the most recent change to the bylaws was voted on by the Board. There have been no changes since that time. The public record reflects this, in that the exact same version of the bylaws that was adopted in July 2010 has been posted on the KZYX website since July 2010, without change or interruption.

False Statement 2.

"Finally, it should be noted that Mr. Coate unilaterally added both the title of Executive Director and its powers to his former title and powers of General Manager. This expansion of Mr. Coate’s powers means that he does not have to consult the board on most decisions regarding the operation of the station."

You made this false statement in January 2014 as part of a petition to deny the renewal of KZYX’s license that you filed with the Federal Communications Commission. A copy of the relevant page of that petition to deny is enclosed under Tab A-2.

Proof of Falsity of Statement 2.

My employment contract drafted in the summer of 2008 by the Board president, David Hopmann. Copies of relevant pages from that contract are enclosed under Tab C-1. You can see that the position for which I was hired was entitled "Executive Director and General Manager."

Also under Tab C-2 is a copy of the job posting for the position that I filled. Note that the title of the position being advertised was "Executive Director/General Manager." The title was chosen and advertised before I had any connection to KZYX.

Your statement that I unilaterally added the title of executive director and its powers is false, and is directly contradicted by the contemporaneous written record. Your statement beginning with, "this expansion of Mr. Coate’s powers…" is false. There was no such expansion. Thus, your statement about what the nonexistent "expansion" led to it is without foundation, and also false.

False Statement 3.

"In December 2013, Mr. Coate hired his friend Michael Kisslinger and Sheri Quinn, friend of Board member Holly Madrigal. These jobs were neither posted nor advertised by KZYX&Z. In 2011, Mr. Coate hired news report Paul Lambert without posting or advertising the position. Another employee, David Brooksher, was hired without posting or advertising the job. (Mr. Brooksher, for whom I can personally vouch, may have also been fired without cause.) These are all clear examples of EEO violations."

You made this false statement in January 2004 as part of a petition to deny the renewal of KZYX’s license that you filed with the Federal Communications Commission. A copy of the relevant page of that petition to deny is enclosed under Tab A-3.

Proof of Falsity of Statement 3.

KZYX posted the News Director position for which David Brooksher was hired. See the 2011 annual EEP Public File Report enclosed under Tab D. The positions filled by Mr. Kisslinger, Ms. Quinn, and Mr. Lambert were part time independent contractor positions, none of which was required to be posted. You are wrong about what happened, and you are wrong on the law.

False Statement 4.

"For the record, I filed my complaint to the FCC to cover my ass. I thought thing were so seriously wrong at KZYX that I feared being sued. The KZYX Board of Directors has no ‘directors and officers liability insurance’ nor are we indemnified in any way against damages caused by management."

You posted this statement online on February 25, 2014. See Tab E.

Proof of Falsity of Statement 4.

Here are excerpts of Article XI and MCPB bylaws that establish the indemnity that you say does not exist.

“To the fullest extent permitted by law, MCPB shall indemnify its directors, officers and/or agents acting on its behalf, including members responding to an official emergency call, and including all persons described in applicable law, against all expenses, judgments, fines, settlements and other amounts incurred as a result of any claim or proceeding against them resulting from actions on behalf of MCPB which comply with the standards of conduct set forth in these bylaws as described in and according to applicable law."

And here is the provision of the bylaws that mandates the purchase D&O insurance: “The Board shall purchase or authorize the purchase of insurance against liability, both corporate and individual, in any amount it deems necessary to adequately protect both the assets of MCPB and its officers, directors and members against personal liability."

Upon request, you can view a copy of the 2014 insurance certificate for KZYX, proving that KZYX had D&O insurance at the time you made your False Statement that KZYX had no such insurance.

Retracting your False Statements

All of the above false statements harmed KZYX when you make them, and continue to harm KZYX by undermining public support for the station, so long as they remain unretracted in public.

As a condition of your suspension as a programmer on KZYX being lifted, you must retract all four of these false statements in an open letter that you must submit for publication in the Ukiah Daily Journal and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. You must also allow KZYX to publish that open letter as KZYX sees fit. A copy of that open letter is enclosed under tab F.

This condition is an addition to the conditions stated in our August 6 letter to you.

Very truly yours,

John Coate

Attachments (under Tabs A-1 through F)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 4, 2014

Beals, Becker, French, Harlan, Jacobsen
Beals, Becker, French, Harlan, Jacobsen

EDWARD BEALS, Willits. Pot growing/possession for sale.

ETHAN BECKER, Willits. Pot growing/possession for sale.

JEFFREY FRENCH, Laytonville. Domestic assault, ex-felon with firearm, loaded firearm in public, probation revocation.

BRETT HARLAN, Ukiah. Vehicle theft, violation of protective order, possession of meth, driving without a valid license, evasion of police officer, assault on police officer, probation revocation.

ANDREW JACOBSEN, Redwood Valley. Possession of meth, possession for sale, possession of controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, under the influence of controlled substance, resisting arrest.

Saulsbury, Starski, Tobie, Turley
Saulsbury, Starski, Tobie, Turley

DANIEL SAULSBURY, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, probation revocation.

EDWARD STARSKI, Hidden Valley Lake. (Unspecified charges filed by the District Attorney.)

FLORTENTINO ‘TURK’ TOBIE, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

CHAD TURLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public. Probation revocation.

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Be Caring about School Sharing —

Back to school! And more chances of sharing airborne illnesses in the classroom. Here are a few tips for teachers, students, families and friends to curb the spread of pathogens:

Take an immune-boosting tonic 5 days a week in the form of a tincture, tea or vinegar. Safe for all ages are those containing elderberry, astragulus, Echinacea, medicinal mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, ginger or garlic. You can make your own apple cider vinegar Supertonic for the whole family to use as a condiment, in salad dressings or in juice;

Washing hands often is great but what about the bottoms of shoes and bags - places where pathogens can hang out for days? Best to leave shoes and bags just inside the door and carry contents further into the house. Do not use antibiotic soaps! Choose those with plant essential oils and sprays that use food-grade h2o2.

Air-born pathogens can live for hours and days. Keep your air vibrant by opening windows to “air out” once a day (especially in bedrooms) and use an air spray (hydrosols work well for this) of eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, lemon or grapefruit (or a combination) and spray rooms once a day or more if someone is ill.

Cut the sugar, eat your greens (real popular with kids!). All concentrated sugars lower white blood cell count temporarily, so consistent eating of sugary cereals, drinks and snacks cause immune suppression throughout the day. Try a supergreens freeze-dried mix in all fruit/nut butter smoothies for picky eaters.

If someone does get sick – KEEP THEM AT HOME if at all possible. All family members can protect themselves by evening foot-rubs using any base oil with a drop or 2 of oregano or thyme.

What’s Up?

Though popularly called ginger root, this spectacular medicine is not a root but a rhizome ( Ginger is a major medicine in many countries and it is highly effective in helping the body fight flu, nausea, fatigue, colds, headache and blood sugar imbalance. It can be used in food, tea, tincture, as poultice and as an essential oil. Because it stimulates circulation, ginger is valuable for treating cataracts, viral infections, sciatica, Raynaud’s syndrome, kidney stones, infertility, erectile difficulties, fever, dizziness, depression, coughs, tendonitis, bursitis, athlete’s foot, migraine, heart disease and amenorrhea. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory herb with 477 known chemical constituents! One gram of ginger’s principle enzyme, zingibain, can actually tenderize 20 pounds of meat - no wonder it helps improve digestion! This enzyme also enhances the effectiveness of other immune actions by as much as 50%, up-grading immunity, digesting parasites and their eggs, and improving anti-inflammatory activity. Ginger acts as an antioxidant with more than twelve constituents superior to vitamin E, that’s how ginger helps neutralize free radicals which are widely recognized as responsible for most inflammation. The study sponsored by the American Association of Cancer Research revealed that ginger root supplements may possibly reduce risk of colon cancer. ( Raw ginger juice (add the fresh root to your smoothies, juices or dressings) has antibacterial action on e-coli and thus helpful in treating bladder infections


— Karin Uphoff, Philo

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A READER WRITES: I just read Bill Allen’s original piece promoting his extraterrestrial presentation (and all the follow up folderol) which he added the postscript: “The concept of a ‘tin foil hat,’ or helmet, for protection against mind interference originated in an early 20th century science fiction story. It gradually became associated with various paranoid beliefs about mind control by spies, nefarious government agencies, and paranormal entities. When and why it was linked to mystical UFO enthusiasts is unclear — and patentlyillogical, for why would anyone wear a brain shield if they hope to receive messages from beings in the phantasmatic zones of space?”

So Mr. Allen is saying that no self-respecting UFOlogist would want to protect his brain from the very “mind control” messages from outer space he wants to receive. Therefore, the accusation that they wear tin foil hats is “illogical.”

Hmmm. I think Mr. Allen is putting up a straw hat, er man, and is misrepresenting those of us who apply the term “Tin Foil Hat.” Personally, I would never lump the UFO nuts in with the Arthur Firstenbergists who think that their brains are being fried by very low levels of electropollution, which Mr. Allen seems to want to be distinguished from. As far as the UFO nuts are concerned, if they wear tin foil hats it’s the kind that look like old fashioned tv rabbit ears — sort of an old-fashioned colander with antennae sticking up to better focus the incoming alien messages which can then be marinated in ethyl alcohol, turned upside down onto a pizza pan and half-baked into nutty AVA articles.

WILLIAM ALLEN REPLIES: The 'tin foil hat' postscript was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to point out that if one is going to mock people who's views differ from one's own on the subject - one ought at least take care to use accurate metaphors. Sorry you missed the humor, and had to strain at a gnat. As for the article itself, it was a straightforward (albeit incomplete) attempt - using information that is verifiable with a bit of effort and research - to debunk some stereotypes; to educate - to shine a beam of light into the dark cave of ignorance, prejudice, and conceit that many people choose to blithely abide in concerning this subject. That you still found it "nutty" attests to my failure. But then, it's a historical fact that the majority of his so-called educated colleagues refused to look through Galileo's telescope.



Breaking Up the Decayed British State

by Tariq Ali

Scotland has long been a nation. We shall soon find out whether its citizens now wish that nation to become a state. I hope they do. It will not only open up new opportunities for their own country but will break up the atrophied, decaying British state and reduce its efficacy as a US vassal.

Hence the appeals from Obama and Hillary Clinton to vote “No,” a sentiment Blair fully shares but dare not admit to, fearing that his intervention might tip the balance in the opposite direction. There is no issue of principle here, just imperial interests.

The US accelerated the break-up of the old Soviet state, first the Baltic republics, then Ukraine and Central Asia. This was followed by the destruction of Yugoslavia. If Latvia and Slovenia, why not Scotland? After all, the SNP has (regrettably) decided to stay in NATO.

It was intellectually exhilarating during two trips to Scotland this summer to witness and participate in the serious debates taking place in meeting halls, kirks, streets, pubs and homes. What a contrast to dreary old England where all three parties and every single media outlet are against Scottish independence.

The ‘No’ campaign lacks both sense and subtlety, being based exclusively on fear. But it is the forces of pessimistic conservatism in Scotland that appear shallow and parochial. The SNP, and even more the Radical Independence Campaign, look at a detached Scotland through international spectacles. Their gaze is fixed on the Norwegian model and beyond. A few months ago, in an open letter to the people of Scotland published by the Herald, some of Scandinavia’s leading writers and intellectuals encouraged the birth of an independent state, reminding Scots that Norway’s break from Sweden in 1905 was also preceded by fear-mongering but improved the quality of life and politics in both countries.

The remarkable growth of the pro-independence movement is the result of Thatcher’s dismantling of the welfare state and Blair-Brown’s admiration for the same. Until then the Scots had been prepared to stick to Labour regardless of the corruption and chicanery that categorized its party machine in Scotland.

No longer.

When large numbers stop believing that they can exercise political self-determination within the existing social order they begin to look beyond traditional governing parties. On the Continent (and in England) this has led to the growth of the right. In Scotland what is being demanded is national, social and political self-determination: in concrete terms this means a humanistic social democracy.

Even if fear results in a Unionist majority, all are agreed that things will never be the same again.

And if Scotland wins, perhaps the tired lull of English politics will also be disrupted.

[Tariq Ali is the author of The Obama Syndrome (Verso).]


  1. Harvey Reading September 5, 2014

    It would be good to see the U.K. reduced, to the point that it is no longer of any use to U.S. imperialists as a lapdog when the U.S. chooses to fight yet another bloody war (for civilians in the country targeted) for resources, or control. Hopefully, the Scots are smart enough to do just the opposite of anything recommended by the war-criminal duo of Bill and Billary. Those two should have been locked up years ago, along with their democrapic party supporters.

  2. Jim Updegraff September 5, 2014

    Seems to be a lot of crazy people involved with KZYX.

  3. Rick Weddle September 5, 2014

    A metaphor for adding yet another administrative position at County during a $6 million negative cash flow? My grandma had an expression for situations like this: “I don’t know what’s wrong; I added cornstarch and added cornstarch…and it’s STILL too thick!”

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