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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, September 7, 2014

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BUSY FRIDAY in the County Courthouse, with an enterprising Philo (Holmes Ranch) man named Kelly Boss at the center of much of the action. A search warrant served on a Cameron Road (Elk) property set in motion an investigation that revealed Boss's reported income at around $40,000, but he was somehow able to finance $1.2M for the Philo property in 2011 and who knows how much at his Cameron Road place.   Just this May, when warrants were served on Boss properties, 1255 marijuana plants were found at Cameron Road, along with 69 pounds of marijuana in various stages of processing, a large stack of cash, one of Boss's vehicles, and PG&E bills in Boss's name. The average electricity use at that property over the six months leading up to May was $4,500/month. The mortgage payments for the two properties comes to a combined $12,000 a month. Two men detained at the Cameron Road property said they were working on the marijuana for "the owner," who they identified only as "Kelly."

THE HEARING REVEALED evidence of “money structuring” (manipulating deposits to circumvent the $10K reporting requirements) was seized at Boss's Chardonnay Road (Philo) property. Not a tough decision for Judge Behnke to hold Boss for trial. The defense will likely be that Boss is growing for some medicinal people in Los Angeles, although it seems evident Boss is making a ton of tax-free money. E.D. Lerman is representing the entrepreneurial Philo-Elk man.

THE DAPPER OMAR FIGUEROA was representing a guy named Smith who said the pot he was nailed with belonged to another guy who doesn't want to fess up. Smith said he wants to take this the-dog-ate-my-homework defense to a jury. Trial was set for October.

A SANTA ROSA ATTORNEY named Clausen, occasionally in the news (see appended story below from the Press Democrat) for his civil law adventures, was representing a lively fellow by the name of Ian Haynes. Haynes was originally represented by Keith Faulder, but just as Haynes and Faulder were in negotiations with the DA on one case, Haynes racked up another batch of felonies alleging that when the cops caught up with Haynes after a chase they discovered loaded guns in his vehicle.

FOR SOME REASON, Haynes dumped the formidable Faulder for the, ah, less formidable Clausen, who didn't seem to know much about criminal defense. Clausen tried to recuse DA Eyster for an alleged and, as it turned out, invisible conflict of interest.

RECUSING Eyster for some random bullethead from the State Attorney General's office is generally regarded in Mendo as a dumb legal move because Eyster is reasonable, the state people often aren't. In any case, Behnke denied the recusal because there was no legal reason to grant it.

THE COURTROOM was crowded because Judge Behnke was hearing a bunch of stuff in the absence of Judge Moorman, who is away because her mother has died. Things got backed up because lawyer Clausen appeared with a foot of paperwork that the judge had to sort out.

A BUNCH OF LAWYERS were present because Assistant DA Paul Sequeira is fun to watch. Judges Nadel and Mayfield seemed to also be present out of show biz interest. Faulder showed up because Clausen subpoenaed him.

GLENDA ANDERSON of the Press Democrat was not present. One has to wonder why she wasn't. Remember her story earlier this year that DA Eyster's disposition of pot cases was being investigated by a federal grand jury? Where's the follow-up? No follow-up because it was a non-story. Eyster's policies are legal and are a good all-round deal for the County, settling cases for fines that would otherwise occupy expensive court time.

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“Lawsuit challenges Mendocino payment program for marijuana offenders” by Glenda Anderson, The Press Democrat.

May 23, 2014— A Mendocino County program that allows marijuana defendants to plead to lesser criminal charges in exchange for restitution payments is the subject of a lawsuit filed this week in Mendocino County Superior Court. The lawsuit contends the program — which is unique to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office — is "not simply unlawful, but criminal." It asks that it be halted and that the $3.7 million collected and distributed to law enforcement agencies since 2011 be returned to some 350 defendants who have paid into the program. "The program constitutes an illegal criminal enterprise," Santa Rosa attorney Mark Clausen wrote in the lawsuit. The program has been dubbed the "Mendo Shakedown" and described as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card for those who can pay, according to the lawsuit. It is being investigated by a federal grand jury, Clausen noted in the lawsuit. The lawsuit names the program's creator, District Attorney David Eyster, as well as his office; the county of Mendocino; and Sheriff Tom Allman and his office, which has received the lion's share — about $3.3 million — of the restitution monies. It also names state Attorney General Kamala Harris, because she's responsible for ensuring the sheriff and district attorney are not breaking the law, Clausen said. "Harris has a clear ministerial duty to take appropriate action to terminate the program," according to the lawsuit. Clausen stated he expects that Harris ultimately will side with his lawsuit. The Attorney General's Office did not return phone calls Friday seeking comment. Neither the Mendocino County counsel nor administrator could be reached Friday. Those county officials who were contacted declined to comment, citing pending litigation. "The fact that a lawsuit has been filed prevents me from commenting," Allman said. "We have no comment on a lawsuit citing the wrong state code, and filed by a twice suspended lawyer," District Attorney spokesman Mike Geniella said in an email. Clausen, whose suspensions were related to failure to pay his state bar dues on time, currently is in good standing. He is representing part-time Mendocino County resident Mikalek Adams and the Green Bush, a group of Mendocino County property owners who advocate for an overhaul of marijuana laws, according to the lawsuit. Clausen said his clients do not wish to discuss the lawsuit. None of the plaintiffs has utilized the restitution program, and Clausen said he expects the county to challenge his clients' standing in the case because they haven't been directly affected. But as taxpayers and citizens, they have a right to sue on behalf of the general public, which is affected by the program "because it destroys the appearance of fairness which our justice system demands," he said. He said his clients are also suing on behalf of those who cannot afford to pay the fees, and as a result have been charged with more serious crimes, according to the lawsuit. Eyster instituted the restitution program shortly after he took over the District Attorney's Office in 2011. It is aimed at — and by all accounts has been successful at — reducing the backlog of marijuana cases clogging the courts before Eyster took office. Eyster said he has reduced the time it takes for marijuana cases to be resolved to three months from 15, a feat lauded by supporters of the program. The program is a hybrid he created by applying Welfare law to Health & Safety Code Section 11470.2. Under the program, defendants pay $50 per marijuana plant and $500 per pound of pot, typically in exchange for having their felony charges reduced to misdemeanor counts of possession of more than an ounce of marijuana. The changes to Section 11470.2, after which the program is named, are many and they render the program invalid, according to the lawsuit. The changes include collecting the restitution fees before, rather than after, convictions are obtained; eliminating a requirement to calculate actual costs generated by the drug activities; and allowing defendants to plead to lesser crimes if they pay restitution. "The program completely conflicts with and is therefore invalidated by" the original Health & Safety code sections to which it is related, the lawsuit states.

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WE'D LIKE TO KNOW MORE about the jail suicide of Steve Neuroth, a mental health client of the Ortner Management Group. Yes, he was a troubled person, but some of his friends say he got no help from Ortner, and wound up in jail where he managed to kill himself.


ACCORDING TO a press release from the Sheriff back in June: On June 11, at about five minutes after midnight, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Correctional staff assigned to work Building One of the Mendocino County Adult Detention Facility entered the cell of an unresponsive male inmate. Deputies found him unconscious and not breathing. Jail medical staff was present and evaluated the man. No pulse or respirations were detected, and life-saving measures were started. Emergency services were summoned and ultimately transported the man to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. The 55-year-old inmate was the sole occupant of the cell. He had been arrested on June 10, 2014 for being under the influence of a controlled substance by Willits Police Department and has since been identified as 55-year-old Steve Neuroth of Ukiah. Autopsy results are pending.

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Ed note: Being at the mercy of these infernal new machines, I can only belatedly second Bill Ray's lament at the passing of Sanford Dorbin because the so-called spam filter has only now permitted it to land in my "in-box." Sanford was a friend of long standing. I first met him at County long-distance runs where he inevitably finished well ahead of me although he was 15 years older. He was also a very good writer and a fine poet. I apologize for the tardy appearance of this notice of Sanford's passing.

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Sanford Dorbin died peacefully yesterday morning, May 27, 2014, at his home in Chico, California. He was surrounded by his family.

I am not authorized to write an obituary. I don't want to trouble Rose about it right now, but I think you and Sanford have kept in touch, so you already have a basis for saying something if you want.

He had contracted liver cancer during the last six months and it was treated and in remission. But returning from a recent treatment in early May, he suffered painful symptoms. The tumors had spread throughout his system.

I can testify to you he showed and expressed no fear of death. Instead he was enthusiastic when we met about producing a book of poems for and by his closest friends. This will be his memorial and monument. His wife Rose will finance publication. The artist and poet Daniel Marlin is the compiler and editor.

He was fully conscious and aware until last Wednesday night, the 22nd. I had visited him earlier that day, saying, "If you have to die, this is the best possible way, surrounded by those who love you more than anything." He whispered in reply, "It is a privilege."

He was cared for in recent weeks by Rose, his daughter Sariah, and Rose's daughter Sally. His son Shelley Dorbin and wife Carmen had a daughter Brooke last year, his first grandchild by blood. I will say here, and you know what kind of man he was, that he did not distinguish between blood and married relations. Evan, Rose's son, and his wife Sue and their four children who live in Chico, were beloved.

Sanford was himself beloved. Barry Powell recently translated The Iliad and dedicated it to him. He received a copy shortly before he died. Rose took it off the shelf to show me last Wednesday. You have his selected poems, Never Enough Light (1995). Daniel Marlin water-color is on the cover. Shelley took the author photograph. I reviewed it in the AVA at the time.

You already know about his life in Mendocino County as poet, writer, editor, jazz expert, and political activist. This will fill you in on what happened. A good man. My heart is heavy and at the same time I admire his noble example.

Bill Ray, Willits

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It is disingenuous for the Board of the Anderson Valley Health Center to suggest in their recent letter to the AVA that the public is misinformed in their analysis of the Board’s intentions when they go on in the letter to lay out misinformation concerning the terms of their “current plans” for Doctor Apfel.

At the Board’s recent open meeting, Doctor Apfel made it clear that if the Board would not meet further with him on the terms of his continued employment, he would be forced to alternative plans (leaving). He stated the Board had previously refused to meet with him in closed session on the employment issue and in the open session again refused to address the subject or set it up for closed session. While the Board’s letter states, “We want Dr. Apfel to continue to serve his patients at the Health Center,” their refusal to negotiate the terms of his modified service agreement appears to say otherwise.

I am surprised that you, the Board, would lay the issue of being uninformed on the public who attended your last Board meeting. The public comments were essentially all questions greeted by silence on the part of the Board. If we had it wrong why didn’t you speak up then?

Daniel Myers, Philo

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Re: My letter to John Sakowicz

On Friday in the AVA website ( you published a copy of a letter I sent to John Sakowicz on August 27. You should know that the version you published was altered from the version I mailed. In paragraph 3 of the version you published, it says, "You're already on suspension as a programmer." The original says, "You are already on suspension as a programmer because you said 'What the fuck?!' on-air on July 25." If you are going to publish this letter, you should print this true copy and not the one containing a material omission.

John Coate, General Manage, KZYX

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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 because you said "What the fuck?!" on air on July 25. In our August 6, 2014 letter to you about that incident, 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 consolidate 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 1.

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 ‘direcotors 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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September 5, 2014

Mr. Coate:

I am in receipt of your Demand Letter dated August 27, and Ms. Aigner's Transmittal Letter dated September 2. Both letters demand the retraction of key elements of my FCC complaint as a condition for my returning to the air at KZYX&Z where I host and produce a popular radio show. I have also received the Open Letter of Retraction addressed to The Ukiah Daily Journal and The Anderson Valley Advertiser that you wrote for me and which you are now demanding that I sign.

I was surprised by your demand, as my FCC complaint was made in the context of me being a member of the Board of Directors and former Board officer at Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, the corporate parent of KZYX&Z.

As a volunteer host and producer at KZYX&Z, I come into the studio for an hour every two weeks and leave. What contact I have with staff is minimal and, at all times, respectful and professional.

Therefore, I was surprised by the premise for your allegation that I was disrespectful. You wrote the following in your August 27 Demand Letter (in italics):

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.

However, Mr. Coate, the Station Handbook which you cite pertains only to those volunteers who host shows at KZYX&Z. If you had issues with my FCC complaint, you should have taken that up in a closed session of a Board meeting, because I made the FCC complaint in the context of my being a Board member. Also, you had another option, if you so vigorously disagreed with my FCC complaint. With the required number of signatures and a vote of the full membership, the other recourse would have been that I could have been recalled from the Board. Since you have had no trouble handpicking your Board in the past and meddling in Board deliberations -- you both recruit and endorse Board candidates, and you develop Board agendas -- leading a recall effort would have seemed in character.

However, to impose the demand that I retract the heart of my FCC complaint as a condition for returning to the air as a volunteer host with a show is to confuse my two roles at the station. It is tantamount to a purge.

Be that as it may, I assert there was nothing disrespectful in my FCC complaint itself. The complaint was factual.

For example, our station's equipment and broadcast signal fails. It was down three days earlier this year. You admitted to this fact in your director's report to the Board at our last Board meeting. Three days of dead air is unacceptable for a rural station entrust with emergency broadcast responsibilities.

By way of another example, there have been times when no member of salaried staff was present on the station's premises during business hours. Several times, I've started my show, which airs biweekly on Fridays at 9 a.m., when no staff was present at the start of the show. Staff would amble into the station after my show had started -- sometimes 30 or even 60 minutes into the station. Anyone could have hijacked our studio and commandeered our airwaves during that time. My show's former engineer, Leo K. Dikinis, and I would sign affidavits to that effect. His credibility is unimpeachable, as is mine. Mr. Dikinis and I were both members of the 2012 Mendocino County Grand Jury.

Both of the above examples are serious FCC violations.

I will be meeting with an attorney and others to decide my response to the letters of August 27 and September 2.

Depending on that advice, I may be amending my complaint to the FCC to include this attempt at coercion. I may also inform the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) about your demands for lifting my suspension at the station.

I may also inform National Public Radio (NPR). Does NPR really want KZYX&Z as an affiliated station? Will NPR tolerate an affiliated station imposing restrictions on the free speech on anyone, much less a Board member who is also a host and producer.

Finally, I wonder if you have sought the approval of the Board about this latest move against your critics.

I wonder if the possibility of litigation and/or regulatory sanctions doesn't outweigh your attempt to contain the public ridicule, the questioning of your integrity and competence, and the undermining of the station's public support of which you have accused me and others.

In conclusion, the "KZYX Members for Change" page on Facebook has 114 members. Such an outcry has never existed in our 25-year history. Also, this year's Board elections were hotly contested.

Much of this divisiveness stemmed from bad decisions you made earlier this year. You purged former Board member and popular radio show show, Doug McKenty from the air. You took away his show, "Open Lines" which was the station's only forum for unrestricted public comment, including criticism of the station's management. You have also purged former member of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, Norman De Vall, who is also very popular in our community. You took away Mr. De Vall's hosting duties of the on-air candidates forum, presumably for starting, This listserve was an online forum for open discussion about station business and its management. Now, you are trying to purge me.

You may try to silence me, Mr. Coate, but you cannot silence all of us, and, in any regard, the FCC and CPB may have something to say about your attempt to do so.

Our beloved community radio at at an alltime low, but it will rise again.

Very truly yours, John Sakowicz, Ukiah

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  1. Dear Neighbors and Friends,

Let me set the record straight about something.

When an expletive was uttered by me during my last show on July 25, resulting, at first, in a month-long suspension, the telephone call with my guest, retired CIA analyst, Ray McGovern, had dropped for the fourth time. By the fourth dropped call, KZYX Program Director, Mary Aigner, was on the engineering board in the studio. That fourth dropped call was about 20 minutes into my show.

With Aigner in the studio at the engineering board, I had every reason to believe the studio mic had been potted down by Aigner. Aigner is perhaps the most proficient board operator at KZYX. She is Program Director. And she has been operating the engineering board since the station was started 25 years ago.

Again, Aigner was running the show at the time of the incident, not me, which is why KZYX General Manager, John Coate, pushed so hard to have me sign a so-called "Statement of Responsibility," which would have had me take full responsibility for the incident.

I refused to sign it.

Angered by my refusal, Coate is now putting me on indefinite suspension. He also has added new charges to the original charge of uttering an expletive on the air on July 25.

Coate's new charges are the following. He alleges I have disparaged staff, questioned staff's competence and integrity, held the station up to public ridicule, and hurt fundraising. How? By filing an FCC complaint against station management earlier this year. How? By asserting my right to free speech.

Coate is further adding a new demand for a "Letter of Retraction" of my FCC complaint. And Coate is finally demanding that I publish the "Letter of Retraction" at The Ukiah Daily Journal and The Andersen Valley Advertiser.


Sad, too. What happened to our community radio station in here in Mendocino County?

Of course, I won't sign any "Retraction Letter." My FCC complaint is what it is, and I was joined by at least four other complainants in the community.

Nor will I be coerced into signing a "Statement of Responsibility." I just won't. Aigner was at the engineering board. I was actually standing behind her, 5-6 feet from the mic when the expletive was uttered.

Again, I had every reason to believe the studio mic had been potted down by Aigner. And, in any case, the expletive was ambient. I was not sitting behind the mic.

Coate has another problem.

A big problem.

On July 25, Aigner arrived at work late -- approximately 9:15 a.m. This means that no member of salaried staff was on the station's premises during business hours from 8:00 a.m., when the station's door locks open, to when Aigner arrived at the station for work.

Aigner appeared in the studio at 9:20 a.m. to assist me with the fourth dropped call. But, it was another volunteer, Stuart Campbell, who assisted me in the studio during the first three times when my call with Ray McGovern was dropped.

From the window in the studio, I saw Aigner walk into the station from the parking lot at approximately 9:15 a.m. Had she been on the premises, she would have assisted with any one of the first three dropped calls.

Having staff on station premises during business is an FCC requirement. It's in their regulations. Having no staff on the premises, and a studio open to any outsider, is a serious FCC violation.

And it's a violation cited in my FCC complaint.

On numerous occasions in the past, no member of staff was on the premises during my show. You may confirm this fact with my show's former engineer, Leo Dikinis. The station was often empty, yet the studio was open.

So, what's next?

Well, my friends, it's time. It's time to bring truly "public" public radio back to Mendocino County.Together, we can do it.

First and foremost, Coate and Aigner have to go. I repeat: Coate and Aigner simply have to go. They have made a community radio station into a private clubhouse. In the past, Aigner has purged popular programmers, like Beth Bosk and Els Cooperrider. More recently, Coate has purged Norman De Vall and Doug McKenty. And now they've purged me. Our biggest crime? Speaking out.

Censorship. Purges.

Coate and Aigner also manipulate Board elections, control Board meeting agendas, give themselves raises, refuse to disclose salaries, refuse to account for staff time, refuse to provide staff job descriptions, refuse to conduct staff job reviews and evaluations, and refuse to investigate an incident involving a man on staff spitting at a woman in the station's parking lot.

Coate and Aigner further obfuscate financial reporting, circumvent fair hiring practices, allow aging equipment to fail, allow dead air and other reception problems, make false fundraising claims about opening a Ukiah studio, and thwart accountability and transparency in countless other ways, big and small.

I would know. In addition to hosting a show on KZYX, I'm also on the Board of Directors, and I was the Board Treasurer for 2013.

We can force Coate's and Aigner's departure with complaints to the FCC, the CPB, and NPR. We should write letters to newspapers, and we should talk with our neighbors and friends. We can continue to organize at "KZYX Members for Change" on Facebook and at the local listserv,

Meanwhile, we should boycott KZYX with our dollars. No more membership dollars. No more underwriting dollars. KMUD and KMEC are more deserving of our support.

People, take back your community radio station!

John Sakowicz, Ukiah

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Jason Dearen & Garance Burke

Call them the fortunate ones: Nearly 4,000 California companies, farms and others are allowed to use free water with little oversight when the state is so bone dry that deliveries to nearly everyone else have been severely slashed.

Their special status dates back to claims made more than a century ago when water was plentiful. But in the third year of a drought that has ravaged California, these "senior rights holders" dominated by corporations and agricultural concerns are not obliged to conserve water.

Nobody knows how much water they actually use, though it amounts to trillions of gallons each year, according to a review of their own reports by The Associated Press. Together, they hold more than half the rights to rivers and streams in California.

But the AP found the state's system is based on self-reported, incomplete records riddled with errors and years out of date. Some rights holders have vastly overstated their usage — in the mistaken belief, asserts Tom Howard, executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board, that it will preserve their right to draw more water in the future.

"We really don't know how much water they've actually diverted," said Bob Rinker, a manager in the board's water rights division.

With a burgeoning population and projections of heightened climate-related impacts on snowpack and other water supplies, the antiquated system blunts California's ability to move water where it is most needed.

When gold miners flocked to the West in the 1800s, the state drafted laws that rewarded those who first staked claims on the region's abundant rivers and streams. Since then, Western states have upgraded to different, more rigorous water accounting systems that track every precious drop, but California still relies on an honor system, even during drought.

The system's inequities are particularly evident in California's arid Central Valley, where some farmers struggle while others enjoy abundant water.

"In a good year we wouldn't be able to stand here unless we got wet. This year it won't produce anything," said second-generation rice farmer Al Montna as he knelt in the dust, pulling apart dirt clods on the 1,800 acres he left idle because of scarce water. "Our workers will just have to go elsewhere to look for work."

About 35 miles north, fourth-generation rice farmer Josh Sheppard had more than enough water, thanks to superior rights to Feather River water dating to the late 1800s. On a recent afternoon, pulses of liquid spilled across his fields to soak the loamy soil for planting.

"No one thinks of it when there's ample water and plenty to go around, but in these times of tightness it is a very contentious resource that gets fought over," Sheppard said. "We are going to be very stark defenders into the future of ensuring that this right ... remains in place."

Because the state doesn't know how many entities hold these superior rights or how much water they use, the AP obtained and analyzed the water board's database for 2010 — the last complete year of water usage reports — and interviewed state officials and dozens of so-called senior rights holders.

The state only collects the records every three years on a staggered basis, meaning some of its information is at least a few years old.

Howard, the board's executive director, acknowledged the state should get a better handle on water use. "Anything to improve the information we have would help," he said, citing the need for annual reporting of usage and real time stream flow data.

While much of the water reported by this group is consumed by people or farms, some of the biggest users generate hydroelectric power for profit then return that water to the river for use downstream. The state doesn't know how much is used for each purpose.

More than half of the 3,897 entities with these water rights are corporations, such as the state's biggest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., which generates hydroelectric power, and the Hearst Corp., which has water rights for its remote, Bavarian-style forest compound called Wyntoon.

Also among the biggest rights holders are state and local government agencies — including the water departments of San Francisco and Los Angeles, which channel river water to millions of residents.

San Francisco, whose water rights date to 1902 when its mayor nailed a handwritten notice on a tree, uses free Sierra Nevada water to generate power for its airport, schools and firehouses.

This year, the state cut water deliveries to farmers and cities by 95 percent, and the federal government also imposed sharp restrictions on its water customers. But companies, farmers and cities with water rights that pre-date 1914 were exempt this year from mandatory cuts, even though they collectively are the biggest water consumers in the state.

The AP independently verified that just 24 of the rights holders reported using more than twice the volume of water that California's vast system of state and federal dams and aqueducts ships to cities and farms in an average year.

As the dry summer months loom, some water scientists question the usefulness of conservation efforts that do not restrict consumption by most water users with old rights. In a catastrophic emergency, the state might ask these users to conserve, but even then they could choose not to.

"Obviously, senior water rights holders have the most to benefit from the current system," said Peter Gleick, a water scientist and director of the nonpartisan Pacific Institute. "It gives them first call on water and more certainty during droughts and shortages."

In an age of weather extremes, those with century-old rights say the system works well because it provides a reliable supply of water, which is crucial for farmers deciding what to plant each spring. And in a drought, the state lets some of them sell any extra water to cities, corporations and farms that need it, at the rate the market will bear.

"To the degree that we can help share and develop more water resources for all the needs out there, I know we'll support that," said Sheppard, who irrigates his rice fields with supplies from the Joint Water Districts Board, which has pre-1914 water rights. "We've been aggressive about conserving and we independently installed meters on our land so we know we don't waste much."

The water board's Howard said it would be impossible to do away with the system.

"People have made investments based on promises in the existing system," Howard said. "Towns grew up and land was developed based on promises of a secure water supply. Do we strand those investments to start over?"

The water board does not require monitoring or meters for users whose rights date back a century or more, or who have rights to draw from a waterway adjoining their land. So the bookkeeping by Sheppard's district provides the state with its only reckoning of how much water the district's landowners use.

The law is different in other Western states such as Wyoming and Colorado, where agencies have more sway to track water use and restrict flows in times of scarcity. California rights holders have successfully defeated legal and legislative efforts to strengthen that state's oversight, said Andy Sawyer, a longtime water rights attorney at the board.

California made some progress toward accountability in 2009, when a new law required rights holders to report their water use and gave the board power to punish them for failing to file statements properly and on time. But the rights holders could gain exemption from the strict monitoring requirements in that law by convincing authorities it was too costly.

Partly due to poor accounting, the state had issued only 28 violations since 2009 to senior water rights holders as of May 20 — 24 for failing to file the proper paperwork, and four for illegally storing water. It's rare that the state catches anyone taking more than they should, and even then, there are few punishment options.

The water board doesn't have staff to systematically verify water usage or check even the most obvious mistakes in the records, said Aaron Miller, a senior engineer at the water board. He added that the state nonetheless uses this inaccurate data to make decisions about how and where to grant new water permits.

The AP found major errors in the water consumption reports for eight of the entities the state listed as its top 25 users.

At the top of the state's ranking of water users was Louis Chacon, who state records show in 2010 consumed 12 billion acre-feet — enough to cover 12 billion acres with a foot of water. (One acre-foot is 326,000 gallons.) All of this for a 15-acre plot in Trinity County where his retirement home sits and a few cattle graze.

Chacon told the AP he did not know how many acre-feet the family actually used, but called the state's numbers "crazy." He had previously raised concerns that the state's software was altering his reported usage.

Teichert Land Co., a Sacramento-based development company, originally reported drawing 7.6 million acre-feet from the Valley-American River in 2010. But Teichert environmental manager Becky Wood confirmed that figure was an error, saying Teichert really only used 300 acre-feet.

No one from the state ever asked why the company reported using so much water, Wood said.

"You would hope that they would at least have the systems to check against what your right is and what you're reporting in the middle of a drought," she said.

(Courtesy, the Associated Press.)

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* * *


Back in the day, ok way way back in the day, when people were growing a few dozen plants and supporting a low impact lifestyle, and there were maybe 3 or 4 cars total in Alderpoint instead of people having 3 or 4 each family, marijuana wasn't an overall negative for the community as a whole.

Now things are beyond ridiculous.

Why do people need hundreds or thousands of plants? What is so special about flying thousands of miles away for some vacation? Does having a 50,000 dollar brand new f250 really make your life any better than having a ten year old used truck thats got plenty of life left in it for a fraction of that? Legalization can't happen soon enough. There's a reason people don't generally farm in remote hilly areas with inadequate water far from major markets or economical transportation. It is expensive and inefficient and has major environmental consequences.

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On August 28th at about 1:15 PM Ukiah Police responded to 1155 Airport Park Boulevard for a report of a canine hanging over the side of a Toyota Tacoma. Upon arrival officers contacted the owner of the vehicle along with witnesses. Witnesses advised that the canine was observed hanging alongside of the vehicle by its leash struggling to free itself. Witnesses attempted to free the canine but were delayed in their attempts due to the canine growling and trying to bite them as they tried to free it. The canine was eventually freed from its leash but was deceased by this time. Attempts were made to try to revive the canine but all attempts failed. A report has been submitted to the District Attorney for consideration of charges being filed against the owner for animal abuse. Owners of animals are reminded to not allow their animals to remain in their vehicles for extended periods of time especially during hot weather and ensure that if secured in the beds of a vehicle by a leash or tether that said leash or tether should not be long enough to allow the animal to jump from the vehicle.


On August 28th at about 2:09 PM, Ukiah Police were dispatched to Jack-In-The-Box, 1115 Airport Park Boulevard regarding an intoxicated subject causing a disturbance. When officers arrived they contacted 25 year old Paul Golyer, a transient of Ukiah. Golyer displayed objective symptoms of alcohol intoxication and admitted he had been consuming alcoholic beverages. He was found to be on probation and was determined to be the person causing the disturbance at the restaurant. Golyer was arrested for public intoxication and violation of probation. While transporting Golyer to the county jail he began hitting his head on the partition of the patrol vehicle. When the officer told Golyer to stop, Golyer placed himself in a position so that he was able to kick the partition. The officer asked and ordered Golyer to stop yet he continued kicking the partition window. Due to this the officer requested assistance from additional patrol officers at which time Golyer was placed in a safety restraining jacket to prevent him from hurting himself and causing damage to the partition window. Golyer was then taken to the county jail where he was booked and lodged for the above charges plus resisting or delaying an officer.


On August 29th at about 9:46 AM, Ukiah Police Officers were dispatched to a report of a male subject, identified as 34 year old Ukiah resident Victor Mora, in possession of firearm. Mora was reportedly going to confront another subject at a local restaurant. Officers located and contacted Mora near Louise Court standing outside the open rear driver side door of a red Pontiac Grand Am. During this contact with Mora he was displaying objective symptoms of being under the influence of a controlled substance. Officers conducted a search of Mora for weapons. During this search a methamphetamine pipe was found on his person. During this time other officers on scene observed a revolver sitting on the floorboard of the vehicle. Upon inspection of the revolver it was found to have four live rounds of ammunition. Officers checked Mora and found that he is currently on probation and prohibited from own or possessing a firearm. Mora was arrested for felon in possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition when prohibited, possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of probation.


On August 31st at about 2:30 AM Ukiah Police Officer stopped 31 year old Ukiah resident Noey Johnson for a bicycle violation. During this contact Johnson was found to be on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) and was subject to being searched. A search of Johnson’s person revealed him being in possession of an illegal knife. Johnson was arrested for Possession of concealed Dirk or Dagger. Based on Johnson being on PRCS his probation officer was contacted and a hold was placed for violating his terms of PRCS by his probation officer. Johnson was booked and lodged into the county jail for the noted charges.

On August 24th Ukiah Police responded to Ukiah Ford, 1170 S. State St., for a report of a vehicle that had just been stolen from the dealership. This vehicle was a green 2005 Toyota Tundra and was last seen leaving the dealership and driving southbound on to S. State St. Officers checked the area in an attempt to locate the vehicle with negative results.


On August 31st at about 12:19 PM Ukiah Police Officers responded to the100 Block of E. Gobbi St. as the vehicle had been observed driving eastbound on E. Gobbi St. and merging northbound onto Hwy 101. Officers responded to this area and observed the Toyota as it was exiting the highway at the E. Perkins St. exit. Officers conducted a high risk traffic stop on the vehicle. 42 year old Ukiah transient Suma Lee Folger was found to be driving the stolen vehicle. Folger was also found to have a warrant for her arrest for violation of probation. Folger was arrested for vehicle theft and the warrant. Folger was booked and lodged into the county jail.

On September 1st at about 10:20 AM Ukiah Police Officers responded to 214 Norton St for a report of a neighbor dispute in which one neighbor assaulted another with pepper spray. Upon officers arrival they contacted 47 year old Ukiah resident Vincent Gianvito and his neighbor. While interviewing the two it was determined that Gianvito had become upset over his neighbor’s dog defecating on his front porch. When the neighbor attempted to clean up and apologize to Gianvito for the dog’s actions, Gianvito assaulted the neighbor with pepper spray. Gianvito was arrested for improper use of tear gas.

On September 1st at about 11:17 PM, Ukiah Police Officers responded to the 600 block of S. State St regarding a traffic collision. This collision was the result of a single vehicle versus a City of Ukiah power pole. Upon officers arrival they contacted witnesses and 20 year old Ukiah resident Andrew Grebil. Grebil was identified as the driver of the vehicle by witnesses who reported seeing him driving southbound on S. State St weaving within the traffic lanes. Witnesses reported that Grebil’s vehicle failed to stay on the roadway and drifted onto the west sidewalk where it collided with the power pole. When officers spoke with Grebil he displayed objective symptoms of alcohol intoxication. For these reasons he was asked to complete a series of tests and eventually arrested for driving under the influence and driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .08% or above.


On September 2nd at about 3:44 PM a Ukiah Police Officer contacted 23 year old Ukiah transient Daniel Taylor. During this contact Taylor was found to be on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) and was subject to being searched. A search of Taylor’s person revealed him being in possession of pepper spray, which was a violation – unlawful possession of tear gas. Based on Taylor being on PRCS his probation officer was contacted and a hold was placed for violating his terms of PRCS by his probation officer. Taylor was booked and lodged into the county jail for the noted charges.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 6, 2014

Garcia, Gunter, Jenkins, Krch, Litzin, McGehee
Garcia, Gunter, Jenkins, Krch, Litzin, McGehee

RODRIGO GARCIA, Ukiah. DUI, driving without a license.

CLINT GUNTER, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

JAMES JENKINS, Ukiah. Resisting arrest.

CHRISTOPHER KRCH, Willits. DUI, Probation revocation.

KEVIN LITZIN, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

LUKE McGEHEE, Redwood Valley. Child endangerment.

ROMAN MENDOZA, Stockton. DUI, driving without a license. (Photo not available.)

Olstad, Pearson, Ryan, Sallinen, Want
Olstad, Pearson, Ryan, Sallinen, Want

RICHARD OLSTAD, Fort Bragg. Child endangerment, driving with invalid license, evading, resisting, probation revocation.

ADAM PEARSON, Ukiah. Battery.

DANIEL RYAN, Ukiah. Domestic assault, possession of a controlled substance, possession of over an ounce of marijuana, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

AMBER SALLINEN, Ukiah. Possession of meth, under the influence of controlled substance, contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

ELLA WANT, Lakeport. Child abuse/endangerment.

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Greetings AVA Staff

We had two wake up calls regarding the importance of wired phones. Americans oppressed by higher cost, more gizmos and wages that stalled many years ago look to wireless phone technology to save bucks. AT&T and other big wired companies are helping this along with fixed plans that require updates for discounts and high cost long distance when we all know they are doing what every other carrier is doing, satelliting or internet link. Wire phone connections are dropping like flies.

In the Fukushima disaster it was wired pay phones that saved day. Tokyo pay phones kept communication going. Payphones? Buckey Walters? What’s that? Wired phones require so little power to operate, often running on back up batteries with an occasional generator charge. When the main fiber optic line went down between the Coast and inland, it solely took down the internet as wired lines still redundantly picked up the duty. Those of us on wired phones maintained the clear connection that wired systems afford. Those with internet phones and cell phones that are dependent on fiber optics had no communication. That is pretty serious stuff. Bad enough in power outages that remote phones do not work, but no phones for emergencies? Imagine if the post office had finally died, another important redundant communication system with no email.

Here is the looming problem, AT&T and others would love to nix their wired systems because they cost to maintain many miles which they have been ignoring. President Clinton signed a deal with Newt Gingrich that allowed the wired companies to stop attending to their lines. There solution is wireless. It should be cables that replace old lines that are chewed up by squirrels or shot out with buck shot by users who know what squirrels can do.

As a point of history, rural phone lines came from the work of an unexpected resource: unified, nonpinko, farmers in the Grange. The Grange, a fraternal farmers union, has maintained a focus on decentralized everything because it means local jobs and local money. They believe firmly in decentralized local banks and had some Grange banks, one in San Francisco.

Wired phones should be cheap and available to all for a nominal cost if nothing else as for 911 and emergency calls. What can you do? Get one wired phone (~$25 with little use.) It will keep the big Phone companies wired and maintain the crucial redundancy we need to maintain continuous communication.

Oh, remember cell phones are causing brain, breast, testicular cancers and heart issues. Keep the phone off your body and away from you head. Cell based breast cancer is rising in very young woman, landmarked where the phone is stored in the woman’s bra. Get a special RF impenetrable wallet ( or leave it in your purse or knapsack. America is feeling the impact of these dangerous devices that simple need precautious use.

Greg Krouse, Philo

PS. I agree with various writers. Dr. Apfel has been a key component of our health clinic and a way beyond the call generous caregiver. He deserves much more. I don't understand this board but I feel he deserves to remain director and now needs an apology.

PSS. Any news on pothole heaven between Boonville and Philo on the “State Highway” that Caltrans is supposed to be maintaining? I am already amazed that they had that crew tearing up the last paving job on the south end. Who is organizing this stuff in Eureka, a two year old? Even our County puts in culverts before paving and then does the whole job. What's Up, Orange directors?

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Letter to the Editor

When someone is feeling suicidal on a Friday night in Fort Bragg, there is no Crisis Residential Treatment Center (CRTC) to provide the supportive connection and medical treatment the person needs. Privatization of mental health services means going to the ER and waiting for an Ortner non-medical person to drive from Ukiah to Fort Bragg to decide if you can get medical help.

The County Mental Health office is closed on Friday. If one went there during business hours, a receptionist would say “Call this 800 number for appointments for Intake and Assessment and then they may give you an appointment with a doctor.” Before privatization, you could walk in and see a medical provider 3 days/week, or a Crisis Worker (CW) 4 days/week during business hours. These local CWs would respond to the ER when called.

The Mendocino Coast Clinic does not provide crisis services but if you are a patient with MediCal or Medicare/Partnership Healthplan, you can make an appointment with a medical provider.

If you have private insurance or cash, there are two doctors in Mendocino who can help pre-crisis.

When someone is feeling suicidal, the will to die and the will to live may both be there and so a heart connection with someone who can help is critically important and superior to an 800 number with a stranger at the other end.

We need three supervisors to vote for 24/7 CRTCs in Fort Bragg and Ukiah, and to tell County Mental Health to get this done NOW.

Sonya Nesch, Comptche



  1. Jim Updegraff September 7, 2014

    Yep, just like I previously commented. There seems to be some crazy people at KZYX.

  2. Harvey Reading September 7, 2014

    “People have made investments based on promises in the existing system,” Howard said. “Towns grew up and land was developed based on promises of a secure water supply. Do we strand those investments to start over?”


    • Harvey Reading September 7, 2014

      Ag has been peddling lies for decades, in California and elsewhere. Take a look at the state domestic product. You’ll find their “contribution” is less than 2 percent of that product. Yet, everyone is expected to subsidize them, based on magic figures (multipliers) that their hired econostitutes gin up. Guess what? Every other business has multipliers, too. It’s basic economics. And, in the end, the relative paucity of ag contributions remains the same.

      They get water from taxpayer-funded dams and water conveyance projects, state and federal, and then on top of that, we pay most of the ongoing day-to-day costs to get them their cheap water. Users were supposed to pay for the costs of the State Water Project, too, through revenue bonds, but its cost fell onto general taxpayers … as usual.

  3. Helen Michael September 7, 2014

    Don’t tell me privatizing our mental health services is working.

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