Off the Record (Oct 8, 2014)

THEY COULDN'T CONVICT Laytonville's Matt Graves in Mendocino County, but it looks like the feds got him. Graves has pled guilty in federal court to multiple pot-related charges, according to a press release issued by the US Attorney’s Office. “Matthew David Graves pleaded guilty Friday to manufacturing and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, conspiracy to do so, and money laundering.”

Graves
Graves

THE FEDS got Graves to concede that he possessed “more than 100 marijuana plants with the intent to distribute them on multiple occasions between Nov. 6, 2008 and Nov. 8, 2012. He deposited the money into the account of his business — Matt Graves Construction — on multiple occasions, actions aimed at concealing the source of the money.”

GRAVES had faced nine federal charges, all versions of the same marijuana production and money laundering charges he has now pled out to. He refused to plead guilty to one charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He has also agreed to the forfeiture of his interest in four pieces of property in Leggett and a 2008 Toyota Tundra.

EACH CHARGE carries potential prison terms of between 20 years and 40 years.

GRAVES had been pursued for years by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. He will be sentenced on Wednesday, December 17th in US District Court in San Francisco.

A STUDY of 22 peer-reviewed analyses of 2013’s extreme weather argues that manmade global warming has caused a tenfold increase in the risk for long-lasting and severe heat waves. The analyses looked at 16 severe events in 2013, including the California drought and the Australian heat wave. A total of nine of the 16 events were tied to manmade climate change.

WE FINALLY obtained a copy of the video of the Board of Supervisors meeting on September 23 when Sheriff Allman took a few minutes during public expression to object to any promotion of Acting County Counsel Doug Losak to Interim County Counsel which included a pay raise. Here’s the full text of Allman’s complaint:

SHERIFF ALLMAN: “This is not a personal discussion with you. This is a business discussion. In yesterday's report out of closed session apparently this Board is prepared to offer Interim County Counsel an extension to his contract. I don't know if there is a pay raise or not but I find this offensive. I find this offensive in the fact that as we all know County Counsel has had criminal misconduct and if he gets one pay raise, even one dollar, what it means is our deputy sheriffs who caught him with a concealed firearm and with marijuana are still under a 10% pay cut and you are rewarding County Counsel for bad behavior. It's offensive. He cannot work for the Sheriff's office. I will not allow him to do any business with the Sheriff's office because while he and I disagree that there is a conflict of interest, I will say that there is a conflict of interest because the Mendocino County Sheriff's office initiated a procedure to get him through the criminal justice system. As far as I know he is the only County Counsel in the state of California that is on searchable probation. Now think about that. If you are extending his contract with a pay raise there is a little bit of misspending at this point. I have given County Counsel a copy of his criminal report. I handed it to him this morning. If you have questions about it I encourage you to ask him for it. Whether he wants to display it to you or show it to you that’s up to him. But he certainly has a copy from me. I encourage this Board, if you want to keep him County Counsel, to keep him for 12 months as interim, but do not offer him a pay raise. It is a slap in the face of every hard-working and honest county employee who has stuck by our 10% reduction. I was the very first elected official to take a voluntary pay reduction. And County Counsel, certainly when he was chief deputy, he did not take a pay cut as County Counsel. So this is not a personal attack against your County Counsel. This is reminding you that you were elected to represent the people and if you continue down this road the employees will not forget about it. The morale which will be damaged is unspeakable. So I encourage you to rethink this decision if there is a pay raise involved in keeping this County Counsel.”

BUT SUPERVISOR PINCHES says he's got the numbers to prove that "interim" County Counsel Losak deserves every penny of the big raise he just got to about $150,000 a year. Pinches says Losak saves the County a lot more money than the County pays him because he contests a lot of the claims against the County rather than simply handing claimants money to go away, as has been the past practice. Losak goes into court himself to beat back the phoniest money demands. "Hell," Pinches said Monday, "the County gets sued every week. We can't just pay people to go away. Losak has done a great job for the County of Mendocino."

PINCHES, in his last term as 3rd District supervisor, added that he didn't think Losak's famous midnight romp, during which he was corralled by deputy Massie with some pot and a loaded but safely stored pistol in his car, was "all that big a deal. We've all made mistakes."

I HAD TO AGREE with the supervisor on that one. Back in the day, I slid through a stop sign in Boonville one late night, probably in a condition that would qualify me as legally drunk. At the time, a particularly volatile interlude that won me a bushel of threats, some of them serious, I often carried a gun, a loaded gun for which I had no carry permit. As the Sheriff's deputy pulled me over for running the stop sign, the gun slid out from under my seat. Fortunately for me, the cop, who I didn't know, didn't see it. Doubly fortunate for me, I don't act drunk unless I'm really, really loaded. I remember the cop saying, “Just because it's late and no one's around, you still have to stop at stop signs.” I said I agreed completely, and off I went, sweating more bullets than I had in the gun.

BACK TO PINCHES. Asked why he was supporting Woodhouse to succeed him, he said during his last election when Holly Madrigal ran against him, “She said some pretty harsh things about me, things that are hard to forget; if someone slaps you in the face then asks to borrow five bucks.…" Pinches said he thought Woodhouse would be a good supervisor because he will be a “nuts and bolts guy,” meaning a supervisor who comes with an entirely local focus rather than, as Pinches put, “a GMO and fracking” focus, “stuff that's not primary in a place where most people want good roads and pipes that don't leak.”

A FEW YEARS AGO, THE STATE told the proliferating inland grape growers that they couldn't all pump at the same time from the dwindling Russian River on frost mornings to protect their grapes. The State said the grape people could even write their own frost protection plans, but the state had an obligation to protect the river for the sake of its remaining fish.

MOST PEOPLE thought the state was being more than reasonable, but the inland Mendo grape growers bull-rushed Judge Ann Moorman's superior courtroom, whining that the state had no business in their affairs, that the river water belonged to them because they had legal riparian access to it and that they were already “self-regulating.” The Judge duly produced an opinion that satisfied the crybabies, but which was predictably overturned by the State Appellate Court sitting in San Francisco a year later.

AN INTERESTING ASPECT of the frost protection water management issue that hasn’t been mentioned before is that the original lawsuit was filed in Mendocino County, not Sonoma County, even though Sonoma County has much more potentially affected vineyard acreage than Mendocino County.

THERE'S NOT MUCH DISPUTE that when grape growers turn on all their water pumps at once, a river or tributary creek can dry up pretty fast during a “frost event,” leaving dying fish in drained stream beds. There have been several of these mass fish kills over the years, a fact that doesn't seem to disturb the inland growers.

SO WHY WAS THE SUIT filed in Mendocino County, not in Sonoma by a combination of Mendocino and Sonoma growers? 1. Mendo’s inland vineyards are more prone to frost because a bunch of vineyards have been planted in colder areas near creekbeds where no old-school viticulturist (cf Parducci, long before everybody with $4 million dollars got into having his own vineyard) would have considered planting for fear of frost; and 2. Sonoma County is downstream of Mendo, so during a cold spell, if Mendo cranks up their pumps, there’s not much water left for Sonoma County vineyards, much less the endangered fish that die from stranding. Sonoma County growers are probably glad to see some minimal level of regulation applied to their heedless Mendo counterparts.

WHICH IS WHY Sonoma County Farm Bureau President Tito Sasaki said recently that Sonoma County grape growers had already begun work on the state-mandated frost water management plans when they were first required to be developed in 2011. That Sonoma County prep work was suspended in 2012 when Mendo Judge Ann Moorman issued a permanent injunction on the plan requirement at the request of a gaggle of self-aggrieved grape people who'd crowded her courtroom to demand relief from having to prepare their own rules.

ON WEDNESDAY, October 1, the California Supreme Court announced that they would let the appeals court ruling stand that overturned Moorman’s injunction. Barring further legal haggling, hundreds of grape growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties will now have to prepare and submit their own frost water management plans to make sure that minimum flows in the Russian River and its tributaries are maintained during spring freezes.

MANAGEMENT PLANS should make sense to the growers themselves because the present free-for-all gives an unfair advantage to the upstream pumpers who can pump as much as they want, leaving nothing for anybody downstream.

THE NEXT STEP will be the breakdown into two basic strategies for the frost water management system in the Russian River basin. 1. Opt out entirely, and promise never to pump directly out of the river for frost protection (which we imagine a good number of Mendo growers will do — promise, that is), or 2. Cooperate with other growers in such a way that pumping by one is coordinated with pumping by others so that no one pumper pumps too much.

“COOPERATION” is not a word that Mendo growers are particularly fond of, otherwise they wouldn’t have paid for the expensive lawyers to file for the 2011 injunction from Moorman in the first place. We expect that many Mendo grape growers will opt out and switch to a combination of pond storage and wind fans for frost protection. This in turn will leave the remaining growers who want to pump directly from the River on the hook for the plan preparation and implementation cost, and each of them will have to pay more than if everybody participated.

THIS IS THE TRUE REASON that motivated the Mendo growers to sue, even though Sonoma County and most legal observers — including Congressman Jared Huffman (a former environmental lawyer) — knew the suit would ultimately go nowhere because the State has always had the legal authority to regulate minimum river and stream flows.

THERE WILL NOW COMMENCE much backbiting between inland growers — this time between those who opt in to the frost water management system and those who opt out. Then, after that, they’ll have to deal with the Outlaw Pumpers — the growers who opt out with the “promise” not to pump, but who will continue to pump frost protection water out of the river anyway because, to them, their grapes are more important than the fish, their downstream neighbors, and — if they choose the wind-fan option — the sleep of anyone within earshot. PS. The issue may be moot if the predicted drought continues for much longer. You can’t manage frost protection water that’s not there.

IT'S GETTING 'DIRTY,' and nobody plays dirtier than The Nice People. From Lindy Peters' Facebook page: "Here is the latest article from the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Please take the time to read this. This same group Mr. Macdonald refers to is now trying to take me off the air by demanding equal time on the radio for their candidates. The radio station received a certified letter from them yesterday. I ran in 1992,1996 and 2000 without a problem. I have an entertainment/sports show, not a talk show. I never give my opinions about local politics on my show. Why is this group so afraid of me? Why will they do anything to keep me from winning? It is because I will not be a pawn for them and their agenda-driven vision of our city's future. The fact is, they do not like elections. They obfuscate the issues with dirty politics. Don't be fooled. Get the vote out and tell all your friends they really need to vote in this election and show these people our little town will not be run by special interest groups. (https://www.theava.com/archives/35497)

LINDY'S BEEN at KMFB forever. He works there. Lindy's the all-purpose guy at the station. He doesn't do any on-air electioneering. This attempt by anonymous crumb bums to cost the guy his livelihood simply because he's running for the Fort Bragg City Council is beyond unfair.

READ IT AND WEEP. Another total waste of public money. Squared. The Mendocino County Office of Education has somehow been handed two big hunks of federal tax money amounting to $1.7 million “for mental health awareness and training.”

SOMETHING called the “Project Aware Grant” is worth a hundred thou in blah-blah money to MCOE. It was “awarded” by the “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,” a federal agency. It gets worse...

MCOE ALSO RECEIVED a whopping $1.6 million “School Climate Transformation Grant” from a federal free money dispensary called the “Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities National Programs.” That pot of squandered dough will arrive at Talmage over five years, and will be distributed over a five-year period “to help promote mental health training, literacy, awareness and prevent mental health from hitting a breaking point in the community,” said Natasha Carter, MCOE student mental health initiative coordinator.

IN OTHER WORDS, a lot of money for a bunch of MCOE drones to sit around chatting or, as MCOE hustlers put it: “The grant will also provide training for six instructors in Youth Mental Health First Aid, who will then be able to train 250 school and community members during the two-year grant period… The training is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers and any other interested citizen in the community…”

THE IRONY is that the typical edu-experience most places — Ukiah certainly — is seemingly designed to enhance mental illness. Not to be tooooooo negative here, but Mendocino County's neurotic youth might at least feel temporarily saner and more hopeful if you simply divided up the $1.7 mil among them and their parents. As it is, you'll have the Tichinin Gang taking the biggest hunk for themselves and ever more young people turning to dope and despair in an overall context of irreversible social decay.

FROM FRIDAY'S PD: "Video: Islamic State group beheads British hostage." One has to wonder who's the more barbarous, the beheaders or newspapers trying to cash in on their atrocities.

THE WOMAN who drove over a 200-foot oceanside cliff with her two children near Westport late last Friday morning is now under investigation for having done it deliberately. One child was airlifted to Oakland with major head injuries, and one other person in the car was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. It is not known whether that person was the mother or the second child. The CHP apparently had at least one witness who placed the episode at exactly 11:22am.

THE LOVE-IN IT POT COOPERATIVE'S proprietors, Sherry Glaser Love and Robert Love have filed three separate claims against the county totaling $535,000 for the allegedly mistaken raids on Love-In It last March 4th of this year. The Cooperative says it's a medical cannabis dispensary that has operated on the Mendocino Coast for several years.

LOVE-IN IT'S first claim is for $250,000 for damages at the dispensary's primary location: “COMMET [County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team], MCTF [Mendocino County Task Force] raided medical cannabis dispensary confiscating all medicine and computers, arrested two employees. Articles of incorporation, business license, seller's permit, membership in Chamber of Commerce clearly posted.” Damages/loss: “We lost cooperative's medical cannabis; loss of wages from 3/4-4/1 when dispensary reopened, $1500”… [Continuation not available.] County employees alleged to have caused the damage/loss: “MCTF, COMMET.” Total claim: $250,000.

THE SECOND CLAIM is from Robert Love for personal loss/damage at his Fort Bragg home: “Following a raid on both our business and home on March 4, 2014, not only did I lose my bank account but also personal firearms which were family heirlooms. In addition to losing my bank account I also lost wages and damage to my” … [continuation not available]. Damage/Loss: “Lost wages, emotional trauma, loss of credit status, stress for covering financial records, loss of family heirlooms.” Total claim: $35,000.

THE THIRD CLAIM is by Sherry Glaser Love for the same series of raids but at her home in Albion: “SWAT team raided my home in Albion, 17-year-old daughter awakened by police, guns drawn. Daughter already sick in bed, handcuffed and brought downstairs. I was handcuffed along with my brother visiting from out of town. House ransacked. All medical cannabis confiscated. Myself and oldest daughter brought to jail.” Damages/Loss: “Family terrorized by excessive force, minor daughter had her phone and computer seized which prohibited her from returning to school. $10,000 lost in tuition. My personal bank accounts seized in the amount”… [continuation not available]. Total claim: $250,000.

LoveInItReopens
Love In It crew celebrates reopening with Supervisor Hamburg

ED NOTE: As best we can determine there were no charges brought against the Love-In It people or those arrested in the aftermath of the raid. They are not included among the Court’s pending cases other than a civil claim filed by the Cooperative. Ms. Glaser Love has said that some of what was seized had nothing to do with her dispensary or her family.

NICE LEAD Sunday by Chron sports writer, Ann Killion following the Giants magnificent 18 inning triumph over the Washington Nationals: “It was one of the longest filibusters the nation's capital has witnessed. A war of attrition. Baseball's version of a government shutdown. The Giants and the Nationals played an instant classic. A throwback game of pitching and guts and determination.”

IN THE RUN UP TO KZYX’S Big 25th Anniversary celebration on the 11th at the Boonville Fairgrounds, long-time hum&strum programmer and BigBash organizer Jimmy Humble put out a call for people to submit their favorite KZYX stories. There were zero takers, and zero detectable interest in the big party this week. On Monday, Humble posted on the KZYX Programmers listserve: “Well, no one offered any stories, so I guess I’ll have to make something up. Thanks anyway.”

HUMBLE didn’t ask us. If he had, we could have come up with a few without having to make anything up. For example the day the local UPS driver tried to deliver a package at KZYX. Next stop was the AVA. "Hey!" the UPS guy asked, "is KZYX weirder than usual?" Why?, we asked, observing that the place was always at least ten degrees off. "Well," the UPS guy said, "Jack Tysseling is sitting at the reception desk in a party dress, high heels and lipstick." We agreed that was a departure even for Audio Cuckoo. Or the time one of the higher-ups arrived late at night to discover her husband and another bigwig rolling around nude on the floor of the on-air studio. (Musta been the music.) Or the time then-station manager Phil Tymon and his “Leadership Mendocino” crew (including the then-Ukiah Police Chief) came back to KZYX's ramshackle premises after having a few beers at the Boonville Lodge and decided they’d do a joke “take over” of the station. The joke somehow morphed into a large but wasteful libel suit when the incident was written up from the perspective of the two women who were at the station at the time. Or the time Judi Bari lead a band of outpatients and treehuggers in a station invasion which resulted in a confrontation between Bari and loyal programmer Gordy Black. As Bari tried to push her way in, Gordy, shouting, "Fascist, fascist, fascist!" manfully (?) tried to muscle Bari aside. But Bari, the on-scene intellectual, shouting "Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you!,” shoved the cravat-wearing roue aside, soon gaining full possession of the on-air studio. You had to have been there, but take it from me, it was drop-fall hilarious. We could go on into, for instance, present manager John Coate's Queeg-like memos, but those are for the more refined precincts of humor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.