Mendocino County Today: Friday, Oct 10, 2014

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WHEN ELAINE Matthews, 72, was arrested Monday night at her Little River home for an alleged assault on her boyfriend, James Meacham, 65, we took one look at her booking photo, her background, her age, her lack of a record, and a long look at Mr Meacham's many arrests records, concluding that Ms. Matthews, ultimately was probably the victim, not the perp.

MATTHEWS has a not uncommon story. Her first husband, Bert Pulitzer, is descended from the famous newspaper family and is a famous men's clothing designer in New York. Media reports say Glenn Beck is one of his favorite television personalities, an indication that Ms. Matthews was well out of that marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Pulitzer divorced many years ago with Bert leaving her with three children and little financial support. Their adult daughter, Lisa Pulitzer, is a well-known crime writer; the family is socially prominent enough to have her (Lisa’s) wedding written up in the New York Times. Ms. Matthews' second husband, Gilbert Matthews, is a San Francisco-based investment banker. They divorced sometime in the early 2000s.

MATTHEWS moved to the Mendocino Coast from San Francisco and continued her work as an interior designer, receiving honorary acknowledgement from the Mendocino Historic Review Board for her “careful restoration and rehabilitation of the Denslow-Hayden House and guest cottage (circa 1875) on Ukiah Street.”

Meacham, Matthews
Meacham, Matthews

MEACHAM, seven years Matthews' junior, has a much less impressive pedigree. His arrest record goes back to 2007 (in Mendocino County) with DUI and domestic violence as the recurring themes. His arrests for domestic violence are recurring. On New Year’s Day 2011, Meacham was arrested at Matthews' home on Headlands Drive in Little River and subsequently pleaded guilty to domestic violence, receiving a 36 month probation but no jail time. The arrest was for corporal injury to a spouse, presumably Ms. Matthews, during which Meachem also physically prevented her from calling the police.

THE POLICE REPORT READ: “Deputies learned from both the victim and suspect [James Meacham] that they had been involved in a verbal argument that escalated into Meacham grabbing hold of the victim's arm to prevent her from summoning law enforcement by telephone. During the physical contact the victim sustained her injury…”

IN AUGUST 2013 Ms. Matthews obtained a restraining order followed by another call in January of 2014 for a domestic disturbance.

AND THEN last Monday, October 7, 2014, somehow it is Ms. Matthews who attacked this man?

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REFRESHLINGLY BLUNT COMMENTS about abortion services and the Adventist Health for-profit health/hospital chain were made by all five candidates for the Coast Hospital Board last week, as summarized in the Advocate-Beacon:

“…The question that got the most applause of the night asked if candidates support a woman's right to access a full range of medical services, including abortion, and if they would rule out Adventist's management of the hospital because of the company's stance against abortion. Across the board, all five candidates expressed resolutely their belief in a woman's right to have access to abortion services. Dr. Peter Glusker said if some form of alliance with Adventist or St. Joseph's is possible, it should be kept on the table, but if that alliance in any way jeopardized a woman's right to obtaining an abortion on the coast, he would absolutely not support it. Incumbent Dr. John Kermen got a laugh out of the crowd when he said he was against anything pertaining to Adventist, describing them as ‘shady’ and anti-union. Michael Carroll said the issue of affiliation becomes complicated because hospitals are surviving via affiliations nowadays; however, he has had direct personal experience with the business side of Adventist and would rather not deal with them in any way. Registered Nurse Kitty Bruning shared the other candidate's mutual distrust of Adventist, based in part on having worked at the Ukiah Valley Medical Center, an Adventist property. Dr. William Rohr said one of the challenges faced by MCDH is finding a way to offer abortions that doesn't jeopardize the financial stability of the hospital. He said the resolution truly lies with the state Legislature.”

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 9, 2014

Grinsell, Haddock, Rathblott, Escareno
Grinsell, Haddock, Rathblott, Escareno

MANDY GRINSELL, Willits. Possession of meth, driving without valid license.

REBECCA HADDOCK, Caspar. DUI.

CHELSEY RATHBLOTT, Mendocino. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale.

MARCOS ESCARENO, Manchester. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, battery with serious injury, parole violation.

Cole, Kenyon, Madrigal, Moore
Cole, Kenyon, Madrigal, Moore

DOUGLAS COLE, Sacramento/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JEREMY KENYON, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, court order violation, probation revocation.

DAVID MADRIGAL, Willits. Sale of meth.

SCOTT MOORE, Point Arena. Probation revocation.

Ray, Valley, Walrath, Wolsko
Ray, Valley, Walrath, Wolsko

EUGENE RAY, Covelo. Battery.

PHILIP VALLEY SR., DUI with drugs with priors, under influence of controlled substance, petty vandalism with priors.

MERRILL WALRATH, Ukiah. Possession of drugs while armed, failure to appear.

RAYMOND WOLSKO, Ukiah. DUI.

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$242,000 CIVIL JUDGMENT AGAINST TRESPASSING MARIJUANA GROWER

by Brian Momsen of the Carter, Momsen and Knight law firm in Ukiah

A Mendocino County Superior Court judge has imposed a six-figure damages award against a Santa Cruz man who trespassed on his neighbor's Covelo property to grow marijuana. The Honorable Jeanine Nadel issued a decision on October 6, 2014, awarding plaintiffs Maria and Ernesto Salazar a total of $242,000 in damages against defendant Ross Matejcek on the Salazar's claim that Matejcek trespassed on their property by taking land, water and 225 trees to facilitate his marijuana grow. Matejcek has also been ordered to remove encroachments and restore an excavated hillside.

The Salazars have owned their 10 acre parcel improved with a cabin in the Chicken Ridge area of Covelo since 1982 which they used as a vacation spot for their family. In 2007 Matejcek purchased a 20 acre parcel immediately downhill from the Salazars after unsuccessfully trying to buy the Salazars' property. Matejcek constructed a road which required the excavation of a hillside and the removal of approximately 225 trees on Salazars' property. The court found that Matejcek took water from an uphill source on the Salazars' property to fill large tanks and a pool he placed on the Salazars' property and ran lines from these holding areas further downhill to his marijuana garden and a large retention pond on his own property. The court's ruling awarded the Salazars $202,500 for the removal of the trees, $39,600 for the reasonable rental value for the use of the Salazars' property and water and ordered Matejcek to restore the roadway to its original grade, remove gates, fencing, and irrigation lines.

"California law provides a property owner that has suffered a trespass such as this one with a wide range of damages claims and other remedies for the same conduct the trespasser which do not necessarily overlap. Trespass marijuana grows are a major issue in this community, not only on public lands but also on private property and we are happy that the Court views these violations as a serious matter.

In fact the Court awarded the Salazars treble damages in regard to their claim for timber trespass finding that Matejcek's conduct was willful and malicious. The court found that Matejcek "never obtained a formal survey of his parcel when he purchased it and instead made what this court considers a halfhearted attempt to locate the boundary lines with some local friends. He commenced construction of the road, fencing and culverts which required the removal of trees without clear certainty of the boundary lines and without ever contacting the plaintiffs in spite of knowing who they were and where they could be reached. Defendant's total disregard for his neighbors gives rise to something more than a casual or involuntary trespass."

"I called Sheriff Allman repeatedly from 2010 until this year to report this damage and the stealing of our water but a deputy was not even sent out to the scene," stated Maria Salazar. "Even after we received and informed the sheriff of the results of the survey a few months after we discovered the trespass clearly showing that the road and water tanks were on our side of the property line, no one came. Later when we reported this conduct to the County Building and Planning Department, the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Department of Fish and Game, they cited Mr. Matejcek for his conduct performed without permits on his own property, but did not do anything about the damage to my property. Paying $15,000 for survey work and being in litigation for the last several years was our only remedy. While we are happy with the court ruling, we still have to collect and enforce this judgment and wish that there was a simpler process for landowners who have suffered this type of violation and humiliation other than going to trial in civil court."

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ONE OF THE COUNTY'S great distance runners, Jim Gibbons, in town for the Noyo Run in Fort Bragg on Saturday... "I've been keeping track of my races since my first in 1978, and just last month I ran my 500th race (I count track meets as one race, but don't include high school and college track and cross-county). What happened that day amused me...It was the Run for Hope 5K (anytime the word hope is used in a footrace/walk, the money or some of it, goes to fighting breast cancer)...it was also my first race as a 70 year old that had age-divisions, so when I found out I was second I wanted to meet the guy who beat me, but all I could find in my grey-haired investigation was a 65-year-old who is also a triathlete and said he was doing the Ironman. I was impressed and satisfied that he was a fitter athlete. Then I looked a little harder at the results and there was no 70-year-old division, only 60 and over. Sort of like the 19-and-under age-group...usually a 19-year-old outruns a 14-year-old...."

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STOP LIGHTS

Editor:

For years I have been trying to understand why Caltrans leaves projects almost completed, going away and returning sometimes months later to paint stripes, for example, that are the completion. (For months the traffic light stopping traffic on the almost complete bridge across Greenwood Creek on Highway 1 serves to illustrate.) One thought was that the agency simply didn't regard public convenience as relevant or as the reaction of besieged bureaucrats intended to annoy the public that may interfere.

My latest theory has to do with bloated middle management: a manager is only permitted to have x-number of projects on his desk at any given time, so having several almost completed projects means not having to take on a new one. It might also require the department to hire someone new which increases the size of the Department.

Anyone have a better explanation?

Peter Lit

Elk

PS. Normally I skip Bruce McEwen's mean-spirited court reporting entirely. I don't like bullies and I consider it wrong to attack essentially defenseless people. But, while reading page 12 of the October 1st issue my eyes drifted to the bottom of column 3 and I was amazed and delighted to see Mr. McEwen exhibit understanding and compassion. One can only hope this is a trend. Of course, it is always "open season" on those who consciously choose to function in the public realm.

ED NOTE: Bullying? Mean spirited? Dude! Please. McEwen merely reports what he sees and hears in our stumbling courts, and is the best at it that this county has ever seen.

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WHY?

County offices will be closed on Monday, October 13, in observance of Columbus Day, and will resume their normal hours of operation on Tuesday, October 14.

All branches of the Mendocino County Library will be closed on Monday, October 13, as well.

For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.

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FOUR MEN believed to have committed a Redwood Valley home invasion robbery Wednesday night, were arrested soon after near Geyserville by Sonoma County deputies.

CAPTAIN GREG VAN PATTEN of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department said the invasion occurred at a Redemeyer Road home, adding that police don't believe the Hispanic crew stopped on 101 near Geyserville is linked to two other Redwood Valley home invasions, one of them at the home of the owner of the venerable and popular Redwood Valley restaurant, the Broiler Steak House. Those robberies were committed by white invaders. Van Patten said none of the victims of Wednesday's robbery had been injured.

THE REDEMEYER ROAD SUSPECTS are identified as Christopher Montoya, 29, no hometown provided; Jose Israel Cabrera, 24, no hometown provided; Jonathan Otero-Cruz, 25, of San Bernardino and Filomino Nunez, 38, of Compton.

THEY OFFERED conflicting stories of why they were in the Ukiah far from their homes in Southern California.

TEN POUNDS of marijuana, an assault rifle with a pistol grip and collapsible stock, a shotgun, zip-ties and several other bags containing marijuana were discovered in the suspects' vehicle, as were three black bandanas, a black ski mask, three sets of binoculars, 15 live shotgun shells, brass knuckles, a black paintball gun and two computers.

EVERY YEAR at this time thugs from all over the state head for the Northcoast to rip off properties where they believe they might find lucrative amounts of cash and marijuana.

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WILLITS DRUG MANUFACTURER SENT TO STATE PRISON

A tenant who caused a drug-related explosion which resulted in a Holly Street rental property being fully engulfed in flames was sentenced Wednesday morning to three years in state prison. David Madrigal, Sr., age 39 of Willits, stands convicted of feloniously and recklessly causing a fire of a structure. Madrigal was ordered to pay fire suppression costs. Final restitution to the landlord and his insurance company was reserved pending a future hearing. After a brief stay to say goodbye to family members, Madrigal was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon to be transported to the reception center at San Quentin to commence serving his commitment.

During the evening hours of March 1, 2014, Willits fire and police personnel responded to a fire on Holly Street. While fire suppression efforts were underway, it was reported to the police that the tenant known to live at the house was seeking medical treatment for burns at Howard Hospital. Initially blaming an unknown stranger he saw in his yard, Madrigal said he could only remember a “huge explosion” and “giant fireball” which he claimed knocked him out. Though claiming to have been knocked out, Madrigal also claimed that he tried to put out the fire, failed in that effort because of its size, and left to walk to the hospital. Responding agents from the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force determined that a butane honey oil (also known as hash oil) extraction lab had been in operation at the residence. The process used in making BHO (butane honey oil) is extremely dangerous to human life and property, and this lab had exploded causing the fire. After further questioning by the Task Force at the hospital, Madrigal admitted he was operating the BHO lab just prior to the explosion at the same residence where he and his family lived, and that he was selling the finished product in the local community. In his letter to the court, Willits Fire Chief Carl Magann expressed safety concerns. “I believe that anyone who willingly releases butane gas into the tight confines of an enclosed building, complete with an operating heating device, attached to an occupied building, is creating an unjustifiable, objectionable, and substantial risk, especially when that exposure includes children,” wrote Magann.

District Attorney David Eyster agrees with Chief Magann and confirmed his no nonsense policy relating to these types of home-made labs. “Mendocino County criminals who put lives and property at risk by manufacturing honey or hash oil will feel the full force of the law if they survive the fairly common explosions,” said Eyster. Deputy District Attorney Daniel Madow, the prosecutor who personally handled the prosecution of Madrigal, expressed his appreciation after court to Fire Chief Magann and his Little Lake District firemen for their fast response to hold the fire in check until extinguished. Madow also thanked the Willits Police Department and the Task Force for their investigative work. Under the Realignment laws, Madrigal is eligible to earn up to 50% credit against his 36 month prison commitment. Assuming all credits are earned, it is believed that Madrigal will be paroled from prison back to Mendocino County in approximately March 2016, then to begin a period of formal supervision under the watchful eyes of a local parole agent.

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On October 7 a mistrial was declared this afternoon by Judge Jeanine Nadel in the criminal prosecution of Thomas Alan Gordon, age 30, of Shasta City. Gordon is charged with a misdemeanor violation of Health and Safety Code section 11377(a), possession of methamphetamine. After deliberating, the jury reported to the court that they were hopelessly deadlocked. Once a mistrial was declared, it was revealed that the split was 8 to 4 for acquittal. Following a top-to-bottom review by supervisors in the DA's Office, a decision will be made next week whether the case will be reset for trial in front of a new jury. The prosecutor who presented the People's trial evidence was Deputy District Attorney Jessalee Mills. The investigating law enforcement agency was the Willits Police Department. The two day trial was held in Dept. G.

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On October 1st, a mistrial was declared by Judge John Behnke in the criminal prosecution entitled The People of the State of California v. Steven Len Munson, Munson was charged with a misdemeanor violation of Health and Safety Code section 11377(a), possession of methamphetamine. When it was first determined that the jury was hung 9 to 3, Judge Benhke reopened the case and allowed both sides to present limited additional arguments to the jury. Then, after additional deliberations, the jury again returned only to announce that they were now hopelessly deadlocked. After the mistrial was formally declared, the foreperson advised the court that the split had grown to 10 to 2, with 10 jurors favoring a guilty verdict. The case was continued to October 10th to pick a new trial date.

(District Attorney’s Press Releases)

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VOTE HOLLY, A RARE CHANCE

Dear Editor,

I’m voting for Holly Madrigal because she’s energetic, experienced and committed to a safe, prosperous and environmentally sound Mendocino County. Her many years on the Willits City Council give her the knowledge, countywide contacts and experience she needs to wade through government red tape and get things done.

I’m particularly happy that as a supervisor Holly promises to create a countywide water-use policy and plan that guarantees every citizen’s right to clean water. Her commitment to legalizing marijuana will help convert our underground, crime-ridden, black-market cannabis economy into a thriving, taxable industry providing healthy products and good jobs for many. I won’t miss this rare chance to vote for a candidate who has the vision, integrity, and conscience to make a great county even greater. Vote Holly!

Sincerely, Jane Futcher, Willits/Laytonville

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MEET & GREET ANDERSON VALLEY’S NEW DOCS, open house Thursday, 6-8 PM at the clinic. First things first. If you have not received the word, the clinic will have an open house Thursday evening at 6:00 to introduce new Medical Director Dr. David. Gorchoff, and new Primary Care doctor Logan McGhan. Be sure to come if you can. There were about 25 people at the last meeting. There were new faces at the table but no introductions. I have heard nothing more about [Dr.] Mark [Apfel], he was to have had a “listening” session with the Board on Sept. 30, at his request it was cancelled because the Board had agreed to an arbitration session. I have no idea what this means. I again asked at the last meeting that the Board clarify their intentions regarding any merger with other clinics or sale or lease of the building. [Board member] Eric Labowitz, speaking to me by phone said emphatically that the Board had answered that question many times. I have never seen that answer, only general statements of their good intentions to keep good health care available in Anderson Valley. There was no news about the pharmacy. There was no report on the needs survey except that they were still looking for more information from the Ag workers community. There was no financial report except that the Treasurer had talked to the new Financial Officer about what kind of report should be made. Spiller/Cornejo and Gorchoff submitted written reports, I sent those to you before the meeting. There was no discussion of them. After Thursday’s open house I will report on that, and the meeting in more detail.

— Gene Herr

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THIS WEEKEND IN AV

THE BIG HOMECOMING GAME, UNDEFEATED BOONVILLE VS. MENDOCINO is today, Friday, October 10, 2014 at the Boonville Fairgrounds at 5pm.

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C'MON HOME TO EAT this weekend with AV Foodshed

On Friday, Paysanne is offering a free small coffee with the purchase of a local crepe.

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The Buckhorn in Boonville is offering a local food selection on it's menu.

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Harvest Party Benefit for Anderson Valley Community Farm

Free Party on Friday October 10, 5 PM to late.

Live Music, Food, Beer/Hard Cider, Farm Games, and more!!

Details on attached flyer. Hope to see you there

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The Boonville Farmers' Market will feature an abundance of fall produce. Also local meat, olive oil, handmade soaps, music and apple pressing.

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After the market, there will be a Backyard Mini Farm Workshop at WildeAcre Farm in Boonville. It will begin at 1:00 and go as long as there is interest. It will cover herb and vegetable gardening, composting, orchard, beekeeping and chickens. It will be a Q&A format, with input from all participants. Call 895-2949 for more information.

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Sunday is the AV Grange Pancake, Bacon and Egg Breakfast, with a gluten free option. If you have never made it down to this 2nd Sunday event, you're missing out on great food and community. It is at the Grange Hall between Boonville and Philo, 8:30-11:00.

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Murphy
Murphy

ON WEDNESDAY, October 8, 2014 at 11:41 P.M., inmates alerted staff to an attempted suicide at the Mendocino County Adult Detention Facility. Upon arrival, staff found 36-year-old Shane Murphy of Cleone, California unconscious on the floor of his cell. His two cellmates were attempting to perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation. Correctional staff took over life-saving measures and an ambulance was summoned. When the ambulance arrived, medical personnel evaluated Murphy and determined that he was deceased. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office will conduct a thorough death investigation pursuant to standard policy and procedure.

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HEAVY METAL

Head bangers in leather

Sparks fly in the dead of the night

It all comes together

When they shoot out the lights

50,000 watts of power

And it's pushin' overload

The beast is ready to devour

All the metal they can hold

reachin overload

Start to explode

[Chorus:]

It's your one way ticket to midnight

Call it Heavy Metal

Higher than high, feelin' just right

Call it Heavy Metal

Desperation on a red line

Call it Heavy Metal noise

Tight pants and lipstick

She's riding on razor's edge

She holds her own against the boys

Yeah! Cuts through the crowd just like a wedge

Ohh, can you feel the static

So many contacts being made

We've got up front fanatics

Tearing down the barricade

To reach the stage

Can you feel the rage

[Chorus]

--Sammy Hagar

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SEMIOTICS

Biro needed gas so he pulled up to a pump at the Valero station on Hwy. 12. There was a ragged plastic grocery sack stuck on the pump handle that Biro ignored as trash. He turned on the pump, stuck the nozzle in his car, and pulled the handle. Gas started jetting from a crack in the woven flexy tube up at the top of the pump, spraying over his car and the concrete apron. Biro shut off the pump and went to the office. "Hey, your pump is broken" "That's why the bag is there" "What?" "The bag means the pump is broken so don't use it." "I'm supposed to know that?" "Everybody knows that" "Well I don't know that, and you could have a fire" Biro walked back to his car and looked at the pump. With the nozzle in it's cradle, two holes to accommodate a padlock were cast into the frame. Biro went back to the office. "Why don't you lock out the broken pump before you have an accident?" "We don't have a padlock" This was an insufficient answer to satisfy Biro so he went down to the Fire Department and ragged on them about it. "We'll look at it" they said. "You oughta, You're gonna have to put out the fire if it starts" Any insurance executive would shit to know that the gas station he insures is not prepared to lock out a pump. But the managers onsite would rather save $5 today. The prospect of a million dollar fire is out of mind. Money trumps everything. A commuter train rounding a curve north of New York City ran off the rails, doing 85 in a 35 zone. The train operator was operating incorrectly. There were plenty of signs, Speed Limits, Curve, whatever train companies post. But the operator had sole control. "Don't these dopes know what ATC [ Automatic Train Control] is?" asked J. Biro's brother Smiro Biro. He already knew the answer, money trumps everything. It was cheaper for the railroad to kill passengers now and then, rather than install ATC. The government wanted to bury all the nation's nuclear waste in a hole somewhere. They hosted a design seminar/contest to designers and artists to erect a sign or monument that would give warning to all curiosity seekers not to dig here for the next quarter-million years. When you think about it, it's impossible. Biro imagined that the best course of action would be for the government to obliterate any surface traces and return the area to random desert. But this could not be done quickly. The government would have to establish a phony base of some sort under an irrelevant reason. This base would have to be maintained for generations until knowledge of the buried waste died out. Then the base could be slowly phased out and demolished as desert flora shrouded everything. But the knowledge of the waste, as information, could not be deleted entirely. There's still no clear solution here. And apparently that's enough reason not to try. No one wants the stuff so with the short-term mentality of the Money people, it's cheaper and easier to leave it all cooking in water filled holes all over the nation. When Biro thought of all the cans that get kicked down the road, this is the biggest and ugliest. J. Biro wanted to buy some honey. At the market the honey was sold in bulk from a big can. He had to hold the container under the spout and operate the handle. The operation required him to rotate the handle body 90 degrees to the left, then squeeze the little lever inside the handle to let the honey out. Biro had never operated this handle before so he didn't know that it was primitive in that it did not have a positive stop. He took his hand off the handle and the honey kept pouring out. He had to get a store goon to turn it off before they had a giant mess on the floor. The goon looked at Biro as if it were his fault that the handle was not designed with a positive stop. "Everybody knows how this works" "They do? You mean that I'm the only idiot in the world?" "Well, you said it, I didn't" "Why don't you put up a sign about how to use the honey dispenser?" "I think I will make one now." "Do you know what semiotics is?" "No." No matter what sort of sign they put up, they will continue to have honey spills because of the bad design that allows mistakes to have consequences. But, once again, Money. Add your own stories. There must be millions!

PS. J. Biro isn't confused at all. Smiro misread (as usual) the original post. I didn't even touch the bag on the pump. It was barely there, and wasn't at all in the way of removing the handle from the bracket. As to not having any experience, blah blah, in my work I deal constantly with the bad engineering and cost cutting by manufacturers of home products. As to Valero being a ripoff gas station, tell me about one that isn't. And as to all the whiny criticism of my not automatically comprehending the bad semiotics (example: bag=malfunction), tell it to the jury when they are considering the damages against you for not taking responsibility when you knew or should have known (as lawyers like to say) of a hazard that you alone will be logically held responsible for. As to being the only idiot in the world, the question was obviously rhetorical, but it was over the head of the store goon, and the rest of you as well. The world is full of idiots, but labeling as such is not a defense against liability. Safety engineers can do their best but (original point reiterated in case you have forgotten) bean counters will always have the final say, until and only until the cost of damages to the company becomes untenable. They will continue to kill their customers until it bites their bottom lines. As to acting "willfully dumb", this is an irrelevant ad hominem, but does serve to illustrate why business managers must account for human nature. Maybe when everyone is as intelligent and alert as Smiro and Morton Gomberg 24/7, safety engineers can relax and fuhgeddaboudit.

PPS. In the midst of severe draught, L.A. suffers two burst water mains -- loss of many millions of gallons. Why? -- failure to maintain or replace out-dated infrastructure. My first question -- did high executive salaries cut deep into infrastructure maintenance funds? No one is asking that question, so I suppose the answer to my first question is NO. Only J. Biro could conclude that a bag over a pump has no meaning other than that it should be removed and the pump used. And why is that dork buying his gas at Valero anyway, the biggest rip-off gas station in the world? And who gives a shit anyway? Because of incompetence, which is what we are really talking, we are all going to die -- either at the hands of ebola or of ISIS. Have a happy day.

PPPS. Well, no way to get through to Jay Biro. Jay has never had any sort of experience in any of such systems, none with engineering design, none with working with teams on said designs, none with anything. The only thing Biro has is a good native intelligence, but this does not qualify him to comment materially on technical matters. Biro himself states the key phrase, "proactively minimize." That is exactly what designers do. The people who design these systems do their dead level best to make them fail-safe. They do a remarkably good job. The problem, and Jay's confusion, arises from two separate issues. Technical designers of systems like our ATO are highly conscious of safety. Unfortunately, they are also answerable to the boys in finance. In Metro's case, cost was not the primary concern, this being a public transit authority. If we look at General Motors latest catastrophe, the company was extremely miserly, to a fault. There are whole courses and volumes of books about operations in bureaucracy. If biro has something to add, write a letter. But to the gas pump, apparently there will be people like biro who will yank the bag off the handle and crank up the trigger. That situation must be anticipated. I still say that that was willfully dumb.

PPPPS. After several years, Metro has installed a completely redesigned ATO system. Actually the only intelligent thing for a manager of any system to do is to design things to accomodate the irreducible percentage of persons who will find a way to manifest system errors. It is not the responsibility of the customer to avoid built-in accident potential. It is the responsibility of the business involved to proactively minimize designed-in pathways to accidents. Any systems administrator or insurance executive will agree with this. Avoiding woulda-shoulda-couldas is the sole responsibility of the business involved. Historically, businesses will avoid proactive repairs to their systems until the monetary damages to their bottom lines arouse the wrath of their investors. But this proaction is not the responsibility of the customer, in law or fact.

PPPPPS. The train crash thing is a bit different from Jay Biro's misinterpretation of the gas handle bag. ATO systems are traditionally installed in subway systems, since they run trains with as little as 2 minutes between them. This is called "headways." The railroads have ensured this did not arrive on their lines by having good lawyers in Congress. There is, after all, a lot of very expensive equipment involved. They would have to hire more trained people to monitor the computer end of system. Not an excuse, but that's how it is. When ATO failed in Washington, trains crashed together killing 9 people. This exposed that complex systems have some flaw that perhaps could not be anticipated. New regulations for heavy rail are coming online, with a "traction control" system. Now, J biro and the plastic bag are another matter. J Biro's brain is like our ATO. A complex, self-centered system that considers its wants to be paramount. Thus, rather than having the good sense to STOP AND ASK SOMEONE before ripping the bag off a gas pump, J Biro goes ahead and ends up with gas on him and the car. Really, this is just a simple case of lack of patience and common sense. Yes, yes, they should have locked out the pump. The world is full of woulda-shoulda-coulda's, and you have to think about things some times before you plunge in. The honey pot thing is a similar example. I like the store employee's answer to Biro. Biro thinks that every system, even simple ones, should conform to his superior understanding of design. But they don't. This is why more socialized people have learned to ASK, not worrying about whether this makes them look silly or not.

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THE INCARCERATION OF THE AMERICAN CONSUMER

by Ralph Nader

How do corporate attorneys sleep at night considering that with the power of their large corporate clients, they often crush the freedoms of workers, consumers and small communities who are trying to break out of a complex web of shackles?

These highly paid power lawyers expertly weave an intricate system of controls into one-sided contracts enforced by laws garnished with the muscle of big business to wear down all but the most intrepid shoppers.

I am not only referring to the mass marketing scams, crams, deceptions and hidden frauds. Who can keep track of this proliferation in the credit, lending, insurance, cell phone, car, health care, home repair and mortgage businesses? Every year, books and manuals come out to show consumers how they can smartly protect themselves and their money. They are written in a clear, detailed and graphic manner, but they almost never become best sellers.

Vendors are trained to rip people off from a distance and make them feel good at the same time. That is one of the purposes of advertisements and packaging. Ripping off consumers is made easier because elementary and high schools neglect this subject. After twelve years of education, millions of students are unequipped with the needed knowledge that can enable them to make astute purchases and pursue remedies if they are cheated.

We need to focus on the incarcerating infrastructure that corporate attorneys build year after year to insulate their corporate paymasters from structural accountability under the rule of law.

Take the two main pillars of American law — contracts and torts. For half a century, power lawyers, backed by corporate campaign cash for legislators, have hacked at the roots of the legal protections for shoppers and for wrongfully injured people. Fine print contracts — called “mice print” by Senator Elizabeth Warren — block consumers from going to court and mandate compulsory arbitration. Other fine print lets the vendors change the contract any time without getting specific consent of the buyers. Internet fine print amounts to simply “clicking” and being instantly bound by a matrix of contract peonage. This victory for corporate lawyers is a defeat for the American people who lose their freedom of contract — a servitude that should arouse conservatives and liberals alike.

And, the other freedom to have safe products, services and environments is stripped away by “tort deform,” euphemistically called tort reform by the insurance lobby and its corporate clients. Tort law is supposed to award adequate compensation for negligently or intentionally inflicted injuries upon innocent people. Shrinking by the decade in favor of the wrongdoers, tort law has been twisted to block the courtroom door for the most vulnerable of our population.

Corporate lobbyists have swarmed over state legislatures to pass rules that require courts to limit compensation by an arbitrary cap, restrict the evidence that juries can weigh, pulverize class actions and tie up the judges and juries who are the only ones actually receiving and evaluating the evidence.

An added burden is created by the domination of the credit economy that harnesses the rights of consumers by the unbridled controls known as secret credit ratings, the iron collar of credit scores and the very personal information collected on people in the computer age.

The credit economy also undermines peoples’ control of their own money, thus facilitating an array of penalties and fees imposed by credit firms, banks, and pay day loan shops, along with growing charges for services unasked and unused by consumers known as cramming.

As if these and other controls over consumers are not enough, corporate lawyers are the architects of these notorious trade agreements such as NAFTA and GATT, which created the World Trade Organization (WTO). Americans are learning that these transnational autocratic forms of governance subordinate their labor, consumer and environment rights to the supremacy of international commerce. The WTO bypasses our domestic courts and agencies by processing disputes between nations before secret tribunals in Geneva, Switzerland (see http://www.citizen.org/trade/ for more information).

So if consumer safety or labeling standards in the U.S. are viewed as trade restrictive by nations that export such non-conforming products to the U.S., they can bring the case to Geneva where we will likely lose. These “pull down” trade agreements punish those nations that treat their workers fairly, safeguard their environments and protect their consumers, instead of going after the nations that sell unsafe products.

The patsy U.S. government under President Clinton even went along with allowing foreign companies to sue our government to compensate them for regulations such as chemical standards that might reduce their sales and profits.

The mounting privilege and immunities of giant global corporations go well beyond tax escapes, loan guarantees, and other abuses using our government to rig the market. Right wingers condemn these actions and refer to them as “crony capitalism.” For example, patients pay higher drug prices because companies rig patent extensions through Congress or bring harassing law suits against competitors.

The political power of the “military-industrial complex” leads to sweetheart, single source contracts and the wholesale and expensive outsourcing of what were once governmental functions, such as feeding soldiers and providing health insurance under contract.

Corporations have succeeded in blocking, delaying or diluting long overdue regulation of corporate crime, fraud and abuse. They have made Congress keep law enforcement budgets so paltry, for example, that billing fraud in the health care industry alone amounts to about $270 billion a year, according to fraud expert Malcolm Sparrow of Harvard University (author of License to Steal).

It is the external infrastructure — trade agreements, credit scores, credit ratings, and the privatization of contract law and weakened dispute resolution — that strips consumers of control over their own money and purchases and make it difficult for such consumers to fight back in court.

Stay tuned. It is only going to get worse unless consumer groups rethink and regroup to move systemic shifts of power from sellers to buyers through community-based economies, group buying, cooperatives, and political power leading to updated law and order. (See http://www.yesmagazine.org/, http://faircontracts.org/ and http://www.ilsr.org/ for more information.)

Encouraging schools to adopt experiential instruction in detecting consumer fraud and using small claims court to secure inexpensive justice is an easy first step on the long march to consumer justice.

* * *

BRIDGE RIVER WALK FOR CANCER RESOURCE CENTER

Dear Editor,

On Saturday, October 25th at 9:00 am, the Cancer Resource Centers is hosting our 15th Annual Big River Walk and Paddle, to be held at Big River State Park. This day is an important one to all of us at CRC. It’s a day when we turn the focus on those that have survived cancer in our communities, and remember those who have passed. We put the names of those we love and admire on our backs, and we walk, or paddle or run along the haul road in their honor.

Please come and join us, rain or shine! There is strength in numbers and we want to pass that strength on to the 500 people a year who are diagnosed with cancer in Mendocino County. Our challenge to the community is to make the Big River Walk and Paddle 500 strong! Please help us get there. Come be with us, be with those you love, bring your family, bring your friends, bring your neighbors, create teams, but most importantly, come!

You can register online at www.bigriverwalk.org or call 937-3833. See you there!

Sincerely,

Sara O'Donnell, Executive Director

Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County

* * *

AS IMPERCEPTIBLY AS GRIEF

The Summer lapsed away…

Too imperceptible at last

To seem like Perfidy…

A Quietness distilled

As Twilight long begun,

Or Nature spending with herself

Sequestered Afternoon…

The Dusk drew earlier in…

The Morning foreign shone…

A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,

As Guest, that would be gone…

And thus, without a Wing

Or service of a Keel

Our Summer made her light escape

Into the Beautiful.

* * *

THE 107TH WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE is 69-year-old Patrick Modiano. The Nobel citation read in part that Modiano won, “For the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the Occupation.”

THE ACCOUNT of the award that we read didn't capitalize “Occupation,” so we had to read the paragraph several times before it occurred to us the reference was to the French Occupation, but the Nobel committee isn't about to win any prizes for clarity. Anyone who can parse meaning out of “evoked the most ungraspable human destinies” is more imaginative than we are. But your beloved community newspaper will give the guy a read and report back.

* * *

CORPORATE AGRIBUSINESS DUMPS $850,000 INTO PROP. 1!

by Dan Bacher

Opponents of Proposition 1, the controversial State Water Bond, today blasted Governor Jerry Brown and the backers of Prop. 1 for taking $850,000 in contributions from big agribusiness donors to pass public funding for water transfers to enrich them - and to enable the biggest dam-building program in California history.

Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaire “farmer” who has made millions off of reselling environmental water to the public, has donated $150,000 to the Yes on Prop 1 campaign. Resnick and his wife, Lynda, have been instrumental in promoting campaigns to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt populations and to build the fish-killing peripheral tunnels. (http://www.fishsniffer.com/blogs/details/rally-outside-the-resnick-mansion-on-october-2-luncheon-with-the-koch-broth/)

Adam Scow from Food and Water Watch noted, “Corporate agribusiness giants, including Stewart Resnick, are spending big to pass Proposition 1, a bloated $7.5 billion bond measure that would funnel more water to big agribusinesses at taxpayer expense. Prop 1 is a measure to quench their greed—it will not solve California’s water problems."

The Western Growers Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and the California Cotton Alliance have contributed a total of $700,000 to the Prop. 1 campaign to ensure the construction of Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat dam.

“Proposition 1 burdens taxpayers with debt to build projects for billion-dollar farming conglomerates that make up groups like Western Growers and the California Cotton Alliance," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla of Restore the Delta, who is the No on Prop 1 field director. "It includes the largest appropriation for new dams in California’s history that will benefit these corporate farmers who refuse to fund the dam projects themselves. Prop 1 will drive California and its taxpayers even further into debt for illusory and largely bogus ‘environmental benefits’. Prop. 1 shifts the financial burden from those who directly benefit from building new dams to the taxpayers.”

These groups are making large contributions as an investment to make sure that their pet projects are passed through the California Water Commission, according to Prop. 1 opponents.

“Prop 1 will not ‘save water’ as Gov. Brown claims in ads paid for by these special interests. It’s a boondoggle to enrich his big ag contributors,” said Barrigan-Parrilla.

Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 1 and 2 campaign has raised $6,621,946 and has spent $817,276 as of October 6, 2014, according to Ballotpedia:

http://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_1,_Water_Bond_(2014)

The following are the donors who contributed $150,000 or more to the Yes on Prop. 1 and 2 campaign as of October 6, 2014:

  • Sean Parker $1,000,000
  • California Alliance for Jobs - Rebuild California Committee $500,000
  • Health Net $445,600
  • Laborers Pacific Southwest Regional Organizing Coalition PAC $400,000
  • California American Council of Engineering Companies $250,000
  • California Farm Bureau Federation $250,000
  • California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems $250,000
  • Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Issues PAC $250,000
  • Reed Hastings $250,000
  • SW Regional Council Of Carpenters $250,000
  • Western Growers Service Corporation $250,000
  • Doris F. Fisher $245,000
  • John J. Fisher $245,000
  • Robert J. Fisher $245,000
  • William S. Fisher $245,000
  • California Cotton Alliance $200,000
  • Northern California District Council Of Laborers Issues PAC $200,000
  • Stewart A. Resnick $150,000
  • The State Building And Construction Trades Council of CA $150,000

For more information on Proposition 1, go to http://www.noonprop1.org

5 Responses to "Mendocino County Today: Friday, Oct 10, 2014"

  1. Lazarus   October 10, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Weird how things run together, this awkward David Madrigal the criminal issue and Ms. Futcher’s praising/support of Mrs. Holly Madrigal the candidate.

    Reply
    • cswan   October 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Unfortunately,
      you can’t choose your in-laws . . .
      and anyone who’s had a dysfunctional one, knows what a heartbreak that is.

      Reply
      • Lazarus   October 10, 2014 at 5:38 pm

        Oh I’m extremely aware of family issues…every family has one, maybe more, admittedly or not.
        It was the the placement of the articles that was interesting…at least to me, radio did the same thing.

        Reply
  2. Harvey Reading   October 10, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I don’t pay much attention to Nobel prizes these days. Didn’t pay much attention before, especially after they gave a peace prize to the monster, Henry Kissinger, and then, after they gave one to another U.S. murderer-war criminal, Barack Obama, I gave up on them completely.

    Reply
  3. burnunit   October 10, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Hi Bruce,
    The judgement against the dope pushing scumbag Matajcek and the award to the Salazars, is a victory for the common man. Until the Mrs. Salazar reminded us at the end of the article that they now have to collect and enforce the judgement.
    Here’s an idea for re-payment to the Salazars. Since our fine DA has expanded his coffers through his program of allowing the pushers to trade a felony conviction for cash, why not suggest to our fine DA that he use some of his takings to help get funds quickly back into the Salazars (the victims!) bank account.
    I’m sure Allman and his department have all the new vehicles and gear they could possibly need, so now its time to use the “takings” in a more common sense way.

    P.S. Thanks for not listing the $6.00/dozen eggs today. Nothing pisses me off more than having to read about the unmitigated gall of “hippie greed”.
    But I am thinking about making the Grange breakfast this Sunday, even though it would require a trek over the Boonville Road. Do they allow dogs?

    Reply

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