Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Nov 2, 2014

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HALLOWEEN seems to have passed largely without incident in Mendocino County, although there were the usual low-intensity, self-medicating nuisances out there wandering around. In all of the Anderson Valley there was only one 9-11 call where Deputy Walker was summoned to eject a woman who refused to leave the home she hadn't been invited to enter in the first place.

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THE CITY OF UKIAH is in the process of delivering a machete-size knife in the back to its own perennially struggling downtown, as reported by Justine Frederickson of the Ukiah Daily Journal.

"The Ukiah City Council Wednesday got an update on the proposed new Mendocino County Courthouse from city staff, who said that if the project moves forward as planned, construction may begin in 2017."

OR MAY NOT if enough people out of elected office wake up to demand that the existing County Courthouse is perfectly serviceable as is, and mucho serviceable if the millions proposed for this new County Courthouse were devoted to fixing it up. Fixing up the existing Courthouse has, of course, been rejected out of hand by the state judge's club that diverts public money paid in fines and court fees to projects no one but them want.

Though the state's Administrative Office of the Courts has not officially purchased the property, the likely site for the $100-million-plus building is about four acres near the Ukiah Railroad Depot and the intersection of Hospital Drive and Perkins Street.

MS. FREDERICKSON describes the grisly specifics: "Project and Grant Administrator Shannon Riley said there is about 11 acres of land bounded by Perkins, Leslie and Main Streets, but the property is dissected by Gibson Creek and the railroad tracks, presenting challenges for certain sections.

"The city is facilitating the development in order to ensure that the project doesn't create 'islands of land' that can't be developed," said Riley, explaining that the city also wants to ensure that the plans are compatible with the trail being constructed near the railroad tracks between Gobbi Street and Clara Avenue, as well as its Streetscape plans for State, Gobbi and Perkins streets.

"The most crucial pieces of the puzzle are the proposed extension of Hospital Drive, which might extend south through the property, and the easterly extension of Clay Street, which might intersect with both Hospital Drive and Leslie Street, lining up with Peach Street.

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SUPERVISORS were hard at work last week accomplishing exactly nothing: There were Proclamations, recognitions of artists, CEO Angelo (reading from a flyer): “Ebola poses no significant threat to the United States.” Laura's law presentation postponed. Ukiah Homeless Winter Shelter (way too long and bureaucratic to even listen to) and associated mental health services at the Shelter and the budget for it, capacity, still talking about what services would be included and for how long, staffing, vocational services, how many additional shelter workers based on funding and on and on for 50 minutes concluding with no motion, no upshot. Mendocino Town Plan status. Meetings, and talk, and planning about water. Possible significant budget implications of the pension system board having recently reduced the assumed rate of return on investments. NCRA property to moving inexorably toward the new County Courthouse that no one except our nine judges wants. Ukiah Valley Area Plan Implementation challenges and details…

For more information read the Board’s minutes at:

http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/bos/pdf/current/2014-10-2410-21-14%20Minutes%20-%20DRAFT.pdf

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LeishmanBenefit

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A SIGN OF THE AGES

It's a sign of the ages

Markings on my mind

A Man at the crossroads

At odds with an angry sky

 

There can be no salvation

There can be no rest

Until all old customs

Are put to the test

 

The gods are all angry

You hear from the breeze

As night slams like a hammer

Yeah, and you drop to your knees

 

The questions can't be answered

You're always haunted by the past

The world's full of children

Who grew up too fast

 

Yeah, but where can you run

Since there ain't no world of your own

And you know that no one will ever miss you, yeah yeah yeah

When you're finally gone

 

So you cry like a baby, a baby

Or you go out and get high

But there ain't no peace on Earth, man

Maybe peace when you die, yeah

— Gil Scott Heron

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Kuczinski17

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JUAN CARLOS, KING OF SPAIN

…The recently abdicated King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, is well known for a lot of things: he’s a high-living Bourbon; he got very rich by obscure means; the expenses of his Royal Household were paid for by public money but not made public; in 2004 he shot one of Europe’s last bison and a bear in the Carpathians and, in 2006, “with a single shot,” another bear in Russia (a “good-natured,” tame animal called Mitrofan, previously intoxicated with vodka) and, in 2012, an elephant in Botswana (this time it took seven shots with a very fancy rifle decorated with gold and Swarovski crystals); a great fan of bullfights although whether this is because of Spanish nationalist sentiment or cognitive difficulties is unknown; and on March 29, 1956, Alfonso, Juan Carlos’s younger brother, aged 14, died from a bullet wound to the head when he was playing with a gun, according to the royal family’s official statement. In fact, Juan Carlos was responsible for the accident. No investigation was ever carried out. His uncle Don Jaime demanded an inquiry (in vain): “…because I cannot accept that someone who has failed to fulfill his responsibilities might aspire to the Spanish throne.” Well, he did aspire to, and did sit on the Spanish throne, but who chose this chap for the plum job of head of state? The laws decided it, laws, as everyone knows and few want to remember, inherited from the Franco regime. And that’s how his son, Felipe VI, succeeded him.

— Daniel Ravento & Julie Wark

“Ivan Karlos, King of Spain shoots at the extremely drunken bear Mitrofan.” The bear, however strange it is, does not surrender itself, but is shouting “Hello!” [illustration by Vladimir Kamaev]
“Ivan Karlos, King of Spain shoots at the extremely drunken bear Mitrofan.” The bear, however strange it is, does not surrender itself, but is shouting “Hello!” [illustration by Vladimir Kamaev]
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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 1, 2014

Anderson, Arreguin, Brayton, Bruchet
Anderson, Arreguin, Brayton, Bruchet

MICHAEL ANDERSON, Citrus Heights/Ukiah. DUI causing injury.

JOE ARREGUIN, Alderpoint/Ukiah. Pot sale, transport, furnish.

TRACY BRAYTON, Domestic battery, probation revocation.

MATRIAL BRUCHET, Willits. Drunk in public.

Buck, Defranco, Galindo, Garcia
Buck, Defranco, Galindo, Garcia

KEITH BUCK, Willits. Probation revocation.

TRENTON DEFRANCO, Willits. Fighting in public place, drunk in public.

THOMAS GALINDO, Ukiah. Public begging, parole violation.

NICOLAS GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Driving without valid license, probation revocation.

Gibson, Ginger, Gross, Moore
Gibson, Ginger, Gross, Moore

JESSE GIBSON, Redwood Valley. Under influence of controlled substance, probation violation. (Frequent flyer.)

RHONDA GINGER, Long Beach/Ukiah. DUI.

CRISTOPHER GROSS, Salinas/Ukiah. Unspecified misdemeanor.

DANNY MOORE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Nieto, Rojas, Taylor
Nieto, Rojas, Taylor

RAMON NIETO, Willits. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

RYAN ROJAS, South Lake Tahoe/Ukiah. Drunk in public.

BERT TAYLOR, Willits. Pot possession, prohibited person with ammunition, probation revocation.

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CALFIRE TAX UPDATE

Government Stalling Tactics Slow Fire Tax Lawsuit

From George Runner, Board of Equalization, District 2

As Californians hope and pray for an end to California's drought and dangerous fire conditions, I am thankful for the many brave men and women who put their lives on the line to fight fires throughout our state.

We're also reminded that not one dime of our state's so-called "Fire Prevention Fee" has helped fund this year's firefighting efforts.

Someday a court will strike down the unfair and, I believe, illegal fire tax enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2010.

But getting there is proving quite a challenge.

As you may recall, in 2012 the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), with my strong support, filed a class action lawsuit seeking to invalidate the so-called fee on the basis that it is really an illegally enacted tax.

Since then, California Department of Justice attorneys paid with your tax dollars have repeatedly sought to do everything in their power to slow the case down.

I'm told some of the state's stalling tactics go far beyond what is typical of government attorneys involved in legal proceedings. These tactics include filing multiple demurrers aimed at blocking California taxpayers' right to a class action - all of which were, thankfully, denied by the court. Government lawyers have also flooded HJTA's small legal team with more than ten thousand unsorted and mostly irrelevant documents in a blatant attempt to drag out the discovery process.

The reason is simple. The state knows it's going to lose this case, but it also has a financial interest in delaying that loss as long as possible.

By stalling, the state gets more time to send out more bills and collect more revenue. Most likely the trial date won't be until after next year's bills go out in the spring, which regrettably means rural Californians more than likely will receive yet another bill next year.

The Legislature should have repealed the fire tax by now. But it hasn't. And when a bad law should be eliminated entirely, it's hardly any consolation to see it merely amended.

Even so, it's worth noting that Assembly <http://ct.symplicity.com/t/boe/c888ce7350287686a0cd88352e42f0f0/1348822545/ Bill 2048 (Dahle, Chesbro and Gordon), which was recently signed into law, makes a number of small but important changes to the Fire Prevention Fee, including: (1) eliminating the egregious 20% per month penalty charged to fee payers who protest their fee and are denied and (2) ensuring that homeowners who lose their home in a natural disaster will be exempt from paying their fire fee bill that year.

I remain optimistic this "fee" will be declared an illegal tax and the money returned to taxpayers. Unfortunately, as a direct result of the state's delaying tactics, when rural Californians will finally receive the just verdict they deserve is anyone's guess.

To learn more, visit Calfirefee.com

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OldTimes

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JERRY BROWN, STOP PUNISHING VICTIMS OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Time is of the Essence

by Ralph Nader

On November 4, Californians will vote on Proposition 46’s provision to adjust for inflation the unconscionable cap on pain and suffering, known as the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law in 1975.

At least 10,000 Californians perish every year, along with many more aggravated injuries and preventable illnesses, due to medical malpractice. This toll does not even include fatalities and other casualties brought on by hospital-induced infections. Compensation for such “non-economic” injuries is now capped at $250,000 for each affected person due to MICRA. Adjusted for inflation, $250,000 in 1975 dollars is worth well under $100,000 today!

MICRA also limits the legal rights of victims of incompetent or negligent medical care and makes it difficult to hold negligent doctors and hospitals accountable for their actions.

There is no doubt that Governor Brown is aware of the impact of MICRA’s cap on damages for the pain and suffering of victims of medical malpractice. He went so far as to openly disavow his prior position when its provisions were being considered for the Clinton Health Care Plan many years later.

He wrote in a June 1993 statement:

“We have learned a lot about MICRA and the insurance industry in the seventeen years since MICRA was enacted. We have witnessed yet another insurance crisis, and found that insurance company avarice, not utilization of the legal system by injured consumers, was responsible for excessive premiums. Saddest of all, MICRA has revealed itself to have an arbitrary and cruel effect upon the victims of malpractice. It has not lowered health care costs, only enriched insurers and placed negligent or incompetent physicians outside the reach of judicial accountability. For these reasons, MICRA cannot and should not be a model for national legislation.”

Could it be said any better than those forgotten words by Jerry Brown himself?

A pain and suffering cap is most harmful to those victims of serious injuries who do not have wage loss or other explicit economic damages. Thus, children, the elderly, stay-at-home moms and others pay the highest price for what Governor Brown and the California legislature did in the mid-Seventies. MICRA also arbitrarily ties the hands of judges and juries who are the only ones who actually see, hear and evaluate the evidence of malpractice cases in the court of law.

At the time Governor Brown signed MICRA, the doctors, hospital and insurance lobbies were clamoring for this cap. They were so aggressively pressuring the governor to sign the bill that he decided not to resist, thinking that the California Supreme Court would declare MICRA unconstitutional.

Instead, MICRA survived and became a bad example for other state legislatures to emulate. “Well, if Jerry Brown and liberal California did it…” became the public argument for commercial interests elsewhere in the United States.

According to a just-released Public Citizen report, despite a slight uptick in the last year, medical malpractice payments nationally are at an historic low. Meanwhile, estimates of “avoidable adverse events” in hospitals — harms that result from the care received that result in injury or death and are unrelated to the original ailment of the patient — are rising.

The report cites a 2013 Journal of Patient Safety study, which estimated the number of “premature” hospital deaths due to error to be 400,000 per year!

Passing Prop 46 would adjust the buying power to $1.1 million for a lifetime of pain and suffering. It only makes sense — adjusted for inflation; the purchasing power of $250,000 in 1975 is the equivalent of $1.1 million today. Very modest proposal: It would also institute stringent drug and alcohol testing of doctors in California, which is another factor in rampant medical negligence.

For some unexplained reason, Governor Brown now seemingly fears the health industry lobby more than he possesses the moral courage to correct a terrible injustice that he played a part in causing. This has greatly harmed some of the most innocent and vulnerable Californians. He could have easily rectified this situation early in his third term with a large Democratic majority in the state legislature but chose not to act.

Now is the time to catch up with 1975, Governor Brown. All eyes are on California voters when it comes to addressing the ongoing crisis of medical malpractice in the United States. Whereas MICRA served as a bad example to the nation, let us now reverse the tide and set out on a positive path when it comes to deadly and destructive medical negligence and incompetency.

Time is of the essence in this matter; there is only a week until Election Day.

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

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WineTasting

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NATURE CONSERVANCY CONTRIBUTES $500,000 TO YES ON PROP. 1 CAMPAIGN

by Dan Bacher

The Nature Conservancy, one of the largest recipients of Walton Family Foundation money every year, has joined Big Oil, corporate agribusiness, the health insurance industry, tobacco giant Philip Morris and greedy billionaires in dumping big money into the Yes on Proposition 1 campaign.

Opponents of Prop. 1, Governor Jerry Brown's State Water Bond, responded to the $500,000 political contribution to Prop. 1 from The Nature Conservancy by calling it “disturbing.”

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said, “Donors to Prop. 1 want this water bond to pass so that they can get something from it: short-term jobs building dams that will be created with public tax dollars, land to manage bought with public funds, and taxpayer-subsidized water to grow permanent crops on unsuitable land."

“Prop. 1’s big dam projects will make very little new water, and the water will mainly go to unsustainable huge agribusinesses,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. “Most disturbing is the $500,000 that the Nature Conservancy has contributed to the Prop 1 campaign. The Nature Conservancy has benefited from the gifting of public lands in the Delta by the Department of Water Resources."

She emphasized, "The Nature Conservancy turned a blind eye to oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for the ability to manage wetlands, and pumps oil on its own lands. In California, they are turning a blind eye to the issue of how water exports will be accelerated from the Bay-Delta estuary if Prop. 1 passes, and how this water will fill Governor Brown's Delta tunnels."

"They are supporting water policies that will serve special corporate interests in exchange for the opportunity to manage more conservancy projects in the Delta and throughout California," concluded Barrigan-Parrilla.

The Nature Conservancy, known for its service to corporate interests at great expense to fish, wildlife, the environment and the public trust, received a total of $5,482,699 from the Walton Family Foundation in 2013. This includes $1,545,963 for freshwater "conservation" on the Colorado River, $1,437,986 for freshwater "conservation" on the Mississippi River. $475,000 for marine "conservation," and $2,023,750 for other "conservation" grants.

The Walton Family Foundation is governed by the descendants of Sam and Helen Walton, the founders of retail giant Walmart, a company notorious for the poor treatment of its workers and its environmentally destructive practices around the globe.

And the Nature Conservancy is not the only NGO supporting the water bond that is funded by Walmart money. An analysis of environmental grants that the Walton Family Foundation gave to conservation organizations in 2013 reveals that NGOs supporting Proposition 1, the water bond on California's November 4 ballot, received a total of $10,786,949 in grants while opponents of the controversial measure received none.

Supporters of the water bond getting money from the Walton Family Foundation in 2013 include the Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society (the parent organization of Audubon California, a bond backer), the Ocean Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife and Ducks Unlimited. The Foundation lists their environmental contributions in three categories: freshwater conservation, marine conservation and other conservation grants. (http://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/2013-environment-grants)

National Audubon Society, the parent organization of Audubon California, received $2,570,767, including $312,100 for freshwater conservation on the Colorado River, $2,058,667 for freshwater conservation on the Mississippi River and $200,000 for marine conservation.

The foundation gave the Ocean Conservancy, a strong supporter of the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create questionable "marine protected areas" in California, $1,552,083 for projects in the Gulf of Mexico.

Trout Unlimited was awarded $610,650 for freshwater conservation on the Colorado River.

American Rivers received $424,400 for freshwater conservation on the Colorado River.

Defenders of Wildlife got $100,058 for freshwater conservation on the Mississippi River.

Finally, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. received $46,292 for freshwater conservation on the Mississippi River from the Walton Family Foundation.

The Walton Family Foundation dumps many millions of dollars every year into corporate environmental NGOs, including the Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation International, Nature Conservancy and the Ocean Conservancy, that promote the privatization of the oceans through "catch shares," questionable "marine protected areas" and other projects.

“It is highly troubling to see the impact that Walmart and a few big foundations are having on the conservation of our resources, as well as the protection of our artisanal and traditional fisheries including tribal fisheries," said Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA) and opponent of Proposition 1.

Prop. 1 opponents find it even more disturbing to find out that the Nature Conservancy has joined a rogue's gallery of corporate interests that want to pass the $7.5 billion bond so they can get something from it, such as land to manage and "restore" after it is bought with public funds, taxpayer-subsidized water to grow permanent crops on unsuitable land that should have never been irrigated, and short-term jobs building dams that will be created with public tax dollars.

For more information go to http://www.noonprop1.org

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TARO LEAVES & TIKI PAINTINGS

Family Fun event explores Hawaiian culture

by Roberta Werdinger

On Saturday, November 8, from 1 to 3:30 pm, the Grace Hudson Museum presents an afternoon of hands-on exploration of Hawaiian food, games and culture as part of its Family Fun at the Museum series for children and adults. Participants will learn how to make Tiki paintings, based on carved humanoid images common on the Pacific Islands, on palm fronds. They will also make leis, wreaths woven of flowers and leaves, and sample lau lau, a popular Hawaiian dish composed of pork or fish wrapped in taro leaves. These activities will be the perfect introduction to the Museum's current exhibit, "Days of Grace: California Artist Grace Hudson in Hawaii." Visitors will be treated to a complimentary tour of the exhibit, which showcases paintings and mementoes from the near-year the Museum's namesake spent in Hawaii in 1901, along with a complimentary tour of the Sun House, the gracious Craftsman-style home where Grace lived with her husband John. Space is limited so reservations are recommended by calling the Museum at 467-2836. This workshop is free with Museum admission and materials are included. The Family Fun at the Museum program is made possible with funding from the Sun House Guild. The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah. The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm, and Sunday from noon to 4:30 pm. General admission is $4; $10 per family; $3 for students and seniors; free to all on the first Friday of the month; and always free to members. For more information please go to www.gracehudsonmuseum.org or call (707) 467-2836.

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CONFIMRED ON KMEC

Former CIA analyst and activist Ray McGovern will be John Sakowicz’s guest on KMEC on Monday, November 10, at 1pm.

Subject: Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Arrested While Trying to Attend David Petraeus Event

FireDogLake reports: "Former CIA analyst and activist Ray McGovern was arrested as he attempted to attend an event in New York City featuring former CIA director and retired military general, David Petraeus. He was charged with resisting arrest, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

"At 92nd Street Y, which describes itself as a 'world-class cultural and community center,' Petraeus was to appear with John Nagl, who recently wrote a book, "Knife Fights" which is about being an army tank commander in the Gulf War of 1991. Neoconservative commentator Max Boot was to join them as well.

The piece, by Kevin Gosztola, continues: "Activists from World Can’t Wait, the Granny Peace Brigade, Brooklyn for Peace and a chapter of Veterans for Peace called on people to protest. Some tickets, which cost $45 each, were bought so people could attend the event and potentially participate in a question and answer portion of the event.

"World Can’t Wait activist Stephanie Rugoff said a guard stopped McGovern. 'Ray, you’re not going in,' the guard said.

"McGovern, who is 74 years old, told the guards something to the effect that the Bill of Rights gave him the right to go into the event. McGovern had a ticket, too. But the guards would not let him pass and soon New York police officers surrounded him.

"Richard Marini, also an activist with World Can’t Wait, approached the entrance to the 92nd Street Y Center and saw McGovern...being apprehended.

"According to Marini, his arms were twisted tightly behind his back and he was in immense pain while they were dragging him to the police car. He was squeezed into the back of a patrol car and taken to the 67th Street station.

"Rugoff heard him screaming. He was shouting about how they were hurting his shoulder. He asked the officers to stop twisting it so they did not aggravate his shoulder and possibly re-injure it.

"'I had a ticket as well,' Marini explained. 'They recognized me as well and called me by my name, my first name. They seemed to know who people were.'"

— John Sakowicz

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DID YOU SAY OM, CRAIG?

OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM OM — Craig Louis Stehr

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