Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Nov 22, 2014

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THE FINAL-FINAL MENDO results for the November 4, 2014 election were released today, Friday, November 21 by County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor Susan Ranochak, 17 days after the election.

FIRST, the non-surprises. Warren Galletti will still be the next County school superintendent. Tom Woodhouse will still be the next Third District Supervisor. Jim Brown, Kevin Doble and Maureen Mulheren will still be taking their seats on the Ukiah City Council in January. Incumbents Larry Stranske and Ron Orenstein will do the same in Willits. Drs. Rohr and Glusker, plus Nurse Kitty Bruning, are still taking seats on the Coast Hospital board.

AND THANK GAIA, fracking will still be banned in Mendocino County, at least until Big Oil declares a national energy emergency and the drilling rigs set up on the Mendocino Headlands.

THE GODS SMILED on Fort Bragg as former Point Arena School Superintendent Mark Iacuaniello narrowly fell out of third place for the Fort Bragg city council. In the final count incumbent Dave Turner nosed out Iacauniello by just 46 votes — most of whom, we’d like to think, were influenced by our coverage of Iacuaniello’s pathetically corrupt performance in the Matt Murray travesty. (See https://www.theava.com/archives/3659 for details.)

TURNER went from trailing Iacuaniello by 32 votes in the preliminary results, to being ahead by 46 in the final Count. Fort Bragg dodged a big bullet, not that Turner is any prize. Your votes may not count for much in most national and state elections, but they sure as hell did in Fort Bragg.

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VISIT MENDOCINO! Lead stories this week in Mendocino County include: Sex offender charged with murdering Willits woman; Willits man receives 25-to-life for dragging his grandfather to death behind a pick-up truck; CHP shoots Redwood Valley man; Willits man shoots himself inside his moving truck while fleeing police.

TWNheads1120

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THE BOONVILLE WINTER MARKET is going strong in front of the Boonville General Store, Saturdays 10-12:30, rain or shine.

HOLIDAY PROMOTION PAGE for Petit Teton Farm : http://petitteton.com/holidays.html

Happy Thanksgiving

AV Foodshed

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LONG TIME UKIAH COUNCILMAN PHIL BALDWIN’S LOSS IS OFFICIAL

http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/news/ci_26989200/ukiah-mayor-phil-baldwin-officially-loses-seat

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RED TAGS REMOVED FROM PALACE HOTEL

http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/news/ci_26981305/red-tags-coming-off-ukiahs-palace-hotel

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PROPOSED MENDOVITO HOUSING PLAN DRAWS MIXED REACTIONS IN HOPLAND

http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/news/ci_26989994/proposed-mendovito-housing-plan-draws-mixed-reactions-hopland

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Nov. 21, 2014

Bauer, Fitton, Gibson
Bauer, Fitton, Gibson

JESSICA BAUER, Ukiah. Burglary, grand theft, sale of meth, failure to appear.

SASHA FITTON, Willits. Elder/parent abuse, possession of controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia.

JESSE GIBSON, Redwood Valley. Drunk in public.

Hoaglin, Jenkins, Neeley
Hoaglin, Jenkins, Neeley

JOSEPH HOAGLIN, Calpella. Probation revocation.

JAMES JENKINS, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

SHERRI NEELEY, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance.

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CAL FIRE HAS CLOSED FIRE SEASON.  Local residents can get permits here at the Anderson Valley Fire Department Boonville firehouse. Below are the relevant Calfire notices.

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CALFIRE Mendocino Unit Transitions Out of Fire Season

Willits – Recent rains and cooler temperatures across the region have lowered the threat of wildfires allowing CAL FIRE’s Mendocino Unit to transition out of fire season effective Monday, November 24, 2014 at 8 a.m. in Mendocino County.

Unit Chief Christopher P. Rowney encourages all residents to take advantage of the cooler months ahead and prepare your home for the 2015 fire season by creating 100 feet of defensible space around your home.

As drought conditions continue to have a hold on California, CAL FIRE is maintaining staffing that meets the current threat, as well as strategically moving resources to areas that remain at a higher threat level. CAL FIRE will also continue to monitor weather conditions closely and still has the ability to increase staffing should the weather conditions change or if there is a need to support wildfires in other areas of the State.

The 2014 fire season has been an extremely active year. Statewide CAL FIRE and firefighters from many local agencies battled over 5,500 wildfires within the State Responsibility Area that burned nearly 91,000 acres. This number is over 1,000 more wildfires this year than normal. In the Mendocino Unit, CAL FIRE responded to 140 wildfires that charred 12,782 acres.

Residents are urged to still take precautions outdoors in order to prevent sparking a wildfire. A leading cause of wildfires this time of year is from escaped landscape debris burning. Before you burn, ensure it’s a permissive burn day by contacting the Mendocino County Air Management District at (707) 463-4391 and then make sure you have any and all required burn permits. During burning make sure that piles of landscape debris are no larger than four feet in diameter, provide a 10 foot clearance down to bare mineral soil around the burn pile and that a responsible adult is in attendance at all times with a water source and a shovel.

For more ways to prevent sparking a wildfire visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org.

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“Winter Burning Season Open”

Effective 11/24/14

Cal Fire has closed “Fire Season” and we are now in Winter Burning Season. All burning during Winter Burning Season must be done under a valid Mendocino County Air Quality Management District Permit.

Starting Monday November 24th AVFD will be issuing Air Quality Burn permits to all in-district residents at the Anderson Valley Fire Station in Boonville.

Depending on the time of year and present fire conditions, burn permits may be required by Mendocino Air Quality, Cal Fire, or both.   Anderson Valley FD issues MCAQMD permits for free during the winter burning season period to in-district properties only as a service and convenience for the Anderson Valley community.

Always call 463-4391 to see if it is a burn day prior to burning. Typically one can call the evening before and the obtain burn day status and information for the following day.

Visit Mendocino County Air Quality Management District’s Website for the complete list of rules and regulations.     http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/aqmd/index.html

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In Anderson Valley call 895-2020 for current Burn Permit status and which agency will be issuing permits.

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K38

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IMMIGRATION CHANGES

A look at the key executive measures that President Obama announced Thursday:

Parents: Protects from deportation and makes eligible for work permits about 4.1 million people who are in the U.S. illegally but whose children are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. To be eligible, the parents must have lived in the U.S. for five years. Parents would be granted relief from deportation for three years at a time.

Children: Expands a program that Obama launched in 2012 that shields from deportation those who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Obama will extend the program to minors who arrived before 2010, instead of the current cutoff of 2007, and lift the requirement that applicants be younger than 31 to be eligible.

Priorities: Lowers the deportation priority for parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who have been in the U.S. for less than five years, and for other immigrants who have been here illegally for more than 10 years. A new policy will emphasize deportation for recent arrivals, criminals and national security threats.

Law enforcement: Replaces the Secure Communities program, which hands over people booked for local crimes to federal immigration authorities. The new program will set up different priority levels based on the conduct for which immigrants are detained.

Borders: Commits more resources for enforcement efforts at the U.S.-Mexico border in hopes of sending back more individuals.

(Courtesy, the Associated Press)

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VOTE FOR IMMIGRATION

Editor,

Obama has underscored the truth with his decision to do something about immigration. Congress has been asleep at our will. They are not serving for our will, but for some agenda that is political, unwilling to settle or compromise. They are contentious, bullying and not doing their job. The ridiculous notion of a mandate is based on 14% of Americans out of 27% voting. It actually points back to Americans saying, ‘you don’t care enough to use your cherished right to be represented.' The real message is to us. If you did not vote, then you are leaving your fellow American’s in the lurch. Vote!

Yes Obama was correct that this decision should be made and in the end will be made by congress but a President must act when his decision process is not working. He did not want to make this decision but Congress has failed big time. He has simply made direction and is provoking Congress to act now, 16 years late.

Americans do not generally come out for midterm elections but these elections are important for local and Federal office. If we cared like other countries, we would have a voting holiday but we should all vote. Too many Americans have died for this right. Many have struggled greatly to vote. It is more than a privilege. It is like going to the cemetery to support your fore Americans. Voting is like flowers on their graves to say you respect their actions, their convictions, Vote!

Republicans underscore the political action of a few voters; passing one bill after another in states to make it harder for Americans to vote because of nonexistent Voter Fraud. That’s democracy? Actually there was fraud in our voting system when W. Bush was elected, but it was in the system not in the voting. No one challenged that in a way to insure it did not happen again except for the removal of some electronic voting machines.

In Mendocino County Supervisors have lost because of one vote. One Vote. Imagine that, your vote, that one vote.

As the immigration system is broken, it leads to disrupted family, stupid driving laws and trapped immigrants, who often simply come to work and want to go home. Lack of a law with the tortilla curtain on the border, only creates corruption and traps immigrants, who want to work here. They are human with human needs and consequently create second families and must find other jobs when their traditional jobs are filled. America needs immigrants to do the work that young Americans will no longer do. Agriculturalists know this and W. Bush even asked for it during his office. Conveniently forgotten in all of this is that the so called undocumented often pay taxes and the employers that do not set aside taxes are also part of the fraud. The latter compete with legal businesses unfairly.

President Obama is doing what a President must do when his board or congress fails to act. He has asked for legislation for 6 years and nothing had come out except stalling political moves. Congress is supposed to consider different ideas and come up with compromise, not be disrespectful. The whiners in Congress are stallers and since they are doing so little we should demand a pay cut and lower the level of benefits they get. Further the disrespectful way that Congress has been working needs to stop. It is bad government and it sets a bad model for everyone. Congress people and the President are elected and disrespecting these offices is essentially disrespecting our process of democracy, and those we elect. The term Honorable Representative extends back to the voters that installed this person.

If anything what Americans should be doing right now is demanding Congress get to work. Our slogan:

Represent us or get out of the way! No pay for another stalled Day!

Vote! Greg Krouse, Philo

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ENOUGH IS ENOUGH:

The President's Latest Wall Street Nominee

By Senator Elizabeth Warren

I believe President Obama deserves deference in picking his team, and I've generally tried to give him that. But enough is enough.

Last Wednesday, President Obama announced his nomination of Antonio Weiss to serve as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the Treasury Department. This is a position that oversees Dodd-Frank implementation and a wide range of banking and economic policymaking issues, including consumer protection.

So who is Antonio Weiss? He's the head of global investment banking for the financial giant Lazard. He has spent the last 20 years of his career at Lazard -- most of it advising on international mergers and acquisitions.

That raises the first issue. Weiss has spent most of his career working on international transactions -- from 2001 to 2009 he lived and worked in Paris -- and now he's being asked to run domestic finance at Treasury. Neither his background nor his professional experience makes him qualified to oversee consumer protection and domestic regulatory functions at the Treasury. As someone who has spent my career focused on domestic economic issues, including a stint of my own at the Treasury Department, I know how important these issues are and how much the people in Treasury can shape policies. I also know that there are a lot of people who have spent their careers focused on these issues, and Weiss isn't one of them.

The second issue is corporate inversions. Basically, a bunch of companies have decided that all the regular tax loopholes they get to exploit aren't enough, so they have begun taking advantage of an even bigger loophole that allows them to maintain their operations in America but claim foreign citizenship and cut their U.S. taxes even more. No one is fooled by the bland words "corporate inversion." These companies renounce their American citizenship and turn their backs on this country simply to boost their profits.

One of the biggest and most public corporate inversions last summer was the deal cut by Burger King to slash its tax bill by purchasing the Canadian company Tim Hortons and then "inverting" the American company to Canadian ownership. And Weiss was right there, working on Burger King's tax deal. Weiss' work wasn't unusual for Lazard. That firm has helped put together three of the last four major corporate inversions that have been announced in the U.S. And like those old Hair Club commercials used to say, Lazard isn't just the President of the Corporate Loopholes Club -- it's also a client. Lazard moved its own headquarters from the United States to Bermuda in 2005 to take advantage of a particularly slimy tax loophole that was closed shortly afterwards. Even the Treasury Department under the Bush administration found Lazard's practices objectionable.

The White House and Treasury have strongly denounced inversions, and rightly so. But they undercut their own position by advancing Mr. Weiss. Already Senator Grassley has denounced the move as hypocritical, and Senator Durbin has expressed his opposition to the nomination over the inversion issue. The Independent Community Bankers of America, which represents smaller banks from across the country, has opposed the nomination as well -- only the second time in thirty years that they have publicly opposed a presidential nomination.

The response from the White House to these concerns has been two-fold. First, they say that Mr. Weiss was not involved in the tax side of the Burger King deal. But let's speak plainly: This was a tax deal, plain and simple. It was designed to reduce Burger King's tax burden, and Weiss was an important and highly-paid part of the team. Second, the White House claims that Mr. Weiss is personally opposed to inversions. Really? Did he work under protest, forced to assist this deal against his will? Did he speak out against tax inversions? Did he call out his company for profiting so handsomely from its tax loophole work? The claim of personal distaste is convenient, but irrelevant.

Third, there's the larger, more general issue of Wall Street executives dominating the Obama administration, as well as the Democratic Party's, overall economic policymaking apparatus. I wrote about this problem a couple of months ago on The Huffington Post in more detail.

Here is what I wrote then:

Just look at the influence of one mega-bank -- Citigroup -- on our government. Starting with former Citigroup CEO Robert Rubin, three of the last four Treasury secretaries under Democratic presidents held high-paying jobs at Citigroup either before or after serving at Treasury -- and the fourth was offered, but declined, Citigroup's CEO position. Directors of the National Economic Council and Office of Management and Budget, the current Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve and the U.S. trade representative, also pulled in millions from Citigroup.

That's what the revolving door looks like at just one Too Big to Fail Bank. What about others? The influence of Goldman Sachs in Washington has been much documented, including here at The Huffington Post. JPMorgan? Shortly before the [Eric] Cantor episode, another former member of Congress -- Democrat Melissa Bean -- took the same senior job at JPMorgan Chase previously held by Democrat Bill Daley before his recent service as White House Chief of Staff. Yes -- this is just a single position at JPMorgan Chase, evidently reserved for the latest politician ready to cash in on Wall Street.

I could go on -- and I will. Soon after they crashed the economy and got tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts, the biggest Wall Street banks started lobbying Congress to head off any serious financial regulation. Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics found that in 2009 alone, the financial services sector employed 1,447 former federal employees to carry out their lobbying efforts, swarming all over Congress. And who were their top lobbyists? Members of Congress -- in fact, 73 former Members of Congress.

According to a report by the Institute for America's Future, by the following year, the six biggest banks employed 243 lobbyists who once worked in the federal government, including 33 who had worked as chiefs of staff for members of Congress and 54 who had worked as staffers for the banking oversight committees in the Senate or the House.

In recent years, President Obama has repeatedly turned to nominees with close Wall Street ties for high-level economic positions. Jack Lew, who was a top Citigroup official, now serves as Treasury Secretary. The President's choice for Treasury's highest international position, Nathan Sheets, also comes from Citi. For the number two spot at the Federal Reserve, the President tapped Stanley Fischer, another former Citigroup executive. A Bank of America executive, Stefan Selig, was put in charge of international trade at the Commerce Department. The President's two recent picks for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission -- including his choice for Chairman -- are lawyers who have spent their careers representing big financial institutions.

There's plenty of financial expertise in this country. People with banking experience haven't all flocked to the biggest banks; community banks and regional banks, along with smaller trading houses and credit unions, have some very talented people. Nor must every government official come from the financial sector; executives from other business areas, lawyers who have practiced in a wide range of fields, academics, financial advisers, non-profit employees, think-tank researchers, and people with experience elsewhere in government have deep wells of knowledge -- and perspectives that sometimes differ from those who run Wall Street banks.

The over-representation of Wall Street banks in senior government positions sends a bad message. It tells people that one -- and only one -- point of view will dominate economic policymaking. It tells people that whatever goes wrong in this economy, the Wall Street banks will be protected first. That's yet another advantage that Wall Street just doesn't need.

I have voted against only one of President Obama's nominees: Michael Froman, a Citigroup alumnus who is currently storming the halls of Congress as U.S. Trade Representative pushing trade deals that threaten to undermine financial regulation, workers' rights, and environmental protections. Enough is enough.

It's time for the Obama administration to loosen the hold that Wall Street banks have over economic policy making. Sure, big banks are important, but running this economy for American families is a lot more important.

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FEINSTEIN DELAYS CONTROVERSIAL DROUGHT LEGISLATION UNTIL NEXT YEAR

by Dan Bacher

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced on November 20 that she has abandoned the secret negotiations to craft a controversial drought relief bill this year, but said she will try to pass the legislation next year.

The delay is a victory by a coalition of fishing groups, environmentalists, Indian Tribes and family farmers who organized an action alert campaign over the past week to defeat the bill. They said the bill would amount to a water bailout for corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley that would devastate salmon and other fisheries and family farms.

“Over the past several weeks I have been working closely with members of the California delegation who expressed interest in reaching a bipartisan agreement on legislation to address California’s drought crisis without violating the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act or biological opinions," said Feinstein in a statement. “Although we have made progress, it has become clear that we will be unable to present an agreed-upon proposal before Congress adjourns this year."

Patricia Schifferle of Pacific Advocates responded, "She claims she worked with all Members - then why don’t the northern California and Delta Members agree with that statement?"

Congresssman George Miller confirmed Schifferle's assessment. “She’s doing the bidding of a very small group of people,” Rep. George Miller, D-Richmond, told reporter Michael Doyle of McClatch news Thursday, prior to Feinstein’s decision becoming public. “This is just money and politics talking.” (http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/article4034913.html#storylink=cpy)

Feinstein also claimed that, in spite of much evidence otherwise provided by opponents of the legislation, that this wasn't "some kind of secret process."

“I deeply believe the people want both parties to work together, and that is the only way we will be able to enact water legislation," said Feinstein. "Claims that this has been some kind of secret process are false. In order to come up with a bill that is ready for public comment, back-and-forth negotiations and consultations are often necessary, including extensive technical assistance from federal and state agencies. That process is ongoing and we have no agreed-upon bill at this time."

If Feinstein asked for "technical analysis" then it would be great to share the agency’s “technical analysis" with the public, Delta advocates noted.

The Senator also emphasized that there is a "real human face" to the current drought, although she failed to mention the people most impacted by the drought - recreational and commercial fishing families, family farmers, and Indian Tribes that depend on salmon and other fish as part of their religion, culture and existence.

“It is important to remember there is a real human face to this crisis," Feinstein continued. "Some communities can no longer deliver water to homes. Thousands of residential wells have run dry. And many families lack very basic necessities like water for showers and cooking."

Then Feinstein claimed that the bill wasn't "about corporate agriculture," failing to explain why heavy hitters from the water community, including Tom Birmingham of the Westlands Water District, Stewart Resnick of Paramount Farms, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Kern County Water Agency, were all at the table of the negotiations while fishermen, Tribes, family farmers, Northern California legislators and Northern California legislators were completely excluded.

“California is in a state of prolonged drought, and we must come together to find ways to provide the water necessary for life and well-being. This isn’t about corporate agriculture, this is about California," she said.

Feinstein then took aim at drought bill opponents, concluding, “It’s my hope that groups critical of this effort will strive to be productive rather than destructive. It’s clear that we need to get more water to our cities, businesses, farmers, households, fish and the Delta. And it’s equally important that we continue to protect wildlife and the environment. Only together will we stand a chance of agreeing on a bill that can help accomplish all of these goals.”

Bill opponents greeted Feinstein's announcement with relief - and vowed to stop similar legislation gutting fish protection and Delta water standards in the 2015 Congressional Session.

"We would like to thank the Senator for listening to our constituents and we hope that she and Senator Boxer will ensure that all Californians are taken into account during the formulation of legislation in the next Congress," said Tom Stokely, water policy for the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN).

In a similar vein, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said, "We are thankful that Senator Dianne Feinstein agreed to use regular bill procedures this time involving public hearings for next year. Thank you to everyone who took action and kept the pressure strong!"

"This bill has been delayed," said Ronald Stork, Senior Policy Director of Friends of the River. "Feinstein said it will be reintroduced and go through the regular order in the new GOP led-Congress instead of being hatched in secret in the back rooms. That's a good thing, but it doesn't matter if California's two Senators are unwilling to stand up to the San Joaquin Valley Congressmen. Somebody has to show some courage."

"The dynamics haven't changed. Feinstein is more than willing to accede to the demands of the Southern San Joaquin Valley Congressmen. Their demands are pretty simple: disrespect the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other peoples' water," concluded Stork.

On November 18, representatives of California’s leading grassroots water conservation and environmental water organizations, fishing groups and the Winnemem Wintu and Karuk Tribes signed a letter strongly criticizing the legislation.

"We are disturbed by a resurgence of media reports and the potential movement of a purported 'drought bill' for California," the letter stated. "As we understand it, the draft legislation now being finalized attempts to reconcile provisions from S.2198 and HR.3964," two bills designed to benefit corporate agribusiness at the expense of other water users."

The groups and Tribes expressed concern that there would be "destructive elements" in the reconciled bill that were in past versions of either or both bills. These include the following:

  • Water transfers from the Sacramento Valley are expedited circumventing public processes in federal environmental laws. 
  • Refuges are pushed to turn to groundwater instead of relying on what the Central Valley Improvement Act requires in the way of surface water deliveries. 
  • Most benefits are for desert agriculture in the southwestern San Joaquin Valley — not California as a whole — and especially not the area of origin where most of the water comes from: the Sacramento River Watershed. 
  • Permanent, devastating impacts on migratory bird and fish populations in California, Oregon, Washington State and Alaska. 

Defenders of the public trust are gearing up for a big battle by Feinstein and the Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representative to pass "drought relief" legislation that serves corporate interests at the expense of fish, wildlife and the people of California during the next Congressional Session.

To read the complete letter, go to this link on the Restore the Delta website: http://restorethedelta.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/EWC-Opposition-Letter-FINAL.pdf

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