Mendocino County Today: Friday, Dec 19, 2014

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HIGH SURF ADVISORY is in effect from 2pm Friday to 6pm Saturday. Breaking waves are expected to be 22 to 25 feet high along the west and northwest facing beaches. (National Weather Service)

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WINTER SOLSTICE, the longest night of the year, is Sunday, December 21. It so happens the new moon will be on the same date, so Sunday night will not only be long, it will also be dark. Because the moon and sun will be aligned on that date, we will also see some of the most extreme tides of the year on December 21, 22, and 23. These are sometimes called King Tides, and some people are starting to observe these extreme high tides to get a preview of how the rise in sea level might look. One such group is the California King Tides Project (california.kingtides.net), who are asking people to participate by taking pictures of the high tides. The upcoming high tide times (Noyo Harbor) will be: 9:37am Dec 21; 10:20am Dec 22; and 11:06am Dec 23.

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RESOLUTION HONORING SUPERVISOR JOHN PINCHES FOR HIS YEARS OF SERVICE ON THE MENDOCINO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AND HIS SERVICE TO THE COUNTY OF MENDOCINO

December 9, 2014

Pinches
Pinches

WHEREAS, John Pinches is a native of Mendocino County and proud fourth generation Mendocino County rancher, and

WHEREAS, first elected to office in November 1994, John has represented the constituents of the 3rd Supervisorial District for a total of twelve years, from 1995 to 1998, and 2007 through 2014, wherein which Supervisor Pinches served three terms as Chair of the Board; and

WHEREAS, John served with distinction on a variety of boards and committees, a partial list of which includes: Mendocino Council of Governments, Mendocino Resource Advisory Commission, Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority, Mendocino Transit Authority, Mental Health Board, Policy Council on Children and Youth, Remote Area Network, and the Workforce Investment Board; and

WHEREAS, John recognized the value of maintaining good relationships with colleagues, famously advising, “On any one issue, you never want to push a fellow Board member any farther away than you're willing to pull them back in time for the next issue;” and

WHEREAS, John is famous for his joking style to lessen the emotion during heavily debated agenda items and/or adding light hearted comments to cheer up whomever is unhappy about the outcome of an action, bringing laughter from all (except perhaps the individual the comment was directed to - including himself!), and

WHEREAS, John will be long remembered for the stylish cowboy shirt and jeans worn throughout his tenure to each and every Board meeting he has attended, forcing some to wonder just how he will manage in retirement ranching in a pristine white shirt; and

WHEREAS, John shared his generosity of spirit with everyone, rarely meeting a person he didn't like; and

WHEREAS, John always kept a comb in his pocket as testament to his optimistic outlook; and

WHEREAS, John, who often reminded others that "he came to office to build the County and not to tear it down," accomplished his goal in a thousand ways; and

WHEREAS, the only thing John knew as well as his cows was the County Budget book; and

WHEREAS, some of our favorite “Johnny-isms” imparted over the years include such comments as:

“Whiskey’s for drinkin’ and water’s for fightin’.”

“Why can’t we keep not doin’ what we haven’t been doin’?”

“We’re not gonna catch up with the Jones’s. We’re gonna meet them on the way back.”

“When are we gonna stop calling kids ‘kids,’ and start calling them ‘species?’ They’ll be eligible for all kinds of things!”

“The Russians ain’t doing it to us, we’re doin’ it to ourselves!”

WHEREAS, John has steadfastly represented constituents from the north-eastern segment of rural Mendocino County, while acting in the interests of all Mendocino County residents; and

WHEREAS, choosing not to seek reelection at the end of his third term, John departs from the County at the end of 2014 to attend to his family and ranch; and

WHEREAS, John will always be loved for his generosity, honesty, devotion, and service.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Supervisors of the County of Mendocino joins John’s’ family and friends in wishing him a fulfilling, prosperous, and adventurous future, and commends him for his commitment to the pursuit of worthy causes, and his passion and enthusiasm for the well-being of Mendocino County.

WHEREUPON, the Vice-Chair declared said Resolution adopted and SO ORDERED.

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After the testimonials and reading of the resolution and the unanimous vote of admiration, Pinches, obviously moved and touched by the many expressions of appreciation for his public service, commented briefly, “The people of Mendocino County have treated me extremely well. I appreciate it. I’m just going to leave it at that.”

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THE AVA AGREES. (Except for the trite water/whiskey cliche. Pinches was much better on water than worn out cliches. He really wanted to do something about it, unlike his colleagues.) Supervisor Pinches has been an outstanding Supervisor who has always put the interests of Mendocino County and its residents first and who has been open to all points of view.

PINCHES WAS STEADILY PURSUED AND OFTEN VILIFIED by liberals of the Clintonian type. Local Libs seemed to object to Pinches' plain spoken cowboy style — he's been a cattle rancher all his life — more than his substance, and that substance has been an enviable record of fiscal prudence and a steadfast commitment to the welfare of the entire county. There was never any doubt where Pinches stood on issues, and even when he was disagreed with or criticized, Pinches was always open to debate and always remained affable. Pinches has served honestly and honorably. He'll be missed by lots of us, and official Mendocino County will miss him and likely suffer his absence, although supervisors Gjerde, McCowen and Brown comprise a solid core of conscientious public servants in the Pinches mold, if not style.

Finally, here are a few of our own favorite John Pinches moments:

• Pinches (to Supervisor John McCowen): “I watched your complete meeting in Humboldt County.”

McCowen: “You’re just a glutton for punishment, aren’t you? You don’t hear enough from me down here on the Board?”

Pinches: “I wanted to make sure what you say in Mendocino County is the same thing you say in Humboldt County.”

• “This presentation reminds me of the airplane pilot who was flying at over 30,000 feet. The pilot comes on the microphone and says, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have some bad news for you. If you look out the left side of the aircraft you’ll see that an engine is on fire. If you look out the right side, you’ll see that engine has fallen off. The good news is that we’re right on schedule.”

• Responding to Supervisor McCowen who implied that Pinches position on social programs was akin to social Darwinism: “I didn't know Darwin personally.”

• On local marijuana growers: “My personal view is that I don't think anybody who grows marijuana is an outlaw. Everything I thought about this and say is centered around that. Supervisor Hamburg points out that we are kind of out there. We can't even get our local congressman, both our lame-duck congressman, or any of our future congressional candidates that's going to represent from Marin County to the Oregon border, the federal legislation that is proposed, for one of these state legislators — nobody will support us in our position. We are hanging out there. This marijuana issue has been going on for over 40 years. 40 years! Think about it! And we are still throwing people in jail over it. They're get­ting stopped in their cars and getting their money taken and their medicine taken. These are the same incidents that could have happened 40 years ago. Where have we really progressed in this?”

• On the proposal to eliminate the County’s groundbreaking marijuana cultivation ordinance because of threats from the feds: “We're just about to call up the federal government and say, Well okay, we're not going to do the 99 plants anymore. So we're just going to do the 25 plants, so stay away from us. It's kind of like telling a bank robber, Well, you can only do part of it… I think we should be consistent and tell the federal government, You know what? We tried to develop this process. We came up with a 9.31 ordinance that you didn't like for all the different reasons. Didn’t like our numbers. Didn’t like the money going to the Sheriff's office… But now, federal government, what I want to tell you is we're dropping the whole thing. You do what you think’s best. You're in charge. If you come— Because there is a violation of states rights here.”

• On CEO Angelo’s “consultation” with the credit rating advisor: “I think it's very disappointing that we spent $28,000 basically for a telephone conference call. I rest my case.”

• On then-Supervisor Kendall Smith’s personal junket to the National Association of Counties convention in Pittsburg: “I don’t support this. I don’t know NACo’s specific track record but it’s pretty bleak. These organizations are all about themselves, not about the members. What would Mendocino County gain? What would be pushed for at this convention? It’s not worth the money or the membership.”

• After a performance by a local harpist demonstrating the benefits of the local arts council: “You are a lot more entertaining than we are.”

• On the County Pension system’s declaration that there was a 54% chance that the system would return 7.75% over the long run: “I just have a question, it says MCERA [the Mendocino County Employees Retirement Administration] projects a return rate of 7.75% which has a 54% probability of fulfillment over the next 28 years. I read where our retirement system indirectly or directly basically hires 33 different consulting firms to get to this. Basically, what this is saying is, Well, we are half right and we are half wrong. 54%. Is that what you are paying 33 different consulting firms to give you half right answers and half wrong answers? Is that the best you can do, 54% probability? … Is that — am I reading this correctly? I mean, hell! I can get three guys off the street to get me a half right and half wrong answer! … I don't know if I would be willing to invest $350 million [the approximate size of the County’s pension reserves] in something that has an almost 50% chance of being wrong.… I'm sure a ouija board could produce a number not much under 54%.”

• Supervisor John McCowen (speaking to County Counsel Jeanine Nadel): “Your Honor [it had recently been announced that Nadel had been appointed Superior Court Judge], would you like to strike that last statement from the record?”

Nadel: “No! I would like to strike him” (pointing at Pinches).

Pinches: “Hey, if I am going to be accused of being a large marijuana dealer then I might as well play the part!”

• Upon hearing the predictions of the County’s consulting actuaries regarding the stability and viability of the County’s pension fund: “Now I know the difference between a fortune teller and an actuary.”

• On how to deal with complaints that marijuana stinks: “Can we direct our Air Pollution Control Office to develop marijuana plants that don't smell?”

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GLENDA ANDERSON OF THE PRESS DEMOCRAT REPORTS:

IN A PHOTO posted on Craigslist this week, a smiling man holds a bloody seal carcass for an ad announcing a seal hunt is being held on the Mendocino Coast.

The online photo appears to be real, but the seal hunt — which would be illegal anywhere in the United States — is a hoax, according to wildlife officials.

“Totally bogus. This exact photo was posted on Craigslist in November 2013 with a similar, if not exact ad,” said Fish and Wildlife Lt. Patrick Foy. The photo likely was taken at a seal hunt in a country where it is legal, he said.

The fake ad is one of a growing number of animal-related Internet hoaxes, which have included people claiming to sell mountain lion kittens, monkeys and even penguins.

“We have had an upswing of Craigslist hoax ads,” Foy said. “It is creating a lot of unnecessary work for several reporters and our own law enforcement personnel to debunk them.”

The ads generally are quickly noticed and removed from the Internet by federal and state wildlife officials like state Fish and Wildlife Lt. Michael Milotz, whose job includes scouring the Web for illegal animal trafficking. He said he’s not sure what laws are broken when the suspected crime turns out to be an Internet joke, rather than a Fish and Wildlife offense.

It was unclear who was responsible for having the recent seal hunting ad removed from Craigslist, but it was posted for only a day before vanishing Wednesday morning.

“Come enjoy our first Mendo coast seal hunt!” the short-lived ad begins.

It offers to train attendees how to attract and kill seals, which has been illegal in the U.S. since 1972. The ad blames seals for destroying fisheries and attracting sharks, which then attack surfers.

It details what kind of firearms and bullets to use.

The ad promised seal stew, “Newfoundland-style” after the hunt.

The ad was likely posted to irk people, Milotz said. And it did.

“When I saw this last night, I was freaking out,” said a Sonoma County woman who did not want her last name printed for fear that the person or persons who posted the ad might seek retribution.

The woman, Laurie, said she contacted state Fish and Wildlife officials to see whether they’d changed the law against seal hunting and to report the ad.

In Fort Bragg’s Noyo Harbor, where the ad directed would-be hunters to meet, no one had heard of the hoax.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” said Noyo Harbor District Manager Jere Kleinbach. “It seems rather bizarre.”

At the Noyo Fishing Co., news of the hoax elicited a chuckle from Kurt Akin.

“That’s a weird one,” he said.

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A WOMAN, 67, not identified pending notification of family, was found dead early Thursday morning off Highway 20 not far from Willits. The CHP said she was driving a silver Chrysler minivan when she apparently lost control and veered off the road at an S-type curve in the road. Her vehicle slid sideways and crashed into a Redwood tree, before sliding down an embankment.

“She crashed some time during the previous night or early in the morning,” said CHP spokesman Kylar Adams. “Passers-by saw the vehicle this morning and called it in.”

Adams said there was no evidence that anyone else was involved in the accident. He said the cause of the crash was still under investigation Thursday afternoon.

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THE MENDOCINO COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION, Paul Tichinin proprietor, is mandated to ensure that poor children are being instructed in safe conditions. The following represents his findings:

FACILITIES CONDITION REVIEW - "GOOD" RATINGS

  • Point Arena High School: 98 percent
  • Nokomis Elementary: 97 percent
  • Arena Union Elementary: 97 percent
  • Dana Gray Elementary: 96 percent
  • Laytonville Elementary: 95 percent
  • Grace Hudson Elementary: 95 percent
  • Round Valley Elementary: 95 percent
  • Oak Manor Elementary: 94 percent
  • Eagle Peak Middle School: 92 percent
  • Willits High School: 92 percent

SCHOOLS WITH A "FAIR" RATING:

  • Anderson Valley Elementary: 89 percent
  • Baechtel Grove School: 84 percent
  • Pomolita Middle School: 80 percent
  • Blosser Lane Elementary: 79 percent
  • Calpella Elementary: 78 percent

This year's full report on county schools related to the Williams settlement is available via the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors website at http://bit.ly/1J4D35k.

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Q: HAS THE US GOVERNMENT ever tried to silence you or criticize you for reporting on its failure to criminally prosecute Wall Street?

A: Back when I lived in Russia, I knew lots of reporters who really did risk their lives and had enemies who really did violently attempt to silence them. I had one Russian reporter friend who wrote something about a bank connected to one of Yeltsin's advisers, and two days later a thug in a ski mask literally jumped through his bedroom window and bopped him over the head with a crowbar. I vaguely knew people like Anna Politkovskaya and Yuri Sheckochikhin, famed reporters who were literally murdered because of their work. Even I had to skip Moscow once, after a certain mob-connected pimp had a bit of a sense of humor failure about a thing we'd published in the eXile.

But in America, nobody needs to silence journalists, particularly if you're talking about just one journalist, and more particularly if it's just one print journalist. Ignoring such people is easier and way more effective. You just let the reporter throw whatever hissy-fit he/she has decided to throw, and five seconds later the main audience will be back porn-surfing and watching football and "Wives With Knives" and so on. The notion of the dangerous dissident who so threatens the corrupt state that he or she must be physically eliminated is unfortunately an old-fashioned fantasy that no longer fits our sophisticated dystopia. Or anyway, even if such a person did exist, it would be someone with better sources than me.

— Matt Taibi, Rolling Stone

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FLORA JOINS CEO FAUNA

Appointment of Alan D. Flora as Mendocino County’s New Assistant Chief Executive Officer

Flora
Flora

Mendocino County CEO, Carmel J. Angelo, has appointed Alan D. Flora as the Assistant Chief Executive Officer effective January 5, 2015. Ms. Angelo stated “Alan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position. We are fortunate to have him joining our team.”

Mr. Flora most recently served as the Deputy County Administrative Officer in Lake County and brings a wide range of experience to Mendocino County including budget development, economic development and marketing, public relations, labor negotiations, and planning. Mr. Flora was involved in numerous successful projects in Lake County including the Lake Leadership Summit and the Hill Road Correctional Facility Expansion. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Planning & Development and a departmental minor in Marketing from Ball State University, in Indiana.

Regarding his appointment, Mr. Flora stated “I am excited about working with the Board of Supervisors, Department Heads and Executive Office staff in Mendocino County on a variety of important issues and programs. I have already met many of them and the energy, optimism, commitment, and camaraderie is exciting and inspiring. I am ready to get started.”

“We have a great person joining a great team,” stated Mendocino County Board of Supervisor’s Chair, John Pinches. The Executive Office looks forward to the addition of Mr. Flora to the County’s Leadership Team.

Released by Carmel J. Angelo, Chief Executive Officer

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CAPITALISM IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY

To the Editor:

Back in the saber-rattling days of the "Cold War" and the hot "war" in Southeast Asia, the mainstream U.S. media vilified the socialist/communist countries of "Red" China, the USSR, and North Vietnam quite regularly. Back then, many adults would have accurately described Joseph Stalin as a mass murderer and brutal leader of the totalitarian USSR. Now if you ask 100 Californians under 30 who Joseph Stalin was, 80 percent of them might say something like, "Wasn't he the shortstop on the Dodgers back in the 70s?"

My point is not that Stalin was a great guy, but rather that the Cold War and the USSR are semi-ancient history. China, Russia, and Vietnam have adopted many capitalistic features. Young people are not "afraid" of socialism and communism the way the majority of U.S. adults were 40-plus years ago. Maybe young people are willing to look at the flaws and benefits of both capitalism and socialism.

I recently read Jerry Mander's "The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws in an Obsolete System." On his very first page, he points out that in ecological systems, "a once thriving, even dominant species, in markedly changed circumstances, gives way to other species that are better adapted to current realities." Students of biology and environmental science know that in natural systems this is called natural succession. Mander argues that it's time for economic succession to allow humans to adapt to this century where we're face-to-face with the carrying capacities of our planet's ecosystems with many tough ecological problems to solve.

Capitalism is soooo last century, and yet we have dragged it into this 21st century. If it ever was useful for the majority of humans is questionable, but it seems pretty obvious lately that it has outlived its usefulness.

Mander has a master's degree in international economics and has been in advertising/marketing for several decades. But long ago he realized that typical advertising for giant corporations was effectively persuading people to act against their own interests and the interests of the environment. So he cofounded a marketing firm that promoted the causes of groups like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth. In his Capitalism Papers, Jerry Mander describes many of the consequences of large, powerful corporations wielding so much power. The book is full of important information about how our planet is run. The book has a bibliography with over 150 sources and an extensive index. I hope that many college economics professors are using this book in their classes.

Here are a few chapter titles: Growing Up Global; Intrinsic Amorality & Corporate Schizophrenia; Is Greed Good?; Intrinsic Inequalities of Corporate Structure; Endless Growth on a Finite Planet; Propensity Towards War; Privatization of Democracy; and Capitalism or Happiness.

The book is only 283 pages, but has dozens of details about the way capitalism is having an immensely negative impact on people and the natural world.

Having been a critic of capitalism for over 40 years, there are not many ideas in the book that are new to me, but Mander's research has turned up some amazing details showing how various aspects of capitalism are ruining democracy, the lives of people, and our biosphere. I don't think that ending capitalism and replacing it with a "socialist" alternative will automatically fix the broken lives of people and entire species. But I do believe that if we allow powerful corporations to control our lives and our world, they will, and the results may be the extinction of most of the species on Earth, including humans. Corporations will continue to push for more "growth" and profits by chewing up the natural world and turning live beings into dead products.

So I recommend getting a copy of Mander's The Capitalism Papers at the library or at a local new or used bookstore. Ending capitalism is something that more and more mainstream people are beginning to talk about. This book describes many of the unethical and unfair aspects of the earth's dominant economic system. As the world's ecosystems continue to deteriorate, alternatives to capitalism will not just look more and more attractive, we will see them as essential.

Sandy Turner, Redwood Valley

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Dec 18, 2014

Arguelles, Brotherton, Cumins
Arguelles, Brotherton, Cumins

GERMAN ARGUELLES, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

ROBERT BROTHERTON, Ukiah. Ex-felon with firearm, possession of controlled substance.

SHARA CUMINS, Auburn/Ukiah. DUI, pot possession for sale, furnish, transport, driving without license.

George, Maynard, Papillion
George, Maynard, Papillion

WILLIAM GEORGE, Willits. Domestic battery.

ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

MARK PAPILLION JR, Petaluma/Ukiah. Kidnapping for robbery, rape, spousal rape, oral copulation, sodomy or sexual penetration.

Perrine, Radcliffe, Reid
Perrine, Radcliffe, Reid

DAVID PERRINE, Ukiah. Failure to register.

RICKEY RADCLIFFE, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

ROBERT REID, Summerset/Ukiah. Smuggling of firearms, deadly weapon, or tear gas into jail.

Shattuck, Shriner, Todis, Villalobos
Shattuck, Shriner, Todis, Villalobos

DARELL SHATTUCK, Laytonville. DUI-Drug&Alcohol, under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

LOUIS SHRINER, Ukiah. Resisting arrest, probation revocation.

ELIZABETH TODIS, San Francisco/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

ALBERTO VILLALOBOS, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

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CUBA, FINALLY

Dear Editor:

Kudos to President Obama for after 50 years restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba. This action should have been taken years ago. The Cuban lobby and their yahoo congresspersons having been standing in the way and prior administrations have been too cowardly to act. The cry we should not recognize a repressive government rings hollow when we consider we have diplomatic relations with repressive governments like China. In fact, we have diplomatic relations with many countries more repressive than Cuba. Again kudos to President Obama.

In peace, Jim Updegraff, Sacramento

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THE NEW OPENING WITH THE USA

Learning the Art of Coexistence

by Raul Castro

Since my election as President of the State Council and Council of Ministers I have reiterated in many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality, in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment to the national Independence and self-determination of our people.

This stance was conveyed to the US Government both publicly and privately by Comrade Fidel on several occasions during our long standing struggle, stating the willingness to discuss and solve our differences without renouncing any of our principles.

The heroic Cuban people, in the wake of serious dangers, aggressions, adversities and sacrifices has proven to be faithful and will continue to be faithful to our ideals of independence and social justice. Strongly united throughout these 56 years of Revolution, we have kept our unswerving loyalty to those who died in defense of our principles since the beginning of our independence wars in 1868.

Today, despite the difficulties, we have embarked on the task of updating our economic model in order to build a prosperous and sustainable Socialism.

As a result of a dialogue at the highest level, which included a phone conversation I had yesterday with President Obama, we have been able to make headway in the solution of some topics of mutual interest for both nations.

As Fidel promised on June 2001, when he said: “They shall return!” Gerardo, Ramon, and Antonio have arrived today to our homeland.

The enormous joy of their families and of all our people, who have relentlessly fought for this goal, is shared by hundreds of solidarity committees and groups, governments, parliaments, organizations, institutions, and personalities, who for the last sixteen years have made tireless efforts demanding their release. We convey our deepest gratitude and commitment to all of them.

President Obama’s decision deserves the respect and acknowledgement of our people.

I wish to thank and acknowledge the support of the Vatican, most particularly the support of Pope Francisco in the efforts for improving relations between Cuba and the United States. I also want to thank the Government of Canada for facilitating the high-level dialogue between the two countries.

In turn, we have decided to release and send back to the United States a spy of Cuban origin who was working for that nation.

On the other hand, and for humanitarian reasons, today we have also sent the American citizen Alan Gross back to his country.

Unilaterally, as has always been our practice, and in strict compliance with the provisions of our legal system, the concerned prisoners have received legal benefits, including the release of those persons that the Government of the United States had conveyed their interest in.

We have also agreed to renew diplomatic relations.

This in no way means that the heart of the matter has been solved. The economic, commercial, and financial blockade, which causes enormous human and economic damages to our country, must cease.

Though the blockade has been codified into law, the President of the United States has the executive authority to modify its implementation.

We propose to the Government of the United States the adoption of mutual steps to improve the bilateral atmosphere and advance towards normalization of relations between our two countries, based on the principles of International Law and the United Nations Charter.

Cuba reiterates its willingness to cooperate in multilateral bodies, such as the United Nations.

While acknowledging our profound differences, particularly on issues related to national sovereignty, democracy, human rights and foreign policy, I reaffirm our willingness to dialogue on all these issues.

I call upon the Government of the United States to remove the obstacles hindering or restricting ties between peoples, families, and citizens of both countries, particularly restrictions on travelling, direct post services, and telecommunications.

The progress made in our exchanges proves that it is possible to find solutions to many problems.

As we have reiterated, we must learn the art of coexisting with our differences in a civilized manner.

(Raul Castro is president of Cuba. The above is the text of Cuban President Raul Castro’s address to the nation on his Wednesday broadcast on radio and television on the recent developments in the Cuba-US relations.)

* * *

"LET THIS DARKNESS BE A BELL TOWER"

Quiet Friend who has come so far,

feel how your breathing makes more space around you.

Let this darkness be a bell tower

and you the bell. As you ring,

 

what batters you becomes your strength

Move back and forth into the change.

What is it like, such intensity of pain?

If the drink is bitter, turn yourself into wine.

 

In this uncontainable night,

be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,

the meaning discovered there.

 

And if the world has ceased to hear you,

say to the silent earth: I flow.

To the rushing water, speak: I am.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

* * *

F-BOOK

Jeff Costello

Rarely do I get personal emails any more, the medium is nearly obsolete already. And I naturally have given up on real letters, in the mail. Now my email inbox contains mostly notices from facebook. Had I not signed up, communication by written words would be almost nil. Of course, facebook is, as a young friend noted, "an advertising medium," and it's only getting worse. Zuckerberg, you see, needs the money - just like Bill Gates and the Waltons. Every day I get new right wing propaganda notices, right down to the sales pitch for George H.W. Bush socks. I guess he needs the money, too.

Yesterday facebook reminded me that Jews have written the popular Christmas songs, this is presented as a revelation, and a question - Why, how? Cant' help myself, I must comment: For the same reason that Jews wrote so many classic rock and roll songs, the ones that weren't written by black musicians. The average Anglo-Saxon 'white' person is conditioned to regard music as trivial precisely because he has no talent for it.

For the most part everyone has accepted mass media. And popular entertainment as well, since the quality has been consistently as good as it gets (whatever that means to you). If anyone wants to be prejudiced against Jews and gays, they better turn off the TV and quit going to shows and movies.

Speaking of white people, facebook is rife with liberals "protesting" this and that, random harmless squeaks about republican hypocrites and bad guys. Such people must be monitoring fb and laughing their rich fat asses off. All is well for them, as these complaints go no further, mean little or nothing. Alex Cockburn appeared on C-Span once. The interviewer took a phone call. The caller started in with such preposterous stock-in-trade right wing bullshit, all the great journalist could do was look shocked at the stupidity of it and say "…Oh"

But he had been interrupted, the point made, the dialog ruined. Such is the power of propaganda.

A recent facebook post was about how historically, many disreputable characters have caused good things to happen. Okay. Somebody needs to write the other half of the story, how all the "good, respectable, admired" people have done the most evil and caused the worst damage.

Facebook, having hijacked the communications of millions worldwide, may fall into this category. But we seem stuck with it, almost as much as we are stuck with computers in general, motor vehicles, and "elected" government.

Spoke with a friend back east on the phone the other day. Said he stays away from facebook, fed up with pictures of food "that looks like puke."

I've seen a few of those.

* * *

BREAKING NEWS: COUNTY TO ARGUE THAT SUPERVISOR'S VOTES IN CLOSED SESSION CAN BE KEPT SECRET

From: Dennis OBrien <dennisobrien@sharejerusalem.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2014 3:03 PM

Please see the email below from Douglas Losak, Acting County Counsel, and the preceding string. This matter is set for hearing at 9:30am tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 12, in Courtroom E in Ukiah. Judge Henderson has already issued a tentative ruling that the County must reveal the "votes and abstentions of every member present" (see below), but gave the County two weeks to comply before making a final ruling.

If the County prevails, then the people will never know how each supervisor voted when resolving most matters that are conducted in closed session, i.e., those involving legal settlements. Decisions of great consequence will be made without any transparency or accountability. This violates both the letter and the spirit of the California Open Meeting Law, aka the Brown Act.

For more information, please reply to the above.

Dennis O'Brien

* * *

From: Douglas Losak <losakd@co.mendocino.ca.us>
To: Brina Latkin <latkinb@co.mendocino.ca.us>; Dennis OBrien <dennisobrien@sharejerusalem.com>
Cc: Barry Vogel <vogelaw@pacific.net>
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2014 1:12 PM

Subject: Re: O'Brien v. BOS, Notice of Non-Compliance and Intent to Appear

Mr. O'Brien,

The letter that I wrote does confirm with the provisions of Gov Code 54597.1, As you know, this statute states

(a) The legislative body of any local agency shall publicly report any action taken in closed session and the vote or abstention on that action of every member present, as follows:

Gov. Code 54957.1 (emphasis added)

There follows seven subdivisions that set forth the procedure to report out of closed session in different situations. The facts in this case make it clear that subsection 3 (B) is the applicable section. This subsection states that

(3) Approval given to its legal counsel of a settlement of pending litigation, as defined in Section 54956.9, at any stage prior to or during a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding shall be reported after the settlement is final, as follows:

. . .

(B) If final approval rests with some other party to the litigation or with the court, then as soon as the settlement becomes final, and upon inquiry by any person, the local agency shall disclose the fact of that approval, and identify the substance of the agreement.

Cal Gov Code § 54957.1 (emphasis added)

This process was complied with. It is evident that we disagree, and that the Court must decide this issue. I will see you in court on Friday and we will see what the Court decides to do.

Mr. Vogel, I have no idea why you were cc'd on this e-mail, but since you were I included you in my response.

Douglas L. Losak, Acting County Counsel
Mendocino County Counsel Office
501 Low Gap Road, Rm 1030, Ukiah, CA 95482
Telephone (707) 234-6885 Fax (707) 463-4592 losakd@co.mendocino.ca.us

* * *

From: Dennis OBrien <dennisobrien@sharejerusalem.com> 12/18/2014 12:30 PM

Counselor,

Thank you for the letter of disclosure. If it complied with Government Code 54957.1, I would now dismiss the Petition for Writ of Mandate. It does not. The code requires that the disclosure includes "the vote or abstention of every member present." The letter does not do so. By refusing to disclose the votes/abstentions, the Board of Supervisors is violating both the letter and the spirit of the California Open Meetings Law: they are voting in secret and not being held accountable for their decisions.

I will be at Judge Henderson's courtroom by 9:30am tomorrow (Friday). If at that time you present a letter of the same formality that discloses the votes/abstentions of the supervisors present at the vote described in Mr. Losak's letter of December 16, I will dismiss the case. Otherwise, Judge Henderson will enter his tentative ruling, deny your demurrer, and set the matter for trial.

Thank you again for your assistance in this matter.

Dennis O'Brien

* * *

From: Brina Latkin <latkinb@co.mendocino.ca.us>
To: Dennis OBrien <dennisobrien@sharejerusalem.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 9:48 AM

Subject: Re: Letter of Disclosure, Agreement to Dismiss

Attached is the electronic coy of the letter. It was mailed to you yesterday.

Brina Latkin, Deputy County Counsel
Mendocino County Counsel Office, Administration Center
501 Low Gap Rd., Rm. 1030, Ukiah, CA 95482
Main Office Line: (707) 234-6885; Fax: (707) 463-4592
Email: latkinb@co.mendocino.ca.us

* * *

From: Dennis OBrien <dennisobrien@sharejerusalem.com> 12/17/2014 9:24 AM

Counselor,

I have not yet received the County's letter complying with Government Code 54597.1. If you have sent it, please provide an electronic copy. If not, please advise me of your intentions prior to our scheduled appearance in court in Friday.

Dennis O'Brien

* * *

From: Dennis OBrien <dennisobrien@sharejerusalem.com>
To: Brina Latkin <latkinb@co.mendocino.ca.us>
Sent: Friday, December 5, 2014 3:59 PM

Subject: Re: Letter of Disclosure, Agreement to Dismiss

Counselor,

I await the letter. If it does not conform with GC 54957.1, I will not dismiss. Judge Henderson specifically cited this section, both in his tentative decision and at the hearing this morning:

"The general post-executive session notification requirements are set forth in GC 54957.1: the board must “publicly report any action taken” and the vote or abstention of each member present. ((a)) In cases where the board action relates to the settlement of pending litigation, the report must also include the statement that the board gave approval of a settlement agreement to its legal counsel. ((a)(3)) Where, as in the underlying case, the final approval of the settlement rests with some other party (execution by plaintiff) and upon inquiry, the report shall disclose the fact of the board’s approval and identify the substance of the agreement ((a)(3)(B))."

If the letter from the Board of Supervisors does not contain all of the above information, Judge Henderson will set this matter for trial on December 19. In addition to the County bearing its litigation expenses, I will seek any available sanctions. Considering Judge Henderson's preference for judicial efficiency, he will be inclined to hand them out at every available opportunity.

You have done your best to shield your clients, which is your duty. You have already relieved them of having to report the date of their approval. But they must obey the law. Please make sure you convey this written offer of settlement to the Board of Supervisors. I will accept a letter directly from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, rather than through your office, so long as it conforms with the Code above. If the Board chooses to ignore this offer after the Judge Henderson's explanation, then they are not only willfully violating the law; they are violating their oath of office. And our citizens, who consistently support open government no matter what their political persuasion, will be very displeased.

Sincerely,

Dennis O'Brien

* * *

From: Brina Latkin <latkinb@co.mendocino.ca.us>
To: Dennis OBrien <dennisobrien@sharejerusalem.com>
Cc: Douglas Losak <losakd@co.mendocino.ca.us>
Sent: Friday, December 5, 2014 1:50 PM

Subject: Re: Letter of Disclosure, Agreement to Dismiss

Dear Mr. O"Brien:

Per Judge Henderson's instruction, if the County is able to provide a letter from County Counsel, the letter will state, only the fact of the Board's Approval.

Brina Latkin, Deputy County Counsel
Mendocino County Counsel Office, Administration Center
501 Low Gap Rd., Rm. 1030, Ukiah, CA 95482
Main Office Line: (707) 234-6885; Fax: (707) 463-4592
Email: latkinb@co.mendocino.ca.us

* * *

From: Dennis OBrien <dennisobrien@sharejerusalem.com> 12/5/2014 11:59 AM

Counselor,

This letter will confirm what happened in court this morning.

If the County provides an official letter disclosing that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors approved the settlement agreement that was executed by Sheriff Allman in the Case of O'Brien v. County of Mendocino, then I will dismiss the Petition for Writ of Mandate. The letter must conform with Government Code Section 54957.1 as quoted by the Judge Henderson in his tentative decision, i.e., it does not need to include the date of the approval, but it must include the vote or abstention of each supervisor who was present.

The County has until December 19 to comply. If it does not, then Judge Henderson will effectuate his tentative decision, denying the County's demurrer and setting the matter for trial.

Thank you for your efforts to resolve this matter. Judge Henderson's focus on judicial efficiency should dissuade your superiors and clients from dragging this out any further. Although you have been put in a difficult position, I will not hesitate to ask for sanctions if they do.

Dennis O'Brien

* * *

From: Brina Latkin <latkinb@co.mendocino.ca.us>
To: tr@mendocino.courts.ca.gov
Cc: dennisobrien@sharejerusalem.com
Sent: Thursday, December 4, 2014 4:28 PM

Subject: Request for Oral Argument

Defendants request oral argument in the matter of O'Brien v. Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, case no. SCUK CVPT 14-64649.

Brina Latkin, Deputy County Counsel
Mendocino County Counsel Office, Administration Center
501 Low Gap Rd., Rm. 1030, Ukiah, CA 95482
Main Office Line: (707) 234-6885; Fax: (707) 463-4592
Email: latkinb@co.mendocino.ca.us

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