Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Jan 17, 2015

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SUPES GEAR UP FOR POT LEGALIZATION.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has sent a letter to federal and state elected officials to formally support and call for the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana. The Board adopted Mendocino County Code Section 9.31 in 2008 to regulate medical marijuana in a manner that is consistent with State law and which promotes the health, safety, and general welfare of the residents and businesses within the unincorporated territory of the County of Mendocino. County Code 9.31 was amended in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to decrease plant exemption from 99 to 25 plants.

Summary Of Request [Agenda Item, Board of Supes meeting, January 20, 2015]: Request the Board of Supervisors discuss and take possible action related to the formation of an ad hoc committee in preparation of possible legalization of marijuana. This ad hoc committee would be tasked with researching and preparing for the potential economic impacts of legalization, by working with staff and making recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. While we acknowledge the uncertainty of good data to review the economic impacts, it is relevant to create a starting point.

Proposition 215, the “Compassionate Use Act”, passed in November 1996, which allowed patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation, the ability to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use. Passage of Senate bill 420 (2003) allowed patients’ primary caregivers to cultivate marijuana for personal use and established in the Department of Public Health a medical marijuana card program for patients to use on a voluntary basis. In the intervening 11 years, no broader, regulatory structure has been established, and the implementation of the Compassionate Use Act has been marked by conflicting authorities, regulatory inconsistencies, intermittent federal enforcement action, and a series of lawsuits which tested the limits of the Act and focused on the extent of the authority of local government.

Proposition 19, the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act”, failed in November 2010, which would have allowed people 21 years of age or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. In 2014, five similar ballot measures failed to qualify.

Senate Bill 1262 and Assembly Bill 473, introduced in the 2013-14 session of the California State Legislature, focused on the regulation of medical cannabis in a manner that protects local control, addresses important public safety concerns, enhances health and safety standards and establishes mandatory statewide commercial registration. The contents of both bills have been reintroduced for the 2015-16 session to continue discussion on statewide marijuana regulations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Marijuana Legalization Task Force, led by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, is currently studying the complex legal and policy issues to produce another 2016 ballot initiative to legalize cannabis. States including Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon have fully legalized marijuana. At the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) annual meeting, September 24-26, 2014, the County Chief Executive Officer, Carmel J. Angelo, convened a Chief Administrative Officer roundtable on several elements of legalization including: revenue and taxation, legislation, enforcement of laws and regulation, new consumer markets and a look at Colorado one year after legalization.

There is a need for greater certainty and uniformity regarding marijuana facilities, and the need for the imposition and enforcement of regulations to prevent unlawful cultivation and diversion of marijuana for non-medical use, while at the same time not preempting local government ordinances. This ad hoc committee will focus on the potential economic impacts of impending legalization. Mendocino County has a unique opportunity to be an active participant in the discussion, creation and implementation on statewide and local marijuana policy.

Recommended Action/Motion: Form an ad hoc committee composed of Third District Supervisor Tom Woodhouse and Second District Supervisor John McCowen, directing said ad hoc to review the potential economic impacts of marijuana legalization in Mendocino County. The ad hoc would report back to the Board of Supervisors with recommended actions in preparation of legalization.

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BUT LEONA WILLIAMS, boss ma'am of the Pinoleville tribe, is way ahead of the Mendo pot curve. She and Pinoleville will soon produce the miracle drug on an industrial scale, putting all the rest of the local grows, some of them quite large, to shame.

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THE SIERRA NEVADA Music Festival promotors have agreed to pay $27,500 for fairgrounds rent at their annual Boonville event this year. They’re also being charged $19,000 for Sheriff’s security. The agreement includes a requirement that 300 tickets be sold to locals for little or nothing.

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GO AHEAD, call me a moron, but I think the 49er saga is muy interesting. Like lots of born and raised Bay Area wheezes, as a kid I watched Frankie Albert, Y.A. Tittle, Hurryin' Hugh McElhenney, Joe The Jet Perry, John Henry Johnson, Leo The Lion Nomellini, and my fave, Hardy Brown, at Kezar Stadium on the edge of Golden Gate Park. (Brown's “shoulder block” was too rough even for the NFL and was outlawed. A defensive back, Brown, running at the ball carrier full tilt, got his shoulder under a running back's chin, clotheslining the poor guy and often knocking him unconscious, much to the delight of fans who'd give Brown a Standing O. Hey! I'm not endorsing it, I'm just remembering a time when the game was assumed to be ultra-violent, way beyond amelioration, when pro football was purely a game played by large, violent men and watched by men, and lots of women, who enjoyed the spectacle.)

Hardy Brown closing in on Otto Graham, 1953.
Hardy Brown closing in on Otto Graham (1953).

I'VE ALWAYS been a fan. Never got into the Raiders or any other football team except the Boonville Panthers who, by the way, are as much fun as the pros. (I don't think pro basketball, except for San Antonio, is very interesting anymore. They just run up and down throwing up downtown threes which, to me, is too boring, not at all as fun to watch as the old school team play that used to prevail and that San Antonio still plays to great success.)

CARMEN POLICY, Eddie D's brains when The Little Prince owned the Niners, said the other day that he and a group of investors had a viable plan for keeping the Niners in San Francisco but the York family rejected it, and from there on shut out Policy, Joe Montana and several million fans who wanted the team to stay in SF. The Policy group would have fixed up Candlestick, the scene of the team's greatest triumphs and kept the Niners in Frisco, and we all would have lived happily ever after.

THAT MOST PERFECT of all outcomes didn't happen and it was off to Santa Clara, which seems to be little more than a series of soul-free suburban neighborhoods from which its residents commute to San Jose. The stadium the Yorks talked the Santa Clara saps into building for them is like a football-themed mall, with about half the thing devoted to luxury boxes for the nearby billionaire gizmo gangs of Silicon Valley, i.e., non-football fans, and a Niner “museum” you pay $15 to get in to. By half time, the gizmo people have left (regardless of the score) or are watching the game on tv from remote stadium bars. And the Yorks haven't even been able to get the turf right, as we see on tv with its dirt patches so it's first down and a cloud of dust. All that and stratospheric ticket prices that throw real fans right out of the park.

AND NOW the firing, essentially, of Jim Harbaugh, an obvious maniac (first coach I've ever seen who literally foamed at the mouth in frustration at bad calls) but a winning coach. Harbaugh had us all optimistic despite the ghastly Santa Clara stadium, but now he's out for, I'd guess, not kissing owner bum, and we have a defensive line coach shoved into the breech over his own boss, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

HERE'S where I depart from most fans. I'm happy defensive coach Tomsula got the head job. All this bullshit about him lacking head coach experience assumes the game is a form of muscular brain surgery that only highly skilled, mucho experienced people can do. Tomsula has always been in the game. He knows what to do. The only question about him is how much autonomy he'll have in a context of a treacherous (and very dim) owner in Jed York. Tomsula looks like a good guy, although he looked totally panicked and was wholly inarticulate during his introductory news conference. But, hell, he's a football coach, not one of these bland feebs who read the 6 o'clock news. Tomsula is said to be very popular with the players, but then so was Harbaugh, and you'd think the Yorks would get these guys some professional speech help before they're fed to the media jackals. Their great quarterback, Colin K, no intellectual certainly, is lost in front of the cameras. He's got a ton of natural charm, charisma, but no one has helped him deal with the media ghouls. All you have to do is feed them platitudes and they go away happy. But Kap presented as an arrogant, non-verbal thug and the media jackals ate him.

WHAT WE HAVE HERE is a bad owner who's saddled us with a bad, distant stadium and an unstable team made unstable by that young owner and his wine-yup old man, a pair of undeserving rich guys without, well, anything in the way of the kind of experience that might make them smart enough to turn the team over to football people.

THIS REMARK FROM YORK as he booted Harbaugh reminded me of something a low rent pimp might say as he opened up a naugahyde whorehouse deep in the Nevada desert: “Jim is a great teacher and a tremendous mentor who conducts himself with great class and integrity.”

JESU CRISTO! Why'd you fire him, then?

THE YORKS serve nicely as a metaphor for late capitalism. Undeserving, essentially stupid, arrogant and on and on.

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A READER CALLED to ask, “Why did you guys print that long article from the crazy guy on your front page?” My, my. Sooooo judgmental. Heck, if we applied a mental health standard to submissions we'd be printing a one-page paper, if that. The caller was referring to the long account by Mr. Arik Caldwell of his picaresque journey from Oregon to the Mendocino County Jail, replete with 5150 encounters along the way with the forces of law and order. First off, for a nut, the guy's a very good writer. Most crazy people are too scrambled to put together any kind of coherent narrative. Second, Mr. Caldwell's descriptions of his adventures are emblematic of the journeys of thousands of mentally ill people pinballing around the country in lieu of national funding and realistic strategies to deal with them. Mr. C. seems fairly benign but, as any cop will tell you, typical of the worrisome, free floating irritants they deal with on a daily basis. But here at the mighty AVA, it's the quality of the prose that counts, not who it's from.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Jan 16

Adams, Anderson, Bennett, Bolton
Adams, Anderson, Bennett, Bolton

MIRANDA ADAMS, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

DANIEL ANDERSON, Willits, Probation revocation.

ISAIAH BENNETT, Ukiah. False ID. (Frequent flyer.)

JOHN BOLTON IV, Drunk in public, resisting arrest. (Frequent flyer.)

DeWolf, Durham, Paeyeneers
DeWolf, Durham, Paeyeneers

HEATHER DEWOLF, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

TINA DURHAM, Covelo. Violation of county parole.

ZACHARY PAEYENEERS, Willits. Domestic battery.

Poteat, Raymen, Ruiz, Soto
Poteat, Raymen, Ruiz, Soto

MARCUS POTEAT, Portland/Ukiah. Drunk in public.

DANIEL RAYMEN, Mendocino. Vandalism, resisting arrest.

DAVID RUIZ, Potter Valley. DUI.

JOEY SOTO, Laytonville. Brandishing, loaded firearm in public.

Stone, Villanueva, Walrath
Stone, Villanueva, Walrath

GUY STONE, Talmage. Drunk in public.

FRANCISCO VILLANUEVA, Willits. DUI.

CHRISTOPHER WALRATH, Ukiah. Battery, criminal threats, possession of meth, failure to appear, offenses while on bail. (Frequent flyer.)

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ROBERT STONE

Editor,

My brother-in-law, Bob Stone, shuffled off his mortal coil this past Saturday. He was a fine and gentle man; and in his memory, I would like to offer this passage from my favorite book of his, A Flag for Sunrise:

"He had been elected to awareness, and while awareness had its satisfactions, it was not easy to watch all the world's deluded wandering across the battlefield of a long-ago lost war. One had to close the heart to pity--if one could. The truth was a fine thing, but it had to be its own reward."

Dick Whetstone

Fort Bragg

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MENDOCINO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TO DISCUSS WATER RESOURCE PRIORITIES

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, sitting as the Water Agency Board of Directors, will hold a discussion on federal/state water protection mandates and water issues and priorities for 2015 and beyond. Members of the public are encouraged to attend this meeting. The discussion will take place on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, at approximately 1:30 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, Room 1070, 501 Low Gap Road, in Ukiah. The Mendocino County Water Agency is a special district that encompasses all of Mendocino County and is governed by the Board of Supervisors, sitting as its Board of Directors. The overall mission of the Water Agency has been to protect and develop the water resources of the County and ensure that adequate quantity and quality of water is available to meet not only the present, but also the future needs of the County. “It is imperative that we are proactive in our water management to ensure that we meet our current and future water needs,” stated Carre Brown, 1st District Supervisor and current Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “We need to have a discussion on our priorities to make sure we are in the best possible position now and in the coming years. The most recent drought emergency is not over, even after a series of late autumn storms and an atmospheric river in December which delivered our region above average rainfall. Our local water supply resources remain below average for this time of year. Water has long been an issue in this County and we should not take this latest reprieve for granted.” Following this discussion, the Board will receive a report on the Feasibility Study for the raising of the Coyote Valley Dam. For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463- 4441. Released by: Carmel J. Angelo Chief Executive Officer

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THE ANDERSON VALLEY AMBULANCE Service held its annual Crew Appreciation dinner on Sunday January 11th. It was a heart-warming evening to be able to honor the all volunteer crew. Dinner was catered by Boont Berry Farm.

Some of the awards given were:

  • Volunteer of the Year: Thom Elkjer
  • The Bruce Longstreet Memorial Award : Antoinette VonGrone
  • Rookie of the Year: Mike Mannix
  • Award for most consistent shifts: Eric Arbanovella
  • Award for most shifts in a month: Antoinette VonGrone
  • Award for Special Appreciation: Tina Walter
  • Award for most Shifts at the Barn: Mike Mannix
  • Award for coming the Farthest to do Shifts: Karin Kamb

Special mention was made of David Severn in honor of his retirement after 12 years of excellent service. David was honored with a special plaque and having his name added to the Wall of Fame at the Ambulance Barn.

Special mention was made of Jan Wasson-Smith for her 15 years of dedicated and outstanding service on shift and to the Crew. Jan was honored with a special plaque.

If you see any of these people, please thank them for volunteering for the Ambulance Crew:

  • Fal Allen (11/14)
  • Eric Arbanovella (5/08)
  • Del Baeuerlen (7/13)
  • David Ballantine (9/08)
  • Sarah Bennett (4/10)
  • Kyle Clarke (11/98)
  • Bill Cook (7/07)
  • Thom Elkjer (9/05)
  • Clay Eubank (1/11)
  • Tamara Fischer (11/14)
  • Don Gowan (12/05)
  • Theresa Gowan (5/07)
  • Art Hatcher (4/02)
  • Robyn Harper (11/10) Ret.
  • Wayne Howard (5/14)
  • Dennis Hudson (10/06)
  • Martha Hyde (9/02)
  • Zoe Jacobson (9/13) Ret.
  • Karin Kamb (7/14)
  • Kathie Kinzie (11/94)
  • Mike Mannix (1/14)
  • Aaron Martin (9/09)
  • Sarah McCarter (1/90)
  • Tom Melcher (11/14)
  • Charlie Paget-Seekins (3/08)
  • Jeanine Pfeiffer (6/11) Ret.
  • Mark Pitner (11/12)
  • Miguel Ridolfi (7/12)
  • David Severn (7/12) Ret.
  • Colin Van Ree (7/14) Student
  • Antoinette VonGrone (11/05)
  • Tina Walter (7/14)
  • Jan Wasson-Smith (7/99) Leave
  • Colin Wilson (6/99)

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BAD NEWS FOR MENDO?

The Attorney General Just Ended The Law That Allows Police To Seize Your Assets Even If You're Innocent

by Christina Sterbenz and Erin Fuchs

State and local police in the United States will no longer be able to use federal laws to justify seizing property without evidence of a crime, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday.

Under the official law, the Justice Department's Equitable Sharing Program, local police departments can keep 80% of the stuff seized during drug raids and other investigations.

The practice of local police taking property, including cash and cars, from people that they stop, and of handing it over to federal authorities, became common during the country's war on drugs in the 1980s.

Since then, the practice, commonly known "civil forfeiture," has allowed the police to seize cash or property that they suspect is tied to a crime even if the owner isn't charged with one.

Since 2008, thousands of local and state police agencies have made $3 billion worth of seizures of cash and property, the Washington Post reports.

In some cases, cops even introduced the seized cash and items into their own departments, which creates a bit of a questionable incentive. For hundreds of police departments, money or assets from these types of seizures made up 20% or more of their annual budgets, according to the Post.

In most criminal cases, the government has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. With civil forfeiture, however, only a "preponderance of evidence"— a significantly lower stands of proof — is necessary. The prosecutors actually file a lawsuit against the items, not the person. That's why you can have your property seized even if there's not enough evidence to charge you with a crime.

Another investigation from the Washington Post examined 43,000 reports on asset seizures dating back to 2008, which reported $2.5 billion in spending from these seizures. According to the Post's analysis, 81% of that spending came from seizures in which the property or cash owners were never indicted.

On top of that, police have been known to make some ridiculous purchases with the money. A department in Douglasville, Georgia bought an armored personnel carrier costing $227,000, while another department spent $637 on a coffee maker.

And once police get a hold of your assets, it's nearly impossible to get them back. You can fight for your possessions in court, but actually winning is hard task. Notably, the IRS withheld $447,000 for two years from a small business owned by three Long Island brothers.

The Supreme Court has even upheld the practice a number of times, including its first ruling in 1827 which included some bizarre logic. That case involved the government's attempt to seize a ship used for piracy. When the owner of the ship claimed it couldn't be forfeited until he'd been convicted of a crime, the Supreme Court had this to say:

"The thing is here primarily considered as the offender, or rather the offence is attached primarily to the thing."

While it sounds odd that the government would want to punish "the thing," civil forfeiture cases today still reflect that line of reasoning.

Holder cited "safeguarding civil liberties" as a reason for the change in policy. While police can still seize assets under their individual state's laws, many used the federal law out of ease, as the Post notes. State laws also usually require any money to funnel into a general fund.

The order directs federal agencies who have collected property during such seizures to withdraw their participation, except if the items collected could endanger the public, as in the case of illegal firearms, ammunition, explosives and property associated with child porn.

Holder said the ban was the first step in a comprehensive review the Justice Department has launched of the program.

An anonymous Department of Justice official told The Post that Holder “also believes that the new policy will eliminate any possibility that the adoption process might unintentionally incentivize unnecessary stops and seizures.”

(Reuters reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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GROWTH OF REAL HOURLY COMPENSATION for Production/Nonsupervisory Workers and Productivity, 1948–2011

WhitneyChart

Is America in the throes of a class war?

Look at the chart and decide for yourself. It’s all there in black and white, and you don’t need to be an economist to figure it out.

— Mike Whitney

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HUFFMAN'S ON THE CASE!

Rep. Jared Huffman to VA Secretary: Improve Access to Health Care Resources for Rural North Coast Veterans

Asks VA Secretary to help rural veterans in Humboldt, Trinity, Mendocino, and Sonoma Counties

WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) this week sent a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald urging him to improve access to health care for veterans on the rural North Coast under the new Veterans Choice Program, authorized by Congress in last year’s Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act.

The Veterans Choice Program allows veterans living more than 40 miles “as the crow flies” from the nearest VA medical facility to seek timely care from local, private medical providers. However, veterans living in a number of localities in Humboldt, Trinity, Mendocino, and Sonoma counties, although they technically reside within 40 miles of the nearest VA medical facility, must travel significantly farther due to the winding and indirect nature of many rural roads on the North Coast, making them ineligible for the new program.

In his letter, Huffman asked Secretary McDonald to reclassify the following localities as “geographically inaccessible,” which would automatically qualify resident veterans for access to local, private care paid for by the Veterans Health Administration:

Willow Creek in Humboldt County;

Junction City and Burnt Ranch in Trinity County;

Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Gualala, and Point Arena in Mendocino County;

Annapolis, Sea Ranch, and Stewart’s Point in Sonoma County

“Due to the mountainous nature of our rural region, the driving mileage for these locations is anywhere from 50-80 miles via actual roads, and the drive time is upwards of one and a half hours. These communities are all located along Highway 299 and Highway 1, which can be treacherous, especially in the winter,” wrote Huffman.

“On behalf of more than 1,700 veterans who live in these areas, I request that you designate these localities as ‘geographically inaccessible’ and make this group eligible for the Veteran’s Choice program.”

A copy of the letter can be found below.

January 13, 2015

Secretary Robert A. McDonald
Department of Veteran’s Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20420

Dear Secretary McDonald,

Thank you for the hard work you are doing on behalf of veterans across the country in implementing the VA Choice Act. I am writing on behalf of my constituents living in the rural counties of Humboldt, Trinity, Mendocino, and Sonoma who should fall under the category of “geographically inaccessible” and require your authority for the classification.

The towns of Willow Creek in Humboldt County; Junction City and Burnt Ranch in Trinity County; Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Gualala, and Point Arena in Mendocino County; and Annapolis, Sea Ranch, and Stewart’s Point in Sonoma County are all within 40 miles of the nearest VA medical facility. However, due to the mountainous nature of our rural region, the driving mileage for these locations is anywhere from 50-80 miles via actual roads, and the drive time is upwards of one and a half hours. These communities are all located along Highway 299 and Highway 1, which can be treacherous, especially in the winter.

On behalf of more than 1,700 veterans who live in these areas, I request that you designate these localities as “geographically inaccessible” and make this group eligible for the Veteran’s Choice program.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Jared Huffman, 
Member of Congress

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Entitlements

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POT GLUT IN WASHINGTON STATE

Washington's legal marijuana market opened last summer to a dearth of weed. Some stores periodically closed because they didn't have pot to sell. Prices were through the roof.

Six months later, the equation has flipped, bringing serious growing pains to the new industry.

A big harvest of sun-grown marijuana from eastern Washington last fall flooded the market. Prices are starting to come down in the state's licensed pot shops, but due to the glut, growers are — surprisingly — struggling to sell their marijuana. Some are already worried about going belly-up, finding it tougher than expected to make a living in legal weed.

"It's an economic nightmare," says Andrew Seitz, general manager at Dutch Brothers Farms in Seattle.

State data show that licensed growers had harvested 31,000 pounds of bud as of Thursday, but Washington's relatively few legal pot shops have sold less than one-fifth of that. Many of the state's marijuana users have stuck with the untaxed or much-lesser-taxed pot they get from black market dealers or unregulated medical dispensaries — limiting how quickly product moves off the shelves of legal stores.

"Every grower I know has got surplus inventory and they're concerned about it," said Scott Masengill, who has sold half of the 280 pounds he harvested from his pot farm in central Washington. "I don't know anybody getting rich."

Officials at the state Liquor Control Board, which regulates marijuana, aren't terribly concerned.

So far, there are about 270 licensed growers in Washington — but only about 85 open stores for them to sell to. That's partly due to a slow, difficult licensing process; retail applicants who haven't been ready to open; and pot business bans in many cities and counties.

The board's legal pot project manager, Randy Simmons, says he hopes about 100 more stores will open in the next few months, providing additional outlets for the weed that's been harvested. Washington is always likely to have a glut of marijuana after the outdoor crop comes in each fall, he suggested, as the outdoor growers typically harvest one big crop which they continue to sell throughout the year.

Weed is still pricey at the state's pot shops — often in the $23-to-$25-per-gram range. That's about twice the cost at medical dispensaries, but cheaper than it was a few months ago.

Simmons said he expects pot prices to keep fluctuating for the next year and a half: "It's the volatility of a new marketplace."

Colorado, the only other state with legal marijuana sales, has a differently structured industry. Regulators have kept a lid on production, though those limits were loosened last fall as part of a planned expansion of the market. Colorado growers still have to prove legal demand for their product, a regulatory curb aimed at preventing excess weed from spilling to other states. The result has been more demand than supply.

In Washington, many growers have unrealistic expectations about how quickly they should be able to recoup their initial investments, Simmons said. And some of the growers complaining about the low prices they're getting now also gouged the new stores amid shortages last summer.

Those include Seitz, who sold his first crop — 22 pounds — for just under $21 per gram: nearly $230,000 before his hefty $57,000 tax bill. He's about to harvest his second crop, but this time he expects to get just $4 per gram, when he has big bills to pay.

"We're running out of money," he said. "We need to make sales this month to stay operational, and we're going to be selling at losses."

Because of the high taxes on Washington's legal pot, Seitz says stores can never compete with the black market while paying growers sustainable prices.

He and other growers say it's been a mistake for the state to license so much production while the rollout of legal stores has lagged.

"If it's a natural bump from the outdoor harvest, that's one thing," said Jeremy Moberg, who is sitting on 1,500 pounds of unsold marijuana at his CannaSol Farms in north-central Washington. "If it's institutionally creating oversupply ... that's a problem."

Some retailers have been marking up the wholesale price three-fold or more — a practice that has some growers wondering if certain stores aren't cleaning up as they struggle.

"I got retailers beating me down to sell for black-market prices," said Fitz Couhig, owner of Pioneer Production and Processing in Arlington.

But two of the top-selling stores in Seattle — Uncle Ike's and Cannabis City — insist that because of their tax obligations and low demand for high-priced pot, they're not making any money either, despite each having sales of more than $600,000 per month.

Aaron Varney, a director at Dockside Cannabis, a retail shop in the Seattle suburb of Shoreline, said stores that exploit growers now could get bitten in the long run.

"Right now, the numbers will say that we're in the driver's seat," he said. "But that can change. We're looking to establish good relationships with the growers we're dealing with."

(Gene Johnston. Courtesy, the Associated Press)

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AT APPROXIMATELY 5:27pm, Friday night the Ukiah Communication/Dispatch Center received a call from the driver involved in a collision with injuries. Local CHP units were dispatched to the collision and CalFire was contacted for medical. CHP and Redwood Valley fire personnel arrived on scene and began providing medical assistance to the involved parties. The driver identified herself as Riley Mitchell, 22 of Redwood Valley. Mitchell was driving a 2001 GMC Sierra northbound on Eastside Calpella Road just south of the Hwy 20 over crossing. Mitchell related she was traveling at an unknown speed when a dark colored, GMC Suburban traveling southbound, swerved into her lane. Mitchell related she swerved to the right to avoid the collision and the right side of the GMC struck the bridge abutment. Mitchell related the Suburban failed to stop after the collision and Mitchell continued to a safe location. Mitchell sustained no injuries from the collision but the right rear passenger, Lincoln Foss, age 6, of Redwood Valley, sustained major injuries and was transported to UC Davis by Calstar. Seatbelts were believed to be in use at the time of the collision. It does not appear that alcohol is a contributing factor in this collision. This collision is still under investigation.

— CHP Press Release

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Hist4

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FLEAS DREAM of buying themselves a dog, and Nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that, one magical day, good luck will suddenly rain down on them – will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down, yesterday, today, tomorrow or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day on their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms.

The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no-ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way.

Who are not, but could be.

Who don’t speak languages, but dialects.

Who don’t have religions, but superstitions.

Who don’t create art, but handicrafts.

Who don’t have culture, but folklore.

Who are not human beings, but human resources.

Who do not have faces, but arms.

Who do not have names, but numbers.

Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the crime reports of the local paper.

The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.

— Eduardo Galeano, 1971; from "Open Veins of Latin America"

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Dear Ed,

Thank you so much for the striking photo of the face of our beloved Statue of Liberty a couple days ago. I've been looking for some time for a full-face shot of our Blessed Lady of Liberation. To begin, I was just curious to see the complete facial expression of this universally recognized and often emulated icon. There are damned few such full-face shots to be found. My curiosity grew the longer I looked. Why aren't there any facial views of this figure plastered about all over like her silhouette? People as far as China, and everywhere in between, recognize her profile and stance, but nobody ever sees her face.

Hist23

So you print a really good one, and my Honey, Joyce says, "Hey! Rocky Balboa!" And there's not much argument that the Lady's facial features are bold, prominent, and masculine. It may be the sculptor needed to form her expression for clarity, to make it more visible over longer distances. Maybe the result has been a butch kind of image that people just automatically disregard. But I think there's more to the rarity of seeing this face than her disconcerting maleness of countenance. Seeing the full monty confirms my earlier suspicions: this babe is not a happy camper, and nobody who looks her in the eyes could think she is. She stands, not striding or retreating or bracing herself, there in the New York harbor, with the Document in her left hand, while with her right, she holds aloft for the world the Light of Liberty...not a lantern, folks, but a torch. And her face is anything but passive and static. Hers is not a happyface. This mug has vigilance, alarm, outrage and mortal motivation wrote large all over it. I've been thinking of a name for her...Incinderella?

They should play this face full backdrop in the greenscreen deal behind Cheney when he lectures us about how torture, terror, and war crimes work to achieve 'our objectives.'

Thanks once again,

Rick Weddle, Hawaii

PS. And what's up with the Bell? The Liberty Bell. Another highly revered and widely recognized symbol of U.S. love for, and signal for Freedom. Nobody's heard a peep out of this thing for how long? It's sitting in a case collecting dust, a poorly crafted relic of proud defiance now in silent retirement to its cubicle. Is there anyone in North America now, of any age, any sex, any social or religious or cultural persuasion who could cast a bronze by god bell, anneal it so it doesn't split, then ring the daylights out of it? Or is it thumping Yankee know-how to yankee nohow thud in one not-so-easy 200-year swoop? You can hear elders of the First Nations at the laundrymat by Rushmore: 'No sooner did we get unsettled by 'settlers' than we got regularly disadvantaged by 'advances.'

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Predictions

 

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