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Off the Record (Mar 25, 2015)

FORT BRAGG PEOPLE opposed to the conversion of the Old Coast Hotel as halfway house are urged to help fund the legal challenge to the cockamamie scheme by sending donations to Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg, 18601 N. Highway One, Fort Bragg 95437.

WE DON'T UNDERSTAND why Lt. John Naulty wasn't named Fort Bragg's Chief of Police. We understand he was one of four finalists, with the top spot going to an LAPD cop named Fabian Lizarraga. Naulty, at the risk of his life, put himself in the path of that rampaging Oregon lunatic almost two years ago now, preventing that particular mad dog from killing anybody else after he'd already gunned downed popular Coast Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino. On the basis of that act alone, the job should have gone to Naulty.

THE PRESENT CITY GOVERNMENT at Fort Bragg, basically the three-person city council majority and City Manager Linda Ruffing, drove the popular Chief Mayberry out of town and was said to be angry with Naulty for not submitting himself to a mental health clearance by a shrink of the council's choosing. Naulty, still off duty, said he was fine and ready to go back to full time duty.

GIVEN the choice between Naulty's self-evaluation of his mental health and the "professional" opinion of someone dragged out by the “liberal” city council majority, we'll go with Naulty.


LIZARAGGA'S duties for the LAPD included spying on commies. In December of 1982, David Johnston of the LA Daily Mirror wrote: "...Undercover LAPD Officer Fabian Lizarraga, infiltrated the Revolutionary Communist Party and led protesters in a May Day march in 1980 that resulted in a fight with police and arrests of demonstrators."

JOHNSTON also says that Lizarraga had sex “with a woman revolutionary” in hopes of getting information and was nearby when Damien Garcia, the man being investigated, was killed — allegedly by a member of the Primera Flats gang — at the Aliso Village Housing Project. Lizarraga also took a job in The Times circulation office in Whittier, but Johnston said that he never had the proper ID to gain access to the main buildings or the newsrooms.

IN APRIL 1982, Chief Daryl F. Gates asked Dist. Atty. John Van de Kamp to drop charges against the protesters accused of assaulting police officers. “Gates’ letter came at a time when the focus of the case had turned from the conduct of the revolutionaries, who advocate the violent overthrow of the government, to the conduct of his department’s Public Disorder Intelligence Division,” especially Lizarraga and a Lt. Scheidecker, Johnston wrote.

HANK SIMS, writing for Lost Coast Outpost: "The FBI’s arrest of millionaire Robert Durst on murder charges over the weekend has thrown the 1997 disappearance of Eureka teenager Karen Mitchell back into the spotlight.


Durst is the subject of the recent HBO documentary series “The Jinx,” which was named for the remarkable number of people who have crossed paths with Durst only to end up murdered. He was finally charged with one of those murders as the series ended — his friend Susan Berman, who was killed in 2000 — and it looks as though the 71-year-old will soon appear to answer to the charge in a Los Angeles court. (Though he admitted to killing and dismembering a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, in 2001, a jury found that Durst acted in self-defense.)

Karen Mitchell
Karen Mitchell

THE DOCUMENTARY SERIES, Durst's arrest and the charges have reminded many news organizations that some have long considered Durst a suspect in the disappearance of two California teenage girls — Kristen Modaferri, 18, who disappeared in San Francisco in June 1997; and Mitchell. The disappearance of the 16-year-old Mitchell in November 1997 is Humboldt County’s most well known missing persons case. She had left the Bayshore Mall to walk to her aunt’s house on the afternoon of Nov. 25 of that year. She never arrived, and was never heard from again. A large manhunt turned up several clues — including an artist’s rendering of a person Mitchell was last seen with, along with a description of his car — but no suspect was ever officially named. At the time, Durst had a home in Trinidad.

DURST has been charged in LA with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Susan Berman, the daughter of the prominent Vegas mob figure, the late Davey Berman. The local angle? Ms. Berman was a talented writer, well known in San Francisco of the late 1960s for a story called, “Why Women Can't Get Laid In San Francisco.” She was a good friend of AVA writer, Fred Gardner.

ACCORDING TO REUTERS, Apollo Global Management is in "advanced talks" to acquire most of the assets of Digital First Media, sales price about $400 million. Digital First owns the Denver Post and the San Jose Mercury News and, among its lesser papers, the Ukiah Daily Journal, The Willits News, and the Mendocino Advocate/Beacon. All of the Mendo people presently working for the Mendo papers aren't optimistic about their long-term employment prospects. According to Reuters, “The potential deal illustrates private equity's interest in the newspaper industry. Even though newspaper readership is declining, buyout firms say they believe they can squeeze out a profit through cost cuts and new digital offerings.”

ELK AB THIEVES. Three San Francisco men received thousands of dollars in fines and other penalties after pleading no contest to illegally poaching 59 abalone in November 2014. The daily bag limit for abalone is three. Jinfu Wu, 43, Wei Q Wu, 27, and Jin He Li, 35, all of San Francisco, were each fined $20,000 (Wu and Li had $5,000 suspended) and sentenced to 36 months of probation and 240 hours of community service. The men also face permanent revocation of their fishing and hunting licenses and the loss of all seized fishing gear. On Nov. 5, California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers with the Special Operations Unit observed a suspicious van with one man inside parked on the side of the road near the town of Elk in Mendocino County. The officers began surveillance on the van and ultimately observed two divers in the water near the location where the vehicle was parked. The divers appeared to be taking gross overlimits of abalone. As the officers watched, the suspects made multiple trips into the water and appeared to hide their illegally harvested abalone on the shore. Once they gathered their catch, they left the scene in the van. Wildlife officers later contacted the suspects at their San Francisco residence and arrested all three for conspiracy to illegally harvest abalone and combined possession of a gross overlimit of abalone.

Li, J.Wu, W.Wu
Li, J.Wu, W.Wu

THURSDAY'S DAY TIME MEETING to permit the great unwashed, formerly citizens, to render their opinions of the proposed new Coast transfer station's EIR, was brought to the two Boonville people who watched it by the invaluable Mendocino TV. The meeting was presided over by FB mayor Dave Turner. Councilman Lindy Peters who, until recently had worked as a consultant for Waste Management, the garbage company presently serving much of Fort Bragg out of its Pudding Creek trash transfer station, scrupulously recused himself from listening to the public comment on the new trash moving operation proposed for a site just off Highway 20 northeast of central Fort Bragg. Peters was elected to the city council long after the proposed transfer station kicked off. He said he was removing himself from the discussion to avoid a legal conflict of interest created by his work with Waste Management.

FOUR SUPERVISORS ATTENDED — Dan Gjerde, Dan Hamburg, John McCowen, and Tom Woodhouse. Of those, I'd say three are in the bag for the new transfer station with Woodhouse, a rookie supervisor who remains totally disoriented, likely to take his cues from his three big brothers. The fifth supervisor, Carrie Brown is also likely to be for it simply because it was a done deal some eight years ago when the County's lead trash bureaucrat, Mike Sweeney, decided that Highway 20 was going to be the location of the new trash transfer station and got it all moving to that location. Rubber stamped every step of the way by Mike Sweeney's captive board of directors at the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority, the County has invested so much money and bureaucratic time in the Highway 20 site to make it their sole option that all these latter day hearings are purely pro forma, the usual cynical, after-the-fact farce characteristic of Mendocino County projects. (The proposed new County Courthouse is another undesired project moving inexorably to reality.)

A NUMBER OF ROAD 409 residents understandably spoke in favor of moving the present trash transfer station out of their neighborhood and over to Highway 20. (There's another existing transfer station at Pudding Creek, which has been summarily dismissed by Sweeney and Company as not viable. The possibility of staging all the Coast's trash at Pudding Creek was not addressed in the EIR.)

THE DUMP on Road 409 was located there years ago because it was close to Fort Bragg and Mendocino and nobody lived there. Prior to Caspar, Fort Bragg's garbage was dumped into a shit chute that emptied into the Pacific, hence the gravel-like accumulation of glass bits at today's Glass Beach, the residue of a century's trash off-load. The present 409 people do not pre-date the transfer station. They moved in knowing the dump was just up the hill and got good deals on their homes because the dump was there.

THE 409 SPEAKERS pointed to the obvious drawbacks of enduring a trash operation at the top of their now residential hill off a winding road — noise, litter, traffic hazards, smells.


SWEENEY, Mendocino County's most interesting person and easily its smartest bureaucrat ever, in a slick opening assessment of the EIR for the new $5 mil dump on Highway 20 had commissioned the EIR on the project at a cool $200,000 to the taxpayers of Mendocino County. Natch, he and the EIR have concluded what Sweeney concluded 8 years ago — Highway 20 will get a new transfer station. A neighbor of the proposed facility, John Fremont, stated the obvious about Sweeney's EIR: “Pay me $200,000 and I'll tell you exactly what you want to hear, Mike.” (John: As your long-time friend, I advise you to get yourself a bamboo pole, affix a mirror to it, and carefully exam the undercarriage of your vehicle every time before driving it anywhere.)

ONLY A COUPLE of speakers referred to the existing Pudding Creek transfer station operated by Waste Management as an alternative to a $5 million dump on Highway 20, and they spoke of it in possible conjunction with shipping Coast trash out on the Skunk Railroad. Whether or not the Skunk line could handle X-number of bins of trash a week is, at this time, a dubious proposition. It would still have to be hauled outtahere at Willits. The Skunk would also need a large capital investment to upgrade the track east of Northspur, but $5 million invested in the Skunk rather than a new trash facility would seem to be an investment more likely to be favored by most Coast residents. Wherever trash is collected for shipment outtahere, it's probably inevitable it will move outtahere by truck.

I WAITED TO HEAR challenges to the EIR's math, especially its blithe assurance that the new station would have a number of environmental advantages, most of them achieved by a reduction of total haul miles in bigger trucks that would haul the Coast's garbage to that vague outtahere. Smaller fossil footprint, you see. Nor was there any mention of the new station's mortgage: how was the thing going to be paid off? By, of course, higher rates to customers. An older woman, clearly a committed recycler, said her tiny amount of trash now costs her $80 a month to be hauled off. It will cost her more, count on it, to pay for a new transfer station.

THE PERSONS critical of the proposed Highway 20 site seemed to have the most substantial objections to Sweeney's $200,000 EIR. They pointed to the hazards a dump would present to Fort Bragg's water supply and noted the absence of any evaluation of the site as to its hydrology. The world famous Pygmy Forest would also be disrupted and its many visitors drawn to the Mendocino Coast would be greeted on the main entry to town with an industrial trash operation.

MEG ‘THE INEVITABLE’ COURTNEY was the final speaker. She, natch, was all for it without citing specific reasons for being for it beyond her years on the Fort Bragg City Council and as one of the Council's reps to Sweeney's MSWMA board. (Wherever things have gone terribly wrong — Fort Bragg's proposed halfway house in the middle of town, KZYX's incompetent management, garbage hauling — Meg is there with her merry thumbs up. And unaware that she's selected for her participation because the people running the show know she's totally incapable of independent thinking. Totally unprepared and speaking off the cuff, Meg's argument was, “If you knew what I knew you'd know the EIR was flawless."

IT'S NOT JUST HER, but when full-on fascism takes hold in America — about a month after Hillary's elected president — it will be the Mendolib personality types who will be first to put their uniforms on.

IN FACT, there's really no reason the existing transfer station at Pudding Creek couldn't continue as the Coast transfer station.

REX GRESSETT had spoken just before the dependably wrong Ms. Courtney. Looking and sounding like an Old Testament prophet, Gressett correctly thundered that the deal was done and that the only way to stop it was for opponents to get together, hire a lawyer and bring it down. Grumbles and rumbles from the Nice People greeted Gressett's right-on presentation. “I apologize to all the people who are against the transfer station for speaking on your behalf. I am not beloved of all the people on this panel. God save us from our friends, as I sometimes have occasion to think. But I would like to say that we should not be under any illusions that these people are listening to what you are saying. These people are here because there is a $5 billion project and they are here to make money on it. When Mr. Lemos shows up you know that the professionals are in town. So I won't take a few minutes to totally refute his ridiculous carbon arguments. But you can win! We stopped them on the hotel. It's not going to happen. If you get together and put money in the bank — the good people of Fort Bragg spent 1500 bucks to stop the hotel. They got a lawyer and put it stopping it. This (the proposed transfer station) is bad judgment just like that was. Protecting the pygmy forests is an obvious thing, but it's not my issue really. Don't expect anything out of a group of people who have already made up their minds. If you won't see that you are going to lose, well... Because they have all this money they spent on all their planning processes. They have it all together. This is not a forum for open discussion. But they want you to think it is. They are not even going to care. You can talk to people and you can weigh the arguments and Mr. Lemos shows up magically and somehow makes a professional pitch and so we don't have to worry about the people anymore. It's done! We've taken care of them. That's what this is for. But don't buy it. Get together. Stop this. You stopped them on the hotel. You can stop them on that project down across the park. And you can stop them on this one if you care enough about it. We don't have to tear up our Pygmy Forest. Anything but that! Make them work. Get the best, finest most up-to-date modern transportation on earth because we love Mendocino County enough to do it. Don't let them with their money put in this great big huge belching monstrosity" Lemos could be heard loudly proclaiming, "You should be ashamed of yourself sir!”

HAMBURG AGONISTES. Speaking to the resumption of asphalt processing off Highway 101 above Grist Creek, the great environmentalist said, “I faced a similar situation to this in my district which was the Harris Quarry and there was some neighbors to the south, in fact a school there, the whole Seabiscuit complex is down there. A lot of people would just drive by that quarry and say. Wow! That's just a horrible monstrosity. How can you take that mountain down? I just feel like we're really caught between — and I'm not trying to be funny but — between a rock and a hard place because we have this economy that is built on resource extraction. It does seem to me that it's a dead end, but I don't know, I just feel like stop the world, I want to get off. I don't know how to get off. I don't know how to stop driving on roads. I hate to say this, but everybody who came here today including me drove a car on a road. What my colleague said is true, it makes more sense to produce it locally than it does to ship it in from outside. If you are for a locally based — we all think of localism like, Oh we are going to grow our own food, we are going to develop our local industry, part of that is mining our resources, and again I don't necessarily believe that it's sustainable, in fact I don't believe it's sustainable. I agree that we have a whole industry now of environmental regulators and people who are trying to keep up with this juggernaut we have created, this economy that we have and I think they are losing and I think one sign that we are losing the battle to save our environment is this drought. I mean, most of us who pay attention to real science feel that climate change is very much upon us and that this drought is related to that and that bears on this kind of a project because every time we add more of this resource extraction and more of this industrial growth which is our, sort of our god, we hasten the point at which push has come to shove, so I feel like I would be sort of a hypocrite at this point to vote no on this because I supported it in my own district for the reasons that I just stated, but I have to say that it makes me extremely unhappy to cast this kind of a vote, to support this kind of a project. It has nothing to do to do with you Mr. Hurt [Brian Hurt, business owner/applicant]. I think you're a responsible businessman and I have no reason to not think that you do the very best you can and I'm sure you put amazing resources into trying to comply with all these, this myriad of laws, but you know it's like we have to create more and more and more and more and more and more laws and regulations just to kind of keep up with all the damage we've done and continue to do, so I kind of think the whole thing is a losing game at this point. I don't think we are getting ahead of our environmental crisis in this country and I think projects like this contribute just a little bit more to that environmental crisis but again I don't know how to stop it. I really don't. I'm not sure it's really my job. I think if I were a philosopher or some kind of the guru I would be sitting up here voting no on almost everything that comes before us, but I'm not. I'm a county supervisor trying — you know, one of the things I talk about a lot is how our economy is dead in his county. We are now just getting back to where we were six or seven years ago in terms of the state of our economy and the revenues we take in, so it's a really really difficult vote for me, but again I'm inclined, I'm going to support my colleague because my colleague supported me when it was in my district so I just — well, it means something. Well, not this particular colleague, but his predecessor was. Anyway, I felt like I had to say something to explain my vote and that's what I have to say.”

THE BOARD voted 5-0 to approve the asphalt plant, a done deal from the get. Hamburg makes one spineless move after another, always cloaking his actions in a lot of highminded blather about how hip he is to The Big Picture and how painful it is for him, A Sensitive, Caring Human Being, to do The Wrong Thing.

ENTERING FAIRFAX from San Anselmo, a banner stretched across Sir Francis Drake Blvd reads, “Leftovers Get New Life In Fairfax.” Thank you, Fairfax, for the welcome, and there do indeed seems to be a lot of leftovers milling around Fairfax mid-day, but maybe they work nights. Walking around the two towns I see a lot of Prop 13 houses, meaning battered old tract jobs that went for twenty to thirty thou back when Marin was just another place, albeit a place with perfect weather, lots of open space presided over by the magnificent Mount Tamalpais, and only a few minutes from the big city. Property prices started going nuts in the mid-70s and are still crazy, but Prop 13 froze property taxes so a lot of ground floor Marin hippies simply stayed on in the homes they grew up in, the homes whose mortgages mom and pop paid off before they died, and here they sit in 2015, rusting vehicles out front, jungle shrubbery, all these encouraging squalor-spots amid the splendor of the endless new money and their semi-palatial do-overs of once modest and proportionate properties. You'll see a gaunt old rocker totter out into his Prop 13 driveway to pick up the morning Chron, the paper of record along with the San Rafael Independent Journal. Because Prop 13 man is cyber-resistant, the two papers are his primary sources of information, the Bay Area's televised chuckle buddies providing evening visuals. Prop 13 Man is Marin and Frisco-centric, knows the history of both places back to Junipero Serra. He's followed the Giants since Willie Mays roamed centerfield at Seals Stadium, the Warriors all the way back to when they played at the Cow Palace and the Civic Center Auditorium, and the Niners forever, although he's now written off the Niners and gone over to the Raiders because of Jeb York and the Yorks' new mall-stadium in Santa Clara, wherever the hell that is. Prop 13 Man has never been south of SF International.

THERE ARE A LOT of old hippies in Fairfax, more than there are in Boonville or even Albion. My theory is that during the great exodus from the SF Bay Area in the late 1960s, as the much heralded back to the land movement picked up momentum, the hips most freaked by the then-high level of urban violence, the most energetic longhairs fled all the way to Del Norte and Trinity counties, the least energetic just dragged themselves over the Golden Gate Bridge on out to Fairfax and West Marin where you could still find an old house for relative peanuts. The intermediately energetic made it to Mendocino County and Southern Humboldt where they made literal fortunes from their natural gifts as botanists.

IN MARIN THESE DAYS, pretty much the only people doing visible work are Mexicans, as Marin-ites charge up and down roads not built for them in their combat-size tank-like suv's. In San Francisco, white parents who can afford to have largely abandoned a perfectly good public school system. In almost all white Marin, public and private schools are probably about the same academically but the private schools are also jammed. I haven't seen a Marin kid over the age of eight who wasn't gazing into a handheld gizmo. When school lets out it's striking how many young girls are dressed "inappropriately," and you wonder what their parents are thinking, if they're thinking. But then you remember how old you are and how any pre-67 notions of modesty walked out the door that same year. Boys still look like boys, though, and how they keep their pubes from shorting out sitting in a history class surrounded by Lolitas would make an interesting PhD investigation. San Anselmo has lots of young families, Fairfax too, but Fairfax, as its banner puts it, is a lot heavier on leftovers. People look more downscale even if they aren't. Of the two towns, Fairfax is much the livelier with bars and restaurants and a theater playing first-run movies. San Anselmo goes to bed at 9 and during the day it's like an outdoor nursery school.

BEATNIKS, 1959. "Those who criticize the police for tearing down the poems have never had personal contact with the beatniks and do not know the real picture on Upper Grant Avenue. The people who frequent the area hate other things besides policemen. They hate work, industry and conformity with the rules which govern society. They are typical of the pseudo-intellectual element found in an intellectual slum. New York has Greenwich Village, Southern California has Venice and we have Grant Avenue. The beatniks sit around the various beer and wine dives at all hours of the day and deride any hardworking effort. They create a police problem because of their attitude. Policemen 'bug' them because they keep them from doing whatever comes into their heads whenever they feel like doing it, whether it be day or night." — Peter Gardner, union newsletter, SFPD, 1959


This first day of Spring anticipates the 40th Anniversary of the Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration in the tenth year of its revival, on Sunday June 14, 2015. As before, the event will be held at the Hill House in Mendocino town, with a gathering at Noon and again at 5:00. Prepare now to enjoy some of the best work from the north counties and beyond. All poems will be considered for broadcast in subsequent weeks by Dan Roberts on KZYX&Z FM. Pick up a pen now and don't set it down until you've written the first lines of the season. For information contact Gordon Black at

SUPERVISOR JOHN McCOWEN told his colleagues last Tuesday that the breathtakingly unnecessary — even the local cops are against it — new County Courthouse in Ukiah is “right on track,” casually omitting his oblique interest in the enterprise as a member of the NCRA board whose Democratic Party-controlled railroad apparatus will get paid for the Ukiah Depot property. (The Democrats, post Roosevelt, run railroads like they run the country, hence not even the possibility of Mendo rail other than the Skunk line, a creation of the late 19th century.) McCowen seems to think that killing downtown Ukiah by moving the courts a long three blocks to the east, his hometown will somehow be a net winner.

McCOWEN: “The North Coast Railroad Authority recently held a meeting. Most of you are probably aware that the potential courthouse project is moving forward. Virtually all the hurdles have been cleared. The site has been remediated. Union Pacific has signed off on the ownership. The City of Ukiah has been instrumental for several years now persisting with the project first through their redevelopment agency and more recently by committing City general fund money for engineering services that are required in order to design and plan for bringing utilities into the side and the road and drainage infrastructure. NCRA has agreed to reimburse the city for those costs but the city is paying for them upfront and in fact was doing so prior to the approval from NCRA. The project will fulfill important objectives for the city, the courts, and the County. [False: Surely McCowen knows this isn't true.] Questions remain, is it the ideal location? Will the new courthouse be in the ideal spot in that location? But that's where it does appear to be going.”

NOT SO FAST, JOHNNY. This is yet another patented Mendo inside job. Nobody except the judges want this new courthouse which, it can't be said often enough, will accommodate only them. The new courthouse involves the phony baloney NCRA, an agency used as a jobs program for loyal Northcoast Democrats since its inception back in 1989 and various Ukiah-based bodies also dominated by lib lab Party loyalists. Is any of this in the public's interest? No, and the public was never consulted.

SUPERVISOR McCOWEN also reported, “Supervisor [Tom] Woodhouse and I attended a presentation on the positive parenting program. I was very impressed by the work that people are doing in that arena. I will be talking to Director [Stacey] Cryer [head of the County's Health and Human Services Agency] and the CEO about what more could the County do to ensure universal availability of that program to parents. I think it's that worthwhile that everyone should have that opportunity to participate in that. I think it addresses a lot of problems that we inevitably have to deal with later on. …”

MENDOCINO COUNTY government is now telling people how to raise their kids? Quick! Hide the children. Surely this is another sign that the apocalypse is upon us.

SUPERVISOR WOODHOUSE, as always speaking live from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, instinctively agreed. Life just can't get too inane for this guy: “I will make a comment about Supervisor McCowen's report on the parenting class," Woodhouse began. [Madre dios! Just say what you have to say, for crissakes. You don't have to tell us you're going to make a comment.] "One thing that jumped out at me was that they showed in their follow-up from the training that they gave people that even brief amounts of intervention and a few sessions made a large difference even compared to 18 sessions, so it's leading them to think that people who are ready to learn maybe absorb the information. It's kind of exciting to reach more people effectively rather than having to commit so many dollars because we have to find more brief ways to reach in and help people quickly and catch and release. That was exciting! [Woodhouse then spoke for a while about how wonderful and important the County Museum in Willits is. Absolutely false. It's seldom visited, most Mendo people have no idea it even exists. If it weren't for Held Poage in Ukiah there would be no Mendocino County historical archive.] … There are wonderful people out there doing all these projects in Willits and Laytonville. … I've done senior portfolios. I don't know if you've done that. Over the years at the high schools there are kids around this time of year who don't have any teacher connections. It's so inspiring! I know it's going to be, and you go into the interview with a person picked at random and kids give you their five-year life plan and their goals and education dreams and what they accomplished and they put job resumes together. It's just so invigorating and exciting to see their dreams and they are all totally unique. Some of them are sports driven or have their careers all mapped out. It's just great to spend time around young people. There is nothing more uplifting for me, so I am going to try to get young people here and I appreciate the Boy Scouts and the Eagle Scouts stuff that you do. It's very meaningful. The labor that they put in, the lessons they learn at those ages is phenomenal! They are going to be great citizens! So thanks for everyone for doing all of those. And the Willits ranchers. I spent five hours trying not to eat a big box of doughnuts that somebody brought there. I only ate one. It was a great meeting with the RCD [Resource Conservation District] and the ranchers trying to get some history on the cattle that grazed before and now they have a patchwork quilt set up with the mitigation that's not going to work very well and they are trying to get history lines on all the plants they are trying to save and the plants they are trying to eradicate and the $50 million. They are already wanting more money for this and there is a great lesson to be learned in at all. And it's fun to get to talk to all the people. The thing that stood out for me was the patience that these ranchers have going through this 20 year process watching their lands be sold and their rights being taken away and they are still very cheerful and they want to work together and they are just great honest country people like we have in our district. We are very lucky.”


WOODHOUSE is either over-medicated or he's permanently one-toke-over-the-line. These remarks make no sense beyond, I guess, as a kind of mass-casualty love bomb. Brace yourself, Mendo, we have four more years of this.

THE OBVIOUS: The Mendocino County has three competent supervisors — Gjerde, Brown and McCowen. Hamburg, rhetorically, is only a stutter-step ahead of Woodhouse and, in our opinion, basically a more or less functioning crazy person. Woodhouse is either nuts or he's been lobotomized. But, hell, three out of five capable persons is, all things considered, pretty good for Mendocino County, where the bar is gorilla-glued at about a foot high.

SUPERVISOR CARRE BROWN, all the way on task and right to the point as always, reported on the preparations by grape growers along the Russian River who are finally, after years of whining at having to prepare their own plans to avoid killing fish when overpumping for frost protection. “At the last Russian River Flood Control District meeting we had a report about the ag frost water demand program and plan that they have set forth. I found that to be very interesting. There are two different plans. One is for those that draw directly from the mainstem and those that draw from the tributaries. It seems like they are getting everything organized and whole plans are being turned in and I believe that I can say that anyone who uses water for a frost event that does not have a plan in with a State Water Resources Control Board, there will be action taken against them.”

LEAD STORY in Sunday's Press Democrat: “Well-placed bucket of water extinguishes Ukiah house fire." Wasn't a house fire. It was a routine stove top combustion. The lady threw a container of water on it and the fire went out. End of story. But it does open up exciting new areas of reporting for the Rose City daily — guys falling off their backyard mowers, cats up in trees, sprinklers going on the fritz, split hoses, and maybe Sunday investigative pieces on lawn care.

LISTEN UP, INMATES: Poor People Can Demand a Ride Home After Being Arrested. Last week the Humboldt County Grand Jury released a report pretty critical of Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey’s policies when releasing certain people from jail. California law, the Grand Jury writes, unambiguously states that when an “indigent” person is released from jail, and if that jail is over “25 airline miles” away from that person’s place of arrest, then that person has the right to demand to be transported back to his place of arrest. So if such a person is arrested by the Sheriff’s Office in Willow Creek or Garberville or Orick, say, then he has the right to demand that the Sheriff’s Office get him a ride back to Willow Creek or Garberville or Orick. The Grand Jury’s beef with Downey, it says, is that it is his office’s official policy to refuse to inform indigent arrestees that they have such a right. From the report: “Humboldt County Correctional Facility Officers do not, as of the date of this report, inform those that qualify that they have the legal right to request transportation assistance. The Humboldt County Sheriff further attests that the Humboldt County Correctional Facility will not inform those that qualify for that assistance since, in his opinion, Correctional Officers are not legally mandated to do so.” (— Hank Sims,

FROM THE SF CHRON OF 27 MARCH, 1940. "Seven homeless men and two women crawled under the elevated floor of a warehouse near Santa Rosa yesterday, seeking a miserable haven against wind and rain. They found death instead. Not a cry marked the sudden quake-like collapse of the warehouse from its post foundations, dropping the entire building and its burden of 270 tons of prunes onto their bodies. The victims perished in an instant, with no chance of escape. Eight of those who perished, including the women, were Pomo Indians, a tribe familiar to the Sonoma Valley; one was a white man. All were refugees against a storm that has wracked Sonoma County since Sunday. The Indians, all of whom have been identified, were known in the section as fruit pickers and odd job laborers. The white victim was still unidentified except for a tattooed “E.H.B.” The seven men and two women, all of them itinerants, whose homes were normally in the hobo jungles, crawled under the elevated floors some few hours before it collapsed at noon."

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