THE ANDERSON VALLEY was shocked Friday morning to learn that Marianne Summit-Pardini, 63, had taken her own life. The matriarch of two prominent families, her loss has saddened her large extended family in every part of Mendocino County. Mrs. Pardini had worked for many years as a teacher's aide at the Anderson Valley Elementary School where classes were cancelled Friday as students and staffed grieved the inexplicable loss of an enormously popular friend and colleague. A memorial service will be held in the Apple Hall, Boonville, this Saturday (11th April), at 1pm.
JERRY PHILBRICK, the well-known Comptche logger, is recovering from a massive heart attack that has required multiple bypass surgery. Tough as the guy is, it will take more than a heart attack to keep him down long.
THE NAVARRO RIVER is closed at the mouth, and it's only the first week in April, and we are unlikely to get enough of the predicted rain through Tuesday to blast it open.
THE WILDLY POPULAR Coq au Vin restaurant at Navarro has been sold. The new owners will call their restaurant, "The Bewildered Pig," and all us oinkers are already looking forward to troughing down.
SALMON SEASON opens Saturday from Shelter Cove south to the Mexican border.
GASTROMANIA SQUARED. The Wall Street Journal has featured Anderson Valley wineries, spas and sandwiches in its issue of April 3rd. "The wineries, restaurants and unspoiled landscapes of the pocket-size (huh?) Anderson Valley are just a sip away from Anderson Valley…"
THURSDAY NIGHT, County Counsel Doug Losak explained on air to KZYX newswoman Valerie Kim that requiring a million dollar bond of an unhappy citizen is nothing more than a procedural step unrelated to the unhappy citizen's lawsuit.
BOONVILLE'S Mark Scaramella has had to file a lawsuit to so Anderson Valley locals can get some sleep. He's trying to get the County to enforce its own noise ordinance. For his effrontery in demanding that local government enforce its own laws, the County, claiming potential crop loss, says Scaramella will have to put up a million bucks before the County will listen to his complaint. The County of Mendocino, a public entity not known to be in the grape business, is alleging crop loss that might be suffered by privately-owned vineyards, which is a nice local example of socialism for the rich, no sleep for the rest of us.
SCARAMELLA isn’t asking the vineyards to stop using vineyard fans, just that the fans be quieted during sleep hours, and take it away, KZYX:
Kim: The County of Mendocino is being sued for not enforcing the county's noise ordinance. They have requested a $1 million bond. But the bond isn't actually related to the lawsuit at all. You heard from the plaintiff Mark Scaramella on last night's Community News. He is the Boonville resident who filed a nuisance suit against the County and three wineries who use wind machines and they are also named in his lawsuit. But the million-dollar bond requested by the County pertains to an injunction that Scaramella and his lawyer Rod Jones filed earlier this month. They filed a temporary injunction against the county to cease and desist approving wind fan permits and to revoke existing permits. Interim County Counsel Doug Losak contacted me today to clarify the County's reason for the bond request.
Losak: I believe Mr. Scaramella mentioned that the request for a bond, if granted, would affect the lawsuit that he filed. The County's request for a bond was in response to Mr. Scaramella's request for a preliminary injunction. And the county is opposing that request and also asking the court that if they do order a preliminary injunction that they require Mr. Scaramella to post a bond in the amount of $1 million.
Kim: I spoke with Mark Scaramella yesterday about the million-dollar bond request.
Scaramella: I think the whole thing is exaggerated and an attempt at intimidation and prior restraint on ordinary citizen lawsuits.
Kim: But Losak says the bond request is actually a matter of procedure.
Losak: Under the California Code of Civil Procedure, that's 529, a bond is required if a preliminary injunction is issued and we are requesting a bond in the amount of $1 million, which is probably a low amount. If an injunction is issued and a frost occurs and vineyard owners are not allowed to use the frost fans they may incur a substantial loss to their crops.
Kim: So the million dollars would be in that case to reimburse the actual wineries for their losses. Losak didn't want to speak on the particulars of the case, but he said that the brief he has filed as well as the two briefs from two of the wineries named in the suit center around the Right to Farm ordinance. If you are interested, those briefs are a matter of public record.
AS THE NOISE MACHINES destroy another night's sleep for as many as a thousand residents of the Anderson Valley — 7 nights already by our count — locals are urged to fill out and send in a complaint form. Mail or fax to:
Mendocino Planning Dept.
Ukiah Office: (707) 234-6650
860 North Bush Street, Ukiah, CA 95482
Fax: (707) 463-5709
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Complaint form is at:
A BOONVILLE READER WRITES: "Bombarding vineyard customers with wind machine noise is a great idea since it hits the vineyards where it hurts the most - in their wallets. However, it would be cheaper and safer to use a high watt stereo system and play a real life recording of the wind (noise) machines. Also, does anyone remember our meeting last year when the vineyards said they would stop using the machines when the "drought" is over? From what I can see out my window, the vineyard ponds are full, yet they still are running the machines. Another lie?"
ANOTHER OUTRAGED LOCAL SAYS, "Hey, y’all! Time for reality to set in; anyone who has disillusioned themselves into thinking that we can win this fight needs to take a drive through Napa, get a load of the dozens/hundreds of fans installed there. Get used to it, folks! Not only do our local representatives give nary a fuck for our wellbeing, these fans are federally subsidized. End of story. I, for one, am out of this discussion. Deeds, not words. Good luck!"
THEN WE HAVE Pennyroyal Farms’ cretinous and so far unnamed attorney who, according to our attorney Rod Jones, has already argued that “Scaramella’s request to quiet the machine noise levels will risk hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of crop damage and is unnecessary in light of alternative, less-costly remedies.”
PENNYROYAL is Sarah Bennett of Boonville and her parents Ted and Deborah Cahn of Navarro Vineyards. Ms. Bennett's vineyard is across the street from the property where the AVA's brain trust lay their pretty little heads at night. Pennyroyal’s attorney seems to think that those “alternative, less costly remedies,” include: “Mr. Scaramella get up in the middle of the night when the automatic fans begin operating because of a freeze and go somewhere to ‘rent a hotel room’ or wake up ‘friends or family’ at 2 a.m. and go to their house to sleep. (Opp., 7:3-5, 8:10-13)
WHEN WE'D RECOVERED ourselves from the shock of the pure idiot arrogance of that suggestion, our attorney, Rod Jones of Mendocino, replied, “Really? Is Pennyroyal then offering to pay for this inconvenience and lodging every time it operates its fans, much like a water polluter purchases bottled water for affected families?”
THE ASSERTION that our lawsuit will “risk hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of crop damage” is also ridiculous. Why? Because the County and the vineyard owners are misrepresenting what our lawsuit is about. As Jones notes, “The ‘defense’ of County and RPIs [the three vineyards] is that they must be allowed to use wind machines to battle frost and save grapes. This is a peculiar posture because nobody is suggesting that they cannot do so. Only that they must situate the fans and/or use multi-bladed fans that do not produce noise pollution. It is that simple.”
PENNYROYAL’S ATTORNEY ALSO ARGUES, “It is also possible that Scaramella will not be harmed if his motion is denied if there are not frost events that result in frost fan use in the coming month. Regardless, Scaramella has several options besides forcing the vineyards to avoid frost protection.” (Opp., 8:14-16)
JONES REPLIED: “Pennyroyal overlooks that, as the noise offender, it is the one that possesses the option, not Scaramella. It can quiet the machinery by adding blades or changing the equipment or relocating the fans. Nobody is ‘forcing’ Pennyroyal to not protect its vines. But is Scaramella’s well-being truly to dependent (as it is presently) on the fortunes of changing weather and the erratic weather of global climate change?”
RANDOM comments muttered aloud in Boonville: "I love the idea of renting a big-ass fan, putting it on a flatbed truck during weekend biz or maybe during PinotFest, staying on public streets and maybe have a flat tire in front of select wineries. Oh dear! while running the fan, of course. And then explain to anyone passing by…"
AND, "Is anyone ready to picket a tasting room?"
AND, "A rifle with a night scope would do just fine as noise reduction."
AS A THOUSAND or so people in the Anderson Valley prepare for a sleepless spring, the wine business, with typical arrogance, hires lawyers and issues stupid statements misrepresenting the issue. The issue is Why not muffle the noise? Is that an unreasonable request? No, but it's certainly unreasonable to have to go to court to achieve it.
AT LEAST THREE more wind fans have been installed at Rhys Vineyards, Navarro, and there are a couple up on the hill off Salmella Road at a Kendall-Jackson vineyard. And say, how come Brutocao's frost fan is relatively quiet? Is it because it's electric?
SCARAMELLA VS. THE NOISE MACHINES is in court this Friday, April 10th, 9:30am in Department E (Judge Henderson).
OUR ALLEGED SUPERVISOR, has characterized Citizen Scaramella's suit as "unproductive," although it has occurred in the absence of local government, the same local government that pays the supervisor $65,000 a year to at least feign interest in local matters.
READER Erin Matson of New York writes: "The crow graphics I've been admiring in the AVA for some time are totally marvelous. Would you please write a bit on who makes them?"
WE FOUND the prototype, as I recall, in an old magazine and have since xeroxed and collected them in lots of sizes, keeping a whole file of them handy for late paste-up holes. I think they're beautiful, especially against the marching columns of grey.
JUDY BASEHORE WRITES: Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 25th at the Apple Hall in Boonville, it will be the culmination of the “Waltz Project” to honor the dancing spirit of Rod Basehore and to learn a new dance. The brilliant Laura Sloane will teach another of Rod’s favorites, the Texas Ten Step, which comes across as a line dance or a couples dance. You could go from here to Timbuktu and not find a more energetic and capable dance teacher. Laura’s lesson will be from 6 to 7 PM. Following the dance lesson, from 7 to 10, Dean Titus and the Bootjack 5 will be on the bandstand in the Apple Hall. The music will tickle your feet as if Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys had come to town. Some of the vocals by Susan Clark, that tiny lady with the magnificent voice, will make you think that Patsy Cline is still alive. The ticket price for the dance, including the lesson, is ten dollars. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Wine and beer sold at the dance will benefit the Anderson Valley Grange which let me use their building for the waltz lessons. Many local wineries have donated wine for the event. To add more excitement to the evening there will be a wine raffle. Saturday, April 25th will be a great day at the fairgrounds in Boonville besides the lesson and dance from 6 to 10, there is the 80th Annual Wildflower Show from 10 to 4 and the inaugural Anderson Valley Goat Fest (all things goat) from 10 to 4. Some local restaurants will be featuring goat specials. Bring your friends and have a fantastic day. Happy Trails.
IN SATURDAY'S MAIL, a check for $25 from PG&E arrived with this explanation: “We apologize for the time your home was without power during this storm event (sic) this year. We've included a check for your inconvenience.” You mean, like, I should spend it on more inconvenience?
3/16 4:48pm. Adam Plascencia of Norwalk (Los Angeles area) was arrested in Boonville on an outstanding warrant.
3/26 10:09am & 3/27 11:24am. An Elkhorn Road property owner outside of Yorkville said a person or persons unknown were growing pot on his property.
3/31 1:44pm Anthony Witt of Navarro was arrested for growing and possessing pot, possession of a controlled substance, manufacture of honey oil and possession of methamphetamine.
DEPUTY WALKER seldom works in the Anderson Valley these days. He now fills in where needed because the Sheriff's Department, in yet another crisis unaddressed by the supervisors, is shorthanded. Deputies get some experience in Mendocino County and move on to other jurisdictions where they can make more money to do their difficult work.
KZYX ELECTS: A sweep for the status quo as management hustled out to find automatons to oppose the few dissident candidates:
- Tony Novelli — 156 (24%)
- Benj Thomas — 493 (76%)
- Dennis O'Brien — 210 (31.4%)
- Clay Eubank — 458 (68.6%)
- Doug McKenty — 253 (37%)
- Ed Keller — 428 (63%)
(695 total ballots were cast: 33% of membership)