Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Friday, Aug 14, 2015

* * *

THANKS TO SOME FAVORABLE WINDS and somewhat lower temperatures on Thursday, firefighters made significant progress in containing the Jerusalem Fire spanning southern Lake and northern Napa counties. The fire is now estimated at 24,000 acres, but 50% contained. Evacuation orders stay in place. However, higher wind forecasts for Friday and increased temperatures in the region may slow progress against the fire in the next few days. CalFire is still predicting a containment date of Monday, August 17. CalFire: “The fire is burning in dense vegetation within the fire perimeter creating significant amounts of smoke and heat. Spot fires remain a threat to the fire control lines. Resources continue to construct fireline and defend structures, focusing their efforts on the southern and eastern flanks of the fire.”

* * *

SEVERAL READERS NOTICED some very curious similarities between an August 12 piece in the Press Democrat by Guy Kovner and a July 29 article in the AVA by Will Parrish.

Mr. Kovner’s PD piece was entitled: “Activists see Sonoma County winegrowers’ proposed bill as a ‘water grab’.”

Kovner’s opening paragraph was: “Activists involved in the escalating debate over winery expansion and vineyards’ unlimited use of water were alarmed by a published report last month that said state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, was ‘quietly sponsoring’ the bill, and they intend to protest at McGuire’s annual town hall meeting Thursday night at the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors chambers.”

“Water grab”? “…a published report last month,” “quietly sponsoring…”

Hmmm? Why do those particular references sound familiar?

Maybe because of Will Parrish’s piece “published” in the July 29 AVA:

“A New Wine Industry Water Grab? by Will Parrish

“California's slow-mo adoption of groundwater regulations is prompting all sorts of legal maneuvers by the state's irrigation elite, who are striving for the fewest restrictions on their pumps possible. In the Russian River watershed, from where I write this dispatch, arguably the irrigation elite's elitist elites are the grape growers of northern Sonoma County.

“Their lawyers are not resting.

“State Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) is quietly sponsoring legislation to create a new independent special district called the Russian River Irrigation District, which would be operated of, by, and for the growers and their affiliated wineries, tasting rooms, and event centers.”

So, of course, Mr. Kovner is referring to Will Parrish’s piece in the AVA, but he can’t bring himself to use Will Parrish’s name nor mention where it was published. Either that or Mr. Kovner is under some petty standing unwritten Press-Democrat rule that he can’t mention the AVA or even give credit to its individual contributors.

We don’t care — the PD has good reason to pretend the AVA doesn’t exist — but not mentioning Will Parrish? Come on. That’s a new low. Even for the PD.

* * *


LA Times: LA County to relocate some inmates, build jail to treat the mentally ill.

* * *


by Jeff Costello (1999)

Sherman Oaks, California, 1969 — The gig came along just in time. Our efforts to get a new band started were failing miserably. Bruce Hauser, the bass player I had come west to work with, had come up with a drummer named John Bordonaro. Bordonaro and I hit it off like oil and water, so I called in another drummer from New York. He and Hauser couldn’t stand each other.


I was broke, disgusted and about to be kicked out of my rented house when Hauser called to ask if I wanted a gig for $200 a week, backing the Platters. The backup band was being put together by an organist named Doug Ingram, who had been hired by Buck Ram, the manager of the singing group. Ram was also the writer of many of their hit songs and owned the name. Buck Ram was The Platters.

Ingram trusted Hauser’s judgment and I was hired without an audition. At the rehearsal I discovered Bordonaro was the drummer. I gritted my teeth and went to work. After all, this was a straight-ahead professional gig, not a creative venture. The guys in the band didn’t have to love each other, and we all needed the money. Besides Hauser, Bordonaro, Ingram and myself there was a saxophonist named Bob Conti and a piano player called Bill Hill. Hill was the only black instrumentalist, older than the rest of us and not actually part of the band. He was The Platters’ regular pianist. There was only one perfunctory rehearsal, without the singers. In less than a week after the call, we were on the road to Miami Beach.

There’s a sort of self-esteem attached to playing with an established, or famous singer or group. It’s a sign that you’ve attained a sort of legitimacy and certainly helps when you’re asked to present a bio or resumé. The problem is, with each new well-known act you realize again that there’s no magic involved, and that touring and recording can be just as tedious as trudging to a factory every morning with a lunchpail in hand. Still, the workaday music world was preferable to any other employment, and there was always that elusive plum, “making it big,” out there somewhere.

These were not the same Platters that had sung on the original records, but very few of those types of groups were. The Drifters are the best known example of this. To this day, as many as 20 groups claiming to be the “original” Drifters are working. The same is true of the Coasters and others, but not The Platters. The difference in their case was Buck Ram, who had retained total control over the operation from the very beginning. When one singer or another left the group, Ram just replaced him or her immediately and always managed to find people with similar voices and adequate range to sing The Platters’ trademark high notes. The result was a constantly changing configuration, with the occasional member hanging in for the long haul. Recently I picked up a Platters song book in the local music store and was surprised to see a photo of the latest group including Monroe Powell, one of the singers in the group I worked with 22 years ago.

We traveled in two station wagons. The Platters and Bill Hill in one, and the five white backup players in another, with a U-Haul trailer for the equipment. We had to drive straight through to make the gig in time.

There wasn’t much hope of sleeping with five us sweating and farting across Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in July, so I broke out the stash of mescaline and MDA I’d picked up back in LA. Psychedelics aren’t a good substitute for amphetamine but they’re better than nothing, and the mescaline was appropriate for the desert since it came from cactus anyway. When we ran out of talk or got sick of desert scenery I read “How To Talk Dirty and Influence People” by Lenny Bruce.

We were traveling segregated. The Platters and Hill were all old buddies, and no one was interested in crusading or forcing anything to prove a point. When we crossed east Texas into Louisiana, the wisdom of riding separately became very clear. It was the Deep South, with “Impeach Earl Warren” signs still on the highways and roadside diners with three restrooms: Men, Women, and Colored. When we pulled into gas stations in Mississippi and Alabama with a car full of Negroes and a car full of white hippie-looking Yankee boys with long hair, we were very polite. We ate almost exclusively at Kentucky Fried Chicken joints, which were not segregated.

Arriving in Miami Beach was in a sense re-entering the real world as we knew it. Northern Florida is still the Deep South, but when you hit Miami you’re back in cosmopolitan US.

It was late morning when we pulled in. We had eight hours to get some sleep, take showers, set up and find suitable outfits for the backup band. Bob White, the Platter-in-charge-of-business, thought this was of paramount importance, so he dashed us off to a men’s shop and bought us matching sets of gray pants and vests to be worn with white shirts. All expenses except food were covered by Buck Ram. The gig was in the show-lounge of the Newport Hotel on Collins Avenue. At least there would be no more need of traveling, as we had rooms in the same hotel.

The Platters at the time were Monroe Powell, Johnny Love, Bob White, George (Oopie-Doo) McKern, and Fuzzy, the female member. Bob White took care of all the business and was the least musically talented. He was also an ex-policeman. Monroe Powell was the serious singer, the one who did the hard parts like the high note at the end of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” and the “Here I go reeling” part in “The Magic Touch.” Johnny Love was the utility singer who sang some leads and took over for Powell if he got a sore throat, which he often did. Fuzzy was the girl singer. In The Platters’ tradition she only sang background parts.

Oopie-Doo was the bass singer, and the most down-to-earth in relating to the backup band. He was not happy with his job as a Platter, but he needed the bread. Another former cop, he’d had one hit record as a solo artist, a song called “Country Boy,” but no follow-up. Oopie-Doo was the only one in the group who did blues, and was allowed one blues number a night, usually toward the end when everyone, including the group, was drunk.

Even with my propensity for drugs, I was shocked at how much booze and pills The Platters consumed, even though the audience could never tell. Bill Hill had an astounding capacity for whiskey. He kept a glass on the floor by the piano, where only the band could see it, but even we didn’t know how he kept it filled. Between every song he’d bend down, pick up the drink, look at the band and say, “Here’s to ya, boys,” and down it.

Bob White ran a tight ship. Everyone was paid on time by Bill Hill, the outfits were cleaned regularly. White looked out for the group’s image, and this is where I first ran afoul of things.

The tedium of doing the same show, three times a night, six nights a week was getting to us in different ways. The Platters drank more and took more pills and began to get pretty loose on stage towards the end of the night. They started telling jokes. Johnny Love would say, “This next song will feature Bob White. Of course, you can see he’s not.” Bob White seemed to take this good-naturedly, but that was because he was getting drunk too. He would introduce the piano player by saying, “And here’s our pianist, Bill… Lorenzo… Aloysius… Gonzales… Hill!” By the third week Bill Hill had about 20 middle names strung together, but Bob White’s favorite joke was pointing to the all-white backup band and telling the crowd, “We finally got them in the back of the bus.”

Oopie-Doo would invite the boys in the band to his room, serve us brandy and bemoan his fate as one of the Platters. He didn’t like being one of Buck Ram’s drones. “FUCK Buck. I don’t need Buck. Buck needs ME.” And we would agree. Our little conspiracy with Oopie took expression in his nightly blues number, which was also the only time any of us musicians got to cut loose.

But it wasn’t enough, and I was feeling stifled. One afternoon a band was setting up by the swimming pool and I went down to check them out. They looked funky, like they were right off the street and probably were, but they had an arrangement with the hotel. They were allowed to set up by the pool for half an hour and collect whatever they could by passing the hat. It was a mixed group — half black and half white, and played good R&B. Hungry for some spontaneous playing, I asked them if I could sit in and they said, “Sure.” It helped that I was with The Platters. I ran to get my guitar and amplifier and got in about 15 minutes of jamming before they had to leave. Almost immediately came word that Bob White wanted to see me.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he asked.

“Just having a little fun playing music, Bob. What’s the matter?”

“You’re part of The Platters organization, and it makes us look bad if our musicians are seen associating with trash like that. If you appear with anyone beside The Platters I’ll have to fire you. Do you understand?”

I understood. For $200 a week, The Platters owned exclusive rights to anything I did with a musical instrument.

“Well then, I’ll have to quit,” I said instinctively. He eased off the heavy tone and talked me out of it, but that was definitely the beginning of the end.

Once in a while something interesting would happen on stage, like a new joke. “Ladies and gentlemen, I see we have a celebrity in the house tonight. He’s right over there near the door. Let’s give a big hand to… Sonny Liston! Oh— I’m awfully sorry, ma’am.” There was actually some musical excitement the night Little Esther Phillips showed up. She was a genuine blues star and had a regal presence. Her powerful version of “Ode to Billy Joe” got the room all stirred up, and going back to the old Platters show was quite a letdown.

Next stop on our little tour was the Thunderbird Hotel in Jacksonville. The Platters had made a lot of hit records, and drew big crowds wherever they went, but I sometimes wondered how many fans of “Twilight Time” or “My Prayer” knew the group was black until they came on stage. Jacksonville was north Florida, back up in the Deep South. Audiences here were not the mixed urban crowd of Miami Beach. They were pure white, and looked to me like KKK material, but they were all polite and appreciative of the music. Appropriately, the Thunderbird’s showroom was less intimate than the Newport’s — a bigger, higher stage and more distance between the performers and the audience. We did have one outstanding tense moment in Jacksonville, when Johnny Love, drunk and jolly, told this joke to 600 white middle-aged married couples: “How can you tell if your girl is ticklish? Give her two test-tickles.” No one laughed. A dark cloud of silence descended over the room. The line had been crossed. Black entertainers apparently did not make jokes about testicles in front of white married women in Jacksonville. The attack didn’t come, but the engagement was cut short.

I wasn’t having a great time with the music but I was learning things from Bob White and George (Oopie-Doo) McKern, the ex-cops. Loosened up by drink, they had both told me about how cops, making drug busts in LA, kept the dope and used it or sold it themselves. In an uncomfortable moment over coffee with Bob White I learned there is no well-meaning or joking way for a white person to use the word “nigger” when talking with a black person, no matter how innocently it is intended.

Next stop (and last for me) was Dallas, Texas. It was late August and the temperature was 105° in the shade. Humidity was 95%. It was only a block between the air-conditioned hotel and the air-conditioned club, but it was like walking through a blast furnace. Tempers were running short, drug consumption was running high. The tedium was getting to everyone. Same songs in the same order, night after night.

I had resorted to the MDA, a mescaline-amphetamine hybrid, which made the rounds again in the 90s as “ecstasy.” Every night before the gig I took two or three capsules and entered a reality far removed from the small, structured Platters routine. Walking into the nightclub, I felt as if I were floating three feet above the floor. The candles on the tables shot out spears of light like huge bouquets of lightning-flowers. In this state of mind I began drinking tequila, to keep me level. Playing the electric guitar gave me a sensation of flying through interstellar space on it, like a witch riding a broom… the sound also took on a zingy, otherworldly flavor. I was enjoying all this immensely, but the other musicians were giving me strange looks. Bob White gave another warning about my behavior.

At the end of the first week in Dallas I went to Bill Hill for my pay and told him I was quitting. He seemed genuinely sorry about it and asked me to reconsider. Maybe he related to my extreme drugged condition. No, there was family business, I told him. It was a cheap shot, but partially true. My first wife and kids were in the Haight-Ashbury, and I felt the need to see them, if only to get it over with once and for all.

The next day, The Platters had a new guitar player and I was on a one-way Delta flight to San Francisco.

* * *

THIS YEAR'S MENDOCINO COUNTY FAIR AND APPLE SHOW will be September 18, 19 & 20. Entry Forms must be filed or postmarked not later than Friday, August 14, 2015 (except for Sheep Dog Trial entry forms, which were due Friday, July 31, 2015).

* * *

A ZILLOW REPORT says that renters in the United States are now spending an average of 30% of their income on housing, which is the highest share on record. Between 1995 and 2000, renters spent an average of 24% of their incomes. Among major cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco spent most on shelter, with averages of 49% and 47%, respectively. Mortgages, right now, are more affordable, accounting for only 15% of salaries, according to Zillow’s figures.

MENDO RENTS? I don't think anybody's keeping track, but in the Anderson Valley, assuming you can find a place, you're going to be paying at least a grand a month. The cheapest rent in Ukiah is about the same, and just as scarce.

* * *

LOIS LERNER, the former director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Unit, on the Republicans who "investigated" her role in a scandal about political nonprofits: “They called me back to testify on the IRS ‘scandal,’ and I took the 5th again because they had been so evil and dishonest in my lawyer’s dealings with them. I was never a political person — this whole fiasco has only made me lose all respect [for] politics and politicians. I am merely a pawn in their game to take over the Senate.”

* * *



Re: Dr. Diane Harris's departure

I don't know Dr. Diane Harris personally, but she's been my friend Ginny Rorby's doctor for the past decade.

From what I read in the Advocate, it sounds as if Dr. Harris's resignation from the North Coast clinic was the result of a misunderstanding (Two other doctors were offered 60 days to re-negotiate the standard contract; Dr. Harris was not given that opportunity.).

This sounds like the kind of misunderstanding that could be cleared up at a Hospital Board meeting. If you would like to speak in Dr. Harris's favor, you can write to any member of the MDCH Board (see names below), or attend the meeting on Thursday, August 20th in the Redwood Room at the hospital at 6 pm.

We have a hard time attracting doctors to our rural area--we shouldn't let a good one go.

Norma Watkins, Fort Bragg

PS. Attached is Ginny's [last name not provided] letter to the Board...

Hospital Board members:

To the Board of MCDH,

Frankly, I’m furious and frustrated. The very idea that you would oust one of your long-term doctors over a contract disagreement is unconscionable. The fact that you did it with apparently no consideration for her patients, is immoral. In spite of the new setup, we are not numbers taken at the door. We are people, many of us with chronic conditions that Diane has been treating for many years—in my case, a decade. She knows each and every one of us and knows how seriously to take our medical issues as they arise.

I’m 71 and have COPD. My medical file is inches thick. I don’t want to “break in” another “provider,” a term for MY DOCTOR that I resent. I would expect that your doctors and medical staff resent that term as well. What are you doing for the morale of the men and women who are caring for the health of members of this community?

How dare you send out a letter full of part-time or newly hired, visiting “Providers” with the expectation that we will accept being shoveled into the laps of doctors who don’t know us and will never know us as individuals? And to suggest in the opening paragraph that Dr. Harris is leaving of her own volition is not just misleading, it’s infuriating.

I want my doctor back and will support her 100% in any decision she makes concerning her future.

* * *



These are real time statistics that I extracted today from:


Mendocino County’s percentages of late responses on 10 day referrals compared to State averages starting Jan. 1, 2011 and ending March 31, 2015. The top line on each chart indicates late responses, the bottom line indicates on time responses. If you take the Mendocino’s on time percentages and match them to the chart (figure 2) of the Grand Jury report you will see that the grand jury’s data was not skewed by late data entry, with the exception of Quarter 3, 2014. The percentage in that quarter raised from 62% to 67%, which was still way down in comparison to state average of 95% for that quarter.

If you notice, Mendocino County is still struggling in 2015, they are 20.1 percentage points down in comparison to the state average for the same quarter ending March 31, 2015.

James Marmon

* * *


by Louis Bedrock

Although it comes late in life, when because of surgery and old age I am no longer a contender, I have discovered an infallible technique for attracting women: falling off my bicycle.

Yesterday morning, around ten o’clock, I stopped at my bicycle store because the chain was coming off the small cluster of my three frontal gears. As I dismounted, my leg got caught on that part of the frame which runs from the saddle to the handlebars. I stumbled, but didn’t quite fall.

A young woman who had been talking to one of her kids on the cellphone — this trick is most effective with young mothers, quickly terminated the conversation and ran over to assist me. She gripped my arm and asked if I were Ok and if I needed help. I explained that I was OK, but was getting old and no longer have the necessary flexibility in my limbs to dismount from my bicycle gracefully.

This is the fourth time a twenty-something beauty has come to my rescue. Before I converted to snap on pedals, my foot got entangled with the leather pedal straps on my hybrid and I fell over in the middle of the street. Two of the sweetest, prettiest young mothers briefly left their children on the sidewalk to pick me up and get me out of the street.

One October day, several years ago, I lost control of the fast, blue Cannondale R-300 while flying down Chestnut Street in Westfield. I must have slid about 100 feet. Luckily, the vehicle behind me was piloted by another young mother. Keeping about 30 feet between her SUV and my bicycle, she not only followed me until I came to a stop, but blocked other vehicles from passing her. When I had stopped sliding, gotten up, and limped to the side of the road, she had run out, put an arm around me, and asked if she could take me to the emergency room. Although I had bruises and scrapes all over my body, but I cleaned myself up with Wet Ones — an essential part of any cyclist's first aid kit, patched myself up with oversize bandaids, and rode the last eight miles to my house despite the badly bent handlebars.

I thanked the young woman and paused a few minutes that my heart might stop beating so fast. Was it the accident or her touch?

Most mythic was another incident in front of The Cranford Bike shop. Again, I lost my balance getting off the damned bike — the R-300, and started to fall when, miraculously, Wonder Woman emerged from the bike shop with a baby in her left arm. In one amazing sweeping motion, this gorgeous amazon held the door open with the same arm that was holding the baby; with her right arm she somehow managed to grab me around the waist, prevent me and the bike from falling, and then gently lifted me and the bicycle and swung us into the bike shop through the door. Before I could thank her, she smiled at me and (I think) flew away.

* * *


Survey finds ‘most locals’ support the wine industry.

A Sonoma State survey found that North Coast residents have a mostly positive view on how the wine industry affects their quality of life, though a large number believe it contributes to traffic congestion on roadways.

* * *


* * *


Heckling is a proud old tradition that needs to be defended and kept alive by practicing it from time to time – just like Thomas Jefferson said about the Tree of Liberty needing to be watered periodically with revolution. In the election of 1884, the Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland who had fathered an illegitimate child was frequently greeted at campaign rallies by Republican opponents with the baby-like cry, “Ma, ma, where’s my pa?” When picketing the White House by civil liberties advocates proved ineffective, feminist Lucy Branham followed President Harding on his cross-country summer tour in 1923 and heckled him about the release of American political prisoners. Herbert Hoover was heckled repeatedly at speeches on the campaign trail during the depths of the Great Depression in 1932, and his train and motorcade were pelted with tomatoes and rotten eggs. — Jay Moore

* * *

LISTEN, I’m from Baltimore and I was elated to see the mass civil disobedience and mass protests — the marches on City Hall and the marches down Lombard Street — after Freddie Gray, because it was high time. It’s one of the most overpoliced cities in the country when it comes to the things that don’t matter, and ruthlessly underpoliced when it comes to things like solving black-on-black crime. So the idea of asking for a better term of engagement from the authorities was long overdue. And then I began to despair when the optics turned to a senior citizen site on fire and a liquor store being looted, because the optics matter. I don’t think calling something an “uprising” when clearly what you’re witnessing is now a riot — I’m not for the semantic game, I’m sorry. At that point, a guy is carrying a case of liquor out and that fucking store’s burning. Get over yourself. And saying that “we understand the rage and the reasons for it,” well OK, but what are you asking for in reality here after Freddie Gray? You’re asking for an end to overpolicing, an end to mass incarceration, less police presence in the community that is oppressive army of occupation shit, and more respect for the community. And the optics you’re presenting to America at that point are not peaceful protest, “hands up,” “black lives matter,” and “I can’t breathe.” What you’re presenting now is an argument for more repression.

— David Simon

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, August 13, 2015

Alvorado, Barragan, Bengivenni
Alvorado, Barragan, Bengivenni

ARMONDO ALVORADO, Ukiah. Pot cultivation, processing.

JORGE BARRAGAN, Covelo. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale.

JOSEPH BENGIVENNI, Lucerne. Probation revocation.

Byrne, Doughty, Fenske
Byrne, Doughty, Fenske

BRANDY BYRNE, Covelo. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale, under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

DEREK DOUGHTY, Annapolis/Gualala. Domestic assault, battery with serious injury, probation revocation.

SHERRY FENSKE, Willits. Possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia, suspended license.

Gibson, Hernandez, Herrera
Gibson, Hernandez, Herrera

SHELLY GIBSON, Willits. Domestic assault.

GUADALUPE HERNANDEZ, Redwood Valley. Pot cultivation, processing.

JESUS HERRERA, Willits. Drunk in public, parole violation, probation revocation.

Knapp, Lewis, Lopez
Knapp, Lewis, Lopez

VERNON KNAPP SR., Fort Bragg. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

KENDRA LEWIS, Clearlake Oaks. Possession of controlled substance.

JUAN LOPEZ, Willits. Suspended license, probation revocation.

Rueda-Mendoza, Salcedo, Worley
Rueda-Mendoza, Salcedo, Worley

NOE RUEDA-MENDOZA, Covelo. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale.

MICHAEL SALCEDO, Exeter/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

CARL WORLEY JR., Ukiah. Pot & meth possession for sale, possession of destructive device & paraphernalia.

* * *


College of the Redwoods and the Mendocino Lake Community College District have finalized an agreement to have the Mendocino Lake Community College District provide educational and student support services at the Mendocino Coast campus through June 30, 2017. College of the Redwoods and the Mendocino Lake Community College District have been working on this project for two years. The coast campus has been under the oversight of Mendocino College for the last two semesters.

“I believe this MOU is in the best interest of the students in Mendocino County” said College of the Redwoods Interim President Keith Snow-Flamer. “Mendocino College, by virtue of its proximity to the Ft. Bragg campus, can better serve students. I want to thank Arturo Reyes and his administrative team for working with us to finalize this MOU.”

The MOU also states that Mendocino College shall provide for instructional and student services in the Service Area for fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17. “Mendocino Coast students will be well served by our caring, competent and dedicated faculty and staff. We look forward to increasing our presence on the Coast and providing excellent instruction and exceptional educational opportunities to the entire region”, said Mendocino College Superintendent/President Arturo Reyes.

During the term of this MOU, the Mendocino Lake Community College District will provide exclusive instructional and student services in the Service Area. Programs and services may include but are not limited to: for-credit instruction, non-credit instruction, not-for-credit instruction, dual enrollment programs, distance education, adult education, High School Equivalency, and other testing services. In addition, College of the Redwoods will transfer the Fine Woodworking Program to Mendocino College after necessary regulatory approvals are completed.

The two colleges are also working together to initiate a transfer of territory process that will, if approved, permanently transfer the College of the Redwoods’ Mendocino Coast service area to Mendocino College. Interim President Snow-Flamer stated, “we’re now going to turn our attention to working collaboratively in the process of permanently transferring the service area to Mendocino College in 2017.”

* * *


Ryan Burns of notes: The following op-ed was submitted to the Outpost by Bang Cao, a former deputy with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

* * *

There’s no wake-up call quite like being shot in the chest. On May 6th 2014, I woke up and realized just how dangerous my job was and just how lucky I was to be alive.

That afternoon, after about 18 months on the job as a new Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff, I was serving a domestic violence restraining order on Kelly Lane in Shelter Cove with Sergeant Ken Swithenbank.

We announced ourselves and attempted to serve papers, but the suspect pulled a gun and started shooting. I consider myself extremely lucky that I was at the side of Sergeant Swithenbank, and his 25 years of experience, that day. He knew exactly what to do, and because of that, we both made it home to our families. My Point Blank ballistic vest was credited for saving my life, but I also credit Sergeant Swithenbank.

Immediately after the shooting, I reevaluated what was most important. I realized two things that I think everyone can relate to. First, I wanted to spend more time with my family (who happen to live in the Bay Area) and second, I needed to be paid fairly for the risk I was willing to take in my position as an officer.

That meant I needed to leave the county that I loved, where I lived for 11 years and had just purchased a home. I put out an application and was immediately hired by a Bay Area Sheriff’s Office. From this distance, I have truly gained perspective on what is happening in Humboldt County.

Humboldt County residents, and especially Humboldt County Supervisors need to realize that Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is in the middle of a major staffing crisis. Even though the population has increased, Humboldt has fewer deputies on patrol (40) than any time in the last 40 years. Deputies know how dangerous remote areas like Garberville, Shelter Cove, Willow Creek and Hoopa can be, which is why they encourage Supervisors to go on a ride along with deputies patrolling these areas at night.

You don’t need a ride along to understand what is happening out there. Volunteer firefighters used to be safe in their front yards at night in Willow Creek, and Alderpoint’s “Murder Mountain” used to be called Rancho Sequoia. With only 40 deputies employed to cover 4,000 square miles, usually there are no more than eight Deputies on patrol at any given hour — and many of them are brand new.

As a rookie deputy, I frequently found myself on patrol way out in the middle of nowhere with the closest backup more than 30 minutes away.

Being alone on patrol is exhilarating and having the freedom to act independently is empowering, but it is also very dangerous. I learned firsthand that experience matters. However, because of the danger of the job and because Humboldt County offers some of the lowest compensation packages of any law enforcement agency in the area, experienced deputies like Sergeant Swithenbank are a rare breed.

Knowledgeable people are lured into safer jobs with other agencies, and they get a pay raise for doing so. At least 10 experienced deputies have left Humboldt for other communities within the last five years.

In my new position, when I call for backup, five to 10 officers will show up within a couple of minutes. In Humboldt County, you might get lucky and have a Fish & Game officer close by, or someone from the Forest Service, or a CHP officer — and they would still be 20-30 minutes away. My new, comparatively safer Bay Area job pays 50% more than my more dangerous Humboldt job.

Being a Sheriff’s’ Deputy in Humboldt County is a challenging, underpaid position that relies on experience and local knowledge. If you want good community policing, you must find a way to keep the officers who know the area on the force. Losing all the experienced deputies to other communities doesn’t serve the honest citizens of Humboldt at all.

Humboldt County residents get it. They stepped up and voted to tax themselves to fund better public safety services. So far, only a few rookie deputies have been hired with the funds, but they are still in the training program. That’s not good enough.

I’m grateful for the opportunity the Sheriff’s Office gave me, and want to see more brave deputies willing to take on the dangers of the job. The Board of Supervisors needs to find the courage to think outside the box and do what it takes to keep our experienced officers working in the community and coming home safely.


* * *


Join Sanctuary Forest on Saturday, August 22 for the Forestry Practices Hike. Held in the Bear River Watershed and led by representatives of Humboldt Redwood Company and Restoration Forestry, this hike will provide insight into the many decisions foresters make relative to sustainable timber production. The Bear River Watershed is 84 square miles and flows 25 miles from its headwaters at an elevation of 3,600 feet to its mouth where it enters the Pacific Ocean. Humboldt Redwood Company owns a significant portion of the upper watershed and manages these forests for sustainable long term timber production, habitat, and water quality pursuant to California’s Forest Practice Rules and a multi-species habitat conservation plan. Hike topics will include forest composition, ecological function, haul road infrastructure, silviculture, and history of management. There will be plenty of time for discussion and questions. This hike is rigorous, consisting of mostly road or jeep trail, but may include off-trail excursions with moderate to steep pitches. While much of the hike will be shaded, hikers should be prepared for temperatures into the 90s. Bring lunch, plenty of water, dress in layers and wear sturdy hiking shoes. Please meet at 9 a.m. at the Humboldt Redwood Company Main Office in Scotia (125 Main St.) to carpool into upper Bear River. The group will return to Scotia by 4 p.m. This hike is free of charge, though donations are gladly accepted. For questions or clarifications, contact, or visit

Support from volunteers and local businesses have made this program possible for Sanctuary Forest. Local businesses that have made generous contributions are James Holland, MSW Counseling Services, J.Angus Publishing Group, Southern Humboldt Fitness, Sylvandale Gardens, The Security Store, Blue Star Gas, Caffe Dolce, Charlotte’s Perennial Gardens, Coffee Break, Mattole River Studios, Monica Coyne Artist Blacksmith, Randall Sand & Gravel, Whitethorn Construction, Ned Hardwood Construction, Pierson Building Center, Chautauqua Natural Foods, Dazey’s Supply, Madrone Realty, First Fig Gallery, Hohstadt’s Garden Center, Humboldt Bar & Grill, Roy Baker, O.D., Redwood Properties, Vella Wood Flooring, Wildberries Marketplace, Whitethorn Winery and Mattole Meadows

Sanctuary Forest is a land trust whose mission is to conserve the Mattole River watershed and surrounding areas for wildlife habitat and aesthetic, spiritual, and intrinsic values in cooperation with our diverse community.

* * *


* * *

REPUBLICANS TO MEET IN WILLITS. The Trump problem may be on the agenda, but we don’t know because the Repubs never tell us what they’re going to talk about. They may also be considering a panel discussion entitled “Is this really the best we can do?” So far, all they’ve said is, “The agenda for the August meeting will be posted a couple of days before the meeting on the Agenda page.” The Mendocino County Republican Central Committee will meet Saturday, August 22, 2015, 10:00 AM - 12:00 Noon at Lumberjacks Restaurant, 1700 S Main St, Willits, CA 95490. For further information contact: Evelyn Hayman, (707) 948-6467 or go to

* * *


Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch presents

Paper Airplane Academy, Friday August 28th, 3 pm - 4:30 pm

Learn to make the “World’s Best Paper Airplane” at our monthly Maker Space. Test your creation and your skills as a pilot in our paper airplane obstacle course. This a fun event for all ages and is sponsored by the Friends of the Ukiah Library.


  1. BB Grace August 14, 2015


    LA Times: LA County to relocate some inmates, build jail to treat the mentally ill.”

    “Peter Eliasberg, legal director of the ACLU of Southern California, threatened a lawsuit over the vote. “This is an enormous construction project …”
    from AVA link to L.A. Times article

    Statement of Peter Eliasberg, legal director of the ACLU of Southern California

    Posted on August 6, 2015

    The ACLU SoCal applauds the Justice Department’s decision to move forward with federal court oversight of the Los Angeles County jails.

    Proposed cost $10 Million, meanwhile in L.A.,

    “Los Angeles County’s three health departments — mental health, public health and health services — will consolidate into one agency under a plan approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.”

    Statisically speaking, of any given population in the US, one of four residents have been diagnosed with a mental illness, which roughtly puts Mendocino at about 20,000+.

    State Mental Hospitals had criminal wards, or compounds, on campus contained behind razor wire, security cameras, a lockdown that housed less than 5% of the inpatient population.

    Instead of mental health being the excuse to construct bigger prisons, why not bigger hospitals?

    Heathcare has failed and the social workers don’t have a clue how to fix it which is why they are turning their resources over to law and order.

  2. Debra Keipp August 16, 2015

    The most famous version of “The Anatomy Lesson” was edited (Originally a van Dyke?) for the Dutch Masters cigar box lid, where on the advertisers cut off the portion of the famous painting which included the dead body, leaving a bunch of very well dressed gentleman with curious expressions who could be chatting over a good cigar. But not – it’s a dead body! Bwaaaahaahaaahaahaha!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *