- Mitchell Murders
- Booking Photos
- Mosquito Fern
- Wine County
- Boonville Pharmacy
- American Schools
- Beautiful People
- SRA Funds
- Mendo Gym
- Yesterday's Catch
- Doctor UpRohr
- Algae Threat
- Dr Harris
- FB CDBG
- Munching Jiminy
- KZYX Meeting
- Outing Anonymous
- Stabbing Suspect
- Anderson v Caltrans
A CALLER REMINDS US that it's been eleven years since the murders of Charles ‘Buzzy’ Mitchell, 66, and his son Noland Mitchell, 34. Mitchell Sr. was bludgeoned to death outside his home on Orr Springs Road (Ukiah). Noland Mitchell was apparently unaware that his father was being beaten to death only a few yards from where slept, and he was shot to death in his sleep minutes after his father was killed outside the trailer they shared. The elder Mitchell had been a candidate for a seat on the Coyote Valley Tribal Council. There was talk at the time that his 2004 murder was related to the intense tribal political infighting prevalent at the time. There is "a person of interest" in the two murders police say, but that person has never been publicly identified. Both Mitchells were well known and highly thought of in the Ukiah Valley where Noland Mitchell had been a high school and Mendocino College football player and, from all accounts, a wonderful guy.
SHERIFF ALLMAN says his department is working to restore the booking photos to the Sheriff's website. On Monday he told us he expected it to be fixed soon, and indeed it was back up and running by about 5pm Monday. The photos were being taken, but there was a glitch in the on-line software, apparently. The Sheriff also said he's not opposed to allocating some fraction of Proposition 172 money to fire departments. He doesn't know how Chief Tunzi came to believe he (Allman) was against it a few years ago. Allman says that the allocation of Prop 172 money is entirely a Board of Supervisors/Auditor decision and he'll live with whatever they decide without complaint.
AZOLLA. The technical term for what we call mosquito fern. The Chinese use it to revive exhausted ag land. But for the first time anyone can remember it's all over the upper Navarro near Philo, so thick in one old swimming hole swimmers can't see the water for the fern.
IF THERE'S any doubt that wine rules supreme in Mendocino County, there are 12 full color, 2' X 3', framed and glassed photos hanging on the walls of the main entrance hall of our County building promoting the wine industry.
Navarro Vineyards; Handley Cellars; Scharffenberger Cellars; Greenwood Ridge Zina Hyde Cunningham are prominent.
FOR SOME SERIOUS cough medicine last winter, and our Health Center dispensary here in Boonville being closed for reasons we're unlikely to ever know, I was put through not only a long round-trip to a Ukiah pharmacy, the pharmacist himself subjected me to an over-long spiel on the hazards of the stuff, like I might be trying to get loaded on it. We've all suffered similar inconvenience, especially people who are on regimens of regular medication. Hurry back, Health Center pharmacy!
WE'RE UNLIKELY to ever know exactly why our Health Center's pharmacy was sent to the federal time-out room, but it seems to have happened because of faulty inventory control, and to the feds when drug bookkeeping looks off they assume the junkies have taken over. We never heard so much as a rumor that the local pill poppers were getting their oxycontin at the Health Center, but it's been what? Three years since we enjoyed the convenience of a local pharmacy.
I DON'T WATCH much television, but even I must have seen the clip of the campus cop flipping the female high school student over in her chair a hundred times. And I laughed when the students at the South Carolina school where it happened soon walked out to protest the firing of the cop who did it!
NOBODY, though, ever makes the point that if schools need on-campus cops and gun detectors it's wayyyyyyy past time to re-think and re-organize the educational project.
The SF Chron tells us in a recent front pager in lieu of reporting. Why, right here in Boonville. Obviously.
THE LATEST in the fight to get MRC to do the right thing.
Els Cooperider writes:
In my haste I forgot to mention the salient points re the SRA fees.
Below is my clarification.
Of course Mendocino County should get back more of the fees than they now get. Fire Districts should get more of them so they don't have to rely on bake sales to fund their departments.
The problem? Inequity in how those fees are assessed. Big landowners should pay more than $115 as does MRC. Fees should be assessed by parcel or acreage so large landowners pay their fair share. As it is now, the little guys basically foot the bill for fire fighting, especially wildfires. That's wrong and should be fixed.
Citizens for Fire Safe Forests
Campaign Coordinator (707) 937-6250
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On Mon, Nov 2, 2015 at 3:24 PM, Els Cooperrider <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Below is a response I wrote to another reporter who asked how the campaign was going. Thought you might be interested in some new developments of the last couple of days.
What MRC is doing is so outrageous I am wondering who they think they're dealing with?
If you need any more information feel free to contact me.
It is going well. We have about 30 volunteers collecting signatures throughout the county and are well over half way to our goal to qualify for the ballot. We have to get them all in by January.
MRC is pushing back and telling people not to sign the petitions, but instead to attend the "Talk & Squirt" working group meetings in Ukiah to 'study' the problem. MRC has been placing ads in all the local newspapers (you've probably seen the ones in the PD). Many people refuse to participate as long as MRC continues the practice of hack & squirt. MRC just killed another million trees near Montgomery Woods State Park and in other areas between Ukiah and Mendocino between the months of June and September of this year.
Now MRC wants the little people who pay SRA fees to foot the bill too. *See the letter below.* MRC pays a total of $115 per year in SRA fees for one habitable structure on their holdings. This is insane.
For more information on the above you can contact Chris Skyhawk or Ted Williams (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Reports are coming in of intimidation from MRC bosses who are telling employees that all signatures on these petitions are open for viewing by the public. Absolutely not true, according to the Elections Office officials. It is an intimidation designed to scare potential signers away from exercising their rights. I do not blame anyone from not signing. Who would? Is it worth losing your job over?
In spite of that we feel confident that we'll get the number we need to qualify. We also feel confident, that, when people understand that the practice of killing these trees and leaving them standing, it's done that way because it is the most profitable for the industry. Voters will not tolerate the (unnecessary) dangerous consequences to firefighters and residents.
I realize this may be more of an update than you bargained for. However, there it is. Thanks for asking.
MRC's letter asking the little people to pay:
October 8, 2015
Mr. Sam Walker Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Grants Management Unit / SRAFPF Grant P.O. Box 944246 Sacramento, CA 94244-2460
Re: SRA Grant Program Funding
Mr. Walker, The Mendocino Redwood Company has been actively involved with the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council (MCFSC) on a number of fronts, including the potential for much needed funding from the SRA Grant Program. The MCFSC will complete an update to the Community Wildfire Protection Plan by the end of the year which will outline a number of critical fire prevention projects. A recent review of the "Informational Report for State Responsible Area Fire Prevention Fee" was very informative. Although $5,418,913 was collected in the Mendocino Unit for the last three (3) fiscal years, only $6,000 has been awarded in FPF grants.
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has been actively engaging local Cal Fire staff to express their concerns about the lack of grant funds for the county. They are hearing from their constituents about the need for projects to protect residents in rural and suburban communities alike. They have also heard from local fire districts running on shoestring budgets to a point they have an uncertain future.
The work of the Resource Protection Committee of the Board of Forestry in developing a procedural guide for SRA grant projects is encouraging. This guide mentions the objective of proportional distribution of collected funds. In keeping with the intent of the SRA fee, this should be part of the final document.
Rural communities who have been underfunded and understaffed need proactive support from CalFire to access the grant process. As a result of this letter you may be inclined to note few grant applications from the Mendocino Unit and you would be correct. Rural communities, where fire risk is extreme and fire safety resources are light, are simply unable to wade through the process to gain access to the funds. It is overwhelming. Rural communities need the weight and capability of a proactive Cal Fire to assist in accessing the program. Plainly, we are asking for guidance, potentially in the form of a workshop, to aid the communities in Mendocino County in returning much needed dollars from where they came. The local communities stand ready to do the work, please show them the way.
Mendocino County has been relatively unscathed by wildland fires thus far this season. However, neighboring communities have experienced massive loss of property and lives. By ensuring proportional distribution of SRA funds entities like the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council and local fire districts can move forward with fire prevention projects so many in this county are eager to accomplish.
John Andersen Director, Forest Policy Mendocino/Humboldt Redwood Companies Post Office Box 996, Ukiah, CA 95482 Tel. (707) 463-5110 mrc.com
Cc: Board of Forestry and Fire Protection Mendocino County Fire Safe Council Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
LOTS OF US remember when the old gym burnt down in an obvious arson, and that gym, the original, went way back.
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Mendo High Gym To Celebrate 30th Anniversary November 13
MSP is always on the prowl for news others miss — and we're pretty sure other coast media aren't aware that Mendo High's “Carole A. McDonell Gym” will turn 30 years old Friday, November 13th. In fact, other coast media have referred to it as the "MacDonald" gym. Lol. It might be a good idea to celebrate the occasion by ordering NEW scoreboards. Those old ones have gotta go.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 2, 2015
JOHN BOLTON IV, Willits. Trespassing. (Frequent flyer.)
CHARLIE CRAWFORD, Reno/Ukiah. Robbery, criminal threats, failure to appear, probation revocation.
JAMES DURKEE, Ukiah. Under influence, paraphernalia, controlled substance, illegal hand weapon.
SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
SCOTT HEIDINGER, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
WILFRED HEIDINGER, Hopland. DUI.
AMANDA JEWELL, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
CARLOS MORALES-CARRILLO, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.
JOSEPH MORK, Willits. Burglary, receiving stolen property, brandishing, illegal weapon on school grounds, resisting.
CHAD TURLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
TRISTIN WILEY, Willits. Battery, vandalism, drunk in public, probation revocation.
TAYLOR WOOD, Laytonville. DUI.
ROHR & COAST HOSPITAL UPROAR
As a hospital employee I read Malcolm Macdonald’s article with great interest. I have to say the situation doesn’t surprise me. In my letter to the AVA before the election, I stated that Dr. Rohr’s presence on the board would lead to continued dysfunction. Malcolm’s latest article seems to suggest that I shouldn’t have used “continued,” but instead used the word “increased.”
The challenge the board faces at this point is Dr. Rohr’s history of behavior towards employees, rank and file included, his general hostility towards the hospital at large, and his propensity to take strong positions on things he is ignorant of, which might be OK if not for his history of meeting any alternative view with fierce resistance, including threatening the jobs of anyone who calls him out. Over the years, his egomania has led to a loss of credibility among the majority of employees, which the entire board must now grapple with.
Macdonald tends to lump Rohr & Glusker together as “the doctors on the MCDH board”, but that’s not the best portrayal. Rohr & Glusker don’t always vote the same, and while Dr. Glusker is assertive, doesn’t sugarcoat, and can drive people nuts with his attention to detail, he has never to my knowledge threatened anyone’s job if challenged. By and large, even by those who don’t like him, he is viewed as someone who has the hospital’s best interests at heart, and is willing to consider an alternative view once presented with enough information. This is unlike the prevailing view that Rohr is just there for ego-preservation.
I think that reviewing each department critically is something the hospital sorely needs, and my sense is that department managers would be willing to do that under different conditions. From my viewpoint, Glusker’s presence on the finance committee, with his assertiveness and detail-orientation could get the job done, but Rohr’s presence acts as an impediment and will continue to.
TOXIC ALGAE BLOOM THREATENS DUNGENESS CRAB SEASON
By Katie Dowd
A toxic algae bloom in the Pacific may delay the start of Dungeness crab season — and the possibility of a delicious Thanksgiving crab on your table.
State officials are currently testing crabs for the presence of domoic acid, a neurotoxin that can cause memory loss, seizures and even death when consumed by humans. Domoic acid can survive high temperatures, so your crab's dip in a boiling bath won't destroy the danger.
Dungeness crab season is supposed to start on Nov. 7, but fishermen are waiting in limbo while the California Department of Public Health runs tests in the ocean and on crab beds. Test results are due midweek and encompass Dungeness crabs living in eight California ports: Crescent City, Trinidad, Eureka, Fort Bragg, Bodega Bay, San Francisco/Half Moon Bay, Monterey and Morro Bay.
"Everything kind of is up in the air right now," California Fish and Wildlife Department spokeswoman Jordan Traverso told the Press Democrat.
This summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the algae bloom off California was one of the biggest ever observed. Domoic acid levels in Monterey Bay were the highest ever, and scientists were mystified as to why exactly the algae was proliferating, although unusually warm ocean waters are thought to be a piece of the puzzle.
"This is unprecedented in terms of the extent and magnitude of this harmful algal bloom and the warm water conditions we're seeing offshore," Northwest Fisheries Science Center leader Vera Trainer said. "Whether they're related we can't really say yet."
Crab season has already taken a hit in Washington state, where the algae bloom shut down crabbing over the summer. The Dungeness crab industry reels in $200 million a year on the West Coast, and after a slow salmon season, many fishermen are desperate for big crab hauls.
"I'm a little worried but I think it'll be alright," fisherman Tres Barrus told CBS San Francisco. "I'm trying not to think too much on it."
(Courtesy, the San Francisco Chronicle)
COVELO FAMILY PHYSICIAN COMES BACK TO FULFILL HER PROMISE
When Miriam "Ida" Harris, MD left her hometown of Covelo 13 years ago, she vowed she would be back to serve the community. That promise is being fulfilled as she comes back to Ukiah to join Ukiah Valley Rural Health Center where she will work as a family practitioner.
When asked what she remembers most about her hometown, Dr. Harris says, "I loved waking up every morning and hearing the birds chirping. It is so beautiful and peaceful. You feel like you're in a different world." It's one of the reasons she decided to move back to Mendocino County after finishing her residency. "I wanted to be closer to my family and Ukiah is a great location to practice medicine. The hospital staff is very impressive and everyone is very committed and passionate about delivering high quality patient care."
Dr. Ida Harris, as she prefers to be called; specializes in providing routine and preventative care to families of all ages including vaccinations; annual physical exams; management of ongoing chronic illnesses and treatment of acute or serious medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension.
Dr. Harris earned her medical degree from University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona and completed her residency in family medicine from the University of California San Francisco in Fresno, CA. Having performed rural home visits for diabetes education and management in Covelo, Dr. Harris has a special interest in diabetes education, obesity, palliative care and geriatrics. She explains, "The obesity epidemic has profound consequences for health and mental well-being. I enjoy the challenge of helping patients find ways to minimize risks of heart disease and cancer." Asked why she chose to specialize in family medicine, Dr. Harris says she likes the "variety and the close connection to the community". "I really enjoy listening to my patients and helping them to understand their condition and treatment options. I teach patients to be their own advocate and how they can become the most important member of the care team and improve their health," she explains.
Dr. Harris is welcoming new patients at the family practice office located at the Ukiah Valley Rural Health Center, 1050 North State Street in Ukiah.
Please call 707.463.7495 or visit uvmc.org for more information.
(Cecilia Winiger, Adventist Health)
FORT BRAGG GOES FOR THE DO RE MI
City Of Fort Bragg To Hold Public Meeting About Community Development Block Grant Funding
The City of Fort Bragg is an active participant in the State Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. The CDBG program provides funding to local governments for purchases and improvements to housing and community facilities; for housing and community programs and services; for infrastructure improvements; and for economic development programs, projects, and loans. CDBG-funded programs and projects must primarily benefit the low-income population.
The City will hold a CDBG Design Phase Public Hearing on Monday November 16, 2015 at 4pm in the City Hall (downstairs) conference room, 416 N Franklin Street, Fort Bragg, CA, to provide information about the Design Phase and CDBG Program. In addition, the City will discuss upcoming funding opportunities for non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses. Representatives of non-profit organizations that serve the low income population in Fort Bragg city limits are invited to attend this meeting to see if CDBG funding can benefit your non-profit organization. Representatives of expanding for-profit businesses that need funds to keep or increase jobs are also welcome to attend. Individuals who are seeking grants or loans are encouraged to use the contact information below to discuss their particular needs, since this meeting will not focus on opportunities for funding for individuals.
(Submitted by Eric Sunswheat)
Cricket Farms 20151031 University of Alabama at Birmingham
What we eat: hot dogs and real dogs, bacon and crickets
A cricket farm uses less than one-tenth the water (California farmers might want to listen up), one-sixth the food, and emits less than 1% of the greenhouse gases to produce a pound of crickets than a cattle ranch needs to produce a pound of cow. Cricket farms also use a lot less energy than pig or chicken farms. Okay, you may never warm up to cricket cookies but insects are likely to make their way into your own private food chain anyway. You might think I'm kidding but a Boston-based company called Six Foods produces such chips – called chirps – which they advertise as containing three times the protein and 40% less fat than regular potato chips. The crickets are dried and ground into flour. Other companies are now manufacturing insect-based tacos, cookies, salads, stir fry, and protein bars. There is even cricket sushi for those who prefer their raw meat crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. The serious side of insect foods is that they conserve resources, which as the global population continues to grow is increasingly important.
KZYX BOARD MEETING in Fort Bragg Monday Night
Out of eight current Board members, only Meg Courtney live on the coast. She is currently the Board President and gets to determine what gets put on the agenda.
Onward in Peace, Sheila Dawn Tracy
WHO'S THE MYSTERY DONOR?
Who is Anonymous?
For the last three or so KZYX/Z fund drives, listeners have heard Anonymous issue a challenge grant here and a pledge amount there throughout the duration of each drive.
As readers of the AVA and listeners of public radio know, a legal and rightful request was made In October 2015 to examine the KZYX/Z financial records by a current Board Member, two past Board Members, and a past Mendocino County BOS Member and several current station members (along with other standard operational documents.) The current GM has said "no way" continuing the culture and mindset of the previous GM. This scheduled examination of records is STILL PENDING and may end up in the Courts.
Who is Anonymous? Who is willing to issue challenge grants/donations throughout the lengthy on-air drives and not make it known they support KZYX? Why would those issuing challenge grants not wish to be known given the nature of supporting KZYX and community radio? And why the recent up-tick of this practice of Anonymous lurking in the background when the pace of the drive drags slows to nothing? Is Anonymous simply a fund raising trick? After all, the identity and the financial contribution or pledges cannot be verified. Pretty handy to have Anonymous show up when the phones don't ring.
Who is Anonymous and where does the money come from when Anonymous issues a challenge grant? Is the final accounting of the fund drive revealed to ALL sitting board members? Or for that matter, to the public? In other words, does the final tally of each drive give a detailed accounting from where dollars originate, including the dollars from KZYX's friend, Ms or Mr Anonymous? Are those Anonymous dollars neatly audited and available to any interested party, especially all Board Members, after the drive concludes?
Are there really so many businesses and people who don't want the public to know they support KZYX and if not, why not? Businesses would clearly benefit from on-air mentions!!!! Who at the station would suggest they remain anonymous?
Be savvy donors with your money. Don't give to a non-profit until the full Board and members have access to all operational and financial documents.
A Mendocino County Resident
(REPOST WITH BOOKING PHOTO)
SUSPECT IN UKIAH STABBING ARRESTED; BAIL SET AT $450,000
An 18-year-old Ukiah man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of stabbing a Willits woman in Ukiah earlier this week, the Ukiah Police Department reported. According to the UPD, Michael Gerry Daniels James, 18, was arrested at his residence in the 300 block of Plum Drive by officers assisted by the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force and the Fort Bragg Police Department. (Ukiah Daily Journal)
Background: On October 27, 2015 at approx. 8pm, UPD officers were dispatched to Ukiah Valley Medical Center (275 Hospital Dr.) regarding a stabbing victim at the location. Upon arrival, officers contacted an 18 year old female with multiple stab wounds on her upper torso and head. The victim was subsequently transported to an out of county hospital with serious injuries. The victim stated she was walking with a friend in the downtown area of Ukiah, when she was suddenly “hit” multiple times. The victim didn’t see or hear anyone at the time of the assault. The victim realized she had been stabbed multiple times and sought medical attention. The victim resides in Willits and is not familiar with the Ukiah area. The victim was unable to specifically articulate where she was at when she was attacked. Officers were unable to locate a crime scene.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: ANDERSON V. CALTRANS
by Mark Scaramella (January 26, 1998)
After getting Caltrans’ routine waiver of his possible conflict of interest because the judge sits on the AV Health Center Board with Mrs. Anderson, Judge Eric Labowitz called the case of Anderson v. Caltrans at Anderson Valley Justice Court last Friday morning. The plaintiff was represented by AVA editor and publisher, Mr. B. Anderson. Representing defendant Caltrans were a perturbed-looking looking senior staffer, Mrs. Sonya McClary, a Caltrans Claims Officer from Sacramento, and the beguiling Ms. Debbie Ginn, Caltrans District 1’s pr person out of the Eureka office.
Anderson’s claim says that Caltrans owes him $141.38 for an ad Caltrans placed in outside corporate papers instead of with his local, legally adjudicated paper.
Anderson presented the court with a copy of the November 29th, 1997 edition of the Ukiah Daily Journal containing a paid Caltrans Notice of a Public Meeting in Yorkville. Anderson said that the Journal has no stand sales and no subscribers in Yorkville, and that the meeting was therefore not properly noticed. Anderson added that the ad also appeared in the “New York Times-owned Santa Rosa Press Democrat” which has approximately the same circulation in the Yorkville area as his paper, the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Anderson said that the Journal ad cost about $330 and the PD’s ad around $414. “The AVA, a great bargain for the taxpayers whose interests are always paramount or should be when the largest public bureaucracy in the world doles out business,” declared Anderson with an impressive righteousness that brought a smile to the judge and snickers from his supporters, “would,” he thundered on, “charge a mere $141.38 for that ad, and we are the newspaper legally adjudicated for Anderson Valley.”
Anderson presented some copies of legal documents citing public agencies being required to give preference to small businesses and citations which warned of sanctions for restraint of trade when small businesses were slighted in favor of corporate interests.
“Public money should not be allowed to be spent in a retaliatory fashion,” Anderson argued, before reading from a letter to him from Ms. Ginn which stated that the ad was not sent to the AVA because, according to Ms. Ginn’s letter, “several news releases, intended to inform the public, were altered and information was distorted in a way to discredit Caltrans and its personnel. While we do not dispute the right of any newspaper to prepare editorials which may be critical of Caltrans activities, we do not believe it is appropriate to editorialize within the published article relating to a Caltrans news release.”
Anderson said that Caltrans’ “transparently false” explanation that their ad placement had been made with the daily papers to ensure widest circulation was invalid because the ads only appeared once or twice, “buried in columns of fine print legal gibberish.” Anderson added that there was no evidence that the ad or a comparable press release was aired on local radio or tv, indicating a cavalier attitude on the part of Caltrans when it came to “seriously” getting the word out about pending projects in the Anderson Valley.
Anderson disputed Caltrans’ claims of alteration of press releases, explaining that the only reference to Caltrans press releases in the AVA were “obvious exercises in humor and satire. They were not altered press releases. They were creative explorations.” He alleged that Caltrans press releases were “uniformly fatuous” and “begged satirical treatment.” As Ms. Ginn stared nonplussed at the editor, he laughed that “One press release we received even announced that it was raining,” adding, “If you can’t make fun of a public agency we’re running directly into First Amendment territory. Also, we’re not talking about Caltrans’ idiotic press releases here, we are talking about a paid legal ad. Why would we deny ourselves income by playing games with a paid ad? They have conflated their legal ads with our joke press releases. There’s a difference.”
Anderson gestured to Ms. Ginn and said, “Poor Ms. Ginn here was sent by some anonymous bureaucrat in Eureka or Sacramento because they didn’t like the AVA making fun of Caltrans.”
Judge Labowitz asked Anderson to clarify his argument concerning whether his claim was primarily on First Amendment grounds or on Caltrans failure to carry out their statutory duty.
Anderson replied that his primary argument was Caltrans’ statutory duty but their petty vindictiveness in denying him ad revenues because of joke press releases was obviously a violation of his right to free speech.
Caltrans’ Ms. McClary, who stared open mouthed at The Editor throughout his presentation, didn’t actually defend Caltrans, but responded by saying that Anderson, not known as a great respecter of process, had not followed proper procedures. “Under Government Code, claims must be filed prior to lawsuits. No such claim was made, or it hasn’t filtered down to me,” said McClary. “He can’t sue without a prior claim,” she declared, referring vaguely to a Caltrans “board of control” which is supposed to get all claims against the Orange Juggernaut.
Anderson replied that he was not aware of any such requirement and that he had filed the claim with the court and sent a copy to Caltrans as required by justice court small claims procedures.
“You have to start with the Board of Control,” replied the school marm-ish McClary. “I am not aware that we have broken any law. We use guidelines in selecting newspapers for advertising. We have rules that are part of Government Code.”
McClary then made matters worse, fiscally speaking, by pointing out that Caltrans had actually run the ad four times — twice in the Journal (11/23 and 12/5) and twice in the PD (11/25 and 12/6). “We also ran it on the internet,” she added. (Of course, everyone in Yorkville is cyber-linked.)
Since Ms. McClary didn’t dispute Anderson’s UDJ/PD cost estimates, it works out that Caltrans paid $1488 for the four ads, as compared to $282 for two comparable ads placed in the AVA.
Judge Labowitz asked Anderson if he’d settle for a Caltrans promise to put ads in the AVA in the future.
“They seem to have spent around $1500 to avoid my paper,” replied Anderson, nodding in semi-agreement, “but I’m always open to negotiation.”
“We made our decision based on broad public readership,” McClary replied, “We studied this on our own; we advertise in the best places based on our analysis; decisions are not dictated by management,” adding that a Mr. Mitchell Hega had placed this particular ad series. “He’d be a better person to talk to,” said McClary. “We did try to get the information out.”
Labowitz continued to ask about a Caltrans stipulation to promise to advertise future Valley road work in the AVA.
But Anderson insisted that, “they obviously made the decision to avoid the AVA because we made fun of them. They made that very clear in Debbie’s letter. They felt insulted.”
Ms. Ginn finally jumped in to both correct the pronunciation of her name “It’s Ginn with a hard G” and an in-your-face lie about Caltrans efforts at publicity. Anderson, sotto voce to his claque of supporters, muttered, “Funny, she doesn’t look Chinese.”
“We try,” Ms. Ginn said in the pious tones of the True Believer, “to reach all users of the roadway with accurate and timely information. I don’t know what people think when they read those things. They have my name on it.”
Labowitz asked, “Do you understand that you are referring to press releases, not ads?”
McClary came to the rescue of Her Sister In Day-Glo Orange. “We try for the widest possible audience. There is no other reason for putting ads where we do.”
Labowitz said, “If I agree with the plaintiff, I don’t know how this would be resolved if they [the AVA] would have charged $141. This may go beyond small claims, it may be a broader question than just the $141.”
Anderson replied, “Well, their argument about wide dissemination might be believable if it wasn’t for their letter to the paper making it clear they were retaliating against my modest satirical exercises. Deb’s letter let the cat out of the bag.”
Labowitz asked if Anderson had spoken to Caltrans before filing the court action.
“Caltrans won’t talk,” replied Anderson. “Who else am I supposed to talk to? I have obeyed all the legal procedures of the court. Caltrans acted unfairly in denying me the $141. I know it’s hearsay, but Colin Wilson, the Valley’s Fire Chief who many locals think of as ‘Mr. Yorkville’ also said that the meeting was very poorly noticed.”
Ginn replied, “We checked with people in the Valley and asked them what paper has the best readership. But we haven’t done a study.”
McClary added, “There is no reason for us to be here. Mr. Anderson has not followed the law. We have not failed to follow any law. If there was a better way to get the word out we would do so.”
Labowitz asked, “Did you ask a few people on the street?”
Ginn replied, “Yes, people we know here.”
“If you just talked to a few retired Caltrans employees, it’s unlikely they read anything,” shot back Anderson who later grumbled vaguely about “fat ass morons” and “chickenshit Eureka bureaucrats who send poor old Debbie baby honey sweetie pie and her grandmother out to do their up close dirty work like the low down no spine bastards that they are.”
McClary replied, “We try for the best coverage. We have no predisposition for where to place ads. We try to reach a diverse audience. There is no reason why we wouldn’t. We’re doing the best job we can.”
Labowitz said, “Well, this letter has an unfortunate juxtaposition of news releases and paid advertisements which does not explain why you’d advertise in the Journal and the Press Democrat.”
“As does he,” replied McClary, in an unclear reference to earlier statements Anderson made about Caltrans press releases and ads.
“I’ll take the matter as submitted to the court,” declared Labowitz after hearing no further arguments, and the hearing was ended.
On the way out, Joyce Stoller, an occasional AVA contributor and a member of Anderson’s support group attending the hearing, confronted the judge, “Isn’t it your job to uphold the law?” Labowitz looked non-plussed. The rest of the small support group hustled Ms. Stoller out the door. A slightly stunned Judge Labowitz asked Anderson, “Who’s that?”
“A communist friend of mine from San Francisco,” replied Anderson as if that terse ID were sufficient.
Labowitz said he would issue a decision in much less than the 90 days allowed by law.
(Ed note: Judge Labowitz later ruled that Caltrans probably had wrongly retaliated against Anderson and his paper, but there was no provision in the law that forced Caltrans to place their ads in a specific paper and that Anderson had indeed failed to file a claim with Caltrans prior to filing his lawsuit.)