- Defusing A Ticking Time Bomb
- Doesn’t Go Far Enough
- Flag Wearing
- Caltrans Is Stalling
- Gator Gets Out
- No School Board Election
- Election Mode
- Aig Strikes Again
- Linda Thompson’s Got To Go
- Coast Hospital Uproar
DEFUSING A TICKING TIME BOMB
It is inevitable that there will be another wildfire. It is part of the redwood ecology. As with the 2008 Lightning Complex fires, it will be high intensity and difficult to fight. Decades of overcutting and fire suppression have resulted in proliferation of forest fuels.
Timber companies are currently poisoning hardwood trees using a method called "Hack & Squirt", leaving the trees to die and eventually decompose. As a result, our coastal forests now have as many as 15 million intentionally killed hardwood trees left standing. Add to that a tinder-dry forest in its fourth year of drought and we have—a ticking time bomb!
Even if you don’t live near the forest and are not in danger of losing your life or property, you care about our brave volunteer and professional firefighters.
I asked our Mendocino County Air Pollution Control Officer Bob Scaglione about the smoke from these poisoned trees when they burn. He wrote: “… the main ingredient, isopropylamine salt of Imazapyr…indicates that when thermally decomposed, may release hazardous and/or toxic fumes. and may release irritating or toxic fumes if burned." He went on: Just as in "treated" lumber, I would whole heartedly recommend NOT burning wood that has been treated with any other EPA registered herbicide or pesticide.
Scaglione continued: “As to your question concerning protection of you and your family in case of fire, let me state the obvious; the most healthy option is not to remain in smoke laden areas if at all possible.”
You may not be in danger of burning in the next forest fire, but most of us will be breathing that toxic smoke when those poisoned trees burn. Think of our firefighters, putting themselves in harm’s way. They are the first line of defense and the first to be harmed by this misguided practice of intentionally killing and leaving standing millions of trees every year.
I hope you’ll give your firefighters and neighbors a fighting chance by signing the petition to place this important initiative on the ballot. MRC’s Mike Jani recently told a reporter that when this initiative becomes law they’d stop hack & squirt. Please help us defuse this time bomb.
Els Cooperrider, Ukiah
Citizens for Fire Safe Forests
DOESN’T GO FAR ENOUGH
The dead tree initiative may be fatally flawed.
Arguably, tan oaks slashed and squirted dead in the forest, could, though not in all soil types and geographical ecology micro-climates, provide a pulse of browsing vegetative growth accessible to wildlife at ground level, for a number of years, until the overhead forest canopy closes, thus the situation could initially comply with the initiative text: 'created for the benefit of wildlife habitat.'
The secondary effect after the first years time lag, when the canopy closes, may no longer seem to 'be created for the benefit of wildlife habitat,' however the ordinance text does not appear to recognize this loophole.
Possible error in the proposed ordinance is that 'a net benefit to wildlife over time', is not addressed nor substantially conditioned after a number of drafts, in the final text which was approved by County Counsel for backers of the petition drive.
Not to say it isn't a good thing to grandstand and support said initiative in the court of public opinion, but the scope and effect of the proposed ordinance may be far less than what the average registered voter could expect, in my opinion, thus everyone might be encouraged to vote for it.
REFERENCE: "Trees greater in height than 5 meters, intentionally killed and left standing for more than 90 days (except those created for the benefit of wildlife habitat) are a public nuisance..."
* * *
HACK AND SQUIRT — a response to Eric Sunswheat
Re: Dead tree initiative may be fatally flawed.
Eric? The poison that is being injected into the tan oaks kills those trees. Anything that sprouts up from those poisoned trees will contain a percentage of that poison in the spouted vegetation. Our wildlife have enough problems surviving without browsing on poisonous sprouts. Also, upon investigation of forested areas that have been poisoned, it has been discovered that these areas are virtual "dead zones". You dig into the soil around these poisoned trees and what do you find? NOTHING! No insects, no worms - no bird population. The poison that is used is killing off beneficial microorganisms that create healthy soil and a healthy habitat. These are now areas of dead, poisoned forest that wildlife instinctively abandons. If anyone has "overlooked" any part of this equation it's the part that sustains LIFE.
I was watching the Republican debate tonight and noticed that all the candidates (incl. Fiorina) were wearing US flags on their lapels. I didn't notice but I'm sure all the Democrats were wearing one at their debate. I know Obama wears one virtually all the time.
This practice kind of cracks me up because they do it because if they didn't wear one they'd be slammed for being "unpatriotric." It's done solely out of fear, which none of them would ever admit.
I think the practice of wearing a flag on the lapel started after 9/11, I don't know if Bush started it but he abided by it.
CALTRANS IS STALLING
To the Editor:
Caltrans Stalls Finalization of Important Agreement related to Bypass.
By this letter, Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo is reporting to the state, local governments, and our neighbors in surrounding communities that after 18 months of effort, Caltrans has indefinitely stalled, if not altogether abandoned, the finalization of a crucial agreement related to the Willits Bypass Project.
From January –December 2014, Sherwood Valley worked closely with Caltrans to create a Programmatic Agreement (PA) that would mitigate the adverse effects to historic properties occurring within the Bypass Project, as well as set forth protocols for how best to manage any new discoveries of cultural resources during Project construction. When new Project staff took over in 2015, substantial internal agency edits to a nearly complete PA began in earnest. Specifically, Caltrans District 3 staff has worked tirelessly to revise the PA in ways that move the document further and further away from an agreement that responsibly manages the historic properties in Little Lake Valley. What’s more, each of the five draft versions of the PA provided by Caltrans to Sherwood Valley in 2015 has been substantially worse than its predecessor, ultimately leaving the Tribe without a document we can sign.
Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo’s comments on the last version of a draft PA, which were provided to Caltrans on September 2, 2015, highlight the reasons for the Tribe’s lack of concurrence and concern:
“Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo's Tribal Council cannot agree to or accept CT's July 2015 version of the [PA] because the execution of CT's proposals will:
(1) appreciably and inappropriately limit the number of archaeological deposits across the WBP that will constitute a site qualifying for in-field NRHP-eligibility assessment;
(2) significantly decrease the number of archaeological sites within the WBP that will meet the threshold forNRHP-eligible status;
(3) replace necessary (i.e., legally mandated, professionally- and ethically-best) NRHP assessments and data recovery with cursory construction-based monitoring; and
(4) drastically diminish (if not altogether divest CT of) CT's legal obligation to consult with federally-recognized Indian Tribes that are culturally affiliated with the lands encompassed by the WBP regarding inadvertent discoveries of archaeological resources.
Furthermore, agreeing to CT's proposed processes would create an exceedingly troublesome precedent for all California Indian Tribes with regard to (1) their legal rights to government-to-government consultation and (2) the legally compliant and culturally appropriate management of cultural resources on all current and forthcoming Caltrans-managed undertakings…”
This same communication concluded with a request for Caltrans to contact the Tribe to bring the PA to finalization. A subsequent letter from the Tribe dated October 2, 2015 made a similar plea. Caltrans has not responded to or acted upon either request. Such reticence is deeply disturbing to Sherwood Valley. However, it has not altered the Tribe’s resolve to continue its demands for the successful execution of a Project-based agreement, as evidenced by the following statement from Tribal Council:
“Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo’s leadership has consulted in good faith with Caltrans regarding the Willits Bypass Project for over two years and acted in a trustworthy manner with unimpeachable integrity. We have tried to build consensus, attempting to understanding Caltrans’ limitations while championing our unwavering goal of being responsible stewards to our aboriginal lands—the Little Lake Valley—and the natural and cultural resources that this landscape contains. Sherwood Valley has spent hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars in an attempt to create a PA that adequately manages resources of concern to our community and offers some restitution for the great harm inflicted upon Mitom Kai and its people, the Mitom Kai Poma and their descendants. It has been a grief-filled process, punctuated by disrespectful, subversive, and cavalier attitudes and acts on the part of Caltrans. We find this behavior particularly egregious given the fact that the Tribe has not attempted to delay or stop construction of the bypass, despite it being a project that was never supported by Sherwood Valley. Rather, the Tribe has only asked for the State and its agents to merely comply with the letter and spirit of existing statutes, regulations, and directives while undertaking the Project—most notably Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and Presidential and Gubernatorial Executive Orders and Memoranda, as well as USDOT and CT policies, on the subject of Tribal consultation and environmental justice. The Tribe finds Caltrans’ refusal to continue conducting the consultation required to finalize a mitigation-based agreement for the Willits Bypass Project unjustifiable and unacceptable. Despite the agency’s recalcitrance and lack of integrity on this matter; however, Sherwood Valley will remain steadfast in our efforts to exact satisfactory mitigation for the adverse impacts to our community’s resources within the Little Lake Valley. Our Tribe will not quietly or idly stand by and permit a failed PA to be yet another tragic outcome of the Willits Bypass Project.”
Moving forward, Sherwood Valley will continue to reach out to Caltrans, as well as other consulting parties on the Project—including the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Office of Historic Preservation, and the Federal Highways Administration—to finalize an agreement document that secures mitigation for those historic properties negatively impacted by the Bypass Project. Our community will also maintain its in-field monitoring presence and persist in advocating for more substantial and valuable archaeological investigations and more meaningful and transparent consultation.
Tribal Council, Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo
GATOR GETS OUT
Today, October 27, 2015, is my birthday. I am in Soledad State Prison so my birthday is not like one you might have. I'm in my cell. At 4pm the correctional officer slid an Anderson Valley Advertiser under my door. I said, Yes! This is the best birthday ever. (Thank you AVA.) They have sent me papers from time to time as I've been locked up since I was railroaded for a Fort Bragg kidnapping that turned into a probation case. So I'm thinking, Man, this birthday just can't get any better — when it got better yet by way of a letter from the Attorney General's office.
I have enclosed a copy of this letter if you wish to share it. By way explanation, in 2012 my kidnapping was dropped and I took probation for lesser charges along with a cap of three years in state if I violated probation. That was the signed contract plea agreement at my sentencing.
A year later, thanks to Linda Thompson and Eric Rennert in the Public Defender's Office, I was sentenced to four years and four months. Sixteen months later through the Attorney General's office it says trial court and counsel permitted Mr. Lawson to be sentenced in an unauthorized and factually flawed manner.
The best part of that letter from the Attorney General is where it says, We are in agreement that your sentence should be modified to a term of three years as of October 26, 2015. So my time is up! I'm just waiting for paperwork now. I could say a lot of bad things about Linda Thompson. But we all know what a waste she and her office is.
So I say from Soledad State Prison on October 27, 2015 that I just received the two best birthday presents I've ever had — a copy of the AVA and a letter notifying me of my release.
See you soon,
James 'Gator' Lawson
NO SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION
I hope this letter will clarify the membership of our school district’s Governing Board. While I am not a board member yet, I have been following the board since last year and believe this to be an accurate summary.
Three of the five board seats were up for election this year. Two of the incumbents holding those seats, Patti Wilson and Board President Martha Bradford, chose not to seek reelection.
Three people filed candidacy papers for this year’s board election: myself; Wynne Crisman, whose interview appeared in the AVA on June 10, 2015; and Richard Browning, the third incumbent whose seat was up for election. In accordance with county election law and the policies of the board, since the filing candidates exactly filled the available seats, we three candidates are to be appointed without a vote during the December 9, 2015, board meeting.
The two board members whose terms were not up for election were Erica Lemons and Stacey Soboleski. While Ms. Lemons remains on the board, Ms. Soboleski resigned from the board following the October 15, 2015, board meeting. As such, there is at present one vacant seat on the school board. As two years of Ms. Soboleski’s term remained at the time of her resignation, the board’s bylaws authorize the board to appoint a replacement to complete her term.
The board is currently accepting applications from community members who are interested in serving. To date, there has been little interest in filling this vacant seat, which is unsurprising given the lack of clear information about the vacancy. I would urge community members who wish to help supervise our schools to mail a letter of interest by November 9, 2015, to:
Anderson Valley Unified School District
P.O Box 457
Boonville, CA 95415
During the November 19, 2015, meeting, the board will publicly interview applicants, and one applicant will be chosen and appointed to the board during that meeting. I recommend community members interested in the health of the school district attend that meeting. Open session typically begins at 7 PM, and the meeting is typically held in the high school cafeteria. However, interested parties should confirm the location and meeting time once the meeting agenda is posted at our schools by November 16, 2015.
Finally, one of my early goals as an incoming board member is to increase the transparency of board operations by ensuring that board agendas, supporting information for those agendas, and the board’s bylaws themselves are posted online in a timely fashion. As a district parent, I have been repeatedly frustrated by the lack of clear and complete information available about the Governing Board, and a board that oversees a public institution cannot adequately function unless the public can oversee the board itself.
As we move into an election mode I have started to play around with various scenarios of electoral votes and inn particular with the swing states. To win an election a candidate needs 270 electoral votes.. It should be noted that in general the blue states tend to be large populated areas located near water. For example, the Pacific Rim states with the exception of Alaska - California, Oregon, Washington and the Hawaiian Islands are solid Democratic states. The same with New York and the New England States plus the Great Lakes area with some exceptions The red states tend to be smaller states in the greater Midwest and states of the old Confederacy. It should be noted California with 55 electoral votes has 20% of the electoral votes while Texas with 38 electoral votes represents 14%. It looks like the Democrats have at least 220 electoral votes in their pocket while GOP has around 190. Some of the swing states are Pennsylvania (20), Florida (29), Ohio (18) and Virginia (13). Since it looks like Hilary will have the nomination wrapped up early she will have a big advantage over the GOP which apparently will not have a candidate for some time to come. Key for the Democrats is to get the African-American, Hispanic, Asian and single women to the polls.
In peace and love,
Trump Is Perfect
'...Trump creates 'his own reality,' then believes it...' This was recently said, by one of his own party colleagues, about a front-runner Republican candidate for the office of President of the United States. Yes, really. If your own cousin behaved so, you'd not leave him alone with the kids, nor even let him have your car keys. Yet, here this overfed, disconnected bozo is near dominant in the GOP's race for America's highest office. It makes not a lick of sense to accommodate such deranged silliness. Further, to exalt crazies to any public office actually moves the voters into the loony bin with them.
Here's the deal: Trump is perfect. It's no wonder whatever that The Donald is the Star of the Right. He fits like a glove over the iron-spiked and toxic fist of Corpirate America. Making up our own 'reality' then believing it is what this country is really good at; celebrating 'Columbus Day' like he was some kind of heroic discoverer for instance, and for fuck's sake.
Maybe it's tiresome to keep stating the obvious, but denying the truth of our history firmly enslaves us to the lies of the past, dragging all that B.S. along with us. Go ahead, elect Trump president with all his zany 'ideas.' He'll take us right on along, double-time, down the poisoned shit-hole they're making, him and his pals. And Clinton is very little different, if any.
Don't worry. They can do worse, and they have. Remember Ronald Reagan? There they purposely elected an out-of-work B-movie dickhead sell-out with ongoing horrendous results, and they can't stop bragging about it. See what I mean? And the Democrats have since been trying to 'out-Reagan' the GOP! Nuts in; nuts out.
AIG STRIKES AGAIN
Much thanks to Will Parrish for contributing an hour on forest management practices to KZYX&Z. The program host, Cal Winslow, duly stated Mr. Parrish's publication credits during his introduction, so Bruce, if you didn't hear them, be assured that the AVA was properly mentioned. The interview may be heard as archived at jukebox.kzyx.org.
Distant readers can tune in online for live programming at kzyx.org, and even contribute to our current pledge drive.
Will Parrish Replies: I was the guest on Cal Winslow's one-hour KZYX program two weeks ago discussing regional timber politics, as part of a three-part series he is doing on forests. The pre-recorded interview aired Friday morning, and you can listen to it in the archives of the KZYX Jukebox. A few people who heard the program asked me why my only response to the question of where my work appears was that people can search for it on Google. Actually, my response was that my work regularly appears in the Anderson Valley Advertiser, as well as various alt-weekly newspapers in the Bay Area, and that people could search for it on Google if they want to learn about the full scope of my work. The part about my work appearing in the AVA and the other publications was removed from the interview in editing.
LINDA THOMPSON’S GOT TO GO
Letter to the Editor,
I’m writing to your newspaper hoping to reach all of the Mendocino County residents concerning the following matter; I am seeking exposure and information relating to the current actions of Mendocino County’s Chief Public Defender, Linda Thompson, and her ongoing unlawful and questionable proceedings within the criminal justice arena.
I am currently gathering transcripts, facts and evidence directly related to Ms. Thompson's performance as the county's chief public defender. I have found information and direct testimony that expose Ms. Thompson's ongoing, and knowingly fraudulent, representation of many of her "clients" during major felony cases, prosecuted by the County District Attorney's Office.
As I will describe below, Ms. Thompson has failed to be the Advocate for her clients as she is charged or to perform as required under both state and federal law. Furthermore, I have uncovered direct testimonial evidence from her own mouth that impeaches her basic credibility within the legal realm of Mendocino County's Criminal Court system.
My connection in all of this, as well as my motivation for the investigation, is centered on the personal relationship I have with one of Ms. Thompson’s previous clients, John Mendoza. In 2006, John was charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of another individual. John proceeded to trial, where the state put on its case against him. Once it was time for Ms. Thompson to provide a defense in this case, she quickly pressured John into pleading guilty to a second degree murder charge accompanied by a 15 years to life sentence. She had convinced John and his family this was in his best interest.
As I mentioned before, John was charged with first degree murder, deliberate and premeditated. Anyone who would review the facts and evidence in this case would start to wonder why Ms. Thompson would advise her client to plea guilty to such a crime that had no evidence to support the charge. The evidence shows that this wasn't a murder; there was no plan, and absolutely no intent for the victim to die. In fact the trial record shows that the victim was the one texting things like, "less talk, more blood" and that John was the one telling the other parties involved that "we shouldn't go" and "let's just go home…" That doesn't sound like a murderer talking to me. The star witness also testified that when the scuffle ensued between John and the victim, he saw a knife fall to the ground. John picked it up and the victim rushed in. In a brief moment, the victim stepped back and said, "You stabbed me." To which John replied, "Get the fuck out of here." Would a murderer tell his victim to leave? I don't think so.
Linda Thompson didn't mention anything about any of this as a defense and didn't call a single witness to the stand. She has a pattern of this kind of representation, as in 19 year old Tai Abreu's case. After convincing him to turn down the plea deal that his co-defendants were advised to accept by their attorneys (a 20 year prison sentence), Tai ended up with life without parole. He wasn't even the one that committed the murder. Linda didn't call a single witness in Tai's case or offer any sort of defense for this client as well. Without a plan, what was her motive in convincing him to not take the deal offered to him? It’s very strange.
In John's case, there is another conflict of interest that he was not aware of, and that is the relationship between Ms. Thompson and the recently discredited Medical Examiner Jason Trent. Ms. Thompson admits on record in a 2013 habeas corpus hearing that she doesn't like to challenge Dr. Trent in open court because he is hard headed. So, is that why Linda Thompson stipulated to his medical report instead of having him on the stand to cross examine him in John's trial? It was hardly discussed that the female in the group (the prime reason for the altercation between the parties) hit the victim with her car while fleeing the scene as the victim ran toward her. The fact that the victim was hit by a fleeing vehicle seemed to be merely a side note in the transcripts. What attorney doesn't cross examine the main evidence the prosecution has against their client, especially when there are multiple possibilities for the cause of death? Now that Dr Trent has been fired for lying under oath in People vs. Elliot, the question could be raised, was his testimony any good in any of these cases? It is now a fact that Trent testifies for conviction rather than justice. Could his other findings be challenged? I will never give up hope that John's case will eventually receive a fair and unobstructed judicial review of the facts, and result in a lack of any direct evidence that supports any kind of degree of murder in this case.
I have also researched and reviewed several other major cases that were in Mendocino County, and represented by Linda Thompson. The incompetence is rampant. It is hard to believe that she still has an office in the county. Is no one else looking into this? Has there been a federal investigation opened as to Linda Thompson's extreme failures in representing her clients? A simple "Google" search with some names like Timothy Elliott, Glenn Sunkett, and Tai Abreu will only scratch the surface of the problem. When you dig down deeper and actually look at what is happening in court, the injustice is severe! I rely on actual court documents and her own words as in Mr. Elliott's evidentiary hearing held on June 24th, 2013 in Judge Moorman's Court. In examining the records for the case of People vs. Elliot writ of habeas corpus hearing, Ms. Thompson openly admits that she routinely never filed any type of motions to limit, exclude, or throw out the questionable prosecutorial evidence or "expert" testimony by the now disgraced and fired medical examiner, Jason Trent. The direct examination of Ms. Thompson in this case not only exposed her failure to perform basic defensive actions, but that Thompson actually admitted she does this with all of her clients. As she stated, it was a waste of time filing defense pretrial motions because the judges will just deny them! This basically says that she doesn't protect her clients’ civil rights because she knows the judges answer already. When asked about Dr. Jason Trent, she claims she would not challenge his testimony and expert opinions in such legal hearings because he was always a difficult person. He didn't like to be questioned on defense subjects and tactics. During Elliott's trial Trent testified that a 1.6 inch knife blade penetrated three articles of clothing and created a 6.7 inch wound, killing a man, and Thompson had no questions about this and filed no motions! What!? Ms. Thompson, do you not remember taking an oath to preserve your client’s rights through post-conviction? I guess that oath went out the window.
The above actions are the backbone of any lawyer’s criminal defense representation. When a lawyer, without advisement to their clients, would forgo these vital and mandatory legal actions, the damage can be irreversible, preventing any later challenge by a convicted defendant on direct appeal, or any collateral attack the defendant may mount on their own. The reviewing court will view and rule that, if these things aren't performed when they should be, the defendant cannot later bring those issues up on an appellate review. As you can see, Ms. Thompson's actions not only directly contribute to these questionable convictions; her rudimentary failures continue to manifest themselves long after she caused her initial damage.
None of these statements are made lightly. Anyone taking the time to read that transcripts from any of the cases listed above will understand why I am doing this. The question becomes, how many others cases has she done this to? How many are there with serious failures to hold the prosecution to testing its alleged facts, evidence, and testimony? When you perform absolutely no investigative work on a murder case, you fail as an advocate for the defense. Once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence, three times? Well, as they say, three strikes and you're out!
Linda Thompson admits to extreme failures on her part in many high-profile murder cases. Ms. Thompson would not perform mandatory pretrial processes, thus permanently loosing the ability to use those tools and processes. In the cases cited above combined with John's case, commonality shows that Thompson performed absolutely no pretrial investigation, pretrial motions practice, trial prep, or advisement to her clients, purely because she had personal issues with how the judges and medical examiners spoke to her.
Ultimately, Linda Thompson needs to be removed from office. If anyone that has any additional evidence or information for a Federal Justice Department investigation on Ms. Thompson or is interested in helping me receive actual justice in John's case I would ask that you PLEASE contact me at ACTUALJUSTICE2006@GMAIL.COM
Have a blessed day!
PS. Here is a Picture of John and his daughter Meadow ... Sadly she is growing up without him.
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.