- V Day
- Book Sale
- Feel the Jill
- Crappy Auditor
- Drought Response
- Sonoma's Fifth
- Raid Claim
- Ignorant Society
- Om Canada
- Ambulance Subsidies
- W Analysis
- County Matters
- Yesterday's Catch
- Goldeneye Dinner
- Infrastructure Crisis
- April 1967
- Global Tension
- Second Ballot
- Fracking Moratorium
AVA CONTRIBUTOR KATY TAHJA knows there are many Earth Day events being offered around the county but she invites readers to learn more about Measure V on the June ballot by coming to the Caspar Community Center Friday April 22 between 4:30 and 10p.m. She will speak about her reactions to losing 20 acres of timber on her home ranch as wildfire spread towards thousands of acres of standing dead trees on surrounding commercial timberlands. Suggestions for making homes fire safe are also part of her talk as she came damn close to losing her house along with the timber that went up in flames in 2012. There will be other speakers, music and food to make it a fun evening. Katy Tahja will also be happy to come and talk to groups/clubs/etc. about Measure V. She’s in the phone book.
The Anderson Valley library will be open Saturday April 23, from 12-4pm, for our $4 a bag book sale. Please bring your own bag. We have been getting a lot of donated books, so we have a great selection. Come on down and get some great books, visit the Wild Flower Show in June Hall, and attend the Goat Festival happening that day. Something for everyone to enjoy!
Liz Dusenberry, Boonville
GOOD INTERVIEW WITH JILL STEIN
A GROUP OF ONLY 50 wealthy people (and their relatives) have donated nearly half of all the money that has gone into super PACS for the 2016 elections, The Washington Post reports. The 2,300 super PACs have received more than $607 million this election cycle, and the groups have no limit on contributions that they may accept. Donors will likely spend hundreds of millions more before the general election is over. So far, the biggest contributor has been former hedge fund manager and environmentalist Tom Steyer. He donated $17 to form a super PAC that supports candidates with a commitment to preventing climate change. Steyer reportedly spent $74 million during the 2014 elections, but he says he plans to surpass that amount this year.
UKIAH SHELTER DOG O' THE DAY
Angus was a stray dog with a rough backstory -- he has an old eye injury and he tested positive for heartworm. BUT -- seeing how calm and sweet he was at the shelter, a volunteer took Angus home for a few months of the good life. Her report: he loves to chill, and he began a very good relationship with the couch. Angus is a senior -- 7+- year old -- 75 pound herding dog X. Angus returns to shelter life on April 19, and will be treated for heartworm. Please come and meet this very sweet dog. Call the Adoption Coordinator for more information about Angus: 707-467-6453. The Mendocino Animal Care Services Ukiah Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road, Ukiah.
Dog shit’s always easier to spot when it’s stuck to the bottom of your shoe. It’s the same for crappy auditors. Like Frank X. Glogglier. The seven-year accounting stud for KZYX and Z.
You can see his name all over the KZYX website. With his audited financial statements. From 2008 to 2014. Check ‘em out. The signature is the same on each and every audit. And just by dragging your cursor over them. You can copy-and-paste Mr. Glogglier’s signature into audits of your own. Give it a try.
The stink is apparent in his very first KZYX audit. Addressed to P.O. Box 135 in Redway. Oops! That’s KMUD. So much for copy-and-past audits. Then we get to the substance of Mr. Glogglier’s audits. It’s in the second paragraph of his cover letter. About what an audit includes. For KMUD that paragraph was 105 words long. But for KZYX it was only 83. Mr. Glogglier missed an entire sentence. The one about ‘evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements.’ Yeah. Mr. Gloeggler appears to have omitted that twenty-two word sentence here. For years.
That’s not the only thing Mr. Gloeggler missed. He seems to have forgotten about his own audits too. For the same seven-year period. On 990 tax returns that he prepared for KZYX. For the exact same time period. Filed under penalty of perjury. Swearing that those audits had never been done. With a typewritten signature.
So I called him up the other day. To see if he’s still doing audits. Nope. Not anymore. He’s doing pre-audits. For two grand a pop. But no audits. Huh? Red flag. So I looked him up with my old friends at Google. Through a reliable source by the name of Sheila Dawn-Tracy. Who documented him as the KZYX accountant at a 2015 Labor Day board meeting. But suddenly retiring. Not a word of that reported in KZYX meeting minutes. So back to Google.
Bingo. Frank X. Gloggler was named as a defendant in a super-sized lawsuit. Up in Humboldt County. Involving the Humboldt Creamery. An independent dairy cooperative founded in 1929. One of the largest employers in Humboldt County. In 2009, some investors came onboard. Relying on audits prepared by Mr. Gloeggler. Stating that Humboldt Creamery was solvent. But a trial court found that Mr. Gloegger was wrong. To the tune of $42 million. Humboldt Creamery was actually bankrupt. So the investors sued Mr. Gloeggler for fraud. Leaving him and his insurance company holding the bag. In court, Gloeggler lost. So he appealed.
The appeal was decided on May 30, 2012. Against Mr. Gloeggler. For fraud. Relieving his insurance company of any obligation whatsoever. Saddling Mr. Gloeggler with a $55 million judgment. And no insurance coverage. Looking to make up the difference somewhere. Anywhere. But without insurance. Which brings us to Mr. Gloeggler’s work for KZYX and Z. And the people who continued to hire him.
The president at that time was Bob Page. David Hopmann was treasurer. And Holly Madrigal was secretary. You might want to write that down.
That’s the shoe with dog shit on it.
Scott M. Peterson
PS: You can see more nonprofit nonsense at my weekly video comic strip, Mendopia.
DROUGHT REPORT CARD
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: A LOOK AT HYPER-LOCAL POLITICS
by Jonah Raskin
Charles Dudley Warner, the nineteenth-century American writer and Mark Twain’s pal, coined two memorable quips: “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it" and “Politics makes strange bedfellows.” Indeed, campaigns, causes, elections and parties (whether they’re Democratic, Republican or Independent) — bring together individuals who wouldn’t normally be together: think John McCain and Sarah Palin on the same ticket or during WW II, Roosevelt and Stalin as allies against Hitler.
Strange isn’t necessarily bad. Hey, except for the Indians, Americans are all strangers in a strange land. Nor is strangeness something that can be quantified. But strangeness is the very stuff of politics that, by it’s very nature, creates alliances that bridge individuals and communities usually separated and even divided from one another. It’s what makes politics so political.
Moreover, while it’s true that issues are vitally important, they’re not the only vital factor in local and national politics. Citizens who have chosen Bernie Sanders over Hilary Clinton say they do so because they trust him more than they trust her.
Closer to home, Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore insists, “The biggest thing with voters isn’t where you stand on the issues, but can they trust you and are you responsible.” Gore’s district includes The Geysers, Lake Sonoma, and much of the Russian River. Not surprisingly, he cares about clean water, clean politics, clear channels of communication and transparency in government.
The trust factor plays an essential role in the race for supervisor in Sonoma County’s Fifth District where now more than ever before voters distrust local politicians, their PR and their campaign promises, and where the candidates scream about roads, rents, the river and recreation. The Fifth includes parts of Santa Rosa and stretches all the way to Bodega Bay, Jenner and Sea Ranch. It shares a long border with Mendocino’s Fifth District that includes Ukiah, Boonville and the town of Mendocino. So far, however, local media, for all its solid reporting, has largely missed the elusive and yet tangible trust factor in a heated contest in which five rivals from diverse backgrounds and dissimilar communities — Marion Chase, Noreen Evans, Lynda Hopkins, Tom Lynch and Tim Sergent — seek money, media attention, mass appeal and a ticket to the Sonoma Board of Supervisors.
The candidates have been attending meetings together at public forums and before attentive and appreciative audiences, where they articulate their concerns and demonstrate their sincerity. Sometimes they’re asked to listen to voters before they open their mouths. That can be a humbling experience for candidates. Indeed, if democracy works anywhere in America it’s probably in places like Sonoma County’s 5th.
In her campaign literature, frontrunner Evan calls her supporters “sponsors.” She probably has more of them — Santa Rosa City Councilwoman, Julie Combs, former Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, plus Omar Medina, Deb Fudge, Lucy Kortum and Tim Smith to name just a few — than any one else running for supervisor, though Lynda Hopkins, her main rival in the campaign, is catching up.
After twenty-one years in public life, the 2016 campaign is probably Evans’ last hurrah. She’s calling in her chits — asking for donations big and small — and emphasizing her integrity, as well as her record in public office.
Evans asks voters a critical question, “Do we want Sonoma County to be a place where only the wealthy can afford to live and raise a family?” Her own answer is a resounding “No,” though her sponsors don’t belong to a single economic class, but rather to a generation (largely boomers) and perhaps to a tribe, as well, that values liberalism, environmentalism and pragmatism. Her sponsors recently rallied at an fundraiser in the Graton backyard of former supervisor Ernie Carpenter, who stood before the crowd, and, tongue-in-cheek — or perhaps not — observed that Evans “always voted properly.” Sponsors chuckled.
Then, under a leafy green tree, Evans framed herself as the authentic voice of West County and it’s near perfect representative. “You can get angry, or you can get involved,” she said. “I lived a lot of my life in small communities. My grandparents ran a rural grocery store. I didn’t plan to be a politician but a lawyer.”
Quickly, she guided the crowd through her career: from Santa Rosa councilwoman, to member of the State Assembly and then the State Senate. “I spent ten brutal years in Sacramento,” she said. “I’m excited to be running for supervisor in the Fifth. I love this place.”
Sponsors fired questions about the same sorts of issues that bedevil citizens in Flint, Michigan, Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere: community oversight of the police, clean water, healthcare, climate change and more. Then too, West County residents share worries about traffic and tourism with citizens to the North, the South and the East: in Healdsburg, Sonoma, St. Helena, Calistoga and Point Reyes.
“I’ve been around,” Evans told her fans in Carpenter’s backyard. “I understand what a general plan is and I know zoning codes.” She added that, ”leadership starts at the top.” Still, she didn’t venture far out on a political limb. “I don’t want to criticize anyone,” she said. “I wouldn’t say no to all development.”
At the end of the afternoon, in response to a question about Lynda Hopkins, Evans said that, ”The people who support Lynda are the same people who have fought me the whole way. We keep very different company. You won’t always know her opinion, you will always know mine.”
When they share the same platform, Evans and Hopkins play nice and even echo one another. At an event titled “Beyond the Vote” that took place at the Sebastopol Grange and that was sponsored by several groups, including the Farmers Guild, Evans and Hopkins agreed that citizens were often unable to contribute to the political process itself.
“Government often makes decisions the exact opposite of what people want,” Evans said. Hopkins added, “We need to change the whole political process.” Needless-to-say, but perhaps worth saying, the audience applauded enthusiastically. Evans and Hopkins also agreed that it might well be a conflict of interest for the five members of the Board of Supervisor to serve as well as the directors of the Sonoma County Water Agency. Citizens have been saying that for years.
For Tim Sergent, a 19-year resident of the 5th, life has almost always been one sort of campaign or another. In the U.S. Infantry during the Contra Wars of the 1980s, he volunteered for a clandestine mission that brought food and medical supplies to an orphanage in Honduras. “I was stationed in Panama,” he said. “I got out of the military a year before U.S. forces arrived and deposed General Manuel Noriega. Years later, when I went back, I saw that that invasion severely damaged U.S./ Panamanian relations.”
When he served in the Pentagon during the Clinton administration, Sergent was part of a team that engineered humanitarian operations in Bosnia, and that also “secured loose nukes” in the former Soviet Union. “I worked in Washington when Washington worked,” he said. “From that experience, I learned that it’s important to put aside differences and work for the common good.”
Now, Sergent teaches at Maria Carrillo High School, speaks Spanish fluently to students and their family members, opposes GMO’s, clamors for rent control and a permanent center for the homeless. Quietly and calmly outspoken, he urges monitoring of ground water and the updating and streamlining of the permitting process. Plus, he wants Sonoma County to move to zero waste, recycle everything that can be recycled and bring back composting in a big way.
“I leaned about personal integrity from my mother and father when I was a boy in Southern Oregon,” he said. “I joined the military because there were no jobs in lumber and because it paid for college.” About his campaign, he said, “My base is local and grassroots, family, friends, and small business. I don’t represent any special interest groups.”
About Sonoma County, he explained, “we like to think we’re progressive and in the forefront of social movements, but we have a long way to go. The cost of living here is driving residents away. We need to reverse that trend.”
Jovial Tom Lynch, a West County resident for 37 years, has never accepted as gospel Jim Morrison’s lyric, “When you’re strange no one remembers your name.” In fact, Lynch argues the opposite. “You stand out if you’re strange,” he said. Then, too, he embraces the Yippie slogan that in an election you vote for “The evil of two lessers.” In 1985, after 750 million gallons of sewage spilled into the Russian River, Lynch got angry and chose to act. A fan of the Wobblies and the Yippies, he knew the power of guerrilla theater and freewheeling political protest. He bought a load of manure from Grab ‘n’ Grow, rented a tractor and spreader from Warren Dutton in Sebastopol, drove it to Santa Rosa and distributed it over four city blocks, beginning at The Press Democrat building on Mendocino and ending at City Hall. He has never ben arrested; in West County and elsewhere, he’s a folk hero.
If Lynch looks like an Iowa farm boy it’s probably because he spent his boyhood on an Iowa farm. “I grew up on the other side of the tracks and both parents were disabled,” he said. “That was the time of President Johnson’s Great Society when the government helped people in need.” Lynch argues that there’s no going back to those glory days. “We need to reinvent government, bring in community groups and private funding to solve problems,” he said.
He wants to reform the pension system, create housing for the homeless and for young workers, nurture a sense of community that cuts across generations, and bridge social and economic inequalities. “I’m a fiscal conservative and a social liberal,” he said. “I love Sonoma County. We’re probably more tolerant and progressive here than in many parts of the U.S. Guerneville has long been a haven for gays and lesbians. Sonoma County is a candle in a dark age.”
On the subject of the local economy, Lynch said, “We lost a lot of jobs to globalization. H-P and Agilent went off shore. Ag and tourism have helped us rebound; we need to do both in a sustainable manner.” What Lynch doesn’t like is the negative campaigning taking place in the 5th and that’s mostly been directed against Lynda Hopkins who has been touted as the business candidate by Evans’ supporters.
When former supervisor Eric Koenigshofer introduced Hopkins at the Sonoma County Alliance — an organization of professionals and business folk dedicated to a “robust economy and a healthy environment” — he depicted the Fifth as a place of small towns and villages like Duncans Mills, Jenner, Freestone and Valley Ford. In her talk, that began as stand-up comedy and that ended as a serious power-point presentation, Hopkins emphasized her role in the community as an organic farmer with a small business and as the mother of two young daughters.
“I want a New Deal for Sonoma County,” she told the audience of about 250. She added, “Agriculture is part of our environment. We need to protect and encourage small farms in farm belts that grow food for cities and we need to bring down the price of farmland.” When asked about marijuana, she said that she wanted to help small growers and distributors and prevent the corporate take-over of pot.
At the end of the meeting, Koenigshofer said, “Lynda represents the new paradigm.” He added, “This might sound corny, but in America, where we strive for decentralized government that’s the antithesis of monarchy and dictatorship, there’s no greater opportunity for democracy than on the local level.”
Of all the candidates running for supervisor in the 5th, Marion Chase is the only one who was born and raised in the Fifth. A graduate from Santa Rosa’s Montgomery High School, she attended SRJC on a Doyle Scholarship and received an A.A. degree in 1985. For a decade, she was a pharmacy technician and for four years she was employed at the Sonoma Developmental Center in Glen Ellen. Now, as an eligibility worker in Human Services for Sonoma County, she sees thousands of clients every year who are unemployed, underemployed, homeless, hungry and who suffer from poor mental health.
“I think there are widespread misconceptions about how well the county is doing,” she said. “Many citizens don’t see what I see, and local politicians have a narrow circle of ideas.” Still, Chase doesn’t despair or feel overwhelmed by the troubled and troubling clients that she sees.
“For me, the phrase ‘politics makes strange bedfellows’ means that people ordinarily not together find common cause,” she explained. “That’s what the Fifth does best. When the Russian River flooded in 1986, I saw strangers pull together to help one another.”
Safety is Chase’s theme song: safe, affordable housing for working people; safe, well-paved roads that keep the county connected and running smoothly; and safe, high-speed Internet connections all the way to coast that citizens can use to call fire departments and the police.
She knows that she’s the underdog in the race and the least visible candidate. “I’m not viewed as a threat to anyone else, so nothing is really directed at me,” she said. “I’m under the radar, but make no mistake about, I’m running to win and to raise awareness, too. I know that women outside political elites have done amazing things in this county, like stop the construction of the nuclear power plant in Bodega Bay.”
As impassioned as any of her rivals and as knowledgeable about permits, ordinances and laws as anyone else in the race, she speaks volumes about transient occupancy taxes, pensions and Section 8 Housing which provides federal assistance to renters with low-incomes.
If all politics is local, as Democratic Congressman Tip O’Neill famously observed, then politics in Sonoma County, is hyper-local, though it also offers a window into twenty-first century America, where citizens feel increasingly pinched in more ways than one. Taking the pulse of the Fifth is a good way to take the pulse of the nation itself. The primary in June will make the race less crowded, though less colorful and perhaps even more heated.
PINOLEVILLE POMO TRIBE FILES CLAIM against Mendocino County for pot raid
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Thinking is now regarded as an act of stupidity, and ignorance a virtue. All traces of critical thought appear only at the margins of the culture as ignorance becomes the primary organizing principle of American society.
— Henry Giroux
ATTN SHERIFF ALLMAN: Canadian cops begin another shift.
SUPES TO DISCUSS RENEWAL OF AMBULANCE SUBSIDIES
Board of Supervisors April 19 Agenda Item 5(c)
Item: Discussion and Possible Acceptance of Presentation from Mendocino County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Rural Advanced Life Support (ALS) Enhancement Project and Consideration of Increased Funding of $200,000 for Fiscal Year 2016-17 Within Budget Unit 4016 for Ongoing Support of the Ambulance Project
At the June 3, 2014 workshop, the Board approved a Health and Human Services, Public Health request and CEO recommendation to increase budget unit 4016 by $200,000 to enhance and/or sustain advanced life support and emergency medical services to vulnerable and underserved communities within the County area identified as Anderson Valley, Covelo and Laytonville. On November 19, 2014 the County released letters of intent to bid and received notice of intent to apply from Long Valley Fire Protection District, Covelo Fire District and Anderson Valley Ambulance. On May 5, 2015 the Board approved MOUs for each service provider to form partnerships with existing providers within the County to meet the objective of enhancing and/or sustaining existing emergency medical services in the areas they serve. Additional funds will allow for the continuation of these partnerships until such time that the Exclusive Operating Area (EOA) project is authorized and completed and a service provider contract entered established. This will be addressed during the FY 2016-17 budget process in more detail.
A FISCAL ANALYSIS of the Charter County proposal, Measure W, is on the BOS agenda for Tuesday, April 19.
HOW’S THE TRANSITION FROM ORTNER TO REDWOOD QUALITY GOING?
We first looked at the County’s list of tasks to transition adult mental health services on April 7 (based on the task list as of April 1).
Ten days later and the County’s nebulous three page list of mental health transition tasks still has nothing of significance shown as “completed.” The only changes between April 1 to April 11 are the addition of a date for the start of a mental health contract manager (April 25) they recently hired and the scheduling (not conduct) of some more meetings concerning potential operating agreements with the jail and a few medical organizations (which are listed multiple times, but are the same minor steps no matter how many times they’re listed).
Other tasks show status like these for the status of the crisis line:
“RQMC [Redwood Quality Management Company] has spoken with iCarol [sic, http://www.icarol.com/ a helpline management software vendor*] and has a 60-day trial of the system.”
And this: “RQMC has made contact with adult outpatient providers.”
“Made contact”! Wow!
Also note that these transition tasks, such as they are, are being handled by RQMC, not the County’s staff.
In the earlier task list there was a task described as:
“3/29/2016 - Email sent to Mark Montgomery requesting OMG or ICMS send letters notifying clients of the transition.”
Apparently Ortner’s guy, Mr. Montgomery, did nothing so the next big new accomplishment was: “4/11/16 – Email sent to Connie Drago, OMG, requesting date of their draft letter to clients.”
They sent a letter to OMG asking for a date when a letter to clients would be drafted! Not only is this trivial and silly, but it shows a substantial misunderstanding of what tasks should even be tracked on the transition plan. Nobody needs to know or track these kinds of petty details. We need to know if real progress is being made.
This was followed by:
“4/11/16 – Draft letter received from Connie Drago, OMG. County requesting changes to the letter.”
Then we’re told that “BHRS has begun a dialogue with PG. BHRS to start dialogue with OMG on LPS clients May 1, 2016.” (Nowhere in the document are “PG” or “LPS” explained. BHRS is what the mental health department is now called, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.)
On April 5, there was a “meeting held with RCHDC. Discussing Adult Services transition and brainstorming updates to MOU. Setting up meeting for further introductions of RCHDC and other Housing managers to RQMC.” (RCHDC is Rural Communities Housing Development Corporation**.) Let’s just say that while housing is a legitimate topic of discussion for the mental health program, it’s not exactly a task worth including in the much more important and short-term list of tasks necessary to turn Ortner’s failed program and clients over to RQMC.
Several other meetings are listed as being scheduled; i.e., scheduling a meeting is considered to be a transition task. Whether they will lead to anything or if they are supposed to lead to anything remotely related to the contractor transition is not clear.
Making matters worse, predictably, Ortner is not being very cooperative:
"3/22/2016 - RQMC & County had telephone call with OMG to schedule a meeting to discuss transition. Meeting scheduled for 3/30/2016.
3/30/2016 - OMG did not attend the meeting. Another meeting was scheduled for 4/5/16.
4/5/16 - RQMC, OMG. & BHRS met to discuss transition. Next meeting scheduled for 4/20/16.”
Nothing worth noting apparently happened at the 4/5/2016 meeting so they scheduled another one. Nevertheless Ortner is still getting paid nicely for their “services” until June 30, 2016: “BHRS requested a meeting with OMG to discuss AOT. OMG to review and respond to BHRS regarding providing AOT services until 6/30/2016.” (We think AOT means Adult Outpatient Therapy, the very service Ortner was criticized for not providing.)
The newest item on the transition task list is: “Audit of Client Charts. BHRS to audit all client charts June 30, 2016. On April 5, 2016 County notified OMG of upcoming client chart audit.”
Since Ortner wouldn’t bother to attend the some of the transition planning meetings, something tells us that this legitimately important task may not be completed by the June 30 deadline.
* We attempted to look for independent software reviews of iCarol Helpline software and could not find any. On their own icarol.com website there’s only one “testimonial” and it’s from a guy at a non-profit in England identified only as “Roger, Caller Care Deputy.”
* * *
**PS. While trying to find out what RCHDC stands for, for the above item, we noticed that their board of directors includes:
“Raymond Hall - Vice Chair: Ray recently retired as the Director of the Mendocino County Planning and Building Services Department; a position he held for more than 20 years. The Planning and Building Services Department is a regulatory agency that provides land use and building construction services. Additionally, the Department is responsible for preparing and implementing the Housing Element of the General Plan for the County. As a result of this experience, Ray is very knowledgeable in areas of State Planning law, Subdivision Map Act, CEQA and Zoning codes. His experience also included significant interaction with local districts, other jurisdictions, and state and federal agencies. Lastly, as a Director of a County Department, he was responsible for budgeting, personnel matters and prioritizing programs.”
Ray Hall obviously wrote his own self-admiring plannning director bio.
But that’s not how Ukiah Daily Journal Editor KC Meadows saw it at the time of his retirement in 2009:
“County Planning A Joke — Those who were sitting in the June 10, 2009, Board of Supervisors meeting heard from a local man who has been severely abused by the County's Planning department and who has still to get any relief. Chris Stone has been trying since January of 2007 to build a little over 200 homes — some houses, some apartments — on 50 acres at the south end of Ukiah across from the Redwood Health Club. The land is already zoned for exactly this kind of project and the project, by all accounts is well-designed, uses advanced sewer discharge systems, anticipates solar use and carves out a retail space for perhaps a local store. It has the lower, middle and upper income homes all together and from what I can gather is exactly the kind of development local politicians say they need and want. So what does the County Planning department do? It stalls and ignores Mr. Stone, demands unnecessary studies and generally makes the man spend hundreds of thousands of dollars without any sign that his project will move forward. Mr. Stone produced the environmental studies — although the project should really get a negative declaration since it's a zoned use — and based them on not only on what the county's rules currently demand but used more challenging assumptions than the county would have. What does the County Planning department do? It decides to demand new studies based on what it thinks it might have in the Ukiah Valley Area Plan at some future date. And everyone knows the UVAP is far from being ready to adopt. So Mr. Stone very politely — for someone who could and probably should have been raging much sooner — went to the Board of Supervisors and complained. The County Planning department pretended to be on top of the situation, and Supervisors promised Mr. Stone that he would get action from the tippy top, the CEO himself. Mr. Stone tried to schedule meetings with the CEO to no avail. So he went back to the supervisors in July and lo and behold the County administration suddenly scheduled a meeting and acted like they'd never seen him waiting hopefully in their anterooms. How that July 17 meeting went is unknown as of now, but Mr. Stone has another gab session in August. County Planning Director Ray Hall is retiring in days — as far as I'm concerned he should have been retired after the Vichy Springs development debacle in the early 1990s. The County now has an opportunity to recharge its planning department — and not with $177,000 a year consultants and not with anyone who has been working in the department under Hall's ‘leadership.’ The County needs a talented planner who it will allow to be creative, but demand be responsive and who will lead the County into the future. This county's reputation for micromanagement, anti-developer sentiment and political mayhem will make that person difficult to find.”
* * *
A COUPLE OF YEARS BEFORE MR. HALL RETIRED we reported about the depositions which accompanied the Legal Services lawsuit against the County for not doing anything whatsoever to meet the General Plan’s modest affordable housing requirements.
From court depositions of planning staffers submitted by Legal Services attorney Lisa Hillegas deposition of Ray Hall’s lead planner Pam Townsend: “[Hall] didn't review code amendments in a timely manner because I'd written code amendments after the 1993 element was adopted and they never got out of his 'in' box even though I asked him a couple of times.”
Hall’s in-box must be the size of Anton Stadium to accommodate all the un-acted upon County business in it. Maybe that’s where Anderson Valley’s “community input” to the General Plan disappeared.
Townsend said many of her proposed code amendments “never went anywhere.” In fact, Townsend said most of her work “didn't really go anywhere” because of Hall's failure to review it. “Ray wasn't always good with wanting to do a lot of inter division and department coordination,” the diplomatic Townsend said.
Asked why she thought Hall didn't review her work, Townsend explained, “I think it was, I guess, you know, not a high priority… Maybe it was too overwhelming to him…”
Maybe Hall didn’t care because he was unsupervised by the Supervisors for so many years his only priority for all the years he’d occupied the office has been to get out with his pension intact.
What about the previous Housing Element that promised to rezone 124 acres for high-density/affordable housing? In his deposition, Planning Boss Ray Hall admitted that was not done. Why? “I think there were other workload demands placed upon the department.”
Which may be true. After all, Hall had to prepare an abomination of a Grading Ordinance draft that was so unworkable and unwieldy nobody liked it. That fiasco ate up literal years of Hall’s time. The portly bumbler also had to go to lots and lots of meetings as a senior member of the County’s “Planning Team,” which was supposed to deal with such major planning tasks as the Ukiah Valley Area Plan, the General Plan Update, and various commercial proposals centered in the Ukiah Valley, all of which also went furiously nowhere for years, but went there very slowly, meeting by meeting, year by year.
Unfortunately, Mr. Hall’s participation in all these other blunders didn’t prevent the Planning Team and its expensive outside consultants from losing the community input for the County’s General Plan that was submitted over the years. Maybe the County could hire a backhoe and start excavating Mr. Hall’s heaping in-box. The input is probably in there somewhere.
* * *
AND NOW, fast forward to 2016, and Ray Hall, the guy who did absolutely nothing for affordable housing for decades as the County’s Planning Director, has become Vice Chair of the RCDHC, the local group that’s supposed to be working on affordable housing and which the County’s mental health transition team expects assistance from.
(— Mark Scaramella)
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 15, 2016
CHRISTOPHER BAGLEY, San Rafael/Ukiah. Drunk in public.
DESHAUN DAVIS, Clearlake/Ukiah. Resisting.
JESSICA DIAZ, Ukiah. Contempt of court, probation revocation.
FRANCISCO DUENAS, Gualala. DUI, no license, violation of no-firearm provision of probation.
GEORGE MANSFIELD, Fort Bragg. Interference with business.
ROVIN MARTIN-LOPEZ, Willits. Pot cultivation, possession for sale.
MARK MESA, Fort Bragg. Elder abuse, resisting, probation revocation.
MICHAEL MONROE, Albion. Burglary, conspiracy.
BOBBY ROSTON, Ukiah. Parole violation.
DANIEL SAUCEDO-GAONA, Kelseyville/Ukiah. Lodging in a building, structure or place (public or private) without permission, failure to appear.
JUSTIN SIDELL, Ukiah. DUI causing injury.
VINCENT SIMMONS JR., Ukiah. Suspended license, failure to appear.
ZACHARY SIMONS, Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.
JONDIE SPERRY, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
TWELFTH ANNUAL Goldeneye Winemaker Dinner
Saturday, June 18th, 2016
5:30 to 9:30 PM
Goldeneye Winery -
Please join us for an evening of artfully prepared food and wine as we continue to celebrate the work done through the Cancer Resource Centers. The event begins at 5:30 PM with a reception featuring Goldeneye choice wines, followed by dinner at 6:30 PM, served under a temperate summer sky. Come experience the craftsmanship of Goldeneye wines paired with the culinary delights of Guest Chef, Shannon Hughes.
(limited seating/reservations required)
Tickets are $150 per person
By mail: CRCMC, PO Box 50, Mendocino, CA 95460
In person: 45040 Calpella Street, Mendocino
By phone: 707-937-3833
Online: Order form -
We request that reservations be made by June 6th, 2016
All proceeds from this event benefit the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County
IT WOULD BE HELPFUL if there were another word for “infrastructure”: it’s such an earnest and passive word for the blood vessels of this country, the crucial conveyors and connections that get us from here to there (or not) and the ports that facilitate our trade (or don’t), as well as the carriers of information, in particular broadband (if one is connected to it), and other unreliable structures. The word “crisis” is also overused, applied to the unimportant as well as the crucial. But this country has an infrastructure crisis. The near-total failure of our political institutions to invest for the future, eschewing what doesn’t yield the quick payoff, political and physical, has left us with hopelessly clogged traffic, at risk of being on a bridge that collapses, or on a train that flies off defective rails, or with rusted pipes carrying our drinking water. Broadband is our new interstate highway system, but not everyone has access to it — a division largely based on class. Depending on the measurement used, the United States ranks from fourteenth to thirtieth among all nations in its investments in infrastructure. The wealthiest nation on earth is nowhere near the top.
— Elizabeth Drew, “A Country Breaking Down”
In your paper Chris Hedges pointed out how the working white poor people are flocking to the Republican Party and embracing bigotry, racism, idealization of violence and the gun culture.
Donald Trump is the symptom, not the problem. The Republican Party exhibits schizoid behavior, while encouraging the above social phenomena it purports policies economically that are in the direct opposite of the interests of the working white poor people. These policies favor only the ruling oligarchy.
How can we preserve liberal democracy in the face of what Chris Hughes called crypto fascism? Political correctness will not do it. Armed revolution leads to totalitarianism and will not do it. What is needed is an informed electorate say some. Well, we have more information today via TV than people can handle, so that won't do it. Bernie is telling it like it is and he's not getting the votes, so that won't do it.
We are witnessing the demise of the 18th Century Enlightenment. The best explanation I have heard is this:
We now have a global economy, where goods and services are bought and sold globally. Guns, food, materials, and resources are now global. At the same time we have tribal identities such as nation states, ethnic groups and religious groups all of which are not global. This creates a tension, and the tension sucks our creative energies, confuses the people, and prevents us from moving forward. It seems to be the case that the only event that will bring mankind together is an attack by the Martians.
Round Hill Farm, Virginia
SCIENTISTS URGE FEDS TO CONTINUE FRACKING MORATORIUM OFF CA COAST
by Dan Bacher
As oil companies were fracking like crazy off the Southern California Coast, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to created so-called “marine protected areas in Southern California from 2009 to 2012.
In one of the biggest environmental conflicts of interest in California history, Reheis-Boyd led a process that created faux “marine protected areas” that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil spills, offshore oil drilling, pollution, corporate aquaculture, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering. At the same time that Reheis-Boyd was leading the campaign to expand fracking and offshore drilling in California, state officials and MLPA Initiative advocates praised the process that she oversaw as “open, transparent and inclusive” when it was anything but.
The “marine protected areas” created under the leadership of Reheis-Boyd and other corporate operatives not only fail to protect the ocean, but they are based on incomplete and terminally flawed science and violate the traditional gathering and fishing rights of the Yurok Tribe and other North Coast Tribes. The Brown administration “completed” the “network” of flawed “marine protected areas” on December 19, 2012, when the North Coast MPAs went into effect.
The suspicions of Tribal leaders, fishermen and grassroots environmentalists that there was something very “fishy” about the failure of the oil lobbyist-overseen MLPA Initiative to protect the ocean from oil drilling and pollution were confirmed in the summer of 2013 when an Associated Press and Freedom of Information Act investigation revealed that oil companies had fracked at least 200 wells in state and federal waters off Long Beach, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach and in the wildlife-rich Santa Barbara Channel.
“Hey, nobody is happier than I am about the MPA network off our coast, and nobody wants to see them succeed more either,” said Joey Racano, Director of the Ocean Outfall Group, in December 2013 in a comment on the North Coast Journal website. “But there are fatal flaws.
“As Chair of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Panel during the final important phase (implementation), Catherine Reheis-Boyd absolutely must have known offshore fracking was going on with no public knowledge or input. As President of the Western States Petroleum Association, it isn’t possible that she didn’t know. So she steered the MLPA process clear of the subject, and now we have a grave threat to all State Marine Reserves,” said Racano.
Since the extent of offshore fracking in federal waters has been revealed, representatives of fishing groups, indigenous organizations and environmental groups have pushed for a fracking ban on the California coast.
However, the Obama administration, like the oil industry-captured Jerry Brown administration, has supported the expansion of fracking and other extreme oil drilling techniques in California. In February, the federal government released a draft proposal to lift the offshore fracking moratorium, which had been put in place under a legal settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity and Environmental Defense Center.
“Interior’s preliminary environmental assessment proposes allowing oil companies to frack and discharge their wastewater — including toxic fracking chemicals — into the ocean,” according to a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity.
The opposition to environmentally destructive fracking in California’s marine waters is building rapidly. On March 22, over 30 prominent scientists urged the federal government to continue the moratorium on fracking in federal waters off the California coast and to prepare a comprehensive environmental impact statement for the controversial oil-industry technique.
The letter, signed by ocean and climate scientists including Drs. Sylvia Earle, Carl Safina, Michael Mann and risk assessment engineer Dr. Robert Bea, counsels the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to consider the documented risks of hydraulic fracturing and significant data gaps on offshore well stimulation.
“We write as scientists to urge you to conduct a comprehensive environmental review of the risks of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), acidizing, and other well-stimulation techniques off the California coast,” the scientists wrote. “We strongly advise you to continue the current moratorium on offshore well stimulation in California until a comprehensive review and scientific studies demonstrate that fracking and acidizing do not threaten wildlife, the marine environment, coastal communities, and the climate.”
“Scientific studies have documented that fracking and acidizing pose a wide range of risks to human communities and ecosystems. Documented threats include air and water pollution from toxic and carcinogenic chemicals used during well stimulation, climate disruption particularly due to methane leakage, increased earthquake risks, and significant harms to species and ecosystems from habitat loss and degradation, pollution, habitat avoidance, and human disturbance,” they said.
In another letter sent yesterday to the Department of the Interior, 128 health, environmental, indigenous, labor and business organizations urged the federal government to ban offshore fracking.
“Given the known environmental and health hazards of fracking, as well as the information gaps of offshore fracking, we ask you to prohibit oil companies from fracking and acidizing wells off the California coast,” the letter states.
The letter is signed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Food and Water Watch, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Protection Information Center, (EPIC), Flycasters, Inc. of San Jose, CA, Idle No More SF Bay, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the Surfrider Foundation, League of United Latin American Citizens, Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, and Environmental Caucus, California Democratic Party, among many others.
The letter explains the three major ways that offshore fracking causes environmental harm:
“First, oil companies dump their wastewater mixed with fracking chemicals into the ocean. Many of these chemicals are toxic to people and animals and pose a threat to California’s marine life.
Second, offshore fracking brings the same risks as onshore fracking – which has a bad track record of spills, accidents and earthquakes with the added risks of the ocean environment.
Third, fracking off the California coast will intensify offshore oil and gas development. Increased offshore drilling deepens our climate crisis and impedes our nation’s ability to limit global warming to 1.5°C.”
The letters come just before the March 23 end of the public-comment period on the proposal to resume offshore fracking. After the close of comments the government could resume permitting offshore fracking for oil and gas off the California coast “at any time,” according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
Offshore fracking, an environmentally devastating oil extraction technique that threatens fish, marine mammals, invertebrates and the entire marine ecosystem, blasts vast volumes of water mixed with toxic chemicals beneath the seafloor, at pressures high enough to fracture rocks. It is about time that both the Obama and Brown administrations support a permanent ban on fracking off the California coast.
At the same time, it is important that we pressure the Brown administration to fully enforce the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999. That means protecting California’s “marine protected areas” from pollution, oil spills, corporate aquaculture, military testing and other human impacts to the ocean besides fishing and gathering.
The oil and gas industry is the most powerful corporate lobby in California and the West. Big Oil spent a record $22 million to lobby state officials in 2015 – and the Western State Petroleum Association spent the most, a record $11 million. The massive gusher of money ensured that no bills opposed by the industry made it out of the Legislature.
In related news, a new study in the Journal of Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry reveals that oil companies use dozens of extremely hazardous chemicals to acidize wells in California, raising water contamination and public-safety concerns.