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Valley People (May 4, 2016)

ANGER AND DISBELIEF rocked the Anderson Valley last Wednesday afternoon at the astonishing news that Lorenzo Rodriguez was out of police custody, and had been released from the hospital.

RODRIGUEZ was shot Saturday night when, armed with a 14-inch chef's knife, he attacked Lisa Kuny, 42, and her 18-year-old son, Bobby Kuny, 18, a senior at Anderson Valley High School.

BOBBY KUNY, firing at point blank range, shot Rodriguez, 34, several times with a .22 revolver, hitting him in face and at least three times in his upper torso. The bullet to the head was an in and out wound, entering the right cheekbone area and exiting just above the jaw. None of the torso shots hit vital organs. And three full days later the teflon gunfire survivor walked out of the hospital.

THE WOUNDED Rodriguez, having wrecked his pick-up and abandoned it at Reilly Heights, had driven in his second vehicle, a van, from the home he shares with Cassandra 'Cassie' Gowan, 26, near Hendy Woods, made a stop in Philo west of the Madrones, and finally was located on Anderson Valley Way at Fitch Lane where he'd finally succumbed to his wounds and had lost consciousness. Rodriguez was transported by the Anderson Valley Ambulance to Ukiah and then to Santa Rosa for emergency treatment.

THE SHERIFF'S press release on the event said merely that Rodriguez was "a suspect in a domestic violence incident" but confirmed that he had attempted to assault Ms. Kuny and her son with the knife. He has since been charged with attempted murder.

ORDINARILY, in a serious episode like this, the suspect would be released from the hospital directly into police custody and booked into the Mendocino County Jail while the District Attorney decided what he would be charged with.

THE SANTA ROSA HOSPITAL failed to call Mendocino County prior to releasing the teflon gunfire survivor.

SOMEHOW, Rodriguez, who, at a minimum should be charged with felony assault, simply walked out of the hospital. The Kuny family was of course anxious that the freed Rodriguez may pursue them.

REACHED WEDNESDAY EVENING, DA spokesman Mike Geniella said, "The DA's office has not received any reports or requested charges for review." Geniella referred us to the Sheriff's office. Meanwhile, Rodriguez had made his way back to the Anderson Valley where he would remain free for four hours.

SHERIFF ALLMAN, bombarded by indignant calls demanding that Rodriguez be arrested, quickly deployed several deputies and a detective to the Anderson Valley to take Rodriguez into custody, and Rodriguez was soon housed in the County Jail charged with attempted murder and an array of lesser charges.

BOBBY KUNY'S indignant grandfather, Dan Kuny, said late Wednesday afternoon that Sheriff Allman himself apologized to Kuny for the release of Rodriguez, which the Sheriff characterized as "a major screw-up."

THE SHERIFF acted promptly and efficiently in the Rodriguez case at the end of a highly successful police week of important arrests in Mendocino County, including a felony burglary, a murderer and, due to meticulous investigative work of Detective Luis Espinoza, the conviction of a woman who had stolen thousands of dollars from the Laytonville market that employed her.

SHERIFF ALLMAN mentioned the other day that in a brief foray to gather signatures to get his proposed Psych Center on the ballot, 120 people signed right up. “Only one guy turned his back on me and walked off,” the Sheriff said. The Sheriff’s plan would create an in-County facility for disturbed persons, including the drug casualties and habitual drunks presently housed at the County Jail or shipped out to distant private facilities at upwards of $800 a day. This demographic is also known as the homeless. Mendocino County’s half-privatized mental health budget is about $20 million annually for which locals, as it stands, get a steady increase of unattended street crazies and virtually nothing in the way of mental health services.

THE SHERIFF was in Point Arena last week, gathering sigs for his break-through initiative and passing out voter registration forms. How was he received by the Fog Eaters? Warmly. The ubiquitous lawman appeared Monday in Boonville and Philo to sig-gather.

ESSENTIALLY, the “Mental Health Facility Development Ordinance of 2016,” would establish a five-year half-cent sales tax to revitalize mental health services throughout Mendocino County. Allman estimates that the five-year tax should net about $22 million. The tax would be used to develop (construct, procure or lease) facilities to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and addiction recovery, i.e., a local locked inpatient facility that would reduce emergency room visits by redirecting 5150s (danger to self or others) to a local facility where mentally ill or otherwise incapacitated patients await psychiatric thus reducing the time that local law enforcement spends dealing with the mentally ill in crisis. It would also save the county a lot of money that now goes to expensive out-of-county facilities. The initiative would also fund a training facility for mental health and public safety professionals to learn how to better handle the usual suspects. A “politically independent oversight committee” would keep track of the proposition's spending.

ALLMAN RECENTLY TOLD US that he and his core group of supporters and signature gatherers need a minimum of 2,502 registered Mendocino voter signatures but they hope to collect 3,500 prior to the end of May. Technically they have until the end of July to finish the process and put it on the ballot. “We will soon be focusing on the campaign necessary to get the two-thirds vote,” said the Sheriff. “We will be standing by our local post offices and at our Farmers markets and other venues. We see this as a solution for our mental health dilemma on the horizon. Hooray.”

BOB BUSHANSKY, host of KZYX's “Politics: A Love Story,” will interview Congressman Jared Huffman, a Democratic Party Superdelegate who has announced his support of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, Friday, May 6 at 9am.

DEBRA KEIPP was thrown from a Point Arena friend's horse last weekend and had to be choppered out of PA to Santa Rosa where she was treated for a concussion. Deb, who splits time between Boonville and the Mendocino Coast, is walking, talking and not about to re-mount friend's horse any time soon.

SATURDAY, May 7th is the official grand opening and plant sale for the Boonville Farmers' Market! The BFM is a part of the Mendocino County Farmers' Market Association that organizes local produce and value added products' sales May-October. Ours in Boonville is located in the Boonville Hotel parking lot from 9:30 to noon on Saturdays. Amanda Bontecou is the market manager. You will find a huge plant sale including a wide variety of spring and summer garden starts, excellent music, and vegetables, sweets, meats, savories, mushrooms, soaps, crafts, preserves, kids activities, and camaraderie. It is an opportunity not to be missed!

OUR MAN at the Boonville Fairgrounds gate enjoyed watching the beer-revelers leaving the 2016 event. It’s pretty much confined to the Fairgrounds where an array of craft beers are free for the price of a ticket, which runs about $60. And it closes down at five, open at noon. Which means a lot of people pound down a whole lotta suds as fast as they can.

THE WEATHER was warmish, breezy — perfect for beer-drinking. Mostly an orderly, friendly young crowd, considering they were varying degrees of loaded. Our man says he only saw three local people he recognized and ethnic minorities were way in the minority, few and far between.

WHOEVER arranged the pedi-cabs made a serious miscalculation because about a hundred revelers were waiting for who knows how long for the only rickshaw we saw in town, and it was parked at the Pic'N'Pay a couple blocks away from the beer people who needed transport.

OF THE HUNDREDS of merry patrons who came streaming out of the Fairgrounds after the 5pm closing, our man counted only 11 stumbling drunks who were so loaded they were hauled from the Fairgrounds like wounded survivors of the Great Battle of Beer, carried over the shoulders of friends, the luckier casualties assisted by pretty young women.

ONE VERY DRUNK young dude was so pleased with the festival that he broke free from his friends and started to high-five everyone nearby, exclaiming, "Beer Fest! Yeah!" over and over. But he was too drunk to raise his arm above his shoulder, and squawked on like some kind of wounded sea bird.

DEPUTY WALKER said there was only one arrest that could be attributed to the festival, and that was of the "aggressor" in a fight between him and another drunk Friday night at the brewery's campground up the street.

THE MEDSTAR quick-response mini-ambulance driver reported no calls.

THE ONLY UNTOWARD occurrence we heard of over Beer Fest weekend was of the attractive young woman at AV Market's sandwich counter being mooned by a young drunk. She laughed it off as more of a joke, but I'd call it a wobbler, trending upwards on the pervo-meter.

CONSIDERING that some three thousand or so people descend on Boonville for this drinking event, incidents were a remarkable near nil.

IS IT ELECTION tensions, or what? Last week, in the course of a minor business transaction, a necessary business transaction on my end, I told the lady that I thought she looked very nice. She said, "Spare me your bullshit, Bruce. What do you want?" Then we have our Sheriff, the very soul of amiability, gathering signatures for his mental health initiative in front of the Boonville Post Office. A local woman brushes past him and tells him to bleep off. She drives away in a vehicle sporting a Hillary bumpersticker. Not that there's necessarily any connection, but…

ACCORDING TO GLEN McGOURTY, Mendocino County's tax-paid agriculture extension advisor, and self-alleged expert in grape growing, it's bad planning to allow non-grape entities next door to the sacred fruit because non-grape people have a bad habit of not liking most aspects of grape growing — pesticides, water depletion, the din generated by frost fans, and so on.

ACCORDING to McGourty, Anderson Valley is a hotbed of grape dissidents, people who "do not agree with" grape growing.

MCGOURTY NOTED that there's not much grape dissidents can do about the grape growing since local elected officials, laws and planning documents have given the industry carte blanche to do whatever they want under the auspices of "agriculture." Ag, by definition, is good, goes McGourty-think.

AT A RECENT Planning Commission hearing in Ukiah concerning a proposed breakup of a 269-acre vineyard parcel in the Hopland area into four separate smaller parcels to allow for a home and an "event center," McGourty was of course opposed.

"MY BIGGEST CONCERN is about fragmentation of agricultural land,” declared McGourty. “There are conflicts when we have people who are not involved in agriculture who are surrounded by agriculture.”

McGOURTY and his grape growing pals routinely refer to the chemically-dependent industrial production of over-priced wine as “agriculture,” when in its industro-reality it's more the botanical equivalent of a cattle feedlot.

“I THINK you have seen multiple examples of this, particularly in Anderson Valley where we have people who don't necessarily understand or really care about agriculture [i.e., grapes] around them. So if you allow a 28-acre nonconforming parcel that's really a different use compared to what's surrounding them, you set a precedent that other people are going to come to you and say, you have done it for this applicant, why not for me? I could even see Patty Fetzer wanting to do something like that. All of her extensive improvements on the east side of Old River Road — if she wanted to sell her vineyard it would be much easier if that was a separate parcel."

NOBODY objects to legitimate “agriculture” like food crops or sheep or cattle. Many of us object to the takeover of Mendocino County by this one enveloping, omni-present enterprise. Mendocino County defines ag as “food or fiber," so, like, wine? Not agriculture. So, like, marijuana? More like ag but not quite.

LATER IN THE HEARING, McGourty added, "Right now, Hopland is the center of our intensive vineyard industry. We have approximately 6,000 acres of vineyards in the Hopland area. It's the largest contiguous area of intensive agricultural use in Mendocino County. To start fragmenting it into other purposes for other uses is something that greatly concerns me. It may not concern the property owners at the moment, but I see conflicts that occur when we have people who are not involved in agriculture to own property next to agriculture uses when things start to impact and even though we have a right to farm ordinance in Mendocino County, that doesn't preclude people from being upset if they don't agree with what's going on."

THE PLANNING COMMISSION DENIED THE PROPOSAL 5-1, with the grape people on the Planning Commission, lead by Hopland grape grower Greg Nelson, and Boonville's presumably non-graped commissioner, Steve Hall, voting to not break up the Hopland parcel.

IF YOU THINK grapes generate “conflict,” wait until Mendocino County's other high-end intoxicant — marijuana —is fully legalized. Then we’ll have another “ag” operation located wherever with its own neighbor “conflicts.”

YOU PROBABLY know that you now need a burn permit before you light up the old burn pile and before your wind-whip "controlled burn" goes out of control. It's already very, very dry out there.

CALTRANS said yesterday that they will install a temporary signal on Highway 253 up near the top of the ridge on May 9 so that some significant road repairs can be done, including a new retaining wall and repaving. One way traffic will be in effect 24/7 with up to ten minute delays. The signal is expected to continue to October with work wrapped up in November. For more info call Caltrans ubiquitous media rep: Phil Frisbie, 707/441-4678.

GREG KROUSE: "The Anderson Valley Grange has two events coming up: At 7 PM on May 6th, First Friday Film and Social Nite offers an interesting documentary on the plight of a motivated Latina, who moves from cooking for a push cart to Sushi Chef. The barriers of nationality and sex provide an interesting drama. The social aspect (6PM) did well with Pizza so we are offering that again but we are also doing Sushi, both for a nominal donation. You can always bring your own. BYOB or there will be juice, tea, and coffee. The following weekend, we celebrate Mom’s at our 2nd Sunday Pancake Breakfast on Sunday the 8th from 8:30 to 11 AM at the Grange. Flowers and Mimosas for Mom’s and their guests. The latter by donation."

PANTHERS ROMP BIG TIME— In a doubleheader with Geyserville, a team so, so, so impaired they probably belong in the emergency room, the Boonville 9 won the first game, 24-2. Geyserville scored two fluke runs that seemed more charity than earned:

Winning pitcher: Jared Johnston 3 innings, 0 hits allowed.

Cesar Soto: 5/5, 4 runs, 2 rbis

Jared Johnston: 4/6, 2 dbl, rbis

Jonas Lane: 4/5, rbis

Tony Pardini: 2/3, dbl, 4 rbis

JT Carlin: 2/4, 2 dbl, 3 rbis

Game 2:  AV 20, Geyserville 0

Winning pitcher: Tony Pardini,  3 innings, 8k, 0 hits allowed.

Jared Johnston: 3/3, hr, 3 rbis

Cesar Soto: 3/4, dbl, 2 rbis

JT Carlin: 2/3, dbl, 3 rbis

Gerardo Torales: 2/3, 3 rbis

Isak Parra: 2/3, 3 rbis

The ravenous Panthers then headed far to the east to take on a Geyserville-like Covelo. Old timers will recall the glorious sports days when Covelo was a small school sports powerhouse, but that prowess faded when drugs and bad attitudes came to dominant the isolated Round Valley, and it's been downhill since the late 1960s for Covelo:

Game 1: AV 25, Round Valley 0  

Winning Pitcher: Jared Johnston 3 innings, 0 hits allowed.

In relief: JT Carlin 2 innings, 0 hits allowed, the two Panthers teaming up for a no hitter.

Cesar Soto: 4/5, 2 dbl, 3 runs, 4 rbis

Tony Pardini: 4/6, 2 runs, 2 rbis

Jonas Lane: 3/5, 4 runs, 4 rbis

JT Carlin: 3/5, 3 runs, 2 rbis

Jared Johnston: 2/4, 3 runs, 3 rbis

Game 2: AV 10, Round Valley 0

Winning pitcher: Tony Pardini, 3 innings, 2 hits allowed, 0 walks, 5k

Cesar Soto: 2/2, 2 runs

JT Carlin: 2/3, dbl, 2 runs, 2 rbis

Jared Johnston: 2/3, rbis

Juan Reynoso: 2/3, 2 runs, 2 rbis

At the end of the week, Anderson Valley's collective batting average was .750. The Panthers, boasting a team of real athletes, are certain to get some real competition in the looming small school playoffs.

THIS AD (for the cabin pictured) in this week's paper made me laugh out loud. The accompanying picture had me on the floor:

“Clow Ridge 40 with cabin. Beautiful 40 acres of mixed forest and tall redwoods on Clow Ridge. Pretty little cabin for camping. Gentle ground just over ridge top, so still gets some sun. Only 3.5 miles off highway, behind locked gate for privacy. $239,000.”


IF THIS SHACK gets ten minutes of sun a year, it's only when King Sol is directly overhead for a few minutes those few annual days of the year. I know the place. It has an interesting history as the once-upon-a-time residence of an unusually volatile Santa Claus-looking dude named Thaddeus 'Thad' Thomas who shot my friend Chris Gray point blank off the adjoining stool at the Boonville Lodge one night. That weird turret you see here? When Thad was feeling especially paranoid, he would grab his M-1 and hoist his considerable bulk up there to pull guard duty all night. The night Thad shot Chris Gray, Chris, a very tough guy, had climbed off the floor for another couple of beers while the cops hauled Thad off. Chris said he had a bad headache the next day and soon discovered he needed some basic reconstructive surgery. Thad Thomas died in jail while Thad's family's lawyers made sure Chris Gray never got the money Chris should have got for the harm done to him by the Troll of Nash Mill.

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