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Off the Record (Jun 22, 2016)


Wow. Mendo Voting Process. What A Joke!!
County 800 Number 'Disconnected, No Longer In Service.'

As we previously posted, the MSP household received their Mendocino County ballots in May and filled them out — one was sent down to St Mary's College, then picked up on graduation day, May 21st. Ballots were mailed out 29 days prior to election day. But we didn't send ONE of them right away.

We held it until election day Tuesday (June 7) then went to the Elk Post office @ 11:00 am, watched as the clerk "date stamped" it and it was picked up @ approximately 2:00 pm.

We went to the county election website and checked to see if the ballot was received Wednesday night (nope) and again @ 9:30 am Thursday — nope. Then Thursday night @ 9:30 pm (no) and 7:00 am Friday — as well as repeatedly Saturday, Sunday & Monday. No dice.

No matter how many times we went to the county webpage to fill out the form to see if County Clerk/Recorder had received it — it kept coming back "The preceding entry was not found."

So, a bit worried, we called the 800 number listed on the county webpage @ 11:07 am today (800 992-5441) and put in extension 4371 as instructed and got the following message — it was "disconnected" and "no longer in service" !!

So we called the 707-234-6819 number and got a pleasant feminine voice that said, "County Clerk Record, can you hold?"

We wanted to say "What choice did we have?" but held our tongue.

After a short wait listening to MUZAK, we gave the clerk our name and she informed us our ballot had been received JUNE 7! The same day we mailed it.

We asked why the 800 number was disconnected — and why the website kept showing they had not received our ballot? She was unaware of the bad 800 number and said even she had to fill in her name "two or three times" on the county website before finding out her ballot was received. Talk about dysfunctional…

So, here's an idea — don't post ANY results on election night. They are useless anyway.

The Wednesday June 8 early morning stats led the Fort Bragg Advocate to post an embarrassing, long-winded, editorial tirade on the "low voter turnout" when actually Fort Bragg had more than a 69% turnout. We are constantly reminded by the County Clerk, "Per State law, we have 30 days to complete the canvass. The Statement of Vote, which breaks down results by precinct, will be available at that time." And they'll take ALL of the time allotted to them — the public be damned!

On June 8 @ 2:24 am, the County released SOME misleading election results from 11,320 ballots or 24.19% of registered voters counted. In actuality, this was the amount that remained to be reviewed, processed & counted: 15,567 Vote-By-Mail ballots to process and 958 Provisional ballots.

Of the outstanding ballots left to count, the approximate breakdown were:

  • 1st Supervisorial District – 2,800 ballots
  • 2nd Supervisorial District – 2,615
  • 3rd Supervisorial District – 2,494 ballots
  • 4th Supervisorial District – 4,456 ballots (of which 1,582 are for the City
    of Fort Bragg)
  • 5th Supervisorial District – 4,160 ballots.

So, a close Superior Court Judge race as well as "Measure U" in Fort Bragg — which was behind by 56 votes — are still in limbo.

Only in Mendocino County…

SUE? SUE RANOCHAK, COUNTY CLERK? Subject: Open Letter To County: There is something puzzling about this extended wait for our ballots to be counted. Polls closed last Tuesday June 7 at 8pm and a little over six hours later there were 11,320 ballots counted. Impressive. Two days later we were told that over 16,525 ballots remained uncounted. Okay. A week has passed, with no updates, no nothing. Please explain: if you can process 11,000 ballots in six hours, why does the remaining 16,000 take more than a week? Whatever the holdup is, let's address it and fix it. This is ridiculous. —Mike Kalantarian, Navarro.

LINDA WILLIAMS WRITES: "Transparency in the conduct of the people’s business is a cornerstone of American government. Last month’s action by the Willits City Council shows the city has little commitment to this cornerstone, acting in secret to benefit one of its own. This major decision about developing the Remco site was too important to have been handled this badly. A large segment of this community now believes “the fix was in.”

Last year Willits Environmental Remediation Trust, which owns the Remco site, decided to drop the Skunk Train from consideration and to sell to developers Mayor Bruce Burton and Ed Mitchell. The reason for this shift provided to the public differs from the information shared by the Skunk Train.

The council knew the “Skunk Train was out” and chose to keep it secret.

When “Presentation, Discussion and Possible Action to Approve a Proposed Plan to Use and Develop the Former Main Remco Hydraulics Site (Tentative)” appeared on May 6 as an agenda topic for the May 11 council meeting, it was reasonable to believe there would be some type of planning process, involving the community, in this major decision.

The details about an agenda topic are normally available when the agenda is posted on May 6 but this time, despite a personal visit and emails to the city manager, the backup information on this topic was not available until 1:48 p.m. on May 10.

That was when we learned the city staff was recommending the council immediately approve the property sale by WERT to Burton-Mitchell, and agree WERT would never have to dismantle the building and foundation. This included a letter from WERT counsel saying it “will not enter into a contract with the Skunk Train for the sale of the trust owned property.”

This information was not available on the city’s website.

There are some, including members of the Willits medical community, who believe for safety concerns that the Remco foundation and structure should be completely removed from the area before any new development is allowed.

But this rush to approve the development never provided them with an opportunity to weigh in and potentially refute or offer a counter view to the WERT “leave it standing” plan, saving Pepsi-Americas at least $1.5 million for the cleanup and potentially leaving the building as an eyesore for future generations to enjoy.

The city could have brought this issue forward for public comment and discussion at any time during the past year, especially after learning there was only one development proposal. But it chose to act in secrecy.

The decision by this council and administration to keep the public in the dark undermines the public’s trust and casts the decision—which should have been a very positive move forward for our community, into question.

The public has a right to expect its government to conduct its business in the open, except in Willits." (Linda Williams was, until last week, editor of the mostly defunct Willits News.)

RE THE REMCO SALE, WILLITS: Lots of Willits people think ‘the fix was in, as investors headed by Willits mayor, Bruce Burton, picked off the plum site in the middle of town at a bargain price of $250,000. But the other would-be bidder, Robert Pinoli Jr. of the Skunk Train, never did provide the financials requested by the Trust by the August, 27th, 2015 deadline. There were at least two public meetings to discuss the sale of Remco which, by the way, lots of people claim is still polluted from the years it functioned as an industrial site, so what happened happened in public view, albeit a rather obfuscated public view. This one is a long way from over.

A WILLITS READER WRITES: "You’re right about Remco. It is interesting that the Burton cabal say they plan a brew pub… in the terms of the trust it is specific that no human beings can sleep/spend the night on the premises due to suspected, real or conceived, environmental contamination. So people can work, drink and eat at the place, no problem, but can’t spend the night…? Don’t plan on a cold one and a sandwich anytime soon at that joint… Look for the mayoral cabal to flip the Willits blight to a new buyer very soon, perhaps even the Skunk Train…? This is the crookedest deal I’ve seen in over 40 years of watching Willits big shots screwing the public, what fun…"

THE CONSPIRATORIAL TENOR of our times resonates big time here in Mendocino County where some people are saying that the fix is in for judicial candidate, Keith Faulder, that Coastlib has rigged the election for Pekin. But Faulder's reported preliminary lead is likely to hold because there are several thousand serious people on the Mendocino Coast who know that an untried guy like Pekin is the inferior candidate. Coastlib, politically frivolous as they often are, can't yet overtly fix local elections for their palsy-walsys. Which isn't to say they wouldn't try if they thought they could get away with it.

WHITEWATER IN A NUTSHELL: Bill Clinton was elected governor of Arkansas in 1978. The Clintons and the McDougals immediately bought land in the Ozarks for $203,000 with mostly borrowed funds and called it Whitewater. The Clintons got 50% interest on their magic investment with no cash down. The 203-acre plot known as Whitewater was 50 miles from the nearest grocery store. The Washington Post later reported that many of the lot purchasers, most of them retirees from farther south, “put up houses or cabins, others slept in vans or tents, hoping to be able to live off the land the way the Clintons marketed it.” More than half of the purchasers would lose their plots thanks to the sleazy form of high interest financing used which, among other provisions, declared them in default if they were just one day late on the payments. The Clintons would then sell the repossessed lots to the next victim. They made huge amounts of money off of the people they claimed to be political champions of. All of it legal, as certified legal by Special Prosecutor Ken Starr. All of it defended by them and their liberal supporters as a perfectly legitimate way to make money and, “Oh poor us, the Republicans are persecuting us for a legal arrangement.” Is anyone surprised that they became friends with all the big Wall Street wheeler-dealers? Whitewater is emblematic of the Clintons and the Wall Street model of ripping off ordinary people by making low-down dirty schemes perfectly legal and unpunishable by any legal means. (Obama too, but at least he didn’t have anything to do with Whitewater.) And Hillary calls Trump a fraud?

A READER WRITES: "Here's an article on the Constitutional Sheriffs Association which Mendo Sheriff Allman is listed as #31. These Sheriffs are part of a " patriot" organization — right wing resistance group to Federal law – something they swore to uphold as peace officers. Law enforcement is sworn to " uphold the law" – something this group has sworn not to do – not interpret the Constitution to mean that the office of Sheriff is the highest law in their given jurisdictions. By charter, any Law Enforcement officer who is a member of this organization is no longer doing his sworn job and should resign. They are a right wing political organizations military arm and are a serious potential threat to the citizenry due to their legal powers. Their philosophy dovetails into the Tea Party, Prairie Fire, Southern resistance and other violent organizations. Allman should be recalled over his association with this group due to his stated avowal to ignore his oath of office."


I attended one of these meetings eight years ago and determined that I was not interested in joining. I have never joined a group like you are describing, however we should realize that a Sheriff can often disagree with the federal government. I have disagreed many times with Federal Agencies, both publicly and privately. The disagreement is usually focused on the 10th Amendment (States rights). At least one of these groups that your writer describes has listed me as a member but I have contacted the group several times and have advised them that I am not a member. The leader of this group refers to himself as a Sheriff, however, he was defeated after his first term.

A SHERIFF of a county answers to the citizens of a county, and not directly to the federal government. The position of sheriff is unique to America, and I assure you that there are leaders in Washington who would prefer that the Sheriff answered to them. Our nation's newest states, Hawaii and Alaska, have Sheriff's who lack some of the legal authority that other Sheriffs possess. I see myself as a Sheriff who believes that the Constitution is the true foundation of our country. Thanks for asking. Tom Allman, Sheriff Mendocino County.

PS. I have notified them several times to remove my name from their membership list, but on looking at the list that your reader supplied, there is at least one Sheriff listed who hasn't been a Sheriff for two years.

PPS. I should make one point very clear. I will not follow any blind order from the Federal Government without vetting the information through trusted legal sources. I do not see the US government issuing any orders which would be in conflict with the Constitution, but if such an order was issued, you can rest assured that the California State Sheriffs Association would have an emergency meeting.


REMO? REMO McOSKER, IS THAT YOU? A 35-year-old Ukiah man was arrested on suspicion of burglary earlier this month after allegedly being found breaking into someone’s home and drinking beer and wine, the Ukiah Police Department reported. According to the UPD, a resident in the 300 block of Gardens Avenue called to report at 12:52am, June 2 that an intruder was in his living room.

The resident said when he went to investigate a noise in his house, specifically a “wine bottle clank,” he found a man standing in his living room holding a bottle of wine. He said he recognized the man as Remo L. McOsker, 35, of Ukiah, from his photo that appears frequently on the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office website. The resident said McOsker sat down on his couch while he called the UPD, and he later found large beer cans on his living room floor and that the suspect had rummaged through his personal belongings after apparently entering the home through an unlocked door. When officers arrived at the home, McOsker was arrested on suspicion of burglary and violating his probation.

COSTCO, UKIAH: Nearly a year after it was filed, arguments for and against an appeal to uphold a lawsuit delaying the construction of a proposed Costco warehouse in Ukiah were held Wednesday in the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco. City Attorney David Rapport attended the hearing and said afterward that the court had “90 days to file a decision,” and he could not guess how much of that time it would take to render a decision. The lawsuit alleges that the environmental impact report for the project should not have been certified, and was originally filed in early 2014 by Davis attorney William Kopper on behalf of a group of four people calling themselves “Ukiah Citizens for Safety First.” The plaintiffs at the time included two employees of Lucky and two employees of FoodMaxx, but all have since removed their names. The only name still attached to both the group “Ukiah Citizens for Safety First” and the appeal is Kopper’s, as he has refused all requests to reveal any other names. In May of 2015, a Mendocino County Superior Court dismissed the lawsuit, but two months later Kopper appealed that decision, which so far has delayed the project another year. Without the lawsuit, the warehouse store could have been built in the fall of 2014. (Justine Fredericksen, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

COSTCO …I imagine I’m not the only one in the county who thinks these hand ringers and saviors of the greater Ukiah enviro and mom and popism… should not be allowed to keep me from my free Cheese Whiz samples at Costco Ukiah…Rise up free sample lovers, let your voice be heard, run these foot stompers and red faced breath holders out… let the tractors roll, the concrete pour and the steel be strung… build that Costco, build it now…! PS. Never has the phrase “Money talks and bullshit walks” been more clearly defined than in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. —Stephen Rosenthal

BLOODLINE. We've watched two full seasons on NetFlicks and look forward to the third. Although the family saga set in the Florida Keys is poorly written, but the bad writing doesn't ruin an interesting story and the strong acting. The narrative is built around the tragedies ignited in a prominent and respectable family of innkeepers when the family blacksheep returns. The dialogue, though, is repetitiously vulgar with wayyyyyy too many f-bombs and "What do you mean by thats," as in, "It's raining." "What the bleep do you mean by that?" Not quite that gratuitous, but close. "I'm leaving." "What the bleep do you mean by that?" Even the matriarch, played a little too piously by Sissy Spacek, drops random f-bombs which serve only to throw her character so far off every time she appears on-screen I said to myself, "Uh, oh. Here comes Granny F-Bomb." We all understand, I think, that America is now so immersed in generalized scumbaggery that the writers of this thing undoubtedly think their script is mucho-contempo but it almost sinks the ship of the whole it's so dumb.

GENIUS, the movie. A kind of cartoon look at famous literary people and proves again that Hollywood is at a loss portraying intellectuals with reasonable verisimilitude. It doesn't comport much with what many of us know of the principals, Thomas Wolfe and his editor, Maxwell Perkins, who was also editor to Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Everyone is a caricature with Wolfe depicted as a grapho-maniac and just plain maniac, Fitzgerald more pathetic than he was and Hemingway with a big fish and unkind words for Wolfe. As a period piece — 1930s — it's got a lot of fedoras and a bread line. All-in-all, not very good but good enough to hold my enfeebled attentions.

LIVE AND LEARN, trivia division. On my way out of the theater, the Regency in San Rafael, a woman bought a big barrel of popcorn as she left the theater. I'd never noticed anyone buying popcorn on the way out. Movie popcorn, I understand, is popped in Honduras and is at least a month old with a ten-year due date by the time it reaches American consumers. I wondered why this lady would be buying a batch of hundreds of these little gut bombs to take home. Maybe she downed it as she watched tv, imagining herself back in the minimal splendors of the Regency. A friend soon explained: "Some theaters give you a free fill-up if you buy one on the way in. The lady you saw was probably just thrifty."


The government is recording your phone conversation with the babysitter. A guy who can’t speak English is making your 85 year old grandmother take off her shoes at the airport. An 8 year old kid with a water pistol is handcuffed and taken to jail. “Teens” are turning major cities into free fire zones and battlefields. The first amendment is now called “hate speech”. Schoolteachers are being beat up and raped. Anyone who still uses cash is considered suspicious. People are being stomped and shit kicked at political rallies. Anyone who mentions that America is turning into a third world shit hole is a racist and bigot. The education system and universities are turning out brain dead morons who still live at home with mommy. Combat veterans are homeless and living on the streets. In large parts of the country the American flag is a symbol of racism and oppression. The government has a file on every book you ever bought and web sight you have visited. The elections are rigged. Crooks and sex perverts are running the country.

Chicks with dicks now share your daughter’s locker room. Pedophiles are now normal people who just happen to be misunderstood. The new car you just bought will fall apart in five years. The food you eat is toxic. Eight-year-old kids are on meds. Your new Section 8 neighbors have a meth lab in the garage. Your kid’s math teacher is a drag queen. Our army generals are lesbians and gays. We have 20 million dollar jet plans that don’t fly. People’s brains are being eaten alive with their microwave phones and ovens. The gun grabbers want to disarm you so you will be “safe.” Crime is at an all time high. The Mexicans are taking over a fourth of the country. The factories have moved to Communist China.

High-tech computer workers are being replaced by people from India who work for $8.00 an hour. Robots will be running the fast food joints and driving city buses. Americans are becoming mind-controlled zombies. Sport heroes are nothing but ex street thugs. Movie stars are degenerate perverts and coke heads. The middle class is disappearing. The protesters who can barely read and write are now running the universities. The third world invaders are collecting welfare. The country is swimming in heroin. Criminals are being paid not to rob and rape people. The Justice Department spends its time investigating cops instead of criminals. Two major cities have been set on fire. Your therapist is saving his money for a sex change operation. People are “texting” each other while driving at 75 miles per hour. Street gang members and dope dealers have more rights than the average working man. Having a garden in your back yard will soon be against the law. The “medicine” your doctor is giving you has toxic side effects and causes Cancer. Americans are getting so fat they can hardly walk. The entire political system is totally corrupt. Greed is the God of Washington.

The working class is getting screwed on a daily basis. The welfare class is driving around in new cars while being paid to breed cannon fodder for the street gangs. Blacks have declared war on white people. The Mexicans have declared war on Blacks. The Muslims have declared war on everybody. The cities are nothing but cesspools and death traps. Enter at your own risk. How many people in this country have never come home alive after a visit to the local mall? Classes in “white privilege” are being taught at major universities. Campus riots are part of the course. The average American gets dumber by the day. Political protesters are professionally paid agitators and thugs who enjoy beating on people.

CONSPICUOUSLY MISSING from Sunday’s enthusiastic Press Democrat story touting the possible “partnership” between the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) agency and a housing development outfit from Santa Clara is why the “partnership” at all. Oh, all the local Sonoma County pols are of course big on more “affordable” housing on the big vacant lot near “Railroad Square” in downtown Santa Rosa.

NOTE HERE that "affordable" is never quite defined. Affordable to whom? People who take home at least a hundred annual thou and up, typically. WalMart workers need not apply.

SMART ADVOCATES — the PD, career officeholders and SMART employees — insist now is the time to get a housing and rail project going even though only one of the five prospective developers they solicited bids from sent one in.

IF "affordable housing" in Railroad Square project is an idea whose time has come why does the Santa Clara developer want to be a “partner” with SMART? SMART’s smarts have so far not produced a single running train even on the limited first phase of the project. And SMART's fares and ridership projections are so fanciful that even the PD has trouble swallowing them.

SOMEHOW SMART ended up with ownership of that five and a half acre plot near RR Square in downtown Santa Rosa. They now think they can put “268 one- and two-bedroom apartments, wrapped around a 400-space parking garage, on the five acres,” thus enhancing the alleged viability of their boutique rail line.

MOST of the apartments would (theoretically) rent for around $2,000 a month or so for the two-bedroom units. Say you make the SoCo average of $50,000 a year. That's half your income for shelter, on the off chance you qualify. Affordable?

NOBODY will know what "affordable" means until the developers have gotten their usual big tax breaks and free infrastructure, and "affordable" magically becomes $4,000 for "studio apartments and ten grand for the view jobs that look out over the freeway and the splendors of central Santa Rosa and the giant parking lot. What the “affordable” ones would rent for would still be out of reach for most Sonoma County residents.

(CONVENTIONAL FORMULAS say that rent should be one third of gross income, so most renters would need at least $6,000 a month or $72k a year — in other words perfect housing for high-end government employees in the Santa Rosa area — not exactly your priority SMART ridership. Assuming 3.5 people per apartment, that’s about several hundred people per acre of housing.)

AS THE PD STORY NOTES: “Similar plans for a $150 million mixed-use project on the Railroad Square property fell apart during the recession. Political infighting between SMART and the city, wage demands from labor and environmental groups [sic], neighborhood opposition to the proposed affordable housing, and the tight lending environment all conspired to doom that effort. But [SoCo Supervisor Shirley] Zane expects those past squabbles will take a back seat to the clear and pressing need for additional housing.”

OH HELL YEAH. Now that the recession is “over” everybody who was against it or saw it as the scam it obviously is will suddenly shut up.

THE WHOLE SHOW sounds like a Madoff style Ponzi, with more and more “investors” putting more and more money into a scheme that requires more and more investors until it collapses into a heaping pile of riderless shiny metal and a deluge of lawsuits and bankruptcy filings.

THE CEQA LAWSUIT (California Environmental Quality Act) filed by the Willits-based Blacktail Deer Association is getting some interesting media coverage. The suit says that Mendocino County must comply with the California Environmental Act before implementing its recently issued "urgency" marijuana cultivation regulations. Last year the state legislature decided that medical marijuana cultivation should be declared legal "agriculture." And marijuana growers do refer to themselves as "farmers" (or pharmers, if you prefer), just like grape growers do.

WHAT'S missing from this discussion is the inconsistency in regulation of grapes, pot and, for that matter, timber harvesting under California's "Right To Farm" law. Under Right To Farm, anything that the authorities believe has been grown and consumed is "farmed" and, by definition, cannot be a nuisance. Odors, noise, pesticide overspray, water diversions and drawdowns for frost protection, etc. — if they have been “in use” anywhere as “agriculture” for over three years — they are by definition not a nuisance.

WE EXPECT there will come a day when marijuana achieves the exalted, virtually regulation-free status of the grape, and everything associated with growing weed, processing weed and selling weed will take its rightful place as CEQA-exempt.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN a California Environmental Impact Report for grape growing? Of course not. It’s agriculture.

BUT THE STATE considers Timber Harvest Plans to be equivalent to an Environmental Impact Report, although timber harvesting is also considered agriculture, broadly speaking. Why does tree farming require an environmental impact report when grapes and (at least so far, according to Mendocino County) marijuana does not?

US BERN FEELERS will be getting a lot of the kind of gloating we got from Willie Brown, the famous bagman in Brioni, in Sunday's Chronicle: "Speaking of dignity: Bernie Sanders, save some of yours by getting off the stage. The voters have written you out of this play."

BERNIE would terminally estrange his support if he bows out ahead of the convention, although a lot of that support has already vowed to do mass headers off the Golden Gate before we'd vote for Rodan. We knew Bernie would stay with the Democrats. He said so at the outset. We said at the outset that we were reconciled to going Third Party, which we will again do in November. McGovern was the last Democrat we voted for. In fact, our Boonville house was McGovern headquarters in '72 when Mendo went about 80% for Nixon, and a lot of Democrats were among that 80%.

THE QUESTION now is whether Bernie can get a few good things out of the insufferable swine who comprise the Demo leadership before he embraces Billery at the convention. If he can't at least get single payer, free college tuition and reinstatement of basic controls on the wolves of Wall Street, he ought to blow it all up and go Third Party himself.

I SPENT futile hours arguing with the late Jim Chase and present day small business owners about single payer, how single payer would save them many thousands of dollars in their own exorbitantly expensive work place insurance and annual payments into the mega-scam known as worker's comp. Chase, who worked like a slave at Willits Printing, which he founded, always ended the discussion by saying something like, "It's the goddam government, Bruce. That's what you don't get!"

SO, I'M WATCHING the TV news the other night when Obama comes on to rattle off a few platitudes about that day's gun slaughter, this one in Orlando. I ask my three-year-old grandaughter, "Who's that guy on TV?" "Donald Trump!" she shouts triumphantly. You know the guy is media-ubiquitous when a three-year-old, whose television viewing is limited to a few minutes a day except when she's the responsibility or her undisciplined grandfather, recognizes Trump but not the president.

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