- Evacuation Lifted
- Rogers Case
- Conservation Easements
- Pension Problem
- West Perkins
- Naked Trump
- KZYX Ukiah
- Infantile Culture
- Small-school Sports
- Elk in Elk
- Water Management
- Wine Fraud
- Oppression Dignity
- Yesterday's Catch
- False Alarm
- Oil Gusher
- Criminal Racket
- Marco Radio
CLAYTON FIRE EVACUATION ORDERS LIFTED
The Lower Lake evacuation order was the last in effect for residents affected by the blaze that was ignited by a suspected arsonist Saturday evening. Containment reaches 90%. Structure destruction estimates rises a bit more. But still no report of the numbers of houseless and displaced persons.
THE KENNY ROGERS CASE — HOW MENDO WORKED THE WESTPORT MAN OVER BIG TIME
Kenny Rogers is still in state prison on a conviction based on the most vague series of allegations we've seen around here. Then, when he got into court, the late Judge Ron Brown, and a series of attorneys bankrupted the defendant. Mr. Herships nicely sums up what happened, and after his account we've linked the Rogers saga for readers interested in the case.
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The simple issue is that there is a 2006 U S Supreme Court decision in U S vs Gonzales-Lopez written by no other then Justice Scalia which requires that a criminal defendant must be allowed to retain his choice of legal counsel and that failure to do so is " structural error" which means the conviction must be reversed Pre Se as a defendant does not have to show any prejudice.
Here Donald Masuda who Deputy District Attorney Stoen forced out of the case by his misrepresentation to the trial judge that Masuda was going to be called as a witness. This was a totally false representation as Deputy DA Newman told the trial Court on April 25, 2008 that the People could not call Masuda as a witness.
All Masuda wanted was any excuse to be relieved from legal representation so Masuda could walk away with the $127,500.00 retainer paid for legal representation through trial.
Masuda never refunded any of the retainer and never provided any accounting for the funds both of which is illegal in California.
Now this issue is currently before the Superior Court of California County of Sacramento were Masuda sole defense is to assert the statute of limitation as a defense, however, there is a Court of Appeal case from 2014 which holds that the statute of limitations is tolled until the attorney provides an accounting of the clients property and legal services provided.
Here Masuda admitted in the discovery process not accounting was provided and on May 12, 2011 Masuda falsely asserted that he had been to two trials and started a third.
Kenneth Rogers had until May 12, 2016 to file his case against Masuda and because the complaint was filed on Oct 4, 2014 Kenneth Rogers Complaint was in fact timely as a matter of law.
There will be ruling on this issue on Sept. 14, 2016 after 2:00 P.M. from the court and the final ruling will be Sept 15, 2016.
The Court of Appeal opinion in Prakashpalan v. Engstrom, Lipscomb and Lack (2014)223 Cal.App.4th 1105, is the controlling law and in that case the Court of appeal ruled because the attorneys never provided any accounting Rule 4-100 and the court held that the 17 years later the party can sue for his funds.
This ruling that Masuda acts were actual theft of Rogers money will go a long way to over turn his conviction.
Kenneth Rogers law suit against Masuda & Giffard is seeking a personal money judgment including prejudgment interest of $276,500 which includes advanced legal fees of $140,500 which was advanced to these attorneys.
The additional issue which is interesting is that Masuda is currently on probation by the California Supreme Court for the very same issues which he, Masuda, did to another client.
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PS. Rogers paid Masuda $40,000 for the Preliminary Hearing, which is an excessive amount of money. Then Masuda demanded $60,000 for legal representation through trial.
To show you the unethical conduct of Deputy DA Stoen, exhibit 3 to Rogers opposition shows that Masuda sent an E Mail to Stoen dated Oct. 18, 2007 that he could not proceed to a trial in this case based upon his (Masuda's) conflict.
Stoen then decided to use that admission by Masuda to file his motion to call Masuda as a witness in the criminal case.
On December 4, 2007, Masuda demanded from Rogers another $27,500 for legal representation through trial in the criminal case, Exhibit 4.
It should be noted that Masuda never disclosed to Rogers that he (Masuda) never had any intentions of proceeding to trial in the criminal case as attorney of record.
Then on January 28, 2008, and done without any notice on Rogers Masuda made an oral motion to withdraw which violates California Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 3-700 (A) (2) as this prejudiced Rogers' right to seek a refund of the unearned retainer.
These undisputed factual showing violated Rogers' rights to legal representation at a critical stage of the proceedings in violation of Rogers' Sixth and 14th amendment to the US Constitution i.e. the right to legal representation.
Additionally, these acts of Stoen who was actually scared of Masuda ability to win the case before a jury in Rogers' case had to force Masuda out of the case.
This case can be proven by the Reporters transcript of April 25, 2008 where Deputy DA Newman asserted that the People could not call Masuda as a witness and Stoen's insistence was wrong and misleading the court.
Newman's statement that he (Newman) spoke to Stoen and he agreed that the Court must reconsider the ruling relieving Masuda as attorney of record for Rogers.
The Court agreed and set a hearing for May 9, 2008 and the hearing never occurred all because Rogers was never represented an attorney before the trial court.
These proceedings were an actual shame as any competent attorney represent Rogers would have put these issues before the trial court and would have obtained at a minimum a full refund of $127,500 from Masuda and as such Rogers could have been represented by an attorney of choice.
The Exhibits prove the abuses by Stoen who has a duty also as an officer of the Court to put these issues before the Court and failed to do so because Stoen did not want competent legal counsel to represent Rogers, because Stoen could not have received a conviction at trial as there was absolutely no evidence implicating Rogers to the crime.
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WHAT’S A WORKING FOREST EASEMENT?
To the Editor and the AV Community
I was recently chatting with Jan Pallazola and she mentioned the current project of the Save the Redwoods League purchasing a conservation easement on the Maillard Ranch. So I found the flyer online and was delighted to read about this project. It is exactly, on a large scale, what we were trying to do, on a minuscule scale by comparison, with Tony Delaqua’s 115 acre homestead on Peachland Road when we donated an easement on it in 2005.
Like the Maillards, we wished to protect our 40 acres of redwoods and Douglas Fir, none of it old growth, but good second growth, from ever again being clear-cut. I have only recently learned from the Land Trust Alliance’s “Conservation Easement Handbooks,” that ours (and Maillard’s) is called a “working-forest easement,” providing for managed forest harvest into the future. Our easement is also a working farmland agricultural easement, allowing continued use of the open acres that Tony used for vineyard, orchard, and animals. These were all commercial endeavors that Clem Heryford from 1910, Tony from 1917 to 1949, and Taylor who logged the canyon in 1952, pursued to make a living from the property. Like the Maillards who raise cattle and do sustainable logging, our easement provided for these activities that had been practiced for 100 years. Clem and Tony probably harvested one old growth redwood per year, to split into stakes or rails which they hauled to the Valley on horseback to sell. By the time Wes Smoot worked with Taylor on the logging of our property in 1952, he has told me recently that in 1952 the redwoods were all gone. I wonder if he meant just the old growth, as there were, as of 1995 when I did a timber survey, 769 redwoods of over 18-inch dbh [diameter at breast height]. I have no idea how many that size there are nowadays. But our easement limits timber harvest and specifically says that nothing over 36-inches dbh may be cut. We have no idea if a conservation easement will last for 1000 years, but we did our best to ensure that some of those old growth trees Clem and Tony cut down will be replaced 1000 years from now.
I know that Anderson Valley residents are concerned also about “dangers to the Navarro River from erosion.” We, too, were concerned about the erosion of Tony Creek. When we bought the property in 1970, there had been a landslide following the 1952 logging, where a whole hillside had slid, leaving a bare swath maybe 50 feet wide and 100 feet high. We owners planted 500 Douglas Fir seedlings on this hillside and now, 45 years later, it is a nice stand of trees. But the creek-bed, which was an eroded gully from 4 to 8 feet deep in 1970, has not healed. We thought if we left the land alone, the erosion would fill in. Instead, the eroded creek bed is now in some places 8 or 12 feet deep. Prudee Heryford, who lived as a girl on this property in 1910, told me that when she was a girl, before the post-WWII logging boom, the creek ran at ground level. And on a USGS map of the 1940s, the creek was a blue line creek through Tony’s property and above, meaning it ran year round. Plus we know there was enough water in Tony Creek for Tony to have a water ram that pumped water up to a tank above his house.
By the time we bought the property in 1970, the creek did not run all summer. And by now the USGS shows Tony Creek as blue-line only half-way up through our property. We’d like to do anything we could to restore the creek and its bed but obviously leaving it alone hasn’t helped. Now, with increasing drought weather, we wonder if anything can be done. The erosion continues. It is sad to see. Prudee told me that when she saw the canyon in the 1970s, after the logging, she felt her dad in 1910 had had no idea what his timber harvest had begun! Her sad words were, “He didn’t know what he was doing.”
Our goal was the same as the Maillards’, to continue to allow limited timber harvest and agricultural use, which provided a homesteader’s living over the past 100 years. Our easement was written to allow Wendy Rowe to make a living on the property, as Clem and Tony had done before, with her ventures of organic farming, pony breeding, and weekend classes for city dwellers to come and camp and learn country living skills that Wendy taught, such as soap-making, wool-spinning, herbal extracts, etc. There were already three cabins on the property that she used for weekend rental, as well as for housing for WWOOFRs, Willing Workers on Organic Farms, farm laborers who helped her in return for room and board.
As many of you no doubt know, Wendy is now married to an Austrian and lives happily outside of Vienna, with one of her Highland ponies providing compost for her organic garden there.
I know I used to enjoy Charmian Blattner’s contributions to the AVA years ago. I hope you enjoy mine.
Love and best wishes to all in Anderson Valley, from Black Earth, Wisconsin, a place with some of the best soil in the whole United States!
MENDOCINO COUNTY GRAND PENSION BARGAIN – OR BANKRUPTCY?
by John G. Dickerson
This is the last of three articles about Mendocino County’s unfunded pension debt. They are on www.YourPublicMoney.com with links to evidence that supports every assertion.
Unfunded pension debt is by far the biggest threat to our County’s ability to provide services and infrastructure needed for a safe and prosperous county. As more local taxes are consumed public safety will be seriously compromised and roads will fall apart. As core public services fail jobs will get harder to find and property values will be stymied.
In the first article I described the Perverse Incentive that drives the creation of this debt. The County’s unaccountable employee/retiree dominated Retirement Board transferred hundreds of millions from the County and taxpayers to employees and retirees behind the public’s back. Laws were broken. Policies to placate the public were passed then ignored. Financial reports were rigged. Decades of reckless financial mismanagement went unchallenged. (Please visit my site.)
The people of Mendocino County were sucker-punched by the Retirement Board.
In the second I told employees and retirees their “pension house” is on fire and only a miracle can keep it from collapsing. We the People didn’t hold County officials accountable. Employees and retirees didn’t hold Retirement Directors they elected accountable. We have a responsibility to work together to clean up the mess.
This final message is based on some hard conclusions.
The Retirement Board imposed nearly $100 million more unfunded pension debt over the past 5 years during a strong stock market. But officials avoided confronting the core causes of this debt by shoving the pain of paying it as much as 30 years into the future (with interest) – the longest legally allowable.
The next recession is when the pain is likely to become too great to ignore because tax collections always decrease, demand for social services increases, and Pension Fund investment losses doubles unfunded pension debt and County taxpayers must replace those losses.
But taxpayers must pay existing taxes no matter how bad services get and the Retirement Board can keep shoving payment of the growing debt into the future. Left to themselves they might be able to limp along a decade or more.
Mendocino is the most damaged California county by unfunded pension debt. That debt equals its total assets. Total debt is 25% more than assets. We will likely be the first California County to enter federal municipal bankruptcy to make significant cuts to retiree pensions. The longer this goes on the worse it will be. It’s impossible to rebalance our County’s debt with our local economy without significantly cutting pensions.
This debt has been allowed to get too big. Major pain can’t be avoided. I can think of only one way to reduce the pain and fairly spread it around.
Grand Pension Bargain
This would require a complex negotiation among the key stakeholder groups and there’s no way to lay out the specific results ahead of time. But ultimately if we are to avoid the much worse result of federal bankruptcy five things must occur:
A temporary increase in County revenues (probably a tax) must be approved by voters based on iron-clad assurances the following four goals will be accomplished.
· Employees and retirees agree to take up front cash payments – or some equivalent - to “buy down” a significant amount of today’s unfunded pension debt to a level necessary for the County to properly fund the services and infrastructure the People have a right to expect.
· Fundamental changes to the structure and governance of retirement benefits are made so that significant unfunded pension debt can never again be imposed on our county.
· Employees can plan on secure predictable retirement income.
· Fundamental changes in the structure and function of county financial management will happen so we can have much more assurance they will be professionally competent, motivated by the long-term needs of the people, and truly be financially accountable.
There are many ways these goals could be achieved - but this is what a Grand Bargain must do.
The challenge now is to develop a process to make this happen – some of which may require changes in State law. The alternative is awful – a much worse hit imposed on employees and retirees in federal bankruptcy and the near destruction of our County’s ability to provide the services the People need.
Until these changes are made voters should understand every proposal to increase their taxes is driven by increasing unfunded pension debt payments. Every other proposed tax increase is really a “Pension Tax” that does nothing to stop creating more debt.
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ED NOTE: We agree with Mr. Dickerson that the Mendocino County Retirement Board is a self-interested group of mostly current or former county employees and the Board of Supervisors should appoint more independent people to it.
We agree that the County’s pension debt will never be repaid short of bankruptcy or federal bailout. Mendocino County is hardly unique in unreal pension obligations.
But much of Mr. Dickerson’s doomsday writing is opinion and speculation, not necessarily unreasonable, but certainly arguable. There’s so much volume in Mr. Dickerson’s claims as they have accumulated over the years that it’s nearly impossible to even address them coherently.
Even Dickerson’s “proposed changes” and “solutions” are opinions. When it gets down to how to implement them, he simply says, “There are many ways these goals could be achieved…” without offering any.
Let’s take what appears to be Dickerson’s most serious claim/opinion: “Laws were broken.”
Here’s the only item we could find that Mr. Dickerson offers on this point (which is buried in a difficult to find article we unearthed on his densely packed website that he wrote in 2010):
“Violations of Law: County Employee Retirement Law (CERL) — California Government Code Section 31587 (part of the state's County Employee Retirement Law - or ‘CERL’) states: ‘The (retirement) board shall apply the contributions of the county or district to its obligations under the system in the order and amounts as follows: First, in an amount equal during each fiscal year to the (pension) liability accruing to the county or district because of service rendered during such year and on account of service and disability pensions, in an amount determined by the actuarial valuation as interpreted by the actuary.’ That means all the money paid into the Retirement Association must go into the Pension Fund until the amount the actuary says the County must pay the Fund is paid. That didn't happen.”
Hmmm. What did happen then? Some money certainly went to the Pension Fund, and we would agree that it was probably not enough to fully fund it. But was it a “violation of law”? Who knows? Dickerson’s blunt claim that it was a “violation of law” remains, at this point, merely a six-year old unfounded opinion.
Curiously, Mr. Dickerson never mentions the outrageously high pensions being given to Mendo's retired top officials and senior law enforcement officers who manipulate the system to their personal advantage. He prefers to complain about the system as a whole which, of course, includes most ordinary retirees who clearly deserve their modest pensions.
This is the trouble with Dickerson’s claims. Trying to follow the threads is extremely tedious and time consuming and ultimately you find that his opinions are backed up by — more opinions.
What can be done? Mr. Dickerson implies that the Supervisors should appoint more independent people to the Retirement Board. That would be nice. Trouble is very few of them even apply. (And one of them, Mr. Sakowicz, soon stopped being a critic and found himself voting with the majority after initially claiming to be independent.)
Mr. Dickerson wishes the County was stingier in its collective bargaining agreements. So do we — not that it would help much at this point. (We’ve long proposed that management and department heads should not be “bargaining units” at all – only in government would anyone even consider it — but to no avail. Managers and top officials should be “at-will” employees — let them negotiate their own contracts and benefits, hopefully with a stingier Board of Supes. But nobody but us even brings this up — certainly not Dickerson. )
Mr. Dickerson could save us all a lot of trouble if he’d just call his website “PubicPensions:BAD!” and then set up a bunch of separate sections to click on called “Why Pensions Are Bad,” and “Why Pensions Are Getting Worse,” and “We’re Still Broke,” and “We’re Going Bankrupt,” and “Pensions Will Kill Us All,” and “We Are So Screwed,” and “What Can We Do About Bad Pensions?” And then under each of those clicks it sends you back to “PublicPensions:BAD!” — except for the last one which opens a new window that says: “NOTHING.”
RANDOM THOUGHTS on a dog days afternoon: Rare bit of good news — the new County Courthouse is on hold. No one except our cosseted Superior Court judges want it but that didn't stop the California Judges Association, or whatever it's called, from buying land on West Perkins to build it. The land was bought, incidentally, from what's left of the Northwest Pacific Railroad, presently functioning as a jobs program for retired Democrats.
WHILE WE'RE LINGERING on West Perkins, for a chain restaurant, the new Chipotle at the freeway entrance to the splendors of Ukiah is quite nice. Of course the other three corners are covered in two service stations and a truly awful McDonalds, but someone made an architectural decision for the good in the Chipotle.
THE TRUMP STATUE isn't funny. Cheapest of cheap shots. If the so-called artist who created it tried the same with Hillary, the libs would burn down San Francisco.
WITH THE DEPARTURE of Lorraine Dechter from her boss job at KZYX, it seems like a good time to re-organize pseudo-Public Radio Mendocino County and re-locate it to Ukiah, where it should have been located in the first place. We're unlikely to ever know why Dechter packed it in, but smart, capable people have never lasted long at the station, not that there's been many of them.
WHAT'S WITH ALL the semi-hysterical, burbly-gurbly laughter on NPR? TV news has come with this weird, chuckley idiocy for years — contrast our nutty news giggling shows with the solemn, to-the-point BBC. The Brits apparently assume adult-type people are watching. Their news readers also look like real people, too, not Ken and Barb.
GOOGLE is the visual equivalent of Chuckle Buddy News. Every day we get an irritating new graphic where a cartoon character is waving at you, doing somersaults and otherwise being just so darn cute you feel like grabbing a baseball bat and killing your computer. Our fine, fat population obviously went infantile some years ago, but short of unplugging the few remaining news sources, adult-type citizens are trapped.
SORRY to see Mendocino High School cancel football this season. I've thought for years that the small schools of the County should form one team to play up a league with Fort Bragg, Cloverdale, Willits. O yeah? How would that work, Mr. Wizard? One simple, basic playbook. Get together for group practice once a week, practice separately, play Friday nights and Saturdays. There's always a few kids in the small schools who really want to play and can play, but not enough of their classmates share their enthusiasm.
INTRIGUING photo of an elk near Elk in the Galletti's even more intriguing purple wheat field. (More on the wheat when we can find someone who knows.) I thought elk were herded up much farther north, like on the Lost Coast with a few around Laytonville. The photo of course appeared on the essential and always eclectic Facebook newspaper page published seemingly round-the-clock by the indefatigable Mr. McCarthy.
NEW RUSSIAN RIVER PLAN CALLS FOR LOWER SUMMER FLOWS TO PROTECT FISH
by Mary Callahan
A long-awaited report outlining plans to permanently reduce summertime flows in the Russian River and Dry Creek to benefit imperiled fish species was unveiled Friday, kicking off a public comment period that’s expected to feature ample disagreement and controversy.
The blueprint formalizes water releases that have already been made for years at Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma, the region’s two main reservoirs, which supply drinking water to more than 600,000 and maintain year-round river flows for people and fish.
The new, six-volume environmental impact report is meant to bring the region’s water management into official compliance with federal guidelines for the Russian River’s beleaguered salmon and steelhead trout species.
But it also would nearly halve minimum summertime flows in the lower river — even during the rainiest years — a policy that triggered questions and angst well before Friday about potential impacts on recreation, water quality and other aspects of the watershed’s health.
“Our community is concerned about the state of the fish habitat, but also concerned about any impacts making low flow permanent will have on our water quality, our tourism industry, and of course on the health of our residents and pets,” Monte Rio Community Alliance President Chuck Ramsey said. He alluded to the death of a dog, which last year ingested toxic algae during a trip down the lower river. Such algae can develop in still, warm and shallow water — conditions that can accompany low flows.
“There needs to be a balance that allows us to achieve the best outcomes possible,” Ramsey said.
The new environmental report, from the Sonoma County Water Agency, tops 3,600 pages and is subject to a 60-day public comment period. It will be the focus of a pair of town hall meetings next week in Cloverdale and Monte Rio and a Sept. 13 hearing before Sonoma County supervisors, who oversee the Water Agency.
Agency officials say it is driven by a shift in thinking over recent decades about the needs of endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout. While young and living in freshwater, the oceangoing fish are believed to benefit from low-velocity conditions while they feed and grow.
A guiding document issued in 2008 by federal fishery regulators ordered the Water Agency to overhaul releases from Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino to reduce May-to-October river levels. The goal is to slow the current and increase the chance that a freshwater lagoon could form at the mouth of the river in Jenner. Juvenile steelhead trout use such habitat to rest and feed before entering the ocean.
A drop in summertime releases at Lake Mendocino’s Coyote Dam also helps to preserve the supply of deep, cold water that can then be released in the fall to aid the spawning run of adult chinook salmon, the Water Agency said.
Without a comprehensive plan that guides such water management, the local officials each year have sought permission from the state to reduce stream flows to safeguard fish.
The drought further complicated matters, leading to additional reductions in recent years. The river reached its lowest level in September 2014, when flows dropped to 50 cubic feet per second in the upper Russian River, north of Healdsburg, and to 60 cfs in the lower river, downstream of where it joins Dry Creek, said Ann DuBay said, a Water Agency spokeswoman. A cubic foot is about the amount of water that would fit in a basketball.
Under the new proposal, the lower river could drop as low as 70 cubic feet per second from May to mid-October in years with normal rain. Under a state water permit issued in 1986, the current minimum summertime flow in the lower river is 125 cfs, though the Water Agency typically adds a buffer of 10-to-15 cfs, DuBay said.
Minimum flow requirements in the upper river would shift from 185 cfs to 105 cfs in wet years.
In the driest years, minimum river flows would remain the same, at 25 cfs in the upper river, and 35 cfs in the lower, DuBay said.
Many advocates and stakeholders are wary of the plan and its potential for putting the river at risk on a scientific basis some still question. They worry that reducing river flow will lead to warmer, more stagnant water — fostering conditions that likely contributed to last year’s toxic algae bloom. Such conditions, they worry, could harm wildlife and diminish the river as a recreational destination for anglers and boaters
The Russian River Watershed Protection Committee, a fixture in such debates for decades, called increased algae and possible toxicity “a virtual certainty” under permanent low flows.
“The river now suffers from excessive temperature and excessive phosphorous, and the only condition holding algae somewhat in check is summer flow,” committee Chairwoman Brenda Adelman said.
But Water Agency personnel said modeling and testing of the water levels indicates recreation will not be badly affected most years. Agency officials contend historical data shows no correlation between river flows and algae blooms. Also conditions that contribute to algae growth, like high nutrient loads — fueled by urban and agricultural runoff — exist in the river regardless of dam releases.
“The Fish Flow Project balances the multiple needs of the Russian River by reducing flows to support the restoration of iconic salmon and steelhead, while still providing drinking water for 600,000 people,” Grant Davis, the Water Agency’s general manager, said in an email. “The project also meets other beneficial uses like recreation. Only in severe droughts would low flows potentially impact recreation.”
Besides setting lower minimum stream flows, the plan would:
Change the current three-point scale for gauging wet, normal and dry years to a five-point scale, allowing dam releases to be altered more incrementally according to rainfall and runoff.
Move the index used to determine rainfall and runoff from Lake Pillsbury, located in the Eel River watershed, to the Russian River watershed to more closely reflect local conditions.
Extend the water agency’s right to draw as much as 75,000 acre feet a year from the system for its consumers until the year 2040. The most the agency has needed annually was about 66,000 acre feet in 2003-04, DuBay said.
You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.
Russian River flows
The 60-day public comment period on the draft environmental impact report runs through Oct. 17.
The document and related information are available online at scwa.ca.gov/fish-flow.
Hard copies of the report are available at:
- Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa;
- Central Santa Rosa Library, 211 E St.
- Healdsburg Regional Library, 139 Piper St.
- Monday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Cloverdale Veterans Hall, 205 West First St.
- Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monte Rio Community Center, 20488 Highway 116
- 3 p.m. Sept 13 at Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, 575 Administration Dr., Santa Rosa.
MEET THE WINE WORLD’S BERNIE MADOFF
The rise and fall of Berkeley’s acclaimed Premier Cru wine store leaves customers out tens of millions of dollars.
YOUTH WANTS TO KNOW
This is from Paul Craig Roberts:
Why does the left trust the government precisely on those matters that the government uses to justify war and a police state? The answer is that those who challenge the official story deprive the left of the emotional satisfaction that comes from the belief that oppressed peoples are capable of striking back and do strike back. Alexander Cockburn once explained this to me himself. He said that when I report the challenges of experts to the official 9/11 story, I am taking away the dignity of oppressed peoples by assuming that they do not strike back against their oppressors. Alex could not accept the truth, because it meant that the oppressed acquiesced in their oppression.
To me, it's an oddly convoluted explanation, even if AC did offer it.
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 20, 2016
MARK ANASTASIOU, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JOHN BRUNK, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
THOMAS GALINDO, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JENNIFER HEVEY, Redwood Valley. Water Pollution, prohibited activity in county park, controlled substance, destroying evidence, resisting, probation revocation.
BENJAMIN HOFF, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JIMMIE ISENHART, Ukiah. Drunk in public, failure to appear.
PETER KIPKE, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
LUIS MAELA, Spring Valley/Ukiah. DUI.
JUSTIN PEACOCK, Cedar Hills, Utah/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
RIGO PEREZ, Ukiah. DUI.
DINO ROSAS, Clearlake/Redwood Valley. DUI-drugs.
MELODY SCROGGINS, Willits. Controlled substance.
EVAN TAYLOR, Fort Bragg. Witness intimidation, criminal threats, offenses while on bail.
CONFESSIONS OF A DEALER
(As told to Louis Bedrock by a friend who wishes to remain anonymous)
In Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, Tim Roth plays the gang member Mr. Orange. Mr. Orange is an undercover cop. Mr. Orange's coach for his undercover work is a cop named Holdaway (Randy Brooks). Holdaway tells Mr. Orange that he needs a "story" to entertain his fellow gang members and to give him credibility.
The "story" involves an encounter with the police in a men's room. Mr. Orange enters the men's room with a gym bag full of marijuana. Standing around the sinks are three or four cops with marijuana sniffing dogs. Mr. Orange leaves his bag on the sink, goes over to a urinal, and urinates; he comes back to the sink and washes his hands; the dogs start barking at him; the cops tell their dogs to be quiet because Mr. Orange's casual manner has convinced them he is not a suspect.
If Quentin Tarantino were a friend, I'd be convinced he stole the story from me. I lived a similar experience.
I was living in Philadelphia and dating a woman named B. B was an amazing and complex person. She was a loving companion and a fierce feminist. Once I was with her on a bus, when someone near us referred to women as "chicks": B started clucking loudly.
She was a carpenter and a mechanic; she put up all my bookshelves, refusing to let me help. She was also a gourmet cook-- today she and her husband, a chef who was born in Mexico and studied Mexican and French cuisine, own a gourmet restaurant in Philadelphia.
She worked with recovering addicts at a halfway house while studying law at Temple University. I was impressed at her patience and compassion while working with these vulnerable, needy people.
B did most of the cooking. She cooked everything well, but specialized in short ribs and Alice B. Toklas brownies. I had three specialties of my own: potato pancakes served with strawberry applesauce (all made from the basics), what became known as "L's Beans"--merely Campbell's baked beans to which I added finely chopped onion and brown sugar, and gourmet coffee made with varietal coffee beans bought from Zabar's Delicatessen on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This was the 1970s and gourmet coffee and Chemex drip coffee makers were new phenomena.
I was also known for the marijuana I brought to parties and barbeques. I had two friends who frequently went scuba diving in Montego Bay and brought back oxygen tanks filled with Ganja.
My friends would sell me a generous ounce for $35. However, B's friends and my friends would ask us to get them ounces, so one ounce became four or five ounces and there was demand for even more. B, the brighter and more ambitious of the couple, suggested that I start buying the stuff by the pound--which I did. Before I realized what was happening, I was carrying two pounds of marijuana from New Jersey to Philadelphia each month.
B and I would clean, weigh, and bag the stuff at her house because she had a scale. We kept one ounce of every pound for ourselves and sold the rest at Price divided by 15. We told our friends they were paying for our pot: no one objected.
At the same time, I had become a dealer for gourmet coffee. I would carry back from Zabar's as many as a dozen bags of Hawaian Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Costa Rican, Maragogipe (Elephant Beans), Kenyan, or Vienna Roast--all in whole bean form. Because of me, all of our friends had bought coffee grinders and Chemex coffee makers. I sold the coffee and accessories at cost, insisting that my friends look at the receipts I included with the coffee they had ordered.
I travelled with a large backpack that carried books, a change of clothes, the coffee, the pot, and an occasional Chemex coffee maker or electric grinder, as well as a few well-chilled bottles of beer.
I traveled by train from Penn Station in Newark to 30th St. Station in Philly.
One Saturday night, I sat in the waiting room with my contraband laden backpack waiting for the late night express to Philadelphia to be announced. I was uneasy. All around the station were drunks, druggies, homeless people, and vagabonds who were sleeping on the floor and on the benches. I was glad when the train's track number was announced and posted.
Except for the vagabonds, the place was creepy and deserted. I walked slowly but a bit anxiously toward the stairs that led to my track. As I was opening the door to the stairs, I heard a loud, desperate woman's scream for help. I stopped, ran back to the waiting room and yelled, "Help! Police!" Suddenly every drunk, druggie, and vagabond jumped up and ran towards me. One of them snapped,
“Stairway one or two —I croaked.
Oh fuck —I thought—, what have I wrought?
My instinct was to hightail it to the train, but my metacognitive self said, “Stay where you are, asshole.”
After a few long minutes, the undercover guys came back from stairways one and two.
“Was anyone hurt?” —I asked.
“No: just some kids fucking around,” one of the cops responded.
“I'm sorry for the false alarm.”
“You did the right thing. That's why we're here.”
I managed to get to my train on time, find a seat by a window, sit down, and sigh a huge sigh of relief. I found a cold bottle of Heineken in the backpack, opened it, and took several deep swigs.
“Son,” I said, “you must learn to control yourself.”
BIG OIL MONEY GUSHES OVER SACRAMENTO, LA TIMES & JERRY BROWN'S DIRTY HANDS
Western States Petroleum Association Continues to Top CA Lobbying Expenses
by Dan Bacher
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, continued to dominate the lobbying spending in California in the second quarter of 2016.
"If you can count on anything, it’s WSPA (Western States Petroleum Association) throwing down some serious cash on lobbying," said Stop Fooling California (http://stopfoolingca.org) in their latest newsletter, the Crude Truth. "And this quarter was no exception."
At the helm of WSPA is President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas in Southern California. The "marine protected areas" created under her "leadership" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, oil spills, pollution, military testing, energy projects and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
Reheis-Boyd, who continually pushes for the evisceration of California environmental laws and the expansion of fracking and offshore oil drilling in California, also served on the MLPA Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. Yet if you read the mainstream media and most "alternative" media outlets, you'd never know about this huge conflict of interest that state officials and MLPA Initiative advocates greenwashed.
The group broke down some alarming Big Oil lobbying figures for the 2015-16 Legislation Session:
WSPA ranks #1 among lobbying spenders this session, paying $2.2 million to KP Public Affairs, the top-grossing lobbying firm in California.
WSPA has spent over $3 million so far in 2016, and $14 million since January 2015.
Overall, the oil lobby has spent nearly $28 million to date in the 2015-16 legislative session.
"That’s an average of over $50,000 per day since January 1, 2015, and includes the $6.3 million in lobbying expenses reported so far in 2016 (over $1 million per month in 2016)," the group said. "If you’re into math, that translates into Big Oil spending $39 per asthmatic child in California to deny their right to breath clean air."
Chevron has spent $5.5 million so far in the 2015-16 session. Chevron ranks #5 among all lobbyists in the current session.
"If there is any doubt that lobbying equals real influence, look no further than SB32, a bill setting a 40 percent emissions reduction target below 1990 levels by 2030, which may be punted into the next legislative session," the group added.
For lobbying "its face off," Stop Fooling California awarded WSPA their prestigious "Scummy" award.
WSPA and Big Oil wield their power in five major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) getting appointed to positions on and influencing regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: and (5) working in collaboration with media. For my in-depth investigation on the five ways WSPA and Big Oil have captured California politics, go to: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/12/27/1464053/-The-five-ways-Big-Oil-and-WSPA-have-captured-California-politics
Powering California: Big Oil teams up with LA Times
Stop Fooling California's previous "Scummy" award went to "Powering California" for its new videos praising oil and attacking green energy.
"You may remember Powering California," the group said. "It’s a front group of Occidental Petroleum’s spinoff company California Resources Corp. (yes, that’s complicated on purpose), which teamed up with the Los Angeles Times’ 'content solutions' team to spread industry propaganda last year."
"Powering California is back, now with a series of videos, at the exact time California is debating critical legislation that will determine our climate future, in California and in other states," Stop Fooling California said.
As Media Matters for America reported:
“Powering California is out with a series of new videos praising oil and attacking clean energy sources. One of the videos baselessly asserts that 'renewable energy can’t replace oil,' falsely claims wind energy is 'expensive,' and bombastically declares that 'oil and natural gas are woven into the fabric of America.' Another video features feel-good man-on-the-street interviews with paid actors touting California’s oil and gas industry.” (http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/07/25/party-conventions-big-oil-s-media-manipulation-strategy-full-display/211879)
Consumer Watchdog: Fossil fuel industry has donated $9.8 to Jerry Brown
Meanwhile, Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica-based consumer organization, on August 10 released an alarming report claiming that oil, gas and utilities gave $9.8 million to Governor Jerry Brown and his causes, often within days of winning big favors.
“The timing of energy industry donations around important legislation and key pro-industry amendments, as well as key regulatory decisions in which Brown personally intervened, raises troubling questions about whether quid pro quos are routine for this administration,” said consumer advocate Liza Tucker, author of the report, in a press release. “While Brown paints himself as a foe of fossil fuels, his Administration promoted reckless oil drilling, burning dirty natural gas to make electricity, and used old hands from industry and government, placed in key regulatory positions, to protect the fossil fuel-reliant energy industry."
You can download the report here:
In spite of its reputation as a green state, California under Governor Jerry Brown is the third biggest oil state in the nation and a promoter of some of the most environmentally devastating policies in the country.
The Governor is promoting as his legacy the Delta Tunnels/California Water Fix, the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history that poses a huge threat to the ecosystems of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Klamath and Trinity river systems. As Brown relentlessly pushes the tunnels plan, his administration is overseeing water policies that are driving winter run-Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other species closer and closer to extinction.
Jerry Brown also oversaw the “completion” of faux “marine protected areas” under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, overseen by the WSPA president and other corporate interests, in December 2012.
Brown has also promoted carbon trading and REDD policies that pose an enormous threat to Indigenous Peoples around the globe; has done nothing to stop clearcutting of forests by Sierra-Pacific and other timber companies; backs the weakening of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); presided over record water exports from the Delta in 2011; and oversaw massive fish kills of Sacramento splittail and other species in 2011.
Brown may spout “green” rhetoric when he flies off to climate conferences and issues proclamations about John Muir Day and Earth Day, but his actions and policies regarding fish, water and the environment are among the worst of any Governor in recent California history. That's why to anybody familar with the real record of Governor Jerry Brown, Consumer Watchdog's "Dirty Hands" report is no surprise.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
How long will it take before those ethnic groups you reference collectively understand that Hillary doesn’t give two shits about them and that, in fact, Hillary and her backers are out to exploit them?
Cooter and Buzz and the ethnic group THEY represent – blue collar Whites – are onto it. Other Whites, those being higher on the income ladder but seeing the peril in front of them, voted for Bernie. They too are waking up to it.
It’s not just in the U.S. You see it also in Europe, for example with the Brexiters and their one finger salute and in Marine Le Pen’s support and other political movements.
As Peggy Noonan sez, the American and European upper classes impose the costs of globalization on those below them on the economic pyramid and clothe themselves in mantles of virtue for doing so all the while deploring those below them for daring to object to the imposition. The gall of it.
"Uneducated” doesn’t mean stupid. It doesn’t take a degree to see that you have no money that your job pays shit, that every year your situation gets worse.
And “educated” doesn’t mean smart. If “education” serves to blind people to the obvious, then whacking huge tuition costs and a piece of paper that sez bachelor of this or that are all for nothing.
Coming out of university and witlessly supporting an unsustainable political and economic system is for less than nothing. It is a criminal racket that destroys families.
JABBA'S SAIL BARGE
“I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s prob'ly not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is; I believe that. It’s not anything they can control, ya know. I'm not racist. I'm the least racist guy you'll ever know. They call me a racist, and that's just a lie. That's another thing they do. But I love black people. I'm gonna be a big president for the blacks, and that's why they love me. I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and at Trump Plaza — black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. Those are the kind of people I want counting my money. Nobody else." --Donald Trump
The recording of last night's (2016-08-19) 107.7fm KNYO (and 105.1 KMEC)
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available to download and listen to via http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
Also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a virtual warehouse of links to not necessarily radio-useful but worthwhile things to see and do and learn about, such as:
A catalog of 78rpm disks and 144rpm Edison cylinder recordings.
"Git ma dowg! Ma dowg!" What I like most about this --besides that everyone lives-- is where the videographer realizes it's really happening, not something he's just watching, and he should put down his camera-phone and control the boat. "Oh," he says, "Sorry, sorry."
"You want to be beautiful, so you sit for twenty minutes until they come to peel it off." And, "Never /ever/ draw the lips too far out if the face is round and squat."
And props to props.