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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016

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THE MAN found dead in the Upper Peachland, Boonville, last week has been ruled a suicide and identified as Leo Hartz, 39, of Shine On Farm, Philo. We understand that Mr. Hartz explained his decision to kill himself in a letter found with his body.

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No more rubber stamps! We've had them on the hospital's board of directors for eons. It's time to have a few people on the Hospital's board who can think for themselves and are not afraid to ask questions. I've been a hospital employee for 36 years. I've seen over a dozen different boards and administrations come and go. Mostly they have all just occupied chairs and rubberstamped Administration's requests. It's time for that to change if we want to keep our hospital solvent and healthy.

I recommend voting smart. That is, Tanya Smart. She is her own woman. She's not a rubberstamp. She teaches critical thinking and problem solving at the college level. She believes in involving the public before crucial decisions are made, not after, as was the case with the recent obstetrics department closure brouhaha.

My other recommendation is Kay Handley. Her background is in banking where she held executive positions for years. She understands finances and spreadsheets and she will not be flummoxed by numbers on the page as some current board members seem to be. She knows finance — that's what we need on our hospital board.

This is such an important election for our hospital. Please consider my recommendations.

Vote Smart. Vote Handley. Vote Smart!

Louise Marianna, R.N.


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I had to stand my ground because I felt that I wasn't going to get justice unless I told the judge how this attack on me has affected my life and to let John Wolfe know that he can't get away with punching women in the face. There are so many women out there scared to stand up for themselves. I am standing up for the women who think they have no voice. And to keep my family safe.


The night of the attack on me, John Wolfe was making racist comments about my husband, Adrian Knight. Adrian is Native Pomo. I told John Wolfe that he should be telling Adrian not me. John Wolfe twisted my hand backwards until I told him he was breaking my hand. Then he punched me. As I was laying on the porch of the Navarro store, John Wolfe picked up a cast iron chair and raised it over his head and yelled, “I’m going to kill you, bitch.”

There was not any mob going after John Wolfe that night. No one knew that I had been assaulted. Dave Evans, who owns the Navarro store, walked to my house next door to the store to tell Adrian to please come to the store. The people who had been there had moved up the road. Only the three men on the deck were there when John Wolfe assaulted me. I was taken inside the store where I would be safe!

Thank goodness there were three men close by! They helped me get to safety in the store.

The people in Anderson Valley who know me have stood behind me. Thank you! And thanks to my family for being here!


Marilla Ann Knight


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THE NAVARRO RIVER is flowing a transparent bronze tone — probably leaf tea. At the peak of each mini-storm it would rise to the "median daily statistic" and then drop precipitously to wait for the next. For the first time this year three frogs hopped out of my way as I wandered along River's edge — being at least something to show for the thousands of pollywogs in each of several colonies earlier in the summer. I believe the official fish count is low this year and that was evident this morning as I could find not one 3 to 6 inch swimmer below the Shenoa bridge. I stumbled across the third deer carcass of the year on Sunday, a large doe. Dead deer along the River are a recent phenomenon that I associate with the drought as after 30 years of meandering the water way it has been only since the drought that I have discovered any at all. Was it last year or the year before or both that I found five? Some biologists call it blue tongue others deny that. The lower road between Shenoa and the River butchered by the Sonoma vineyardist Dane Peterson that bought a Congaree River parcel up adjoining Blackbird Farm weathered the storm series of 3-1/2" of rain but the scattering of straw won't stand well against a real extended pour. A notified Fish and Wildlife officer appeared to be ambivalent to enforcing any code violation. Ho hum, just a little more silt for the River. (— David Severn)

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DOWNTOWN PHILO is a work in progress these days. The Last Resort is being re-tooled and, next door, at what was once the Philo Mill, property owners Gary and Virginia Island are clearing debris for what they aren’t saying. (The Last Resort was a drinking establishment active up through the late 1960s, one of many hard liquor drinking establishments in the Anderson Valley. With the Buckhorn closed us old bats have to drag our Old Crow home for our nightly belts.)

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THERE is major community concern for the Navarro family camping in a cluster of derelict trailers in a redwood grove on the Caltrans margin just short of the Navarro Store. There are at least four children housed in the impromptu squatter’s village, and the concern has grown, especially now that the rains have commenced. County authorities, we understand, are about to red-tag the dank compound.

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Don't miss out, reserve your tickets now for the Oktober Fest Fundraiser, Saturday, October 22, 2016 at the big barn in Philo, next to the Anderson Valley Farm Supply. Tickets are limited so get them early. You can call the AV Senior Center at 895-3609 for ticket locations.

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SARAH BODNAR, the paid campaign manager for Measure AF (the stoner community's initiative to write their own rules) rented a booth at Ukiah's mostly rained out Pumpkin Fest last weekend. Ms. Bodnar posted a photo to the Yes on AF Facebook page of herself and her canine companion in the booth. Despite the rainy weather and sparse crowds, Ms. Bodnar managed to smile gamely for the camera. But the proponents of Measure AF (aka the Heritage Act) can't be pleased at the way the campaign is unfolding. Despite reporting $50,000 in donations against $7,000 for the No on AF side, the Yes campaign has little to show for its money.

THE CENTERPIECE of the Yes on AF campaign has been a series of meetings held around  the County. Billed as "educational Town Hall Meetings", they turned out instead to be dog and pony shows for Yes on AF. Meetings were held in Willits, Laytonville, Fort Bragg, Gualala, Covelo, Comptche, and Anderson Valley. The standard format was three or four speakers trading tedious monologues in support of  Yes on AF followed by an opportunity for Q&A. The monologues took up a majority of the meeting time and the questions had to be submitted on index cards with no opportunity for follow-up or rebuttal. (Written questions are the time-honored Mendolib method of ensuring nothing but the party line will be heard.) Except in Laytonville, where County trapper Chris Brennan, aka "Dead Dog Brennan," insisted on asking questions directly. Brennan pointedly asked Swami Chaitanya, one of the panelists, if he knew he was digging up a Native American archeological site when he dug up a meadow to create huge planting holes for his marijuana garden. (Brennan has worked as a federal trapper who often had the unhappy responsibility of dispatching feral dogs abandoned by North County pot growers. He enjoys a hard earned reputation for fearlessness.)

BRENNAN MAKES A GOOD POINT, one not covered by Measure AF. Or by the draft county ordinance, as far as we know. Just about any subdivision or use permit is routinely forwarded to the County Archeological Commission to see if a survey should be required prior to the project being approved. If a survey is required everything is put on hold until the survey is completed. If Native American artifacts are found a mitigation plan has to be approved. Mitigation almost always includes not disturbing the site. Is Swami's meadow an archeological site? Brennan claims Swami agreed to let representatives of the local Cahto tribe have an after the fact look. Whether or not Swami's meadow proves to be an archeological site, the allegation exposes a weakness in both Measure AF and the draft county ordinance. Except the draft county ordinance can be fixed. Measure AF can't. (There's an archeological set aside in a vineyard at the north end of Anderson Way, Boonville, where Jed Adams and David Severn found plentiful evidence of an ancient village.)

THE ANDERSON VALLEY TOWN HALL was held last Thursday at the Grange in Philo. Reports are that attendance topped out at less than twenty, even including four Yes on AF presenters and a couple of volunteers in charge of refreshments and tabling. There were also a couple of No on AF volunteers who handed out an anti-AF brochure, but were otherwise silent. Ms. Bodnar, who has managed to pay herself more than $20,000 of the $50,000 raised by Yes on AF was on hand to make the pitch for AF along with Tom Rodrigues of Maple Creek Winery in Yorkville.

AN ARTICLE IN WINES & VINES from 2012 says Rodgrigues founded Maple Creek in 2001 with then-partner Linda Stutz. When the relationship soured in 2010 and the erstwhile couple could not agree on a settlement, a judge ordered the property sold at auction. Rodrigues, an artist for forty years, managed to buy the property back and has developed a following for his Artevino label. The Wines & Wines article, in something of an understatement, says "vineyard water can be a contentious issue in Mendocino County" but says Maple Creek flows year-round so this is a non-issue for the winery of the same name.

RODRIGUES AND RICHARD WILLOUGHBY of Seebass Vineyards (which is located inland but has a tasting room in Boonville) both signed ballot arguments in favor of Measure AF. They are virtually unique among Yes on AF backers, almost all of whom are openly involved in profiting from the love drug. Which naturally leads to speculation that some of the wine and grape guys might really be wine and pot guys. Or at least want to be, And who is better positioned to cash in on the increasing commercialization of marijuana?

TAKING ANDERSON VALLEY as an example, the wineries are well positioned to shift into the lucrative marijuana biz, with tasting rooms dotting Highway 128 from Yorkville to Navarro. And the vineyards seem to have an iron clad right to pump an unlimited amount of water from the struggling Navarro River and its tributaries. The wineries already cater to the urban elite driving past on their way to Mendocino. And instead of pulling out an acre of grapes and waiting several years for the new vines to start producing, with unlimited water vineyard owners can raise two or more crops of the miracle drug every year. And instead of selling grapes for $1,500 a ton, they can sell marijuana for the same price per pound. And since they are already in the legal intoxicant biz, it won't be a moral issue for them to start selling state approved commercial marijuana. Given their common interest, it is not surprising that backers of Measure AF began meeting with members of the wine mob months ago to compare notes.

THERE IS a kind of Laytonville weed mafia consisting of Tim Blake, Casey O'Neill and Swami Chaitanya, all pushing for Measure AF and the larger grows that it sanctions. They started the Mendo Cannabis Policy Council which created the Heritage Initiative for the November ballot as Measure AF. Now they have created the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Council, with a registered agent in San Francisco. They give lip service to supporting the small grower but appear to be positioning themselves to cash in from ramped up production. And what better way to do so than form an alliance with an industry that already has the marketing infrastructure and unlimited water?

BUT MEASURE AF seems doomed to failure, mainly because most people don't think the stoner community should be writing their own rules. But also because the Yes on AF campaign has squandered their campaign money on events like the lightly attended Town Hall meetings. (Pot people seem to assume everyone is as fascinated by dope as they are. As most of us know from hard experience, a room full of pot smokers makes for major tedium for anyone not under the influence.)

WHETHER OR NOT AF passes, the small marijuana grower trying to scratch out a living in the hills will probably be out of business in a year or two. The only growers who will be able to afford the high fees and taxes demanded by state and local government will be those who can ramp up production because they have room to do so and abundant water for the thirsty plants.

YES ON AF also held a "Black and White Ball (to end prohibition)" a week ago Saturday at Barra Vineyards. Billed as a major fundraiser for Yes on AF, attendance was on a par with the Town Hall meetings. Which means if Barra (a pricey venue) charged their normal fee, the major fundraiser was really a major money loser. Or is Barra's wing of the wine mob hoping to cash in on the expanding commercial marijuana market?

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THE MENDOCINO SCHOOLS are looking for volunteers to sit on a “wellness” committee. (If you enjoy watching old timers sputter and stomp their feet, be sure to say you’re talking about ”Mendocino Village," which the ancient ones remember as "Mendacina," way before the town got all precious and preservationist and teeming with busybodies who think "wellness committees” are a good idea. (Wellness. Strike one.) Unless he has communicable leprosy or is otherwise actively diseased, my kid's "wellness" is my business, not the school's. And unless the school is force feeding their students sugar-coated grease sticks, young people arrive at school with their eating habits already established. A kid raised on fast food is never going to eat an apple, and don’t even try to get him to eat a carrot. (Anyway, most store-bought apples are so bad they might as well be fast food.) Seems to me the sedentary-ness of young lives is more worrisome than their diets. Bad food can be burned off if the kid is up off the couch and moving around, but anymore, unless the child is into sports, lots of kids don't get any exercise at all. Factor in the psychotic input they gaze at all day on their electronic gizmos, and it's a marvel the young 'uns do as well as they do.

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A DOG at the Ukiah Animal Shelter has died of parvo, prompting the following statement on the Shelter's facebook page, one of several to come down with the dog-killer. Of course the enemies of Shelter management are claiming the parvo outbreak is management’s fault. As if management has clairvoyant powers of disease detection. I’ve visited the Shelter recently and was surprised at how clean it was, and I was impressed by interim director’s Mary Jane Montana’s presentation to the Supervisors a month or so ago. She’s clearly a smart and capable person, and Shelter staff do a very good job running the place. The animal people critics remind me of certain overly doting human parents — “You’re raising your kid all wrong.” That kind of thinking. Animal people are all experts. They are never satisfied with the functioning of other animal people.

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The Chiefs Got it Wrong –

Unregulated volatile solvent extraction in Mendocino County causes accidental explosions and fire dangers. That is what we have now. We desperately need strong, enforceable regulations of the cannabis industry so that we can flush out those illegal operations taking place in garages, backyards, neighborhoods, forests, etc.

With no regulation and no plans by the Board of Supervisors or any other county officials to regulate volatile solvent extraction, we are facing continued fire danger to our communities.

Measure AF mirrors the state Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, signed into law in October 2015 by Gov. Brown. The next two years will see amendments and fine-tuning of specific safety regulations and restrictions on the state level.

However, Measure AF stipulates even greater restrictions. Measure AF encourages local government to create detailed standards that match or exceed state mandated standards. For example, Measure AF would restrict volatile solvent extraction to industrial zones which amount to .09% of the County. Most of the county's industrial zoning is located in incorporated areas, that is towns and cities, which are required to develop their own local ordinances to govern commercial medical cannabis production, including manufacturing.

Section 698.040 General Provisions in Measure AF reads that “(E) Manufacturing of commercial medical marijuana, either with the use of volatile solvents or with the use of non-volatile solvents, shall be prohibited in any zoning district in the Town Zone.”

The Mendocino County Department of Planning and Building Services will create the standards for manufacturing in addition to those imposed by the state regulations. Measure AF itself sets a firm basis for this. Sections 6.22.104 and 162.040 set Manufacturing Operating Requirements, Minimum Standards, and zoning restrictions. These include methods or procedures to limit risk of explosion, combustion, or any other unreasonably dangerous risk to public safety, a hazardous waste disposal plan, a fire safety and suppression plan, a water source and discharge plan. Measure AF requires that local agencies responsible for issuing County permits first establish standard operating procedures and regulations before issuing permits.

All of this is a step forward toward safety and public protection. And this provides a lot more than we have now – which is nothing. No regulations mean that some bad eggs out there are operating very dangerously. Clearly, the Chiefs meant to say “Vote YES on Measure AF” to bring regulations to cannabis manufacturing.


Jude Thilman

For Yes on Measure AF

Fort Bragg

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On Oct. 17, 2016, at about 1240 A.M., MCSO Deputies contacted two male subjects in a parking lot located in the 100 block of Kawi Place in Willits. As the Deputies contacted the male subjects one of them provided the Deputies with information regarding his identity that the Deputies believed to be false. Once confirming that the male subject had provided them with false information regarding his identity, Deputies confronted the male subject who subsequently identified himself as Maric Santiago Arriaga, 23, of Ukiah. A records check was performed at which time it was determined that Maric Santiago Arriaga had (3) three outstanding arrest warrants with a total bail of $90,000. During a search of Maric Santiago Arriaga deputies located about 9 grams of methamphetamine on his person. Maric Santiago Arriaga was arrested and transported to the Mendocino County jail where he was booked on his three (3) outstanding arrest warrants, possession of a controlled substance and providing false information to a Peace Officer. He is currently being held on $90,000 bail for the outstanding arrest warrants and for an additional $25,000 bail on the charges of possession of a controlled substance and providing false information to a Peace Officer.

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Interviewed by the Willits Weekly

(CORRECTION: HOLLY MADRIGAL announced this summer she is not running again for Willits City Council although she was still listed as a candidate on the County handout the AVA was working off.)

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Summarize your background and tell Willits voters about yourself.

Bill Barksdale:

I’ve had a long career as a real estate agent helping people find agreement and reaching mutual goals. I served as chair and a hearing officer on the County Assessment Appeals Board (tax appeals) for a number of years, and worked with business people as chair of the County MLS. Currently I serve as a member of Willits Revitalization & Economic Development Committee. As a nonprofit board chair and director, I’ve worked with artists and technicians. I’ve also had college-level classes in urban planning, economics and business law. Willits has been home for my spouse and myself nearly 30 years.

Bruce Burton:

I went through Willits schools and graduated from U.C Berkeley with a B.S. in forestry in 1972. I returned to Willits and worked in the livestock business and then started Willits Redwood Company which I still operate. My son, Ernie, works in the business, and Shira and Airyan also live locally. I was a volunteer fireman from around 1980-2000, member of Rotary since 1991, and board member of Savings Bank and the hospital. I was first elected to the Willits City Council in 1992.

Gerry Gonzalez:

I was born in Willits. I graduated from Willits High School and have an A.A. from Mendocino College in business management. I later graduated from Sonoma State earning a B.A. in criminal justice administration and business management. I started as a police dispatcher and volunteer reserve police officer. I have been a police officer with the City of Willits since April 1987. I have been a sergeant, captain, and later, chief of police since 2003. I have raised my family here, and I am one of the founding members of the Kids Club. I am proud to call Willits my home.

Saprina Rodriguez:

My husband and I are business owners of Ace Copy & Shipping, Imagination Station, and Learning Depot Academy. I understand the struggles of small businesses. I have degrees in business management and accounting. As a school board trustee for four years (president 2013-2014), I used my skills to understand a complex budget. I've lived in Willits 30+ years. My husband and I have seven children (biological and adoptive). I'm running for city council because I'm passionate about effecting positive change in our community. Volunteerism is at the core of my family. I'll work hard and remain fair, consistent, ethical and transparent.

Madge Strong:

I’ve served on Willits City Council for four years, bringing my skills, dedication and background to this job. My experience includes:

  • 30 years as a professional land use, environmental and economic planner
  • 10 years as board member and president of WELL (Willits Economic Localization)
  • Serving on the EDFC, MTA and county museum boards
  • Past board member of Bay Chapter Sierra Club and chair of Alameda County Sane/Freeze
  • Member, supporter and volunteer with Phoenix Hospice, Little Lake Grange and many other local groups.

I’m an open-minded problem-solver; also an avid musician and gardener.

In what ways do you think the City of Willits could boost its revenue in the face of the 101 bypass?

Bruce Burton: I will propose to close off the downtown to vehicle traffic once a month for an evening to encourage residents and visitors to shop downtown.

Gerry Gonzalez: The city should be active in economic development efforts. There will still be people going to the coast and passing through Willits. Willits could do a number of things, including boosting the number of hotels and eateries, as this is really the last full-service community before Eureka. Other communities offer amenities, but many of them close down for the winter. This is not the case for Willits. Another area we can focus on is to increase clean industry and employment opportunities. It could be tourism or showcasing our local medical offerings. A diversified economy helps guard against booms and busts.

Saprina Rodriguez: The city needs to work with investors to create opportunities for growth in housing development, local goods and manufacturing. The current cost of doing business is expensive, and the process is lengthy. We can look at ways to increase communication and streamline the process. The city also needs to continue the process and conversation with the whole community about the next steps in downtown vision and implementation.

Madge Strong: One obvious way is allowing regulated and taxed cannabis operations (see question No. 6). Another is more special events such as Kinetic Carnival, maker fairs, rodeo, music and theater in the park, and others featuring our many attractions (see No. 3). Improving our downtown (in conjunction with relinquishment of Main Street to the city) will help us survive and thrive in a post-bypass economy. Let’s work to attract other industries that are good for employment and the environment.

Bill Barksdale: City Council needs to create an inspiring, written Specific Plan with a target all can see. Revenue comes from jobs and spending, good schools, and sound financial management. Happiness brings with it an attitude of abundance. As a community we need to identify what makes you turn off a highway and choose to stop. What grabs people? For many it’s shopping or attractions or health and fitness. For locals it’s good jobs, good schools, caring about each other through public service. Gas tax is a major source of Willits revenue. These are the guts and engine that drive an economy.

What do you think are the most significant attractions Willits has to offer the average visitor? And/or what do you think are the best reasons for visitors to come to Willits?

Gerry Gonzalez: Attractions include the Skunk Train, our close proximity to the Mendocino coast, and Jackson State Forest offers opportunities to outdoor enthusiasts. During the summer Willits offers the Frontier Days celebration as an attraction that draws people from many parts of California, including Mendocino County itself. The Community Car Show and Roots of Motor Power are other attractions, along with the museum. These are all the best reasons to come to Willits, but we need to explore ways to expand our appeal. Potentially some sort of festival or music event could increase the draw to town during the spring or fall.

Saprina Rodriguez: Willits is so diverse and the scenery is incredible! Willits has great places to hike, bike and run. Willits’ pace is a retreat from city life. We're at a crossroads of opportunity to bring all of Willits' offerings known by enhancing our town and sharing a common vision. The community theatre, arts center, rodeo, farmers market, and the numerous events put on by local non-profits are the gems of Willits!

Madge Strong: We have so many wonderful attractions here, including: Skunk Train, our state-of-the-art hospital, county museum and Vietnam Memorial, Roots of Motive Power, Willits Center for the Arts, live theater, music, skate park, dog park, fantastic restaurants and shops. I’d like Willits to be known as the greenest and healthiest town in California! With good promotion (thanks to the Willits Chamber of Commerce and others), Willits can be on tourists’ radar. Caltrans must improve signage for Willits on Highway 101!

Bill Barksdale: We’ve made our attractions a best-kept secret. Imagine driving down Main Street and seeing beautiful, colorful banners flying in the breeze from our tall light poles marketing our attractions – The Skunk Train adventure, live theater, music events, recreation, county museum, community festivals, the Solar Festival (let’s bring it back), the art center, our hospital, student victories. Work with local merchants to tie community events into their marketing. Let’s make Willits a place that celebrates life. Now, I want to turn my car off at that “WILLITS NEXT EXIT” sign. People seek happiness. Offer it to them, and to yourself.

Bruce Burton: Though Willits has visitor attractions, such as Frontier Days, Roots, and the museum, I do not believe the city's future well-being should be focused there. Willits is a workers’ town, and we need to focus on manufacturing growth.

What are the top three challenges facing the City of Willits today?

Saprina Rodriguez: 1. Lack of a common vision! I believe the council needs to come together to express a community vision, with a strategic plan for accomplishing the vision. This can only happen with an open process. The business community and families won't thrive without a clear vision. 2. Safety! The number of trimmigrants in our community is a challenge. I see them getting dropped off by the busload. Also, are we doing all we can to support the safety needs of our law enforcement and fire personnel? 3. Water, water, water! How can we better protect our water resource and preserve the environment?

Madge Strong: The top challenge is maintaining quality city services and providing needed improvements in the face of tight budgets (likely even tighter post-bypass). Another is addressing housing needs, both for year-round residents and seasonal immigrants. Finally, I want Willits to be at the forefront of water and energy conservation and other environmental innovations.

Bill Barksdale: 1. Willits does not have a community Specific Plan, an inspiring, exciting vision of where we want to go. The city’s current mission statement is dull and uninspiring. It needs to be short and visionary to motivate creative goals.2. Our schools. Support best teachers and staff. Get behind them. Create inventive, compelling teaching, sports and the arts. Help kids who have bad home situations. Kick substance abuse, and instill self-esteem in students, staff and families. Stop classroom disruptions. Learning is important. Kids need a positive view of the future so they have a reason to get there. 3. Cannabis.

Bruce Burton: The top three challenges: Fiscal stability of city finances; attracting and retaining workforce professionals; commercial and industrial investment.

Gerry Gonzalez: 1. The economy post bypass – Most of the city revenue comes from sales tax generated from fast food and gasoline sales. 2. Water – While our reservoir along with other towns’ are full, we are in still in a drought, and water will continue to be a challenge to potential growth options. 3. Cannabis – We have gone from total prohibition and an outlaw mentality in this county to a legal framework being set up by the state for medical and a possible state vote on legalization. This presents a challenge, as we have to navigate the many knowns and unknowns as a community.

Of those challenges, pick one and tell us about a solution.

Madge Strong: We are currently updating our general plan’s housing element, which will address that issue. Budget requires ongoing diligence. Focusing on environmental issues, I’m concerned about the potential impact of turning our emergency well water system into an ongoing water source, while we have yet to optimize water conservation. I want Willits to join the rest of the county in adopting a plastic bag ordinance. Other environmental measures include:

  • Solarizing city facilities
  • Ban on Styrofoam
  • Protecting heritage trees
  • Stream setbacks

(For further details please refer to

Bill Barksdale: The schools are the territory of the school board. I think the cannabis issue has to be reasonably and compassionately explored, then incorporated into a visionary Specific Plan.

Please read my answer to the last question, “What do you feel is the most important role of a city councilmember?” and you will have my response to this question.

Bruce Burton: The city budget has been running about a $300,000 deficit for the last several years. I have not supported these expenditures, and I would hope to convince future council members of the necessity of a balanced budget. The strategy seems to be to deficit spend, and then ask the voters for sales tax and rate increases. I suggest the public trust is built by responsible spending before you ask for help.

Gerry Gonzalez: I think that water is one of the most important things we need to focus on right away. The rains are coming again, and we will quickly forget that we are still in a drought. The key to development and even possible limits to the emerging cannabis industry will be water. First and foremost we need to make sure we have a stable source of water for our residents. Afterwards, we can look at what development is compatible with our community and our water supply. Water is the key to solving or at least addressing the challenges I have identified.

Saprina Rodriguez: My first task as a councilwoman would be to look closely at the city's current vision, strategic plan and ordinances. Within 30 days I want an open study session meeting where all councilmembers decide on common goals, process for meetings and community input. The first step is to look at the structure before we can effectively make change. Second, I'd like to share my vision for Willits. I'd like to invest time into the idea of turning city hall into a centralized non-profit and genuine community center. Can we consolidate city hall services to the Willits Justice Center, saving money?

What direction do you think the City of Willits should take regarding cannabis cultivation within the city limits?

Bill Barksdale: There’s no way to please everyone on this issue. Cannabis is a powerful drug with a potent odor. It’s not like any other crop in that regard. Wine is a drug that smells when it’s fermenting, but grapes in the field don’t have a strong odor for the life of the plant, as cannabis does. I oppose outdoor grows in the city. There’s no way to get away from the odor if you don’t like it. Armed criminals don’t break into vineyards and shoot people to steal grapes, as sometimes happens with cannabis. We can explore regulated indoor growing.

Bruce Burton: I do not favor pot "legalization" in town. First, it is federally illegal, and no local ordinance applies. It is a breach of your oath of office to do otherwise. I strongly recommend steering clear of sanctioning these practices ahead of federal law. Regarding the backyard growing in town, I believe it an inconsiderate and inappropriate activity to expose one’s neighbor to.

Gerry Gonzalez: The state of California Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) created a framework to bring this industry into a regulated environment. We need to work within the legal framework and use proper zoning to allow for this industry to come in a legal fashion. I have spoken with the new director of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, Lori Ajax, and she was quick to caution that local municipalities should be working on local regulations of their own in anticipation of the new state regulations. Cannabis is here, we should direct where and how it comes into our town.

Saprina Rodriguez: The first step in any situation is always to gather as much community input as possible. The next step will always be to look at the short-term and long-term effects of a decision. The city shouldn’t be making hasty decisions to meet the needs of any group of investors at the hint of money. The city’s budget shouldn’t be the driving force for cannabis cultivation within city limits. We need to look at the impact to our water resources, safety of our communities, ability to attract new non-cannabis business, educational impact, and neighbors’ rights to enjoy the their own homes.

Madge Strong: Medical cannabis is now legal in California, with recreational use following soon. Though cannabis should not be Willits’ main claim to fame, it’s already an important – and should become legitimate – part of our economy. I support the city allowing strictly regulated and taxed commercial cannabis operations, testing labs and dispensaries in appropriate zoning districts. As legalization reduces the risks and profit that drive the underground economy, we could consider modifying the current restriction on outdoor grows, provided there are safeguards protecting neighbors, schools, etc.

What do you feel is the most important role of a city councilmember?

Bruce Burton: The most important role of a city councilmember is the building and maintaining of public trust. This is a multifaceted responsibility, including fiscal management, vision and strategy. It is not always accomplished by listening to the loudest voice.

Gerry Gonzalez: Someone who listens to his/her constituents while at the same time looks forward as a visionary; in other words a person who sees where we want to be years from now. An individual who helps set policy and who will work with staff to accomplish the goals of the city for the betterment of the community. Someone who is willing to devote their heart and soul into the position/role, as this is what it will take to secure funds and assistance from state and federal government sources. Someone who comes prepared for meetings and is engaged and approachable.

Saprina Rodriguez: The most important role should always be to listen, research the facts, and communicate effectively. An effective councilmember needs to be active in the community, available, and aware of economic trends. I've demonstrated those traits when I served this community for four years on the Willits school board. As a trustee, I gave tirelessly of myself, time and money. If you'd like more information about me or my stances on local issue, current ballot propositions, or measures: visit “Saprina Rodriguez For Willits City Council” on Facebook. I can also be reached by phone @ 354-2539 or e-mail:

Madge Strong: Council members represent the whole community (not just city limits). Our job is to listen to all viewpoints with care and respect and then, to the best of our ability, make decisions for the greatest common good. Qualities needed: open mind, respect, good judgment, problem-solving attitude, and diligence. I hope I earn your support and vote.

Bill Barksdale: A council member has to listen, learn and lead with inspiration. They have to evaluate resources, cut what’s wasteful, corrupt, and fix what’s broken, support what’s working, identify the hidden resources and use them – and create an inspiring plan to move forward.

Measure progress, year one, year two, year three, etc. Are we on target or do we make adjusts to refocus on the goal? People get frustrated, the job stinks sometimes. Deal with the “burn-out” factor. Make a new plan focusing on the next goal. Use spare resources wisely. One must learn to be an effective and visionary leader.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, October 17, 2016

Hoaglen, Jarvis, Kragler, Rodriguez-Meza
Hoaglen, Jarvis, Kragler, Rodriguez-Meza

JOSEPH HOAGLEN, Covelo. First degree robbery.

HEATH JARVIS, Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.

TAMMY KRAGLER, Ukiah. Honey oil manufacturing, pot possession for sale, conspiracy.


* * *


by James Kunstler

It must be obvious even to nine-year-old casual observers of the scene that the US national election is hacking itself. It doesn’t require hacking assistance from any other entity. The two major parties could not have found worse candidates for president, and the struggle between them has turned into the most sordid public spectacle in US electoral history.

Of course, the Russian hacking blame-game story emanates from the security apparatus controlled by a Democratic Party executive establishment desperate to preserve its perks and privileges . (I write as a still-registered-but-disaffected Democrat). The reams of released emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and other figures in HRC’s employ, depict a record of tactical mendacity, a gleeful eagerness to lie to the public, and a disregard for the world’s opinion that are plenty bad enough on their own. And Trump’s own fantastic gift for blunder could hardly be improved on by a meddling foreign power. The US political system is blowing itself to pieces.

I say this with the understanding that political systems are emergent phenomena with the primary goal of maintaining their control on the agencies of power at all costs. That is, it’s natural for a polity to fight for its own survival. But the fact that the US polity now so desperately has to fight for survival shows how frail its legitimacy is. It wouldn’t take much to shove it off a precipice into a new kind of civil war much more confusing and irresolvable than the one we went through in the 1860s.

Events and circumstances are driving the US insane literally. We can’t construct a coherent consensus about what is happening to us and therefore we can’t form a set of coherent plans for doing anything about it. The main event is that our debt has far exceeded our ability to produce enough new wealth to service the debt, and our attempts to work around it with Federal Reserve accounting fraud only make the problem worse day by day and hour by hour. All of it tends to undermine both national morale and living standards, while it shoves us into the crisis I call the long emergency.

It’s hard to see how Russia benefits from America becoming the Mad Bull of a floundering global economy. Rather, the Evil Russia meme seems a projection of our country’s own insecurities and contradictions. For instance, we seem to think that keeping Syria viciously destabilized is preferable to allowing its legitimate government to restore some kind of order there. Russia has been on the scene attempting to prop up the Assad government while we are on the scene there doing everything possible to keep a variety of contestants in a state of incessant war. US policy in Syria has been both incoherent and tragically damaging to the Syrians.

The Russians stood aside while the US smashed up Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. We demonstrated adequately that shoving sovereign nations into civic failure is not the best way to resolve geopolitical tensions. Why would it be such a bad thing for the US to stand aside in Syria and see if the Russians can rescue that country from failure? Because they might keep a naval base there on the Mediterranean? We have scores of military bases around the region.

It’s actually pretty easy to understand why the Russians might be paranoid about America’s intentions. We use NATO to run threatening military maneuvers near Russia’s borders. We provoked Ukraine — formerly a province of the Soviet state — to become a nearly failed state, and then we complained foolishly about the Russian annexation of Crimea — also a former territory of the Soviet state and of imperial Russia going back centuries. We slapped sanctions on Russia, making it difficult for them to participate in international banking and commerce.

What’s really comical is the idea that Russia is using the Internet to mess with our affairs — as if the USA has no cyber-warfare ambitions or ongoing operations against them (and others, such as hacking Angela Merkel’s personal phone). News flash: every country with access to the Internet is in full hacking mode around the clock against every other country so engaged. Everybody’s doing it. It is perhaps a projection of America’s ongoing rape hysteria that we think we’re special victims of this universal activity.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page:

* * *


* * *


by Valeria Luiselli.

(Translated by Louis Bedrock)

A few days ago, I was talking to my father about what has happened in Colombia in these recent tumultuous months with so much vacillating between hope and despair over the imminent but not yet realized promise of peace. I asked how his generation perceived FARC when it was in its earliest stages. I was interested in better understanding how the narrative had evolved in the minds of Latin American Left engagé to which my parents belonged before they were my parents.

My father then told me a story he had never told me before. It began in 1965 when, shortly after his 19th birthday and recent graduation from a Lasallian high school, he decided to go to Mexico with his scant savings and without permission. Leaving just a farewell letter to his father, he abandoned his conservative Catholic home and headed to Colombia in search of Tirofijo, the first leader of the recently formed FARC, to join the guerillas. (His actual final destination, he confessed, was not Colombia, but Buenos Aires, because he had heard that the prettiest and smartest girls in the entire continent lived there, and perhaps, after being a guerrilla, it would go better for him in this other field of battle.)

He arrived in Bogotá¡ and spent his first days wandering around the National University talking with other young people his age to see if anyone was inspired to go off into the jungle. No takers. Later he hung around cafés and cantinas checking things out. Finally he met a young pilot who offered him a free trip aboard a propeller plane to Leticia in the Colombian Amazon.

He spent many more weeks in Leticia asking everyone he saw about Tirofijo. Most of them laughed or gave vague responses. No one told him that the guerrillas were actually quite far away from there. But when a soldier told him to stop asking about those things, that it wasn't a joke, he finally gave up and returned to Bogotá¡.

He didn't have a dime. He requested aid from the Lasallians in Bogotá for his return trip. He had his report card with him, with good grades, and he showed it to them. But even that didn't help. He was ready to give up and call his father when he met a twenty-year old prostitute named Martica with whom he wound up living for a few months: a first love who first persuaded him not to join any guerrilla movement, and later paid for his ticket back to Mexico. He didn't get to Buenos Aires for another twenty years — too late to find an Argentinian girlfriend.

* * *


He will destroy this, he will destroy that. He will ring in the Millennium and wreak terrible vengeance on his enemies. Do we all get our virginity back too?

It’s all nonsense and people seeing what they want to see. Trump insists he has a secret plan to defeat ISIS, while also building his campaign on criticizing Clinton for voting for the Iraq war. So which is it, does he want more war in the Middle East or less? The answer is, whatever serves his purposes in the moment. There is no center to the man, no knowing what he will actually do once in office.

As for taking on the financial industry, undoing Citizens United, etc., more nonsense. Trump is a billionaire opportunist whose first and last interest is serving himself. He discovered early in the Republican primaries how to gain popularity by saying whatever got him cheers, riding the wave of applause to the nomination. If he actually gets into office he’ll face the same well-financed wall of incentives and disincentives as any president. This billionaire narcissist will not take on other billionaires — not if there is the slightest cost to himself.

Step cheering for the destruction of your country. However bad things may get, nihilism always makes them worse.

* * *


Notes from the Edge,

In a city of 35,000 people namely Grants Pass, Oregon. If anyone can walk and/or drive around this city and see the empty buildings for lease or for sale, the many houses listed for sale, former big retail stores closed and tell the world the economy is going just fine, they are either liars or stupid. Go to any city in any state and you will see the same thing. You can’t drink the water out of the tap and the whole infrastruction is crumbling. When I was told that the Social Security Trust fund had $3 trillion dollars in it I thought something was drastically wrong. Yes, but those $3 trillion dollars are in IOU’s. This government trust fund, like all the other government trust funds are empty. The National Debt is at about $19 trillion. The Johnson, Nixon, Bush, and Cheney wars cleaned out all the government trust funds. Let’s face it people, rich or poor or those once the middle class, I am 80 years old and I have never seen things in this bad of shape.

* * *

THE BIG FACT OF THE WEEK has to do with these words: They don’t like us. The Democrats, progressives and left-liberals who have been embarrassed by the latest WikiLeaks dump really hate conservatives, or nonleftists. They don’t like half the people of the country they seek to control! They look at that half with disdain and disrespect. Their disdain is not new — “bitter clingers,” “basket of deplorables.” But here it’s so unashamed and eager to express itself.

I don’t know about you but when people look down on me I want them to be distinguished or outstanding in some way — towering minds, people of exquisite sensibility or learning. Not these grubbly poseurs, these people who’ve never had a thought but only a sensation: Christians are backward, I saw it in a movie! It’s the big fact of American life now, isn’t it? That we are patronized by our inferiors.

—Peggy Noonan

* * *


Tune in by computer to KMEC.ORG Radio Tuesday, Oct. 18, 11:00 A.M., when I begin a weekly hour on "Peace Action Today." Listeners in the Ukiah Valley can hear it on 105.1 F.M. radio. You are cordially invited to a Book Reading of my Vietnam War memoir, "Land of Frozen Laughter," in Ukiah at Village Books, 355 N. State, Oct. 27 at 6:30 P.M. We will discuss ways to build the worldwide peace conversion network.

* * *


* * *

LEADERSHIP IN GREEN POWER EDUCATION: John Schaeffer, the Solar Living Institute and Real Goods

Today, October 17, 2016, in San Francisco, John Schaeffer accepted the Green Power Leadership Award for Leadership in Green Power Education from Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) on behalf of himself, the Solar Living Institute and Real Goods.

The annual Green Power Leadership Awards are presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Center for Resource Solutions (CRS). The Leadership in Green Power Education award is given to programs and organizations that focus effectively on green power education. This award honors work that spreads the word about the environmental benefits of green power, and efforts to boost public interest in renewable energy.

This year marks two decades of the Solar Living Center providing inspiration and environmental education around green power, and 39 years since John Schaeffer founded Real Goods. In 1995, John Schaeffer and a team of coworkers at Real Goods built the Solar Living Center in Hopland, California on what was once a California Department of Transportation dumping ground. The 12-acre campus contains permaculture gardens, renewable energy and sustainable living demonstrations, and an environmental education center. In 1998, Schaeffer founded the educational nonprofit Solar Living Institute, an educational nonprofit with a mission to promote sustainable living through inspirational environmental education. The Institute offers educational workshops onsite and online and offers yearly internships. Courses are taught by experienced practitioners who bring years of real world knowledge to the classroom with a focus on helping students prepare for job opportunities, start businesses, and live more sustainably. The Institute also hosts SolFest, the renewable energy festival that attracts more than 5,000 people each year. Since 1998, the Solar Living Institute has held green power workshops and trainings for over 10,000 trainees. Many solar installers in Northern California experienced their first training at the Solar Living Institute. The Solar Living Center, which is entirely solar powered, sees an annual visitor count of 200,000. Over the last twenty years, the Solar Living Center has helped cultivate businesses and ideas that were once alternative but are now mainstream.


The Solar Living Institute at or call 707-472-2460. Real Goods at or 800-919-2400

John Schaeffer at

* * *


Make America Great Again

No need to do anything now, as the

Stupid election has everyone diverted

From full participation in frontline

Radical environmental direct action,

And the general public is flattened

Due to dumbing effects of incessant

Barbed accusations and acerbic swipes

Candidates must outline future's plan

Homelessness is national health care

And rational national environmentalism

The economic stimulant, always has been,

Foreign policy is ever more confusion

Never was anything else, never will be,

So, I am paused in warm Hawaii tonight,

Networking emails going out to locate a

Place to live with other spiritually

Centered divine anarchistic instruments

Committed to carrying out the plan to

Deconstruct a mechanical beast's intent

Melt down the metal heart and digitally

Dismantle the computerized appendages we

Retool the shell creating children's rides

In eco-friendly peace-themed amusement parks

Therefore, I am paused in warm Hawaii tonight,

We need an immediate effective dramatic shift

Responding to postmodernism's failure to produce

A spiritually successful great American society!

–Craig Louis Stehr

Waikiki Beach:


  1. John Sakowicz October 18, 2016

    Shine On Farms…one of my favorite local grow operations. See:

    Too bad about this kid, Leo Hartz.

  2. John Kriege October 18, 2016

    Re: Hare Creek – I don’t think there are unspent grocery dollars in Fort Bragg. So sales at Grocery Outlet will only take sales from existing businesses. The city’s staff report to the Planning Commission said as much. It seems to follow that sales moving to Grocery Outlet also means jobs moving, not new jobs. This project is no boon to Fort Bragg.

  3. Rick Weddle October 18, 2016

    re: The closing and shuttering of Grant’s Pass, OR and points North, South and East…

    Grant’s Pass also, for budget considerations, let go its police department a year or two ago. Nobody seems to have missed it. They said the County would take up the slack, and the place hasn’t gone away in a crime-tsunami, not so’s you’d notice. One couple rehabbing a house there said the reason no one cares about the Police being ‘fired,’ is because they weren’t earning their salt when they were there ‘on the job,’ cashing those checks. Maybe Jefferson, MO could take a hint, here…

    The crime-tsunami is crashing along at higher levels.

  4. George Hollister October 18, 2016

    “Dead deer along the River are a recent phenomenon that I associate with the drought as after 30 years of meandering the water way it has been only since the drought that I have discovered any at all.”

    I have often found dead deer near water. If they can manage it, they go to water when dying to drink, and end up staying there. There is a likely unknown reason this phenomenon has not been observed in your area in the past.

  5. John Kriege October 18, 2016

    Re: Hare Creek – Heather Baxman owns the Emerald Dolphin Inn next to this proposed project. I think that is why she supports it.

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