- 7.9 Quake
- Mummified Condition
- Elder Abuse
- Tub Draining
- House Cleaner
- Jewel Says
- Little Dog
- Mendo Football
- Weather Shelters
- Working Dream
- Blackbird Postponed
- Yesterday's Catch
- Bad Intel
- Marco Radio
- Democratic Myths
- Lawrence Colburn
- Water Bill
BIG EARTHQUAKE NEAR PAPUA NEW GUINEA NO THREAT TO US MAINLAND
(Although we’ve heard that wave activity off Point Arena has increased.)
PER USGS, December 17, 2016
Preliminary Earthquake Parameters:
- Magnitude: 7.9
- Origin Time: 1051 UTC
- Date: Dec 17 2016
- Depth: 73 Km / 46 Miles
- Location: New Ireland Region Papua New Guinea
Evaluation: An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.9 occurred in the New Ireland Region, Papua New Guinea At 1051 UTC on Saturday, December 17 2016. Based on all available data, the tsunami threat from this earthquake has now passed.
SUSPICIOUS DEATH AT DUNCAN PLACE
On Wednesday, December 14, Fort Bragg Police were dispatched to 301 Cypress St. #216 [Duncan Place Apartments] regarding a welfare check of the tenant, Jane Doe.
Officers located a deceased body inside the apartment.
The body appeared to be in a mummified condition, making it unable to positively identify her at this time. Due to these circumstances, a suspicious death investigation was initiated.
Officers received information that the victim had a care provider by the name of Lori Fiorentino. Based on the circumstances of the victim’s demise, a BOLO (Be On the Lookout) was issued for Fiorentino for suspected Elder abuse and Human Trafficking (the Penal Code retitled the section describing conditions of False Imprisonment to Human Trafficking).
On Thursday, December 15, Officers were notified that Fiorentino had returned to 301 Cypress Street (the Duncan Place Apartments).
Officers contacted Lori Fiorentino at the apartment complex and subsequently arrested Fiorentino for Elder abuse and Human Trafficking. Fiorentino was booked and transported to the Mendocino County Jail.
* * *
THIS COMMENT accompanied the press release on MSP:
"Management needs to change at Duncan Place! Tenants complained of a 'pee smell' down the hall for a long time and never saw the lady come or go. Then once the room was opened the management did nothing to help get rid of the smell wafting into other apartments. Most places of lodging can deal with a room that was smoked in with an ionizer and here these tenants had to deal with the smell of rotting death. Management and maintenance are stretched between two apartments and just cannot perform the tasks needed, nor react to complaints even when it's a health concern."
ELDER ABUSE IN WILLITS
On Wednesday, December 7, at approximately 7:03 pm, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported domestic violence incident occurring at a residence in the 26700 block of North Highway 101 near Willits. Upon arrival, Deputies met with a 67-year-old male and learned he was assaulted by his wife, Kelli Weaver (age 43). During the altercation, Weaver reportedly punched the 67-year-old male in the face and scratched him. The 67-year-old male had injuries to his face and forearm that were reportedly caused by Weaver. Weaver was contacted at the residence and Deputies placed her under arrest for Felony Domestic Violence Battery. Weaver was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
Synapses? Those aren't synapses you hear snapping slower by the day! (AVA, Dec. 7, Valley People). Brains are like bubble bath. In the beginning we are supplied with a full tub, but after a lifetime of thinking deep thoughts old age and decreptitude have taken their toll. (Tepitude?) All I have left is an empty tub with a scummy ring. Strictly speaking for myself. Merry Christmas, Y'all.
Gary Durheim, Cannon Beach, Oregon
GOOD PERSON NEEDS WORK
I am looking for House Cleaning Work. In addition to doing house cleaning at Little River Inn, Heritage House, The Beach Comber Hotel, and The Glass Beach Inn for many years, I also worked at the Redwood Cook House as a waitress, In-Home Support Service as a provider, and I also worked as a Security Guard for Burhans. I have been working in this area for most of my life and have excellent references. Presently, my car needs work, so I must use the Senior Bus or arrange another form of travel. I am available from Monday through Friday 3-4 days from 8:30 until 1:00 if I take the bus. I very much appreciate your help so that I might be able to pay the rent with my roommate leaving and I would be able to pay for my car repairs.
WHATEVER DAD'S NAME WAS, HE DIDN'T NEED TO BE BEATEN TO DEATH WITH A BASEBALL BAT
Hello honorable "dump truck" AVA writer, Bruce McEwen.
First of all my biological father's name is Sanford 'Joel' Sternick, not Stafford.
I have been ordered through at least three or 4-plus psychologists -- not two. Just the typical operations of everyone's favorite paper.
You're trying hard to portray me as wanting to be stuck in this "surprise" 1368 motion (over and over again) mess; bail-less court system joke, OR-less discrimination machine. Anyone with a little insight into court protocol would enact any "Mars Den motion" when presented with a possible eight-month intermission at the psych ward over in Flat-land-topia mid-trial, not to mention the instant 2-3 weeks intermission just because Low Gap corrections sergeants have the sudden initiative to share one of a million negative feedback "grievances" that get trashed often enough anyways.
I almost picture you doping up on your friend's couch before you crawl into these courtrooms on all fours after your lunch break to write all of your condescending pipedream slander looking like a bad version of the hippie cave hermit and Jack Nicholson.
If Linda Thompson is in fact my lawyer, or was as claimed by you: all I know is I have never seen so much as talk to any Linda Thompson and please leave me out of your (very) personal vendettas please.
One thing I would like readers to know: when you (the AVA) have courtroom dialogue printed you have a bad habit of not only putting opinionated slander versions of the real trial but you also put much more obvious bias into the parentheses and brackets hovering next to it and that is very deceptive to a run-of-the-mill reader and you give an impression that the quotes are what the persons truthfully said.
Jewel Dyer A#20559 Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Corrections Division, 951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
PS. Still waiting on all of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office deputies that are supposed to come along with all of the involuntary PTSD, depression, ADHD diagnosis that the Ukiah Daily Journal has been fast to label easily tradable among inmates and have effectively barred me from the military over.
PPS. Also my pneumonia antibiotic please, it's been two trips through Low Gap while choking up blood and mucus and being effectively told the problem is "post nasal drip," despite the phegm clearly dislodging from my sternum/lungs. Joke must be on me.
PPPS. I've been an avid follower of your paper for a while now. That is until I picked up the Flynn Washburne column and realized I was reading a Fox News election coverage story written in the most serious of Anderson Cooper 360 fanboys. What happened to garden gnomes? What happened to the magic? What happened to saving the rainforest?
Looking forward to what parts of my letter might be altered during print.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, "I happened to mention Ivanka Trump to the pit bulls next door today. Of course they started right in with the inappropriate comments, stuff like, 'Hubba bubba baby!' and so on. I told them they should respect the first lady, and what did they do? Grab their crotches and yell, 'Respect this, you little wimp!'"
MENDO COLLEGE'S board of trustees have begun closed session talks that will almost certainly result in an end to the school's football program. Odd occurrence at last week's meeting of the board when school president Reyes denied football had been discussed in closed session. Ukiah attorney Barry Vogel immediately popped up to apparently throw board member Ed Haynes under the college's closed session bus when Vogel said that it was Haynes who had told him about the closed session football deliberations.
MOST OF THE COLLEGE'S gridders are from out of state, way out of state, with Florida providing most of them. This past season, a winning one incidentally, a good part of the team had been housed in a decayed Ukiah property on Hortense Street owned by Dr. Gitlin of Redwood Valley. It still isn't known who was paying Gitlin the four thousand a month rent on the place. But when the Redwood Valley healer closed his grim premises, a number of the athletes were housed either at a grungy hot sheet motel on North State Street or at an Assembly of God church. The church evicted the remaining footballers this week.
LANDLORD GITLIN popped up in the news again this week when it was revealed he owns a structure on South State Street that has been expensively re-modeled via public money and private donations as a cold weather shelter.
WELCOME TO MENDOLIB, Mr. O'Donnell. O'Donnell is a new reporter for the Ukiah Daily Journal, and a very good one, I would say based on his work so far.
O'DONNELL'S STORY on Ukiah's cold weather shelter contained these two emblematic paragraphs:
"Peter Barrett, who has coordinated the intake process, has repeatedly declined to speak to The Journal. Vincent-dePaule instructed the newspaper’s photographer Friday not to photograph certain parts of the shelter, both inside and outside. Bekkie Emery, the county’s deputy director of Adult and Aging Services, would answer questions only by email, declining to speak over the phone.
"HSAG board Chairman David Taxis told The Daily Journal Friday that the board’s tight press policy came about after ‘a number of inaccuracies’ reported in a previous article. He declined to say what article he was referring to or to specify what had been reported inaccurately, and nobody has ever alerted The Daily Journal to any such inaccuracies.”
MEANWHILE, you can be drunk or loaded for the cold weather shelter in Fort Bragg but not to stay at Hospitality House, which runs the cold weather shelter. Homeless women are housed at HH, men at whatever church is volunteering for the week. This week it is the Presbyterian Church. If there are too many women for the Hospitality House they get a motel room.
LIFE IS GOOD AT PETIT TETON
The year is winding down in a gloom of nightmarish politics, but in the muck of the nightmare we're slogging through and being sucked in by, a few glittering bits rise to the surface and we eagerly accept them as gifts - our land is receiving lots of much needed rain and we're receiving many compliments on our fresh and canned food, and meats. These are the simple things (fool's gold??) that keep us going, these and the incredible beauty of the place (real gold). The rains have scrubbed our world clean, turned it green and sparkling and energized every animal, plant, tree and flower. The paper whites and calendula are blooming and many trees are just now turning color and dropping leaves. This month brought rivers of rain, weather warm enough to start plants flowering as though it's spring, and now frost is in the forecast. In a world gone berserk we feel incredibly lucky to be where we are and doing what we're doing. Many people from all over the country and the world stop at the farm (our accidental social life) and we often hear them exclaim, "You're living my dream!". It's a hard working dream, but a dream nevertheless, and we are thankful. We hope you are all living your dream and that when the new year arrives we will all awaken from our political nightmare to find that it was never real. While that's not likely, at least it would be good to find that there's an illuminated path out of the muck onto solid ground and into the light.
Nikki Auschnitt and Steve Kreig, Petit Teton Farm, Yorkville.
BLACKBIRD POSTPONED AGAIN
by Mark Scaramella
Last Wednesday night the Community Services District reviewed a draft of a letter to the Planning Department concerning Blackbird Farm’s proposal to increase their allowed occupancy from 36 to a preposterous 292.
The CSD’s draft letter noted that there was an “inadequate access road,” that there were new unpermitted and uninspected buildings on site, and that the increased occupancy could impact the limited resources of the Valley’s volunteer Fire Department.
Fire Chief Andres Avila said that the Philo Fire Station (which would be the first responder to emergencies at Blackbird) is the hardest fire station to staff in the Valley and typically operates with minimum crews.
The draft letter also said that the connector between Rays Road and bridge had to be improved because both Blackbird and the recently sold Shenoa both represent a significant traffic increase.
The draft also called for additional fire safety measures in accordance with the fire code and the building code including water supply, sprinklers and alarms for all buildings with public access.
The draft pointed out that although Blackbird has claimed that normal operation would be around 100 people and that just “four or five times a year” would there be events with up to 292 people," the permit application “would not disallow up to 292 people 365 days a year," adding that the number of such events be capped at that number and that separate permits be required for additional events.
Director Paul Soderman said the letter needed to be stronger with a reference to enforcement provisions and it needed a concluding paragraph with a summary of the district’s requirements.
Since the board had been led to believe by County Planning staff the Planning Commission would probably postpone the Blackbird permit hearing again, there would be time to submit a revised letter.
The CSD board then addressed the larger question of the increasing number of relatively large events, retreats and weddings at various new places in the Valley and discussed the possibility of either setting their own rules, imposing some rules on the hosts of the events, or asking the County to require permits for events with over a certain number of people. This issue will be researched and probably addressed early next year.
* * *
As expected, at Thursday morning’s Planning Commission meeting, the Commission again postponed the controversial Blackbird Farm expansion proposal.
Planning staff had said they were not ready to properly consider the application, but some 20 Anderson Valley residents attended the hearing anyway, having driven over the hill in a steady downpour to express their concerns about the project and the sloppily prepared planning documents.
When asked by Planning Commission Chair Molly Warner to keep comments brief because the Commission expected to postpone the hearing, everyone from the Anderson Valley respected the brevity request. But the two young women representing Blackbird’s “educational side” rattled on chirpily about how open and transparent and friendly Blackbird was trying to be, going on and on and on so long that Planning Commissioner Jim Little was seen rolling his eyes in frustration. Finally, after the girls had exceeded, by far, their allotted three minute allowance, Chair Warner asked, “Are you going to be wrapping this up any time soon?”
Most shocking was an admission by Blackbird project manager, John Walker, that Blackbird's proposed capacity of 292 high end transients had been arrived at in response to a suggestion by (now retired) planner Fred Tarr.
“I'm the project manager and superintendent. In answer to one of the questions about where the 292 came from— there was a question asked. I was the guy who said that by the way. The question was asked, What is the occupancy limit? 300 was the magic number. Over 300 required this documentation [points to his right]. Under 300 required this [points to his left]. So we just chose 292. So that's where that came from. We were looking to find out what number would be allowed. We were not trying to sneak something in. We were just trying to find a number that we could occupy. And the main reason for that is when there is an event or a wedding it could easily be 200, 250 people, two or three times a year. So that covers that occupancy at that time.”
If Mr. Walker wanted 200-250 a few times a year he could have asked for that. But no — they asked for 292 because Planner Fred Tarr told them 300 “would be allowed.”
Critics think the 292 was also requested because if they get it, it would substantially increase the value of the property if or when they sell it.
So Blackbird applied for 292 in the full expectation that the permit would sail through with ease because it was eight short of the magic number!
Tarr was a planning staffer. Grandly setting applicant property capacities was not Tarr's job nor his to grant. The decider is the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors exercising a public/democratic process.
Tarr’s irresponsible “magic number” then essentially forced Mr. Tarr to prepare a “draft mitigated negative declaration” pretending that the 292 would be no problem because the 292 was below the 300 that he (Tarr) alone had unilaterially established!
Tarr could have provided Blackbird with guidelines, codes, previous permit samples, and unofficial opinions about the Farm’s plans. But telling Blackbird what Philo or Anderson Valley or Mendocino County would approve? That’s first degree professional misconduct that should have got him fired.
And the Planning Commission — which is supposed to be the public’s first line of accountability and oversight of the Planning staff — said nothing to any of this. A planning staffer tells the Commission, the County and the public what’s acceptable and the Planning Commission doesn’t care that their function has been usurped?
Here we are with a preposterously overlarge proposal accompanied by a county claim that it can be approved with a “mitigated negative declaration” with no real evaluation or assessment, which is understandably generating a large negative uproar with neighbors and the Anderson Valley public, all because one irresponsible planner appointed himself as the final Blackbird Decider. And nobody in Official Mendo is bothered by this.
(See the end of this story for a dialog between me and former County Planner John Speka who insists that our view of Mr. Tarr’s role in the Blackbird permit application is too harsh.)
* * *
Mr. Walker also talked about the road agreements with roads on neighboring properties.
“Since July we have produced lots of documents which you have not seen and some of the questions I hear here today are asking those questions about the documents that we have provided, so to comment on everything that's being said right now including the road and the road agreement. The road agreement is out. Nobody has signed it. It needs some input and we are open for input. We have some road issues now. We have in the process, in the building process, a permit for the turnouts, grading of the road, and gravel for the road. We hired an engineer, a road engineer, we also have some gravel on the property that has been used for 50 years, it's a shale product. In an emergency -- like I say, it's remote. Sometimes, a road will wash out and we can fix that in order for -- you know, springtime repairs, when the repairs are better. I think the answers are coming in.”
So Mr. Walker also admits that the roads can wash out in the winter — which would further complicate any emergency evaculation or response.
As far as Mr. Walker’s “documents” that we have not seen… We have seen draft versions of some of them and the one(s) they variously call “emergency plan,” or “evacuation plan,” or “fire plan” (depending on who asks) read like a third grader prepared them with no specifics and multiple contradictions. So Blackbird saying there are “documents” means almost nothing because the “documents” have not been reviewed or accepted by authorities or the neighbors or the public.
Dan Reed, representing Shenoa, then told the Commission why there was no road agreement.
“I would like to set the record straight on the road agreement. The road agreement came in a FedEx package, it was quite a long detailed agreement. I looked at it. I had my lawyer look at it. We had a good laugh. And no one has contacted me since. I don't know why they paid money to write it. It's a very self-serving agreement. There's no input in it in advance. They just wanted to tick the box so they could come here and say the road agreement was submitted. I think that's disingenuous. I just wanted to be clear on that.”
Neighboring property owner Margaret Peterson explained further: “I also got a copy of the road agreement which my husband and I just looked at and shook our heads and as the gentleman before me [Dan Reed] said, it was very self-serving and very expensive — under that agreement Blackbird does the work and gets paid from us for doing it.
Blackbird’s well-nourished attorney, Tom Johnson, blamed the road agreement problem on the neighbors and the County:
“I want to just talk you briefly about our road agreement. Anybody can write a road agreement. You can't get other people to agree to the road agreement that you write. All documents are written with the purpose of negotiation. The road agreement was written, but no one has responded to the road agreement. No one has said I won't sign it. No one has said I will sign it. No one has made a suggestion to us about any other alternatives. And that's one of the problems with requiring a road agreement. I've written hundreds of road agreements in my lifetime in Mendocino County. And not everybody agrees with them! That's why civil code section or CCP Section 845 exists which says that if you cannot have a road agreement there is a statutory basis for apportioning costs. We would prefer to have a road agreement but we can't and wouldn't even suggest that we have the right to force anybody to sign a road agreement.”
How dare those darn neighbors expect to have a say about a huge traffic increase if Blackbird's urban plunk-down is approved for the area?
Another minor shocker was Commission Chair Molly Warner’s question to staff asking if they respond to public comments. An unidentified older woman staffer replied that, unlike most other public agencies in California, No, Mendo doesn’t respond to comments unless the Planning Commission asks them to (which is pointless because by that time the issue is already up for a vote and there’s no time to respond to them). Mendo alone just puts the public’s comments in a pile and handd them over to the Planning Commission where they are left to die. To make matters worse, Blackbird Project Planner Adele Phillips said, “I would also like to add that often we get questions that staff cannot answer. It's more appropriate for the applicant to answer. And in that case we forward the information to the applicant so that they can reply or respond. We don't monitor whether they actually do directly respond. But we do inform them that someone has this question.”
* * *
Scott Ward now of Redwood Valley told the Commission that he represented Jill and Jeff Haehl who are also Blackbird neighbors. Ward said he was a retired county building inspector with responsibility for Anderson Valley and that both he and the Haehls were concerned about fire safety and road degradation. “It can be very treacherous and there’s a large potential for degradation,” said Ward. “It’s very unsafe during a wildfire. Also, how will conditions be enforced? There’s no mention of that. This is an incredible expansion. Who will monitor to see that conditions are met and work is approved?”
(Note: This writer raised this exact same enforcement question and several others in a formal letter to the Planning department back in June and, of course, it was ignored. Since the Planning Commission didn’t ask staff to address it, it will be ignored again, like all the other public comments.)
Commissioner Jim Little suggested that the Planning Commission hold a special meeting in Anderson Valley for the Blackbird proposal on the same day as the site visit proposed by Planning staff.
Most of the other Commissioners agreed, with two of them voting to establish a date certain. But the majority voted to postpone the next Blackbird to some time next year.
Commission Chair Molly Warner concluded by saying that she "hoped" that the meeting would be in the springtime. “We hope everything will be in time and we will try to look at the logistics for a meeting in Anderson Valley.”
* * *
John Speka: “Very unfair to speak of former County Planner Fred Tarr as the “decider” and determining “magic numbers” for the controversial Blackbird Farms application. I worked in the department with Fred for many years. He was always fair and open with applicants about planning staff’s role vis-a-vis the Planning Commission’s decision making capacity. The above blog spent a good amount of effort in stating how Mr. Tarr “usurped” County Planning Commission authority and should have been fired for supposedly providing arbitrary allowances to an applicant. All of this based on a so-called “admission” of a representative for the applicant at the public hearing. In my experience with the department, applicants were known on several occasions to take parts of planning discussions out of context, believing only what they wanted to hear that could potentially further their applications. None of us were there to hear any past conversations between Mr. Tarr and applicant representatives. Basing an argument that Mr. Tarr overstepped his authority on an “admission” by the applicant at the public hearing is very one-sided. The fact that the Planning Commission was silent on the matter was likely due to their understanding that one-sided testimony isn’t necessarily the whole story.”
Mark Scaramella: “Fair enough. But how else would you explain where Blackbird got their ‘magic number’? As a (former?) planner, then, maybe you can tell us how else Mr. Tarr arrived at a “mitigated negative declaration” that understates or dismisses the proposal’s impact in so many ways without even an attempt to assess it? (We’ll be happy to list them item by item if requested.) You can download Mr. Tarr’s ‘mitigated negative declaration’ at the Planning Commission’s website and see for yourself how far off it is.”
Speka: “Not sure where Blackbird would have come up with the 300 number. Not even out of the question that numbers were discussed with Mr. Tarr at some point. Regardless, planning staff isn’t in the business of designing projects for developers or guaranteeing success of discretionary projects. Their function is to process the application and bring it to a hearing before the proper decision making body. In most cases, a mitigated negative declaration (MND) is appropriate to provide measures ensuring impacts are held to a less than significant level, etc. A MND is prepared with the goal of addressing all potential impacts. However, planners aren’t always able to predict every possible outcome of a project either. In other words, they give it their best shot, but at the end of the day are only human and may sometimes miss the mark. (There’s no ill intent on the planner’s part, although at times from the reactions you get in controversial cases you’d think the planner was scheming their way through the entire CEQA process in order to help the applicant.) That’s why public input is so important, asking what areas may have been overlooked. The Planning Commission then has the authority to add even more mitigation measures, or in the alternative to deny a project felt to be inappropriate for whatever reason. Bottom line is that Fred Tarr had always acted professionally and responsibly throughout his tenure with the County and doesn’t deserve to have his integrity questioned because of an unpopular proposal that may or may not be approved at a future date.”
Outstanding Blackbird Code Violations.
(Anyone else with this list of blatant violations and unsafe conditions would be red-tagged and shut down until they were cleared. But in Blackbird’s case they are “working with the applicant.”)
"Unpermitted grading of access roads, unpermitted grading and excavation activities; unpermitted remodel and failure to obtain a certificate of occupancy before use as an assembly barn; Yurt #1 — unpermitted structure, restrooms, and deck. Lack of approved heat source, unvented heaters observed. Yurt #2 — unpermitted structure. Lack of approved heat source. Unvented gas heater observed. Hoop house #1— Unpermitted structure being used as a cooling area with extension cords for electricity running to it. Hoop house #2 — unpermitted structure. Unpermitted zip line and platform. Unpermitted storage containers. Improper fuel and battery storage in the storage container area.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 17, 2016
KENNETH BENNETT, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DANIEL BUCIO, San Jose/Ukiah. DUI, petty theft.
DESIREE CROSS, Laytonville. Refusal to identify self to police.
TED DEMITS, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
LORI FIORENTINO, Fort Bragg. Elder abuse.
DANIEL GARCIA, Covelo. DUI-drugs & alcohol.
HASTIN JAMES, Ukiah. DUI with injuries.
CHAD MABERY, Willits. Drunk in public, probation revocation.
MARIA MARFIL, Willits. Possession of drug injection/smoking device.
ABDIRAHMAN MOHAMED, San Diego/Ukiah. Murder.*
CARLOS OGAWA, Fort Bragg. Ex-felon with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, resisting, probation revocation.
CHARLES ROBINSON, Ukiah. Resisting or threatening police officer.
DELILAH SMITH, Ukiah. Burglary, suspended license, under influence, ID theft.
(*ABDIRAHMAN MOHAMED is the third of perhaps as many as six “trimmigrants” suspected of the November 11 murder of Laytonville pot grower Jeffrey Settler to be arrested.)
EDGAR MADDISON WELCH, the 28-year-old from North Carolina who drove down to a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant and fired an assault rifle inside while investigating a conspiracy about a child sex ring inside orchestrated by Hillary Clinton, plead not guilty in federal court on Friday. Welch faces charges for transporting a firearm and ammunition across state lines and D.C. charges of assault with a dangerous weapon as well as possession of a firearm during a commission of violence. He faces a maximum of 35 years in prison for the incident, after which Welch admitted that he did not find evidence of the alleged sex ring. "My intel was bad," Welch said.
RELEASE THE XMAS KRAKEN!
The recording of last night's (2016-12-16) KNYO (and, three hours in, also KMEC) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is ready to download and enjoy, via http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
An unusually even, coherent show. I think you'll like the recording, which was not affected by whatever went wrong with the connection to KMEC. I'm told KNYO got dicey a few times, later in the night, its automation shoving in snatches of music at random to cover when my stream there dropped. Sid Cooperider will figure out what's wrong on the KMEC end, and Bob Young will help me investigate what's wrong on the KNYO end. Part of the problem might even turn out to be the spiffy new cable service at Juanita's. Tomorrow's another day. It'll get sorted out.
Also, at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find literally thousands of links to not necessarily radio-useful but certainly worthwhile things to see and/or do and learn about, rainy day or shiny day, such as:
A story about an invention so an artist with uncontrollable tremors can write her name again, and draw art, and be who she is. Play the video and see if you don't break down sobbing. I don't remember the last time I cried this hard. Wow.
The alien abduction tango.
Beautiful Iceland, from the air.
And no matter how careful you are, and no matter how much security cyber-crap you load your phone/computer/tablet/book-reader with, somewhere out there in a system you depend on there is a person standing by to utterly betray you, thinking he's helping you, because a tricky woman will play him like a violin by telling him her baby is crying.
TRUMP APPOINTEE CITES SCIENTOLOGY
Letter to Editor
The curtain is up, the clothes are off, the veil is gone.
Trumps policies have clarified where the US has been for the last 50 years.
Two items this week verified a hunch that what we are going to see is what has been there all along.
The first was a comment by a writer in which she said. “With Trumps three generals in various departments he has militarized US foreign policy.” Really? I thought it was one military venture after another. Has anyone ever reduced the Pentagon budget or refused a war, or not funded mercenaries or restrained the CIA.
Trump is clearing democratic myths away by selecting people to head agencies they are against: Secretary of Labor a man opposed to Unions; A Goldman Sachs banker to run (plunder) The Treasury; The Ambassador to the UN opposed to the entire organization.
Ali Abunima of Electronic Intifada said he thought the Zionist Lawyer Trump appointed to be the US Ambassador to Israel was just clarifying US policy. The first act the Zionist lawyer said he would enforce was for Jerusalem to become the capital of Israel. This ends the ‘Two State Solution’ the US has been a floating to disguise funding Israeli military & settlements all over Palestine.
The best of Trump’s selection’s for the EPA was interviewed by a reporter from CBC: “What do you think of the 111 Scientists who declared climate change, global warming a reality?” He said something to the effect, “I am following science, scientology, and we don’t believe it is a real event.” He may have said ‘we are not sure’ or ‘there is some doubt’ but what’s wonderful about him is that when the US representative to Climate Change addresses the world or at the UN and starts with “Scientology says…” there will be a loud roar from the audience. To get away with climate denial in carbon country USA is one thing, but to spout such stuff to others about to be devastated by drought or flood is another.
Trump has followed up on all that Obama’s Democratic Party has established – only he has made it a revelatory event. Not a show. Minus the filigree this is the Empires fundamental policy. That must be why the Republican and the Democrat elites didn’t want him in office – no more liberal diffusion jabber.
VIETNAM VETERAN AND NOBEL PEACE NOMINEE WHO HELPED END HORRIFIC MY LAI MASSACRE DIES OF CANCER AGED 67
PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNS WATER BILL WITH BIG AG 'POISON PILL' RIDER
by Dan Bacher
In a slap in the face to fishermen, Tribes, environmental justice advocates, conservationists and family farmers, President Obama on Friday signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act into law with its environmentally destructive Big Ag rider sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
The controversial rider in the bill, opposed by retiring Senator Barbara Boxer, taints an otherwise good bill that sponsors water projects across the nation. The last minute rider, requested by corporate agribusiness interests, allows San Joaquin Valley growers and Southern California water agencies to pump more water out of the Delta, driving Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species closer and closer to extinction, according to Delta advocates.
The addition of the Big Ag rider to the bill caused a bitter rift between Boxer, one of the bill’s original sponsors, and Feinstein.
Also known as the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, the bill authorizes water projects across the country to restore watersheds, improve waterways and flood control, and improve drinking water infrastructure, according to President Obama in his signing statement. The law also authorizes $170 million for communities facing drinking water emergencies, including funding for Flint, Michigan, to recover from the lead contamination in its drinking water system.
“WINN also includes four Indian water rights settlements that resolve long-standing claims to water and the conflicts surrounding those claims, address the needs of Native Communities, fulfill the Federal trust responsibility to American Indians, and provide a sound base for greater economic development for both the affected tribes and their non-Indian neighbors,” said Obama.
In addressing the controversial rider in the bill (Title III, Subtitle J) that supposedly addresses drought in California by allowing agribusiness interests to pump more water from the Delta, Obama warned against “misttating or incorrectly reading” Subtitle J’s provisions.
“Title III, Subtitle J, also includes short term provisions governing operations of the federal and state water projects under the Endangered Species Act for up to five years, regardless of drought condition,” said Obama. “Building on the work of previous Administrations, my Administration has worked closely with the State of California and other affected parties to address the critical elements of California's complex water challenges by accommodating the needs and concerns of California water users and the important species that depend on that same water. This important partnership has helped us achieve a careful balance based on existing state and federal law. It is essential that it not be undermined by anyone who seeks to override that balance by misstating or incorrectly reading the provisions of Subtitle J.”
Obama also claimed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) would continue to be applied and implemented.
“Consistent with the legislative history supporting these provisions, I interpret and understand Subtitle J to require continued application and implementation of the Endangered Species Act, consistent with the close and cooperative work of federal agencies with the State of California to assure that state water quality standards are met. This reading of the short-term operational provisions carries out the letter and spirit of the law and is essential for continuing the cooperation and commitment to accommodating the full range of complex and important interests in matters related to California water,” Obama concluded.
Senator Boxer challenged the claim by Obama and bill supporters that the ESA would continue to be applied and implemented when she spoke out strongly against the bill on the Senator Floor last week. Boxer called the rider a “devastating maneuver” and a “poison pill” designed to undermine the Endangered Species Act by changing the restrictions on the amount and time that water could be delivered to agricultural districts, including the Westlands Water District, in the southern San Joaquin Valley.
Under federal biological opinions, NOAA Fisheries biologists have determined flows to protect endangered and threatened species, including winter-run Chinook salmon and Delta and longfin smelt, that have nonetheless suffered dramatic declines due to the overpumping of water and poor management of Central Valley reservoirs during the recent drought.
Boxer also criticized the process in which the last minute rider was introduced, pointing out it illustrates why many Americans hate Congress. “One of the things they hate about Congress is when we have a special interest rider dropped on a bill,” Senator Boxer said in her speech on the Senate Floor on December 9, 2016.
In a letter asking President Obama to veto the bill, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta executive director, blasted the rider for the damage it would cause to fisheries and Delta water quality. “It will worsen water quality not only for San Francisco Bay-Delta fisheries, but for the hundreds of thousands of people who make up the Delta’s environmental justice communities," she stated.
She warned that the rider “will lead to further water quality degradation in the San Francisco Bay-Delta, and set the course for future raids by Federal agencies on freshwater supplies from the Delta.”
“Our fear is that if we continue to take too much water from the estuary, the end result will be a public health crisis for the millions of people who live in the Delta, and the hundreds of thousands of people who make up the Delta’s environmental justice community,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “Over these last few years of drought, the Delta has seen a marked increase of toxic algal blooms, and without more cool water regularly flowing throughout the Delta, these outbreaks are expected to become a permanent feature of the Delta.”
Barrigan-Parrilla said the toxic bacteria from the algal blooms are a threat to: 1) groundwater wells that provide drinking and irrigation water to tens of thousands of people; 2) municipal drinking water systems that provide drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people; 3) subsistence fishers who in conservative estimates number between 20,000 and 40,000 residents of the Delta; 4) the ability of Delta farmers to safely irrigate their 500,000 acres of crops worth $5.2 billion annually; 5) and tens of thousands of recreational enthusiasts who regularly sportfish, boat, and swim in the Delta’s 1100 miles of open waterways.”
“WRDA will increase water exports, especially during drought periods, creating increased opportunities for the proliferation of these dangerous toxic algal blooms, and increase public health threats,” noted Barrigan-Parrilla.
The rider would also give greater power to the Secretary of Interior. For example, it authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to construct Federally owned storage projects that are cost-shared 50-50 with non-Federal parties.
“The bill’s signing is disappointing, but understandable given the presence of the Flint Michigan lead-poisoning response and the large number of water project authorizations for local Congressional districts in the WRDA,” said Ron Stork of Friends of the River.
“The bill tries to push more water into the south state, and may or may not succeed in that effort,” stated Stork. “But the bill also breaks traditional notions of federal water project approvals laid down by Ronald Reagan.”
“Instead it gives the incoming Trump Administration Secretary of the Interior a pretty free hand to move forward on any damn dam projects they chose to ‘authorize’ and push. So hold on to your wallets; there’s almost certainly going to be efforts to raid the federal and state treasuries to subsidize these monsters,” noted Stork.
“Ironically, for an emergency drought bill, most of the provisions are not tied to a drought but to the next five years whether wet or dry. And today it’s raining and snowing in the mountains and valleys of California,” he concluded.
Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, was appalled by passage of the bill with its rider.
“This is the tool California water districts need to deny the water for salmon and continue on with the Brown WaterFix for California,” said Chief Sisk in a Facebook post. “DiFi doesn't care about all the fishermen, Tribes and fish consumers. This is the worst thing that President Obama could have done to the California water wars.”
You can expect fishing organizations, Indian Tribes, conservationists and environmental justice advocates to launch lawsuits contesting the rider’s controversial provisions. As Senator Boxer said on the Senate floor:
“My view about water is that everybody comes to the table. We work it out together. I don't like the water war. He (Congressman McCarthy) has launched another water war battle for big agribusiness against the salmon fishery. It is ugly. It is wrong. It is going to wind up at the courthouse door anyway. Why are we doing this?”
The salmon industry is expected to be impacted dramatically by the rider, as the increased pumping of northern California water will result in further declines in collapsing salmon populations. California’s salmon industry is valued over $2 billion in economic activity in a normal season including economic activity and jobs in Oregon, according to McManus. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon.
The U.S. Senate approved the water bill by a vote of 78 to 21 on Friday, December 9.
It must be noted that Jerry Brown, who constantly receives fawning coverage from the mainstream media over his allegedly “green” policies, did absolutely nothing to oppose the rider in the bill. That makes perfect sense, since Brown is trying to fast track the construction of his legacy project, the Delta Tunnels.
This rider will only make it easier for the incoming Trump administration to work with Brown on building the tunnels, potentially the most environmentally destructive public works project in California, by weakening the implementation of the Endangered Species Act and other laws.
Background: Resources bill opens new front in long-running water wars (Greenwire – DC)