- AG Opinion
- Fiorentino Arraigned
- Little Dog
- Animal Shelter
- Pot Regs
- Police Chase
- Weather Shelter
- MCOE Christmas
- Nutrition Class
- Looking Back
- Calpers Forecast
- Holiday Quiz
- FB Politics
- Yesterday's Catch
- Genial Squalor
- Uncle Santa
- Coming Collapse
- Athletic Bias
- Medicare for All
- Solar News
- Delta EIS
REMEMBER MEASURE V? The initiative Mendo voters passed last summer to declare Mendocino Redwoods Company’s “hack-n-squirt” tree-poisoning practice to be a public nuisance?
Since the initiative passed MRC has declared itself immune from enforcement of the Measure on grounds that logging is agriculture and agriculture is immune from nuisance complaints.
On Tuesday the Board of Supervisors consent agenda contained an item from County Counsel Kit Elliott: “Request Direction from the Board of Supervisors for County Counsel to Seek a Legal Opinion from the Attorney General on Whether Mendocino County Code, Chapter 8.400, ‘Declare Intentionally Killed and Left Standing Trees a Public Nuisance’ (‘Measure V’) is Legally Enforceable Against Timber Operations.”
Summary of Request: “Measure V was placed on the ballot as a Voter Initiative and was passed by 62.29% of the voters on June 7, 2016. This measure became law on July 22, 2016. There have been continuing questions from County departments and the public on whether the County will take any enforcement action regarding this measure. Before that question can be answered it is necessary to determine if Measure V is legally enforceable and to determine if the specific silvicultural treatment referred to as ‘hack and squirt’ or ‘frilling’ is legally exempt from County Code nuisance enforcement. California Government Code section 12519 mandates the Attorney General issue a written opinion upon any question of law once requested by the County Counsel. Once that opinion is issued, it is citable authority and is afforded great weight by the courts.”
But when the time came to vote on the consent agenda Ms. Elliott pulled the item, saying she didn’t need direction from the Board to bounce the thorny question off her desk and up into the legal puzzle palace so she was going to ask the Attorney General’s office on her own.
Anti-climactic? Sure. Now the voter-approved measure will languish indefinitely in the backwaters of the Attorney General’s office.
And who is Attorney General now that Kamala Harris has been elected California Senator to replace Barbara Boxer, you might ask? Governor Brown has appointed (presumably; subject to confirmation) LA-area Congressman Xavier Becerra. If confirmed, Becerra will become the state's first Latino attorney general — until the November 2018 when the position will be up for election.
Congressman Becerra has been most recently Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and a career Dem. He’s the son of Mexican immigrants from Sacramento who grew up in a one-room home with three sisters before getting his Stanford law degree. He was Deputy Attorney General (in 1987-1990) under John Van de Kamp.
If Mr. Becerra’s new crew ever gets around to issuing an opinion on Measure V we suspect he’ll rule that MRC is exempt from pesky public nuisance declarations.
THE NOW NOTORIOUS FORT BRAGG elder abuse case of Lori Diane Fiorentino: she was arraigned in Judge Ann Moorman’s court, despite what “District Attorney officials” told the Press Democrat over the phone. Ms. Fiorentino shuffled into the courtroom like the most pitiful of invalids, and you had to wonder how she could even take care of herself, let alone anyone else. Judge Moorman appointed the Public Defender’s Assistant, Carly Dolan, who immediately began asking for Fiorentino’s release on her own recognizance. The judge cut her short and suggested she read the probable cause statement before going any further. Well, we all make mistakes, but if the lawyers at the OPD were not proscribed from reading the AVA online, Dolan would have known she had been handed a no-bail case. (Bruce McEwen)
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “No Bocelli at Trump's inauguration? A shame he's been threatened with a boycott if he appears. Well, my boss has always said, ‘There's no one meaner than a thwarted liberal. If they can't get the shiv in from behind, they'll take your job away from you’."
MENDO’S NEW ANIMAL SHELTER HONCHO Richard Molinari told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the Shelter:
- Loaned several crates to the Ukiah Homeless Shelter to hold the Shelter’s residents’ dogs overnight.
- Adopted out 112 cats and 110 dogs over the period of September through November.
- Returned 117 pets to their owners
- Transferred 91 cats and 47 dogs to rescue organizations and/or animal care partners.
- Had a “live release rate” of 90.5%
- Gave 48 kittens and 9 dogs new homes at discounted rates for the holidays.
And recognized all the volunteers for their very important contributions.
THE SUPERVISORS HAVE scheduled a special meeting/workshop to consider the subject of “Cannabis Facility Business Licenses” for next month. Supervisor John McCowen said that since, for the purposes of pot regs, the “Board” is just McCowen, Dan Gjerde and Carre Brown (Hamburg has recused himself on grounds that his daughter is in the pot biz), there’s no real point in having the General Government Committee (i.e., McCowen and Brown) go through the process only to have it reconsidered again with Gjerde. (Interestingly, even though (ex?)-Supervisor/Mental Health Patient/unindicted cop biter Tom Woodhouse’s attorney says Woodhouse is doing better and might be back to work next year, McCowen seems to be assuming he won’t.) So it looks like the Board will hold the workshop on January 27. McCowen said that County Staff has a draft reg and it should be circulated to the public in advance and that the workshop would be better if scheduled earlier than January 27. But outgoing Board chair Dan Gjerde said that it first had to go through the Planning Commission’s January meeting and that the material won’t be ready until January 27. There’s another complicated and potentially very controversial draft being worked on for pot cultivation which will also come up for consideration next year which will present the Board with numerous conflicting issues, not least of them medical versus recreational and the election of Donald Trump.
THE POT REGS DISCUSSION reminded us of what Superior Court judge-elect (and former hotshot pot defense attorney) Keith Faulder told us last year during the campaign: Signing up to cultivate marijuana is tantamount to confessing to the commission of a federal felony. At the time, Faulder recognized that the risk of federal prosection was low — under the Obama administration. But now that Trump intends to appoint Reagan-era pot warrior Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, that risk no longer seems so low.
* * *
(Excerpt: “With little more than the stroke of his own pen, the new attorney general will be able to arrest growers, retailers and users, defying the will of more than half the nation’s voters, including those in his own state where legislators approved the use of CBD. Aggressive enforcement could cause chaos in a $6.7 billion industry that is already attracting major investment from Wall Street hedge funds and expected to hit $21.8 billion by 2020. … ‘If we don't take action and hold President-elect Trump accountable,’ said Representative Jared Polis, Democrat from Colorado, ‘in one fell swoop, the federal government could damage state economies, and discourage entrepreneurship—placing some of our innovators behind bars, all while eroding states' rights’.”)
* * *
AT THE END OF THE POT REG DISCUSSION, McCowen noted that he will be Board Chair next year — “unless there’s a coup.”
CHRISTMAS ON LOW GAP
(KICK BACK, RYAN, YOU'LL BE THERE FOR A WHILE)
On Tuesday, December 20, 2016, at approximately 1935 hours, the Ukiah Police Department observed a Kia sedan that was connected with multiple local burglaries. UPD initiated a traffic enforcement stop and the vehicle failed to yield resulting in a pursuit. The vehicle quickly entered US-101 northbound from Talmage Rd. Upon request from UPD, CHP officers took over the pursuit. The suspect continued northbound on US-101 towards Willits. The pursuit reached speeds of over 100 mph. The suspected vehicle exited US-101 onto SR-20 near Willits. Willits Police Department was prepared and successfully deployed the spike strip at SR-20 and Walker Road, flattening the vehicle’s tires. The pursuit continued northbound SR-20 and Holly Street. Just north of Holly Street the suspect pointed a handgun out of the driver side window and fired multiple rounds at the pursuing officers (no Officers or Patrol Vehicles were hit). The suspect continued northbound for a short distance and eventually exited the vehicle and ran into a nearby creek. Ukiah CHP, Willits Police Department, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department performed a search for the suspect in the wooded area. With the assistance of the MCSO K9 Unit, it didn’t take long for the K9 to locate the suspect.
The suspect was arrested and identified as Ryan Joseph Mazstadt. Mazstadt, who is a San Jose resident, was booked into the Mendocino County jail for attempted murder, assault with deadly weapon, discharge of firearm into inhabited dwelling/vehicle, evasion, meth sale, and four other unspecified charges. This incident is still under investigation.
* * *
(See video of a portion of the chase at the Mendocino Voice. Scroll to the bottom.)
FOR THE THIRD TIME, TEMP IN 30'S & SHELTER WAS CLOSED
The Fort Bragg "Emergency Weather Shelter" (EWS) is "allegedly" to be opened when there is a 20% chance of rain or the temps expected to dip below 40F.
As MSP pointed out Tuesday, it WAS predicted to drop below 40F - and the screen-grab below was the 6:30 am reading from an East Laurel Street weather station.
For what we can deduce, it costs about a little more than $300 per night to open the shelter. They've saved nearly $1,000 this year by having the shelter closed on sub-40-degree nights this year (three so far).
Last year, they ended the year with a $5,000-plus SURPLUS - in other words, they could have been opened an additional 16 days.
It looks like the person running the show from Hospitality House is more into saving MONEY than LIVES.
And so it goes...
* * * (Day earlier post) * * *
Hospitality House 'Extreme Weather Shelter' Forecaster: 'Let Them Eat Cake'
Fort Bragg's "Extreme Weather Shelter" for the homeless has guidelines when it is to open - a greater than 20% chance of rain and when the temperature is expected to drop below 40F.
Paul Davis makes the call whether the shelter will be open and despite EVERY weather site predicting the temperature to drop into the 30's overnight, he decided to CLOSE the shelter tonight.
Just as he did last night - and the temperatures dipped into the 30's - it got to 36F this morning.
Mr. Davis needs to be replaced with someone who has a SOUL. He is obviously ill-suited for this position of "power" and sooner or later his ill-informed decisions will kill someone.
We have emailed Mr Davis (as have others) about WHERE he gets his weather forecasts but he doesn't answer. Petty tyrants seldom do.
The EWS ended last season with a $5,000-plus surplus and it appears saving money, not potential lives, is behind the decision whether to open or close the shelter.
The shelter has now been closed three times when the temps have hit the 30's.
It is time for Mr. Davis, and those who are responsible for his ilk from Hospitality House, to pack their things and leave before the Police start responding to frozen bodies in the alleys & streets.
THE UNCHARITABLE DO CHARITY
MCOE Press Release - Foster/Homeless Youth
Mendocino County Office of Education Supports Foster and Homeless Youth During the Holidays
Employees and friends of the Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) supported the MCOE Christmas effort by donating more than 200 winter coats and more than 100 gifts to homeless youth in Mendocino County. MCOE also provided backpacks full of school supplies to children who were recently removed from their homes and placed into the foster care system.
MCOE Superintendent Warren Galletti said, “I am honored to work with such generous people. We posted cards representing families-in-need as part of a display in our lobby, and MCOE employees made sure every single family received gifts.”
Throughout the year, MCOE provides support services to 13 school districts and several charter schools, and one of those services includes assistance in coordinating resources for the 287 foster youth and 751 homeless youth in the county. MCOE Foster/Homeless Youth Services Manager Blythe Post explained the challenges faced by local children in the foster care system and those without adequate housing.
Foster youth are those under the age of 18 who are not in the custody of a parent or guardian, but instead are wards of the court. They often live in homes with foster parents who provide short-term housing and care for varying amounts of time. Because these placements are not permanent, youth in the foster system can be forced to move several times during the course of a single school year, making it hard for them to create lasting relationships. According to Post, these children often feel invisible at school and struggle academically because of social and emotional stressors, as well as inconsistent school attendance.
Homeless youth struggle for similar reasons. They have inadequate housing that does not meet their physical and psychological needs. This does not necessarily mean they live on the streets, but it does mean they lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. In Mendocino County this includes, but is not limited to, living out of a car, living with several families in one small apartment or residence, living in structures without electricity or running water (camping), or living in emergency or transitional shelters. Some homeless youth live with their parents; others are “couch surfers,” according to Post.
She said, “There’s a perception that homeless kids come from drug addicted parents, and while that is sometimes the case, people become homeless for many different reasons—the loss of a job, a catastrophic illness, mental health problems—a lot of things can contribute.”
At MCOE, Post serves as a central hub for both foster and homeless youth, connecting schools, social services, community agencies, and resources from the faith community so these children do not fall through the cracks.
Assistant Superintendent Becky Jeffries said, “Blythe is a passionate advocate for these kids. She used to be a social worker who helped the families in her caseload. Now she helps all of our foster and homeless students.”
Post helps educate school counselors, teachers, family liaisons, social workers, and others about how best to meet the needs of these underserved youth, from practical advice on reducing bureaucratic barriers to school enrollment to training people about the effects of trauma on the developing brain.
Post said, “Studies show that when these kids connect with just one positive adult, it can have a huge impact in their lives. It increases their resiliency. It gives them hope.” To help build that connection, Post has supported the check-in/check-out program at local schools. Foster and homeless youth meet with a counselor or family liaison for five minutes directly before school starts to talk about goals for the day; and then again after school to talk about how the day went. “This way, they know someone’s looking out for them,” Post said.
The holidays can be a particularly tough time for foster and homeless youth. Post explained that the foster and homeless students often become more aware of what they are lacking when they cannot afford winter coats and when friends at school share holiday plans that involve gifts and family gatherings for holiday meals. This was the inspiration for the MCOE gift giving.
In response, Post received thank you notes like these. The Head Start supervisor said, “Thank you so much for the jackets for our kids. DG put his jacket on and was so proud of it all day that he did not want to take it off.” The family liaison at Grace Hudson Elementary wrote, “I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for bringing our kiddos winter jackets. Especially this very cold morning, a couple of the boys were very cozy with their new jackets and were showing me how warm they were.”
Superintendent Galletti said, “We are happy to help, and I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”
EAT YOUR VEGETABLES, FATSO
Free Nutrition 101 Class at the CV Starr Center on January 1st entitled "Achieve Your Healthy Weight" at 2pm. Taught by Petra Schulte. Please pre-register at the front desk.
Remember when you were going through one of your “angry young man” phases, 50s division? Nowadays you seem more amused or bemused by the local and beyond foibles and activities of the subnormals. Do you remember when I met you? It was outside court at one of your libel suits in Ukiah; I was expecting an ogre (the Beast of Boonville… ya got a million of 'em) reflective of your vituperative prose but found you pleasant, like an uncle finding a quarter behind your ear. (I guess I had an uncle like that.) I always like to tell it, even after I confessed to writing a vicious hit piece on you in my newsletter in retaliation after you criticized my sacred cow at the time, the Mateel Community Center for committing the sin of having a door made of tropical wood. (I think it was Riverhouse Bill who was your source on that and when you seemingly tried to trash me for having the only paved road in Whale Gulch, horrors!) Anyway, back to the “angry young man,” a position I have held at times though way less eloquent than your espousals: We both had short segments on Michael's KMUD radio show on Monday mornings in '89 and I only remember one thing you ever said on your segment when you were reporting on some state government news from Sacramento. Speaking of Barry Keene you said, “…and then he performed an unnatural act on the steps of the capitol!” and you promptly hung up and ran off! Ha!
PS. I am impressed by what you do, putting out a sort of work of art every week. So many people are lost or unsure or unfulfilled but you are one who found your place, your calling, and went with it for decades, an interesting life I could say. I assume you enjoy it but who knows, really? Sometimes I imagine doing a more in depth look at the nuts and bolts of the operation, maybe even interview Severn about his period of guiding the good ship AVA, although I did lose interest in the rag during that period.
Merry Friggin' Xmas.
* * *
ED NOTE: Lawrence Livermore told me about the door, and it was him who dubbed the place the Taj Mateel.
CALPERS CUTS INVESTMENT RETURNS FORECAST
"The move is a recognition that investment returns are falling and that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which is just 68% funded, needs higher contributions from government agencies to solve its long-term problems."
Yes, folks, there will be a special Holiday Quiz this week, on Thursday, December 22nd at Lauren’s Restaurant beginning at 7pm. This is the final Quiz of 2017 and your presence is requested, encouraged, and even needed in order to make The Quiz Master’s Christmas complete. I hope to see you there. Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master
JUST IN FROM FORT BRAGG
by Rex Gressett
Last week’s city council meeting got off to rocking start with the enormously successful Fort Bragg Timberwolves football team arriving in a motley purple mass and packing the back of the hall. I am often a little put off by the sunny political theater which is a staple of Fort Bragg city council meetings. The mayor’s awards are many and diverse. The mayor as an operative of the city management loves commendations, congratulations and awards for basically anything they can think of. They actively conspire to give out plaques to what is after all a voting constituency. It is not actually sinister but these feel good gestures are so routine that after a while it gets a little painful. I would not mind if after the awarding the awards they would get down to the peoples business. Instead they do the feel good thing and then with smiling faces either casually ignore business, or more frequently deceive the public by omission and otherwise. The petty award is one of their favorite tools of political manipulation and bitterly disingenuous.
That said, last Monday the young men from the football team were a different story. For one thing they are truly appreciated, and they are genuinely exceptional. The Timberwolves have stormed to astonishing victories and are in every sense local heroes. They are routinely undefeated. Watching them I had to think that the extreme modesty and classiness of these young men and the magnitude of their achievement are a subtle signifier of the untold and unrealized potential that we have as a city. We have something here locally that has not yet been realized. Let them that have an ear hear.
Lindy Peters introduced the team and said a few words. Although he was a few minutes away from the public announcement that he had been selected (behind closed doors) to be mayor. He knew he had been selected and was already hamming it up. I loved it. Lindy Peters is totally a part of the high school football culture. He is after all the game announcer. He was in his element, and it was clear that he truly loved the team and we all knew the team was amazing.
Afterwards the apparatus of government said good by to the two replaced members of the city council Scott Dietz and “Dirty Doug” Hammerstrom and the council seated the new ones Will Lee and Bernie Norvell. Slowly like an old engine starting up they began to go at it.
The meeting room was pretty full, not packed but almost. The supporters of Bernie and Will were there for an obvious victory lap. I was silently chomping at the bit to see if the long running campaign of disinformation and obfuscation by the city management which our new guys explicitly ran against was going to falter and crumble or not so much. But then of course the business of getting down to business is necessarily sequential and protracted. The wall of secrecy behind which the city management has operated was not going to fall in a moment and there were only implications and hints of resistance from the new guys. That in itself was encouraging. Bernie Norvell distinctly conveyed the impression that he was not going to lay down for city management bullying and Linda Ruffing showed subtle signs of distress along with predictable agility. All in all it was about as much as you can expect from the first meeting.
The next day I began to ponder. What was it that I was hoping for? What was it that the city intended in these men in which they had placed their confidence.
If not the worst scandal at least the best documented that I could think of was the epic struggle between the city manager and CDFW (California Department of Fish and Wildlife) which had gone on for many years but which been thrown into high gear by Siskiyou County Farm Bureau vs CDFW.
As a brief background the city of Fort Bragg is a little berg with no usable municipal scale water except for what they draw out of adjacent rivers and streams
We consume six hundred thousand gallons of water a day, a little less when they beg us to take it easy because of drought. To arrive at that volume they take all of the water from Waterfall gulch all of the water from Newman Creek and about half the water from the Noyo River. The impacts on the salmon migration have been observably disastrous. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is tasked with the protection of all our wildlife including the salmon. As they are required to do by law, CDFW has striven to protect the ecologies and species that are threatened and very obviously damaged by an unappeasably thirsty Fort Bragg. The negotiations between CDFW and the city are one of the darkest secrets of city management.
Linda has maintained to the CDFW through long years of struggle that the city has to drink and that there are no other options. We just have to take the water.
Against resistance and pressure to protect local ecologies city management has fought back as quietly as possible, and worked like mules to keep anyone from knowing anything about it. Now as this issue becomes immediate, in the place of reasonable disclosure the city council has been duped again by a deliberate exercise in in-transparency.
I mention in passing that in this life and death struggle to keep things under control and out of the public scrutiny the city management has been reliably abetted by the damn Advocate who has reliably panned the whole thing. They believe in friendly cooperation with city hall. Such things are just not for them.
The day following the seating of the new city council CDFW came to the city to meet with Linda Ruffing to discuss the permit application CDFW was now requiring for our taking of water that was destroying the salmon and keeping our lawns green. No one on the city council was invited.
I sent to all of the members of the city council the basic facts and the information that I was in possession of a package of documents from the department that went back for years and also that I had the crucial court decision that put Fort Bragg on the hot seat.
I asked all the city council politely what they knew of this matter. Some of them had heard rumors but nobody really understood the issue or simply thought it was not all that much of anything. No written reports had been issued, only strategic muttering. The issue had been obscured. A water crisis of any magnitude is not something that the city manager can keep totally under her hat but the level of participation by the City council in a matter of crucial importance to the city was very discouraging.
Disclosure is not a matter of a few carefully chosen off hand words to individual council members. The pending application before CDFW is profoundly important to the city and of utmost importance to the council. If we lose one of our three sources of water we are in deep dutch. Disclosure to the city council should obviously be complete and through. There is no excuse for the city manager not issuing written reports and getting the guidance that she is required to seek from the city council before proceeding to negotiations. Instead she is handling a crisis privately and without undue interference from elected officials. Right in keeping with her general modus operandi.
This is only one of a half dozen scandals that I can easily bring to mind. There is another grizzly irrationality in the big bucks plan of the city management to address the stinking sewer issue. This involves the routine release of raw sewage into the Pacific Ocean via 160-foot underwater pipe for which the city has been repeatedly fined. When I asked specifically about this fining Linda Ruffing told me from way down her nose and with patented disdain that I was very wrong to worry since it only happens when it rains. But she cannot deny the fines were levied.
The discharge is not caused by careless employees. In Fort Bragg our badly rusted sewer plant was originally constructed for a one million gallon capacity. These days it handles two million. Three quarters of a million dollars has been spent for a study to see what they can do about this. Somehow they knew in advance of the study that upgrades to the plant will be in the neighborhood of nine million dollars. They don’t have the money and if they did it would not change the fundamental capacity of the plant. One city council member most familiar with the issue told me that he thought that after spending the nine million we would still be screwed. But since the whole thing is happening in the dark without public knowledge or reasonable city disclosure nobody has made any waves so far.
Of course there are much bigger fish in the sea of silence. The unfunded liabilities for Fort Bragg residential sewer pipes is something like twenty three million dollars. The city has on hand, in checking about five point six million and another six or so in CDs. They owe five million to the pension fund.
Of course there are many other issues involving a calculated absence of public information.
What the new city council has to say about it all, I will let you know. That no one immediately offered a point of view is only a testament to Linda’s powers of confusion and deception. I remain confident in the city council and hopeful.
What am I expecting the new council to do about it anyway? A few years ago the city put in a new traffic light on Highway One. The city council had to be consulted many times to provide direction for what was in everyone’s estimation a highly technical and complex problem of civic engineering. It was eventually achieved through a long council interface with the four thousand dollar a week city manager and her stable of technicians and advisors who she employs at city hall for purposes such as this. It took about two years. For one traffic light.
The city council has struggled painfully with other tiny issues, battling politely and at great length against a recalcitrant and indifferent city management utterly disinclined to take any action not on their own agenda. One idiotic example is a handrail on the stairs at Glass Beach. I do not know at how many city council meetings this vital issue has been discussed. Quite a few. The better part of a year I would think.
Another long running challenge is the new infrastructure at Bainbridge Park. At how many meetings has this come before the council? Each time the council gives hopeful direction to the utterly incompetent development manager Marie Jones (the precise opposite of what you want in a city employee) each time getting nothing back but vague promises, excuses and a generalized manifest ineptitude.
Midstream in this epic struggle a public meeting was held in to solicit suggestions for our most central park, and to take recommendations from the public. Local folks were encouraged to choose from an enticing pallet of options. The options were many. People were given stick up notes to paste on the wall. Those in attendance wanted among other things a fence and a gazebo which they were subsequently told they would get. The meeting was held to be a great success. That was long ago and now they actually do have two picnic tables. Nothing else. No reason or excuse or explanation has been required of the development director and none ever will be.
Two questions. Why is it that the city council is so inept? And what can be done?
When the new guys on the council ran for office they all put it to an expectant electorate that they had thought things over and believed that they were the ones to get things done. The reduction of the city, basically to a ghost-town with dozens of abandoned storefronts and failing business, the clear loss of economic prosperity the dismal and gigantic toxic mill site which is the glaringly preeminent feature of our dying city, all of these were justly deplored by the electorate and presented by the candidates as issues which they would deal. They all promised that something would be done. The people believed them and elected them.
But how are these massive projects to be achieved. The city council is not the body to address even the smallest project if there is any hurry about it. A twenty three million dollar unfunded liability for residential sewer pipes, a giant development on the mill site, a solution to water, a rational sewer plant. Sure.
They can’t even pave the alleys.
The problem is not really the city council. These are merely men however loyal they may be to our expectations. The complexities of modern governance are technically beyond them. The apparatus at city hall even for a little town is very complex. Our professional city managers and their system have evolved over time in response to a daily deluge of red tape. Over the years the city manger and her team have made themselves a (well paid) vital part of the long negotiating process which is the shape and substance of modern government. City Hall would not be a large corporation but it would be a good sized business if its purpose was to make money. The city council is more aptly fitted up to manage a Boy Scout troupe.
And yet the city council is the direct Representative of the people. It is all we have. It is our best grip on self government.
At the very worst the city council is a court of last appeal. If it is nothing else it is place where the abuse of professional government can be stopped in an emergency. That is what it has become. We have hired a group of professional urban planning specialists to replace the hard work of democratic process that neither the people of the city nor the city council have the will or the resources to do. When we gave them this responsibility, they stole our government. The city council as our elected representatives have become a passive spectator observing with gratitude the magic of professionals at work. They raise a minimum of objections lest they look silly doing it.
But by California law the city council is required to be more than that. The city council is supposed to set the direction on behalf of the people not follow the city manager like a bewildered and helpful puppy wagging its collective tails.
The great confidence that the people of the city place in our city council, the love of democratic process and the fulfillment of expectation and the confidence that we are a self governing people was so very clear in the election.
We have all heard many times that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts completely. The city management does not quite have absolute power. Almost, but not quite. They are still at least formally restrained by the city council. But we should be damned mad that city manager does not take seriously her responsibility to inform the council in reasonable depth of the full scope of major issues.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 21, 2016
PHILIP BORGER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DAVID BORUP, Laytonville. Probation revocation.
ANTHONY CAPE, Willits. Evasion.
JOHN CAVALIER, Thousand Oaks/Laytonville. Burglary.
JAMES DODD, Willits. Probation revocation.
CHAD HAKE, Willits. Under influence, paraphernalia, dirk-dagger.
NICHOLE IVERSEN, Loch Lomond/Ukiah. Elder abuse resulting in great bodily harm or death, witness intimidation.
DAVID JOAQUIN, Covelo. Vehicle theft, tampering with vehicle, offenses while on bail, probation revocation.
RYAN MAXSTADT, Ukiah. Attempted murder, assault with deadly weapon, discharge of firearm into inhabited dwelling/vehicle, evasion, meth sale, and four other unspecified charges.
HAROLD MINTO, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
WENDY PARDINI, Willits. Failure to appear.
NOT LONG BEFORE HE DIED, J.G. Ballard had a visitor:
He lives in the outer suburbs in what I think can kindly be called "squalor"---no central heating, kitchen linoleum from the 1930s, light fixtures of the same era, curtains held up in a limbo between open and closed states by a giant dehydrated plant that has collapsed on to his writing table, blocking all but the most determined approach. I dropped a pencil on the floor. "You'll never find it now," he said. I asked to use the loo. "At the top of the stairs---I hope it's still there." But a genial old type, who could have come from the country club in one of the colonies. There was a bottle of white wine on the table and he kept interrupting our talk to insist I drink up. "More! More!" As I sipped: "We don't want you getting killed on the road home." Conversational Crash, except that it wasn't.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
“what we are obviously witnessing is the acceleration of the social-economic breakdown that everyone with an IQ of 110 has been expected (except those who have drank the cool-aid of the obama-clinton crime syndicates. We are seeing the loss of direction, the loss of an internal ‘moral’ and common sense compass at the individual and group (e.g. NYT, Washpo, ad nauseum); next will come real violence directed toward anyone who can be blamed for our economic downfall by those who get hurt in serial turn. Obviously clinton is a criminal, and trump (I voted for neither) is what he is. In the long run, it doesn’t matter. We are going to see the current trump euphoria turn into extreme angst and then anger when it becomes clear that no one, trump included, can make a $20TRILLION + federal reserve debt vanish and keep interest rates down, without causing a bond market (and latter stock market and real estate market) collapse that will make 2008 look like a minor blip. A sea change is coming, but not what most expect! All one has to do to see the future is look at Yugoslavia and Venezuela to see amerika”
COGNITIVE BIAS: THE JEREMY LIN EXAMPLE
NBA fans will enjoy Michael Lewis's new book:
...Maybe the mind's best trick of all was to lead its owner to a feeling of certainty about inherently uncertain things. Over and again in the draft you saw these crystal-clear pictures form in the minds of basketball experts which later proved a mirage.
The picture in virtually every professional basketball scout's mind of Jeremy Lin, for instance. The now world-famous Chinese American shooting guard graduated from Harvard in 2010 and entered the NBA draft. "He lit up our model," said [Daryl] Morey. "Our model said take him with, like, the 15th pick in the draft."
The objective measurement of Jeremy Lin didn't square with what the experts saw when they watched him play: a not terribly athletic Asian kid. Morey hadn't completely trusted his model — and so he had chickened out and not drafted Lin. A year after the Houston Rockets failed to draft Jeremy Lin, they began to measure the speed of a player's first two steps: Jeremy Lin had the quickest first move of any player measured. He was explosive and was able to change direction far more quickly than most NBA players. "He's incredibly athletic," said Morey. "But the reality is that every fucking person, including me, thought he was unathletic. And I can't think of any reason for it other than he was Asian."
In some strange way people, at least when they were judging other people, saw what they expected to see and were slow to see what they hadn't seen before. How bad was the problem? When Jeremy Lin's coach at the New York Knicks finally put him in the game — because everyone else was injured — and allowed him to light up Madison Square Garden, the Knicks were preparing to release Jeremy Lin. Jeremy Lin had already decided that if he was released he'd simply quit basketball altogether.
That's how bad the problem was: that a very good NBA player would never have been given a serious chance to play in the NBA, simply because the minds of the experts had concluded he did not belong. How many other Jeremy Lins were out there?
MEDICARE FOR ALL
Medicare For All Is The Winning Strategic Line, Precisely Because Republicans Will Try To Cut Back Medicare
Dear Prospective Subscriber:
We promised you a major strategic and prophetic piece on the winning path going forward and here it is.
To plan a winning strategy it is necessary to have a firm grip on reality as it stands.
The first reality is that the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) cannot survive. It's toast. And the more those on the Democratic side now try to fight to preserve it, by perhaps trying to filibuster its full repeal, the more ADDITIONAL seats in Congress they will lose.
Because the dynamic we sadly foretold in 2010 REMAINS in effect UNDIMINISHED.
You think you are hurting now??? It's going to get WORSE unless we take the correct decisive action immediately.
We told you the ACA was doomed the day it was passed. And we also ruefully predicted 6 1/2 years ago that over a series of successive elections the Democrats would lose control of both Congress and the White House, behind a recurrent Republican election pitch that more Democrats needed to be removed from office so that the bill could be repealed.
What the Republicans will do now, with the political power they have grabbed so far, is to cripple the ACA in budget reconciliation, which cannot be filibustered, which will make it an even worse deal, and then argue that to end the filibusters of full repeal MORE Democratic senators need to be defeated in 2018, a year in which a proportionally inordinate number of current Democratic seats will be at risk.
The second reality is that beyond a couple corporate sales gimmicks as window dressing, there is nothing in the ACA worth saving. Otherwise it's just a pile of byzantine bureaucratic junk.
Notwithstanding anecdotal stories of individual people saving money over what they were paying before, we are STILL paying absurdly more for our medical care than any other first world country, because the ACA corruptly put the medical insurance companies in charge of setting prices, which are already dramatically escalating, in what are now degenerating into single provider "markets" with no actual competition.
The third reality is that there will necessarily be a debate on what to replace it with, and THAT is our opportunity and our opening.
Republicans have sworn a nauseous number of times that they will replace it (they just refuse to say with what exactly). The majority of Americans agree with them that it's not good enough. . and SO MUST WE, and make that majority our own by demanding that the ACA be replaced with something truly better, Medicare For All.
If Democrats had passed Medicare For All in the first place, they would still be in power today. They had bigger majorities in 2008 than the Republicans have today. And they poured all that power down the drain by trying to con the American people with a corporate boondoggle masquerading as health care reform.
The fourth reality is that Medicare is not only very popular, it is popular with the highest participation segment of the electorate, which are the seniors. These are people who VOTE, and this is the most important point of all. When the Republicans try to turn Medicare into some privatization scam, as they will, these VOTERS are not going to like it.
We can and must make a powerful political argument that the best way to strengthen Medicare is to bring more people, younger people into the system, at the same time getting them covered and cutting their health care costs as well, in a system with 2-3% overhead and bargaining power for the people, versus 20-30% administrative losses under corporate rule plus out of control costs for the medical care itself.
It is an election winning argument.
There are other issues we care about and will also fight for. But for example, as urgent as WE know the climate change crisis is already, average people in their everyday lives do not have enough of a personal connection with this threat to win elections against it on this bandwagon. And by the time the water is at enough of their doors for that to happen it will be too late to keep 50% of FL from going under water. But the same politicians who will pass Medicare For All we can get to vote to fight climate change.
So there you have it. We have given you the winning line.
We are told that 5 million people signed petitions this week to get the members of the electoral college to stop Trump, and the initiative was a miserable flop, again just as we predicted.
Why was it such miserable, embarrassing, naive, desperate flop? Can we deal with reality here?
The most obvious explanation is because these PARTISAN operative electors are not up for election again (technically they were shadow elected by the votes by state) in an identifiable way so we have no leverage on them. By contrast the Republican party has massive leverage on them by threatening to essentially excommunicate them if they had gone rogue.
But show us 5 million petition submissions, directed at members of Congress who ARE all up for reelection, calling for Medicare for All NOW, and we'll show you more political power than you can possibly imagine. We only have about 5,000 submissions so far, that's short by a factor of 1000 to 1, so you folks all need to get busy immediately sharing this action page … presuming you actually want to start winning again.
Medicare For All NOW action page: https://www.utalk.us/?a=medicare_for_all_now
And for the McAfee challenged, you can always submit our classic action page at
We are giving away free Medicare For All NOW bumper sticker to anyone who requests one. Show us 5 million bumper sticker requests and we'll show you a Congress with hardly a Republican in sight.
Medicare For All Now bumper stickers:
We have "Single Payer Health Care" caps.
Plus, we'd love to see your proposed t-shirt designs and we'll do a t-shirt too. Submit your wonderful creative artwork and we'll have a participant vote on which one to go with.
And two years from now we can do yet another post mortem on how not just Democratic party members, but progressives in general, became a permanent political non-factor. Generally you must be on our participant list to receive our messages. But this one we will publish elsewhere online so you can look back then on what we predicted so clearly today.
In the meantime if you just feel inspired to support our messages of political truth and reality, why not make a valiant contribution, and you can even make it recurrent by check the box for that.
You may forward this message to any friends who would find it important.
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CELEBRATING ANOTHER YEAR IN SOLAR
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Winter has arrived, and--hooray!--it actually feels like a real winter. Despite the chill, we're feeling grateful that the weather seems to fit the season: a little sun, just enough cold, and plenty of rain.
This summer, Mendocino Solar Service celebrated our 23rd year helping Mendocino County connect to solar. We send out a heartfelt thank you to all our customers who have stepped forward as environmentally conscious leaders in their community by investing in clean, green & local solar energy.
The Year 2016 was another banner year for solar energy. Around the country, across our State, and right here in Mendocino County, solar energy use continued to surge.
In this issue of News from the Solar System we will put a wrap on 2016 by sharing some solar news highlights from the year.
Bruce Erickson & Maggie Watson, Co-Owners,
Mendocino Solar Service, Mendocino
STATE AND FEDS WILL RELEASE EIS FOR DELTA TUNNELS PLAN TOMORROW
by Dan Bacher
Just in time for the Holidays, the California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced they will release their 80,000-page Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/ EIS) for the Delta Tunnels plan on Thursday, December 22, 2016.
The release of the huge document by the two lead agencies for the project comes at a critical time for the future of Governor Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels project, the California WaterFix. The two top officials at the Department of Water Resources are retiring on December 31, while the new Donald Trump administration, filled with many controversial environmental appointees, will take the helm in Washington D.C. on January 21.
The document will be available at
According to a statement from Restore the Delta (RTD), “This document represents the agencies’ final attempt to convince state and federal regulators that their proposal for twin 40-foot, 30-mile long water tunnels to transfer Sacramento River water beneath the San Francisco Bay-Delta can meet environmental and water quality standards under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a feat no previous version of the proposal has achieved."
"Despite any claims by project supporters, this document is by no means an approval of the proposal. It is akin to the submission of homework to be graded," the group said.
As the Department and the Bureau jointly told the State Water Board at the end of November 2016, the environmental report cannot be finalized until a biological opinion is completed in March or April 2017. They told the Board they would finalize the report “at approximately the same time” as when the biological opinion is released, according to RTD.
“How thoughtful of Delta Tunnel lead agencies to dump this document on defenders of the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary just before the holidays. For comparison, an 80,000-page document is roughly 66 Bibles long,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “We will begin digging through the information, evaluating agency replies to public comments included in this document, engage in the process moving forward, and prepare for litigation if required.”
The 80,000-page document is being released as the Delta Tunnels plan faces increasing opposition from fishermen, Tribal leaders, conservationists, environmental justice advocates, scientists and elected officials because it would destroy West Coast salmon and other fish populations and devastate family farms and communities throughout the Delta.
The Water Fix is based on the absurd contention that taking up to 9,000 cubic feet per second of water from the Sacramento River at the new points of diversion, as requested in the petition by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to the State Water Resources Control Board, will somehow “restore” the Delta ecosystem.
I am not aware of a single project in US or world history where the construction of a project that takes more water out of a river or estuary has resulted in the restoration of that river or estuary.
You can read a transcript of my testimony before the State Water Resources Control Board at: http://fishsniffer.com/index.php/2016/07/30/delta-tunnels-restoring-an-estuary-by-diverting-its-water/
Bill Croyle Named Acting Director of CA Department of Water Resources
Governor Jerry Brown has named Bill Croyle as the acting director of the Department of Water Resources, according to an internal memo from John Laird, the Secretary for Natural Resources of California, sent to DWR employees on December 13.
Croyle will replace Mark Cowin, who is retiring after 36 years with the agency, including nearly 7 years as DWR director. Croyle will assume his new position on January 1, 2017.
Mr. Croyle joined the Department in August of 2007 and served more than six years as Chief of Flood Operations, according to Laird. He is currently the Deputy Director for Emergency Preparedness and Security.
Before joining DWR, he worked for more than 23 years for the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Mr. Croyle is a registered professional engineer with a B.S. in civil engineering from California State University, Sacramento.
“Please join me in congratulating Bill and giving him full support in his new role,” said Laird to the DWR employees.
“My colleagues and I at the Natural Resources Agency also express gratitude to Mark Cowin, who retires December 31 after nearly seven years as director of DWR,” said Laird. “He started in the department’s Fresno office 36 years ago as a civil engineering graduate of Stanford University. Mark has served California well as a pragmatic, empathetic statesman in perennial water resources conflicts. His energy and talent have been crucial to the development of water policy - including the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and a $7.5 billion water bond — that will serve future Californians well.”
Laird said Cowin “will continue to serve the administration in an advisory role.”
Mike Jackson, legal counsel for the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), responded to news of Croyle’s appointment by stating, “He is a dedicated public servant and will be very loyal to the department that he heads. I don't seen much difference between him and Mark Cowin.”
Jackson did note that Croyle understands water quality better than most DWR employees. “Hopefully, his water quality experience will result in him telling the Governor about the terrible water quality problems that will be compounded by the California WaterFix,” said Jackson.
Carl Torgersen, the DWR Chief Deputy Director, will also be retiring from his position at the agency at the end of 2016. Who will replace him has not been made public yet.