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Mendocino County Today: Friday, Jan. 6, 2017

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by Paul McCarthy

NOAA just increased the projected flooding level of the Navarro River from 27.3' to 29.5' - which would place it at #16 on the "All Time" list of Navarro River floods.

(AVA ED NOTE: As of late Thursday, the forecast flood level had gone up even further to 32.5 — just below “major flood level” — which would place it at #13 on all time flood levels — starting abour Midday Saturday and continuing into Monday.)

MSP was asked by several viewers WHEN Highway 128 would be closed from the flooding and HOW LONG? The flood level of the Navarro River is 23.0'.

It's not an easy question to answer.

Highway 128 has been closed twice this water season - that began October 1, 2016.

The first time 128 closed was when the sandbar refused to breach backing up water over the highway - from Monday, November 14th @ 11:13 am to Saturday, November 19 @ 8:45 pm - ironically, it was closed for 128 hours!

The second time Highway 128 was closed was when the river actually flooded - but 128 was closed BEFORE it reached the 23.0' flood level. On Thursday, December 15th @ 1:09 pm the highway was closed when the river level was 20.64' - a little under three feet BELOW flood stage.

The road was re-opened 18 hours later Friday @ 7:07 am.

And remember - Highway 1 was also shut down by the flooding at the Garcia River.

So, our advice is to follow MSP - we'll be following this event closely utilizing CalTrans & CHP scanner feeds as we always do.

Here is a list of previous Navarro River "Historic Crests:"

(1) 40.60 ft on 12/22/1955

(2) 39.81 ft on 12/31/2005

(3) 39.13 ft on 01/16/1974

(4) 38.64 ft on 12/22/1964

(5) 38.20 ft on 12/15/1937

(6) 36.93 ft on 01/26/1983

(7) 36.34 ft on 01/05/1966

(8) 35.69 ft on 02/17/1986

(9) 35.44 ft on 01/24/1970

(10) 35.09 ft on 12/31/1996

(11) 33.42 ft on 01/17/1954

(12) 32.95 ft on 03/30/1974

(13) 30.49 ft on 01/09/1995

(14) 30.48 ft on 12/02/2012

(15) 30.10 ft on 12/11/2014 (P)

(16) 29.45 ft on 02/07/2015

(17) 26.70 ft on 03/24/2011

(18) 25.67 ft on 03/28/2012

(19) 25.57 ft on 01/20/2010

(20) 25.15 ft on 02/23/2009

(21) 24.10 ft on 03/29/2014

PS. Winds accompanying the Saturday-Wednesday storm will be blustery ranging from 15-25 mph in a more or less northerly direction. Rainfall accumulations for the period are expected to be 5-8 inches.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I'm ready for the big storm. Get me a battery-powered radio and my new house. Bring it on!”

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WITH BIG PHARMA (aka Big Dope) poised to move big time into Mendocino County, we decided to take a look back at last June’s report by Jane Futcher, writing in the AVA about the ever-changing pot regulation landscape.

At that time, May of 2016, Mendo had issued an “urgency ordinance,” a preliminary version of the County 9.31 cultivation ordinance, in anticipation of the looming Green Rush. The urgency was explained in its intro: “in the  absence  of  a  formal  regulatory framework” the County was adopting this ordinance because “the negative impacts frequently associated with marijuana cultivation are expected to   increase,  resulting  in  an unregulated,  unstudied  and  potentially  significant   negative  impact on  the  environment  and  upon  the  public  peace,  health  and safety.”

According to Futcher, on May 26 of 2016, Mendocino County Undersheriff Randy Johnson, who represents the Sheriff on all cannabis matters, told an assembly of about 100 north county pot growers, “When we come out and inspect I don't want to see more than 99 plants.”

Presumably Johnson meant 99 plants per parcel, so questions would certainly arise about parcel sizes and ownership of those parcels and how many parcels to a customer.

Johnson also said, “Multiple permits to the same farmer are not permitted but may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis,” whatever the hell that means.

We have been unable to find out which of the various county offices are (were?) responsible for final approval of a pot growing permit under the Urgency Ordinance. The Sheriff, the Planning Department, the Ag Department and the Treasurer-Tax Collector all have a role. But there’s nothing indicating who has final approval and who is supposed to enforce the permit terms.

To qualify to grow green meds under the “urgency ordinance," an applicant had to provide "Proof of prior cultivation,” i.e., “evidence  satisfactory  to the  Sheriff that,  no  later   than  May  17,  2016,  the registrant or applicant has taken demonstrable steps toward the development of a commercial  medical  cannabis  cultivation  site  on  the  parcel…” by providing one of several official documents, or “any similarly reliable documentary evidence satisfactory to the Sheriff that establishes that medical cannabis was planted and grown on the parcel to be registered prior to May 17, 2016.”

These regs are subject to interpretation, and Undersheriff Johnson is the interpreter.

What if the grower's "proof of prior cultivation" is faked, as it clearly has been in a case we are aware of; what if a neighbor disputes what the Sheriff — i.e., Undersheriff Johnson — accepted as proof of prior cultivation? Or disputing the proof that the end user really is “medical”? What if a neighbor thinks that the 99 plant limit is being exceeded? Will the Sheriff/Undersheriff Johnson provide a complaining neighbor with the documents Johnson used to grant the permit?

Enforcement: “The  County  may  abate  the  violation  of  this  Chapter in  accordance  with  the   provisions  of County  Code  Chapter 8.75  or by  the  prosecution  of a civil  action, including  an  action for injunctive relief.  The remedy  of injunctive relief may take   the  form of  a  court  order,  enforceable  through  civil  contempt  proceedings,  prohibiting  the  maintenance  of  the  violation  of  this  Chapter  or requiring   compliance with other terms.”

Which seems to be no enforcement at all. Are neighbors really expected to take a suspected permit violator to civil court? Would the County do it? What evidence would be required? What rules would apply?

It's obviously a mess. Not only is pot growing legalization a moving target, but the County's regs themselves are a moving target. Are the earlier applicants with some nebulous "proof of prior cultivation" subject to the new improved rules the County is now bragging about working on (as opposed to those "industry friendly" rules the pot growers proposed via Measure AF which went down to near 2-1 defeat)?

If the Sheriff can’t or won’t enforce violations, and if the above “enforcement” section is the only enforcement option for the public, why even have the regulations, old or new?

Mendo is poised to venture into the pot regulation arena with lots of nice sounding pot regulation paperwork — but, like with the wine industry, no real regulation on the ground.

The "green rush" thus appears to be more of a rush to get your permit, then do whatever you want — before the regs kick in, if they ever do kick in.

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BLACKBIRD FARM is a quasi-educational operation located on 245 acres deep in the hills west of Philo. The owner is a Los Angeles charter school entrepreneur named John Hall. Charter schools are funded out of public education money. Hall and his family are a kind of mini-conglomerate, with both non-profit and for-profit operations in several states. He has been sued by the State of California for funding improprieties. His legal difficulties have been spelled out in a series of articles by the Los Angeles Times.

HALL wants to radically expand his Philo property to accommodate 292 transient visitors, meaning he has a major hotel-like resort business in mind on a property accessed only by narrow, poorly maintained country roads.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY has never been more united in opposing a proposed project. Many residents fear the County's Planning Commission will either permit Hall's expansion whole or reduce the number to a "compromise" that is still so large it will transform West Philo to an urban level of use not  only wildly incompatible with a rural area which does not have the community resources capable of serving a large-scale facility.

PROBLEMS WITH THE BLACKBIRD RANCH proposal to raise their allowed occupancy from 37 to a whopping 292 continue to perplex local agencies. Just this week Anderson Valley Fire Chief Andres Avila reconsidered his position concerning the designation of the roads into and out of the Ranch to be one-way roads as a way, however difficult, to allow emergency vehicles to get to the site in the event of a fire or other emergency.

AFTER A CAREFUL READING of the regs, Avila saw that such one-way road designations are not applicable over the lengths of the narrow five miles of winding private road into the property from downtown Philo. The road into the property would have to be much wider than it is, at least 20 feet. It is presently a 12-foot dirt road. It would also need to be brought up to current road standards, i.e., paved.

COMBINED WITH BLACKBIRD’S failure to deal obtain building permits for the structures it has erected since buying the property, and its failure to prepare a proper emergency plan, along with only partial and grudging compliance with previously agreed to upgrades, this latest access assessment from AV's fire chief would seem to make their radical capacity request unlikely.

BLACKBIRD'S neighbors, over whose land the narrow access road runs, would probably not willingly grant easements to do the required road upgrade. They are all opposed at this point.

AT WHAT POINT will the mounting major problems — problems that so far the County’s crack planning staff seems to deem minor to non-existent — be enough to cause Blackbird to withdraw this crazy idea and retreat to LA.

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HELP WANTED: Philo Office Asst, AP/AR, QB, EXCEL, confident computer & writing skills. PT or FT with required skills, Resume:

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by Mary Orlin

The fog lifts slowly in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley, revealing rows upon rows of pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling and gerwürztraminer vines flanked by evergreen-covered mountain ridges. On one of those ridges, an upstart winery is taking root.

Neither Dan nor Stephanie Rivin planned wine careers originally, but today, Roman vineyard is part of their home property. The couple sells grapes to Sonoma’s Littori winemaker Ted Lemmon, but The Princess & the Peasant is their own winery label — and the name has double meaning. He was born in Russia. She grew up in Saudi Arabia. And they’re on a mission to showcase Mendocino’s diverse vineyards and wine varietals.

Dan’s family fled Russia when he was 5, looking for better economic opportunities. To ensure their return to Russia, authorities told his parents they had a choice — they could either leave their son or their belongings behind, Dan says. “We went to Boston with nothing but the clothes on our backs and one bag,” he says.

Stephanie’s family moved to Saudi Arabia when she was 9. People would come up to her and stroke her blond hair. “The land is full of rich, exotic spices, carpets and gold, very much like what people think of from the movie ‘Aladdin,’” she says. “The joke in my life is I get down in the vineyard dirt, and everyone says, ‘I thought you were a Saudi Arabian princess.’”

Stephanie and Dan met in San Francisco, married, then moved to Mendocino in search of affordable housing — not to work in the wine industry. Dan launched an internet design company and Stephanie worked at a nursery.

“I quickly found out that pot growers don’t need websites,” Dan says. Instead, wineries became his business mainstay, and the wine bug bit.

They ended up working at the now defunct Breggo Cellars, where they learned winemaking on the job. Dan went on to make wine at Golden Eye, which is owned by Napa’s Duckhorn Vineyards, and Stephanie became the winemaker at Signal Ridge Vineyard. But they wanted to do something more than make high-end pinot noir.

“Over the hills in Ukiah, there is a completely different geology and climate,” Dan says.

“You find little vineyard pockets with the most oddball varietals — vermentino, colombard, every white Italian varietal you can think of — in Potter Valley, Redwood Valley and the Talmage area,” Stephanie says. “The discovery of what else is out there woke up our wine passion.”

Then Signal Ridge owner Roger Scommegna offered the Rivins two tons of 2013 pinot noir. Soon the Rivins were off and running. Scommegna also gave the Rivins their label’s name, after a visiting UC Davis extension coordinator called the pinot noir and zinfandel growing together in Signal Ridge’s vineyard “the princess and the peasant.”

“Roger just looked at me,” Stephanie recalls, “and said, ‘Princess and peasant represents you and Dan.’”

The couple’s goal is to turn people on to Mendocino’s wine diversity.

“We can make delicious, world class, everyday wines together with Mendocino’s old-school farmers,” Stephanie says. “We are trying to discover the wine world’s next frontier.”

You can taste The Princess & the Peasant’s carignan ($22) and pinot noir ($39) at Signal Ridge Vineyard’s Philo tasting room. Open daily for complimentary tastings at The Madrones, 9000 Highway 128, Philo;

(Courtesy, San Jose Mercury News)

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Escareno (2014)

Pulling this news item from the slow learner file drawer, the same Marcos Cattarino Escareno, age 24, of Manchester, was sentenced to state prison Wednesday afternoon by Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman. Escareno had been charged with absconding by the DA, and he previously admitted having absconded from both parole and probation supervision for almost a year. The defense request that the defendant be allowed another chance on probation was denied, and the previously suspended six year state prison commitment was ordered executed upon and imposed. Because he personally inflicted great bodily injury in a 2014 assault, Escareno will be required to serve 85% of the sixty month sentence.

(DA Press Release)


Escareno, who was convicted for voluntary manslaughter in 2009, pleaded guilty Monday in an unrelated incident for a 2014 felony assault.

Escareno, then 22, avoided going to a jury trial by pleading guilty to felony assault by force likely to inflict great bodily injury, which he admitted that he had inflicted upon the victim who sustained major trauma to the head and upper body.

The victim was at a birthday party next to the Garcia River when he was attacked by two men who had fled the scene. One of them was Escareno.

Escareno was prosecuted as an adult and convicted in 2009 for voluntary manslaughter in the February 2007 killing of Enoch Cruz. Escareno, who was 14 years old at the time of the killing, received a 10-year state prison sentence in March 2010.

However, due to some dedicated advocacy by court appointed special advocate Norm de Vall and a team of assistants, Escareno was instead housed at the California Youth Authority, a housing placement which he was found to be ineligible for because of his firearm use in the death of Cruz, Geniella said.

Prison realignment in 2011 closed the Youth Authority and Escareno returned to Mendocino County, where he got another break from state juvenile authorities for early release.

Mendocino County District Attorney Dave Eyster objected at that time, saying that Escareno’s original placement at the Youth Authority was illegal, and that he still had significant prison time to serve, and any remaining time should be served in a prison facility.

Although Eyster objected, the local court ordered said that was enough and gave Escareno credit for a fully-completed state prison sentence on March 21, 2014 and put him on parole.

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DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S 4th Quarter 2016 Non-medicinal Marijuana Prosecution Statistics:

Please note that this is the District Attorney's first quarterly marijuana-related crimes conviction report since the passage of Proposition 64 on November 8th. Eleven defendants with felony charges pending (primarily cases involving possession of black market marijuana for profit) experienced immediate P64 benefit as their felonies were each reduced by law to misdemeanors.

Overall, forty-eight (48) individuals charged in Mendocino County with an illegal marijuana-related primary offense had their cases resolved during the 4th quarter of the 2016 calendar year. The resulting conviction rate for the quarter was 71%, the lowest conviction rate for a quarter since these stats began being compiled in early 2011.

Of the 48 people charged with a primary offense involving illegal marijuana-related crimes, 14 individuals had their case dismissed in its entirety. This was required because of the new legal requirements imposed midstream on law enforcement and the prosecution by Prop 64.

Of the remaining 34, 3 were convicted of non-marijuana related crimes.

Of the the remaining 31, three defendants were convicted of marijuana-related felonies. One of the three received a local prison sentence.

Of the then remaining 28, all were convicted of a marijuana-related misdemeanors. Of the 28, 26 who were placed on either supervised (formal) or summary (informal) probation, each is subject to warrantless search and seizure on demand of any peace officer, as well as being subject to other terms and conditions.

For 23 of the 26, one term and condition of their probation is to complete court-ordered community service. In this quarter, 2,775 hours of community service were collectively ordered on this category of crime. The hours ordered work out to be approximately 121 hours per person. The hours ordered generally have to be completed within 6 months up to one year, enrollment and completion being monitored by MLAS.

Note: The conviction information provided above does not include convictions suffered by defendants for marijuana-related BHO and other chemical extraction lab crimes.

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According to the Mendocino County Jail site, the 5'9", 190-pound Mr. John Gray was arrested by the Willits Police Department Tuesday, January 3 at 4:30pm.

He was booked on two felony charges Wednesday - $75,000 bail.

He was still behind bars as of noon Thursday.

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 5, 2016

Bustos, Garcia, Gray

CARATINO BUSTOS, Ukiah. Domestic assault.

ROMAN GARCIA, Fort Bragg. Dirk-dagger, protective order violation.

DONALD GRAY, Willits. Domestic assault, elder abuse.

Miller, Murphy, Pelkey

GERALD MILLER, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

WESLEY MURPHY, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

MICHAEL PELKEY, Fort Bragg. Under influence.

Raya-Leyva, Shoemaker, Virgen

ASHLEY RAYA-LEYVA, Ukiah. Embezzlement.

ELIZABETH SHOEMAKER (repost with photo), Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, battery of peace officer.

JOSE VIRGEN, Lucerne/Ukiah. DUI.

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by Darren Delmore

While tasting wines around a table in Sonoma County over Thanksgiving break, I was asked a question by a famous, experimental French winemaker: “What about you? What are you into? What do you drink?”

A decade ago when I bounced around hemispheres with my responsibilities limited to putting in a hard harvest stint twice a year and keeping my funds from insufficiency, I would’ve had a much more engaging answer on specific wines I loved, complete with producer names and even vintages probably. They would’ve been fairly expensive bottles. Now with a wife, two small children that I have to keep from choking and drowning daily, insurmountable bills and a depleted wine allowance, I stumbled for an answer, and then replied almost subconsciously. “Crozes-Hermitage mostly.”

He was as surprised as I was. It’s not a common response from a Californian, nor anyone from anywhere for that matter. And it certainly doesn’t qualify as bragging rights either. If Crozes-Hermitage is the wine that’s regularly at your dinner table then you probably pedal home through some Northern Rhone village with it in a burlap sack along with a silly baguette and jar of grey terrine not all too distinguishable from a can of Whiskas cat food.

Though when spoken it sounds a little exotic, maybe even somewhat elite, Crozes-Hermitage is mostly poor man’s Hermitage, from the lowly and endless flatlands of the Northern Rhone Valley. With the exception of the river, it’s not all much different topographically than, say, Bakersfield, California, save for the lack of monster trucks and tank-topped civilians. I was citing the red wine here in my answer to the Frenchman, which is Syrah, often on the simple and savory side, mid-weight, with more spice than fruit and more pepper than tannin, which satisfies the Pinot Noir fan in me. A good bottle of red wine from this AOC costs a mere $20 US Dollars, though there are single vineyard exceptions that top out at $50.

“Which producers?” he asked after a pause.

“Guigal is good. Domaine Belle I like. Jaboulet. Emmanuel Darnaud. Nicolas Perrin is making a great one.” I paused. When had this become my jam? It sort of quietly happened, without my former wine aficionado self even really knowing it. “I think the Rhone is one of the last wine regions in the world where you get the most bang for your buck,” I concluded.

In my opinion, whether they’re grown in the actual Rhone, California, Australia or even Spain, Rhone varieties represent the last of the world’s greatest wine values. Not that there aren’t cheaper wines made from all grape varieties available in California. There certainly are, if you don’t mind drinking dyes, flavoring agents, walnut tannins and enough added sulfites to bleach the jolliest of Christmas sweaters.

It’s no surprise the winemaker didn’t ask me any questions about Burgundy afterward. In fact, I think the discussion was over.

When we returned home on the central coast, I nonchalantly opened a bottle of 2012 Domaine Belle “Cuvée Louis Belle” Crozes-Hermitage before dinner and my wife laughed at me, since I shared the tale of how I strangely answered the winemaker’s question. “Poor man’s juice tonight? Really?”

“Sir?” I began in a horrible, British beggar accent. “Kind sir? Can you spare two shillings for kerosene for my lantern? I might not make it through evening’s end.”

She wanted to taste this concoction that I had so proudly proclaimed to be where my palate was at. Two seconds in she scowled and nearly spit it out. Sure the Belle had moldy aromas, like all good Burgundy seems to have from decades of letting the spores run amok in the cellars, but isn’t that part of the whole sense of place thing the French call terroir? At 13 percent alcohol with no sweetened oak flavor to help this wine go down easy, the Crozes-Hermitage had a dank purity and structure that I loved, even though, to my better half, it came across like the butts of a thousand cigarettes clogging a Seattle city storm drain. I was apparently alone in my love for this cheap yet authentic wine, both in my house and possibly the world. What I feared about the wine world before I set foot in it was that good wine was only for the wealthy. Well, the good news is that it’s not, if you’re not afraid to look to the outlying areas or village-level cuvées, foreign and domestic, by the right winemakers.

Thanks to areas like my beloved Crozes, or Cotes du Rhone, you can drink regularly well, and sometimes even better, than those sipping Grand Cru nectars over white tablecloths. And the amount of money you can save by doing so makes you feel like you’re getting away with something.

I’m encountering more wine lists and retail selections put together by likeminded individuals who have taken the hunt to the next level to find wine for the people. Especially with the changing climate of West Coast wine prices, courtesy of Golden State real estate, where honestly made value wines now begin at $25 and estate grown bottles seem to start at $50. Good non-manipulated Pinot and honest Cabernet Sauvignon from American soils are delicious but will cost you, and if you always have wines like these at dinner, you probably don’t have toddlers like me, and if you do, there’s surely a nanny or two on the payroll. At my house, where family dinner lasts an average of 4 minutes before one child destroys her diaper and the other opts for the nonedible gingerbread house, there’s not much time to swirl and pontificate at the moment, but the wine lover in me still wants something real and satisfying in my glass, maybe just to fool me into thinking that I’m not in hell. And for now, I guess Crozes-Hermitage does the trick.

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NOAM CHOMSKY on Russian hacking US politics/elections allegations: “It’s possible. But it’s a rather strange complaint, coming from the United States. The United States has been interfering with and undermining elections all over the world for decades — and is proud of it. So yeah, maybe they’re doing it too.”

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Mendocino, California

Saturday January 14

Author Talk with Lisa Locascio

Acclaimed author and writing teacher Lisa Locascio will read some of her latest short works.  Her short stories have been widely published and she has held teaching appointments at numerous colleges and universities as well as the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference. 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm Free & open to the public More information at 707.937.2665 or

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Saturday January 21

Local Authors Night

Four short talks, one great evening! Featured presenters will be Tony Anthony, Jaye Moscariello, Carolyne Cathey, and Lily Christensen. 6:30 to 8:00 pm Free & open to the public More information at 707.937.2665 or

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Sunday January 29

Young Poets: Voices of the Future

Student poets from around Mendocino County will read from their poems, all selected for one of three annual poetry anthologies. 4:00 to 5:00 pm Free & open to the public More information at 707.937.2665 or

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Sunday February 5

Gallery Bookshop's Teen Council

Teens are welcome to join this group on the first Sunday of every month to discover not-yet-published young adult books, discuss favorite reads, and help steer the bookshop's YA section! No application necessary — just show up prepared to discuss books! 6:30 to 7:30 pm Free & open to kids age 13 to 19 More information at 707.937.2665 or

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Monday February 6

Open Book Club

This public book club meets on the first Monday of each month. Drop in even if you haven't had a chance to read the selection yet. This month's selection is The Lightkeepers by Abby Geni. 6:30 to 7:30 pm Free and open to the public More information at 707.937.2665 or

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Know Your Rights!

Immigration Rights & Protecting Undocumented Individuals by Antoinette Gonzalez, California-licensed attorney

Tuesday, January 17th @ 6 pm

Know Your Rights! Join us for a presentation by local attorney, Antoinette Gonzalez, about immigration rights & how best to prepare & protect undocumented individuals. She will also share information about potential immigration remedies & about “What’s Next? - Proposed Immigration Relief.”

Antoinette Gonzalez is a California licensed attorney & a solo practitioner that enjoys legal advocacy in immigration and nationality law. She is currently a Board Member of the Northern CA Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

For more information * please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or

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LOBA: a Poetry Reading Series featuring Maw Shein Win! (Open Mic follows)

Saturday, January 28th 3 - 4:30 pm

Join us for a reading with Maw Shein Win, El Cerrito’s first Poet Laureate! Open mic follows. Teens & adults are invited to share poems in any form or style.

A feminist epic by Diane di Prima, LOBA is a visionary epic quest for the reintegration of the feminine, hailed by many as the great female counterpart to Allen Ginsberg's Howl when the first half appeared in 1978. Loba, "she-wolf" in Spanish explores the wilderness at the heart of experience, through the archetype of the wolf goddess, elemental symbol of complete self-acceptance.

Maw Shein Win is a poet, editor, and educator who lives and works in the Bay Area. Her writing has appeared in various journals, including Cimarron Review, Fanzine, Eleven Eleven, the Fabulist, and the anthology Cross-Strokes: Poetry Between Los Angeles and San Francisco (Otis Books/Seismicity Editions).  Ruins of a glittering palace, her collaborative chapbook, with paintings by Mark Dutcher, was published by SPA/Commonwealth Projects. She is a poetry editor for Rivet: The Journal of Writing that Risks and an instructor at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. Her new chapbook, Score and Bone, published by Nomadic Press was recently nominated for a CLMP Firecracker Award. She is the first poet laureate of El Cerrito.

Light refreshments will be served. For more information * please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or

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I'm here to call bullshit on ”Trumptopia”. Those manufacturing plants will NEVER come back. Who will fund them? Who will invest in them? Shareholder values have so taken over America that no one wants to participate in any project if the gains don’t come rolling in within a calendar quarter.

The Trump vote was an effete vote by angry white guys lusting for the 1950s and 1960s. One problem with the Trump dream can be witnessed in white millennials. In a word, they’re pathetic. That’s why all the valedictoria in schools with sizable Asian majorities are almost entirely Asian. The race going downhill the fastest in America is the white race. Instead of achieving they’re just going to mewl.

Where, in a country $19T in debt, is Trump going to get the dough to fund WPA/TVA types of projects, assuming there’s real willpower behind this. The Trump vote was a vote to bring back Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

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by Dan Bacher

Rejecting the call by fishermen, Tribes, conservationists, family farmers and environmental justice advocates to terminate the Delta Tunnels plan, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on January 4 issued a Secretarial Order that will mandate the completion of Governor Jerry Brown’s controversial California WaterFix process “in a timely manner.”

The final Biological Opinion will be issued by April 2017 — and the decision to sign a Record of Decision will be made by the next Secretary under the Trump administration, according to the order.

The Obama administration order directs the Department of Interior and its agencies to  “take timely actions to help address the effects of drought and climate change on California’s water supply and imperiled wildlife.”

Regarding the Delta Tunnels project, the order directs Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) “to allocate available resources, as necessary, to complete in a timely manner the Biological Opinions under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and a Record of Decision on the environmental documents for California WaterFix.”

The Secretarial Order directs the Fish and Wildlife Service to “take all necessary actions" to issue an initial Draft Biological Opinion in January 2017 and a final Draft Biological Opinion by March 2017 after incorporating the results of "independent scientific peer reviews." Following these reviews, a final Biological Opinion will be  issued by April 2017.

The order also specifies that the Department, working with the State and others, “will promptly review and consider any information received after publication of the Final EIR/EIS and issuance of the Biological Opinions, and will then be prepared to sign a Record of Decision. This decision will be made by the next Secretary.”

In a press release, Deputy Secretary Michael L. Connor claimed, “This Secretarial Order is a practical and broad-based strategy to help protect California’s water lifeline for present and future generations. This order will ensure the integration of the Department’s actions with those of the State of California to provide a reliable drinking water supply for the public, sustain California’s agriculture, and continue to protect the Bay Delta ecosystem and enhance the conservation of species.”

Governor Jerry Brown lauded the Interior Secretary’s order, referring to the WaterFix’s so-called coequal goals of water reliability and ecosystem restoration.

“Today’s action tracks closely with the state’s multi-pronged Water Action Plan and commits the federal government to a timely review of the California WaterFix project,” said Brown. “This state-federal partnership is what’s needed to improve water reliability for residents and farmers and protect vulnerable ecosystems.”

In addition to the section of the order directing the the speedy completion of the California WaterFix, the agency ordered other related actions, including: a collaborative Delta science engagement process; a Delta smelt "resiliency" strategy; reinitiation of consultation under the Endangered Species Act on coordinated long term operations on the Central Valley Project and State Water project; active engagement in the development for flow requirements and coordination on flows with ESA requirements; and a winter-run Chinook "Species in the Spotlight" Action Plan.

You can read the full press release and Secretarial Declaration here:

Robin Swanson of Californians for Water Security, an agribusiness-funded group promoting the Delta Tunnels project, praised the Obama administration decision, calling it a "good signal."

“Our broad coalition of businesses, labor, family farmers, public safety and civil justice leaders applauds the Obama Administration and Interior Secretary Jewel for pushing to accelerate federal environmental reviews of California WaterFix," said Swanson. "It is a good signal and we look forward to continuing to work with the current Administration as well as the new Trump Administration."

“In the past few weeks, we have made critical strides moving this project forward. The final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was released on December 22, reflecting more than 300 days of public review, 600 public meetings throughout the State, and responses and revisions based on more than 40,000 public comments, concluding that WaterFix is the only viable plan to protect our state’s water supply and the environment," she said.

Delta Tunnels opponents strongly condemned Jewell's controversial order. Congressman John Garamendi slammed the declaration as "an outrageous attempt by the Secretary of the Interior to direct a scientific outcome."

"It’s unconscionable," said Garamendi in a statement. "I would have expected this from the Trump Administration, not the Obama Administration. The $15 billion twin tunnels are a financially and environmentally disastrous boondoggle that will suck the Delta dry, ravage its ecosystem, and destroy local fisheries, agriculture, and recreation."

"I strongly disagree with the Obama Administration’s decision to give this disaster of a project an expedited environmental review in the hopes of advancing construction timelines. A thorough review will show that this plan will not add a drop of new water and will destroy the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. They should never be built, and I will oppose them every step of the way," Garamendi concluded.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said that the order “doesn’t change much for us in terms of the timeline of the Delta Tunnels.”

“We understood that the biological opinion for the project would be out in the late spring of 2017,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “However, Governor Brown’s comment seems a bit desperate, as if he is trying to push the tunnels through as a completed project before President-elect Trump is in charge. The project still has a lot of sign-offs to go through.”

“Like his administration's announcement of the completion of the Delta Tunnels EIR/EIS, there is a lot of posturing by Brown that shows his desperation," she noted. “In the end, we will win, whether the permits are rejected by the permitting agencies or whether we have to litigate if the plan is approved."

The order to go "full speed" ahead on the tunnels is seen as a slap in the face to the California conservation, environmental justice, fishing and public interest organizations who have urged Secretary Jewell and other Obama Administration to terminate Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels plan before Donald Trump is inaugurated in January.

“It is time now to make the right decision,” the groups said in a letter to Jewell and other federal officials on November 28, 2016. “ The California Water Fix-- Delta Water Tunnels-- represent a financial as well as an environmental nightmare. This administration should terminate this project. Otherwise, down the road, when the obvious financial and environmental catastrophe is recognized by all, the blame will be placed on this administration.”

Groups signing the letter included Friends of the River, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Restore the Delta, Environmental Water Caucus, Center for Biological Diversity, California Water Impact Network, AqAlliance, Sierra Club California, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water and Planning and Conservation League.

The order is also a slap in the face to the Winnemem Wintu and other Tribes who are fighting to restore wild salmon to the Sacramento, San Joaquin, McCloud and other rivers, as well as to the Yurok, Hoopa Valley and Karuk Tribes who are working to restore salmon and steelhead to the Trinity and Klamath rivers. All of these rivers are currently threatened by Governor Jerry Brown's California WaterFix.

"We consider Shasta Dam a weapon of mass destruction," said Chief Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. "It has already taken our homes, sacred sites, burial sites, and stopped the salmon from returning to their historical spawning grounds. If these tunnels are built, Governor Brown’s so called ‘California WaterFix’, they will not only cause more death and destruction to the already endangered salmon, but they will encourage and motivate plans to enlarge Shasta Dam.  An enlarged Shasta Dam will flood what remaining sacred sites, and cultural sites that we still use today.”

From September 17 to October 1, 2016, the Winnemem Wintu and their allies made a 300-mile prayer journey from Sogorea Te (Glen Cove, Vallejo) to the historical spawning grounds of the winter-run Chinook salmon on the McCloud River.

"The steamroller is being fired up and outgoing Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has made sure it has plenty of fuel," according to a post on the Winnemem Wintu Facebook page responding to the order. "Does she already have her eyes on her next job in the private sector?"

"'As Chief Sisk says about the disastrous, expensive plan to raise Shasta Dam and build the Delta Tunnels to divert even more Sacramento and Trinity water for corporate agriculture and oil companies, 'This is our DAPL.'"

The California Water Fix is based on the 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. For more information, go to:

In addition to presenting a huge threat to fish, people and the Delta ecosystem, the Delta Tunnels plan doesn't make much financial sense. In his initial take on the recently released Final EIR/EIS for the Delta Tunnels proposal, Jeffrey Michael, Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, has found a plan that “Shifts Incremental Water Supplies from Central Valley Project (Farms) to the State Water Project (Cities).” To read the full article, go to:


  1. Craig Stehr January 6, 2017

    Here is some Shiva armor for the winnable battles ahead.

  2. LouisBedrock January 6, 2017

    While your gods are among the more benign that humans have created, I’d appreciate if you took your proselytizing to street corners and kept it out of the newspaper.

    The editor has requested that we don’t post videos–even of long haired mythical beings.

    • Craig Stehr January 6, 2017

      Your request is reasonable, and I will henceforth take my message to the street corners of this world. The posted bhajans are a worthwhile listen, by the way…fortifying and relaxing. Thank you for your response! ;-)))))

    • Bill Pilgrim January 6, 2017

      Ignorance created gods, and cunning took advantage of the situation.

    • LouisBedrock January 8, 2017

      Christianity is Trinitarian. In fact, it is polytheistic.

      “Depending on which Christian you ask, one of their gods created the universe, one impregnated the mother of Jesus, and one went on a suicide mission to save humanity from the ‘original sin’ of Adam and Eve.”

      Wine changes to blood, wafers become flesh, and one plus one plus one equals one. Mind numbing rubbish like this is incompatible with critical reasoning. Maybe that’s why the period of absolute dominion of the Roman Catholic Church is known as “The Dark Ages”.

      “Charles Darwin nullified Christianity 150 years ago, …the fact of evolution completely dismantles the Garden of Eden story and obliterates Jesus’ raison d’être, his faux-death as our apparent salvation from ‘original sin’. And thus the very foundations of Christianity are categorically and absolutely demolished.”

      All quotes from “The Logical Fallacies of William Lane Craig” by Michael B. Paulkovich in the AMERICAN RATIONALIST magazine of January/February 2016

      Michael B. Paulkovich is a NASA engineer, not an aging retarded housewife who believes in fairy tales and the gospel as revealed through videos.

      Judaism and Islam are rubbish too.

    • BB Grace January 8, 2017

      Ms. de Castro, If your sermon was anything like the link you shared here I’m sure those who listened were impressed as I found the article full of good thoughts which made me smile. Thank you.

      • LouisBedrock January 8, 2017


        • BB Grace January 8, 2017

          Nothing fake about it Mr. Bedrock. I genuinely found the article very impressive, so much, I made a comment, not to interfere with your conversation. For that I apologize as I had hesitated to comment, but the article was too good to let pass by as it was full of good love vibes. I love good love vibes even if they weren’t for me.

          • LouisBedrock January 8, 2017

            I withdraw the comment.

    • Harvey Reading January 8, 2017

      “Live free or die.” Surely you don’t mean the U.S., where one is watched and monitored constantly, and that’s under Obama.

  3. Jim Updegraff January 6, 2017

    I agree 100% with Louis!

    • Craig Stehr January 6, 2017

      So do I. ;-)))))

  4. Debra Keipp January 6, 2017

    Little Dog’s Big Adventure! Can just see it now – floating in his flow-tation device dog house on the atmospheric river……. Good luck little dog!!!!!

  5. Bruce McEwen January 6, 2017

    DATELINE UKIAH — At approximately six o’clock this evening, The Honorable Keith Faulder was sworn in as Mendocino County’s umpteenth white honky judge… “Mr. McEwen? Are you standing by…?”

    Aye-Aye, Skipper, just come aboard the Saturday Afternoon Club deck at teh ceremony was getting under way — here’s some early notes:

    A row of black robes, a jury of nine, as best I could count, were the sitting and retired judges who attended the swearing in of the new judge, The Hon. Keith Faulder – who has been who has been elected Mendocino County’s three-hundred and eighty-first Superior Court Judge.

    I got there just in time.

    Sheriff Thomas Allman had perhaps synchronized watches with “Judicial Control” – or whatever – and he rose to the mic in his dress uniform, his lines memorized yet somehow extemporary – and performed to the envy (in mine own humble opinion) of our Steven Sparks, the most wildly cheered celebrity in the County.
    He had prepared some remarks, and he had memorized them, which was more than could be said of the other speakers. His sentiments were memorable, and had I not been standing at attention, front and center w/ my road dog, Tommy Waynne and I were locked elbowes – and so I couldn’t, in any decorous way, take notes.

    After the Sheriff reiterated his faith in the new judge, his ancient nemesis, the mild mannered egalitarian, the humble sage, the District Attorney, was introduced.
    DA David Eyster’s speech was riveting. As I was shoveling scampi onto a paper disc with a bifurcated dining instrument and trowelling brie onto a slab of toast, he made a comment about a cleaning bill after a slip and fall in a puddle. Otherwise occupied, I missed the significance.

    Ann Moorman spoke. She had taken [NOT] the young judge-elect out on her old frigate Department A – Well, not quite. She had the docket moved to her new courtroom, the flagship of the criminal court in our glorious County, Department B.
    Moorman sat with Faulder on the bench, that first Tuesday after New Years (Sana tova, Bedrock) and watched how he handled the tiller… some times she suggest he luff-up; other times – especially when the jailbirds smelled fresh carrion – she’d just take charge, tell the legal scholars from the jailhouse to “sit down and listen to your lawyer, sir.”
    Judge Moorman helped him through the morning calendar, until coffee break at 10:30 – after that, sink or swim, he was on his own. And in is a huge swamp of misdemeanors — what with all the Prop 47 tweakers from last year, and all the Prop 64 growers from this year, Mr. Faulder stands a fair chance of learning more about drug law than, well… like me.

    Wednesday, he was at the helm of his new courtroom, Dept. A, and Judge John Behnke was on the quarterdeck with the young judge. But all Behenke did was lend an air of confidence, and right at lunchtime, Faulder brought the courtroom up into the wind, dropped the mainsail, and sat there riding on the swell as pretty as you please.
    On Thursday we were all on edge over the Steve Ryan prelim, way up in the top of the tower of justice. As it happened, the hearing had to be postponed.

  6. Harvey Reading January 8, 2017

    He didn’t ‘tell’ them in the gospels. They were written long after he was supposedly crucified, assuming he ever existed to begin with. The Bible is bad fiction.

    • LouisBedrock January 8, 2017

      Second rate, derivative fiction.

    • LouisBedrock January 9, 2017

      I like the parable about the three bears who discover that Jesus was eating their porridge.

    • Harvey Reading January 9, 2017

      Those idiots who wrote the gospels cannot even agree on the lineage of their so-called messiah. Bible scholars are a useless bunch who try mainly to justify religion.

      • LouisBedrock January 9, 2017

        However it’s amusing to read Christian apologists, young Reading.

        Justin Martyr, for example, explains the existence of prior myths of virgin births and resurrections to the devil, who, he claimed, invented those myths to deceive Christians.

  7. LouisBedrock January 9, 2017

    Greek mythology explains human madness better than stories of Jesus killing pigs, cursing fig trees, or dissing his mom.

    Consider the story of Narcissus gazing adoringly at his own image in the water: What better allegory exists for Facebook users?

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