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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017

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ONE TO TWO INCHES of rain in the Mendocino area on Friday. Laytonville was the highest recorded at just over two inches. Current predictions show another two or three inches of rain between Saturday and Monday with clearing on Tuesday and beyond. Temps during the rainy period will be mostly in the 40s, then 30s to 50s during the subsequent clear days.

THE NAVARRO RIVER didn’t reach official flood stage on Friday, according to the National Weather Service gage, but Caltrans still closed Highway 128 Friday morning. Now, as the rain amounts have moderated somewhat, the prediction is for the Navarro to reach flood stage Sunday afternoon.

HIGHWAY 128 WAS CLOSED AT 10:20 AM at Flynn Creek Road when Caltrans said the Navarro flooded Friday morning. It was still closed as of Friday evening.

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HERE IT COMES! Mendocino County's annual homeless hunt. Er, count, technically called the Mendocino County Homeless Services (MCHS) Continuum of Care. Translation: A lotta government grant money depends on a high count. ($1.7 mil) Therefore, Hospitality House of Fort Bragg, for which the homeless are crucial funding units, is asking for volunteers to literally beat the bushes. A bona fide homeless person will lead two-person teams to homeless lairs in a count that will begin at 5am on Thursday, January 26th. No word yet on when the Ukiah count begins, and Willits doesn't count at all since it doesn't really offer much in the way of homeless "services."

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For more than a year an ad hoc committee composed of former Supervisor Tom Woodhouse and current Supervisor Dan Hamburg allowed a dispute between the county’s long-time trash hauler-contractor Solid Waste of Willits and the County after fester while Jerry Ward's trash hauling outfit apparently continued to lose money on the contract to the point that his bank would no longer lend him operating money and Ward was pushed to the point of threatening to file for bankruptcy.

THEN in a matter of a few weeks when a sane supervisor, John McCowen, was appointed to the ad hoc committee to replace Woodhouse, a compromise deal was worked out which obviously could have been worked out a year ago had the pre-McCowen ad hoc committee wanted to.

ITEM 6c on the Board of Supervisors agenda for next Tuesday says:

6c) Discussion and Possible Action Including Consideration of a Proposed One (1) Year Agreement with Solid Waste of Willits (SWOW) Providing SWOW with Additional Revenue and Cost Saving Measures Related to the Provision of Solid Waste Services Pursuant to Five Existing Franchise and/or Transfer Station Agreements with SWOW (Sponsors: Supervisors Hamburg and McCowen)

Recommended Action:

  1. Authorize staff to prepare an amendment to the County/City of Fort Bragg/SWOW Caspar Transfer Station contract to add scrap metal and electronics to the recycling commodity index. (This amendment will also require City of Fort Bragg approval, who is a party to this contract)
  2. Authorize staff to implement the following items, including amending the contracts for Franchise Areas 1, 3, and 4 as necessary:
  3. A 10.09% collection rate increase to the South Coast contract. (Franchise Area 4)
  4. Transfer of ownership of the South Coast Transfer Station improvements to the County to relieve SWOW of property tax.
  5. Increase gate fees by $3.25 per cubic yard at the Covelo transfer station to help fund purchase of roll-off containers. (Franchise Area 1)
  6. Allow (temporary) closure of the Boonville, Gualala, and Westport recycling buy-back centers. The County will retain the right to direct SWOW to re-open these recycling buy-back centers in the future. (Franchise Areas 1, 3, and 4)
  7. Contract with an independent contractor per the County's contracts with SWOW, to perform an independent financial audit and/or rate-setting study, with SWOW to pay 50% of the cost. This audit/study will be the basis for determining the County' response to SWOW's request for a Larger Rate Increase.
  8. Draft an amendment to defer by 90 (ninety) days the required franchise fee payment due for the first and second quarters of 2017. (Franchise Areas 1, 3, and 4)
  9. Waive the requirement approved by the Board and as stated in a January 10, 2017letter to SHOW from County Solid Waste staff directing SWOW to obtain five performance bonds for five County contracts
  10. This proposed 1-year agreement will not take effect until the following contract terms are met:
  11. SWOW pays the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority surcharge for September 2016, which is currently past due, and the October 2016 surcharge payment which is due on January 29, 2017
  12. Caspar transfer station waste boxes are covered, with any potential leachate contained and treated

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Estimated Value to SWOW of County Solid Waste Ad Hoc Committee Recommendations Prepared for January 24, 2017 Board of Supervisors Meeting

Ad Hoc Offers to SWOW (as of May 18, 2016):

Estimated Annual Value (in parens):

  1. Reverse a 4.13% collection rate decrease to the South Coast franchise ($39,972.95)
  2. Move buy-back recycling center in Gualala to the South Coast Transfer Station. ($0)
  3. Transfer ownership of the South Coast Transfer Station Improvements to the County to relieve SWOW of property tax ($5,811.04)
  4. Move buy-back recycling center in Boonville to the Boonville Transfer Station. ($0)
  5. Increase gate fees by ($3.25 per cubic yard at Covelo Transfer Station to help fund purchase of roll-off containers ($24,514.00
  6. Add scrap metal and electronics to the recycling commodity adjustment in the Caspar Transfer Station contract (requires Fort Bragg consent) ($28,549.00)

TOTAL ESTIMATED VALUE, original Ad Hoc proposal: ($98,846.99)

Additional Ad Hoc Considerations (January 16, 2017)

  1. Close Westport, Boonville, Gualala Recycling Buy-Back Centers ($131,455.04)
  2. Raise South Coast (Franchise Area 4) rates an additional 5.96% ($57,684.93, $189,139.97)

TOTAL ESTIMATED VALUE, new Ad Hoc proposal: $287,986.96

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PRESUMABLY, Mr. Ward will accept the ad hoc committee's new proposal and the problem will be solved for the time being, albeit with higher trash dumping fees, hauling rates, and fewer places to drop off recyclables.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I watched the whole inauguration show today, and where the heck were the dogs? Not even a police dog!”

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by Justine Frederiksen

The Ukiah City Council Wednesday voted to move forward with an ordinance allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to operate within the city limits.

First conceived about a year ago by Council member Maureen Mulheren and Mayor Jim Brown, the ordinance was molded by input from officials and citizens provided in four public hearings, two before the Planning Commission and two before the City Council.

“I think we have a better product now than in November,” said Vice-Mayor Kevin Doble, referring to the last hearing Nov. 16, during which he expressed frustration with not having maps showing locations with both 250-feet and 500-feet setbacks, and said he felt dispensaries were being “rammed down our throats.”

This week, Doble said the sometimes tense discussions about the ordinance “created a better product that will serve the community better,” and he thanked staff members and Mulheren and Brown for all their work in crafting the regulations.

“My intent was not to push these businesses in particular, but to make it as easy as possible to open a business in general,” said Mulheren, adding that while there may be even more changes that need to be made to the ordinance, “until we have a dispensary, we won’t really know what changes those might be.”

The last two aspects of the ordinance the City Council needed to agree on were how far each dispensary needed to be from each other and from a “youth-oriented facility,” and whether people wanting to open a dispensary needed to have a permit approved by the Planning Commission or simply the planning director.

As for setbacks, the Ukiah Planning Commission recommended 500 feet, but Brown and Mulheren felt that would be too restrictive, and the ordinance introduced Wednesday calls for only 250 feet. The council also agreed that applicants should go before the Planning Commission for permits, with appeals being heard by the City Council.

“I can support the ordinance as written,” said Doble, but added that he was hesitant to vote on it without Council member Doug Crane being able to as well.

Council member Steve Scalmanini said he was willing to wait, but Mulheren and Brown said they felt that the questions Crane posed at the last meeting were answered, and that the ordinance will be on the City Council agenda again at its next meeting, so “(Crane) will still have an opportunity to address any remaining concerns,” Brown said.

The City Council’s vote Wednesday only introduced the ordinance, and if it is eventually adopted, it will take effect 30 days after that.

And while current state law does not allow cities to collect sales taxes on medical marijuana, planning staff pointed out that allowing dispensaries in the city limits would increase traffic and tourism, create decent-paying jobs, and both provide an alternative to illegal sales and a safe location for patients to obtain medicine.

The city could also receive revenue from the sale of business licenses and equipment, and even more if it passed a “cannabis business tax,” such as the county did last November.

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)

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Random thoughts on "downtown Ukiah."

With the exception of the looming smoke shops in the criminal "injustice" industry, our big city, like the Palace Hotel, is on the skids. The motel we've been sitting at for the last week since my friend Tom Allman gave me a five week kick to get me out of jail out of kindness is called the Sunrise Inn. The service is still first-rate. The bathroom shower is made of beautiful tile. But the ceiling plaster is cracking. The furniture used to be first-rate -- fireproof and attractive. Now it's old and weathered. It's all kind of sad. Yet life goes on. Babies keep getting born. The unemployed youth (bums) appear strong and well fed. The nearly empty restaurants and bars still manage to stay open. Our union, the IWW-Earth First! #3, the fish and lumber industry and all are on life-support systems. Begging is on the rise but there's little whining. This depression is not the first or the worst.

On Cops -- Unlike most hipneck families my number one ex- Tami-Diane and yours truly come from law enforcement families. The police are not gods or devils. Most are just upper-level working-class folks doing a sometimes dangerous job that is not all that well paid.

Their take-home pay as regular uniforms with benefits probably does not equal that of a railroad brakeman or a sea urchin diver. If cops give other cops a break on motor vehicle infractions, big deal. When Alan Graham was a brakeman on the Southern Pacific line we could probably ride on any railroad in the United States on my Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen card. The point being: Treat cops just like you treat a railroad brakeman and you'll all get along just fine.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


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AT LAST WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S Community Services District board meeting, Philo resident David Severn told the board about Caltrans plans to raise the speed limit in Philo. After discussing the background of the situation, all four board members present agreed that they would prefer that the limit should be left at 30 mph, although they liked the idea of lowering the speed limit on the approaches to 45mph. They then voted to send a letter to the Board of Supervisors and Caltrans expressing the Valley's concernd about traffic safety in Philo.

To: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and Caltrans District 1

January 19, 2017

Dear Supervisors and Caltrans,

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to the speed limit in Philo, California.

As you may know the current speed limit was set in the aftermath of a tragic accident in which a child was killed and a mother seriously injured while attempting to cross the street in downtown Philo. At that time Caltrans held a well-attended public hearing in Philo where Caltrans heard about the unique traffic safety issues in Philo and subsequently set the current 30mph speed limit.

Although traffic and surrounding conditions in downtown Philo have changed somewhat since that time, there are still a number of current and future safety hazards which should be considered over and above the simple fact that some drivers do not observe the posted speed limit as apparently observed in the latest Caltrans speed zone survey. These hazards include: school buses picking up and dropping off schoolchildren in the morning and afternoon, new tasting rooms in the downtown area with associated pedestrians, poor visibility entering the town in either direction, southbound vehicles stopping to make left turns into Lemons’ Market, cars parked near the roadway on both sides of the street creating obstacles and restricting maneuvering room, and so on.

In addition, there are new commercial developments planned for the area that will increase traffic and associated hazards, both in Philo and in the approaches to Philo from the north and south.

We appreciate Caltrans installation of radar speed indicators which have certainly helped to reduce speeding through town and we agree that lowering the speed limit to 45mph in the areas of Highway 128 approaching Philo would make the area safer. (However, we have not seen exactly how far that 45mph zone would extend.). But we believe that a corresponding increase in the downtown speed limit would effectively sanction greater speeds through town increasing the risk of another tragic accident.

The current speed limit was set after a public hearing in Philo in response to a high level of public safety concern where Caltrans was able to take a full range of public input. In addition, we are concerned that the proposed changes have not been adequately noticed in the Philo area (with postings at the local stores and Post Office, for example) nor with sufficient advance notice. Therefore, since there is no need to rush into this change, and in light of the spirit of the “public hearing” provision of the vehicle code, we request that no decision be made on any speed limit changes in Philo until after a public hearing in Philo where the concerns of the public can be factored into the decision and proper consideration can be given to future developments in and near town.

Signed, Valerie Hanelt

Chair Anderson Valley Community Services District

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On Friday Caltrans traffic safety engineer Clark Davis (who has family connections to Anderson Valley) out of the Caltrans Eureka office responded surprisingly quickly:

I appreciate your concerns and the info regarding future development in the area of Philo. I will be sure the speed zone engineer reads your email. I would also like to note that the current posted speed in Philo is not enforceable by law. It is by definition a “Speed Trap”. No speed related citations can be written (or at least enforced by the courts). The law is very specific about how the posted speed limit is determined. There is little if any wiggle room. The law (and the courts) require the posted speed to match the speed that 85% of drivers are actually driving, not what we want them to drive. We really do not have a choice in this matter. I know of three ways around this: lots of enforcement (which is entirely up to law enforcement, not Caltrans), changing the law through the state legislature (not a simple task), and traffic calming projects funded through the local government (in this case the County of Mendocino). A responsible local government should not allow development without addressing the traffic impacts of those activities, namely traffic calming projects and pedestrian facilities. Feel free to call me anytime, I like chatting about this topic, and all improvements begin with good communication.

. . .

The proposed changes are what would make it legal and enforceable, assuming law enforcement actually enforces it!

By the way, it is my understanding, and I could be mistaken, that the Mendocino County Sherriff’s do not enforce speed on state highways for budgetary reasons. If true, this could be changed by the Board of Supervisors providing some funding for enforcement….

Clark Davis

Assistant District Traffic Safety Engineer
Caltrans District 1 Traffic Safety Office
707-445-6584 office
707-489-0309 mobile

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The subject is on the Board’s agenda (Item 5g) for next Tuesday morning’s meeting...

Agenda Title: Noticed Public Hearing - Presentation Regarding California Department of Transportation Proposed Speed Zone Change, State Route Highway 128, Philo, (Philo Area)

Recommended Action/Motion: Receive presentation regarding California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposed speed zone change, State Route Highway 128, Philo, (Philo Area)

Previous Board/Board Committee Actions: Director of Transportation Report submitted at the Board of Supervisors meeting of November 14, 2016 and subsequent communication from Supervisor Hamburg at the aforementioned meeting.

Summary of Request: Conduct a Public Hearing to solicit public comment on the Caltrans proposed speed zone change for State Route Highway 128 in the community of Philo. The proposal is to modify existing zone segments on State Route Highway 128, north and south of Philo, between mile post (MP) 22.10 and MP 23.70. The existing 30 miles per hour (mph) zone would be increased to 35 mph and the half mile segments on each end of the 35 mph zone would be decreased from the current 55 mph to 45 mph.

Caltrans will provide staff to answer questions. Caltrans shall take into consideration the concerns of the public in determining whether to move forward with the proposed speed zone changes.

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CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, before he went over to the other side, in both senses, said that the essence of American politics "is the manipulation of populism by elitism. That elite is most successful which can claim the heartiest allegiance of the fickle crowd; can present itself as most ‘in touch’ with popular concerns; can anticipate the tides and pulses of public opinion; can, in short, be the least apparently ‘elitist.’ It is no great distance from Huey Long’s robust cry of ‘Every man a king’ to the insipid ‘inclusiveness’ of [Bill Clinton’s slogan] ‘Putting People First,’ but the smarter elite managers have learned in the interlude that solid, measurable pledges have to be distinguished by a reserve’ tag that earmarks them for the bankrollers and backers.”

TRUMP TO A TEE. He made a lot of windy promises today that cheered struggling and/or unhappy white people, but his crackpot appointments, and from what can be gleaned from his vague policy statements, Trump is just another Republican, a more candid Republican than most, but a Republican. Lower taxes on the rich; blank check for the military; economic nationalism; green light for the cops to crackdown on black people, aka what Trump calls the "carnage of the cities."

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 20, 2017

Chi, Fischer, Gallagher

MICHAEL CHI, Ukiah. Resisting.

TIMOTHY FISCHER, Roseville/Ukiah. Drunk in public.

BRADLEY GALLAGHER, Ukiah. Petty theft-retail, failure to appear.

Gonzalez, Kidd, Lawson, Luna

SERGIO GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Petty theft-retail, resisting.

JARED KIDD, Ukiah. Unauthorized entry into dwelling. (Frequent flyer.)

STEVEN LAWSON, Calpella. False ID, probation revocation.

JEREMIAH LUNA, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

Owen, Perez-Vergara, Richardson

NATALIA OWEN, San Francisco/Ukiah. Failure to appear. (Frequent flyer.)

DANIEL PEREZ-VERGARA, Point Arena.Trespassing, drunk in public, interfering with police communications.

BRISA RICHARDSON, Eureka/Ukiah. Court order violation.

Sanderson, Schaus, Sherwood

NICOLE SANDERSON, Laytonville. Probation revocation.

VANCE SCHAUS, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

JAMES SHERWOOD, Mendocino. Domestic assault.

Simmons, Urbina, Venturi

JAMES SIMMONS, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, metal knuckles, probation revocation.

MILLICEN URBINA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JOSEPH VENTURI, Ukiah. Under influence, parole violation, probation revocation.

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SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Audrey Cooper raised eyebrows recently by notifying newsroom employees that participation in the January 21st Women’s March on Washington, or any similar marches, would be considered a violation of the newspaper’s ethics policies, a potential firing offense.

"No newsroom employee, regardless of job function or title, can participate in political demonstrations of any sort,” Cooper wrote, as part of a longer email to staff. “This is effective immediately.”

Political reporters, especially at legacy media, generally embrace stringent limits on personal expression. Most commonly, journalists are forbidden to donate to candidates or political causes, or take public positions on issues they are assigned to cover, specifically including participation in marches or protests.

But the Chron’s non-marching orders apply equally to workers far removed from political coverage: copy editors, page designers, sportswriters. And while the Women’s March was specifically made off-limits, the Chronicle has long encouraged employees to participate in San Francisco’s annual Gay Pride Parade, with staff and management marching beneath a Chronicle banner.

“I believe [management’s] argument has something to do with Pride being a celebration, and the Women’s March, while billed as a civil rights event, is perceived as more of a protest,” said a Chronicle staffer, one of several who declined to be identified for this story. “But a lot of people see equal pay, gender equality, and reproductive rights as civil rights. Nobody can tell us why the Women’s March is considered political and Pride is not.”

Non-Marching Orders: Newspaper Bars Employees from Women’s March

(Cal Alumni magazine via The Berkeley Daily Planet via District5Diary)

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by John Pilger

On the day President Trump is inaugurated, thousands of writers in the United States will express their indignation. “In order for us to heal and move forward …,” say Writers Resist, “we wish to bypass direct political discourse, in favour of an inspired focus on the future, and how we, as writers, can be a unifying force for the protection of democracy.”

And: “We urge local organizers and speakers to avoid using the names of politicians or adopting ‘anti’ language as the focus for their Writers Resist event. It’s important to ensure that nonprofit organizations, which are prohibited from political campaigning, will feel confident participating in and sponsoring these events.”

Thus, real protest is to be avoided, for it is not tax exempt. Compare such drivel with the declarations of the Congress of American Writers, held at Carnegie Hall, New York, in 1935, and again two years later. They were electric events, with writers discussing how they could confront ominous events in Abyssinia, China and Spain. Telegrams from Thomas Mann, C Day Lewis, Upton Sinclair and Albert Einstein were read out, reflecting the fear that great power was now rampant and that it had become impossible to discuss art and literature without politics or, indeed, direct political action.

“A writer,” the journalist Martha Gellhorn told the second congress, “must be a man of action now . . . A man who has given a year of his life to steel strikes, or to the unemployed, or to the problems of racial prejudice, has not lost or wasted time. He is a man who has known where he belonged. If you should survive such action, what you have to say about it afterwards is the truth, is necessary and real, and it will last.”

Her words echo across the unction and violence of the Obama era and the silence of those who colluded with his deceptions. That the menace of rapacious power — rampant long before the rise of Trump — has been accepted by writers, many of them privileged and celebrated, and by those who guard the gates of literary criticism, and culture, including popular culture, is uncontroversial. Not for them the impossibility of writing and promoting literature bereft of politics. Not for them the responsibility to speak out, regardless of who occupies the White House.

Clinton’s Contempt

Today, false symbolism is all. “Identity” is all. In 2016, Hillary Clinton stigmatized millions of voters as “a basket of deplorables, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.” Her abuse was handed out at an LGBT rally as part of her cynical campaign to win over minorities by abusing a white, mostly working-class, majority. Divide and rule, this is called; or identity politics in which race and gender conceal class, and allow the waging of class war. Trump understood this.

“When the truth is replaced by silence,” said the Soviet dissident poet Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.”

This is not an American phenomenon. A few years ago, Terry Eagleton, then professor of English literature at Manchester University, reckoned that “for the first time in two centuries, there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the western way of life.”

No Shelley speaks for the poor, no Blake for utopian dreams, no Byron damns the corruption of the ruling class, no Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin reveal the moral disaster of capitalism. William Morris, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw have no equivalents today. Harold Pinter was the last to raise his voice. Among today’s insistent voices of consumer-feminism, none echoes Virginia Woolf, who described “the arts of dominating other people … of ruling, of killing, of acquiring land and capital.”

There is something both venal and profoundly stupid about famous writers as they venture outside their cosseted world and embrace an “issue.” Across the Review section of the Guardian on Dec. 10 was a dreamy picture of Barack Obama looking up to the heavens and the words, “Amazing Grace” and “Farewell the Chief.”

The sycophancy ran like a polluted babbling brook through page after page. “He was a vulnerable figure in many ways …. But the grace. The all-encompassing grace: in manner and form, in argument and intellect, with humour and cool ….[He] is a blazing tribute to what has been, and what can be again … He seems ready to keep fighting, and remains a formidable champion to have on our side … The grace … the almost surreal levels of grace …”

I have conflated these quotes. There are others even more hagiographic and bereft of mitigation. The Guardian’s chief apologist for Obama, Gary Younge, has always been careful to mitigate, to say that his hero “could have done more”: oh, but there were the “calm, measured and consensual solutions …”

Idolizing Obama

None of them, however, could surpass the American writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates, the recipient of a “genius” grant worth $625,000 from a liberal foundation. In an interminable essay for The Atlantic entitled, “My President Was Black,” Coates brought new meaning to prostration. The final “chapter,” entitled “When You Left, You Took All of Me With You,” a line from a Marvin Gaye song, describes seeing the Obamas “rising out of the limo, rising up from fear, smiling, waving, defying despair, defying history, defying gravity.” The Ascension, no less.

One of the persistent strands in American political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism. This was given expression and reinforced during the two terms of Barack Obama. “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,” said Obama, who expanded America’s favorite military pastime, bombing, and death squads (“special operations”) as no other president has done since the Cold War.

According to a Council on Foreign Relations survey, in 2016 alone Obama dropped 26,171 bombs. That is 72 bombs every day. He bombed the poorest people on earth, in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan.

Every Tuesday — reported The New York Times — he personally selected those who would be murdered by mostly hellfire missiles fired from drones. Weddings, funerals, shepherds were attacked, along with those attempting to collect the body parts festooning the “terrorist target.”

A leading Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, estimated, approvingly, that Obama’s drones killed 4,700 people. “Sometimes you hit innocent people and I hate that,” he said, “but we’ve taken out some very senior members of Al Qaeda.”

Like the fascism of the 1930s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent media whose description now fits that of the Nuremberg prosecutor: “Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically … In the propaganda system … it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.”

Destroying Libya

Take the catastrophe in Libya. In 2011, Obama said Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was planning “genocide” against his own people. “We knew … that if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”

This was the known lie of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. It became the media story; and NATO – led by Obama and Hillary Clinton – launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that “most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten.”

Under Obama, the U.S. has extended secret “special forces” operations to 138 countries, or 70 per cent of the world’s population. The first African-American president launched what amounted to a full-scale invasion of Africa. Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late Nineteenth Century, the U.S. African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments. Africom’s “soldier to soldier” doctrine embeds U.S. officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.

It is as if Africa’s proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master’s black colonial elite whose “historic mission,” warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the promotion of “a capitalism rampant though camouflaged.”

It was Obama who, in 2011, announced what became known as the “pivot to Asia”, in which almost two-thirds of U.S. naval forces would be transferred to the Asia-Pacific to “confront China,” in the words of his Defense Secretary. There was no threat from China; the entire enterprise was unnecessary. It was an extreme provocation to keep the Pentagon and its demented brass happy.

In 2014, the Obama’s administration oversaw and paid for a fascist-led coup in Ukraine against the democratically elected government, threatening Russia in the western borderland through which Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, with a loss of 27 million lives. It was Obama who placed missiles in Eastern Europe aimed at Russia, and it was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who increased spending on nuclear warheads to a level higher than that of any administration since the Cold War — having promised, in an emotional speech in Prague, to “help rid the world of nuclear weapons”.

Obama, the constitutional lawyer, prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president in history, even though the U.S. Constitution protects them. He declared Chelsea Manning guilty before the end of a trial that was a travesty. He has refused to pardon Manning who has suffered years of inhumane treatment, which the United Nations says amounts to torture. He has pursued an entirely bogus case against Julian Assange. He promised to close the Guantanamo concentration camp and didn’t.

A Smooth Operator

Following the public relations disaster of George W. Bush, Obama, the smooth operator from Chicago via Harvard, was enlisted to restore what he calls “leadership” throughout the world. The Nobel Prize committee’s decision was part of this: the kind of cloying reverse racism that beatified the man for no reason other than he was attractive to liberal sensibilities and, of course, American power, if not to the children he kills in impoverished, mostly Muslim countries.

This is the Call of Obama. It is not unlike a dog whistle: inaudible to most, irresistible to the besotted and boneheaded, especially “liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics,” as Luciana Bohne put it. “When Obama walks into a room,” gushed George Clooney, “you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere.”

William I. Robinson, professor at the University of California, and one of an uncontaminated group of American strategic thinkers who have retained their independence during the years of intellectual dog-whistling since 9/11, wrote this last week:

“President Barack Obama … may have done more than anyone to assure [Donald] Trump’s victory. While Trump’s election has triggered a rapid expansion of fascist currents in U.S. civil society, a fascist outcome for the political system is far from inevitable …. But that fight back requires clarity as to how we got to such a dangerous precipice. The seeds of 21st century fascism were planted, fertilized and watered by the Obama administration and the politically bankrupt liberal elite.”

Robinson points out that “whether in its 20th or its emerging 21st century variants, fascism is, above all, a response to deep structural crises of capitalism, such as that of the 1930s and the one that began with the financial meltdown in 2008 …. There is a near-straight line here from Obama to Trump … The liberal elite’s refusal to challenge the rapaciousness of transnational capital and its brand of identity politics served to eclipse the language of the working and popular classes … pushing white workers into an ‘identity’ of white nationalism and helping the neo-fascists to organise them”.

The seedbed is Obama’s Weimar Republic, a landscape of endemic poverty, militarized police and barbaric prisons: the consequence of a “market” extremism which, under his presidency, prompted the transfer of $14 trillion in public money to criminal enterprises in Wall Street.

Perhaps his greatest “legacy” is the co-option and disorientation of any real opposition. Bernie Sanders’ specious “revolution” does not apply. Propaganda is his triumph.

The lies about Russia — in whose elections the U.S. has openly intervened — have made the world’s most self-important journalists laughingstocks. In the country with constitutionally the freest press in the world, free journalism now exists only in its honorable exceptions.

The obsession with Trump is a cover for many of those calling themselves “left/liberal”, as if to claim political decency. They are not “left,” neither are they especially “liberal.” Much of America’s aggression towards the rest of humanity has come from so-called liberal Democratic administrations — such as Obama’s. America’s political spectrum extends from the mythical center to the lunar right. The “left” are homeless renegades Martha Gellhorn described as “a rare and wholly admirable fraternity.” She excluded those who confuse politics with a fixation on their navels.

While they “heal” and “move forward”, will the Writers Resist campaigners and other anti-Trumpists reflect upon this? More to the point: when will a genuine movement of opposition arise? Angry, eloquent, all-for-one-and-one-for all. Until real politics return to people’s lives, the enemy is not Trump, it is ourselves.

(John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London. Pilger’s Web site is:

* * *

* * *


For those of you who still just can't believe this day has come, and who like me are not looking forward to a Trump Presidency: we tried to warn you. Bernie Sanders' candidacy was not merely a attempt at a party's nomination, but a challenge to a status quo and order that has left too many people feeling left out and bewildered by the neoliberal globalism and political elitism that has been the mantra of Washington for forty years. For all that happened with the e-mails, the FBI, the Russians, and Wikileaks, the bottom line is that Hillary Clinton was the very representative of a system that had centralized wealth and power in the hands of a very few. She truly appealed to very few, even among those who voted for her, and lost to a snake oil salesman peddling dreams of the past.

* * *


Spring classes start January 23rd!

Greetings all,

I’m sending out a last minute outreach about the Sustainable Tech offerings for Spring 2017. We’ve got room in a few of our classes, and would love to see fresh faces from the community in them. Please help us get the word out!

This spring, we have our usual great lineup with a couple of new instructors and classes. If you know someone who wants to gain skills that can be useful for the rest of their lives in the construction and energy trades, please let them know about us. Classes are starting next week, on January 23rd.

Our newest offering is a Construction Management class taught by Sandy Tanaka and Richard Silsbee here in Ukiah on Monday evenings, where people can learn to plan projects, estimate their expenses, deal with permitting, scheduling, and client relations. I’m excited about this class, since there’s more than one person working right now who can use these skills to grow their construction businesses or plan projects, and Sandy and Richard are wonderful instructors.

Our Sustainability Overview (SST 200) is being offered online by Josh Prigge, the Sustainability Director for Fetzer, and Clean Tech (SST 172) by Shirley Johnson, who has a master’s in alternative waste processing.

If you want to know more about Building Science & Home Performance (SST 193), Arthur Beeken is our resident expert teaching us all about heating, cooling, and building envelopes. Learn to make your home more efficient!

Construction Fundamentals (SST 180 A&B) is happening in Ukiah, Lakeport, and in Laytonville, by myself, Noel Woodhouse, and Glenn Mueller, so take your pick.

Richard Silsbee from Radiant Solar Technology is offering his Solar Thermal (solar hot water, SST 192) class again on Thursdays which is always fun and a different look at the uses of solar energy.

Last but not least, students can get their OSHA cards in the Safety Standards in Construction (SST 162) in 9 Wednesday mornings.

Thanks for your help getting the word out. Please let me know if you have any questions, and send people our way! To see our full schedule go to

Warm Regards,

Jen Riddell

Coordinator, Sustainable Technology Program
Mendocino College
1000 Hensley Creek Road
Ukiah, CA 95482
(707) 468-3080

* * *

THE FIFTH-ANNUAL FARMERS CONVERGENCE Will Bring Together The North Coast Farming Community For Training And Networking.

The Community Action Agency for Lake and Mendocino Counties, is bringing together food producers from Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Sonoma, and Napa counties, along with food and farming support organizations, for the Fifth-Annual North Coast Farmers Convergence on Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

Food producers, local retailers, local food advocates, and farmer support organizations from across the region will come together at Ridgewood Ranch, just south of Willits, for a lively, educational day of networking, sharing skills and ideas, and celebrating the growth of resilient local food systems.

The Convergence is an opportunity for the widespread farming community to gather to learn and connect while honoring the profession of farming. Farmers, ranchers, dairy producers, seed growers, beekeepers, grain growers, vendors, buyers, retailers, and food producer supporters from organizations like California FarmLink, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, The Farmers Guild, The Farm Bureau, the University of California Cooperative Extension and the Grange Farm School of Adaptive Agriculture will join arms to build a network of support while sharing best practices.

Keynote speaker Michael Foley, a Mendocino County farmer dedicated to helping young farmers find access to land and education and a founder of the Grange Farm School of Adaptive Agriculture near Willits, will facilitate a panel discussion of area farmers talking about why they chose their particular niche and how it is working for them.

There also will be break-out roundtable discussion on a wide range of topics including on-farm composting, the impact of Proposition 64, marketing your farm, seed saving, land access and transitions, and more. While registering for the event, there also is an opportunity to suggest other roundtable topics that you want to see discussed.

Event participants also will enjoy a farm to fork breakfast and lunch featuring local ingredients. There will be an after-convergence mixer, open only to farmers and wholesale food buyers, where food producers and buyers can make market connections and establish sales relationships over glasses of locally-sourced beer, wine, and other beverages. Snacks also will be provided at the mixer from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

“I’ve referred to talks I heard at the last convergence multiple times throughout the year,” says Caroline Radice of Black Dog Farm. “It was worth every minute that I attended, and I can’t wait to go again this year.”

A small registration fee includes a breakfast snack, a local lunch, and all presentations. Attendees must register in advance, but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds and scholarships are available. Space is limited, and early registration is encouraged by visiting:

“Growing our local food system benefits not only farmers and local food producers, it benefits schools, restaurants, support organizations, and the overall local economy,” says Terre Logsdon, Lake County Farm to School Coordinator. “The North Coast Farmers Convergence is an excellent opportunity for attendees to learn from one another and gain access to resources, programs, and people they may not have known about. Our intent is to have everyone leave the event inspired and prepared for the upcoming growing season.”

For more information about the Convergence, visit, contact, or call (707) 994-4474, ext 130.

North Coast Opportunities, Inc. (NCO) is a private non-profit corporation focused on serving Lake and Mendocino Counties, as well as Del Norte, Humboldt, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties. We envision healthy, vibrant, compassionate, and strong communities. NCO develops and provides services that strengthen our communities, one person at a time. As the region's Community Action Agency, we resolve to: Advocate on the behalf of low-income and disadvantaged people; Encourage people to increase their participation in the community as well as all activities of NCO; Encourage and facilitate the development of training and educational opportunities that increase the available resources to assist people in becoming more self-sufficient; Facilitate cooperation among organizations, agencies and groups who share a common goal with NCO. Members of NCO’s Governing Board include representatives of locally elected officials and people from the local community. NCO values diversity and everyone is welcome, no matter a person's ethnicity, religion, country of origin, language, abilities, sexual orientation, or gender.

* * *



Class sizes are limited! Sign up for any of these workshops by phoning 707-964-4352 ext. 16 or stop by The Garden Store at MCBG.

Fruit Tree Pruning 101

Saturday, January 28 from 10:00am to 12:00pm

In the Meeting Room at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens with Di Scott

This class will help you to optimize performance from your fruit trees. Workshop instructor, Di Scott brings 18 years of coastal orchard experience and a lifetime of horticultural knowledge to this class. Class cost is $20 for members and Master Gardeners; $30 for non-members (includes Gardens admission for the day).

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Sustainable Home Vegetable Gardening - A four part learning series

Class No. 1: Getting Started with Seeds on Saturday, February 25

Class No. 2: Real Dirt on Saturday, April 29

Class No. 3: Gardening for a Thriving Ecosystem on Saturday, June 17

Class No. 4: Giving in to Fall Vegetable Gardening on Saturday, August 26

Each class runs from 10:00am to 3:30pm (lecture 10:00am-1:00pm; hands-on 1:30pm-3:30pm)

Cost is $35 per class (includes Gardens admission for the day) or $120 to attend all of the classes with the 4-Class Package. This extended learning series offers four classes of hands-on, brains-on training. MCBG Lead Gardener Jaime Jensen teaches the essential skills to develop a strong vegetable garden for years to come. Learn about soil preparation, garden planning, propagation, and harvesting techniques. Course workshops will demonstrate starting with seeds, composting, creating a thriving ecosystem in your own back yard, and fall vegetable gardening know-how. Each class will have a reading and lecture component as well as hands-on training — be prepared to get dirty!

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Rhododendron Walks

March 11, April 8, and May 13

This spring, Rhododendron Walks will be held the second Saturday of each month. Learn about the Rhododendron Collection here at the Gardens, in this monthly walk and talk with local expert and current president of the American Rhododendron Society's Noyo Chapter, Dennis McKiver. Rhododendron Walks are free with regular Gardens admission!

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Rhododendron propagation for the home gardener

Saturday, March 18 from 10:00am to 12:00pm

10:00am to 12:00pm in the Gardens Meeting Room

In the Meeting Room at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

with Dennis McKiver - President of the American Rhododendron Society’s Noyo Chapter

Learn how to grow rhododendrons from seed and cuttings with hands-on demonstrations. Since rhododendrons are relatively difficult to propagate the techniques you learn in class can be applied to the propagation of many other plants. Plus take one or more rhody cuttings to root at home! Other topics covered: Explore ground layering and air layering techniques, learn about the tropical Vireya rhododendrons that can be rooted in a glass of water, discover the history of rhododendron propagation and why we no longer propagate by grafting in the U.S. Class cost is $20 for members and Master Gardeners; $30 for non-members (includes Gardens admission for the day).

* * *


Going Total for Maha Shivaratri February 24, 2017

Warmest spiritual greetings,

Please accept this invitation to launch the real-time movement, not only to "Make America Great Again", but to rebalance the biosphere, to return the planet earth to normal functioning beginning with the behavior of the global climate, to preserve species for critical biodiversity, and to again be great by identifying biocentrically as opposed to the unrealistic anthropomorphic view. February 24, 2017 is the date for Maha Shivaratri, celebrating the primordial Absolute essential spiritual energy which activates the entire universe, represented in form by the original Indian Vedic god of the howling wind, Rudra, who today has thoroughly modernized as Shiva (god of destruction in the Sanatana Dharma's triad), along with his family of immortals such as the goddess Parvati, the "patron of writers" Sri Vinayagar (Ganesh), his vehicle Nandi the bull, and so much more which you may read about here: Utilize your creative imagination, and be part of a movement which adds some juice to radical environmentalism, not restrained by anything. Do rituals again. Bring in intense spiritual energy to your actions again. Be like the Shiva lingam, and have a force field around your body, itself a moving temple! Be immortal. Be enlightened. What are we waiting for?

Craig Louis Stehr


* * *



Mayor Scott Ignacio ~ Vice Mayor Barbara Burkey

Richey Wasserman ~ Anna Dobbins ~ Jonathan Torrez


Agenda - January 24, 2017



III. READING – Mayor Ignacio



  1. PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR (Public Comment Period)

This is the time for members of the public who wish to be heard on matters

that do not appear on the Agenda. City Council policy is to limit each

speaker to three (3) minutes. Such time allotment or portion thereof

shall not be transferred to other speakers.

The public will be allowed to speak concurrently with the calling of an

agenda item following the staff presentation of that item.

Pursuant to the Brown Act Section 54954.3, the City Council may not take

action on an item that does not appear on the Agenda.



Notice to the Public: All matters listed under this category are

considered to be routine by the City Council and will be enacted by one

motion. If a member of the public would like an item on the Consent

Calendar pulled and discussed separately, the request shall be made to a

Councilmember prior to the meeting. Unless a specific request is made by

a Councilmember, the Consent Calendar will not be read. There will be no

separate discussion of these items

  1. Approval of City Council Meeting Minutes December 20th, 2016 Regular Meeting


VII. COUNCILMEMBER REPORTS – Items in this agenda section are

informational or scheduling purposes only

  1. New Councilmembers & Mayors Academy – report by participants
  2. Council Committee Updates
  3. County & Regional Assignment Reports

VIII. REPORTS/ACTION ITEMS – all items in this agenda section are for

discussion and possible approval.

  1. Treasurer’s Report
  2. Discussion of Increasing the Frequency of Budget Reporting


  1. Appointment of City of Point Arena Representative to the Mendocino

County Library Advisory Board

  1. Presentation by John Kuhry of Economic Development and Finance

Corporation (EDFC)

  1. Discussion of City of Point Arena Business Assistance Program

Guidelines and Implementation of a Revolving Loan Committee

  1. Report on Proposed PG&E LED Streetlight Upgrades
  2. Drainage Maintenance Agreement Lake Street
  3. Bluff Top Road Maintenance Agreement
  4. Council Strategic Planning Session Update


  1. ORDINANCES & RESOLUTIONS – All items in this Agenda section are for

discussion and possible adoption. NONE for 1/24/17




  1. FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS (next 45 days)

Presentation by Rural Communities Assistance Corporation

City Fee Schedule

Mid-Year Budget Review

Next Regular City Council Meeting 2/28/17





If open session items cannot be completed by 9:00 p.m., the meeting may be

adjourned to the next regular meeting or Council may vote to extend the


Dated: January 20, 2017



  1. Mike Williams January 21, 2017

    Hi Bruce,
    Little Dog is just precious this morning!

  2. Rick Weddle January 21, 2017

    re: Inauguration augury…

    Aimed for the Wall, High on Speed (and accelerating), watching only the rear-view mirror (getting ‘great’ again), disregarding all the warning signs saying ‘go back, you’re going the wrong way,’ indifferent to all the Humans’ Rights for whom the signs and the Laws were created…and thanks for the ‘votes,’ suckers!

    The gaping crevasses in Trumpty’s fake ‘mandate’ are already showing big. He trivializes the electorate (the same fed-up ones who kicked Wall St. Hill’s overfed tail down the road) at his own peril, and at global and national risk.

    You will remember this as long as you live. Don’t say you didn’t know.

  3. Elaine Kalantarian January 21, 2017

    Excellent essay on the Obama-Trump continuum by John Pilger – thank you for sharing this — the delusional Obama adoration is something to behold.

  4. Bill Pilgrim January 21, 2017

    RE: Philo “Speed Trap.” I don’t get it. Posted speed limits are not legally enforceable? So, if someone gets pulled-over by CHP for driving 65 on the stretch between Philo – Boonville they can wriggle out of a ticket by showing that a majority of motorists also speed? What’s disingenuous about this?

    RE: Pilger’s essay. An excellent critique of the collapse & failure of the liberal class. But I would add another component: complacency. Complacency is the root of many evils.

  5. Jim Updegraff January 21, 2017

    Interesting article recently about the $74 billion food food stamp program called SNAP about what goes into the shopping cart. The findings by the USDA showed soft drinks accounted for about 10% of purchases. A nice multibillion-dollar-subsidy for the soft drink industry. Needless to say soft drinks are unhealthy and contribute to the obese and increasing diabetes 2 problem in the U. S.

    However, before you cast stones at the SNAP households the report found across all households “more money was spent on soft drinks than any other item”—the U. S. still consumes more sugary drinks than almost any other developed country. The report also shows among all households potato chips were among the top 7 items in the shopping cart. Also included beef and cheese. Hardly a healthy diet. Small wonder we have a critical obesity/diabetes 2 problem in the country. I might note President Trump’s BMI is at Obese stage 2.

    • Harvey Reading January 21, 2017

      Whatcha mean by good quality? There are still cuts (the enigma cut called London Broil being one–actually bottom or top round) that regularly are on sale for a couple or three bucks per pound, for those who buy beef, though it’s gotten too stringy and gristly for me over the last 5 or 6 years, so I quit buying it except for the two-or-three-times-a-year hamburger at a cafe. Same for chicken and pork, both boneless.

      I get chicken breasts and pork loins regularly, when they’re on sale ($2-$3 a pound). The loin is cut into into chops and frozen. The half chicken breasts are placed into individual freezer bags and frozen as well. Its really simple.

      And, before you start lecturing me, I’m not overweight, blood pressure is low, strokes run in my family, no matter what we eat, so one is likely as a matter of course, irrespective of what I eat, and with luck will take me out the first time, since I don’t want to further enrich kaputalist medicine as a monkey vegetable.

      The meat described, pinto beans, brown rice, the occasional omelet and homemade rolls, and fairly infrequent pancakes pretty much rounds out my diet. Oh, and moderate amounts of small squares of cheddar cheese cut from a 5-pound block as a snack, which I share with my dog.

      By the way, when you figure out the cost per pound of chips and other prepared snacks (sold by the ounce), it is often much higher than the same weight of meat.

  6. Jim Updegraff January 21, 2017

    Obama and Clinton are for the history books. time to move and look to the future.

  7. Jim Updegraff January 21, 2017

    A healthy diet certainly calls for a range of vegetables. Which doesn’t seem to make into the shopping cart of far too many shoppers.

  8. Jim Updegraff January 21, 2017

    Also, do what we do – eat your salad at the end of your dinner rather than have a dessert.

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