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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017

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THE OLD FETZER WINERY in Redwood Valley has been sold to a Bay Area marijuana entrepreneur who hopes to convert the place into a large-scale marijuana processing plant and distribution center. Neighbors are very unhappy, as is the opposition already in place to stop a Dollar Store from descending on the besieged but still bucolic area north of Ukiah. Clint Wilson, the Ukiah native turned Sonoma County wheeler dealer, facilitated the sale.

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ON MONDAY, Sheriff Tom Allman told a joint meeting of the Supes and the Mental Health Board that he did not intend for his deputies to keep on responding to "non-violent" mental health calls.

PRESENTLY, people behaving in an erratic manner become, by default, the responsibility of deputies. Many of these calls involve much deputy time hand-holding while the County's privatized, 8-5 helping professionals travel to the troubled person, and even then deputies often wind up doing the bulk of the calming.

SHERIFF ALLMAN pointed out that his night shift deputies are still burdened by mental health duties without a comparable night shift of helping pros. And even when the helping pros are available during daylight hours the deputies have to wait around for them to arrive.

THE SHERIFF'S proposal to establish an in-County psych holding facility narrowly failed to achieve passage in the November elections. The County has just retrieved psych services from a private Yuba City-based company and has turned over those highly dubious services to a Ukiah-based private company. As before Yuba City, the police continue to provide the bulk of in-County mental health services.

IN LIEU of a proper County psych center like the one proposed by Allman, the County's expanding population of mentally ill persons remains Allman's responsibility. Extreme cases are either housed at the County Jail or shipped out of County to expensive, lock-up facilities where disinterested psychiatrists juggle their meds and return them to Mendocino County where the cycle of illness to extreme illness is often repeated.

A LOCAL psychiatric holding facility is promised by the Ukiah-based, private mental health contractors known as Redwood Quality Management Co. The out-of-County facilities cost the County upwards of $800 a day, hence the private interest by both in-County and out-of-County businesses to provide "services." The mentally ill, like the poor, are big business.

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by Mark Scaramella

Mr. Darren Hill, Caltrans traffic engineer, opened the discussion of the downtown Philo speed limit at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday with some dry Vehicle Code citations explaining the Caltrans process and the “prevailing speed” concept that requires that Caltrans to set speed limts at around the speed that 85% of the traffic goes, otherwise the area is considered an unenforceable “speed trap.” He said that the Philo 30mph speed limit was set more than ten years ago and therefore it had “expired,” and that’s why they sent a survey team out to check how fast people go through town.

Everyone is against the idea except Caltrans. And everyone has a good reason to be against it. Caltrans knows this and that’s why they did their best to minimize the notification of the public. But we noticed the proposal a few weeks ago in County Transportation Director Howard Deshield’s monthly report and put out the word. We also notified the Community Services District (with the help of Philo resident David Severn). Opposition quickly mobilized and a contingent went over to Ukiah (the meeting should have been held in Philo at the Grange like the last one was in the 90s when the speed limit was set at 30mph in the first place).

Although Caltrans sent a traffic engineer to Ukiah to make a presentation and hear the community’s objections, at no time did Caltrans provide advance copies of the presentation to allow the public to examine and comment on this specious, illogical and downright dangerous “survey.”

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Anderson Valley Resident Deputy Craig Walker: I am here as a Philo resident not necessarily as a Sheriff's deputy. I do not represent the Sheriff's office in this. I will draw on eight years of experience as a resident deputy in Anderson Valley to inform some of my comments. I'm not always on the same page with Mr. Hamburg, but I find that I am in this case this morning. We expect considerable development in Philo in the coming years. There is plenty of congestion in that area. The Caltrans traffic engineer pointed out that his survey was done during the week. As a deputy working at one time or another every day of the week, I can say that traffic patterns vary dramatically between the weekdays and the weekend. That's largely a function of what we call the weekend commute to and from the coast. People go west on Fridays and return on Sundays, all of which has a dramatic impact on the congestion in Philo and by extension on traffic patterns. As a deputy with eight years experience in with the sheriff's office and 18 years in total, I have done more than probably anyone in this room traffic related. I am not a traffic engineer. But I can tell you from my experience that when you say it's 30 mph, that really means its 40. Every degree that you raise it you are really adding on another five or ten miles per hour. I understand the minutia of the vehicle code. But the vehicle code is a document, a cold piece of paper. It does not speak to the reality on the ground in Philo. We all know that Philo is a small, fairly compact environment. There is very little infrastructure in terms of pedestrian walkways and the like. I understand that before my time there was a crosswalk that is now long since gone. There is also an issue with enforcement. Frankly, I think the only person who has done any enforcement there in recent years is me. And 99% of that is warnings. I try to encourage people to slow down by contact or by simply being in the area. There is very little interest on the part of the Highway Patrol to be there. I don't know if that's always been the case, but I think it will always be the case. So I would encourage this board to resist the temptation to raise the speed limit.

Philo resident Colleen Schenck: This is a multi-use area. People come into town to use the post office, go to the store, sometimes two or three days a week. The school buses drop off and pick up children there. That has not been mentioned at all. And that is one of our biggest concerns. The speed limit there puts children in danger during the times they are picked up and dropped off during the day. The idea of slowing the speed limit on either side of town is a good idea. But I would not raise the speed limit because people will just drive even faster as a result.

Philo resident Barbara Scott: I live about half a mile north of Philo. I'm one of the pedestrians who walks in the area. I understand through my calls to Caltrans and others that this is the law, that if 85% of the traffic is going faster than the speed limit then it's a speed trap. I understand that. But I don't want Philo to become a death trap — again. I urge you to refuse this suggestion from Caltrans.

Philo resident Beverly Dutra: This is not flat road. Going north, the driver comes up an incline and it is blind. He cannot see who's there. The first road coming into the highway drains all the homes coming into the highway from Whipple Ridge and Clearwater Ranch right in front of Lemons. And Lemons market is packed with cars parking vertically and horizontally with pedestrians. We have homes across the street, the school buses stop there in both directions, there are two wine tastings, the post office, another habitation, and right after that is another poorly designed road because it was an old ragland road. The road dips and turns. That's where four young men were killed speeding through that area. I don't want to see that happen again. It took the Highway Patrol hours to get here and investigate from Sacramento and the four dead kids had to sit in the car with all of us observing that carnage. Then there's a gateway of a house which is no longer used as a bed and breakfast because the gate has been broken four times by speeding cars going into it. There is the Scharffenberger winery which is an industrial setting with trucks coming out into the highway and there’s Rays which is a blind curve coming south. The egress out of that is kind of scary. I've almost been hit four or five times at the post office. This road needs to stay at 30 mph. It's not our problem that it the speed limit expired. If it expired, put it back right the way it was then put 40 mph on either side. If we look at the increasing speed, speakers come because they've been on Highway 128 and have been having a problem. They violate the speed limit of 55 by going 65 or 75 or 80 mph in the flat spot. Is Caltrans going to move those speed limits to 65 and 75? The logic here is just sophistry. You don't orchestrate people in human environments by a mathematical chart. You have to look physically at that incline and the endangerment of our children and our citizens. I wish more people from Anderson Valley were here to speak. We were not noticed. We don't look at the Caltrans facebook page. The Anderson Valley paper mentioned it as a kind of rumor. That was not proper notification. Caltrans needs to take care of their business.

Jo Bradley, Little River: I did not come here for this particular item. But this is really important that that speed limit be left at 30 mph. About a year ago or longer Caltrans, without any notice, raised the speed limit in Little River through downtown Little River from 30 miles an hour to 35 mph in front of the straightaway where I happen to live from 40-45 mph. We have tons of speeders. They see a straightaway and they put their foot on it. Since they raised the speed limit we have had more accidents in that straightaway with people turning in at Schoolhouse Creek and turning into residences on the west side of the highway and our property is right there. I have picked up more dead deer out of the road because people cannot slow down to miss them. I think it would be an absolute major problem if you raised the speed limit in Philo. I see the results of it in Little River. I slow down. I can't say I don't speed in the other parts. I've been stopped and been warned before in Philo. So when I go through our little towns I stick to the speed limit. There's a reason for it and it should be the way it is.

Supervisor John McCowen: The public comment is very clear that no one supports the raising of the 30 mph speed limit. They do support lowering it on either end. If it's lowered on either end, but remains the same in the middle, would the lowered speed limit on each end be enforceable?

Hill: We can't do that. It's a package deal.

McCowen: If it's valid to set it at 45 for each end why couldn’t that portion be 30?

Hill: Because the zone is centered on Philo. That's the 35. There is no real justification for a transition zone to nothing if it's an unenforceable speed trap in the middle.

McCowen: It seemed like we are burdened by an inflexible state code section. Although you are saying it would not be enforceable a lower speed limit that is not legally enforceable may actually be more effective in slowing people down than a legally justifiable speed zone that isn't enforced. Frankly I would support retaining the 30 mph for downtown Philo, lowering it to 45 on these each side with the understanding that that's not enforceable. Coupled with that, how about having— I know this would involve another state agency, but if we had actual enforcement of the 55 outside of the town that could have the effect of clueing people in that you do need to be slowing down. And then if that was followed up with a subsequent speed survey maybe it would show that we could justify a lower speed zone.

Brown: I get a lot of phone calls in this county. I know it takes a study that needs to be completed. What authority does the Board of Supervisors have on this matter? I believe by state law we have no power.

McCowen: I don't think we are setting the speed limit, I think we can offer a recommendation.

Howard Deshield: The vehicle code says that Caltrans is obligated to be at this public hearing and listen to the public comment. I guess the board can give a recommendation like the public could.

Hill: Section 22354.5 Section B. says that we will take into consideration the results of the public hearing in determining whether to increase or decrease the speed limit. As you have noticed we always assume that every comment will be opposed to raising the posted speed limit. So we always set it as low as legally possible. That is the standard by which we work all of our speed zones. So you can absolutely give us a recommendation to not change it. But we don't have the legal authority to leave the 30 mph signs out. That leaves CHP officers in a vulnerable position of a potentially enforcing a speed trap in which they are then considered an incompetent witness when they go to court and have to defend those tickets. That is inappropriate for us to do.

Supervisor Dan Gjerde: We have a unique situation here. I appreciate that Deputy Walker was here on his own time as a Philo resident. He told us that CHP is not enforcing this area. It's just the Sheriff's department, and largely him, that's enforcing anything. He said his enforcement procedure is primarily through warnings. Given that, it's not really essential that it be an enforceable ticket zone because there is no enforcement going on anyway. We see no one here from CHP saying that they want to ticket the area. We see no evidence the that they are ticketing the area. So why not leave it at the current 30 mph speed limit as unenforceable as it may be because the way enforcement takes place there is strictly through warnings through the County Sheriff's Department?

Supervisor Dan Hamburg: I agree with Supervisor Gjerde and my colleagues. It's hard for me to accept that we have to be the victims of what's written on a piece of paper when we know that it doesn't make sense. We know that if we change the speed limit to 35 mph, people are going to drive 5 mph faster than they already drive. Really, what makes Caltrans think that raising the speed limit is going to make that little village, that little area, more safe for the people there? I agree that you are all worried about a speed trap, but you are not worried about a death trap. It's just crazy. It makes no sense. It's hard for me to accept. It's also hard for me to accept that Caltrans does a lousy job of informing the public that this was actually happening. I take some responsibility as a supervisor for the area. I did make the assumption that this would be in local media. Then I found out that it was noticed in Ukiah daily Journal. And I heard that the AVA noticed there was a rumor going around. Caltrans did not get the word out to the affected area that this change was coming about. For that reason, I would like to continue this public hearing until the next day on which the board can hear it because there are probably another several dozen people from the Philo area who would like you to hear of their concerns. The people who came here today probably did it at the last minute. The Community Services District, the closest thing to a government in Anderson Valley, just became aware of this last week when a citizen came in and said, Did you hear that this was going to happen? I'm sure you've seen the letter they have sent asking that this public hearing be continued. I want to at least give people in the area an opportunity to be heard by you and to hear from them why this is just an idiotic proposal. I don't care what's written in your regulations. This makes no sense.

McCowen: I agree that the notice was not everything it could have been. Notice was in the local Anderson Valley paper, not the Ukiah Daily Journal and yet we did have six public speakers. Mr. Severn has a letter that's in the current edition of the Anderson Valley Advertiser. The action of the Community Services District as well as this agenda item were reported online. I tend to think the sentiment of the board is strongly in support of the community sentiment. It does however seem that Caltrans’s regulation is inflexible. So three dozen more people saying the same thing would not produce a different outcome. That's what I believe I'm hearing. You are basically telling us what your department is going to do regardless of any public comment or input or logic.

Hill: 42.7 mph is the average 85th percentile through the Philo speed zone. We have already taken into account the 5 mph increment from the public's comments. We have already assumed that the public is already going to say no and we have taken the 5 mph into account. There is not another option for a further reduction that can be taken. We have repeatedly seen that when we have raised or lowered posted speed limits there is then no change to the 85th percentile. What we do see is when we put the speed closer to the 85th percentile collision rates drop because it encourages drivers to a closer speed to what other drivers are driving. As it's currently set at 30. You can see that drivers are doing in excess of 15-19 mph over the posted speed limit. That generally does not change when we raise the speed limit. If you're going 50 mph and it's posted at 30 mph just because it's posted at 35 miles an hour doesn't mean that you are going to do 55. You will still feel comfortable doing 50. I'm not saying that's either legal or right but the drivers drive by what they see in the roadway and deem as safe for themselves. That's how the speed limits are set.

McCowen: You're saying you've done everything you can to put the speed limit at the lowest defensible level?

Hill: That's correct.

Gjerde: I support a letter that urges that the 30 mph be retained recognizing that it's not enforceable through tickets. We heard from the Sheriff's office that the Sheriff primarily relies on warnings anyway and that we also request that Caltrans do what they can do within their budget for things like visually narrowing the travel lane, by law they can the fog line closer to the center line. They can do certain things that will eventually cause drivers to slow their driving even a couple of miles per hour. Efforts should be instituted before a future public hearing a few years down the road where this could be revisited with an updated study. I know our letter may not be followed by Caltrans but I think that's what I would like to see from us.

McCowen: I think Supervisor Hamburg should work with staff to craft that letter.

Hamburg: Yes. I appreciate Supervisor Gjerde’s idea. Any kind of traffic calming measures would be supported. I also support some enforcement. I don't know if Caltrans ever talks to the Highway Patrol but we have talked about enforcement. We have been told that the enforcement is basically nil. It would help if we had some enforcement through that area. I support the motion but I will not vote for it because I'm disgusted by the entire proceeding. I think it's ill-conceived. I understand that if you raise the speed limit, people might not speed up. That may make sense to you as a traffic engineer but it makes no sense to me and I don't think that’s the way human beings actually drive.

McCowen: The points of the letter would be that we prefer to honor the wishes of the community and retain a 30 mph speed limit, we also support traffic calming measures and encourage actual speed zone enforcement by the Highway Patrol.

Hamburg: Even if it's through warnings. Because apparently it's not enforceable through tickets. But they can certainly issue warnings.

McCowen: It seems like enforcement outside those zones would be very good because people are driving too fast coming in to the area.

Hamburg: I support the lowering to 45 on either side. That makes a lot of sense to me so thank you for that.

The motion to write a letter to Caltrans recommending that the 30mph be left alone but the entry area either way be reduced to 45mph was approved 3-1, Hamburg dissenting.

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IN THE END, the Supervisors agreed with the Anderson Valley delegation. The Supes said they are writing to CalTrans to formally request that traffic through Philo continue to be slowed, at least in signage. We'll have more on this subject soon, but preliminarily, Bob Vaughn of Philo neatly summarized community feeling:

Vaughn: "The reason that people do not observe the 30 mph speed limit is by benign neglect.... This is something they will not admit, but I have heard from two CHP officers who I have talked to there at the gas station that nobody likes to come to Anderson Valley. The time that you need somebody there is between five and seven in the morning and three and six in the afternoon. If the CHP had been there when Caltrans did their survey, the numbers would change dramatically. That's the way it is. People know that there is nobody there. They laugh at the speed limit and the police. I live on Rays Road. I have been almost rear ended twice now by people coming down wanting to make a right. Oftentimes I have to go down to Lemons', turn into the Lemons' parking lot, go around the rotten fruit juice emporium, and then make a left hand turn into Ray's Road. And talking about people going into Scharffenberger, the idea of reducing the speed limits on both sides to 45 mph is a good idea. That would make a big difference. This morning, it was foggy and I was watching kids run across the street dodging cars who were going well over 35 mph. You have Blackbird Farm now picking up people and going down Rays Road and it is flat-out dangerous. It's due to benign neglect. If the CHP was there things would be a lot better. It's not fair to Craig Walker who does a great job as our resident deputy. It's not fair to put that burden on him considering that it is a STATE highway. It's a STATE highway. California Highway Patrol should take care of STATE highways. That's a big one. If they did, maybe we could get a few of those wine-drinking speeders off the road and pull in a little extra revenue. I know that's unpopular because the grapevine industry is a sacred cow in this County. But maybe it's time to start reeling it back in a little bit. I would like to be able to ride my bike to the store. I would like to be able to walk to the store. I would like to be able to walk with my neighbors to the store. I see that my time is up, thank you.”

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CALTRANS COVERS IT ALL! "We talk about a lot - it's probably the easiest way to check current road conditions across California. Quickmap got a mobile app on the Google Play store last August, but now iPhone and iPad users will have truly quick, convenient access to the real-time traffic information that Quickmap provides.

“We want to make travel as safe and easy as possible for California motorists. The QuickMap app gives critical information on highway conditions, so drivers can make smart decisions before they travel," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

The QuickMap app displays the user’s location on a map along with real-time information including; traffic speed, road closures, California Highway Patrol incidents, chain controls, fire locations, electronic highway sign messages, and live traffic cameras. QuickMap was launched online in 2011, with an Android app released in August of last year. As a reminder, please do not use Quickmap while driving."

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Charles Henry Martin also known as the Comptche Renegade Farmer died in his sleep on January 25, 2017 from complications due to Congestive Heart Failure. He was born in Newark, New Jersey on November 08, 1930 and is an only child of Minnette Martin. His father died when he was only 2 years old and was raised solely by his mother who never remarried.

In his mid-teens, the family moved to California in 1945 where he attended and graduated from Whittier High School. During this time he learned how to milk cows at a local farm and was soon helping supplement the family income. He also worked on a Rabbit farm and later worked as a parts delivery driver and Assistant Manager for the local Chevrolet dealer. He attended Fullerton Jr College 1950-51.

He was inducted into the National Guard in 1951 and was shipped to Japan for further training. On February 18, 1952 during his first landing in the Korean War he was hit by mortar fire and sustained life threating injuries. After multiple surgeries and a year of physical therapy he returned to Fullerton College and graduated with BA in 1953. In 1958 – 1962 he attended Cal Poly College and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. During the 60’s and 70’s he worked in the rocket industry and was responsible for the Titan III Booster rockets that would help to launch the Space Shuttle for many years.

He was a home gardener for many years and in 1985 he moved to Comptche with his wife where he started an Organic farm and sold produce to local restaurants throughout northern California. In 1996 he decided to retire and moved to Ridgewood ranch in Willits where he worked with the Church of the Golden Rule on numerous gardening projects including their prized Cherry Orchard Project.

He is survived by his beloved wife Catharine of 30 years and his son Ron and multiple grandchildren.

Charles was well known and loved in the community of Willits and never afraid to fight for the local causes that he believed in. He will be missed and always remembered by those of us that had the opportunity to know him.

Burial services will held at the Little Lake Cemetery, in Willits on Monday the 30th at 11 am. Following the burial ceremony there will be a Celebration of Life for Charles at the St Johns Lutheran church in Willits.

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by Rex Gressett

You can't trust the government. Duh. Apparently you cannot trust any of them, and least of all the Coastal Commission. Does everyone know this except me?

In Fort Bragg the city Development Director has been conducting a series of meetings behind closed doors with the Coastal Commission effectively acting as the working representative of Group 2 developers. They are meeting to slide a shopping center quietly into existence. They are doing it behind our backs because they have to. They are trying to get a grotesque project safely past the scrutiny and the outrage of the people of the city because the people were annoyingly effective. Now they have brought out the long knives. They want a shopping center dammit. It is not a clever project I’ll admit. It is usually described as big dumb and ugly and in reference to conscious and intelligent city planning: stupid. But they want it. They know how to get past mere public agony.

The people of the city of Fort Bragg and particularly the folks in the area proximate to the city heard about this elephantine outrage when it was first proposed about a year ago. At the last minute and by a kind of miracle the community stopped it in its tracks.

Derick Hoyle, Mark Hannon, Teresa Rodriguez and Stan Miklose, the folks appointed to the planning commission were set up by city development director Marie Jones like bowling pins to put this wickedly bad idea through the net before too many people got wind of it. They were all ready to do their job they way they were instructed.

Social media screwed that up. Prior to that memorable night two or three people in attendance at a planning commission meeting was about all you would expect. Listserve, Wellness and mendocinosports+ packed the hall that night and started something altogether new in local politics. If things had been different Fort Bragg would have lost this pristine and highly valued land right then.

When the developers failed in an easy slam-dunk the Coastal Commission got into the act and started spinning it with an experienced sure hand.

I humbly admit that I once stupidly believed that the Coastal Commission had our backs. I naively thought that they were a kind of noble agency, surely impartial, established and concerned to protect the interests of the people.

They will never get this past the Coastal Commission, I would say to people when we walked on the great green grassy expanses of the property, watching the surf, hearing it, feeling the wind from open spaces on our faces. Watching the wild turkeys and deer and the birds. I had a kind of Boy Scout confidence in the original vision of the people of the state when they established a special commission as a watchdog and guardian for California's beloved and vulnerable coastal beauty. I believed a lie.

The Coastal Commission will not meet with the people of the city. They will not come here. They do not want to know what the public temperature is. They will not listen to what the people have to say, unless we say it in proscribed fashion and don't upset them with out of the box enthusiasm. They have a system to keep public opinion carefully controlled. They will listen to us, if we come to them on bended knee and are careful not to upset their well-paid bureaucratic serenity.

The Coastal Commission has been invited to come to Fort Bragg and talk to us. We asked them to attend our town hall. In fact we begged pleaded and implored. No dice. They will be invited again before this is over by various members of the Fort Bragg city council and by the county board of supervisors but they will not come. Bob Merrill, Coastal Commission head honcho in the Eureka office, put me straight to the way things are. They don't care, they don't have to.

Marie Jones our development director is paid by the city but works for developers to advocate, manipulate, prevaricate, and weasel into existence projects opposed by community consensus such as this one. That is her actual job. She is writing the EIR, a document that is a kind of a tip of the hat to the people so they can feel better before they are discounted by the greater efficacy of real money.

It is a very theatrical process, filled with illusion and falsehood and guided by the Coastal Commission. The Process is a way to stall the people and fleece the developer until the project has been suitably massaged. Folks get to participate by writing comments into this document. How does that work? Mr. Merrill? What do you do with those comments before you throw them away? According to what criteria are they evaluated? Do you count them up, pro and con? Do you peruse them for poetical sentiment? Do you look for good grammar and penmanship? Do you search for new ideas that no one thought of before and perhaps chart those on a graph? Do you put them into a shoebox and shake them and then pull one out? Or do you just read them and throw them away?

Mere comments are not adequate for the developers. They get meetings. They have had quite a few already. The people of the city that the Coastal Commission is busy cheating (that would be you) pick up the tab to send the development director (developer advocate) up to hobnob with Mr. Merrill. We pay for lunch. They must love that.

The Coastal Commission and the developers have it all pretty well worked out already. I spoke with Crista Faust who is Bob Merrill’s associate at the Commission tasked with driving in the last nails. She told me she had seen a revised version of the project and told them (I guess she means the developers or their representatives) that it “looked alright.”

When outraged citizens stopped a project that no one wanted we thought for a golden moment we had won something.

We believed that the overwhelming logic of the property would count. We expected everyone would understand it was rare, nay unique. We thought they would understand that it is an ocean accessing green space beloved by all the people of our city and all of the people of the region. It did unite us as a community. And maybe that will mean something before the end. I am very certain it showed city hall what we could do with social media. Outrage generated unprecedented numbers self equipped with unstoppable community attitude.

But really it got us nothing. The development team did not panic. They have money and they spent it. Hell, they were ready for us as a matter of course. They have done the dirt on lots of towns and communities. We just thought we won. Now we know. We know also that the Coastal Commission we were counting on is utterly unconcerned with our community. We know now that the agency of the people of California specifically tasked with protecting precisely this kind of property in exactly this kind of a situation has no problem telling the people of the city they are too busy or too engaged to meet with us, or are they saying that they don’t need to talk to us because they already know what we think from our stack of comments? I guess that is it.

They call this slide behind our backs “The Process.” They want us to trust it. They are indignant when we don't. But they are also very clear that The Process does not include community meetings, and they are not open to a compromise.

“The Process” is a cakewalk for the professionals who make their daily bread circumventing the Coastal Act. When you think you can trust the Coastal Commission walk up and take a look at the developments that front the beach north of Mckerricher. Go count the McMansions with their backyards fronting the ocean. When this fight with Group 2 is over and if we lose, which we might, then we will know how things work a little better. Of course for Fort Bragg it will be too late.

When they are loading armored cars outside the new strip mall to take our money out of the city (as they do to the tune $45 million bucks a year from Safeway) we can still grumble. When you tell your grandkid that you used to be able to see and to smell and to hear the ocean from a hill that was once right where this parking lot is now, When you tell them wild turkeys lived here… What will they say? When the money boys and their operatives at the Coastal Commission have botched and degraded perhaps the most singularly defining piece of paradise we have in our little town, what will we have left? I don't know. But our illusions about the Coastal Commission will be history.

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Here are 'City Notes' by City Manager Linda Ruffing

(MSP NOTE--"City Notes" is published on the second and fourth Thursday of each month. If you have questions or suggestions regarding this column or any matter of City business, feel free to contact City Manager Linda Ruffing at or (707)961-2829.)

"AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECT- An affordable housing developer is negotiating to acquire a parcel of land for a mixed-income housing project in Fort Bragg. The conceptual vision for the project would include affordable senior housing units and market-rate family housing. The project is in its very early days, but if it moves forward, it could add between 25 to 50 units of new housing stock in our community. Once the developer has secured a project site, more information will be shared with the community.

LATINO COALITION FORUM - A capacity crowd of nearly 70 people attended the Latino Coalition panel discussion on immigration issues at Safe Passage last Thursday evening. Fort Bragg Police Chief Fabian Lizarraga spoke about the City’s long-standing practice of not participating in immigration roundups, raids or sweeps. He stressed that Fort Bragg police officers will not detain people solely to determine their legal status. The panel also included immigration attorney Grady Gauthier who provided an overview of immigration laws that can help or hurt undocumented people, and English as a Second Language/citizenship instructor Anne Thomas who spoke on the path to citizenship.

CHESTNUT STREET UPDATE- Despite the recent rainy weather, progress continues to be made on the Chestnut Street Corridor project. Work is focused on the portion of the street between Dana Gray School and the Lincoln/Chestnut Street intersection. This work consists of forming and pouring concrete improvements including curbs, gutters and driveways. The multi-use path will be paved with asphalt later. When practical, drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes and to minimize travel in the construction zone. Please remember that when driving in the area of construction, the speed limit is 15 MPH. The inclement weather and heavy traffic have taken a toll on the temporary traffic control markings. The contractor works diligently to keep them up. Nevertheless, attentive driving is greatly appreciated.

NEW MAYORS & COUNCIL MEMBERS ACADEMY - Mayor Peters, Vice Mayor Lee, Councilmember Norvell and I travelled to Sacramento last week for a three-day conference hosted by the League of California Cities for new Mayors and newly elected Councilmembers. The meeting was packed with informational sessions on topics including the legal authorities and restrictions under which city officials operate, the Council’s role in land use planning, the relationship between the Council and City Manager, do’s and don’ts of social media, how to conduct an effective and respectful Council meeting, financial responsibilities of elected officials, and compliance with ethics laws. It provided an excellent foundation for our newest Councilmembers and a great opportunity for networking with newly elected officials from other communities.

PUDDING CREEK DAM UPDATE - The City is still waiting to find out whether our insurance policies will cover the costs incurred in responding to the damage to our waterline as a result of the Pudding Creek Dam overtopping event in mid-December. Our insurance adjusters will be performing another site inspection next week. Governor Brown declared a state of emergency for the December winter storm during which the damage occurred and his office has indicated that California Disaster Assistance Act funds may be available to Fort Bragg. Public Works Director Tom Varga and I met with a Caltrans representative earlier this month to get a better understanding of the process and timeframes for relocating the waterline onto the Pudding Creek bridge. I will be meeting with Georgia-Pacific representatives next week to get a better understanding of their plans for decommissioning the dam. As more information is available, the Council will be requested to provide policy direction regarding the long-term fix for the waterline.

UPCOMING DTSC MEETING - On Thursday, February 2nd at 6 PM at Fort Bragg Town Hall, the City Council will conduct a special meeting to receive an update from the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) regarding the Mill Site remediation process. The meeting will provide data regarding contamination levels in the Mill Pond sediments and will explain the remaining steps that GP and DTSC must take to address the remaining contamination on the Mill Site. The structural stability of the Mill Pond dam/spillway and berm will also be addressed. The presentation will address how potential future remediation activities intersect with the City’s long-standing goal of creek daylighting. The meeting will be structured in the usual Council meeting format with a formal presentation by DTSC, an opportunity for questions and answers from the Council, and an opportunity for public comment. Following that, the meeting will transition to a more informal question and answer session as is typical of DTSC’s community meetings. DTSC will conduct an “open house” at Town Hall from 5 PM to 6 PM where people can: (1) review poster boards of mill pond contamination data, and GP’s plans to stabilize the Mill Pond impoundment and spillway. (2) ask questions of DTSC staff. Upcoming Mill Site Reuse Discussion - The City Council and Planning Commission will hold a joint workshop on Monday, February 6th at 6 PM at Fort Bragg Town Hall to restart the planning process for rezoning the GP Mill Site to accommodate future reuse. Come to the meeting to learn about the extensive community process that occurred between 2004 and 2012 and various options for moving forward. The meeting is just the beginning of a discussion that will involve a great deal of Council policy direction and community participation. Refreshments will be provided.

BUDGET SCHEDULE - Now that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015/16 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report has been completed, the City’s budget process for FY 2017/18 is underway. Several key dates are of note to the public. The Council will conduct its Mid-year Budget Review work session on Wednesday, March 15th. At this meeting, results of the first half of FY 2016/17 will be discussed. Additionally, Council will provide direction to guide development of the FY 2017/18 budget. The City Council will conduct a FY 2017/18 Budget Workshop on Thursday, May 25th .At this meeting, the proposed budget will be reviewed in detail and Council will provide further direction for revision. We anticipate the Council will consider adopting the finalized budget at the regularly scheduled City Council Meeting on June 26th

BEE CITY UPDATE - Fort Bragg’s designation as California’s first Bee City USA is making some serious headway! Several non-profit groups including the Noyo Food Forest, Fort Bragg Garden Club, Fort Bragg Rotary, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and Bee Bold Mendocino are helping with the overarching goals of the Bee City USA program. The Bee City USA subcommittee is hoping to establish a pollinator-friendly garden on the grounds of the Guest House Museum. In addition, the subcommittee is working on ways to educate residents on minimizing use of herbicides and pesticides with the goal of pursuing an eventual ban on the use and sale of neo-nicotinoid products.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS - Information on upcoming public meetings can be found on the “Upcoming Agenda Items” pages on the City’s website or by signing up for meeting notifications using the “Notify Me” feature at

* Finance & Administration Committee Meeting – Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 3 PM, Fort Bragg Town Hall. Tentative topics include: Water and Sewer Connection and Capacity Fees for Accessory Dwelling Units, Procedures for Placing Items on Council and Committee Agendas.

* Special City Council Meeting – Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 6 PM, Fort Bragg Town Hall. Agenda topic: Update from Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Regarding Mill Site Remediation and Operable Unit E Feasibility Study.

* Special Joint City Council/Planning Commission Meeting – Monday, February 6, 2017 at 6 PM, Fort Bragg Town Hall. Agenda topic: Consider Issues and Options for Rezoning Georgia Pacific Mill Site Property.

* Public Works & Facilities Committee Meeting – Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 3PM, Fort Bragg Town Hall. Tentative topic: Timed Parking in Skunk Depot Parking Lot.

* City Council Meeting – Monday, February 13, 2017 at 6 PM, Fort Bragg Town Hall. Tentative topics include: Cannabis Manufacturing Ordinance, Update from Noyo Center for Marine Science, Update from Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center, Updates to Street Names List and Addresses for Facilities in Noyo Headlands Park, Connection and Capacity Fees for Accessory Dwelling Units.

* Public Safety Committee Meeting – Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 3 PM, Fort Bragg Town Hall. Tentative topics: Homeless Issues; Update on Implementation of Body-worn Camera Program."

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

* * *

LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I always like visiting the Redwood Valley Market with the boss. I don’t know why anyone would want to turn the area into a pot outlet or a chain store. It’s fine the way it is!”

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, January 27, 2017

Anderson, Ayres, Couthren

KORY ANDERSON, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, syringe, failure to appear, probation revocation.

NATHAN AYRES, Half Moon Bay/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JOSEPH COUTHREN, Willits. Fugitive from justice.

Doggett, Flores, Mincitar

SARAH DOGGETT, Redwood Valley. DUI, suspended license.

ANSELMO FLORES, Bakersfield. DUI, suspended license, interlock override, under influence.

ROQUE MINCITAR, Ukiah. Domestic battery, pot possession for sale.

Nichols, Ramirez, Sizemore

JUSTIN NICHOLS, Philo. DUI, suspended license, failure to appear.

MANUEL RAMIREZ, Willits. Probation revocation.

RACHEL SIZEMORE, Clearlake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Smith, Thompson, Turner, Zakedis

SHARON SMITH, Willits. DUI, suspended license, failure to appear, probation revocation.

CALVIN THOMPSON, Ukiah. Resisting.

GRACE TURNER, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

DAVID ZAKEDIS, Willits. Loitering, conspiracy.

* * *


On 1/26/2017 9:20 PM, Janie Rezner wrote:

Oh MY GOD, they are using our children, our innocent babies as "guinea pigs." I couldn't read it all . . .I guess this is what HELL looks like.

* * *


Janie, it doesn't matter how much or how little you read of something if you don't read critically. Here's some information not shared in the hysterical propaganda article you present above:

All routinely recommended vaccines for US infants are available only as thimerosal-free formulations or contain only trace amounts of thimerosal (less than one millionth of a gram of mercury per dose). That is less mercury than in a single nibble of wild-caught Pacific salmon.

Also pertinent: there are different types of mercury. Methylmercury is the type of mercury found in fish. At high exposure levels methylmercury can be toxic to people. In the United States, federal guidelines keep as much methylmercury as possible out of the environment and food, but over a lifetime, everyone is exposed to some methylmercury.

Thimerosal (and remember: most vaccines do not use thimerosol) contains ethylmercury, which is cleared from the human body more quickly than methylmercury, and is therefore less likely to cause any harm.

No-one is using babies as guinea pigs in the sense that you mean, except the foolish religious anti-knowledge nuts who cripple and kill their own children by avoiding scientific evidence-based medical treatment in favor of magical thinking: spiderweb poultices, chamomile tea, a teaspoon of molasses, smelly candles, aura fluffing and/or prayer.

In other words: Oh MY GOD! Parents are using THEIR OWN CHILDREN as GUINEA PIGS!

* * *

PS. In other news, ordinarily this would be a week I'm away, but I had to work at the theater company so I stayed on the coast, so I'll be doing my radio show from the KNYO shop in Fort Bragg (325 N. Franklin, next door to the Tip Top bar) 9pm to 4am tomorrow (Friday) night on 107.7fm KNYO-LP, including midnight to 3am on 105.1 KMEC-LP Ukiah.

So if yez want to come by and present your case for throwing hundreds of years of scientific progress in the crapper and instead depend on the Goddess of the Moon, you're welcome. Just walk in, head for the electrically lighted room in the back and get my attention, and I'll put down whatever I'm doing and turn on an organic microphone-shaped potato for you. (Just kidding. A real microphone. With toxic quantities of lead, aluminum and tantalum in it.) (Also, fair warning, the studio used to be a hair salon so it's probably saturated with a hundred allergenic poisons and effluvia. And it's in Fort Bragg, which was blanketed with PCBs for years from transformer oil dripping on the conveyor into the mill's waste furnace. And there are cars on the street outside, no parts of which are certified edible, and there's soap in the bathroom. It's something to consider that, with all this, we live so much longer and in so much better health than people did in the pure old days when all the poisons in our lives were natural ones and only mighty kings and space-alien pyramid builders had hot running water.)

Marco McClean

* * *

* * *


A friend who went to D.C. to attend the march was exuberant. I asked if she’d have gone if Hillary Clinton had won the election. She said yes. I countered, “No, if Clinton had won there wouldn’t have been a protest march.”

Instead there would’ve been a celebratory assembling of vagina voters. Despite Hillary Clinton’s warmongering. Despite the blood dripping from her hands for foreign policy catastrophes in Libya, Syria, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, and Yemen.

Meanwhile, Women’s March attendees, many of whom never raised their voice to denounce Clinton/Obama carnage, are being encouraged to utilize their energy, increase their activism, run for public office … as Democrats. Please.

* * *

SALMON CREEK TREE PLANTING this Monday in Albion, Jan. 30th:

Volunteers welcome!

Holly Newberger of the Conservation Fund, owner of most of the Salmon Creek watershed wrote: The Conservation Fund and the Salmon Creek Project Team invite you to join us on the Salmon Creek Forest in Albion to help with planting of redwood seedlings to help restore the forest. It has been a few years since we have joined together to plant redwoods. We look forward to working together to plant 150 redwood seedlings. The Salmon Creek Project Team has been a dedicated partner with this restoration project since 2006.

Date: Monday, January 30th

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Location: meeting location will be shared upon receipt of RSVPs

Bring: water, tools and gloves. We suggest you wear a hat, clothing layers and sturdy shoes.

Many hands make fast work and more enjoyable for all! Please share this invitation with anyone who may be interested in helping.

Holly Newberger,

* * *


The builders behind the Dakota Access Pipeline are in kind of a bind because all of their investors are now on the hook for all of the money they poured in to it. They didn’t have everything together. They didn’t do their homework. They didn’t talk to the indigenous people before they started doing this. And I even heard one of the representatives talking, saying that they don’t think they can do it any other way because they put so much money into this and if they had to build somewhere else, they’d have to make all these deals and get permissions from all the owners of the land.

So what they’re saying is, “Well we didn’t have to get permission from the Indians because we don’t respect the Indians. So we didn’t even bother to get the Native Americans to give permission.” They went ahead and did it anyway.

And their point is, “We’ve already put so much energy and money into this and we’d have to actually get permission if we did it somewhere else.” I mean, that point speaks for itself.

What isn’t being said loud enough is ― Where is the United States Government? Where is President Obama? How can people believe in a government that doesn’t enforce its own decisions? They’ve never stopped drilling. And that’s a very important, it’s worth more than one line on some TV show while they’re talking about how great and historic Standing Rock is.

The thing is that no matter what the president says, no matter what the army corps of engineers says, no matter what any of our government members say, the corporate powers in this country have decided to ignore them completely. So that’s the big point right now and that’s why nobody is going anywhere.

That’s why it’s so much bigger, because it’s corporations. And the government should be going head to head with their goals completely opposite and their stated positions completely opposite.

Although I’m not recommending that they use water cannons to drench the pipeline workers in sub-freezing temperatures like they did with the Native Americans who were praying.

Now we have corporations saying they won’t do what the President of the United States and the US Army is telling them to do. I think it’s time for the US Army and the President of the United States to go up there and enforce the rule of law and represent Americans ― represent anybody who feels the same as Americans.



  1. james marmon January 28, 2017

    RE: Mike Shapiro.

    I’m extremely saddened to hear about Mike, I worked for him for two years as his maintenance man and as a property manager for his apartment complex on Leslie Street in Ukiah. He basically financed me through my first two years of college. I used to go up to his house outside of Booneville and do work there as well, a beautiful family. I don’t drive by the Victory Theater in Ukiah without thinking about him, that was my second home during that time, his too.

    This is truly sad news.

    • Mark Scaramella January 28, 2017

      False Alarm. Mike, we’re glad to hear, is very much still with us. We were in too big a hurry to announce what our first source told us.

  2. MarshallNewman January 28, 2017

    Sad to read of Mike Shapiro’s passing. Last time I talked with him, he had hit a rough patch healthwise, but – pure Mike – was optimistic. In the Jewish tradition, “May his memory be a blessing.”

    • Mark Scaramella January 28, 2017

      False Alarm, Marshall. Mike, we’re glad to hear, is very much still with us. We were in too big a hurry to announce what our first source told us.

  3. Bill Pilgrim January 28, 2017

    Mendocino Vaccine Awareness Symposium

    Saturday, January 28, 9 am – 5 PM

    Fort Bragg Town Hall, 363 N. Main St., Fort Bragg

    Speakers include: Dr. Tim O’Shea, Dr. Robert Rowan, Greg Glazer, Esq., Del Bigtree ( Vaxxed – The Movie)

  4. Harvey Reading January 28, 2017


    Very good. Those yuppie morons will still be in love with Hillary if she runs again. With any luck, she’ll have another stroke and be as dead as her right-wing “party” already is by 2020.

    When are the Greens gonna change their name to something that makes sense to us trash? Primary colors just don’t work in this country. Too many negative connotations. They’ve got an excellent platform, but the name …

    • Bruce McEwen January 28, 2017

      Especially bad connotation for Wyoming residents who abhor Colorado tourists, and call them “greenies”a slur in reference to their green license plates and green-hued identity politics.

      Old Wyoming riddle: How do you tell when it’s springtime in Wyoming? All the license plates turn green! (Otherwise, there’s only two seasons in Wyoming: Winter and Frontier Days — which is two weeks in July — and I’ve actually seen it snow even then!)

  5. Jim Updegraff January 28, 2017

    As a former chair of the 2,500 member Sacramento County Chapter of the ACLU it is always nice to see my dues at work. The ACLU and several other legal agencies filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Iraqi men who were en route to the United States when President Trump issued an executive order banning many Muslims from entering the country, The lead plaintiffs were detained by the U. S. Government and threatened with deportation-even thought they have valid visas. One worked for the U. S. Military and his life was in danger in his home country due that relationship. The other has a wife and son who are lawful permanent residents in Houston. The man who worked for the U. S. has now been released. In effect, Trump has barred Muslims from entering the United States, while favoring the entry of Christians.

    • BB Grace January 28, 2017

      Did you hear what the detainee said when MSM asked, “What do you think of Trump?”

      He responded: “I like him!”

      The faces of those who saw themselves as heroes was priceless.

  6. Jim Updegraff January 28, 2017

    BBGGrace: so what does that have to due with the law suit? As usual talking in circles..

    • BB Grace January 29, 2017

      U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly filed a court petition that only covered a portion of Trump’s executive order.

      From DHS statement, Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to the White House, said: “Nothing in the Brooklyn judge’s order in anyway impedes or prevents the implementation of the president’s executive order which remains in full, complete and total effect.”

      The Obama Administration Stopped Processing Iraq Refugee Requests For 6 Months In 2011.

      • Harvey Reading January 29, 2017

        2011. Wasn’t there a guy, name of Obama, who was president then?

  7. Dave Smith January 28, 2017

    Please see my interview with Charles Martin here in the AVA…

    “In 1989, during the Mediterranean Fruit Fly infestation in California, Governor Brown ordered the stripping of all fruit trees to stop it. Charles was dependent on his small orchard for his own health, thought the order was too broad and indiscriminate, refused the order, sued Governor Brown, and won.”

    Charles will be missed.

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