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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017

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by Rex Gressett

Addressing the DTSC, what meanith it.

I would like to comment on the excellent piece by Susan Miller from an earlier edition of the AVA:

In her account of the mill site cleanup in Fort Bragg. Ms. Miller has filtered out the bull, and put into context the vague elaborations and technical circumlocutions of the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). At the same time she has put her finger precisely on the main objective of the city council, which is never an easy task.

The DTSC wants to give us a letter. After 17 years of bungling mismanagement and spending $35 million, the DTSC wants to let us know in a gentle missive that they did their duty and we are on our own. As Ms. Miller notes, contractors are going to go at it one more time with heavy equipment and limited precautions. Then they propose we all call it day. They suggest that the substantial toxic regions that they intend to leave behind be used sparingly.

As far as the removal itself goes, they have the understandable expectation that the people of the city will not object because we have never yet objected to any of the heavy equipment gymnastics over the last 17 years. All of which to casual observation sent clouds of dust into the air while they hauled off poisoned soil to some other person's backyard.

I don't know what their rush is. So far they have been dragging things out to a degree hard for ordinary folks to comprehend. For 17 years they have hacked and dug, hauled and re-hauled tons of dirt looking for acceptable victims to dump it on. They've hunted like great blind beasts for toxic molecules with backhoes. If this seemingly endless process was about thoroughness, if they had been gradually reducing the toxicity of the site, and if it simply took that long to achieve a high standard, we would have to admire their tenacity even if we thought privately that they should be using more innovative means.

But that was not the way that it went. They stopped. They figured. They elaborately notified and negotiated, they hauled toxic dirt by the hundred truckloads and, finding that other people did not like our poisons, they had to bring it all back and rebury the toxic soil at the mill-site from whence it came.

We have had through this long period of time a few reports and almost no input or involvement from the City Council or the City Manager. Knowing the bill is being footed elsewhere is largely sufficient and the science is complicated.

The head-in-the sand City policy has had its costs. Along the way the low profile, no-risk City Council made a deal for us, in which we lost as a community more than we will ever know. When Office Max sold the site to Georgia Pacific, there was a lawsuit, a small matter of $14 million in mandated clean-up costs.

The City of Fort Bragg was named as a defendant. At that moment, the City, with Linda Ruffing as City Manager, declined to name any specific damages that might have been inflicted on the town as a result of what turned out to be a surprising level of toxicity at the place most people worked. The City Council was very proud that they got out of it without even hiring a real lawyer, the regular hack was adequate for the nothing that they did to make a claim for the health of the people of the City.

Now they propose that in massive operations big trucks will haul toxic waste all over the state looking for areas that have a maximum legal/political potential for having carcinogenic poisons dumped on them. Fort Bragg must thank GP that in order for the Koch Brothers (owners of G-P) to get their land marketable they had to put Koch Brothers-level pressure on other communities to take our own Fort Bragg poisons. We could not have done it without them.

The City has been positioning itself to let the whole DTSC thing happen. The final abandonment of the original G-P- specific plan is coming a decade or so after it failed to have any actual relevancy. This symbolic gesture has usefully opened the door to a dismal compromise. Like an unrequited lover, long gone, the "specific plan" has inhabited the files and desks of City management for a decade or so, a mere token kept without hope.

What we always thought was the $2.5 million (now they are saying half that) Specific Plan was visible proof that nothing is not all they can do, even if it is what they are doing currently. Letting go of the old Specific Plan puts the City back at square one, addressing the zoning change which yet remains industrial timber and mill.

Whatever zoning they decide on they will be defending it before the formidable Coastal Commission. Last time around the Commission found 888 specific flaws in Fort Bragg's plan.

What will be the effect of having Lindy Peters on the Coastal Commission? (He will surely be appointed.)

In their utter inability to deal with the requirements of preservation and the ethos of open land the City pols are devising a new plan. The idea is to do a quick dirty zoning so that a few good friends can own big chunks of the site.

As all this has been transpiring, I have been speaking from time to time with a brilliant local activist and researcher, Ms Tammy Davis. She says it does not have to be this way. She went to considerable trouble to provide me with an impressive arsenal of information about options to the hack and truck methodology. She was talking crazy things like sunflowers and trees.

She showed me that pond remediation using biological means is easier sometimes than ground based remediation, and the old mill pond is exactly what the department is throwing up its hands over. That would be the pond full of Dioxin, which they intend to abandon and which lies in the midst of George Reinhardt's proposed wetlands.

Breaking and trucking stuff around is an extremely expensive process that Tammy characterized as — I think her precise words were — “fucking crazy.”

In a sense the Kochs are the victims of their own capacity for pull. They have the juice to dump our poisons on someone else. But man are they are paying for it, first in cash and secondly in the devaluation of the property that is the inevitable result of the fundamental failure of the cleanup. DTSC does not propose to leave a clean site. DTSC proposes the City learn to live with it.

Ms. Davis has looked to the wider world for solutions. Toxic cleanup is sadly not that rare. Doing it the way we are doing it is getting to be rare. DTSC apparently does not know that.

Microbial remediation is using mulch laid over the toxic dirt. It engages complexities of enzymes and proteins and complicated dances and cycles in billions of microscopic organisms. Science has learned to engineer and control those relationships to a truly amazing degree. Professional remediatiors use plant-based and microbial-based as well as mushroom-based techniques. All of these are being used all over the world in toxic cleanups from the Amazon to Siberia. All of it is far cheaper than what they propose and unlike what they propose works completely. With biological remediation they get it all.

Around the world a whole industry has arisen, often involving local people. An industry putting money into local pockets. The techniques are refined bio-science, but done with hay and seeds and mulch. With tractors and people. Microbial remediation heats the earth to hundreds of degrees, creates universes of microbes and bacteria, fungi protozoa and nematodes as well as earthworms arthropods and other crawling things to cleanse the soil of pollutants. It works.

Later, over-planting with specific species can address residual toxins, eventually giving you totally safe, utterly clean dirt. Out of the toxic swamp into the flower. To remove lead, alpine penny cress and sunflower, or work with Alfalfa. Use Honey Locust and Quaking aspen for a final absorption.

For Arsenic (which we have at the mill in abundance) you want Bentgrass or Marshfern. There are hundreds of bio-engineered regimens which are working all over earth to remove exactly the toxins that stand in the way of our progress on the mill site.

Through a community-based program we could remediate the mill site ourselves. With diligence and time, with stands of poplars and acres of Penny-Cress and Sunflower and Brown mustard, we could make our mill site cleaner of toxins than most of the American continent.

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(from "City Notes," September 25, 2014)

After 120 years of operation on Fort Bragg's coastal bluffs, the Georgia-Pacific (GP) lumber mill closed in 2002. Since then, GP has pursued the cleanup of contaminated soils and groundwater on the property. The site investigation and remediation is proceeding under a remediation order that was issued by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) in 2006 following disclosure of the presence of dioxin-contaminated soils on the property.

To date, GP has spent over $30 million on the site investigation and cleanup, and the remediation process is not yet finished. In June 2012, GP filed a cost-recovery claim against OfficeMax seeking a contribution to past and future costs associated with the cleanup. OfficeMax is the successor to Boise Cascade, the entity who purchased the Union Lumber Company and operated the mill before selling it to GP. OfficeMax then filed a claim against the City of Fort Bragg seeking payment for a portion of the cleanup costs. Their claims alleged that the City was liable for cleanup costs relating to two sources of pollution: (1) storm water runoff from City streets that flows through the mill pond before discharging into the ocean; and (2) the coastal burn dumps that were used by local residents long ago. At the same time, Louisiana Pacific (LP) was pulled into the lawsuit since they operated a small plywood mill on a portion of the property for a few years. Eventually, all four parties (GP, OfficeMax, LP and Fort Bragg) filed claims against each other and a spectacularly complicated lawsuit unfolded.

The first action taken by the City Council once Fort Bragg was brought into the litigation was to tender its defense and indemnity to several insurance companies. The City also retained Jon Enscoe of Barg Coffin Lewis & Trap, an environmental insurance coverage lawyer, to help the City get benefits under its insurance policies. With the help of City Clerk Cindy VanWormer, the City team assembled sufficient documentation to convince three companies that had issued insurance policies to the City more than 25 years ago that they were obligated to provide the City with a defense in the litigation. The insurance companies retained a law firm specializing in Superfund litigation, Bassi Edlin Huie & Blum (BEHB), to defend the City, and over the course of the litigation paid approximately $3 million dollars in defense costs on behalf of the City of Fort Bragg. While navigating the complex world of Superfund litigation, the City Council also received excellent counsel from attorney Greg Newmark of Meyers-Nave.

From day one, the City Council took a very aggressive stance in defense of the City. BEHB attorney Fred Blum led a team of attorneys and expert witnesses who developed a number of defenses, filed counter-claims against GP, and charged headlong into discovery in the case. The discovery process was lengthy and complicated, with over 11 million pages of records produced and depositions of key witnesses taken at various locations across the country. While the City had a number of strong defenses in the case, the prospect of even a small judgment was daunting. With total cleanup costs for the mill site estimated at approximately $50 million, if even a small fraction of the cost was allocated to the City, a judgment could have spelled bankruptcy.

I'd like to summarize a few of the arguments that the City made as to why its taxpayers should not be required to subsidize the cleanup of the mill site property. With regard to cleanup costs associated with the burn dumps on the coastline, perhaps the most compelling argument was that the City paid full market value for a clean piece of property when it bought the coastal parkland for $4.2 million in 2010. The purchase agreement assumed that GP would incur costs for the cleanup of the burn dumps and provided that, if the cleanup costs got too expensive relative to the purchase price, GP could cancel the deal. The City (and GP) never contemplated that GP would come back with a lawsuit seeking more money for the cleanup. The City had a number of arguments as to why it was not liable for cleanup costs related to contaminants in the City's stormwater that may have settled out in the mill pond. First, prior to the mill, stormwater flowed across the property in natural drainageways that discharged into the ocean. Then, the mill owners altered the flow of Alder Creek and Maple Creek and created ponds so that the water could be collected and used for their industrial purposes. The City did not dispose of its stormwater on the mill property, but rather the mill owners tapped into the City's stormwater system and used the water for their own benefit.

All four parties to the litigation engaged in settlement negotiations from the outset with the assistance of a highly-regarded mediator- Judge Layne Phillips (best known for successfully mediating a settlement between the NFL and its football players regarding concussions)- but a settlement was not immediately forthcoming. This summer, as the parties continued to prepare for trial and various defense arguments and affirmative claims were revealed, settlement negotiations began in earnest. In the end, LP paid GP $1.5 million towards cleanup of the property. OfficeMax also settled, although the amount of their payment towards cleanup costs has not yet been made public. The City of Fort Bragg was not required to contribute any money towards the cleanup costs and all claims have been dismissed with prejudice-- which means they cannot be resurrected in the future.

While the lawsuit was a tremendous waste of time, energy and money -- it is over now and the City can get back to work planning for the reuse of the mill site property to benefit our community for generations to come.

City Notes is published on the second and fourth Thursday of each month. If you have questions or suggestions regarding the column, feel free to contact City Manager Linda Ruffing at (707) 961-2823, ext. 118 or

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Front row: (l-r) Alejandro Soto, JT Carlin, Jorge Mejía, Ulises Garcia
Back Row: (l-r) Asst Coach Antonio Soto, Christian Natareno, Tony Pardini, Gerardo Torales, Isaac Sanchez, Christopher Espinoza, Coach Luis Espinoza

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by Damian Sebouhian

Willits Weekly talked with owners and employees of Main Street businesses located north of the Highway 20 intersection about the impacts of the Highway 101 bypass on their operations for this final installment of “businesses and the bypass.”

Tony Madrigal, owner of El Mexicano restaurant, said since the bypass opened in November 2016, he has seen an estimated 10 percent drop in business.

“I’ve been to one of the Caltrans meetings about signage,” Madrigal said. “I plan on putting up a sign [on Highway 101]. I think that will help a lot. Doing a bit more advertising will help.”

Across the street at Taqueria Bravo, manager Rigo Aguilar said it’s too early to tell how the bypass has affected his customer flow, although he concedes: “Sundays are a little slower because most places are closed in town. Most of our customers are local.”

Aguilar is considering putting up a sign or billboard on the highway, but said: “We’re waiting for the summer time to see how hard it hits, because they do all the events up north. I’m hoping, as a town, we can come together.”

Aguilar also noted his business participated in the February 16 “A Day Without Immigrants” boycott.

“My parents are immigrants,” Aguilar said. “This country was formed from immigration. Everybody needs a helping hand.”

Amanda Knodle, owner of The Head Room, echoed Aguilar’s analysis that it’s too soon to tell how much business has declined.

“We need a whole business quarter to decide,” Knodle said. “There’s definitely your advocates from the community who are always going to stop in, which is beneficial. For the most part, the everyday run-of-the-mill [drive-through people] – they’re not stopping in as much.”

Knodle is currently refraining from adding any signs, citing expense as the major deterrent.

“I’ve seen billboards that cost as much as our rent,” Knodle said. “You have to weigh whether it’s a useful strategy.”

She noted online sales have helped the store stay afloat. “It’s probably a quarter’s worth of revenue for the year.”

Knodle suggested, rather than simply increasing advertising, retail businesses should consider “diversifying their products, and offering things that people need. It’s hard to find socks and underwear in this town.”

Knodle is expecting to take advantage of cannabis legalization soon.

“We might try to start a pipe-cleaning service,” Knodle said, adding she thought there was a lot of potential for Willits in the cannabis market.

“I think we should have processing, distribution and manufacturing, and retail sales, and an outlet for community members who are already here producing to get their stuff to the market, and have it produced and taxed and have it go through the regulatory channels.”

One business owner, who wished to remain anonymous, opined the real reason for the decrease in business is not so much the bypass as the transition process of cannabis legalization.

“It hasn’t been the bypass so much; it’s been a shift away from paying cash,” the owner said. “More people are using credit cards and watching what they’re buying, when before people would just spend. I think everyone is a little scared. All the people that usually pay with cash aren’t paying cash anymore.”

The same retail owner felt having a strong online presence is the way to stay economically viable in today's local economy.

“Before, I didn’t have the whole store on our online site,” the owner said. “Now I’m taking time out of my day and putting all our products online. We do one to two orders a day online.”

Sara Mann, owner of the Goods Shoppe and Mazahar, said she had been preparing months in advance for the 101 bypass, but both her businesses are still taking a hit.

“I put a lot of effort into the stores in advance because we knew it was coming,” Mann said. “I talked to people, did advertising online, and approached customers on our email list about the bypass, telling them: ‘Don’t forget Willits. Remember to pull off and come in.’

“I did notice more local support by far, but it’s a small community,” Mann said. “It’s not enough to make up for all the travelers.”

Mann said she is refraining from putting up additional signage. “It’s extremely costly, and it’s not the right timing for us to put more resources out.”

Mann said she is doing her best to move on from the issue. “I had been thinking about [the bypass] for a long time, but I had to let it go,” she said. “I don’t want to dwell on it; it is what it is.”

It’s Time Noodle House has been selling noodles and sushi in Willits for three years now, and employee Jeffrey Franks says: “I haven’t noticed any decline in business. A lot of people are talking about [the effects of the bypass], but we’ve been doing better, if anything.”

Franks attributes the decrease in traffic for more local business.

“It’s a little easier to get around town. There may be not as many people driving through, but it’s easier to get from one place to another,” he said.

Taylor Polen, who's been working at April Mays Drive Thru Espresso for the past two years, also reported no decline in business. “We thought our sales would drop, but we noticed all of our business is mostly from locals.”

Polen, a junior at Willits High School, said: “It’s fun working here. I meet new people all the time.”

Lisa Davis, owner of Scoops, said in comparison to this time last year: “Business is about the same, only because it’s this time of year. January through March typically is our slow time.”

Davis noted an increase in catering has helped mitigate any loss of store business, and she has also noticed more local customer presence.

“We’re seeing people that we haven’t seen before,” said Davis. “Part of it is the congestion of traffic has decreased. We’ve also had [out-of-town] people who know we’re here take the off ramp, not taking the bypass, because they wanted to stop in.”

Davis is still considering whether to utilize highway signage.

“We’ve looked in to adding signs, but I’m on the fence about it,” said Davis. “What end do you choose? The initial cost and annual expense [is a concern]. We’ve done some things on Facebook, and we put our sandwich board out.”

Davis acknowledged the support of the City of Willits for using her catering service. “The city is really thinking about local first.”

(Courtesy, Willits Weekly)

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “A subversive friend of mine dropped off this muy cool ‘U.S. Out of California’ shirt. I think I look pretty good in it, if I do say so.”

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Dear Mom, AVA and Anderson Valley,

Even from Wisconsin, I still felt my mom, Briana, was a part of the valley and community. She greatly enjoyed writing submissions for the AVA, and I will miss her writing, among many other things.

I spent last week hiking between two cars on washed out Peachland road, and even though I was too young to have a clear memory, was reminded of when the road was washed out in the late 70’s and my mom was trapped behind the slide with two kids! Since I think we may have been the only residents at that time, I think it was a while before it was open again!

Briana was a wonderful artist and painter, I’m very lucky to have many of her works. She encouraged my artistic pursuits and I credit her with teaching me to sew and giving me the interest and ability to start my own clothing company. She taught me to play guitar, and later banjo. My childhood on Peachland was filled with the sound of her singing. She must have known 500 American folk songs by heart!

My mom’s health had been declining, not in a specific way, just getting old. She had a small stroke last summer, but recovered almost immediately and was able to attend my wedding in South Lake Tahoe in August. She was joined at the large family event by all her siblings (who are all getting up there in years!) and everyone spent a long weekend on the shores of Tahoe talking and reminiscing. I’m so lucky to have had such a wonderful family event with professional photos before my mom’s passing.

We talked regularly on Skype over the last 5-7 years, often spending hours at a time chatting and discussing our lives and recent activities. Briana was mostly averse to medical intervention, and was very pleased with a life well lived. She had made very clear to me (repetitively so!) for a decade that she had no intentions of ever declining to a point where she felt useless, and I’m impressed and amazed as always with her precision and drive. She spent her last Saturday and Sunday at a land use conference and a Wisconsin historical talk, active her entire life, with very little down time! She passed away two days later.

Thanks to Bruce for publishing her writings throughout the years, thanks to all her friends in the valley, and random people she liked to call up from Wisconsin and introduce herself too! She loved the community of Anderson Valley, and the cooperation it created. She would have been happy, in a way, to hear of Peachland road being washed out, and neighbors and community helping one another deal with adversity. Thanks for all the help mom!

I’m sure Briana sends her love to all in the AV community!

C.T. Rowe

South Lake Tahoe

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On February 24, 2017 at approximately 1:58 P.M. Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office responded to a residence in the 20000 block of Henderson Road in Covelo. The Deputies were responding to the location in an attempt to contact Steven Luna of Covelo, who had an active felony warrant issued for his arrest. Upon their arrival, Deputies contacted Luna standing in front of the residence. Luna was advised and placed under arrest for the felony warrant without incident. Luna's warrant was issued for violating the terms of his formal probation. Luna was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a no-bail status due to his felony warrant.

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The reason this brief history came about is to document what has gone into the creation of the “new” Albion School and why we need to hang on to this gem of a school.

In January of 1991 a small group of Albion mothers (Beverly Karkruff, Linda Perkins, Peggy Latham, Shelley Barker, and Annemarie Weibel) approached the Mendocino Unified School District (MUSD) school board with the request to look at the feasibility of starting a public elementary school in Albion and setting up an Ad Hoc Committee for that purpose. At that time the schools in Comptche and Elk were funded as “small necessary schools” and that funding would also apply to a newly created Albion School which could bring in additional funds to MUSD. Throughout the following years the small woman's group was joined by several men. The name of our group was Albion School Builders. We talked about educational philosophies and how a structure should reflect that philosophy. We read and discussed many educational books, wrote many newspaper articles, and participated in radio interviews. Land was offered for sale by Janet Cook and Louisiana Pacific Lumber Company. An exchange of property with a neighbor was needed as well. Ken Matheson, Jaynie Paulson, Dorothy Ayres, C.J. Jones, Peggy Latham, Bill Heil, Kay Medley, Dave Mitchell, Debi Gitchel and many others spent countless hours creating this beautiful school.

Michael Stevenson and friends of the Albion School project spent many months discussing, organizing and planning the geotechnical, traffic, biological, archeological, water, engineering, septic, and hydrological studies. We asked for donations of materials, labor, and/or money from local people which amounted to roughly $35,000. The well drilling was donated. Land had to be cleared and graded. The superintendent of the Mendocino County Schools, Paul Tichinen, and many community members including many children cleared the land. The Ledford House organized a Benefit Dinner. A bond measure helped to pay for half of the building costs. The Developers Fees and a loan helped to pay for whatever was not covered otherwise. A sale of school district property helped as well.

A District Facilities Planning Committee and later an Albion School Building Committee was formed. A Master Plan Building Committee Study was created. Over the next few years several scenarios were launched. One, where Albion students were informed that they would have to attend a future Albion School, another where Kindergarteners and First Graders were told that they needed to attend the Greenwood School. Petitions were circulated objecting to mandatory placements and to support the continuation of the K-8 Independent Study program at the Educational Explorations Albion Whale School.

It was the Albion School Builders that found in Paul Douglas an architect that came up with a beautiful design for the school which allows natural lighting to light up the rooms so that no artificial lighting is needed during the day. Paul's wife Marcia, a school teacher, chose the harmonious colors for the building. Christiane Heckeroth did extensive research to find funding for the school and identified the Petroleum Violation Escrow Account as a source of funding for the solar portion of the building which mounted to $93,000. Steve Heckeroth helped Paul Douglas with the design for the photovoltaic installation, day lighting and the solar driven radiant floor heating system. Rob Harlan and Steve Heckeroth installed the solar system. Greg Ross did the landscaping. The final budget was $1.3 million. It took eight and a half years of hard work by many people (mostly Albion residents) to create the “new” Albion School & Community Center.

Cathie Mellon was the first teacher at the “new” Albion School & Community Center. She started teaching in the fall of the 1999-2000 school year until spring of the 2003-2004 school year. Jary Stavely taught from the 2004-2005 school year until the 2008-2009 school year. Suzanne Jennings started teaching at the Albion School in the 2009-2010 school year and will retire at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

The school has served many of our children in the last 16 years. Now that we are at a crossroad once again and have a small class of only 8 students and know of 2 or 3 students who want to attend the Albion School next year we need to ask ourselves if we are ready to lose a gem like this school & community center or if we can come up with creative ideas to save this school for our children, our future!

Many ideas have been brought forth at the January 24 community meeting called for by Jason Morse, the Superintendent of MUSD. Among them a preschool; an after school program; a themed school such as a Montessori School or a charter school; have more busing offered, more adult classes; community use of the wi-fi system; use one of the rooms for an office; a cafe or soup kitchen; a community garden; use of the grounds for weddings, concerts, meetings or other events (as of two years ago it is possible to serve alcohol on site when students are not present). We can extend this list, but we need community members who are willing to step forward and commit their time and energy to "steer this ship in the right direction". Please let Jason Morse know how important it is for the community to have a gathering place for zumba and tai chi lessons or other community use in addition to a school. The intent of this project was to have a school and community center that serves the community. Please include Kathy Wylie, the Albion representative on the school board, in your e-mail. Jason Morse <> & Kathy Wylie <>

Feel free to share with your friends on facebook.

Thank you for your support.

Annemarie Weibel and Albion School Parents Group

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This is about the problems we’re having in California, not just from the weather, but from bad leadership. California is so broke because our so-called governor, Jerry Brown, is spending money on things like over-environmentalism, too much air resources board bullcrap, senseless gun laws, and immigration.

In Washington and Oregon and Nevada when a bad place appears on a highway, they fix it. In California they put up a sign that says, “Rough Road.”

We have the worst roads and highways in the nation. Our bridges are ready to fall down. Our roads are full of potholes and they turn into water troughs when it rains. Our dams are ready to break…

If we have a major earthquake in California like the one in 1906 over a million people will die. Mark my words. Wait and see. But it’s due. In fact, it’s overdue.

Mr. Trump is going to give California a trillion dollars to fix up our state. But most of that money is going to go for political crap.

I pity the people of California. It’s horrible what’s happening here. People in the middle class are being choked by regulations. They can’t make it, there’s no way to make it. They have nothing good to look forward to.

God Bless Donald Trump

Jerry Philbrick


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CATCH OF THE DAY, February 27, 2017

Bennett, Gonzalez-Mendoza, Gonzalez-Garcia, Luna

ISAIAH BENNETT, Willits. Probation revocation.

RAFAEL GONZALEZ-MENDOZA, Redwood Valley. Drunk in public.

DAVID GONZALEZ-GARCIA, Ukiah. Court order violation with priors.

STEVEN LUNA JR., Covelo. Probation revocation.

Manuel, Martinez, Newberry, Petersen

RAMON MANUEL, Ukiah. Domestic battery, destruction of communications device to prevent call for assistance.

CHARLENE MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Outstanding misdemeanor warrant.

BRYAN NEWBERRY, Willits. Under influence, resisting.

TREVOR PETERSEN, Post Falls, Idaho/Ukiah. DUI, no license.

FRED WILLIAMS JR., Ukiah. Criminal threats.

BRANDY YOKUM, Willits. Probation revocation.

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by James Kunstler

We need a new civil war like we need a hole in the head. But that’s just it: America has a hole in its head. It’s the place formerly known as The Center. It didn’t hold. It was the place where people of differing views could rely on each other to behave reasonably around a touchstone called the National Interest. That abandoned place is now cordoned off, a Chernobyl of the mind, where figures on each side of the political margin fear to even sojourn, let alone occupy, lest they go radioactive.

Anyway, the old parties at each side of the political transect, are melting down in equivalent fugues of delusion, rage, and impotence — as predicted here through the election year of 2016. They can’t make anything good happen in the National Interest. They can’t control the runaway rackets that they engineered in legislation, policy, and practice under the dominion of each party, by turns, going back to Lyndon B. Johnson, and so they have driven themselves and each other insane.

Trump and Hillary perfectly embodied the climactic stage of each party before their final mutual sprint to collapse. Both had more than a tinge of the psychopath. Trump is the bluff that the Republicans called on themselves, having jettisoned anything identifiable as coherent principles translatable to useful action. Hillary was an American Lady Macbeth attempting to pull off the ultimate inside job by any means necessary, her wickedness so plain to see that even the voters picked up on it. These two are the old parties’ revenge on each other, and on themselves, for decades of bad choices and bad faith.

The anti-intellectual Trump is, for the Right, the answer to the Intellectual-Yet-Idiots (IYIs) that Nassim Taleb has so ably identified as infesting the Left. It is a good guess that President Trump has not read a book since high school, and perhaps never in his entire life. But are you not amazed at how the IYIs of the Left have savaged the life-of-the-mind on campus, and out in the other precincts of culture where free inquiry once flourished? From the craven college presidents who pretend that race-segregated “safe spaces” represent “inclusiveness,” to The New York Times editors who pretend in headlines that illegal immigrants have done nothing illegal, the mendacity is awesome.

Something like this has happened before in US history and it may be cyclical. The former Princeton University professor and President, Woodrow Wilson, dragged America into the First World War, which killed over 53,000 Americans (as many as Vietnam) in only eighteen months. He promulgated the Red Scare, a bit of hysteria not unlike the Race and Gender Phobia Accusation Fest on the Left today. Professor Wilson was also responsible for creating the Federal Reserve and all the mischief it has entailed, especially the loss of over 90 percent of the dollar’s value since 1913. Wilson, the perfect IYI of that day.

The reaction to Wilson was Warren Gamaliel Harding, the hard-drinking, card-playing Ohio Main Street boob picked in the notorious “smoke-filled room” of the 1920 GOP convention. He invoked a return to “normalcy,” which was not even a word (try normality), and was laughed at as we now laugh at Trump for his idiotic utterances such as “win bigly” (or is that big league?). Harding is also known for confessing in a letter: “I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.” Yet, in his brief term (died in office, 1923), Harding navigated the country successfully through a fierce post-World War One depression simply by not resorting to government intervention.

Something like the same dynamic returned in 1952 when General Eisenhower took over from Harry Truman and the defeated Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson quipped, “The New Dealers have been replaced by the car dealers.” Ha! If he only knew! After all, who was on board as Ike’s Veep? None other than Tricky Dick Nixon, soon to be cast as America’s quintessential used car salesman.

Well, those were the days, and those days are over. So much has gone wrong here in the past 30 years and the game of salugi being played by the Dems and the GOP is not helping any of it. And that is why the two parties are heading toward extinction. We’re in the phase of intra-party factional conflict for now. Each party has its own preliminary civil war going on. The election of Obama era Labor Secretary and party hack, Tom Perez, as DNC chair yesterday has set the Bernie Sanders Prog troops into paroxysms of animadversion. They’re calling out all up-and-down the Twitterverse for a new party of their own. Trump faces his own mutineers on the Right, and not just the two cheerleaders for World War Three, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Coming out of the Conservative CPAC meeting last week, just about his whole agenda was written off as (cough cough) politically impractical by the poobahs in attendance: reform-and-replacement of the Affordable Care Act, tax reform, the promised massive infrastructure-building stimulus orgy, the border wall, the trade blockages.

Anon, comes the expiration of the current debt ceiling, at around $20 trillion, in mid-March. Do you imagine that the two parties warring with each other in congress will be able to come to some resolution over that? Fuggeddabowdit. The Democrats have every incentive to let President Trump stew in this fatal brine like a Delancey Street corned beef. What it means, of course, is that the US Treasury runs out of ready cash in mid-summer and some invoices just don’t get paid, maybe even some bigly ones like social security checks and Medicare bills. Won’t that be a spectacle? That’s where Trump becomes a political quadriplegic and the voters start jumping off the dying parties like fleas off of two dead dogs.

By then, plenty of other mischief will be afoot in the world, including the fractious outcome of elections in France and the Netherlands, with the European Union spinning into its own event horizon, and currency instability like the world has never seen before. Enjoy the remaining weeks of normality.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page on line at

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by David Macaray

“Sometimes I think we’re alone in the universe. Sometimes I think we’re not. In either case, the thought is staggering.”

—R. Buckminster Fuller

The 19th century naturalist Thomas Huxley (1825-1895) made an astute observation. He noted that even though the universe has to be filled with all sorts of alien life — that, statistically, it is almost guaranteed to be teeming with both intelligent and unintelligent life forms — there is virtually no chance of any of them ever meeting any of the others. Why? Because it’s simply too big. As Donald Trump might say, the universe is “yuge.”

Pick up a high-powered rifle and fire it in the air. If the bullet were to travel for, say, 10,000 years at rifle-speed, the distance it traversed over that period would be so infinitesimally small compared to the dimensions of the universe, it wouldn’t even move the needle. How big is the universe? So big, no adjective can describe it.

And yet there are people who insist that aliens have not only landed on earth, but that they were the ones who created the dinosaurs, built the pyramids, and gave us the world’s great religions. After building the pyramids, they decided to hang around for a few centuries. Apparently, they now occupy themselves by doing rectal probes on the white, male population of rural Alabama.

It’s no coincidence that the so-called “UFO craze” in America began in the 1950s. This craze happened to coincide with the same period in which the US Air Force and the Soviet Union began experimenting with all manner of exotic aircraft. There were literally thousands of UFO sightings during this decade. Thousands.

But if these super-advanced space aliens had been tooling around Earth in their flying saucers ever since the pyramids, why were there no reports earlier? Why were there no sightings until the 1950s — when the Air Force began doing its experiments, and everybody and his brother began reporting UFOs?

There was a ridiculous book written in 1968, called, “Chariots of the Gods,” by Erich von Daniken, a self-promoter and con man who had spent time in a Swiss mental institution. The book was filled with spectacular examples of “proof” that space aliens had visited Earth. Naturally, it became a best-seller.

One of von Daniken’s amazing examples was the famous Iron Pillar, located in Delhi, India, estimated to have been built around 400 AD. The author stated that, incredibly, even after all this time, (1) the 23-foot high iron edifice was totally rust-free, and (2) that no one had a clue how it was created. The world’s greatest scientists were dumbfounded. The greatest minds in the world were baffled. Clearly, it had to be the work of an advanced race of extraterrestrials.

As it happened, I was in Delhi years ago, and (along with thousands of other tourists) visited the Iron Pillar. While it was impressive, there were two things wrong with von Daniken’s claims: (1) The Iron Pillar does, in fact, have rust on it, and (2) after examining its metallurgy, scientists had no problem figuring out how it was constructed. While it was an amazing accomplishment for 400 AD, it was clear that this puppy had been built by ingenious Indians, not spacemen.

But, alas, as long as it remains fun to believe in space aliens, we’re going to believe in them. And because no one trusts the Government, we cling to the myth that we actually captured some of these little bastards and are keeping them locked up in Area 51. It’s all part of a massive cover-up. It’s a conspiracy. And it’s yuge.

(David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows. He can be reached at Courtesy,

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(A Reader Writes: Of 428 cities in the state of California, Clearlake is the No. 1 for laziness! Way to go, slobs!)

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On Saturday April 29th, Fowler Subaru, in cooperation with Rural Health Rocks, presents Grammy award winner Michael McDonald and friends at Cotton Auditorium, 500 N Harold Street in Fort Bragg. Joining Michael on stage will be Grammy nominee singer/songwriter Amy Holland, Nashville musician Gary Cirimelli, as well as local luminaries Gene Parsons & David Hayes, acoustic guitarist Alex de Grassi, and singer/songwriter and sax player John Mattern. All proceeds from this star-studded, rockin' event will go towards establishing the first ever Family Medicine Residency program for Mendocino and Lake counties. Tickets will go on sale March 1 at www.ruralhealthrocks.comThe show begins at 7pm, reserved seating is $40 and $75, with very limited premiere seating at $100.

Michael McDonald’s music has been a part of the soundtrack of our lives since the 1970s when his stunning vocals and keyboard artistry launched the Doobie Brothers and eventually his own solo career to stardom with songs like “What a Fool Believes,” “Minute by Minute,” and “Takin’ it to the Streets”. Collaborations with Ray Charles, Kenny Loggins, and the #1 hit single “On My Home” with Patti LaBelle have secured his fame as an icon with one of the most recognizable voices in popular music. Those lucky enough to hear his house-shaking performance at the first Rural Health Rocks event at Mendocino College in Ukiah in April 2016, also learned that he is a gentle, compassionate soul who often donates his time and talent to a variety of worthy causes.

Amy Holland has garnered a Grammy nomination for her debut recording Amy Holland and a top 20 hit with “How Do I Survive.” Her most recent recording is Light on the Path. The brilliant multi-instrumentalist Gene Parsons, best known for his work with The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, currently performs in a duo with world-class bassist David Hayes who has toured and recorded with Van Morrison for over 40 years. Grammy nominated guitarist Alex de Grassi is often cited as a leading innovator in the solo acoustic guitar genre since his early Windham Hill Records debut Turning: Turning Back. Mendocino County native John Mattern joins the group as both a jazz saxophonist and a singer songwriter whose latest album is Fire Girl. Gary Cirimelli is a producer, recording engineer, and studio musician who has worked with Mariah Carey, Michael Bolton and many other pop musicians.

Rural Health Rocks is a fundraising arm for Family Medicine Education Mendocino County (FMEMC), a non-profit organization with its origins in our rural community's medical crisis and with a vision for a more robust, healthier future for our region. FMEMC is working with Adventist Health to establish a medical residency program at Ukiah Valley Medical Center, which will begin training medical school graduates in cooperation with UC Davis in 2019. Statistics show that a majority of residents establish their practice in the community of their residency, and this program will provide a much needed and sustainable source of young physicians into our rural communities for years to come.

Additional support for this event comes from Friedman's Home Improvement, C&S Waste Solutions, Harvest Market, Handley Cellars, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Frey Vineyards, and many more generous sponsors.

For more info on the artists:

Michael McDonald –

Amy Holland -

Alex de Grassi -

David Hayes/Gene Parsons –

John Mattern –

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On a civil war: I think the more identity politics is pushed into forefront, where people view themselves as nationalities & ethnicities that are important to them then being identified as American – it is a possibility. The histories of other poly-ethnic states can be very informative. I remember Yugoslavia in the 90s. People couldn’t fathom Sarajevo becoming an urban meat grinder it became, but it did. So these things are real & are very possible. Another civil war in the US would possibly be one of the worst human & political disasters since 426 AD (with the passing of the Western Roman Empire). Particularly with all the modern ordinance available to people now.

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The Community Foundation of Mendocino County is searching for an Inland Program Officer. This position is part-time, 20 to 24 hours per week, and reports to the President/CEO. The Program Officer serves as an interface with donors, volunteers, and non-profits to implement, monitor, and update the Foundation's Grant, Scholarship and Technical Assistance programs in Round Valley, Laytonville/Leggett, Willits, and the Ukiah area regions of Mendocino County.

Download complete job description here:

Applications due by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.Please send resume, cover letter and salary requirements to Megan Barber Allende, CEO, at

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United Airlines is coming back to Sonoma County this summer after a 16-year absence with three daily departures to San Francisco International Airport and its connections around the globe, officials announced Monday.

The news falls short of the hoped-for direct shot to United’s hub in Denver. Still, by flying from Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport to San Francisco, local travelers can avoid the hassle and expense of driving to the city and parking at the airport there.

“Business and leisure travelers now have conveniently timed flights to San Francisco and multiple opportunities to connect passengers to other cities throughout the Western U.S. and beyond,” Anthony Toth, United’s managing director of sales, said Monday in a statement.

United said the flights, which begin June 8, will include three daily departures at 6 a.m., 2:05 p.m. and 5:20 p.m.

Arrivals are scheduled for 1:30 p.m., 4:40 p.m., and 11:15 p.m.

Passengers will fly on a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ-200 jet. The flights will be operated as United Express by Skywest Airlines.

Airport officials said the flights will be 40 to 45-minutes long, gate to gate. Passengers boarding in Sonoma County won’t have to re-check bags or go through another security screening in San Francisco.

United’s online reservation site on Monday advertised a Thursday-through-Sunday flight from Sonoma County to Denver in June for $484 round-trip. That includes the connection through San Francisco.

By comparison, a direct, round-trip flight on United from San Francisco to Denver over the same period was advertised for $321.

That’s excluding checked bag fees, which start at $25.

United discontinued similar service to San Francisco from Sonoma County in 2001.

The airline will become the fourth major carrier offering service out of Sonoma County, joining Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Allegiant Airlines.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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by Bill Taylor with editing by Sarah Marshall

All around us the land is blooming. What plants are growing, and who is eating them? Many people today are conditioned to believe food comes from the grocery store, instead of farms where an increasingly narrow range of vegetables and animals are grown and raised. What if the answer to food security was just below our feet? What if the noxious weeds we commonly try to destroy are in fact edible plants? Thistle, Dandelion, Dock, Lambs Quarters, Purslane, Knotweed, Sorrel, to name a few, are edible plants brought here from other places around the world to provide food and medicine. It is a common misconception that the high concentration of fiber in grass is only digestible by ruminants with multiple stomachs. At the same time, a rising trend in consuming shots of wheatgrass has raised the cost of each to $4. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds (Chelsea Green, 2014) by Katrina Blair explains that grass is safe to consume, without swallowing the fiber unless the grass is very tender. In fact, grass contains many amino acids, chlorophyll, and is good for rebuilding teeth. Who would have thought? The book covers 13 large groupings of wild plants, in addition to a variety of delicious recipes made primarily from wild foods. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds reminds the reader it is important to understand the life cycle of a plant in order to know if and under what circumstances it is edible, medicinal, or dangerous. For example, thistle can be juiced or blended at high speed with lemon and either stevia or apple for a lemonade that helps cleanse the liver. Dock is a plant that is delicious and lemony when young, but causes an unpleasant back of the throat sensation and puckering reaction once it grows older and develops a high concentration of oxalic acid. Once it bolts, the buckwheat-like seeds make a nutritious addition to cereals or breads. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds discusses history, lore, and many of the properties of each plant, including effects of many substances such as chlorophyll and oxalic acid on the human body.

Katrina Blair, author of the Wild Wisdom of Weeds, and her partner Tyler Van Gemert will be leading a 2-day workshop on Wild Plants, Medicine, and Movement on April 1st and 2nd. Both are knowledgeable about herbal medicine, he in Traditional Oriental Medicine as well as Tai Chi, Chi Gong and other movement forms, and she in a number of herbal traditions. The partners run a wild foods café and Wild Foods CSA at Turtle Lake Refuge in Durango, CO. The weekend long workshop will be co-led by Bill Taylor and Jaye Alison Moscariello of Floodgate Farm. Bill and Jaye have been teaching Salad University classes for 6 years in addition to growing an herbal floral salad for 14 years, containing wild and cultivated plants. The classes include a meditation at the beginning followed by tasting, observing, and discussing medicinal and healthful properties of wild plants. Both Bill and Jaye recently studied at the Optimum Health Institute, and Jaye is a master of food preparation with wild foods. “Wild Food, Medicine, and Movement” promises to be an informational, food-filled, and experience-rich weekend that changes forever how we see the untamed plants around us. The value of commonly destroyed plants like thistle and purslane will be shared and enjoyed as edible and medicinal plants. The workshop will begin with a Tai Chi, Chi Gong and meditation to promote a receptive frame of mind to learn the plants deeply.

The class will begin April 1st at the Village Circle Garden on Gobbi St. in Ukiah, a Gardens Project of NCO community garden. The workshop is co-sponsored by the Gardens Project of NCO, Floodgate Farm on Heart Mountain, and Motherland Botanical Sanctuary. It will then move to Floodgate Farm Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday. The community garden portion is free to community gardeners, while registration is required for the rest of the workshop. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds books will be available throughout the weekend. On Monday, March 20th, Katrina Blair and Tyler VanGemert will be guests on the KZYX Farm and Garden Show from 1 to 2 PM. Anyone interested in the April 1-2 workshop and a free Friday evening talk at Ukiah Branch Library on March 31st, may contact Bill Taylor or Jaye Alison Moscariello at 707-272-1688, by email at, or check out the farm where much of the class will be held at


  1. Judy Valadao February 28, 2017

    Apparently the reason the City didn’t hire an attorney is because their insurance covered that cost.
    This link will take you to “City Hall News” and the litigation story as told by Fort Bragg City Manager Linda Ruffing in 2014.

  2. Lazarus February 28, 2017

    “Mr. Trump is going to give California a trillion dollars to fix up our state.”
    Yea, and Mar-a-Lago is a homeless shelter…
    Trump has major attitude with California, the whole west coast for that matter. The money was/is slow for the flooding and rain damage. Jerry Brown obviously does not like or approve of the guy, and the tree huggers who run Sac. hate Trump.
    Until folks here realize this guy is the President things ain’t gonna be smooth and easy in the Cally.
    The AG has already set his gaze on the marijuana situation, and as they say, “elections have consequences”, and California is in the crosshairs of those consequences…
    If you get out much you quickly realize that saying you’re from California in some areas is not good, you get that, “Land of fruits and nuts” stuff. Be careful folk, them trees you hug’n have eyes and ears in them…
    As always,

  3. Rick Weddle February 28, 2017

    re: von Daniken’s ‘Chariots of the Gods’ scam…
    This is the guy who was kind enough to point out for us that there are two (2) kinds of ET’s. There are the extra-terrestrial kind, which may be distinguished by the fact that they leave ‘burn’ marks where their saucers (still called ‘unidentified’) land and take off. Then there are the extra-DIMENSIONAL sort, and you can always tell when they’ve visited because they leave NO CLUE WHATEVER that they’ve been here. I think we should be Eternally grateful to Eric for wising us up.

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