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Valley People (March 8, 2017)

ANDERSON VALLEY awoke Monday morning to snow on the hills, hope for Spring in their hearts, as Winter goes on and on, its random sunshine days making us yearn for more than two days here, a day there.

THE COUNTY ROAD CREW deserves major kudos for their all-out emergency work on Peachland Road, which re-opened to careful traffic last Wednesday a little after 4pm. As one resident of the Upper Peachland marveled, "They worked on it this week and it is now open to cars and light trucks. Very grateful! Nothing big/heavy, though. No dump trucks, propane trucks, etc. This is an emergency fix and they will work on it further in July. Suzi and Dean Carol have been instrumental in keeping this in front of the County's Department of Transportation. I believe a request for FEMA funds is in the works and a FEMA rep has come out to assess what a permanent fix will involve.

"Even before the slide the road was disintegrating in other areas, some sections have more potholes than drivable road. I normally don’t mind the drive but it has become pretty bone-jarring and is hard on us and our cars."

OUR VERY OWN W.T. JOHNSON of County Roads got ‘er done. The road was open to light vehicle traffic at 4:15 p.m., Wednesday afternoon. WT advised, “Please exercise caution when driving through the repair area, as it is a 'temporary' fix. County equipment and personnel will be on the road as additional repair work continues on Peachland at the area above the 'big dip,' culvert work, and general ongoing roadwork. The pot holes will be around for a bit but are on calendar for repair work at a later date.

WT said he was grateful for the cooperation and support from stranded residents of Upper Peachland while the hurry-up work was underway, while a grateful strandee expressed resident gratitude: “This gave WT and his crew the opportunity to move through the arduous task of performing repair work in a timely manner to get Peachland reopened as soon as possible. We want to send a special thank you to WT and his crew for making the Peachland repair job a priority and for being the stellar individual who kept a lot of concerned citizens 'in the loop' with regular updates and such diplomacy! Thanks, WT.”

LIZZBY'S. First reports range from "really good" to "amazing, better even than Libby's!" One guy said he ate the best Caesar Salad "I've ever had," and this guy's had a few. This gem of an eating place is in the center of Boonville. Hours, 10am-3pm & 5pm-8pm, closed Tuesdays.

YORKVILLE picked up an inch and a half of precipitation over the past couple days, pushing their season total past the 75-inch mark. This now surpasses their 74.88" total recorded during the very wet el niño of 1997-98.

CALTRANS TO PHILO: We’re gonna do what we’re gonna do. Safety is not a consideration.

Dear Mendocino County Board Chair John McCowen:

Feb. 2, 2017

This is in response to your January 24, 2017 letter regarding Philo speed zone changes.

First let me clear up an apparent point of confusion. When we propose a speed limit change we are required to offer the local agency (City Council or Board of Supervisors) an opportunity to conduct a public hearing on the proposed change. While we typically attend to answer questions and receive the input directly, the public hearing is the local agency’s, and not Caltrans.

Let me respond to your three bulleted points separately:

• Input into the proposed change is an effort to identify any condition that is not readily apparent to the traveling public. The fact that the current 85% is near 45mph indicated that we have already considered various factors to keep the proposed limit at 35mph. It is also important to remember that the speed limit is set for good weather and free flow traffic conditions. Any other conditions are accounted for by California’s basic speed law which states that “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for…” It should also be noted that the CHP cannot enforce a speed limit not established by an E & TS (Engineering and Traffic Survey.)

• I will reach out to CHP and share your request for additional enforcement. The proposed speed limit has the benefit that it will be enforceable. You should be aware that their enforcement is general and does not differentiate between those who are local or not.

• I am forwarding a copy of your contact sensitive design request to the Mendocino Council of Governments, as most of the funding available to implement context sensitive solutions or complete street features requires their involvement

I appreciate your perspective and that you are concerned about safety, but want to let you know that the only way to control the speed of traffic is to establish a realistic speed limit that is enforceable. We believe that the proposed changes will do just that. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact me at (707) 445-6393.


Mark Suchanek, Deputy District Director, Maintenance and Operations, Caltrans District One 445-6445.

ARGUING with Caltrans is, of course, futile. But what’s especially annoying about Big Orange’s decision to raise the speed limit in Philo is the obvious fact that Caltrans’ stats are meaningless, but it’s those stats that they are using to justify the speed increase. If the CHP had been on-site with any frequency, Caltrans measured speeds would have been a lot lower, right where the speed limit is placed now.


Veterans Day Service, November 11, 2016

Front row. Christy Kramer, Mark Fontaine, Ross Murray, Ray Langevin, Gregory Sims. Back row. Bob Nimmons, Clyde Doggett, Kirk Wilder, Patrick Ford, Patrick Burns.

ADD to the long list of things we didn’t know about the Anderson Valley, the once-upon-a-time hamlet of Little Penny, which Marshall Newman, Valley old timer, says is, or was, “on Fish Rock Road, roughly two-thirds of the way from Highway 128 to Highway One.” That’s about the Zeni Ranch, isn’t it? Anderson Valley claims the remarkable Zenis, but two-thirds of the way to Highway One? What the heck, we’ll take it as AV.

OVERHEARD at Pic ’N Pay, young woman to young man: “Hurry up. I think my phone’s going to ring.”

BLACKBIRD diesels on! Here's Blackbird's current search for a diesel mechanic. Got to love the emphasis – especially with a current use permit for 26 guests and 10 staff – on heavy equipment.

A YOUNG MAN named Aaron Arlotta of Shelter Cove (HumCo) was arrested last week on an array of charges which included “theft of utility services.”

BACK IN THE DAY, right here in the Anderson Valley, people regularly tapped the power lines for free juice. Anymore, at least according to a pal who used to do it, it can still be done but PG&E, with all its fancy computerized tracking gear, can quickly figure out that someone is freeloading, and just as quickly see whose property the power is being diverted to.

I BUGGED TRUMP TOWER, a true story.

Dave Severn confesses: “I don't remember stealing any juice from PG&E, but I do remember sneaking into the Trump Tower in 2002 and installing an intricate, self-designed listening device. Jerome Kohlberg — of Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts and the leveraged buyout debacle of the late 80s who back then owned the Toll House — told me over a beer at the Boonville Lodge following an anti-war rally in SF of this then little known megalomaniac of a guy, Donald Trump, and the hidden threat he posed for our future. This revelation came as Bob Norris was packing a few more beers than us, and brandishing a cue stick. Norris threatened to throttle anyone in the house over even the slightest slight against the US of A. Being full of vinegar in those days I soon hopped on a standby United flight to Washington DC to hand deliver to George W. Bush and Congress Anderson Valley’s pleas to disavow war. The train trip from DC to Manhattan and back to deploy my electronic wizardry went without hitch. It was easy to tap the Trump Tower electrical grid and implant a radio frequency oscillator that not only created the white noise that masked the intrusion but also provided the path by which to digitally (quite a new concept in those days) transmit the purloined intelligence. Imagine. Now 15 years later my knavery has at long last been discovered and is now being blamed on Barack Obama.”

WANTED TO RENT: Locations in Mendocino County to set bee hives. approximately 40 to 80 hives per location. Please Call Patrick Kalfsbeek @ (530) 908 1311. email:

HAVE YOU SEEN the new blue-orange-green yard signs popping up all over Ukiah’s precious west side? You simply must! They are the absolute latest in virtue signaling, you know. “Virtue signaling” is a way to transmit, via code, that you are a wonderful, caring person. These yard signs pick up where “Be Multicultural” and “Diversity Now!” and “Tolerance” left off a while back. The signs (in various languages) all say “No Matter Where You’re From I’m Glad You’re My Neighbor.” Oh sure you are. Are you glad if it’s a hillbilly clan moving in from Appalachia? Still glad if it’s a bunch of Hell’s Angels from San Bernardino? Glad if it’s a parolee from Pelican Bay? We all know the answer, because we all know these signs are meant to transmit a different message altogether: “I’m a warm-hearted, deeply caring person who loves all of humanity, and I didn’t vote for Trump.” How many of our oh-so-tolerant friends would assist a family of Iranian refugees by allowing them to live in their house temporarily while they searched for a suitable rental in the neighborhood? — Tommy Wayne Kramer

(PHILO has one of these signs, too, on Ray's Road. Call it "The Invasion of the Fuzzy Warms.” No known antidote if one stings you.)

SCHOOL BONDS. We recently stumbled on this story: “Bond Watchdogs Don't Have Much Bite, Says New Little Hoover Commission Report” from

THE MAJOR, a member of the local school district’s bond committee, replied to the author of the story, reporter Ashley McGlone:

“…I was on our local Anderson Valley School Bond Oversight Committee from 2013-2016. At our first meeting I proposed that the School District Board be required to get an official opinion from the oversight committee BEFORE any major bond related decisions were made. I.e., at least a week before the School Board was to consider a Bond related item that involved more than, say, 5% of a contract value, then considered by the School Board in open session. When I proposed such a process at our first meeting, one fellow Board member seconded the motion, but after the Superintendent said that such a process would be too burdensome for the School Board (JR Collins always saw he and they as interchangeable, which they were) and that there was no Ed Code requirement for it, the seconder joined my fellow Committee members in voting me down 6-1. We were thus relegated to after-the-fact reviews of things which, even if we had found problems (which we generally did not, but that’s not the point), we would have had no way as a committee to even bring them to the attention of the school board, much less force the issue if needed.”

REPORTER McGLONE wrote right back:

“Thank you for reading Mark, and for reaching out. I also wondered if implementing the Hoover recommendations would make much difference, although it couldn't hurt in my view. I expect little will change without changing state law to bolster committee authority and clarify the conflict of interest prohibitions. In my experience, agencies will only do what is minimally required and sometimes less than that.”

HARVEY READING WRITES: “Reaching out” is one of those misused terms that I don’t like. It’s pure yuppie/consultant/management talk. I often reach out, but it is generally for the purpose of retrieving some object, like a salt shaker, a tool, a piece of tortilla, a glass of water. I’ve never figured out how calling someone, writing to them, or otherwise communicating with them can be construed as reaching out. Guess misuse of terms is only to be expected in a society that bows down quietly as its rolls of toilet paper continue to shrink, even as the price goes up — a nation of slaves, more bonded to its masters than to its own self-interest.

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