- Sucker Punch
- Black Band
- Pot Parcels
- Hiring Bureaucrats
- Growhouse Fire
- Schoolbus Odyssey
- Closed Session
- Squatter Wanted
- Beach Escalator
- Pay Phones
- Little Dog
- Mendo TV
- Yesterday's Catch
- Deceptive Age
- Meth Makeover
- Dems Should
- King Consumer
- Digital 299
- Boonville Bushido
- PG&E Option
- Bogus Poll
- Library Events
- MCOG Meeting
DRAMATIC DEVELOPMENTS in the Charles Reynolds jury trial today when, just before the lunch recess, defense attorney Justin Petersen, revealed that Mr. Reynolds’ girlfriend came to him (Mr. Petersen) and revealed that the State’s eyewitness to the so-called “sucker punch,” Mr. Chris Bradley, had hit on her with sexually explicit language several times before the incident, for which Reynolds is being tried.
This revelation, along with Bradley’s statements to police investigators that he didn’t like or trust Charles Reynolds, has caused some credibility problems with the veracity of his testimony.
Bradley was waiting in his car outside Anna’s restaurant in Laytonville, which is adjacent to Boomer’s Bar, when he said he saw the defendant strike the decedent, Kenneth Fisher, with what he described as a “tremendous blow, a sucker-punch to the right temple. It was so fast and he [Reynolds] hit him [Fischer] so hard he [Fisher] dropped like a sack of bricks.”
On cross-examination Petersen said, “You knew Kenny before?”
“You were friends with him?”
“But you didn’t recognize him when he came out of the bar with Charlie?”
“Not really. I was surprised when I rolled him over and saw it was Kenny.”
“What about my client? Did you know him?”
“As an acquaintance, yeah.”
“Didn’t you tell the cops you didn’t like him?”
“Not really. I said I was cordial with him, but we didn’t high-five and barbecue together, or anything like that.”
“So you see these two guys and one just lands a huge tremendous blow on the other, for no apparent reason?”
“Yep. That’s why they call it a sucker punch.”
“And you weren’t expecting that?”
“I was extremely surprised.”
“But didn’t you tell the cops that was just the kind of thing Charlie would do, and that you just don’t like the guy?”
“No, not really. I don’t hang out with him, cause that’s just the kind of guy he is.”
“So when you saw who it was, you were thinking it’s Charlie, he’s gonna sucker-punch this guy?”
“Do you remember telling the officer it was so dark you couldn’t even see the guy laying there?”
“Remember telling the officer he was snoring like a man knocked out?”
“It was more like gurgling, like a death rattle.”
“You never said death rattle to the police. Why are you saying it now in front of the jury?”
“I was just saying that’s what it sounded like.”
“You didn’t say that before, why now?”
“I didn’t know what to call it then.”
“Is it fair to say you refused to talk to the defense investigator because you’ve taken a side, here?”
“I don’t think so. I just didn’t feel like talking to him.”
“I didn’t feel like reiterating it.”
“Well, given all the times you’ve had to go over it with the police – what’s it been, five-ten times – why not go over it again with the defense investigator?”
“I didn’t feel like it.”
“Because you’re on a side?”
“I’m telling you the same thing today as I told law enforcement before, plain and simple.”
“You knew Charlie’s girlfriend from before this incident?”
“We were friends on Facebook for a time.”
“You had a thing for her?”
“No, not really.”
“Ever hit on her?”
“Not that I know of. People flirt, you know.”
“Leading up to this incident, hadn’t you hit on her several times?”
“This incident has nothing to do with that.”
At this time the jurors left for lunch and Mr. Petersen told the court that the girlfriend had come to him during the last break and revealed the information to him. Judge John Behnke said that that made her a potential witness and that she would have to remain outside the courtroom from now on, until called to testify, in case she was.
Other witnesses were called in the afternoon and video clips from the surveillance cameras were shown, but it was mostly what had been seen during the prelim. The trial is expected to last into the early part of next week, Friday being a court holiday.
(— Bruce McEwen)
A READER ASKS:
I was wondering if you could talk to your IT person about getting rid of that black band at the top of the AVA web pages. It’s annoying and eats up landscape. The log-in and profile functions could and should easily fit on the regular web page.
The black band he refers to is called the Toolbar. It only appears for logged-in subscribers, and can be turned on or off from their Profile Page. Here’s how…
1) log in
2) hover over your username (near the top-right of the page)
3) click “Edit My Profile” (in that pulldown menu)
4) uncheck the box “Show Toolbar when viewing site”
5) click the “Update Profile” button at bottom of page
RESIDENTIAL POT GROWING?
A polite exchange at the March 21 Board of Supervisors meeting
My name is Marcia Little. I am here to read a letter from Barbara Mecca who was unable to come because of a family emergency. This is a letter representing Ukiah area rural residential concerns of neighbors. Dear Ms. Brown, Mr. McCowen and Mr. Gjerde: I understand that Mr. Gjerde is standing up for some of his more vocal constituents and is asking to automatically allow commercial growing in residential areas unless people opt out. This is an absurd and insulting proposal which puts an unfair burden on neighborhoods. Cultivation is a business. Businesses are not allowed in residential neighborhoods. There are no retail establishments in our neighborhoods, so how is it possible that you would consider breaking the rules for marijuana growers? Growers call themselves farmers and want to be brought into the category of legal. So it seems reasonable to let them be guided by the rules, and restrictions imposed on legal food farmers. Those rules and restrictions are part of the landscape. Accommodating a business in a residential neighborhood completely overlooks the established rights of non-growing citizens whose quality of life is being drastically changed. The dogs, the smell, the traffic, the environmental changes, the reduced property values are all impacts residents have to deal with in order to allow the establishment of a business where businesses are not allowed. The fact is that commercial cultivation is a business. As such it is not allowed in residential neighborhoods. This discussion has been repeated for months, requesting something now, and again next week and the week after doesn't make the request more justified, it only creates a diversion from the real issue under discussion. Number one: Cultivation is a business. Number two: this particular business effects the quality of life in neighborhoods. And number three: Business is not allowed in residential areas. You and we have listened to the grower's concerns and it seems the board has already agreed to ordinances that stipulate how growers can move into legality. We understand compromises are necessary on both sides. Residents are coming to terms with the new regulations. We're trying to avoid an us and them climate. Although Mr. Gjerde’s proposal is making it harder to maintain that stance. To allow growers to cultivate wherever they choose should not be the County's default position. If they are growing for income it is a business and businesses are out of compliance in residential areas. Prohibition within residential neighborhoods should continue to be the standard. Having the reverse is like stating that citizens will automatically give up their rights to privacy or freedom or safety unless they vote to keep them. That is an absurd notion. Please prohibit commercial marijuana production in residentiial neighborhoods with the already agreed-upon exceptions for communities that want to use the overlay process. Respectfully, Ukiah Rural area concerned neighborhoods.
* * *
Supervisor Dan Gjerde:
No one is proposing anything in the R-1 zoning district. The only discussion that I am raising and it was the board's direction prior to January or February which was to allow in the R-2 zoning for parcels of two acres or more because there are parcels that are less than two acres, but for parcels that are two acres or more to allow an opportunity for the person to apply for a discretionary permit which could be denied if the neighbors were objecting. What I'm trying to offer later today is a further narrowing of what the board previously supported which would be only indoor and again discretionary, two acres or more, so it takes out a whole bunch of parcels that you are talking about that would not be on the table because there are far fewer R-2 parcels and R-5 parcels that are between two and five acres than there are smaller than that. And again they would only have that opportunity to apply for discretionary permit which could be denied; it is not by right. And the truth is there is no place for people on the coast to go other than the R-2s and the R-5s because they can't grow in the timberland if they are not already there, they can't go into the coastal zone because at that's a four or five-year process to amend the coastal plan, so three out of ten people in this county live on the coast, they do not all live in the coastal zone. We need to do something to address the issue of the economy on the coast, the three out of ten people, who need some way to participate in this industry legally. It's not fair for this board, because we need to rightfully address the concerns of your neighborhood and others, but it's not right for us to address your issue and at the same time deny three out of ten county residents any ability to participate in this economy legally.
THE DA EMPHATICALLY denied today the persistent rumors that his office is investigating the administration of the 9.31 medical marijuana cultivation program. Emphatic denials from government officials usually mean the rumors are true, but in this case, with this guy, No means No.
BTW, the County's Ag Department is having a hard time hiring people to administer the dope show the County has going. The people they want to hire are non-locals and can't find housing here. Meanwhile, the 9.31 applications are piling up.
* * *
WITH JUST A WEEK TO GO until the long-awaited Medical Cannabis Cultivation Regulation is scheduled for final approval, and about five weeks before it will take effect, the Mendocino County Department of Agriculture is still struggling to recruit staff members needed to administer the program, a shortfall mainly attributable to the extremely challenging housing market with which potential recruits have to contend.
Two out of three biologist positions essential to the cultivation permitting program are still vacant after half a year of recruitment efforts, said interim agricultural commissioner Diane Curry. Of more than a dozen applicants the department has interviewed since November, none have been able to accept the job because of a lack of available housing in the area, she said.
Once the ordinance takes effect—which is expected to happen in early May, 30 days after it is scheduled for approval by the Board of Supervisors—the department’s “agricultural measurement standards specialists” will review applications for cultivation sites and perform compliance inspections before and during their operation. One of three such positions has been filled by a current employee of the department.
A new hire from Maryland was supposed to arrive January 13 but could not find a place to live, Curry said. Her deadline to report for duty was extended to February 13 and again to Monday, March 27, but the Ukiah housing market steadfastly refused to yield an available unit for a key civil servant.
The candidate hired to be the program’s supervisor found a place to live after three weeks of searching, an ordeal that left him anxious and uncertain about whether he would even be able to move here, Curry said. Curry did not find out about his difficulties until after he showed up to work, but she would have been worried herself had she known, she said.
A low initial level of interest in the positions compounded the effects of the area’s housing shortage, Curry said. The department received fewer applications than Curry had hoped for, about 12 to 16 as she recalls instead of the 30 to 40 she had expected. In California’s county agriculture departments, promotions typically go to employees with a wide range of duties and skills, but the position advertised by the department last fall involved only the upcoming cannabis program, entailing a narrow range of duties that would put ambitious public servants at a disadvantage, she said.
The tightly regulated process for hiring bureaucrats leaves little room for the department to maneuver out of its predicament. The department determined last year that combining the strictly cannabis-oriented position with other job functions in the department would increase the job’s appeal, but under the state’s civil service laws, the department is required to maintain the same list of candidates and the same job description for an advertised position for six months. The department will interview some of those same applicants this coming week in one last attempt to recruit them.
GROW HOUSE FIRE LAST NIGHT IN UKIAH
UPDATE: Turns out the house was a grow site and firefighters say the cause was likely electrical.
Six engines and 27 firefighters responded to the blaze at 4531 N. State St., which was determined to be an accidental electrical fire, said Ukiah Valley Fire District division chief Jeff Adair. Fire crews were dispatched at 10:23 p.m. and showed up within six minutes, he said.
The house was fully consumed by flames by the time crews arrived, Adair said. The fire had spread to a barn on the property, causing damage to it. Heat from the house fire caused damage to a neighboring residence, he said.
It is not clear whether people lived at the property, there was no one in the home at the time of the fire. The house was a marijuana cultivation site, Adair said. The investigation is still under way.
ON MARCH 27, 2017 at about 4:15 in the afternoon, Franklin Elder, 36, of Ukiah was driving a Ukiah Unified School District school bus in the northbound lane of Tomki Road just north of Fisher Lake Road. Elder had brought the bus to a complete stop. James Gowen, 78, of Redwood Valley, was driving a 2008 Honda Odyssey in the northbound lane of Tomkki Road and came to a complete stop directly behind the school bus. At that moment Mr. Elder began backing the school bus with the intent of backing into Fisher Lake Road. The left rear end of the school bus collided with the right front side of the Honda. Both vehicles came to rest blocking the northbound lane of Tomki Road. Students were on board the school bus at the time, but no injuries were reported by any of the parties involved. The collision is under investigation by the Highway Patrol officers on scene.
AT MONDAY NIGHT'S Boonville school board meeting, the agenda said the board would emerge from closed session at 7pm. At 7:45 the board was still deep in what I am unreliably informed is the dismissal of high school principal, Keri St. Jeor, who is apparently intending to sue the district for some version of wrongful termination. The board finally appeared about ten, meaning they kept the few people interested in other agenda items waiting for three hours for the public part of the meeting. In all the years of odd school board behavior I've seen, this rude disregard for public meeting etiquette took the prize. Just surmising here, but there were two lawyers in the room, one for St. Jeor, one for the school district, hence the endless closed session and contempt for the public.
MEMO OF THE WEEK
(This is the least appealing job offer I've seen in some time.)
Mendocino County Executive Office/Facilities and Fleet Division are seeking applicants for a part-time live-in caretaker at Indian Creek Park, Hwy 128, Philo, CA. This position is seasonal, Spring through Fall, with no compensation. However, the advantages include: the use of a campground space (applicants must provide their own travel trailer to live in) and no charge for utilities. Applications and a list of Park Caretaker duties can be obtained at the Executive Office/Facilities and Fleet Division at 851 Low Gap Road, Ukiah or online at: http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/gs/central/rfps.htm or at http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/gs/parks/ under “Notice”. Applicants should contact Michelle White at 234-6068 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. In order to be considered, applications must be submitted by April 18, 2017.
YIKES! Pretty expensive for Fort Bragg: $192,648 for Bainbridge Park improvements and an engineer's estimate of $117,149 for new stairs at Glass Beach. City staff: "The total cost for design, engineering, and construction of the Glass Beach stairs is estimated at approximately $170,800 - $194,800."
FOR THIS kind of money why not install an escalator to and from Glass Beach?
BAINBRIDGE PARK. SIGH. Public space all over the land has been ruined by our ever-larger leisure class. Check Alex Thomas Plaza in Ukiah. Wall-to-wall bums. Last time I drove past Bainbridge, drunks and dopeheads. The graceful little park on the north side of the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, the Grace Hudson people won't admit it, but in their fury to bum-proof the space they've ruined it with an alleged, and totally failed, re-creation of a Pomo village.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE PAY PHONES GONE?
Coasties commenting on MCN:
(1) There’s a lovely non-phone at the store in Philo, consisting of tin cans attached to strings in the old pay phone container.
(2) There's still a pay phone in Albion, Cleone too I think
(3) The Mendo P.O. payphones have been gone for ages! They sat there broken and unusable for a couple of years, then vanished.
(4) I just came back from there and they were still there.
(5) When did the phone booth outside the PO in Mendo come down?
(6) No Pay Phones listed for Fort Bragg. None listed for Mendocino either. Interesting.
(7) Anybody know of any still around? I didn't find one listed for Albion or Elk. Don't let your battery run down!
(8) I used to call pay phones regularly for a bunch of reasons. Now there are very few pay phones, and lots of them don't ring back, but I still think this list is very useful. I've just gotten out of the habit.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “These logger guys show up early this morning, tell me to shut up and mind my own business, and commence limbing some trees. I say, ‘What are you doing that for?’ ‘We don't explain ourselves to dogs,’ one guy says. But then I notice the satellite dish, and how it's suddenly clear of branches, and I remember how the boss and his pals were complaining that the Warriors telecasts were fading in and out… And Giants baseball is about to start. All that work to get tv reception? Some people.”
ED WILL GET 'ER DONE
Dear Supes: Do not defund Mendocino Access TV
Under Ed Neives' leadership MATV will revive, and its usage expand. Grabbing control of public access puts you in a ruthless column. The one occupied by tyrants. MATV is a digital public square. You should not be the arbitrator as to whom or what entities have access. Give back the equipment you have already confiscated, and promote the public's opportunity to access instead of denying it. You are abusing a contract the citizens of Mendocino County entered into with Comcast.
— Beth Bosk
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 28, 2017
EDGAR FIGUEROA-GARCIA, Annapolis. Failure to appear.
FREDERICK GAESTEL, Willits. Murder*
MICHAEL LOCKETT, Laytonville. Petty theft, probation revocation.
JEREMIAH LUNA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
TONY PAUL, Ukiah. Disobeying a court order, probation revocation.
GLENN STANLEY JR., Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
ASPEN THOMPSON, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
(*Gaestel is one of the seven pot trimmers who was involved in the murder of Laytonville pot grower Jeffrey Settler.)
COMMENT OF THE DAY
“I fish 150 days a year minimum for decades now. Being an outdoorsman I notice the environment as do all of my hunting and fishing friends in upstate NY and MA. Not one of them denies global warming anymore, though it took more time for most of them to come around. But if you spend time outdoors eventually it washes over you – something ain’t right! In the late ’90s in western NY in November I stood in a Great Lakes Tributary in neoprene waders and the temperature hit 85 f. This killed the fishing because the snowmelt lowered the water temperature to the point the fish became lethargic while I broiled and had to run for the parking lot to change into my jeans and drink some water. I had already been noticing that winters came later and lasted for a shorter duration while summers were definitely hotter. The heatwaves threatened inland fisheries in the Catskills that never had problems before with heat induced fish kills. I started researching global warming and it didn’t take too much to convince me that what I had been experiencing was at the very least a substantial break from what I had grown up with and heading one direction – toward warming. There is so much natural evidence for observant outdoorsmen – the range of former primarily southern birds like Cardinals and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers that never wintered here are now established year-round in Northern climes. Range expansion due to global warming goes for plants and insects as well. I am so very tired of being told to ignore my lying eyes, to ignore common laws of physics and common sense, to accept ever more implausible explanations for obvious causes of events. This is truly the age of deception sponsored by the forces that constitute US corporate rule.”
THE FACE OF METH
FIVE THINGS DEMOCRATS COULD DO TO SAVE THEIR PARTY
(But Probably Won’t.)
by Ted Rall
Coupla weeks ago, I speculated that we may soon witness the end of the Democratic Party as we know it. I was kind. I didn’t mention the fact that the party is all out of national leaders. I mean, can you name a likely, viable Democratic candidate for president in 2020? Can you name three?
I followed up with more crystal-balling in a piece predicting that the meek will not inherit the earth if and when Trump gets dragged out of 1600 Penn by Senatorial impeachment police. The meek — the Democrats — could have/should have been the Anti-Trump Party. But they’ve dropped the ball. After the deluge, Paul Ryan.
With everyone so focused on the Trump Administration dead pool — how will he go? when? — we’re overlooking that Republicans could come out of the Trump debacle stronger than they went in. How crazy is that?
Now I want to look at another facet of this political Rubik’s cube: what the Democrats could do to avoid political irrelevance.
Not that they will.
1/ Democrats should stop calling themselves “The Resistance.” It’s an insult to the actual resistance fighters of World War II who were tortured and murdered. It’s also an attack on Strunk and White’s diktat not to stretch words beyond their plain meaning. Resistance to Republicans hasn’t been part of Democratic politics for generations. Quit the hype. Under-promise, over-deliver.
2/ Democrats should actually resist Trump and the Republicans. They shouldn’t have gone along with any of his nominees, but their promise to filibuster pencil-necked right-wing libertarian freak Neil Gorsuch would be a nice place to start. No Democrat, including those from purple/swing states, should vote for any GOP nominee or legislative initiative. Let’s not hear any more stupid talk of finding “common ground” with Trump on infrastructure spending or anything else. The GOP controls all three branches of the federal government so they’ll get whatever they want — and they should own whatever happens as a result. Democrats shouldn’t get their hands dirty.
3/ Democrats ought to articulate an alternative vision of what America would look like if they were in charge instead of Trump and the Republicans. It’s nice (not least for the 24 million people who would’ve wound up uninsured) that the repeal and replacement of Obamacare imploded. But that victory goes to rebellious Republicans, not Democrats. Here was a national debate over the ACA — Obama’s signature achievement — and Democrats didn’t even participate! How crazy is that? Never mind that they wouldn’t have gotten a vote on it — Democrats should have proposed their own bill reforming the ACA, one that moves left by adding single payer. Every Republican idea should countered by an equal and opposite Democratic idea. Other countries call this act of self-definition shadow governance or, in a time of war perhaps loyal opposition. Whatever you call it, refusing to let your adversaries frame the acceptable ideological range of political debate is basic. In other words, a standard party-out-of-power tactic (e.g., the Tea Party 2009-2016).
4/ Democrats need to stop disappearing between elections. Campaigns are exhausting and it’s natural to want to catch one’s breath and conduct a postmortem to determine what went well and wrong. But it’s gotten to the point that the only time left-of-center voters hear from the Democratic Party is the year of a major election, for the most part only a few months before November and then only to ask for money. In the era of the 24-7 news cycle and the Internet, that hoary see-you-in-two-to-four-years approach is as outmoded as Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s cut-and-paste stump speeches and network TV shows that take summers off for something called “vacation.” A modern party should become part of our everyday lives. Every burg needs a Democratic Party storefront bustling with activity. Every Republican officeholder needs a ferocious Democratic challenger, even at the localest of local levels. Door-to-door campaigning and grassroots organizing should happen every day of every month of every year — in every state, regardless of presidential race electoral vote considerations, just like Howard Dean said.
5/ Bernie Sanders says Democrats can and should do class issues and identity politics. He’s right. As we’ve seen with the increased acceptance of LGBTQ people in recent years, the two are intertwined: gays’ incomes have risen But here’s the rub: you can’t really take on poverty and income disparity while accepting contributions from banks and other corporations whose interest lies in perpetuating economic misery by keeping wages low. The biggest lesson Dems should internalize from Bernie’s candidacy is his reliance on small individual donations.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY TWO
It isn’t just a feminized country, it is one addicted to debt and is populated by “I want everything now, because I am Kong…..King consumer.”
I was watching a US news show the other day and a commercial came on about debt. Sure there is Credit Karma…accessible by your dumb phone. But Now? Apparently there is an app that will give you an updated credit score every 24 hours!!!
I asked my wife if she ever had a credit search done on her and she replied, “Maybe when I bought my first house”. My answer was the same. I don’t think I have ever even wondered about my credit because neither of us will take on debt.
Oh well, cell phones don’t work here, either. Can’t have everything I suppose. I would say America lost its way, but that wouldn’t be fair. Western pampered consumers lost their way when they traded in their values and goals for stuff. Trump and other manifestations of greed and ignorance is the obvious result.
WHAT ABOUT MENDO?
From the Office of Assemblymember Jim Wood:
Today, Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) announced that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved the “Digital 299” broadband infrastructure project along California State Route 299. This project, by Inyo Networks, Inc. (Inyo), will receive almost $47 million in funding from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), which is a fund that promotes deployment of high-quality advanced communications services to Californians.
“Rural California is not a priority for many companies that build technology infrastructure. We often hear them say that ‘the numbers just don’t pencil out’ because the population is so small,” said Wood. “That’s what makes the CASF grant program so essential to bridging the digital divide.”
CASF was created in 2007 to provide grants to “telephone corporations” to bridge the digital divide in unserved and underserved areas in the state. The fund supports projects that will provide broadband services to areas currently without broadband access and build out facilities in underserved areas.
The Digital 299 project, likely to be completed in 3 years, will provide high-capacity infrastructure and interconnection points to communities along the Highway 299 corridor and will directly connect 307 underserved households to Internet services capable of 1 Gbps using underground and aerial fiber facilities, with as many as 102 schools, colleges, research institutions, hospitals, clinics, public safety, tribal lands, and other institutions also able to take advantage of such connections.
“Digital 299 is a powerful infrastructure that brings tremendous benefit to Trinity County and the Redwood Coast,” said Michael Ort, Inyo’s CEO. “We acknowledge the public trust and look forward to working with the community and its leaders to ensure its future in the digital economy.”
“Although the build out will take some time,” said Wood, “we are thankful that the needs of rural California are recognized and one step closer to bringing almost 2,400 square miles of rural Northern California between Redding and the California coast, running through Shasta, Trinity and Humboldt counties, into the 21st Century.”
Compassion: What we have for all around us.
Respect: What we give to those who mean the most.
Courage: What we have the most of for all who try to fill us with fear.
Honor: It is for all who have earned it through hardship, effort and determination.
This is the Boonville Bushido. Follow this code with honesty.
— ‘Fawkes’ (a Boonville High School student)
SPRING ARRIVES TO MENDOCINO
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
First we see sun, then rain, then sun again. Rainbows appear. The phone is ringing. Our Mendocino Solar Service calendar is filling in with solar evaluations scheduled from Gualala to Ukiah to Philo to Westport. It must be that time again: spring has arrived to Mendocino County!
With spring comes our favorite holiday (of course): Earth Day! Created 47 years ago, Earth Day has grown into an international celebration. In this month's issue of News From The Solar System, we get an update about local Earth Day happenings from Noyo Food Forest.
This month we also catch up with the news about Sonoma Clean Power, Mendocino County's new official electricity provider.
Bruce Erickson & Maggie Watson, Co-Owners, Mendocino Solar Service
Solar net metering with Sonoma Clean Power
In June 2017, residents in unincorporated areas of Mendocino County, as well as people who live in the Cities of Fort Bragg, Willits and Point Arena, will have a new electricity provider: Sonoma Clean Power.
Currently residents of those areas are being served solely by Pacific Gas & Electric. Soon, these approximately 30,000 PG&E customers will be switched to SCP, unless they choose to opt-out and continue with PG&E as their electricity provider.
The only area in the county not affected by this change is the City of Ukiah. As a press release from SCP explains: "Ukiah electric customers are not included because the city has its own municipal electric utility."
The arrival of Sonoma Clean Power will bring some new, and greener, options. According to SCP's website, customers will be opted-in to their standard CleanStart program, which promises "36% renewable power from sources like geothermal, wind and biomass." Or, newly opted-in SCP customers may choose to sign up for the EverGreen program, and pay a premium for the assurance that the electricity they are purchasing comes from "100% local, renewable" sources.
Net Metering With Sonoma Clean Power
We've received some questions about what it means to switch to SCP, and how SCP will impact solar customers and those who are considering converting their homes to solar energy.
First, keep in mind, that while the options that SCP provides may be greener than PG&E, purchasing electricity from SCP is very much like purchasing electricity from PG&E. Unless you have your own solar energy system, you are not producing your own power, you are still purchasing power that was made elsewhere and transmitted to you through the electrical grid.
If you do have an on-grid solar energy system (or want to have one installed), you can still sell your excess power to SCP through net metering, in the same way local on-grid solar customers currently sell their excess power to PG&E.
However, there are important differences that solar customers will need to consider before enrolling or allowing themselves to be auto-enrolled (opted in) to Sonoma Clean Power.
To find out more we visited the SCP website and then called them at 855-202-2139 (toll free). We also attended a community meeting at the Community Center of Mendocino, organized by SCP. We encourage solar customers to do the same.
There are two upcoming local public meetings being organized by SCP for people who power their homes with on-grid solar energy. The meetings will be held at 6p.m. on both Wednesday, April 19 at Fort Bragg Town Hall, and on Thursday, April 27 at the Coast Community Library in Point Arena.
SCP staff we spoke with confirmed that PG&E customers will be receiving notices in approximately April regarding being opted-in to SCP. If PG&E customers do not opt out, they will automatically be enrolled with SCP, and their June bill will be from SCP.
Unfortunately, however, when netmetering solar customers are enrolled in SCP, it will trigger a True Up bill from PG&E. When PG&E gives them this True Up bill any unused credits from netmetering cannot be transferred to SCP, these credits are lost.
Because of the potential loss of True Up credits from PG&E, SCP staff we spoke with recommended that solar customers call in, or go online, to opt out when get they get the SCP notice in April. Then, solar customers can re-enroll after their PG&E True Up bill.
Another important difference we were told of between SCP and PG&E, is that SCP does their True Up monthly.
With PG&E you get monthly billing statements, but you do not need to actually pay the balance showing as owed to PG&E, until the end of the annual True Up period, when the year's credits (energy you sold to PG&E) are balanced against the year's charges (energy you bought from PG&E when your system wasn't making power).
With SCP, you get a monthly bill that is due if you had a net charge. If you end up with a credit balance it is carried over to the next month. Once a year SCP will 'settle up' and pay you out for any balance they owe you, if it is over $100. Credits of less than $100 roll over to the next year.
When we spoke with SCP staff, they cited several reasons that net metering solar customers may get a better deal in the long run with SCP. We're going to continue to research that point, and report back more in our April e-news.
DELTA GROUP SAYS PPIC TWIN TUNNELS POLL YIELDS 'BOGUS' RESULTS
by Dan Bacher
The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), an organization that has published several pro-Delta Tunnels reports in recent years, last week released their annual survey of “Californians and Their Government” that included a controversial question about the tunnels.
Pro-tunnels groups touted the results of the survey as showing “support” for Governor Jerry Brown’s water project, while tunnels opponents challenged the use of a “leading question” in the survey.
The PPIC question asked:
“The governor has proposed to improve the reliability of water supplies by building tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. How important is this proposal for the future quality of life and economic vitality of California?”
In response to the question, about half (51%) say the project is “very important,” (26%) “somewhat important,” and 14% “not too important” or “not at all important.”
“There are wide regional differences: 64 percent of Los Angeles residents call the tunnels very important, but just 40 percent in the Central Valley express this view," the PPIC noted. “Opinion within the Central Valley varies: in the San Joaquin Valley 79 percent of residents say the tunnels are at least somewhat important, while 58 percent of Sacramento Metro and North Valley residents express this view.” To read the press release, go to: www.ppic.org/...
As soon as the survey results were released, Californians for Water Security, a Stewart Resnick-funded and pro-tunnels lobbying group, hailed the PPIC poll results with a press release headlined, “77% of Californians Think Governor’s California WaterFix is Important to the State’s Future.”
“This week, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) published a poll which highlights that 77 percent of Californians view Governor Jerry Brown’s California WaterFix as “important.” In fact, 51 percent think it is ‘very important,’” the group said.
In a statement, Restore the Delta responded today: “While that is an accurate portrayal of the poll results, ethical public polling requires the strict avoidance of biased questions that may change the accuracy of the survey.”
“In the parlance of polling, the question the PPIC asked is known as a ‘Leading Question.’ Such questions attempt to lead respondents into giving the ‘correct’ answer,” the group said.
RTD said, “This qualifies as a Leading Question because it suggests that the Delta Tunnels proposal will ‘improve the reliability of water supplies.’ There is simply is no justification for such a claim. In fact, a large policy dispute currently underway is over whether the Delta Tunnels will actually function as advertised in either drought or flood conditions.”
RTD noted that the tunnels will not be available for use over 52% of the time during dry conditions, and during high water events like the last several months, their experimental fish screens and sedimentation ponds “couldn’t handle the sediment and brush that floats downstream fast enough to function as designed.” Tunnel operators will have to seek temporary change petitions with the State Water Resources Control Board during droughts to take water, just like they do now.
“Unfortunately, PPIC has again put their hands on the scale in favor of the Delta Tunnels boondoggle,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “Californians deserve a non-biased, objective, policy institute that doesn’t play these games in order to appease donors.”
The PPIC Water Policy Center receives funding from Delta Tunnels advocates including The Almond Board of California, Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, and Stewart Resnick’s Wonderful Company, recently featured in the National Geographic film Water & Power: A California Heist.
The PPIC website also touts the facilities of the Bechtel Conference Center, funded by a "gift" from the Stephen Bechtel Fund.
“The Bechtel Conference Center is designed to serve as both a meeting place and a learning center for nonprofit organizations, highlighting the value that PPIC places on civic engagement, consensus-building, and respect for different perspectives. The center was made possible by a gift from the Stephen Bechtel Fund and opened in spring 2011. In its design and operation, the center reflects the values that PPIC and the Bechtel family place on environmental and technological innovation.”
Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. is the son of Stephen David Bechtel, Sr. and grandson of Warren A. Bechtel who founded the Bechtel Corporation. His San Francisco-based foundation, the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, has as its overall mission, "to support well-managed non-profit organizations that provide quality programs and create significant sustained benefits in areas of special interest to the Founders and Directors."
However, its real mission appears to be the greenwashing of one of the most environmentally destructive corporations on the planet. The Bechtel Corporation, one of the world’s largest engineering and construction firms that was instrumental in the "reconstruction" of Iraq, is a leading advocate throughout the world of the privatization of water systems. It was Bechtel that sued the country of Bolivia for canceling a contract there sponsored by the World Bank. (http://www.counterpunch.org/...)
A CorpWatch report, "Profiting from Destruction," provides case studies from Bechtel’s history of operating in the water, nuclear, energy and public works sectors. These case studies reveal a legacy of unsustainable and destructive practices that have reaped permanent human, environmental and community devastation around the globe. Letters from "Bechtel affected communities" included in the report provide first-hand descriptions of these impacts, from Bolivia to Native American lands in Nevada.
The report reveals a 100-year history spent capitalizing on the most brutal technologies, reaping immense profits and ignoring the social and environmental costs. For more information, go to http://www.corpwatch.org/…
You can read the PPIC survey here.
A BIT OF TRIVIA THAT IS PART OF OUR HISTORY.
He is engraved in stone in the National War Memorial in Washington , DC - back in a small alcove where very few people have seen it. For the WWII generation, this will bring back memories. For you younger folks, it's a bit of trivia that is a part of our American history. Anyone born in 1913 to about 1950, is familiar with Kilroy. No one knew why he was so well known - but everybody seemed to get into it.
In 1946 the American Transit Association, through its radio program, "Speak to America ," sponsored a nationwide contest to find the real Kilroy, offering a prize of a real trolley car to the person who could prove himself to be the genuine article. Almost 40 men stepped forward to make that claim, but only James Kilroy from Halifax, Massachusetts, had evidence of his identity.
'Kilroy' was a 46-year old shipyard worker during the war who worked as a checker at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy. His job was to go around and check on the number of rivets completed. Riveters were on piecework and got paid by the rivet. He would count a block of rivets and put a check mark in semi-waxed lumber chalk, so the rivets wouldn't be counted twice. When Kilroy went off duty, the riveters would erase the mark.
Later on, an off-shift inspector would come through and count the rivets a second time, resulting in double pay for the riveters.
One day Kilroy's boss called him into his office. The foreman was upset about all the wages being paid to riveters, and asked him to investigate. It was then he realized what had been going on. The tight spaces he had to crawl in to check the rivets didn't lend themselves to lugging around a paint can and brush, so Kilroy decided to stick with the waxy chalk. He continued to put his check mark on each job he inspected, but added 'KILROY WAS HERE' in king-sized letters next to the check, and eventually added the sketch of the chap with the long nose peering over the fence and that became part of the Kilroy message.
Once he did that, the riveters stopped trying to wipe away his marks. Ordinarily the rivets and chalk marks would have been covered up with paint. With the war on, however, ships were leaving the Quincy Yard so fast that there wasn't time to paint them. As a result, Kilroy's inspection "trademark" was seen by thousands of servicemen who boarded the troopships the yard produced.
His message apparently rang a bell with the servicemen, because they picked it up and spread it all over Europe and the South Pacific.
Before war's end, "Kilroy" had been here, there, and everywhere on the long hauls to Berlin and Tokyo. To the troops outbound in those ships, however, he was a complete mystery; all they knew for sure was that someone named Kilroy had "been there first." As a joke, U.S. servicemen began placing the graffiti wherever they landed, claiming it was already there when they arrived.
Kilroy became the U.S. super-GI who had always "already been" wherever GIs went. It became a challenge to place the logo in the most unlikely places imaginable (it is said to be atop Mt. Everest, the Statue of Liberty, the underside of the Arc de Triomphe, and even scrawled in the dust on the moon).
As the war went on, the legend grew. Underwater demolition teams routinely sneaked ashore on Japanese-held islands in the Pacific to map the terrain for coming invasions by U.S troops (and thus, presumably, were the first GI's there). On one occasion, however, they reported seeing enemy troops painting over the Kilroy logo!
In 1945, an outhouse was built for the exclusive use of Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill at the Potsdam conference. Its' first occupant was Stalin, who emerged and asked his aide (in Russian), "Who is Kilroy?"
To help prove his authenticity in 1946, James Kilroy brought along officials from the shipyard and some of the riveters. He won the trolley car, which he gave to his nine children as a Christmas gift and set it up as a playhouse in the Kilroy yard in Halifax, Massachusetts.
And The Tradition Continues...
OOEY GOOEY STEM, Poetry, & New Book Festival!
Have you been waiting forever for the latest book to be available for check-out? Well here is your chance to pick up the newest must read book from the Library. The Mendocino County Library is proud to announce our first ever New Book Festival! The New Book Festival will be held at the Willits Library, Sunday April 2nd from 1-4pm. Change in venue: this month's Wines & Spines Book Club for adults 21+ is meeting at Ukiah Brewing Company & Restaurant, 102 S. State St. See you there on Weds, 3/29 @ 6:30pm for our discussion of Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes! Contact Melissa at email@example.com to be added to the Book Club email list. On Friday, March 31st from 3pm to 4:30pm we are hosting Ooey Gooey STEM: Squishy Circuits. This is the last in our series of three kid-friendly workshops exploring the mushy side of science, technology, engineering and math. Participants will use their measuring and mixing skills to make their own conductive and insulating play dough. Using the dough, weâ€™ll create circuits and learn about basic electronics. This family-friendly event is suitable for kids ages 7-11, free to the public and sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library. Join us for a reading with Caroline Goodwin, outgoing Poet Laureate of San Mateo County! Open mic follows. Teens & adults are invited to share poems in any form or style. Caroline Goodwin moved to the Bay Area from Sitka, Alaska in 1999 to attend Stanford as a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry. She is the author of the chapbooks Kodiak Herbal, Gora Verstovia and Text Me, Ishmael and the full-length collections Trapline and The Paper Tree. She teaches at California College of the Arts and the Stanford Writer's Studio and is currently serving as the first Poet Laureate of San Mateo County. Light refreshments will be served. For more information please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or firstname.lastname@example.org Mendocino County Library presents: Spring Reading Challenge for Adults and Teens! Pick up a game card at your local library. Cross off the items in any row and in any direction. Return the card to the library by April 15th for your chance to win a Kindle Fire! Bingo cards are available in English & Spanish.
MCOG MEETS IN FORT BRAGG APRIL 11
Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, April 11 at 1:00 p.m. Usually held in Ukiah, MCOG will meet "on location" at Fort Bragg Town Hall, 363 North Main Street, at the corner of Highway 1 and Laurel Street. All MCOG meetings are open to the public. MCOG council members will gather at Town Hall for a tour from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The group will take a bus and walking tour of transportation plans and projects in the Fort Bragg area. Members of the public are welcome to ride along on a space-available basis. The complete agenda may be viewed at Fort Bragg Town Hall, at www.mendocinocog.org, or by contacting the MCOG office at 463-1859. Please note there will be no regular MCOG meeting on the first Monday of April. MCOG is the Regional Transportation Planning Agency for the countywide region, as a joint powers authority of the four Cities and the County of Mendocino.