- Perp Strut
- Animal Shelter Report
- Colonel Lingamfelter
- Real Hippies
- Little Dog
- PG&E Forever
- Puffy Clouds
- Wright v Sisco
- Saving KZYX
- Yesterday's Catch
- SNWMF Lineup
- Logging Books
- LAFCO Fees
- Library Events
- Health Class
- Boy Blue
- Gas Tax
NO VERDICT IN REYNOLDS CASE YET
Charles Reynolds faces a charge of felony assault with a special allegation of inflicting great bodily injury (not murder) for killing Kenneth Fisher, a native of Laytonville, who died after Reynolds reportedly sucker punched Fisher outside Boomer’s bar in Laytonville on August 28 of 2016. The trial began last week and went to the Jury at the end of last week.
Jurors left for the day at four o'clock Tuesday, no verdict yet. That’s two days now.
Around noon Tuesday the lawyers were assembled and the jury called back while the judge re-read some instructions they were not clear on, having to spell out the terms of the main charge, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, then the terms of the lesser-included charge, simple assault.
Standing by, in the meantime, the defendants in the Jeffery Settler murder (the pot grower was stabbed to death by trimmers at his grow last year) came out for a perp walk, only to have a scheduled hearing, which had been previously "set and held" postponed to April 24th.
I use the phrase "perp walk" advisedly. Law Enforcement coined the phrase in reference to parading a high-profile criminal in public for the press.
These guys in the Settler murder case haven't had enough experience coming and going from court to learn the way it's done in Mendoland, where we call it the Perp Strut, meaning a certain way of holding yourself, your posture, somewhat contemptuously, and rolling your shoulders with the Shackle Shuffle, so the effect is a kind of subdued shadowboxing gait, since your feet are shackled and your handcuffs padlocked to a chain around your waist, and the result gives the overall impression that you are in control of the situation and comfortable with it — in case anyone from the pressbox is watching.
But give these guys time — it looks like they'll be coming and going from the courthouse a lot and have plenty of opportunity to practice the Mendo Perp Strut.
ACCORDING TO Mendo Animal Shelter honcho Rich Molinari the visiting vets from UC Davis were impressed by Ukiah operations. The visitors will release formal findings “at a later date.” The Boonville Spay Neuter clinic, subsidized in part by AV Animal Rescue for feral cats, saw 117 cats spayed or neutered. 80 female cats were “in oestrus” (ready to be impregnanted). All the cats also got rabies vaccinations. The mini-clinic was very successful, said Molinari, saving Shelter money and making animals healthier. In the first three months of 2017 134 dogs and 38 cats were adopted. 133 were transfered to rescue partners. 133 returned to owners. The live release rate for that period was 86%. Supervisor John McCowen volunteered that he had been by the Shelter and was impressed by improvements and cleanliness. Recent complaints have been addressed and resolved promptly. Supervisor Carre Brown added, “You’re doing a great job." To which Molinari modestly replied that the staff gets the credit.
MY FIRST ASSIGNMENT was as an aircraft maintenance officer in the US Air Force. It was 1969. My peers were all off being hippies when I arrived at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. I was a maintenance analysis officer for the 3380th Aircraft Maintenance Division of the 3380th Maintenance & Supply (M&S) Group. Got that? It took me a month to make the distinction without thinking.
It was supposed to be a sort of a training assignment. I was in charge of a small staff of maintenance technicians and civilian analysts who kept track of aircraft maintenance and budgets and made daily, weekly, and monthly reports on trends, problem areas, record keeping, tracking and monitoring of corrective action. If the planes weren’t flying right, or malfunctions were popping up, we had to notice it and see that the planes flew safely.
After a couple of months in that job, my boss, Chief of Maintenance Lt. Col. James M. Slaughter, was impressed enough with my performance that he wanted me to brief local higher-ups such as M&S Group Commander Colonel Charles B. Lingamfelter and his boss, Base Commander, Major General Thomas Madden.
Step one involved setting up the presentation with Colonel Lingamfelter. I spent a day creating a series of easel-sized charts and bullet points and graphs and notes. This was going to be my first official briefing, my big chance to knock ‘em dead.
Colonel Lingamfelter came down to the training room in the second floor of Hanger 3, known to most aircraft mechanics as "The Puzzle Palace" because it contained the aircraft maintenance management organization which sometimes issued strange, confusing, contradictory or time-consuming orders without any explanation or rationale.
Colonel Slaughter and I went over the presentation in advance that morning. I was shaped up and ready!
Colonel Lingamfelter arrived in the small-ish room about 10. Colonel Lingamfelter had been in the Air Force for a long time and was known to his associates as ROAD — retired on active duty. He was close to retirement and didn't really care much about what went on in his organization. The balding “bird colonel” sat down in the front row of the folding chairs in the training room not more than five feet from my easel. I launched into my presentation, trying to sound and look as professional as possible.
Within a matter of minutes, Colonel Lingamfelter had nodded off to sleep and was audibly snoring.
Colonel Slaughter, himself a grizzled old graying redhead former pilot with a very ruddy complexion, was sitting beside Colonel Lingamfelter and gave him a sharp elbow in the ribs to wake him up.
Colonel Lingamfelter popped awake, blinked a few times and tried to pay attention to my admittedly dull maintenance presentation. (Pilots didn’t care about maintenance much — unless something didn’t work right.) But within another few minutes, he was back to sleep.
Colonel Slaughter elbowed him again. He popped back up again. But not for long.
The next time he fell asleep, I quietly shrugged at Colonel Slaughter, wondering whether I should continue.
Colonel Slaughter responded by silently mouthing the words, “Wrap it up.”
He elbowed Colonel Lingamfelter once again, and I quickly said, "Any questions?"
There were no questions, of course. Even if the Colonel had stayed awake, the entire exercise was just a feeble attempt to introduce me to the Colonel so that when my first glowing (all of them were glowing) Officer Effectiveness Report came to him later he would sign it without further ado, and my budding Air Force career, such as it was, would continue upward.
* * *
I was reminded of this experience Tuesday as we watched via youtube Deputy Transportation Director Chamise Cubbison give a presentation to the Board of Supervisors about the status of the administration of some very technical Transportation Department road repair programs which would put even normal wide-awake people to sleep, much less Colonel Lingamfelter.
Meeting after meeting, the board and the public must suffer through these tedious, time-consuming exercises which could be much more easily handled with a simple one or two page summary report without any meeting time wasted just to give a little exposure to an up-and-coming staffer and to try to convince the public that our business is in good hands.
— Mark Scaramella
KRAMER V. HIPPIE
The diatribe against hippies by Tommy Wayne Kramer in the last AVA was certainly thought-provoking. However, he has blamed the wrong people. The hippies were a very small portion of the population, probably less than .005%, and while their philosophies were appealing to a larger part of the citizenry, not many people actually lived the hippie lifestyle of simple living, sharing, peace and love, and (yes) hedonism. The ideal that was particularly odious to the mainstream America was the desire to reject the corporate jobs and live more freely. Remember the mantra “Get a Job!” shouted at every longhair?
Anyway, the hippies were driven out of town completely by the mid-seventies, and the population truly responsible for the degradation of society moved in. Drug dealers and ripoffs are not hippies, but are the bottom rung of all-American capitalists. The capitalists moved in on the naive city dwellers to exploit the interest in drugs, not philosophy. The hippies were already out on their make-shift communes in the country, but the wannabes were at the mercy of the drug capitalists. From then on the focus changed to promotion of drugs, as TWK mentioned, through “the music, the movies, TV and all the media glommed onto a groovy new audience.” You will notice that all these operations are capitalist exploiters of the general population; boomers perhaps, but not hippies. Super rich performers, ballplayers or music promoters popularized the hedonistic drug lifestyle much more, and the culture-less mainstream fell right in line.
The few actual “peace & love” hippies still live out in the hinterlands with their goats and artwork. The boomers who never were hippies are the ones in the government jobs today, and to mistake the two is to misrepresent history. Drug capitalists are the problem, both underground and pharmaceutical.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “People are so predictable. And soooooo wrong. At exactly 1:25 Tuesday afternoon, all the dogs in the neighborhood started to bark, and right on schedule the boss says, ‘Earthquake!’ He says dogs feel quakes just before they hit. And every time a bunch of dogs go off, he says, ‘Earthquake!’ Of course, there wasn't one or I'd have felt it, being a dog and all.”
I received a letter in the mail. It said that, as a long suffering, tax paying resident of Mendocino County, one who travels on pot-hole roads in order that country employees can retire in gated communities in Idaho, I had been automatically switched to Sonoma Clean Power. I was snatched from PG&E. The letter said that Sonoma Clean Power is saving the world from global warming, which is currently called climate change. Jesus H. Electricity, when did I ask to help? Where was Sonoma Clean Power this winter when I nearly froze to death? Three cords went up in smoke. In our Mendo-cannabis paradise, it was one of the coldest winters of my life. I went to Montana to get warm. Who let these do-gooders in? I get suspicious when I open my mailbox to discover that the government has told me that I must now pay Peter instead of Paul. Apparently, a bill was passed in Sacramento, where as everyone conscious knows, a sole, soulless political party is currently running the entire show. Sonoma Clean Power is some kind of government entity according to that bill. They’ll be dishing out my bills. Which means, there could be kickbacks to the Pols that run the show. Frankly, I don’t trust anything with the word Sonoma. In Sonoma, all the old, trust fund hippies are rich. They all went back to the land, and the land went through the roof. The rest are boring and politically mean. The newspaper is owned and controlled by a lobbyist, and a former congressman too. If you want to open an Indian Casino, you can secretly meet with Bosco’s money-boys at a lovely Sonoma winery owned by lawyers from New York. Jerry Brown will set it up. I know Sonoma is famous for Peanuts, but Snoopy and Lucy are fiction. When I turn my lights on, it’s real money that I pay. I’ve got a feeling about this deal. SCP claims to be non-profit. Well, do-gooders have to eat. Who’s to say how much they’re paid? They will. And don’t forget the trips to France and Norway to see how green energy is doing there. I think I’ll stick with the familiar—my very bad homeboys at PG&E. I know exactly the crooks they are. I’m opting out on SCP. Curiously, when I tried on line, my screen was totally stuck. Was it a trick to keep me in? Checking up on SCP, they claim a percentage of their power is religiously green. But so is PG&E’s. When it comes to the plug that powers my TV screen, it comes from hydroelectric and a nuclear, power plant. So does SCP’s. SCP’s letter said that if I want to pay more, I can sign up for their Evergreen plan. It will make me 100% green and carbon free. How, some kind of magical plug? Remember, the power that they sell comes from dams and uranium too. Electrons are electrons and it’s impossible to sort them out. SCP claims that it will save me a couple of bucks. Great, but is it just the bait? SCP is politically connected. Would I open my bill one morning to discover yet another environmental charge—like, say, saving feral cats, or maybe a can of electrical worms dressed up like saving the world?
Mike Koepf, Elk
SUSIE de CASTRO Writes: Fascinating evening cloud formations spoiled by? Clothes lines? No, phone lines.
COMMENTING on Derek Hoyle’s report of Jeff Wright’s recent arrest for apparently protesting the reduction in open hours of the PO Box lobby area of the Fort Bragg Post Office …https://www.theava.com/archives/66889…one commenter complained that we didn’t get “the other side” of the story. Of course, we’d like to get the other side of the story. And it looks like several commenters have picked up on it anyway. Apparently some number of Fort Bragg PO Box holders have had access to their paid-for boxes curtailed by FBPO Postmistress Denise Sisco. If anyone knows Ms. Sisco’s reasons for restricting the box access we’d certainly like to hear it. (One commenter suggested that it had to do with homeless people using the PO Lobby in off-hours.) We know that Mr. Wright can be, um, er, loud and demanding when he complains about what he sees as public wrongdoing. But so far, based on the below comments on our website the score is Wright 7, Sisco 1. (Sisco? Any relation to the late Vince Sisco?)
(1) I live in Fort Bragg but have my PO Box in Mendocino because I loathe going to the Fort Bragg Post Office so much. Going in there is nothing but a bad time, even for the simplest of tasks. I would rather drive the ten or so miles than have to deal with the Fort Bragg Post Office.
(2) AS a Former Braggart I am following this story, waiting for updates as the story continues.
(3) Unbelievable! Thank you Derek for your reporting. Have shared it to my Facebook page.
(4) I stopped getting my mail here, a large inconvenience due to this post offices attitude. Public servants who dont want to serve should get other jobs.
(5) I, too, have a PO box in Ft. Bragg. It IS an inconvenience to say the least to have the lobby hours unfairly and drastically reduced. SOMEONE should be given the task of locking the one and only lobby door at sunset and unlocking it at sunrise. I’ll do it. I live about 4 blocks away. It would serve the community. No harm to the post office proper could happen if I have that key. That way it won’t be another burden for the very unhappy and unpleasant Post Mistress. It would be a win/win for all. It’s a shame that whoever the people are feel the need to use the lobby as a toilet, but I’m a paying citizen who is being punished for their bad behavior. Assigning someone the task of locking/unlocking the door seems a simple, easy solution. Strongly consider this please. You, Ms. Post Mistress are making the community unhappy.
(6) Actually, she is very rude and condescending! (With her co-workers following suit!) We started making the drive elsewhere!
(7) They have always been fine to me. Nice folks.
(8) How about Ft. Bragg P.O. users who can, taking up a collection to hire, a responsible person, who needs a job, to watch & keep their P.O.B. area clean? … Would one of you Ft. Bragg residents with a car do the neighborly thing and drive Mr. Wright to another post office to get his mail?
KZYX ON THE KUSP OF…
To the Editor:
The final results for the KZYX Board of Directors election are in. I was a respectable second in a hotly contested race for the at-large seat. There were three candidates. Second surprised me considering that everything at KZYX is structured to resist change -- and I represent change.
Change is what KZYX desperately needs.
Why did I run for the KZYX Board of Directors? Because without change, KZYX will fail. I want to help save KZYX. Our beloved public radio station is at serious risk of going out of business, particularly during the Trump era when Trump is threatening to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). I'll explain.
The $4-5 million that KZYX has received from the CPB since 1989 is the "mother's milk" of poorly managed stations like KZYX -- and poorly managed stations like KUSP in Santa Cruz, CA, which filed for bankruptcy last year.
KUSP was a much larger than KZYX. They got lots of money from the CPB. But like KZYX, they were also very poorly managed. If KUSP can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, despite even greater largess from the CPB, then so can KZYX.
How is KZYX like KUSP? Or worse?
Both stations filed defective IRS Form 990s. Both stations posted disappearing assets in their respective 990s. It was a trend that happened over several years. Also, staff at both KZYX and KUSP did not disclose the 990s to their respective Boards of Directors before the forms were filed with the IRS.
KZYX goes a step further. We don't know what our debts are. I'll explain.
At the last Board meeting, KZYX General Manager Jeffrey Parker said we owed lots of money to lots of people. When pressed to be specific, Parker said we owed money to National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Radio, American Public Radio (AMP). KZYX buys syndicated shows from both NPR and APR.
Parker also said we owed money to the California Department of Forestry for rent for the land on which KZYX has located its broadcasting towers and repeaters.
Most troubling, Parker also mentioned an unpaid balance on KZYX's letter of credit at the Mendocino Savings Bank.
But when pressed further for exactly how much KZYX owed to these creditors, Parker was mum.
Another thing, when taken together KZYX's financials -- annual reports, audits, and tax returns -- are inconsistent, incomplete, and inaccurate. Try isolating a simple budget line item like payroll, and you'll find that station management's policy of secrecy and lies extends to its financials. Disclosure is not the norm at KZYX. I'll cite an example. At the last Board meeting, Board Treasurer Stuart "Stewie" Campbell -- no stranger to secrets and lies -- had no treasurer's report. He never has a treasurer's report. And when station member, Scott Peterson, attempted to make an excellent flip chart presentation about the station's troubling finances, Campbell cut him off and dismissed Peterson by saying, "Well, these so-called facts are just your opinion." Campbell never offered any argument or an alternative fact set.
A final thought.
KZYX does, in fact, have an vacant Board seat. One of the uncontested district candidates dropped out. If the KZYX Board had any guts, they would appoint me to the vacant seat on the Board. I was the second highest vote-getter after Jenness Hartley.
My first order of business as Board member? Straighten out the financials.
My second order of business? Pull together a "truth and reconciliation" committee that would bring local newspeople like Bruce Anderson, Mark Scaramella, Christina Aanestad, and KC Meadows, back to KZYX. All were dumped by station management at one time or another.
The committee should also bring back outstanding programmers like Marco McClean, Beth Bosk, Els Cooperrider, Doug McKenty, and Norman De Vall -- all of whom have been unfairly and inexplicably ostracized at KZYX. Strong personalities? Yes. Outstanding radio show hosts? Also yes!
Third order of business? Cut staff. And use those payroll savings to make necessary infrastructure investments in KZYX. Invest -- and invest heavily -- in new equipment and technology. It's outrageous that KZYX had 27-hours of dead in March, 2017.
KZYX is part of the Emergency Broadcast System. What if we had an earthquake? Or a North Korean nuke attack? Or a forest fire like the catastrophic wildfire over in Lake County in 2015? Or any number of other disasters? What if? Well, we would have gotten nothing but dead air from KZYX -- and more than a full day of it. Twenty-seven hours. That much dead air is outrageous and unacceptable. And perhaps illegal with respect to the Emergency Broadcast System. The station is at risk of not only bankruptcy, but also of losing its FCC licenses.
In this way, KZYX is worse than KUSP.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 4, 2017
SUNSHINE CATO, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
RICHARD CAUCKWELL, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
MIGUEL GARCIA, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
DAKOTA JOHNSON, Willits. Probation revocation.
JAMES MCNEILL, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.
RICHARD ORTIZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public, vandalism, failure to appear, probation revocation.
CODY SANDERSON, Laytonville. Probation revocation.
ERIN SHIM, Willits. Meth possession for sale.
KRISTOPHER SPARKMAN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MERRILL WALRATH, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
SHARELL WATSON, Ukiah. Battery.
AN APRIL SHOWER OF ARTISTS COMPLETES THE LINEUP FOR SIERRA NEVADA 2017
SNWMF is pleased to announce that Lee 'Scratch' Perry & Subatomic Sound System, Barrington Levy, Third World, Horace Andy, Dennis Bovell, Keith & Tex, NST & The Soul Sauce, Los Pinguos, Eastern Standard Sounds, Talking Dreads, Soul Ska, Nonstop To Cairo, Jah Warrior Shelter Hi-Fi, Comanche High Power and BoonFire have all been added to the 24th annual Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, which takes place June 16, 17 and 18, 2017 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds located in the heart of Anderson Valley in Boonville, California.
Lee Perry will perform in the Dance Hall alongside Subatomic Sound System. Dennis Bovell will spin selections in the Dance Hall as well as performing a set on the Valley Stage.
(Full listings/line up at snwmf.com)
CONFERENCE BESTSELLER AND A NEW DISCOVERY
Last month the 79th annual Redwood Region Logging Conference (RRLC) in Eureka was attended by thousands of folks of all ages celebrating everything related to logging on the North Coast. The show had everything you’d expect…historical exhibits and equipment from the Timber Heritage Association, Roots of Motive Power, Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association, sawmill demonstrations and log truck loading competitions. There was chainsaw carving, wildlife shows, ax throwing contests, lots of shiny new log trucks, lumberjack and jill skill shows, exhibit halls and fun for the whole family.
The educational activities focus a lot nowadays on forest land stewardship and sustainability. The forestry professionals want the grammar school kids, the high school pupils and the university students to know there will be careers in forestry in the future. Scholarships for the study of forestry were awarded. Current loggers could take workshops on CHP Safety updates, Forestry Regulations, Employee Safety, Water Drafting and 1st Aid/CPR.
Gallery Bookshop of Mendocino attends the conference yearly, selling displays of books on logging history, what lives and grows in forests and the people who protect and preserve them. This year one single book stood out as the bestseller in sales and what was more amazing was that it was the single most expensive book offered for sale.
“High Climbers & Tree Fallers: from Old Growth Logging to Second Growth Management” by Gerry Beranek is a $50 hardcover coffee table book on men logging and the pride they took in their work. If you ever needed proof that taking your camera to work with you every day is a good idea this book affirms it. The book is 12 years old and continues to fascinate readers because it is almost 300 pages of BIG color photos. The author takes you to 25 old growth logging operations to see how the work was done, with pride, and nine second growth shows. Reading it is a modern day educational experience on timber operations.
What’s great about the book is Beranek identifies every person in every photo, right down to the dog on the landing. People came to my booth saying “My dad is on page 15” or “My Grandpa is on page 68.” While browsers also bought books of old black & white logging photos the best seller was “High Climbers & Tree Fallers.” Beranek has gone on to write more big coffee table books on national and state parks on the North Coast and his book “Coast Redwoods” has every weird, unusual way a redwood tree could choose to grow. All his books are available at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino.
The book discovery at RRLC was a self-published book on a very narrow aspect of the timber operations. “Loggin’ Riggin’: a handbook on Cable Systems” by John Porritt in Hayfork, CA is a labor of love. Porritt has worked with, watched and talked to people in the USA, Russia, Japan, Norway, Pakistan, Canada and Great Britain who do cable rigging for logging. He assumes the reader has some basic knowledge of logging operations (he’s not going to tell you how they notch a stump…), but his hand drawn illustrations are great.
Having been married to a man who ran a yarder in the woods for a good many years I understand a little about the stress in rigging and the forces involved in lifting tree trunks in the air with cables and landing them where you want them to go. Choker setting, rigging skylines, designing layouts and other assorted logging skills are discussed in detail. I was fascinated on the section about balloon logging, with rigging attached to a very big stationary balloon. I also learned your can have your power source on a barge in a river tethered to the shore and rig it to a spar pole on a hilltop. Logging in Alaska and Scotland provide different challenges to how it is done in the Redwood forest.
If readers have a logging history book collection this is a worthy addition to their bookshelf. It’s available from the author John Proffitt at P.O. Box 1044 Hayfork CA 96041 or call him at 530-739-3285.
LAFCO LAFFS AT ANDERSON VALLEY
County Wastes $6500 Boonville Ambulance Dollars
Phillip Thomas, Board member of Anderson Valley Ambulance Service, made the following remarks at the Monday, April 3, meeting of the Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) at the Board of Supervisors chambers in Ukiah:
Thomas: I have been working with the Anderson Valley Community Services District on the merger [of the Ambulance Services with the CSD] until the recent annexation application in front of LAFCO. Now it [the annexation proposal) has been withdrawn. I want to express the frustration and ire of the Ambulance Service to you because we found that in this entire process in working with LAFCO we have seen a variety of answers and each time it changes the direction we need to take. We also paid $6500 in fees with the promise of course that you would be returning any funds which you didn't use. But mostly we have been run around the bush, burning up the fees, on something which you now tell us you have official legal advice that we didn't need and we shouldn't have started in the first place. This has been very frustrating. The second part of the frustration is in your guidelines of what the steps are for annexation of taxable parcels you direct that there will be negotiations between the entity, in this case the Anderson Valley CSD, and the County over shifting of tax dollars. I have to tell you that the County is totally and rudely unresponsive to our request to negotiate, to use your very language. We cannot, have not, even gotten a response to our request. You obviously do not have any teeth to say, Hey County, come to the table and have a discussion because they [the LAFCO] obviously aren't even responding to you. I will take this to the Board of Supervisors also. I think it's a disrespectful of public government when tax paid officials and elected officials don't even respond or when you get a the response like the one I got from my supervisor [Dan Hamburg], that, Oh yes, this is a bad situation. No solution — just it's a bad situation! This is sort of the alligators and the swamp. I've never really believed in that one but I sure feel like there are alligators in the swamp that we are dealing with. When two entities like the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service and the CSD moved towards merging they were doing it for the betterment of services in Anderson Valley, for the residents and visitors. It seems like we've spent at least 100 hours in meetings, in group phone calls with LAFCO and with the County, and it's all been for naught. It's all been as though we are going to a dance and there is no end in sight. It's like a wargame thing, it's better not to play at all. Why do we bother going through the process of trying to address things properly through offices of government when we don't get anything? It's not that we are not getting what we want, it is that we are not getting anywhere with it! We get different answers every time. I really hope that you will take it a look at the details of this situation to make sure that the next people who have to apply for this kind of situation are not given the kind of runaround we have been given. Thank you.
Supervisor John McCowen: I would like to respond briefly being that I sit both on LAFCO and the Board of Supervisors. It's unfortunate there has been a miscommunication, particularly regarding the issue of "tax share negotiations," which there have been none with the county. I think I would have known about it had there been actual negotiations that were authorized by the board. They were not. There is a March 1 letter written by the Chief [AV Fire Chief Andres Avila] requesting that there be negotiations. But on March 6 the Chief appeared before this body and said they were dropping the annexation issue which would have required tax share negotiations. So hopefully everybody has learned something from this process. But there has been I believe a lot of miscommunications. And that's unfortunate. It's not clear to me, was the application for merger withdrawn as well as for annexation? It’s unclear based on the recent comments there.
Chief Avila: The current status of our negotiation is we have taken off the subject of annexation. For the simple reason that the value we would get [from the newly annexed parcels] we were told — the estimate, was in the $5000 range. That was just too small. So it was off the table. By no means would we take that small amount. [It wouldn’t cover anywhere near the cost of services for those additional parcels.] Since then I was instructed this morning that the negotiation from the county, I believe it was Alan Flora, mentioned that we would probably get nothing. There was no obligation to give us a single dime. So there is just no money on the table. That's why we have taken it off. But since I discussed it with you, in order to not just let it go, I re-contacted and re-contacted and re-contacted by phone and e-mail to see if there is any chance of negotiations, any further process we can do, and nothing — no e-mail, no phone calls, or come back, until this morning when we got the e-mail saying nothing. So at this point, while we may still entertain the annexation, we have officially dropped it and we are only proceeding with the latent power activation.
McCowen: And another clarification because it was part of your remarks, the amount of revenue that the district [CSD] currently gets. But I believe that's primarily based on the assessment that the district has for parcels or units to pay into the district?
Avila: Obviously you understand the property tax portion of it, we also have the benefit assessment for parcels in the district boundaries. For us to go outside the district boundaries and still provide services we have contracted with those parcels.
McCowen: I understand all that. The point I am making is that the bulk of the revenue from your existing territory comes from the benefit assessment, not from property tax, I believe.
Avila: Say that again. I'm not sure I agree with that.
McCowen: I believe the bulk of your revenue for your existing territory comes from the benefit assessment.
McCowen: It comes from property tax?
Avila: I believe our District manager Joy Andrews can speak to that.
Andrews: We get $144,000 in benefit assessment and the property tax revenue is over $200,000, so combined you are looking at between $350,000 and $400,000.
McCowen: I'm going a little further in public comment, but I will see that we get back to you and answer your questions.
Avila: We are not off the table with annexation. I believe we could adjust the boundaries to be legal district boundaries and get rid of all the loopholes and correct everything 100%. We talk about providing service and service boundaries – fire, medical -- but there's also all these plan checks and reviews, new building projects and development going on, planning applications — all that is affected. At present the county takes that on. [But not very well and very slowly.] There are other things besides emergency services out there. We need to correct these boundaries, and it's a shame to let it go. But as of now it's off the table, you betcha.
LAFCO Board Chard Jerry Ward: Does your letter that you gave to us last meeting also go to the ambulance service for review?
Avila: They have seen it, yes.
Ward: I heard you mention that you're going before the Board of Supervisors. Is that the next step?
Avila: We will definitely let them know our issue. But at this point it feels like a lost cause. So all we are going to do is push on with the latent power portion. But by all means we should not just let it go and not address it. We should at least let the Board of Supervisors know that there is a clear issue here. And this is true for the whole county. There are major boundary issues out there, even Humboldt is coming down in our [Mendocino] territory. We need to clean that up. Today we are having a meeting with LAFCO staff about these boundaries.
Joy Andrews: I would like to add one thing. I think Philip [Thomas] mentioned about the fact that the prior LAFCO staff told us that the LAFCO Commission would like to see the annexation wrapped up with the latent power application. I would just like to remind you that we paid $1500 as a pre-agreement with Plan-Wise Partners right before their contract ended with you. They provided us with a lot of assistance in preparing the application before it even came to LAFCO. Now we have paid, you know, an additional $6000 as a deposit towards getting this whole application approved. It is unfortunate that the consultant and your staff's time and our time was spent on the annexation only to come to find out that that actually it is not required, it was just more suggested and there’s no money in it. So I would hope that you would take that into consideration in looking at the final [LAFCO] fees [to the CSD]. We did expend quite a bit on things that we did not need in the first place.
Ward: We will need to look at that in the future.
* * *
PREDICTION: NOTHING WILL BE CORRECTED, much less “looked at in the future.” And the CSD/Ambulance Service will be out most if not all the money.
NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, First Friday and Book Sale, and Kid Coding
In celebration of National Poetry Month teens will discover how to make poems from a variety of sources, including dictionaries, newspapers, rocks, the mind, & music. We’ll have fun exploring language & syntax through play, as well as cut & paste fragments from other poems in honor of National Poetry Month.
Skip April showers and go right to flowers with us by crafting paper flowers. Join us in viewing vibrant paintings by local artist, Gene North. There will be live music by Sid’N’Steve, and nibbles from Marino’s Pizza & Ravioli. This event is free to the public and is sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library and Mendocino County Library. The Friends of the Library Book Sale starts on Friday, April 7th 4-7pm and continues on Saturday, April 8th 10am-3:30pm.
Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch, is hosting a Music and Sound Coding Club for kids in grades 4-8. Our clubs use instructional videos from Google’s CS First and practice “drag and drop” coding on MIT’s Scratch website. The Music and Sound Club will begin on Saturday, April 8th, from 10-11:15 am and continue every Saturday for eight weeks. This spring we will be learning how programming is used to create music. Students will use the computer to play musical notes, create a music video, and build an interactive music display. CS-First is a free program that increases student access and exposure to computer science (CS) education through after-school, in-school, and summer programs.
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.
DON'T EAT SO MUCH AND EXERCISE VIOLENTLY EVERY DAY FOR AN HOUR
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and Diabetes
8-week class starts Wednesday, April 5 5-7:30 PM (April 5-26 and May 17-June 7) at Safe Passage. To sign up for the free class call 964-3077. For specific questions about the class email Petra at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 937-4704.
CONSUMER GROUP SAYS OIL INDUSTRY, NOT CONSUMERS, SHOULD PAY NEW GAS TAX
by Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders hail the Governor’s plan to fix roads, freeways and bridges across California as a “landmark transportation investment,” but a prominent consumer group says Brown’s gas tax to fix roads should come out of oil companies’ windfall profits — and not out of consumers’ wallets.
At a press conference on March 30 with Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and labor, business and local leaders, Brown claimed the $5 billion-a-year program will cost most drivers less than $10 a month and comes with “strict new accountability provisions to ensure funds can only be spent on transportation.”
“California has a massive backlog of broken infrastructure that has been neglected far too long,” said Governor Brown. “Fixing the roads will not get cheaper by waiting – or ignoring the problem. This is a smart plan that will improve the quality of life in California.”
Then on April 3, Governor Brown testified at the Senate Appropriations Committee and Assembly Transportation Committee hearings in Sacramento in support of the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 – SB 1, co-authored by Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and Assemblymember Jim L. Frazier Jr. (D-Discovery Bay. The bill invests $52.4 billion over the next decade to fix roads, freeways and bridges across California and put more dollars toward transit and safety, according to the Governor’s Office.
Funds split between state and local investments
Brown said the funds will be split 50/50 between state and local investments. SB 1 will make the following investments in the state’s infrastructure:
Fix Local Streets and Transportation Infrastructure (50 percent):
$15 billion in “Fix-It-First” local road repairs, including fixing potholes
$7.5 billion to improve local public transportation
$2 billion to support local “self-help” communities that are making their own investments in transportation improvements
$1 billion to improve infrastructure that promotes walking and bicycling
$825 million for the State Transportation Improvement Program local contribution
$250 million in local transportation planning grants.
Fix State Highways and Transportation Infrastructure (50 percent):
$15 billion in “Fix-it-First” highway repairs, including smoother pavement
$4 billion in bridge and culvert repairs
$3 billion to improve trade corridors
$2.5 billion to reduce congestion on major commute corridors
$1.4 billion in other transportation investments, including $275 million for highway and intercity-transit improvements.
The bill also includes a constitutional amendment to prohibit spending the funds on anything but transportation and other accountability measures.
Invoking the principles set forth by President Ronald Reagan when he increased the federal gas tax in 1982, Brown claimed this transportation investment package “is funded by everyone who uses our roads and highways.” Here is the breakdown on where the funding will come from:
$7.3 billion by increasing diesel excise tax 20 cents
$3.5 billion by increasing diesel sales tax to 5.75 percent
$24.4 billion by increasing gasoline excise tax 12 cents
$16.3 billion from an annual transportation improvement fee based on a vehicle’s value
$200 million from an annual $100 Zero Emission Vehicle fee commencing in 2020.
$706 million in General Fund loan repayments.
Environmental justice groups oppose weakening of air quality rules on diesel trucks
In the bill hearing, environmental justice organization representatives said they oppose a provision of the legislation to weaken existing air-quality rules on diesel trucks, while agricultural groups said the diesel tax increase and truck rules in the bill would harm farmers.
“The Dirty Truck Amendment in #SB1 will hurt EJ communities living along freeways first & worst,” said the California Environmental Justice Alliance, a community-led alliance advancing statewide policies and a movement for environmental justice, on Twitter.
“’Just put us in a room and we could work it out,’ said Erica Martinez of Earthjustice, who called for lawmakers to delay Thursday’s vote deadline and continue negotiations on the bill,” according to the Sacramento Bee.
Since the vote is about a tax increase, it requires a supermajority vote of two-thirds of the legislators in both the Senate and Assembly.
Jerry Brown acknowledge the unpopularity of the gas tax when he spoke before the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee. A floor vote is scheduled for Thursday, April 6.
“I know there’s a political concern because people don’t like gas taxes. I got that. But what do you do? What do you guys come here for? We’ve got a real problem,” said Brown.
Funds to repair roads should come from Big Oil
Liza Tucker of the Santa Monica-Based Consumer Watchdog has proposed an alternative to Brown’s gas tax. She said the funds for repairing California roads should come from the oil companies’ windfall profits and not from consumers.
“No one disputes that California’s roads are crumbling and we need to invest in fixing them,” wrote Tucker in a letter to California lawmakers. “In recent years, Californians have been paying an unjustifiable amount at the pump, and oil companies should be giving some of that back to fix the roads themselves. Consumer Watchdog calls upon you to oppose the gas tax Governor Brown has proposed until it requires oil refiners to pay some of the billions of dollars in windfall profits they have made recently at the pump.”
Read the letter here: www.consumerwatchdog.org/...
She also criticized the Governor for continuing to protect the oil industry at the expense of consumers while he portrays himself as a “climate leader.”
“Governor Brown has consistently given the oil industry a pass while talking about the evil effects on the climate of the products they sell,” explained Tucker. “Brown is letting the oil companies keep their ill-gotten gains while protecting them from taxation— including nixing an oil severance tax that lawmakers favored in 2014 that could have raised $1.5 billion a year in revenue. It’s outrageous that the governor would continue to protect the oil industry at the expense of consumers by taxing the rest of us for road repairs when Big Oil can well afford to pick up the tab.”
According to a review of oil refiners’ quarterly reports submitted to the California Energy Commission’s Petroleum Market Advisory Committee by Consumer Watchdog, Californians paid $10 billion dollars more for their gas than the rest of the nation in 2015 alone, with the gap between state and national prices reaching as much as $1.50 a gallon.
“Prices skyrocketed at the pump in the wake of mismanagement that put two refineries offline in 2015,” the letter said. “Consumers are currently paying nearly 70 cents a gallon more than the $2.30 a gallon price in the rest of the country. The price gap can only be explained as price-gouging by an oligopoly that keeps too little gasoline on hand.”
“Big Oil has Californians over a barrel,” the letter told lawmakers. “Driving up gas prices still further at the pump for millions of California drivers is not the right course. Let the oil companies reimburse Californians by paying to fill in the gouges and the potholes. It’s only fair.”
Windfall profits fund Big Oil's attack on environmental laws
She said a vote for this gas tax is a “vote against the consumer and for the “oil companies that have feathered the governor’s campaign committees and causes and the California Democratic Party with $3.8 million in contributions” — and urged the legislators to stand by consumers and against Big Oil.
The windfall profits also funded massive lobbying by oil companies and WSPA during 2015 that resulted in the defeat or gutting of most bills that the oil industry opposed, including SB 788, legislation to ban oil drilling in a state marine reserve that was created under the helm of Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association. This intense lobbying also helped to kill off a provision in legislation on renewable energy standards to slash petroleum use in cars in half.
“Too few refiners in the state keep us running on empty by keeping too little gas on hand, driving up prices whenever there is a refinery outage,” Tucker emphasized. “You know there is a problem when four refiners control 78 percent of California’s gasoline market.”
The Western States Petroleum Association, the trade association for the oil industry in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Oregon, ranked number one in lobbying expenses for all organizations in California during the 2015-16 legislative session, spending a total of $18.7 million. It also ranked first in spending among the state’s oil industry lobbying organizations in the state during the session, with Chevron finishing second among oil industry spenders with $7 million
A groundbreaking Consumer Watchdog report, Brown’s Dirty Hands, also found that 26 energy companies, including Chevron, Occidental, ExxonMobil, and Conoco-Phillips, contributed $9.8 million to Jerry Brown’s campaigns, causes, and ballot initiatives, as well as to the state Democratic Party since Brown’s election. See: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org//dirtyhands
“The report traced a pattern of legislative and administrative favors done for these companies sometimes in close proximity to donations,” noted Tucker. “The pattern included donations of $4.4 million by these companies to the state Democratic Party, which in turn donated $4.7 million to Brown’s 2014 re-election campaign. Brown’s Dirty Hands led the Fair Political Practices Commission to open an investigation into the Democratic Party and potential violations of the Political Reform Act the report uncovered.”
WSPA hires five new staff members
Meanwhile, the Western States Petroleum Association recently hired five new staff members to expand its already enormous power and influence in California Politics, made possible by the oil industry’s windfall profits. In a classic case of the “revolving door” of California politics, WSPA announced the hiring of Assemblyman Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) as Senior Vice President, Policy and Strategic Affairs, on March 27. The group also hired three new members for its communication team and an in-house general counsel.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, is no stranger to the "revolving door” of California politics herself. From 2009 to 2012, the Big Oil lobbyist chaired the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California. She also “served” on the task forces to create alleged “marine protected areas” on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.
The “marine protected areas” created under her helm fail to protect the ocean from oil drilling, fracking, oil spills, pollution, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
For more information, go to: www.counterpunch.org/…
Background: SB 1 “Accountability” Measures
Constitutional amendment to prohibit spending the funds on anything but transportation
Inspector General to ensure Caltrans and any entities receiving state transportation funds spend taxpayer dollars efficiently, effectively and in compliance with state and federal requirements
Provision that empowers the California Transportation Commission to hold state and local government accountable for making the transportation improvements they commit to delivering
Authorization for the California Transportation Commission to review and allocate Caltrans funding and staffing for highway maintenance to ensure those levels are reasonable and responsible
Authorization for Caltrans to complete earlier mitigation of environmental impacts from construction, a policy that will reduce costs and delays while protecting natural resources.