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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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"Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 
Anderson Valley Unified School District Special Board Meeting, 4:30 PM, District Office, 12300 AV Way, Boonville.

5:00 P.M Closed Session­ Discussion/Action

1. Public Employee Performance Evaluation (Gov. Code Sec. 54957)­ Title: Superintendent

2. Public Employee: Discipline/Dismissal/Release (Govt. Code Sec. 54957)"

A SPECIAL meeting of the Anderson Valley school board was called for Tuesday afternoon, 4:30, at the district office, the results of which will be too late for this week’s print edition but will be available on-line Thursday morning at The meeting has been called to at least partly discuss the recent turmoil.

THERE ARE four trustees still standing: Natalie Matson; Kerri Sanchez; Wynne Crisman, and Dick Browning. Eric Arbanovella resigned recently. Browning is on vacation in Italy. (You might say Browning is always on vacation in Italy, but I should talk.) The Tuesday emergency session will probably be devoted to what the Circle People call “venting,” meaning a kind of group unburdening.

SINCE UNELECTED distant persons at a tax-funded legal combine based in Santa Rosa decide what can be discussed in Boonville, no school functionary can talk about much of anything, and so the hurry-up meeting seems to be pointless. This is all clearly headed for the courts with the Santa Rosa lawyers enjoying big pay days all the way there.

JUST SAYIN,’ but back in the day, when so-called rednecks comprised the Boonville school board, candor prevailed including, one memorable night, a gripping discussion of whether or not a certain teacher was a “lez bean,” followed by a longer discussion of what exactly a “lez bean” was. Being new to the community, and not fully informed myself, I kept my mouth shut.

ALSO back in the day our school scandals were far more vivid. One day, the superintendent/principal, who habitually locked himself in his office with a fifth of whiskey even on low stress days, locked himself away with two fifths, and the whole place got wayyyyyy outtahand, complete with kids running around on the roof squirting hoses down the vents. As I recall, they sent a couple of people over from the County Office to restore order, neither of whom had been within shouting distance of anyone under the age of fifty in years.

THE BOONVILLE SCHOOLS seem orderly, and our three administrators seem, as they say, on-task. Heck, as soon as the little savages learn to read, which most of them do by the sixth grade, the rest is up to them anyway. We're all autodidacts, pretty much, especially in this country. Doesn't seem likely, but we hope the present tensions can be worked out without a gang of lawyers making it worse.

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COMING RIGHT UP! Saturday June 3, The Swingin' Boonville Big Band is playing at Lauren's in Boonville. Dinner is served from 5-9 PM; the band plays from 9-11PM. Dance floor bigger than one would expect; tables are moved around after dinner. Tickets $5, all proceeds benefit the AV Adult Education Department. Friendly door dragon. Beer\wine bar open late.

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DOWN AT the Navarro General Store you’ve got Guy Kephart on the grill, and anybody who’s sampled Guy’s dogs and burgers always come back for more.

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DA EYSTER WRITES: “Lori Ajax, chief of California’s new Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation headquartered in Sacramento, says ‘the state’ [read: local prosecutors and all law enforcement agencies] must aggressively root out black market pot in order for the legitimate industry to thrive. This message should set expectations for those who continue to be there or are venturing into the new frontier. Play by the new rules or expect old-fashion criminal litigation," said Eyster.

TRANSLATION: Pot raids will continue as usual, as will “interdictions,” settlements, cash trades in lieu of prosecutions. Permitted growers, depending on what the feds do, will be exempt from raids if, as in the tradition of protection rackets, they’re paid up with the County of Mendocino. The County of Mendocino is as income-dependent on dope as the growers themselves.

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BILL BRADD READS NEW WORK. Bill Bradd Reads From "Continent of Ghosts." On Thursday May 26th from 4 to 6 PM at the Caspar Community Center Bill. There is no charge for this event.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, Hot here again today, and there's Steve Gresham out there digging a section of solar trench. And he's no kid, either. Me, I always call him Mr. Gresham. A guy who works as hard as he does deserves total respect.

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A READER passes along another breathless paean to jive juice:

He comments: “Wow. I did not realize the snowpack was so awful on the towering peaks of the Anderson valley this winter.”

Changing Times For Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

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THE STORY OUT of Fresno began, "The bee industry is buzzing over the arrest of a man accused of stealing thousands of hives worth nearly $1 million from California's almond orchards in one of the biggest such thefts on record…"

THE UNEXPLAINED mass bee die-offs coupled to the booming demand for almonds, whose annual crop is dependent on pollination, have helped drive up the value of hives.

POLICE INVESTIGATORS say a Russian called Tveretinov is the prime suspect in the thefts, which he and his accomplices carry out at night when the bees are dormant.

LAST JANUARY, more than 700 hives vanished from two orchards north of Sacramento. They were recovered in Fresno, more than 200 miles to the south.

THE CULPRIT? Tveretinov, the midnight Rooskie. He was responsible for stealing 2,500 hives and equipment valued at $875,000, police say. He was arrested, charged with a misdemeanor, and released on a minimum bail of $10,000.

BEEKEEPER PATRICK KALFSBEEK, known to many of our readers as the pleasant young guy who is setting up bee hives in the Anderson Valley and on up to Albion, comments on the hive thefts:

”The last few years have seen substantial numbers of hives stolen. This year the thefts received press coverage. Koehnen (C.F. Koehnen & Sons in Glenn) was hit for hundreds in 2016, Sprague Apiary in Yuba City too.

Last year a friend was setting bees into an orchard, south of Modesto, where the existing keeper had fallen apart — poor hives due to near abandonment. When my friend Trevor went to set the hives he saw boxes from Olivarez of Orland. Knowing Olivarez would have no need to travel south, Trevor contacted the grower, the broker, etc. The bad keeper was arrested. Olivarez said the hives had been stolen two years prior. Seems to me the authorities should have looked at what the broker was paying for the hives. Olivarez and Koehnens names were on the hives. And what happened to the thieving keeper? These sorts of thefts are not pursued and punished as they should be. The keeper in the recent article stole $875,000 worth of hives and equipment and is allowed release on $10,000 bond?

Approximately five years ago I was nicked for 160 hives in the Arbuckle area. I had a good idea of who had stolen them. The Sherriff's Office spent zero time pursuing the recovery of my hives. After the 160, I lost 120 in the Gridley area while pollinating prunes. About the same time my hives were stolen a father-son act was stealing hives. I identified the stolen hives for the Sherriff’s Department and contacted the rightful owner who came to the orchard and said, Yes they were his hives. The father-son act was convicted of a misdemeanor and put on probation and allowed to continue to work/steal because they claimed financial hardship.

Trevor tells me that in 2012 or 2013 a man stole hundreds of hives from him and that he found the hives. The thief was convicted of a misdemeanor and ordered to pay Trevor $70,000. But Trevor receives only $50 a month and runs into the guy regularly in the area’s bee supply store.

PS. People do put up cameras. A friend in the Dixon area was able to finger thieves stealing irrigation pipe using his bee yard for a staging area. He is the only keeper I know to have success with cameras. Another I know gets some nice wildlife shots. Remote cameras take a lot of maintenance, are susceptible to being stolen and add one more duty to a group already short of hands to accomplish what is necessary. We use around 60 to 80 different yards.

Hives and the frames inside are usually branded. Keepers use paint schemes particular to their outfit. I brand everything and my name and telephone number are prominent on the box making it a little tougher to paint over.

The yards are usually rented and if by chance they are gated it is very good. Many yards, especially in the winter when access is an issue, are moved to spots that stay dry and accessible to both keepers and bad guys... Theft is most likely in the months of January and February when bees begin being placed in the almond orchards.

I do not know of anyone talking with the DA. My experience has been that law enforcement is much more interested in drug busts. With the recent publicity of hive thefts maybe police will pay a little more attention to the wearied beekeeper.

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by Daniel Mintz

Humboldt County is pursuing changes that will make code enforcement actions much quicker and easier to administer, with more leeway for imposing fines.

The continued evolution of the county’s Code Enforcement Unit (CEU) was discussed at the May 16 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Given a variety of options, supervisors directed legal staff to develop a “substantially expedited” code enforcement option that reduces the time between giving notice of a code violation and taking action to abate it.

Under this approach, abatement and penalty hearings would be combined instead of held separately and maximum fines for violations would be increased multifold.

Calls for an expedited code enforcement process emerged with the county’s recent commercial marijuana cultivation ordinance. Supervisors noted that when marijuana-related violations are flagged, the length of the process allows growers to avoid penalties by harvesting plants.

Supervisors support quickening the process but Supervisor Estelle Fennell asked County Counsel Jeffrey Blanck to comment on due process rights.

“That’s why my office is drafting it -- due process rights will be met,” Blanck said. “In any option we bring to you, we’re going to be really clear that due process rights are being followed.”

He added that various circumstances – such as failure to request an appeal hearing – will affect the extent of due process.

Conducting the abatement and penalty hearings at the same time is a “significant change” that will make code enforcement “much more efficient,” Blanck continued.

With the board’s chosen option, the time between notices of violation and abatement orders will be 10 days, compared to 75 days under the current process.

Fines of up to $1,000 a day for failing to abate nuisances would amount to maximum penalties of $90,000 for every 90 days, compared to $10,000 under the current system.

Supervisor Rex Bohn described the new approach as being supportive of the rights of residents who are calling for nuisance abatements in their neighborhoods.

“That’s what I’m going to worry more about, is their rights, because their property values and their health and safety is threatened every day that we prolong this,” he said.

Regarding marijuana-related code violators, Bohn said attention to them will be sparked by complaints.

He added, “We’re not going to be sending code enforcement driving around and looking at their laptops saying, ‘OK, are they legal?’”

Another change supported by supervisors is to have the CEU handle referrals directly, rather than taking them from other departments.

Those who report code violations will have an easier time tracking action on their complaints, said Blanck, as the CEU via his office will be the main source of administration.

Appointing a county hearing officer to administrate abatement hearings rather than the board is also being pursued, as more hearings are expected as the marijuana permitting system expands.

Supervisors unanimously voted to have County Counsel’s Office staff develop and analyze the changes and bring a plan to supervisors within 30 days.

Part of the analysis will cover the staffing needs of the new system. But with an expected increase in marijuana-related cases, the county is already moving toward expanding code enforcement staff.

County Administrative Officer Amy Nilsen said the upcoming budget will include a supplemental funding request from the County Counsel’s Office for three more code enforcement officers and two more vehicles.

If funded, that would bring the CEU’s staffing to five enforcement officers.

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“…In Mendocino County, where pot farming is big business and violent crimes are often tied to the crop, District Attorney C. David Eyster said he fights any case not eligible for a reduction, such as applicants with a major felony in their past, a sex offense or two previous convictions for the same crime. He said he would also fight a reduction if someone is caught cultivating weed while committing an environmental crime, such as stealing or polluting water. Otherwise — in a quirk that has some in law enforcement baffled — someone caught with two plants or 2,000 would both face a misdemeanor. “This is one of those areas where size doesn’t matter,” Eyster said.

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To the Editor,

The Grange movement began at the grass roots level 150 years ago with a goal of defending the small farmer against giant corporations, which were charging exorbitant rates to ship products to market, and foreclosing on the farmers that couldn’t pay. The Grange has historically been for the small farmer.

Today’s Grange has been upturned by BigAg to now defend industrial farming, and also states on their website that GMO agriculture is “necessary to feed the world.” The policies of today’s Grange have been corrupted and no longer represent small farmers. As such, over a century of decline, the Grange movement had all but died out.

Then, about a decade ago, some Grangers attempted to change things from within. Bob McFarland, assisted by many local Mendocino County Grange members, began a renaissance, which revived and invigorated Granges all over California. Local organic farmers joined the Granges and started restoring the old dilapidated Grange buildings. The result was the National Grange suspended the charter of the California State Grange on a technicality and set up a new CA State Grange more amenable to GMO and industrial agriculture than the original CA State Grange. The National Grange prevailed in a 2016 trademark lawsuit, and the historic CA State Grange was obligated to change its name to the CA Guild.

Accordingly, the 200+ Granges in California were obliged to choose whether to align with the newly formed State Grange, or remain affiliated with the fraternal organization now called the California Guild. Any chapter that voted to remain with the Guild was invaded by a minority of members backed by the new State Grange. Feeling the name Grange was too venerated to give up, the minority locked their fellow community members out of their Halls in a hostile takeover. Thus, our communities of organic farmers became divided and contentions arose.

The newly formed CA State Grange is led by a charming but aggressive leader named Ed Komski. Ed’s smile, handsome physique, and the alluring blue of his eyes contrasted against his bronze skin, a color very popular with DC insiders these days, adds to his charisma. Ed has trolls covering every mention of the Grange/Guild conflict on the Internet and aggressively attacks it until it is erased. He also sent hostile, threatening letters to all Guild members generating fear and mistrust. It is through unethical charismatic leaders like Ed Komsky that lies are generated and perpetuated to win.

This demonstrates the insidious creep of Monsanto's invasion into the back door of the first county in the Western Hemisphere to ban GMO agriculture back in 2004. Monsanto’s quiet back door invasion in the name of the venerated Grange is charming organic farmers into supporting with their paid dues what is contrary to their own best interests. Most heartbreaking of all, the Grange/Guild conflict is instigating our community members into a civil war.

The Guild would like to cooperate and allow folks to choose whether they prefer Guild or Grange. But the Grange side wants to win at any cost and destroy the competition.

Although the legal title of most of the Grange halls are owned by a local corporation, some say there is no choice since the Grange bylaws state that community only stewards the halls for the sake of the parent organization in the fraternal order. Yet, the battle in court between whether fraternal law prevails over corporate law still hasn’t been concluded.

Documented history shows how the Grange has closed one failing Grange Hall after another and sold them. The Ukiah Grange was sold, and the funds were transferred to the Redwood Valley Grange, which could have used them to repair the roof. Only, Ed Komski used $100,000 of Redwood Valley’s funds in 2007 for the Wysteria remodel, the Grange headquarters in Sacramento. In 2016, Komski had the courts freeze the rest of the assets from the sale of the Ukiah Grange so that Redwood Valley no longer has access to get the roof repaired. Some believe the only way to get access to those funds for a roof or a commercial kitchen is to align with the Grange.

Some say it is a futile fight; they say the CA Guild can’t win in court. Certainly, fighting for the right of self-determination against an organization backed by the deep pockets of Monsanto is clearly David vs. Goliath. The main legal tactic being used against the Guild is stalling hoping for bankruptcy.

Some blame the Guild for besmirching the good reputation of the Grange, but the Grange ruined its own reputation by subverting a small farmer’s association into a tool of BigAgra. The National Grange condemned itself by testifying in court in favor of Monsanto.

Mendocino County organic farmers agree that healthy soil, small farms, local distribution, farm schools, changing government policies to subsidize small organic farmers instead of BigAg will sequester carbon dioxide, provide local jobs, and save all life on Earth. We all want the same thing! Only, some of our sisters and brothers feel they have to change the Grange from within. Bob McFarland tried that and look what happened to him! Bob McFarland is leading a farmer revolution by returning the Grange to its original small farmer roots, promoting organic farming, but currently under the name of the CA Guild. The CA Guild was incorporated in 1946. The CA State Grange was incorporated in 2014. Which fraternal order do you think better represents the small organic farmers of Mendocino County?

Robin Sunbeam


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by Spec MacQuayde

Wednesday morning after coffee at the Mosswood Market I sat in the truck with my pregnant girlfriend, Jetta, checking out the weather forecast on a smart phone. She watched the ripples on her belly, the baby kicking. "Look!"

"Chance of rain Thursday. Just showers, no doubt," I said.

As it turns out, the garden where I planted watermelons and other hot weather crops between 1997 and 2000 has not been cultivated since then. It was inhabited by two asses, literally, until this spring, but they were sold off, and the space became available.

"I don't think it's gonna rain even one tenth of an inch. We should be good to work the soil this weekend. Then it looks like hot weather until next Thursday, when, according to this forecast, it's supposed to be 'brilliantly sunny.' Brilliantly sunny? As opposed to what?"

Our smart phone started ringing. It was a number out of Utah that we didn't recognize. Jetta answered. "Charlie's Whorehouse. If you got the dough, we got the hoe."

A male voice chuckled. "Is this Jetta?"

"Oh, my God. Yes. I'm so sorry. I thought it was a junk call. Utah number, you know?"

Turned out the caller was Skip from Camp Navarro, offering her a job as a server for corporate retreat parties.

"I'm so embarrassed. I had no idea!"

The guy said it was cool. She could start on Saturday. 8 a.m.

"Perfect!" I said once she was off the phone. "I'll be running the tractor in Ukiah all weekend. That'll give you something to do."

"Like I can't find 'something to do' on my own!"

The next day, Friday, I started over the bumpy slalom of last winter's mudslides known as Highway 253. We experienced two delays.

The phone rang. This time it was Dr. Hanna's office from Hospital Drive in Ukiah.

"Spec MacQuayde?"


"We had you for a 1:45, but Dr. Hanna is going to be in surgery all afternoon. Can you make it here in the morning?"

"Well it'll be almost an hour."

"No problem."

Back in January, when I'd returned to California, my second Ex had pointed out this weird growth next to the tear duct on my left eye. "Looks like it's full of pus. You should sign up at the clinic, have them drain it," she said. She's a nurse. "It's disgusting."

At the clinic they told me it wasn't pus, but a cyst. It was probably benign, they said. Months later, I was finally going to get the cyst checked out. We stopped at Dr. Hanna's office before heading to the garden.

"I'm going to have to take your height and weight," said the nurse, a voluptuous woman with jet black, straight hair who was taller than me, or seemed so in that uniform.

"I'm roughly 5'11" but the boots add at least an inch and about five pounds," I said.

"It's okay. We'll estimate. It's just for the books."

In the private room she had me take a seat and strapped the velcro around my left bicep to take the blood pressure. I watched the digital numbers on the screen while she interrogated and scribbled professionally on a clipboard.

"When's it gonna be done?" I asked, feeling the throbbing pulse in my arm.

"Should only be a minute. So do you ever feel like hurting yourself or anyone else?"

"No! Christ! When is it gonna be done?"

"Probably taking longer because you keep moving."

By now I was sweating and hyperventilating. I watched the digital readout on the blood pressure monitor, waiting for it to give the okay as if I had just run my credit card through a scanner and was hoping it would go through. Stop wincing, wuss, I told myself. People get their blood pressure tested all the time.

"It used to be easier," I told the nurse. "Back in the day they used a gauge like the old speedometers. Never took this long."

"Stop moving."

"Right, right."

When the nurse had finished, Dr. Hanna showed up in his baby blue scrubs. His hair was buzzed short. "So, are we going to cooperate?"

"Definitely. I just didn't like the blood pressure thing. Never used to take that long."

He groped my neck to make sure there weren't any major cysts hiding, then filled me in on the procedure he would follow on the next appointment. "For an extra $200 we can do a test to see if it's malignant. Otherwise we can just chuck it in the garbage."

"I say just throw it away."

"Come on, you've got the cash. You're a pot grower."

"No! Actually I'm planting sweetcorn and watermelons, among other crops. Not that I don't smoke weed."

After departing Dr. Hanna's office, a visit for which they eventually charged me forty-two bucks, promising it would only be about three hundred to remove the irritating cyst that itches my left eye every time I blink, Jetta and I headed up North State Street, pulled into the parking lot beside the Forks Market and stopped in the shade of a locust tree. I left my pregnant girlfriend on Facebook in the truck and walked in to pick up a six pack of Poleeko Gold pale ale.

They still butcher all day in the Forks Market. Usually people are waiting in line for cuts of meat, but this time the employees were engaged in a discussion about Black Bart, the famous bank and stage coach robber who haunted Mendocino County in the days before the Willits bypass. They were discussing the authenticity of several rocks that Black Bart supposedly hid behind before performing his robberies.

"The rock Black Bart hid behind isn't the same one on the 101 now," said a gray-bearded man, perhaps the proprietor of the Forks Market. "Those rocks are down in the valley. They were tossed aside by early road crews."

"Yeah, when you think about how the highways are even now, the condition they're in after a wet winter, you got to figure what they called a road then was loosely defined," I interjected. "In the stage coach days you would have been bumping along pretty slowly."

"You know his shotgun was never loaded? He was an educated man. Nobody could believe he was Black Bart when the detectives finally traced his bloody handkerchief to a cleaning service in San Francisco."

We delved further into Black Bart history while the guy rung up the toll on the beer.

"He was deathly afraid of horses, and performed all his robberies on foot."

"Well when you think about it, on foot you would be in a better position to carry out an ambush," I said, counting out the $10.83. I always try to pay for beer with exact change. Cashiers appreciate that.

After picking up the beer, I returned to the truck where Jetta had discovered some meaningful wisdom on Facebook that had to be related immediately. We took Lake Mendocino past the Chevron Station, turned right at the truck entrance for the Parducci Winery, and had to pause halfway down the road when we ran into the guy who is in charge of their employee gardens, he said. They were planting an open-pollinated, certified organic sweetcorn from Johnny's Selected Seeds that is reputed to be comparable to modern super-sweet hybrids.

I neglected to catch the fellow's name on that trip, but he wore a straw cowboy hat and said that he was employed by the winery to grow organic crops, also supplying free range pork and eggs for their workers and staff. "It's a great gig," he said. "That sun is really intense. I gotta get back to work."

"The sun is practically brilliant today," I said.

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by John Hardin

With great fanfare, Gov. Jerry Brown, and Assemblyman Jim Wood announced that the Governor’s new state budget allocates 1.5 million dollars of state funds to clean up environmental damage caused by illegal marijuana grows here in the Emerald Triangle, aka Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties. Jerry Brown got it right when he said “These illegal grow sites do untold damage to forests and wildlife along the North Coast.”

Anyone who walks in the woods around here can see the legacy of environmental destruction from 40-plus years of illegal marijuana production. These forests are strewn with everything from irrigation line, soil bags and butane canisters, to fertilizers, pesticides and rat poison, to generators, appliances and vehicles, and what you find in these woods will boggle your imagination. I’ve seen trucks, bulldozers and mobile homes wedged into narrow crevices on steep slopes deep in the forest, far from the nearest road. I don’t know how they got there and I have no idea how you would get them out.

In his press release, Assemblyman Wood brought up some of the problems they hope to address with this $1.5 million: Banned pesticides, rat poison, fisheries restoration, chemical ponds, excavation pits, trash, generators, storage tanks, abandoned weapons and illegal clearcuts that create a fire hazard, “All of this creates a dangerous environment for firefighters, law enforcement and recreational hikers.” Wood’s press release informs us.

True enough, but how much will $1.5 million really do? Mendocino County Supervisor John McCowan told Ashley Tressel of the Ukiah Daily Journal, “It’s a nice start, but it’s really a drop in the bucket.” adding, “Frankly, state agencies have not been doing a good job of preventing environmental damage.” There, Supervisor McCowan refers to the explosion of new, large scale, illegal grows that have proliferated now that Mendocino County has refocused it’s energy away from marijuana eradication and onto bringing cannabis permit applicants into compliance with state and county regulations.

With the exponential growth in the industry of late, the large-scale, illegal clear-cuts, grading and water diversions going on right now, under legalization, may well dwarf the entire environmental legacy of the War on Drugs. Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said he hoped to use Humboldt County’s share of this money to hire three new deputies to the Humboldt County Marijuana Task Force, presumably to stop the environmental destruction that is going on right now. “We need more resources and more deputy sheriffs dedicated to these illegal grows,” Honsal told Will Houston of the Eureka Times-Standard.

However, diverting this money to law enforcement would leave the environmental legacy of the War on Drugs, the unopened buckets of rat poison, the jugs of used motor oil, the leaky diesel tanks, the dams, the stream diversions and the storage ponds, to wreak havoc on wildlife for decades to come.

It remains unclear how the money will be allocated among the three counties. “These funds will go to our well-established Fisheries Restoration Grant Program which was created to address declining populations of wild salmon and steelhead trout, and deteriorating fish habitat in California,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham. “The $1.5 million will help us continue to clean up the egregious environmental damage, specifically to California’s waterways, caused by illegal marijuana cultivation sites.”

How far will $1.5 million go? “It can cost up to $15,000 to clean up and restore each acre damaged,” according to State Senator Bill Monning. I’m quoting the senator from a 2015 LA Times article by Patrick McGreevy about new (at the time), civil penalties that could compel busted growers to cover the cost of the environmental damage they cause. I’m sure the cost to clean up an acre has not gone down any since then. At that rate, this new, $1.5 million dollar allocation will clean up about 100 acres. 100 acres!

Thanks to the ongoing insanity of the War on Drugs, we have over 8,000 active marijuana grows in Humboldt County alone, not to mention tens of thousands of abandoned grow sites in the forest. Mendocino and Trinity Counties have similar situations. In this vast expanse of rugged, remote, mountainous forest, cops and cultivators have played a high stakes game of cat and mouse for more than forty years, littering some of California’s best remaining wildlife habitat with poison and trash.

Today, highly capitalized interests run roughshod over regulations and ignore environmental consequences in their quest to corner the market in this newly legalized industry. Meanwhile counties scale back law enforcement and turn marijuana violations over to code enforcement, who attempt to implement regulations and issue permits. We see unprecedented and unmitigated environmental damage from marijuana cultivation going on all over the Emerald Triangle right now, but thanks to assemblyman Wood’s “leadership”, the state is going to clean up 100 acres in three huge counties.

It’s a good thing they put out a press release about this $1.5 million. Otherwise no one would have ever noticed the impact of such a tiny investment spread over such an enormous area.

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History exhibit documents Willits Main Street, anticipates future

by Roberta Werdinger

Willits lies at the heart of Mendocino County, and its main street is the heart of Willits. That's why "Main Street: Then and Now," a new exhibit at the Mendocino County Museum that lovingly documents the history of this eventful piece of real estate, will be of interest to anyone who is interested in Mendocino County. The exhibit, rich in both photos and text, opens at the Museum's Long Gallery on June 10, with a community reception from 1-3 p.m., featuring a curated tour of Main Street followed by tastes of local food and a chance to share memories old and new. The exhibit will be on display through November 2017.

Guest curators Kim Bancroft and Judi Berdis teamed up for over one year to research and create the exhibit, conducting more than 50 interviews and sifting through archives of the Mendocino County Museum, the Mendocino Historical Society, the Willits Library, the Roots of Motive Power (a neighboring organization that preserves and displays trains and steam engines from the logging era), and more. Berdis curated the photos, while Bancroft conducted historical research and created 12 text boxes that illustrate the pictures and provide additional context, along with 28 other "site boxes" about specific buildings and scenes on Main Street.

As the Main Street of Willits is no longer a thoroughfare for Highway 101 traffic since the November 2016 completion of the bypass, profound change is once again underway--making this the perfect time to step back and examine its history.

Taking advantage of the Museum's architecture, visitors can stroll the length of the Long Gallery and recreate the feel of Main Street past, as it transformed from a Pomo trail to a booming lumber town to an important railway connection with a plethora of hotels, before becoming the uniquely vibrant and creative community it is today. Large format, historical photos line the walkway, sometimes showing the same building at different points in its history. Still-existing buildings take on a new light as men with waxed mustaches and women in long dresses and aprons stand in front of them, and Model T cars or horses and buggies wait on the curb.

That history includes two industries--railroads and logging--that have profoundly shaped the history of Willits in the past 100-plus years, as they have many other towns in the county. The two histories are interlinked, as railroad lines arose to carry logs out; the increase in the logging industry, in turn, created the need for people to move about the North Coast. By 1914 a Northwest Pacific line ran from Eureka to San Francisco. California Western Railroad connected Willits to Fort Bragg in 1911, boasting a gas-powered engine so, well, aromatic it was nicknamed the Skunk Train. The advent of the railroads meant that up to one hundred people might alight from the trains to spend the night in Willits after what was then an eight-hour train trip from San Francisco or Eureka. Large hotels sprung up to accommodate them, while restaurants and barber shops slung hash and clipped hair for travelers moving up and down the coast.

Like the lumber industry, the heyday of the railroads was short. (Ranching, the area's third main industry, continues into today.) Automobile transportation as well as the decline in the local economy reduced rail activity to a trickle until the last Northwest Pacific line shut down in 1963, leaving only the Skunk Train running to the coast, which now exists mainly as a tourist activity.

Densely wooded and surrounded by old-growth redwoods, Willits and the Little Lake Valley underwent heavy logging. At one point, 26 sawmills were operating in the area. As sawdust and ash from burning mill waste settled on every available surface, locals filled up Main Street, with wallets full from then easily-available jobs in the industry. By the 1980s the logging industry was well into a long decline, with most lumber mills closed down, depressing the local economy and creating the need for economic reinvention.

That decline corresponded to a sea change in the entire country, with Willits caught in the cultural crosshairs. Many Baby Boomers--the largest population group in the U.S. until lately--had flocked to San Francisco in the late 60s; now a group of them pushed north, wishing to put their values into action by living simply on the land. That land was being subdivided in the Willits area by former ranchers and timber land owners, many of whom could not maintain their lifestyle. Once their holdings were broken down into 20-acre parcels, it was relatively affordable, especially to these young innovators who sometimes lived in vans or yurts long before the "tiny house" movement was invented. Relations were sometimes tense between locals and the new settlers, but the day to day rhythm of life, where residents braved the same roads and brushed shoulders on a Main Street, which now boasted several thriving "hippie" businesses, helped ease some of those tensions away.

In addition to its Native residents, Mexican, Italian, and Asian settlers have made their way to Willits and made their mark, encountering both blatant prejudice and welcoming acceptance. In general, the frontier spirit of openness and tolerance has prevailed. As Edie Ceccarelli, one of Willits's most distinguished residents, remarks, "We’re all just making a life for ourselves.” (She should know--she turned 109 this year.)

Curators Bancroft and Berdis, both born and raised elsewhere, are enthusiastic converts to what Bancroft calls "the wonders of small-town living." A self-described "urban girl" and longtime college instructor, Bancroft now lives in the woods, where she writes and edits (including the award-winning "The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin," a tribute to the founder of Heyday Books).

Berdis, originally from Pennsylvania, came to Willits in 1990. She thrives on the silence of the woods at night and the close community atmosphere, commenting, “You know you’re in a small town when you can misdial the telephone and get a wrong number, and still have an up-close, meaningful conversation with the people on the other end." (Until recently, all numbers in Willits began with the 459 prefix, making it easy for residents to memorize the last four digits of their local contacts.)

With the revitalization of the highly rated Howard Hospital, a creative population making innovations in sustainable lifestyles, and the bypass creating both possibilities and perils, the walk down the Main Street at the heart of Mendocino County continues.

The Mendocino County Museum is located at 400 East Commercial St. in Willits. The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, please call 459-2736 or visit

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Navarro Point thistle removing THIS Wednesday 10am-noon

Hello. You are invited to join us as we remove thistles at Navarro Point this Wednesday, May 24th, from 10am until noon. We cancelled last month due to rain, but we will definitely be there this Wednesday under the predicted sunny skies. This coastal headland is a stunningly beautiful place to be outside.   You can find us in the parking lot on the west side of Highway 1 a half mile south of the Navarro Ridge Road turn-off at 10am. No tools or previous experience are necessary, altho gloves and clippers would be helpful.   We hope to see you there this Wednesday at 10am. Contact me if you have questions.

Tom Wodetzki, 937-1113,

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PG&E Fraud last week.

We had a close call with a scam last week that I wanted to download you on. Maybe something good to forward to the Advertiser.

Thursday afternoon we got a call from a blocked number saying that our PGE bill is 60 days overdue and they're disconnecting power in 30 minutes.

We had two accounts and the issue was that we paid one of the accounts off and PGE mistakingly applied the payment to another person's account. They said they would be mailing back a check back to us to refund that payment, and that in the meantime we needed to pay our acccount in the amount of $7500 and with a minimum payment of $2300 that day.

They had Julian call an LA area code saying they would put a hold on disconnecting our services while he drove to Ukiah to make payment. They were asking him to place a phone call from a red phone at Food Max in Ukiah.

Julian called them back and asked what form of payment he could make, and they said cash only. That's when Julian got suspicious and talked to our bookkeeper who investigated and found out that our account was in good status and this was a fraud call.

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think.


Bob Wilms, Philo

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 22, 2017

Doyle, Elliott, Hegarty Moon

CHRISTOPHER DOYLE, Hopland. Probation revocation.

TIMOTHY ELLIOTT, Ukiah. Parole violation.

AIDAN HEGARTY, San Francisco/Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

JAMISON MOON, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

Roston, Sherman, Gonzalez

BOBBY ROSTON, Ukiah. Burglary, obtaining property, labor or services by false pretenses, parole violation.

ASHLEY SHERMAN, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.


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A READER WRITES: This article is on target.

Sadly, neither Mr. Hedges nor anyone else has any idea about what any of us can do. Although God doesn't exist, I repeat the Serenity Prayer. As a recovering addict I need to remind myself of my own powerlessness and rid myself of hubris. The downside is that it doesn't change anything or help anybody except me. Reading this is not a good way to start the day. I'm going to go upstairs and get on the rowing machine for twenty minutes. Then I'll send a few e-mails to senators and congress people, although these missives will do no good.

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Forget about soft drinks and potato chips – a “vending machine” in Singapore is offering up luxury vehicles, including Bentleys, Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

Used car seller Autobahn Motors opened a futuristic 15-story showroom in December, with vehicles on display in 60 slots, billing it as the “world’s largest luxury car vending machine”.

Customers on the ground floor choose from a touchscreen display which car they wish to see. The car arrives within one to two minutes thanks to an advanced system that manages vehicle retrieval, the company says.

Gary Hong, general manager at Autobahn Motors, said the vending machine format was aimed at making efficient use of space in land-scarce Singapore as well as standing out from the competition.

“We needed to meet our requirement of storing a lot of cars. At the same time, we wanted to be creative and innovative,” he told Reuters.

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by Clancy Sigal

I’m a Trump voter and live in Muskegon, Michigan with my wife and family. I’m white and voted Obama in 2012. I lost my assembly line job when the factory moved to Monterey, Mexico and now keep it together shelving part time at my local Krogers, my wife works as a security guard at Best Buy.

I signed me and my family up with Obama Care which my Congressman says is a bad deal but hasn’t yet come up with a replacement that will take care of my youngest kid born with a “pre-existing condition” (a heart problem).

I voted for Trump because Hillary doesn’t know how to speak to or for deplorables like me, and I figured if she can’t take the trouble to come to my part of Michigan I might as well roll the dice.

Am I sorry? Not yet. The media, those bums, is jumping all over Trump which makes me think he’s not such a bad guy. “I was elected to serve the forgotten men and women in our country,” is what he said and still speaks to me. He kicks ass out of NAFTA which may bring back my job. So he delivers.

We don’t have a big immigrant problem in this part of the state, but if he ever gets that wall built I wouldn’t mind working on it, his construction guys take home real money.

What crisis in Washington? Smoke and no fire as usual. Those slaphappy TV and newspaper guys are just as elite as the crooks we threw out, you know how much those anchors make?

I’m not an idiot, I watch Fox News and used to like Megyn a lot, before she showed too much leg to the boss (RIP Roger) or he got sexy Azheimers, whichever, but I screen out strictly Republican bullshit which is why I never watch CNN or MSNBC and Rachel which does the same for Democrats.

Nobody speaks for me and my family. Bottom line.

Except when Trump comes through forgotten places like mine with one of his rah rah rallies something in me says, Right on, Don, go for it, those people in the media and in Washington hate my guts and you at least know I’m here.

Russia? Come on. Who cares?

(Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset.)

* * *


by James Kunstler

In case you wonder how our politics fell into such a slough of despond, the answer is pretty simple. Neither main political party, or their trains of experts, specialists, and mouthpieces, can construct a coherent story about what is happening in this country — and the result is a roaring wave of recursive objurgation and wrath that loops purposelessly towards gathering darkness.

What’s happening is a slow-motion collapse of the economy. Neither Democrats or Republicans know why it is so remorselessly underway. A tiny number of well-positioned scavengers thrive on the debris cast off by the process of disintegration, but they don’t really understand the process either — the lobbyists, lawyers, bankers, contractors, feeders at the troughs of government could not be more cynical or clueless.

The nation suffers desperately from an absence of leadership and perhaps even more from the loss of faith that leadership is even possible after years without it. Perhaps that’s why so much hostility is aimed at Mr. Putin of Russia, a person who appears to know where his country stands in history, and who enjoys ample support among his countrymen. How that must gall the empty vessels like Lindsey Graham, Rubio, Schumer, Feinstein, Ryan, et. al.

So along came the dazzling, zany Trump, who was able to communicate a vague sense-memory of what had been lost in our time of American life, whose sheer bluster resembled something like conviction as projected via the cartoonizing medium of television, and who entered a paralysis of intention the moment he stepped into the oval office, where he proved to be even less authentic than the Wizard of Oz. Turned out he didn’t really understand the economic collapse underway either; he just remembered an America of 1962 and thought somehow the national clock might be turned back.

The industrial triumph of America in the 19th and 20th century was really something to behold. But like all stories, it had a beginning, a middle, and an end, and we’re closer to the end of that story than the middle. It doesn’t mean the end of civilization but it means we have to start a new story that provides some outline of a life worth living on a planet worth caring about.

For the moment the fragmentary stories of redemption revolve around technological rescue remedies, chiefly the idea that electric cars will save the nation. This dumb narrative alone ought to inform you just how lost we are, because the story assumes that our prime objective is to remain car-dependent at all costs — when one of the main features in the story of our future is the absolute end of car dependency and all its furnishings and accessories. We can’t imagine going there. (How would you, without a car?)

The economy is collapsing because it was based on cheap oil, which is no longer cheap to pull out of the ground — despite what you might pay for it at the pump these days. The public is understandably confounded by this. But their mystification does nothing to allay the disappearance of jobs, incomes, prospects, or purpose. They retreat from the pain of loss into a fog of manufactured melodrama featuring superheros and supervillains and supernatural doings.

Donald Trump could never be a Franklin Roosevelt or a Lincoln. These were figures who, if nothing else, could articulate the terms that reality had laid on America’s table in their particular moments of history. Mr. Trump can barely speak English and his notions about history amount to a kind of funny papers of the mind. A sinister host of adversaries who ought to understand what is happening in this country, but don’t, or can’t, or won’t, are coming after him, and they are going to get rid of him one way or another. They have to. They must. And they will.

And then what?

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page:

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Each Thursday from 9AM to 12PM at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Join MCBG Gardener Mishele Stettenbenz each Thursday from 9AM to 12PM for weeding, planting, and pruning in the shady and serene Woodland Garden. Listen to the meditative croaking of frogs and buzzing of hummingbirds as you learn about a wide range of interesting shade and moisture loving plants: deciduous trees and shrubs, ferns, magnolias, maples, azaleas, rhododendrons, carnivorous plants, California native plants, and fuchsias.

Contact to get started.

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Spring cleaning, don't have time for a yard sale, want to support your local Girl Scouts? Then bring all household items, and clothing, that can be resold, to the Goodwill Donation Collection Site at the Pear Tree Shopping Center on June 3rd from 9am-2pm. This site will NOT be an EWaste collection site, so please do not bring any EWaste this year. Let everyone you know know that the Girl Scouts could use your help. They are earning funds to support the girls of Ukiah, and the surrounding areas, in their Scouting fun and future.

Katrina Cavender, Ukiah

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by Winona Dimeo Ediger

The first night of the California Democratic Convention got off to a dramatic start when Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez’s speech was drowned out by boos and raucous protest.

The commotion started a few minutes before 6 p.m. on Friday, as Democrats from around the state gathered in the lobby of the Sacramento Convention Center to await the Chairman’s Welcome Reception, headlined by Perez.

Inside, delegates sipped wine and mingled near small buffet tables. Outside, hundreds of protesters – many of whom were delegates themselves – marched on the plaza within view of the reception area, waving signs that read, “Healthcare is a human right,” “Healthcare not warfare,” and “Single payer NOW.” Chants of “Hey, hey, ho, ho, corporate Dems have got to go!” echoed off the windows and could be heard clearly by delegates gathered inside.

The rally, organized by Campaign for A Healthy California, a coalition working with the California Nurses Association (CNA) to push for statewide single-payer healthcare, spontaneously moved inside as current Democratic State Chair John Burton introduced Perez. Protesters lined the stairwell directly above the stage and packed the balconies, unfurling banners in support of environmental protections and healthcare for all. The DNC chair’s opening remarks were drowned out by boos and screams of “Liar!” and “Hot air!” Burton stood to the side of the stage, clearly distressed by the upheaval.

“We are booing because we feel Perez is part of the establishment that keeps co-opting the progressive movement,” said Gilbert Feliciano, 36, a delegate from North Hollywood who took part in the protest. “The corporatists have an ally with Tom Perez. We felt like it was important to come and voice our discontent.”

“I need you all to help us play defense,” Perez pleaded with the crowd. “This is the most dangerous time of our lifetime.”

The Convention was expected to be contentious, with a deepening divide in the party nationally and a tight race for state chair that many California Democrats see as a timely chance to move the party to the left. Many of the protesters at the reception voiced support for Kimberly Ellis, an organizer backed by Our Revolution (a progressive movement sparked by Bernie Sanders’ campaign) and CNA. Ellis is running against the party’s current vice chair, Eric Bauman, who came under fire last year when it was revealed that his political consulting firm received more than $100,000 from the pharmaceutical industry. Both candidates’ platforms include similar progressive goals, but Ellis is widely seen as a leftist outsider. Her supporters wore bright pink shirts emblazoned with the phrase “UNBOUGHT UNBOSSED,” in a nod to Shirley Chisholm’s landmark 1972 presidential campaign.

“I’m supporting Kimberly Ellis because she’s been working with the organizers and activists,” said Feliciano. “It’s one thing to say it, but she’s clearly trying to make some amends.”

Stefanie Hahn, 40, a nurse from Oakland, was one of the loudest voices in the crowd during Perez’s speech. “I think the Democratic Party is a joke,” she tells In These Times. “We’re moving further to the right. Corporate Democrats are in charge and we won’t stand for it. I’m fighting for the people. We do not have a left party. We do not believe in Tom Perez.”


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by Dan Bacher

When I was at the March for Science in Sacramento a month ago, a friend asked to get me on video and talk about what is the crux of water issues in California, what is the overriding, central issue behind the different water battles. That’s one that includes the Delta Tunnels, the failure of the state and federal agencies to address environmentalists’ concerns with the safety of the Oroville Dam and spillways, the salmon and other fish collapses and the pollution of our drinking water by agribusiness, municipal and oil waste.

I told her the problem is that California is portrayed as the green leader, but the reality is much differentThe state has some good environmental laws that protect our rivers, lakes, streams and ocean waters, but they’re enforced very poorly. These laws includes the California Endangered Species Act, California Environmental Water Quality Act, California Coastal Act, Marine Life Protection Act and a host of others.

Why? It’s because from top to bottom, the regulators are captured, from the Department of Conservation to marine protection panels. 

This is a presentation that I recently developed from her idea.

The dire situation: Salmon and other species are collapsing 

The Delta smelt, maligned as a “small minnow” by corporate agribusiness interests, is an indicator species that shows the health of the San Francisco-Bay Delta Estuary. Once the most abundant fish in Delta estuary, the Delta smelt population is so small that you can almost name them now. The most recent California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) fall midwater survey shows that the Delta smelt is the second lowest in CA history, while the related longfin smelt population is the also second lowest.

The Delta smelt collapse is part of an overall ecosystem decline, including dramatic reductions in winter, spring and fall-run Chinook salmon and steelhead populations, driven by water diversions by the federal and state water projects. From 1967 through 2015, populations of striped bass, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, American shad, splittail and threadfin shad declined by 93.7 percent to 99.7 percent (99.7, 98.3, 99.9, 97.7, 98.5 and 93.7 percent) respectively, according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.

Then on Tuesday, May 16, some alarming news was unveiled by California Trout and the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences in a press teleconference discussing a new report that indicates if present trends continue, the majority of California’s imperiled native salmon, steelhead and trout are likely to be extinct within 100 years.

The report forecasts that 74 percent of the state’s native salmon, steelhead and trout are likely be extinct in the next 100 years — and 45 percent of these fish in 50 years — if the current trends continue.

It details the status of 32 salmonid populations in California and identifies opportunities for stabilizing and even recovering these species.

The causes outlined for the dire forecast include drought, climate change human-induced threats, including residential development, major dams, agriculture, fire, alien species, transport, logging, fish harvest, estuary alteration, hatcheries, mining, in stream mining, grazing, urbanization and recreation.

I would add record water exports in recent years – and poor state and federal management of dams. Inexplicably, the report failed to list the biggest threat to Sacramento-San Joaquin River and Trinity-Klamath River salmon, steelhead and other species — Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels.

Not Such A Green State: Big Ag Regulatory Capture, Proposition 1

While there are many examples of corporate capture of water regulators in California, no example shows the corporate and billionaire control of California water politics than Proposition 1, Governor Jerry Brown’s Water Bond campaign in the fall of 2014. Proposition 1 opponents warned voters that the water bond would do little to address California’s water problems, including maintaining and upgrading infrastructure such as the spillways at Oroville.

What was Proposition 1? Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, summed it up best: “Prop. 1 is a poster-child of why California is in a water crisis: it enriches water speculators but accomplishes little in addressing the drought, solving California's long-term water needs, reducing reliance on The Delta, or protecting our rivers and fisheries."

Proponents of Proposition 1 contributed a total of $21,820,691 and (spent a total of $19,538,153). The contributors were a who’s who of Big Money interests in California, including corporate agribusiness groups, billionaires, timber barons, Big Oil, the tobacco industry and the California Chamber of Commerce.

Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills agribusiness tycoon, owner of The Wonderful Company and largest orchard fruit grower in the world, contributed $150,000.

Corporate agribusiness interests, the largest users of federal and state water project water exported through the Delta pumping facilities, contributed a total of $850,000 to the campaign, including the $150,000 donated by Resnick. The California Farm Bureau Federation contributed $250,000, the Western Growers Service Association donated $250,000 and California Cotton Alliance contributed $200,000.

Resnick and his wife, Lynda, have been instrumental in promoting campaigns to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt populations and to build the fish-killing Delta Tunnels – and have made millions off reselling environmental water to the public. For more information, read:

The largest individual donor in the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign was Sean Parker, who contributed $1 million to the campaign. Parker is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who cofounded the file-sharing computer service Napster and served as the first president of the social networking website Facebook. He also cofounded Plaxo, Causes, and Airtime.

Four members of the Fisher family, who own the controversial Gap stores, collectively donated $1.5 million to the Yes on Prop. 1 and Prop. 2 campaign. They also own the Mendocino Redwood Company and Humboldt Redwood Company, formerly the Pacific Lumber Company (PALCO), more than half a million acres of redwood forest lands in total.

Doris F. Fisher contributed $499,000, John J. Fisher $351,000, Robert J. Fisher $400,000 and William S. Fisher $250,000. The Gap become notorious among labor and human rights advocates for employing sweatshop labor in the Third World to produce its clothes.

In a major conflict of interest, Robert Fisher profits by logging North Coast forests while he serves as co-chair of a little-known cabinet-level body in Sacramento called the “California Strategic Growth Council (SGC),” according to reporter Will Parrish in the East Bay Express. (

The oil industry was also a major contributor to the Yes on Prop. 1 Campaign. For example, Aera Energy LLC, a company jointly owned by affiliates of Shell and ExxonMobil contributed $250,000 to the Yes on Proposition 1 and 2 campaigns.

In contrast with the $21,820,691 contributed and the $19,538,153 spent by backers of Prop. 1, opponents of the measure raised only $101,149 and spent $86,347 during the campaign. To put it in perspective, Stewart Resnick alone spent $150,000, nearly twice the entire amount of money spent by Prop. 1 opponents!

Proposition 1 opponents warned voters that the water bond would do little to address California’s water problems, including maintaining and upgrading infrastructure such as the spillways at Oroville — and would help facilitate the Delta Tunnels project.

Then in April 2015, an administration official admitted that the state could use money from Proposition 1, the water bond, to pay for “habitat mitigation” linked to the construction and operation of the massive Delta Tunnels. (

  1. Big Oil Regulatory Capture - Western States Petroleum Association

The oil industry is the biggest contributor to squashing environmental laws in the Legislature — and to thwarting the enforcement of existing laws that protect people, fish, aquifers, rivers, lakes, bays and ocean waters from oil and gas industry pollution.

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) topped the list of California lobbying expenditures in the first quarter of 2017, spending a total of nearly $1.4 million for general lobbying.

The rest of the top three lobbying spenders from January 1 to March 31, 2017 were the Howard Jarvis Tax Association, with $1,387,602 spent, and Chevron and its subsidiaries, with $968,370.

During the 2015-2016 Legislative Session, the oil industry spent a historic $36.1 million to lobby California lawmakers. During the last 6 years, the industry has spent $122 million in Sacramento, more than any other interest group.

The Western States Petroleum Association was the top overall oil industry spender during the 2015-16 session, spending $18.7 million. Chevron, the second overall oil industry spender, spent $7 million in the session.

WSPA and Big Oil use their money and power in 5 ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) getting appointed to positions on and influencing regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: and (5) working in collaboration with media.

The classic example of regulatory capture is when Catherine Rehes-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create “marine protected areas” in Southern California as her husband, James Boyd, was vice-chair of the California Energy Commission. Reheis-Boyd served on the Central Coast, North Central Coast & North Coast panels, in a huge conflict of interest.

The so-called “marine protected areas” created under the leadership of Reheis-Boyd and her partners on the privately-funded task forces still fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing, energy projects and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

For more information about Big Oil money and power in Sacramento, go to:

Actions to take to end the capture of the regulators by the regulated.

We can see why although California has good laws on the books, the laws are poorly enforced because of the massive influx of money from corporate interests.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways we can tackle the problem of Big Ag, Big Oil and Big Money capture. Here are a few to begin with:

  1. Support actions and protests to get Big Oil and other corporate interests out of California water politics. 

To combat the power of oil industry money in California, a diverse array of activists organized a history “Oil Money Out, People Power In” march and rally in Sacramento, on Saturday, May 20 from 12 PM to 3 PM. The event began and ended at the Governor’s Mansion, 1526 H Street.

The protest was highlighted by direct action in front of the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento, where an activist representing Jerry Brown, with a massive papier mache head, was symbolically pulled back and forth in a “tug of war” between oil industry officials and the people of the state

For more information about the campaign and Saturday’s march and rally, please visit:

  1. Support California Clean Money Action: The California DISCLOSE Act is a bill to stop Dark Money in politics by making political ads showing who really pays for them:
  2. Support the Move to

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Wounded Elephant Crushes, Kills Trophy Hunter (National Geographic)

The deadly incident highlights how dangerous elephants can be when threatened and casts further scrutiny on the practice of trophy hunting. Read the full story

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I mistakenly sent out the wrong link to the upcoming Point Arena City Council meeting. My apologies!

Here is the CORRECT information: It can be viewed at:

The full agenda summary packet is available here:


Paul Andersen, Admin Assistant/Deputy City Clerk, City of Point Arena, 707-882-2122,


  1. Lazarus May 23, 2017

    “as in the tradition of protection rackets, they’re paid up with the County of Mendocino. The County of Mendocino is as income-dependent on dope as the growers themselves.”

    I had friends from the Mid-West visiting recently. I told them about the system of buying your way out of jail..They looked at me like I was either lying or crazy…Then they said, “sounds like the mob”…
    As always,

  2. Harvey Reading May 23, 2017


    Democwaps are not the answer. They cannot be trusted.

  3. Eric Sunswheat May 23, 2017

    Now it’s understandable why DA Eyster would subvert the intent and letter of the new law of felony conviction reduction to misdemeanor on allowable categories of past cannabis offenses. For instance, just assume past conviction was an environmental crime irrespective of evidence, other than, maybe grown in Mendocino or resident from there. In another flash from the past case, consider that there were gun possession charges intermixed with a cannabis bust, but the court settlement threw out the guns, because weapons were considered minor compared to the cannabis. But now guns are a big thing, with a new law slipped in this year, requiring a felony conviction for possession of a stolen gun, by default irrespective of the possessor of the gun having knowledge of its status. So a gun can’t even be brought in to be registered or checked for legality, without risk of felony charges, a person could suppose. DA Eyster has a strong reputation around the state as being an expert to instruct other DIstrict Attorneys, as to provisions post cannabis ‘legalization’ for reduction of felony and misdemeanor convictions. Yet DA Eyster appears to spear or represents institutional lawlessness to aid prosecutors, who continue to regard reduced conviction applicants as criminal defendants. His office often provides no help to ‘conviction reduction’ applicants, including those with statewide procedural concerns. This may require said applicants, at huge expense, to file a Superior Court case requiring years of time, to reduce a conviction no longer punishable to that extent under the law. This appears to be the prejudicial bias of Mr. Eyster infecting the state of California under his educational advocacy. The County of Mendocino Board of Supervisors, appears to be an unwitting collaborator with Eyster, approving additional salary for Eyster to work vast hours of overtime, thereby institutionalizing Eyster in his courthouse office, who now risks myoptic judgement calls, which borders on him taking law into his own hands, a disgraceful situation that we most all are partly responsible, for not vigorously opposing County of Mendocino District Attorney David C. Eyster from working overtime hours, or being paid for same.

  4. Jim Updegraff May 23, 2017

    Now it is time for serious matters: A’s had a bye and the Giants blew a big lead. Final score was Giants 6 Cubs 4. Giants with Blach pitching went into the 7th with a 6-0 lead and then Blach fell apart giving up 3 runs but the bull pen came to the rescue and Blach got the win.

  5. james marmon May 23, 2017

    by Clancy Sigal

    “something in me says, Right on, Don, go for it, those people in the media and in Washington hate my guts and you at least know I’m here.”

    Great piece Bruce, I loved it.


  6. james marmon May 23, 2017

    Uh oh! Camille Schraeder is not going to like this.

    See the States That Trump’s Budget Will Hit the Hardest

    “Trump’s budget makes $616 billion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years, in addition to the $880 billion in cuts already in the House’s health care bill,by changing the program’s funding formula and rolling back the expansions provided by Obamacare. Combined, this amounts to a more than 25 percent cut to Medicaid and CHIP. The Congressional Budget Office estimated at least 10 million people would lose health insurance in an earlier scoring of the House’s health care bill.”

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