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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017

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by Malcolm Macdonald

At the conclusion of a five hour Fort Bragg Planning Commission meeting on August 23rd, the City's planning commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of a resolution that placed eighteen special conditions on a use permit for Hospitality House, the McPherson (sic) Street entity that provides beds and meals to an ever growing homeless population. Commissioners Curtis Bruchler and Nancy Swithenbank dissented, apparently for one of two reasons, that the resolution did not go far enough in limiting Hospitality House (HH) and/or that the final wording of the resolution was dropped in their laptops as the Wednesday night meeting commenced.

Following are the special conditions the City of Fort Bragg plans to place on Hospitality House:

1. The total number of overnight guests at the emergency shelter shall not exceed twenty-four each night.  An increase in the number of overnight guests is not permitted unless a Minor Use Permit or Use Permit Amendment is applied for and obtained. If this provision is violated, the operator shall pay a code violation fee, as determined by the City’s Fee Schedule for each occurrence of the violation.

2. The emergency shelter operator shall permit periodic inspections by City staff, which may be conducted without prior notification, to ensure that the limitation on the number of overnight guests is not exceeded.

3. Hospitality House shall serve all food on premises. Food shall not be prepared or served “to go” for clients to carry off-site.

4. Hospitality House shall provide at least two 50-gallon trash receptacles on site for clients to dispose of personal trash. Trash cans shall be emptied on a regular basis to ensure sufficient trash capacity.

5. Hospitality House shall provide a restroom facility for non-guest clients starting one hour before the breakfast meal program each day.

6. Hospitality House shall provide a location on Hospitality House premises for clients to gather and wait for the meal program to open. The gathering area shall be available to clients starting one hour before food service each day. The gathering area shall be monitored by Hospitality House staff.

7. Hospitality House shall monitor client behavior on and adjacent to the Hospitality House premises and shall report illegal behavior to the Police Department and cooperate with the Police Department to address client behavior that disturbs the peace. “Adjacent to” means the sidewalk directly in front of the Hospitality House property and the alley directly behind the Hospitality House property.

8. Hospitality House shall establish rules of conduct for clients, aimed at curtailing behaviors that are unlawful and/or disturb the peace. Clients who violate the rules of conduct shall be denied service by Hospitality House in accordance with policies approved by the Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center Board of Directors. The Hospitality House shall establish a “ban list” which identifies individuals who are temporarily and/or permanently banned from the Hospitality House property. The “ban list” shall be shared with the Police Department and the Police Department may recommend the addition of individuals who have been cited and/or arrested for illegal acts occurring in locations other than the Hospitality House premises. The Hospitality House shall abide by the “ban list.” Closed loop surveillance cameras shall be installed in the interior and exterior public spaces of the Hospitality House. With regard to sharing video footage with the Police Department, Hospitality House will comply with their obligations to their clients under state and federal privacy laws, including but not limited to HIPAA.

9. The Hospitality House rules of conduct shall prohibit drug use and drinking on Hospitality House property. Clients that violate these rules of conduct shall not be served meals and/or provided with a room for the evening.

10. The Hospitality House shall post signs on the front and back property entrances that prohibit drug use, drinking, intoxication and loitering. The signs shall also provide a phone number to reach a member of the Hospitality House staff during Hospitality House operating hours from 4:00 pm to 9:00 am.

11. The Extreme Weather Shelter shall not be operated from the Hospitality House.

12. The Hospitality House shall be managed by a competent person with at least twenty hours training.

13. The Hospitality House manager shall be responsible for oversight of all activities on the premises and shall work to minimize the negative impacts of the facility and its clients on the surrounding neighborhood.

14. The Hospitality House shall have a trained person on-site at all times when clients are present.

15. The Hospitality House Management shall cooperate with the Police Department and Police Officers when they respond to com plaints and calls for service at the Hospitality House, or when undertaking investigations at the Hospitality House.

16. The Hospitality House shall not expand the hours of meal service. Meal service shall be limited to 20,000 meals per year (the 2017 use rate).

17. Other homeless services currently offered at the facility shall not be intensified or expanded, except for showers and laundry services.

18. The Hospitality House shall not offer new services that attract additional clients to the facility at other times of day or otherwise intensify the utilization of the facility, including but not limited to: counseling, educational services, mental health services, mail service, computer access, food pantry, etc.

The last minute changes only amounted to a few words in conditions 1, 2, 8, and 12, but the attorneys for the City and HH's out-of-area lawyer devoted much time to over-explaining these few words to the planning commissioners. In some respects Hospitality House and its Board of Directors got away easy. Most of the conditions listed are lttle more than common sense and should have been adhered to already. In a letter from HH's attorney to the Fort Bragg Planning Commission and the Community Development Director, Marie Jones, HH refused to accept any blame for the myriad number of nuisances caused by HH clients anywhere off the premises of Hospitality House. Quoting from the letter, “[The Planning Commission] has not established any connection between Hospitality House's services and conduct in the vicinity that might be considered a nuisance.”

Those nuisances were enumerated in Planning Commission documents as including fighting, aggressive panhandling, loitering, shouting, arguing, cursing, littering, drunkenness, drug use, obstruction of sidewalks, defacting on private property, and urinating in public. The list goes on and has been witnessed by numerous business owners, residents, City Council members, and this writer. The fact that HH leadership continues to deny these simple truths has to make anyone who lives, works, shops, or visits the alleys and streets near HH skeptical about its future compliance with the special conditions placed upon it.

On the other hand HH has recently employed a new house manager who will be on scene at least five days a week. This person, Lara Anderson, does appear to be a confident and competent employee. How much she can turn around the atmosphere in and around Hospitality House will prove to be the big question. The facility, along with its sister entity, Hospitality Center, at the Old Coast Hotel location, would be better situated outside of the central business district. That doesn't seem to be a change in the offing of the foreseeable future, so The City of Fort Bragg, through its Planning Commission, perhaps has done the best it can for the time being: saddle Hospitality House with a relatively simple collection of conditions to abide by. Let's see whether the City of Fort Bragg has given HH enough rope to corral their problems or just enough to proverbially hang the organization.

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by Rex Gressett

In Fort Bragg as elsewhere all the people don’t agree on all things all the time. The exception to the rule was Ricky Del Fiorentino. I do not know of a cop or a city official or a person in the city who was as deeply loved as Ricky and you don’t either. I have tried to put my finger on the magic that the man had and I can’t do it. You had to know him. He was generous when he looked at you. He was kind without sanctimony. He was humorous without the need for words. He had no pretense, he did not posture. You were conscious of his courage without any molecule of overt statement. He looked at everyday people the way you would look at anything precious and beloved. He had the capacity of love that the prophets and the poets admonish us to have, and that is the rarest thing upon this earth. He was humble and he was very strong. No few people would say he was the best man they ever met. I guess I would have to line up with them. Words fail me all the time, but I have never before felt as deeply the hurt at not being able to express a thing so important and so utterly impossible to express. Meeting Del Fiorentino was worth the trip.

When they laid him to rest there ought to have been a blessing on the town. The depth of grief and the strange fact that we all shared it were somehow equaled by the magnitude of the man. If he had played his role on the national or the international stage he would certainly have been what they call a great man, that he would always have been anywhere and that he was. But his stage was not international, it was here where we are and where he loved and lived and where he died. He gave himself to Fort Bragg in every possible way.

While the people of the city were burying a hero, while the most courageous and hands-on Police Chief in Fort Bragg’s history and his second in command grieved and replayed over and over in their minds a bullet saturated combat with pure evil, the Fort Bragg City Manager began to take action.

What her motivations were will always remain a matter of speculation. What her actions were is a matter of fact.

Lieutenant John Naulty was given administrative leave but Chief Mayberry, equally involved in the combat on Pacific Ave., was not. Instead Mayberry was left without his top officer in command of a department submerged in grief and decisively short handed. Some of my readers will understand the bone-deep reaction that follows armed combat and the slaying of a comrade. Some of you will not know that darkness first hand but will understand it.

The City Manager was either clueless or simply professionally cold blooded. With her famous perspicuity Linda Ruffing perceived in the emotional crisis of the Fort Bragg Police Department a management opportunity. Consolidation of function and power were always the watchwords of Ms. Ruffing’s administration. Secure in her in-transparency, confident that no radio station, and very certainly not the sold out Fort Bragg Advocate, would follow too closely or examine too intimately her actions and therefore certain that there would be at worst only muted expression of public outrage, Linda began a series of maneuvers that in the end would descend to the level of a childish tantrum. Risking exposure of crass unprofessionalism Ms. Ruffing used the shooting of Ricky Del Fiorentino to consolidate power and get everything she wanted.

The intensity and single focus of the quest of the City Manager for unfettered authority is the foundation of her popularity with a segment of the Fort Bragg electorate. The function of individual departments is normally an asset to management. But this axiom of conventional management rubbed Linda the wrong way. In her interpretation of good management, one strong woman was a great improvement on the bumbling rustics that we would normally have to put up as department heads in the management of a tiny town. Class arrogance and disdain for locals was and remains the underlying bias of the numerous supporters of the city manager who for years packed her city council with rubberstamping clones and looked conscientiously the other way as she hid and disguised and obscured the formidable issues that we face as a city.

I have not heard many criticisms of Scott Mayberry when he was Chief of Police. It is possible to imagine that civil libertarians and First Amendment freaks among whose number I count myself would have thought he was too tough. He was not a guy to mess with. But even among the disenfranchised and the poor, among whose number I count myself, I never heard any complaint. It was not unheard of for our Chief of Police to be caught directing traffic. He seemed constantly to be cruising the streets in the passenger seat of his officers’ patrol cars. Scott Mayberry had a trick question for every officer he hired. After they had completed every application and test if they were about to be hired Mayberry would ask them, What would you do as Fort Bragg police officer if you saw an elder up on a ladder in a possibly dangerous situation? In the litigious cover your ass world beyond the hill, a smart officer might have been expected to decline an unsolicited engagement. If the candidate for employment said he would get out and help, he would be hired.

In the rotating door of police chiefs that Ms. Ruffing ran through the pension-padding machine, no one had ever stood up to her on any issue. The long serving department heads at city hall were in the way of her stated intention to consolidate control in her own office. But Scott Mayberry without ever saying a word was an obstacle to a City Manager focused first last and always on personal control and rock solid in-transparency. Her supporters thought she was great. Scott Mayberry was in the way.

Mayberry had headed large law enforcement divisions in Redding, he had worked well and efficiently with the City Manager in a much larger city. In Fort Bragg there are just two cops on any shift. He thought that he could make it work by sheer effort and determination. Basically he confronted a mess. Under the revolving door of Fort Bragg chiefs before Mayberry, grim inefficiencies had taken root and bad cops had occurred like a fungus. Chief Mayberry worked at it hard. By all accounts he gave it everything he had. In short order he canned the bad apples at the police station, sent six gangleaders to prison, and busted Oscar Sanchez. He addressed sexual harassment in the police department. He brought in new people he could trust. Linda Ruffing blocked or tried to block every reform and obstruct every hire. She simply would not acquiesce to Mayberry’s personnel decisions. She would sit in on public safety committee meetings to block reform. Mayberry would often get home at midnight after a16-hour shift.

After the shooting Chief Mayberry ran the department without his second in command. His wife and his doctor knew he was suffering. If there is any reason, if there is any justice, if there is any fairness, if there is any decency, this entire city, every last one of us, should have supported our best Chief of Police that went alone with his second in command into the face of fire and the presence of death. It didn’t happen.

When Mayberry took a few deserved and needed days off, Linda Ruffing snuck up to the police station like an out of control juvenile delinquent and chiseled his brass name plate off the door, and moved his personal things into boxes. It was a cheap, dirty, irresponsible, underhanded and unprofessional thing to do. I guess it worked. Under the burden of inconsolable grief and impossible demands, the Chief resigned.

After Mayberry left, the long term highly experienced city management of Fort Bragg, went also. Not in a statement-making mass exodus but quietly, professionally, with dignity and one suspects no regrets for leaving the Ruffing administration.

David Goble, the public works director, retired the same year Scott Mayberry resigned taking 30 years of experience with him. Roseanne Cimilino, our budget director, hung in for a year and retired with ten years of experience. She probably knew more about the Ruffing prevarications and deceptions than anyone at city hall. Cindy van Wormer, the city clerk, left as well, taking with her 27 years of experience. When van Wormer quit she blew the whistle and released the incriminating emails that Linda and her rubberstamp city council had generated (in arguable violation of the Brown Act), in their top secret negotiations to acquire the Old Coast Hotel.

It was a new day at city hall. Scott Mayberry and Linda Ruffing both had their political supporters. I know where I stand.

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It’s the 'polite prompt’ for The General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz is at Lauren’s Restaurant Thursday evening, August 24th at 7pm. We are on a schedule of 2nd and 4th Thursdays so, with August having a 5th Thursday next week, the Quiz will not be back after tomorrow until the 2nd week of September, Thursday, 14th.

Cheers, Steve Sparks/Quiz Master

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AT LAST TUESDAY’S Board of Supervisor’s meeting, Jane Futcher said, among other things, that there are many reasons why a marijuana cultivator would want to take a year off from growing, complaining that pot farmers might lose their permit if they took a year off. “It is unfair to require farmers to license their farms every single year or risk losing out forever. Do you ask grape growers or ranchers or apple farmers to re-license every year or risk losing their license?” Futcher asked.

APPARENTLY THIS STATEMENT hit a nerve with Supervisor Carre Brown, who reacted with huffy indignation: “My family ranches. We farm. We have no time out. OK? That’s insulting to me!”

IT WAS OBVIOUSLY NOT INSULTING, just an ordinary policy complaint related to matters under discussion.

LATER, Supervisor Brown quoted Oregon Ag official Bill Hall who reportedly said (regarding pot legalization): “This is the most chaotic mess I’ve ever seen.” Adding, “When counties attempt to regulate land use for cannabis growing operations they should be prepared for chaos, and also be prepared for unintended consequences.”

RETURNING to her own opinion Brown continued, “So, to all the public, we are trying to do our best. I apologize, ma’am, for my outburst. But you made me mad, and I did rarely lose my temper. Except maybe at Chair McCowen. [Heh heh.] But anyway, I did want to go forward with that comment.” (It wasn’t clear what comment Supervisor Brown wanted to “go forward with.”)

CHAIR MCCOWEN raised his gavel: “This is a gavel. She has a big stick.”

NERVOUS LAUGHTER ENSUED, because it’s common knowledge around the county offices that Supervisor Brown has a testy side. Mostly, Farmer Brown sticks to a fairly bland script during board meetings.

A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, Supervisor Brown reacted to an ordinary remark by Eel River Restoration activist-biologist Pat Higgins by saying that he “lied” in some minor water flow related comment he had made. Higgins, of course, had not “lied” about anything. He just said something about Supervisor Brown’s private Potter Valley water supply that Brown disagreed with. When we contacted Higgins (who lives in Humboldt County) about Brown’s insult for a response, Higgins was magnanimous, saying he’d heard it all before and it wasn’t worth arguing about.

MS. FUTCHER’S comments that Brown said “made me mad” were hardly risible; if another Supervisor had been publicly snappish, Supervisor Brown would have been quick to reply, “Now children….” You cross Supervisor Brown at your own risk.

(Mark Scaramella)

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Acorn Woodpecker (Photo by Ben Anderson)

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Activist “busts” Board of Supervisors — Amendments to cannabis regs move slowly

by Jane Futcher

Concluding an emotional plea to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors for immediate provisional permits for cannabis businesses, Sherry Glaser, founder of Love in It Cooperative, stunned the board and audience.

“Do you know what it’s like to have soldiers come to your property to terrify your children, your grandchildren, yourself? Do you know what its’ like to have PTSD for being raided? Do you have any idea?

“I’m going to bust you!” Glaser cried, opening her blouse and exposing her breasts, on which the words “Breasts Not Busts” were emblazoned.

Glaser sobbed, turning from the board to the audience shouting, “Breasts not busts, breasts not busts, breasts not busts.”

Supervisor John McCowen, who had tried to silence Glaser when her three-minute comment period expired, called for a break as Glaser stormed out to shouts and applause from the hallway, where spectators were watching the meeting on closed-circuit TV.

Glaser’s Love In It Cooperative was raided in March 2014 by the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team assisted by Mendocino County Sheriff Detective Unit, agents from the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, and agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

At the beginning of her statement, Glaser, a performance artist and social activist, expressed dismay at the county’s slow pace and McCowen’s request that the public keep its comments short so the board could deliberate.

“I’ve been coming to you for a couple of years preparing for the legalization, and here we are still discussing cultivation,” Glaser said. “We haven’t even started with transportation or distribution or sales when we are coming up to harvest, and you tell us to hurry up when we have listened to you go on and on about setbacks. This is disturbing. This is so upsetting.”

With the clock ticking on the approaching fall harvest, more than two dozen cultivators urged the board to act quickly on undecided issues that could affect their permits and livelihoods.

Issues raised frequently during the lengthy public comment period were:

Transferability: Growers on properties zoned Rangeland, TPZ and Forest Land would like to be able to sell or transfer their property to buyers who aren’t immediate family members.

Time outs: Cultivators want the right to stop farming for a year without losing their permits permanently.

Transportation: Permitted cultivators are requesting transport permits ASAP so they can drive cannabis to or from dispensaries, nurseries, testing facilities or legal retail sites.

Drying sheds and hoop houses: Cultivators want agricultural exemptions allowing the use of existing hoop houses, green houses and sheds so they won’t have to build all-new commercial structures.

Track and trace: Farmers have asked the county to cancel this year’s track-and-trace program because it’s expensive, not yet ready, and is different from the one the state will require next year.

ADA requirements: Cultivators in remote areas with no employees as well as farmers in sunset zones want the county to drop the requirement that they provide Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant bathrooms, parking lots and ramps.

Home manufacturing: Cottage cultivators would like permission to conduct home-kitchen manufacturing of tinctures and edibles.

Cottage-grower streamline permit: Farmers of 25 plants or fewer are requesting that the county create a less expensive, quicker permit process for cottage farmers.

Citizens’ Advisory Group: Cannabis community stakeholders would like to create an advisory group that works directly with the supervisors and county staff on cannabis issues and policy.

Jude Thilman, owner of Dragonfly Wellness Center, a Fort Bragg dispensary, pleaded with the board to reduce the cannabis business tax on medical cannabis, which, she said, treats legal cannabis businesses as the “low-hanging fruit,” forcing dispensaries to pay taxes to cover costs of environmental degradation and other infrastructure problems they did not create.

Covelo growers once again had a presence at the meeting. Monique Ramirez presented the board with a petition from 221 Round Valley residents asking for many of the allowances listed above as well as a request for an overlay process for Round Valley home owners who will be ineligible for permits due to acreage, zoning and setback requirements.

The cultivators’ pleas for fast action at times contrasted with the supervisors’ slow-paced discussion of amendments to setback provisions and tree-cutting regulations. But by the end of the meeting, the board did make some changes, directing staff to proceed with:

—Authorization of permits to include a one-year plan to bring building permit issues into compliance;

—Removal of language that would deny permits to anyone who removed trees before May 4 of this year if they make remediations. Only cultivators who cut trees after May 4 would be denied permits;

—Plans for a discussion of ways to reduce fees for cottage cultivators, as well as public discussion of other “global” issues at the Tues., Sept. 12 Board of Supervisors meeting;

—Creation of working groups to deal with some importantAAft cultivation and compliance issues. The groups would be made up of board members, county staff and residents. Supervisor McCowen suggested working group topics include; greenhouses and hoop houses; agricultural exemptions for Class K and ADA requirements; Track and Trace; overlay zones and exception/exclusion zones; state licensing requirements and/or potential amendments to state law.

—Creation of an administrative permit process for setback issues regarding
schools, churches and youth-oriented facilities.After the meeting, Corinne Powell, who worked with Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council on Measure AF, said she is worried about the value of her rangeland property if her cultivation permit cannot be transferred to a non-family member, and is dismayed by the board’s slow speed.

“The process continues at a snail’s pace,” she said.

Lamenting the lack of communication between the cannabis community and the Board of Supervisors, Powell said that the BOS meeting format makes meaningful exchange impossible.

“When you go to address the board, you have three minutes,” Powell said. “You can speak and then you are excused from the podium and someone else comes up and speaks, but there is never a dialogue or exchange of information with the board because the board never answers a public comment. They are not required to. So they go through the ritual of listening to the public and then continuing to do pretty much whatever they want to do.”

Powell said her emails to the supervisors and staff rarely, if ever, get an answer.

As to the proposed working groups, which may meet via telephone conferencing, Powell was not optimistic, likening the process to “herding cats.”

“I think that the main message today from the community is that many issues are being ignored by the board that will make cannabis cultivation in the county unaffordable, unworkable and will push people out, underground and into many bankruptcies.”

(Jane Futcher hosts The Cannabis Hour, every other Thursday at 9 a.m. on KZYX. She spoke at Tuesday’s meeting in favor of transferability of permits on rangeland, TPZ and forest and of permitted time outs for growers.)

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A NON-GROWER, Mendo branch, notes: We're experiencing an explosion of large greenhouses and grows here in our subdivision. It's like a mad greedrush before it all comes to an end. Interesting to hear the old time growers clucking disapproval as these new young hotshots ride in with their expensive cars and outside money trying make a final killing.

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by Randi Rossman

Two people – one a Sebastopol resident - are suspected of attempted homicide in a beating of a man Tuesday at a park in Willits, according to Willits police.

Officers were called to the Highway 20 Park off Main Street near downtown about 1:30 p.m. for an assault and found an unconscious, badly beaten male victim, police said.

Vaughn, Flanagan

Police identified the suspects as Cassady Vaughn, 27, of Sebastopol and Kevin Flanagan, 34, of Baltimore, Maryland. The two were described as transients who told officers they were passing through Willits.

The victim was flown to a hospital. Police released no details of the man’s identity or condition.

A preliminary investigation determined the suspects had beaten the man for several minutes before officers arrived, according to police. Vaughn and Flanagan were arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide and booked into the Mendocino County Jail.

Officials asked anyone who was in the park area about that time to contact police at 707-459-6122.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I watchdog this place round the clock every day all day, all night. I earn my biscuits. And then there's Skrag. He does nothing but lie around in the dirt, but these suckers buy him fancy canned food and tell him what a "nice kitty" he is. If they saw what I saw him doing at night, they'd know how nice he really is. Sorry, I just don't get it. These people are just deadbeat enablers. Skrag will have his whole family over here pretty soon. Watch.”

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ATTABOY with oak leaf cluster for Dave the Bookmobile guy for passing out free eclipse glasses. Dave the Bookmobile guy replaces Robert the Bookmobile guy who is now the librarian at Mendo College.

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On August 11, 2017 at about 11:20 PM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were summoned to a burglary in progress at a convenience store located in the 6100 block of North State Street in Calpella. Upon arrival, Deputies discovered the entrance glass doors to the convenience store had been shattered. Deputies did not locate anyone inside the store however learned some beer and other merchandise had been stolen from inside the business. Deputies also learned the convenience store business owner had viewed the burglary via an online live feed video surveillance system and provided a description of the suspect to the Deputies. While Deputies were processing the crime scene they were contacted by a concerned citizen reporting a highly intoxicated male subject walking in the roadway about a quarter mile south of the convenience store. The citizen’s description of the intoxicated subject matched the description of the burglary suspect. Deputies located Manuel Gonzalez, 38, of Willits, walking alongside the road near the intersection of North State Street and Agnes Lane. Gonzalez was very intoxicated and was taken into custody for public intoxication.


Deputies located stolen merchandise from the convenience store on Gonzalez’s person. Deputies later viewed the video surveillance video of the burglary and determined Gonzalez was the subject who entered and burglarized the convenience store. Gonzalez was arrested for second degree burglary, possession of stolen property and public intoxication and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

(Sheriff’s Press Release)

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WILLOWS, Calif.; Aug. 23, 2016 - For Immediate Release - The 22nd annual Nome Cult Walk from Chico to the Round Valley Indian Reservation in Covelo will take place Sept. 9 to Sept. 16, 2017. The 100-mile trek crosses through the northern part of the Mendocino National Forest and follows the route that Native Americans were forced to march from Chico to the Nome Cult Reservation in 1863. Descendants of Native Americans who took part in the original relocation and other supporters walk the route each year. Although the path itself has disappeared, this route is now called the Nome Cult Trail. The theme of the walk is "Honor their memory...a path not forgotten."

In September 1863, 461 Native Americans were marched under guard from Chico to the Nome Cult Reservation nearly 100 miles across the Sacramento Valley and rugged North Coast Ranges; only 277 completed the journey. The removal of Native Americans from Chico to the Nome Cult Reservation is one of the many forced relocations following the establishment of reservations in northern California in the 1850s. Several different tribes were moved to the Nome Cult Reservation after it was established in Round Valley in 1856.

The Mendocino National Forest asks that people traveling on forest roads along the trail route be mindful of the event and careful of the walkers to ensure their safety.

–Punky Moore, Public Affairs Officer, Forest Service, Mendocino National Forest, Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, 530-934-1137,

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TWO YOUNG CHILDREN found their way into Winco at the Eureka Mall at approximately 9 p.m. last night. According to scanner traffic recorded below, the boy [later we learned he was three] was naked and wearing only a towel. The six-year-old girl was wearing a shirt and pajama pants but no shoes.

According to a witness, snagged in the boy’s towel was a hypodermic needle. Brittany Powell of the Eureka Police Department confirmed, “Employees said they had removed a needle stuck in the blanket prior to officers arrival. It is unknown how the needle got in the blanket.”

An address for the mother shows that the children, if coming from their home which could not be confirmed at this time, would have crossed a smaller street as well as busy West Harris in order to get to the store. The sun set almost an hour earlier so the children likely traveled in near darkness to the large store.

Powell said, “Child Welfare Services responded and handled the placement of the juveniles. Nearly an hour and half later, the mother [Taylor Massey Sweet] arrived looking for the children. She was arrested for child endangerment.”

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by Shepherd Bliss

One of the United States’ top four cannabis-growing counties is Sonoma County, California. In 2016, it became legal for adults to consume marijuana in California. One of the nation’s first dispensaries, Peace in Medicine, was founded here.

Disclosure: I’m a Peace in Medicine patient in small town Sebastopol. CBD-rich cannabis improves my health. I support legal cannabis growing that follows the rules and does not endanger creeks, wildlife, or neighbors, especially children.

Cannabis is a front-page story in our daily Press Democrat. “Environmentalists say proposed cannabis grow rules fail to protect wildlife,” headlines an Aug. 9, 2017, article. It reports four groups faulting state rules for “failing to protect imperiled species.”

“The Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation nonprofit,” the article continues, “and three allies filed a 36-page comment alleging numerous shortcomings in the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s draft report on the proposed standards for growing legal marijuana.”

Among the threatened wildlife are foxes, eagles, owls, bobcats, raccoons, fishers, and others. The harm comes mainly from eating poisons or rodents killed by toxins. A huge amount of water is needed for marijuana plants; it is often taken illegally from nearby streams and huge wells, compromising both neighbors and wildlife.

“Sixty percent of all cannabis grown in the country comes from four California counties: Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, and Humboldt,” reports the July 4 issue of the region’s weekly Bohemian. Its support for cannabis includes headlines like “Off the Booze…and on the weed” and “Joint Venture: Wine and pot mergers are coming.”

The corporate wine industry has already purchased most of the local vineyards and wineries here in Sonoma County, displacing food farms and driving up land and home prices. Many locals have left for less expensive places and more privacy away from the massive tourism taking over the county.

“California’s cannabis industry is conservatively valued at $7 billion,” according to the Bohemian. Meanwhile, “the state’s grape crop is pegged at about $5 billion.” According to executive director of a cannabis industry trade group “70% or more growers will stay in the black market or find something else to do.” That would be many illegal sites.

Visiting An Illegal Grow Operation

A food farming neighbor here in Blucher Creek Watershed, Lari Adams, emailed this reporter Aug. 7 that a new neighbor had just bulldozed a huge area to construct large cannabis grow buildings. We immediately visited the site—now a disaster to many life forms dependent on that water, including listed endangered California freshwater shrimp, much wildlife, vegetation, and humans.

“What we saw was jaw dropping. Land cleared, all the topsoil pushed into the creek bed,” wrote Adams. The environmental consequences will be long-lasting and hard to remedy soon, certainly not before the coming rains that farmers and others depend upon. Then plastic, silt, and sedimentation will wash into the stream, choking and polluting it downstream.

“Landscaping filled the tributary, so needed for flood protection. A 100-foot building replaced what three days prior was a virgin field. Three more large building sites were cleared, and the topsoil pushed into the riparian zone. Miles of plastic, barrels of chemicals, fertilizer piles, and marijuana plants arrived. We actually stood there mouths agape! How can this happen?” added Adams.

He contacted the Bloomfield/Lone Pine/Cunningham Neighborhood Association, which researched the parcel and moved promptly into action. No permits existed for this devastation. The violation was reported to various government officials and agencies, including County Supervisors David Rabbitt and Lynda Hopkins. They responded promptly and effectively.

“Illegal grows are a huge concern, environmentally and socially,” wrote Supervisor Hopkins. “Unfortunately they give the folks doing the right thing (going through County permitting processes and growing in appropriate locations) a bad name,” she added.

Neighbors Push Back

On the next day, representatives from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board, the county’s Permit and Resources Management (PRMD), Supervisor Rabbitt’s office, and the Neighborhood Association met at Adams’ farm. The government officials visited the grow, and shut it down. Though the buildings are gone, the damage will be long lasting.

The new owner then put it up for sale, at a higher price, though to remedy his abuse will likely take years and thousands of dollars. We reminded his agent that a full disclosure was necessary; he took the “For Sale” sign down, though he did not take the listing off line.

Another neighbor showed the neighborhood group an un-permitted grow nearby. The group also managed to get that operation shut down. “Weeks ago, huge earth-moving equipment came onto the property that adjoins us, graded a large area and began to construct a massive greenhouse for commercial cannabis, all without a permit,” said Patrick Ball.

“Families with children live on both sides and across the street. We are on wells and worry about the massive amount of water a commercial cannabis operation consumes. If this is allowed on the large scale intended, we will have lost the safety, peace, and well-being that makes our neighborhood such a wonderful place to live,” Ball added.

“Country life shared with neighbors, wild animals that we see daily, domestic animals that we dearly love, and the habitat that we enjoy has been one of life's greatest rewards,” writes Judy Logan, who lives nearby. “We must steward our land and water and be sensitive to endangered creatures to continue this lovely gift bestowed upon our hearts.”

Hundreds of such un-permitted cannabis operations are popping up around the county and elsewhere, especially in Northern California. This endangers food farming, as well as the environment and neighborhoods.

“I voted to legalize medical cannabis because I value its medical benefits,” writes Roberta Teller. “I hoped that instead of unregulated growers with unknown, questionable agricultural practices, legalization would guarantee a high quality product and consumers and members of the community would be protected from unsavory business operations,” she added.

“Unfortunately, this is not the case. We have a Cannabis Board filled with people from the industry. I know of a case where a realtor falsely advertised a property as agricultural in hopes for a quick sale to the next illegal grower,” Teller said.

“Land is being fenced off, fences are getting higher, animal habitats are being compromised and newly installed security cameras are spying on us. We need Sonoma County to step up to the job of regulating this already spiraling out-of-control Industry,” she concluded.

To cannabis growers out there, please do it the right way. Growing should not only benefit you financially, but also the environment, its many critters, and neighbors. The Bloomfield/Lone Pine/Cunningham Neighborhood Association watches cannabis growing carefully.

Growers without permits should avoid the Blucher Creek Watershed, which has a cannabis watch group with neighbors willing work to shut you down, unless you have the necessary permits.

This group does not oppose appropriate, permitted cannabis growing. “I’m so grateful that medical CBD cannabis is now available,” wrote Alexandra Hart, co-founder of the neighborhood group. “It provides my 78-year-old arthritic body almost instant relief with no side effects, save a little, quite pleasant buzz. The speed with which the greedy are taking advantage without following environmental guidelines and neighborliness is distressing. Our human greed may well cost us our planet.”

As Margaret Meade said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." and "We won't have a society if we destroy the environment."

(Dr. Shepherd Bliss {} has farmed in Sebastopol for 24 years, contributed to 24 books, and recently retired from college teaching.)

* * *


Lagunitas unveils cannabis-infused beer

* * *

* * *


By Kurtis Alexander

The National Park Service said Wednesday that a controversial right-wing rally will be allowed to go forward Saturday at park-managed Crissy Field in San Francisco and advised the public to steer clear.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area Acting General Superintendent Cicely Muldoon said the park service had no choice but to honor the free speech rights of event applicant Patriot Prayer, despite concern from city officials that the afternoon demonstration will draw far-right extremists and counterprotesters and turn violent in similar fashion to an Aug. 12 event in Charlottesville, Va.

The park service, which said it has also approved a handful of permits for counterprotests over the weekend, has been meeting with San Francisco police and park service officials from across the country to try to ensure a robust security plan. Parts of the Presidio will be closed to visitors during the rally, officials said.

“After consultation with other law enforcement colleagues, including the San Francisco Police Department, National Park Service law enforcement believe that whether a permit is issued or not, many people will come to Crissy Field on Aug. 26 to express their opinions,” Muldoon said in a statement. “Law enforcement advised that issuing a permit will increase their ability to ensure public safety.”

Neither the park service nor the San Francisco Police Department has detailed what actions they’ll be taking, but a massive police presence is anticipated.

While Patriot Prayer has insisted it does not promote racism or bigotry, trying to distance itself from white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville before an antiracism protester was killed, the group’s past events have drawn people espousing hateful views.’

The event is described as a “free-speech” rally for about 300 demonstrators, running from 2 to 5 p.m. Several groups have organized counter-demonstrations on Friday and Saturday, including at least one march on Crissy Field.

The park service said Wednesday that two other events had been given the go-ahead for Friday at Crissy Field, the People’s Town Hall Candlelight Vigil and the People’s Town Hall Press Conference. Also, events called Better Angels San Francisco and Stop Hate Human Banner were granted approval to hold events Saturday at park-run Ocean Beach.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said Wednesday he was disappointed with the decision to approve Saturday’s rally at Crissy Field and encouraged city residents not to indulge the organizers by turning up.

He encouraged people to attend opposition demonstrations planned at Civic Center Plaza both Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m.

“The shameful, anti-American trend of hate-filled extremist rallies will unfortunately be allowed to continue this weekend in our city,” Lee said. “Let us show this nation that San Francisco is a city of peace and unity. Do not engage with the members of this group, whose only priority is to incite violence through divisive rhetoric.”

(The San Francisco Chronicle)

* * *


Hello All,

As you might know, I gave up my aging car 2 years ago - parking in North Beach, need I say more?!

I'm coming up with friends this Friday, Aug. 25th to help with the Great Day in Elk. I want to stay for Anica's birthday, Sunday, Sept. 3rd.

Then I need to return to San Francisco. Mon. S. 4, Tues. S. 5 would be perfect. I have a dental appt. Wed. 6th, but can cancel. However, on Thurs evel, Sept. 7th I start Beginning Russian classes @ SF City College - and cannot miss that!

If there's any possibility of a ride, I'd sure appreciate it. (bus always an option)

Communicate via e-mail till Friday am fine. Internet on Greenwood road is dicey.

Thank You!

Nadya Connolly Williams

1436 Grant Avenue, Apt. 10; San Francisco, CA 94133

Cell: (415) 845-9492; Home: (415) 362-0162 Email:

* * *


The rail agency is selling its 5.4-acre downtown Santa Rosa property to a developer with plans to build several hundred units of housing.

SMART selling land near downtown Santa Rosa station to developer

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, August 23, 2017

Bennett, Boatwright, Chan, Flanagan

JADE BENNETT, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

WILLIAM BOATWRIGHT, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

GILBERTO CHAN, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, probation revocation.

KEVIN FLANAGAN, Baltimore/Willits. Attempted murder.

Gebreegziabher, Harnett, Meagher, Morris

YONAS GEBREEGZIABHER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JESSE HARNETT, Ukiah. Resisting.

JERRY MEAGHER, San Mateo/Ukiah. Resisting.

DENA MORRIS, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, criminal threats. (Frequent flyer.)

Pollard, Vaughn, Wright

JACQUELLINE POLLARD, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, probation revocation.

CASSADY VAUGHN, Sebastopol/Willits. Attempted murder.

JOHANNA WRIGHT, Willits. Grand theft, receiving stolen property.

* * *

THE VILLAGE VOICE will silence its print edition after 62 years.

Website for beacon of alternative journalism, which featured literary giants Norman Mailer, James Baldwin and Ezra Pound, will continue to publish

by Edward Helmore

The Village Voice will cease publication of its print edition, 62 years after its culture-focused, alternative journalism first hit the streets of New York City.

“For more than 60 years, the Village Voice brand has played an outsized role in American journalism, politics and culture,” owner Peter Barbey said in a statement.

“It has been a beacon for progress and a literal voice for thousands of people whose identities, opinions, and ideas might otherwise have been unheard.”

The Village Voice website will continue but the loss from street stands of a publication that has offered a platform to writers including Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, Ezra Pound, Henry Miller and Lester Bangs was immediately mourned by readers. Many still regard the publication as a talisman of the downtown bohemian life – centered on Greenwich Village – that lingers as the city goes through a period of brutal gentrification.

In recent years the Voice, which switched to free distribution in 1996, has occupied a lonely place in publishing. Its primary rival, the New York Press, closed in 2011. The uptown-focused Observer, meanwhile, has struggled for relevance under the ownership of Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is widely believed to be looking to sell it.

Barbey said closing the Voice as a print publication did not mean he had abandoned the pioneering weekly.

“The most powerful thing about the Voice wasn’t that it was printed on newsprint or that it came out every week,” he said. “It was that the Village Voice was alive and that it changed in step with and reflected the times and the ever-evolving world around it.

“I want the Village Voice brand to represent that for a new generation of people – and for generations to come.”

A member of a newspaper-owning family from Pennsylvania, Barbey bought the Voice in 2015. He said then that he hoped to find a business model that would keep newspapers from depending on wealthy proprietors.

“I can keep the Voice going,” he told the Wall Street Journal, “but if that’s the only solution, then only the wealthy will support free speech. I don’t want that world. I’m not that kind of wealthy person.”

Barbey announced plans to increase hiring and cultural coverage. The investigative journalist Wayne Barrett, the author of a famous 1979 profile of Donald Trump who was widely mourned when he died earlier this year, told the Wall Street Journal there was still a market “for a paper that takes the city seriously”.

But the model Barbey sought proved elusive, and the decision to shutter the print edition of the Voice, which first appeared in 1955, represents a clear setback for US print journalism.

Founded by a group that included Norman Mailer, the Voice won three Pulitzer prizes. In its appreciation of Mailer, who died in 2007, the paper’s obituary writer noted that the author had already published three novels, including The Naked and the Dead, when he came up with the name and $10,000 to help set up the publication.

Mailer said he wanted the paper to be “outrageous” and “give a little speed to that moral and sexual revolution which is yet to come upon us”.

It was at the Voice, the paper noted, “that Mailer first began to develop the outrageously sober-minded and superciliously self-effacing voice that would define his subsequent writing and make him one of the great stylists ­and journalists ­of his generation”.

Nat Hentoff, Karen Durbin, Ken Auletta, James Wolcott, Hilton Als and Colson Whitehead were among those who followed Mailer’s path. In music journalism, the paper published Robert Christgau; for film, Andrew Sarris and J Hoberman; in art, critics Peter Schjeldahl and Jerry Saltz.

(The Guardian)

* * *

THE VILLAGE VOICE’S Obituary for Alexander Cockburn who wrote for the publication for several of their early years after moving to the United States:

* * *


[click to enlarge]
* * *


by Ralph Nader

The most popular Democratic leader by far is still former President Barack Obama. Despite this popularity, many of the signature accomplishments of his modest legacy are being brutishly unraveled – being repealed, suspended or slated for extinction – by the Trumpsters. Donald Trump seems to revel in the destruction of consumer, investor, environmental, work and public land protections and standards. Whether at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration or the Securities and Exchange Commission, Trump’s big-business friends are running the very agencies tasked with regulating them.

Trump vehemently supports breaking the Iran nuclear accord – one of Obama’s highpoints that cooled off what could have been a rush to military conflict in that turbulent region. Abysmally ignorant about its contents, Trump is nonetheless impulsively determined to do just that in last year’s presidential campaign, alarming leading military experts.

What should Barack Obama be doing about the unfolding Trumpian nightmares dangerously enveloping so many defenseless and anxious Americans? Tradition has it that outgoing presidents go quietly, do not assail their successor in office, if only because the latter is in a position to strike back. Already, Trump has been actively waging war against his predecessor’s legacy.

But there are many other ways in which Obama can respond without getting into a messy Twitter war with the unstable Tweeter-in-Chief. Granted, Obama is spending time laying the groundwork for his presidential library to preserve his past. It is the future of this country that needs his high profile attention. Word has it that he is working with his former Attorney General, Eric Holder, to get candidates and voters ready for next year’s crucial Congressional elections. If so, he needs to be more media-visible to get the attention of millions of people.

Here are some ways Obama can strengthen the people’s resistance to many of Trump’s destructive efforts which harm his own voters as well as those citizens who opposed his candidacy.

He can raise funds to expand the staffs and programs of existing citizen organizations straining to preserve and defend conditions that help people from all backgrounds. Obama, as president, went to nearly five hundred major fundraisers outside Washington to court campaign donors. By contrast, fundraising for civic action groups, ranging from civil rights/liberties to consumer, environmental and health initiatives, will not be dissipated on gouging political consultants, empty television ads and cowardly candidates unwilling to speak truth to power.

He can elevate already declared positions to block Trump and his Wall Street collaborators from words to action. For example, earlier this year over 100 outdoor-recreation companies – led by Patagonia and REI – paid for full-page advertisements telling Trump in no uncertain terms to lay off the public lands. Obama can nudge them to hire some full-time lobbyists on Capitol Hill to provide them with early alerts and guidance as the looming assault on national forests, wilderness areas and national parks gets underway. Big majorities of Americans agree with these companies, but they are not organized to focus on a handful of Senators and Representatives who need some firm education.

Obama can help start new civic advocacy groups. He has close contacts with people who are very rich and share his views. For example, there needs to be new organizations filling important vacuums on such important matters as what the Trump FCC wants to do to the Internet (end net neutrality), to increase concentration of ownership in the mass media – which is already in a few giant corporate hands – and to deliberately ignore the 1934 Communications Act which conditions licenses on providing public interest programming.

There needs to be additional civic groups to propose good directions and to oppose Trump’s forthcoming reduction of taxes for the rich, and, very importantly, to organize prominent retired military, national security and diplomatic officials who are against aggressive wars and seek dynamic diplomacy to wage peace, and to move toward full Medicare for all with free choice of doctor and hospital – with more efficient and better outcomes.

The reality is that Barack Obama is a big draw. No one comes close to playing such a role. He can get big media, attract large audiences, and raise large sums of money for the civic groups. The civil society has built and protected our democracy throughout history. Moreover, he can surely elevate public morale in an era of Trumpian gloom, flakery and attract new leadership to invigorate a leaderless Democratic Party down to the local levels.

If you agree, start petitions with your own ideas for Obama getting with America’s future and not just chronicling his eight year presidency’s past. His silent withdrawal has been astonishing and disturbing. He doesn’t yet realize what a historically crucial role he can play in the next few years.

(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)

* * *

* * *


Because when economic and living conditions become more and more dire, the people running the show want distractions. Hence, the LGBTQ washroom controversy, then it was Russian election meddling and now Confederate statues and when that runs its course, and it will, there will have to be another distraction. Can’t wait to see what it is.

I thought the washroom issue was inspired. I laughed and laughed, Democrats did superiority dances for months, the Republicans were outraged at such degeneracy. All over what exactly, pissing arrangements for a point something miniscule percentage of the population?

If they can’t come up with something it’ll be abortion again or evolution or maybe they’ll dredge up school prayer. Or maybe the right of Muslims to have prayers in schools but no school prayer for Christians and Jews and Hindus. That’ll be fun to watch. Progressives will take on this issue and stand up tall and proud and… well, we’ve seen this movie already so you can fill in the rest…

* * *


If you live in an area where water is plentiful, be happy. Here in the American West, where there is never enough water for everyone, the Ninth Court of Appeals has ruled water rights of Native American tribes preempt those of states. Apparently the court thought since the tribes were here first and it is their land, that they have a claim to crucial groundwater rights, as well as to surface water. Imagine that!

No one is quite sure what this means to the insanely convoluted skein of laws and agreements currently in use. It may go to the Supreme Court, who may or may not overturn it. There will be lawsuits. Many water players don’t want existing agreements renegotiated, and that’s exactly what recognizing tribal groundwater rights will do. This may seen arcane. It’s not. It’s actually a huge deal.

In March, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave a definitive answer in the affirmative, extending groundwater rights to a California tribe in the Coachella Valley around Palm Springs [The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians]. The three-judge panel said the federal government, in establishing reservations, had impliedly earmarked groundwater for tribal use. The court took the additional step of explicitly saying a tribe’s federal groundwater rights preempt state law.

There were three significant findings in the appellate decision:

1) Tribes have a federal reserved right to groundwater on their land.
2) As federal water rights, they preempt conflicting state law.
3) The rights are not lost even if they haven’t been used in the past.

(Politics in the Zeroes)



    • Bruce McEwen August 24, 2017

      Was that your sign parked in front of the courthouse today, the one w/ the “Stop stealing our kids” sign on a half-sheet of 3/4-inch plywood?

      Bad timing, Bro. W/ the Redheaded Black Belt thumping your psuedo-gnostics, first w/ a left jab to the snout, to make your nose bleed and your eyes water; then w/ awesome right uppercut to the jaw of an ass, w/ naked babies running screaming from their nutty mums and Moron Fuddiduddies, w/ needles in their bedclothes, and skeletons in the family tree.

      Go figure, you tedious know-it-all; and take that godless Jew w/ you!

      • james marmon August 24, 2017

        No it wasn’t my sign, the gentleman who does own the sign is going to take the county down big time. I reviewed his case and wrote a 5 page synopsis for his attorney, made a few hundred bucks out of the deal. i believe he filed a 13 million dollar claim against the county last week, this one is bad. Your friend Eyster won’t be able to screw this one up like he did baby Emerald.

        • james marmon August 24, 2017

          They took out a restraining order against him a couple of weeks ago so he stopped protesting for a while. The courthouse is the only place I can be in Mendocino County and not violate my restraining order. The judge made that very clear. He must have been told the same thing. I’ve been thinking about joining the CPS protesters with my “groupthink exists” sign.

          Thanks for finally reporting some real news.

  1. Russ Rasmussen August 24, 2017

    Re: Ninth Circuit decision. This will have huge unintended consequences in the West (Irrigation water) in the long term. For now, though, probably means that the casino toilets will flush when no one else’s will.

  2. Eric Sunswheat August 24, 2017

    Casino of ten thousand toilets

  3. Lazarus August 24, 2017

    “My family ranches. We farm. We have no time out. OK? That’s insulting to me!”

    So Supervisor Brown…try farming marijuana ,some say you can make a million an acre…if you can get a permit.
    As always,

    • Eric Sunswheat August 24, 2017

      Supervisors give lip service to small growers, with bait and switch permit enticements, and encouragements to make real estate improvements, vulnerable to annual property tax assessment, thus revenue deposits to the County General Fund, to backfill their own risky future County retirement pensions, as regulations and clout of Big Ag take hold to win the agriculture competition over the next few years, and further tightens grip on the Board. To wit, after championing Ukiah Natural Foods Coop for decades, Supervisor McCowen now has widened his shopping circle to Safeway, which advertises the weakened USDA organic standards food, available on every aisle. McCowen continues to remove indigenous Indian and otherwise homeless belongings and debris from the property of sweatshop toxic welding fumes employer Factory Pipe, and the trash of what goods can’t be sold at swap meets as in Cloverdale according to one source, is discarded at Raleys dumpster, while he drives his shiny big new four wheel drive American truck to protect the valley riparian farmland environment.

      • Bruce McEwen August 24, 2017

        You call this a Sonnet?

        Have your (philosophical) Uncle Garrison edit it down, to the 14-line sonnet form, and I really do, quite honestly believe, you may very well have coined the very cliche of your day.

        In any event, Congrats!

  4. Scott Peterson August 24, 2017


    Fort Bragg City Council ought to conduct a census of homeless people to measure the actual effectiveness of the Gibson/Johnson/Thomas gang. Last year Hostility House had 58 participants in the so-called Giving Garden.

    If my abacus is right, HH serves about 50% of the needy people there at a cost to taxpayers of $36,000 apiece per year. And since all of that money comes from the gubbmint, that means that ALL taxpayers are funding the Mendocino Outlaws.


    Scott M. Peterson

    • Bruce McEwen August 24, 2017

      Mr. Peterson,

      I came here during the “crash” of ’08, the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. I make no excuses. I was on the run.

      I’ve worked for about $7.35 an hour since I was 13 years old — this has never changed, this basic pay scale whether I was working construction, restaurants, or newspapers. At the same time the cost of living — rent, food and gas all went skyrocketing up, up and up!

      I’ve been aware of fellows like you all through the lean years, guys who somehow had better financial prospects, an easy existence, always a cushy homestead, but if this phenomenon (the ’08 financial collapse) should come back, like our profits (our prophets, I mean) say it will, to haunt us, I have to shake my head and wonder how you, sir, would manage without a place like Hospitality House, where you could at least get a meal — and (here’s the thing), you spout opinions like a man who has never missed one.

      • Bruce McEwen August 24, 2017

        I consider this my best sonnet.

  5. Jim Updegraff August 24, 2017

    It will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court will do on the decision regarding water rights of Native Americans. Any effect on Mendo County?

  6. William Valley August 24, 2017

    I believe the story about the two children showing up at Winco came from Kym Kemp. I like that you share diverse news from various sites. Just noticed the story wasn’t credited.


    • Bruce Anderson August 24, 2017

      Simple omission. We had Kym’s permission.

      • Bruce McEwen August 24, 2017

        And her love.

  7. mr. wendal August 25, 2017


    “[The Planning Commission] has not established any connection between Hospitality House’s services and conduct in the vicinity that might be considered a nuisance.”

    The above sentence sums up the reason that so many people do not trust the board and administration of the Hospitality Center. As long as they continue to deny that problems exist and then agree to adhere to solutions created in response to the problems and finally ignore those agreements, they will also continue to lose the respect of more and more people in the community. This has been their modus operandi for years. Does the entire board reject the notion that they have any responsibility for the consequences of their actions?

    The compassion publicly shown for clients is absolutely absent when it comes to the neighbors of all of their locations. None of the people running the show are personally affected at home, daily, by the actions of their guests. If they were, their reaction would be more than just spouting platitudes at the podium in a public meeting. Hiring a new house manager alone won’t change the climate of the entire organization.

  8. malcolmlorne August 30, 2017

    “I have not heard many criticisms of Scott Mayberry when he was Chief of Police.” and “But even among the disenfranchised and the poor, among whose number I count myself, I never heard any complaint.” – These are Rex Gressett’s words of assessment regarding the tenure of Scott Mayberry as Fort Bragg’s Police Chief.
    Apparently, Mr. Gressett didn’t read the AVA very closely during that time frame. If he had made the effort to do any substantive research before writing, Mr. Gressett might have uncovered AVA articles from the first two weeks of January, 2015; Dec. 10, 2014; Feb. 26, 2014; Nov. 13, 2013; Oct. 8, 2013; June 19, 2013; or May 8, 2013. If Mr. Gressett had done just that bit of extra reading he could have found additional criticisms of Linda Ruffing along with many questions about Mayberry’s leadership of the Fort Bragg Police Department.
    Oh well, who can be bothered with research, when one is so full of opinion.
    – Malcolm Macdonald

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