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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Oct. 2, 2017

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ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING held its 6th annual Mowkeef, which means "Fall Harvest Celebration" in Boontling. Many folks enjoyed a day of Music and BBQ.  Serving up the Suds were Ginny Hallam and Ronnie Righter. (Photo by Bonnie Clarke Johnson.)

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SONYA NESCH WRITES: This is a link to the hour-long talk Sheriff Allman gave about Measure B last Thursday night in Fort Bragg. There is also an editorial by Marianne McGee supporting Measure B.

The Case For Measure B

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SEVERAL COUNTY DEPARTMENT HEADS are in line for big raises via the backdoor, aka the consent agenda. Supervisors Agenda Item 4s):

“Adoption of Resolution Authorizing Adoption of Salary Grade Adjustments as follows:

Agriculture Commissioner/Sealer Weights and Measures, Salary Grade D45B to D47D;  Chief Probation Officer, Salary Grade D46A to Salary Grade D48D;  Director Human Resources, Salary Grade U46A to Salary Grade D48D;  and Director Planning and Building, Salary Grade D46B to Salary Grade D48D Recommended Action: Adopt Resolution authorizing the adoption of salary grade adjustments.”

TRANSLATION: Five sons and daughters are getting very large pay increases on top of already high salaries without so much as a hint why they deserve them. Transparent California says “Interim” Ag Commissioner Diane Curry’s 2016 base salary was about $72k per year. But that translates to less than $2800 per biweekly pay period, which is below the range shown in the attached resolution-chart for her existing pay range. Nevertheless, the Ag Commissioner’s salary bracket will increase from $86k-$105k to $100k-$121k, an increase of between $14k and $16k per year. Then add 75% of that to get total pay and benefits which, like all of Mendo’s lavishly compensated department heads, includes generous health insurance, pension, up to five weeks of paid vacation, ten paid holidays, bottomless sick leave, bereavement leave, management leave, disability and catastrophic leave, and personal time off.

ON TOP of these bennies, there are numerous non-salary perks like life insurance, training compensation, computer/cellphone, memberships, professional books, computer training and materials, physical exams, health club memberships, and credit cards.

THE CHIEF PROBATION OFFICER, whoever that person is today given that Chief Probation Officer Pamela Markham has been out on indefinite paid administrative leave, the salary goes from $91k-$111k to $105k-$128k, an increase of between $14k and $17k.

HUMAN RESOURCES BOSS Heidi Dunham’s salary goes from $92k-$112k to $105k-$128k, an increase of between $13k and $16k.

ACTING Planning and Building Director Ignacio ‘Nash’ Gonzalez’s salary bracket will increase from $92k-$112k to $105k-$128k, an increase of between $13k and $16k.

ADDING to the confusion (probably intentional), the current pay bracket ranges on the County’s website for these four positions don’t match what the Resolution says.

ALL TOTALED, these four department heads are pulling down around $200k a year each in total pay, benefits and perks.

LOOKED at another way, when one of these department heads sits in the Board chambers and talks for a few minutes it costs the taxpayers about $100 an hour.

AND THEY DON'T even have to provide monthly reporting to the CEO or the Board of Supervisors.

PS. We found it surprising that, according to Transparent California for 2016, Assistant CEO Alan ‘The Kid’ Flora made more in total pay and benefits than the District Attorney.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Sure the feng shui is off here — way off — but we do have a nice garden, a ‘restorative garden,’ The Boss claims, a jumble of flowers and, as he puts it, ‘the more attractive weeds.’ And you know what? If you look straight at it, if you block out the rest of the place, you really can get a little bit of a lift.”

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ONLY A FEW DECADES LATE, the Board of Supervisors is planning to “Consider a Unified Approach Regarding Contracting for Dispatch Services for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Fire Services.”

THE DISCUSSION is on the Tuesday Board of Supervisors agenda as a follow-up item to their September 19 decision to hold off on putting Calfire’s dispatch services out to bid. During that discussion it seemed to suddenly dawn on Ukiah and the Board of Supervisors that there are too many semi-redundant dispatch operations in Mendocino County, a point that should have been raised long ago.

BUT MENDO'S expensively outsourced advisers, the Sonoma County based LEMSA (Local emergency medical services agency) named Coastal Valley EMS, the supposed “staff” that Mendo has turned such things over to, failed to bring up the redundancy despite thousands of dollars, several reports, studies, and of course, consultants.

SHERIFF ALLMAN had previously noted that Mendo doesn’t need three or four overlapping night-shift dispatch operations. Mendo really only needs two dispatch operations: Fire/Medical and police. The Board will discuss Supervisor Dan Gjerde’s proposed “unified approach” to dispatch in an ad hoc committee, clearly avoiding the Sonoma County LEMSA which seems to be leading Mendo astray time and again. Mendo already has a small emergency services office and it’s past time to stop wasting money on the Sonoma County agency and bring the entire issue back home to Mendo.

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THE BOARD ALSO plans to issue its typical non-responses to grand jury criticism, particularly the Grand Jury’s recent “Another Look At Family And Children’s Services” (FCS, formerly CPS). At least this year it looks like the Board actually read the reports and prepared some responses themselves, rather than turning the Grand Jury report over to the County Counsel’s office for blanket denials as per previous custom.

BUT THE SUPE'S responses, while at least acknowledging that there’s a serious staffing problem in FCS, are more empty rhetoric because the Board and the CEO continue to refuse to require monthly status reports from their most troubled department. (How many children in foster care, how many taken from parents and why, how many vacant slots, etc.)

THE GRAND JURY noted that “Mendocino County has a higher rate than the State average for removal of children from their families due to a lack of early intervention in troubled families, the drug culture, high unemployment, lack of housing, and the lack of teenage drug treatment programs.”

THE SUPES FATUOUS RESPONSE: “Partially disagree. Mendocino County does have a higher rate than the State average for removal of children from their families. However, the reasons stated by the Grand Jury are only contributing factors in this problem and not solely responsible for the emergency removal due to abuse or neglect. That said, the BOS understands these factors can be detrimental to families and is working with HHSA and partners to address them. The BOS incorporates the response by HHSA.”

IF WE had any idea what the Board meant by “working with HHSA and partners” we might have some remote hope that the grim situation of displaced children would improve. But without specifics as to what “working with” means, it sounds like the County plans to do nothing at all.

THE GRAND JURY also observed, “The new State eligibility requirements and training requirements for foster homes may reduce the rate of abuse and changes in foster care placements, but make it even harder for Mendocino County agencies to recruit foster families.”

SUPES PIE IN THE SKY RESPONSE: “Partially disagree. This is speculation and the hope is that the rates of abuse will decline and foster families will be able and willing to comply with the new requirements. This will need to be evaluated after sufficient time has passed for an effect to be seen.”

UNLESS THE SUBJECT is put on an monthly reporting schedule so that the “evaluation” can be followed up on, the County will do absolutely nothing and the “hoped for” situation won’t change. As with everything else, the Board’s failure to require even the most minimal monthly reporting from its biggest department, Health and Human Services, means that nothing ever gets “evaluated” and nothing ever changes.

THE GRAND JURY also reminded the Board that nothing has changed since the last time the GJ looked at FCS: “The Grand Jury notes management is seeking outside help to analyze and correct the Departmental issues. However, the problems noted in the 2014-15 Report still need corrective action.”

SUPES RESPONSE: “Partially disagree. HHSA management has been working diligently to improve morale, increase training opportunities, improve response times and have an atmosphere of collaboration. HR has worked hard to fill vacancies since the 2014-15 report. The BOS has approved a pay increase of 3% for the next two years to include longevity pay and differential pay for certain areas.”

“WORKING DILIGENTLY.” … “Worked hard.” Right. Without that reporting the Board has no basis at all to say how hard anyone is working or whether that “work” is producing any results. The only thing true in that response is the last sentence, a simple reflection of the across the board pay raise the Board authorized a few months ago — which had nothing to do with the problem the Grand Jury was talking about.

(Mark Scaramella)

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ACCOUNTS by ava readers Bedrock and Choteau of their youths in New York City, reminded me of the time I lived in a SRO at 5th and Brannan, south of Market in San Francisco. I think I paid fifty a month for a room overlooking the intersection. For my fifty bucks I got a high-ceilinged room, a shared bathroom with a grimy tub down the hall, clean sheets every Friday.(I cadged showers from friends. The history of that tub was too much to contemplate.) South of Market then was a forest of single room hotels peopled by old guys mostly, along with serious drunks, and people not quite crazy enough for the state hospital at Napa. One night, squeezing past an old guy who lived in the room next door, he suddenly attacked me, peppering me with skillfully thrown punches that would have hurt if he still had some force behind them. I pinned him against the wall and told him I was going to get him 86'd. The next day he was his usual jolly self. I asked him why he'd hit me. "I did no such thing," he said. "What's wrong with you?"

FAST FORWARD sixty years and these people are the homeless. 5th and Brannan was a three-story building that tilted rather severely to one side. Out on the street, residents leaned in greeting, our very own Masonic handshake. On the ground floor was shop space occupied by a Gypsy family. "Need a transmission, boss?" They were always trying to sell me stuff I assumed was stolen, not that stolen stuff was high on my list of scruples. I was by far the youngest person in my all-male building except for the Gypsy women below. I would see them around the city at night selling corsages to young couples. "You want your lady to be more beautiful?" I brought a girlfriend up to see my room one afternoon, a Friday. I was hailed by the manager, a shell-shocked veteran, that it was sheet day. My girlfriend started to cry. "This is the most depressing place I've ever been in my life," she said. "I won't go one more step." The shell-shocked vet advised me later, "I think your friend is nuts, kid. You better trade her in." A few weeks later, climbing the stairs to the cheap seats at the Geary Theater — live theater was affordable then — she started screaming, "Vertigo! Please help me!" I wanted to toss her over the balcony as she started to laugh. "Hah! Gotcha going, didn't I?" She was a laugh a minute, but I couldn't stand the excitement and, as the song went, slip-slided away soon afterwards. I walk through the area now and it's unrecognizable, with sleek structures, sleek people, the oddity being that in some blocks, the sleek people are less numerous than the kind of people who used to live at 5th and Brannan. They now live on the street.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 1, 2017

Aguilar, Ayala-Rodriguez, Barrales, Bloyd

FERNANDO, AGUILAR, Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance, paraphernalia.

MANUEL AYALA-RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, county parole violation.


RONALD BLOYD, Navarro. Failure to appear.

Brown, Lehre, McCarthy

ZACHARY BROWN, Redwood Valley. Domestic abuse, damaging a communications device, suspended license, probation revocation.

PATRICK LEHRE, Healdsburg/Ukiah. Protective order violation.

ANTHONY MCCARTHY, Ukiah. DUI, battery on peace officer, resisting.

Melendez-Cruz, Munoz, Phillips

FABIER MELENDEZ-CRUZ, Ukiah. DUI, no license.

CHRISTINA MUNOZ, Laytonville. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear.

RICKEY PHILLIPS III, Willits. Probation revocation.

Sandiego, Simili, Wall

DAVID SANDIEGO JR., Ukiah. Domestic battery.

KAYLEE SIMILI, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.

LESLI WALL, Willits. DUI, willful cruelty to child with possible injury/death.

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My suggestion to all taxpayers who feel they are paying too much and are sick of tax cuts for the rich is to go exempt. File a new W-4 and either claim 10 exemptions or mark exempt. Save your tax payments in your savings account so that in April you can pay your taxes as required. This will withhold current taxes from, and hopefully get the attention of, a government that wants to tax the poor to death to give tax breaks to the rich.

Craig Warren


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Putting any hope in politicians and a political party is simply foolish. Particularly when you’re talking about a central government leviathan that exists to exist. No, the answer is peaceful secessionism. It’s time for regions, states, cities to go their own way. Localism shouldn’t be relegated to produce and beer & wine. Starve D.C., the attorneys/lobbyists/elected officials, the ladder climbing bureaucrats, the war seeking generals and their defense company puppet masters.

It can happen, and is happening elsewhere at this very moment.

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After watching the preview videos on YouTube and the first episode of the Burns/Novick series on Vietnam, I was skeptical.

Leftist John Pilger refers to the the kind of thing in the first episode that fed that skepticism:

The narrator says the war "was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings"...There was no good faith. The faith was rotten and cancerous. For me---as it must be for many Americans---it is difficult to watch the film's jumble of "red peril" maps, unexplained interviewees, ineptly cut archive and maudlin American battlefield sequences.

But Pilger admits, before launching a typical leftist screed about US foreign policy, he only saw the first episode and some previews and press releases about the series.

Pete Dolack on Counterpunch:

The Ken Burns/Lynn Novick television series on the Vietnam War provides yet another example of the narrowness of “acceptable” political discourse in the United States. More than four decades past the end of that imperialist adventure, having a serious discussion about it remains taboo. The series also provides a fresh example of how the narrowness of acceptable discourse is disguised through the appearance of a vigorous debate.

Okay, but Dolack goes Pilger one better when he follows with this:

I will confess here I have not watched Burns and Novick’s The Vietnam War, but the consistency of the many discussions of it I have read confirm what would have been expected: The liberal side of the “debate” on the Vietnam War, that an “honorable” effort was tragically miscarried because of “mistakes.”

Like Pilger, Dolack already knows without seeing it what to think about the series! His leftist ideology fills in all the blanks. Incredibly, the title of his piece is "Can't We Have an Honest Conversation About Vietnam?" We can't have a discussion, honest or otherwise, about the Burns/Novick series with someone who hasn't even seen it.

The anonymous blogger at Systemic Disorder has the same rote ideological reaction without actually watching the series.

Apparently the staunchly leftist Alternet has done nothing on the series, and neither has  the radical Truthout.

The problem they have — or would have if they actually bothered to watch the series — is that it's very good. No one who supported that war can, after viewing this series, have any doubt about what a disaster it was from the beginning for the US and even more so for Vietnam.

The battles examined are agonizing to watch, as American troops stumble into one botched operation after another, even as they inflict massive casualties on their Vietnamese antagonists with artillery and air power.

I do object to the subtitle on one of the pictures: "There is no single truth in war."

You can examine this war from different perspectives, but the most significant truth about the American role in this war: Vietnam was a colonial war that the United States rebranded as an anti-Communist war. It was never about freedom versus democracy or any other such high-minded piffle deployed to justify it.

(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)

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In 2015, the novelist Catherine Nichols sent the opening pages of the book she was working on to 50 literary agents. She got so little response she decided to shift gender and try as “George” instead. The difference amazed her. “A third of the agents who saw his query wanted to see more, where my numbers never did shift from one in 25.” The words, as written by George, had an appeal that Catherine could only envy. She also, perhaps, felt a little robbed. “He is eight and a half times better than me at writing the same book.”

This was hardly a scientific study, but it is tempting to join her in concluding that men and women are read differently, even when they write the same thing. If a man writes, “The cat sat on the mat,” we admire the economy of his prose; if a woman does we find it banal. If a man writes, “The cat sat on the mat” we are taken by the simplicity of his sentence structure, its toughness and precision. We understand the connection between “cat” and “mat,” sense the grace of the animal, admire the way the percussive monosyllables sharpen the geometrics of the mat beneath. If the man is an Irish writer we ask if the cat is Pangúr Ban, the monk’s cat from the ninth-century poem of that name — the use of assonance surely points to the Gaelic tradition — in which case the mat is his monk’s cell, a representation of the life of the mind, its comforts and delineations. The cat, female and probably white, is the secret sensuality of the ascetic life; not in the monastery garden, or out in the bog, but sitting in its proper, bounded place. Or the mat is Ireland itself, if this is not too much of a stretch, in the age of saints and scholars, that golden, undivided time before the Norman invasion, in which case the cat could be anything at all: the playful cipher, sitting on a very inert, territorial mat. No — scratch all that — this is just a very truthful, very real sentence (look at those nouns!) containing both masculine “mat” and feminine “cat.” It somehow Says It All.

If, on the other hand, a woman writes, “The cat sat on the mat,” her concerns are clearly domestic, and sort of limiting. Time to go below the comments line and make jokes about pussy … I am kidding, of course. These are anxieties, projections, phantasmagoria – things to which women are particularly prone.

— Anne Enright

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OCTOBER 3, 1967: Two members of the Grateful Dead — the lively San Francisco group responsible for such rock hits as “Good Morning, Little School Girl” — were busted on marijuana charges yesterday. The raid — on the Dead’s way-out 13-room pad at 710 Ashbury Street — also led to the arrest of the group’s equipment manager, two business managers and six girls, variously described as “friends,” “visitors” and “just girls.” Band members arrested in the raid were Ron (Pigpen) McKernan, 22, The Dead’s flamboyant, long-haired singer, and rhythm guitarist Robert Weir, 19. Matthew O’Connor, State narcotics bureau head, said that agents confiscated over a pound of marijuana and its big brother, hashish.

“They were processing some marijuana in the kitchen by running it through a colander to get rid of the stems and seeds. Five hippies who were released walked across the street and sat on the sidewalk watching the proceedings. When the first person came out of the building in handcuffs, one girl yelled a familiar 12-letter epithet at the police. The Dead came on the scene last year as the group playing for a Capital Records documentary called “LSD.” The record was produced by Owsley Stanley, a 31-year old who reportedly retired a millionaire by selling acid before it became illegal. The group then teamed up with novelist Ken Kesey for his “Acid Test” happenings. The name of the group comes from an Egyptian prayer; “We grateful dead praise you, Osiris…”

(SF Chronicle archive via Johnny Miller)

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On a recent BART ride from Berkeley to Colma, I was “entertained” by the breakdancers who turned their music up to full volume and then performed in the doorway, by two panhandlers walking the aisle, the skateboarder who seemed to think we’d reached the Embarcadero already and was showing his stuff, four people sleeping across two or more seats, a pizza box (and its contents) spilled on the floor and the two large dogs (and their masters, without any obvious service dog markings).

Having used public transportation all over the world, I can state that I never see such things outside our wonderful Bay Area. I don’t need more noise and dirt on the trains, and I certainly don’t need the chaos, however colorful it might be. I also can’t imagine what a visitor to the area might think about this scene. BART needs to pick up its game and give us a safe, clean and orderly transportation system. Let’s leave the circus for somewhere else please.

Bruce Klafter, San Mateo

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With just a fraction of old-growth redwoods remaining, scientists hope to help them survive warming climate.

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by Dan Bacher

Four environmental groups on Friday, September 22, filed a lawsuit challenging the Brown administration’s permit to kill endangered salmon and smelt in the proposed Delta Tunnels project.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Bay Institute, Natural Resources Defense Council and San Francisco Baykeeper filed the suit in California Superior Court in Sacramento,  represented by the nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice.

On July 28, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), under the helm of Director Chuck Bonham, issued an “incidental take permit” for the construction and operation of California WaterFix in “compliance” with Section 2081(b) of the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

This suit is the first to challenge CDFW’s  issuance of a “take” permit for the tunnel operations. Representatives of the groups said the agency “improperly authorized” the California Department Water Resources to “kill and harm” state-protected fish species, including Sacramento River winter-run and spring-run chinook salmon, longfin smelt and Delta smelt.

Ironically, the mission of the CDFW “is to manage California's diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.”

But according to tunnels opponents, the CDFW is failing in its mission to “manage” California’s diverse fish populations by approving the take permit.

“This is an unjustifiable permit,” said Jeff Miller, conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), in a phone interview. “The main thing is that the department appears to be doing everything they can to drive endangered fish species to extinction. The tunnels will have an impact on river flows at a critical time for salmon and smelt. They will reduce flows needed for the survival of the winter run, spring run and smelt.”

To grant a “take permit” under the CESA, the agency has to show how the project won’t jeopardize the continued existence of endangered species. Miller said the “mitigation” in the permit wouldn’t address the main problem of reduction in water flows on the Sacramento River and Delta that would take place if the project is built.

“They can pretend they are making up for water diversions at a critical time for these fish by throwing money at ‘habitat restoration,” but you just can’t mitigate for the taking of the water from these fish that essential for them to thrive,” Miller said.

The Department also violated CESA by failing to use the “best available science” on the impacts of the tunnels and associated water diversion, noted Miller.

Miller emphasized, “It’s time to kill this misguided tunnels project once and for all and focus on improving fresh water flows to restore the Delta.”

The tunnels project, renamed the California WaterFix in 2015, would divert massive amounts of fresh water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness interests and Southern California water agencies, doing enormous harm to imperiled Central Valley salmon runs, declining Delta fish populations and the Bay-Delta ecosystem.

“State officials from the governor on down falsely claim that WaterFix would improve conditions for critically endangered native fish, including California’s once abundant chinook salmon,” said Trent Orr, Earthjustice staff attorney. “But disrupting a vast area with decades of construction to take even more fresh water from an already degraded Delta would hasten these species’ demise, not restore them to healthy populations.”

The groups said the California WaterFix is only the latest in “a long line of water diversion projects intended to remove vast quantities of water from the Delta before it reaches San Francisco Bay.”

The project, a boondoggle that would cost anywhere from $17 billion to $67 billion depending on who you talk to, proposes to construct two 35-mile tunnels, each four stories high, to divert water from the Sacramento River in the north Delta to Central and Southern California.

“The water diversions would degrade habitat conditions for declining runs of salmon and smelt, kill young fish at diversion points, disrupt the estuary’s food chain and increase salinity in the Delta,” according to the groups.

Erica Maharg, managing attorney at San Francisco Baykeeper, pointed out how the tunnels project would devastate the San Francisco Bay ecosystem also.

“The Bay ecosystem needs freshwater inputs to survive and be healthy,” she said.  “By allowing the proposed tunnels to export too much freshwater for central and Southern California, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is shirking its duty to protect the already threatened and endangered fish of San Francisco Bay.”

"Construction and operation of the tunnels will devastate California's native fisheries, threaten thousands of fishing jobs, and leave the Bay-Delta estuary worse off than today," summed up Doug Obegi, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The issuing of the CDFW incidental take permit is just one of many actions taken in Jerry Brown’s campaign to plunder California’s fish, wildlife, people and environment to serve the greed of Big Ag and Big Oil since he began  his third term as Governor in January 2011.

Over just the past couple of months, the Brown administration has incurred the wrath of environmental justice advocates, conservationists and increasing numbers of Californians by:

On February 6 of this year, twelve public interest groups, led by Consumer Watchdog and Food & Water Watch, unveiled a comprehensive "report card" on Jerry Brown Administration’s environmental record showing that he falls short in six out of seven key areas, including oil drilling, fossil fuel generated electricity, toxic emissions, the California Environmental Quality Act, coastal protection and water. Read the report “How Green Is Jerry Brown?” at:

CBD: Background on the California WaterFix

The proposed WaterFix diversion of Delta water would dramatically degrade habitat and water quality conditions for chinook salmon, longfin smelt and Delta smelt by decreasing flows into and through the Delta, placing already fragile and declining fish populations in serious jeopardy of extinction. All of these fish species are protected under the California Endangered Species Act.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife cannot legally issue a permit to kill or “take” these protected species because operation of the tunnels would jeopardize the continued existence of the protected fish species.

Although the Act requires that any take of protected species must be minimized and fully mitigated, the Department failed to include mitigation measures that could successfully prevent these fish species from declining. The Department also violated the Act by failing to use the best available science on the impacts of the tunnels and associated water diversion.

Last week conservation groups challenged the legality of proposed bonds to pay for the construction of the tunnels project. Earlier this week Westlands Water District, the largest supplier of irrigation water to California farms, voted to not participate in the Delta tunnels project.

A court ruling against the bonds or rejection of the project by major water districts could be fatal to WaterFix because the project’s success hinges on funding commitments by the recipients of the project water. Public funds cannot legally be used to pay for the project. Conservation groups have also challenged the adequacy of the environmental review for WaterFix under California’s Environmental Quality Act.

In addition to driving endangered species toward extinction, the project would devastate Delta farmers, Sacramento Valley communities and what is left of California’s salmon fishing economy. In response, a large array of organizations, public agencies and municipalities have now filed multiple lawsuits challenging the project on a wide variety of legal grounds, including 21 conservation and fishing groups, 30 water agencies, and 12 counties and cities, as well as the Winnemem Wintu Tribe and Delta farmers.”

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Another Wonderful Weekend

Following Saturday night drinking Boddington's Pub Ale, watching baseball, and grooving to a rock band at Foley's Irish House in San Francisco, I attended a Sunday afternoon Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, which turned out to be celebrated in Tagalog.  Afterwards, I had a conversation with the priest, and discussed my wish to now have a future plan, particularly with the church.  He appreciated the fact that although I am secure and healthy, it is understood that I would be better off with more to do than drink beer, eat ice cream, and go to the beach.  I explained that I am NOT retired in the conventional American sense.  Rather, I am presently fancy free, and not committed to anything.  The priest did acknowledge the 23 years I spent with Catholic Worker, and the many activist campaigns of the past.  The understanding is that I will continue coming to the cathedral for Mass, and we will see what opportunities I will have to participate actively, hopefully leading to the fullest possible future.  Peaceout.

Craig Louis Stehr
San Francisco



  1. Kathy October 2, 2017

    Thx for continuing coverage of Grand Jury report news. It only took the Grand Jury a couple reports to accomplish things like getting Supervisor Smith to repay her fraudulent travel claims, or for the BOS to acknowledge their budgeting mistakes in the county’s library funding – just to give two examples.

    The Grand Jury’s chief function is to examine and highlight, offer recommendations and publicize issues of concern within the county. I don’t think the Grand Jury will be dropping the subject just because of the somewhat vacuous BOS responses to the HHSA report.

  2. mr. wendal October 2, 2017

    re: “Adoption of Resolution Authorizing Adoption of Salary Grade Adjustments…”

    If all of that money is available to spend on raising the pay of county department heads, how about using it to begin to re-staff the woefully inadequate departments instead? These raises are not justified by the fact that they are lower than other overpaid department heads. The other department head salaries should be lowered to be in line with these instead.

    The county is getting so top heavy that it’s going to topple over. And it is the responsibility of the Board of Supervisors to reign in the CEO. Many services have deteriorated and key positions are left unfilled yet the people at the top keep getting raises. Will the Board take a stand and be responsible with the county’s finances? Not if this remains on the consent calendar, along with the now standard consultant fees. Does anyone have totals of the amount spent by our county administration on the various consultants each fiscal year? How did they come to rely on them so heavily?

    • Pam Partee October 2, 2017

      On August 1, the Department Heads signed off on a new MOU (available online under Mendo Government/Human Resources/Labor Relations) that runs from September 1, 2017 through August 31, 2019. It has the same general terms as the other bargaining units, meaning the 3% raise with $2000 cash each year. This was to occur September 1. So, it seems that these raises are in addition to and outside of the negotiating process. I would think the other units would show up to object. Also, keep in mind that in addition to the added benefits these folks get, they also have a dual retirement of defined pension AND deferred at 4% base match, both of which will add to the cost of the raises and increase the inequality gap of line staff and department heads.

  3. james marmon October 2, 2017

    “Mendocino County has a higher rate than the State average for removal of children from their families due to a lack of early intervention in troubled families, the drug culture, high unemployment, lack of housing, and the lack of teenage drug treatment programs.”

    We’re twice the State average of removal of children from their parents, not just a higher rate.

    Angry Americans Part 2 – Destroying Families Doesn’t Protect Children

    “Removing kids from their families of origin – their genetic families – and placing them with STRANGERS has become an epidemic in our country.

    WHY? Because it’s extremely profitable for them to remove kids — there are goals which have to be met each year in order to meet the budget! That is the reality! If they don’t meet their goals, then the following year they will get less funds allocated to them. Federal funding actually encourages, (through a series of financial incentives) to remove children and adopt them out.”

    James Marmon MSW
    Former Social Worker V
    Mendocino County Family and Children’s Services

  4. LouisBedrock October 2, 2017

    New York City Homelessness: The Basic Facts

    • In recent years, homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    • In July 2017, there were 60,856 homeless people, including 15,173 homeless families with 22,789 homeless children, sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system. Families comprise just over three-quarters of the homeless shelter population.

    • Over the course of City fiscal year 2016, more than 127,652 different homeless men, women, and children slept in the New York City municipal shelter system. This includes over 45,000 different homeless New York City children.

    • In 2015, families entering shelter came from a few clustered zip codes in the poorest neighborhoods in New York City.

    • The number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping each night in municipal shelters is now 77 percent higher than it was ten years ago.

    • Research shows that the primary cause of homelessness, particularly among families, is lack of affordable housing. Surveys of homeless families have identified the following major immediate, triggering causes of homelessness: eviction; doubled-up or severely overcrowded housing; domestic violence; job loss; and hazardous housing conditions.

    • Research shows that, compared to homeless families, homeless single adults have much higher rates of serious mental illness, addiction disorders, and other severe health problems.

    • Each night thousands of unsheltered homeless people sleep on New York City streets, in the subway system, and in other public spaces. There is no accurate measurement of New York City’s unsheltered homeless population, and recent City surveys significantly underestimate the number of unsheltered homeless New Yorkers.

    • Studies show that the large majority of street homeless New Yorkers are people living with mental illness or other severe health problems.

    • African-American and Latino New Yorkers are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Approximately 58 percent of New York City homeless shelter residents are African-American, 31 percent are Latino, 7 percent are white, less than 1 percent are Asian-American, and 3 percent are of unknown race/ethnicity.

    • Harvey Reading October 2, 2017

      Since much research is funded by wealthy interests, through their foundations and other “philanthropic” undertakings, or at their direction, by government agencies, I doubt that my questions, following, can be answered.

      1. Of the mentally ill or drug-addicted homeless, what percentage became mentally ill, or took to drugs AFTER suffering the stress of becoming homeless?

      2. How many are homeless because their “jobs” paid too little to live on, reflective of the steadily downward trend in income–and benefits–for working people since the mid 1970s, or had employers who required them to become “independent contractors” (as FedEx is doing), thus letting their employers off the hook, and making the “contractor” responsible for total costs of Social Security, Medicare, and other payroll taxes?

      The rulers of this country have a lot to answer for. I have no sympathy for the ever-present to some degree separatist nonsense, but something’s gotta give, and quickly, or this whole facade of a “gilded age” country is gonna come tumbling down, right on the heads of the wealthy scum who currently own it and rule it.

      • LouisBedrock October 2, 2017

        Good questions, Harvey.

    • LouisBedrock October 2, 2017

      That’s not what it says, Susana, and that’s not what it implies.
      And I think Harvey’s first question addresses your concern.

  5. LouisBedrock October 2, 2017

    “Leftist John Pilger”

    “…before launching a typical leftist screed about US foreign policy”

    “His leftist ideology…”

    Rob Anderson resorts to name calling and red-baiting against award winning documentarian John Pilger and CounterPunch writer Pete Dolack. However he doesn’t refer to “mainstream”, “hackneyed”, “NPR-boring”, “superficial”, “bland”, “official empire propagandist”, Ken Burns.

    I haven’t seen one episode of Burns’ crappy Vietnam doc either. I don’t have to. I’ve seen his documentaries on baseball, jazz, and the Civil War: they all sucked.

    He stated that the Civil War was fought in order to end slavery.

    Wrong. It was fought to prevent the South from seceding. Northern bankers and financiers, textile merchants, and clothing manufacturers, New England sugar refineries and rum distilleries, and many others in the North depended on slave produced cotton as much as any Louisiana slaver. Lincoln exploited slavery as a tactic. Freeing the slaves was never a strategy.

    The documentary on baseball did a lousy job reporting on the greed of franchise owners, the struggles of minor league players, and the power of television. What we got were interviews with Christian evangelist Orel Hershiser and other bland Major Leaguers.

    The Jazz documentary was embarrassing.

    Want to throw around labels? How about “Asshole documentarian Ken Burns”? “Asshole faux-journalist Rob Anderson”?

    • Bruce Anderson October 2, 2017

      Faux critics condemn a doc they haven’t seen. And what’s the point of the obscenities, Mr. B? I think Vietnam is very good and a fair depiction of what happened and why.

      • LouisBedrock October 2, 2017

        I condemn Burns. He’s a hack.
        Guidelines for definition and use of obscenities are not clear.

        • Bruce Anderson October 2, 2017

          Don’t use them. Clear enough?

          • Harvey Reading October 2, 2017

            Hate to mention it, but at times obscenities occur in the text preceding the comments section of MCT, appearing even after editing I presume.

      • Lazarus October 2, 2017

        Several friends who were actually there tend to agree in the authenticity…they say Burns was as accurate as possible, through the fog of time and war….
        I was not there, I have not seen the documentary, I just repeat from the street and have “no dog in the hunt”…
        As always

    • Randy Burke October 2, 2017

      Louis, have you ever been to Richmond VA? Back there they say that the Civil War was a documentary to end slavery. Other reasons apply as clearly stated in the war armament museums of Richmond, but “slavery” was the king on the list of reasons.

      • LouisBedrock October 2, 2017

        Lincoln’s decision to fight rather than to let the Southern states secede was not based on his feelings towards slavery.  Rather, he felt it was his sacred duty as President of the United States to preserve the Union at all costs.  His first inaugural address was an appeal to the rebellious states, seven of which had already seceded, to rejoin the nation.  His first draft of the speech ended with an ominous message: “Shall it be peace, or the sword?” 


        The above quote seems to reflect the consensus.

  6. Harvey Reading October 2, 2017

    Re: “Like Pilger, Dolack already knows without seeing it what to think about the series!”

    That’s just the way it is with Burns, and with PBS/NPR: predictable and reflective of what our corporate rulers (their Monetary support) want us to believe.

    Re: Anne Enright

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  7. Randy Burke October 2, 2017

    “Delta Fix” aka “Water Fix”. Hell, even back when they were trying to push the Peripheral Canal down our throats, I thought the best way to “fix” it was to send our wastewater down to LA. If I remember correctly, I attended many Republican functions and fundraisers to stop the canal. Maybe the republicans were right back then, but they sure are silent now to save or fix anything. Nice reporting Mr. Bacher!

    • BB Grace October 2, 2017

      “but they sure are silent now…”

      I attribute it to censorship Mr. Burke. When I was Northwest regional campaign manager for Ron Paul, I didn’t submit any letters to the AVA; However, I did submit many letters to many editors of many papers and not one of my letters was ever published. At one point I called the Press Democrat and was told, “This is Hillary Country and we will never publish any of your letters”.

      They never did.

      • Randy Burke October 2, 2017

        Yeah, the PD has run into a wall, The Wall Street Journal is a worse read than the Pomona Progress Bulletin, and the New York Times has an “Old News” effect. Different World nowadays with the Social Media component. Funny thing down here in Southern Mendo, I hear news a few days after it has hit the AVA. Ya gotta hand it to the people who enjoy their work. Enjoy the day.

        • BB Grace October 2, 2017

          Not one business would allow me to rent a place for a Ron Paul meeting! We’re into a decade of censorship. Thank you for suggesting for me to enjoy the day Mr. Burke; But it’s hard today when right side net reports Civil War II is planned by the left for November 4th warning us to get out of Clinton Country or else, when it seems the Civil War II has already begun in Las Vegas.

          I thank God everyday HRC is not my president.

          • Randy Burke October 2, 2017

            Yep, it is a sad loss for humanity (Las Vegas). And, yes after discovering the news, it IS hard to enjoy the day.

  8. Kathy October 2, 2017

    BTW – Pretty heartless and mean-spirited for the BOS to propose raises for admin (just say yes to the CEO) paperpushers, yet they thumbed their noses to the Sheriff’s raise not very long ago.

    I know they gave the deputies a pittance of a raise, for two years… but when the CEO’s right hand man takes home more pay than the DA or the Sheriff, and it’s technically the BOS’s budget – at least 3 of 5 (a quorum) of our local Supes are mismanaging OUR taxpayer $$, IMHO

  9. Jim Armstrong October 2, 2017

    I was in the Army infantry for a year in Vietnam.
    My introduction to the battle part of things was in “Operations” Attleboro, Junction City and Cedar Falls, among others, in what was Called The Iron Triangle west of Saigon.
    Most histories call these important early parts of the war. Burns and company never mentioned them.
    I saw soldiers lying dead with jammed M-16’s in their hands. The scandal was barely mentioned in the PBS film.
    FBI provocateurs may have played a part in the Kent State Shootings. Unmentioned.
    Agent Orange was chemical warfare and still affects untold numbers of Vietnamese and Americans (including me). It got a few minutes.
    It would be a serious understatement to say I could extend this list.
    I have spent the past fifty years reading all the fiction and nonfiction about that place and time I could, as well watching documentaries and movies.
    Then I watched this whole series and found sadly, disappointingly wanting.
    Ken Burns was simply out of his depth.
    Oh yeah Bruce, they may have interviewed a few too many Marines.

  10. Harvey Reading October 2, 2017

    I agree that, from a “legal” standpoint the issue of the Civil War was secession, owing to Mr. Lincoln’s particular interpretation of the Constitution, which document. as I recall does not address secession of states from the union, one way or the other–which gave Mr. Lincoln pretty much carte blanche in making his interpretation. That said, it seems unlikely that the southern states would have seceded in the absence of the issue of the issue of slavery, particularly the expansion of slavery into newly stolen territories of the west.

    Many northern abolitionists had little use for African Americans, free or slave, and, while supporting an end to slavery, also promoted resettling the freed slaves to other jurisdictions, a completely unrealistic expectation logistically, given the numbers of people that would have been involved in any conceivable resettlement.

    As the country expanded, bloodily, westward, segregation prevailed in many ways, particularly in housing, which resulted in African-American ghettoes from coast-to-coast by the mid-20th Century. We paid, and continue to pay, the price for that stupidity to this day–all the “code” words used by racists notwithstanding. As late as 2002, the Codes, Covenants, and Restrictions that applied to the wealthy subdivision town of El Dorado Hills still contained racist wording prohibiting the sale of property to people of color–though town employees were quick to point out that those rules no longer applied…still the code sections remained.

    • George Dorner October 6, 2017

      But, Mr. Reading, it’s just a coincidence that every Confederate Bill of Secession claimed that the southerners were going to war for their right to own fellow human beings. The Confederates were actually the good Marxists Mr. Bedrock claims they were.

      (end with an eye roll)

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