Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017

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Redwood Complex Fire is holding at 34,000 acres, now 20% contained. Control lines are improving by the hour. Still dangerous conditions, but things are not as bad as earlier. “We are not out of the woods yet.”

Red flag warnings have been issued for much of the North Coast, but worst is expected to be south of Mendocino County.

Large portions of Potter and Redwood Valleys which were under mandatory evacuations will be allowed back in — but caution is urged, and people should still be ready to re-evacuate.

Redwood Valley roads have suffered major damage and may be impassable in spots. Also some bridges have burned, and many interior areas are still burning and vulnerable to further flare up.

Total of over 2100 firefighters now in County on this fire complex, including many from SoCal and out of state, also augmented by National Guard.

Current death toll at 8 not 9 due to an earlier inadvertent double count of one fatality.

The attendees cheered when the CalFire weatherman said there’s a 40 percent chance of up to a quarter inch of rain next Wednesday evening and into Thursday.

Remote game cameras are posted in Redwood Valley in an attempt to catch illegal dumping of burned materials.

PG&E hopes to get most Willits area gas customers back on line by Saturday afternoon. Most electric customers are back up but 120 poles need to be replaced in burned areas.

North Coast Opportunities offers short-term gift cards for fire victims at their office at 413 No. State Street. To apply for larger stipends call them at 467-3236 or go to and fill out an application.

Roadblock officers will allow pot growers who have official approved cultivation permits and whose names are on their list into burned areas to attend to their crops. People with no permit or only permit applications will not.

Sheriff Allman noted that the aftermath of the fire will result in many unclaimed animals and he hopes people will come forward to adopt them.

A temporary cell tower is being installed in Potter Valley but no specific estimate about when it will be up and running. Presumably soon.

Sheriff Allman noted that organic grape growers Frey Vineyards “took a hard hit.” But Parducci Winery has said they’d handle their grapes for them to the extent possible.

Keep an eye on the Sheriff’s facebook page for current info and updates.

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Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal

Questions have been pouring in as the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire continues to burn and push more residents into shelters. We’ve taken note, and want to keep this article up to date with answers to your most-asked questions.

Q: Are Willits or Ukiah in danger?

There are no evacuation advisories for Willits (including Brooktrails) or Ukiah. Officials have said they do not expect those cities to be in danger, but everyone should be ready to leave if the wind changes, as it did for Potter Valley. See our evacuation “go bag” guide for tips on what to bring with you.

Q: When can we expect to hear back on the status of our homes?

Law enforcement and county staff members are manning the fire information hotline (707-467-6428) 24/7, taking messages to do checks on addresses and people in affected areas as officials continue patrols. As expected, the lines are reportedly swamped with requests, and officials have stated it could take one or two days to get back to people.

The Daily Journal was on the ground in Redwood Valley Wednesday, and we reported that East and Tomki roads were hardest hit. Homes in the Fisher Lake subdivision were reduced to rubble, while the entire neighborhood was unrecognizable from the road.

Q: Why didn’t the alarm at the Redwood Valley-Calpella firehouse sound Monday morning to alert people of the fire?

The fire department told the Daily Journal that the alarm — which sounds every day at noon — is manual, and no one was around to press the button due to all firefighters being sent out to evacuate people. While it was pointed out that the alarm might have helped alert people to the fire, law enforcement has been making a lot of noise and using bullhorns to wake people up during evacuations.

Q: Why isn’t Mendocino County being mentioned in outside news coverage of California wildfires?

We have seen many of you expressing frustration at Bay Area and national news outlets, particularly broadcast, for not giving the Redwood/Potter fire any attention. Know that we share your frustration, and as your local newspaper, we’re doing our best to tell you what you need to know about this fire.

ABC7 San Francisco did show up to the press conference in Ukiah Thursday, and Sheriff Tom Allman recognized them for showing Mendocino County attention, met with applause from the public. CBS Radio San Francisco (KCBS) covered the communication issues in Willits Wednesday morning, Daily Journal reporter Ashley Tressel speaking live on air for a few minutes. Jefferson Public Radio, NPR member station for southern Oregon and northern California (KPMO-AM in Mendocino), has also expressed interest for an interview.

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Debris and ash from residential and other structural fires may contain toxic substances due to the presence of synthetic and hazardous materials. Many building materials contain asbestos, and older buildings often contain lead. Household hazardous waste such as gasoline, cleaning products, pesticides, and other chemicals may have been stored in homes, garages, or sheds that may have burned in the fire. These materials can become concentrated in ash and soil following a fire. It is important not to expose yourself, your family or others to any of these materials. Exposures can occur by sifting through and/or moving ash and debris, causing ash to become airborne and inhaled or ingested.

Household waste such as spoiled food from your refrigerator and freezer needs to be disposed of properly. The County is setting up dumpsters at various locations in evacuation areas for this type of waste. No other type of waste, but food waste will be accepted at these locations. Waste drop off locations will be open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at:

  • Eagle Peak Middle School – 8601 West Road, Redwood Valley, CA
  • Potter Valley Rodeo Grounds – 10747 Main Street, Potter Valley, CA

Mendocino County is working to secure assistance from State agencies that will ensure proper handling and disposal of debris and ash from the fire. In the meantime, in order to protect your health and the health of your neighbors and your community, property owners are strongly recommended to not begin cleanup activities at this time. In addition our local landfill is not currently prepared to accept fire debris.

Mendocino County is also working with state agencies to safely collect and dispose of household hazardous waste products from burned buildings.

Because ash and debris generated in the fire may be considered hazardous waste, do not transport ash or debris to landfills and transfer stations at this time. It is recommended that debris and ash from burned structures remain undisturbed until further instructions are issued. This recommendation is in place to protect the health of anyone who may come into contact with the waste, including solid waste facility employees, solid waste haulers, and the public.

For more information or for locations, please contact the Emergency Operation Center at (707) 467-6428.

Carmel J. Angelo, Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer

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For information on the Mendocino Lake Complex fire — including evacuation areas and shelters — and to check the status of your home, call 707-467-6428. If you can’t get through you can try dialing the county’s information number at 211.

  • To be notified of evacuations, register with the Sheriff’s Office emergency alert system found on their website.
  • Supervisor and local veterinarian Georgeanne Croksey urges people with horses at the fairgrounds to move them to the Boonville fairgrounds where there are lots of pens, in order to free up some room for newly incoming horses as they are found. Donations for animal care can be made at Rainbow Ag in Ukiah, the County Animal Shelter on Plant Road, the Willits High School and the Redwood Valley Humane Society on Uva Drive.

County fire info web-page:

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CAL FIRE NOW HAS TWO TEAMS in the fire zone taking photos and assessing damage and will be continuing the next couple of days. As those assessments come in, Cal Fire will meet one on one with property owners to explain the condition of their property.

“This is an uncomfortable situation. It’s a personal thing. We understand,” he said.

“Be prepared for bad news,” Allman told the audience.

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The death toll from the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire is up to eight for the Redwood Incident, and Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said Thursday afternoon that the number is going to go up.

All of the deaths stem from the first night of the fire, he said. Authorities are not releasing the names of the victims.

Allman also said that the number of homes and structures destroyed — last reported at 50 homes and 40 other structures — will probably double.

The fire is now at 32,100 acres and 5 percent contained. An estimated 5,000 people have been displaced in evacuations.

Allman said he flew over the area Thursday and it was “more devastating” than he had imagined.

He spent a lot of time impressing upon the public that the fire is not over and people simply cannot go back to their homes, even if they know their homes were untouched by the flames.

Cal Fire staff said the winds are expected to grow on Friday, through the weekend, and the fire could spread quickly at a moment’s notice with winds predicted to come from the north and northeast — the same pattern of the winds last Sunday.

“I am very uncomfortable with the weather pattern that’s coming,” said Cal Fire spokesman Ron Bravo.

Cal Fire said they are still making good progress and are concentrating on strengthening the fire lines that they have built around the edges of the fire. A mandatory evacuation of all of Potter Valley was ordered Wednesday afternoon, and while the fire did not spread as rapidly as feared, Cal Fire says it is still possible for the fire to take off again.

“We still have a few crazy days ahead of us,” said Cal Fire incident manager Steve Kaufman from Ventura County, adding that he does not see major repopulation of any of the fire areas in sight. The coming weather “is a huge concern to us. We have one day (Thursday) to get those lines prepared for the winds coming tomorrow (Friday) night.”

(Courtesy, The Ukiah Daily Journal)

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THE CORONER’S OFFICE has identified three of the eight persons who have died so far during the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire which started during the early morning hours of 10-09-2017.

Kai Logan Shepherd (14 years old from Redwood Valley, CA). Found near his family residence in the 11300 block of West Road in Redwood Valley. It appears he was attempting to evacuate the area on foot when he was overtaken by the fire.

Roy Howard Bowman (87 years old from Redwood Valley, CA) Found in the burnt remains of his residence in the 4000 block of Fisher Lake Drive in Redwood Valley. The residence was completely destroyed by the fire.

Irma Elsie Bowman (88 years old from Redwood Valley, CA) found in the burnt remains of her residence in the 4000 block of Fisher Lake Drive in Redwood Valley. Their residence was completely destroyed by the fire. Roy Howard Bowman and Irma Elsie Bowman were a married couple.

(Sheriff’s Press Release)

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IN AN OMINOUS FORECAST for the fire-ravaged region, the National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch for winds gusting up to 60 mph Friday night in the North Bay hills. Winds of that magnitude would mirror the conditions that gave rise to the firestorm that roared late Sunday over the hills from Calistoga, bringing death and widespread destruction to Sonoma County. “It would be catastrophic,” Cal Fire Capt. Richard Cordova said. “We would have no control over the fire.” He said marginal containment of the largest blaze, the Tubbs fire, would be wiped out, noting the other wildfires in the region have little containment. “We would be starting from square one again.” Cordova said Cal Fire’s own forecasts call for smaller gusts: up to 40 mph in the hills Friday night. Weather service predictions for 50 mph gusts Wednesday never materialized. Meanwhile, smoke from the North Bay fires fouled the air Thursday throughout the San Francisco Bay area, with unhealthy air levels recorded from Concord in Contra Costa County to Redwood City in San Mateo County. “It was a bad-air day for most of the area,” said Tom Flannigan, a spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The district measures small particle pollution, typically associated with wood burning, at 17 locations and 13 recorded an “unhealthy” level of pollution Thursday, well above the federal health standard. Napa had the worst score and was alone in touching the highest level, deemed “very unhealthy.” Vallejo, San Rafael and San Pablo also had high counts of unhealthy air. Sebastopol, where the air district’s only Sonoma County monitor is located, was in the moderate range most of the day and even recorded a “good” level in the late afternoon. Air district officials said Sonoma County as a whole has had the dirtiest air ever recorded by the district since the wildfires erupted Sunday night. The fire weather watch issued Thursday covers the period from 5 p.m. Friday to 11 p.m. Saturday, with warm, dry north winds of 25 to 35 mph in the hills Friday, growing stronger during the night with gusts approaching 60 mph, meteorologist Rick Canepa said. The combination of wind, low humidity and bone-dry wildland fuel adds up to “critical fire weather conditions,” he said. “It’s extremely dangerous.” Winds are expected to abate by Saturday afternoon to the 15 to 30 mph range in the North Bay hills and mountains, Canepa said. On Sunday, winds are forecast to be lighter still, he said. Rain would be welcome, and there’s a possibility of light rain in the North Bay and around the Bay Area late next week, Canepa said. Up to three-quarters of an inch of rain could fall Thursday and Friday, he said, acknowledging that more would be better.

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The following areas will be allowed to repopulate. EVACUATION ORDERS for these areas are lifted, but will remain under EVACUATION WARNING:

The Redwood Valley community south of the following locations:

  1. West Road south of and including Laughlin Way
  2. Laughlin Way south of Bakers Creek
  3. East Road south of Held Road
  4. Road I to Colony Drive (excluding Madrone Lane)
  5. East of US-101
  6. North of Highway 20
  7. West of Ricetti Lane at the entrance of Black Bart Trail

Hard Road Closures will be at the following locations. Only Fire, Law Enforcement, and Public Utilities may pass:

  1. Laughlin Way at Bakers Creek Road
  2. Laughlin Way at West Road
  3. East Road at Held Road
  4. Madrone Lane at Road I
  5. Colony Drive at Road I
  6. Ricetti Lane at the entrance to Black Bart Trail

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The following areas will be allowed to repopulate. EVACUATION ORDERS for these areas are lifted, but will remain under EVACUATION WARNING:

  1. Communities of Golden Rule Mobile Home park, Ridgewood Ranch, and Reeves Canyon Road
  2. Madrone Lane accessed off of Road I
  3. Redwood Avenue including Redwood Valley Rancheria

Potter Valley in the following areas:

  1. Eel River Road south of the Stroh Ranch
  2. Powerhouse Road
  3. Gibson Lane east of Hawn Creek Road
  4. Hawn Creek Road
  5. Main Street east of Hawn Creek
  6. Westside Potter Valley Road
  7. Spring Valley Road
  8. Potter Valley Road from Highway 20 to Main Street (excluding Shale Lane)
  9. Remainder of the Potter Valley community, including everything west of the Lake County line

HARD ROAD CLOSURES will be at the following locations. Only Fire, Law Enforcement, and Public Utilities may pass:

  1. Eel River Road at Oat Gap
  2. Potter Valley Road south of Stroh Ranch
  3. Busch Lane at Powerhouse Road
  4. Gibson Lane at Hawn Creek Road
  5. Shale Lane at Potter Valley Road

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Residents returning to these areas should exercise extreme caution. Fire, Law Enforcement, and utility crews continue to work in the area, and there are many downed trees and other hazards. As these areas will remain under an EVACUATION WARNING, residents should be prepared to evacuate again on short notice.

Cooperating Agencies: Mendocino County, Lake County; Lake County Sheriff's Office; CAL OES; California Highway Patrol; CALTRANS; California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation; American Red Cross; PG&E; United States Forest Service; California National Guard; National Weather Service; California Conservation Corps

(CAL FIRE Media Advisories)

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DRIVING SOUTH Thursday afternoon, fire smoke began north of Geyserville and continued all the way to Novato, a distance of about fifty miles. On the fire maps it looks like big clumps of flame here and there east of 101, but eyeballing to the east it looks more like big fires, medium fires, little fires in a jagged line moving west. Healdsburg, usually packed with visitors on an otherwise perfect Fall day, was virtually deserted. About three Friday afternoon, the news arrived that "north Geyserville" was under a mandatory evacuation order. Thursday afternoon, the smoke was still over the ridge. And the tv chuckle buddies are positively vibrating at the prospect of big winds Friday night that would drive the fifty miles of flame in new directions and new tragedies.

AMONG THE DELUGE of sad stories inspired by the fire disaster, one that stuck in my craw was the one about the lady who spent a whole day making sandwiches for the hundreds of people forced into a shelter, only to be turned away because her sandwiches weren't "certified," meaning they weren't shrink-wrapped, pre-approved by disaster bureaucrats.

THE AIR QUALITY in much of the Bay Area this week has at times been comparable to — or even worse than — Beijing, one of the most notoriously polluted cities in the world, as smoke from the Wine Country wildfires drifts south and settles over the region.

THE PITY PARTIES have started in Willits. The bitching seems to be about PG&E not getting gas on fast enough. The guys are working 18 hour days, are from out of the area, have to drive an hour to get a room for sleep and are taking crap from some whiny ass who wants his or her morning shower…pathetic! We have folks who have lost everything, some have lost their lives and people are bitching about hot water…outrageous! When you see a PG&E guy, or any responder give them a thumbs up or say thank you. Without those folks we would be in a world of hurt…

PROBABLY not the right time for petty cavils, but I wonder if I'm the only person who finds signers irritating. I've wondered for years how crucial they are to breaking news events. A deaf guy told me years ago that all the deaf people he knows have their own info networks. Watching a tv signer this morning who was about twice the size of the speakers, I found her such a distraction that I lost track of what the speakers were saying (sic). And I had to laugh when the first signer at the Vegas massacre was signing stuff like, "The pizza jumped over the moon." The hearing impaired called in right away to complain he didn't know what he was signaling. For purely local events, maybe the in-charge person could ask for a show of hands. "How many of you people need sign language?" If none....

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Friday, October 13, 2017 thru Sunday, October 15, 2017

Smoke and haze from the wildfires in northern California and the Redwood – Lake Complex in Redwood and Potter Valleys are degrading the air quality and reducing visibility. Current active wildfires are within and to the north, east, and south of Mendocino County.

Weather forecast models are for lighter northerly winds into Friday, but gusts return Friday night through Saturday with a fire weather watch. Communities downwind from these wildfires are most likely to be impacted: Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Calpella, Ukiah, Hopland, and Willits. While surrounding wildfires are active expect unpredictable intense smoke impacts to air quality followed by multiple periods of some relief.

Currently air monitors show particulate matter concentrations in the 'Good' range for most of Mendocino County. However, inland areas of Mendocino County are experiencing episodes of 'Unhealthy ' ranges. This may continue for the rest of this week and the next until the fires are out.

Air quality in the 'Unhealthy' range affects everyone. When air quality is in this range, it is advised to limit prolonged or heavy activity and time spent outdoors. If possible, stay indoors and avoid strenuous activity. Smoke in heavy concentrations can cause eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing. People who are at greatest risk of experiencing symptoms due to smoke include: those with respiratory disease (such as asthma), those with heart disease, young children, and older adults. These sensitive populations should stay indoors and avoid prolonged activity. Even healthy adults can be affected by smoke. When air conditions are 'Unhealthy,' everyone should limit prolonged or heavy exertion activities outdoors.

Persons experiencing any of the following symptoms should contact a health care provider:

Headache; Repeated Coughing; Chest Tightness Or Pain; Difficulty In Breathing; or Nausea. According to Mendocino County’s Public Health Officer, Constance Caldwell, M.D., “Heavy smoke can pose a danger to everyone. If you can smell or taste smoke, or experience itchy eyes or a scratchy throat, this is unhealthy and you should stay indoors as much as possible. Those with heart or lung disease, including asthma, should consider leaving areas of heavy smoke if possible. If not, individuals with these health conditions should stay indoors with doors and windows closed as much as possible. In heavy smoke, everyone should avoid unnecessary strenuous outdoor activity.”

New fire activity and wind directions and wind speeds can change at any time. It is advised to be prepared and stay informed. Impacts to the air quality will be most noticeable in the evening to early morning hours.

Mendocino County Air Quality Management District has particulate monitors running continuously measuring our air quality. These monitors report particulate matter concentrations hourly to the air District’s website. To get the latest air quality information for Mendocino County visit:

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California’s property tax laws provide a mechanism for the Assessor to adjust assessed values to recognize destruction caused by a calamity or misfortune which damages real or personal property. To qualify for a calamity adjustment, the property must have suffered more than $10,000 worth of damage and the owner must file a claim with the Assessor within twelve (12) months of the date of calamity. Claim forms can be found on the Assessor Clerk-Recorder website located at:  You may also obtain a form by contacting our office at (707)234-6800 or in person at 501 Low Gap Rd., Room 1020 in Ukiah.

Owners of properties who suffered qualifying damage in the October 2017 Redwood Complex fires can also apply to delay payment of the December 10, 2017 first installment of their 2017-18 property tax bill. A request for deferral is included with the calamity reassessment claim form, which must be filed no later than December 10, 2017. Taxes would be deferred until thirty (30) days following receipt of the corrected bill that reflects the temporary reduction in value caused by the fires.

Should you have any questions please contact Mendocino County Assessor Susan M. Ranochak at (707) 234-6826 or by email

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by Rex Gressett

The City of Fort Bragg and the world were memorializing genocide on the Monday (Columbus Day) normally set appointed for the bi-weekly meeting. So the City Council met Tuesday. There were seven (7) people in attendance. By the time the Humane Society Director Chuck Tourtillott finished up his annual report on the animal shelter, attendance was down to four… Then three. It was nostalgic to observe the empty room. In the not so long ago old days of City Manager Linda Ruffing and her cabal with Councilmen Dave Turner and Doug Hamerstrom this was the way all Fort Bragg City Council meetings looked. It was like being transported back in time. The council rejoiced greatly. Everybody was in a festive mood. The empty chairs were reassuring to the officials on hand. Release from the pressure of months of intense public scrutiny and low grade scandal over the Hostility (aka Hospitality) House controversy hit the council like recess impacts a restless third grader.

Mayor Lindy Peters had a slide show of his trip to Japan (Fort Bragg’s sister city is Otschuci, Japan), musing that it would have been interesting to actually understand the language. There was gladness in the presentation of the Mayor’s recognition awards and joy in the return of the city council to its accustomed role as city boosters.

The city added two more employees to the payroll. Laura Bianchi Limbird, a finance technician, and Diane O’Conner who will work in city engineering.

It has been pointed out with gravitas and fierceness that the subtraction of two existing employees at Town Hall would solve the budget deficit. Instead they added two more. Back when the deficit was a surprise to the council making a tough call like reducing Town Hall staffing sounded like a responsible choice and was batted around behind the scenes by various council members. But actual budget reduction ended up being on nobody’s particular agenda. The addition of two more public servants was greeted with supportive smiles by everyone including a harmonious City Council. Deficit financing to increase what they see as the inevitable and highly necessary growth of personnel at City Hall is no problem for city administration. Just hire them and the electorate will pay for it.

They puttered around with a $43,000 chunk of money that had fallen on us unexpectedly from the state sales tax increase approved in SB-1. It was painfully obvious that the $43,000 that trickled down to our little berg was a bit of surprise and they had no preconceived idea what to do with it. It was not enough to do anything big with and the criteria for receiving the money included the proviso that the recipients be able to identify specifically what projects it would be spent on. They decided to use the little windfall to fix cracks in the sidewalks.

A participant from among the attendees (me) took a moment during public comment to ask about the progress on the Mayor’s six month Homeless Study period. A comprehensive roster of 15 county agencies had been summoned to Fort Bragg by the mayor three months ago to participate in a six month study of homelessness. This study was intended, they told us, for critical evaluation of homelessness and to be a search for innovation. They wanted to consider the basic issues of homelessness and review city and county programs for dealing with it all. Since that seminal meeting there has not been one single letter, report, conference, discussion or proposal. The lame duck city manager, Ms Ruffing, jumped into the embarrassing silence and declared that she had intended to handle the Homelessness study, conference and discussion for the Mayor but her imminent departure made her participation in that kind of long-range planning impractical.

The city now has a homeless study period (half expired) underway with no results and no meetings, no policy, and no proposals declaring its failure to launch in advance. If there was ever a moment in which the supine dependence of the council on the City Manager was evident, this was it.

Fort Bragg also has a brand new ad hoc committee of the City Council for our only homeless shelter Hostility House. Although it is early, this committee has also not had a meeting or even proposed one. We are assured that the theatrical gesturing will continue.

Then the council moved on to the main order of business, Hiring and paying the executive management consulting firm who for $27,000 will send us our next top technocrat. What we know so far is that the next City Manager will be from out of town. We will pay for them to move here. They will not know our city or anything about it. They will not be responsible to the electorate except through the City Council. They will understand nothing of our history or our sensibilities, but they will know how they did it somewhere else. They will be paid at the very top end of the payscale for City Managers in California.

Peckham and McKenney Inc. of Roseville California, will be referring candidates to us. The city council agreed to include five grand for travel expenses so certain elite candidates can drop by on our dime.

The gradual accretion of power by the inner sanctums of City Hall that occurred under Linda Ruffing at the expense of the legitimate power of the City Council occasioned massive grumbling dissatisfaction over the better part of two decades. It gradually became clear to the electorate that whatever the myth of self government in America, in our town the elected City Council was as much the slave of the top technocrat as the people of the city. For years voters in the city demanded that the council act, but two election cycles and a half were required to find the will in the City Council to restrain the power of what had become our own home grown autocrat.

The new City Council is charting its own way but it is very weak. Their opportunity in the termination of City Manager Linda Ruffing to direct and resolve and to discuss has now born what will probably be its final fruit. They have done their jobs as they see them. Now they will be waiting for the new city manager to arrive so that the council can once again be told what they responsibly can or can’t do.

We are done with one City Manager, but it is very certain that we have not replaced her with an activist council chastened by the experience of disempowerment. The long habit of unknowing obedience and ineffective pretense has left our City Council utterly dependent on City Hall administration and addicted to the falsities that the putative employees of the council spin. The Fort Bragg City Council does not, and apparently cannot lead. At least they have shown no evidence of it. The myth that they provide restraint and direction to the city manager is a fig leaf for their own incapacity. We rejoiced when they fired an autocrat. We can reasonably expect that they will hire another one. We don’t expect to rejoice.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Strictly speaking, keeping birds safe from Skrag is not part of my job description, but whenever I see him coming anywhere near where we feed our avian friends, I tell him, ‘I catch you with a bird, you maniac, I'm gonna make sure you get a bell on your collar’!"

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HOPLAND, MENDOCINO (OF COURSE) AND GUALALA have undergrounded their power lines. Boonville languishes on some kind of eternal list. All power lines should be buried. Although lots of people are pointing at PG&E's downed power lines and exploding transformers as the cause of the catastrophe, no one has demanded that power lines be buried.

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LIFE GOES ON. Fort Bragg convenes a joint city council and planning commission meeting Monday night, 7pm, at Town Hall which, ironically given this week's events, wouldn't exist if the Cocaine Cowboys of '87 hadn't burned down the library and the old Ten Mile Justice Court. The meeting will discuss the Mill Site plan.

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THE LAST THING WE NEED: A 4.0 earthquake centered near Redwood Valley jolted inland Mendocino County about 4:30 Friday afternoon. The earthquake was described by the USGS as "shallow," less than a third of a mile down, which means there is less distance to attenuate its impacts, and according to USGS was likely felt all the way from Fort Bragg on the coast clear across to the Central Valley, and down to Cloverdale.

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I PREDICTED several months ago that Trump would be out by Christmas. He's right on track. Every day a new provocation. This system runs on the delusion that it's rational. Trump is living proof of how irrational it is. He's destabilizing the necessary fantasy that it's not the grand Ponzi it is. The system needs a blandly non-threatening person at the helm. Obama was perfect, charming his way through 8 years of accumulating catastrophes, steadily doing his bit to add to them. But now? When you have people inside the administration publicly insulting Trump as a fucking moron (begging the question of what kind of fucking moron goes to work for him), the countdown to his removal has begun.

TRUE TO FORM of his established habit of daily provocation, Trump unleashed a pre-dawn tweet threat Friday addressing two major health-care moves the day before. “The Democrats’ ObamaCare is imploding,” Trump wrote. “Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!” Late Thursday, the White House confirmed reports that it would cut off subsidy payments to insurers selling coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Just hours earlier, Trump signed an executive order calling for new regulations from federal agencies to encourage cheaper and loosely regulated health-insurance plans.

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Anderson Valley Foodshed Shindig
Saturday, October 14th at 6:00 PM
The Shed (Behind Paysanne Ice Cream Shop)

We hope you are all safe from the fires, and for those that have been affected we are keeping you close in our hearts and thoughts. We are going to continue with the ShinDig as planned, as it feels important to come together as a community in times like these. We will be fundraising for fresh local food in the AV schools and also for farmers in the County that have been affected by the fires. Dress warmly, as the event will be indoors as well as outdoors. Please remember to RSVP if you haven't already, so that we know how many to cook for. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow night.

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The Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) considered on October 2nd whether or not to accept its staff recommendation to support Caltrans in their effort to replace the historic Albion River Bridge. Here is the testimony I made before MCOG to not do this so that we can preserve this perfectly safe bridge as California’s last wooden trestle highway bridge left.

Good afternoon. My name is Tom Wodetzki, and I have had the privilege of living in Albion for the past 42 years. I thank you for taking time to review the Albion River Bridge issue and welcoming our input.

First, I want to address Phil Dow’s staff report, in which he concluded that MCOG should support Caltrans replacing the Albion River Bridge, based on, in Phil’s words: “The existing bridge is functionally obsolete and structurally deficient.”

While the term “functionally obsolete” sounds to some people as meaning that the bridge is unsafe, here it simply means it doesn’t meet today’s ideal design standards in that it lacks pedestrian and bicycle lanes. But there are tens of thousands of "functionally obsolete" bridges in the country, including the Golden Gate Bridge and most Highway 1 bridges north of Albion, yet they are safe and functional, and there is no legal requirement that they must be replaced.

As far as the Albion River Bridge being “structurally deficient,” in Caltrans’ first public meeting about the bridge, their primary concern was that a tsunami might damage the bridge. The scenario being described involved a 1-in-a-1000-year tsunami. Even in that unlikely event, though, Caltrans said the bridge would actually survive, but it might be damaged by debris when the waters receded.

When the absurdity of these long odds threat became apparent, Caltrans dropped it and instead used the rationale that the wooden deck was crushed and rotted. But later Caltrans’ examinations proved that the deck was actually sound. So then the rationale shifted to connectors, saying "nuts and bolts have historically required replacement every two years.” The important word "some" before “nuts and bolts” was conveniently omitted. In fact many have been there for decades.

Similarly, Caltrans alleged the supporting trestle timbers are rotted. Again, the word "some" was omitted; most timbers are in good shape, as Caltrans now documents.

As for the bridge’s vulnerability to earthquakes, it has a sufficiency rating of 74.8, which is better than most of the bridges in California, including the Golden Gate Bridge.

And lastly, at the most recent Caltrans meeting in Albion there were vague dark references to environmental dangers associated with arsenic leaching from the bridge timbers. There was no discussion of the enormous environmental impact dismantling the bridge would cause, releasing toxins into the environment and generating tons of toxic waste. Nor was there any discussion of the huge volume of greenhouse gasses that would be released associated with the construction of a new concrete bridge.

This fact-checking is all to point out that Caltrans has an agenda—to build new bridges—and they skew their reports and presentations toward that end. But we should not accept their agenda when it distorts reality, and when it would destroy an historic treasure like the Albion River Bridge.

There used to be hundreds of wooden trestle bridges up and down the California coast, carrying logs on railroad trestle bridges, and wagons and later cars, on roadway trestle bridges. Populating the north coast would not have been possible without these wooden trestle bridges. But where are they today? Alas, only one survives. The Albion River Bridge is the last wooden trestle bridge on the California coast. We owe it to our history, and future generations, to preserve this final remaining wooden trestle bridge. It is truly worthy of its recent placement on The National Register of Historic Places and on The California Register of Historical Resources. Historic assets like this bridge, the Skunk Train and Mendocino village support thousands of us on the coast dependent on tourism, as well as our county’s coffers.

In conclusion, the Albion River Bridge does, and with your help, will continue to safely fulfill the same purpose it has served for 73 years. I ask MCOG to support preserving, not destroying, this historic, and perfectly safe, treasure.

* * *

EMMA THOMPSON told the BBC News that behavior like Harvey Weinstein's is 'endemic to the system,' and something she has experienced with 'many' other men in similar power positions over the years. Asked if there were others in Hollywood like Weinstein, she said: "Of course, many, many...I spent my 20s trying to keep old men’s tongues out of my mouth." She also dismissed the idea that Weinstein's behavior was the result of addiction. "I don't think you can describe him as a sex addict. He's a predator, an actual predator; he's dangerous and what he's done and what he's doing is criminal. What I find sort of extraordinary is that this man is at the top of a very particular iceberg, the top of the ladder of is a system of harassment, and belittling, and bullying, and interference, and what my mother would have referred to in the old days as 'pestering.'"

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Friday, October 13, 2017

Ceja, Haith, King, Lugo-Blandon

RODOLFO CEJA III, Ukiah. Burglary, suspended license, probation revocation.

BRADFORD HAITH JR., San Rafael/Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

ASHLEY KING, Clearlake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.


K.C.Madigan, K.K. Madigan, Madsen, Sanders

KERRY C. MADIGAN, Redwood Valley. Willful injury to child with possible injury or death, evasion by reckless driving.

KERRY K. MADIGAN, Ukiah. Unspecified Fish & Game Code violation.

JASON MADSEN, Redwood Valley. Unspecified violation.

THOMAS SANDERS, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

Williams, Wood, Yonts-Baughman

WILLIAM WILLIAMS JR., Willits. First degree robbery, probation revocation.

DUSTIN WOOD, Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear, probation revocation.

SUZANNE YONTS-BAUGHMAN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

* * *


In the early 90’s I spent some time in LA, as a consultant. My co-worker grew up in the LA area, and had relatives still there. One, a cousin, was one of the Hollywood Handsome, Husky Hazel-eyed and Hairy Chested leads in a once popular ’50’s Tee Vee series…played Jim Bowie, or some such. The cousin was, at one time, approached by Rock Hudson, who promised him a good shot at a movie career for… accommodations….the cousin refused, and has not worked in the business in decades.

He said he wonders about it often….Should he have taken one for the team? Fame, fortune, a shot at being a prince of the city?

It was basically what Harvey W was offering…a chance at wealth and fame for a bit of unpleasant work….

* * *


by James Kunstler

I took myself to the new movie Blade Runner 2049 to see what kind of future the Hollywood dream-shop is serving up these days. It was an excellent illustration of the over-investments in technology with diminishing returns that are dragging us into collapse and of the attendant techno-narcissism that afflicts the supposedly thinking class in this society, who absolutely don’t get what this collapse is about. The more computer magic Hollywood drags into the picture, the less coherent their story-telling gets. Hollywood is collapsing, and it’s not just because of Harvey Weinstein’s antics.

Movies of this genre are really always more about the current moment than about the future, and Blade Runner 2049 is full of hilarious retro-anachronisms — things around us now which will probably not be in the future. The signature trope in many sci-fi dystopias of recent times is the assumed ever-presence of automobiles.

The original Mad Max was little more than an extended car chase — though apparently all that people remember about it is the desolate desert landscape and Mel Gibson’s leather jumpsuit. As the series wore on, both the vehicles and the staged chases became more spectacularly grandiose, until, in the latest edition, the movie was solely about Charlize Theron driving a truck. I always wondered where Mel got new air filters and radiator hoses, not to mention where he gassed up. In a world that broken, of course, there would be no supply and manufacturing chains.

So, of course, Blade Runner 2049 opens with a shot of the detective played by Ryan Gosling in his flying car, zooming over a landscape that looks more like a computer motherboard than actual earthly terrain. As the movie goes on, he gets in and out of his flying car more often than a San Fernando soccer mom on her daily rounds. That actually tells us something more significant than all the grim monotone trappings of the production design, namely, that we can’t imagine any kind of future — or any human society for that matter — that is not centered on cars.

But isn’t that exactly why we’ve invested so much hope and expectation (and public subsidies) in the activities of Elon Musk? After all, the Master Wish in this culture of wishful thinking is the wish to be able to keep driving to Wal Mart forever. It’s the ultimate fantasy of a shallow “consumer” society. The people who deliver that way of life, and profit from it, are every bit as sincerely wishful about it as the underpaid and overfed schnooks moiling in the discount aisles. In the dark corners of so-called postmodern mythology, there really is no human life, or human future, without cars.

This points to the central fallacy of this Sci-fi genre: that technology can defeat nature and still exist. This is where our techno-narcissism comes in fast and furious. The Blade Runner movies take place in and around a Los Angeles filled with mega-structures pulsating with holographic advertisements. Where does the energy come from to construct all this stuff? Supposedly from something Mr. Musk dreams up that we haven’t heard about yet. Frankly, I don’t believe that such a miracle is in the offing.

The denizens of this 2049 Los Angeles are a rabble of ragged scavengers bolting down bowls of ramen in the never-ending drizzle. Apparently they have nothing to do, nothing useful or gainful, that is. So you can’t help wondering how this hypothetical economy supports such a population of no-accounts. I mean, we do know how our current economy supports the millions who are out of the work force, bolting their ramen between visits to the tattoo parlor: by giveaways based on pervasive accounting fraud backed by the now dwindling supply of oil that can be profitably extracted from the ground. But that won’t continue much longer. Know why? Because things that can’t go on, don’t.

One thing Blade Runner 2049 gets right in its retro-anachronistic borrowings from the present is the awesome joylessness of the culture. The artistry in this vision of the future is especially vivid in illuminating the absence of real artistry in contemporary “postmodern” American life. Sleek mechanical surfaces are everything, with no substance beneath the surface.

I walked out after two hours, and there was plenty more to go. It was too dreary, and too intellectually insulting to endure. I don’t blame Ryan Gosling, though. His look of doleful skepticism throughout the proceedings was perfect.

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

* * *


"On Wednesday, October 11, at approximately 5:20 pm, officers of the Fort Bragg Police Department were dispatched to 721 River Drive (North Coast Family Health Center) for the report of a male subject inside the healthcare facility lobby with a rifle.

Initial reports indicated the male subject was inside the healthcare facility lobby and had discharged the firearm.

Officers responded in a tactical manner prepared for what was initially perceived as a potential active shooter situation.

Upon approach to the front of the facility, officers discovered several healthcare and EMS workers standing over a deceased male subject lying in front of the entrance. The male subject was determined to have discharged a single gunshot at himself, causing no other injury or damage.

Eyewitnesses to the incident confirmed that the male victim had carried a scoped rifle to the front of the facility, sat down, and discharged one round.

Witness statements indicated that the male victim had not directly threatened any other lives or property prior to sitting down and discharging one round.

The male victim was determined deceased at scene due to one self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Fort Bragg Police Department is requesting that any witnesses who may have been in the area at the time of the incident, or witnessed any suspicious activity in the area leading up to the incident, contact Officer Thomas O’Neal at 707-961-2800 ext.167."

* * *


A traditional Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser will be held at the Whitesboro Grange on Saturday, October 14th from 4-7 p.m. On the menu are salad, spaghetti with Bob Canclini’s famous sauce (meat or vegetarian), garlic bread, beverage and homemade pie or cake for dessert. Adults $8, age 6-12 half price, children under 6 eat free. The community and public are invited for a great meal and gathering. Whitesboro Grange is located 1.5 miles east on Navarro Ridge. Watch for signs just south of the Albion Bridge.

* * *


Create art for your garden! Two weekends — three projects, October 14, 15, 21, and 22 from 10:00AM to 4:00PM

Join James Maxwell, local multimedia artist and author, for an exploration in concrete sculpture. This four-day learning opportunity will teach you to create and mold TUFA concrete, a highly accurate detailed veneer for garden art. All students will leave the class with more ideas and more courage to try something new!

Questions: Please email class organizer, Linda Brown (

Fees/Admission: Final Day To Register for the class; only a couple spaces left! $225 for two weekends (Sat, Sun) — Class size is limited to 16 people. Payment is due upon sign-up. Please note, workshop fees are non-refundable after Saturday, October 7, 2017, unless the workshop has been canceled or rescheduled by the Gardens. Reserve your space by phoning 707-964-4352 ext. 16 or just stop by The Garden Store at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

* * *


by Mark Strand


In a field

I am the absence

of field.

This is

always the case.

Wherever I am

I am what is missing.


When I walk

I part the air

and always

the air moves in

to fill the spaces

where my body’s been.


We all have reasons

for moving.

I move

to keep things whole.

* * *

Transformations That Are Simply Stunning

For those individuals among us who possess a talent for art, opportunities to create something beautiful can be found all around us. Everywhere you look, there are empty walls that are just crying out to become something more beautiful, if only someone would take the time. Thankfully, there are plenty of incredibly talented street artists out there who are doing just that, turning drab public spaces into explosions of color and creativity. Check out the gallery below to see some truly incredible transformations.

* * *


On 10-13-2017 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office learned residents of Mendocino County have been receiving phone calls from people claiming to be able to provide financial aid to fire victims. During these calls the caller has asked for personal information such as the resident's social security number. The public should be aware that these types of calls are from people trying to collect personal information for purposes of identity theft. Residents are urged not to provide their personal information to anyone under these circumstances.


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