- Thomas Fire
- Singley Cattlepass
- Courthouse Opposition
- Naked Emperor
- Class K
- Little Dog
- Eureka Crisis
- Branscomb Earthquake
- Counting Homeless
- Yesterday's Catch
- Abalone Problems
- Size Limits
- Water Management
- Replacement Costs
- Pharma Repubs
- California Utilities
- Foodshed News
- Witnessing Evil
- Neutrality Gone
- Weed Fortress
- Gathering Courage
- Ten Plagues
- America Today
- Blower Initiative
- Craiging Along
- County Vacancies
SOCAL FIRE UPDATE: Despite a couple of days of reduced winds and feverish efforts by firefighters to establish new containment lines, the 242,500-acre Thomas fire has surpassed the size of the Zaca fire, which scorched Santa Barbara County in 2007, according to Dave Zaniboni, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Firefighters hope the 240,207-acre Zaca fire burn scar, as well as the younger vegetation it contains, will help them fight the Thomas fire’s growth along its western edge.
Firefighters have taken advantage of a two-day lull in winds to increase fire containment to 30%. Those efforts could be tested soon, however, as forecasters predict a new blast of Santa Ana winds Thursday, and sundowner winds over Santa Barbara County on Friday, which are expected to move fires closer to Santa Barbara.
In Thursday’s incident report, fire officials said they didn’t expect to reach full containment of the blaze until Jan. 7 — more than three weeks from now.
CALTRANS ROAD INFO: Route 253 (1.2/2.0) – Highway repairs near Singley Cattlepass will occur on Friday, December 15. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Motorists should anticipate 15-minute delays
MENDOCINO COUNTY DA DAVID EYSTER is emphatically opposed to a new County Courthouse. Alone among the County’s elected officials in his opposition to the project, which would re-locate superior courtrooms four long blocks east of its present location, Eyster says the present Courthouse can be made perfectly serviceable, and for a lot less money than a new "glass box" in the already crowded hospital neighborhood on West Perkins.
There hasn't been so much as a sqeak of concern from either the Ukiah City Council or the County Board of Supervisors at a proposal that would massively disrupt public and county business simply for the convenience of nine persons — the Superior Court judges themselves. They want new quarters, no one else does.
Fortunately for the functioning of the County’s legal system and the convenience of the unconsulted public, the new Courthouse project is presently stalled in its funding pipeline. But it's inexorably inching towards reality unless the formidable District Attorney is joined in an effort to stop it.
“I am not a proponent of a new Courthouse,” the County’s top law enforcement officer declared Tuesday. “What you’ve been told is that the present Courthouse is a dangerous building because it is not earthquake-safe. In the last earthquate, as Napa was falling, this place looked out onto downtown Ukiah with no impact on it.”
The DA proceeded to systematically rebut the arguments for the new structure.
“Ok, if it’s old, you can do some work to make it safe and workable. They say it's dangerous for security. I can show you how that can be fixed. The front the Courthouse is just plain ugly. I think that’s a selling point to rehab this building because the ugly front facade takes up a lot of space that can be re-done as a usable, attractive work area. The back side of the Courthouse is perfect and beautiful. And it is historically significant. The front of the Courthouse can be made beautiful, too.”
An hour later the DA conducted us on a tour of the premises. As we walked, he made a convincing case for a major re-do of the existing old structure some of which goes back to Mendocino County's beginning. It's clear the energetic prosecutor has given a re-model a lot of thought.
“They say it’s not safe to move prisoners through the building shared with the general public,” the DA continued. “I understand that. We can talk about that. I’ll show you how that safety issue can be overcome.”
Which he soon did, explaining that a re-model of the School Street entrance to the building is eminently doable to funnel defendants directly into a holding area and the elevators up to the courtrooms.
The ever-upwards cost estimates of the proposed new Courthouse?
“What’s the number?” Eyster demanded. “$96 million, or has it been revised? It’s come down lately. It was around $120 million at one point. I’ll say we can do what I’ll describe for $91 million,” he laughed. “In the private sector if I said I could do this under budget I’d get a bonus of half of what I saved! I’m for incentives to get things right.”
Eyster was critical of the apparent desire of the County’s judges to enjoy their own facilities. Exclusively. The proposed structure would house only their courtrooms and chambers and staff. “The new thinking with the courts is, we don’t want to share public facilities with any other entity. When we close the door at night we don’t want anyone in our building.”
“As you see,” Eyster said, referring to the unending bustle between the DA’s offices on the ground floor and the upstairs courtrooms, “we are constantly back and forth, up and down the stairs. We’re a workhorse operation — file it, get it here to there. It’s all on us. They [the judges] demand it all happen in a timely manner. We serve them.”
"If we have to shuttle up and down Perkins… Well, there goes the schedule."
The DA pointed out the window of his conference room at the random sprawl of busy West Perkins Street and State Street, the heart of Ukiah.
“Down past Rainbow Ag and the new sports bar there’s the railroad station. On days like this — bright, sunny, cheerful — maybe it’s relatively easy for us to get 50 to 100 cases up and down Perkins without the files falling apart on the street. But last year when all the cats and dogs were falling out of the sky, explain to me the means of getting the cases down the street safely and whole. We’d have to have drying rooms for our files.”
The DA remembers receiving the sales pitch for the new courtrooms on Perkins.
“It was Henderson and Nelson in that order. [Both judges are now retired.] It wasn’t a conversation about what do you think about it, it was: We’re doing this. Good luck to you, our ship is sailing a certain course and we don’t even know if you have a ticket.
DA media officer, Mike Geniella remembered, “One of them said we could have a golf cart system running back and forth.”
“As I sit in my office and watch State and Perkins,” Eyster replied, “I see lots of accidents. Golf carts running around downtown means there’s lots that can go wrong with that. This is an after-the-fact response to the judges' position of, This is what we’re doing. Ok, they said, you can help us by buying property down here for your offices. I don’t have that kind of purse, and the last time they discussed it with the County, they said no to any purchases of property for Courthouse offices. The County doesn't have the money, either.”
“One of the problems that this building has,” the DA conceded, “is asbestos. So we had an asbestos survey come in and they found some in our offices that we had to mitigate. Nothing significant. Experts came in from the Central Valley. They got it done inexpensively. None of the problems with this building are insurmountable, but the State Judicial Council says, We do what we want and you have to take it. They can do things by fiat.”
Eyster points to Auburn's showcase Courthouse.
“It looks like the old Courthouse that it is, but inside they have all the modern amenities; they incorporated everything into their old building. Knocking it down would have meant the loss of significant history. We can do that here. Look at the new courthouses around the state. They’re all glass boxes, designs that do not fit the character or history of this area. They make no effort to make their new buildings aesthetically pleasing. We already have enough things being pushed across Hospital Drive, and here comes a new courthouse? And the traffic coming off 101 at Perkins already backs up! The Courthouse only should have been moved if it was consolidated with a new jail. That's not happening."
* * *
DEPUTY CRAIG WALKER, appeared before the Board of Supervisors on a Tuesday morning in May of 2014 to make the following remarks during public expression:
“Good morning. Craig Walker appearing strictly in my capacity as President of the Deputy Sheriff's Association. You might be surprised that I'm here this morning not to talk about negotiations or money. Rather, We’d like to talk about an issue that we would like to take a stand on and we would welcome your participation as well. That would be the prospective new courthouse. I think everyone in the room is familiar with some of the well-known issues involved there and the impact it would have on the downtown should the courthouse be relocated. Although we share those sentiments, our organization is concerned about the county's potential exposure to costs that will be in our opinion forced upon us by the relocation. We are referring specifically to the idea that the proposed new courthouse would house strictly court employees and that the county employees who currently are housed within the existing court facility and nearby would have to travel that extra distance. We don't think that's a feasible alternative for the medium or long term. What we envision is the county being forced at some point to construct another building down by the new courthouse or lease space at substantial cost and that we would then be on the hook for maintenance of the old and abandoned facility and all of these things could easily run into the millions of dollars in cost for the county that the state, as far as we can tell, is not factoring into their planning. So for those reasons our organization is adamantly opposed to relocating the courthouse. We feel that some reasonable renovations to the existing structure could be made at a fraction of the cost. We realize that this project is being driven by the State Office of the Courts and not by the county and not by some other local agency. Nevertheless, we think that because of that ancillary exposure to the County and to the county employees that we really need to work together and oppose this project and we will be contacting the Governor’s office and the Administrative Office of the Court to express our displeasure and we would like to think that you would join us in that regard. Thank you.”
The Board did not inquire or comment on Deputy Walker’s remarks.
* * *
AT THIS POINT, the only way to get the Board of Supervisors to pay any attention to the New Courthouse Problem — which at this late date seems to be a done deal — would be for the DA to submit a “new courthouse budget” adding x-hundred thousand dollars per year to his otherwise well-managed budget to accommodate all the time, equipment, vehicles, and hassle he’ll have to waste on the logistics of running files and lawyers and clerks up and down West Perkins.
“I’m starting to think the Emperor knows he’s not wearing any clothes, he just wants us all to see his penis.”
SAVE CLASS K: THE KABIN KODE
Some big changes are in the works for Mendocino’s Class K Ordinance. If you want to see what they are considering, and want a chance to weigh in, read on!
The Mendocino Board of Supervisors has a Standing Committee (of Dan Hamburg and John McCowen) that met to consider a number of changes to the Class K Building Ordinance on Monday, December 11 at 9am. These proposals are very likely to go forward if we don’t email, call them or take some other action.
On Tues., December 19, McCowen and Hamburg plan to make their recommendations public, and send them to the rest of the Supervisors, who will meet on this as a full Board in early February (date not yet set). So we have just one week to make our opinions known to Hamburg and McCowen before they finalize their proposal. And then we have till February to work on the full Board. Now’s our chance to speak up!
Several of us attended the meeting on the 11th and were quite dismayed at the outcome. It appears that unless there is an overwhelming pushback that these recommendations will stand. They are essentially gutting Class K, perhaps our last avenue of relatively affordable housing. Between now and their finalizing of their proposal on the 19th we urge you to flood your Supervisor with emails and phone calls. And when we get the date of the Board meeting in February, we'll let everyone know. We hope that at that meeting the boardroom will be overflowing with an energized crowd.
Where do you stand? United We Stand? Where is our leverage? Please talk to each other, pass ideas around, time is short, this almost slipped under our radar. Don't wait! Tell everybody you know.
Below are the points the subcommittee is considering. At the meeting on the 11th we believe the subcommittee agreed to leave the minimum acreage to 1, and to allow an addition of a 750 square foot attached unit to the 2000 max square foot limit. Otherwise, most of the below points are likely to stand if we don't speak up. These are likely to add between $22,000 and $40,000+ to the cost of a Class K structure, (int fire suppress and perimeter foundation). That does NOT fit the definition of affordable.
Here's their recommendations as of Sept, with minor alterations mentioned above. All future Class K structures come into compliance with CA State Law and require automatic fire sprinklers in all single family residential structures. Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) requirements shall be required for all new single family residential structures. A perimeter foundation, as required by California Building Code (CBC), shall be required under all new single family residences, and all accessory structures greater than one story in height, unless otherwise determined by an engineer. Three (3) inspections will be required to obtain a Class K permit. A new single family residence shall be limited to 2,000 square feet of habitable space under Class K.
A minimum parcel size of five acres shall be required for any structure. The Class K Ordinance shall state that the most recently adopted version of the Uniform Building Code (UBC) would be the operative code. This would avoid the necessity of having to re-adopt Class K each time the UBC was re-adopted.
Stephanie Gold, Boonville
* * *
FORMER SUPERVISOR NORMAN DEVALL WRITES TO COUNTY COUNSEL, KATHARINE ELLIOT, RE CLASS K:
Class K revisions
Could you please respond to the following comment and question: While the Board of Supervisor’s Public Health and Safety Committee is considering significant changes to the requirements of Class K, there is considerable concern that most suggested modifications will result in higher costs and more restrictions thus limiting this important component to the Housing Element to the County’s General Plan. The Housing Element was drafted and considered with the Class K regulations as they existed at the time of ratification of the Element therefore wouldn’t such a change require CEQA review and modification to the Housing Element as costs would rise and affordable housing less available. Q: Wouldn’t an increase in restrictions and regulations to the Class K Element require a General Plan Amendment and CEQA review?
Norman de Vall, Elk/Mendocino
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag has been inviting a pal to eat breakfast with him. Of course I ratted him out, but do these people care? This place is turning into a kind of sanctuary city for freeloaders!”
CALIFORNIA REPORT: EUREKA IS ONE OF "MOST DANGEROUS AND DRUG-ADDICTED COMMUNITIES" IN THE STATE
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4.2 EARTHQUAKE NEAR BRANSCOMB WEDNESDAY 8:57 PM
The USGS reported a 4.2 magnitude earthquake Wednesday night @ 8:57 pm with an epicenter located 4.3 miles SSW of Branscomb.
The temblor was 3.7 miles deep and generated 590 reports of "feeling it."
The majority of the responses of "feeling it" came from Fort Bragg (244), Willits had 122 responses, Mendocino 43, Ukiah 42, Laytonville 31, Redwood Valley 12, Little River 11. Vacaville had three responses - they're 128.6 miles away and there was a report from Travis Air Force Base that is 130 miles away from the epicenter.
The farthest - and most unlikely report came from Mammoth Lakes - 291 miles from the epicenter.
Thursday morning, the quake was scaled back from 4.3 to 4.2 magnitude.
The MCNlistserv had a number of people report "feeling it" also:
"Did anyone else feel a big jolt? I'm in Cleone and my whole house shook for 2 seconds. Scary."
"Cleone. One smaller and one big shake."
"Yep, full on! Little River"
"Earthquake felt on Cameron Rd, Elk...three tremors"
"The house shook in Fort Bragg. All 4 of us felt it."
"Anybody feel the earth move a little at 8:58 pm, a couple of minutes ago? One definite shake. Northeast Ft. Bragg."
"Felt it here in Irish Beach."
"6.55 miles from us in Inglenook up on the north fork of the 10 Mile River. Good jolt."
"Yes, I felt two sharp jolts here in Mendo... grabbed the Chihuahua and headed for the back stairs. Really unsettling."
"Windows rattled North of the Albion Bridge.
"I felt in Manchester. There was a vibration from a metal shelf. Thought I was walking extra hard or something to make it vibrate."
"Law Rd - was thump, a pretty good one."
"This 100-year-old house by the Eagles Hall is on pier and post and had a good shake north to south a few times with a rumble, lucky no damage. House has good old redwood bones."
MENDOCINO COUNTY HOMELESS EXPERT: DEFINE LOCAL
by KC Meadows
Defining who is a local homeless person and who is not may be the next step for Mendocino County in the struggle to help the needy and weed out the undeserving.
That’s likely one of the recommendations to come from Robert Marbut, an expert in homeless studies who is working now on a report he intends to present to the county in March.
Marbut has been in town several times this winter and was in town Thursday to continue a series of meetings with local nonprofits, government agencies, local business owners and others to scope out the range of problems homelessness presents in this county.
He has already done five separate grid searches within the city of Ukiah counting homeless people and says he believes the number of homeless people on average may be lower than the traditional count assigned to us by the annual “point in time” homeless census, which this year reported 1,238 homeless people on one day in January, 50 percent of them in the Ukiah Valley. Marbut said he had a pretty steady count of 110 homeless people within the city limits.
That number includes what he calls the “travelers,” people in cars, RVs and vans (many of them parked at Walmart) who he says are generally not locals and who are “mooching” off our homeless programs.
Those people have a choice, he said, many of them with support systems from family or who earn money in the cannabis industry but come here because they know they won’t be hassled and can get free meals, clothes and camping equipment.
“They are on mommy and daddy’s tab and they stop here because no one does anything to them,” Marbut says.
Marbut says there are a few main categories of homeless people: veterans both male and female, domestic violence victims, the mentally ill, and substance abusers. Some categories cross over but there are still differences among them.
For instance, he says substance abuse among many of the chronically homeless is not recreational, because they simply can’t afford it, while substance abuse among the travelers is almost entirely recreational. The groups also are broken down into what he calls superchronic homegrown, shorter term homegrown, out-of-towner homeless and the traveler group in their RVs and vans and cars.
Marbut said one of his likely recommendations to the county will be that it’s time for us to start differentiating between the homeless people who are locals and who deserve our help and people who just come here to hang out and drain our services.
How to do that will mean policy decisions by the county supervisors, city councils and nonprofits.
Marbut says he believes there are several ways to do it that are relatively easy and verifiable.
First, ask the person, “Did you go to high school here?” If they say yes, their name will appear in a local high school yearbook.
Second, ask them “Do you have family alive or dead here?” Also easily verifiable.
Third, ask them if they can prove they once had an apartment or home here. They could produce an electric bill, or other proof of former occupancy somewhere.
It will be up to the community, Marbut says, to decide what “local” means. Six months in residence? Three years?
Once that has been decided, then all people looking for free food, clothing, or other services would have to prove local residency before gaining access to them. The county already has a data bank for homeless statistics which could easily be used to provide bona fides to the local homeless population.
“Whatever services the county pays for, or the city pays for or the nonprofits pay for, should only go to local people,” Marbut said. He said that people who are homeless and longtime local residents, are clearly the responsibility of our county. “You own them,” he said.
But, he said, when you start calling the “travelers” or other people from out-of-town homeless and lump them in with everyone else, your problem will grow because the sheer numbers will be daunting and the out-of-towners will dry up the services that could go to others.
Once you stop feeding and helping the out-of-towners, Marbut said, your local homeless problem will seem suddenly much more manageable.
Marbut also pointed out that Mendocino County seems to have an unusually high number of non-profit organizations per capita and “Everybody here has a little program on the homeless.” He says in order for a coordinated effort to root out undeserving people from our programs to work, the nonprofits should probably streamline or coordinate on these programs.
One thing he stresses is that “hunger is not a cause of homelessness.” In other words, giving away food to people will not prevent or cure their homelessness and if you continue to give away food to anyone who comes to the table, lots of undeserving people will get fed and it will continue to encourage people to come to our community to live off us.
Marbut says the “moochers” can be discouraged. He points out that during his surveys of the travelers in the Walmart parking lot, he found that about a third of the vehicles had out-of-state plates. Another quarter of them had expired registrations. He said these people clearly are producing a lot of the blight and trash in that area.
“Why are we helping them?” he asks. He said police should be towing vehicles that have expired plates and local businesses should be using the trespassing laws to evict them from the premises.
He says that while many police departments in California have lately felt the need to keep a hands-off attitude to homeless people pushing shopping carts around for legal reasons, he has led programs successfully that stop the person, unload the shopping cart on the spot and simply take the shopping cart away, leaving the person’s belongings with them right there.
Marbut points out that the shopping cart is illegal property anyway and you are not taking the homeless person’s belongings. He says areas where that has been done have seen a decrease in the amount of belongings homeless people accrue.
Marbut is still in the initial stage of his talks and observations and plans to give the county a data report in January. That, he hopes, will start the conversation about what the problems are and how to define them.
Anne Molgaard, chief operating officer of Health and Human Services for the county, says she is hoping that Marbut’s study and final report (expected in March) will “let us become experts in our own community” and use this advice to realize “we can’t help everyone, because if you try to do that, you dilute the services and no one is helped.”
Marbut said that defining and giving names to things allows everyone, including churches and nonprofits, to speak knowledgably about what they want to accomplish.
He said if you ask almost anyone if they want to help long-term residents facing homelessness, they say yes. If you ask them if they want to help trimmigrants get a free meal, they say no. Right now, Marbut says, we are calling the whole range of people we are helping, simply “homeless.” It’s time, he says, to break that down. People who want to help can still do it but can do it more effectively.
“Blend your heart and your brain together,” he said.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 14, 2017
MYISHA BRAZIEL-CARADINE, Ukiah. Suspended license, controlled substance, under influence.
GREGORY CUADRA II, Ukiah. County parole violation.
DANIEL FERRELL, Cloverdale/Hopland. DUI.
ISIAH GARCIA, Napa/Ukiah. Protective order violation, resisting.
NOEY JOHNSON, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
BREANN JONES, Lakeport/Ukiah. DUI.
NICOLE MARINO, Willits. Domestic abuse.
WILLIAM OWENS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RONALD PIVER, Ukiah. Addict with firearm, large capacity magazine, armed with firearm in commission or attempted felony, purchase/possession of stun gun by person convicted of felony, controlled substance without prescription.
JIMMY SALAS, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
BOBBY WOODS, Carmichael/Ukiah. County parole violation.
FISH & GAME COMMISSION CLOSES ABALONE SEASON NEXT YEAR
by Dan Bacher
How are those highly touted "Yosemites of the Sea" on the North Coast, created under California’s privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, working out?
Not very well, if you look at the recent vote by state regulators to close the recreational abalone fishery in 2018, due to the dramatic decline of the red abalone populations by a collapse in kelp growth along the coast and the explosion of the purple urchin population.
The California Fish and Game Commission on December 7 voted to close the 2018 northern California recreational abalone fishery due to "ongoing environmental conditions that have significantly impacted the abalone resource," according to a press release from Jordan Traverso of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
The closure affects next year’s recreational abalone season that was scheduled to open on April 1, 2018. Abalone diving has been a tradition for many generations, while California Indian Tribes have been harvesting abalone and other shellfish for thousands of years.
While the latest press release from CDFW didn’t specify what the “ongoing environmental conditions” are, a previous release reported how the growth of kelp — a major food source for red abalone – has declined significantly over the past three years. Dramatic increases in purple sea urchin populations have further reduced the food available for abalone.
At the latest meeting, CDFW staff advised the Commission to close the recreational abalone season in 2018 after six “diver-scientists” analyzed 10 seafloor sites along California’s coast and reported that 37 percent of all recorded abalone were dead, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Divers and the Nature Conservancy tried to find a way to save the season, but to no avail.
“We’ve never seen a decline like this over a short period of time,” said Sonke Mastrup, the Environmental Program Manager for the CDFW’s Invertebrate Program.
Traverso said the Commission’s 4-0 decision - Commissioner Jacque Hostler-Carmesin was absent - “upholds the policies” of the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan, adopted by the Commission in December 2005. Over the past several years, the Commission has taken several actions to reduce take and shorten the season to protect abalone from the unprecedented environmental conditions.
"The Commission directed the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to work with stakeholders to deliver a new fishery management plan that includes guidance on navigating these unprecedented conditions. The Commission also directed CDFW to consider how the new fishery management plan can inform the potential reopening of some fishing opportunity for the 2019 season," Traverso concluded.
In December 2016, the Commission took emergency action to adopt regulations reducing the annual recreational limit from 18 to 12 abalone, except for Sonoma County, for which the annual limit remained at 9 abalone.
The Commission also reduced the recreational abalone fishing season from 7 months to 5 by closing the season in April and November, the first and last months of the regular season. On Aug 16, 2017, FGC readopted the emergency regulations that expired on Dec 5, 2017.
Northern California’s recreational red abalone fishery has been enjoyed by tens of thousands of divers along the Sonoma and Mendocino coast. A recent CDFW study estimated that approximately 31,000 abalone divers derived between $24 million and $44 million per year of recreational value from the fishery.
However, the value of this fishery declined nearly $12 million after stricter regulations were imposed in 2014 following a harmful algal bloom that killed thousands of abalone in Sonoma County.
More information about California’s recreational abalone fisheries can be found on the CDFW website: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Invertebrates/Abalone
What you won't find on the CDFW website is the complex truth about the alleged "marine protected areas" created under the MLPA Initiative, a privately funded process that was supposed to "protect" the California ocean ecosystem, including abalone and groundfish populations.
The abalone closure takes place after years of continual promotion of the MLPA Initiative’s “marine protected areas” as the “solution” to fishery declines by state officials and corporate “environmental” NGO representatives.
“By safeguarding our iconic ocean places – and the rich web of life they support – these jewels of the coast will help revive depleted fish populations and draw people to the coast to enjoy our remarkable marine wildlife,” said Karen Garrison, then the director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s oceans program, in June 2012 after the Fish and Game Commission voted to approve the creation of so-called “marine protected areas” on the North Coast from Point Arena in Mendocino County to the Oregon border.
However, these “iconic ocean places“ and “jewels of the coast” apparently have not done much to actually protect the ocean since they fail to protect coastal waters from fracking, oil spills, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing and all human impacts other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
In August 2016, the same Fish and Game Commission that voted to close the abalone season adopted the controversial Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas in California that delays regional reviews of MPAs, as originally promised, from every five years to every ten years. In other words, the Commission weakened the implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999 by delaying regional reviews of marine protected areas.
I made five points in my testimony before Commission President Eric Sklar, Vice President Jaque Hostler-Carmesin, Commissioner Anthony C Williams and Commissioner Peter Silva regarding “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” in the Master Plan:
The Good: First, I strongly support the inclusion of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) from California Indians in the Master Plan. This is long overdue, considering that the marine protected areas were “completed“ in December 2012 without one single Tribal scientist ever being allowed to serve on the Science Advisory Teams for the MLPA Initiative.
The Bad: Second, the proposal breaks the original promise given to anglers by officials that regional reviews of the alleged "marine protected areas" created under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative would be conducted every five years. The new plan changes the regional reviews to once every ten years, a move that anglers and public trust advocates, including myself, strongly oppose because it results in less frequent scientific monitoring of the MPAs.
Here’s what the MLPA Initiative South Coast News, the official publication of the Initiative, actually said on October 16, 2009, contradicting claims by Commissioners that this promise to conduct five year reviews was never made:
“Q: If an area is closed as an MPA will it always be closed?
A: Not necessarily. The MLPA specifically requires monitoring, research and evaluation at selected sites to facilitate adaptive management of MPAs and ensure the system meets its goals and objectives. Within the MLPA master plan, it is recommended that the MPA network be evaluated approximately every five years. As MPAs are re-assessed for effectiveness, changes may be necessary, either to individual MPAs or the network as a whole. This may mean changing boundaries and/or allowances for extractive activities depending on how well MPAs are meeting goals. Just because an area is closed to one type of use or another does not mean that it will always be that way.”
The Ugly: Third, the plan does nothing to make the faux "marine protected areas" created under the MLPA Initiative into real ones. The alleged "Yosemites of the Sea" created under the privately funded initiative fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil spills, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing and all human impacts other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
Fourth, the plan accepts as legitimate the tainted "marine protected areas" created under the helm of a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate operatives with numerous conflicts of interest.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association and relentless advocate for the expansion of fracking and offshore oil drilling and the evisceration of California's environmental laws, chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the Southern California Coast at the same time that the region's marine waters were being fracked by her industry. (www.dfg.ca.gov/...)
She also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. The Commission should support an investigation into what Reheis-Boyd knew about fracking off the coast at the time she served as Chair of the task force.
Fifth, the proposal fails to challenge the terminally flawed "science" employed to create MPAs under the "leadership" of a convicted embezzler. A federal judge in San Francisco on May 20, 2014 sentenced Ron LeValley of Mad River Biologists, the former co-chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Science Advisory Team for the North Coast, to serve 10 months in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to embezzle over $852,000 in federal funds from the Yurok Tribe.
In spite of numerous complaints, the Fish and Game Commission refused to review the legitimacy of the "science" used to create the "marine protected areas" developed under his helm at the same time that he was engaged in a conspiracy to embezzle money from the Yurok Tribe." More information: www.dailykos.com/...
The Commission needs to finally address these unresolved issues posed by the "marine protected areas" created under the privately-funded MLPA Initiative. As expected, no Commissioners, all appointed by Governor Jerry Brown, replied to my comments and those that others made before the Commission on this issue.
As long as these outstanding issues with the MLPA Initiative are not resolved and the major factors behind fishery declines, including water exports and diversions, pollution, habitat destruction, upstream dams, poor water management and climate change, are aggressively addressed, we can expect expect to see declines in the abalone, salmon and other fisheries.
NORTH COAST LAWMAKERS, GROWERS UPSET BY CHANGE IN LAWS ON POT FARM SIZE
(which would allow large, industrial grows in areas traditionally spotted with smaller, limited grows)
LAKE MENDOCINO WATER MANAGEMENT
An interesting new report on Lake Mendocino water management: cloudfront.escholarship.org/dist/prd/content/qt66m803p2/qt66m803p2.pdf “limiting lost opportunities (for water collection/storage in Lake Mendocino) that arise in situations such as occurred in 2012.”
(via MCN listserve)
Last year, long before the fires, I tried to get CSAA, my homeowners’ insurance provider, to increase my policy limits, which seemed too low, considering that quality new construction in Sonoma County costs at least $500 per square foot.
I was told by several CSAA functionaries that the “replacement cost” provision in my policy would take care of fairly valuing the house in the event of a major loss. Like most busy people, I finally gave up trying to assure myself that an insurance company’s definition of replacement cost bears any resemblance to reality.
Now we are seeing that thousands of fire victims, many of whom probably thought they had replacement-cost coverage, are dramatically underinsured. It’s time that homeowners policies in California are required to include far more transparent information so that we really understand how well the biggest asset most of us own is protected. Contact your state representatives and let’s get this ball rolling.
The pharmaceutical industry is the biggest scam in the swamp.
These companies are brazenly looting the U.S. government and extorting the American people, particularly preying on people who are sick and/or have life-threatening conditions.
Pharmaceutical CEOs are the worst of the worst, and they should be sent to jail. Instead, Republicans are giving them billions of dollars of additional tax breaks, at the expense of the American people.
It’s been an eventful year, and we keep expecting that Republicans will eventually find a bottom line, below which they won’t go. It is continually shocking to discover there is no bottom for the Republican Party. My Republican parents and grandparents are turning in their grave.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
America’s chief counterfeiting organization (the Fed) is doing nothing more than shoveling funny-money at mega-corps whose CEOs ought to know better. OUGHT to know better given the expensively “educated” MBAs infesting the system like ticks. No, sadly, this financial shit-show is just the latest in a long line of laughable fails foisted by the Idiocracy. Making shit up and hoping it flies seems to be the Idiocratic approach to a long line of problems.
You have to admit though they think big. Given that the numbers are more in the realm of cosmology than Earth bound reality, the Fed makes Bernie Madoff look like a back-room poker cheat. But close your eyes and sip the Kool-Aid and try not to think too much and it sounds good, especially the oracular Chauncey Gardiner Greenspan. Did anybody really know what the fuck he was talking about?
No matter, they lie, they use a lot of ornate jargon to make it sound good. And then they buy expensive hooch and drink themselves to oblivion to avoid thinking about what they just perped. Or maybe that’s what a half-way normal person would do.
WHAT THE WORD INTELLECTUAL MEANS to me today is, first of all, conferences and roundtable discussions and symposia in magazines about the role of intellectuals in which well-known intellectuals have agreed to pronounce on the inadequacy, credulity, disgrace, treason, irrelevance, obsolescence, and imminent or already perfected disappearance of the caste to which, as their participation in these events testifies, they belong. — Susan Sontag
CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES PROMPT TALKS ON TOUGHER UTILITY RULES
California utilities may face tougher safety rules for power lines, phone lines and utility poles in parts of the state most prone to wildfires.
Under the proposed rules being considered Thursday by the California Public Utilities Commission, tree branches would have to be kept farther away from power lines, newly installed lines would have to be spaced farther apart from each other and utility companies would have to fix many safety problems in areas of high fire risk before making repairs in lower-risk zones. Those repairs would have to follow a set timetable, taking no longer than six months in extreme fire-risk zones.
The rules would change utility company operations across wide swaths of the state deemed to have a higher risk for wildfires.
The agency first began considering the issue after a devastating series of Southern California wildfires in 2007, which were tied to swaying and arcing power lines, some of which even fell down during heavy winds.
Though the cause of several fires that together killed 44 people in Northern California wine country this fall has not been determined, investigators are looking into whether power lines toppled by high winds may have played a role.
Utility companies have been consulting with the PUC on the development of the rules being considered Thursday.
AV FOODSHED NEWS
The Boonville Winter Market will take place Saturday from 9:30-noon, in front of Seebass, across from the Boonville Hotel.
* JD Varietals will be at the Winter Market with pickles, tapenade, preserves and, of course, a few bat houses.
* Petit Teton Farm will be at market on Sat. with some veggies, pork, beef, squab and our assortment of canned goodies.
* The Yorkville Olive Ranch will be at the market on Saturday with both the 375 ml and 750 ml bottles of the 2016 Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tuscan Field Blend. This oil won a gold medal at the California Olive Oil Council's Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition. This year's 2017 "Olio Nuovo" will also be available, but only this Saturday at the Winter Market, or at the Ranch House until December 20th. The 2017 harvest oils will then be in still mode until the middle of February when they will be decanted. In late February, after the oil is decanted, we will, for the first time, have a Meyer lemon infused olive oil for you to taste and consider as well as the 2017 Extra Virgin Olive Oil. If you wish to pick up oil at the Ranch House, call 894-0530 to be certain someone is there.
* Beef for Sale
Grass Fed Murray Grey/Angus cross Beef, 1/4s For December-January delivery
4 Bar K Ranch in Boonville, CA is offering premium grass fed beef for sale. This is local grass fed beef, raised in rural Anderson Valley, in Mendocino County, with no shots or hormones, just excellent, lean, grass finished beef. We raise our beef free range, organically, in a humane, safe, and stress free way. This insures your beef is the best quality and safest meat, that is raised and sold in the right way.
Please contact me and I will send our information flyer in a PDF format. It should answer most of your questions, but feel free to call me anytime if you're interested.
If interested please contact Dave Kooyers at firstname.lastname@example.org (707) 895-2325.
* Satsuma Mandarins at Seebass Wines has fresh, organic Satsuma mandarins, straight from our friendsâ€™ orchards in the foothills. Get them while they last! 10lb mesh bag for $25!
If you would like to reach me: Rachel@williamsae.com
I’m not going to attack Mr. Philbrick’s letters to the AVA, and not just because I don’t want to be accused of elder abuse. For one thing, like any real American, I believe in Free Speech all but absolutely. I also know this cliché about “Radical Leftist Democrats” straightjacketing us “real Americans” in “political correctness” is a straw man. It’s just another instance of well-adjusted, middle-of-the-road, middle-aged, middle-class “white men” projecting their own evils on all who they suspect of exploiting them. It’s the Great Silent Majority that decides what is “politically correct” and what is not.
Habitually projecting your own social evils onto your opponents is sound strategy if you’re waging a counter-insurgency war or conducting a counter-intelligence operation. But it’s not a good strategy for achieving international peace, national security or domestic tranquility, as both the blood-splattered 20th Century and this particular moment make plain.
But who cares about such things when you think you’re being protected by the planet’s Supreme Commander? Bottom line: “white males” are still the dominant political group in this country, they control our elections, and they’re the ones that gifted us, the world, and Comrade Putin, with Trumpites.
Anyway, since at least six out of ten American adults know that Trump is grossly unfit for office, what now? For starters, if those who voted for him haven’t done so already, they should admit their mistake, take their licks and make amends by making sure it doesn’t happen again.
And what are these White Nationalist Repugnants in Congress doing unanimously marching us toward a most un-civil war at home to go with their endlessly lucrative black market wars overseas? Don’t these desktop Field Marshalls remember how the oceans flanking us have helped make us passably white, affluent old gentlemen about the safest people on earth? And since when did having future generations buy us an “Invincible Global Military Reach” become our new American Dream? Where in the Declaration of Independence, our Bill of Rights or the US Constitution do we find that bright shining lie? Don’t any of these Trumpite geniuses suspect that maybe, at long last, we the people ain’t quite as ignorant, chickenshit and apathetic as these masterminds presume? Pleased as punch to be the tail wagging the dog, hasn’t it occurred to them that we’re the dog they’re jerking around and that maybe some of us may not appreciate it?
Who hired these cardboard Christian Soldiers proudly peddling their junta’s Daily Line as Gospel? And since when have chest-pounding Christian Fundamentalists been asserting that the end justifies the means? Who’d they consult: Jesus or Trump? Trump the tyrant, atheist, serial adulterer, sexual predator etc., etc., etc.? And who the hell needs these electronically finger-painted Imperial Proclamations so fantastically strange, destructive, cruel, stupid, crooked and blatantly un-godly it makes you want to wash their mouths out with soap?
Have we sunk so deep into a bowl of refried bananas that we’re willing to allow anonymous and interchangeable money-laundering lobbyists, bagmen and fixers to impose on us “permanent federal tax laws” that steal from everybody but the idle rich and the superrich of the very worst kind? (Koch Brothers for the 51st State of Jefferson’s Dual Monarchs!) As if these “Greed is Good” retrogrades ain’t already way too rich, and far too powerful, even for their own good, much less anybody else’s.
The problem in this country is that we have far too many citizens willing to kill for far too many things, and far too few citizens willing to die for anything they can’t buy or sell, use, abuse and/or throwaway. And so, in this pivotal moment, we’re forced to answer for ourselves some age old questions. Witness to evil, when does silence become complicity? When does ordinary human hypocrisy morph into cowardice? When does cowardice become treason and sacrilege holy?
FCC EVACUATES MEETING ROOM DUE TO SECURITY THREAT JUST BEFORE VOTING TO OVERTURN NET NEUTRALITY
by Melissa Quinn
The Federal Communications Commission abruptly stopped its meeting Thursday and evacuated its meeting room “on advice of security" as it prepared to vote to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was in the middle of delivering his statement on his proposal to repeal the net neutrality rules when he recessed the meeting.
Those in the room were instructed to leave, and filed out. They were instructed by security to leave their belongings.
A bomb-sniffing dog was brought into the room.
The meeting re-convened several minutes later, and Pai said he was acting on the recommendation of the Federal Protective Service. Pai did not offer any additional details.
The FCC then repealed its Obama-era net neutrality rules on Thursday, a step critics warn will upend the internet by allowing cable companies to control where their customers can go online.
The vote capped months of debate pitting internet service providers and Republicans against tech companies and Democrats — along with a controversy over millions of fake public comments that flooded the FCC’s website.
The FCC’s order, from Republican Chairman Ajit Pai, eliminates rules that require companies like Comcast and AT&T to treat all web traffic equally as it passes through their networks. In its place, the agency says internet providers will be allowed to block or slow some web traffic or negotiate paid deals with websites for so-called fast lanes to consumers — in exchange for disclosing those practices to the public. Another agency, the FTC, will have the power to act if those practices are deemed anti-competitive or harmful to consumers, the FCC’s Republicans say.
The rollback is a victory for the telecom industry and a milestone achievement for Pai, a longtime FCC commissioner and former Verizon lawyer who was elevated by President Donald Trump to the agency’s top spot in January. Pai’s focus in his first year as chairman has been on revoking regulations adopted by his Democratic predecessors. His biggest target has been the 2015 net neutrality rules, a signature policy accomplishment of the Obama administration.
Pai argues that the FCC, in applying utility-style regulation to internet providers, was too heavy-handed and led to the government “micromanaging the internet.” He says the rules have deterred investment in broadband networks, an argument that supporters of the current rules reject. Both sides have offered warring economic studies on the rules’ impact since the 2015 rules took effect.
But critics of Pai’s approach say the net neutrality protections are vital for consumers, particularly for those who don’t have options when it comes to their internet service provider. They say the rules allow online companies to thrive without fear of telecom giants interfering with their ability to reach customers.
“When the current protections are abandoned, and the rules that have been officially in place since 2015 are repealed, we will have a Cheshire cat version of net neutrality,” Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who voted against the repeal, said at the meeting. “We will be in a world where regulatory substance fades to black, and all that is left is a broadband provider’s toothy grin ... and those oh so comforting words: we have every incentive, don’t worry, we have every incentive to do the right thing. What they will soon have, is every incentive to do their own thing.”
GIANT POT FORTRESS IN SAN BERDO RAIDED
LOS ANGELES – Police in Southern California raided a weed “fortress” on Wednesday, seizing 35,000 marijuana plants and shutting down an operation they believe was bringing in millions of dollars a month.
San Bernardino Police say eight people were detained Wednesday when police and federal agents raided the warehouse that was converted into a multi-level grow house.
Investigators first turned their sights on the illegal grow operation about two months ago after receiving complaints from neighbors. They found the once-abandoned warehouse had been outfitted with a 12-foot metal rolling fence, “fortified doors,” a large concrete wall around the parking lot and surveillance cameras.
Inside the four-story warehouse, police found thousands of plants stacked next to one another under heat lamps on wood tables and an advanced irrigation system. The electric bill for the property was about $67,000 per month, police said.
“In my 26 years, it was the biggest grow that I’ve ever seen,” San Bernardino police Lt. Mike Madden said. “There were all different rooms for different processes and hydration, filtration and ventilation. It was pretty extensive.”
CBS Los Angeles reports that police are investigating the owner, identified as 43-year-old Stephanie Smith. She was not arrested or charged with a crime. A telephone number for Smith could not be located in public records.
Police and federal investigators raided two other properties owned by Smith and seized 18,000 pounds of marijuana in total. Eight people who were working in the warehouse in downtown San Bernardino were detained by police, but no charges have been filed in the case, Madden said.
California voters have approved the legalization of marijuana, but growers must receive licenses and permits from local governments and the state. Recreational pot sales start in California on Jan. 1, joining the long-running medical cannabis industry.
“Marijuana has been legalized, but there are stringent requirements,” Madden said. “It’s not that you just get to set up shop where you want to set up.”
The Los Angeles City Council voted Dec. 6 to license sales beginning next year. After months of debate and political snags, the council approved rules to usher in commercial sales and cultivation set to begin in less than a month under an initiative approved by state voters.
California is among 29 states where pot is legal, either for medical or recreational use. Medical marijuana has been legal in the state for two decades.
With the new year just weeks away – and the holidays coming – industry experts say it’s not clear how many businesses, if any, will be ready to open their doors on Jan. 1 to hordes of anxious customers.
Under the Los Angeles regulations, residential neighborhoods would be largely off-limits to pot businesses, and buffer zones would be set up around schools, libraries and parks.
THE TEN PLAGUES
At a time not so long ago, in a place not so far away, there lay a rich and powerful kingdom. It was a time of frustration and turmoil. The people were agitated as were their representatives who endlessly bickered and fought. Finally a new President was elected by the Election College and installed in the White Castle. The new President could no longer stand the dysfunctional congress and so began to rule by Executive Decree. When he was not signing decrees, he was off playing golf. Over the years the Imperial President grew distant from his people and the land plunged into the dark and turbulent times of “The Ten Plagues”.
The Plague of Lies was the first plague to befall the kingdom.
One fine day as the President sat at his desk in the White Castle in the town known as Wash-and-Deeceit, the noon day sun suddenly grew dark as a huge cloud of lies rose from the White Castle, high into the sky. The cloud then settled, thick and sticky, over all the land. For endless days and nights the good people did not know if there was peace or war, more tax or less, global warming or global cooling…they were confused and angry. While they were reeling in confusion the second plague befell them.
The Plague of Blood
Up in the north of the land, in the village known as Flintsville, the people discovered that their drinking water was poisoning their blood. Many fell ill, adults and children too. Quickly people called to ask for clean water. Politicians in Wash-and-DeeCeit said not to worry they would look into the matter. The poor folk were in the midst of finding clean water when the next plague struck the kingdom.
The Plague of White Sheets
One night as the good people slept in their warm beds, beneath the White Castle rose ghosts of a brutal past. A horde of white sheets escaped into the night. They rose through the worms and slime of the earth and what followed them through was a noose knotted rope all braided in red, white and blue. Pausing a moment at the White Castle gate, the hoard was handed torches of hate. The people quickly sought help from Wash-and-Deeceit. Promptly a tweet did they receive—“There are good people on many sides.”
The Off-shore Plague
Early one morning, across the land, in small towns and large, people found the factory doors shut tight and locked. A note on the gates read-“We have moved offshore”. Desperate for work, many took minimum wage jobs, while others fell into homelessness. The good citizens pleaded with Congress for help. As they waited, the fifth plague silently slipped into the kingdom.
The Plague of Addiction
Overworked and underpaid, the people suffered. They sought help for their pains wherever they could. Pain pills of every size flooded the land as Doctors wrote prescriptions for pains of all kinds. Before long, millions could not live without their opium pills. From across the land friends and family begged for help from Wash-and -DeeCeit, but little helped did they receive.
The Plague of A.I.
A hurricane wind blew Pink Slips across the land and jobs were taken by robots of all kinds. The plague swept through jobs of almost every type--from checkers to truck drivers, from clerks to teachers, pink slips even reached accountants and lawyers. There seemed to be no stopping this plague when the next one was laid.
The Plague of Bloodsuckers
The Imperial President had spent much of his gold for wars in distant lands. Now he and his billionaire buddies were desperate for cash, so he sent his minions across the land. Like a swarm of mosquitoes, gnats and vampire bats, they sucked the life out of the hard working folk. First they were bitten with fees, taxes, surcharges, fines and debts. Finally they shredded the social safety net. The people were exhausted but had not given up when the next plague struck.
The Plague of Hail
From shore to shining shore, the land had been flooded with guns. Guns were sold to rich and poor, and many were laid low by a hail of gunfire. Both young and old died every day as hands on triggers killed thousands they say. The President was strongly assailed but sadly it was to no avail.
The Plague of Darkness
The President grew tired of the kingdom’s rules and regulations. He ordered the elimination of rules of protection, and the land fell into a period of “Darkness and Deregulation.” The air became dark and foul, as poisons by the barrel poured on fields and farms. Toxins leached down to the streams, rivers and sea. Blood colored dead zones spread across the ocean. The good folk grew sick. Many illnesses did they suffer. Finally the darkness grew so deep that the sun disappeared and the land was plunged into darkness. Thus the final plague did enter the land.
Death of the Firstborn
As the darkness spread over the land a fungus, not seen before, began to multiply. It grew so fast that it covered the roads, land, and houses. This new fungus gave off a toxin, which caused paranoia to spread across the land. People attacked each other and those with guns began to shoot. Family and friends, neighbors and strangers were shooting and dying. When the air cleared and the sun was bright the fungus began to wither, and the people came to their senses. Only then did they realize that they had killed their firstborn.
The poor folk cried and grieved throughout the kingdom.
Their patience had finally been utterly exhausted. Those at work could work no longer and laid down their tools. One by one they took their children, and started to march. They came from all parts of the land. As their numbers swelled into the millions, a human tidal wave flooded into Wash-and-DeeCeit occupying every inch surrounding the White Castle. The people were standing together as far as the eye could see.
A message was sent to the President: we want gun control and a bright new world. And they waited. Finally The President’s minions came before the people with a proclamation. “The Imperial President will hereby immediately halt all production and distribution of guns. When the sun rises we will begin a dialogue with the people”.
A great cry of joy rang out across the land. The people rejoiced. The vast millions filling the streets realized that they had forced the President’s hand, the greatest ruler of the know world. Tall and proud the mighty people stood, they now knew that there was no power on earth greater than the people standing together as one.
Now they were free,
Neither plagues nor presidents
Nor pleading on their knees,
Would keep them from their destiny.
Dr. Nayvin Gordon
(Dr. Gordon, a California Family Physician in Oakland, has written many articles on health and politics. He can be reached at email@example.com)
SOMETIMES I take out my Rand McNally Road Atlas and look at small towns in one midwestern and western state after the next. I think of all the millions of kids who left those towns, and of the kids who decided to stay — a perfectly reasonable option, after all. Now those who left are probably blue, and those who stayed are probably red, and not much of anything about America today feels like being home.
— Ian Frazier
IT'S TIME HAS COME (YEARS AGO)
Ukiah Leaf Blower Initiative Underway
"Ukiah, Give Us A Leaf Blower Break” on Sundays and holidays. Signature gathering is underway for this mild proposal. The goal is a vote by the electorate in November of 2018, that is unless the City Council decides to enact the ordinance in advance of the election.
In residential neighborhoods the initiative sets the following day and time rules: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, Saturdays 10am to 5pm.
Leaf blowing will be prohibited on Sundays and federal holidays. The effort will encourage Ukiahans to discuss how the machine impacts civility, neighborliness, and our health. The process may, as well, encourage residents, landscapers, and clients to switch to quieter gardening with rake and broom.
The initiative proposal also stipulates a decibel requirement (68 @ 50 feet) and that debris not be blown into a neighbor’s property or the public right of way.
Any Ukiah voter who has questions or who would like to circulate the petition should contact Phil Baldwin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Below please find questions with answers then the full text of the proposed initiative.
Questions & Answers
Why not an outright ban on all leaf blowers? Councilmember Phil Baldwin proposed such to the City Council eighteen years ago. That proposal created an uproar by those who claimed it was hostile to business and labor. This 2017/18 alternative, lenient proposal encourages thoughtful discussion of alternatives among Ukiah neighbors. Currently fewer than 30 (out of 482) California cities have such a full ban; they are near the coast and are among the wealthiest cities in our state.
Why not a ban on gas powered blowers only? Noise is only one element of the health hazard created by leaf blowers. In the drier months both gas and electric powered blowers create a cloud of entrained dust that may carry pesticides, animal feces, desiccated insects, chemical fertilizers, brake linings, tire rubber. This dust may remain suspended for hours in our neighborhoods. The California Air Resources Board has determined regarding leaf blowers that “potential health effects from … fugitive dust … range from mild to serious.” Additionally, while the noise of gas powered blowers can be heard up to 350 feet away, that from electric ones (often with whistle sound like a jet on the tarmac) can be heard 200 feet away. This is unadulterated trespass against our domestic tranquility; it’s an invasion of our privacy.
How in the heck can this ever be enforced? We hope that the initiative process helps to educate our community and that this generates a social pressure for fellow resident compliance. We will be relying to a great extent on the good will of Ukiahans and their desire to be good citizens. Again, the key prohibition is only for Sundays and holidays.
(This same enforcement question is often asked about City laws regulating signs, noise, RV camping on our streets, speeding & cell phone use while driving.)
What about the claim this is hostile to business and labor? Firstly, the leaf blower is promoted as a labor saving device. Therefore, it’s hard to buy the argument that its regulation will be hurtful to labor.
Secondly, the initiative will create a level playing field in Ukiah for all landscaping companies. Thirdly, please help us find the Ukiah client who will terminate a landscaping contract because their 8am gardening job on Wednesdays now must be undertaken with rake and broom.
Won’t the rake and broom alternative either take too much time or fail to remove the same amount of leaves and dust? Upon reflection, we realize that America’s apparent distress about leaves arose in conjunction with the promotion of affordable leaf blowers during the mid eighties. Prior to the leaf blower invasion, will anyone argue that our neighborhoods were blighted, unhealthy, or less attractive? It is obvious that prior to that few Americans were disturbed if their gardeners left a stray leaf on lawn or porch. Shouldn’t that become the case again? Seems as well that many Ukiahans will take pride in contracting for quieter gardening to the great relief of their neighbors.
Why not mention the health hazard from exhaust emissions and the havoc of blasting the garden ecosystem with 160 mile per hour hurricane force wind each week? These are valid issues, yet will fall behind potentially toxic dust clouds and hypertension exacerbating noise trespass.
INITIATIVE MEASURE TO BE SUBMITTED DIRECTLY TO THE VOTERS
The City Attorney has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:
Rules Governing the Use of Leaf Blowers in the City of Ukiah
The purpose of the initiative is to adopt an ordinance that limits the days and hours when leaf blowers may be used in the City of Ukiah (9 am – 5 pm M-F; 10 am – 5 pm Saturdays; not on Sundays or federal holidays) and regulates how leaf blowers are used. The limits on days and hours of use would apply to privately owned property which is zoned for residential use. Regulations on the permitted decibel level for leaf blowers, the required condition of leaf blowers, and the proper use of leaf blowers would apply throughout the City.
NOTICE OF INTENT TO CIRCULATE INITIATIVE PETITION
Notice is hereby given by the person whose name appears hereon of the intention to circulate a petition within the City of Ukiah for the purpose of regulating the use of leaf blowers. A statement of reasons of the proposed action is as follows 1) The California State Air Resources Board has determined regarding leaf blowers that “potential health effects from exhaust emissions, fugitive dust and noise range from mild to serious” 2) noise from leaf blowers can be heard inside residences up to two blocks away from the source 3) dust and debris, which may contain pesticides, animal feces, car oil, chemical fertilizers, brake linings, tire rubber entrained in the air by leaf blowers, may settle on neighboring property, vehicles, and in the public right of way. Phil Baldwin, 627 Willow Avenue, Ukiah CA 95482
TEXT OF INITIATIVE
ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF UKIAH, STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ADDING CHAPTER 11 TO DIVISION 5 OF THE CITY OF UKIAH MUNICIPAL CODE ENTITLED RULES GOVERNING THE USE OF LEAF BLOWERS IN THE CITY OF UKIAH.
NOW, THEREFORE, The People of the City of Ukiah do ordain as follows:
ARTICLE 1. DECLARATION OF POLICY
It is hereby declared to be City of Ukiah policy to regulate the use of leaf blowers to enhance the health and welfare of our community.
ARTICLE 2. DEFINITIONS
- “Leaf blower” shall mean any portable, hand-held or backpack motor powered device with a nozzle that creates a directable airstream capable of and intended for blowing, dispersing, redistributing dust, leaves, grass, tree and shrub trimmings and other debris.
ARTICLE 3. GENERAL REGULATIONS
- On private property which has a residential zoning designation leaf blowers may be used only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. Utilization of leaf blowers is prohibited on Sundays and federal holidays.
- No person shall operate any leaf blower which does not bear an affixed manufacturer’s label indicating the model number of the leaf blower and which designates or allows verification of a noise level not in excess of sixty-eight dBA when measured from a distance of fifty feet utilizing American National Standard Institute methodology. Any leaf blower which bears such a manufacturer’s label shall be presumed to comply with any noise level limit of this subsection provided that it is operated with all mufflers and full extension tubes supplied by the manufacturer for that leaf blower. No person shall be found in violation of this subsection until one year after its enactment to allow reasonable time for purchasing leaf blowers that comply with these standards.
- Leaf blower operations shall not cause leaves or other debris to be blown or deposited then remain in a City right of way including street, sidewalk, curb and gutter. Without the neighboring resident consent, leaf blower operations shall not cause leaves or other debris to be blown or deposited on any private property other than the parcel, land, or lot upon which the leaf blower is being utilized.
- Leaf blowers shall be in proper working order and all the manufacturer’s noise, emission and dust control equipment on the leaf blower shall remain on the leaf blower and be in sound operating condition.
- After leaf blower use, leaves and other debris shall be disposed of in trash, compost, or green waste receptacles or in vehicle cargo space which must be enclosed or covered prior to leaving the premises.
- The operator of the leaf blower shall be subject to the requirements of this section and responsible for any violations of this section.
ARTICLE 4. EFFECTIVE DATE This ordinance shall be effective sixty days after enactment.
ARTICLE 5. VIOLATIONS; INFRACTION Any person violating any of the provisions of this article shall be deemed guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100.00) for a first violation; two hundred dollars ($200.00) for a second violation within one year; and five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each additional violation within one year of committing the first offense.
ARTICLE 6. CODIFICATION
The City Attorney of Ukiah is authorized to change the chapter, article, section numbers or letters herein as necessary to codify the ordinance within the Ukiah City Municipal Code if this ordinance is enacted by the voters.
ARTICLE 7. SEVERABILITY If any provision, clause, sentence, or paragraph of this article or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, shall be held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the other provisions or applications of the provisions of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or application and, to this end, the provisions of this article are hereby declared to be severable.
Leaving El Dorado
It's been almost thirteen months since I signed a lease at the Emperor Norton Inn at Post & Taylor in the heart of San Francisco. Spent most of the time sending out networking emails far and wide, waiting to see if anything of importance developed from all of the conversations, and daily went to St. Patrick's Catholic church in the evenings to enjoy a higher plane of reality. On January 1st, I'll be flying on United Airlines to Honolulu, staying again at the excellent alternative Plumeria Travel Hostel on Piikoi Street. Whereas I do not have any further reason to be living on the U.S. mainland, this move is auspicious. I am looking forward to my final chapter on the earth plane; I'm ready, wherever it goes. Wishing everybody a joy-filled Christmas season, and as we witness the collapse of postmodernism, HAPPY NEW YEAR! For those wishing to join with me in getting their inner hula on, email me at CraigStehr@inbox.com. ~Aloha~
There are vacancies on the following Board(s) and/or Commission(s):
- Assessment Appeals Board (1) Board Member
- Behavioral Health Advisory Board, (5) Various
- First 5 Mendocino, (3) Various
- Law Library Board of Trustees, (2) Various
- Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG), (1) Various
- Mendocino Historical Review Board, (2) Various
- Westport Municipal Advisory Council, (2) Various
Anticipated vacancies include expiring terms: the incumbent of the expiring term may apply for reappointment and/or may continue to serve in their capacity until replaced. California Government Code requires public noticing for all expiring terms regardless of the incumbent’s intention to apply for reappointment.
If you are interested in serving on this Board, contact your Supervisor, or the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, at 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1010, Ukiah, CA 95482 (707) 463-4441.