Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018

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BOONVILLE got down to about 22 degrees Tuesday morning. Light snow was expected Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning for much of northern California’s higher elevations with light rain on Wednesday accompanied by light winds and not quite so cold temps. Showers Wednesday night with similarly cold temps and another chance of snow. Clearing and continued cold near-freezing temps for the remainder of the week followed by another slight chance of showers on Monday.

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THE LAST TIME we complained about where the money from the Library Sales Tax measure was going we got a strongly-worded rebuttal from Michael Schaeffer of Comptche. That was last Fall. Schaeffer is the 5th District representative on the Mendocino County Library Advisory Board.

IN HIS LETTER, Mr. Schaeffer defended the spending by saying that they now have “children’s and teen librarians” who are part of a “vibrant program with great staff.” Schaeffer explained that “modern libraries are really community gathering points and resource centers.” He said that “Since the Measure A money arrived over $1 million has been spent on new books and other circulating material and lots of bestsellers, but also books by local writers, graphic novels, children's books, how-to guides and more.” Mr. Schaeffer concluded that “We will pass on to the librarians that you would like some press releases highlighting new books.”

PARDON MY FUDDY-DUDDYNESS, but I don’t want my library to be a “community gathering point” (except by happenstance, of course), nor a “resource center” (in the sense of anything more than resource resources). I don’t think we need separately dedicated “children’s and teen librarians,” however vibrant. A library is not a school, not an extension of a therapy center, not a “gathering place.” A library is a place where you have a well-managed, organized collection of books carefully chosen by smart book-people, and, we’ll concede, books in audio form and computers for fast access to research. PS. We never got any press releases highlighting new books.

SO WHY do we bring this up again now? Mendo is considering consolidating the County Museum, the Library and the nine local County parks. Some see this proposal as yet another power grab by CEO Carmel Angelo who has been frustrated by recent staffing problems at the County Museum. Angelo’s critics (of course we dare not name them) see the move as a way to mush-up the finances of the three organizations which could lead to a slow bleeding away of library finances. Angelo probably sees it as a way to consolidate management and partially fund the underfunded parks and museum with overlapping or common staff and/or services.

IF THE LIBRARY was narrowly focused on books and related functions we’d agree with the critics that bleeding money away from the library would be bad. But it’s not. With the new sales tax money, the Library has expanded into non-library areas which may as well include the Museum and the parks. The Museum obviously needs a little funding bump, so why not let ‘em have some of that money that’s now going to “library” activities like Yoga, bitcoin training, how to trick up your iPhone, “bibliotherapy,” “seed saving,” “gardening,” movie screenings, etc. If Angelo’s “power play” means the Museum gets more money and the yoga-program gets less, we’re for it. If the Library Board wants to weigh in on the subject (they’re pretty blunt when they need to be), let’s hear it. But please don’t say we need all the sales tax money for more non-library programs.

(Mark Scaramella)

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A look at the Mendocino County Jail website found 37-year-old Negie Fallis was arrested by the Mendocino County Sherif Office Monday @ 6:10 pm. The arrest location was given as Covelo.


The 5'8", 169-pound Mr. Fallis was booked on seven felony charges Monday @ 9:39 pm - $200,000 bail - had his booking photo taken this morning @ 3:59 am and was still behind bars as of 7:30 am.

No mention, of course, was made in the log as to the kidnapping victim.

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Original Sheriff Press Release (Posted February 14th)

"The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is soliciting the public's assistance in locating a missing person who was possibly abducted and is considered "At Risk".

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has been investigating a domestic violence incident, involving an armed subject, who may have abducted his girlfriend at gunpoint.

The Sheriff's Office was contacted on Monday, February 12th, about a possible kidnapping that occurred on Friday, February 9th, around midnight. Sheriff's Deputies spoke to witnesses who advised that suspect Negie Fallis arrived at the location, armed with what appeared to be a small derringer pistol, and demanded his girlfriend, Khadijah Britton, exit the residence and speak with him. Witnesses indicated Khadijah exited the residence where a physical altercation occurred between the male and female before they both entered a black Mercedes sedan and left the location. Khadijah has not been in contact with family since that time. Negie who was wanted in connection with a previous domestic violence incident in January, related to the same victim, is also outstanding at this time.

The case was assigned to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Detective Unit for continued investigation. Fallis is known to frequent the Willows are and the Grindstone Rancheria in Glenn County, Lake County, and Covelo. We are requesting anyone with information related to the whereabouts of either individual to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Dispatch Center at 707-463-4086 or the Sheriff's Tip line at 707-234-2100."

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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UPDATED Press Release (February 20)

On 02-19-2018 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office continued investigations into the current whereabouts of Khadijah Britton and Negie Fallis, who was wanted on a felony arrest warrant issued on 02-14-2018 in connection with this case. On 02-19-2018 at approximately 6:00 PM Officers from the Round Valley Tribal Police Department responded to a residence in the 23000 block of Road 337D in Covelo, California. The Tribal Officers responded to the residence as they has received information that Negie Fallis was at the location. Upon arrival Tribal Officers contacted Negie Fallis outside the front of the residence and arrested him without incident. Tribal Officers subsequently transferred Negie Fallis to the custody of Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies who transported him to the Mendocino County Jail. Negie Fallis was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $200,000 bail in regards to the felony arrest warrant. Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives with the assistance of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue Team will be conducting search operations in Covelo on 02-20-2018 in furtherance of the investigation into the whereabouts of Khadijah Britton.

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Khadijah Britton


The family of Khadijah Britton today offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to her location. Britton’s family says she was taken at gunpoint from a residence in Covelo nearly two weeks ago by Negie Fallis who was wanted at the time for a previous incident of domestic violence with Britton.

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WHATEVER YOUR OPINION OF LEGAL POT, many people would agree with the Sonoma County grower quoted in a recently released report by the California Growers Association “An Emerging Crisis: Barriers to Entry in California Cannabis":

The unintended consequence of making it so difficult at the local and state level to enter the regulated market is that 80-90% of those who were working with dispensaries prior to 1/1/2018 are being pushed to the black market. This is not only bad for the regulated market because so much high quality produce is now flooding into the black market, but crime is increasing as a result as well. I am truly heartbroken to see what the regulatory system has done to the artisan cultivators and manufacturers who were creating diverse, boutique products. These people who built this industry are not allowed to participate. I hope we can course correct this year.

According to the report, “The biggest challenge of regulating cannabis cultivation in California is the scope of the situation. We estimate there are 68,150 growers in the state. This estimate represents a significant increase compared our past estimate of 53,000. The primary difference is the inclusion of the Type 1C cottage cultivation license. The increase represents the inclusion of an estimated 15,150 cottage growers throughout the state. As of February 7th only 0.78 percent (534 unique licensees) of these growers are licensed.

And, “These new rules are causing a significant disruption in our small communities. People can not afford legalization and must leave. This is destroying our schools and local commerce.” — Mendocino County Cultivator

And, “…continuing to treat good-faith cannabis growers and business owners as criminals will have negative impacts on the transition process. As this report demonstrates, there are many reasons why good-faith operators may be unable to enter the regulated marketplace. The state should do everything in its power to ensure that these business owners have a path to legality, rather than relying on law enforcement action.”

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by Jim Shields

No pun intended but the February 6th meeting of the Board of Supervisors was a watershed event for all things cannabis in this county.

For the first time an official connected with the local marijuana rule-making process admitted publicly the program is a mess. A conclusion that many of us reached some time ago.

I’m speaking of now former-interim County Ag Commissioner Diane Curry who delivered what turned out to be her final report on the marijuana program. A few hours after her appearance, the Supes emerged from a closed session meeting to announce that they had approved the hiring of a new Ag Commissioner.

Most likely Curry was already aware that the skids were greased and her departure was a foregone conclusion. So that may have had an influence on her candid revelations on some big problems with the pot program. Which I might add are the very same problems I’ve raised in the past year.

I’m only going to discuss a couple of the issues she talked about.

Curry opened her report by saying, “I had an opportunity to go back and look at the recording of the last board meeting which I could not attend. Life happens. It was discouraging. I feel like I am always in front of you defending this program which I will remind you is the County's program. But here's a little reality check. State licensing is here. We have temporary licenses. If our cultivators cannot get a state license they don't have a local license. And in order to get a state license you need a Lake and Streambed Alteration permit from Fish and Wildlife or a statement that you don't need one. We have been instrumental in pushing our cultivators to get those documents because without them there is no state license. There is no state license without already going through the State Water Board to get the water right and your discharge permit.”

In this space I have repeatedly pointed out that you “can’t grow weed without water,” and that the state’s two primary resource agencies in their cannabis regulatory framework — the State Water Board and Fish and Wildlife — had very tough, stringent regulations that needed to be complied with in order for local growers to become licensed.

When this issue was raised at a meeting late last year, the Board’s response was, “There’s already checks and balances on water.” What exactly did that mean? And by the way, what are these checks and balances on water?

The State Water Board and Fish and Wildlife don’t operate in a “check and balance” water world. They have pretty specific rules and regulations regarding water rights, diversion, usage, storage, discharge, etc. Cannabis cultivators must comply with them to get licensed regardless of what the county is obligating or not obligating them to do.

Curry went on to say, rhetorically, I’m assuming, “So I would ask the Board, what part of this process do you want for us to not do? Because this is really important. The state is giving temporary licenses. No fees, you just get one. You just apply. But when the rubber meets the road if they don't have all this documentation they are not getting a state license. And frankly you have a lot of people out there who are never going to make it. How are we going to vet them? So we get 100 people — we get their permit fees. What does that do for us if it's not sustainable? It's a false sense of, Oh, we got $600 from 800 or 900 cultivators. But if only 50% of those get through, if we are lucky … We have to do due diligence. The state agencies are looking at us. They want us to have a robust program, something with integrity. How do we not fulfill that by not fulfilling the ordinance? We prepared our ordinance based on state legislation. So what part of that can we just pick and choose to get these people permitted? I ask you?”

She packed a lot of problematical matters into that statement, and I’ll focus on just one of them.

When Curry refers to “only 50% of those get through,” the county application process, I believe she’s referring to the State Water Board’s warning to cultivators that I’ve shared with you a number of times.

Erin Ragazzi, an assistant deputy director for the State Water Board’s Division of Water Rights and Water Quality Certification, said, “Well, I think one of the things that’s important to point out is that the (state’s cannabis) policy creates a comprehensive mechanism to regulate cannabis cultivation, and it includes both those water supply, water rights side and water quality components. Specifically, I think it’s important to note we have a lot of important requirements to address individual and cumulative impacts that can occur in watersheds, and that’s been a big concern for a lot of folks, in terms of not just the site-specific impacts but the broader cumulative impacts in a watershed.

“To that end, that policy includes requirements establishing maximum diversion rate, a forbearance period when no diversions can occur and instream flow requirements so that even when you’re in the season of diversion, you can always divert when flows are above that instream flow requirement. So there’s a pretty comprehensive look at ensuring that we’re not seeing the impacts associated with diversion and use of water, while at the same time allowing folks a pathway to get a storage water right, which often would take a very long period of time … There’s the potential to have a limited number of plant identifiers and licenses issued by the various entities, and so those folks that come forward earlier are going to be in a better position than folks that may stand on the sidelines and wait for a while.”

In a nutshell, the dilemma is this: If cultivators don’t come and get cleared by the state on water issues, the local cannabis process is moot, you won’t be able to get legally grown pot. They are also warning “folks that come forward earlier are going to be in a better position than folks that may stand on the sidelines and wait for a while” because the Water Board most likely will be restricting the number of plants that can be sustainably grown in watersheds, AKA a “plant cap.”

Another issue growing out of this dilemma is the county’s application fees are non-refundable, so those who have paid their fees to the county and find out later they can’t pass muster with the Water Board, will be out of pocket.

One interesting aspect of the county hiring a new Ag Commissioner is his background.

In part of her final report to the BOS, Curry told them, “… most Ag commissioners do not want cannabis. So the majority of counties are not allowing cannabis. There’s only a handful of us. So when it comes to the Commissioners Association, we are kind of in the minority. It's not a priority for them for most of the commissioners because they don't want it.”

In the county’s press release announcing the hiring of Joseph A. Moreo as the County’s Agricultural Commissioner, he said, “I was drawn to work for Mendocino County as it begins the process of merging a traditional agricultural community with the emerging cannabis industry. I feel my years of experience will bring stability to an office facing huge changes in a rapidly shifting environment.”

Moreo previously filled the Ag Commissioner’s post in Modoc County, which has an ordinance prohibiting marijuana.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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As a candidate for the KZYX board of directors, you, whomever you are, may agree that knowledge of the institution enhances informed discussion. To that end, I've written and called Mr. Parker, your phantom (at least in my experience) general manager requesting the number of full-time station employees and their compensation, either collectively or singly. No reply.

Is my question somehow "inappropriate" as the prevalent local condemnation describes people and questions they regard as, well, inappropriate?

I hope one or more of you, in the spirit of collegiality, or any spirit at all, will reply.

I must say the sphinx-like organizational silence of Mendo kinda-public radio is odd even by local standards.

Thank you.

Bruce Anderson, Boonville


Thank you for your inquiry. KZYX has five full-time staff, two part-time staff, three regular freelance contractors, 108 volunteer programmers (at last count), great numbers of volunteers. Staff compensation is confidential information.


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WE WERE SITTING around the other day lamenting this and that, when someone asked, “Who do you like in journalism these days?” No one particularly, I said. The only name I recognize right off is Matt Taibbi’s because he’s the only one I go out of my way to read, the only one dependably not on bended knee, the only one who brings it with lively prose. Which isn’t to say there aren’t any good journalists left, but Taibbi’s the only one I’d rank with the recently departed great ones — Cockburn, Hunter Thompson, Warren Hinckle, Hitchens until he became a propagandist for Bush’s war on Iraq, and a crucially influential propagandist for Bush at that. I was close to Cockburn, knew Hinckle well and just missed meeting Thompson a couple of times at the Mitchell Brother’s sex palace in San Francisco where he was “night manager.”

I’D MET HINCKLE here and there over the years but, well, I couldn’t keep up with him recreationally, you could say, so I never made it past 11pm when he was just getting warmed up. I admired him enormously. Hinckle was definitely a break-through journalo-guy, a guy who never wrote a boring column, never published a boring magazine. Under Hinckle, Ramparts magazine changed American journalism all by itself, not that it hasn’t slipped back into the indistinguishable mass of toadying slop it was prior to the one-eyed wonder. Most newspaper and magazine writing these days reads like high school term papers. The journalism schools have taken their toll on the young ones as creative writing classes have wrecked American fiction. For a while there in the 60s, Hinckle, via Ramparts and Scanlan’s, enlivened journalism beyond what it had ever been in this country.

TWO POSTHUMOUS BOOKS focused on Hinckle have appeared, one edited by Hinckle, the other a collection of his writing called, “Ransoming Pagan Babies — The Selected Writings of Warren Hinckle.” The book edited by Hinckle is called “Who Killed Hunter S. Thompson?,” a collection of writing about the memorable writer. The latter is a beautifully produced book printed on heavy paper, with the whole package weighing about about five pounds, with lots of interesting photos to go with a variety of memories from a variety of people who, taken as a whole, answer the title’s question about who did the killing. They did. The high-end trendo-groove-o’s aren’t good company for a writer. They’ve got to be kept back, but Thompson embraced them.

WHEN JIM MITCHELL of the famous Mitchell Brother’s sex temple in San Francisco killed his brother Artie, Hinckle sprang to Jim’s defense, as did all the habitues of the O’Farrell Street pleasure palace, among them Hinckle, Hunter Thompson, Willie Brown, lots of cops, and old guys in walkers who would totter in off O’Farrell at the end of the month to squander their Social Security checks on whatever fleeting pleasures the old libertines could extort from the pay-to-play beautiful young women employed there.

HINCKLE thought the Bay Area papers weren’t being fair to Jim Mitchell, which they weren’t, and probably couldn’t given the lurid context of the event. Editors at the major publications could hardly be expected to explain what really happened. Which was, boiled down, that Artie was seriously out of control and threatening Jim, Jim tried to subdue him and get him into rehab, the gun went off.

ENTER THE MIGHTY AVA. For a couple of months, in return for a handsome bonus, we devoted our front page to Hinckle’s coverage of the trial, which was supplemented with the work of other luminaries affiliated with Hinckle and the Mitchells. If the Bay Area media wouldn’t give Jim Mitchell a fair shot, Hinckle would do it in the AVA.

EVERY WEEK, we printed up lots of extra papers, which I would drive to the Theater on Wednesday afternoons. One of the bouncers and I would drag the mail bags to the upstairs office, far and away the most distracting venue in my provincial experience. A business office teeming with nude young women was outside my experience.

A CREW of Mitchell Brothers workers would distribute the papers the next day at the Marin County Courthouse during Jim Mitchell’s court appearances. I was also happy to get to know Jeff Armstrong, manager of the Theater and a life friend of the Mitchell Brothers. He was also a very good writer and a fun guy to work with. He told me a couple of times that if I hung around, “Hunter would be coming in.” As an extremely conventional and deeply uptight creature of the 1950s, I always felt uncomfortable in the place and, having to drive back to Boonville I couldn’t get drunk to properly enjoy it.

WORKING with Warren was a different kind of fun. He wasn’t wed to deadlines. We’d wait up by our Boonville fax machine for his copy to roll in, then we had to typeset it and slap it up on the page. The paper wasn’t put to bed until Warren was in, and his day didn’t seem to kick off until 5pm or so. (My friend and colleague, Fred Gardner, knew Warren all the way back to Ramparts where “Freddy,” as Warren called him, was also a contributor. Fred does a great imitation of Hinckle. “Yeah, yeah,” Hinckle would growl in seeming agreement as he waved off whatever problem had arisen.) The few times I went out with him at night, Hinckle would demand, “For chrissakes it’s early. Where the hell are you going?”

I’M GOING to dig those Hinckle papers up. My memory of them is that they were among the the most interesting we’ve done. I’d like to see if they were as good as I thought they were at the time. Lively prose was still a primary value at the time.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I warned Spot that he was tempting fate. Did he listen? Nooooooo. His balloon crashed in Philo and he broke his nose. Now look at him — nose-less in Boonville.”

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JUST IN OUTTA LAKE COUNTY: Authorities issue arrest warrant for former local school official accused of embezzlement

A former community college dean who was convicted in a local elder abuse case in 2005 and in September was sentenced to jail in Sacramento for identity theft cases involving his grown children is now facing a new criminal case for embezzling from a Lake County company.

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On 02-14-2018 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Division identified the white female adult as being Dawn Elika Center a 48 year-old female from Redwood Valley, California. The three Deputy Sheriffs involved in the shooting incident have all be placed on paid administrative leave in accordance with Sheriff's Office standard procedure, pending the ongoing investigation by the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office. The three Deputy Sheriffs involved in the shooting incident have been employed at the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office for a total of 30 years, 11 years and 4 years respectively.

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UPDATED PRESS RELEASE: On 02-16-2018 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a Public Records Act request from a media outlet requesting the names of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office employees who were involved in the officer involved shooting incident on 02-13-2018. Based upon that request the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is identifying the employees as being Lieutenant Kirk Mason (30 years of MCSO service), Deputy Miguel Vazquez (11 years MCSO service) and Jeremy Mason (4 years MCSO service).

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My preliminary assessment of the Dawn Center tragedy.

Dawn was a child of Agent Orange. Her father served in Viet Nam and was exposed to Agent Orange. She was born with a birth defect that caused her great pain in her back and extremities.

“Concerns that Agent Orange was not just sickening vets but also causing birth defects in their children surfaced after troops returned from war four decades ago. Veterans reported that some of their children had unusual defects — missing limbs, extra limbs and other diseases.”

Two and a half months ago she met the man of her life, my good friend Aaron. She decided to stop taking her pain medication without her doctor’s consent. The medication had several unpleasant side-effects that she thought were hindering their relationship. Unknown to my friend, she had also been diagnosed with a bi-polar disorder and prescribed Lithium. Opioid Dependency and Bi-Polar disorders go hand in hand. He had no idea she stopped taking the lithium as well.

To make things worse, studies have indicated that Mania alone may be precipitated by opioid withdrawal.

Aaron had only known Dawn for two and half months so he knew very little about her, especially anything about her medical or mental health history. He knew she had stopped taking her pain meds, but did not know if she had any mental health issues. He wrote off much of what most people would call her bizarre behavior as “just being a Cowgirl.” Just another wild and crazy guy if you will. She owned her own Harley and was fun to be around. As far as street drugs, I know my friend Aaron has never used them. He had just retired from a long career as a “suicide jockey” hauling gasoline all over the state California. He said that as far as he knew Dawn had never used street drugs either. Aaron would have never tolerated that, I guarantee you that.

As far as guns, Aaron knew she owned them, but they didn’t seem to be a big issue with her. He had never heard her threaten to harm anyone or anything, she love animals and everyone else as far as he knew.

In the days leading up to her death, she and Aaron had been car hunting for her. She fell in love with a $70,000 Chevy Camero and became fixated on it. Aaron being a Ford guy refused to buy it for her. He took her to look at a cheaper less powerful Ford Mustang but she had her mind set on that Camero.

The night before the tragedy they had a fight about the car and she walked out on him. The next morning she texted him and told him to “get your ass down here and sign these papers.” Aaron did not respond to the text. The next day he decided to take some of her belongings over to her aunt’s house and was informed of her death the day before.

Right now, my friend Aaron is feeling all kinds of emotions, he goes from blaming himself to being angry at her. I will stay close to him for a while, he is a true victim in all this.

David Eyster in a press release last week stated that he hoped that Measure B money would prevent incidents like this one from happening in the future. My question to him is, how? Sometimes shit just happens.

Where’s the money Camille?

PS. Delivering a dead skunk to someone who pissed you off is not erratic behavior in my mind or against the law. I might have done something similar to someone who pissed me off. Just scrape one up off the road and put it in a bag and deliver it.

PPS. If a restraining order was issued when Dawn delivered the dead skunk to Walmart she would have have been required by law to voluntarily relinquish her guns. A MISSED OPPORTUNITY.

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Judy Valadao)

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On 02-15-2018 at approximately 9:30 a.m., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies received a radio call for service regarding a domestic violence incident that occurred at a residence located in the 42000 block of Comptche Ukiah Road in Mendocino. Upon their arrival, Deputies contacted an adult female and determined she and Noah Beard, 41, of Mendocino were married and had children in common.

During their investigation, Deputies learned the adult female and Beard were involved in an ongoing domestic related argument over the last few days and Beard physically assaulted her on multiple occasions during that time frame. Deputies observed the adult female had minor visible injuries consistent with the reported physical assaults. Deputies were unable to locate Beard until 02-16-2018 at approximately 8:10 a.m. At that time, Deputies contacted Beard at the Comptche Ukiah Road residence and placed him under arrest without incident. Beard was transported to the Mendocino County Jail and booked for Felony Domestic Violence Battery where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

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On 02-16-2018 at approximately 9:34 p.m., Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies received a radio call for service regarding an assault that occurred at a residence in the 29700 block of Highway 20 in Fort Bragg. Deputies responded to the Mendocino Coast District Hospital where an adult male was receiving medical treatment for injuries he sustained as a result of the assault. During their contact with the adult male, Deputies learned the adult male and the suspect, Justin Gibney, 20, of Fort Bragg, were siblings and both were involved in a brief verbal confrontation at the adult male's residence located in the 29700 block of Highway 20 in Fort Bragg.


The altercation quickly escalated when Justin Gibney struck the adult male in the face with a closed fist. Justin Gibney then proceeded to use physical force to keep the adult male from leaving the location. The adult male eventually left the location and was transported to the Mendocino Coast District Hospital. Deputies determined the adult male sustained serious bodily injury as a result of being struck during the incident. Deputies responded to the location of occurrence, contacting Justin Gibney and arresting him without incident for the listed charges. Justin Gibney was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked on charges of Battery with Serious Injury and False Imprisonment and to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, February 20, 2018

Cunningham, Davis, Gallagher

BILLY CUNNINGHAM, Ukiah. Burglary forgery/false checks, conspiracy.

ERAINA DAVIS, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, vandalism, probation revocation.

JAMES GALLAGHER, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Leslie, Maldonado, Ortiz

BURGESS LESLIE, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, great bodily injury during felony, honey oil extraction, pot cultivation, armed with firearm during felony, felon with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, parole violation.

JOSE MALDONADO, Willlits. Under influence, probation revocation.

SHANE ORTIZ, Fort Bragg. Failure to pay, failure to appear.

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I have to wonder about the news coverage, both print and other media, about Rob Porter, the recently departed senior adviser and staff secretary to President Donald Trump. That coverage has focused principally on the insensitivity of John Kelly, the president’s chief of staff, to the reports of Porter’s abuse of his two former wives.

There’s no doubt about Kelly’s insensitivity. But there is even less doubt that the person responsible for that kind of insensitivity is the president. Can any rational person believe that Kelly, or anyone else who’s willing to continue to serve in a high position in this president’s administration, would take a charge by a woman of that kind of abuse seriously?

If such a person did, he or she would be effectively condemning the president, who repeatedly has dismissed women’s charges of abuse directed toward him.

Frank N. Panza

Santa Rosa

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It is impossible to care about the future for those that are robbing from it to live the high life today. How many people do you know that say that it will be ok for them but that they feel sorry for their children and their grandchildren? That translates into “Hey I don’t give a damn about the future or those I leave behind. I only care about me and NOW!” I have actually been able to apply that line on people that I caught saying so and you should see the looks on their faces. Not that it will change anything of course….

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Plausible Deniability No More

by Jonah Raskin

Academia is one of the last places on earth where one can expect innovation on the subject of marijuana. Still, this Spring, Sonoma State University (SSU) in Rohnert Park is going out on a limb and is offering a series of seminars titled “Cannabis in California.” According to the website for SSU’s School of Extended and International Education the series was “designed to provide professionals with a deeper understanding of current issues as California starts to see an expansion of the business of cannabis.”

It’s sorta expanding, though not in the way the state of California has imagined. Only 1% of California growers have applied for permits. SSU might have jumped the cannabis gun. Still, the series on campus is aimed at “attorneys, accountants, cultivators, regulators, doctors, nurses, students, entrepreneurs, wine industry professionals, dispensary owners, industry organizations and non-profits, packaging and supply manufacturers, testing and lab services.”

That list is certainly thorough, though it does not explicitly include people who use marijuana medicinally and recreationally. They, too, would benefit from a seminar. The SSU series, which began with a lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather on the “medical use of cannabis,” was a departure for the university, which had for decades ignored cannabis as a field of study.

Dr. Robert Eyler, the Dean of the School of Extended and International Education, came up with the idea for the series, along with Jason Snyder, a cannabis entrepreneur with experience in cultivation. Bill Silver, the former dean of the SSU School of Business and Economics, also had a hand in the planning. Silver has since become the CEO at CannaCraft, one of the largest manufacturers of cannabis products in northern California. The former CEO, Robert Hunter, was a convicted felon who served five-years in prison for cultivation of cannabis. The company needed a facelift.

Dr. Eyler made it clear that the School of Extended and International Education would not offer any classes “that pertain to the cultivation, distribution or retail of cannabis.” He added that “as a recipient of federal funds, SSU is required under federal law to maintain a drug-free community, prevent illegal drug use and discipline students and employees who unlawfully possess, use, or distribute illegal drugs on University property or at University-sponsored activities.

No one will get stoned at the series, at least not publicly.

Professor Eyler thinks that no other university in the U.S. offers a similar series about cannabis. That could be, though last year Northern Michigan University launched a marijuana program for undergraduates. “This is not an easy program,” Professor Brandon Canfield said of the medicinal plant chemistry Bachelor of Science degree. “It’s a really intense, biology chemistry program.”

SSU provides a natural academic setting for cannabis that Northern Michigan University can’t rival. After all, Sonoma County is a major center, not only for the cultivation of cannabis, but also for the manufacture of cannabis products, including tinctures, oils, edibles and topicals. It’s also just South of the Emerald Triangle, where hundreds of acres of cannabis are grown indoors and outdoors, and just North of the San Francisco Bay Area, which boasts excellent dispensaries and a large population of cannabis consumers.

For much of my SSU career, I was the chair of the communication studies department, though I also taught in the English Department and in a program designed for freshmen called “First Year Experience” in which students lived together in the residence halls and studied together for a year. In the absence of any formal university education for students on the subject of cannabis, I stepped into the breach and talked openly about a taboo subject. I met students who grew pot in Mendocino and Humboldt during the summer to pay for their education. I also befriended a man I’ll call “Mr. M.” who worked for a Sonoma County agency and counseled students who had been arrested for possession of marijuana.

“The students who were busted for possession of marijuana were in a court diversion services program,” he told me. “If they completed it, the arrest was supposed to be expunged from their records. Some were irritated by the whole process, especially by the fact that they had to be tested for drugs every week.”

Mr. M. added, “It was a very different time. There was a lot of fear around the use of cannabis. I never would drive with it in my car. I didn’t want to go to jail.” Mr. M is currently writing a book about health and wellness, with emphasis on diet and nutrition.

When I arrived at SSU in 1981, I had just published two marijuana articles that appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle. One was about David Harris, the former student body president at Stanford who had written a novel titled The Last Scam that’s about an American marijuana smuggler in Mexico. The other article was a profile of the town of Willits in Mendocino County. The title of that piece was “In The Heart of Home Grown.”

You could say that I “outed” the town, which was trying to pretend that there was no marijuana anywhere in or near Willits. Merchants in Willits took marijuana dollars hand over fist and then turned around and acted innocent.

“What marijuana? Not here!” I heard those phrases repeatedly.

As a faculty member, I did not initially advertise my connections to cannabis. But after I created the characters and the plot for Homegrownand after the movie was released in theaters, I could no longer honestly stay in the cannabis closet. For the first time I understood the phrase “plausible deniability.” I no longer had it, if I ever did. I tried a couple of times to persuade students that while I wrote the story for Homegrown I did not have any direct experience with cannabis. They did not believe me. From then on, I embrace my own cannabis past. On campus, I wore a black hat with a green marijuana leaf (a movie promotional) and on one wall of my office I taped a huge poster for the movie.

At the start of the semester that Homegrown was released, the president of the college, Ruben Arminana, lauded me as well as the picture, before a gathering of the entire faculty. So, I became bolder and bolder.

One day before a group of freshmen, I began the class by saying, “Hey, I wanna tell you, I smoke marijuana.” One student raised his hand and asked, “Are you stoned now?” I wasn’t and said “No.” Another hand went up, this one from a woman who opened her purse and took out a joint. “Well, would you like to get stoned now?” she asked.

From then on, I received invitations from students to smoke pot, though I never did get stoned with students, and not with fellow faculty members either.

I believe marijuana helped me write books, articles and lectures. I usually found that it enabled me to focus for hours, though one of my brothers, who was a psychiatrist and who prescribed anti-anxiety and anti-depression medicine for his patients, argued that I would have been more productive if I had not smoked pot. For the record, I have published 15 books. Would I have published 30 if I had not been stoned? I don’t think so.

At about the same time that I told students about my use of cannabis, I conducted a cannabis experiment on myself with a Santa Rosa psychiatrist I’ll call “Dr. B.” I was inspired by Dr. Carl Sagan, the famed astronomer who kept a diary of his experiments with cannabis. He published them under the pseudonym, “Mr. X,” in 1971. (It’s available at

I’m still the subject of my own on-going cannabis experiments. Recently, Dr. B., the Santa Rosa psychiatrist, told me he was using marijuana medicinally and that it didn’t make him inert or stupid or feel “stoned.” And for years he had warned me about the dangers of marijuana.

This past summer for the first time I began to use marijuana extracts with a marijuana farmer who had planted an acre of pot and who manufactured “wax” and “shatter.” I would smoke with him and then get on my bicycle and ride around his garden. It was good exercise and I discovered that I could dab and bike and that nothing bad happened. I never took a spill.

What is it that Ishmael says in Herman Melville’s epic, Moby-Dick? “A whale ship was my Harvard and my Yale.” I would tweak that sentence and say, “A pot farm has been my Harvard and my Yale.”

Perhaps as cannabis loses its stigma and is more widely recognized as a plant with valuable properties, lawyers, doctors and other professionals will come out of the closet and reveal their own personal experiences with marijuana. Maybe SSU will offer a seminar in which teachers will talk candidly about cannabis as a medicine, a plant, and a drug that has co-evolved with human beings for thousands of years. Hey, universities are slow to change, but once they do, they institutionalize everything and everyone. Marijuana could be as much a part of the curriculum as computer science.

(Jonah Raskin is the author of Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War (High Times).)

* * *



I have to wonder where a person who still thinks words like Republican, Democrat, Liberal, or Conservative, gets their world view. These words and ideals are all but useless at this sorry ass point in America’s corrupt and dying political culture. From the White House all the way down to our county seat it’s the same dismal story; unqualified incompetent self-serving chumps wasting the public treasuries while rarely serving the people who vote for and pay them. An exception is rare.

My father taught his children not to trust men who were so vain that they’d part their hair just above the ear in order to cover a balding head. In the ’50’s and ’60’s these ridiculous men were usually low level salesmen of the door to door or used car sales type or any number of other jobs suited to the mediocre and the jive-ass. It was clear to me as a child that making oneself absurd with a living toupee or a real fake one, was a sign of a substantial character flaw. These observations have turned out fairly accurate over the years.

Now we have one of these frauds occupying the highest office in the land, this is embarrassing and a bad sign! It’s logical to wonder what other lies and falsehoods such a loser would entertain. Of course we all know that liars and deceivers are the kind of people who end up in the Oval Office.

If President Trump weren’t a mentally ill bigot, sexist, unethical fraud, if he really was a politician or an honest businessman, and had intelligence useful to America I could overlook his idiotic hairdo. But of course if he were a healthy useful person he’d most likely not give a rats ass about going bald as any real man would.

It’s sadly not surprising that such a self serving criminal became President, just look at the fools we’ve had in there since WW II. It’s just a rude shock that such an obviously self serving jerk who looks like an idiot is now the face of America. Things must be really bad when those who own and run America LLC have had to stoop so low for their chief stool pigeon. Talk about anti-American, talk about further tarnishing our reputation in the world. It would take some impressive self discipline not to notice the overall state of decline that America is well into and that a charleton like Trump is glaring evidence of.

To hell with flag waving slogan singing so-called patriots who use their jingoism as a smoke screen for obscuring the terrible realities of our America having been totally hijacked by pathological liars, psychopaths, greed addicts, power junkies, mass murdering war criminals, international law breakers, and un-American constitution trashing Imperial Presidents.

To prison with the Bushes, the Clintons, Obama, and Trump and all the evil congressmen, senators, and legislators who’ve turned America into a military dictatorship and an open air insane asylum. The only wall worth talking about is a wall around Washington DC and Virginia in order to protect America and the world from further damage by these uncivilized homicidal maniacs.


Ross Dendy


* * *

"I KNOW YOU BELIEVE YOU UNDERSTAND what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." —Oscar Wilde

* * *

“I cannot tell a lie—I never said I chopped it down.”

* * *


Silicon Valley remains stubbornly suburban in form, but the oligarchs now believe that “urbanization is a moral imperative,” notes author Greg Ferenstein, who has interviewed them extensively...

Even as the suburban garage remains the Valley’s preferred symbol, suggesting that anyone with a vision can build the next Facebook, in fact today’s giants prefer to buy up emerging innovators and to build dense urban complexes inhabited by workers who will become ever more corporate, consolidated, and controlled.

Even as the oligarchs’ apologists insist dense cities are “home to more innovation and income equality,” research shows quite the opposite, with San Francisco, for example, recently ranked by the Brookings Institution as America’s second most unequal city. Perhaps Facebook should look at what happens to its contract workers sleeping in their cars and working numerous jobs to afford to stay near the mother ship...

In this world, there is little room for home ownership. The oligarchs have endorsed Bay Area regulations that limit single family-home development and have helped create some of the world’s highest housing prices and rents. According to Zillow, rent costs now claim upward of 45 percent of income for young workers in San Francisco, compared to closer to 30 percent of income in metropolitan areas like Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. The average new mortgage for a home in San Francisco takes, on average, close to 40 percent of income compared to 15 percent nationally.

Under this regime, the new generation of Bay Area residents seems destined to live as renters without enjoying equity in property. The 2040 regional plan for the Bay Area calls for 75 percent of new housing development to take place on barely 5 percent of the land mass, all but guaranteeing high prices for those who can (barely) afford to live crammed into small apartments.

One well-used rationale for densification lies with the assumption that building more units on these pricey pieces of land will help solve California’s severe housing affordability crisis. Yet in reality, construction costs for higher density housing are much higher—up to 7.5 times the cost per square foot of building detached housing. Nor will densification do much to address climate issues: Savings cited in a recent Berkeley study suggest that enforced densification would contribute less than 1 percent of the new emissions reductions the state has mandated by 2030.

Yet the CEOs of Lyft,, Square, Twitter, and Yelp, as well senior executives at Google, all support densification, and have rallied behind a new bill by California state Sen. Scott Wiener to strip local communities of most of their zoning powers to allow significant densification virtually everywhere there is basic transit or rail bus service...

Mark Zuckerberg, even as he fought to expand his own sprawling suburban homestead, envisions his employees living in crowded dormitories close to work, including a planned 1,500-unit apartment development near Facebook’s Menlo Park campus. Zuckerberg, like most oligarchs, prefers workers unengaged with the mundanities of family life.

“Young people just have simpler lives,” he explained to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We may not own a car. We may not have a family. Simplicity in life is what allows you to focus on what’s important.”

The man preaching this diminished view of urban life, of course, has a car, a family and all the benefits that come with a vast fortune. He is not part of the “we” he’s purporting to speak for.

The city that he is envisioning, that “we” are supposed to enjoy, will be organized not by civic loyalty but pools of constantly tracked personal information collected and sold by his company...

The more cities genuflect to firms like Amazon, Facebook, and Google, the more our communities will be shaped not by our own preferences but by the controlling vision of oligarchs who know more than it’s pleasant to imagine about each of our habits, inclinations, and desires.

To maintain the freedom of the city requires that citizens, not the oligarchy, drive its development. Anything else undermines the very idea of democracy. When a city manager suggests that changes are dictated by data collected by the smart city operators, rather than popular sentiment, democracy itself has been unplugged.

This is the time to reclaim cities suited to human aspiration. We need to do this before control is ceded to a small tech elite that profits by shaping our future, stealing our privacy and nudging us toward a new era of mass serfdom.

(Joel Kotkin in New Geography)

* * *


* * *


by Jeff Costello

Do you shudder at the sight of low-life trailer-trash crankheads driving around in their beat-up Camaros? Do you nod solemnly when one of the big tv news actors presents a piece on how methamphetamine is now the Number One Drug Scourge of the United States? Are you shocked at video footage of police and firefighting personnel in radiation suits removing chemistry lab equipment from innocuous rural dwellings? It's everywhere, isn't it? Central nervous system stimulation - it feels good. Did you enjoy your coffee this morning? Was it a cup of plain old Joe, or a double latte, or triple mocha? At home? At Starbucks? Did it make you feel motivated, as if you had urgent and important things to do? That your agenda for the day carried great meaning?

Well, that's what crank does. No matter how common or sophisticated or snobbish your coffee preference, it's still caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant. A low-grade, chickenshit stimulant compared to methamphetamine - a distant relative, but definitely in the larger family of speed, crank, meth, crystal, ice ...whatever you choose to call it. It might be a good idea to look a bit less condescendingly at those crankers out there, because they're doing the same thing you are, only more so.

More than 30 years ago, in 1967, the Haight-Ashbury hippie scene had already moved from peace, love, brown rice and marijuana to LSD and on to speed. Around the same time, I sat up all night in a New England motel talking with a friend of mine, a drummer in a traveling band from New York. He and all the other band members used diet pills, obtained both legally and illegally, to get through the traveling and the long nights of playing for indifferent drunks in crummy places like Lowell, Massachusetts. They were on speed.

(And of course, so were perhaps millions of housewives who had no clue they were using addictive drugs; it was MEDICINE prescribed by a DOCTOR. This was the exact argument used by another friend's Latvian immigrant mother, when she expressed some concern over her son's marijuana use and he pointed out her little jar of dexedrine tablets.)

Joey, the drummer from New York, had no pretensions about what he was doing. He was using drugs and he liked them. He was Irish, another son of immigrants, and had the Blarney, or gift of gab. The amphetamines merely amplified it. After going on and on about one subject after another, he made a statement that I have remembered clearly all this time: "Before long, this will be a nation of speed freaks." Well. Damn if he wasn't right.

Of all the seemingly unlikely places, Hawaii has one of the worst crank problems in the United States. Unlikely, because one might think extreme stimulation is inappropriate in the constant hot weather, but no. The drug, and people on it, adapt. When freebase (what crack cocaine used to be called) was the stimulant of choice for upper-class Marin County lawyers and such, someone somewhere got the bright idea of converting methamphetamine into a smokable form. This "new" drug, called "ice," took off in Hawaii. It's very easy and convenient for anyone who's either afraid of the needle or considers themselves socially "above" intravenous injection, to smoke the stuff. Back in the 60s the Hell's Angels supplied a lot of speed in Northern California. In Hawaii, it's Asian gangs but it was west coast hippie-type speed-freaks who brought it here in the first place. I have the misfortune of former association with one of them, who is now either in prison or on the lam after having made a batch of bad crank that killed someone.

In those early days of the speed explosion, the other center (besides the Bay Area) of speed activity was central and south Texas: Dallas-Austin-Houston. Fifty-pound bags of the stuff could be bought cheap from chicken farmers who used it to force more and crappier eggs from the hens. This is how much of it came to San Francisco at first. Heavy crankheads become paranoid sooner or later and if they don't go to the office and gun down their fellow employees, or get drunk and start fights, they're likely to be keeping a low profile, hiding out at home, dismantling small electronic devices or digging through buckets of nuts and bolts, or fumbling around in the middle of the night with a flashlight, because there's something they "gotta" find.

Now, it's the espresso crowd that's becoming dangerous. Like marijuana, the coffee has gotten stronger over the years and you can get espresso anywhere, just like beer. Even redneck truck stops in Oregon have espresso now, but it's not the truckers you need to worry about. They're old hands at sleep deprivation. It's the soccer moms and day traders in the SUVs with cell phones who are posing the real threat on the roads. These people are cranked up on serious doses of caffeine, and are self-absorbed, and not paying attention. Central nervous stimulation added to an already grossly inflated sense of self-importance, driving a three-ton hunk of metal, is a bad formula. Oddly, veteran meth freaks often tend to drive slowly and carefully due to a well-justified fear of the police. It's when they drink that they get in trouble...

Crank is indeed a powerful and very dangerous drug, but the biggest danger is not what the user might do to you, it's what he's doing to himself and his family, if they're still around. Aside from the inevitable physiological damage like tooth loss, heart damage (at least two friends of mine died from heart attack due to over-stimulation) or double pneumonia from staying up three or four nights in a row with little or no food out in the cold damp Northern California weather, in all these years of writing and publishing, I still haven't been able to come up with adequate words to get across the feelings of horror and despair that always comes with heavy methamphetamine use.

When this piece was first written, the rural meth lab was a rare thing. Then someone found out that methamphetamine could be made from cold pills, instead of photograph development - or related - chemicals. I suspect digital photography has made this stuff harder to find. Marijuana and opioids get most of the press now, but crank hasn't gone away, not by a long shot.

How about a nice cup of tea?

* * *


March 5 - March 9, 2018, Public Welcomed

Monday March 5th: Social Justice Week Kick Off

12:00-1:00pm Social Science 320, Social Justice Week Class Assembly Meeting and Sign in: Cooperage

Monday Events: The Cooperage 2

1:00-2:00pm Michael Nagler: Metta Center for Nonviolence: “The Time is Now” Presentation

2:30-3:30pm Police Brutality Coalition: Susan Lamont: Community and Law Enforcement Relations: At the Crossroads

4:00-5:00 pm Peter Phillips: Giants: The Global Power Elite

7:30-9:00 pm Keynote Speaker: Ralph Nader: One Person Can Make a Difference: Social Justice and World Affairs, Green Music Center, Free for SSU Students Tickets Required in Advance, Public $10

Tuesday March 6th: The Cooperage 2

10:00-11:30 am Henry Kaku and the Buddhist Center: US Citizens Jailed in Concentration Camps by Presidential Order- 1941

12:00-1:30pm Veterans for Peace: The 50th Anniversary of the My Lai Massacre and Its Lessons for Today

2:00-3:00pm Mara Ventura, Jordan Steger from North Bay Jobs with Justice: Higher wages movement, $15 an hour minimum wage, and Unionization

3:00-5:00 pm Alicia Jrapko, U.S. Coordinator of the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity and co-chair of the National Network on Cuba: What to Expect with U.S./Cuba Relations in the Trump Era, and

7:00-9:00 pm Immigrant Rights Night: Mariana G. Martinez & Ariana Aparicio, Ballet Folklorico Netzahualcoyotl

Wednesday March 7th: The Cooperage 2

10:00-11:00 pm Homeless Action, Adrienne Lauby, and Celeste Austin, The Living Room, Santa Rosa

11:30-12:30 pm Linda Sartor- Author: Turning Fear into Power - Stories that Inspire Following your Heart Even When Fear is Present

1:00-2:00pm Caitlin Quinn, Verity: Understanding Sexual Violence

2:30-3:30pm Public Banking Sonoma County- Shelly Browning, Barbara Fishelson, Philip Beard, Linda Sartor, Debora Hammond

4:00-5:30 pm Toby Blomé, Code Pink Global Drone Warfare

7:00-9:00 pm Keynote Speaker: Mickey Huff: Director Project Censored: Fake-News and Truth Emergency

Thursday March 8th: The Cooperage 1

10:00-11:30 am Fukushima Response Campaign, John Bertucci, Fukushima Updates & West Coast Impacts

12:00-1:00pm Occupy Sonoma County, Rebel Fagin, Climate Change Push Back

1:15-2:45 pm North Coast Coalition for Palestine: Therese Mughannam, Why Should Palestine Matter to You?

3:00-5:00pm Lynn Woolsey- former member of Congress: Women in Politics, Location Schulz Library

7:00-9:00 pm Faculty Panel: Diana Grant, Chingling Wo, Tim Wandling, Ron Lopez, Napoleon Reyes, Anastasia Tosouni: Social Justice Without Borders

Friday March 9th: The Cooperage 2

10:00-11:30am Peace and Justice Center: Networks for Peace and Justice in Sonoma County

12:00-1:30pm Nicole Wolfe, SSU Professor: Cannabis and the Law

2:00-4:00pm Jeff Mackler, National Secretary, Socialist Action, and Carol Dansereau, author of What It Will Take: Rejecting Dead-ends and False Friends in the Fight for the Earth,

4:30- 6:30pm Mickey Huff: Critical Media Literacy, Multi-Campus Panel Faculty and Students from: Diablo Valley College, CSU East Bay, College of Marin, and San Francisco State

7:30- 9:00 pm Glenn Ford: Executive Editor of The Black Agenda Report a weekly magazine of news, commentary and analysis from the Black left

Sponsors: SSU Sociology Social Justice and Activism Club, SSU Associated Students, Sociology Department, School of Social Science, Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies, Project Censored, Sonoma County Peace and Justice Center, Metta Center for Peace, Occupy Sonoma County, North Coast Coalition for Palestine, Fukushima Response, Code Pink, Sonoma County Chapter Veterans for Peace, Sonoma Police Brutality Coalition, North Bay Jobs with Justice, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Media Freedom Foundation, International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity‑Cuba,


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