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Mendocino County Today: Friday, March 23, 2018

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The long-time resident of Boonville had battled cancer over the past several years never, in all that debilitating, difficult time, losing the vivacious good humor all of us always associated with her. With her husband Reuben Thomasson Jr., Beryl Thomasson owned and operated the landmark Anderson Valley Market in downtown Boonville. Full obituary to follow.

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An open letter to the Board of Supervisors:

The proposal to create a county department, the Cultural Services Agency, out of the Library, the Museum and Parks, combining the administration of all, is a bad idea from many perspectives. It usurps the role of the County Librarian, combines two very different funding sources (dedicated property tax plus restricted sales tax vs. the general fund), two different jurisdictions (only the library includes both the incorporated an unincorporated areas) and greatly diminishes the accountability of county government to its residents. Different professional expertise is needed for each proposed component. Basically, it seems a proposal to skim money from the Library while at the same time weakening all three institutions.

If the County is unwilling to adequately oversee and fund the County Museum, it should close it down and return the artifacts and archives to the donors or organizations that can safeguard them. The building and the collections need an infusion of money. It could be an attraction for tourists, boosting the Willit’s economy and drawing motorists from the bypass, i.e., economic development. Yet, this proposal seems to include putting the this year’s unspent budgeted dollars into the general fund, rather than using it for needed improvements, and cutting next year’s budget. (Maybe you’ll buy more county vehicles if $800,000 last year wasn’t enough.) Nothing now prevents the Library and the Museum from cooperating on mutually beneficial events.

The duties and responsibilities of the County Librarian are set forth is state law. He/she “shall , subject to the general rules adopted by the board of supervisors, build up and manage, according to the accepted principled of library management, a library for the use of the people of the county...” (Ed Code sec. 19146) and shall “authorize and approve” “each claim against the county free library fund”. (Ed Code 19176). Sounds like an administrator to me. Wherein lies the authority of the board of supervisors to give those powers to a county agency administrator? Already, a lot the Librarian’s administrative time has been devoted to the Museum; even if reimbursed, it is a significant diversion of time and attention.

Of far greater concern is the accounting and accountability nightmare this proposal will create for supporters of the Museum, the Library and the Parks. The broad brush of the published county budget--”operating transfers in”, “operating transfers out”, “intra fund transfers”, “A-87 charges”--create a fog impenetrable to the average citizen. In two years, the depreciation and overhead charges against the Library (A-87) have increased from 12% of its dedicated property tax revenue to 19%. To whom, for what, and why is unknowable from published information. For good government efficiency is less important than accountability, which in turn rests upon transparency.

Transparency is particularly important in regards to the sales tax authorized by Measure A, crucial to the viability of the Library (twice in the past the County has been willing to completely shut down or eliminate a branch thereof). Measure A has a clause requiring continuation of funding existing in 2012. It has a sunset clause. It is difficult to envisage the support of nearly 75% , or even 63%, if the voters are unsure whether funds are being siphoned off to support other amenities or if the Library has lost its identity.

The board of supervisors will be hearing this proposal Tuesday, March 27. I urge each of you who feel that any or all of the Museum, the Library, the Parks have a positive impact on your life to attend and let your voice be heard. Or write or call your supervisor. I personally care about all three.

In all of the above I am speaking as a private citizen, not as part of any organization to which I may belong.

Linda Bailey


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A COLD upper level trough will generate occasional showers and mountain snow through the weekend. High pressure will build next week resulting in dry weather conditions. (National Weather Service)

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “This Bezos character is a menace, and so's his Amazon. Now he's come up with a mechanical dog! What's wrong with the real thing? Nothing! Which I prove 24/7.”

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by Rex Gressett

On Monday Morning Mayor Lindy Peters was plucked up for jury duty. Our shiny new City Manager Tabatha Miller graciously stood in for him at the informal morning meeting. There was an hour’s notice that Ms. Miller would conduct the meeting. Whamo, the (small) conference room at City Hall, was packed. People were standing and more kept coming. It was more evidence if any more were needed how fast and vast is the capacity of social media (i.e., MendocinoSportsPlus) to mobilize the community. It was a mere whisper of a posting in the middle of a working day. Ms. Miller was smart and attentive. She listened, took good notes and radiated competence. I won't bring a dead issue up again, but I cannot forbear to remark that Ms. Ruffing would not have conducted an open meeting in the conference room for any contingency short of a nuclear strike, and very likely not even then. (Ok, I said it at the meeting.)

In the social media comments I saw, the best was as a short one: “Don’t break the new city manager.” I am sure that she has the total support of a thankful community. As the discussion went around the table, the phenomena of professionalism and openness in the office of the City Manager clashed disturbingly with the expostulations and complaints of a deeply frustrated community accustomed to the use of battering rams in mortal struggle with City Hall. I was certainly conscious of the disjunction. When they hired Tabatha Miller in darkest closed session negotiations, I seriously doubt that the Council was entirely forthcoming about the volatility and dissatisfaction in Fort Bragg. I am not sure the City Council could have conveyed the depth of it, and pretty sure they didn’t bring it up.

She knows now.

Besides all that, it must be like being hired to troubleshoot Pandora’s box. There is the issue of a $1 million-plus in overcharges from bollixed city contracts, dark questions about one-bid deals that spiraled out of control, and rumors of swiped money derived from the Coastal Trail going into the Chestnut Street project.

The real heartbreaker was the surprise deficit. It really should not have come as a revelation. The numbers were there but obscured for years by jolly City Hall spin. When we collectively discovered Fort Bragg was somewhat worse than broke it blindsided almost everybody.

Nobody yet has talked seriously about the impending CalPers (pension fund) contribution that will push us definitively over the financial edge in three years, and absolutely no one on the council or in the administration has breathed a whisper about the open secret of massive unfunded liabilities for decomposing infrastructure.

Even more politically incendiary is the leaked information that Georgia Pacific, with the stolid compliancy of our own Development Director Marie Jones, has been meeting regularly with a whole raft of stakeholder agencies to make smooth the way for a walk out on the cleanup.

Adding insult to injury Ms. Jones not only did not inform the people or the Council she was meeting with the state bigwigs, she maintains righteously she was perfectly right to handle all that on her own. “Do I watch what you do in your house?” saith Marie in weird indignation. Too bad DTSC was not so self-contained. And then there was George Reinhardt’s succession of document leaks.

The next shoe to drop in doom, will be in the form of a no further action letter from the state department of toxic substances control (DTSC). Coming soon. All of that is context for the poor City Manager.

On the front burner is the pending wanton destruction of the dry sheds, a loud signification that our community’s economic interest is not a priority. Blame for that one belongs to the City Council of course. Profound political rumblings are ominously audible.

Monday morning, Folks around the table agreed that it is not as bad as it used to be. In days of yore keeping 54% of Fort Bragg residents below the poverty line was the key to the golden grab for federal Community Block Development Grants (CDBG). City Hall administration got to keep 7% of the federal cash and they loved it.

Tabatha acknowledged that Fort Bragg got a hefty percentage of all city income from CBDG, “more than anywhere else that I have seen,” she honestly remarked. The old timers at the Monday Morning meeting affirmed the impossibility in days gone by of getting even the most innocent enterprise through Fort Bragg City Planning. For decades endemic poverty was a (the) golden opportunity for the federal grant getters at City Hall. That’s all over. All the voters had to do was fire in two successive election cycles, just short of the entire city council.

After the bloodbath, the development department permit people reformed themselves marvelously. It all came up like perking popcorn in the one hour meeting. The whole circus was duly noted on the city manager’s notepad. She did not faint. Not even close. She has been here two weeks and deserves our most sincere support and understanding.

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NEARLY eight and a half years after Konocti Harbor closed its doors to the public, the resort has been sold. On Wednesday afternoon, the sale of the famed Kelseyville resort closed escrow and its change in ownership to Bay Area investors was recorded at the Lake County Recorder’s Office. Before it went into bankruptcy proceedings nearly nine years ago, the resort was well-known for its first-tier music shows.

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March 17, 2018
Dan Keyes
District Administrator
Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District
300 South Lincoln St.
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Subject: General comments in opposition to the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District (MCRPD) plan to develop an Off-Highway Vehicle Regional Park on a 586 acre property owned by MCRPD near Summers Lane, east of Fort Bragg

Dear Mr. Keyes:

I write to express my serious and complete opposition to this current proposal.

My wife and I are long-time Mendocino Coast residents and taxpayers (over 70 years here between us). We are passionate about land-use issues, particularly the protection of fragile coastal area lands. We do not reside in the area near the land in question, though we have close friends who do. We strongly believe that any recreational use of this public land should benefit the majority of coast residents/taxpayers and fully protect and preserve the land itself. We believe that the current proposal will neither benefit the majority of coast residents, nor will it protect the land from further degradation.

To begin, I cite the MCRPD website which states the following about the land at the proposed park site:

“This property is owned by Mendocino Coast Recreation and Park District (MCRPD) and consists of 586 acres including much of the Newman Gulch Watershed, the municipal water source for the city of Fort Bragg. Unique habitats exist here, including sphagnum bogs and 150 acres of Mendocino Cypress Pygmy Forest. These areas need to be protected from damage.”

“This land is currently open to the public for passive recreation including walking and hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. It is not open for public off-highway vehicle use now.”

Following is a brief summary of our reasons for opposing this proposal:

Main Concerns:

  1. This public land is in need of the fullest protection, as the MCRPD website itself clearly points-out. It is common knowledge that this land has been neglected, abused and degraded for years and is in poor condition. Land degradation caused by off-highway vehicle use is exceedingly common, as is well known due to extensive studies in numerous states. Even under relatively controlled circumstances, these vehicles are inherently destructive to the land and the habitat. Though much more could be said about this issue. We'll simply quote the local Sierra Club, in a current comment on this proposal, and attach a Sierra Club document regarding off-highway use of motorized vehicles:

“The Sierra Club feels that designating the entire park as an OHV Park will discourage all other activities and cause unintended destruction of the sensitive habitats (Pygmy Forest and Northern Bishop Pine Forest) as well as threatening sediment pollution of the Newman Gulch headwaters and reservoir. The sensitive habitat areas also include wetlands and a sphagnum bog.”

Document attached: “Off-Road Use of Motorized Vehicles,” adopted by the Sierra Club Board of Directors, May 7, 1988, 3 pages

  1. Off-highway vehicles are intrinsically intrusive, noisy and disturbing for many folks, even if exhaust systems are properly muffled. Their engines also pollute the air, to a much higher degree than most cars, which have highly engineered, highly regulated pollution control systems. These problems, as well as others associated with off-highway vehicle use (like generation of dust clouds) make other recreational uses of the park site problematic. They also create serious nuisance/disturbance problems for those residences adjacent to or close-by the park site. The noise issue--the ongoing buzz-drone-whine-moan-growl--of these motorized vehicles, especially if multiple vehicles were in use at the site-- could prove to be extremely upsetting and unnerving to area residents, who currently live in relatively peaceful and quiet neighborhoods. My wife and I can both imagine that if such a park site use were proposed near our home, we would be anxious and alarmed, even disheartened. We would vigorously oppose such a proposal. We moved to the Mendocino Coast, as many others have done, to enjoy the peace and quiet of countryside home life.
  2. Off-highway vehicles are inherently dangerous, a commonly known fact. Single or multiple-vehicle accidents can result in serious injuries or death. If a certain percentage off-highway drivers are operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol—as is sadly very likely-- risk rises dramatically. If children are allowed to drive such vehicles, even those who have undergone training, the risk of accidents and related injuries rises accordingly. Regarding children's use of off-highway vehicles like ATV's, James Perrin, past President of the American Academy of Pediatrics states:

“Children are not developmentally capable of operating these heavy, complex machines. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns all parents that no child under the age of 16 should drive or ride an ATV.”

From: “Are All-Terrain Vehicles Safe Toys For Children?” Jennifer Abel, Consumer Affairs, April 24, 2014

As to these issues, Judge Anthony P. Calisi, writing about legal liability issues, notes the following regarding ATV's, the ubiquitous off-highway vehicle:

“Of all off-road vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, result in the highest number of injuries and fatalities each year. ATVs come in three-, four- and even six-wheel versions. Their speeds can reach up to 45 miles an hour and they can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Most states don’t require a driver’s license to operate one, so drivers are often 15 years old or younger. An untrained, inexperienced or intoxicated driver can easily flip one over on top of himself or his passengers. Although some new ATVs have seatbelts, there are few other safety features. Common accidents involve rollovers and collisions with other vehicles and solid objects. Injuries include lacerations, contusions, abrasions, minor burns, and whiplash. More serious injuries are broken bones, back and spinal cord injuries, brain trauma, skull fractures, second- and third-degree burns, and death.”

From: “Off-Road Vehicle Accident Settlements,” Judge Anthony P. Calisi (retired), Website-Injury Claim Coach

These are very serious issues that would have to be accounted for in planning and execution. They raise the question of the need for full-time supervision/monitoring/enforcement at the park site by trained staff. This of course becomes an ongoing—and no doubt difficult--funding issue. Closely associated is the issue of legal liability for any off-highway vehicle accidents. One questions whether the MCRPD has fully considered these issues, especially the ongoing funding needed to address on-site staffing, user safety, as well as legal risks/responsibilities/costs.

  1. A troubling issue regarding this proposal concerns ineffective noticing of the public for related meetings. This issue began at the initial application in 2014/2015, with complaints by interested parties, including residents of nearby homes (noted on the California Recreation Alliance comment website for that time period), that noticing had not been effectively provided. We are also aware that a recent EIR-related meeting was apparently not noticed in a reasonable, common-sense manner easily accessible to the public and interested parties. As a result, some folks who wished to attend could not do so.

In the interests of due diligence and fairness, direct notice (in the form of letters, flyers or even brief in-person contact) to all residences potentially affected by this proposal should be given prior to any future meetings. We urge those responsible for noticing to insure this critical task is done ethically and completely. Only then can all concerned parties know about the proposal's details and voice their views and concerns.


This proposal appears to be a special-interest proposal primarily benefiting a very small percentage of the Mendocino Coast population—those who ride on or drive off-highway vehicles. There are those—especially the folks who live in homes close-by the proposed park—who would suffer significant harm from this primary use. They would be harmed especially by the substantial air and noise pollution caused by such vehicles. The land itself, already harmed by many years of neglect and abuse, would certainly suffer further degradation over time from such vehicle use.

This use of the park site, due largely to the noise and air pollution caused by such vehicles, would greatly constrain all other recreational uses of this public land, such as hiking, bicycling, picnic use, camping, and other low-impact uses by the general population. Off-highway vehicle use, and the other recreational uses listed here, are in essence mutually exclusive. Folks who want to relax in various ways, enjoying a peaceful, natural park setting, cannot do so in the nearby presence of motorized vehicles being used for recreational purposes.

We assert, instead, that this public land should be used to benefit a far greater number of Mendocino Coast citizens, young and old. The park should offer the many and diverse recreational activities cited in your website. The park site should not be opened to the use of off-highway vehicles.

Thank you for your attention to these concerns. Please understand that the Mendocino Coast public will be closely watching your decisions in this matter.


Chuck Dunbar
Fort Bragg

cc: All MCRPD Board members
Dan Gjerde, Board of Supervisors, Mendocino County
Susan Larkin, Friends of MCRPD
Tabatha Miller, City Manager, Fort Bragg
Mendocino Coast Sierra Club

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Judy Valadao)

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(Frank McMichael's Legacy)

by Mark Scaramella

The Ukiah Valley Sanitation District has been bleeding cash by hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in an ongoing legal fight with the City of Ukiah begun in 2013. The District probably has a case, but they are unlikely to win much support from their long-suffering customers when they become aware of its casually wasteful management practices.

The Sanitation District is basically an administrative extension of the City of Ukiah’s sanitation system. The District is set up to handle the billing and management operations of sewer system connections outside the Ukiah City Limits. (The City owns and operates the sewer system itself and the City’s hookups.)

(Click to enlarge)

The convoluted arrangement between the City of Ukiah administration and operations staff and the District has blossomed into a multi-year, multi-million dollar lawsuit when triple dipping former LA cop, former Mendo Supervisor and former LAFCO manager Frank McMichael, as Sanitation District manager, hired Ukiah Attorney Duncan James to sue the City of Ukiah for misallocated funds in the wake of a Grand Jury review of the Sanitation system’s finances; that report seemed to show that the City of Ukiah was shortchanging the Sanitation District and had been shortchanging it going all the way back to the 50s when the District was formed.

The lawsuit had some merit and could and should have been mediated under court supervision if our civically disinterested local courts cared about Ukiah Valley’s ratepaying residents.

Instead, the case has dragged on and on and on over the years, costing millions of dollars in lawyer fees — most of which has gone and continues to go to Mr. James and his staff. The legal fees have depleted the Sanitation District’s reserves.

Although three new members were elected to the District Sanitation Board last fall on promises to settle the insane dispute with the City, “negotiations” continue with no end in sight — although some board members continue to insist that “progress is being made,” in closed session, and resolution will occur “soon.”

But if their closed sessions are as downright crazy and bumbling as the open session last Wednesday, it’s hard to believe the lawsuit will ever be concluded.

Last September under its previous board of directors, the Sanitation District celebrated themselves for hiring as General Manager an floating specialist district manager named Joe Tait. Tait was an experienced hand at sanitation and other special districts and was expected to “navigate the District through its lawsuit against the City of Ukiah while restructuring the District and driving innovation to provide the District’s ratepayers with more technologically advanced and efficient services.”

But in just a few months, as the newly constituted Board took its seats, Mr. Tait’s employment became less clear (and remains that way). Was he an employee? A contractor? A consultant?

In November Tait was “fired” by the new board. In December he was rehired. Then fired again.

Last week, Tait was again up for being re-hired on an “as needed” hourly basis at an hourly rate of $135 per hour.

But not without some intense pushback, most of it coming from newly seated Board member Julie Bawcom, a retired California state geologist. Ms. Bawcom insisted that the District had paid Tait enough in salary and “severance” (which he got even though he only worked for the district for a few months). Bawcom said the only way Mr. Tait should work for the district was if he worked for free, since with the severance he had already been paid for many more months than he'd worked.

Board Chair Theresa McNerlin opened the discussion of re-hiring Mr. Tait by explaining, “We need someone to take the calls from contractors and builders and companies and anyone in town who needs new hookups or has questions about existing hook ups, things like that. We need someone with the expertise and knowledge to handle the big issues case by case. Then we will need to hire someone in the office to handle the administrative stuff. This is an hourly, as needed basis, not a large— not an office duties position. Just someone who handles our big projects, like a bridge project, a tearing up of State Street project; things like that.”

Ms. Bawcom read from her copy of the fortunate Mr. Tait's contract.

“We paid him nine months severance including all of his paychecks and he has been paid $138,000. … He has been paid nine months severance,” said Bawcom, “so I don't want to hire him back unless he is going to work for free until May 30, or until the nine months that he's been paid for is up. We have already paid him his average weekly salary and I don't want to give him another cent. Unless he's willing to give us that money back we should not rehire him because we overpaid him.”

Director Ken Marshall said he wanted to hear from Mr. Tait himself.

“Wait a minute,” replied Bawcom. “He just cashed a $138,000 check! For doing nothing! We didn't want to pay him. We all thought it would be four or five months of severance to cover the months that were left when he left. I am irate about this whole situation.”

Ms. Bawcom read the severance pay provision from Tait’s previous contract having to do with pro-rating the severance pay if Tait was terminated after only a few months, adding, "I went to the County Counsel’s office and they said they couldn't tell what that meant."

McNerlin disagreed: “I got clarification on that. If he worked a full nine months, he would get nine months severance. If he worked five months he would get five months severance.”

Bawcom: “But November 30 was the termination date and he did not work nine months. He did not work for us for nine months.”

McNerlin: “It's from the date of hire to the date that he leaves.”

Bawcom: “We paid him $133,000 for doing absolutely nothing! I am not going to pay him $135 an hour to come back under a contract. He got $133,000 from us. … I think we should keep the position open for nine months to pay back this gift of public funds! I think it’s wrong! I did not agree to this. Was it four months? Was a five months?”

McNerlin: “It is common practice to pay these people severance pay. We have a city manager making $280,000 a year, okay? What does the Governor of California make? This was his average! We need someone by the hour to handle major things in this office. We cannot let this district fall apart because of some…”

Bawcom: “Yes, he should do that without pay!”

McNerlin: “His contract does not say it's free!”

Bawcom: “He got overpaid for his severance package.”

McNerlin: “We have an agreement in front of us.”

Marshall: “We don't have anyone else to take over that position right now.”

McNerlin. “I met with Joe [sic] yesterday and went over this entire contract with him. Working for free is not an option.”

Bawcom: “Yes, but he needs to give us the severance back so we don't have to come up with the cash. He was going to give a chunk of his severance pay back and then charge that amount of cash.”

McNerlin: “It is my understanding that his severance should have been more. And he said he didn't want more, you can use that as transitional money towards paying me the hourly wage. And that's what that was about. It's not that he was going to accept the money and then return it.”

Bawcom: “I calculated that he was overpaid and I counted each week and averaged each week and it should have been $133,000 for nine months and it was $138,000 that we paid him.”

Then there was a long discussion about how much of Mr. Tait’s travel would be reimbursed. They finally agreed that travel to his office would not be reimbursed, but other travel would be.

Ukiah Valley resident, ratepayer and retired County Social Services Account Clerk Don Crawford couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing.

“This is all very surreal to me. Going back to the original discussion about severance pay. You all have fiduciary responsibilities to people other than you five people at the table. This guy worked for nine months but he did not put in enough time to be considered a long-time loyal employee. And then mysteriously, I have never found out, I don't know why or how he got fired so that he could get awarded the severance pay package. And then you have the guy back and you want to hire him again. This guy — I think he's got this thing played pretty well. I realize he has some skills. But you people here really have to think about ways to simplify this whole thing, and what he's done and when he originally showed up here. Julie is right. He has not displayed any loyalty. Nine months does not display loyalty. Then some hidden process got him fired. Then I heard that he quit on his own to go care for his mother. And the guy has never missed a paycheck. And he's still here hanging around and now he's getting a check for whatever amount of money it is, and now we’re hiring the guy back again. It's kind of shocking to me as an ordinary citizen. It's a blatant fiduciary violation of our interests. I understand and believe that you need things done, but there's got to be a better way to handle this. This is a microcosm of the $1 million a year on average that you pay the lawyers to guide you wherever you are now. You should be getting better advice from them. This defies any reasonable explanation. I am astounded at this conversation. I don't know what else to say. You need to really think about your responsibility to the people that you serve, not just justify things among yourselves. You have to explain yourself. He worked for nine or five months, then he was mysteriously fired, then he gets his severance pay, then he comes back in town. I thought he quit because of his mother. And your back discussing how to award him more money. There's got to be a better way. Think about it from our viewpoint. Thank you.”

Ms. Bawcom thought they should look for an interim manager, “maybe from a small water board or from the city or whoever. If we can't find that person then maybe we could apply the $9,000 that we all agree he owes us.”

Board member Andrea Reed, a massage therapist in Ukiah, suggested a cap on his hours before she would agree with the contract.

Mr. Marshall insisted that Mr. Tait had been “very instrumental in trying to push the lawsuit forward. It has been difficult.”

Board member and Ukiah contractor Ernie Wipf: “Right now we have nobody in the manager's seat and it's necessary to have someone in the manager’s seat. This is our best option today for an interim period, until we can find a qualified person. Whatever the District Manager's job is, we don't have one.”

We pause here to note that Mr. Wipf apparently has no idea what the District Manager’s job is.

Wipf continued: “He has the level of expertise to handle all of that. We need somebody. It might be that we are overpaying but sometimes…” Wipf trailed off, finally continuing, “I thought this was a bad situation from the get-go, but…” he trailed off again.

Bawcom responded, “Maybe we should specify exactly what things we want him to do.”

Wipf: “I don't think we can horse around. There's interaction with the City. There is, there is— I can't run the district. So I don't know what all the people are that he’s interacting with. But he's interacting with the water districts, talking about the Joint Powers Agreement, a lot of stuff at a high level of expertise that I don't know where else to find. We might find somebody but someone with this level of expertise is going to be just as expensive. Frank McMichael was getting $19,000 a year and was working two days a week.”

Bawcom: “How did that work? How come that was enough then?”

Wipf: “Because he scheduled his office to work two days a week. I think it was Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

Ms. Reed said she was reluctant to approve the contract without some kind of check and balance in it — it should not be open-ended with no limit on hours.

Wipf said he wasn't sure that “if we handcuff him with hours and renew it periodically, I don't know if that's enough time” (for him to continue with the job).

“So be it,” snapped Bawcom.

“Many of our district managers work more than full time and don't charge more than 40 hours a week,” responded McNerlin, adding, “Either we use him and pay him $135 an hour or we don't. If we want to stop, we can stop. We can just tell him we’re done. It's really a favor to us until we get the position filled.”

(Paying Tait $135 an hour is a favor to the Board!)

In the end, the pair of sensible board members out-voted 3-2, the board's profligate majority voted to bring back Tait.

Mr. Crawford was so frustrated that he later posted the following comment on the Ukiah Daily Journal’s facebook page which linked to their latest story on the Tait situation: “What utter nonsensical bs. This guy clipped our community for quarter of a million. Severance pay probably makes pathetic incompetence illegal. Good god, I pray this UVSD board goes somewhere and permanently disappears.”

Or at least the three board members who allowed this situation to get as bad as it has.

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On March 20, 2018 at approximately 8:40 PM, a resident of Caspar heard construction/destruction type noises coming from a nearby residence and also saw flashlight beams inside and outside of the same residence. This concerned resident reported these strange circumstances to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched to investigate. Upon their arrival Deputies found two adult females, (later identified as Wendy LagasseWilliams, 49, and Carrie Mata, 52, both of Fort Bragg), placing paintings into a car parked at the location. The women initially stated that the residence, and paintings, belong to them.

LaGasseWilliams, Mata

While a Deputy stood by with the women another checked the residence and found that it had been forcibly entered. Through further investigation the Deputies determined that the women had forced entry into the residence and were in the process of stealing valuable items, which were all recovered. Both Wendy LagasseWilliams and Carrie Mata were arrested without incident and lodged at the Mendocino County Jail charges of Residential Burglary and Conspiracy to Commit a Felony with bail set at $50,000.

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UPD Looking for burglary/warrant suspect that fled
PD case # 18-0718

On March 19th at about 5:07 pm, an off duty officer observed a suspicious male subject, prowling around a residence in the 400 block of Luce Avenue. The off duty officer reported the prowler to UPD and relayed needed information to responding officers. While officers responded, the suspect got into a silver Toyota Camry that was parked in the parking lot of Mendocino County Behavioral Health, 1100 block of South Dora Street. As the suspect was driving the Camry out of the parking lot, a responding officer spotted him and attempted to perform an enforcement stop on the vehicle. The driver/suspect failed to stop and led officer on a short vehicle pursuit. The pursuit ended as the suspect exited the Camry and fled over a fence into the Mulberry Apartment Complex.


The suspect had left the Camry running and in gear as he exited, causing the Camry to hit a parked car and fence. Officers searched the surrounding area for the suspect, but were unable to locate him. During the subsequent investigation, the suspect was identified as Chayton Paul West age 27. A records check revealed that West had a felony out of his county for reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and driving unlicensed, bail set at $50,000.00. West also had felony warrant out of Davis for burglary, with a bail set at $50,000, and is on PRCS (Post Release Community Supervision) out of Sacramento. Officers found that the residence that West had been prowling around, had in fact been burglarized.

In addition to the active warrant, the Ukiah Police Department will be submitting a case to the Mendocino County DA’s office for burglary, evading an officer, and hit and run. Chayton Paul West age 27 shown in the photograph, is described as a black male, short black hair, brown eyes, 5’11”, weighing around 170 pounds, with ties to Sacramento and the Laytonville area. If anyone has information as to the whereabouts of West, please contact the Ukiah Police Department at 463-6262.

As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website:

(Ukiah PD Press Release)

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CDFW law enforcement is battling a poaching trend in Mendocino County that has an unusual target but is motivated by one of the usual desires – a quick and illegal profit.

The target is a succulent known as Dudleya or “liveforever.” The profit is realized by stripping plants from sea cliffs, sometimes on private property, and shipping them overseas to countries including Korea, China and Japan, where they are prized by some for decorative purposes.

The removal of Dudleya can result in environmental degradation of habitat and a destabilization of bluffs and cliffs on the coastline. Illegal harvesting is also particularly alarming because California hosts a number of Dudleya species and subspecies that are rare or at risk of extinction.

CDFW enforcement got wind of this trend, in part, after determining that a man was shipping Dudleya out of a Mendocino post office to China. CDFW subsequently cited three individuals for a series of misdemeanor violations — including illegal take, trespassing, and grand theft, based on the potential selling of an unlawfully obtained plant or plant material and its perceived value — in association with two recent poaching incidents near Point Arena on the southern Mendocino coast.

On Jan. 29, one man was apprehended with approximately 50 succulents, and on March 6, two men were cited after being apprehended with 1,400 succulents. According to a CDFW wildlife officer, the individual in the January incident pleaded guilty to the illegal take of plants and received a sentence that included three years of probation, a $5,000 fine and 240 hours of community service. The March case is pending.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 22, 2018

Blunt, Cunningham, Etcitty, Groni

BAILEY BLUNT, Fort Bragg. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen property.

BILLY CUNNINGHAM, Ukiah. Burglary, forgery, failure to appear.

WARREN ETCITTY, Talmage. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DENNIS GRONI, Redwood Valley. DUI.

Hoaglen, Ihli, Nelson

SHAWNTEL HOAGLEN, Laytonville. Probation revocation.

RALPH IHLI, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DEANNE NELSON, Fort Bragg. DUI, probation revocation.

Oliver, Robinson, Seder, Ward

LUIS OLIVER, Covelo. County parole violation.

CASEY ROBINSON, Willits. DUI, hit&run with property damage, failure to appear.

KARLIE SEDER, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

FREDERICK WARD, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

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Like most other prominent scientists and thinkers (e.g. Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell and H.G. Wells), Stephen Hawking made some important warnings to the world about the future dangers of our rapidly increasing technology and environmental abuse.

Specifically, Hawking warned that global warming, if left unchecked, would make Earth uninhabitable within 5,100 years. And, unlike so many current U.S. politicians, he wasn’t afraid to reach out to the Russians in cooperative and creative work. Hawking and Russian businessman Yuri Milner peacefully collaborated in planning ways for humanity to survive in the future.

At a time when this country is pointlessly and dangerously wasting much time and effort in squabbling with Russia about past election results, we must remember that stopping global warming and ending the world’s disastrous fixation with nuclear weapons must become our highest priority.

Rama Kumar


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“We’re beta-testing ways to get the President to read his briefings.”

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It was quite apparent in Breaking Bad that Walter White was one of the many that are schooled to have intelligence in one small area, sacrificing intelligence in pretty much all other regards. While he was “intelligent” enough to be able to create killer drugs in mass quantities and collect huge piles of worthless green paper, he did so at the cost of everything else in his life. He destroyed not only his own life, but all of the lives he touched and by the end of the gig, had become a pathetic force of small time evil. If there is no life after death, his character is fortunate to be dead and no longer suffering. If there IS something afterward, he is totally fucked. No my friend, Walter White was not smart at all, in fact he was pretty damned stupid!

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Let's start with some "progressive" bullshit on the homeless issue from Tim Redmond:

We’ve lived through a lot of bad mayors...Eight years of Gavin Newsom, who (while legalizing same-sex marriage) governed by press release and built a career on attacking homeless people...

Redmond has pushed this falsehood for years. He and the city's progressives have never faced the political reality about how badly they botched the homeless issue.

Maybe Redmond can get away with this twisted historical account with readers who weren't here during the years before Newsom was elected mayor in 2003 but those of us who were here witnessed the Bay Guardian's pathetic homeless coverage.

That coverage included laudatory stories about Food Not Bombs and the Biotic Baking Brigade, the pie-throwers, but not supporting any serious policy initiatives to deal with the growing squalor on city streets and in city parks.

In 2002 then-supervisor Newsom got Care Not Cash (Proposition N) on the ballot, which was passed overwhelmingly by city voters. In 2003 he was elected mayor after a campaign that featured the homeless issue; city voters clearly wanted something done about it, and they weren't going to get it from Matt Gonzalez, who was Newsom's opponent in 2003.

Heather Knight in the Chronicle the other day on Angela Alioto's record on homelessness:

You’ve probably seen them by now: the 18 huge red and yellow billboards dotting the city with mayoral candidate Angela Alioto’s face and the words “Accomplished. Housed 11,362 Homeless.” What did she do? Let them all move into her guest room? Well, no.

The number may seem unbelievable, but the billboards do have some basis in fact. The figure comes from a report evaluating the city’s “Ten Year Plan to Abolish Chronic Homelessness,” an initiative begun by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004 and crafted by a council headed by Alioto.

By 2014, the city had moved 11,362 homeless single adults into permanent supportive housing. Another 8,806 were given bus tickets home to receptive family members or friends through the city’s Homeward Bound program. (Hey, any real politician would have taken credit for those, too. Come on, Angela!)

Mayor Newsom appointed Alioto chairwoman of the Ten Year Planning Council, which outraged the Guardian left, which saw her working with Newsom as a political betrayal, even though both Newsom and Alioto were/are liberal Democrats.

The original idea behind the council was to end homelessness in SF in ten years, which must be seen as a naive, unrealistic idea 15 years later (See also Homelessness in San Francisco: Ten years later).

But Alioto surely understands how difficult it is to deal with the issue, unlike Mark Leno who claimed the other day that he has a plan to end homelessness in San Francisco!

After Care Not Cash was implemented, 1,000 supposedly homeless people disappeared from the list of those receiving cash while remaining homeless.

The city's left has continued its delusional approach to the city's homeless problem. A crucial falsehood they perpetuate is that the city's homeless are primarily city residents who have just fallen on hard times: See Are the homeless really San Franciscans?

(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)

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AN ON-LINE COMMENTER explains the diff between smack and speed: "People die because of heroin everyday, possibly every minute, but you don’t really hear of anyone dying because of meth. They usually just move to Eureka, crawl around town pushing a baby stroller, steal some shit, take stuff apart, and pick their scabs."

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In the wake of the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of 15+ years of net neutrality protections, California state legislators have stepped up and proposed the strongest protections in the country.

But now AT&T and Comcast's army of lobbyists are doing everything in their power to stop it.

We need as many Californians as possible to sign a letter of support for net neutrality Bill 822 (introduced by State Senator Scott Wiener) before a crucial Senate Committee deadline for input.

Click here to add your name to the letter and simultaneously email your state senator to: Save net neutrality in California before it’s too late. <

If passed, this new bill would prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) in California from blocking content, slowing certain sites or services, or charging new fees for users and companies to reach audiences online. It’s the most comprehensive state-level net neutrality legislation in the country. It even bans known loopholes, such as unfair kinds of “zero-rating,” that let ISPs pick winners and losers online.

Passing this bill will set an important precedent across the country, and it will embolden federal lawmakers considering voting to undo the FCC’s recent gutting of net neutrality. If California can stand up to the likes of Comcast and AT&T, then anybody can.

Add your name now!

We can do this. Participating organizations include American Family Voices, Color Of Change, Courage Campaign, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Democracy For America, OpenMedia, People Demanding Action, People For the American Way,, Progressive Congress,

After taking action, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends in California.

This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now.

-- The Team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.

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The Garcia Guild/Manchester Community Center presents an Easter Sunday egg hunt at noon on April 1 plus a visit from the Easter bunny. A no alcohol family event. BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs available for purchase. More details forthcoming.

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A note from the Seventh Poet Laureate of Ukiah:


Michael Riedell here. That's the same date [April 29] as the ukiaHaiku Festival. A whole troop of us here in Ukiah can't make that date. Or at best we'll be scrambling out of one event and heading quickly to the evening reading, missing the afternoon show for sure. Help? Thanks for hosting this event. I look forward to it all year long. Yours, Michael

Not too late — and done! Okay everyone, we’re on in a month, April 22, Earth Day of National Poetry Month. Thanks for the support, a reason that last year the event drew 42 poets from the North Counties and beyond. G.

Sunday, April 22, 2018 * 43nd Anniversary: Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration at the Hill House in Mendocino town on the coast. This event draws some 40 poets from northern California and beyond. Two open readings: afternoon and evening. Noon: sign-up and mixer; afternoon reading at 1:00. Break: enjoy the town, the sea and the headlands. 5:00 PM: sign-up and mixer; evening reading at 6:00. Choice comestibles. Open book displays. Contributions welcome. All poems considered for broadcast by Dan Roberts on KZYX&Z. Prepare up to four minutes for either of the two sessions or both. Info: Gordon Black, (707) 937-4107,

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Whitesboro Grange Pancake B'fast Sunday

A traditional pancake breakfast will be served at the Whitesboro Grange on Sunday, March 25th. Breakfast includes orange juice, pancakes with maple and homemade berry syrups, ham, eggs your way, and coffee, tea or hot cocoa. The public and visitors are invited to join neighbors and community for a hearty pancake breakfast. Adults $8, ages 6-12 half price, children under 6 eat FREE. Breakfast is served from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Whitesboro Grange is located 1.5 miles east on Navarro Ridge Road. Watch for signs south of the Albion Bridge.

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by Debby (dlbvet / veternarian, physical therapist, tractor driver, sometime writer)

I wrote this on my blog a few days ago after reading something that one of Rob Porter’s ex-wives had written. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t sleep. I got up in the middle of the night, sat down with my computer and let the words come out.

After writing, I realized that the revelations of the last week regarding the domestic abusers in White House positions have added to the collective trauma of the last year and a half. I have been out of this abusive relationship for many years, but have begun reliving episodes and incidents. My heart rate accelerates when I hear the speech-writer whine about female-on-male abuse and that he was the victim. To listen to the president defend Rob Porter made me nauseous.

I debated actually posting my words because I wondered what it would gain. I left this relationship. Noone knew what happened inside of it. Everyone in my family and my surrounding community loved him and thought he was the bee’s knees. I am happily re-married with a fine husband and a beautiful, strong daughter. Why open this wound? To what benefit would saying these things be? I don’t need sympathy or empathy or pity or words of comfort. I found my strength finally. I found my voice. I don’t need to revisit this embarrassing, humiliating, shameful chapter of my life.

But then I realized that by NOT posting my words, I give in to the stigma. I give in to the code of silence. I become complacent. I mock my strength and my voice. I become meek and cowardly.

And so I hit “post.” Because I will not be silent any longer. The world needs to know the truth of so many of our experiences. No matter how painful to dig up and expose to the sunlight. Because sunlight is truly Nature’s best disinfectant.

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The first bloody nose happened not long after we started dating. But he was sincerely sorry. So I stayed.

The yelling and the name-calling started not long after we became engaged. But he was, always, sincerely sorry. So I stayed.

The second bloody nose happened after we were happily married. But again, he was sincerely sorry. So I stayed.

The bruises, both physical and emotional, were sprinkled throughout the relationship. The fault was always mine. Or that's how he made it seem. So I stayed.

Because how could anyone else ever put up with me? How could anyone else ever love me as much as he did? Tolerating my hysterical outbursts, my neediness, my emotional swings (hormones anyone?). Who else would stick around, if not him? So I stayed.

One time I fought back. My open hand connected with his face. He took to the bed, gave me the cold shoulder, wouldn't respond to my pleading, my begging for forgiveness. Finally, after much groveling on my part, he said "how could you hit me? I can't believe you hit me." I had no words to say except "I'm so sorry." Over and over and over. And I stayed.

I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. Me, the smart one. Me, the feminist. Me, the one who seemed to have it all together. How could I possibly have let this happen to me? I began to internalize the emotional abuse, began to turn on myself, began to doubt myself. Maybe all the things he said to me, about me, were true. Maybe I was a lunatic, a crazy bitch, a nutcase. Maybe I did deserve to be pushed around, to be bullied by his size and his strength. Maybe I was worthless. So I stayed.

I never found the words that would have stood up for my battered self. I never found the courage to stand my ground, to say "NO MORE." I never found the love for myself that would have enabled me to feel I was worth so much more than what I was getting.

In retrospect, the end of the marriage was a mutual parting of ways, after time spent apart, for reasons due to school, residencies, jobs. Once again, though, I was a coward. My best friend ever, my beloved Golden Retriever Calvin was diagnosed with lymphoma and died within weeks. I was devastated. Two weeks later, he called to say he was filing the divorce papers. Not "Happy Birthday. How are you? Do you miss Calvin?" Emotionally abusive, in his way, to the end. I never confronted him. I hid behind the age-worn excuse of "we both want different things out of life, so we should go our separate ways." It seemed easier to not say anything. Just like it had been easier not to say anything during the ten years we were together.

I thought by signing the papers, by taking back my name, I would be shedding that part of me that had been abused. That by walking away, the scars would disappear and I could pretend as if none of it had happened.

Funny thing about scar tissue doesn't lay down in nice, neat, straight, parallel lines that fit perfectly into the lanes of life. Scar tissue forms in clumps that can knot up and disrupt the best laid plans. Scar tissue can form and lay low for a while, not causing any problems. Until one day, life tries to travel down that path and WHAMMO! BAM! Road block. Cause there's no moving smoothly over ginormous balled-up adhesions. There are triggers, I will be honest. I have a personal space now that if I feel is being invaded, I will defend mightily. I can't watch movies that have even the slightest hint of domestic physical abuse without my heart rate accelerating and my respirations increasing. I have been angry of late. At the bullies in our world...the men in positions of power, the stories that are coming out, the ones not told, the ones not believed.

The stigma of being "one who stayed" rears its head often in my life. The father of my daughter, my second husband, has said countless times over the years that he just cannot understand how a woman would go back for more abuse. We have this conversation a lot. I used to get pretty worked up when I was trying to explain it to him. I'm far enough away from it now that I have the ability to dial down the emotion so that I don't explode out of my skin. He has a hard time reconciling the knowledge of me, his wife who is a passionate feminist, who has two professional medical degrees, who is a successful parent/homeschool teacher/employee outside the home, as ever being "one who stayed." I've lost track of the number of times I've tried to explain it. But to be honest, it's as if I'm speaking ancient Greek and he's speaking Cherokee (which is in his family tree, so I can say that without being disrespectful). To him, it is unfathomable that a woman would stay in a relationship with a man who is physically abusive. To him, that woman is simply stupid.

And therein lies the stigma. And the dichotomy. I stayed. I am not stupid. I am actually a pretty smart person. But. I. Stayed.

I anticipate running into another clump of scar tissue soon. Our daughter is 11 years old now. She is strong, in every sense of the word. She is physically strong, but she is also emotionally strong. Strong-willed and strongly opinionated. She is passionate and intelligent and has a fine sense of right and wrong. How do I tell her that her mother was "one who stayed?"

And dear Goddess of the Universe, how can I help her be one who won't?

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Question: There have been a lot of articles and radio programs commemorating the Iraq Wars. One name I have not heard mentioned is April Glaspie. Do you remember who she was and the role she played in the first Gulf War?

Answer: “In a now famous interview with the Iraqi leader, US Ambassador April Glaspie told Saddam, ‘[W]e have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.’ The US State Department had earlier told Saddam that Washington had ‘no special defense or security commitments to Kuwait.’ The United States may not have intended to give Iraq a green light, but that is effectively what it did.”



  1. Judy March 23, 2018

    I don’t believe Fort Bragg’s new City Manager was enlightened at the Mayor’s meeting. She’s smart enough to do her research before applying for the position. With access to the meetings via the internet I would guess she kept up with what goes on.

    The shed does not belong to Fort Bragg. Who is supposed to pay to bring it up to code? Rex?

    Complaining about the finances in Fort Bragg and then complaining because Fort Bragg doesn’t take on more debt is to say the least…out there.

    Think about it Rex, it would be like you coming up with the money to get your boat out of the river. If someone should come up with the money to purchase the shed I’m sure it wouldn’t be torn down.

  2. james marmon March 23, 2018

    Has anyone heard when the RFP for Mental Health Administrative Services Organization (ASO) is going out? Kinda getting down to the wire here, less than 3 months for the competitive bid process and final selection to be completed. Any for-profit group could bid and still use not-for-profit RCS and other providers as their subcontractors, just like for-profit RQMC does.

    Where’s the money Camille?

    James Marmon MSW
    Former Mental Health Specialist
    Sacramento, Placer, and Lake Counties

  3. John Kriege March 23, 2018

    Yes, GP owns the shed. But why give them their permit to demolish it without getting something in return? Like the little bit of property needed to connect the new portion of the trail to downtown? Otherwise, no permit. Fort Bragg needs to use what little leverage they have.

    • Judy March 23, 2018

      The permit that was approved is a Coastal Development permit. It only allows them to file for a permit to demolish the building, they still have to do that.

    • Judy March 23, 2018

      I also think the best thing that could happen with the shed is that it could be purchased, not by the city but by someone who could turn it into something that would be good for the community by perhaps bringing in more dollars to Fort Bragg and perhaps more jobs. I hope something good comes of it.

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