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Off the Record (March 28, 2018)

TWO MORE POT GROWERS have filed claims against the county for alleged wrongful raids last September.

Mr. William Knight of Ukiah says in his claim (on the Supervisors agenda for routine rejection next week) that he was in the County’s 9.31 program last year when “Sheriff Inspector Randy Johnson told me to move my garden to the flats. I moved to the flats and got raided by the Sheriffs Department and Fish and Wildlife. Also, Mendocino Ag Department does not know what they are doing and is giving false information about Lake and Streambed Alteration (LSA) requirements and Fish and Wildlife requirements. I am currently in the permit process with the Ag department.”

Mr. Knight says his damages include unnecessary damage to his fences even though he gave the raiders the lock codes and keys, in addition to the loss of the marijuana that was destroyed. He's claiming $603,000 in damage.

Mr. Knight says that the person who caused the damage was Undersheriff Randy Johnson and the Mendocino County Ag Department. He attached a receipt from the Ag Department for his pot cultivation permit application. According to the receipt,

"this receipt when signed and embossed certifies that the Department of Agriculture is in receipt of an application to cultivate cannabis at the above listed address. The garden at this site is considered to be in compliance or working towards compliance until such time as a permit is issued or denied.”

Signed by Diane Curry, Interim Agriculture Commissioner

JAVIER SANDOVAL of Willits has filed a similar complaint also claiming that he was in the 9.31 program for the last few years. “When Sheriff Inspector Randy Johnson said to move my garden to the flat area by Highway 20 which drew attention. I got raided by the Sheriff department, and Fish and Game and Wildlife and Mendocino Ag Department claiming something about a stream crossing. It was all lies. They have no idea what they are doing and are giving false information about Lake and Streambed Alteration requirements and Fish and Wildlife. I am currently in the permit process with the Ag department." Mr. Sandoval claims a loss of $300,000. He also says the person responsible was Sheriff Randy Johnson and the Mendocino County Ag department.


On Monday Mendocino Coast District Hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bob Edwards gave interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO) John Parigi his two week notice. Parigi had only been on the job since December. There is no one else in line to take Parigi's place. Parigi's last day on the job may well be the MCDH Board of Directors meeting on March 29th. According to sources close to the situation, when Parigi asked what he should tell the public concerning the situation, Edwards responded that it's a personnel issue.

OH, SHUT UP. Joe Biden, the male Hillary, has clearly been anointed by corporate Democrats to take on Pence, Trump having been twenty-fifthed long before the 2020 elections. Here's the self-certified gallant defending women: “When a guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, ‘I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it, they asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said no. I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him. I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms my whole life. I’m a pretty damn good athlete. Any guy that talked that way was usually the fattest, ugliest SOB in the room."

LONESOME MONSTERS. An interesting (and telling) story in the current New Yorker is called "AntiSocial Media — Reddit, free speech, and the struggle to detoxify the Internet." I knew in the abstract that there are millions of isolated, unhappy people here in the land of the free, but I wasn't ready to know that millions of them are also pathological, at least that's been Reddit's experience. By vowing to open up their site to all opinion, Reddit was unprepared for the deluge of foul racism and objectively insane sexual expression that they've had to "censor," and as they pruned their website of objectively bad people and rancidly crude fascist opinion, Reddit has been hammered by the rest of the International Brotherhood of Klansmen and Pervs for not living up to their promise of unfettered speech.

I DON'T like to read on-line. I'd heard of Reddit but had no idea what it was. I looked it up for my first exposure, but seeing nothing of interest, I went away, probably never to return. Here at the mighty ava, we've also been accused of "censorship," as if we're supposed to allow a lot of juvenile back and forth on our comment line and print any old idiocy that any old outback shut-in sends us. Like a midget version of Reddit's experience, we've been compelled by the lunatic brigades to regularly cull our comment line of the more egregiously offensive comment, and I think our comment line is better for it.

ON THE SUBJECT of media, and speaking here as a failed (presumably) candidate for the KZYX board of directors, I got a close-up look a few weeks ago of how the station is managed. It's not pretty. Not to be a sore loser, I'll continue to pony up my fifty bucks a year, but making me an enabler of a uniquely Mendo brand of audio fascism, a weird circle of lifetime programmers, a gratuitously rude and hostile staff, an invisible general manager, a former EST cult character apparently in overall charge of the operation and, presiding in theory, a management-selected board of cringing directors who rubber stamp whatever the EST guy puts in front of them. All you taxpayers out there should know you help fund this thing because it's tax-exempt and partially tax-funded. And, as presently managed, headed for Brokesville.

THERE’S NO SPECIFIC REASON for most Mendolanders to tune in KZYX because KZYX doesn't do local. Yes, they do some smarmy press release stuff from local government, but for specifically local news you've got KOZT outta Fort Bragg, you've got micro-radio stations popping up everywhere from Covelo to Gualala, the genuinely community-oriented radio station at KMUD covering the North County, innumerable websites, Facebook pages — MSP is a one-man, county-wide news site — old line newspapers, and a deluge of info communicated via handheld gizmos. In this kind of competitive media environment is anyone surprised that no one under the age of fifty tunes in EST-X  er, KZYX? Local news and real discussion of local issues would draw listeners but, as is, KZYX's membership is stagnant and the six people employed there are paying themselves much more than the station can afford — roughly $250,000 out of an annual budget of about $550,000. The enterprise is a publicly-funded, self-selecting private audio club. Creepy as hell, too.

HEADLINE from The Willits News: "Healthy Mendocino Project Summit in Willits"

EXCUSE ME, but is there an adult anywhere in the country who doesn't know the diff between a healthy diet and negative food value viands? And is there any adult who doesn't understand that to stay reasonably healthy you've got to get up and move around every day for at least an hour? And didn't the Old Testament warn us that gluttony and sloth were original sins? (Check that. I know God generally disapproved of indiscipline, but He was writing way before Cheetos.)

THE ICO out of Gualala, in its edition of March 16th, went so far as to celebrate the burdening of Point Arena’s 4th graders with tales of gun violence and the neo-legacy of Our Nation's Future. The little ones appear on the paper’s front page holding signs that their teachers took up class time having them write, replete with expressions they don't understand like, "Never Again." How about letting kids be kids? They'll get their share of random violence soon enough. It comes with citizenship.

'OUR NATION'S FUTURE.' Please. I can remember when that cloying, meaningless phrase might have been applied to me, a product of a time much less sentimental about young people who were rightly regarded merely as young people, not a separate species. Back in the day, everyone would have laughed at the ponderous ‘Our Nation’s Future’ being applied to teenagers. My biggest generational shock, however, came around age 35 when I realized that people I'd gone to high school with were now at the levers of real power! Sure enough, look at US now.

RECENT HEADLINE from the UDJ: ‘Ukiah Unified School District seeks input for Strategic Plan.’ What's the diff between a plan and a strategic plan? And any time you see a public agency soliciting "input" to help it along with their strategic planning you know that agency is truly lost, or simply checking a funding box. It no more wants to hear from the great unwashed than it does the Rajneesh.

THERE ARE FIVE candidates for the 5th District Supe's seat: Alan Rodier, who ranches in the Alexander Valley; Arthur Juhl, retired in Gualala, having prospered mightily in many areas of endeavor; Chris Skyhawk of Albion, who works in the helping professions; Ted Williams now out of Mendocino but a fire captain out of Albion and computer programmer; and Dave Roderick, a Hopland-based business owner.

AN INTERESTING development in the contest for County Superintendent of Schools. We assumed Kathy Wylie would be a candidate, and she would have been the person to beat off her impressive work history as a union rep and as foreman of the County Grand Jury, but she didn't complete the application process, leaving the lushly compensated job to two persons to battle it out for the big office where the telephone never rings — Bryan Barrett and Michelle Hutchins. Barrett has been around Ukiah public ed for years, distinguishing himself when he accused a teacher's union rep of racism when the rep wrote that the district had been niggardly during pay negotiations. Mrs. Hutchins has been Superintendent here in the Anderson Valley for four years. She knows what niggardly means. Has she done a good job in Mendocino County's most happening community? Given the givens of Boonville's educational legacy, yes, she’s done pretty well, learning from her mistakes, while Barrett appears uneducable. We would certainly support Mrs. H over Barrett.

AND ANOTHER ONE. The 3rd District race now has eight candidates in the race for Supervisor. Quick name them! But they all seem to think Johnny Pinches is vulnerable, and maybe he is but we doubt it, especially when he’s got seven people dividing the vote among themselves. Mike Horger, a volunteer firefighter with the Little Lake Department is a last-minute sign-up. The other six hopefuls for the non-partisan seat, are John Haschak; Cyndee Logan; Susan Barsotti; Pam Elizondo; Shawna Jeavons; and Tony Tucker, the last being the first candidate for County office in many years from Covelo. Pinches, a Laytonville rancher, has served two terms as Supervisor; Cyndee Logan is a Willits realtor and the widow of the well-known public administrator Gordon Logan; Haschak and Jeavons are Willits teachers; Mrs. Barsotti is from the Laytonville Hog Farm; Ms. Elizondo is a Laytonville resident who runs for something every election; and Tony Tucker of Covelo describes himself as an emergency childcare worker.

JUDGE CLAY BRENNAN, presiding judge at Ten Mile, is unopposed for re-election, which is a surprise given the constant criticism of him by much of the County’s legal community. He got elected to the Mendocino County bench via his mom’s and his then-wife’s influence. She was a long-time judge in the Bay Area with the requisite juice with the Democrat’s appointments process. His then-wife Mari Rodin was one of the many ineffectually liberal rubberstamps on the Ukiah City Council at the time Brennan was elected.

MEASURE G will also be on the June ballot. It would apply the “transient occupancy tax,” aka bed tax, to private campgrounds.

SHERIFF ALLMAN, DA EYSTER, Treasurer Shari Schapmire; and Auditor Lloyd Weer are all unopposed, as is freshly appointed Superior Court Judge, Carly Dolan.

MEDIA TIP: The Brit on-line tabloid, The Daily Mail, gets breaking news up two-three hours faster than any of the Yankee websites (that I know of). They had the mad bomber of Austin's name and his alias "Kelly Killmore," and much of this odd lunatic's background on-line minutes after he blew himself up. Locally, no other media in all of Mendo beats MSP for breaking news, and how the amazing Paul McCarthy does it all by himself is truly a Mendo marvel. (Modest as he is, he says he gets lots of help.)

NEARLY eight and a half years after Konocti Harbor closed its doors, 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.


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,

DESPITE MAJOR OPPOSITION from Library advocates and defenders, County CEO Carmel Angelo is pressing forward with her proposal to combine the much more lushly funded county library with the County Museum and the County’s remnant parks and rec department.

TAI ABREU'S a Fort Bragg guy whose story we've followed for years in the AVA. The complete Abreu story can be found at our website, Given that the population of both Fort Bragg and the County of Mendocino seems to have turned over since it first appeared, many people are probably unfamiliar with it. We are trying to bring attention to Tai's situation with a view to getting his case back into court. Interested persons should know that his prison record has been literally perfect, and that he has completed an impressively large number of diploma courses. He takes full responsibility for his role in the murder of Donald Perez, although he did not commit the murder. In California, if you're with the person or persons who deliberately kills someone, you are also guilty of murder. Tai was 19 when he was packed off to prison for the rest of his life.

MENDO COUNTY'S AG DEPARTMENT is more leaderless than we thought. With Joe Moreo quitting after only five days on the job, followed by the “retirement” of Interim Ag Commissioner Diane Curry and, as Willits Weekly reporter Mike A’Dair reminds us, the resignation of Ag Department Office Services Manager Jenifer Krauss, there are now three vacant management positions in that troubled bureaucracy.

I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL when I discovered the City Lights Bookstore in North Beach. Some callow friends and I — and never in the history of callow youth was anybody as callow as us — began making North Beach our gaping weekend destination. I'd read about beatniks in the newspapers. At the time, they ran neck and neck with communists as mega-menace to the psycho-social welfare of Americans, especially young Americans. "They swallow live goldfish and beat on bongo drums." In the perplexed newspaper accounts of beatnik behavior we got it in our high school heads that the bizarre exhibits played nightly, so we'd hang around upper Grant waiting for a show that never started. A couple of years later, and free of an estranging stint in the Marines, that unintentional incubator of many hundreds of bi-product beatniks and Lee Harvey Oswald, I began spending time at Lawrence Ferlinghetti's bookstore, where nobody cared if you sat around reading the books and magazines for free, and free was all I could afford. I liked Ferlinghetti's "Pictures of a Gone World" so much I bought a copy of his first book of poems for a dollar or whatever it was then, and still may be because the poet's press, like his book store, was also predicated on the break-through idea of getting the new poetry, and otherwise hard to find books into the hands of real people. City Lights became the high school I never had, and years later, when I met the man himself I told him how important his store was to me. "I'm happy to hear that," he said, looking straight at me with a sincerity lots of famous people can't muster. My happiness with City Lights has never flagged. When newspapers were still central to information, the poet always made personally sure that the Boonville weekly got a visible spot on his store's magazine rack, where it remains, albeit post-mortem, you might say, at a time newspaper readers are a vanishing species, and the coffee house intellectuals we used to enjoy arguing with on our letters page now thunder at each other in the ethers, if they thunder at all. It's heartening that Ferlinghetti has logged so many productive years, and doubly heartening that he's being honored by the minority of people who understand how important he's been to a city since taken over by, in his words, "people with bags of cash and no manners."

THE MYTH OF NEGATIVITY. To hear Deb Kubin, Ukiah Unified’s School Superintendent, you’d think her school is awash in negativity, whatever she means by that, but we suspect she probably means criticism of her and her bumbling administration. In her "The School Desk” in the Ukiah Daily Journal column last Friday Superintendent Kubin called on her school to "focus on our strengths."

"I'm not suggesting we pretend we have no problems, no weaknesses, nothing to improve on,” said Kubin. “However, having read the book 'Strengthsfinder,' Amazon's best-selling nonfiction book ever, I am convinced that spending all our time focused on the negative is a big mistake."

All our time?

"As a society we are surrounded by negativity," claims Kubin, going on for paragraph after paragraph in praise of "goodness, enthusiasm, amusement and growth."

LURCHING on into pure mawk, Superintendent Kubin, also praised some of her seventh graders who’d recently produced “handwritten notes on colorful paper that include descriptions such as funny, nice, helpful, fun, warm, responsible, strong and friendly. It was such a positive, uplifting thing to see!"

TROUBLE IS, nowhere in the Ukiah educator’s lengthy negativity about negativity does she mention anything about academic performance. In fact, Kubin concludes her tribute to happy talk by saying, "Let's remember that students can live long, happy lives whether they understand the brilliance of Shakespeare or how to use the quadratic formula to solve for x." (Hell, Deb did it, and look at her pulling down $200 grand a year for talking warm fuzzy puppies!)

PUT A SMILEY FACE on this fact: Ukiah Unified’s math proficiency rating for 2016-2017 year shows that only 20% of their students are proficient at math, and we even doubt that many of those top 20% could use the quadratic formula to solve for x. If you ever wonder why public ed in this country ranks just about the worst in the world considered in terms of dollars spent, look no further than Ukiah Unified. (Mark Scaramella)

SUPES TO HAND OUT FREE LAPTOPS TO FOSTER KIDS Item 5h on The Supervisors Agenda for this week’s meeting: Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Informational Presentation on the iLaptop Program for Eligible Mendocino County Foster Youth, Ages 16 to 21. (Sponsors: Supervisor Brown and Health and Human Services Agency)

HAVING DESTROYED their young lives via an exploitive, unstable foster system, providing the vics with free laptops gives the Supervisors an opportunity to appear charitable and to also avoid talking about real issues facing the County. If the Supes gave one hoot about their privatized foster program, they’d demand periodic reports on the status of foster care placements and what happens to their orphaned funding units when they turn 18…


The whole gun control issue is ludicrous. If America was totally disarmed, a smart nutcase would just construct a home made bomb. It could be a nail bomb, a chemical bomb or a biological bomb. It wouldn’t have to be very big, just big enough to place just outside a classroom. Boom! More than 17 killed at once. One could almost say that guns being legal actually cuts down the number of deaths because it’s far easier and safer to get and load an assault rifle or handgun than painstakingly putting together a bomb which would probably be a more effective killing weapon. Columbine was actually planned out as a bomb attack. Klebold and Harris made about 200 small grenades they called “crickets,” and a half dozen large bombs using acetyline welding tanks packed with black powder, which they placed around the school. The guns they had were relatively simple sawed off double barrel shotguns, which they deployed when many of the bombs failed to detonate. In the school massacre in Bath, Michigan on May 15, 1927, a board of ed member wired the whole school with dynamite and set it off with school in session. Many were killed in the blast, and he shot survivors as they ran out of the destroyed building with a .38 revolver. 48 dead. If there’s a will there’s a way.

One Comment

  1. james marmon March 28, 2018

    There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Knight and Mr. Sandoval were business partners in a massive grow that sat just a few feet from Hwy 20 and only a few yards from the “Cold Creek” streambed. They had 2 large water tanks sitting on the hillside and were drawing water from a well on the flats. When you are that close to a streambed you have to get a Lake and Streambed Alteration agreement, even if you’re getting water from a well and the streambed is dry.

    Lake and Streambed Alteration Program

    “Please note that “any river, stream or lake” includes those that are episodic (they are dry for periods of time) as well as those that are perennial (they flow year round). This includes ephemeral streams, desert washes, and watercourses with a subsurface flow. It may also apply to work undertaken within the flood plain of a body of water.”

    “A losing stream, disappearing stream or influent stream, is a stream or river that loses water as it flows downstream. The water infiltrates into the ground recharging the local groundwater, because the water table is below the bottom of the stream channel.”

    Why the Under sheriff (Randy Johnson) who is their downstream neighbor, and a local Pot Grower himself, told them to move their operation down to the influent Cold Creek streambed is anyone’s guess, the Johnson’s have been sucking water out Cold Creek for years, it runs right through the middle of his property and empties into the Russian River.

    DEA raids Potter Valley property of sheriff’s captain Randy Johnson’s father/brother

    Under sheriff Johnson escaped prosecution because the Johnson ranch was split in two parcels separated by Cold Creek, but he had to drive past the grow to get to his house, there is no other easement.

    Why Knight and Sandoval are upset with the AG department is beyond my imagination. They could have remedied their problem by digging a deeper well into an artesian aquifer.

    Artesian aquifer

    Just like the other case that the County is being sued for it appears that another sheriff department employee used their position to get rid of their neighbor’s grow.

    Might be why Randy retired.

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