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Valley People (April 18, 2018)

WITH rain continuing to come and go, the Anderson Valley’s seasonal total for 2018 is up to around 24 inches. In the relatively wet winter last year we had received almost 40 inches by mid-April. Yorkville is currently at 32.5, down from a nearly tropical 85 inches last year. 24 inches seems low for AV so we called Bob Fowler to re-check the stat.

YOU’RE a Valley old timer if you remember the great local quarterback, Ronnie Vaughan, who went from Boonville to Santa Rosa JC to star at that level, too. The late quarterback’s grandson, Andrew Vaughan, a slugging first baseman for Cal Berkeley is second in the nation in homeruns at the college level and a highly regarded pro prospect. Andrew is the great grandson of the late Shine and Beth Tuttle, both of whom are fondly remembered by Valley old timers.

Andrew Vaughn

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY at the 2018 Rural Health Rocks Concerts featuring Michael McDonald & Friends (a benefit for Family Medicine Education for Mendocino County & the Family Medicine Residency Program at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley), local Family Nurse Practitioner Cindy Arbanovella was honored as one of four 2018 Rural Health “Rock Stars” for her more than 10 years of dedicated service at AV Health Center.

THE AVHS Music Production class is having their original compositions performed by a world-class quartet from San Francisco. The Del Sol String Quartet will perform 17 original student compositions on April 30 at 7pm in the AVHS Cafeteria. This is a co-production of the AVHS Companthers (Panther Composers) and The Gabriela Lena-Frank Creative Academy Of Music. Free admission.

SARAH LARKIN, the real-est of the popular songbirds, the Real Sarahs, has sold her thriving Goodness Grows Nursery at the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way to.... See the announcement elsewhere in this week’s blast, while we rest assured we will continue to enjoy the talented Ms. Larkin as our friend and neighbor.

OTHER PERSONNEL UPDATES include the good news that Dennis and Marty Roderick remain residents of Navarro, not having abandoned their Deepend home of forty years for Hawaii, as we managed to errantly report last week.

THE ANDERSON VALLEY LIBRARY (at the Boonville Fairgrounds) will be open on Saturday April 21 from 10-4 and we will be having a $4 a bag book sale. Bring your own bag and fill it with some great reading. Also, the Library will be closed Saturday April 28, for the A.V. Brewery Beer Festival. (Liz Dusenberry)

FOR YOU REMAINING bibliophiles out there, this book sale is mondo boffo, a kind of miniature version of the annual SF Library sale, but with the huge advantage of not having to fight off book dealers and other undesirables. Lots of first editions, and an array of really good stuff donated by Anderson Valley's discerning readers.

AND THE BOOK SALE occurs the same weekend at the Anderson Valley Wild Flower Show, a home grown event which, over the years, has evolved into a truly impressive display, complete with expert botanists on hand to identify your mystery plants. The ava's favorite event of the year, and if that doesn't ensure a quality event, what will?

THE 2018 AV VARIETY SHOW is up on YouTube!

It's not like being there but all the acts are up for your viewing pleasure on our very own YouTube CHANNEL. There's a bunch of random stuff just on YouTube worth viewing, but this year’s show is on our CHANNEL! Here's one way to get there on GOOGLE or wherever:

Type in: AV Grange Variety Show YouTube channels

Click on: AV Grange Variety Shows-YouTube, (even though it says something about 2016, don't worry) you'll be at: Random Acts of Variety

Click on: Videos

There they are chapterized so you can go to whatever act you wish. Enjoy and get inspired for next year.

Yahoo! (Cap Rainbow)

THE JUNE ELECTION is already getting rough in the bucolic Anderson Valley. A segment of local school staffers have aimed a deluge of criticism at Superintendent Hutchins, who they blame for a budget deficit and many alleged sins of personal style. Mrs. Hutchins is also a candidate for County Superintendent of Schools. She's running against a person of cavernous negatives, beginning with his failure to recognize ordinary English language vocabulary. This guy, Barrett, a Ukiah school district paper shuffler, hopes to be the latest in a long line of crooks and mental defectives who’ve held the office over the last forty years. Crooks and mental defectives in charge of educating Our Nation’s Future? How can this be? It has happened because the average Mendo person has no idea what the office does, who staffs it, how much public money it spends every fiscal year, even where it’s located. Straight up, the mighty AVA is for Mrs. Hutchins, if for no other reason than she isn't Barrett. But a slug of local school people will support Barrett because he isn't Mrs. Hutchins. And there we are, swallowing our bile.

NOT TO GO all legalistic here, but I think there's a prohibition of partisan political signs on public property, and wouldn't there be screams if Mrs. Hutchins arrayed her campaign signs on the two local campuses like the one on the van at the Elementary School last week?

RICKY WAYNE OWENS of Boonville has been sentenced to seven years in state prison for child endangerment resulting in great bodily injury. However, Judge John Behnke, in consideration of several letters from community leaders and the family of the victim, suspended execution of the sentence and placed Mr. Owens on five years of probation with the following conditions: That he serve one year in County Jail, and upon his release enter a six-month residential rehab program for his methamphetamine addiction; he will also be required to attend a one year child abuse counseling program. He was remanded into custody to begin serving the jail sentence. Judge Behnke said, “The defendant is presumptively ineligible for probation due to the great bodily injury to the victim, however the defendant has no prior record of violence and the victim has fully recovered. Probation is recommending the mid-term of four years with three years consecutive for the great bodily injury. He’s 50 years old and only has methamphetamine related convictions on his record; he has good community and family support; and the family of the victim is not seeking a prison sentence, and so I find these mitigating circumstances and will suspend execution of sentence and place the defendant on probation. Given his age and the support shown by the community and family, I gave little weight to the meth addiction and while we saw from the video how callous he appeared, I think he is genuinely remorseful.”

RICKY OWENS’ lawyer, Alternate Public Defender Patricia Littlefield thought the child abuse counseling was superfluous, as Mr. Owens has no children of his own, but Judge Behnke said, “All human beings have contact with children, whether their own or not, so I can’t see how it would be in the interest of justice to waive this program.” The judge went on to say that some aspects of the program may not apply to a man with no children of his own and that those parts could be waived. 

CONVIVIAL TURNOUT of nearly a hundred or so of the politically interested at the Philo Grange a week ago Tuesday to hear the 5th District candidates discuss the issues. The five hopefuls appear again Wednesday night, April 11, 6pm, at the Little River Inn. No one can plausibly complain that the candidates haven't gotten ample public face time. (Skip Taube of Mendocino TV also has interviews available on-line with all the candidates that nicely cover the issues.) And no one can plausibly complain that the five aren't up to the task of… Well, given that our Lilliputian version of the Deep State, i.e., the permanent County bureaucracy, stays on and on while candidates come and go, it is what it is, as the young people say. But for us at the jaded AVA we always support the candidate who seems least likely to simply rubber stamp whatever County CEO Angelo puts in front of him or her.

EVALUATING the five 5th District candidates by that standard, we think Arthur Juhl, Ted Williams and Dave Roderick are more likely to do their own thinking than Chris Skyhawk and Ron Verdier. Verdier often seems mostly unfamiliar with County functioning and at a loss generally while Skyhawk, a smart, pleasant fellow for sure, is, by virtue of his enthusiastic attachments to a range of County institutions we consider either dysfunctional (KZYX) or irrelevant to the poor (First Five) or evil (Coast Democrats) gets his support from entities that we think are unacceptable bordering on inappropriate. 

(WILLIAMS AND RODERICK have exhaustively answered the AVA's exhausting questionnaire. They've obviously thought long and hard about being one-fifth responsible for the SS Mendo County. Juhl said he was doing more research before replying, but nada from Skyhawk and Verdier. When we met the latter, he had never heard of the AVA which, to persons likely to vote for him, will certainly enhance his political attractiveness.)

THE GRANGE candidate’s session promptly appeared via YouTube courtesy of Kathy Wylie and Cathy Wood, proprietresses of a timely candidate FaceBook page called Mendocino County 5th District Supervisor Race, on which the candidates, some of them anyway, answer questions. Us shut-ins, this one hearing impaired, are grateful for the convenience of tuning in real loud from afar.

WE GET A BIG KICK out of candidate Juhl's appalled reaction to the functioning of County government. Here's a guy who has borne heavy responsibility for large businesses, businesses where if you aren't lean and mean you go glub, glub, glub. So a guy like Juhl, with his private enterprise background, finds County management, uh, shocking, which it is by any real standard.

SO NO ONE CAN complain that the race for the 5th District seat is not getting plenty of exposure. All the 5th District candidates have been skillfully interviewed by Skip Taube of Mendocino TV. 

CSD FINANCES are looking pretty good for the upcoming fiscal year, July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019. Reimbursements from strike teams which went out on several of last year’s big fires, Prop 172 (sales tax) disbursements now being disbursed to fire departments as well as law enforcement, the County’s Advanced Life Support Grant and even an anonymous donation of $10k for recreational activities have put the fire department, ambulance service and recreation in the black, in position to spend more money than in past years. Hourly employees — General Manager Joy Andrews, Secretary Patty Libby and Administrative Assistant Angela DeWitt are up for 5% raises for both time in service as well as merit. Salaried/contract employees Chief Andres Avila and Ambulance manager/training manager Clay Eubanks are likely to get corresponding raises from the CSD Board in the near future as well. 

THE FIRE DEPARTMENT is working on purchasing a new $250k-$300k wildland engine to replace the old one which was prone to breakdowns while out of County on strike teams last year. The new engine will be paid for out of capital equipment reserves (mostly built up from prior strike team reimbursements) plus another $60k donation from the Volunteer Firefighters Association, a separate non-profit fundraising organization. Once in place, the new engine will allow the Fire Department to continue responding to (reimbursable) strike team calls which pay decent hourly wages to volunteers who accept the assignment as well as to the Fire Department to cover equipment expenses.

AMBULANCE FINANCES are starting to stabilize also, although the arcane world of MediCal, Medicare, Insurance, memberships (with both the AV service and sometimes with the inland Air Ambulance outfits) finances continues to be a challenge to stay on top of since the insurance outfits (both government and private) pay only a fraction of the bill and sometimes it can take months to get the fraction. 

CHIEF AVILA told the Budget committee last week that he’s heard that the County’s far-flung fire departments are likely to see another increase in their share of the Prop 172 (sales tax increment) money next year and the Advance Life Support grant (which mostly pays for a part-time paramedic and shift stipends for ambulance volunteers) is also likely to be renewed for another year — although the status of the long-delayed inland Exclusive (Ambulance) Operating Area contract may complicate that grant if the EOA were to somehow get awarded in the next year. (Mark Scaramella) 

THERE’S NO BOONVILLE Farmers Market anymore, but Petit Teton is still here growing food and animals and we have them for sale...only a few minutes from downtown B'ville. Come visit your neighbor to pick up greens (baby artichokes, fennel, kale, mustards, escarole, watercress, cilantro, parsley, and celery) or meats (beef, pork and squab) or something from our shelves full of preserved jams, pickles, soups, relishes, etc. or a fresh fermented jar of kraut, kimchi, or bread and butter pickles. And after shopping you're welcome to wander the gardens - beautiful right now - and visit the animals. We'd love to see you.

GOAT FEST 2018 is on Saturday April 21, 10 am-3pm, in conjunction with the Wildflower Show at the County Fairgrounds in Boonville. We hope you will be able to join in the outdoor fun.

IF ANYBODY needs confirmation that the wine industry calls the tune in Mendocino County with a blanket effectiveness the timber industry can only envy, consider the depressing adventure suffered by my colleague, Mark Scaramella, veteran and patriot. He sued the County to get the County to implement the wine industry’s stated wind fan policy. At the end of this futile struggle aided and abetted the whole way by County government, The Major’s wallet was lighter by around $11k.

THE COUNTY'S tax paid lawyer, then-County Counsel Doug Losak, wanted Scaramella to post a million dollar bond just to get his beef in front of a judge, which turned out to be a judicial wine guy called Richard "Ricky" Henderson, as if a local judge would look out at a courtroom stuffed with florid-faced wine moguls and order them to dial down the illegal racket from their frost fans. (Turn up the sound full blast on the film, Black Hawk Down as your local high school football team simultaneously beats on the walls of your house for 8-10 hours and you'll have some idea of the Boonville-Philo sound track on cold Spring mornings, midnight to an hour past dawn.)

AT THE TIME of Scaramella’s lawsuit, the local wine industry posted their position on the controversy on their website in semi-response to Scaramella’s complaints. That webpage containing their position on the subject has since disappeared, but it specifically said (middle of page 1), “Mendocino County is the only county in California to require a permit for the installation of wind machines. They take into account placement, noise and need when considering the application.”

AT SCARAMELLA’S first court appearance then-County Counsel Losak prompted a sidelong glance from the judge when Losak said that, no, the County only evaluates the concrete pad and the wiring on wind fan permit applications. (!) Yes, taxpayers, you had two tax-paid attorneys, Losak and Henderson, running interference for a private industry already heavily subsidized by a plethora of public institutions, from local clinics and hospitals through a range of public amenities.

But we agree with the AV Winegrowers that taking noise, placement and need into account in processing individual wind fan permits is, conceptually, the same thing we sought in court. It's unfortunate that we had to go through all this legal rigmarole and expense for something we seem to agree on simply because the County of Mendocino, and specifically our District Supervisor Dan Hamburg, refused to even consider non-judicial compromise, preferring instead to stonewall while the rest of Anderson Valley is kept awake for entire nights at a time for as many days as the Wine Industry cares to do it.

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