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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, May 6, 2018

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THE LOTTERY is a famous short story by Shirley Jackson about an annual small town drawing whose winner is stoned to death. The story makes the point that small towns can be mean places. Lately, some major meanness has afflicted the local schools. A portion of Anderson Valley's school staff — the biggest payroll in the area — has outdone itself with an extreme, inchoate hostility for their boss, Superintendent of Schools Michelle Hutchins.

The first letter from staff denouncing Ms. Hutchins was forthrightly signed by two persons — Nicole Mclain and Stephanie Ewing. Their letter said "90 percent" of staff agreed with the vague complaints listed, but that the almost unanimous majority didn't want their names made public, which means the 90 percent figure is meaningless, unproven and unprovable by the rest of us, who also wonder who the ten percenters are, and why they didn't sign Hutchins' execution warrant.

Not to be too much of a moralist here, but if "90 percent" of your colleagues wanted to see you living out of a Safeway cart, wouldn't you want the opportunity to confront your accusers?

Not a single person on the 90-person staff of the Anderson Valley schools has said a public word in support of the Superintendent. Does she have any supporters? Have supporters, assuming they exist, also been bludgeoned into a cringing, anonymous silence, by those willing to snipe from behind Nicole Mclain and Stephanie Ewing so long as they can stay in the shadows? Ms. Hutchins can't be all bad, given that the school board, on a 3-2 vote, extended her contract for a year, through June of 2019.

Boonville's beloved community newspaper is outside trying to look in. All we know about the schools is what we hear and what we read from the occasional document wafting our way. School business is almost entirely conducted in closed session.

For instance, when Superintendent Hutchins invited Mark Scaramella, an ace numbers guy, to sit in on a budget meeting to present a standard list of budget cutting options that governments can typically choose from to fairly cut expenditures, he was asked to leave, the assembled teachers saying, in effect, that the meeting was a school staff session, not a public meeting. Scaramella departed, relieved to be excused from several hours of mind-numbing school budget discussions, but before he left he saw that the teachers and the high school principal had prepared their own list of cuts, which conspicuously exempted themselves from their share of cost savings.

The school board, as per ancient custom, is dependent by choice on district-paid lawyers, whose advice is as famously flawed as it is famously expensive. Lawyers and staff are the tail wagging the school district dog, which is not new here, but means no one specifically is in charge. Ms. Hutchins original sin seems to be trying to take charge. After all, that's what she was hired and paid to do.

We have no way to judge the validity of the complaints against the Superintendent because those we've seen, or at least heard about, don't add up to grounds for dismissal, let alone death dances. And Ms. Hutchins herself has said she has made mistakes, apologized for them, especially her initial blunder with the food service program. And she concedes she could have handled several personnel matters better. But all of these errors happened two years ago now. Isn’t there some kind if statute of limitations on them, a general moving on from old beefs?

But the condemnation of Ms. Hutchins is taking hostility to the next level in a second petition aimed at the Superintendent. It's also anonymous and again claims to be from a large group of people — parents this time — and signs off by saying, "See attached signature page (s)." Which isn't attached.

The second letter contains this sentence: "Because of her poor leadership skills, moral (sic) is low among staff, this causes a stressful environment for our children (our emphasis) and can affect the learning environment."

Question: Is it good for children to see their teachers playing on-the-job Gotcha? Is it sound moral instruction for young people to see their parents and teachers signing anonymous hit pieces? "Yeah, yeah, I'll sign but please don't tell anyone!" That's good ethics training for a kid?

And what does “poor leadership skills” even mean? That the Superintendent doesn’t roll over for every demand of staff?

Going through the second letter, and both are aimed at ruining Ms. Hutchins' chances for election to Superintendent of County Schools, if not her life, it's stuff she's already said she regretted, especially the aforementioned major changes in the food service program, but it also includes three charges she isn't guilty of, including an "alleged assault" on last year's elementary school principal.

In that one, the assault was alleged by the alleged vic, who was alone in the room with her boss when it allegedly occurred, an episode of she said, she said. And what's an assault? A right cross to the jaw? A shove? A forceful instruction to sit down and listen? The district's lawyers, always ready to throw district money around so long as it doesn't cost them anything, decided to pay off the alleged victim on the condition she leave her job, which she did. Apparently, no physical contact occurred in this “assault,” but the way "assault" is invoked we'd have thought that Ms. Hutchins had hurled herself at the principal and battered her to the floor. (We understand that in fact Ms. Hutchins yelled at the principal and blocked the door when she tried to leave. The principal simply ducked under Hutchins and went on out the door.)

Then there's an indictment of Hutchins titled "Gun Control." A kid brought a handgun to school. Police were called, the gun was confiscated, the kid was packed off to Juvenile Hall. I agree there should have been a public explanation, but Ms. Hutchins is damned every which way no matter what she does. And since the episode happened at the high school, where was the high school principal? If he felt it was that big a deal, he should have gotten out an explanation.

A final charge is called "Social Media." "Most recently was the statement on Facebook for all to read where she questioned the honesty of her two union presidents. This is unacceptable and again embarrassing for our school district." I'd like to give it an acceptability once over myself, but it's not produced for anyone outside Facebook pals to read.

Anyway, what's wrong with give and take? Some return fire from a person who has endured a torrent of abuse for two years now?

The simple fact underlying all this is that Ms. Hutchins was hired to run a school district that had gone unsupervised for nearly a quarter century. She tried to do her job and made some early mistakes which her enemies have never forgiven her for. Her critics are almost all clustered at the Elementary School. The high school staff is silent, presumably, but who knows for sure when the alleged "90 percent" are anonymous.

It's happened here before. Some years ago, a capable, pleasant woman named Marlene Smeed was hired as Superintendent. Staff preferred an inside guy who, of course, would be unlikely to disturb any of his staff by demanding that they do their jobs. The school board, as always, did as the staff wanted, and Ms. Smeed was driven out for no specified reason at all.

As Ms. Hutchins points out in her conciliatory public letter, she's guilty of some bad calls, which she recognizes as bad calls and does not try to defend, and also points out she's tried to make amends with her lead critics. Looking at the schools from the outside, as most of us do, they seem orderly and successful.

The only public organization in the Anderson Valley that operates in the full transparent light of day is our Community Services District. Every other local public body is a twilight murk of secret dealing and palsy-walsy-ism.

Notes: The annual school budget is right around $6 million a year. The district employees 40 classified 40 certificated 3 certificated administrators 3 classified managers 4 confidential assistants

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ON HER END, and speaking for herself, Superintendent Hutchins' justly argues that her record looks like this:

In the last 5 years at Anderson Valley Unified School District:

  • Teacher salaries raised 9.5%
  • Classified salaries raised 7%
  • Benefits for all staff maintained at full coverage
  • Added two teacher controlled workdays to the school calendar
  • Negotiated Reduced Work Program for teachers close to retirement
  • Made a local campaign to hire new substitute teachers (hired 5 in 2018)
  • Raised substitute teacher salaries 35% and provided paid teacher training
  • Paid time for leading and participating in school improvement committees
  • Provided intern teachers paid teacher mentors and additional preparation time
  • Involved Unity Club (Women’s Service Club) in providing resources and supplies for classroom projects and lodging to teachers who live far away when it storms
  • Created collaborative committees that explored and chose new curriculum
  • Replaced chalkboards with newly purchased whiteboards
  • Provided each teacher with a laptop, email and access to Google Classroom Suite
  • Provided each classroom with access to 1-1 technology tools previously only available in a lab setting
  • Updated safety procedures and coordinated drills with local first responders
  • Created a new teacher training plan personalized to each teacher
  • Modernized teacher evaluation tools and added an alternative for high performing tenured teachers to complete a leadership project
  • Updated employment contracts to reflect new laws
  • Sponsored new opportunities for teachers to socialize outside of school:
  • Teacher Quiz- two schools form teams and answer local and relevant trivia questions
  • Winter gathering at Boonville Hotel
  • End of year Bocce Ball at Ballo
  • Hired massage therapists and provided 15-minute head and shoulder massages

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COSTCO, UKIAH, is scheduled to open on July 12th. Meanwhile, Ghilotti Construction out of San Rafael and Santa Rosa, is furiously revamping the Highway 101 off and on ramps and other roads along Big Box Row necessary to accommodate the anticipated mobs of shoppers.

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WE'RE THE GROSSEST! California’s gross domestic product has surpassed $2.7 trillion, making us the world’s fifth-largest economy, bigger than that of even the United Kingdom. The most populous US state saw a boom in almost every single economic sector, with a $26 billion growth in real estate and $20 billion in the information sector, according to the California Department of Finance. The state’s economic output is now short of only that of Japan, China, Germany, and the total GDP of the US. The last time the state’s economy ranked as the world’s fifth-largest was in 2002.

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This group is described as, “specializing in doing extreme sport bike riding on the street known as ‘Stunting’.”

“Stunters are a controversial subculture of motorcycling. Stunters perform motorcycle stunts on sportbikes, both on public roads and in private venues — characterized by stunts involving acrobatic maneuvering of the motorcycle and sometimes the rider. Common maneuvers in stunt riding include wheelies, stoppies, and burnouts. Sport bikes have become a common vehicle for stunts.”

(via MendocinoSportsPlus)

MANY OF US have experienced the sudden, terrifying thrill of glancing out our driver's side window to see one of these kids (presumably) hurtling past us nearly horizontal with the pavement. Happened to me a couple of times, once on the Ukiah road, another time on 128 near the Sonoma County line.

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Answer: When it’s gibberish.


Answer: When large segments of County social work is contracted to Redwood Community Services, a private business.

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Item 4i) on Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors Consent Calendar: “Approval of Agreement with Redwood Community Services, Inc. in the Amount of $229,068 to Provide Differential Response Services for the Term of July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.”

Services summary: “Contractor shall provide Differential Response (DR) services to families referred by the County to help prevent the likelihood of child abuse and neglect, recurrence of maltreatment and/or the likelihood of re-entry into foster care.”

For those of you who, like almost everybody else, may not have any idea what “differential response services” are:

“Differential response is a system reform that enables child protective services (CPS) to differentiate its response to reports of child abuse and neglect based on several factors. The CPS system selects the initial response (investigation or assessment) based on a number of factors.”

And, “Differential Response (DR) is a strategy that allows a California child welfare services (CWS) agency to respond in a more flexible manner to reports of child abuse or neglect. DR affords a customized approach based on an assessment of safety, risk and protective capacity that recognizes each family’s unique strengths and needs, and addresses these in an individualized manner rather than with a “one size fits all” approach. The hallmark of DR is both its flexibility and family engagement, which act as an umbrella for the various responses and services. As DR provides earlier and more meaningful responses to emerging signs of family problems, child welfare agencies can utilize resources to help families before difficulties escalate and child removal is required. Under the DR approach, child safety is the highest priority as more children and families can receive the support they need to keep children safely in their homes. DR has three referral paths, which are assigned by the social worker based on information taken from the initial call or report, intake or hotline: Community support, agency support, traditional child abuse support.”

In other words, Children's Protective Services, formerly a County responsibility, is being slo-mo privatized. The privatization is vaguely aimed at beefing up the whole, broken family.

Differential Response Services are to be provided for 15 families at a time, up to 120 per year. Primary service area: Willits, Laytonville, Covelo, as well as Ukiah and surrounding areas are being turned over to Redwood Community Services.

Serving Path 1 and Path 2 clients.

Path 1:

Path 2:

In other words, having turned over most of Mental Health Services to Redwood Quality Management, Mendo is now moving to quietly privatize another large segment of the Health and Human Services Agency workload via another contract with Redwood Community Services to perform a large portion of the CPS (aka Family & Children’s Services) work having to do with potential or actual child abuse.

In theory, this sounds ok. But an argument can be made that such “services” are highly subjective, intrusive and harmful, especially if there’s no accountability, no way for client families to refuse or object to the “services,” and everything is kept strictly confidential to “protect the children.”

There are also a few skeptical people who would suspect that turning this kind of work over to Redwood Community Services gives Ms. Schrader’s ever-larger private business even more control of the gateway to who gets how much services lucrative billable services.

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THE BOONVILLE FAIRGROUNDS, with the County acting as their contracting agent, is charging the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival $27.5k, plus an additional 5.5% of ticket sales over $500k to rent the facility for the three day event (June 22-24, 2018). The festival organizers must also put up a $15k security deposit, and pay an unspecified hourly (typically overtime) rate for Sheriff’s deputies and their vehicles which will add tens of thousands more to the cost. The festival must also pay for all permitting costs. According to the permit, ticket sales are not to exceed 5,000, and total occupancy during the three days is not to exceed 6500. The permit states that music is to cease at midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10pm on Sunday. The finances for the festival are not entirely clear. But a three day ticket costs $190 (about $63 per day), with an additional $90 for car-camping and $250 for bus/rv camping. Day tickets range between $70 and $85 per day. A limited number of RVs with hook-ups are paying $350 for three days of camping. The festival also gets revenues from the many food vendors who provide very good (but pricy) Carribean style vittles. Back of the envelope numbers would indicate that if the tickets average $70 per day, that would translate to a little over $1 million in ticket sales if the event sells out. So under the terms of the rental agreement the festival would have to pay up to an additional $25k-$30k to the Fairgrounds for the event. That's all in addition to whatever the organizers have to pay for their impressive line up of musicians, plus staff, security, medical, set-up and take-down crew, technicians, equipment, etc. etc.

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All our cat guests have been adopted or transferred, but there are lots of wonderful dogs waiting patiently for new homes . This week's Pets of the Week are two of our longer stay dogs, Jetson and Pam. We would love for these two dogs to find new homes. Jetson is a 1-1/2 year old mixed breed dog who is sweet, a little shy, and a volunteer favorite. During our twice a week multi-dog play groups, Jetson was social and mellow. He likes tennis balls and the kiddie pool!

Pam is 3 years old and spayed, so she is ready to go home with you right away. Pam is a doll--she's easy going, loves playing fetch and just happens to be a great retriever. On an outing with two of the shelter volunteers, Pam was easy to load in a car, and showed off her great personality out and about Ukiah.

Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah, and adoption hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 6:30 pm. To see photos and bios of the shelter's adoptable animals, please visit online at: or visit the shelter. Join us the second Saturday of every month for our "Empty the Shelter" pack walk and help us get every dog out for exercise and socialization For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.

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SONYA GILL WRITES: I invite you, your staff and all the wonderful residents of Anderson Valley and beyond to visit my current one-person shows of art at Yorkville Cellars and the Yorkville Market. I have this unusual but very fortunate opportunity to show my work in our tiny town of Yorkville. At the market I have 19 oil paintings of our Yorkville orchard. And at Yorkville Cellars I have 23 paper collages of my family, friends and pets. Please stop by. I would love to share these with you and everyone else in the Valley.

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Re: Has anyone else noticed a lack of birds around?

We have lost many birds over the years to the Ravens. They kill all the babies and eat the eggs. We used to have kingfishers but they nest on the ground and the ravens killed all the babies. Same with Wood Ducks year after year until they were gone. Much less variety of birds than 10-20 years ago here.

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RONNIE JAMES on the reduced bird population:

Lack of birds: there are several factors that have taken down the bird populations for several years, this being the worst: 1) we are at the end of a long drought that caused the insects that breed in the first few inches of the soil and damp tree barks to crash. It has not had a chance to recover yet. 2) Last year the people who track and record nesting activities reported a nest-failure of up to 75% in some areas of northern California, some places reported a 100% failure of sea bird nests. There were certainly places with successful nests, but overall, it appears the numbers of birds hatched was drastically decreased. This has been going on for several years, as the drought continued to drop the insect population. 3) Those birds that did nest this year are busy sitting on eggs or keeping baby birds warm, so we will see them out and about for a shorter period of time. At the other end of the food chain we have the large predators  — whose population seems to have greatly increased this year as there was plenty of grass for the deer, and therefore plenty of deer for the mountain lions. I see the California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife has received so many reports that they now have a mountain lion reporting link on their web site.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag here. Little Dog has a lot of nerve lecturing me on my morals when he's lusting after all those Cinco de Chihuahua babes! At least I keep my private life private.

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It was reported on the radio that state of California is low on money and that CalPERS (the California Public Employees Retirement System) would have some percentage of their retirement taken away. The state needs to raise funds, in other words, taxes. The question is how and from where?

The Republicans don't want to raise taxes but there are not many of them. The Democrats also don't want to raise taxes so the real question seems to be what will the liberals go for?

How about this? Raise the state tax on gasoline on a graduated scale like state and federal income tax. Let the upper middle class, the rich and tourists from out-of-state pay the new full price, while the not-so-rich face no increase in the current tax. What Democrat wouldn’t go for that?

Silicon Valley should be able to figure out a workable solution on their coffee break. Chips, prints, photos, whatever and make it a felony to cheat.

I apologize if this has already been discussed. I live off the grid including no computer and I get my news from NPR and the AVA.

Michael Smith


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(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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Hi Media Folks,

What: Johnson-Su No-Turn Composting Bioreactor Hands-on Workshops and Talk. How to sequester carbon and heal fire-damaged and other soils, bringing them into peak productivity. Workshops to build composting bioreactors, and a talk on why and how they work

Who: Inventors Dr. David Johnson, of New Mexico State University, and Hui-Chun Su Johnson

Where: Ridgewood Ranch at School of Adaptive Agriculture


Sunday May 6, 2018,

Floodgate Farm, 12400 Bakers Creek Rd., Redwood Valley,

2:30-5:30 PM (potluck 1-2:15 PM),

Mendocino College Ag Dept, 1000 Hensley Creek Rd., 1-7:30 PM (microscopes 1-2 PM, workshop 2-5, talk 6-7:30 with question period)

When: May 6-7, 2018 as detailed above

For more information: Bill Taylor or Jaye Alison Moscariello, 707-272-1688,

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 5, 2018

Brackett, Cook, Gillespie

KYLE BRACKETT, Willits. Failure to appear.

JENNIFER COOK, Fort Bragg. Felony burglary.

KYLE GILLESPIE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Klein, Lafrance, Lockhart, Marsh

ERIK KLEIN, Ukiah. Evasion.

RASHARD LAFRANCE, Miramar/Ukiah. First degree robbery, probation revocation.

VERNON LOCKHART, Willits. Under influence, felon/addict in possession of firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person.

TIMOTHY MARSH, Ukiah. Grand theft, controlled substance.

Pacheco, Pestoni, Row, Vannote

GAY PACHECO, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, probatioin revocation.

JOHN PESTONI, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

TYLER ROW, Willits. Failure to appear.

JOHN VANNOTE, Ukiah. Getting credit with someone else’s ID.

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At a campaign rally last week Trump slammed the Fake News Media for not having "real" sources for news stories — a clip of him saying that the greatest threat to our democracy is the Media.

Insane... Because what were Trump’s sources for all those years he lied and said President Obama wasn't a US citizen? He never said! Six years of Trump’s disrespectful "birther" crap, with no legitimate sources, and the mainstream news kept it all going, thus benefiting Trump. Biggest Hypocrite Ever. Pure BS. Total Lies.

Many of Trump’s base are clearly insane. Take Philbrick for example. In his recent letters he's said that liberals and their kids, should be taught a lesson, by being raped, murdered and tortured. This he "reasons," will show the libs why they should love guns. Clearly a psychopath.

I can play the Insane Fantasy Game also. So imagine if all those kids who survived the crazy terror of those school shootings were given AR-15's with bumpstocks and bussed to the NRA convention and allowed to let loose all their trauma. Wow, wouldn't that be a lesson in Karmic retribution! I'll bet those NRA peeps would be surprised, outnumbered and dead! Hoo Boy.

So I know that's crazy, but it's a fantasy. The problem with Philbrick and his ilk is that they don't seem to know that what they're saying is clearly insane. It makes no sense and he seems unaware that many of these school shooting survivors are galvanized against guns after such extreme violence. The only lesson they learn is to hate gun violence and the NRA.

Liberals wanting to take away guns is a huge fake news story, and I've never met one in 53 years. What most libs want is more comprehensive background checks and a bit more "well regulated," like the constitution says.

Best Regards,

Rob Mahon


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FROM JENNIFER POOLE, via her Facebook page:

The latest Ken Doctor column on DFM

Below is something I just put up on Facebook, on my own page, you are welcome to it, if you want it, and can credit to me, via Facebook. Attached is the “profit chart” from Ken Doctor’s story to accompany.

"Alden Global Capital is making so much money wrecking local journalism it might not want to stop anytime soon" is the title of journalism analyst Ken Doctor's latest column on Digital First Media: "Digital First Media’s financials — revealed here — show how the company has ridden its deep cuts to nearly $160 million in profits and the highest margins in the business."

DFM, which owns "800 multi-platform products" (as they put it) around the country, is the parent company of the Willits News, Ukiah Daily Journal, Fort Bragg and Mendocino papers, and Lake County papers. DFM's majority owner is the Alden Global Hedge Fund.

After the "Denver Rebellion" on April 6 (when the Denver Post editorial board and a number of Post columnists wrote pieces calling out their hedge fund owners), Doctor reports, "voices of concern have gone public at DFM’s Southern California News Group, at its Bay Area News Group, at its cluster of Philadelphia suburban dailies and just down the road from the Post in Boulder, at the DFM-owned Daily Camera."

I think it's fair to say it's unprecedented to see columns and editorials in print newspapers begging their own hedge fund owners to stop destroying local journalism!

Will we see anything like that in our local Mendocino County DFM papers?

It is risky to speak out publicly: DFM fired the editorial page editor Dave Krieger of the Daily Camera (in Boulder, CO) last week after he published his own "in-your-face community plea" online after his own paper rejected it.

Krieger, who was technically fired for "outside use of material produced on company time," says, yes, he certainly did disparage his employer -- "although it was in defense of my immediate employer, the Camera, that I disparaged its private equity owners."

But Krieger continues: "This is one of those cases where the very essence of what we are about comes into play. When do we serve our readers, and our obligation to tell them what’s going on? When do we stand up for telling them the truth? When do we quit covering for the unaccountable hedge fund we work for?”…/newsonomics-alden-global-capita…/


AP story on 3 more resignations at the Denver Post Friday, including Media News Group magnate Dean Singleton, who stepped down from the Post’s editorial board. The story doesn’t have a statement from Singleton, I wonder if we’ll get one….. but it does have details from the editorial page editor who resigned on Thursday about how it was “made clear to him” that he had to stay quiet.

“3 top figures at the Denver Post, including former owner, quit amid fight with hedge fund”

Plunkett said in an interview he resigned Thursday after Digital First Media management refused to run a new piece that mentioned last week's dismissal of an editor at a DFM-owned newspaper, as well as new financial data on the company, controlled by Alden Global Capital. "I was trying to follow good journalism ethics and I was not allowed to do it anymore," Plunkett said. Plunkett said it was made clear to him he had to stay quiet and he did not publish some opinion pieces submitted on the newspaper's future, which has roiled Denver's leadership and led to a national debate over the future of local journalism.

Then, last week, the editorial page editor of The Boulder Daily Camera said he was dismissed after he self-published an editorial echoing Plunkett's that had been rejected by leadership. On Tuesday, a prominent newspaper analyst published what he said were internal figures of the profits Digital First made off its newspapers. Plunkett decided he couldn't stay silent and filed another editorial. But he had to send it to the Post's editor, Lee Ann Colacioppo, to send to Gilmore for approval. The piece was rejected, Plunkett said, and he resigned. "I was boxed into a corner and given an ethical quandary I couldn't resolve," Plunkett said. Colacioppo did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Friday night.

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Here’s how it is going to go down, right from the local municipal level. Local governments have been maintaining tax rates by borrowing, deferring school taxes and getting as much grant monies from state and federal programs as possible all while continuing to spend and not cut back or paying off debt. State governments have been tightening the reins on state aid to local governments and will eventually wean them off completely and increase their own take through taxations on things like legal weed and gasoline. As government wages continue to grow at 2-5% a year and benefit costs go up 20% every year they will all blow their budgets. Municipalities will be forced to raise property taxes, slowly at first and then quickly utilizing the hidden Tax Cap Banks that lie below the surface, waiting to pounce.

As wages for the private sector continue their downward trend and consumers continue to lose their homes and jobs, the tightening of the cash flow will become impossible to ignore. As the general public gets squeezed, foreclosures and defaults will continue and sooner or later some handout program like Food Stamps or Welfare or maybe even a pension fund or two will go broke and the Great Unravelling will begin.

I figure it will take about 6 years to unfold completely. Frog-boil in its finest form!

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Rep. Mike Thompson says Democrats should be 'very, very guarded'

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As someone who commutes daily at different times of the morning and afternoon, I am perplexed at the hours posted for the HOV Lanes in Sonoma County. On a typical morning at 8 a.m., traffic is bumper to bumper, stop and go in the No. 2 and No. 3 lanes. The HOV lane has no cars, or one or two cars every quarter-mile or so. The same is true 3 p.m. Traffic is backed up and the HOV Lane is wide open.

People are fed up with traffic. What does it take to make some common sense changes to the ridiculous hours of the Sonoma County HOV lanes? On northbound Highway 101 out of San Francisco, it is 4:30 p.m. for the HOV lane. As you get closer to Marin County, it is 4 p.m. Cross the county line to Sonoma County, and it is 3 p.m.

Caltrans, get your head out of the clouds and change these hours for an easier commute for everyone: 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. in the morning and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the evening. The people of Sonoma County would thank you.

Debi Johnson

Santa Rosa

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From Independent by Jane Dalton:

Scientists are preparing to launch the world's first machine to clean up the planet's largest mass of ocean plastic.

The system, originally dreamed up by a teenager, will be shipped out this summer to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California, and which contains an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic.

It will be the first ever attempt to tackle the patch since it was discovered in 1997.

The experts believe the machine should be able to collect half of the detritus in the patch — about 40,000 metric tons — within five years.

In the past few weeks they have been busy welding together giant tubes that will sit on the surface of the sea and form the skeleton of the machine, creating the largest floating barrier ever made.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) spans 617,763 sq miles — more than twice the size of France, and contains at least 79,000 tons of plastic, research found last month.

Most of it is made up of “ghost gear” — parts of abandoned and lost fishing gear, such as nets and ropes — often from illegal fishing vessels.

Ghost gear kills more than 100,000 whales, dolphins and seals each year, according to scientific surveys. Seabirds and other marine life are increasingly being found dead with stomachs full of small pieces of plastic.

Packaging must be next in sight for plastic ban, say campaigners.

Creatures eat plastic discarded in the sea thinking it’s food but then starve to death because they are not feeding properly.

Others are trapped and die of starvation or are strangled or suffocated by ghost gear.

More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year, according to the US-based Plastic Oceans Foundation.

Up to 90 per cent of the world’s plastic items are never recycled, and scientists believe nearly every piece ever created is still in existence somewhere, in some form, with most going into landfill or the environment. Single-use plastic, such as water bottles and nappies, take 450 years to break down.

The system to tackle the largest swirling mass of rubbish in the Pacific has been designed by a non-profit technology firm called The Ocean Cleanup, set up by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat when he was an 18-year-old aerospace engineering student.

“The plastic pollution problem has always been portrayed as something insolvable. The story has always been ‘OK, we can’t clean it up — the best we can do is not make it worse’ — To me that’s a very uninspiring message,” said Mr Slat.

“What I really hope is that the ocean clean-up in this century can be a symbol for us using technology to make things better.”

The clean-up contraption consists of 40-foot pipes — ironically made of plastic — that will be fitted together to form a long, snaking tube.

Filled with air, they will float on the ocean's surface in an arc, and have nylon screens hanging down below forming a giant floating dustpan to catch the plastic rubbish that gathers together when moved by the currents. The screens, however, will be unable to trap microplastics — tiny fragments.

Nearly half the debris collected from the Great Pacific garbage patch consisted of discarded fishing nets (The Ocean Cleanup Foundation).

Fish will be able to escape the screens by swimming underneath them.

The Ocean Cleanup team aim to launch the beginnings of the system from the shores of San Francisco Bay within weeks, start it working by July and then keep extending it.

They plan to have 60 giant floating scoops, each stretching a mile from end to end. Boats will go out to collect debris every six to eight weeks.

Mr. Slat was 16 and still at school when he was diving in Greece and first saw for himself the amount of plastic polluting the sea.

“There were more bags than fish down there,” he recalls. Two years later he came up with a solution, quit university after six months and set up The Ocean Cleanup as a company.

Following a crowdfunding campaign that raised £1.57m and later investment bringing the total to £28.56m, the company now has 65 paid staff, including researchers and engineers.

Mr Slat, 23, says the first plastic to arrive on shore will be a major milestone.

* * *


The Ukiah Library is hosting two events on May 10th and 11th to commemorate the stories of last year's fire as part of California WildFire Preparedness week (see attached). We are also having a Mommy & Me Storytime for kids, and a Basic Seed Saving Workshop.

‘Wilder than Wild’ documentary screening and California Listens Project Wildfire interviews

The Ukiah Library is hosting two events on May 10th and 11th to commemorate the stories of last year's fire as part of California WildFire Preparedness week. The library is joining with the California Listens project, a statewide media collection effort being sponsored by the California State Library, in their California Wildfires Story Project. The project is a partnership of the California State Library, StoryCenter and the County Libraries of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino. We are hoping to add to their ambitious collection over this year. You can reserve a spot at

As part of the event we will also feature the recently released (at this year's Sonoma Film Festival) Wilder Than Wild documentary. Filmmaker Stephen Most (and Author of the recent Stories Make the World) will join us at the event.

The 2017 fires wrote a new chapter in the lives of millions of California residents. The scope, spread and fierceness of the 2017 fire season, especially for the residents of Redwood Valley and other parts of Mendocino County; have sharpened our attention to the need to be and stay aware of ways to prepare for, and respond, to the threat of wildfires and other disasters that will surely come in the years to come.

We invite you to come and share a 30 minute reflection and stories about your experience of the fires last year, or in years before. You can come to be interviewed or bring a friend, family member or colleague to have a conversation about your experiences and the lessons learned from these events. The interviews will be conducted using the Listening Station recording kit developed by StoryCenter organization based in Berkeley. Library staff and StoryCenter representatives will assist. Your recording will be stored as part of the California State Library collection.

The first session of interviews will take place Thursday, May 10th from 1-6pm and will be held at a private location to be disclosed when participants register. This portion will NOT be at the Ukiah Library.

At 6:30pm on Thursday, May 10th the Ukiah Library will host a screening of the “Wilder than Wild” documentary.

On Friday, May 11th the second group of interviews will take place from 4-7pm at the Ukiah Library.

If you are interested in being interviewed, please register and claim a time slot at

* * *

Basic Seed Saving

Saturday, May 12th 1pm - 2:30 pm

On Saturday, May 12th from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm, the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting a Basic Seed Saving program.

In this workshop we will help demystify seed saving, and help gardeners learn to incorporate the ancient and fun skill of growing vegetable for food this season and seed for next year’s garden.

This event is sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.

* * *

THE ULTIMATE MENDO BOOK (AND READING)Local Author Reading with Ricardo Stocker at Ukiah Library:Thursday, May 17th @ 6 pmReading & Discussion with Ricardo Stocker:

Reading & Discussion with Ricardo Stocker:

Local Author of A Compassionate Kosmos:

(Adults & Teens): Thursday, May 17th 6 pm

Join us for a reading & book discussion with local author Ricardo Stocker, PhD. Dr. Ricardo Stocker is a Philosopher-Poet and Transpersonal Psychologist. He grew up in Argentina, moved to Europe at age 25, and now, since 1984, lives in Mendocino Co. California. He studied at Emerson College, England; Prescott College, Arizona; and Saybrook University, San Francisco. He is a Professor of Psychology and Communication at Mendocino College, since 2000, and is also a Bilingual Counselor and Consultant. He is a father of four, and a grandfather of seven.

Light refreshments will be served. For more information – please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or All events are free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Friends of the Ukiah Valley Library.

* * *

SOME SAY young black men are an endangered species. That’s not true, because endangered species are protected by the government. You got to punch your black son in the fucking face. Hard. Yeah, I said it. It’s important that your black son follow your instructions. It’s the difference between life and death. Okay? ’Cause we got a crazy justice system out here. We got a justice system for rich and for poor, for black, for white. We got a justice system where two people can do the exact same crime, in the exact same place, at the exact same time and get a different sentence. Only in America. We gotta change this justice system. Yo, the American justice system should be like Walmart. It should be just like Walmart. “Hey, if you can find a lighter sentence, we’ll match it!”

— Chris Rock

* * *


By Dan Bacher

It’s a gorgeous warm day in September 2015. Small cascades of cold, pristine water rush out of the hillside at Big Springs, the headwaters of the Sacramento River, as they converge in a clear and shallow pool located in the Mount Shasta City Park.

Adults and children fill their jugs and bottles with the crystalline water that takes 50 years to make it from snow and rain on Mount Shasta down through the volcanic aquifer to where the torrents converge in the park.

The icy water rushes from the hillside to make its way to Lake Siskiyou, then Lake Shasta and then to the Delta and the ocean. People from throughout the world walk along the creek and hike along shaded trails and footpaths that cross through hedges of horsetail fern and willow and across small bridges.

As people hike to and relax besides Big Springs, Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, and hundreds of environmentalists and activists from all over California and Oregon hold a rally, the “Water Every Drop Sacred” event, in this scenic park at the Sacramento River headwaters. After the rally ends, Sisk and tribal members lead a march and protest of 160 people to the plant.

The Tribe is opposed to the planned opening of the plant, closed after it was operated by the Coca-Cola Bottling Company and other corporations for years, in accordance with its commitment to protect and preserve the Headwaters of the river, the Mount Shasta watershed and sacred tribal lands. Otsuka Holding Co, a Japanese pharmaceutical conglomerate, owns Crystal Geyser.

Move forward to April 28, 2018 and the struggle by the Tribe and local environmentalists to save the headwaters of the Sacramento, the largest and longest river in California, has entered a new stage, a lawsuit against the City of Mount Shasta.

The Winnemem Wintu, who are now leading a campaign to reintroduce winter-run Chinook now thriving in New Zealand back to their home on the McCloud River, and We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review (W.A.T.E.R.) have petitioned the Superior Court of Siskiyou County for a Writ of Mandate (Petition) against the City of Mt. Shasta.

The litigation challenges the city’s March 26, 2018, split-vote approval of the Industrial Waste Discharge Permit for Crystal Geyser Water Company and the city’s conclusion that the project was “adequately considered” in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared by Siskiyou County, in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

WATER and the tribe argue in the petition that when the city approved the permit, it abused its discretionary powers in violation of CEQA by relying upon an EIR that “fails to include information necessary for informed decision-making and informed public participation, and in failing to adopt feasible mitigation measures within its jurisdiction.”

Winnemem regard Mount Shasta water as a sacred relative

“The Winnemem Wintu were born from the pristine water of Mount Shasta and regard this water as a sacred relative, a living being that is being exploited, desecrated and polluted when it is put in a plastic bottle and commoditized,” stated Winnemem Wintu Tribal Representatives, Mark Miyoshi and Luisa Navejas.

“When we stand up for the life of the water from this mountain that flows throughout the tribe’s traditional territory and becomes the mighty Sacramento and McCloud Rivers, we are defending the life of all free flowing streams and rivers and ultimately the precious life of our great Mother Ocean. All voices matter as the value of water is the value of life itself,” they said.

The validity of the EIR has been challenged in a separate case filed against Siskiyou County.

“During the county’s administrative review process of the Crystal Geyser operations and the EIR, the city itself had submitted well-considered and detailed comments strongly objecting to numerous hazards of the project including excessive noise, lighting, traffic, improper wastewater disposal and possible inadequate ground water supplies,” the Tribe and WATER said.

“Subsequently, the city decided to not challenge the EIR in court, but nonetheless continued to maintain its objections raised in its previous comments on the Draft EIR. These valid issues raised by the city, and also by many other citizens and experts, were barely addressed and never resolved by the county,” the Tribe and WATER continued.

Despite the city’s knowledge that the EIR was potentially insufficient, the city conducted minimal reviews during its consideration of the wastewater permit, and did not make formal “CEQA Findings” as required by CEQA, they argue. Approval of the permit without the required Responsible Agency findings thus violated CEQA.

The tribe and WATER further argue that the approved permit, a revision of the draft permit evaluated in the EIR, includes additional waste streams that were not evaluated in the EIR process.

“Although Crystal Geyser had informed the city of its intention to seek the inclusion of additional waste streams long before the completion of the Draft EIR by the county, the city took no action as a responsible agency to include these known potential waste streams into the EIR’s analysis. In addition, the permit allows for significant delay in requiring the necessary improvements to the city’s wastewater system, and this will result in impacts to the environment,” they said.

They said the city failed to evaluate these impacts and failed to prepare supplemental CEQA documentation in order to support its decision to approve the permit.

The tribe and WATER further allege that the EIR is “faulty” because Siskiyou County failed to complete required A.B. 52 consultation with the Winnemem Wintu tribe. As a result, the EIR cannot support the city’s conclusions in its role as a responsible agency.

Finally, the tribe and WATER assert in the petition the city failed to make formal CEQA findings, and the one-sentence statement in the resolution adopted to approve the permit was insufficient to be considered the “CEQA findings” to support the city’s approval.

W.A.T.E.R. representative Geneva Omann stated, “If this bottling plant is going to be operating here, we want ALL of its effluent to go to the city wastewater treatment plant, but at the very least, the permitting and operations of the bottling plant and the waste water treatment plant must be in compliance with CEQA. Currently they are not.”

She also said, “We are challenging the permit approval to ensure the wastewater treatment plant, the environment, the Winnemem Wintu’s traditional cultural resources, and city residents are all protected from potential adverse effects of the bottling plant.”

“We are proud to stand with our brothers and sisters of the Winnemem Wintu in defending Water and our community,” she concluded.

Tribe, fishing groups have also filed lawsuit against Delta Tunnels

This is not the only lawsuit that the Winnemem Wintu has filed over the past year. ON August 17, 2017, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, North Coast Rivers Alliance (NCRA), Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR), Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA) and the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association filed suit against the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in Sacramento Superior Court to overturn DWR’s approval of the Delta Tunnels, also know as the California WaterFix Project.

“The Winnemem Wintu Tribe has lived on the banks of the McCloud River for thousands of years and our culture is centered on protection and careful, sustainable use of its salmon,” said Caleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. “Our salmon were stolen from us when Shasta Dam was built in 1944.”

“Since that dark time, we have worked tirelessly to restore this vital salmon run through construction of a fishway around Shasta Dam connecting the Sacramento River to its upper tributaries including the McCloud River. The Twin Tunnels and its companion proposal to raise Shasta Dam by 18 feet would push the remaining salmon runs toward extinction and inundate our ancestral and sacred homeland along the McCloud River,” Chief Sisk stated.

Chief Sisk is currently running for Assembly District 1 as a Democrat in the June 5 election. For more information, go to:

The Trump and Brown administrations and project proponents claim the tunnels would fulfill the “coequal goals” of water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration, but opponents point out that project would create no new water while hastening the extinction of winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other imperiled fish species

The project would also imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers that have played a central role in the culture, religion and livelihood of the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes for thousands of years.

The tunnels would divert 9,000 cubic feet per second of water from the Sacramento River near Clarksburg and transport it 35 miles via two tunnels 40-feet in diameter for export to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness interests and Southern California, according to lawsuit documents. The project would divert approximately 6.5 million acre-feet of water per year, a quantity sufficient to flood the entire state of Rhode Island under nearly 7 feet of water.

Run4Salmon Set for September 15 to September 30

Then coming up from September 15 to September 30, the Winnemen Wintu will be sponsoring their #Run4Salmon <>2018.

“This will be the third year of our prayerful journey upstream to walk, ride, run, and paddle as we continue the work to bring our salmon home,” according to the Tribe. “We just got back from Aotearoa (New Zealand) from releasing our salmon fingerlings into the streams there and we are excited to return to Aotearoa this summer to work on collecting DNA samples from the Chinook returning home to spawn and move forward with our historical restoration project! We are all in this together. The journey continues until our salmon are restored and our sacred sites are protected!”

For more information about the Run4Salmon, go to:

For more information about the Delta Tunnels Lawsuit, go to: <> For more information about the lawsuit against Mt. Shasta City, contact:

Geneva Omann, Secretary, Board of Directors We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review, 530-918-8805,

Mark Miyoshi, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Luisa Navejas, Mt. Shasta District Representative and Water Advisor WInnemem Wintu Tribe 530-926-4408

* * *


Tulsi Gabbard: None of other 534 members of Congress are sufficiently aware or sufficiently courageous to take the stand Tulsi does here. I'm holding her position of regime change wars is one key reason why the MSM and associated polling firms often leave her off lists of potential 2020 Demo nominee contenders. Think - Tulsi 2020.

"N. Korea Opportunity Not About Trump" (4 min.) Tucker Carlson Interview:

* * *


Every teddy bear who's been good.

The recording of last night's (2018-05-04) KNYO Fort Bragg and KMEC Ukiah

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here:

IN OTHER NEWS, as usual at you'll find a fresh batch of links to educational activities and amusements and sources of wonderment, such as:

The moons. View the gallery


Temporary is the head that wears the crown.

Lessons from the screenplay: The midpoint collision. (12 min.)

And little girls Afrodancing in the Netherlands.

Marco McClean


  1. james marmon May 6, 2018


    WOW! I’m starting to tire out, believe me. Regarding the privatization of Child Welfare, I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Differential Response (DR) is not new to the rest of the world, only here in Mendo. In Del Norte County we started utilizing the DR approach back in 2005, but we didn’t contract out DR to a private foster family/mental health agency to carry out those duties. DR is supposed to be non-threatening, RCS’s DR folks have a alternative motive, and it’s to make money. If you don’t accept their mental health services, they’re going to take your kids, it’s either pay me now, or pay me later. Turning down any voluntary involvement in services will result in a very big point on your SDM Risk Assessment, and these days a large percentage of children are being removed based on risk only, you don’t have to abuse or neglect your children anymore to lose them, just pose a risk if abuse or neglect and it’s all over.

    A couple of years ago hen I watched the BoS approved RCS folks to be included in Structured Decision Making (SDM) training I knew it was the beginning of the end. I don’t feel like looking through the AVA archives this morning for some of my comments on this issue, but I will later.

    Differential Response in Mendocino is just a tool for RCS to drum up business for their private Mental Health, Foster Care, and Adoption Agencies, end of story.

    James Marmon MSW
    Former Mental Health Specialist, Child Welfare Worker, and Adoption’s Social Worker.

    Where’s the money Camille?

    • james marmon May 6, 2018

      An old trick is to get the parents to agree to a Voluntary Case Plan. If a parent/legal guardian refuses to sign the Case Plan in a voluntary case, voluntary services cannot be provided and established procedures should be followed, including consultation with County Counsel to determine whether there are appropriate grounds to file a petition.

      Often Social Workers use voluntary cases to build a involuntary court cases. In order to open a voluntary case plan you are admitting to a Welfare and Institution Code Section 300 violation “The child has suffered, or there is a substantial risk that the child will suffer,…” That will be used against you in further procedings.

      In Mendocino County, once you admit that your child is at risk, you may as well kiss him or her goodbye. It’s all over with but the crying, just ask Kimberly Ortwein who came into the Willits office on her own, asking for help, signed a Voluntary Case agreement, and ended up losing her 4 children in an adoption to a nice lesbian couple.

    • Eric Sunswheat May 6, 2018

      RE: “ I don’t feel like looking through the AVA archives this morning for some of my comments on this issue, but I will later.”
      —> I feel your pain, James Marmon. The architecture physical layout of the Board of Supervisors meeting chambers, is set up to privatize most all decision making special interests outcomes, over the long haul.

      Frank Lloyd Wright might have drawn out plans in terms of human response to structured environment.

      The Mendocino Board of Supervisors, CEO proponents, conquered over the CAO advocates.

      The AVA maintains the rubber stamp status quo, some might surmise from paper edition, but thrives on premeditated controversy, when comparing searched archive reader comments in the online AVA.

      Without controversy, news media would continue to wilt. Advice from consultants, that is paid for, is more carefully considered, than that which is freely given. Casting pearls before swine, comes to mind, when dealing with government.

      Public employee pension costs may continue to drive migration of paid positions to private sector, as an involuntary reflex not thought outside the box, long term.

      Penny wise and pound foolish, comes to mind. Chickens may have come home to roost. Rest In Peace.

      • Bruce Anderson May 6, 2018

        Which status quo, Eric?

  2. Jim Updegraff May 6, 2018

    Rob Mahon speaks my mind.

  3. Jim Updegraff May 6, 2018

    A’s defeated Baltimore 2 – 0 in the 12th inning with a 2 rum home run by Khris Davis after 11 1/2 scoreless innings.

  4. Bill Pilgrim May 6, 2018


    A brilliant stratagem by the capitalist oligarchs! Persuade citizens that becoming well read and informed is actually a communist conspiracy to subvert our democracy (those are no doubt Russian soldiers restraining the victim.)
    Don’t read! Don’t ask questions! Be suspicious of intellectuals! (and artists!)
    “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”
    Ignorance is good for the USA!

    Judging by today’s culture ‘The Great Dumb Down’ worked better than planned.

  5. james marmon May 6, 2018

    The real reason the Schraeders wanted the Differential Response duties is because of President Trump’s Family First Prevention Services Act signed into law just a couple of months ago, just follow the money.

    When Trump signed spending bill, he signed into law a huge overhaul of foster care

    “The law, called the Family First Prevention Services Act, prioritizes keeping families together and puts more money toward at-home parenting classes, mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment — and puts limits on placing children in institutional settings such as group homes. It’s the most extensive overhaul of foster care in nearly four decades.”

    But if you believe the Schraeders are going to abandon their cash cow for the past 20 years, you’re crazy.

    RCS: Two decades of helping children in Mendocino County

    “I’m ambivalent about kids being with their families at all costs,” Schraeder said. “In theory, that’s a beautiful thought…if we do really great, help the whole family, then that’s OK, but if we just say, ‘you are better with your family,’ are they better off?”

    Where’s the money Camille?

    James Marmon MSW

    • james marmon May 6, 2018

      Oh, I forgot about her homeless programs, another big cash deal. Anything for a buck.

    • james marmon May 6, 2018

      It should be noted that Camille Schraeder started her foster care agency immediately after the Clinton’s passed the Adoption and Safe Families Act 1997 (ASFA) which diverted Title IV-E money from Family Preservation to Adoption and Foster Care. The new Families First Prevention Services Act (FFPS) returns Title IV-E money back to Family Preservation efforts, back where it belongs. The problem now is that we have Camille Schraeder is at both ends of the child welfare spectrum, and she controls the middle, what’s left of the County’s Family and Children Services Agency who will do all the court work based on her agencies reports and recommendations.

      Only in Mendocino County could this happpen.

      James Marmon
      The Prophet

  6. james marmon May 6, 2018

    I’m wondering what Agenda Item 5c is all about at Tuesday’s BoS meeting. I’ve attempted downloading their link to the presentation but it will not come up. I’m willing to bet that it is about awarding ASO RQMC another Adult Mental Health contract without it ever being put out to bid, a RFP as required by law.

    “5c) Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Presentation on the Current Provision of Mental Health Services in Mendocino County (Sponsor: Health and Human Services Agency).”

    This one will sneak by too, regular Carmel Angelo bullshit. The BoS are painting themselves into a corner where they will be forced to sign off on any amount the Schraeders want them to agree to, now and in all future years to come.

    Where’s the money Camille?

    James Marmon MSW

  7. Matt B May 6, 2018

    I have no side to take on the school situation. I don’t have kids. I don’t know local school politics, but it’s pretty rich when the AVA calls out perceived meanness. In the 13 years I’ve lived in Anderson Valley, the worst displays and highest frequency of meanness I’ve experienced are at the hands of your publication. While I’ve seen your publication soften over the years, it’s still the height hypocracy for your editorial to be calling anyone mean, unless it first comes with an apology to the many, many people who have been slandered by the AVA over the years.

    • Stephen Rosenthal May 6, 2018

      You mean perceived meanness as opposed to the buffoon she’s running against who doesn’t know the difference between niggardly and the other “n” word? I don’t think the meanness against Hutchins is perceived, but I do know the exact definitions of the two words beginning with n.

      • Matt B May 6, 2018

        Don’t know what that has to do with my point, but whatever works for you…

    • Mark Scaramella May 6, 2018

      Name one person who has been “slandered,” please, and the nature of the “slander.” PS. Boo-hoo. PPS. Our records show that your name has never been mentioned in the AVA in anything other than a positive, complimentary way.

    • Bruce Anderson May 6, 2018

      Wait a minute here, buddy. I’m not saying the ava isn’t often pointed in its comments on this or that, but how about at least one specific instance of libel, just one. Suck it up, big boy, but if you’re out of hankies stop in and I’ll see what’s in the fresh laundry.

      • George Hollister May 6, 2018

        Come on,Bruce. What is libel? The definition is so narrow that no newspaper, that I am aware of, has ever been successfully prosecuted for it. At least not in the USA. In the name of the 1st amendment, anything goes. As it should be. Of course, there is a potential price paid in terms of the credibility of the subject newspaper. But credibility of media is always in question, anyway.

        • Bruce Anderson May 6, 2018

          Right you are, Farmer George, but if someone accuses us of it, specificity is called for. At least by us. Anyway, what a lot of the gastro-maniacs object to about Boonville’s beloved weekly is that we don’t think the inexorable Napa-fication of the Anderson Valley is a good thing. The last character who accused us of libel was a wine guy, the spokesman, of all things, for the rest of wine pack. Our libel? In a long article about the sins of the industry we’d gotten a date wrong. An error is not a libel, but then these people aren’t good at distinctions.

        • Mark Scaramella May 6, 2018

          Sorry George, but we can think of some successful defamation cases against newspapers or media organizations. Boilea v. Gawker, Burnett v. Inquirer, Lesher v. Topix, to name a few. It’s true it can be hard to win, especially if the alleged “defamation” involves a “public figure.” There are hurdles, yes, but if you can prove actual malice, intentional or reckless falsity, and demonstrable damages, and can afford an attorney, there’s a good chance you’ll either win or settle out of court. Generally speaking, “opinion” is not actionable. Another difficulty some people have is with notice. You have to first notify the person or entity you feel has libeled you of the specific offense (date, time, quote, source, etc.) and you have to specify exactly what offended you about it, something our critics seem incapable of. Then the media organization has an opportunity to respond, clarify, correct, retract, etc. Just casually claiming “libel” (or incorrectly “slander” which is not libel) without particulars is borderline libel itself. Not that such niceties stop people like Mr. Barnes from tossing the terms around irresponsibly.

          • Matt B May 7, 2018

            My apologies, the word ‘slander’ lends itself to a technical definition. I should use such a word more carefully. To clarify, I am referring to the many selective ‘hit pieces’ I’ve read over the years. Calling out people in this Valley while letting favorable others slide for similar perceived offenses.

            Furthermore, I’m not sure how the paper has or hasn’t treated me personally over the years has anything to do with my point, but since we’re on the subject…I once wrote a rebuttal to just such a selective ‘hit piece’ where the author not only replied to my rebuttal with an admission that he was, in fact, targeting a wealthy Valley resident because he didn’t like the wine industry (and w/o any recognition of all the charitable work he’s done or choosing to ask his side of the story) and you then let him publish his response to me with my full name, address and name of my business. None of which had anything to do with the conversation at hand. That was not common practice for your paper. The point was clear…’say something we don’t like, and we’ll throw you under the bus too.’

            I’m a regular reader of the paper. I have an online subscription and often buy hard copies at Lemons. I enjoy the paper, but I’m hardly the only member of this community that shares my perspective.

            • Mark Scaramella May 7, 2018

              You must be referring to Balo’s Barn. Which was not a hit piece. It was a legitimate complaint that clearly did not need to include any alleged charitable contributions. If someone wants to mention any, they are free to, of course. Just because you and your wine friends didn’t like the piece or the writer hardly rises to the general “point” you seem to want to make, much less slander. It’s typical of wine people to react like this. I remember a planning commission meeting here in AV at the Fairgrounds back when they were updating the General Plan. One of the mild recommendations from the women who prepared AV’s input was that tasting rooms require minor use permits. Predictably, this very reasonable suggestion was met with a parade of wine people in opposition. But one wine guy in a nice hawaiian shirt rose to the podium and asked the Commission Chair (another wine guy from Hopland Greg Nelson), “Why do they hate us so much?” The wine people in the room all cheered his question.
              Or, how about this? When my wind fan lawsuit appeared in court a couple of years ago Judge Henderson opened by saying that he assumed many people in the room were there because they were upset about being kept awake all night. And before he could even finish his sentence, about how others were worried about their crop, the wine people in the room, Supervisor Carre Brown among them, all rudely bellowed, “NOOOOOOOO!”
              Need I go on? The wine people are so precious and self-admiring that even minor complaints about their activities are described as “slander,” or “libel,” then ratcheted down to “hit pieces” when their hyperbolic thin-skinned language is corrected.

  8. George Hollister May 6, 2018

    The baseball Gods, for some reason, have granted some good times for the Giants. They just swept the Braves, one of the hottest teams in baseball, and have now won five series in a row. Belt is somewhere near 300, too. They have some young pitchers that actually look like they can pitch. Longoria, Crawford, and Hudson are getting hits, and making plays. Whatever Bochy did to make the Gods happy, keep doing it. My advice, enjoy it while it lasts.

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