- Fire Fatality
- Country Road
- State Propositions
- Humorless Book
- Starry Sky
- Mendo Slowdown
- Downtown Ukiah
- Ed Notes
- Restaurant Review
- Bridge Video
- Skyhawk Endorsement
- Opioid Litigation
- Chump Radio
- Ab Poacher
- Little Dog
- Larson Endorsement
- T-Shirt ID
- Yesterday's Catch
- Opioid Crisis
- Rent Control
- Glass Portraits
- Library App
- Museum Event
- Media Blitz
- Housing Crisis
- Female Torturer
- Remember When
STRUCTURE FIRE/FATALITY on Signal Ridge Road, Philo. A little before 6pm Tuesday evening, a CalFire truck, a couple of AV fire engines, followed by the Ukiah private ambulance, sped through Boonville on their way to a structure fire on Signal Ridge Road, west of Philo, where they would find a house on fire, one person dead, another injured. The deceased is tentatively identified as Paula Kesenheimer, the injured as David Norfleet, Mrs. Kesenheimer's long-time companion and care-giver.
ANDERSON VALLEY'S MICHELLE HUTCHINS has driven the all-female claque opposing her at the Anderson Valley Elementary School into such a misogynistic tizz that Larry Flynt himself couldn't top it. The women at the seething school who support Hutchins' run for Superintendent of County Schools are afraid to raise their heads over the parapets, such is the intensity of the incoming hostility for the boss. The latest? Wednesday (today, May 9) the anti-Hutchins forces, at the school and in the community, have been directed by their Get Hutchins commissars to wear black! I guess the idea is a kind of mass mourning for whatever it is the edu-hit team feel Hutchins has cost them. Myself, anyone I see wearing black tomorrow I'll assume is mourning the school's lamentable test scores, and I'm sure I won't be the only one assuming that.
ORR SPRINGS ROAD
(Photo by Dick Whetstone)
STATE PROPOSITIONS, THE AVA RECOMMENDS:
PROP 68: $4.1 billion in general obligation bonds for parks and water quality. General obligation bonds are backed by the state, and this one is not one of those tricky props stuffed with all kinds of pork for connected entities. Prop 68 continues funding for crucial water and parks programs whose funding is expiring although presumed as a large, ongoing expenditure. No reason to vote no, really, because it doesn't pile on more state indebtedness. The most important thing it does is protect water, and goodness knows water needs protecting. Vote Yes.
PROP 69: Protects the 12-cent gas tax, which needs protection because anti-taxers are preparing an initiative to repeal it on the grounds that the state legislature diverts the $5 billion annually raised to purposes other than road repair. (Which is true, but still….) This prop guarantees that the money all goes for road repair and can't be siphoned off to pay off the sexually harassed, three-hour lunches, fact finding trips to Italy etc. Vote Yes.
PROP 70: Republicans don't think the globe is warming. Science and everyone else believe it's getting kinda stuffy in here. Prop 70 maintains a simple majority vote by the legislature to keep climate cleansing programs in place. The ostriches wanted a two-thirds vote to maintain clean air efforts so they could get rid of them. Vote Yes, although all of us know in our bones that none of these teensy measures do anything at all to reduce global incineration. Face it, folks. We're doomed as a species.
PROP 71: I guess. So many people vote absentee now that it's taking longer — a lot longer in Mendo — to count and certify the vote as signed, sealed and delivered. Under 71, election results would not be "effective" until the secretary of state says so. For most of us, though, the preliminary results are invariably much the same as the final-final, certified count because the absentee votes typically run along the same percentages as the preliminary results.
PROP 72: If you install water-recovery equipment on your property, you will be able to deduct this particular improvement on your state taxes, as you can now by going solar and installing fire sprinklers. Strange that this one's even on the ballot, but it probably got there via bribes, er, campaign contributions from the water recovery installers to key solons. But if you can deduct solar, why not water storage? Yes on 72.
GABRIEL TALLENT grew up around Mendocino. His first book was blurbed by Stephen King, who obviously hadn't read it. I tried to read it because it's supposedly set on the Coast, but gave up a couple of hundred pages in. A more literate friend summed it up better than I could:
"Am well into MY ABSOLUTE DARLING, reading it out of grim, compulsive curiosity. Between the botanical minutiae, the knuckle-cracking and the constant gun-cleaning, it's heavy going. You know what I dislike most about it? The humorlessness. All really great writing has a vein of humor running through it, even MacBeth. Completely missing from this. So solemn, so packed with wordy words. And the characters are thinner than those life-sized cardboard Ed McMahons you used to see advertising insurance. The father a tedious blowhard, the women all chirpy and virtuous, the teenage boys little Camus wannabees... But I read on, hoping for a little smut here and there to liven things up."
REPORTS of depressed micro-economies are coming in from all over Mendocino County. And pot is grown everywhere, from remote gardens in the vastness of Mendo hill country, to residential neighborhoods. But pot prices are down to around $300 a pound now — if you can sell it, trying to get legal is costing the permit applicants more and more with less and less to show for it (and that’s money that’s no longer going into the local economy). More and more storefronts in the 101 corridor are shuttered or open much less, one Laytonville business was reported to be seeing the same number of people, but those customers are spending a lot less. Add that to the hundreds of homes that went up in smoke last October in the big Redwood Complex Fire, still not rebuilt, some owners having left the area.
THE SUPES CANDIDATES for the Third and Fifth District do not seem focused in on specific proposals to address economic problems in their districts. (Sorry, but ideas like Broadband and more trails are not only unlikely, but wouldn’t help much if they did suddenly appear. And although we do like candidate Roderick’s idea for a mobile asphalt plant, that also won’t make much of a dent in either road repair or employment in the near term, even if our uninspiring County officials tried to do something in that direction.)
ON TOP OF THAT, you have an overpaid Board of Supervisors and their similarly overpaid top officials still assuming that property tax and sales tax revenues are going to keep going up, that more staff can be hired (and has been hired) without any awareness of the looming local depression. Costco, for better or worse, will not increase local tax revenues much if at all, just transfer some of them from local small businesses to Costco.
MEANWHILE, the oblivious supervisors, even after being reminded by a few speakers today (Tuesday) of some of the bad economic indicators, spent much of the day Tuesday simply trying to figure out when they will refine and tweak the already complicated pot rules, and adding some new ones for cannabis businesses on top of the overcomplicated cultivation rules.
EARTH TO SUPES (and Supes candidates): Get your priorities straight before a wave of red ink brings the entire shebang to a grinding slowdown. (Mark Scaramella)
WHEN UKIAH WAS A REAL TOWN
I'M NOT ON FACEBOOK because I don't like reading on-line, not that I'm necessarily opposed to it in its benign uses like keeping up with old friends. But gossips and the purely malicious have never had it so good, certainly not as good as a weaponized FB is being deployed this election cycle right here in Mendocino County.
PRIOR to the global cyber-attack on all of humanity that kicked off a mere twenty years ago, to lie about someone took some work because you had to do it in person or, on the grander levels, you had to get it into the newspapers, which was difficult to do unless you owned the paper or got invited to dinner at Hearst Castle. Newspapers these days run a few blandly innocuous partisan letters, but the real political trench-fighting is on-line, and on select Facebook pages.
RIGHT HERE in Mendocino County, various supervisor candidates are being vilified by anonymous cyber-warriors. The libs are clandestinely knocking Roderick as a Trump clone, which he isn't, and the Trumpers and their various sub-species are rapping Williams as a homegrown Che Guevara. Chris Skyhawk is secretly being slandered by both the more liberal libs and the Trumpers as a career dope grower. Art Juhl is simply dismissed by all the libs as a garrulous old coot, and a Republican old coot at that, although he's the only candidate to forthrightly state the obvious — the County is poorly administered. Juhl doesn't seem to register on the Trumper's political radar. And Rodier has managed to arouse no opinion whatsoever, which is to have achieved the impossible in today's political climate.
THE THIRD DISTRICT Supe's race seems more sedate, but up in the wilds of northeastern Mendo, perhaps the most lawless outback in the country, where everyone is armed and disappearances of troublesome and innocent people alike are a common occurrence, electoral decorum is a sound survival strategy, at least if you're campaigning door-to-door up long, dusty, outlaw roads. Also in the Third, the libs aren't clustered in a few communities like they are in the Fifth; up there on the remote Mendo-HumCo borderlands, the righteous are more spread out, more integrated with traditional neighborhoods.
THE HARBOR HOUSE IN ELK FINALLY OPENS
The Harbor House Inn, 5600 Highway 1 in Elk has finally opened after a few years of renovations. MSP's restaurant critic, R D Beacon, a lifelong resident of Elk, was invited to dine at the new restaurant - and this is his review:
"Sunday night I had the pleasure to the invited to dinner at the recently opened Harbor House Inn, toward the north side of the town of Elk.
Harbor House was built by the Elk Redwood lumber company in the early 1900's along with the other buildings to the north of it that were used by lumber company officials. All of the structures from the Harbor House, which was the residence of the President of the lumber company, and the structures to the immediate north were for lumber company officials.
Over the years, the house was kept alive by various innkeepers, upgrading and modifying the building, but keeping it traditionally a fine place to dine.
The beautiful redwood paneling and molding show not only the original workmanship by the lumber company, but the work by other contractors and has maintained the dignity and have not detracted from the structure and improved it many times over.
I had not eaten in this fine structure for years and was pleasantly surprised of the excellent meal that I received - many courses with various tastes with the primary meat to be a duck and many side dishes accompanied the meal from homemade sourdough bread and a fine glass of red wine to accompany it.
It's not a meal to eat in a hurry, but, like savoring a fine wine, is best to eat slowly and hope you have someone to discuss the day's events with sitting across from you.
I dined alone but enjoyed (every bit) the many courses I was served. They are just getting it opened up and they do need some brochures to hand out as well as menus both for the meals and the wine list.
Speaking of the wine, they have a magnificent wine cellar that I was honored to be given a tour of. Plenty of fine wines and champagnes and it was a pleasure to be able to visit such a well-stocked and well-managed facility.
The other thing I noticed was the complete overhaul of the kitchen area from what there used to be - it's a complete renaissance to a completely modern and very efficient kitchen from what they had in the old days.
If you're interested in fine dining and you feel like you could dust off your sports coat (most coast males lack) and shine your shoes, this would be one of the better places to go to in Mendocino County.
I did not inquire about pricing on any of the rooms or food Sunday night. I thought it would be rude to bring that up, but I am sure they will get around to doing that. They consider this a 'soft opening' and there were only two other guests in the dining room.
The staff was very attentive and are eager to see to your every need and desire - from the woman who served the wine (who's an expert in the field) through the General Manager (who makes you feel like you're somebody) to Chef and his staff (that work hard to make you feel you might belong there).
We live in the neighborhood and watched the ongoing repairs wondering if it would ever open.
Sunday it was and I urge coastal residents to go look and see what they've done. They've spared no expense to take a grand old property and improve it - from the vegetables for dinner that are raised onsite to many of the things that they bend over backward to make you feel welcome for a fine dining experience you will talk about for years.
I recommend the Harbor House - a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean.
The renovations touches upon the timber industry when it was at its peak and to sit in a room and marvel at the redwood paneling was particularly nice - being a former lumber mill owner myself it makes me warm and fuzzy to see what excellent work local artisans did when they re-created some of the woodwork in the fine structure.
I will make further comments later on as they print brochures must close for now as the food critic for MSP. I will find a new place to have dinner in a few days and give another comment on some other fine dining establishment on the coast.
(MSP NOTE — Here's a link to the Harbor House website: theharborhouseinn.com)
BRIDGING THE GAP — A dramatic short video of the historic Albion River Bridge by Mendocino Coast Films and Eureka Productions.
SKYHAWK FOR FIFTH DISTRICT SUPERVISOR
We have a few good candidates for 5th District Supervisor to choose from, and that’s a good thing. This election is a bit contentious, even among like-minded people. I trust we can hold different opinions and be respectful of those differences; it’s the democratic process.
To watch 5th District and other county office candidates, go to mendocinotv.com <http://mendocinotv.com/> for archive filming of forums that have taken place throughout the county.
And for heavens sake, let’s declare a moratorium on taking down candidate signs; Chris has lost many and I’m sure other candidates have lost some as well.
I support Chris Skyhawk for 5th District Supervisor because:
He has a long track record of environmental defense; a real commitment. He supports Measure V (Hack & Squirt) and has been involved over the years in many actions to defend our forests and ocean. I think Chris will be proactive on environmental protection.
He shines as an effective communicator; a coalition and community builder. These traits will benefit us in the context of both the board and the community.
His professional work is with youth and families, offering him a unique sensitivity to the needs of the people in his district.
He has a grasp on issues of corporate rule and how we in Mendocino County are effected by the current power structure; he brings public banks and charter county concepts to the table.
The 5th District covers both inland and coast, the only district to do so. Currently 4 of the 5 Supervisors are from inland. I believe a coast representative for the 5th District is needed to balance representation. Roderick and Rodier both live inland. I’ve known Chris about 25 years. I’ve always found him generous with his time and talent, sincere, and intelligent. He served on his local fire board and works in youth sports. Chris is engaged in his community. So when he said he was running for Supervisor I jumped on his wagon. I’m proud of the integrity and commitment he has demonstrated during this campaign process.
MENDO COUNTY SAYS NO TO DOWNERS
Mendocino County Joins National Statewide Fight Against Opioid Epidemic
The County of Mendocino took an important step in the fight against the national and statewide opioid crisis. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has retained the national law firm of Baron & Budd and a joint venture of law firms to initiate litigation against manufacturers and distributors responsible for the opioid epidemic across the country and in Mendocino County.
Mendocino County joins a consortium of thirty California Counties that are working together to take a stand for communities and counties that represent approximately 10.5 million California residents. The intended legal action will include a taxpayer and cost recovery action in addition to equitable relief to help mitigate and prevent current and future problems.
“The County seeks to recovery taxpayer funds used to respond to the opioid epidemic,” says Mendocino County Counsel Katharine Elliott. “Local government services have been subsidizing the impact of the opioid epidemic, created by irresponsible multi-billion dollar corporations, which have placed profits over public safety.”
The California county consortium and its counsel have developed evidence that many of the nation’s largest drug manufactures pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids—deliberately misinforming doctors by claiming that patients using the drugs rarely experience addiction. The expected manufacturer Defendants include Purdue Pharma; Teva Ltd. (which acquired pharmaceutical maker Cephalon, Inc. in 2011); Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson); Endo Health Solutions, Inc.; Allergan PLC; and Mallinckrodt. Drugs manufactured by these companies include, but are not limited to: OxyContin, Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Nucynta, Nucynta ER, Opana/Opana ER, Percodan, Percocet, Zydone, Kadian and Norco.
The consortium will also seek recovery from three of the nation’s largest drug distributors – Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson Corp. – which failed to monitor, identify and report suspicious activity in the size and frequency of opioid shipments to pharmacies, in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act.
Carmel J. Angelo
Chief Executive Officer
AN OPEN LETTER to the board of Mendocino County Public Broadcasting Corporation (KZYX), including of course the new board members:
I read about a charity company that contracted out the work of mentally slow and otherwise relatively disabled people, and the sweet-talking Nice People running the company were paying themselves very good money, with medical and dental and other benefits, and all the while they were paying the workers one dollar an hour or less and making up the rest with gift cards. It turns out that's against the law. You can't pay people with gift cards, even retarded people. I think MCPB's practice of promising people free membership in the station in return for working to bring the crooks who run KZYX all the money is exactly like paying the workers with gift cards. And it's wrong. And you're terrible and unethical for cheating the real workers the way you have done since 1989 and for all this time.
I'd like to mention current manager Jeffrey Parker here: Every day a man who's paid himself circa $90,000 so far (in about a year and a half) to pretend to run a community radio station has got up and had breakfast and made the cruel, deliberate decision to kick me personally in the stomach by keeping my excellent, proven show, a show that's more to the point of community radio than most of what you're running on your channel, off the air. Just about every week since February of 2012 when I applied for my show to be put on the schedule I've written to the manager and the program director, and the only reply I ever got was a little more than a year ago when the then-new program director told me that everything I'd been sending to anyone at the station was going directly into the trash unread. And the next thing she told me was that there's no place at KZYX for my show, and thank you for playing our little game.
I work harder and longer at real radio than any half a dozen people at KZYX, including the manager. When I talked to your manager four or five managers back —John Coate, who had as little love for real airpeople as the schmuck you have now does — he was furious that I'd shown up at the station to talk to him at all. "You come in here, looking for a confrontation! I'm tryna get outta here. What. Do. You. Want." That was the first thing he ever said to me. I had walked in and said, Hi, I'm Marco McClean. To be fair, I should say he was sitting facing me, looking at his laptop monitor. He slammed it shut and put it in a bag. Who knows what I surprised him looking at. It might have been the bogus financial sheets he was cobbling together. It might have been child pornography. Maybe it was just personal bad news and that would explain the attitude; I dunno.
You have your cheerleaders and your enthusiastic supporters, and your reps have always pointed at that as though that's validation of the way you do things, but the worst radio station in the world, whichever one is currently the worst, has proportionally as many enthusiastic supporters. When I was at KMFB (FM) in 1983 to play records all night on Friday and Saturday nights, when I first went to work there Jack Millis (RIP) was the engineer, and there was an AM station also in the same building, using the same tower; that was KPMO. KPMO was fully automated, with the automation equipment of the time, which was two refrigerator-size boxes of three big reel-to-reel tape players that each could play several hours of country music, stop and start and shift between the decks at the end of each song to randomize them, so you'd never get the same two songs playing in the same order, and it had a cartridge carousel with the station I.D. and advertisements loaded in that. It was cam-and-relay operated, washing-machine technology. That KPMO automation machine was called Mother. Jack told me, "If you're doing your show [on KMFB] and it's a time KPMO is on and something goes wrong with Mother the alarm will sound. Come in here and flip this switch." I said, "What does the switch do?" He said, "It shuts the alarm off."
That sort of radio station is a terrific waste of a high-power broadcast frequency. It's so bad. I'm sure even you would agree it's not radio at all and no station should be allowed to keep its license operating like that. But people would call every day about KPMO and say how great the station was and how much they liked the music, and they'd request songs, and we were supposed to say, "Of course. I'll tell the deejay right away. Thank you for listening." A great deal of what you're running on KZYX is automated, recorded shows from a thousand miles away that the computer just plays without any attention required, and much of the rest is smiley-face cloyingly saccharine self-congratulatory crap and slackers I.D.ing the station and playing CDs or merely pressing a button to play a playlist. The few who are seriously working at it deserve to be paid for their work. Even the slackers deserve to be paid for their work. They show up, don't they? They do their time, don't they? You can't justify paying the manager, who does nothing, $60,000 a year more than all the airpeople working to prepare and then show up and do their shows, all of them, all put together, all year long. One guy doing nothing being paid everything. A hundred people doing everything being paid nothing. Maybe I'm wrong; maybe you can justify that. Try. Do it on the air.
And he really does nothing. The program director directs the programs. The business underwriting coordinator coordinates the business underwriting. The operations manager manages operations. The bookkeeper keeps the books. And when something breaks that nobody at the station is competent to fix, there's a real radio engineer a phone call away. What's left for a manager to do for all those hours? He doesn't even answer the phone when you call the station. You know, he has people to do that for him. So how is he worth the $5,000 he sucks out of the station for himself every month, month in and month out? He knows nothing about radio. He's only in it for the money. And you know that. And you hired him and you keep paying him. Seriously, trustees, WTF.
Your cheerleaders and people who don't know any better defending what you do is no indication that you're doing it right, and it's nothing to be proud of. You know what would be? If anyone at KZYX could think of a single name of a person who ever spoke out, on or off the air, against the management, against the way you allow management to run things, and got to keep his airtime, paid or not. But you can't, because there isn't anyone like that, and that's tyranny. That's the definition of tyranny. It's not community radio, and it's not public radio. There's nothing special about you. You're a run-of-the-mill NPR satellite station, a private club squatting on public frequencies, keeping others who can do a much better job, and who really do a much better job, from having a turn.
For general consumption: Facts: the manager and his gang lieutenants in the office at KZYX pay themselves close to $300,000 a year, all told. That's nearly twice the money all the pledge drives all year actually bring in. So when they tell you that the station needs your money to keep the great shows you love on the air, that's clearly a lie. Except for when the bosses step in, the people begging you for money on the air are not being paid at all. It costs no more than a dollar an hour to keep all MCPB's transmitters and all the electronics and all the studios on and running, and every penny you pledge to KZYX in return for calling yourself a member, whatever that means, goes directly into the bank accounts of the people who pretend to run the station. And the only thing the manager truly must do to keep the station on the air, besides a lazy afternoon's worth of paperwork every few weeks, is to somehow arrange his life to not stumble drunkenly into the transmitter shack and kick the plug out of the wall. Radio equipment is astoundingly reliable. A broadcast transmitter can easily go twenty years without requiring repair, and usually what goes wrong is a five-dollar cooling fan wears out, and the solution is to get another five-dollar fan, take the old one out and stick the new one in.
If you'd rather support real radio and help out a real radio station that really needs your money, and that really spends all the money it gets on rent and equipment and license fees and water and electricity and phones and internet and so on, go to KNYO.org or KMECradio.org and click on donate and you can trust that you're getting your money's worth there. KNYO-LP serves Fort Bragg. KMEC-LP serves Ukiah. And if you want airtime on either of those stations for your quirky radio project you can get it, and you won't be waiting years for that, either.
ABALONE PROSECUTION UPDATE:
Back on March 9th we reported that a Mendocino County Superior Court jury had found Eric Michael Lane, age 29, of Antelope, guilty of unlawfully taking abalone for commercial purposes, a misdemeanor, and unlawfully taking abalone out of season, also a misdemeanor. However, the jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict on a third count charging the defendant with criminal conspiracy, a felony.
At the request of the DA, the retrial of the single felony count had been calendared to begin tomorrow. That retrial became unnecessary, however, when the defendant entered a no contest plea today in the Ten Mile court to that previously-hung felony count.
All three convictions — the two misdemeanors for which the jury found the defendant guilty in March and the felony that the defendant admitted today — were referred to the Adult Probation department for a background study and sentencing recommendation. Sentencing will be imposed on the defendant on July 18, 2018 at 9 o'clock in the morning in the Fort Bragg courtroom. Any person interested in this case and/or this defendant is welcome to attend that hearing.
The prosecutor who continued to pursue justice in this matter on behalf of The People of the State of California is Deputy District Attorney Tim Stoen. The investigating law enforcement agency was the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
(District Attorney press release)
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag says he wants to be called, 'Rory.' Says his girlfriend wants Rory "because I remind her of Rory Calhoun, the old time actor." I say, how about Rory-Deadbeat, hyphenated like the cooler libs do their names?”
WE AGREE WITH THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL:
Dirk Larson For County Assessor-Clerk-Recorder
Dirk Larson’s 24 years in the Assessor’s office and his expertise in agricultural, ranch, and timber lands as well as commercial and residential properties means he knows how important keeping our property tax rolls up to date are in making sure this county has the revenue to continue operating. And while no one likes to think about taxes, we believe Mr. Larson means it when he says he believes interaction with the assessor ought to be a fair and open process, made easy for the property owner.
But that is just part of the job. Mr. Larson has some excellent ideas for improving things in the elections office, a place where for years citizens’ ballots go to linger for weeks after local elections. The current clerk’s office management staff have done nothing to make participating, observing or tallying our elections one bit easier or quicker and do not deserve another chance.
Mr. Larson has specific ideas, including getting the mail ballots in hand before Election Day counted by Election Day by moving the counting out of the tiny space at the clerk’s office and into a larger area that can be easily secured. Then add more people to do the counting. The larger area would also mean observers would be better accommodated and would not have to stand in a hallway trying to observe on remote TV screens or through a door window. He would also make sure that there would be regular updates on the count so voters will know how it’s going in the days after the election.
We know that elections are generally more on people’s minds than assessing, but both offices are important and Larson’s experience on the revenue side will keep our property rolls healthy while his imperative on getting our elections operating more smoothly is the kind of common sense we have not seen out of the clerk’s office for a long time.
THE HUMBOLDT COUNTY CORONER’S OFFICE needs the public’s help to identify a male body discovered in late February on Centerville Beach. Efforts to identify the body have so far been unsuccessful. The body was found wearing a black shirt with the following words printed in white: “HumboldtANARCHO, STATE FREE - HATE FREE – FIGHT BIGOTRY". Anyone with information about where this shirt may have come from or who may have owned it is asked to contact the Coroner’s Office at (707) 445-7242 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.
(Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release)
Lettering on a t-shirt that was worn by a male whose body washed up on Centerville Beach in February | HCSO
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 8, 2018
ERIC CAMPBELL, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Burglary, concealed dirk-dagger, felon with firearm, controlled substance, stolen property, resisting, county parole violation.
JONATHON DELBELLO, Willits. Reckless driving, suspended license.
AUDRA DORSEY, Colbert, Washington/Ukiah. Receiving stolen property, conspiracy.
DEE EDDY, Ukiah. Ukiah. Burglary, harboring wanted felon, stolen property, resisting.
SCOTT FABER, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.
PATRICK HANOVER, Covelo. Criminal threats.
MOLLY KATZEFF, Mendocino. Narcotics for sale, controlled substance, disobeying court order, suspended license, failure to appear.
ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
DEXTER SULLIVAN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ESPERANZA VERDUZCO, Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear.
ORLANDO ZEPEDA-PEREZ, Novato/Willits. Evasion, illegal entry.
THE OPIOID CRISIS IN HUMCO
by Jose A. Del Real & Inyoung Kang
California’s North Coast is known for its natural beauty and magnificent redwoods, but Eureka, the Humboldt County seat, is increasingly known for something else: the prevalence of dirty needles littering parks and public areas, crude remains of a heroin scourge that is afflicting the region.
A sharp rise in heroin use has created intense fear among community members and public health officials in Humboldt County, even while California as a whole has one of the lowest overall opioid-related death rates in the country. In Humboldt County, opioid-related overdose rates are five times higher than in the rest of the state. Like rural areas around the country, the North Coast lacks sufficient treatment options to deal with opioid addiction.
Today, it is increasingly difficult to find community members in Eureka who have not been touched by a surge of heroin use in the region. People have either lost loved ones, watched neighbors shrink into their addictions or come across the wave of needle litter left behind on sidewalks and in parks.
Drug use in Humboldt County has many layers. Meth has been a scourge in rural California for many years, and because it is often shot intravenously, the transition to heroin has been too easy for many. Eureka’s large homeless population has been especially vulnerable to addiction in recent years.
Discarded syringes have become a significant concern for the town’s residents, who worry that the needles pose a threat to children and tourists.
Those syringes are a symptom of a broader, systemic issue.
Steve Shockley, a Eureka resident who is homeless, said he “converted” to using heroin a few years ago after years of drug abuse. Like many other longtime intravenous drug users in the area, he now prefers heroin to meth, though he uses them both regularly.
Stacy Cobine, who said she worked as a nurse’s aide for many years, says that many drug users are getting abscesses from syringes; she said she had taught younger drug users proper needle technique to avoid infections and other complications.
“You would not believe the dirty using practices I’ve seen,” she said. “I just cringe thinking about it. I’ve had to teach a couple of my girlfriends’ kids how to do it right, help them do it, because it just made me so sad.”
* * *
EUREKA, Calif. — The dirty needles can be found scattered among the pine and brush, littering the forest floor around Eureka, a town long celebrated as a gateway to the scenic Redwood Empire. They are the debris of a growing heroin scourge that is gripping the remote community in Northern California.
While the state as a whole has one of the lowest overall opioid-related death rates in the country, a sharp rise in heroin use across the rural north in recent years has raised alarms. In Humboldt County, the opioid death rate is five times higher than the state average, rivaling the rates of states like Maine and Vermont that have received far more national attention.
The problem is exacerbated here in Eureka, the county seat, by a sizable homeless population that is growing amid an extreme lack of affordable housing and a changing, weakened economy that relies heavily on tourism. The combined ills have devastated a particularly vulnerable community that is often overlooked in the state. Now those problems are spilling into public view, sparking grievances and anger among the town’s residents.
“I’ve lost so many people to this,” said Stacy Cobine, 46, who has battled her own chaotic drug use and been chronically homeless.
Intravenous drug use has been a persistent menace across rural California for decades, but longtime drug users who once sought methamphetamine — which is also often injected — are increasingly looking to score heroin or opioid pills instead. An astonishingly high rate of opioid prescription in Humboldt County has bred addiction, officials said, and the craving is increasingly sated by a growing market for heroin.
While meth “is still king” in Humboldt after decades of entrenched use, Ernie Stewart, the Chief Deputy Coroner at the County Sheriff’s Department, said he is certain that the county’s heroin-related overdoses are “way underreported.” He said meth and heroin abuse has touched every type of person locally, not just the homeless.
With the sharp increases in use and overdoses, syringe litter has become a significant flash point for the town’s middle-class residents, particularly because tourism is so important for Eureka and the surrounding region. The town’s homeless have borne the brunt of the blame and frustration. Many Eurekans described various shocking experiences, including witnessing injections on public streets. They worry that discarded syringes could threaten children and tourists playing in the area’s parks.
The Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction, which distributes clean needles through a syringe exchange program, has also drawn the ire of many in the community who blame the organization for the proliferation of needles. Brandie Wilson founded the organization in 2014 in part to combat the spread of hepatitis C, which is widespread in Humboldt County. The exchange, Ms. Wilson said, has distributed close to one million clean syringes since 2017. Data provided by Ms. Wilson showed that it gets about 94 percent of them back again.
“Our Hep C and mental health and drug use and homeless and opioid use issues, all of those are so intertwined with being rural, and with a culture of silence,” she said. “No matter where I looked, there was no help. There was no help.”
Ms. Wilson said the organization has also distributed thousands of kits of naloxone, a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses.
The needle litter problem intensified two years ago when the town removed a homeless encampment along the Palco Marsh where somewhere between 250 and 400 homeless people had been sleeping.
City officials and health service workers had encouraged the town’s large homeless population for years to go there. The tent city, which was colloquially called Devil’s Playground, provided a place to sleep and to linger during the day, but it also saw severely unsanitary health conditions and, at times, violence. In 2016, the town decided to clear the camp to install a bike path along the water, and did not allow a new camp anywhere else.
Now “everybody wants to focus on syringes instead of lives,” said Ms. Wilson.
Ms. Cobine said that the town’s decision to clear the homeless encampment “tore us down emotionally and psychologically.” Ms. Cobine said she stopped taking her medications for bipolar disorder because she was afraid that a side effect, drowsiness, could leave her vulnerable to sexual assault when she did not have somewhere safe to sleep; she carries a hatchet around in her bag for protection.
“They shouldn’t have closed the playground down if they didn’t want homeless people all over town,” Ms. Cobine said. “They should have let them stay back there where they were, if they didn’t want drug paraphernalia all over town, or give us somewhere else to go.” She noted that just a fraction of the town’s homeless who were living in the tent city found accommodations through support programs.
Steve Shockley said he and other homeless people in the area do not just use meth recreationally: they often use it to stay awake at night. The homeless in town have fewer and fewer places where they can sleep without risking a ticket for loitering, or having their few possessions seized by the police. So they take meth to keep moving at night, and take heroin during the day to feed their cravings.
Another homeless man, Michael Myers, said that heroin was easier to acquire than meth or on some days, even marijuana, which is surprising in a region known as the Emerald Triangle where marijuana is widely grown.
If there has been a saving grace in Northern California, it is that a much more powerful illicit opioid, fentanyl, is far less common on the West Coast than in other parts of the country. Fentanyl, which is 50 times as strong as heroin, is increasingly being mixed into batches of heroin and is largely responsible for the devastating rise in opioid-related deaths nationally.
Unlike the supply of heroin primarily found on the East Coast, the so-called Black Tar heroin seen in the West is harder to mix with fentanyl, according to public health experts.
But even without fentanyl, Humboldt County is ill equipped to handle rising heroin abuse and addiction. Access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid abuse disorder is severely limited in these remote parts of California — a problem shared by rural counties across the country.
“The state is failing miserably, and you can quote me on that,” said Mr. Stewart, the deputy coroner. “The state is failing miserably across the board. They are not putting enough funding and resources toward rehabilitation.”
Mike McGuire, who represents several Northern California counties including Humboldt in the State Senate, said that government leaders needed to be more proactive about expanding resources in rural parts of the state. He said rural Californians are “desperate” for more assistance.
“Humboldt County is just a few hours up Highway 101,” he said, “but as an individual travels further north on the highway, it’s like you take a step back in time. We need to step up to the plate and provide rural counties with the tools they need to combat this crisis.”
Mr. McGuire said that between 500 and 700 residents of Humboldt and nearby Trinity and Del Norte counties are on a waiting list for opioid treatment services.
Marlies Perez, the chief of the California Department of Health Care Services’ Substance Use Disorder Compliance Division, said the state is working on increasing the number of treatment options available in rural areas.
“One of the problems is stigma,” Ms. Perez said. “We have county supervisors who don’t want a treatment program located in their area.”
Some options are on the way. The treatment provider Aegis is scheduled to assist in opening a center just outside Eureka by early 2019. The hub is meant to treat up to 200 patients and to serve as a center for smaller “spoke” centers in the region, including Del Norte and Trinity counties.
Once there are more treatment options in place, the challenge will be getting the people who need them most to buy in, and to offer them mental health services as well.
“Every time I’m almost off this” stuff, said Mr. Shockley, “somebody dies — which is kind of a cop out. But it is what it is.”
Ms. Cobine, for her part, believes that housing needs to be the priority in a comprehensive program to deal with drug use in the area.
“I don’t know why treatment and rehab and these services always have to come into play first,” said Ms. Cobine. “If there was just affordable housing, people wouldn’t be using as much.”
Finding stable housing situations for those who are most vulnerable, to encourage recovery, is another challenge. Sally Hewitt of the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services said the county’s inability to expand public housing options will make that far more difficult, particularly because of local resistance.
As a result of restrictions on public housing development in California, Ms. Hewitt said, county officials must largely deal with private landlords when seeking to house the homeless. Many of the landlords require potential tenants to have references, good credit and an income at least three times the cost of rent. Those are each obstacles for the homeless, particularly those with drug addictions.
While the county seeks solutions to those systemic issues, Ms. Wilson said her organization will continue distributing needles in the region, despite opposition from town residents and despite efforts by the City Council to regulate her organization more heavily.
“We’re just trying to figure out how to keep people alive while we wait for more treatment up here,” Ms. Wilson said.
(New York Times)
THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH!
A single law is devastating the affordability of housing in California. Repeal Costa-Hawkins
JUST BACK FROM ALASKA, which is truly beautiful. I am in the show below, Portraits in Glass, and will try to get to the reception.
Your chance to see Elvis in glass!
APP, APP AND AWAY!
Mendocino County Library Launches New Mobile App
Mendocino County Library has its first ever mobile library app available free for patrons to use. The app is built by Solus UK Ltd in coordination with Sirsi-Dynix, our library catalog system provider. This all-new app gives speedier direct access to the library for users of Androids and iOS devices. App users can search the catalog, request items, see due dates of items currently checked out, and renew items.
A language preference can be set to English or Spanish, patrons and visitors can locate the nearest branch address, hours, and phone numbers. Also, patrons can use a quick link to access GPS driving directions to the nearest branch.
See a book that you want to check out through the library? The mobile app includes a Scan ISBN Barcode which allows patrons to scan the barcode of a book in hand to see if it is available through the catalog. Links are offered to the library events calendar as well as to connect with the library social media. There is also a link to the online library card registration form.
Search for “Mendocino County Library” in the Google Play or Apple store to download the app. Click to allow location and camera access to be able to use the driving directions and the ISBN barcode scanner.
CRISIS & OPPORTUNITY: Presentation on climate change and citizen science motivates action
by Roberta Werdinger
On Saturday, May 12, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Shelly E. Ryan of the Climate Reality Project and environmental writer Mary Ellen Hannibal will give an illustrated talk and book signing on climate change, species extinction and citizen science at the Grace Hudson Museum. Hannibal will sign copies of her recent book "Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction." The event is cosponsored by the Sanhedrin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and is free with Museum admission.
"Climate change is intimately connected with just about every aspect of our lives now, from our politics to economics to the food on our table," says Shelley E. Ryan of the Climate Reality Project. Residents of Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma Counties have been intimately and tragically touched by climate change, which has contributed to the frequency and severity of wildfires in the area.
In ‘Citizen Scientist,’ Hannibal writes, "Citizen science is not only about collecting data; it's about making a bridge between nature's drama and people like me," amateurs who spend their spare time in nature and have observed its patterns intimately. Citizen science, then, is an act of heart as well as mind, as people report on changes they've observed in their backyards or nearby parks that only they may have noticed.
The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah. The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. General admission is $4; $10 per family; $3 for students and seniors; free to all on the first Friday of the month; and always free to members. For more information please go to www.gracehudsonmuseum.org or call (707) 467-2836.
WHEN AFFORDABLE HOUSING MEETS FREE MARKET FANTASY
by Zelda Bronstein
Why is housing in booming U.S. cities increasingly unaffordable to everyone but the wealthiest? In early September The New York Times published a provocative op-ed that answered this question from a market-oriented perspective.
Drawing on their widely cited 2015 paper, “Why Do Cities Matter? Local Growth and Aggregate Growth,” urban economists Chang-Tai Hsieh of the University of Chicago and Enrico Moretti of the University of California, Berkeley contended that “[s]ince the 1970s, a property-rights revolution—what critics call Nimbyism, from ‘not in my backyard’—has significantly reduced the development of new housing stock, especially in cities where the economy is strongest,” thereby driving prices up to their current astronomical levels.
Moreover, by impeding worker mobility and recruitment, “too-stringent housing regulations in high-wage, high-productivity cities” have resulted in “slower economic growth, fewer jobs,” “lower wages across the nation,” and ultimately “forgone gross domestic product” of $1.4 trillion.
Hsieh and Moretti had reason to think that their op-ed would be well received. Since its publication two years ago, “Why Do Cities Matter?” has been routinely cited by influential purveyors of the market creed, including some with liberal credentials—among them the Obama White House, the California Legislative Analyst, Vox cofounder Matt Yglesias, and economist Paul Krugman.
Two days before Hsieh and Moretti’s op-ed appeared, Krugman opined in his Times column that “Nimbyism is bad for working families and the U.S. economy as a whole, strangling growth precisely where workers are most productive.”
Although they mention Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, and New York, Hsieh and Moretti home in on California and above all the Bay Area, where, thanks to challenges brought by “neighborhood groups,” the “main effect today” of the “well-intentioned” but ill-used California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is to “mak[e] urban housing more expensive.”
…Their contrarian tone notwithstanding, Hsieh and Moretti only advance the neoliberal agenda that has dominated U.S. public discourse for forty years. That agenda is often construed as anti-government, a view that the op-ed’s attack on zoning and CEQA may seem to confirm...
Today, they’re using the urban housing crisis as a pretext to roll back environmental protections, curtail local democracy, and deregulate, or more precisely, re-regulate land use in behalf of property and finance capital. The Times op-ed, however, isn’t just another neoliberal diatribe. It significantly extends the case against regulation through its contention that zoning, a municipal function, has national effects.
Despite its currency among policy wonks, this argument fails on empirical grounds. Hsieh and Moretti conceded in their academic paper that their findings were highly conjectural. Nevertheless, they’ve presented those findings as justification for an aggressive, market-oriented, democracy-adverse approach to land use...
Nor do Hsieh and Moretti’s allegations of CEQA abuse stand up to empirical scrutiny. The attack on California’s premier environmental law as a deterrent to growth, a stock-in-trade of the state’s growth elites, was refuted by the in-depth 2016 study commissioned by the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment.
The researchers found “no evidence” to support the assertion that the law is “a major barrier to development.” Moreover, a survey of projects undergoing CEQA review statewide since 2002 revealed a “surprisingly low rate of CEQA litigation,” with an average of only 195 lawsuits a year. Meanwhile, “the vast number of CEQA projects...go unchallenged.”
The researchers acknowledged that meeting the law’s complex procedural demands takes time and money. That said, “the cost of CEQA compliance [and] its impact on development projects” have never been quantified. Nobody has shown that, as Hsieh and Moretti assert, the law’s “main effect” is to increase the cost of urban housing.
Instead, as planner and University of Southern California faculty member Murtaza Baxamusa has written, “regulatory hurdles are a bogeyman for the housing crunch.” Baxamusa backs up this claim with evidence from his own city of San Diego, where downtown “there is virtually no NIMBYism, and development permitting is mostly by right,” yet “private developers are building fewer units than the zoning allows, and avoiding building affordable housing altogether, despite a tower of regulatory incentives.” More affordable housing is “being demolished than [being] built.”
Since 2015, the unsheltered homeless population downtown has spiked 60 percent.
To explain this seeming conundrum, Baxamusa spotlights a blatant factor in the supply of affordable housing that Hsieh, Moretti, and their fellow supply-siders ignore: private developers don’t take advantage of permissive zoning or incentives to build affordable housing, because doing so doesn’t yield the profits that they and their investors demand.
In the supply-side narrative, developers are at the mercy of local authorities. “Cities and counties,” writes California Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, “generally decide when, where, and to what extent housing development will occur.” That’s true insofar as new construction requires entitlement and a building permit.
What’s not true: the notion that cities and counties build housing.
Developers build housing, and what they decide to build—and when and whether they decide to build it at all—depend on factors that over which local governments have no control: the availability of credit, the cost of labor and materials, the cost of land, the current stage of the building cycle, perceived demand, and above all, the anticipated return on investment.
Because affordable housing doesn’t yield acceptable profits to real estate investors, the only way a substantial amount of it is going to get built is if it’s publicly funded. [emphasis added] In California, as elsewhere in the United States, public funding is paltry.
And California has an extra deterrent to housing production of any sort: Prop. 13, passed in 1978, severely limits property tax increases, impelling cities to favor commercial development, especially retail with its sales-tax revenues, over new housing.
These are the major constraints on the supply of affordable housing in California. None of them figure in Hsieh and Moretti’s analysis...
LEAVE IT TO DONALD TRUMP, besieged by denunciations of his torturous behavior toward women, to have nominated a female torturer to head the Central Intelligence Agency. It was a move clearly designed to prove that a woman can be as crudely barbaric as this deeply misogynistic president. When it comes to bullying, Gina Haspel, whose confirmation hearing begins Wednesday, is the real deal, and The Donald is a pussycat by comparison. Whom has he ever waterboarded? Haspel has done that and a lot worse. Haspel is Trump’s ideal feminist....
— Robert Scheer
It took three minutes for the TV to warm up?
Nobody owned a purebred dog?
When a quarter was a decent allowance? And made with real Silver!
You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny? Made with real copper! Looking to see if it was a 1943 copper penny!
Your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?
You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time? And you didn't pay for air? And, you got trading stamps to boot?
Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?
Not to mention Cracker Jacks!
It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?
They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed...and they did it!
When a 57 Chevy was everyone's dream car... to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady
No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked?
Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like, 'That cloud looks like a...'?
Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?
Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?
And with all our progress, don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today.
When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home?
Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.
as well as summers filled with bike rides, Hula hoops, and visits to the pool, and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar.
Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, 'Yeah, I remember that'?
I am sharing this with you today because it ended with a Double Dog Dare to pass it on. To remember what a Double Dog Dare is, read on. And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care.
Send this on to someone who can still remember Howdy Doody and The Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow knows, Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk.
Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside.
Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles. Coffee shops with Table Side Jukeboxes. Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum.
Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers.
Newsreels before the movie.
Telephone numbers with a word prefix...( Yukon 2-601). Or, some of us remember when there were just 4 numbers with no word prefix at all. And, nearly everyone had a party line.
Hi-Fi's & 45 RPM records.
78 RPM records!
S&H Green Stamps.
The Fort Apache Play Set.
Do You Remember a Time When...
Decisions were made by going 'eeny-meeny-miney-moe'? Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, 'Do Over!'? 'Race issue' meant arguing about who ran the fastest?
Catching The Fireflies Could Happily Occupy An Entire Evening?
It wasn't odd to have two or three 'Best Friends'?
Having a Weapon in School meant being caught with a Slingshot?
Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute commercials for action figures?
'Oly-oly-oxen-free' made perfect sense?
Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?
The Worst Embarrassment was being picked last for a team?
War was a card game?
Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?
Taking drugs meant orange - flavored chewable aspirin?
Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?
If you can remember most or all of these, Then You Have Lived!
Pass this on to anyone who may need a break
from their 'Grown-Up' Life.