- Nick Rossi
- Little Dog
- Motel Hustler
- Khaki Bandit
- Inspector Mcbribe
- Ed Notes
- GJ IHSS
- Lady Supes
- Yesterday's Catch
- Garden Job
- Kelp Decline
- Social Collapse
- Hippie Call
- Dead People
- Preacher Jet
- Three Servants
- Wine Learning
- Rebecca's Barn
- Gender Delusion
- Bank Job
- Doodler Murders
- Mendo Water
JOEY NICHOLAS ROSSI
Joey Nicholas Rossi, 56, of Boonville passed away suddenly in his home Friday May 18th 2018.
Nick was born August 15th 1961 at the General Hospital in Ukiah. He lived in Boonville his entire life, graduating from Anderson Valley High School. He devoted his time to the well-known family business, Rossi Hardware. He was a man of many trades that were mostly self-taught. He played in the poplar dance band "The Eight Balls." While Trombone was his favorite, he played many other instruments as well. He was an extreme stock exchange enthusiast, and recently found a new passion in the logging industry. He was a loving brother, loving uncle, and equally loved by his friends and family. Nick is survived by his sister Lisa Wubbolding, his brother Chris Rossi, his three nieces, his nephew, his two great nephews, and his great niece. He will be forever loved, immensely missed, and never forgotten.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “My favorite meal. Chop up three or four hardboiled eggs, lay on the La Brezza olive oil with a couple drops of Nakano Spiced Rice Vinegar and you got yerself a high protein meal that'll keep you going all day.”
THE 'NEED MOTEL' LADY AT SAFEWAY — DON'T FALL FOR HER CON ...
MendocinoSportsPlus was ambushed by the rather aggressive "Motel Lady" who asks for money for a motel room — and if you have none she tells you to go into the Safeway ATM to get some for her! She's been operating the con around Fort Bragg for weeks.
MSP received these photos Tuesday with the notation "Public Nuisance - the (Safeway) manager said she is not to be there. They have called the cops numerous times."
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE "KHAKI BANDIT" who robbed banks at gunpoint in Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties?
The Khaki Bandit is still on the loose after allegedly robbing 14 banks at gunpoint from the Sierra Nevada foothills to the Pacific Coast since 2013. He has averaged around one bank robbery every five months over that period.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction.
Locally, the Khaki Bandit is suspected of pointing a gun at two tellers and demanding money at the Glen Ellen Westamerica Bank in February 2014. He allegedly stuffed an unspecified amount of money into a bag and made off, eluding Sonoma County sheriffs deputies and the Henry 1 Sheriff’s Office helicopter.
Three years later, in June 2017, the Khaki Bandit struck the Westamerica Bank in Gualala, where he is suspected of robbing a teller at gunpoint while wearing a shaggy wig. Again, he got away with an undisclosed amount of money.
Not much is known about the serial bank robber. He appears to be in his 20s or 30s, between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet tall, with a light complexion and a medium build, according to the FBI.
In some of his robberies he wore khaki pants, leading the Sacramento FBI field office to dub him the “Khaki Bandit.” But he is known to wear dark clothing, a knit hat and sunglasses for most of his heists and seems to have a preference for banks in rural areas. In one robbery he was described as having reddish facial hair.
The Khaki Bandit started his crime spree in Napa when he allegedly held up an Umpqua Bank in October 2013. He robbed the same bank nearly three months later, according to the FBI.
From there he robbed the Westamerica Bank in Glen Ellen before heading east. He used a handgun to demand money from bank tellers in the Central Valley and the Sierra foothills. He is also suspected of hitting up a bank on the San Francisco Peninsula and another as far north as Trinity County.
His last suspected bank robbery was in December in Groveland, a small town outside Yosemite National Park, according to authorities. He was wearing khaki pants at the time, the FBI said.
The Khaki Bandit is considered armed and dangerous. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and other local agencies where the 14 bank heists took place continue to work with the FBI to find the suspect.
(Courtesy, Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
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A GUALALA READER REMEMBERS: That was an exciting day in Gualala. Cell phone service was off for a full 24 hours and we all actually locked our vehicles that night.
ON THE TAKE?
Humboldt County Planning and Building inspector was arrested Tuesday following an ongoing bribery investigation dating back to last year.
The investigation originated in November of 2017 when the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received complaints about County Inspector Patrick William Mctigue, 47, of Fortuna. The complaints alleged that Mctigue was receiving money from members of the public for expedited permit approval on building and grading projects. Multiple victims came forward to the Sheriff’s Office alleging that Mctigue had defrauded them. Mctigue is believed to have received over $100,000 from the victims.
On May 29, 2018, at about 2:15 p.m., sheriff’s deputies arrested Mctigue in the Old Town Eureka area on a felony warrant. Mctigue was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on the following charges: commercial bribery, grand theft and state official asking for or receiving a bribe.
This case is still under investigation. Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.
TRACY ROSENTHAL called to say my recommendation of a NO vote on Prop 70 was unwise. Probably, but I don't support Cap and Trade because I think the overall environmental situation is much more dire than piddling programs like this one. Ms. Rosenthal is smarter than me and makes a strong argument for a YES vote which assumes that Cap and Trade is good. It is, kinda, but it also assumes more effectiveness than it can possibly deliver.
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.
A "yes" vote supports this amendment to require a one-time two-thirds vote in each chamber of the state legislature in 2024 or thereafter to pass a spending plan for revenue from the state's cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases.
A "no" vote opposes this amendment to require a one-time two-thirds vote in each legislative chamber in 2024 or thereafter to pass a spending plan for revenue from the state's cap-and-trade program
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KZYX didn't make its fund drive goal of $80,000 but continues to beat its begging bowl for the missing $20,000. Here's how to make the station solvent: Combine the positions of station manager and program director into one job at $40,000, which is still considerably more than the average wage worker makes in Mendocino County. (Neither of these positions is full time work in themselves.) Charge each programmer twenty bucks a month for their on-air slots. Actively unwind the station's legacy enemies' list, and just as actively promote the $25 memberships the station keeps secret but is buried somewhere in its policy manual. Expand local news and initiate real discussion of local matters. As is, the average Mendo person has no compelling reason to tune in. (You're welcome, as always, to this unsolicited advice.)
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A READER WRITES: "The Platinum Horse. The enclosed article appears in the May 2018 issue of Architectural Record, the premier architecture magazine in the USA.
The featured house, a grossly discordant “mountain retreat” near Willits is a harbinger of things to come — an ugly invasion by wealthy high-tech executives and entrepreneurs buying up cheap land vacated by the stoner exodus and building ‘extra houses’ while conducting business over the internet. Here they come — The Broadbandidos.”
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SPECIAL THANKS to Cathy Wood and Kathy Wylie for their work on the facebook page devoted to the 5th District Supe's race. It was steadily informative to read candidate responses to the specific issues they are likely to meet as Supervisor. However the election turns out, no one can plausibly claim that the candidates and their positions were invisible.
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CHRIS SKYHAWK may live to wish he were a little less visible as the choice of the Northcoast's peripheral, bordering on irrelevant Democratic Party apparatus. As most of us learned in the last election, Democrats, including the Hillary-devoted Democrats of the Northcoast — Binah, McGuire, Wood, Huffman et al — did not represent the large majority of Northcoast Democrats, who went heavily for Bernie. A mailer for The Hawk from these people propels me to the Jesus Prayer.
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THE ICO is not given to irony, but we loved the unintentional type displayed in this front page headline on last week's issue: "Mendocino Supes take another slow step in formulating marijuana regs."
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DEAN WITTER'S 26,600-Acre Ranch In Heart of Emerald Triangle On Market for $31 Million (The Frisco-Marin tycoon traveled in his own rail car on the old Northwest Pacific line. The train would pause at Witter's siding on the Eel while his private car was de-coupled, and re-coupled for Witter's return trip to either San Rafael or San Francisco. Witter's ranch is not far from former Supervisor Pinches' ranch deep in the Eel River Canyon.
THE GRAND JURY ON THE COUNTY'S IN-HOME CARE PROGRAM:
- The continuous vacancies within all levels of IHSS impairs the ability of this department to function as intended and required.
- The non-competitive salaries are a major factor in the vacancies.
- The public is generally unaware of the function and benefits of this program.
- Caregivers may choose from a variety of helping tasks and may exclude tasks they are not comfortable performing, which is helpful in recruitment.
- Currently, IHSS staff expends the effort needed to cover vacant positions.
- The lack of an IHSS nurse case manager causes deficiencies in the services offered by the program.
- The website does not provide adequate information, which is a barrier to anyone trying to access the program.
The report recommended that:
- All IHSS vacancies at the county level be filled in order to implement and manage this program effectively.
- Adjust salaries to be competitive with other rural counties.
- Increase public awareness of the IHSS program through marketing strategies.
- Emphasize flexibility in choosing tasks when recruiting for providers.
- Change the website to include all pertinent contact information, forms, and complaint procedures and phone numbers.
FEMALE SUPERINTENDENTS AT MCOE
In response to recent campaign claims by a candidate for Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools, and just to set the record straight, here are the actual facts:
There have already been two women who have served as Mendocino County superintendent of Schools in the last 150 years: Mrs. W.K. Dillingham from 1891 to 1894 and Mrs. Anna Porterfield from 1915 to 1919.
Paul Tichinin, Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools from 1994 to 2015
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ED NOTE: Cheap shot. The fact that there were two female County superintendents over 100 years ago when the office functioned as a teacher's hiring hall, bears little relation to today’s vague functioning.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 30, 2018
CATHERINE BARRY, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, resisting.
JOSHUA COMPTON, San Jose/Willits. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.
ANTHONY DAHL, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, domestic violence prevention court order violation.
MICHAEL FRANCE, Ukiah. Felon/addict with firearm, parole violation.*
NICHOLAS HALVORSEN, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
JOSEPH JACKSON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JOHN ROSSUM JR., Fort Bragg. DUI.
JESSE TRAVIS, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
CODY WILLIAMS, Covelo. Forging vehicle registrations, probation revocation.
*Michael France Background:
Position Available at Destiny Garden Center
Garden Center Associate
Garden center help wanted ~2-3 days/week from June until September. Must be available Friday, Saturdays and Sundays for variable shifts. Duties include helping customers, watering plants, plant care and propagation, grounds maintenance and assisting in other areas as required. Must be physically fit and able to lift heavy pots and inventory. Ability to work outside in all weather conditions completing physical tasks is necessary. Ideal candidate has a great attitude, professional appearance and is a strong team player. Background in horticulture/agriculture is considered an asset. Training will be provided.
Start date: June 15th or sooner
Please provide cover letter and resume to: 11201 Anderson Valley Way Boonville or send to P.O. Box 158 Boonville, CA 95415.
Job Type: Temporary
Salary: starting at $13.50/hr (wage commensurate with experience)
Education: High school or equivalent
"CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF LARGE-SCALE BULL KELP LOSS IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA" by Dr. Cynthia Catton is Saturday, June 2 at 5 p.m.!
In this Lighthouse Lecture Series presentation Dr. Catton will describe the series of events that led to bull kelp forests in northern California declining by more than 90% of historic abundance due to a combination of environmental and ecological stressors. She will also discuss the devastating effect this loss has had on coastal communities reliant on strong tourism and fisheries.
Dr. Catton has studied California kelp forest ecology and abalone population dynamics for over 15 years. She is an Environmental Scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and a Research Associate with the University of California Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory in Bodega Bay. Dr. Catton is currently spearheading a large collaborative effort to support the recovery of the bull kelp forests in northern California. This lecture will be presented in the historic Fog Signal Building Museum.
Make your reservations by calling the Lighthouse at 877-725-4448 ext. 1 or 707-882-2809 ext. 1. Admission is $5 per person.
TIME TO ACT
Is being homeless a crime? No, but the problem is far worse than a blanket on the sidewalk and obstructing pedestrians.
Mind you, most in the community, including myself have sympathy and would like to help the homeless family/person, but there is a huge difference between them and drug- and alcohol-induced people floating around our streets, and until we can discern, separate and have different solutions, the problem will only grow.
What we are doing isn’t working, and the general public is tired of it. I have witnessed, as I work and shop around town, hypodermic needles at schools and in parks. I’ve seen assaults and personally stopped two. Shoplifting. Public urination, defecation. Trash everywhere. I have seen over-aggressive panhandling, bordering on strong-armed robbery. I see open drug use and public intoxication.
It is getting so bad that I fear for my wife and children to be out after dark. If people are unwilling to accept a hand up and work with the resources to get on their feet, then we need to get tough with loitering and vagrancy laws and get them off the streets and make our community clean and safe.
Robert E. Ingham
The Grace Hudson museum is looking for old hippies to interview:
Promise of Paradise - First Friday at the Museum. Friday, June 1 from 3:00 to 8:00 PM.
For our June First Friday, the Museum will help launch a major new initiative called "Promise of Paradise," focusing on the beginnings of the Back to Land movement in Mendocino County that occurred almost 50 years ago. Enjoy 60s and 70s music by the popular duo Midas Well, snacks of the time period, and we encourage people to dress in clothes of that era. Most importantly, we're seeking interviews with anyone who was part of the movement and has a story to tell. Forty-five minute interview slots are available between 3:00 and 7:00 PM, and can be scheduled by emailing Sara Reith at news@KZYX.org. Music, drink, and music begin at 5:00.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I recall as a lad the heady days of 1968 – that was an equally insane year (I won’t list all the reasons), however underneath all the upheaval was a different kind of solidity. Nixon still had not cancelled Bretton Woods, the space program was plowing forward to a heroic peak the next year, the middle class could actually afford things like medical care, housing and education and so on.
We had Nixon but in retrospect – compared to the useless imbeciles running the government now – the adults were still in charge. God only knows if the Trump fiasco is a permanent template for things to come or if we can somehow regain some kind of sensibility.
Cole Sear: I see dead people.
Malcolm Crowe: In your dreams?
[Cole shakes his head no]
Malcolm Crowe: While you’re awake?
Malcolm Crowe: Dead people like, in graves? In coffins?
Cole Sear: Walking around like regular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re dead.
Malcolm Crowe: How often do you see them?
Cole Sear: All the time. They’re everywhere.
REV. IKE WAS A PIKER
Louisiana preacher Jesse Duplantis needs a new jet so he can share the good word with people around the world without having to stop and refuel, as he is forced to do with his current fleet of jets.
INDIAN TECH-HELP CALL CENTER
IN SOME PARTS OF INDIA the village keeps in its pay three servants: an astrologer, to tell the villager when he may plant his crop, or make a journey, or marry a wife, or strangle a child, or borrow a dog, or climb a tree, or catch a rat, or swindle a neighbor, without offending the alert and solicitous heavens; and what his dream means, if he has had one and was not bright enough to interpret it himself by the details of his dinner; the other two established servants were the tiger-persuader, and the hail-storm discourager. The one kept away the tigers if he could, and collected the wages anyway, and the other kept off the hail-storms, or explained why he failed. He charged the same for explaining a failure than he did for scoring a success. A man is an idiot who can't earn a living in India.
— Mark Twain, 1897; from "Following the Equator"
MIKE THOMPSON WORKING HARD FOR US!
(From: Harry Williamson)
A GREAT OPEN STUDIO
Thanks for coming, if you missed it no worries come when you're my way. Doors are open. Rebecca Johnson <email@example.com>
TODAY is the 5th Thursday of the month so there will not be a General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz this week. We continue to exercise your brains on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month so the next Quiz will be on Thursday, June 14th. Lots of time to ‘study’!? Hope to see you there.
Cheers, Steve Sparks/The Quiz Master
“And this next one — is this the kind of racism that advances my career or ends it?”
NOWADAYS we are all likely to meet people who think they are women, have women's names, and feminine clothes and lots of eyeshadow, who seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody, though it isn't polite to say so.
We pretend that all the people passing for female really are.
Other delusions may be challenged, but not a man's delusion that he is female just because he's had his dick lopped off'.
— Germaine Greer
CHARLIE MANNON WANTS YOU
Job Opening - Fort Bragg
Full-Time Assistant Customer Service Supervisor position available
View the job descriptions and apply online, visit our careers page at: https://www.savingsbank.com/careers.html
Savings Bank of Mendocino County - Fort Bragg Branch, Equal Opportunity Employer
Savings Bank of Mendocino County is an Equal Opportunity Employer and employment selections are based on merit, qualifications and abilities. Savings Bank of Mendocino County will consider all qualified applicants for employment and does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of: age, race, religion, color, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, protected veteran, disability, or any other status protected by law. Savings Bank of Mendocino County Recruitment Team. Investing in the future. Consistently and compassionately providing superior service to support employee well-being, empowerment, growth and retention. Human Resources Mission Statement
SF'S DOODLER MURDERS:
BLAST FROM THE PAST:
Is Sonoma County Stealing Mendo Water?
by Mark Scaramella (November 12, 2013)
Supervisor John Pinches’ proposal for the Board of Supervisors to form an “ad-hoc committee” to look into Russian River water rights got off to a stumbling beginning last Tuesday when the titular sponsor of the idea — County Counsel Tom Parker — couldn’t find his own paperwork.
Parker opened the discussion by asking the board “to consider forming an ad hoc committee composed of two members of the board, directing that an ad hoc committee to work out certain items relating to water issues — and let me find the exact language —”
The County's lawyer began flipping through a thick binder, then he shifted to a different binder, flipping its pages.
Parker: “Excuse me. I'm sorry.”
Pinches (waving a piece of paper): “Is this what you're looking for, the recommended action?”
Pinches: “Do you want me to read it?”
Parker: “It has the scope. I'm looking.”
Parker: “I can't find the scope.”
Pinches: “The formation of an ad hoc committee composed of two members of the board, directing said ad hoc committee to define its own scope, composition and timeline related to information on Lake Mendocino water leases and downriver diversions of the Russian River water in Lake Mendocino, and Sonoma County, returning to the board with a report and recommendation on how to proceed in accordance with the ad hoc committee's timeline.”
Parker: “Yes. That's the summary of the request. It's important in the view of my office, important I think for the board to consider creating an ad hoc to get more information on this issue and allow the board to make as fully informed as possible any decisions they may choose to make.”
Pinches sat back, quietly fuming that his proposal he'd labored so long to assemble, had been fumbled by Parker.
Supervisor Carre Brown: “I don't think it's any surprise to any of you that I cannot support the formation of an ad hoc. I really feel it's a waste of time and resources for supervisors and staff of both counties. I believe the County of Mendocino really has no standing on these issues although they can discuss them. There are so many documents and actions since the very beginning and some of those that have been discussed are D-1610, what happened to D-1030. That was never brought up in any information I believe. Other documents should be brought up. Maybe some of our partners will do that today. Discussions need to be held and a complete reading of such documents — written response 7315, written response 7430, and written response 86-9 of the State Water Resources Control Board and that is very documented, a detailed document, to each of the points raised by the Russian River Flood Control and a petition was presented to the State Water Board for reconsideration of D-1610. The County of Mendocino, I really feel and this will be a repeat of what I have said before, money and time is better spent on other initiatives and I did list a number to all of you that are important to all of you. They protect Mendocino County interests but other entities really do have the standing. I could go over the list. I have eight of them listed. I will put that aside until further discussion. But I think a simple letter to the Sonoma County Water Agency board of directors by Supervisor Pinches asking the questions that he feels are unanswered is all that is needed at this time.
Lee Howard (Chairman of the Board of the Russian River Flood Control District): “There's probably been enough said and done on this to go a long ways. … If you have to form an ad hoc, go ahead. I think County Counsel has already done a mis-service already by not studying the issues. Decisions 1610 and D-1030, Decisions 7430, 86-9 and 7915 are all very relevant to this issue and probably answer a lot of questions. You don't need an ad hoc to do it.”
Howard said he recalled that in 2002 a committee to look into it was formed with a specialized attorney who concluded “there wasn't a lot you had to say on the issue to start with. Also there is a letter from Mr. Neary and Mr. Carter which I think are quite overstated in their takes on this thing. Mr. Neary’s letter said that the Flood Control District has not done a very good job and hasn't represented the County very well. The Flood Control District doesn't represent the County, we represent the Flood Control District area. Period. And if you look at the cost of water today that some of our customers have, it's probably some of the cheapest water in California. Plain and simple. There's been a lot of written responses. The Flood Control District has challenged a lot of the state stuff in the decisions that I just listed. I would hope that before you sit here and start a committee to tip at windmills that you study these issues pretty much completely and exhaust those before you start spending time and energy and money out there fighting something that isn't there to fight. All of us would like more money from somebody, there's no doubt about that. I just think that right now poking at Sonoma County isn't going to help that issue. Sonoma County has worked with us and is working with us on issues to try to get through some very difficult positions that we are at today.”
It’s obvious that Mr. Howard is happy with the current arrangements because his customers, his constituents, are getting cheap — if not totally free when they just pump it out of the River for grapes — water, however much it may be. Howard didn’t dispute the claim that Russian River Flood Control doesn’t represent Mendocino County, they only represent themselves. Which is exactly why Pinches raised the issue.
Redwood Valley Water District Manager Bill Koehler agreed with Mr. Howard. “Virtually every question that Mr. Neary and Mr. Carter raised are mirrored in those documents.”
Pinches: “I don't know what anybody would be afraid of. Lee, on one hand you said that you encourage us to go ahead and look into it. But on the other hand you say, Don't form an ad hoc committee. So I don't know exactly — looking into it means looking into it. It does not mean closing the binder and forgetting about it. As I pointed out to my colleagues in closed session there are a couple of inconsistencies, glaring inconsistencies, in Decision 1610 that I think need to be further analyzed and reviewed by this ad hoc committee. Once we get into the committee work then we can look at the whole issue. It's not going to go further unless it’s necessary. We are not hiring an attorney at this time. We are not spending any money. It will be the effort of two board members who want to volunteer themselves to do it and it will take some staff time. We spend a lot of staff time on just about everything else. My position is, what do we have to lose? I'm not out to poke a stick in the eye of Sonoma County or the Sonoma County Water Agency. That's not the intent. There are some issues that have never been addressed. I've heard ever since I got involved in politics, Well, we are going to review Decision 1610 and whatnot. But it never happens. You have three parties in Decision 1610 — the State Water Resources Control Board, Sonoma County and Mendocino County. Everybody knows that Sonoma County doesn't want to change anything because they like it just the way it is. Nothing is going to come from the State. So if it doesn't come from us— and I totally disagree Carre [Supervisor Brown] with your idea that Mendocino County has no standing. Here we are just the other day we spent $15,000 to join a Russian River Water Association group and now you're telling me we don't have any standing when it comes to water in the Russian River? I think that's totally wrong, frankly. What do we have to lose? Here we have a Lake out here that’s down to mud, and we have one in Sonoma County that has 45,000 mile square miles of Mendocino County watershed behind it and it is virtually almost full. What do we have to lose by forming an ad hoc committee to look into all these issues? I would like to think that all the water districts in Mendocino County and all the water purveyors and all the water recipients in Mendocino County would encourage this review. If at some point in time I'm convinced and everybody, or a judge or the people or the ad hoc committee, can say Pinches, you don't know what the hell you're talking about — then I guess at some point in time I will have to accept that. But I'm not willing to accept that at this time because I think there are issues that I brought out. I brought them out in closed session — there's issues dealing with 1610 that the County needs to remind Sonoma County Water Agency that they need to do. I just think it's time. Everybody realizes that the water situation here in Mendocino County is drastic. It's drastic! We have property owners out in the Redwood Valley area that have owned and paid taxes on property for decades and they can't get a water hook-up. Did you see the headlines in the Press Democrat yesterday in Sonoma County? They call it the Godzilla — the big casino that it has opened up in Rohnert Park. Do you know who supplies Rohnert Park with water? The Sonoma County Water Agency. It doesn't matter if the agreement is right or wrong, we are not being treated equitably in this process and it is time to review it. Decision 1610 was in 1985 or 86. It has never been reviewed. Frankly, water rights and water flows can be changed. They are meant to be changed. They are not cast in stone.”
Brown: “With all due respect to Supervisor Pinches, the Russian River Watershed Association, what we are paying for is a storm water ordinance countywide educational program on that. That is something –”
Pinches: “Yeah, but if we didn't have standing why would we even be involved in it?”
Brown, somewhat startled at Pinches response: “Just because the name is not the fact that they don't provide educational component that we are required to do. It's not just the Russian River.”
Pinches: “I make the motion to take the recommended action.”
Supervisor Dan Hamburg: “It's important if we are talking about forming an ad hoc that we know who the members of the ad hoc are going to be and I'm not clear on that.”
Pinches: “I'm certainly willing to serve on it.”
Hamburg: “Okay. Is there another board member willing to serve on an ad hoc?”
Supervisor Dan Gjerde: “I don't see what's the harm in creating the ad hoc.”
Hamburg: “So you are saying yes?”
Gjerde: “No. No. But I'm not the right person to do it.” (Laughs.)
Hamburg: “Well, you are a County Supervisor.”
Gjerde: “My district does not include the Russian River and I'm not familiar with the specific issues. I really think it needs to be someone who has more familiarity with the issues and represents the Russian River.”
Hamburg: “But if we don't have a second supervisor who meets those criteria, are you willing to serve on the ad hoc?”
Gjerde: “I don't think I would have much to contribute to it.”
Hamburg: “So you are saying no?”
Gjerde: “Yes, I'm saying no.”
Hamburg: “You're saying no. Is there another member of the Board who is willing to serve on the ad hoc committee? … I don't hear anyone who is willing to serve on the ad hoc. So I don't know how we form an ad hoc committee without two members. Personally, I'm fine with doing the ad hoc. I know it will take some staff time. I am sympathetic to the issues supervisor Pinches is raising. There are two issues he raised that seem particularly germane to me. But I don't know these issues the way, most certainly not the way Supervisor Brown does or probably as much as Supervisor Pinches even. But the issue of gaging Dry Creek and the fact that the staff member who did the research for Supervisor Pinches could not find information that Decision 1610 requires to be furnished to the public and that information was not available — now I could be wrong about that, but that's what I read in the staff report. And the second issue that Supervisor Pinches brought up to me that seemed pretty interesting was the issue of the watershed. The fact that so much of the watershed that creates Lake Sonoma is in Mendocino County. I didn't see anything that explained why Mendocino County doesn't have some rights to water that falls on the earth in Mendocino County and then drains down into Lake Sonoma. Lee [Howard] is out there smiling at me like I should know better but I don't. I'm enough of a babe in the woods on these issues that I think, yes, let's go find out some more information and I thought at the end, what can it hurt? But I feel like I have too much on my plate to really dive into this myself and I don't see any other supervisors willing to. I think it's clear that Supervisor Brown is not willing to do it. That kind of leaves supervisor McCowen.”
McCowen: “I think we all understand this and I've read a lot about it and we've all seen the material. I certainly share a lot of the concerns that Supervisor Pinches expresses about Mendocino not getting our fair share of Mendocino County water, stated in a nutshell. But it's also a situation that we did to ourselves by people 60 years ago not having the foresight to secure the water right to water that would be impounded. So I think a close reading of a number of these decisions does answer some of the questions that have been raised. Working to identify the remaining questions for which I think we are legitimately entitled to answers, putting that in a letter as suggested by Supervisor Brown would be a good preliminary first step. I also think there is currently a pretty critical process going on with the Flood Control District seeking to gain a license for the 8,000 acre feet of water that Mendocino County entities are entitled to out of Lake Mendocino. I know they've been involved in that process diligently for two or three years. I think there is some hope that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Going and asking a bunch of questions and reopening a bunch of questions that have already been answered at this particular time probably is not helpful. On balance I think it's preferable to follow the course of action suggested by Supervisor Brown. That's what I would support.”
Pinches: “I would like to remind you, Supervisor, that the Sonoma County Water Agency is the official protester of the water rights application by the Russian River Flood Control District. So as far as working together, if they wanted to work together why are they an official protester and have been for several years now of that water right application? I think it's very inconsistent. If this Board doesn't want to move forward with an ad hoc committee, it's not going to deter me from what I am going to do. I will say that. And I will say that after this meeting at least I can say and go on record that I tried to make some equity in his whole situation, all the way back to water rights in the 60s or the 50s when Lake Mendocino was built to the mid-80s when Lake Sonoma came into the system. Situations and usage change, flows change and everything. All I'm trying to do is create a positive, more equitable effect for Mendocino County. I am determined in my efforts and just because I cannot get a partner on this Board to move forward with this, I am still going to proceed with this issue because I have the rest of my lifetime to work on it.”
Hamburg: “The motion fails for lack of a second.”
McCowen: “Being an upstream partner with Sonoma County Water Agency which controls the majority of the water has certainly been at best a very mixed blessing. They do regularly protest and then there is a list of issues that need to be worked through. I think the Flood Control District is currently pursuing that. But we should bear in mind that Sonoma County Water Agency has also taken actions that are very beneficial and you need go no further than Redwood Valley to identify that. So it's been a mixed blessing.”
Pinches: “Sounds to me like Sonoma County is drinking Mendocino County water, but Mendocino County is drinking Sonoma County's Kool-Aid.”
Sean White, General Manager of the Russian River Flood Control District: “Supervisor Pinches is right in that they did protest our application for an additional 6,000 acre feet. But so did about seven or eight other parties. Pretty much anybody that files for any sort of water right in this basin, you are going to get a standard laundry list of parties that protest everything. Locally, the city of Ukiah is also protesting that same application. And similarly Russian River Flood Control District has a long history of doing the same thing. It's not always adversarial but it can be a perfunctory step in ensuring that you have standing in future hearings. So even if you know you have a resolvable issue it makes you an official party to those negotiations. Many people do it just for standing.”
Brown: “Please explain the 6,000 acre-feet versus the 8,000.”
White: “Sometime ago our board anticipated the need for additional water so we applied for an additional 6,000 acre feet out of Lake Mendocino about 10 years ago. That was basically a filing on water that was sort of set aside initially for northern Sonoma County and was later reserved for the potential future needs in Mendocino County, so that is what they filed on. The Flood Control District now holds rights to 8,000 acre feet in Lake Mendocino. We are in the process of going to license on that. We are in the final phases of that now. We are hoping we have our license by New Year's Day. And we will be done.”
Brown: “What about the gage? Supervisor Pinches had a concern about a requirement in Decision 1610 that requires Sonoma County Water Agency to have gages to judge the amount of water coming at the confluence of Dry Creek. Can you give us any information on that?”
White: “This river has a lot of gages compared to other rivers. The Army Corps does operate a gage each on both the tributaries that the dams release water into. There's one on Dry Creek and there's one on the east fork as well. A lot of the gages in the system don't end up on more common, more frequently accessed websites. Most citizens such as myself when I go fishing will look at one called CDAC which is managed by the California Department of Water. That's probably the most popular gage site because the Water Department has done a good job of making it pretty easy to look at and it's searchable. The Army Corps outlet gages are not on CDAC and they are not on the USGS either. And the Army Corps of Engineers website is difficult to work with and navigate around. But the releases are there both daily and I think they do a 15 minute interval as well. Supervisor Pinches is right that people have been talking about reopening Decision 1610 forever. But that has happened. Sonoma County Water Agency filed a change petition to reopen 1610 about three years ago. That was one of the reasonable and prudent alternatives mandated in the deal. They had to reopen it. So that is in effect. The other thing they have to do is file a change petition every year—”
Mr. White is essentially arguing that Sonoma County’s legally mandated reviews are somehow relevant to Supervisor Pinches attempt to see if Mendo is treated equitably. Obviously, Sonoma County isn’t going to reopen allocations that they already benefit from.
Pinches: “You say they filed a reopening of it, but has it ever…? What's been done —”
Brown: “… a biological opinion.”
White: “Yes. You can't blame Sonoma County Water Agency for that. Basically many people protested that filing so the state board is dealing with all the protests that came out of that. But flows do change and that was really one of the main outcomes of the petition for change. Releases from Lake Mendocino will be forever lower as a result of those reductions. That's what they filed for in the petition and they have to file for them every year until that petition is improved. So through that review the releases from Lake Mendocino have already been reduced. There are some very positive changes for Lake Mendocino in the works that will be coming out of that process.”
Again, none of this addresses Pinches question: Is the current arrangement fair to Mendocino County?
Pinches: “How do you explain basically ignoring the County of Origin water protection of the 45 square miles of Mendocino County watershed behind Lake Sonoma?”
White: “I don't think I ignore it. The State Board did not ignore that either. If you read both D-1030 and D-1610 there is a long discussion about County of Origin and County of Origin rights.”
Pinches: “But weren't they really talking about the County of Origin rights behind Lake Mendocino?”
White: “No. D-1610 covers both projects. That's why D-1610 came out. That was because Lake Sonoma was coming online. And we did get a fairly significant caveat that is often overlooked — the water from Lake Mendocino which is generally classified as Post-1949 water, basically water that is a result of the infrastructure that was created then, even though we applied at the same time, there are many applications that were joint or filed as companions, Mendocino County was granted seniority and priority for all pre-49 rights so we actually did receive a significant benefit there because of County of Origin and that's why we were granted seniority. So at the end of the day our 8000 acre feet, even though we are a minor partner, has priority in Mendocino over Sonoma County.”
Pinches: “It takes priority but I don't see where we recognized the water from the Mendocino watershed behind Lake Sonoma.”
White: “Right. Because we didn't pay for the project and we didn't file on the rights. There was no way for us. And obviously I was popping wheelies on the Schwinn when that happened. [Laughs.] I was a little kid. But you can only blame our predecessors. We did not want to financially participate and it was basically up to this County two times in a row to pony up the cash to become a full partner and the County basically didn’t do it.”
Pinches: “That was Lake Mendocino. But in Sonoma County it was Corps of Engineers that built the project and they never have to pay back until the use of water down to that level.”
White: “That's not actually true. The Army Corps of Engineers owns both projects and every Corps of Engineers project has a local sponsor and here, only after, if you go back and read the historical documents that have to do with our license, really only after Sonoma County came back basically begging us, saying basically, ‘Man, you are going to regret this.’ [Laughs] did the County even come back and buy the small pro-rata share that we did eventually buy.”
* * *
Summary: Supervisor Pinches, who has studied the subject at length, thinks Mendo’s being shortchanged, both for water and money, and there are specific aspects of the arrangement that need to be looked into to see if Mendo can do better.
Supervisor Brown, whose most prominent constituents benefit from the current muddled arrangement and don’t want anyone rifling through their paperwork, is against even looking into the question.
Supervisors Gjerde and Hamburg agree that there are some issues that deserve analysis from an independent Mendo-angle, but they themselves won’t do it.
And Supervisor McCowen thinks writing a letter to the Sonoma Water Agency asking them to deal with Mendo’s questions is all that’s necessary — which means no independent review.
Remember: It’s well documented that Sonoma County is selling huge amounts of valuable Mendo water to their own water districts and to Marin County which they — like the Russian River Flood Control District — obtain on the cheap.
Yet, despite of all this potential to not only explore whether Mendo has a right to more of Mendo’s water than at present, but also an opportunity to see if Mendo could at least get some of the revenue Sonoma County is generating with Mendo water — despite all that, four of the five people who are supposed to represent Mendocino County, and who are in charge of making sure Mendo’s precarious budget is balanced, have no interest in looking into substantial new water or water revenues, choosing instead to offer lame excuses for doing nothing.
These four Supervisors who don’t even want to look into the matter are the same people who laugh at the supervisors of yesteryear who shortsightedly gave away Mendo’s water and rights to Sonoma County — the only exception being my uncle, Joe Scaramella, who similarly failed to convince his colleagues back then to participate in the building of Coyote Dam.
The upshot? Existing inland Mendo water right holders want no change; Mendocino County will continue to provide free water to Sonoma County; Lake Mendocino will continue to dry up in the increasing number of dry years brought to us by climate change; Lake Sonoma will remain full year round.