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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, June 6, 2018

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WITH OVER A QUARTER of the votes counted, early returns (late Tuesday night) in closely watched local races have Michelle Hutchins leading Bryan Barrett by about 52% to 48% in a fairly close race for County Superintendent of Schools; Ted Williams leading in the Fifth with about 41% over Chris Skyhawk at 30% and David Roderick at 19%; and John Pinches in the Third District with almost 38% followed by John Haschak with 28%. If these trends hold, Michelle Hutchins would be elected Superintendent of Schools, Ted Williams would face Chris Skyhawk in a run-off for Fifth District Supervisor; and John Pinches would face John Haschak in a run-off for Third District Supervisor.


UPDATE (Wednesday 8:40am) With all precincts reporting and just over 40% of the ballots cast (19,049) the local trends are holding:

County Superintendent of Schools
Hutchins 4262 (53%)
Barrett 3694 (46%)

Supervisor 3rd District
Pinches 669 (34%)
Haschak 599 (31%)
Jeavons 242 (12%)

Supervisor 5th District
Williams 931 (43%)
Skyhawk 649 (30%)
Roderick 397 (18%)

Assessor County Clerk
Bartolomie 5609 (67%)
Larson 1474 (18%)
Kroppman 1268 (15%)

Measure C - Mendocino Coast Health Care District
Yes 1720 (63%)
No 998 (37%)

Measure D - Fort Bragg Rural Fire Protection District
Yes 766 (68%)
No 366 (32%)

Measure E – Coast Life Support District
Yes 501 (90%)
No 55 (10%)

Measure F - Southern Humboldt Health Care District
Yes 15 (60%)
No 10 (40%)

Measure G – County Of Mendocino Transient Occupancy Tax
Yes 3648 (47%)
No 4192 (53%)

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag's back. I asked the degenerate where he'd been for the last three days. ‘You'll never understand true freedom, Short Round, but put it this way: I came back here to eat and rest up’."

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Friends of Gualala River, FoGR, and our allies have filed for a preliminary injunction to stop logging in the floodplain of the Gualala River...again.

This is ‘Dogwood II.’ Judge Chouteau will be hearing this issue again. If you are in the Santa Rosa area, please join us Wednesday, June 6th at 3:00 pm Department 18, Sonoma Superior Court, 3055 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa.

If not, please keep a good thought that FoGR will continue to prevail.

The health of the Gualala River depends on it. We will report back after the hearing.

— Jeanne Jackson

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Divers often get to see and experience things in our environment that so many others can't even imagine. As a result, we tend to share a connection with our environment that is stronger than most, always contemplating how we can make a difference and offer help despite not having the direct connection to the scientists and researchers studying the human impact on our aquatic world.

If you've been diving at all on the CA coast in the last 4 years, you may have started to notice that there isn't nearly as much kelp as there used to be. Scientists and researchers noticed a trend in the data collected by not only their scientific methods, but also that of scuba divers that participated in various citizen scientist programs. In 2014 there was a significant increase in sea urchin populations along our northern coastline.

You've likely heard of the higher than average ocean temperatures over the last decade or so compromising the strength and health of our tropical reefs. Well, CA is home to a different type of reef that is equally as vulnerable, the rocky reef. Our rocky reefs support the growth of kelp forests which provide food and shelter for the vast number of species we commonly see along our coast.

Getting back to 2014, we already had higher than normal ocean temperatures along our coast. In addition, however, the cyclical arrival of the El Nino, a shift in the ocean currents that results in warmer water hitting our coastline (conversely to the La Nina where the current is reversed and we get colder waters), made matters worse. The extreme high temp of our coastline stressed the critters to the point where we started to see massive die-offs of common species like abalone and sun stars.

Consider that most aquatic life depends on the temperature of the water around it to regulate its own body temperature. When the water around it heats up, it's the same affect as us having a fever... we feel sluggish, ill, and if we have a fever long enough we likely become much weaker and potential could even die. The life on our coastline had this experience, living in warmer waters to the point where they began to die off in massive numbers.

Of those creatures to have experienced a significant decline were the sun star. The sun star is a natural predator to sea urchins and other echinoderms. Like all ecosystems, the predator/prey relationship helps keep a balance to sustain the bigger picture. With the decline of the sun star, urchin populations exploded along the coast. They, in turn, began consuming vast quantities of kelp ultimately leading to the decimation of 96 miles of our coastal ecosystem.

Scientific and environmental organizations are taking action. The CA Dept of Fish and Game recently passed a temporary law to allow individuals to help address the urchin population explosion. They've made it such that a person without a fishing licence can dive for and take up to 20 gallons of urchins per day... and they don't have to be whole. That is, the urchins can be crushed. This is an increase from when the law was limited to 30 whole urchins per diver per day. The urchin population explosion poses that serious of a threat.

The Waterman's Alliance, together in partnership with Reef Check California and the Department of Fish and Game are hosting an urchin culling event on July 21-22, 2018 in Albion, CA on the Mendocino coast. If you've ever wanted to give back and help support the conservation of our aquatic world, this is one of many opportunities that we hope to be able to bring you as we grow our club. Volunteer divers are needed as well as non-diving surface support and organizing volunteers. Ocean-going boats are also needed to be able to bring the collected urchins back to shore for use in other ways, including food and for compost.

Learn more about the event by following this link:

If you are planning to attend, the campground at Schooners Landing is offering space in their group sites to volunteeers at a steeply discounted rate. Reservations are required. Make you reservations online here:

There is no fee required to participate in this event. Families and non-diving friends and colleagues are also welcome to come participate. Please help spread the word by sharing this event to your personal timeline.

We look forward to diving with you at this special event and many more to come.

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by Terra Gibson


As a native born son of Mendocino County as well as a resident at one point or another in nearly all of its boroughs, from attending high school in Mendocino Village where my mom lived, back and forth to Point Arena where my father (the late Raven B. Earlygrow) lived and worked, followed by Ukiah, Brooktrails, Navarro, Albion Ridge, Little River and finally just north of Fort Bragg, I believe I can say with a certain degree of confidence that I know the county better than most. At least from the perspective of a semi-nomadic product of tremendously permissive (perhaps overly) left-wing woods hippie parenting. Obviously there were drugs involved, although I was fortunate enough to escape being cooked through as a truly a tragically large percentage of my childhood friends seem to have been, many of whom with my own encouragement. I chose not to grow pot immediately after (and during) high school mostly just because that's what everybody else was doing and I have always had a need to swim against the current. I went from roofing at age 18 to building by 20 and was making great money, $20-$25 bucks per hour full time but still found I had to augment my income by trimming pot anytime I got the chance simply to pay rent, eat and cover transportation to and from work (often 50 miles a day one way).

There was certainly no hope of saving money and someday owning land. I injured my back, badly, and I couldn't work for six months. My boss at the time was unlicensed and hence uninsured and I was not the type to sue. I got strung out on pain pills for sometime which led me to other less socially acceptable drugs. I had always been keen on firearms having been forbidden to so much as play with war toys as a young lad. It was only a matter of time before I was pulled over with a small amount of dope in my pocket and a pistol (registered and unloaded) in a box on the dashboard. That was back in 2004. The AVA ran several articles in which I was cast in a not too favorable light, but all is long since forgiven.

After graduating from adult drug court in 2006 which was no small feat I returned to the construction industry for a couple years but was still really just treading water financially and when some friends asked me if I would be interested in moving up to their place in southern Humboldt for the summer in the now infamous Rancho Sequoia subdivision (more commonly called "murder mountain") in order to grow (and split) a large crop of marijuana I jumped at the opportunity thinking it might finally allow me to come up with a down payment for a piece of the rock of my own.

Well, that didn't work out as is often the case, often enough to give rise to the term "Humboldt Hustle," where one person does all the work and then in the home stretch the landowner finds some trivial reason (or doesn't) to evict the help and keep all of the fruits of their labor. Fortunately the next door neighbors noticed I worked hard and conducted myself with honor and they offered me a job the following year. Everything was going splendidly until the law showed up and chopped down all the plants and arrest everybody they could find. I was lucky to have been at work at my day job down the hill at the tow yard in Redway when the heat came down and a friend called me at work to recommend I not home that evening. After that I moved in with some friends just outside of Garberville and tried to grow some pot with them but they were a two-fifths per day drinking couple (and I was no choirboy myself at this point) and it all ended in tears.

So I moved back to Mendocino County with my tail between my legs. I spent a while homeless, living in cars and eventually buses and constantly being told to move along by local law enforcement. Strung out on drugs, unable to find affordable housing or any consistent source of income I began eventually to get really angry, feeling as if the community I was raised in and was in a very real sense a product of had turned their back on me. I was in a fairly toxic relationship, both of us drinking heavily and in 2010 I wound up in county jail on a very questionable domestic violence beef — we were both drunk as hell arguing. She jumped in the car I sat behind the wheel of, I hit the gas and turned left, she went ass over tea kettle out the still open passenger door and broke her ankle. She explained the facts to the district attorney both in person and in writing. I never laid a finger on her other than to help her back into the car and offer to take her to the hospital. This is not to say that I did not accept full responsibility for her injury. Had I been sober or simply more mindful of the fact that she was as yet still unbuckled and her door had not completely shut, she would have not have been hurt and I felt terrible for my part in it. In a fair world I probably deserved a DUI, not a domestic violence charge. But such is life in Mendocino's laughably dysfunctional injustice system.

I was released on probation and proceeded to do over two years for probation violations like driving without a license and “misappropriation of found items" — no BS, that's the charge they give you if your friend leaves their wallet at your house so you toss it in your backpack to return it to them and the cops search you and find it. I did six months for that one.

Anyhow, the minute I discharged from probation I high-tailed it back to Humboldt County and immediately found work in the weed industry in the small town of Alderpoint. After a couple months my fiance and I found a rental I was able to afford and we were relatively happy and stable for the last five years, by far the longest time I've ever been able to keep a rental. Until the bottom dropped out of the weed market I was even consistently early with rent each month.

On March 6 of this year I turned 40 years old. The same day I sold a car to a murder suspect who also happens to be a personal friend. The car I sold them wasn't mine, it belonged to another friend who has been bringing me cars up from auctions in the Bay Area for me to sell for him for several years. I knew the friend from whom I bought it was wanted, I also knew the man he is wanted for killing was himself a killer and was armed at the time he was shot. Alderpoint has a well-deserved reputation as the last of the truly wild west. Such is life.

The next morning the SWAT team came calling. They were trying to put pressure on my friend Zach Harrison who purchased the car by putting the screws to anybody who had helped or sheltered him and my landlord’s son had told on me for selling him the car. I was on informal probation for being found in possession of a couple of morphine pills back in 2015 so the fuzz didn't need a warrant to ransack my house. They proceeded to pile up in my front yard what the newspaper chose to call an arsenal, one .44 caliber lever action rifle, one muzzleloading 50 caliber black powder rifle, one AK-47 (doesn't everybody have one these days?), a couple of .22 caliber guns with homemade silencers (so I could target shoot without pissing off the neighbors) and one big homemade firecracker they chose to call a "destructive device." They also pulled 45 pounds of processed marijuana out of my living room although only 10 pounds made the news. (Some things never change.)

All told I was looking at 14 weapons felonies but hey, we all have a bad day at work every now and then, right?

Fortunately for yours truly my arresting officer was both honest and kind in his assessment of me personally, telling the district attorney that I actually seemed to be a relatively decent guy and that he felt bad having to hit me with all those charges. Sergeant Taylor, my hat is off to you for saying whatever you said that caused the district attorney to recognize that I was not some domestic terrorist, just a crafty guy who enjoyed playing with cool toys. I was allowed to plead out to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of possessing a "destructive device." I was fully prepared to have to swallow 10-15 years in federal prison. Instead, I was sentenced to four years state time. My dogs will still be alive and my two sons will still be kids when I get out. Perhaps my fiance will even wait for me, God willing.

So here I sit in San Quentin and one of my old friends happens to have a few AVAs for me to read. In the March 20 issue from this year there was an interview with John Pinches I found fascinatingly heartwarming. His statements about the dire need for lower income housing in Mendoland spoke so directly to my heart I felt compelled to send him my support. There are areas we might never see eye to eye on but none are as important in my opinion as the housing shortage and I would be happy to put any differences aside if there were anything I could do to help Mr. Pinches win the election and work towards solving this problem before Mendocino County becomes another bedroom community like Carmel or Pebble Beach.

I have felt for some time that a great source of funding for low income housing for locals could and indeed should be a hefty vacancy tax imposed on all dwellings that stand empty over three quarters of the year creating voids in our communities while still demanding fire and police protection year-round. These third and fourth homes are owned by those most able to spend more on taxes yet they are so rarely actually resident to spend money in local stores or donate to local charities or volunteer for local organizations or participate in any way with the things that actually make up the fabric of the community. There could be a possible exemption from the vacancy taxes were they to build either an addition or second dwelling which would be rented out as low income housing for locals perhaps on a sliding scale based on income.

I for one have hoped that the easy money in pot drying up will lead to a sort of thinning out of some of the laziest and more money-centric transplants who only came after Prop 215 — and only to profit from what should have remained at least to some extent our birthright. As I was growing up people still had real jobs and only supplemented their income with cannabis. I'm ashamed of what my own generation turned into and I've seen the easy money do far more harm than good. In the days of my youth neighbors would come together to help plant a vegetable garden or carpool to the bus stop or school. Sure, there was still some division between the hippies and the loggers, but over time both realized they had more in common than they had irreconcilable differences.

I look forward with hope to a time when everyone has a little less but they are happier for it. John Pinches seems genuine in his desire to help the county I will always consider home. If he is willing to take on an old outlaw’s support I would like to offer it.

From San Quentin with respect

Terra Gibson BG0140-B4-46

San Quentin

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Would candidates support a local broadly representative Cannabis Commission serving as an oversight body for research purposes on all cannabis-related issues? Mendo County is drifting without leadership or policy guidance and it shows in how poorly the program is faring. Ag Commissioners fired, cultivation regulations in CEO's lap, less than half the revenue expected from rolled out regs. There is no Citizens Advisory Board/CAB for cannabis. The Ad Hoc Committee is at best do-nothing & should be abandoned for a Cannabis Commission to assist the BOS in the complicated array of issues surrounding the plant as we replace prohibition with "reasonable regulation."

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STARTLING to hear a robo call from, of all persons, Andy Caffrey, candidate for Congress. An old Earth First!er during social activism's last gasp circa 1990, the would-be solon from Garberville sounded slicker than the oblivious San Rafael incumbent, Huffman, the professional Democrat from the party's Billery wing. Caffrey said all the correct stuff, including a claim that he was famous for having launched opposition to GMOs. The other candidate in the race is a Republican who makes his way as Garberville grocer, a prole who identifies with the ruling class. As does Huffman and the mainstream Democrats, so Caffrey got the ava's vote, robo call notwithstanding.

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A LOCAL KID of no advantages is graduating from Boonville High School and going into the Navy. Good for him. For years lib members of the high school staff talked down the military option for young men and women with no prospects, doing it from their tenured perches and the comfortable perspectives of no-risk lives. Like it or not, the military gives the disadvantaged young the direction and discipline they will need to make any kind of life for themselves, especially in this imploding society. Yes, you can get killed in the military. Yes, the military is imperialism's muscle, but your chances of getting killed right here at home are pretty good, too, and where better to get a clearer understanding of the big picture than from the enlisted man's barracks?

THE EDITOR of Boonville's beloved weekly himself went directly from the gentle irrelevances of high school to 15 weeks of beatings and general humiliation as only the Marine Corps can dish it out, emerging from the experience with a clear understanding of how this society works, arriving at a young age at the only possible conclusion — it doesn't work.

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CALTRANS PLUS THE CITY OF UKIAH can only equal confusion and, in the case of Big Box row on Ukiah's east border, vehicular chaos. I took a close look at the site prep underway to supposedly accommodate the new CostCo. Widening and re-paving access roads is nice but isn't going to make it easier to get in and out of the vast parking lots of the big stores. The area is already overcrowded, its access roads backed up at ill-timed lights. When CostCo gets going next month expect all day traffic jams.

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JUST SAYIN', but we've got the Russians allegedly tampering with our national elections, but aren't the French tampering with the 5th District local election right here in Anderson Valley with political signs for candidate Roderick affixed to French-owned vineyards?

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Got water?

1.6 million gallons when done. Four workers, one ring per day. I believe four rings left to put on. Quite the project.

(via MendocinoSportsPlus)

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California lawmakers have approved two bills aimed at thwarting the Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore oil drilling on the Pacific coast.

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Can you ID this person in the photos? The Ukiah Police Department responded to a bank robbery this afternoon at 4:56 pm at the Umpqua Bank. If you have any information related to this incident please call 463-6262.

(Ukiah PD press release)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 5, 2018

Alcala, Colley, Cree

ROGER ALCALA JR., Ukiah. DUI, suspended license for DUI, probation revocation.

WILLIAM COLLEY JR., Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, failure to appear.

WILLIAM CREE, Shingletown/Ukiah. Under influence, parole violation.

Fine, Hayes, Hiatt

EMMY FINE, Fort Bragg. Battery, resisting.

LAURIE HAYES, Covelo. Burglary, destroying evidence, probation revocation.


Kester-Tyler, Laforce, Martinson, Pearson

DEVIN KESTER-TYLER, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, protective order violation, probation revocation.

GEORGE LAFORCE, Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.

BRIAN MARTINSON, Willits. Criminal threats, stalking and threatening bodily injury, probation revocation.

ADAM PEARSON, Ukiah. Controlled substance, parole violation.

Sanders, Simpson, Vaughn

RHONDA SANDERS, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

GERALD SIMPSON, Willits. Possession of controlled substance where prisoners are kept, county parole violation.

MOTECHUZUNA VAUGHN, Ukiah. Community Supervision violation.

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One can live happily on fewer resources, if you dont mind one minute showers or bathing in a sink, and if you dont mind crapping in a bucket and composting your waste. As I see it there is no politically feasible solution to our collective dilemma. I know so many people whose dream it is to have a house in the suburbs with all the trappings. How can anyone convince them to abandon their mindset or, if they have already established themselves as a suburbanite, convince them to let go of what they have achieved? The only solution I see (informing the masses hasnt worked) is to let the system burn. Theres nothing like a long bout with hunger to convince a soccer mom that her loved ones would be safer on a farm.

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“You fake right, I’ll fake patriotism.”

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by Bruce Patterson

It’d been five and a half years since Trish and I last laid eyes on the ocean. Long enough for us to want to put an end to that string. Myself, I was brought up in LA city back when LA county was still an agricultural powerhouse, and I began my love affair with sunshine, sandy beaches, warm water and gentle waves long before the Beach Boys started the surfing craze that, beyond making fortunes for those selling peroxide, Coppertone, white Levis, Pendleton shirts and Huarache sandals, magically transformed the greasy little oil town of Huntington Beach into “Surf City.”

My dad and his buddies loved surf fishing the incoming tide during the day and sitting around campfires at night, and while they were belly deep in the Big Salty, the women would be on the sand above the high water mark, them sitting on bath towels or blankets and either kibitzing or reading books while keeping an eye on us little kids decked out in our Superman, or Superwoman, costumes (minus the capes, leotards and boots) playing footsie with tide’s foaming-white swash and backwash, us advancing and retreating like long-legged foals sprinting and button-hooking just for the joy of it.

Now the closest beach town lies about due west 210 highway miles away from Prineville (it’s like driving from Oakland to Tahoe’s Nevada shore without taking the Interstates). Named “Florence,” it’s the once booming logging town/fishing port located beside the tidewaters of the Siuslaw River. Now known mostly for having “invented” sand dune surfing and for converting dragstrip rail jobs into “dune buggies,” popularizing skim-boarding, hang-gliding, windsurfing and about anything else that might make old Florence seem more young, inviting and exciting to people with time on their hands and money to spend.

Like Mendocino’s Fort Bragg, the hollers of West Virginia or most anywhere else in radically de-populated rural America, Florence has outlived its resource-extracting heyday. Like, who needs fishermen when there’s no money in fishing; loggers when there’s only limb-locked dog’s hair left standing in the woods? Or, to put a positive “spin” on Pentagon-style “Planned Obsolescence” with the American Way of Life now getting treated as just another weapons system manufactured in order to become obsolete before becoming fully operational, call Florence just another mightily struggling rural town refusing to say die.

Yet, since I have some fond, if faded, memories of those parts, it seemed a natural destination because, gee, it’s been 45 years since I’ve been there and Trisha never has. And so, once she made it clear she wanted to get to the beach, any beach, I’d put on my trusty old pilot/navigator’s hat—she’s used to it and goes along. Florence it would be.

The coast out there has all of the riotous fecundity of the tropics but none of the heat. The dune fields stretch from about eight miles north of Florence to Coos Bay in the south, their heartland held within the 40-mile-long Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (established by Nixon in 1972). The largest expanse of coastal dunes in North America, their highest migrating points reach over 500ft. above sea level (inland 60 miles, the city of Eugene sits at 419ft.). The wind-washed landscape is a mosaic of buckskin-colored dunes interspersed with dense stands of deep green Sitka spruce, grey-green seeps, estuaries, creek willows, madrones, wax myrtle, red alders, azaleas, lagoons, river mouths, freshwater lakes and, up in the hills, red cedar and Doug fir, dogwoods and ash, rapids, cascades and waterfalls.

After getting refreshed in our room at the Best Western on the south shore of the Siuslaw across from Old Town, we get back in the car and turn south on US Hwy. 101. After making a right and then bending back northward, we drive the few miles up the sand spit to the river mouth. After parking our car on the leeside of the fore dune being held in place by a thicket of planted European Beach Grass (the Army Corps of Engineers has a long and storied history of destroying ecosystems in order to save them), we walk up to the point of the spit and arrive at the bank of the riprapped river mouth. Turning seaward, we advance with a cool salt breeze feathering our faces and the symphony of pacific surf serenading us, and catch sight of the giant basalt boulder South Jetty extending seaward like a fortified pier.

Since jetties require maintenance and repair, running stem to stern is a paved road wide enough to accommodate a single file of very heavy equipment. To keep teenagers, yahoos and daredevils from driving on it, some HD excavator (a backhoe that spins round and round) operator equipped with a grapple had made a gate out of three boulders the size and shape of VW bugs set down on their noses side-by-side.

Since we’d arrived at the start of the incoming tide, the vast distance between the high and low water marks strikes us. The depth of the beach plus the length of the shore breaks stretching southward to the misty vanishing point and, just shy, the sight of a lone beachcomber with his or her watery reflection the size of a sand flea. Drawn to the water’s edge, we spot a half dozen snowy white plovers, their bodies’ tennis ball-sized, them silent and fleet-footed, their wings folded, hunting the waterline while keeping their feathers dry.

Mental portraits of beaches I’ve kissed dissolve into my little boy memories of the Pismo Dunes and the Silver Strand with Tijuana’s Plaza del Toros on the beach to the south and mothballed Navy ships tethered like cavalry horses in the San Diego Bay at our backs. There’s only one ocean, I’m reminded, and its shorelines are infinite from a human standpoint. Attempt to survey the length of the ocean’s shorelines and all you’ll really ascertain is that the longer the length of your measures, the shorter your shorelines (the mean water mark) will be.

Early next morning we stroll some through Old Town. Art galleries, restaurants, ristorantes, pubs, saloons, gourmet coffee, gourmet “saltwater” taffy, candy and chocolate, a Historical Museum, memorial plaques, public art and whatnot. Coastal tourist towns strung like pearls are like inland tourist towns strung out along rural Interstates: if only wishes were horses. While I always make a point of dropping some money to show some appreciation for the townsfolk’s efforts (a wise policy anywhere in the world), nowadays the places make me feel a little bluesy. Like looking at a melting Cascade glacier or straightjacketed sand dunes, unemployed craftsmen and 70-year-old hash house waitresses.

After saying adios to Old Town, we moseyed on north as far as the Pt. Hecate lighthouse. It’s considered to be one of the most scenically situated lighthouses on the west coast of the USA, and I can’t argue with that. As for the lighthouse itself, it can’t hold a candle to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, especially when seen from the sea. Nor can any lighthouse hold a candle to a European cathedral, palace or castle, or even an 8th Century Irish Round Tower. All things are relative, we sometimes forget, including our sense of awe. Sometimes just escaping from our habits of thought and workaday routines are enough to inspire us: “good god, what have I been missing?”

When I was a boy and we were on camping vacations, my dad was our pilot and navigator and he never brought us back the way we came. While beating the bushes in Vietnam, we never-ever came back the way we came. Then, as a practical matter, the further away your destination, the more options for your return.

And so, once settled in our motel room on our last night, I searched my map for an alternative route home. When I spotted a settlement called “Deadwood” up along the upper Siuslaw River, “Sometimes a Great Notion,” Leadbelly’s lament and Ken Kesey’s novel, came to mind with images of deep tangled side canyons vomiting muddy waters, a rapidly rising river and a hayseed clan of gyppo loggers determined to stay put in their rickety old main house perched up there on the vibrating riverbank.

The highway east (US 126 out of Eugene) flanks the Siuslaw for a dozen miles before leaving it at a wide spot called Mapleton. From there State Hwy. 36 follows the river northeast past the tiny settlements of Rainrock, Swisshome, Deadwood, Greenleaf, Triangle Lake and Low Pass (1022ft.). After descending into the Willamette valley, we’ll join US Hwy. 99 at Junction City. Ten minutes north we’ll head east on State Hwy. 228 then join US Hwy. 20 at a town called Sweet Home that’s tucked between the hairy toes of the Cascades. Next we’ll climb up the South Fork of the Santiam River along the path of the old Santiam Wagon Road (opened in 1865, it was retired in 1938) till we’ve left both to climb up to Tombstone Summit just southwest of, and a hair below, the Pacific Crest at Santiam Pass (4,817ft). Once over the divide and through the town called Sisters, it’ll be a 40-mile straight-shot descent to our home down in rimrock country. How varied the ecologies, how wonderful, fragile and abused. How sweet our sorrow.

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MCOG Executive Director Retires, Names Successor

Executive Director Phil Dow has announced his retirement after many months of speculation.

The new ED, Nephele Barrett, can be reached at or 463-1859. Janet Orth, Deputy Director / CFOOn Monday, June 4 at the regular meeting of the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG), Executive Director Phil Dow announced his retirement after a career of more than 40 years in transportation. A registered traffic engineer, he served as the Transportation Planner for MCOG starting in the 1980s, then as Executive Director since 1999. He has chosen MCOG Program Manager Nephele Barrett as the next Executive Director, starting immediately.

[Ed note: We thought the MCOG Board was supposed to chose the MCOG Director…?]

The tone became somewhat emotional as various partners, officials and staff reminisced with affection and praise for Dow’s service. Dow has long been a champion for often-overlooked remote communities such as Gualala and Covelo. Throughout the county he has shepherded local plans for downtown safety improvements, promoted bicycle and pedestrian projects, supported public transit, and enabled innovations. His most significant accomplishment was to facilitate funding of the largest and highest priority project in the Regional Transportation Plan, seeing the Willits Bypass through construction in 2016. He has served on countless statewide committees, advocating for rural transportation needs and securing a fair share of funds for Mendocino County and the North State Super Region in a competitive environment where urban players hold sway. He initiated polling and state legislation that allowed local cities to join “self-help” counties in raising voter-approved sales taxes dedicated to fixing streets and roads. “Around 1986 when I was first on MCOG as a member, I was struck with how much attention Phil paid to our little town of less than 500 people. He would come to our meetings and sometimes wouldn’t get back until after 11 at night,” remarked Richey Wasserman, Point Arena City Councilman. “Later I realized that he cared about everything in the county. He’s not just a public servant, he’s a wonderful person.” Never one to seek attention, his deeds are perhaps better known in Sacramento than among the general public. Beyond that, as a Vietnam veteran he has volunteered much of his free time to veterans’ causes; as a business owner, he has been a reliable donor to youth and sports activities and local law enforcement. Phil Dow will be a hard act to follow. Dow will serve in an advisory role to his staff for the next year or so, before formally retiring. The decision of successor was made after much consideration. Deputy management professionals Loretta Ellard and Janet Orth, each having worked for Dow some 20 years or more, will continue in key supporting roles along with the others on MCOG’s staff team. Barrett, who has worked as MCOG staff since 2000, brings specialized planning experience that will benefit the agency. MCOG formed as a joint powers agreement in 1972, as mandated by state law, to disburse state and federal funds for transportation, to provide regional planning, and to serve as a regional forum. MCOG is overseen by a board consisting of two county supervisors, a countywide public appointee, and one council member from each of the four incorporated cities. For more information, call the MCOG office at 463-1859 or consult the agency's web site at



  1. Craig Stehr June 6, 2018

    Received an email from Garberville’s Andy Caffrey, who will NOT be running for political office any further, due to minimal votes received in his latest bid to represent District 2 in congress. Therefore, he will now be concentrating on organizing a California coastal roadshow in response to global climate destabilization and the other effects of global warming. Earth First!…We’ll Save the Other Planets Later.

  2. Lazarus June 6, 2018

    Well, Ole John Pinches is still in the hunt. Reports indicate new comer John Haschak spent several thou on his campaign while Pinches didn’t raise a dime…
    So much for money talks, it’s more like BS walks…
    As always,

    • Janice haschak June 6, 2018

      It’s true Haschak is not a career politician so he did have to buy a lot of signs (didn’t have any from previous campaigns laying around). Also, the mailers were pricey for sure, but we had to tell the people what he’s about and once we did they were conviced to vote for him. People are especially impressed by the fact that he is the only candidate who has pledged to not take the almost 40% raise the BOS recently voted themselves. He feels It’s not okay to give yourself a huge raise when the workers haven’t received anything near that and the county is deficit spending. Please ask your candidate if they’re going to take this raise. Haschak is a fighter and he will fight for the people of our county. Look at his record and his life’s work and you will see that he is truly a man of the people. So yes, money was spent and people were informed about Haschak. Going against a three time supervisor and with 8 people in the race it seemed necessary to spend some money and allow people an informed vote.

      • Lazarus June 6, 2018

        Ms. Haschak,
        Thank you for your thoughtful reply…
        As always,

    • Mrs. Haschak June 6, 2018

      This is not accurate. Pinches ran a whole heck of a lot of newspaper ads. Nice, big colorful newspaper ads all over the place and these ads aren’t cheap. So maybe he didn’t raise money, but he certainly spent a good amount. Also, the pile of signs he already had were certainly bought and paid for at some point as well.

      • Lazarus June 6, 2018

        This is not the hill to die on…but I know people who offered him money and he declined. Candidates self finance all the time, especially in the primaries (local/small) with multiple candidates, you’ll eventually learn the game.
        Best of luck.
        As always,

  3. james marmon June 6, 2018



    Do you think the County’s mental health money is being effectively spent? (around $28 million at last estimate)

    “In general, I’m not enthusiastic about outsourcing core government responsibilities. There are circumstances where private industry can outperform public agencies. SpaceX is a great example. These circumstances are where innovation and execution offer a financial reward. This paradigm does not encompass a responsibility like the administration of mental health services. Outsourcing removes transparency and is a sign of capitulation of competency. If we can’t pull off government locally, how can we expect anything on a state or federal level? There’s some basis in that we haven’t done a great job at a lot of things, but I’d rather we improve our competency than privatize the operation. I expect well defined metrics with regular reporting to gauge success over time. I don’t mean hiring another high priced consultant. If a school anywhere in the county calls with a concern, what’s the follow-through? If we have an addict on the south coast looking to come clean, is the assistance effective? I have a rebuttable presumption that the money is not being spent as effectively as it could and that a secondary motivation is avoidance of our pension situation. Convince me otherwise.”

    -Ted Williams

    Do you think the County’s mental health money is being effectively spent? (around $28 million at last estimate)

    “I’ll rubberstamp anything that Anne Molgaard and Camille Schraeder put in front of me, we’re great friends and long time colleagues.

    “This is a big step forward for both MCCF and FIRST 5,” said Skyhawk. “We will have the capacity to maintain and even expand already existing MCCF programs while increasing our focus on supporting families and professionals who work with young children”.

    -Chris Skyhawk

    (children’s counselor who knows nothing about treating adults. If you treat the adults the children will be fine).


    do yourself a favor, ask questions, and evolve

    James Marmon MSW
    Former Adult Mental Health Specialist
    Sacramento, Placer, and Lake Counties

  4. Eric Sunswheat June 6, 2018

    Re: On Monday, June 4 at the regular meeting of the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG), Executive Director Phil Dow announced his retirement after a career of more than 40 years in transportation. A registered traffic engineer, he served as the Transportation Planner for MCOG starting in the 1980s, then as Executive Director since 1999. He has chosen MCOG Program Manager Nephele Barrett as the next Executive Director, starting immediately.

    [Ed note: We thought the MCOG Board was supposed to chose the MCOG Director…?]

    —> MCOG contracts with Dow and Associates, who provides its executive director.

    • Eric Sunswheat June 6, 2018

      The PSA between MCOG and its consultant, Dow, creates a conflict of interest in violation of Government Code sections 1090 and 87100, as well as the federal requirements of 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 18.36. MCOG has no staff and contracts with a consultant, Dow, through the PSA to provide an Executive Director, all management, administrative and clerical staff, support services, facilities, equipment and supplies that may be needed to implement any of the full range ofMCOG’s responsibilities and obligations for which it is paid a yearly lump sum. Planning services are also provided and compensated through the PSA at fully weighted labor rates. The PSA was executed in 1999 and has been amended four times. Phil Dow, as the owner of Dovv, serves as MCOG’s Executive Director authorized to perform all

  5. Eric Sunswheat June 6, 2018

    When we bust through mental health apartheid prescription patent medicine genocide, as an abusive mechanism for nutritional resource starvation human population control, then societal mind thought inspirational reprogramming prioritization of planetary earth human population survival mechanisms, may occur.

    This fallout may unfortunately manifest post unwashed Trump instituted martial law, with psilocybin mushroom ceremonial guidance treatment no toxicity protocol, now in controlled study process to remove it from Schedule One, as drug with no clinical value.

    Mendocino County Measure B mental health sales tax funds, could be dispersed with a client treatment design skeletal blueprint outline, as chosen policy to see the filtered sunlight, at the end of the bureaucratic tunnel maze of allowable pesticide exposure risk.

    Ecological outdoor environmental respites that have minimal or no mechanical and human sound pollution, may be part of the momentary therapeutic circumstance, for neurological integration.

    A sustained increase in food sourcing, may include growing sprouts on mini-farms, along with labor or intensive technology companion plants multi-cropping of agricultural lands, so the disparity of the landless is absolved.

  6. james marmon June 6, 2018


    Ms. Grace

    Just watched yesterday’s BoS meeting, the $150.000.00 that the board appropriated for the Stepping Up Initiative in 2015 is totally missing. Never deposited, and never spent on CIT training for law enforcement. Completely missing.

    Public Expression 5a after HHSA presentation.

    • BB Grace June 6, 2018

      Thank you Mr. Marmon for the link to the BoS meeting yesterday and pointing out BHAB’s newest member, Michell Rich, district 2 (McCowen) making a presentation for CIT training re: SUI. To be fair, Ms. Rich hasn’t given herself much time to research SUI, who, how, why it works, IOWs she appears to be a pawn for Allman, not SUI. Ms. Rich, who I give credit for her effort to make things right as she has been informed, unfortunately does not understand how SUI works. If SUI was a recipe for coconut cream pie, CIT would be the cherry on top. The most important aspect of SUI is changing drug courts to SUI courts. It appears to me Mendo is not doing that. Maybe there should be a criminal investigation to the loss of the $150K. Isn’t that grand theft?

    • Lazarus June 6, 2018

      It was amazing how cavalier they all were about that money, the 150K…
      I was impressed, ever so slightly, on the Sheriff Allman interlude, he seemed a little arrogant when questioned or better yet lectured.
      The DA mailed it in…I liked his style.
      As always,

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