- Ruben Surrenders
- Election Math
- Art Concedes
- Resident Deputies
- Ripoff Raise
- Little Dog
- Wine Labels
- PHF Closure
- Hospital Downfall
- Facebook Rumor
- C- Essay
- Neuroth Update
- Police Reports
- Urchin Cull
- Trump Fumble
- Deregulating Fraud
- Shared Foibles
- California Future
- Hot Dogs
- Park Bench
- Bathroom Key
- The Audit
SHOTS FIRED, NEGOTIATOR ON SCENE IN BOONVILLE
MendocinoSportsPlus has been listening to scanner traffic that started before 7:00am about a man holed up with a gun on Ornbaun Road (off Mountain View Road) in Boonville and at 7:07am, the scanner said, "Shots fired but it was not by the CHP." The scanner said there was a "negotiator on scene." A medical response was dispatched to "stage" at the Boonville Airport at 7:13am for what was described as a possible "violent patient." They will be creating a "command post" there. MSP heard from a viewer who said she heard earlier over the scanner that multiple units were responding to the location for "a man reloading his gun." (MendocinoSportsPlus)
* * *
THE ANDERSON VALLEY awoke Thursday morning to the unhappy news that Ruben Thommason Jr., owner of the Anderson Valley Market in central Boonville, and a long-time resident, had suffered an emotional breakdown, during which he alarmed neighbors by firing more than one random gunshot outside his Ornbaun Road, Boonville, residence. Police and emergency services personnel responded in large numbers, along with a mental health negotiator who, along with an unidentified relative of Thomasson's convinced Thommason to be taken peacefully into custody by 8:30am. Classes at nearby Anderson Valley High School were cancelled for the day, as rumors inflated the incident out of all proportion to the reality of its danger to the general public. Thommason is still grieving the recent loss of his wife of many years, Beryl Thomasson. Ruben and Beryl Thomasson were the second generation of Thomassons to own the pivotal Anderson Valley Market, and both served the Valley community as ambulance and fire volunteers and in many other volunteer capacities. As one old friend of the Thomassons put it, "Give Ruben an ankle bracelet, take his guns away and send him home. He's a great guy, and he's one of us."
* * *
ATTEMPTED WHAT? PLEASE.
(The Police Version Of This Morning's Events)
On 06/07/18, at 0430 hours, deputies with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to an address off of Mountain View Road in Boonville, for a report of suspicious circumstances occurring inside the residence. The homeowner, Ruben James Thommason, 73, of Boonville, was reporting that unknown people were walking through the walls of his residence. Sheriff's deputies arrived at the residence at 0600 hours in marked Mendocino County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicles. The deputies observed Thommason exit his residence carrying a pistol in each hand. Thommason pointed the pistols at the deputies before retreating back inside of his residence. Sheriff's deputies took cover, called for additional resources, and began to negotiate with Thommason. Officers from the Ukiah Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, California Fish and Wildlife, and members of the Mendocino County Multi-Agency SWAT Team responded to assist. While the deputies on scene were attempting to negotiate with Thommason he fired a single round from one of his pistols towards one of the officers stationed on the perimeter. This round did not strike any of the deputies or officers at the scene. Thommason fired a second round from one of his pistols towards deputies and officers after the arrival of the SWAT Team. Thommason eventually surrendered after being allowed to speak over the telephone with one of his relatives. Thommason was transported to the Mendocino County Jail and booked for attempted murder without incident.
* * *
(and the Press Democrat's story...)
BOONVILLE MAN CARRYING A PISTOL IN EACH HAND ARRESTED AFTER SHOTS FIRED
by Robert Digitale
A 73-year-old Boonville man who walked outside his home Thursday morning
with a pistol in each hand was arrested after firing two shots at
deputies, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said.
Ruben James Thommason was booked into Mendocino County Jail on suspicion
of attempted murder.
Deputies responded about 6 a.m. to Thomasson’s home in the 18000 block of
Mountain View Road after he reported to dispatchers that “unknown people
were walking through the walls of his residence,” the Sheriff’s Office
said in a news release.
When deputies arrived, Thommason exited the home “carrying a pistol in
each hand,” the news release stated. He pointed the handguns at deputies
and retreated back inside his residence.
As negotiations began, Thommason fired a single shot near one of the
deputies, the news release stated. After the arrival of a SWAT team, the
Sheriff’s Office said, he fired a second round. Neither shot struck
After speaking with a relative by telephone, Thommason surrendered to
ELECTION MATH UPDATE:
According to the County’s Election Results web-page there are 47,214 registered voters in the County of whom 19,049 cast ballots for a Tuesday turnout percentage of 40.35%, which is about what you’d expect in an off-year election. That webpage also says there were 9516 “Times Counted” (20.2%) which they never explain, and 9,284 “total votes” which we take to mean votes counted so far. 9516 is about 50% of the votes cast and about 20% of registered voters. 9,284 is a little under 20% of registered voters.
According to Thursday’s un-bylined Ukiah Daily Journal election update, newly elected County Clerk-Assessor Katrina Bartolomie said there were 11,000 mail-in ballots still uncounted at the elections office. And, “That’s more than the 9,500 or so ballots that were counted on election night.” So let’s assume that means the 9516 “times counted” number is the number of votes counted so far. That un-bylined story also says, “However, closer races, like county superintendent of schools, where only 600 votes separate election night leader Michelle Hutchins of Anderson Valley and the second place Bryan Barrett of Ukiah, could have different outcomes. All 11,000 mail-in ballots would affect that race.”
But that was soon changed by the following press release from the Elections office:
BALLOTS LEFT TO BE COUNTED
JUNE 5, 2018 STATEWIDE PRIMARY ELECTION
Mendocino County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Susan M. Ranochak announced that as with every other election, there are ballots left to be processed as part of the official canvass. Mendocino County has 14,354 Vote By Mail ballots to process, and 410 Provisional ballots to review and process.
Of the outstanding ballots left to count: the 3rd Supervisor District has 2,883; and the 5th Supervisor District has 3,828 ballots to count. Mendocino Coast Health Care District (Measure C) has 5,165 ballots to count; Fort Bragg Rural Fire Protection District (Measure D) has 1,835; Coast Life Support District (Measure E) has 814; and Southern Humboldt Community Health Care District (Measure F) has 31 ballots let to count.
Per State law, we have 28 days to complete the canvass. The Statement of Vote, which breaks down results by precinct, will be available at that time.
If you have any additional questions, please call our office at (707) 234-6819.
WHICH DOESN’T ADD UP.
If there were 19,049 votes cast and about 9300 of them counted already, how can there be almost 15,000 votes left to count?
* * *
FIRST we ran some numbers Thursday morning using the 11,000 number from the unsigned UDJ report.
That produced (in round numbers): Add 9500 already counted to 11,000 and you get 20,500.
Therefore Mr. Barrett would need more than 20,500 divided by 2 plus 1 — or about 10,250 of the final vote count — to reverse the apparent victory by Michelle Hutchins.
Of the votes counted so far, Barrett has almost 3700 votes. And Hutchins has almost 4300 votes. (Not counting a few write-ins.)
To win, then, Barrett would need to pick up around 10,250 minus 3,700 or at least 6,500 of the remaining 11,000 votes.
6,500 divided by 11,000 is about 59%.
So Barrett would have to get almost 60% of the remaining 11,000 votes to end up with over 50% of the total 20,500 total votes to have a chance of reversing the election outcome.
Even if the remaining votes are predominantly from Ukiah — which we doubt — for Barrett to need to get 59% of them when he only got 46% of the first 9500 means that the race between Hutchins and Barrett does not really qualify as one of the “closer races.”
* * *
BUT IF THERE ARE 15,000 votes left to count, the revised Hutchins-Barrett math means that Barrett needs about half of 24,500 to pull even with Hutchins.
Half of 24,500 is 12,250.
Barrett has about 3700 and would need about 8,550 to get to half.
Under the revised calculation that means Barrett would need 8,550 out of 15,000 or about 57% of the remaining votes compared to 59% if the total vote was 20,500.
Either way, not very likely given that he got only 46% of the first 9,500.
ART SAYS FAREWELL
I want to congratulate my fellow candidates as the voters choice. I got a call from my friend in Canada and he asked me why Chris changed his name, what is he hiding? I told him Chris works with children and has to be certified. In our Rotary group we give dictionarys to children and we are required to have our backgrounds checked and have fingerprints taken. I think my friend as a French Canadian was upset as he is extremely proud to be French. He told me that Chris’s father’s name was Latteau, that I guess being French!
I hope that the new supervisor will take action with the budget and accountability of the county workers.
As I saw in the article today the BOS relies on information from the overworked CEO without substantial facts. I surely hope there will be changes in the future.
I will now reactivate my Real Estate and Insurance business and will still support the Sheriff on Measure B. Although I still believe in a satellite program rather than a large institution.
Arthur E. Juhl
THEY UNDERSTAND THE WIERDNESS
Sheriff Tom Allman on the problems with the County’s Resident Deputy program at last Monday’s Board of Supervisors Budget meeting.
“We cannot find deputy sheriffs for the resident deputy program. Because of your [the Supervisors] generosity we offer a very very lucrative package for deputy sheriffs to move to the Round Valley, to move to Laytonville, to move to Point Arena, the Anderson Valley. We have one resident deputy in Potter Valley. We cannot find those resident deputies. Our silly little acronym in the Sheriff's Office is, Hire Exceptional Local People. H-E-L-P. We are just having a tough time. This is money that's in our budget that every year is returned to the general fund for cost savings because we are still looking for resident deputies. So when you have constituents saying, Why don't we have resident deputies?, I would ask you to ask them, Do you know anybody who is a law enforcement officer in another part of the state that would come up and allow Tom Allman to take them to lunch? I will buy him lunch. I will tell them the good, the bad and the ugly. We need to hire local people. The backgrounds are cheaper when we hire local people. They usually have real estate connections to our community that they can stay here. They understand the weirdness of our county. They don't throw their hands up and say, You guys are weird, because they were raised here. I certainly appreciate that fact. We can laugh about it all we want, however it's the truth.”
THE FORMIDABLE MRS. HASCHAK COMMENTS:
But seriously folks, isn’t there just a touch of irony, or would it be hypocrisy, in attributing the following to Pinches, “Best of all, he’s a truly independent voice with an eternal eye out for indefensible spending and practices.” Really? Have you forgotten or not heard that Pinches, when asked if he would take the 39% raise the BOS voted themselves responded, “Why yes I would, and you can bet I’d be worth every nickel of it!” Even in that folksy retort we can see he’s not the candidate with the “eye out for indefensible spending and practices.” Money talks, and in this case it talks volumes. How about those county workers? How about any worker who doesn’t have the ability to award themselves a 39% increase? Do you suppose they too feel they are worth, “every nickel of it!”? Ask John Pinches if he is a man of the people and then ask him how he justifies taking the indefensible 39% pay raise.
MRS. H has a point. We were surprised that the ordinarily frugal Pinches came out for the raise, which we complained loud and long about when the Supes awarded it to themselves. Given their performances before and since they deserved a pay reduction if anything, and it was particularly egregious of Croskey, Hamburg and Carre Brown, all lame ducks, to get a pay increase as they depart; Hamburg and Brown departing with liberally sweetened retirement packages. This is the county whose line workers regularly leave for higher pay, and here we have a grotesquely overpaid leadership apparatus giving themselves more and more. That said, Mrs. H, hubbykins is going to need more than this in the way of real issues. The pay ripoff is a done deal.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Oh yeah, I heard that gunshot this morning at exactly 4:40. Boonville rural, sleepy, the kind of place where nothing ever happens? If I told you everything I know about this place I'd need to live in a Tank!”
A READER ASKS, "What's the deal with all these different wine labels from the same winery?"
MARK SCARAMELLA RESPONDS:
WINE INSIDERS CALL IT “BRAND PROTECTION.” Pretty soon the newly legalized pot people will pick up the same tactic, if they haven’t already. (I wouldn’t know Mendo Quack from HumCo Duck myself, so I’m in no position to comment on the particulars of pot labeling and marketing. But I assume they do the same kind of thing as the wine people.)
IF YOU LISTEN to the wine marketing people they’ll tell you that label proliferation has to do with marketing and distributors who buy generic wine from larger bottlers and have the bottler put their own retail label on it, such as Costco’s discount Kirkland wine or Target’s Wine Club brand. Nobody knows where any of that comes from. And the buyers probably don’t care.
YEARS AGO when I worked as a lab tech at Roma Winery in Fresno I noticed that the large facility’s plumbing and valves allowed the Master Wine Blender to mix our basic wine groups in a variety of ways and call it anything it needed to be called. Sometimes vineyards that asked for their grapes to be fermented, aged and bottled as a batch simply were not — for a variety of reasons: Leakage, spillage, bad fermentation, not as much grape juice as was expected from a vineyard, wild cultures entering the grape juice, mistakes, poor taste or color, poor filtration, expediency, volume shortages, etc. Nobody ever complained. The same bottling set up could be used to produce 15 or 20 runs with different labels on them. The same wine could be sold for various prices under various labels (for marketing considerations), or there might be some slight blending variations. As a lab tech, I was in no position to know what went into the bottling machine’s intake or what came out of the fill tube. Sometimes, the wine was aged after it was bottled for an unknown period, by unknown middle-men with storage capabilities, which might also have accounted for some of the retail price variations. Needless to say, the opportunities for misrepresentation were great.
THE MAIN REASON for second-label wines is that it is a good way to move wine if you have an excess of a certain vintage or type. It could be a blend of different vineyards, appellations or vintages rather than a single vineyard designation, or maybe a lesser known varietal that’s made more affordable for sale in certain markets. Or, second-label wines may be aged for less time or in concrete or steel tanks instead of wood, another way to keep costs low.
A HOST OF WINE MIDDLEMEN, marketers, store chains, and distributors can and do buy excess wine on the cheap on the promise to the original vineyard or bottler that it not be sold under original label.
ANONYMITY is the key. Many higher-end wineries don't want to “cheapen their brand” by lowering the price of their premium label wine. They also don't want to cannibalize sales of that premium label by selling the top brand at discount prices. Or it could be a bad year and the wine just doesn’t taste the way they want it to taste for the reputation they may have behind their premium label.
A FEW YEARS AGO a Bay Area wine scammer tried to rip off a few small Anderson Valley grape growers by writing bad checks for wine they delivered to the scammer in good faith. That wine was later discovered to have been seized by the scammer’s other creditors in partial payment of what he owed them. That seized wine found its way onto store shelves in the Bay Area at a very cheap price, but with the original label still on it. The local vintner who produced it complained that he suffered “brand devaluation” and almost lost one of his premium distributors who mistakenly thought the vintner had something to do with dumping the wine and undermining the distributor's high retail price.
IN GENERAL, THOUGH, the label is more of an indication of price and reputation than it is of contents — as any connoisseur of Gallo Burgundy will tell you.
JAMES MARMON REMINDS US of Sonya Nesch’s — Senior member of the local chapter of the National Association for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) — explanation for the closing of the Psychiatric Health Facility back in 2000:
“Sheriff Tony Craver shares some of the responsibility for the closing of the PHF in 2000 because he started sending psychotic and suicidal inmates there in orange jumpsuits with armed guards. That frightened the other patients and the staff. Five staff members went out on disability leave which meant the PHF couldn’t be properly staffed and would be violating State law if they stayed open. The County was only offering RNs $23,000/year when they could make at least $10,000 more working elsewhere. On top of that, there was a suicide in the PHF and a Grand Jury reported that a psychotic man was placed in four-point restraints at the PHF and badly beaten with multiple bruises and broken ribs and the two staff members never recorded his condition every 15 minutes as is required by law."
— Sonya Nesch, Author Advocating for Someone with a Mental Illness
MY TWO CENTS
My two cents of Measure C and the hospital's future
Pouring in more money to an institution that grossly mismanages its finances is analogous to pouring gasoline on a fire in an attempt to put it out. Measure C is not going to provide sound management and decision making on the part of the administration and the board. The final straw for me was awarding the incompetent Bob Edwards another 4 years as CEO at approximately 360K/year....that amounts to $1,000 a day. He has nothing to offer strategically to get the hospital on a path toward solvency. No one knows what he's talking about when he uses nothing but acronyms in his reports to community members invited to participate in planning meetings. There is not a shred of actual transparency, just a pretense of it.
The solution: Encourage competent people to run for the 4 vacant board seats. Potential candidates have until June 30 to file. This is where the community can truly bring about the change needed for the hospital's survival. The new board should immediately fire Bob Edwards and begin a movement to recall Steve Lund, each having played a very significant role in the hospital's downfall.
FYI: At an April MCDH board meeting, I had the opportunity to share my in depth research on Dr. Campos and his whereabouts, providing an impetus for his decision to resign. As a community, we need to regularly attend and participate in board meetings. That, however, can be tricky. I was told there would be no May board meeting, only to find out on May 31 that a meeting was scheduled that evening. This appears to be a Brown Act violation in that no notice was given in advance. Something I plan to look into.
Margaret Paul, A MCDH supporter
ME? YOU TALKIN' TO ME?
I hear you have been bad mouthing me on facebook, calling me a disgruntled employee on some kind of unwarranted crusade. Well let me tell you something Mr., numbers don't lie.
Child Trafficking, do you think? How to help draw down federal dollars and help out the local economy.
"Mendocino County has the highest rates of children in foster care in the state, according to more than one survey, like one from 2015 by Kidsdata.org. That study estimates a rate of 12.3 per 1,000 of the county’s children in foster care, higher than Los Angeles County’s rate, 7.6."
Where's the money Camille?
James Marmon MSW
PS. Ask Carmel about all those emails I sent you and her years ago about wanting to take responsibility of my cases and not be subject to being personally sued for following unlawful directives given to me by unqualified superiors (Bryan Lowery). I guess that Morales vs. Mendocino lawsuit you recently lost in federal court kind of cleared that question up. Yes social workers can be personally sued and so can the County for not hiring or training competent educated social workers.
Our Legal Team: Capable Attorneys Focused on You
Mr. Powell has successfully argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on several occasions, and it was his case, Beltran v. County of Santa Clara, that made it clear social workers were not entitled to “absolute immunity.”
* * *
From: John McCowen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Re: facebook conversation
Dear Mr. Marmon,
You are mis-informed. I have never commented to or about you on FB or any other social media. Several years ago I offered to meet with you to hear your concerns directly but you chose not to do so. In the future, please feel free to contact me directly before attempting to give credence to unsubstantiated rumors.
John McCowen, Mendocino County Supervisor
GRADING THE SUPERINTENDENT:
Ukiah Unified School Superintendent Deb Kubin writes an occasional column for the Ukiah Daily Journal.
Let’s parse this latest one from a compositional standpoint and see what grade we would give the Superintendent.
* * *
by Deb Kubin
It is during our most difficult times that we find out what we’re made of. [Clumsy, rephrase] This has been a challenging school year in many respects [redundent, delete], and for the most part [unnecessary, delete] we have responded with resiliency and compassion.
As school began in September, a gang-affiliated shooting occurred in the community [not in Texas?]. Although it didn’t occur on school property, local students were involved, which triggered additional tension on school campuses.
In October, wildfires ravaged large parts of Redwood Valley and Potter Valley, displacing students and staff and leaving some with only the clothes on their back and a pile of ash where their homes used to be. Tragically, two Ukiah Unified students lost their lives.
In February, local students heard about the Parkland, Florida school shooting and weeks later, unverified threats of a possible school shooting in Ukiah (that turned out to be no more than rumors) sent ripples of anxiety [nice phrase] through local schools.
In March, a beloved Oak Manor Elementary School teacher, Patty Moore, passed away unexpectedly, leaving her colleagues and students stunned and saddened.
When we increased school counselors during the last few years, I had no idea how busy they’d be or the depth of the issues they’d be facing with our students. I am grateful for their skill and dedication. I am also glad [poor word choice] we hired an additional school resource officer [cop — bringing the total to what?] at the beginning of the year, allowing us to help [unnecessary] defuse tensions, address [poor word choice] violence and drug use, and reduce truancy [how bad was it?].
We still have a lot of work to do in many areas [ibid], but our responses to several of this year’s difficult events have shown that we put community above self-interest [what self interest?] and that we have the capacity to demonstrate incredible kindness [only the capacity?].
When students undergo traumatic events like losing a friend or teacher, being displaced from their home, or being scared that a school shooting is imminent, it is understandable that [ibid] they may have trouble focusing on their schoolwork. Our primary goal is to keep students safe and to help them feel secure at school [not education?]. The world is changing and [ibid] this is becoming more difficult, but our goal remains.
When students feel safe, they can concentrate on the excellent educational offerings [?] from our wonderful teachers [of course they are]. Many times, it is the relationship [clumsy] with a single, special teacher or other staff member who can make all the difference in helping a student feel safe and secure. Thanks to the many [but not all?] Ukiah Unified employees who fill this role for our students [ibid].
Thanks also to the community organizations that help us celebrate our students’ success. It’s always helpful to focus on the positive, but it can be especially important to lift spirits when people are struggling. [Gawd] Events like the Student of the Month program allow us to take time away from our daily routines to learn about the extraordinary accomplishments of our students.
The organizations that support this event include The Ukiah Daily Journal, Community First Credit Union, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Carol Myer/State Farm Insurance, Ukiah Players Theatre, Applebee’s of Ukiah, Star’s Restaurant, Paradise Skate, McG’s Family Fun Center, and Assemblyman Jim Wood [what did he do?].
I am proud [cliché] to be part of a community that comes together [cliché] in the face of hardship. This year’s challenges definitely brought us together [redundant] as a community. Let’s continue to support each other [redundant] and hopefully [i.e., maybe], next year will be a better year.
(Deb Kubin is the Ukiah Unified School District superintendent.)
* * *
AVA GRADE: C-
(Composition Evaluator: Mark Scaramella)
NEUROTH CASE UPDATE
Mendocino County Sheriff's Office - Press Release
On Friday, June 8, 2018 at 10:00am, Mendocino County Sheriff, Tom Allman, will hold a telephonic press conference, for media only, to discuss updates in a lawsuit pending against the Sheriff's Office and the County of Mendocino. During this press conference Sheriff Allman will provide information about the case James Neuroth v. Mendocino County et al. and information about materials that will be made available to the public as part of a motion filed by the County and Sheriff's Office.
* * *
AT HOME WITH THE DOAKS
On 05-27-2018 at about 4:49 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a domestic disturbance in the area of the 2600 block of Mitomka Way in Willits. Deputies arrived and contacted Willits Police Officers, who were already on scene and had separated the two subjects. Deputies were advised by WPD officers that Christopher Doak, 44, of Willits, and a female adult (girlfriend) were involved in a physical altercation.
Deputies learned the female adult and Doak had gone out for the night to a bar in town. Both parties had been drinking. The female adult decided to go home prior to Doak and took the vehicle keys with her. Doak arrived home a short time later. Doak accused the female adult of infidelity and an argument ensued resulting in Doak pouring a beer over her head. Doak then grabbed the female adult by the left wrist and drug her into the living room. The female adult suffered a traumatic injury to her left wrist and hand, which was observed by Deputies on scene. The female adult was treated and released at the scene by medical personnel. Deputies ran records check on Doak and learned he was on Mendocino County Probation. Doak was subsequently placed under arrest for Felony Domestic Battery and Violation of Probation. Doak was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
* * *
FRED, THE PROHIBITED PERSON
As a part of an ongoing investigation, a Deputy with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office authored a search warrant for a property on Covelo Road in Willits. On 05-31-2018 at approximately 6:30 A.M., Deputies and members of the Mendocino County Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Multi-Agency team served the search warrant at a residence in the 35000 block of Covelo Road in Willits. The focus of the warrant was identified as Fred Danforth, 55, of Willits, who reportedly lived at the listed address on Covelo Road.
The investigating Deputy determined that Danforth was a prohibited person and was reportedly in possession of a firearm at the property. Mendocino County law enforcement officers and SWAT team members served the search warrant without incident and Danforth was detained at the property. A search of the premises was conducted pursuant to the search warrant and investigators located an assault rifle, large capacity magazines, and ammunition. Danforth was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition due to a prior criminal conviction. Deputies from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit assisted Mendocino County Deputies with the service of this search warrant. Danforth was advised and placed under arrest for Prohibited Person in Possession of a Firearm, Prohibited Person in Possession of Ammunition, and Possession of Large Capacity Magazine. Danforth was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
NORTH COAST DIVERS TAKE THE PLUNGE, TARGET HORDES OF PURPLE URCHINS
by Mary Callahan
They came off the ocean floor by the hundreds, spiky purple spheres scraped into canvas bags by divers from around the North Bay compelled to try to preserve what remains of the North Coast’s ravaged kelp forest and the red abalone fishery it once supported.
About 7,100 pounds of kelp-gobbling purple urchins — an estimated 56,800 individual organisms — were collected over a two-day cull that drew 100 sport divers to the rocky Ocean Cove on the Sonoma Coast to vent long pent-up frustration and angst over the state of their diving grounds.
“This is a day I’ve waited four years for,” Timber Cove diver Jason O’Donnell, 45, said as he paddled ashore with a pile of bulging urchin bags aboard his kayak. “I don’t want to watch the whole ocean die and do nothing.”
Participants came from all over Sonoma County and as far away as Sacramento, San Jose and Hayward to take part in the Memorial Day weekend effort which, at its peak, had more than 85 divers deployed simultaneously in the waters just south of Salt Point State Park.
Among them were Bodega Bay rancher Che Casul, 32, who arrived with two friends to pitch in after years of watching the kelp die off, putting all kinds of sea life at risk. Casul, accompanied by Joel Franceschi, 32, of Forestville, and Gene Davis, 34, of Bodega, said he was alarmed by the state of the ocean but also by the limited awareness of the changes taking place under the its surface.
“We’re pretty excited to do whatever measures we can,” Davis said.
Both free divers and scuba divers participated, collecting as many urchins as possible from the underwater rocks and storing them in floats on the surface until support crews in kayaks could make a pickup and deliver them to shore.
There, other volunteers dumped the spiny critters into 5-gallon buckets, where the urchins — mostly starving and filled with salt water — were crushed and transferred to refuse bins for use as soil amendment at the private campground on the bluff overhead.
“We were pulling some out that were softball size,” said Matt Warren, 59, of Alameda, whose companion, Debra Lynne Popplewell, said she learned to dive largely so she could help.
The event was organized by the Watermen’s Alliance consortium of California spearfishing clubs in response to shifting ocean conditions that over the past seven years have transformed the North Coast’s once lush bull kelp forest into an urchin-covered wasteland, bereft of most other marine life.
Many of those gathered for the weekend might have been hunting abalone in another time.
But this year’s abalone season was canceled months ago, a casualty of the domination of the small purple urchins, which in recent years have out-grazed diminishing numbers of abalone and razed the North Coast’s iconic bull kelp forests so thoroughly that scientists estimate more than 90 percent of it has been lost.
It remains to be seen whether the well-coordinated clearing will have an impact on the ecology in Ocean Cove, one of several coastal locations targeted for urchin removal by recreational divers. In addition to planning their own eradication efforts, recreational groups have raised more than $100,000 to pay commercial divers for large-scale clearings at several other coves on the North Coast.
Joshua Russo, president of the Watermen’s Alliance and of the Sonoma County Abalone Network, said the Ocean Cove event, the very first outing for sport divers, exceeded his expectations.
With enthusiastic support from the Memorial Day crew, he’s already scheduled another urchin removal in Albion Cove, July 21 and 22, based out of Schooner’s Landing.
“People want to make a difference in the ocean,” Russo said.
For those who took part in Ocean Cove, the effort proved both exhilarating and sobering, fulfilling a need to take action even as it crystallized the overwhelming scope of the challenge.
“As many urchins as we’ve taken out of here, I don’t think we’ve taken even a tenth,” said veteran Gualala diver Jack Likins, 73.
Some of the divers at Ocean Cove reported seeing two or three shrunken abalone among the urchins, mostly surrounded on all sides and even covered by urchins grazing on their shells. The abalone were packed so tightly amid the urchins that they couldn’t move, so the divers would focus on clearing everything around them to the extent they could.
Organizers view the effort as part desperate experiment — an effort to see if the kelp will return to areas where the urchins are cleared — and part last-ditch attempt to save enough abalone to keep the species alive.
“Right now, we’re just fighting for the next generation,” said Douglas Jung of Santa Rosa. “We’re just trying to buy some time.”
There’s little available food, however, and even the purple urchins — already too small to harvest economically for food — are starving.
Cynthia Catton, an environmental scientist with California Fish and Wildlife stationed at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab, has been on the forefront of research and policy conversations related to the kelp forest collapse. She attended the cull with two assistants to take samples of collected urchins, documenting their size, the depths from which they were taken and other details.
She noted that nearly all were starving, their reproductive organs shrunken and their gut contents reinforcing recent findings that the urchins have resorted to scraping what they can off coralline algae to try to survive — victims of their own explosive population growth. “That’s kind of desperation mode,” Catton said.
But Catton said it felt good to work alongside sportsmen and women who have sometimes been frustrated by the Fish and Wildlife’s cautious approach to the urchin issue and fishery management in general.
“What this speaks to is how we can best pool our resources on multiple fronts,” Catton said.
Sonoma County naturalist and Reef Check California volunteer Steven Howard expressed a frequently heard sentiment
“It’s good to finally be part of something and get some work done,” he said.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 7, 2018
(Unavailable due to: “Server Error in '/NewWorld.Aegis.WebPortal' Application”
TRUMP AND THE NFL
"I DON’T THINK people realize the radical damage that Obama did to the economy by bailing out the banks and not rolling back the terms of bank credit to keep housing affordable. Obama basically said, “Make housing unaffordable. Make as many junk loans as you want. Don’t worry, because I’ll stand between you and the mob with the pitchforks.” He didn’t jail any bankers. He didn’t regulate them. He created the situation that Trump inherited. Trump has just pushed it to a further degree, with full Democratic support. The Democratic donor class loves Trump. They want him to be reelected because he’s cutting their taxes, he’s deregulating their banks, and he’s essentially deregulated fraud!" — Michael Hudson
GETTING UGLY OUT THERE
I cannot help but share my disappointment over the depths to which our political discourse has fallen: name-calling, race-baiting, profanity, divisiveness, half-truths, vulgarities, lies. A few years back, we talked about our shared ideals and laughed about our shared foibles.
I am left to wonder where this all ends and where, if anywhere, the buck stops.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The policies they pursue in California ($50 billion highspeed rail projects, mandating electric cars, sanctuary state for illegals etc.) is in their opinion all about securing the future, and the people who oppose these measures are themselves backward looking, atavistic, and retrograde. The best writing about the current condition of California I’ve read of late are essays by Victor Davis Hanson, farmer and classical scholar. With a total population of 50 million, legal and illegal, if California goes down it will be spectacular. But I doubt that it will. My guess is in Silicon Valley and Hollywood there will exist relatively small populations of superwealthy whites and Chinese living inside walled and highly secure estates, surrounded by barbed wire, armed security details and sophisticated electronic surveillance … and in the rest of the state there will be 100 million Latin Americans speaking Spanish and eking out a living the best they can. At some point these Hispanics may decide they are tired of these rich gringos in their midst, and move to crush them.
THE TWO-PARTY SCAM
"The illusion of change is the only thing that keeps Americans from rising up against a government comprised mostly of millionaires and controlled by the checkbooks of billionaires. Democrats and Republicans have mastered the art of pointing fingers at each other publicly, only to unite in private to work for their corporate patrons." - Teodrose Fikre
SUICIDE is infinitely more common than murder in Pimlico. How could, and why should, a Pimlico dweller kill any but himself? The tired population of the worst houses, the hopeless actors, unsuccessful blackmailers, unaccountable widows, door-to-door salesmen, unfrocked, debarred, struck-off professional men, wrapper-scrappers, bankrupts, young ladies who have been deserted by coloured gentlemen, the clinic's clientele, the pawnbroker's supplicants, the barmaid's sycophants, the tipster's dupes, the scurf and excrement of the age: all these turn on the gas-tap as easily as you please; they are removed with the minimum of fuss; they have no relatives, and the landlady inherits the unpawnable silverish-kobbed stick, the bottles, and the copy of "Maria Monk." It may be inquired why Willoughby had not left this place long ago. The fact is, one does not move from Pimlico. Besides, the landlady had the very greatest respect for him, drunk or sober. She regarded herself as a trusted retainer of the lordly house of Ollebeare. "I knew the young gentleman's dear father, the Lord," she said to her cronies, "which art in heaven, and this one should be the Lord himself if everybody had their rights, for a civiller-spoken young gentleman never walked the earth and knew better days." Willoughby, thus almost deified, was the very toad's-head jewel of the house: he rallied the old trot whenever he saw her; she fagged for him at all hours; and whoever knocked on the wall to quieten him at night, did so at their peril, while *his* knock was instantly obeyed.
— John Collier, 1934; from "Defy the Foul Fiend"
STOLEN DOGS ALERT
Urgent Crime Story: 14 dogs taken from Redding, CA Wednesday afternoon
Tony Carter, a long-time professional dog shower, posted this on Facebook yesterday and it's an ongoing crime. Can you please run a story on this on all your social media and traditional media outreach? I'm sure you can also get more information by contacting the Redding Police Department. Your coverage could help find these 14 dogs. Here's a link to Tony's Facebook page with more details: https://www.facebook.com/tony.carter.1238?hc_ref=ART9qM-eG0rdHDCoeUIIOJGTq_wcLH6wYld2jxzwiI9GD9W4eLtXrWyfoRLUPn6kl70
The posting has been updated with the $30,000 reward for the recovery of the dogs: (The below text was taken from Tony's original post).
PLEASE DEAR GOD HELP US PLEASE!!!
WE STOPPED IN REDDING CA. TO GET LUNCH AND WITHIN 3 MINS OUR VAN WITH 14 DOGS WAS STOLEN!!! Please pray please everyone pray that these dogs will be OK. The Van was a brand new Dodge pro master. please everyone pray. the police have been notified. they are searching the TV stations, have come and done interviews. we need help we need desperate help!!!!!!
PLEASE SHARE THIS POST!!!
OFFERING A $2000 REWARD!!!!!!
Washington license plate BKD 2048
Thank you, Kim Beeler,
* * *
CHP Press Release:
Thursday around 10:40am, a call came in of a possible sighting of a stolen van with show dogs inside. The van was stolen on Wednesday from the In-N-Out parking lot in Redding. Air 11 was already in the area searching for the van and responded. Within moments, A-11 located the van in a wooded area south of Canyon Road and west of SR-273 in Redding. A-11 directed Redding Police Department Officers to the van's location. Officers were able to gain entry to the van and all dogs were reported to be hot, but alive. We received numerous calls from the public on possible sightings of the vehicle and due to your vigilance, the dogs were located unharmed and returned to their owner.
P.W. PARK, FortBragg
(Photo by Susie de Castro)
TRANSGENDER OFFICE RESTROOM, 1935
A small gray official threatened to report my friend Katherine and me to President Roosevelt because we put a padlock on our restroom door and wouldn't give him a key. “Wherever I have worked I've always used the women's restroom,” he told us, adding almost tearfully, “I've never before been refused a key.”
— Betty MacDonald
PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST Seymour Hersh recounts in his new memoir a rumor he heard about Richard Nixon beating his wife, Pat. Hersh says a few weeks after Nixon resigned, he heard from a source who said Pat was hospitalized after a violent altercation with her husband. He then spoke to Nixon's former domestic affairs advisor, who recounted two other incidents he knew of where Nixon attacked his wife. Hersh said he didn't report the alleged domestic violence at the time because he thought it was a private matter. This isn't the first time Nixon has been accused of being a domestic abuser. In 2000, journalist Anthony Summers recalled similar stories in his book 'The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon'. The Richard Nixon Foundation dismissed the new allegations in a statement, calling them 'cheap gossip' designed to 'sell books'. Pat Nixon died in 1993, followed a year later by her husband.
THE AUDIT THAT WASN’T
(Blast from the Past)
(What happens when one incompetent state agency audits their incompetent pals in another state agency… For those who think an “audit” is some kind of automatic zeroing in on and correction of a financial problem. In this case a no-brainer of a multi-million dollar cover-up was papered over by a non-audit audit. — ms)
With Audits Like These…
by Mark Scaramella (February, 2013)
With great fanfare last July, Governor Jerry Brown launched an “investigation” into “the circumstances surrounding significant budgetary irregularities at the California Department of Parks and Recreation dating back to at least 2000.”
Governor Brown also directed the state Department of Finance to conduct “a comprehensive audit of Parks’ fiscal controls.”
The governor directed California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird to conduct “a sweeping review of Parks’ management.”
Readers will recall that the investigation and audit were prompted by a “preliminary investigation into Parks’ finances” that revealed that “for at least 12 years the department under-reported tens of millions of dollars to the state Department of Finance.”
Back in the fall of 2011 the State Parks Department had ordered the closure of 70 state parks, eight of which were in Mendocino County, the majority in northern California. These closures were declared necessary because the Parks Department said they had to slice $22 million ($11 million per year for two years) for their share of state budget balancing. But in June, thanks to some dogged reporters at the Sacramento Bee, they admitted that they had lost track of over $55 million, the equivalent of five years of the savings they expected by closing the 70 parks.
The Governor had to do something to cool the outrage from the public and all those alarmed people who'd volunteered time and money to keep the parks going. Parks officials had made the closure announcements without explaining how they'd come up with the list of which parks to close (Mendo County took a big hit) later claiming that their notes had been “destroyed.”
It now appears that there were no notes, no record of decision-making. They just pulled the closure list outtatheirass.
To this day the Parks Department has not officially rescinded their closure announcements. We don’t know how that suddenly re-discovered $55 million is going to be allocated, and local groups and volunteers continue to limp along doing what they can to make sure their particular park doesn't suddenly go dark. The state, natch, has not returned any of the money raised on false pretenses.
Just last month, the California Parks Association issued their 2013 forecast: “The forecast for this year is unclear but there are some good signs. After a slow beginning, there seems to be some forward motion on the agreements to match donor funds that were raised for the 70 state parks on the closure list last year. It would be great to see all those agreements completed soon.”
This from an organization that is supposed to be a parks advocacy group. Not one mention of the $55 million, the audit, or the grotesque mismanagement that produced it and the consequent panic of impending closures.
When Governor Brown made his audit announcement last July he said that “the Department of Finance was not aware that the State Parks and Recreation Fund and the Off Highway Vehicle Fund held $20,378,000 and $33,492,000 above their reported balances. The under-reporting occurred over the course of two prior gubernatorial administrations.”
“We will get to the bottom of this situation,” declared Resources Secretary John Laird, “and work with the Attorney General, the Legislature and the Department of Finance to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. We will also work with the Legislature to see how this money can be used to mitigate park closures.”
So far, nada. The Attorney General hasn’t done anything (although there’s the usual empty rhetoric about “exploring criminal prosecutions” which won’t go anywhere), the Department of Finance was and is still part of the problem, and the Legislature has still not even demanded that the $55 million be used to keep parks open or that the fraudulently raised donations be returned.
Governor Brown did fire (“accepted the resignation of”) Parks Director Ruth Coleman; and the department’s acting chief deputy Michael Harris was also “removed from his position.”
Brown then appointed Resources Agency Undersecretary Janelle Beland to be acting interim director of the Parks Department, directing her to “promptly report to him and Secretary Laird on further actions that should be taken to ensure that the Department is being managed with honesty, accountability and transparency.”
Ms. Beland’s “report” is nowhere to be found, some eight months later.
Then a retired Marine Major General named Anthony Jackson was appointed as Parks director. He looks like he means business, but he has no experience with state bureaucracy or parks operations and so far has been invisible and inaudible.
The $55 million in hidden assets were brought to light when new Parks fiscal staff began an internal review of accounts, following a separate investigation by the Attorney General over unauthorized vacation buy-outs which was initially triggered by the Sacramento Bee. (The huge vacation buyouts for top Parks officials were a separate scandal of their own which have also not been acted on.)
Fast forward to last week when the long-awaited audit was finally released. Titled, “Weak Procedures Have Led to Inconsistent Budgetary Reporting and Difficulties in Measuring the Impact of Efforts to Keep Parks Open.”
Not incompetence, not political appointees, not high turnover, not self-serving bureaucrats, not do-nothing auditing and monitoring agencies, not bad management and supervision.
The Department of Finance duly announced, “Our audit … highlighted the following:
“• For years the department has continually reported different fund balance amounts — usually lesser amounts — to the Department of Finance (Finance) than it reported to the State Controller's Office for both the State Parks and Recreation Fund and the Off-Highway Vehicle Trust Fund (off-highway vehicle fund).
“• Finance notified the department of those differences as early as April 1999, yet the issue was not resolved until the fall of 2012.
“• Although various budget officers — including the current one — raised concerns about the differences in reporting, the budget office continued to report the different amounts.
“• The former deputy director of administration and the former acting chief deputy director directed the current budget officer to continue reporting the information as in the past out of fear of a budget reduction.
“• In 2011 Finance significantly reduced the transfer amounts the department reported to the off-highway vehicle fund. This contributed to a $33.5 million understatement of the fund balance leading the public to believe that the department was hiding these funds.
“• The department lacks written analyses regarding how it selected 70 specific parks for closure and thus, may not be able to justify the reasonableness of the selections to the public.
“• The department does not budget or track expenditures at the park level and used outdated information to develop estimated operating costs for its parks.”
In explaining how the “differences in reporting” came about, the Auditor goes out of his anonymous way to avoid naming names, simply regurgitating the gibberish of a few anonymous-source bureaucrats.
“Correspondence we reviewed in the department's accounting and budget files show that Finance informed the department that differences existed between the amounts reported in the governor's budget and those provided in the State Controller's budgetary report as early as April 1999, yet neither current staff nor documentation we reviewed in the accounting and budget files at the department supplied an explanation regarding what originally caused the differences or why the issue was not resolved until the fall of 2012. The department's former acting chief deputy director [sic] told us that when he started at the department in 2003 as the deputy director of administration he was informed by the budget officer at the time that the difference in reporting for the parks fund was the result of an error made several years earlier [by whom? why?] that understated the amount reported to Finance. Over the years, various individuals at the department became aware of the differences in the amounts being reported. According to the current accounting administrator, approximately one year after she became aware of reporting differences in 2002, she was directed by the accounting administrator at the time to begin preparing fund condition statements — which show revenues, expenditures, prior-year adjustments, transfers, and fund balances — and providing them to the department's budget office. However, she stated that the department's budget office continued to report its own amounts and that over the next six years three different budget officers, including the current one, came to her with concerns about the differences in reporting. According to the department's current budget officer, she noticed the reporting differences when she started working at the department in February 2011. She stated that she discussed the issue with the former deputy director of administration and the former acting chief deputy director, and both told her not to change anything in the way the budget office was reporting, as they were concerned that, if the department reported the fund balances accurately, as shown in the State Controller's records, the department's General Fund appropriation could be reduced. Because amounts in the governor's budget were inconsistent with amounts reported in the State Controller's budgetary report, the difference created confusion among the public and decision makers regarding the actual balance in each fund. Additionally, such inconsistencies may have resulted in the Legislature and the governor using inaccurate financial information when making budgetary decisions concerning the department.”
Take that, Parks Department — whoever you are!
The audit goes on like that for page after page, explaining the obvious, repeating itself time and again, providing some insultingly basic financial mathematics, describing this report from that year from the other office or bureaucrat…
Pretty weak, indeed.
The Finance Department, which conducted the audit, is part of the problem. They let this mess grow for over 12 years right under their anonymous noses without fixing it, so, of course, they can’t implicate themselves. In fact, it’s a clear conflict of interest that the Department of Finance — run by the same kinds of fools and hacks as the Parks department — even did the audit.
Then we get this gem: “The principal analyst agreed [sic] that the way the transfer was presented could be perceived as misleading if viewed in isolation.”
We can just imagine that conversation:
Auditor: Don’t you agree that hiding $55 million might make the public think that the Parks Department is making this whole closure problem up out of whole cloth?
Principle Analyst: It might look that way, but if you read through our mountains of incompetent paperwork you’d see that we’re just morons, we’re not capable of misleading anyone.
What is to be done?
“According to the Chief of Finance's fiscal systems and consulting unit, Finance will consider implementing a policy to ensure that, in the future, when a decision is made to reflect the effect of pending legislation in a prior-year fund condition statement, any related adjustments will be made explicit and obvious.”
That’s the solution? “Consider” implementing a policy that will… um, er, uh, clarify something, maybe?
“According to the department's budget officer, she discussed this issue with the former deputy director of administration and they were comfortable with Finance adjusting the transfer amount, since it was supported by proposed legislation to move the unintended additional funds out of the off-highway vehicle fund. However, the budget officer acknowledged that she did not document the discussion. At a minimum we would have expected to see such a significant change escalated within the department to ensure that the department's highest levels of management were informed of the change and its effect on the fund balance.”
What is the Parks budget?
“The deputy director of administration stated that the department has not determined the amount needed to fully operate the 278 parks at the 2010 level. As a result, the department may have been premature [our emphasis] in announcing that it would have to close up to 70 specific parks to achieve the General Fund reduction.”
Just a little premature? Maybe? Perhaps?
The implication being that if they had waited until they “determined the amount needed to fully operate the 278 parks at the 2010 level” — which is their job — they could have announced the unnecessary parks closure at a better time.
So, do all the private organizations and donors who ponied up millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours for no reason at all get their money back, and their regular Parks staff back, now that there’s $55 million available?
“Because of concerns with the department's outdated and incomplete cost estimates, we found it difficult to measure the impact of the department's operating, concession, and donation agreements, collectively known as partnership agreements. To determine the effect of a partnership agreement on a park, the district would need to know the cost of operating that park; however, according to the deputy director of administration, the department does not budget or track expenditures at the park level. The methodology that the department developed to estimate operating costs for its parks, including those that it identified for closure, uses the proportion of a district's costs that are attributed to each park in the district-proportions that were last determined in 2002 — and applies these proportions to the actual district expenditures for fiscal year 2007-08 to divide up the costs among the parks. As a result, the department's estimated park operating costs were outdated.”
In other words, they will keep the donations because their own estimates were not serious.
“Further, the estimated costs included only the direct costs of the parks, not indirect costs such as a park's share of statewide costs for accounting, payroll processing, and procurement. More recently the department asked the districts to develop new estimated operating costs for parks on the closure list. However, these estimates were difficult to compare to the department's earlier estimates because the district estimates were not consistent in terms of the time periods they covered or their completeness. Nevertheless, the department's estimates based on the older information were higher than the districts' estimates for six of the seven parks we reviewed, and some were significantly higher. Without updated and complete estimates of the costs to operate each park, it is difficult to accurately estimate the amount the department would save by closing a given park, and to measure the impact of partnership agreements that provide funding to help pay parks' operating costs and offset the effects of budget reductions.”
They have to keep the money because they have no idea what it costs to operate a park and they might need it.
According to a pathetic note at the end of the audit we are told that the Parks Department agrees with the audit’s conclusions.