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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, July 24, 2018

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FLEX ALERT issued for Tuesday and Wednesday, July 24 & 25: Due to high temperatures in California and most of the western U.S., the California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) has issued a statewide Flex Alert that calls for voluntary electricity conservation from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 24, and Wednesday, July 25. Consumers are urged to conserve electricity especially during the late afternoon and evening when air conditioners typically are at peak use. Consumers can help avoid power interruptions by turning off all unnecessary lights, using major appliances before 5 p.m. and after 9 p.m., and setting air conditioners to 78 degrees or higher. The ISO has issued the Flex Alerts due to high temperatures across the western U.S., reduced electricity imports, tight natural gas supplies in the Southern California area, and high wildfire risk. The ISO has called on all available resources to be available to serve demand, however, conservation is needed to reduce the risk of further emergency measures, including rotating power outages. The ISO’s service territory serves about 80 percent of California’s electricity consumers.

For more electricity conservation tips, visit the ISO’s Flex Alert website at

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AV PANTHERS Football Coach John Toohey writes:

The Anderson Valley football teams, youth and high school levels, have come together under one umbrella to support each other’s programs. They are concluding their first annual joint "smart skills" football camp where they have been studying hand strike, head free blocking and shoulder style, head free tackling in their continuing efforts to create the safest environment possible in which to play America's game.

(Click to enlarge)

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IN PREPARATION for upcoming interviews at the Board of Supervisors for the vacant post of Mendocino County Public Defender, recently vacated by Linda Thompson, I’ve been reading the California Style Manual, and I’ve learned that Bermuda shorts with Madras plaid blouses and espadrilles have nothing to do with the current summertime style, even in this, the Fourth Edition (c. 2000) of “The Handbook of Legal Style for California Courts and Lawyers.” No, it has naught to do with dress or decorum in grooming, but is rather more like the Associated Press Stylebook, or the New York Times Stylebook, those desk references reporters and copy editors in the newspaper business have worn to dog-eared rags for so many years before the advent of smart phones. No-no, what it has to do with is when do you use uppercase, when do you use italics, boldface, small caps, et cetera; and other niceties, such as whole chapters on whether or not to put periods between the letters in acronyms, how apostrophes should be handled when applied to abbreviations, gerunds, possessive nouns; and, in short, how all things should be written so as to lend a dependable consistency to traditional forms.

Now then, the candidates are as follows: (no uppercase here although if it were a prosecutor, it would be) to wit, a deputy state public defender, temporarily assigned to serve as (please note there’s no listing for this office, whereas if it were an Assistant DA prosecutor it would be capitalized, even when it stands alone — so I’ll just wing it and use uppercase) Assistant Public Defender Christiane Hipps; also running for the vacancy are two deputy state public defenders from the alternate public defender’s office (how humiliating is that?, the entire office isn’t even capitalized!), Jan Cole-Wilson and Douglas Rhoades. Interestingly, when it gets down to County Counsel, it goes back up to caps, even when it stands alone — and, to be sure, our County Counsel Katherine "Kit" Elliott will be somehow involved in determining which of these lawyers she likes best; along with Assistant County Counsel Shannon Cox, a former prosecutor.

When I asked Ms. Hipps how she thought she’d do, she answered, “a lot better if I had your endorsement.” Well! That was quite flattering, but I hardly know her, compared to Ms. Cole-Wilson and Mr. Rhoades; and, honestly, I would have endorsed Jan, since she’s an old friend and a regular subscriber, but the way these things go, a woman doesn’t really need any help in this sort of competition for an appointment — it will inevitably go to a woman — so I felt Doug needed all the help he could get. In any case, I won’t be attending myself, but those of you who like to keep an eye on the Supes’ doings should be aware of what’s going on and, hopefully, won’t be totally flabbergasted if they appoint some awful, callow lawyer like Linda Thompson just because she wears men’s suits — Ooooo… What a charming novelty!

(Bruce McEwen)

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THE CANDIDATES for Public Defender include, Christiane Hipps, Jan Cole-Wilson, and Douglas Rhoades. We're partial to Jan Cole-Wilson simply because we know she's smart and capable. The office has been held for years by a howling incompetent, mercifully retired, who herself ought to be up on murder charges for her handling of the Tai Abreu case alone. In that one, the murder of a gay man committed by a trio of Fort Bragg kids, the PD, Linda Thompson, convinced one of the perps, Tai Abreu, just turned 19, to take his non-case to a jury while the inarticulate Thompson "argued" that he hadn't been properly Mirandized. (!) The jury was out for a couple of hours, came back with a resounding Guilty and Judge Henderson, a Republican hack also mercifully retired, packed Abreu off to state prison for the rest of his life. Thompson called no witnesses for the kid, joined the prosecution in denouncing him, failed to challenge any of the jurors, who included a Fort Bragg man hostile to Abreu. Abreu's co-defendants pled out and got sentences of 20-to-life. One of them is out, the other seems to enjoy prison so much he's undergoing a state-paid sex change. Who did the killing? Maybe no one. The victim was duct-taped to a tree and the evidence was inconclusive. The vic, Donald Perez, was perhaps stabbed in the throat. However Perez died, the Fort Bragg Three were certainly indifferent to his long-term welfare. The sex change defendant was the most likely of the three to have slashed his throat. He'd met Perez for sex prior. Abreu was up on the road as lookout man when the tree-taping occurred. (The plan was to rob the guy, not murder him.) The County prosecutor in the Abreu case, Kevin Davenport, told me he "begged" Thompson to take the same deal the DA gave Abreu's co-defendants, but she refused. I have to say I was mightily pissed off recently watching some portly nuzzlebum from the Public Defender's office praise the retiring Thompson as a "great loss." To whom? The DA's office? Not so incidentally, Abreu has a perfect record in prison — zero violations. He has also taken advantage of every educational program offered. Abreu is highly unlikely to re-offend. He has been in jail since 2001. We are working towards getting his case back in front of a judge for a re-sentencing consistent with the sentences his co-defendants got. Justice is always an uphill slog in the justice system.

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CORRECTION: Last week we reported that “a large crowd celebrated Bastille Day at the French-owned Roederer Winery on Sunday, enjoying music by the Boonville Big Band and a locally-catered lunch.” Most of that was correct, but the music was not provided by the Boonville Big Band, but a portion of it, an impromptu five-piece jazz band assembled by Philo drummer Kevin Burke consisting of piano, bass, drums, saxophone and trumpet fronted by the vividly talented singer, Dorothea May. Their four hours of jazz standards were indeed enjoyed by the celebratory crowd.

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THE BOONVILLE-UKIAH ROAD PAVING PROJECT, as assessed by Paul McCarthy of MendocinoSportsPlus: “They grind down four inches, then oil the voided area and then the asphalt machine adds 5 inches of pavement and the rollers compact it to 4 inches — or so we were told. Granite Construction is the company doing the paving. They also did the absolute worst (squiggly) centerline striping in the history of road paving - did they do it with a bicycle towing a guy lying down on a cart with a paintbrush?”

THE STRIPING is certainly odd, but kinda fun, too, as only disorder can be fun in the hyper-orderly context of CalTrans.

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OKAY, I DON'T KEEP UP WITH COUNTRY MUSIC, even when Mendocino is mentioned.

This song from 16 years ago is new to me. That a British lyricist would put Mendocino County in a song is curious. The word must have appealed to him rather than the place, since he didn’t know the sun sets on the Pacific Ocean in Mendocino County.

Marshall Newman

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Among Skrag the Cat's countless deficiencies, he's a woman beater. Every day he cuffs Alice around for no discernible reason. And they might be related! Same color face and tails. So add incest to Skrag's deficiency list.”

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Anyone missing a pigeon? A racing pigeon with bands on its leg has been found, just in case it's a local bird, please let Woodlands Wildlife know--describe the bands on your missing pigeon and we can talk. or

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Dick Whetstone)

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On Friday July 13th, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET) were assisting Wardens from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife with the service of a search warrant at a residence in the 13500 block of Kenny Creek Road in Branscomb. The purpose of the search warrant was to address a marijuana growing operation that involved suspected environmental crimes. These crimes included the illegal diversion of water for the purpose of cultivating. The growing operation was also thought to be illegal and unpermitted. During the service of the search warrant, a Deputy Sheriff was possibly exposed to a chemical that was being used as an insecticide on the marijuana plants. The chemical has been identified as Metamidofos which is listed as a banned or severely restricted pesticide by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The pesticide is transdermal and can be absorbed through contact with the skin, or inhaled through the respiratory system. Based upon the packaging and labeling of the bottle the pesticide appears to have been brought into the United States illegally from Mexico. After the service of the search warrant the Deputy started to experience stomach problems and progressively worsened. He was treated at a local area hospital in the days following his exposure and he is still under the care of a physician due his continuing symptoms that are common for exposure to this substance. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to caution the public and other first responders, who might come into contact with dangerous pesticides associated with marijuana cultivation, to use extreme caution as these types of chemicals are now frequently found in marijuana growing operations. If you think you have been exposed to this substance or a similar substance, please seek medical attention as soon as possible. Attached is a link to a material Safety Data Sheet on the substance:

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On 07-18-2018 at approximately 6:18 p.m., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies received a call for service regarding a robbery that just occurred at a residence located in the 40700 block of Garcia River Road in Point Arena. After deputies arrived they initiated an investigation and spoke to the 72-year old male victim. Deputies learned that the victim was inside his home when the suspect Sequoia Slentz, 41, of Point Arena, entered unannounced.  Slentz reportedly physically assaulted the victim and stole firearms stored inside the residence before fleeing the location. Deputies observed the victim had visible injuries consistent with an assault. The victim also had complaints of internal pain. Deputies responded to Slentz's residence in an attempt to locate and arrest him without success. As a result an 836 PC Order to Arrest was issued. On 07-192018 at approximately 9:37 a.m., deputies received information that Slentz was present at his residence. Deputies responded to the location and contacted Slentz, who was arrested without incident. Deputies also recovered the stolen firearms, which were located concealed in the brush on a neighboring property. Slentz was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked for First Degree Robbery, First Degree Burglary, Grand Theft of a Firearm and Elder Abuse. Slentz is being held in lieu of bail set at $150,000.

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On 07-19-2018 at approximately 01:50 A.M., a deputy was on uniformed patrol in the downtown Covelo area. The deputy observed a vehicle in the area of East Lane near Wright Way and contacted the two occupants in the vehicle. The deputy was advised by the passenger, identified as Jesse Jones, 25, of Covelo, that he had a warrant for his arrest.

The deputy confirmed Jones had an active misdemeanor arrest warrant issued in Mendocino County. During a subsequent investigation, the deputy located a handgun under the front passenger seat where Jones was previously seated. The deputy observed that the gun was loaded and determined the firearm was not registered to Jones. The deputy advised and placed Jones under arrest without incident for Carrying a Loaded/Concealed Handgun and the misdemeanor warrant for his arrest. Jones was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

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On 07/17/2018 at approximately 9:30 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the 30000 block of North Highway 1, Fort Bragg, to a report of suspicious activity. A concerned citizen reported to Sheriff’s Deputies that they had observed a green Isuzu Rodeo in the area being driven by a male driver. The citizen was concerned the male subject may be trespassing at a vacant residence in the area. Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the described area and began looking for suspicious activity. Sheriff’s Deputies located a driveway leading to a vacant residence which had evidence of recent vehicular travel. Sheriff’s Deputies proceeded down the driveway, locating the described vehicle. Sheriff’s Deputies conducted a search of the property and obtained further evidence that someone was possibly inside the vacant residence. The Sheriff’s Deputies made entry into the residence to conduct a protective sweep of the residence’s interior, locating Garrick Edward Hornlein, 35, a Fort Bragg transient, attempting to conceal himself within the garage.

Hornlein was taken into custody without incident. Sheriff’s Deputies learned Hornlein was on felony probation out of San Joaquin County for burglary in addition to having a felony warrant for his arrest for a burglary violation out of the San Joaquin Superior Court. Hornlein was found to be in possession of a handgun, ammunition, two sets of nunchucks, a chainsaw that had the serial number removed, narcotics and drug paraphernalia. Hornlein was arrested for Unauthorized Entry of Dwelling, Felony Burglary, Felony Violation of Probation, Possession of Nunchucks, Felon in Possession of Firearm, Felon in Possession of Ammunition, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Altering/Destruction of Serial Numbers. He was transported and lodged into the Mendocino County Jail where he is being held on a No Bail status. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the vigilant citizens for the prompt and detailed reporting of suspicious activity that led to this arrest. Sometimes, people are reluctant to contact 911 about behavior that they feel is suspicious because they believe their call will be a burden or unnecessarily tie up law enforcement resources. In fact, reporting suspicious activity immediately can help law enforcement prevent or interrupt crimes such as this incident.

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On 07-13-2018 at approximately 10:20 P.M., a deputy with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was working uniformed patrol in the Covelo area. The deputy encountered a pickup on Charlie Hurt Highway near Mina Road that stopped in the middle of the road and turned off its headlights. The deputy stopped to investigate and contacted the passenger in the car who had exited the pickup. The passenger was identified as Arturo Valencia Montalvo, 23, of Covelo, who stated the driver of the vehicle just fled southbound from the roadway. The deputy observed a short barreled shotgun in the passenger compartment of the pickup and detained Montalvo at that time. Another deputy responded to the scene to assist with locating the driver who reportedly fled from the pickup. Deputies searched the grass area and located Timothy Davis, 39, of Covelo, hiding south of the roadway.


Davis was detained while deputies investigated this incident. MCSO dispatch advised the deputies that Davis was on Post Release Community Supervision with terms that prohibited him from possessing firearms. The deputies also learned that Davis was prohibited from possessing firearms due to prior criminal convictions. During the investigation, deputies determined that the vehicle being driven by Davis had false registration tabs. The deputies ultimately arrested Davis for Possession of Short Barreled Shotgun, Possession of Firearm by Prohibited Person, Violation of Post Release Community Supervision, and Unlawful Display of Vehicle Registration. Montalvo was advised and placed under arrest for Possession of Short Barreled Shotgun. Davis was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a no-bail status due to his PRCS hold. Montalvo was booked into the Mendocino County Jail to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

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AT THE BUCKHORN. Brunch on Sunday July 29th will be extra special due to new, live music in the garden. The San Francisco-based, six-piece funk rock/jazz band, Night Animals, will be playing starting around 11 or 12. "Live performance is the pinnacle of Night Animal's music, combined with a love of improvisation. Seductive vocals, serpentine horn lines, hypnotic rhythms, and hook-laden guitar licks all conspire to put you under their spell." So, hear some new music and kick back with one of our famous Bloody Marys or our Summer Key Lime cocktail, over brunch.

OUR FAMILY MOB of an even dozen enjoyed the Buckhorn’s brunch this past Sunday in the restaurant’s comfortably pleasant outdoor patio, marveling all the while at the purely hard work of our waitress, Sarah, as she bustled up and down the stairs with heavy trays of comida deliciosa.

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JENNIFER AZZI has wrapped up her now annual summer basketball camp at the Anderson Valley High School gym, which this summer included boys. Color the young hoopsters of Anderson Valley lucky to have the former All-American and Olympic Gold Medal winner as summer coach, and double thanks to Robert Mailer Anderson, an AVHS grad, for bringing Ms. Azziz to town.

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YOU’LL get a hoot or two out of Bill Bradd’s YouTube production called, “Precambrian Wood Chopper”:

And if you missed Bradd’s poem “For Big Al, poet laureate of his own river.”

BRADD describes himself as the “poet laureate of the Ten Mile River, meaning my job is to recite the stories that pop from the air bubbles that appear when the river, driven by the wind, is speaking.”

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Mention Redwood Summer and the division lines that cut through the fabric of the North Coast widen. Sunday morning, two arrests marked the beginning of what may be another such divisive landmark.

According to Jane Lapiner of the Lost Coast League, members of Lear Asset Management including its president Paul Trouette, detained two activists trying to stop logging of an ancient stand of Douglas Fir in the Rainbow Ridge area, 1800 acres at the headwaters of the Mattole River. The two activists were later arrested by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department and booked at the Correctional Facility. They were later released.

Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) owns the property and has received approval to log it.

For about a month this year and for a time last year, a tripod with a small platform has been anchored to trees near one of the entrances to the Rainbow Ridge area. According to one of the activists who wishes to remain anonymous,

It has been up about a month this year but it has been blocked season after season for many years… At the moment, there is a blockade blocking the only entrance to several logging units that HRC wants to log. The Tripod is set up on the roadway to make it inaccessible to large machinery. In the top, is a platform that someone is sitting in. The tripod is anchored to several trees.

The activist explained that those wishing to get through can only do so by toppling the tripod. “If the company wants to pass the road they basically want to kill someone or seriously injure them,” he explained.

According to him, the arrests were made in order to keep supplies from the sitter in the Tripod. “[HRC is] waiting for the person who is in the trees to run out of supplies and have to come down,” he said.

The activist explained, “This morning about 5 a.m., five of the private security contractors that are working on behalf of HRC wanted to remove the blockade – presumably to get heavy machinery through…They had tasers and were threatening to use their tasers.”

According to the activist, they didn’t give those at the Tripod a chance to leave. “They were really aggressive and not wanting to talk,” he said. “They had their tasers drawn. These were projectile tasers.”

The activist said that two protesters were detained. One of the security personnel allegedly told those arrested that he was Paul Trouette.

Lapiner explained that HRC is usually known for being one of the more environmentally sound logging companies. She explained, “Humboldt Redwood Company is priding themselves on doing sustainable logging and making money. However, [Rainbow Ridge] needs to be kept intact. It is home to rare fungus and endangered species.”

In February, UC Berkeley’s Cal Alumni magazine said Rainbow Ridge was “perhaps the hottest spot” in the “simmering insurgency” of today’s timber conflicts.

According to the UC Berkeley Alumni magazine,

A group of Mattole Valley residents maintain Rainbow Ridge is a nonpareil, a property so unique, supporting forest ecosystems so rare, that it should never be logged. Given the impacts of climate change, they claim, its higher value is as a research center to study the potential of old-growth forests for carbon sequestration and water retention. Accordingly, the group wants the property transferred to the UC Natural Reserve system, an ambition that is garnering support at the university.

The magazine quotes Trevor Keenan,

a scientist in the climate and ecosystem sciences division of Berkeley Lab [as saying] “Rainbow Ridge has the largest intact old-growth Douglas fir forest in California. What makes it particularly valuable is the various states of old-growth stands. Some are more than 300 years old, some 150 to 300 years old, and some 100 to 150 years old. That provides a fantastic chance to obtain not just old-growth data, but data from old-growth forests in different stages.”

The protestors are concerned that attempts to log may happen soon. An action is planned for tomorrow. “We are kinda worried about the blockade,” explained the activist. “Right now there is only one person up in the blockade. We’ve had contact with them throughout the day.”

The activist said,

Tomorrow at seven, there is going to be a gathering of people at the Monument Gate [up Monument Road out of Rio Dell]. We would like a rally to show support for the person who is in the woods and show them they are not alone. There is a huge base of support for the ancient Douglas Fir forests.

According to Jane Lapiner of the Lost Coast League, HRC may not attempt to move into the Rainbow Ridge tomorrow or even the next day but she thinks that it is possible.

We’ll update when more information comes in.

UPDATE 11:37 p.m.:

Five employees of Lear Asset Management, including CEO Paul Trouette (707/489-9663), security contractor for Humboldt Redwood Co. (HRC), swept down on protesters camped near a logging road on Rainbow Ridge in the Mattole River watershed at about 5 a.m. today. With tasers drawn the guards forcibly restrained two non-resisting protesters who had refused a request to leave, placing them under citizens arrest and confiscating personal equipment including solar panels and a camera.

The guards contacted the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Dept., which arrived on the scene about 8 a.m. and took custody of the arrestees, who were later booked and released with pending court dates. At this writing the road blockade remains in place.

Location of the blockade is here:

“This shows the blockade has been really effective,” said one of the arrested protesters, who declined to provide his/her name. “During the time (HRC) was not doing anything about the blockade it shows the cost-benefit calculation of doing arrests didn’t make sense for them.” The timing of these arrests thus demonstrates that logging may be imminent, the protester said.

At issue is about 1100 acres of primary, or ancient, forest consisting of Douglas-fir and diverse hardwoods, as well as natural coastal prairies. The area is vital habitat for listed species including but not limited to the Pacific fisher, pine marten, Northern spotted owl, Northern Goshawk, Golden Eagle, coho salmon, Sonoma tree vole, and the rare fungus agarikon (Fomitopsis officinalis).

Logging of these forests along Rainbow Ridge could take place under two currently approved Timber Harvesting Plans. Opponents of the plans have raised objections about the validity of at least one of these plans, as well as calling into question the “green” certification accorded to HRC by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Not only is HRC logging virgin forest on its lands, but also is poisoning hardwoods through the use of a highly controversial practice known as “hack and squirt.” Such practices should disqualify any timber company from FSC certification, critics say.

Rainbow Ridge is run by San Francisco’s Sansome Partners, of which the Fisher family (best known for its GAP clothing) are major investors.

On the other side of the fight are citizens groups including the Lost Coast League (LCL), which has undertaken conservation projects in the area since the 1970s. LCL has sought from HRC to permanently protect Rainbow Ridge, outright purchase being one option, but thus far the company has refused.

Rainbow Ridge is bordered to the east by Humboldt Redwoods State Park, home of the Rockefeller Grove, at 9000 acres the largest contiguous virgin redwood forest remaining in the world. To the west lies the King Range National Conservation Area.

Preservation of Rainbow Ridge would thus safeguard a corridor between the two neighboring areas, providing enormous conservation values in an age of species decline and global warming.

Opponents of the logging of Rainbow Ridge will hold a rally tomorrow (July 23) at 7 a.m. at the Monument Gate, located on Monument Road about five miles west of Rio Dell, Calif.


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I am shocked and disappointed after reading all the news about a Rohnert Park police officer patrolling a 40-mile stretch of Highway 101 looking for drug dealers at a time when the city was short of police officers.

I am more than disappointed that the management of the city of Rohnert Park, including the Public Safety Department, approved such an operation and the City Council doesn’t seem to have much knowledge of it.

As a former member of the Rohnert Park City Council, I take issue with Mayor Pam Stafford implying the council’s basic function is to control the budget. The city manager and the director of Public Safety aren’t self-governing or self-ruling. Otherwise, there would no need for a City Council. Whether you agree or not, the buck stops with the council.

Councilwoman Gina Belforte is correct. The council is answerable to the community, regardless of who authorized this operation and must take responsibility for any and all questionable decisions by staff. It is time for the council to step back and take a hard look at whether the council is allowing staff too much self-governing.

Vern Smith

Rohnert Park

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by Jonah Raskin

A polite term for it is “puffery.” It's also known as “advertiser-friendly journalism.” It has often plagued the magazine industry and especially since the 1920s when President Calvin Coolidge observed that advertising was “part of the greater work of regeneration and redemption of mankind.” The editors and publishers at Sonoma magazine would agree. Advertiser-friendly journalism is on exhibit all year-round in the magazine, and especially now in the (July/August 2018) summer issue, when, according to editor-in-chief, Catherine Barnett, “the pace slows.” Tell that to the farmers and farm workers who labor eight-to-ten hours a day in fields, packing sheds and at farmers markets in July and August. Tell that to those who work in vineyards, hotels and restaurants. They would not recognize the pace that Barnett describes, and not the place that’s depicted in the glossy pages of magazine, either. Sonoma magazine looks at the world from the top down. In a word, it’s elitist.

The summer issue is similar to the issues that are published at other times of the year. All year long, the magazine has a format and rarely divagates from it. That’s not a bad thing, though the format of Sonoma doesn’t really allow for thinking and writing outside the box that it has created for itself.

Much of the material wouldn’t pass for journalism as practiced at The San Francisco Chronicle and The Los Angeles Times. It can often be a string of adverbs and adjectives tied together with verbs and nouns and meant to sell products like wine, services like health care, and experiences like eating, and at the same time to give readers a feeling that the magazine has stroked their egos.

Sonoma offers a professional brand of advertiser-friendly journalism. There’s nothing sloppy or cheap about it, though at $5.95 a copy it’s also within the budget of many if not all Sonoma citizens and most tourists.

If there’s a picture of a person, he or she is certain to wear a smile. The advertisement for a dentist’s office shows nine smiling faces along with the slogan, “Smile Sonoma.”

Sonoma County — the magazine suggests — is inhabited by happy people who play hard, eat well and drink well. There’s a piece about Disneyland that’s described as “The Happiest Place on Earth.” At least the magazine doesn’t claim that Sonoma is the happiest place on the face of the earth.

The color photos near the heart of the summer issue show adults and children at play in the Russian River. The copy that prefaces the photos mentions the “river’s depths” and “the gentle current,” but in many places our man- and machine-made river has no depths and very little current.

Sonoma county citizens, whether they have vineyards, marijuana fields or lawns suck much of the water from the river, but that’s the kind of information not to be found in the magazine. It would likely wake readers from the “dreamy” state that the publication wants them to inhabit.

The masthead of the magazine says that it “adheres…to guidelines which required a clear distinction between editorial content and paid advertising and marketing messages,” but when I turn the pages and look at editorial content and paid adverting, I often can’t tell the difference between the two. Some of the ads look like editorial content while some editorial content looks like an ad. The art of deception is at work.

I was a regular contributor to The Press Democrat for more than a decade and worked closely with Pete Golis. I recently wrote occasional features for the paper, including one about a homeless man in Santa Rosa, another about an award-winning dairy on Llano Road and yet another about a family who aimed to farm in a way that regenerated the soil. None of those articles, or anything like them, would have appeared in the magazine. They were too close to reality, to close to mean streets and to rural fields.

Years ago, I proposed to the publisher at the PD that the newspaper create the position of public editor — The New York Times had one for many years — and that the company hire me to do the job. We had a pleasant conversation. He considered the idea and then concluded that it would “ruffle feathers” — to borrow his phrase — and ruffling feathers was precisely what he didn’t want.

Of the 162-total pages in the current issue, about half are advertisements, many of them for luxury homes and estates that go for as much as $5,975,000. Clearly, the magazine is aimed at the super-rich, though some articles are for ordinary locals as well as for tourists. Several pages cover Mexican food in an area that’s dubbed, “Sonoma County’s Mexi-Mile” and “Santa Rosa’s Mexican Food Mecca.” The editors know how to package information, but the packaging often out-shines the content.

The text for the story about the Mexican restaurants is packed with words and phrases such as “slice of heaven,” “beautiful creatures,” “marvelous,” “meaty mouthfuls” and “exquisitely tender.” Apparently the writer never had a bad or even a mediocre meal at any Mexican restaurant on Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa, where the “Mecca” is located.

And apparently no one ever had a bad experience on or around the Russian River that provides the magazine with its cover story, which is titled, “Take Me to the River.” It’s true that editor-in-chief, Catherine Barnett, mentions in her letter at the front of the magazine that there are “lingering scars “ from gravel mining and that “more than once, the Russian River has been deemed dead.”

But the overall impression that the issue gives is that the harm to the river was done in the distant past, and that, as Glen Martin writes in “A Watershed Moment,” there were “bad times for the river…But the river present is not the river past.” He adds, that the forecasts “for the future are favorable.” Four pages on, environmentally savvy county supervisor, James Gore, comes closer to the truth about the river than any one else in the magazine when he says, “We’ve completely lost touch with the River.”

To find the nuggets of pure information you have to read between the lines and look at the fine print. Page 37 has the headline “Rebuilding Sonoma County.” Part of the subhead reads, “building activity ramps up this summer.” But on the same page, the facts indicate that there is no major ramping up. Indeed, as the statistics on the same page show, 70% of the “victims" of the fires from last October “do not think they have sufficient insurance to rebuild.”

The raw data on the same page also shows that 5,300 homes burned in Sonoma County. Only 223 new homes were under construction as of the end of May 2018. And what about the word “victims?” Didn’t we, in Sonoma County, collectively decide to call people who were burned out “survivors” and not victims? I know some supervisors insist on it. If you want an intelligent in-depth article about the fires in Northern California and about efforts to rebuild, read “Sonoma’s Burning Problem” in the fall 2018 issue of Alta magazine, which has a balance of editorial content and advertising.

If and when Sonoma county becomes one big estate exclusively for the wealthy, Sonoma magazine might adhere to its formula and show smiling people, million-dollar homes and Mexican restaurants where one can go slumming. In the meantime, there are a whole lot of citizens who are in need of a magazine that reflects their lives and their world in which families are separated at the U.S. Mexican border and where some kids go to sleep hungry at night and want to be treated with dignity and not given a hand-out.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 23, 2018

Billy, Black, Brown, Chaney

ANTHONY BILLY, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JENNIFER BLACK, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JAMES BROWN SR., Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

HEATHER CHANEY, Fortuna/Fort Bragg. Trespassing/refusing to leave.

Cooley, Garcia, Hollinger

JOHN COOLEY JR., Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ERIC GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Controlled substance, probation revocation.

LILY HOLLINGER, Rosendale, New York/Fort Bragg. DUI.

Johnson, Kistler, LaForce

BRANDON JOHNSON, Temecula/Calpella. DUI, controlled substance for sale, marijuana sales, suspended license.

ANGELA KISTLER, Ukiah. Disobeying court order.

GEORGE LAFORCE, Ukiah. Under influence, failure to register, probation revocation.

Lawrence, Manuel, Steele, Waldrep

DEBORAH LAWRENCE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

KELLEE MANUEL, Covelo. Attempted murder, probation revocation.

EDWARD STEELE, Ukiah. County parole violation.

ISAAC WALDREP, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

* * *


by James Kunstler

This idiotic fantasy congealed in the political matrix last week as everyone across the spectrum of parties and factions scrambled for patriotism brownie points in what is shaping up as an epic game of Capture-the-Flag for the mid-term elections. Listen to me for a moment, as our arch-nemesis Vlad the Putin said to Fox News knucklehead Chris Wallace in an interview aired Sunday Night — when Wallace interrupted Mr. Putin for perhaps the fourth time, saying, “I don’t want to interrupt you, sir, but….”

“Listen to me. Be patient,” Mr. Putin repeated dolefully, like a second-grade teacher struggling with an ADD kid.

The interview was trying my Christian patience, too. And my own personal fantasy was that Mr. Putin would whip out 30 inches of rebar and whap Chris Wallace upside the head with it. But he only repeated, “Be patient….”

So, listen to me: Russia did not “attack” us. Trolling on Facebook is not an attack on the nation. The allegation that Russia “hacked” Hillary’s email and the DNC server is so far without evidence, and computer forensics strongly suggests that the information was transferred onto a flash-drive on its journey to Wikileaks. And, of course, the information itself, concerning embarrassing unethical hijinks among Democratic Party officials, was genuine and truthful — they “meddled” in their own primary elections.

This lingering Russia hysteria got a big re-boot last week following Mr. Trump’s impressively awkward performance onstage with the nimble Mr. Putin, whose self-possession only reinforced Mr. Trump’s lumbering oafishness and amazing verbal incoherence. It’s hard enough for Americans to understand what the Golden Golem of Greatness is trying to say; imagine the torment of the translators untangling his tortured utterances!

I daresay that some of the American observers secretly wished that we could swap over Mr. Trump for Mr. Putin so as to have a national leader with some decorum and poise, but alas…. And one can’t help but wonder how Mr. Putin sizes up POTUS among his intimates inside the Kremlin. I’d love to be a fly on that wall.

The Helsinki summit meeting has the look of a turning point in Mr. Trump’s political fortunes. One irony is that he may escape his enemies’ efforts to nail him on any Russia “collusion” rap only to be sandbagged by financial turmoil as the dog days of summer turn nervously toward autumn.

Events will cancel the myth that his actions as president have produced a booming economy. If anything, the activities that make up our economy have only become more vicious rackets, especially the war industries, with all their inducements to counter the imagined Russia threat.

The financial markets are the pillars of the fantasy that the US economy is roaring triumphantly. The markets are so fundamentally disabled by ten years of central bank interventions that they don’t express the actual value of any asset, whether stocks, or bonds, or gold, oil, labor, currencies, or the folly known as crypto-currency. We await the fabled “moment of truth” when the avenging angel of price discovery returns and shatters the illusion that accounting fraud equals prosperity.

The revelation that Mr. Trump is not an economic genius will spur a deeper dive by chimerical Democrats into nanny state quicksand. They will make the new fad of a Guaranteed Basic Income the centerpiece of the midterm election — even though many Democrats will not really believe in it. They are pretending not to notice how broke the USA actually is, and how spavined by unpayable debt. The lurking suspicion of all this is surely behind fantasies such as Russia attacked us, the displacement of abstruse and impalpable fear onto something simple and cartoonish, like the President of the United States.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

* * *


Fort Bragg, CA – July 23, 2018 - Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) is excited to announce that on June 26, 2018, members of the MCDH Auxiliary held a general meeting and luncheon at Cucina Verona for the purpose of installing new officers for their 2018-2019 terms. President Susan Collins, Vice President Bobby Knapp, Secretary Leslie Aspey, and Treasurer Carol Steel were all installed into office and began their terms in early July.

In addition to new officers, the MCDH Auxiliary is proud to announce that this year they awarded $15,000 in scholarships to six community members interested in pursuing careers in healthcare. The recipients include students from Fort Bragg and Mendocino High Schools. Recognition awards were given to Barbara Griffin and Dottie Hefner for one year of service. Dora Baroni was honored with a life time membership for her 47 years of service.

Are you interested in joining the Hospital Auxiliary? The MCDH Auxiliary is seeking new members to join their organization, and would like to invite you to be a part of their team that is working to make our hospital the very best it can be. The Auxiliary’s simplified mission is to serve our community through service to the hospital, the staff and the patients.

Auxiliary members run the Gift Shop, greet patients in the lobby, check patients in for Cardiology testing, direct patients to the correct location for outpatient procedures, stock pantries, stock nurse’s stations, and deliver and pick up the mail, gifts and flowers! They host Scrub Sale events and many very popular staff celebrations. The Auxiliary awards scholarships to local graduates, and provide grants to continue education in healthcare. This group makes amazing contributions every day to improve the health of our community, and they have fun doing it.

If you want to get involved with the MCDH Auxiliary, please call (707) 961-1234 x 291 or email

MCDH Auxiliary after their recent yearly luncheon held at Cucina Verona in Fort Bragg, CA. (click to enlarge)

* * *


Event: First Friday Featured Artist at Edgewater Gallery

Artist: Barbara Bonardi, Fused Glass and Mixed Media Paintings

When: Friday, August 3, 5-8 pm

Where: Edgewater Gallery, 356 N. Main St., Fort Bragg

Admission is free. Light refreshments served. Barbara will do a brief presentation about her art at 6pm.

Barbara Bonardi is Mendocino County's newest diverse artist! Art lovers have commented that her paintings and jewelry designs complement each other. Many of her one-of-a-kind jewelry designs incorporate colorful fusible glass, fine silver, gold, and exotic pearls and beads from faraway places. Likewise, her paintings are rich in color but simple in design. Her mediums include oil, watercolor, fluid acrylics, and various mixed media incorporating pottery chards and sea glass on glass.

* * *


During the Obama years the Democrats lost over 1,000 positions in state and federal elections. Centrist policies have been tried and they failed to win votes. More of the same will not lead to different results. To move even further to the right to catch a few conservative votes from republican voters disgruntled with Trump will not help to win. The further the party moves to the right the more people on the left will abstain from voting for it. These are the decisive few percent that cost the Democrats the presidency and the majorities in Congress and in various states. These centrists are the ones who are really helping Trump. Aren't they the real 'Russian agents'?

* * *


The Mendocino County Office of Education has extended its application deadline to Friday, July 27 for its Medical Assistant Training and Dental Assistant Training Programs. Applications are available online at or at the MCOE Ukiah Office located at 2240 Old River Road.

The Medical Assistant Program is a comprehensive eight-month training course that prepares people to work as medical assistants. The next course runs from August 23, 2018 through June 6, 2019 and includes medical terminology/abbreviations, anatomy and physiology, medical law, medical/coding and billing, electronic medical records, appointment scheduling, rooming patients/vital signs, EKGs, blood glucose monitoring, urine testing, pharmacology, injections, and assisting the medical provider.

The Dental Assistant Program is a comprehensive four-month course taught by Sherry Rease that prepares people to work in a dental office. The course runs from August 27, 2018 through December 20, 2018.

Prerequisites for both programs include being 18 years of age at time of extern placement; proof of high school diploma, CHSPE or GED; typing skills; a completed physical examination form; two negative TB tests; Hepatitis B Series; and a clean criminal background check and drug screening. It is helpful to have previous academic and work experience in the medical field.

For more information, call (707) 467-5123.

* * *

Et tu, Cohen?”

* * *


Consider that during the 2016 election cycle the 20 top individual donors coughed up more than 500 million bucks in donations to political organizations.

Consider also that the 20 top organizational donors also coughed up over 500 million bucks in donations to political organizations.

If you want to know what oligarchy looks like, this is what it looks like.

Consider these amounts of money from these people. Do you think they’re paying all these sums out of the goodness of their hearts?

Look at the lists on These are the shot-callers. If the system is going down the drain, it’s going down the drain in the service of these few interests.

Trump was never intended to be in the Oval Office and they’re trying to get him out by any means short of rifle-shots.

There was supposed to be an Obama-Hillary hand-off. The trouble is Hillary fucked it up.



  1. Eric Sunswheat July 24, 2018

    Re: Granite Construction is the company doing the paving. They also did the absolute worst (squiggly) centerline striping in the history of road paving.
    —->. The worst? A contender. Don’t forget the squiggly lines the County Transportation Department road crew, did on Eastside Potter Valley Road, some years back just before the Memorial Day Weekend Rodeo. Subsequently to the stripping, the County politicians were traversing the stretch, with special bumpy filled potholes that historically had not been patched with base material, that the road a few months later, was put up as high priority for reconstruction, ignoring the original design layout which had infrastructure in place for previously anticipated widening, but not adequate widening to be eligible for wishful buckets of reconstruction dollars. Supervisor Delbar had a good laugh on that one, saying he wanted to be able to fall asleep driving, and have enough road shoulder, to recover his driving. The Willits Bypass, has slowed down but not stopped the Potter project final widening, proceeding step by step, after relocating power poles.

  2. Eric Sunswheat July 24, 2018

    Targets’ supposed new location at Lucky’s in Ukiah, may be an urban myth.

  3. Harvey Reading July 24, 2018


    What’s the big deal? Just another small bit of evidence that the people of the U.S. are totally incapable of self-government. If California was divided into two or three different states, it would simply mean more jurisdictional divisions of a people too dumb to govern themselves. The libertaryans would be as unhappy as they are now, because they still wouldn’t be running quite everything. Same holds true here in the broomstick cowboy state, but at least there is no silly, nonsensical movement for splitting the state.


    Excellent, and oh so true. Sonoma had become nothing more than an enclave for yuppies, and the truly wealthy, by the end of the 80s. The last time I passed through, in the late 90s, grapevines had replaced rolling pastures, even along Ramal and Duhig roads. I never have been tempted to visit the area since. I know I would find the place completely disgusting now. Yuppies and really wealthy people, and the ways they change the landscape have that effect on me.


    Obama fucked it up, too, with his despicable, murderous, right-wing, health-insurance-company-friendly administration. When a party is so vile that it will run scum like the Kennedys, Clintons, and Obama, it deserves to die. Anyone who considers democraps progressive, or as tilting even slightly to the left, needs a thorough brain examination.

  4. Brian Wood July 24, 2018

    I have a theory about the striping on hwy 128. The road is being repaved in short sections. Ususally they put down temporary turtles until the road is complete, then they pry those off and stripe the whole road properly. I think the bad striping is an arternative to temporary turtles. You see where striping starts and stops in many places. They’re going to scrub the temporary striping off (or paint over it) and neatly stripe the whole road in the end.

    That’s my theory, since CalTrans never tells us shit.

    • james marmon July 24, 2018

      Yeah its temporary striping, if you notice there aren’t any fog lines either. May even be getting another layer of asphalt before they’re done. Must be a slow news day for the AVA staff.

      James Marmon
      Former Construction Laborer.
      Laborers’ Union International Local No 139


  5. Eric Sunswheat July 24, 2018

    The newly re- constructed Talmage Road (101/Costco) turn lanes has a squiggly concrete center curb, or rather should I say, that the center curb median island between the two opposing left turn lanes, do not follow the curvature of vehicular traffic flow, but instead are abrupt, presenting a traffic obstacle. Get the Ukiah habit.

    Speaking of which, to dispel the rumors wafting in the ether, Target was looking at the Lucky store Ukiah location, nearly 3 or 4 months ago, but it was too small for them, plus Lucky management went ahead to sign a new lease then, which has been confirmed today, but you might check with the ‘go to guy’ Sheriff Allman, and the Ukiah Police that there has been no application to transfer alcohol license at that location.

  6. Joe Hansem August 19, 2018

    In all fairness to Ms. Thompson, ultimately it is the defendant who makes the final decision to take a case to trial or not and sadly there are too many of them out there who recklessly decide to do so out of immaturity, arrogance or both (e.g. “oh fuck you, I ain’t takin’ shit! I’m fixin’ on gettin’ on up outta here; dig what I’m sayin’? etc. etc.) And sadly, arrogant and narcissistic letters Tai wrote to the Fort Bragg Advocate-News when this case was pending did not make him out to be a shrinking violet. So I don’t think Thompson, even if she is a dump truck, was keen on taking that case to trial at all as a plea would have been much more simple. And it is surely a credit to Jan Cole-Wilson that she got the co-defendant she reprsented to take the deal he did which has resulted in his release

    • Bruce Anderson August 20, 2018

      For the record, Abreu, age 19, was talked into going to trial by Thompson. It was not his decision. Prosecutor Kevin Davenport begged Thompson to take the deal offered, 20-to-life. Davenport told me he did everything but get down on his knees, but Thompson thought she had a Miranda-based case. The jury took about an hour to decide her case was non-existent.

      • Joe Hansem August 25, 2018

        That’s what Tai says.

        • Joe Hansem August 25, 2018

          But yes, Thompson should have done more to try to get through to this arrogant young tweaker. Then again she allowed Talen Barton to plead out on the spot to 70 to life at her second court appearance with him. Unbelievable, due diligence in a murder case- even one that goes to plea-is going to take the better part of a year or more. He probably deserved that, but there’s no possible way that she could have adequately investigated this case and done due diligence in looking at defendant’s background in the four weeks she had represented him. Also check out In re Crockett, 159 Cal.App.4th 751 (2008), where Thompson pled the defendant out to something that was not a public offense, resulting in his serving a 16 month prison term for nothing.

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