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Mendocino County Today: Friday, July 27, 2018

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Governor Jerry Brown has declared a State of Emergency for Shasta County, as the 20,000-acre Carr fire continues to rage through the Whiskeytown area.

The Carr Fire crosses the north side of State Route 299 to the south side. Photo taken Thursday afternoon by Caltrans. (click to enlarge)

Calfire reports that as of 1:06 p.m., 192 structures are threatened by the fire. However, Redding’s division of the California Highway Patrol has advised all West Redding residents to pack their bags and prepare for the worst.

“We are getting inundated with messages asking if ‘name a location’ is safe,” the Redding CHP wrote on Facebook this morning. “Follow the evacuation updates and be prepared. If you live in West Redding: “Pack your bags! The fire has been very unpredictable … Don’t wait till it’s too late. If you see fire or heavy smoke billowing into the air from your house, get ready, it’s coming.”

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A bridge worker found the body of Kathleen Zuelsdorf, 50, of Nevada City at the base of the Albion River Bridge along the Mendocino Coast on Wednesday, prompting an investigation into her death.

Albion Bridge Low Railing (Click to enlarge)

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by Bill Baker

We first met Jack June in 1972, and what a surprise it was. My wife and I were part of the hippie invasion driving up property prices and corrupting Anderson Valley youth with our New Age ways. Jack was a member of the old guard, bedrock Republican, frozen in time somewhere back in the late 19th century. But then he began to surprise us. At our very first meeting, we learned that a highly experienced forester could conduct a timber cruise from the comfort of a deck chair. Jack extended a hand and welcomed us as if we were members of the family, kind of long-lost cousins who managed to return from the big city. And when he drove off in his modest pickup (so different from the 4 wheel monster trucks of other neighbors), he leaned out and waved a friendly Boont Salute.

Jack was Boont from top to toe. (May he rest in peace with a frisky trout at the end of his fly line.) He was one of the most agreeable of the old-time Boonville pioneers, combining amiability and irascibility in a unique package rare in the outside world of Bright-lighters. His grin and salute greeted friends and (most of) his neighbors as he passed on his way to go fishing.

Jack’s working career — which did interrupt his fishing from time to time during the early years — was involved with the land and the woods. There was not an aspect of forest management or agriculture on which he could not offer expert opinion. Come to think of it, there were few subjects of any kind, from national politics to social norms, where he was not willing to offer expert advice, or to argue at length. And breadth.

But his true and genuine field of expertise was fishing, in particular, steelhead fishing in our beloved Navarro River. He had been around in the days of the great steelhead runs, when fish were so plentiful that when the mouth of the river opened to the sea with the first good winter storms, the first spawners came in so thick and heavy that a brave soul could walk shore to shore on the backs of the fish. Jack shook his head and corrected that stretcher, explaining, “It’s not quite true. One November I tried it, and I did make it almost all the way across. But they were piled up so high, and kept on leaping like popcorn popping that I had to turn around and go back.” Jack was committed to precise historical accuracy when it came to fishing. (Valley history, maybe not so much.)

Jack June's old house

Once encouraged to reminisce, he had stories to tell of the magnificent fish of the past, though he was careful to stick only to the facts. “People talk about big fish, but most of them exaggerate. In my experience, it was rare to actually land a fish much more than forty or fifty pounds.” He added, “There were exceptions, of course. I remember one hen I released in ’52 ran me up and down the river from Iron Bridge to Miner’s’ Hole. Never weighed her, of course, but I did get a picture.” He flipped through his wallet, but a copy was not there. “No matter. But that snapshot by itself printed out to 3 by 5 feet, and even on ordinary photo stock, it came in at 18 pounds and some ounces.”

Times changed of course, for Jack June and all of us. Navarro River quality declined and the great runs disappeared. Jack was no tree-hugger and did not waste his time whining about mistakes of the past. He adapted to the changes and no longer dunked bags of bait in the silted-in deep holes with dozens of others who spent more time clacking rods together and tangling lines than actual fishing. (If it can even be called fishing when no fish are landed, and the call of “Fish on!” means that someone has tangled line with companions two or three rods upstream.)

Jack usually loved a good debate, but the dialog about good times long gone became too repetitive and depressing to listen to. His idea was that the good times are now, so he started fishing the cut banks in the lower river with his fly rod, presenting tiny shrimp-colored flies resembling the ocean food of the just-returned-to-fresh-water steelhead.

Was he successful? Although no one actually saw him catch a single fish, he reported the results with precise mathematical accuracy. “Hooked fourteen today, missed two, lost six. One was a jack salmon, jumped straight out of the water into a willow, wound my line into a clinch knot and broke off, the fly still in the corner his mouth. Looked like he was laughing all the way upstream.”

The way Jack chuckled, I had to believe he was telling the absolute truth, even though a clinch knot is not all that easy to tie while jumping out of the water. Especially without fingers or thumbs.

Sad to say, even those days of depleted runs came to an end. So few fish were ascending the Navarro to successfully spawn that Jack no longer had the heart even to catch and release. But instead of complaining, Jack changed with the times once again. “I figure there’s a new way of fishing, and a new sport fish to chase. Remember this name: Navarro River Three-Spine Stickleback.”

It took me an encyclopedia search to understand what he was talking about. The Navarro Three-Spine Stickleback is a tiny bottom-dwelling kind of minnow size sculpin unique to our river system. “It’s ours, and nobody else can lay claim to it,” Jack said. “And there are lots of them. But scattered in the gravel, no more social than loggers and cowboys at the Lodge the night before rodeo.”

But how can a fish no more than an inch and a half or two be a sport fish? I wondered. “You just have to use the right tackle. And a little imagination.” Jack displayed his gear: a mini fly rod casting a small-gauge floating line, with a uniquely fine leader and tippet, which began with 4 feet of 8-ounce limp mono, then 2 feet of 4-ounce surgical thread, and another 2 feet of white horse hair clipped from the mane of a barrel-racing palomino. The end was next to invisible. “How do you tie something like this?” Jack winked. “Very, very slowly and carefully.”

I had to take his word that there were hand-tied nymphs tucked in his fly book. I might have seen specks of pepper, but I wasn’t sure. “They put up quite a fight on tackle this light,” he said. “I’m lucky to land one out of three.”

But if ever an angler had good luck, it had to be Jack June. There was no moment out on the river that he wasn’t having the time of his life, while building up material for tales of the fourteen hook-ups or the time a crawdad crawled inside his waders.

After all the stories were told and the laughter subsided, Jack June would hop in his pickup and leave us, a sly grin on his face, and a friendly wave of the Boont Salute. In his memory, why not offer the salute to your own best friends and neighbors? It just might catch on.

(Ed note: Jack June died in Ukiah on October 29, 2005 at the age of 82.)

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SHERIFF ALLMAN’S MEASURE B Advisory Committee held their July meeting on Wednesday at the County Admin offices in Ukiah. Most of the meeting meandered from topic to topic without any resolution. Nobody made any motions or proposed any specific action.

During the discussion of the “Stepping Up Initiative” County Auditor Lloyd Weer told the Board that as far as he can tell the $150k allotted for Stepping Up back in 2015 is still in the budget. Weer also said that there was $100k set aside for Laura’s Law implementation. (Laura’s Law is a sort of semi-coerced imposition of mental health treatment through the courts for people who meet very specific criteria. The Board of Supes authorized a limited version of Laura's Law back in 2015 in the wake of the Aaron Bassler murders — even though Bassler himself would not have qualified and would not have voluntarily participated, a key provision of what is essentially feel good legislation passed in the wake of a gun tragedy.)

There was mention of first-responder training on how to deal with mental health patients, which, interestingly, Sheriff Allman said would also be open to the general public. But no particulars were provided. (Free range disturbed persons now being so common in every area of the country, and certainly in Mendocino County, most locals have become quite adept at coping with the deranged, although at least half the time their problem is drugs, not simply a mental health problem.)

Committee member Jed Diamond (Willits area rep) said he had received some information on the number of people sent out of Mendocino County after being declared “5150” — a danger to themselves, others or “gravely disabled” — and in need of medication adjustment. Diamond read from an unpublished memo sent to him by Dr. Jenine Miller, Mendo’s Mental Health Director:

In Fiscal Year 2016-2017 there were 36-46 clients per month sent out of County for "treatment." In 2017-2018 there were 31-38 per month sent out of County. Most of them went to facilities in Vallejo, Redding/Red Bluff, or Santa Rosa. Diamond did not say how long they stayed, or what happened to them upon release, nor did he say how many of them were the same person being re-hospitalized. According to Dr. Miller’s data as passed along by Diamond 53% of those assessed as 5150 were “danger to self;” 44% were “gravely disabled;” and the rest, 2%-3%, were considered “danger to others.” Diamond said that if those statistics are correct, then communities don’t need to worry too much about the safety of any proposed mental health facility in their neighborhood.

Diamond also said he’d spoken to consultant Lee Kemper about the status of the “needs assessment” the County is paying something like $40k for. Apparently Kemper has been moving ahead fairly quickly, talking to “stakeholders” and gathering data and now expects to finish his report before the next Oversight Committee meeting on August 22.

According to Diamond, Kemper expects to provide recommendations in the following areas: What Mendo has now, what Mendo “needs,” currently available (operating) funds, expected funding over next 5-10 years, what kinds of new facilities would work best and how they fit in with current facilities, how to keep patients in the “least restrictive setting,” crisis services as well as preventative services, how sustainable funding will be provided, comparisons to selected other counties with mental health facilities, and suggested steps to start implementation of the facility recommendations.

The Committee punted on the question of a response to the Willits resolution asking for assurances that City regs would be followed for any psychiatric health facility at the old Howard Hospital in Willits after Sheriff Allman said that it’s the Board of Supervisors’ responsibility, from one government entity to another — the committee is not an elected/government body. But even though the Oversight Committee’s actions are what prompted the Willits resolution in the first place, nobody suggested drafting anything for the Board to consider.

(Mark Scaramella)

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Woodlands Wildlife will be demonstrating Great Horned Owl pellet dissections at the Little River Museum from 11 to 3:30 on Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29th. The pellets and program are free. Owls swallow their food whole, then spit up (NOT poop out) a pellet of fur and bones. If you're lucky you'll find a whole mouse skull buried in there. The museum is at 8185 Hwy One in Little River. It's the little white house with the red geraniums in the window located across from Cobbler's Walk Inn at the top of the Van Damme beach "S" curve.

Ronnie James,

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Dick Whetstone)

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Regarding 160 degrees in Ukiah [from yesterday's "Ed Notes"]:

106 IN THE SHADE in Boomsville at 2pm this afternoon (Wednesday). Our thermometer is a Big Lots $2.99 job, probably created to make talking points for geezers like us. "It's 106 out here under the eaves." What? Speak up! "It's 106 out here in the shade!" Bullshit. It's never that hot in Boonville. If it's 106 here it's 160 in Ukiah.

For years we kept our outdoor thermometer on the front porch, where we consistently got high readings. Wife recently found this article, moved our thermometer to a shady spot on the other side of the garden, and we're now getting much more accurate (and much lower) readings.

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UKIAH, Wed., July 25. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations with guilty verdicts against an alcohol-impaired driver.

Sherri Lea Luallin, age 57, of Shelter Cove (Humboldt County) was found guilty by jury of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater, both as misdemeanors.

The prosecutor who represented the People's evidence at trial was Deputy District Attorney Melissa Weems. The investigating law enforcement agencies were the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Justice crime laboratory in Eureka.

The judge who presided over this three day trial was Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder.

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To the Editor:

Dear Supervisors John McCowen and Carre Brown:

I am writing to both of you because I am marginally acquainted with both of you and have always respected you for all the good work you have done. As a person with moderately low income, I have nevertheless also voted for special taxes for good causes.

As time has passed I have become increasingly leery as I have seen the funds diverted for other purposes than what I voted for. It was with great joy that I have seen recent special taxes that included the provision that the funds collected would not be diverted to other causes. However, as true politicians, you think you have found a way to do just that! Any time money is involved, there is always dishonesty. People simply cannot keep their hands off it. I am becoming more and more likely to avoid voting for any more special taxes.

After the Grand Jury reported that over the years and decades, the county has been charging the Library hundreds of thousands of dollars for what should never have been charged, the voters/taxpayers of this county passed a special tax to support the library that is not to be diverted for any other purpose. So now you have decided to come in through a side window and rob the library by creating a Cultural Services Agency, and divert staff time and resources to the museum and the parks.

The museum needs an educated, trained and experienced curator to run it. When the time your plan states will be provided by the ill-prepared library supervisor proves insufficient, then there will be more time taken, with very poor results, while the library suffers.

I have lost all the respect I ever had for you, and am determined not to vote for any more special taxes, regardless of the assurances that they will not be diverted. I will also be vocal in my opinions to friends and acquaintances. You are shooting yourselves in the foot.

Carol K. Gottfried


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by Justine Frederiksen

The cost so far of a lawsuit filed by the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District is approaching $8 million, according to a report the Ukiah City Council received at its last meeting.

“As of June 30, the Sanitation District has spent what we believe to be $5.9 million in attorney’s fees and litigation costs, with $4.8 million of that going directly to the law offices of Duncan James,” city Finance Director Dan Buffalo told the council July 18, adding that the city’s direct expenditures so far amount to about $1.7 million, bringing the total to $7.6 million.

“And that does not account for staffing costs and materials, nor the $2.7 million we lost from not being able to refinance the savings bond (sold for the upgrade of the Ukiah Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant) last January,” Buffalo continued. “And we’re going to miss this next deadline, and I would expect the savings loss to be about the same (for that missed opportunity).”

“Those numbers are just outrageous,” said City Council member Jim Brown. “It is just totally outrageous that over $7 million can be spent on attorneys’ fees for something that should have been resolved years ago over a cup of coffee.

“And the worst part of it is, our ratepayers are just going to have to bend over and take it,” Brown continued. “I’m sorry to use that kind of language, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen down the road – our rates are going to go up tremendously, and there’s not a darn thing we are going to be able to do about it. And I apologize right now to our ratepayers, but I will tell you that this City Council up here has done everything it possibly can to get this resolved. And I’m sorry about these outrageous numbers, but some attorneys are getting very, very rich off this litigation.”

The Ukiah Valley Sanitation District board of directors held a special meeting Tuesday with only one item listed on its agenda, which was a closed session discussion related to the lawsuit the agency filed against the city of Ukiah.

The suit filed in 2014 alleges that the city owes the district up to $30 million in payments it should have received according to the participation agreement both agencies signed for the joint operation of the Ukiah Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The UVSD also announced that a joint meeting was scheduled Wednesday morning between its Board Finance Committee and the city of Ukiah Budget Ad Hoc Committee, but that meeting was later canceled.

At the July 11 UVSD board meeting, a closed session was held with counsel regarding the lawsuit. Following the approximately 20-minute closed session, UVSD board Chairwoman Theresa McNerlin gave a report that was simply, “gave direction to attorneys.”

A trial in Sonoma County Superior Court was originally scheduled for last month, but was most recently pushed to late September.

“The trial has been continued until Sept. 26,” city attorney David Rapport told the Ukiah City Council last month, explaining that the city’s motion to “bifurcate” the case – hear separately the city’s claim that the statute of limitations had passed on the allegations, some of which date back to the 1960s – had been granted by the court in Sonoma County.

“So if the case goes to trial, the city will go first and present evidence for its argument that the complaint exceeds the statute of limitations before the merits of the case are heard,” Rapport said.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Question: Did the Pomos have dogs? Here at Ranchito Pavemento, I think about who and what was here 200 years ago, before ol' Whitey commenced wrecking everything. Any of you ever share that reverie? I like to imagine my Indian name was Chief Who Guards The Village."

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Eleanor Cooney’s recently completed four-part series “No County for Old Women” is so spot on! She captures the harsh realities of memory loss and the difficult decisions family or caregivers have to make. There is usually no “happy” solution. Thank you, Eleanor, for so well articulating all of the emotions and guilt involved in it.

Billie Crowley


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“On Wednesday, July 25, at approximately 7:00 pm, the 15-year-old victim was standing outside the back entrance of the Mendocino Cookie Company, located at 303 N. Main Street.

The suspect (Frederic Pere, age 56 of Fort Bragg) contacted the victim while she was on the phone. He placed his hand on her shoulder and asked her if she wanted a ride. The victim told him no and turned away from him. Pere then grabbed the victim by the arm and started to pull the victim towards a white panel van that was parked nearby.

The victim was able to pull away from Pere and struck him in the process. Pere then entered the white van, a 1998 Ford E350 panel van CA Lic# 5T76883, and left the area south bound on N. Main Street.

The victim was transported to the Police Department where she filed a report. A description of the vehicle and Pere were given to other Fort Bragg Police Officers who began to immediately check the area.

A van matching the description was located parked in the parking lot of the A Frame Coffee House. Officers contacted the lone occupant in the vehicle who was Pere. Pere was detained by Officers while the victim was transported to the location and was able to conduct an infield show up. The victim positively identified Pere as the suspect. Pere was taken into custody, booked and then transported to the Mendocino County Jail.

The Fort Bragg Police Department is requesting anyone who has had any similar contact with Pere to contact the Fort Bragg Police Department immediately.

Questions regarding this press release may be directed to the Fort Bragg Police Department at (707) 961-2800 or the crime tip hotline at (707) 961-3049.”

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Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said Gov. Brown’s proposal to shield utilities from strict liability for future wildfires was 'insufficient' as it reported a nearly $1 billion loss stemming from the October firestorm.

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The Coast Guard located a 46-foot sailing vessel, Sunday, that was adrift for more than one month after the vessel owners were rescued from it off the coast of Grays Harbor, Washington, on June 16.

The Coast Guard Cutter Barracuda crew found the vessel, the Kelaerin, Sunday while on routine patrol near Fort Bragg more than 440 miles south-southeast from its position on June 16.

Coast Guard Cutter Barracuda crewmembers prepare to tow the unmanned 46-foot sailing vessel after finding it near Fort Bragg, Calif., July 22, 2018. The Coast Guard Cutter Barracuda crew found the vessel more than 440 miles south-southeast of its last known position near Grays Harbor, Washington, on June 18, when it was abandoned after a search-and-rescue case. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/released).(click to enlarge)

The Barracuda crew inspected the vessel’s seaworthiness and took it in tow toward the coast, where a Coast Guard Station Fort Bragg 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew relieved the tow and moored the vessel at the B Dock in Fort Bragg, Monday morning. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay watchstanders contacted the owners to notify them the vessel had been found.

The owners were reportedly sailing from Hawaii to Bellingham, Washington, in June when a storm rendered their vessel disabled and tore their main sail. The couple activated their emergency position indicating radio beacon, and a helicopter crew from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon, responded and rescued them. The sailors were transferred to emergency medical services personnel with symptoms of hypothermia.

After the rescue, Coast Guard watchstanders warned mariners about the adrift sailing vessel via VHF radio.

“The vessel was not under power and was completely at the mercy of the sea,” said Chief Warrant Officer Chris Ramp, the Sector Humboldt Bay command center chief. “The owners probably never thought they’d see it again. Thankfully, the Barracuda crew kept a vigilant eye on the water and spotted the vessel so they could bring it back to shore.”

US Coast Guard press release

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June 18, 2018 – Grays Harbor, WA

On Saturday, a couple aboard a 46-foot sailboat en route from Hawaii to Bellingham, Washington, activated their EPIRB. According to a Coast Guard press release, the husband and wife ran into heavy seas. The boat, Kelaerin, was not leaking, but was awash with frigid seawater. After a helicopter arrived on scene about 180 miles off Grays Harbor, Washington, and lowered a rescue swimmer, the aircrew hoisted the couple aboard “at the request of the vessel owners because of health concerns.”

The News Tribune, an outlet based in Washington, included a link to a blog from a sailboat called Kelaerin, which had been cruising the globe for decades and was doublehanded by a husband and wife, but could not confirm if the boats were the same. Based on the video from the Coast Guard rescue and photos from the blog — both of which show a blue-hulled cutter — it does appear, from an informal visual ID, to be the same vessel. A blog posting said after leaving Washington in 1991, the couple was planning to return to Bellingham to complete their circumnavigation.

“A marine information broadcast is being sent out to notify vessel traffic of the adrift sailing vessel,” the Coast Guard said in a press release. “The attempted salvage of the vessel will be at the owners’ discretion.”

– latitude / tim

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 26, 2018

Barry, Combs, Cross-Webb

WILLIAM BARRY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

ROBERT COMBS, Lakeport/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

ALISSA CROSS-WEBB, Potter Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Donahe, Drinkell, Gonzalez

MICHAEL DONAHE SR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

VIOLET DRISKELL, Nice/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

SANTANA GONZALEZ, Sparks, Nevada/Fort Bragg. Battery with serious injury, touching of intimate parts of another against their will.

Hernandez, Johnson, Marteeny

MATTHEW HERNANDEZ, Huntington Beach/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DAVID JOHNSON SR., Ukiah. Parole violation.

ELLE MARTEENY, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

Primm, Ramirez, Sanderson, Trujillo

JOSEPH PRIMM, Huntington Beach/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JULIAN RAMIREZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

CODY SANDERSON, Laytonville. Probation revocation.

FEDERICO TRUJILLO, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, suspended license.

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CALIFORNIA AUDITOR ELAINE HOWLE just released her annual whistleblower report.

Major issues: Misuse of State Time, Economically Wasteful Activities, and Misuse of State Property

Chapter 1 — Misuse of State Time and Inaccurate Attendance Records

California State University, Fresno: Two Employees Failed to Perform Their Work for Thousands of Hours During a Period of at Least Five Years

Case I2017-0276 9

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Kern Valley State Prison: An Employee Misused State Time by Consistently Leaving Work Early

Case I2016-1265 15

Department of Motor Vehicles: An Employee Consistently Slept on the Job Yet Her Supervisors Failed to Discipline Her

Case I2017-0414 19

Chapter 2 — Economically Wasteful Activities

California Correctional Health Care Services: It Wasted State Funds When a Nursing Director Permitted a Licensed Vocational Nurse to Perform Non-Patient Care Duties

Case I2015-1129 27

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: It Improperly Paid an Analyst for Inmate Worker Supervision and Failed to Seek Repayment

Case I2017-0453 37

California State University, Dominguez Hills: A Manager Wasted Funds and Used University Resources Inefficiently When He Purchased Capital Equipment That Has Never Been Installed

Case I2017-0195 43

CHAPTER 3 — Misuse of State Property

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection: An Assistant Chief Misused State Resources to Build an Unauthorized Structure

Case I2017-0912

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I am a retiree and stockholder in PG&E, and I believe it is time to hold PG&E accountable again. In 2001, PG&E’s feet were held to the fire, and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. emerged from bankruptcy in April 2004 after paying $10.2 billion to hundreds of creditors. Since that time, PG&E hasn’t disappeared, and service to Californians has continued.

It makes no sense to relieve PG&E of inverse condemnation, as PG&E hasn’t learned its lesson from the last time it sought protections for mismanagement. As with San Bruno, PG&E failed to protect its customers, and it sought liability protection in the absence of accepting responsibility. PG&E’s “leadership” cares more for its return on investment than adhering to the mundane operational duties they are paid to do.

Having the people of Los Altos Hills, Jenner and Fresno pay higher rates for recovery of the North Bay fires isn’t fair to them, yet PG&E would like to have this happen. Passing the costs to end users (customers) would allow for PG&E to keep stakeholders (utility leadership, stockholders) from sustaining a loss for their interests and holdings.

Gary Sciford

Santa Rosa

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To spend any time debating the Russia/USA sideshow is time poorly spent if real world understanding is the goal. Gore Vidal said (roughly) “Russia and USA are the two denizens of the North who can’t build a car anyone wants to buy.” So why do serious people, i.e. not the talking heads or profiteers of the new cold war, feed this fire at all?

Today’s ‘really hot’ current events are 90% gossip at best. Spend the time you save learning Mandarin instead.

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That would be justice. Instead, his Sandy Hook case will likely be settled quietly.

by Charles Pierce

The crazy train has opened a new depot in Hartford. Back in April, families who lost children in the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 filed a defamation suit against radio crazy person Alex Jones for initially saying on his crazy person’s electric radio program that the massacre was a hoax and that their children were not really dead, but, rather, “crisis actors” in a drama aimed at grabbing all the guns. (Later, Jones copped to believing that the massacre actually happened. What a guy.)

The lawsuit has progressed now to an attempt by Jones and his interesting legal team to dismiss the suit. This means that Jones and his interesting legal team have to present documents supporting their motion. This means fun! From CBS News:

"Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein relied on allegations from 'Deep Throat' to link the Nixon Administration to the Watergate break-in," his lawyers wrote in filing for a dismissal. "Such journalism, questioning official narratives, would be chilled if reporters were subject to liability if they turned out to be wrong,"

There are also lawsuits filed in Texas, where Jones’ crazy person’s electric radio program is based. There, an interesting character named Wolfgang Halbig is also named as a defendant.

Halbig, a former police officer who lives in Sorrento, Florida, said in April that he believes people died in the shooting, but that authorities refuse to clear up what he believes are discrepancies in the official story. Jones acknowledged allowing Halbig and others to question the shooting on his show, but said he has a constitutional right to do that. "To stifle the press (by making them liable for merely interviewing people who have strange theories) will simply turn this human tragedy into a Constitutional one," his attorneys wrote.

To be entirely honest, this case does contain some interesting constitutional questions. It will test the constitutional limits on things like talk radio, pundit TV, and the wilder fringes of Internet broadcasting.

And Jones’ interesting legal team has defended not only neo-Nazi goons, but also perennial New Hampshire primary character Vermin Supreme. From HuffPost:

Marc Randazza has represented a gay porn producer, far-right conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, civil rights lawyer Lisa Bloom, performance artist and activist Vermin Supreme, and the Satanic Temple, among others. He’s also appeared on Infowars in the past. Currently, the firm is representing Andrew Anglin, co-founder of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer.

“If you’re a First Amendment attorney, and you say, ’This person’s speech is good enough for me, but this person’s isn’t,’ you’re doing it wrong,” Randazza recently told The Daily Beast. Anglin is being sued by Tanya Gersh after Anglin allegedly directed his followers to harass and intimidate the Montana woman. Gersh said that she has received more than 700 threatening and harassing communications because of Anglin’s actions ― which allegedly began after she got into a feud with the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer.

The question seems to be whether or not Jones’s program defamed Adam Lanza’s victims by claiming that they were participants in a hoax—namely, that they weren’t really dead. My guess is that, if they survive the motion to dismiss, these suits will be settled quietly somewhere down the line. But, if there were any true justice to be found here, Jones would have to go all the way through the legal mill, testifying publicly and squirming under cross-examination, all with the entire nation watching him sweat and holler. It would be great TV.


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Dear Editor:

Finally I’m good and sick of seeing Philbrick’s “open letters” to the editor as a permanent fixture in the AVA, your lassie-faire indulgence of the nasty old reactionary parrot becoming less and less defensible it seems to me. Like a while back I picked up the AVA, admired the portraits of Anderson Valley’s Class of 2018 and, noticing the surnames and complexions, I wondered if these kids think this Trump cabal is irrelevant to their futures. Are they familiar with Philbrick’s podium-pounding holy sermons God and Country back in the days of Beaver Cleaver. Have these kids received the kind of public education that makes them wise to the ways these blowhards who betray both? And what do these starry-eyed young Americans (?) think of these “Law and Order” Republicans illegally stealing Native American babies out of the arms of their mothers? Not much, I expect. Nobody likes going eyeball-to-eyeball with a toilet bowl.

“God bless Donald Trump” as Philbrick’s mantra? Mr. Philbrick, if you’re listening, what god you talking about? The God of Mammon? The God of the Almighty Yanqui Dollar? The God of the Imperial Marketplace in debased and dehumanized commuter consumers, their social consciences shrunk-wrapped in mass manufactured self-congratulations?

When our deranged Field Marshals wed sadism and “National Security” to prison camps for punishment and profit, we change the channel. Since it’s costing us taxpayers roughly $750 per day is to cage Madonna and her child, why not kidnap the child and ship it off to Stalag 666 outside Who Knows Where, North Dakota (Pop: Dead)? Why not set a baby down inside a drunk tank for future fucking freeloaders? With nobody looking, why not double your money by replacing the mini-cellmate with another grieving mother? Why not fatten your take even more by charging for all the child services you’ll be giving all these little ones?

I’ve been writing for the AVA since 1984. For just as long as I’ve been reading, and enjoying, your stories and musings, Bruce. I know your writerly insights and blind spots, likes and dislikes, villains and heroes, etc. Yet, given your vast output over these last 34 years, I know remarkably little about you as the creature of your upbringing. Very rarely do you write about yourself, and when you open a door leading into autobiography, you never seem to walk through it.

Now that the Republican Congress has proven itself to be the Trump cabal’s cooks, waiters, bodyguards, door-openers, grease monkeys, surrogates, plumbers and fixers, I say the rules have changed. I never signed any Social Contract with any scum-sucking devil that asserts I’ve got to go along with stinking nasty demagogues picking the pockets of the blind, the deaf and the locknut-stubborn.

While I have no idea what you did in the US Marines back in olden days, I do know you swore the same solemn oath I did (as did all these Republican Party apparatchiks although, obviously, they swore with their fingers crossed behind their backs).

You also know the rules of evidence and the equalitarian ideals that (ideally) underpin American jurisprudence, as any real American should. It’s also fair to assume that you appreciate scientific method as the only surefire way to arrive at any quantifiable truth. So please tell us: Just what do you think your readers are getting out of reading/not reading Philbrick’s horseshit? What you see in this guy? Do you even read his stuff?

Also, seeing how Trump is a clear and present danger to American prosperity, world peace and the biosphere that birthed we as a species and all we know, I thought you’d be energized. Since Trump and his running dog surrogates have repeatedly called the American Free Press the Enemy of the American People, I expected you’d take great pleasure in, to quote Jefferson, reaffirming your “undying hostility to all forms of tyranny over the minds of men.”

So please be so kind as to share your thoughts on these matters. Your musings are bound to be more entertaining than your movie reviews. What’s to lose?

I just remembered a line from our old friend Alex Cockburn. One of the very, very few times I read something of his and knew he was mistaken. He wrote that fear is the opposite of hope. Fear is not the opposite of hope. The opposite is hope is death.


Bruce Patterson

Prineville, Oregon

* * *

* * *



Interesting civic art vs. MCPB Corporate Bureau of Radio.

Regarding Petaluma civic art proposed for Water Street:

The bathtubs on stilts are really nice, especially with the lighting.

Except for having four legs each, they're like steampunk renditions of H.G. Wells’ Martian war machines.

People like spindly things. I'm thinking of the walking plant in the video for Kwoon's I Lived on the Moon.

Maybe spindly things are fascinating and compelling because that's what we all are inside. I mean, look:

And regarding choosing from among candidates for official positions in Mendocino County:

The criteria you describe: "…The question is never about who can best do the job, when a vacancy occurs, but rather who is the best presenter, that is, who has the higher skills at landing the job, who is the better schmooze, the glibbest flatterer, the more assiduous nuzzlebum, the better bootlicker, the best lickspittle out of all the candidates”– applies perfectly to KZYX, where the board of trustees is comprised of people who have next to zero knowledge nor real experience doing radio, designing, building or repairing radio equipment, writing for radio, playing with radio, no understanding or sense of humor about radio at all, and so the string of managers they hire at absurdly high salaries are no better. They’re like the Bureau of Art in some totalitarian country, who lack the talent, ability or inclination to make art themselves and so meet regularly to cruelly fix it, as far as possible, so nobody can freely do it, and the bosses live in a big house filled with expensive ancient or foreign art, and the workers in licensed and sanctioned government monopoly art shops are paid very little. In the case of KZYX, the workers are not paid at all, and if they step out of line or speak up about any of this, they're just mysteriously not on the air anymore, so they don't.

Marco McClean

* * *


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Newcomer instruction at 7:30 pm

Caspar Community Center

$10.00 Admission

(High School Students - Free)

Support your local dance events by coming out and dancing!

Calling & instruction by dance leader Bruce Herbold

Lovely dancers and band members who kindly bring potluck food, please also bring your own utensils and a bag to put everything in when dance is over so the volunteer cleanup people can more easily do their work.



  1. Eric Sunswheat July 27, 2018


    —->. Hopefully life safety trampoline nets will be installed below the rails of the Albion River Bridge, as the Golden Gate Bridge becomes less attractive for jumping. Psychiatric apartheid mental poison drugs are easily prescribed at the Mendocino County Jail via video diagnosis. Therapeutic nutrients is not part of the mix, nor testing for nutritional deficiencies, mineral imbalance, and environmental toxin accumulation, in line with orthomolecular clinical practice, and risk aversion professional strategic alliances. Sheriff Allman’s personal, nearly 10 acre family farm may be doing well in Willits, while DA Eyster eats fried fast food on the coast, prosecuting cases, apparently with his double time, double pay salary.

  2. George Hollister July 27, 2018

    Jack June

    “Jack was a member of the old guard, bedrock Republican, frozen in time somewhere back in the late 19th century.”

    Jack June the character needs to be separated from Jack June the member of the old guard whose values are timeless. There is nothing old, or frozen in time about having a strong work ethic, having some basic virtues, and taking responsibility for yourself. Somewhere in the 1960s a movement of people in the US lost touch with this, and Jack disagreed. Jack was right.

    • Harvey Reading July 27, 2018

      Libertryan values, George?

      • Harvey Reading July 27, 2018

        What happened is that people saw through that hypocrisy, and the right wingers who spout it, in the 60s.

        • Jeff Costello July 27, 2018

          And a fat lot of good it did us.

          • Harvey Reading July 27, 2018

            Yeah, Jeff, they got suckered by middle and upper class phonies, like McCarthy, “I’m 100 (Or was it 1,000?) percent behind Tom Eagleton” McGovern, Hayden, and Carter. Now they get suckered by the likes of Bernie Sanders.

            • Jeff Costello July 27, 2018

              I voted for McGovern in’72 and Nixon won by a landslide. That was it for me, the 60s were gone.

              • Bruce McEwen July 27, 2018

                That was the year they (meaning us, the counter culture) discovered that poverty wasn’t as groovy as it was cracked up to be, so they (again, meaning us) went back home to Mommie & Daddy, repented of our sexual freedom sins, shed off our Salvation Army costumes, that made us look like extras from the movie Reds, and started dressing out of L. L. Bean (those of us who had Mommies & Daddies affluent enough to support and liberal enough to forgive their wayward hippies, that is); and that was the year I was tooling down I-5 in my 64 VW when a big gold Mercedes Benz zoomed past me w/ SDS on the vanity plate — that’s when I, personally, realized the cause was lost; and I would have ran home to Mommie and Daddy, too, but Dad had died, Mom re-married, step-dad was running for sheriff on the Republican ticket, and I was asked to please, ‘you crazy radical’, just go away…

                The hippies in Encinitas had spray-painted a billboard by the La Costa slough on HWY 101 “Don’t change dicks in the middle of a screw, re-elect Nixon in ’72!”

                • Bruce McEwen July 27, 2018

                  But I will concede this much to Gentleman George, he’s a refreshing breath from the past, before Rush Limburger, Miky Savage, Ann Coulter and our very own Jerry Philbrick took the suave conservatism of Clarence Day and Wm. F. Buckley, Jr. and turned it into a sewer-mouthed spew of vilification that seems to have begun about the same time as the premier of The Exorcist.

                  God put a flower on you, George, for keeping it civil.

                  • George Hollister July 27, 2018

                    I have to laugh, “the past”. Yea, the past. There are virtues that are timeless, that need to always be learned by the next generation. If not, we see too much of what we see. But one need to have faith. Most people figure it out, when they have to. I see it.

                  • Harvey Reading July 27, 2018

                    One man’s opinion, George, not shared by all. If those virtues are timeless, then they would not have to be learned, since they would be innate to all. Since you claim they do in fact have to be learned, it means that they are human constructs, and not timeless at all, being merely opinions shared by some who do their best to impose them on others.

                    It’s sort of like libertaryans as they go on about freedom. What they leave out is the part about their freedom trumping that of the rest of us.

                    Wyoming has lots of people who view themselves as libertaryans, including most livestock farmers. Their freedom to let their property (livestock) trespass trumps the right of adjoining landowners to freedom from trespass by livestock. The adjoining landowner must fence the stock out. That’s libertaryanism in a nutshell for me.

                    Y’all have good weekend, now.

                  • Bruce McEwen July 27, 2018

                    Most anthropologists agree that H. sapiens first encounter w/ the domestication of other animals was specifically w/ wolves, hence the dog; the only area of disagreement is whether we domesticated them or they, us.

                    1: Most anthropologists are liberal toadies

                    2: Only a liberal would compare a dog to a wolf

                    3: God made anthropologists in his own image

  3. Betsy Cawn July 27, 2018

    Re: Mendo County Public Broadcasting / KZYX “leadership” — East of the Cow, local community radio station KPFZ volunteer broadcasters (“programmers”) have been given new rules to follow, most of which are completely benign but one of which prohibits any discussion of internal machinations that can be interpreted as “criticism” “of the station” “on the air.”

    These new rules were issued by a briefly empowered “Program Director” (who resigned the position after only a few weeks, possibly because of blow-back on the new regs), who also included this potent instruction:

    “7) Respect. This is probably the most important guideline. KPFZ requires that its programmers show respect at all times: respect for other programmers, for callers, for guests, for public officials (even if you think they don’t deserve it), and respect for the station. If you have a concern about the station, talk to the Program Director, the General Manager, or any member of the Board of Directors.
    Do not criticize the station on the air. This is a station policy and you risk losing your show if you do it.”

    Members with justifiable concerns about board members with direct ties to local government, such as the wife of an elected District Supervisor and the newly elected District Attorney (both of them also regular programmers), have been unsuccessful in the past months in following the direction to “talk to the Program Director, the General Manager, or any member of the Board of Directors.” A small number of dedicated, long-time programmers, attempted to seek changes in the board election processes (currently elected from within) but were unable to penetrate the closed ranks of the board, similar to the plight of KZYX members and supporters.

    Stifling discussion of internal management issues aside, the greater threat — IMHO — is found in the directive to “show respect at all times” . . . “for public officials (even if you think they don’t deserve it).” In varying degrees, a few outspoken programmers, myself among them, have criticized the decisions made by elected officials whose responsibility for emergency management and disaster recovery, in particular (my area of particular concern) have resulted in unmitigated losses and unwarranted deficits in public service capacities.

    Responses by fire management officials to the recent wildfires in Lake County reflect a shift in organizational authority from the County’s Office of Emergency Services to the local-state partnership among our Fire Protection Districts and CalFire, which created a vastly more effective emergency management process in the outback “subdivision” of Spring Valley — saving all but a dozen of hundreds of homes.

    County officials have been mum on the subjects of long-term recovery from 2015, 2016, and 2017 wildfire disasters — while we await the federal agency report on its findings from 2017 “discovery” meetings with state and local government. Cobb Area residents meanwhile are moving forward on their community preparedness activities — including sub-local communication systems — and Hidden Valley Lake property owners moved quickly (in 2016) to put in monthly-exercised sirens, which all of us want but the County OES does not support.

    Who’s in charge of all that? Our Disaster Council, headed — since 2012 — by 5th District Supervisor Rob Brown, whose “leadership” thus far has continued to maintain the County’s exclusive ownership of our Emergency Operations Plan — beautifully explicated by the Lake County Grand Jury in its 2017-2018 report:

    Because of the heightened citizen awareness of wildfire disaster risks, preparedness, and response capacity needs, the subject of emergency management is not only fair game but a necessity to ensure local survival and future sustainability. Continuous rejection of community interests, as reported by the Grand Jury, by the County agencies and officials, renders the mandated “respect” for public officials — by KPFZ’s hall monitor — close to crossing the line of Supreme Court confirmed rights:

    Long live the AVA!

    • Harvey Reading July 27, 2018

      “Disaster Council”? Sounds like something that plans, and presides over, disasters.

  4. Betsy Cawn July 27, 2018

    Indeed, Lake County’s Disaster Council is described in the county’s “municipal codes,” Chapter 6 – CIVIL DEFENSE ( and broadly explained in the California Civil Defense Master Mutual Aid Agreement (

    California’s War Council was converted to the Disaster Council following WWII; the authorities delegated to local officials includes that of commandeering civilians for emergency response assistance, under the direction of trained and supervised officials. The popular “Certified Emergency Response Teams” are called to serve and deployed by the agency responsible for local Emergency Management (in Lake and Mendocino Counties, the Sheriff’s Office), after individuals meet federally-defined requirements.

    In Mendocino County, active CERT members were dispatched to help evacuate a subdivision north of Ukiah during the 2008 “Lightning” Complex of fires that also brought in a national-level Incident Command Team from Montana to Upper Lake, supporting the strike teams up on Elk Mountain.

  5. Kathy Janes July 27, 2018

    Another nice article by Bill Baker. Keep them coming!

  6. Jim Updegraff July 27, 2018

    A’s did it again- won the 4th game against Texas. An interesting article by Martin Gallecos of the Bay Area News Group reprinted in today’s Sacramento Bee “Here are 10 reasons the A’s are for Real’ – a must read for A’s fans. As an example the first reason is ‘One of the best offenses in Baseball’.

    • George Hollister July 27, 2018

      The A’s are impressive. Fun to watch. But we have seen this show before, many times. The Giants have a different model that is frustrating to watch, like right now, but they have won three World Series in the last 10 years. The A’s will fizzle in the play-offs, then trade away any potentially expensive talent they have for more great prospects. Next year it begins all over.

      The A’s have a good eye for young talent, maybe the best. But I look at so many stars on other teams, and try to remember, didn’t play for the A’s a few years ago? Aren’t they making a lot of money right now? Aren’t they future Hall of Famers?

      • Stephen Rosenthal July 27, 2018

        Have to disagree George. The only recent ex-A with an outside chance of making the HOF is Tim Hudson. Donaldson? One good year since being traded, then oft injured (has missed more games the last two years than played). Cespedes? See Donaldson. Sonny Gray? The Yankees are trying to unload him but no takers. See a pattern? Yes the A’s have a different business model than the Giants, but they’re on record saying they’ll do everything they can to keep this young core together. We’ll see, but no denying the A’s are in an up-cycle while the Giants are desperately treading water with a lot of boat anchor contracts that will sink them for years. They’re the oldest team in baseball with the fourth highest payroll and a minor league system virtually bereft of talent, not a formula for future success. If the A’s can get into the playoffs, don’t be surprised if they make a deep run.

  7. james marmon July 27, 2018

    Boy, that Zeke Flatten sure opened a big can of worms. I hope Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and our District Attorney learn something from all this, Asset Forfeiture is a big thing to them too.

    Rohnert Park hires police auditor to investigate its public safety department

    “Rohnert Park has hired a police auditor to conduct a broad inquiry into the practices and policies of its public safety department amid a series of complaints about the seizure of drugs and money on Highway 101 by officers operating far outside city limits.”

    “In June, the city acknowledged it was investigating Tatum and Huffman following complaints from a driver who was pulled over on Highway 101 in southern Mendocino County last December. The driver, Zeke Flatten, said the unidentified officers took three pounds of cannabis from his SUV but did not cite or arrest him. The department is looking into what role, if any, Tatum and Huffaker played in the stop. Tatum included Flatten’s name on an official police report.”

    James Marmon

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