THURSDAY NIGHT'S school board meeting will be a hot one, and here's why: Late last week, Ernie Pardini received a phone call from high school principal Jim Tomlin who proceeded, in typically passive-aggressive style — “Thank you for your years of service but you're fired” — to relieve Ernie of his volunteer work as football announcer, a fine thank you to a guy who has volunteered many hundreds of hours to The Valley's youth football programs. Ernie's crime? He expressed, in temperate language, over the public address system at the Homecoming game, what many people in the community have wanted to say for years, which was that it is clear that the school people would just as soon see football leave the Anderson Valley forever. The referees had shown up three hours late, one more screw-up in a long line of screw-ups going back years, and directly attributable to the school's indifferent administration, well-paid to administer but unable to bring off the simplest events without mishap. When Ernie delivered his amplified summation of this true state of affairs his speech of course offended the guilty parties, hence Tomlin's telephoned sayanora. Which Tomlin wouldn't seem to have the authority to do since he, in theory anyway, works for the school board, not as an independent operator. It's not as if people are beating the school doors down to volunteer their time, and this “firing” of a good guy for doing good things for the school is just one more example of how arrogant and isolated the school people are from community opinion. But Thursday night it all comes to a head when Ernie addresses the school board, three of whose members have sons playing football at various levels. The vote should go Ernie's and the community's way, 3-2, but we'll see what we see.
THAT CHAMPAGNE the Giants were fizzing all over each other when they won the National League West last week? Our very own Roederer, based in Philo, right here in the bounteous Anderson Valley. That champagne they sprayed all over each other when National League Division Series Monday night in Atlanta, we don't know what the champagne was because we were listening to the game on the radio.
A FRIEND, aghast at all that expensive booze being sprayed around the Giant's locker room commented, “I wish they'd wring out their shirts and send the juice to me.”
ONGOING LAUGHS at the north end of Ukiah where an enormous billboard sports an advertisement for turkey bags, a buck each. Turkey bags? You need a billboard to advertise turkey bags? This time of year you do, especially if you're stuffing pot for storage and transport, and for that crucial use nothing better than a turkey bag.
SPEAKING of Mendocino County's number one cash crop, so many people are engaged in our most lucratrive form of agriculture that prices for Mendo Mello are down to about $1,800 a pound, still high enough to attract even more people to the business, thus driving prices even farther down.
A CALLER said “I urge you to reverse your NO stand on Prop 19,” the marijuana legalization measure on November's ballot. He said if 19 fails it means black people will continue to be disproportionately punished for selling and smoking it, and I'm a racist dog-pig if I continue to recommend a NO on 19 vote. He didn't say 'racist dog-pig' but that was the implication. I understand that argument. It's the NAACP's position on 19. My counter-argument is, in the words of a Boonville friend, “If it weren't for my little pot patch I'd be living under a bridge.” Thousands of Mendocino County people depend on marijuana production. Legalization will drive them directly to The Poor House. Like it or not, pot is crucial to our economy. Besides which 19 isn't legalization anyway so long as the fed's policy of zero tolerance remains in effect. And it's poorly written by the people who stand to profit most — the warehouse boys in urban areas who hope to grow and dispense on an even larger scale. NO on 19. (And NO on all the judges clogging up the ballot as if we know anything about them and have any choice but to return them to their life sinecures.)
THE ANDERSON VALLEY Community Action Coalition will host a community forum on Tuesday evening the 19th of October at 6:30 PM in the High School Cafeteria. The forum is a pro and con discussion of Proposition 19, the pot legalization measure on the November ballot. Dick Browning will moderate the discussion. Ellen Komp of NORML will address the pro arguments,Sheriff Allman the con. Charlie Seltzer of Mendocino County Health and Human Services Prevention Unit will provide a summary of the Proposition content. There will be Spanish translation by Community Liaison Lupita Guerrero. Homemade cookies and coffee will be served along with some healthy treats. Everyone is invited.
SOUNDS like a perfectly excruciating evening. Maybe we can get the Sheriff to crank off a couple of rounds into the floor to keep everyone awake. At the risk of sounding even more churlish, local events that translate everything into Spanish only make them twice as tedious. I've sat through these things where everyone in the room understood English but we still got the translation, that and some grimacing babe signing for the zero deaf people in the audience. And does Mr. Seltzer really prevent health and humans? Now that might be interesting.
COME ONE, COME ALL to see Delightfully Disturbed Art now on display at Laughing Dog Books in downtown Boonville, Art by Sarah Lix the entire month of October. Laughing Dog Books is at 14125 Highway 128 in downtown Boonville. 707-272-READ.
LAUGHING DOG will be closed this Friday and Saturday, the 15th and 16th of October. “W.Dan's mother passed away and we will be attending her memorial in Bakersfield. We'll be back up on Sunday.”
TODD WALTON, a regular in this fine community newspaper best known for his best seller “Inside Moves” that also became a box office hit movie, will appear at Laughing Dog Books on Saturday the 23rd of October, 2-4pm, to talk about his recent books, “Buddha in a Teacup” and “Under the Table Books.” A very amusing guy; you'll enjoy the heck chatting with him out on the patio on a perfect Fall afternoon.
THE NAVARRO RIVER gaging station has been spared. Last week the Board of Supervisors approved a cost sharing agreement with the US Geological Survey for operation of the Navarro gage, the Noyo River gage and the Gualala River gage, good through 2011. USGS will put up about $9,000 of the $22,400 the gage supposedly costs. Mendocino County the remaining $13,400. The County, however, only pays about $3,000 of that. The rest will come from donations by the Mendocino Redwood Company, the Anderson Valley Winegrowers, and Friends of the Navarro.
NAVARRO'S Dan Myers adds, “The Friends of the Navarro Watershed would like to thank those members of the public who have contributed to this effort. We have turned over $2600 to the County, matching an equal contribution from the Anderson Valley Winegrowers. The balance of the funding is being provided by the Mendocino Redwood Company and the county. We would like to express our appreciation to donors; Ferrari-Carano Lazy Creek, Clare Rolph Wheeler, Richard Browning, Navarro Vineyards, Richard Bristow, Margaret Pickens, Gwyn Leeman Smith, Alan Porter, Bradford Wiley, Lee Serrie, Sophie Otis, Congaree River Lmtd, Stephen Hall, Roberta Fisch, Beverly Dutra, Independent Career Women, Elisabeth Dusenberry, Gaile Wakeman, Barbara Goodell, Dave Papke, Andrea LaCampagne, and the Friends of the Navarro contributors.”
DARNED if that wasn't our very own Luis Espinoza on patrol with deputy Craig Walker the other afternoon. Luis hopes, and we all expect him to someday be, resident deputy for the Anderson Valley where Luis was born and raised.
NO GRANGE GROOVE this Friday, reports grange groover Bruce Hering. All you jam dancers gotta wait till Friday the 19th of November for the next one.
ANOTHER DRUNK, another gate and fence repair for Philo Pottery Inn. This time the drunk, a Mr. Theiss, was behind the wheel of an SUV last Thursday night when he managed to roll off 128 and on into the Inn's gate, injuring it but not him. More precisely, as a Philo reader informs us, “It was about 10pm on a lovely Thursday evening when Mr. Theiss careened through Philo at high speed and twice the legal limit for drunk driving when he couldn't quite keep to the road and became partially airborne, crashed through the Philo Pottery Inn's 6 foot redwood fence, took out the gatepost, shredded and uprooted plants, drip lines, electrical lines, folded the Inn's metal gate neatly in half, flipped his car and finally came to rest inside the garden of the property. He was taken to UVMC by the CHP and released that same evening. This is the most damage done to the Inn's property yet. Previously, the Inn had lost its sign and, just across the street, 4 young Mexican workers died in their car.”
A LOCAL HISTORIAN tells us that drunks have managed to lose control of their vehicles 22 times over the years at that exact location, and he doesn't know how many did it before he started counting in 1970.
SIGNAGE strewn up and down our highways and biways greatly detracts from the scenic beauty our area markets to the outside world. The latest eyesores, one of which is installed suspiciously close to my driveway, consists of two large, garish yellow things inscribed, “Senior Citizen Facility.” I thought at first it was a reference to my house, but I guess it means the ElderHome down the street, none of whose occupants are so far gone they're likely to totter into the traffic which, in any case, is unlikely to do an age check before they mow the old folks down even if they do attempt to get from one side of 128 to the other.