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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2018

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by Rex Gressett

This is a mighty week for politics in Fort Bragg. Bright and early Monday morning the conference room in City Hall was packed with officials. The City Attorney and Councilmen were leaning forward to wrestle with Jacob Patterson about the CVRA (California Voting Rights Act) lawsuit he's holding over Fort Bragg's head. Patterson looked like a goldfish in a shark tank, but he's a gold fish with big teeth.

With attorney Patterson conducting the legal assault, a major electoral reform of our local electoral process (districting) is headed like a meteor at our peaceable and sleepy little metropolis. Patterson and his still-anonymous Committee For Responsive Representation are persisting, a little more weakly now, but still definitely in their state-mandated demands for electoral reform.

More than anything else, dismay and disavowal of any political experience of racial injustice by the mystified Hispanic community have taken the local wind out of the CVRA sails. The anonymous committee can still sue Fort Bragg, and “they” say they will. Oddly, actual representation of the Hispanic minority vote is not required under the provisions of the CVRA.

It is counterintuitive but indisputable that if the Committee for Responsive Representation sues Fort Bragg they will almost certainly win. But the City Council is staring them down.

Tuesday night at Town Hall, the City Council planned to rescind the Safe Harbor Provision of the CVRA that puts a lid on litigation costs. Dumping the Safe Harbor opens the city up to the risk of millions of dollars in attorney fees and expert testimony costs if the committee does sue. It's all somewhat surrealistic.

The Committee for Responsive Representation with all their righteous enthusiasm for curbing racial injustice can't find any in Fort Bragg. Mayor Peters has canceled his morning meetings until after the election lest it be suggested he is using city resources to support his incumbency. There is a Council meeting Monday night. Tuesday is blessedly vacant and The California Coastal Commission is coming to Town Hall Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to do their thing, including probably allowing the destruction of the lovely old historic Albion bridge for a replacement bridge.

Over three days of meetings, the Coastal Commission will have the future of Fort Bragg in their hands. Development Director Marie Jones will be selling the Commission the fiction that the people of the city support developing 70% of the mill site and that apartment houses and factories will look good on the coastal trail. Her plan leaves 30% of the mill site in open space including, of course, the toxic zone, although you won't actually be able to walk around on it.

Ms. Jones badly needs a win. She has a record of almost twenty years of almost complete failure to conduct a project on the mill site, except the one project that in the end cost us everything. The failed Specific Plan cost $2.5 million and took years to achieve nothing. The proposal for an industrial arts center at the mill site’s dry shed was a well-funded civic exercise in futility. Her one achievement, the much-lauded coastal trail, is now emerging as a de facto capitulation to GP-backed development.

Everybody, of course, is delighted to walk on the as yet unspoiled Coastal Trail. The toxic zone is strange but ignorable. But when GP and their developers have put up tract homes, high-density housing, light industrial heavy industrial and apartment houses, GP’s much-lauded generosity in selling us the coastal trail will make more sense. On that distant day when Jones spent a decade or so pushing for the specific plan, she ended up with somebody owing $2.5 million bucks for the person-hours, consultants, and lawyers. GP was not on the hook and Fort Bragg certainly did not expect to pay it. GP did eventually pay the $2.5 million, bailing out Jones in her darkest hour. No doubt GP acted out of that unfailing sense of altruism and community spirit for which the Koch brothers are so well known.

What some of us view as overdevelopment of the 350-acre Georgia Pacific mill site is on track and headed for the finish line. The California Coastal Commission will be in Fort Bragg August 12, 13 and 14 to decide important things, review the progress of the LCP (Local Coastal Plan), listen to weeping and wailing of the people and probably argue with Ms. Jones about her exaggerated ambitions for GP. In this extremity Mayor Peters has Jones’s back. Last week he established precedent for a gag order that in a brave new world insulates Ms. Jones from the trauma of unsympathetic remarks at Town Hall meetings.

Having the cart a little before the horse the Mayor is aggressively pushing a new city ordinance — “Crimes Against the Public” — which will make any comment about any city employee illegal in a Council meeting. As I reflected on this ordinance I recalled that only one person does that enough to bother them: Me.

The mayor has elevated the term "Personal attack" to a specific legal meaning which in practice will be interpreted as saying anything about anybody in city government except the elected martyrs on the Council. Attorney Jacob Patterson thinks it’s sort of aimed at him as well, but I think it is understood by all parties that the ordinance has been contrived mostly for me. In its widest conceivable application, it can only be aimed at one or two people. I am humbled to be preeminent.

Earlier in the day, Will Lee in a comment on my last article, revealed that the Code of Civility itself had also been invented just to restrain my rough and jolly exuberance. Peters and Lee are in it together. I must say it takes one back. When I discovered Councilman Lee’s derogatory and damning post, I did what I rarely do and smoked a joint. I could have been flattered. Not everyone has two laws passed against them. Well, one rule and one law. The argument for this is that my behavior at council meetings is so unruly, wild, incoherent, violent, and disruptive and well.... crazy.... that the public must be protected against me.

I have a bee in my bonnet about Marie Jones who in my opinion is railroading the city and the council into a GP friendly development policy that gives us a toxic dump in the middle of town and a massive unrealistic overdevelopment of the mill site. Everybody says I don’t like Marie Jones but I actually do or would try to if she would speak to me, but I do think she needs to be restrained from the fulfillment of her ambitions by public protest. I am trying to incite that protest. A rude and messy business. Mea culpa. Peters calls it hate speech and has declared (by God) that he intends to protect Ms. Jones from barbarism.

In the evening of the first day of the big political week, the regular City Council meeting rolled around. I spoke twice in carefully muted tones about things I don’t care that much about. And I have to admit I was a little petulant. I was mostly just desirous of taking a few shots to demonstrate that even as a condemned man I still could. I spoke with concern for the homeless when they announced the shopping cart confiscation campaign. Earlier, the brilliant Sarah McCormick had, as her duty requires, reported in her elegant way that the sequel to The Grapes of Wrath is being enacted across Fort Bragg even as we repose in our homes. The camps at Pudding Creek and beyond the yellow gate have gone down and a police invasion of the railroad tracks is pending.

City Manager Tabatha Miller, apparently noting my tangential references to the campaign of calumny being pushed by Peters and Lee, mildly rebuked me a little, publicly declining to believe that anyone could actually get kicked out of a Council meeting. She said that at the Public Safety Committee meeting also. Noting my melancholy reflections on the rottenness of the Code of Civility she also stood up for that. I have worked at a lot of thankless commissions boards and councils, said Ms. Miller, but when I got to Fort Bragg and hanging from the ceiling was that gratifying code declaring a workers’ paradise for harassed bureaucrats I said in my soul Hallelujah this is what we have been talking about. (I am paraphrasing Ms. Miller's remarks.)

In other Council business, the administration got a rubber stamp for their own salary packages tucked away in the consent calendar. Not surprisingly they waived a reading since this is very possibly the very last thing on the face of planet earth that they would care to have discussed, or even known although it is easy to find out. It’s a well-heeled bunch we have punching the clock at city hall. They think they richly deserve it. Maybe they do.

Considering that they had passed one rule against me and were now making an actual law I think I was pretty restrained.

Skunk Train Buys Mill Site

At the joint session of the Planning Commission and the City Council last week an elephant entered the room. The Skunk Train, our funky and grand little railroad, proudly announced their successful negotiation with GP to purchase Dry Shed #4 and the whole 75 acres of the mill site that is north of Redwood Ave. They were able to say at last, that they are in escrow. However, under close questioning by the City Council, it turned out that the terms of escrow were unusual, even strange. Robert Pinoli, managing director of the Skunk confessed that there was no exact term for the escrow. So the deal is not quite final? Indefinite escrow is an oxymoron, is it not?

The Council, in the throes of their enthusiasm, did not persist in their inquiry. Instead, everybody at the meeting cheered. After 20 years of frustrated ineptitude, it was impossible not to cheer. At least and at last an important local business of reasonable competence proposes to do something. The Harts (Skunk Train owners) were thrilled with the Marie Jones/GP negotiated high-density housing, light industrial etc. and asked the city administration politely if they could increase high-density housing to 53 instead of 20 acres.


But I must say that the takeaway from the Skunk Train is a sense that they are willing to cooperate, be creative and ready, in short to address the great opportunity and apply common sense. Unprecedented. The dry shed that Marie Jones has systemically denounced as structurally degraded will be retained as the central feature of their plans. The little railroad has taken to heart Gabrial Maroni’s advocacy for a historic district. Mr. Maroni saved the dry sheds from Ms. Jones campaign for demolition and city council stupidity. The Skunk is creatively interested and apparently in contract. Our little railroad has so far captured the hearts and minds of the city.

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photo by Dick Whetstone (click to enlarge)

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A VERY BIG ONE: Some projections indicate that 40 inches of rainfall could hit east coastal areas when Hurricane Florence makes landfall later this week. “At this time, the most likely scenario is for 1-2 feet of rain with a [maximum] of 40 inches centered on portions of North Carolina and Virginia from Florence,” AccuWeather meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said. Ryan Maue of also pointed to European weather models that indicate some areas may receive a maximum of 40 inches of rainfall from the storm. According to AccuWeather, the hurricane has the “potential to cause a storm record rainfall in North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina.” The National Weather Service predicted up to 30 inches of rainfall “near the storm’s track.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency tweeted that Florence will result in “a life-threatening storm surge, flash flooding, and river flooding as well as hurricane-force winds well inland.”

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(US Forest Service)

(Click to enlarge)

Firefighters on the Ranch Fire are working to contain the last section of the fire, patrolling firelines and doing suppression repair.

Crews have repaired 70% of the 672 miles of fireline that required suppression. Fire suppression repair work continues by cutting hazard trees to ensure firefighters are working in safe areas, reducing dirt berms, spreading cut vegetation and building water bars to minimize soil erosion.

Additional suppression repair needs are being discovered as crews continue to work around the perimeter of the fire. Ukiah Fire Camp Move: Both fire camps (Ukiah, and Stonyford), have been condensed into one Incident Command Post (ICP) at Stonyford, where the bulk of the suppression repair work remains.

Crews on the west side of the fire are monitoring and patrolling that area. Fire Closure Area: The Ranch Fire area is closed as described in Forest Order 08-18-15. The purpose of the closure is to provide for public safety, and for the firefighters who are engaged in repair efforts within the Ranch Fire closure area. The closure area applies to all public use, including hunting, the use of firearms and off-highway vehicles. The northern half of the forest is open for outdoor activities. Forest visitors can contact the ranger station nearest their destination for current information. The Mendocino Complex: The Mendocino Complex is being managed by Southern California Interagency Incident Management Team 3. The Ranch Fire is 98 percent contained and the River Fire is 100 percent contained.

For detailed Mendocino Complex information visit:

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The Ranch and River fires started in late July and combined they burned 459,123 acres across federal, state, tribal and private lands. The Ranch Fire is 98 percent contained at 410,203 acres and the River Fire is fully contained at 48,920 acres. The Ranch Fire is the largest wildland fire in California history and it’s not out yet. After the fire is fully contained, there will be a lot of repair and restoration work to accomplish in the years ahead.

ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) (click to enlarge)

The priorities for the incident remain firefighter and public safety. Fire crews assigned to the incident continue to repair firelines constructed during suppression operations. Suppression repair work has been completed on 70% of the 672 miles of fireline that were constructed. Fire suppression repair work consists of cutting hazard trees to ensure firefighters are working in safe areas, removing damaged trees that were bulldozed during fireline construction, reducing dirt berms, spreading cut vegetation, building water bars to minimize soil erosion and installing signs to protect natural resources and control traffic.

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team completed its assessment of the fire area with the exception of the Snow Mountain Wilderness which still has active fire. The BAER report provided information about the potential for future flooding, erosion and debris flows and made recommendations for emergency stabilization activities that need to occur in the first year after the fire. The report stated that the fire burned through the entire off highway vehicle trail system, damaged trail segments, burned or compromised culverts and bridges and impacted campgrounds, day use areas, trailheads, and signage. Also, the BAER team advised forest officials that future washouts from storm events pose general and widespread threats to safety for visitors and Forest Service employees.

The fire area remains closed under Forest Order No. 08-18-15. The forest is working to open areas as quickly as possible, but it’s going to take time. Some of the hazards in and around the fire area include dead standing trees or snags, burned bridges, barriers and culverts, exposed rebar stakes, rolling logs and rocks, and burned-out stump holes.

Next, the BAER focus will be on reducing hazard trees along roads, in campsites and parking areas. This work has to be done before areas can be safely reopened to the public. An assessment of the fire area is planned first in order to identify priorities based on public safety. Initially, hazard tree removal work will be done in areas leading to private property, communication sites, infrastructure and developed recreation sites.

Forest Supervisor Ann Carlson says, “We understand everyone’s desire to return to the forest. We all want to visit our favorite places and see how they fared through the fire. People have also expressed interest in volunteering for cleanup and restoration projects. We are doing everything possible to reasonably reduce risks to the public and reopen areas. We are exploring opportunities for volunteers to help us. Thank you again for your patience and support during this long recovery process.”

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SMALL SCHOOL FOOTBALL has collapsed in Mendocino County. The great rivalries developed over almost a century between small school powerhouses of the past — Boonville vs. Mendocino and Point Arena, Laytonville vs Covelo, everyone vs Potter Valley — have now disappeared into the mists of time. And that's not all that is gone. Seldom mentioned is the unifying effect of small school sports, all sports not just football. Without these competitions it is unlikely that most young people (and their parents) would ever understand what a large and unique county Mendocino County is. How likely is it that a high school student from Gualala attending Point Arena High School would ever visit Covelo and get a good look at the majestic Mayacamas, and perhaps be inspired to learn something of the fascinating history of this place if he or she didn't get there on a team bus?

GETTING back to outback football, and this is a proposal I intend to take to the County School Board and our new Superintendent of County Schools, Michelle Hutchins, how about taking the half-dozen kids from each school who still want to play football and make one team out of them to compete in 11-man in the same league with Willits, Cloverdale and Fort Bragg? Each of the six or so at each of the small schools that have shelved football would practice with one simple playbook under the tutelage of a volunteer coach, perhaps practicing as a unit one day a week and playing Friday and Saturday games under one coach selected from the volunteers? Workable? Four running plays, four passing plays, one defense. This way the core of small school students who want to play football could play. Call them the Loggers and fund them via the County Office of Education.

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FOR THOSE OF YOU who want to really dig deep into the history of the Potter Valley Diversion in all its complications, please go to


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A DISTRESSING DEVELOPMENT here at the mighty ava. A long-time subscriber all the way back to the 1980s sent us an email that said, "Today I die. Thank you for the decades together. Michael Slaughter.”

I TOOK HIM LITERALLY. Gave me a fright, it did. Then I thought Michael Slaughter of Pacifica, was kidding, but who's kidding who sends a message like that?

THEN CAME this clarification: "For years I have been saying that when my mother dies, I'm going to change my name. For me ‘Slaughter’ has been a surname only slightly less nasty than ‘Murder.’ (And ‘Michael Murder’ was at least alliterative.) My mother is now gone. And ‘Michael Allan Slaughter" is now ‘Michael Allan’ — at least informally. I'm not well enough to go to court to get it formally changed. I would like to change my Mighty AVA login to ‘Michael Allan’."

DONE, Michael Allan. RIP Michael Slaughter. Long live Michael Allan!

ED NOTE: Kinda liked Slaughter myself. Always reminded me of the great ballplayer, Enos Slaughter of the St. Louis Cardinals.

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This video about the federally and state recognized historic Albion River Bridge and was created by coastal resident and member of Albion Bridge Stewards Jim Heid. See:

You can also watch it on the Mendocino TV web page:

and find out more about the CA Coastal Commission meeting which is held at Town Hall in Fort Bragg September 12, 13 & 14. Local issues will be heard on September 12. Link for live web cast:

Link to all the issues heard during those three days:

Albion Bridge Stewards is a group of citizens, local and otherwise, working to preserve the bridge and save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. Please join us in our pursuit to save the federally and state recognized historic Albion River Bridge. See you at the meeting.

Annemarie Weibel, Albion

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Albion Post Office show with vintage images of the Albion mills, stages of construction of historic Albion River Bridge, and modern aerial photos Celebrating the Historic Albion River Bridge

The Albion River Bridge is California's last remaining timber trestle state highway bridge. It was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places and in the California Register of Historic Resources.

To celebrate this honor there will be a photo exhibit at the Albion Post Office from September 8 through September 28. Everyone is invited. Come enjoy vintage images of the Albion mills, the stages of construction of the historic Albion River Bridge, and modern aerial photos.

For years, Caltrans has proposed demolishing the Albion River Bridge and replacing it with a new concrete bridge. However this is being opposed by many Mendocino Coast residents who want to preserve the bridge because of its iconic beauty and historic uniqueness.

For more information please visit:

and the Albion Community Advisory Board (ACAB) web site: and for the ideas that the Albion Bridge Stewards, a working group of ACAB contributed.

To contact us, please e-mail <>

For information from Caltrans, please visit:

The Albion Post Office is open from 8am to 12 noon and 12:30pm to 4:30pm Monday through Friday; closed Saturday and Sunday.

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CALTRANS HAS A BRIDGE they'd like to sell you down in Albion. It's called a reinforced concrete arch, and it's based on cumbersome, outdated 19th century technology. To some, the existing 1944 wood trestle that Caltrans wants to destroy looks positively modern in comparison.

In a 2015 article in the New York Times, state officials said they "want to replace it with an arched, concrete structure." Frank Demling, project manager for the Caltrans bridge replacement project, is quoted as saying it costs $150,000 per year (and rising) to maintain the old bridge. Quotes of up to 20 million have been estimated to fully restore and upgrade the old bridge, including adding a much needed pedestrian and bicycle path. If you do the math, to restore and maintain the old bridge over the next ten years, while a new one is planned and prepared for, would cost some 22 million. Caltrans wants to destroy the historic Albion Bridge, and replace it with an obsolete concrete arch - for 91 million. In saving around 70 million dollars by preserving the old bridge, while a new, modern bridge (along the lines of the Sunniberg Bridge in Switzerland) is planned and prepared for, the people of California would have a new, modern showpiece ready to go, all while preserving the old wooden icon for the next few years to come. The problem is, for this project Caltrans no doubt wants to use their entrenched good ol' boy contractors, with insider access to cush highway construction deals and the know-how to produce California's cookie-cutter reinforced concrete arches.

Instead of a considering a modern alternative, Caltrans wants to destroy not only the old bridge, but also the beautiful beach and cliffs at the mouth of Albion Harbor, with a "geotechnical investigation" for building the concrete arch. This would involve cutting down scores of giant Eucalyptus trees, grading along sensitive and crumbling cliff edges, installing drilling platforms on a beautiful and delicate beach berm, and flying noisy construction helicopters over populated areas for weeks.

At a public meeting in April of this year, Mr. Demling made the assertion that, quote, "If we do not get the geotechnical investigation completed…and there is some type of event or some failure with the bridge, and we are forced to go in and construct a bridge quickly, it will not be the arch bridge. It would be the segmental box girder. We would actually have to go in and build the type of bridge that nobody really wants."

Such fear mongering is an attempt to force the issue on this geotechnical survey, by telling the public they would have to settle for an ugly bridge that "nobody really wants" if they don't submit to a "geotechnical investigation." By making this statement Mr. Demling and Caltrans have committed an implied act of coercion. Who says a concrete arch wouldn't fall in an earthquake, and be even harder to clean up and repair? Caltrans is playing God, trying to force it's antiquated concrete arch design by fear mongering and coercion, saying that if we don't accept the concrete arch, along with the highly destructive "geotechnical investigation" as a precursor, we'll possibly have to accept an even uglier, more unacceptable alternative.

Finally, there's another arch problem with this Caltrans bridge boondoggle. The Albion River hugs close to its steep southern bank, and the navigable channel is right underneath where an arch would begin its upward rise. Such a bridge would prohibit the use, forever, of any vessel with a mast or stabilizer poles over 50' high. This hazard to navigation at the south end of the arch, as defined by the Code of Federal Regulations, 33CFR 64.01, could threaten life and property for such a vessel seeking shelter from a storm.

It's time to say no to Caltrans. We don't want your cookie-cutter bridge, or the geotechnical devastation to support it, and we want to preserve the old bridge until a better option is agreed upon.

(David Gurney)

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Fair time! O yea, I'm going Friday afternoon when everything's still fresh. Skrag? You kidding? That deadbeat never moves more than fifty feet from his feed bowl.”

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Fast moving, informative local community radio from KMEC 105.1 in Ukiah or via the net. On Tuesday, September 11 @ 10:30 > 11:30 we will discuss the headline issues of the week and how they effect Mendocino County. The Coastal Commission Agenda, CalTrans, the Albion River Bridge, update on the Coast District Hospital. The 3rd and 5th District Supervisor races and more. You too can join in. Call in on the conference line: 641-715-3580 then enter: 518-396-936# (please be brief).

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On 09-07-2018 at approximately 11:40 P.M., Deputies with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported shooting at a residence in the 23700 block of Hopper Lane in Covelo. Round Valley Tribal Police (RVTP) officers were at the scene and reported two subjects were exchanging gunfire at a nearby property. RVTP Officers contacted one of the subjects, identified as Loren Riley, 23, of Covelo, who was in possession of a shotgun in the driveway to the property. Riley was ordered to drop the firearm and he complied. Riley was detained at the scene by RVTP and the firearm was secured. Multiple Wardens from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife were in the area and responded to assist. A perimeter was set around the property and multiple verbal commands were given to the second subject to surrender. The other subject involved in the shooting did not respond to the verbal commands. After multiple other verbal commands were given for the subject to surrender, he was observed running on Ledger Lane and detained by Fish and Wildlife Wardens.

Riley, Islas

This subject was identified as Isaac Islas, 28, of Covelo, who lived in a trailer at the same property as Riley. A search warrant was authored by a Detective with the MCSO Investigations Bureau and the scene was processed for evidence related to this investigation. Through multiple interviews, crime scene investigation, and evidence located at the scene, Deputies determined a 12-gauge shotgun was discharged multiple times by Riley towards the trailer where Islas resides. Evidence was located at the trailer that Islas discharged a pistol northbound towards Riley. It was determined that the shooting was a result of an earlier assault where Riley was significantly assaulted by Islas when discussing their involvement in different gangs. Riley left the property after being assaulted, returned with a shotgun, and attempted to shoot Islas multiple times in retaliation for the earlier battery. Riley was determined to be on two counts of formal probation in Mendocino County and is prohibited from owning or possessing any firearms. Islas was also determined to be a prohibited person due to prior criminal convictions. Riley was placed under arrest for Attempted Homicide, Prohibited Person in Possession of Firearm, and Probation Violation. Riley was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail on a no-bail status due to his probation violations. Islas was placed under arrest for Battery with Great Bodily Injury, Possession of Ammunition by a Prohibited Person, and Participation in a Criminal Street Gang. Islas was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he is to be held in lieu of $55,000 bail.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 11, 2018

Brunk, Ceci, Devine

JOHN BRUNK, Fort Bragg. Offenses while on bail, probation revocation.

VINCENT CECI, Leggett, Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

CLOUD DEVINE, Sonoma/Ukiah. DUI.

Leard, Lockhart, Mackey

STEVEN LEARD JR., Ukiah. Interception and divulgence of public safety radio communication to assist in criminal offense, community supervision violation.

CRYSTAL LOCKHART, Ukiah. Battery on peace officer.

KRISTINA MACKEY, Fort Bragg. Battery.

Rios, Shields, Velasco-Javier

MIGUEL RIOS, Ukiah. Parole flash incarceration.

JOHNNY SHIELDS, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, contempt of court, probation revocation.

MISAEL VELASCO-JAVIER, Ukiah. Under influence.

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When I moved to California from the East Coast almost 30 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was how trash-free the roads were. Now, I can’t drive a few yards without seeing trash along the side of the road. The Highway 101 exit to Highway 12 is an appalling local example.

For a while, I thought the increase in roadside trash was due to the fires and assumed that public agencies had more urgent matters to deal with. But I’ve noticed that the problem extends east past Sacramento and south to Marin County.

Whether it’s Highway 101, Interstate 80 or small county roads, the amount of trash is inexcusable. I’ve been embarrassed showing out-of-state guests our otherwise beautiful area with bottles, cans, cups, cardboard boxes and all sorts of objects littered on the side of the roads.

Whatever happened to “adopt a highway” or roadside clean-up crews? It’s time for Caltrans and the other responsible authorities to step up and do their jobs. Clean the roads.

Blair Pleasant

Santa Rosa

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Scooter use is rising and so are trips to the emergency room.

by Peter Holley

They have been pouring into emergency rooms around the nation all summer, their bodies bearing a blend of injuries that doctors normally associate with victims of car wrecks — broken noses, wrists and shoulders, facial lacerations and fractures, as well as the kind of blunt head trauma that can leave brains permanently damaged.

When doctors began asking patients to explain their injuries, many were surprised to learn that the surge of broken body parts stemmed from the latest urban transportation trend: shared electric scooters.

In Santa Monica, Calif. — where one of the biggest electric-scooter companies is based — the city’s fire department has responded to 34 serious accidents involving the devices this summer. The director of an emergency department there said his team treated 18 patients who were seriously injured in electric-scooter accidents during the final two weeks of July.

And in San Francisco, the doctor who runs the emergency room at a major hospital said he is seeing as many as 10 severe injuries a week.

“Injuries are coming in fast and furious,” said Michael Sise, chief of medical staff at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, noting that his team saw four severe scooter injuries last week. “It’s just a matter of time before someone is killed. I’m absolutely certain of it.”

The Washington Post interviewed emergency-room physicians in seven cities, including Austin, Atlanta and Nashville, with doctors in each place reporting a spike in severe accidents after the devices launched on their streets. No national data on scooter injuries exist yet.

As the injuries pile up in cities across the country, the three largest scooter companies — operating under the names Bird, Lime and Skip — have seen their values soar as they attempt to transform urban transit, following the successes of ride-hailing and bike-sharing companies.

The scooter start-ups have attracted massive investments from Uber, the prominent technology venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, with some analysts estimating that some of the privately held companies might be worth more than $1 billion.

But a growing number of critics — including doctors, former riders, scooter mechanics and personal injury lawyers — say the devices may look like toys but inflict the same degree of harm as any other motorized vehicle on the road, only without having to comply with safety regulations. These critics add that some electric-scooter fleets are poorly maintained by a loose-knit flock of amateur mechanics, making them prone to dangerous mechanical failures...

One of those who may join the wave of lawsuits against the scooter companies is John Montgomery. The 47-year-old says he had been riding his Bird for only a few blocks in July when the accelerator became stuck in place as he approached a Los Angeles intersection, causing the scooter to “buck forward” and launch his body past the handle bars.

Montgomery awoke to the sight of a stranger standing over him and calling an ambulance. He had landed on his face, he said, breaking his jaw in two places and causing blood to pour from his ears.

“They took me to the emergency room crying and screaming,” he said. “I had never been in so much pain in my life.”

Montgomery, who plans to sue Bird, spent nearly a week in the hospital. He remains on painkillers and continues to consume meals through a straw. He has had to miss work and feels nervous each time he has to cross a street.

“These companies are just getting these scooters out there as fast as they can, but they’re not servicing them and checking them for safety,” he said. “I honestly don’t think they give a damn if I lived or died.”

He hasn’t heard from Bird but recently noticed that the company charged him for the period of time he lay on the street, bloodied and unconscious.

(The Washington Post)

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I spend a lot of time blathering about people not seeing what’s right under their nose, but this thing you write about, the betrayal by the Democrats of their natural constituency, the transformation of the party of the American worker into the party of Wall Street, is something that anybody with open eyes couldn’t miss, and congratulations, you didn’t let a generation of misdirection blind you.

You say “The current grievances of most people who call themselves liberals and/or Democrats are mostly mere distractions, designed by the Deep State to keep us from noticing that the world is being stolen from us.”

Environmental degradation, despite the noise and commotion, isn’t amounting to more than noise and commotion, because it’s one of those distractions. Say “climate change” and its to the barricades. But is anything of substance being done? Not a chance, because the ones doing most of the talking, the great bi-coastal intellectual class, being wealthy and comfortable, are the greatest environmental malefactors, and they won’t give up their comforts and privileges, least of all their air-conditioned SUVs and jet-powered air travel. YOU have to reduce YOUR carbon footprint, but not them. What they have they NEED, damn you, and besides they deserve what they have.

What comes out of this betrayal by the Democrats, that’s a big question. The Republicans similarly betrayed the trust of their constituents and Kansas isn’t buying their bullshit anymore, and the nomination and election of Trump is the result.

What comes of Democrat treachery? A new party? Will they be the candidates of bread and butter issues that affect the broad swathe of the population or will it be all about Hollywood nuts-n-sluts and sexual derangement? Can they resist Wall Street money?

In my view modern day “progressivism” is about as “progressive” as the expired German Democratic Republic was “democratic”. I hope the new party, if it comes about, re-focuses their energies.

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Sonoma County to Conduct Notification Test

(Mendocino County Sheriff's Office - Press Releases)

Synopsis: Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services would like to make the public aware of an upcoming public alert and warning test occurring in Sonoma County on Wednesday 9/12 between 10am-12pm. Sonoma County's test will send out notifications to cell phones, radio and television. Anyone near the alerting area may receive an alert on their cell phone. The alert should display on all compatible mobile devices with a special tone and vibration, and a brief text notification. Additionally notification messages may be broadcast on local television and radio channels. Due to the close proximity of the test to Mendocino County, some residents of Mendocino County may receive the notification as well. Sonoma and Mendocino Counties share local radio and TV stations and have cell towers which serve residents in both counties, as a result, residents located in Mendocino County may also receive the test notifications. Additionally, Mendocino County residents traveling in Sonoma County during the test may receive the notifications as they pass through the test area. Residents should remember that this is only a test and that no action is required. Below is the press release from Sonoma County with more details. Residents can also visit for more information.

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Please be our guest at our 25th anniversary celebration honoring the contributions of our volunteers and celebrating 25 years of grant-making in Mendocino County.

Sunday, September 30th, 2018, 1:00pm - 3:30pm

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

18220 CA- HWY 1, Fort Bragg, CA 95437

Enjoy Mendocino County regional appetizers, entertainment from the harmonic specialties of "The Real Sarahs" and beer, wine and beverages. We will also honor the anniversary of the Redwood Complex Fire recovery effort. CEO Megan Barber Allende will provide an update on The Community Foundation's Disaster Fund. In addition, Senator Mike McGuire will will lead guests in raising funds for disaster preparedness and resiliency grant-making in Mendocino County. Feel free to bring friends, but please let us know the number in your party. Reply to Neil DiBernardo at (707) 468-9882 or prior to September 20th. Staff: Megan Barber Allende, CEO; Neil DiBernardo, Administrative Manager; Michelle Rich, Director of Grants & Programs; Holly Madrigal, Program Officer; Menaka Olson, Communications Officer

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Fort Bragg, CA – September 11, 2018 – Mendocino Coast District Hospital is excited to announce a creative way for our community members to improve their health and reduce stress: Volunteer!

Volunteering provides vital help for organizations and people in need, as well as some proven ways to benefit your own health. According to research completed by the Corporation for National & Community Service, those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

Volunteering benefits you and your health in significant ways. Here are a few:

  • reduce stress, anxiety and anger
  • combat depression
  • increase physical activity
  • end loneliness
  • find new friends
  • build community
  • increase self-confidence
  • keep mentally stimulated
  • provide a sense of purpose
  • provide a sense of accomplishment
  • increase happiness

Are you interested in joining the Hospital Auxiliary and improving your health? 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 support their mission by running the Gift Shop, greeting patients in the lobby, checking patients in for Cardiology testing, directing patients to the correct location for outpatient procedures, stocking pantries, stocking nurse’s stations, and delivering and picking 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 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 members from left to right: Susan Collins, Carol Steele, Judy Whitlock, Norma Holmes , Leslie Aspen, and Toby Brazill.

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This income calculator developed by Pew Research will reveal if you are part of the 52% of adult Americans who fall into that bracket.

An interesting new income calculator that includes most recent data from the Pew Research Center determines whether you are considered lower class, middle class or upper class in the United States based on household size, salary and location of living.

The analysis from 2016 revealed that more than a half of Americans are considered to be part of the median social hierarchy.

To be exact, the report confirmed 52 percent were ranked middle class - while 29 percent were ranked lower class and the minimum, 19 percent upper class.

The calculator takes your household income and adjusts it for the size of your household.

It then revises the income upward for households that are below average in size and downward for those of above average size, the Pew Research Center said.

The income calculator can be accessed here.

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Dai cartoon

“Well, well, well — look who brought the moderates to the fight over our nation’s moral core.”

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"Sy may not be an epic writer in the Norman Mailer mold or wallow in the onomatopoeia orgy of an innovative Tom Wolfe. He is more like a Chicago streetfighter, packing myriad punches as quotes, many of them from anonymous players cultivated for decades on the basis of mutual trust. All the while, he would layer them into a vivid story – not a shadowy hagiography."



  1. Craig Stehr September 12, 2018

    In corporate media’s frenzy yesterday to share archival footage of the attack on the world trade ctr. 17 years ago (which I witnessed), a remembrance of Neem Karoli Baba whose mahasamadhi was on 9/11/’73 was not broadcast. For those of you who just tuned in, Jagat Gurudev Baba Neem Karoli Maharaj was the guru who inspired Ram Dass to author “Be Here Now”. For more, go here:

    • Bruce Anderson September 12, 2018

      At the risk of impiety, Craig, why is it that only the privileged classes are drawn to this kind of bogus spirituality? Ram Dass, aka Richard Alpert, was born into a ruling class family with ample time to stare into his own navel. Ever hear of a logger’s or a plumber’s son bopping around an airport wailing Hari, hari krishna? When Alpert began calling himself Ram Dass his father began calling his wayward son, “Ol Rum Dum.” I think Pop had it right.

      • Craig Stehr September 12, 2018

        Interesting that in India it is mostly those on the lower end of the economic totem pole who keep the temples and ashrams populated. Temple complexes are social gathering places, and historically are where the elderly spend their final days. Insofar as non-Hindus being attracted, it takes more effort and money to access the complex traditions, teachers, and of course travelling back and forth is expensive. There is a lot of value in the sanatana dharma, generally speaking. But as always, let the buyer beware.

  2. Kathy Janes September 12, 2018

    Editor: I think you have misspelled Mr. Allan’s new last name.

    • AVA News Service Post author | September 12, 2018

      Thanks. Corrected.

  3. Betsy Cawn September 12, 2018

    History of the Potter Valley Project — fabulous resource, thanks eversomuch.

  4. George Dorner September 12, 2018

    I find it interesting that there have been no news reports on the extent of dead oaks burning in the Ranch and River fires. Were the hazardous dry dead hacked-and-squirted oaks somehow bypassed or missed entirely by the flames?

  5. Kathy September 12, 2018

    Rex – since you’re a candidate for the hospital board, perhaps we could hear from you on that?

  6. Lazarus September 12, 2018

    re: Michael Allan Slaughter

    I too was given pause by the comment the other day. I once bought a car from him when he was in Ukiah working for Ken Fowler, seemed like a good guy. If it’s the same fella…
    Thanks for letting us know the situation.
    As always,

    PS. The youth football situation is merely a product of the times we live in. Could Basketball and Baseball be far behind? Elbows and bean balls anyone?

  7. Judy September 12, 2018


    On July 25, 2018 a meeting was held at MCDH for those interested in running for the board. On their website this statement is made:

    According to the California Special District Association (CSDA), “…as a board member or trustee for a special district, you have committed to serve the best interests of the community, provide services that are essential to the community and represent the people who placed you into office. Being a special district board member is an important job and one that should be taken seriously. Clearly, the position requires that elected or appointed officials wear numerous hats and be knowledgeable in a wide range of areas.”

    1. Did you attend this meeting?

    2. What can you bring to the Board that would be of benefit to the future of the Hospital?

    3. Are you serious about running for the Board and when will we hear from you on the issues that could cause us to cast out vote for you?

  8. Betsy Cawn September 13, 2018

    Susie, many thanks for this report. I would very much like to distribute it in our “Friends of Clear Lake” network over here in Lake County, but I’m nonplussed by this question:

    Could there possibly be a typo in this sentence: “By 2040, we want three out of four students to be proficient in one [one] or more [or more?] languages, earning them a State Seal of Biliteracy”?

    Shouldn’t the goal be that all four be proficient in one language — their primary tongue (for us, English, but who can gainsay the future?), and three our of four be proficient in two [two] or more languages to earn the designation?

    [A clearer way of putting that would be “proficient in at least two languages,” but Tom’s not the wordsmith on this one, I’m sure.]

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