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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018

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SUPERVISOR CROSKEY’S tax-paid junket to Washington was pulled for discussion from the Supervisor’s consent agenda this morning (Tues) by Supervisor Gjerde, and it’s encouraging to see the Fort Bragg solon fully awake from his long supervisorial slumber. The reactions of Gjerde’s four colleagues were predictable. Supervisor Carre Brown launched into full monarchical mode as she, and the others, referred to tax money as “ours,” referring to a $1500 slush fund each Supe annually gets as walking around money. The origin of the stipend, of course: the property tax.

“WE’RE VERY CAREFUL about how we spend our out of state travel,” said Brown, a veteran conference goer, going on to make a porous non-case for meeting with other far-off officials to discuss homelessness, forest management, wild fires, and other hot topics, confusing endless talk with action. (Mendo can’t handle about a hundred homeless people, for one issue apparently beyond their coping capacities. In fact, they paid an outside consultant to draft a practical plan for dealing with the county’s homeless population which has been ignored. Brown, visibly angered, stated, “Every state is being asked to send leaders. Mendocino County needs to be in the room,” a clearly irritated Brown continued, concluding by congratulating lame duck Croskey for traveling to Washington in Brown’s place, suggesting that she would have been happy to go but had other obligations.

GJERDE CALMLY, and without a hint of irony, said Croskey’s jaunt to kick around the big think subjects with the Trumpians was “commendable,” but the reason for going would be to report back but, with two Supervisors, Hamburg and Croskey, out of office in January, there would be no follow-up by Croskey, not there would be any anyway given past practice.

SUPERVISOR McCOWEN, assuming the royal we, stated that “Every supervisor has their own travel funds for their own opportunities. An individual supervisor using management training funds is legitimate. It’s not up to the board to say how each supervisor uses those funds.”

SUPERVISOR CROSKEY defended her journey: “My first question to the CEO was to ask if anyone else was willing to go? I thought that somebody should go. Mendocino should have a stronger voice at federal level. I will do as much as I can for Mendocino County….” Croskey repeated the same list of hot topics recited by Brown, which she felt required the presence of a Mendocino County supervisor to impress upon the Trumpians of their significance.

SUPERVISOR BROWN, still angry, returned for another pass. “It’s been policy over six years that travel is on the agenda because it’s out of state travel. It’s about issues, not the individual. Mendocino County has to be at table. I do a lot of traveling. Mendocino has to be at the table. Neighboring counties do it constantly [sic]. When was last time Mendocino County went on a public affairs trip for Mendocino County issues?”

NOT SURPRISING that Supervisor Hamburg, a one-term Congressman himself, was all for Croskey’s trip. “Mendocino County needs to be represented. It’s very important that Mendoino County be there,” and off he went into the same litany of big issues cited by Brown and Croskey. Hamburg congratulated Croskey for going. “It’s not a junket, it’s a working trip.”

PERHAPS roused at the mention of “junket,” Croskey went into martyred mom mode. “It’s not easy to travel with three kids and animals at home,” begging the bright neon question, “Why go?” The supervisor emphasized that she wasn’t stopping off at her new home in Ohio. “No other stops. I’m going right to DC and back.”

McCOWEN, supervisor from the Ukiah area, moved to approve the junket. Gjerde voted No, the others, of course, voted Yes.

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PS. The invitation from the Trump White House lackeys doesn’t have any specifics. Just:

“The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs invites you to the White House Conference with California Local Leaders for remarks and discussion with key administration officials and policymakers on pertinent issues impacting the State of California. Tuesday, October 23, 2018. 10:30 AM ET– White House Tour. 1:00 – 4:00 PM ET–White House Conference.”

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Collins English Dictionary: “Junket, noun, an excursion, as by a public official, paid for out of public funds.”

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DRY AND MILD AFTERNOONS ACCOMPANIED BY CHILLY NIGHTS will persist throughout the week across interior northwest California. Meanwhile, periods of low clouds and cooler afternoon temperatures are expected along the coast. Otherwise, rain chances are forecast to increase during the first half of next week. (National Weather Service)

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Dear Editor,

I support John Haschak for 3rd District Supervisor. As a resident of Covelo, I appreciate the time John Haschak has spent getting to know our community.  It is not a quick or easy drive to get to Round Valley; we’re an hour away on a winding road from either Willits or Laytonville, which is why we don't often see our representative. Yet at every event, there’s John!  He’s been at Sheriff’s meetings to learn first hand about our safety concerns, he’s been to numerous Tribal Council meetings, and he’s been to the Family Resource Center and Yuki Trails.  He has met several times with local cannabis groups, and is a regular at our Farmers Market talking with folks to find out what matters most to them. John attended our Health Fair and was back the next morning to walk in the California Indian Days parade. John has been here at least once or twice a week almost every week, for most of the last year.

The 3rd District has not been well represented for quite a while. John has shown that he cares about Round Valley and that he is responsive our concerns. He has put in time getting to know the community, and he is willing to work hard to represent us. I am voting for John Haschak for 3rd District Supervisor and I urge your readers to, as well.

Pat Sobrero, Covelo

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My wife and I moved to Brooktrails in mid-2004, and for over 10 years I have been lucky enough to be a member of the BTCSD Board of Directors.  In all of that time I have heard little or nothing about anything that John Pinches has done for Brooktrails or for the greater Sherwood Road Community when he was the Third District Supervisor, or as a resident of the Third District.  To the best of my knowledge, his actions with respect to a possible second access road for the Sherwood Road Community and BTCSD residents were a negative influence on the process in 2013, not a constructive influence, especially when he insisted that any second access road go from Brooktrails to Highway 20, not Highway 101.

I have known John Haschak for years, and in recent years I have been very impressed and pleased with the interest he has shown in the interests of Brooktrails and the Sherwood Road Community.  Since early last year he has regularly attended BTCSD Board meetings, had meetings with community members, and now has fully participated in the Sherwood Road Firewise Council.  Just this morning, Mr. Haschak attended the BOS meeting in Ukiah and spoke in support of the interests of Brooktrails and the Sherwood Road Community on the subject of the County taking action immediately on additional ways for residents to escape the area in the case of emergencies like fire and earthquake - I am convinced that Mr. Haschak will continue to advocate forcefully for our communities if elected to the Board of Supervisors.  I urge all of you who can to register and vote in the November 6th election, and vote for John Haschak for Third District Supervisor. 

Thank you,

Rick Williams

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “’Little Dog,’ the boss said, ‘What's the law on a neighbor's chickens spending the whole day on our property?’ Boss, I said, throw 'em in the pot, and we'll chow down!”

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 16, 2018

Bonson, Espinoza, Gomez, Mendoza

TRAVIS BONSON, Kelseyville/Ukiah. Parole violation.

JESUS ESPINOZA, Santa Rosa/Covelo. Pot cultivation and illegal water diversion.

RAMON GOMEZ, Willits. DUI, assault weapon, felon with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, large capacity magazine, controlled substance, while armed, illegal entry.

GUSTAVO MENDOZA, Willits. Assault weapon, large capacity magazine.

Palmer, Smith-Harjo, Vasquez, Vasquez-Ramirez

TIMMOTHY PALMER, Willits. DUI, suspended license (for DUI).

CAMEO SMITH-HARJO, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

MANUEL VASQUEZ, Fresno/Redwood Valley. Controlled substance, for sale, transportation, pot possession for sale, transportation, sales, interference with police communications, conspiracy.

EDDIE VASQUEZ-RAMIREZ, Fresno/Redwood Valley. Controlled substance, for sale, transportation, pot possession for sale, transportation, sales, conspiracy resisting.

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I don’t know how to express the utter disgust with which I view the entire Senatorial “decision-making” process that just appointed Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, on all sides including both the Democrat’s tool (obviously psychologically-impaired female complainant, but a willing tool, nonetheless — who knows what psycho-neurological maze drives people at this level of “accredited” professional stars) as well as the Republican-dominated female hating bastion of dickheads who have eviscerated all the efforts of civil rights activists from this day forth.

It’s very hard to separate the gender/sex/identity focus from the aggressive/advantitious/powerful class, but in order to see how the cohort of a group of strongarmed thugs have caused planetary, national, and communical crimes, one only has to look at the simple fact that these were a bunch of well respected men, pounding on an unarmed and otherwise civil person. Can we not start by looking at thugocity instead of genitalia?  All over the world? Does anybody not notice that?

Betsy Cawn, Lake County

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We have seen more road repairs than usual since California’s gas tax was raised by 12 cents per gallon in 2017. This is the first inflation adjustment since 1994. It is costing the average driver about 20 cents a day, and it is well worth the cost.

Proposition 6 on the November ballot would return us to transportation funding that’s more than two decades out of date. It would cut funds for Sonoma County’s public works and transit agencies by more than $15 million per year. Cumulative losses in bridge, road and transit funding would total at least $90 million in Sonoma County alone by the year 2025. We’d end up driving around more potholes than ever.

Our roads, bridges, transit and paratransit services have just begun to recover from years of deferred maintenance. Now is not the time to go back to 1994 funding levels. Please vote no on Proposition 6.

Steve Birdlebough, Santa Rosa

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Lissa Yellowbird-Chase, an amateur sleuth, believes that every human being deserves to be searched for.

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This entire business model is one of the most extreme examples of how financial engineering is destroying potentially viable parts of the real economy.  The tactic of loading up a company with debt and then paying yourself exorbitant fees and dividends and manipulating the share price at the expense of the company ought to be illegal. It’s a plain conflict of interest. Likewise being both creditor and shareholder.  I’ve written about how private equity and hedge funds are destroying independent daily newspapers, using the same acquire, strip and flip strategy.

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Silver Queen Corn finally decided to ripen!
  • Corn, Heirloom, Roma & Early Girl Tomatoes
  • Corno di Toro, Gypsy, Bell, Pimiento Sweet Peppers
  • Padrons, Poblanos, Jalapenos, Serranos, Anaheim Chilis
  • Zucchini, Patty Pan & Zapallitos
  • Cucumbers
  • Apples
  • Pumpkins & Buttercup Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Quince
  • Zinnias

Save The Date: Our Annual Gleaning Party will be Saturday October 27 (rain date Sunday)

Blue Meadow Farm, 3301 Holmes Ranch Rd, Philo 707-895-2071

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by Hank Sims

Photos by Andrew Goff

Sometime early this morning or late last night, someone sprayed the statue of President William McKinley in the Arcata Plaza with a liquid substance that ate into its patina, leaving the statue marred with unsightly blotches all over.

Arcata Police officer Heidi Groszmann tells the Outpost, at the scene, that officers discovered the act of vandalism this morning. They were down here on regular patrol when a citizen pointed it out to them. Groszmann said that there’s no word yet on what substance was employed on the statue, and no leads on the perpetrator or perpetrators yet.

The McKinley statue, which has stood in the Plaza for a century, has been the subject of much controversy, intermittently, for almost that long. Earlier this year, following a series of heated meetings during which statue opponents decried the imperialist tendencies of our 25th president, the Arcata City Council voted to remove it from the Plaza.

Later, statue proponents succeeded in putting a citizen’s initiative to retain the statue on this November’s ballot, where it appears as Measure M.


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“Can I borrow 50¢ please?" There’s one bum who’s asked me that so many times, and I’ve said yeah a few times too, that when I see him standing at the corner I know his line by heart. “Can I borrow 50¢ please?” always with the emphasis on “borrow,” as if anyone believes it’s a loan, and always with the please on the end. Don’t know why I’ve ever given him anything. Usually I’m dang stingy, but he’s got a little smile and a hopeful look in his eye that sometimes cracks my uncaring urban armor.

And there he was again, standing at the corner on my way to Walgreens. Across the parking lot, I could hear him saying his familiar line, “Can I borrow 50¢ please?” to an old couple, who walked right by and into the store without answering.

As I came closer, I steeled my will. He wasn’t getting a dime from me today; I had only four bucks on me, barely enough for the groceries I needed. I am poor, god damn it. When I got to the door, he held out his hand expectantly, and I waited for the words.

“This is for you,” he said, when I noticed there were two dollars in his hand.

“For me?” I asked, trying to figure what scam he was pulling.

“Yeah,” he answered, “for helping me out when I needed it, man. Four times you’ve given me 50¢.” Speechless, it took a long moment to comprehend he was actually repaying a debt, and it took a little longer for me to realize I probably needed the two bucks as much as he did.

I smiled, took the cash, stuffed it in my pocket, and said, “Thanks.”

“Don’t be thanking me,” he said good-naturedly. “I be thanking you, for helping out when I was broke.”

I nodded, smiled again, and went into the store. With the two extra bucks, I treated myself to a can of Nine Lives and a jar of mayonnaise.

I slipped the borrowing beggar two quarters on my way out. Call it a karma investment. Smiled at the guy, and it felt like a genuine smile.

There’s something I haven’t done much lately...

— Doug Holland

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(Photos courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

(Click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge)

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[1] Cultures throughout time and throughout the world believe(d) that traditionally evil spirits (djinn or jinn) would come down and back up the chimney as a means of frightening their “victims”.

The symbolism of Santa Claus is partially rooted in Siberian shamanism. Shamans of this area would take psycho-active mushrooms (the red and white capped ones we see in Christmas iconography), which the reindeer of their region would also eat, hence the flying reindeer. To tie this in, the shamans would also drink the urine of the reindeer who had ingested psycho-active mushrooms.

Christmas as we teach it to children – Be “good”, go with the societal flow, and you will receive presents, no matter how crazy the construct. Kind of sounds like the monetary motivations in adulthood.

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[2] Sears is (was) a grossly mismanaged company. They had a leg up with their catalog mail order expertise. It should have been an easy transition for them to use online sales. There is nothing left but for the financial buzzards to pick the carcass clean. They have already lost or sold most anything of value. The newest CEO has sold Craftsmen tools and I hear They will no longer sell Whirlpool appliances. All thats left is some prime real estate. If you can call dilapidated urban strip malls and shopping centers prime. I too grew up with that Wishbook and it is a sad state of affairs for the company and all the people it employed.

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by Mark Scaramella (August, 2004)

Is the Mendocino County justice system out to get Mexicans? Do Mexicans suffer more than their share of unfair treatment at the Mendocino Courthouse or from Mendocino County’s public servants?

To make an official case for bias, not to mention bias’s big brother, overt racism, you’d need a boodle full of statistics showing that Mexicans are charged, prosecuted or sentenced out of all proportion to their numbers in the area’s population.

But getting accurate figures out of official Mendocino County being at least as unlikely as finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so you might settle for two similar cases, one involving a Mexican and one involving a Gringo where the Gringo got off and the Mexican went to jail. Lacking that vividly emblematic example, you might try following a high-profile case against a Mexican which seems to demonstrate overzealous pursuit of a single individual because of his race.

Introducing Mr. Felipe Almendariz of Santa Rosa.

Mr. Almendariz alleges an anti-Mexican prejudice characterizes Mendocino County Courthouse practices because the Courthouse wouldn’t take his money in partial payment of a fine because he’s a Mexican.

It was Tuesday afternoon June 15th when Mr. Almendariz got in line at the Court Collections window in the Mendocino County Courthouse. Accompanying him was Mrs. Almendariz and the couple’s two small children. In line with the Almendariz family was the usual loose congregation of Mendolanders also waiting to pay their fiscal debts to society.

When it was his turn to pay, Mr. Almendariz handed the clerk two baby bottles full of pennies, nickels and dimes. The bottles hadn’t been washed, and many of the coins lay in unappealing jackets of encrusted dry milk.

Dried baby’s milk isn’t buzzard breath, but it’s not perfume either.

Mr. Almendariz explained that he was presenting his curdled coins as another in a series of partial payments of a traffic fine.

The clerk refused to accept payment. She suggested to the Almendariz delegation that they take the bottles to the Savings Bank of Mendocino across the street where private enterprise would convert unwashed coinage to clean paper currency suitable for payment of public debt.

Mr. Almendariz insisted that money is money and that the clerk should accept his payment in whatever form he presented it.

The Court Collections clerk again politely refused payment.

Mr. Almendariz then called an unidentified advisor on his cell phone and, after a brief conversation, asked the clerk to give him her refusal in writing.

The clerk became visibly annoyed. She refused Mr. Almendariz’s request for a written rejection and warned him that she would call for a bailiff and have him physically ejected from the office if he further refused to follow her instructions.

Mr. Almendariz said he wouldn’t get out of her face until the clerk took his payment or gave him a written refusal.

A bailiff soon arrived and explained to Mr. Almendariz that he was creating a disturbance and would have to leave.

Mr. Almendariz decided on an impromptu sit-in. Plopping himself on the floor in his first-in-line position, Mr. Almendariz was soon back on his cell phone to his distant advisor. Mrs. Almendariz and the two bewildered Almendariz children looked on. As did the perplexed bailiff and Mr. Almendariz’s mostly amused fellow fine payers.

Handing his cell phone to the bailiff, Mr. Almendariz asked the bailiff to speak directly to the mysterious authority at the other end of the line. The bailiff agreed, put the cellphone to his year, and commenced reception of a string of high decibel demands and low-intensity threats, all of them basically accusing the bailiff of violating Mr. Almendariz’s civil rights and implying that the bailiff was not only impertinent for daring to threaten Mr. Almendariz with removal from the Collection’s Office, he was probably a Klan-sympathizing, mother-violating gringo sumbitch, too.

After a few moments of silently absorbing this torrent of verbal abuse from a total stranger at the other end of Mr. Almendariz’s cell phone, the bailiff calmly handed the cell phone back to Mr. Almendariz, pointing out to the militant Mr. A that it was getting late and, cell phone advice notwithstanding, he’d have to leave the office.

Mrs. Almendariz and the kids looked on as the patriarch’s sit down protest continued. Fine payers were detoured around the seated Mr. Almendariz to the window. The bailiff patiently looked on, hoping that Mr. Almendariz would abandon his protest before closing time.

When 5 o’clock arrived, Mr. Almendariz was still seated and showed no signs of imminent departure.

The bailiff, after consulting with his boss, decided to arrest Mr. Almendariz for a violation of a government code section which prohibits “interfering with the operation of a business or government.”

Having gotten one cuff around one of Mr. Almendariz’s unprotesting wrists, Mr. Almendariz suddenly decided he’d better leave after all. But it was too late. The bailiff grabbed Mr. Almendariz’s other wrist and cuffed it, quickly handing the prisoner off to another bailiff who hustled the protester off to the County Jail where he was fingerprinted, booked and put in a cell.

Mrs. Almendariz and the kids? After giving Mr. Almendariz’s two baby bottles full of cruddy coins and his car keys and wallet to the missus, they seemed resigned to the patriarch’s stand whatever its consequences, and walked dejectedly out of the Courthouse, bottles in hand.

Three days later Mr. Almendariz was brought back to the Courthouse where he was quickly assigned a public defender and released on his own recognizance.

No one was surprised that Mr. Almendariz wanted a jury trial.

The Almendariz case was duly calendared. The District Attorney’s office had to decide how to handle it. Should it be dropped? Settled? Prosecuted?

Several of the DA’s top prosecutors thought the case should be dropped. They argued that while Mr. Almendariz may have intended to interfere with the operation of the government, he’d only made a minor nuisance of himself. Besides, he was offering legal tender for payment of his fine.

“What’s wrong with paying with a few coins?” argued one prosecutor. “Taking the coins would have been easier than putting the system through this.” “Why doesn’t the collections office have a coin counting machine?” asked another. “No jury will convict anybody for this,” argued a third DA. “Juries don’t like to see the government playing hardball with people like this. I’d be happy to defend the guy!”

Senior Deputy DA Kevin Davenport, however, saw the case as an intentional attempt to annoy the clerks.

“If the coins were clean and wrapped, it’d be one thing,” said Davenport, “but these were cruddy coins with dried milk on them. It’s unreasonable to expect a clerk to accept them like that. It looks like an intentional attempt to annoy or harass the clerk.”

But the majority opinion was that it was unlikely that a jury would convict a fellow citizen offering legal tender to settle a fine.

So Davenport went back to the code books and discovered an obscure Government Code Section, 24353, which states that a government agency “is not required to take payment in coin.”

Armed with his new-found legal weapon, Davenport informed Mr. Almendariz’s public defender that he’d drop the charges if Mr. Almendariz promised not to pull the coin stunt again and would promise to pay the rest of his fine in currency or money orders — a form of District Attorney diversion, in other words, and a reasonable compromise to be sure.

Mr. Almendariz, perhaps sobered by his three day interlude in the County Jail, agreed. He may even have thought he’d made his point, whatever it may have been.

Word filtering back from the Great Outside, has it that soon after he was released from jail, Mr. Almendariz made a point of calling a San Jose radio station with his version of events, portraying the episode as a violation of his civil rights.

There is a general sense of frustration among the area’s Mexican population towards a justice system they perceive as biased against them — Mexicans certainly are a significant percentage of the daily take at the Mendo Courthouse. Hard to say. Local government, like government at all levels, is arrayed more against ordinary citizens of all races than it is against specific ethnicities. But that’s class warfare, not racism, and class warfare doesn’t exist in America because we’re all equal before the law. Right?


  1. George Hollister October 17, 2018

    I would be more than happy to find a place for McKinley’s statue, but the unhappy need to pay for the shipping.

    • james marmon October 17, 2018

      So sad, I stop by the Arcata Plaza to eat when I travel north to Crescent City to visit my daughter and granddaughter. That statue has been there a long time and never hurt anyone. That college, Humboldt State University, is turning out some real winners. I have an old friend who got his Master’s in Social Work (MSW) there and he said that their MSW program has a Native American Studies prerequisite. With that being said, it was only a matter of time until something like this happened.

      James Marmon MSW
      California State University, Sacramento

  2. George Hollister October 17, 2018

    Check out David Brooks in today’s PD.

    “We sometimes think of this as a populist moment. But that’s not true. My first big takeaway from “Hidden Tribes” is that our political conflict is primarily a rich, white civil war. It’s between privileged progressives and privileged conservatives.”

    • George Hollister October 17, 2018

      Thanks Susie, here is another good quote: “The current situation really does begin to look like the religious wars that ripped through Europe after the invention of the printing press, except that our religions now wear pagan political garb.”

  3. Lazarus October 17, 2018

    With the vibes being awkward between the Prez and the next Gov don’t expect California to get more than the absolute minimum required from DC. No matter who goes out a begg’n that ain’t gonna change…it’s wasting our money.
    This trip is nothing more than a goodbye present. The Supervisor has been almost invisible locally and when she did show up at meetings, etc. she seemed annoyed and perhaps a little combative…I’m voting for Pinches by the way…
    As always,

  4. james marmon October 17, 2018

    This may complicate things for the remodeling of the old Howard Memorial Hospital.

    City of Willits hires new building official, code enforcement officer

    “Morgan began working in construction when he was just 12 years old. He said his dad used to take him to job sites and together they helped build custom homes, franchise restaurants, “light” commercial buildings and several post offices. Morgan served in the Navy and Marine Corps, then the National Guard and the Army Reserves, for a total of 12 years of military service. He eventually earned a master’s degree in business administration.”

    “Morgan said he is looking forward to learning as much as he can about the role of building official and following city planner Dusty Duley’s lead. “He seems to have an incredible vision and I want to support and back that up. I realize in a small town there’s going to be a resistance to change…” said Morgan.”

  5. George Dorner October 17, 2018

    So our tardily appointed supervisor, who recently gladly accepted an enormous pay raise, gets a taxpayer-paid vacation as her goodbye gift as she moves out of California?

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