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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Oct. 29, 2018

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ANY LINGERING light showers are expected to dissipate during the day today, and a cool night can be expected overnight. Some interior valleys may see patchy frost or even a light freeze tonight as well. Warming and drying conditions are expected the remainder of the week, with elevated fire weather expected in Mendocino county. (National Weather Service)

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March 17, 1941 — October 15, 2018

Steven Peter Okerstrom passed away on Monday, October 15th, 2018 following a two week struggle in intensive care at Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. A resident of Willits, he was born to Merle and Astrid Okerstrom in Santa Cruz on March 17th, 1941. Steven was just five years old when the family moved to Branscomb to begin their life in Mendocino County.

He loved his sons Sean and Ryan deeply and was their fiercest advocate. His family mattered and he considered it one of his greatest fortunes when he married Rita Rubattino in 1992 and her family also became his.

He was much loved and will be greatly missed.

Steven lived a big life. There was no half-way. He had big ideas, big dreams and a very big heart. He was generous and kind, a “softy” at heart. He had a big taste for life — from fast cars to high performance speed boats. He especially loved sharing these passions with his son, Sean. Steven loved music and in his youth mastered every brass instrument in the high school band. He loved to reimagine things, and oversaw the exquisite completion of many projects -- from auto restoration to remodeling his home and landscaping his hilltop in Willits. He was a skillful wood worker, imagined the best and oversaw the transformation of his home in Willits with care and very high standards.

Steven graduated from Laytonville High School in 1960. He attended Santa Rosa Junior College and worked at Yeager & Kirk Lumber, before returning to Mendocino County in 1964 to join his father in the family business, Okerstrom Logging. It was a decision that shaped his life for the next four decades.

Initially with his father, Merle, and later his nephew, Todd McMahon, Steven grew Okerstrom Logging. As a co-owner, then owner, he was innovative and pushed to make a competitive edge for the company. He constantly looked for ways to improve production and generally had the best crews and equipment.

The company grew to become a significant employer in northern Mendocino County. In the early 1970s, Okerstrom Logging brought the first swing yarder to Mendocino County at their logging operations in Rockport.

In 1989, they brought the first fellerbuncher to the county and started mechanized logging. It was eventually replaced with two others, which included one Steven helped design with Ross Equipment Company, considered at the time the biggest, most powerful fellerbuncher ever built.

In 1995, a second company was formed, Timber Management Services (TMS) which utilized a “cut to length” harvester and forwarder which had been manufactured in Finland. At its peak there were over 90 employees, which included three yarder crews, two cat crews, ten log truck drivers, 20 timber fallers, mechanics, and admin staff.

Steven was preceded in death by his parents, Merle and Astrid Okerstrom and his sister, Geraldine Ferreira. He is survived by his loving wife Rita, sons Ryan and Sean Okerstrom, and stepchildren David G. Castino, Sr., Douglas Castino, Laurel Webster and beloved grandchildren David G. Castino, Jr., Sarah Castino, Jacquelyn Castino-Reynolds, Ben Castino and Remo Webster, dear friend and right hand man Sirio Palio, his sister Elizabeth Murguia, nephews Todd McMahon, Greg Myers and Darren Ferreira, as well as numerous great nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial contribution be made in Steven’s memory to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the Wounded Warrior Project or a charity of choice.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, November 17th, 2018, 2 — 4 p.m., at Willits Harrah Senior Center, 1501 Baechtel Rd., Willits, CA 95490.

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Last week AV Seniors took a trip on the Skunk Train via Willits Depot. Special thanks to Chief Skunk, Robert Pinoli, for discounting the tickets to make it possible for so many of our seniors to participate. Also, thanks to Dolly Pacella for setting up the trip and Gina Pardini for driving the bus.

(Click to enlarge)

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WE ALWAYS ENJOY Tommy Wayne Kramer’s Ukiah Daily Journal columns including Sunday’s column about the ridiculous outcome of the lawsuit filed by the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District. Overall, TWK is right: rates will go up and lawyers will benefit. But some of his particulars were incorrect. Most importantly, TWK says the terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Oh yes they were — their press release boldly showed that Duncan James, who filed the initial lawsuit under the then-direction of then-Sanitation District Manager Frank McMichael (who based his suit on an original Grand Jury report who did the original work exposing Ukiah’s bookkeeping tricks) got around $6 mil and the Sanitation District got around $10 mil. TWK was right that the settlement talks (conducted by the $6 mil attorneys) were held in secret and we don’t know why Ukiah drug the case out for years before finally settling for the amount that the Sanitation District originally sued for — minus the attorney’s $6 mil. The main culprit was (and is) the City of Ukiah in this case which used a convenient error in sewer hook-up accounting as a slush fund for decades, then stonewalled the District’s and the Grand Jury’s requests for correcting it — thus the lawsuit. But the other culprit was the local courts who should have appointed a special court official to evaluate the case and recommended an immediate settlement (based on the Grand Jury report), thus saving the $6 mil in attorney fees. If that had happened, the city would still have had to pay what they owed to the Sanitation District but the city’s ratepayers would not have had to absorb the $6 mil that the lawyers got. If local judges had an ounce of concern for local ratepayers they’d put maximum pressure on local governments to settle their disputes outside of court, with court oversight if necessary. But that kind of civic-mindedness never even occurs to the local black robes.

(Mark Scaramella)

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THIS FARGEY CHARACTER signed himself up, through Paypal, for an AVA online sub. Then a month later he claimed it was an "unauthorized purchase."

At that point we refunded his $25 and closed the account. A week later Paypal notified us of an additional $20 chargeback fee (ostensibly from Fargey's credit card company). We protested, but to no avail. So we got dinged for $20. We subsequently learned that this chargeback scheme was a scam running through Paypal at the time. (Courtesy of Know Your Neighbors, Boonville)

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “News is so gloomy lately I've got a joke for ya: I picked up a hitchhiker last night who seemed surprised that I'd pick up a stranger. ‘How do you know I'm not a serial killer?’ the guy said. I told him the chances of two serial killers being in one car would be astronomical.”

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THE NOVEMBER 11 AV ELDERHOME FUNDRAISER at the Boonville Hotel starts at 2pm with an optional cottage tour, followed by a reception at 3 with wine, oyster bar, mushrooms, goat cheese, trout, cauliflower sout with chermoula, then dinner of pork loin, apples, escarole, horseradish and sage, root vegetable salad with gribiche, lemon and herbs, then dessert and coffee. (Vegetarian option available). $150 per person with funds going to complete the interior of cottage #1. Call Brian (510-388-9103) or Scarlet (895-2541) to reserve your table.

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Editor of the Anderson Valley Advertiser:

Have your cojones gone retractile? No stomach for a fact-based investigation of the issues? A sniper knows when to keep his head down. Yellow journalists?

Milan Hopkins, M.D.

Upper Lake

ED REPLY: Doctor! Doctor! Calm yourself, please. What were the issues? Something about polymorphous cows, was it? State your case plainly, sir. Snipers? Where? Cojones? A most unscientific metaphor coming from a medical man, if you don't mind my saying so. I'll need you to explain things much more fully than your cryptic communiques. We seem to be corresponding at cross purposes, and you seem angry about something apparently having to do with flexible sexuality, about which I know nothing beyond what I read in the San Francisco Chronicle. PS. For the record, I'm more pinkish than yellow.

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Dear Editor,

Is Jerry Philbrick of Comptche really ED Anger of the Weekly World News? Anger, also the author of “Let’s Pave the Stupid Rainforest and Give Schoolteachers Stun Guns,” was actually a pseudonym used by several seminal supermarket tabloid journalists including Rafael Klinger, Eddie Clontz and Justin Mitchell and brilliantly utilized the old black-and-white presses of the National Enquirer to create the News. In his letters to the AVA Philbrick seems so pig-biting mad he’s got to be Anger and he's no doubt from The Left. NPR, KZYX and Philbrick? I wish they'd all shut the f--- up.

Ralph Coon

Los Angeles

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Greetings --

Go to Transparent California for a listing of the top 30 or so employees from management and supervisory staff at Mendocino Coast District Hospital.

Still no “movement" with union negotiations. Should have had a new ratified MOU on July 1 and here it is near November and still nothing!

Vote Redding, Grinberg, Arnold and MaColley

Louise Mariana


PS. The real cost of health care at Coast Hospital according to

Since 2012 CEO salary rose from $237k to $363k, a 53% increase. Since 2012 CFO salary rose from $181k to $294k, a 62% increase.

Coast Hospital has also added 13 administrators since 2012.

In 2012 there was no listing for a Chief Clinical Officer or “chief nurse.” But in 2016 the Chief Clinical Officer made $197k.

In 2017 the CEO got a 5% bonus ($18k). In 2018 additional management increases in compensation and or benefits are unknown management increases.

During the same period Coast Hospital workers have suffered wage step freezes, loss of vacations, reduction in health care coverage and had periodic cost of living increases, plus reduction in hours due to use of temporary workers who are often not part of our community.

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Dear Members of the AVCSD Board and Members of the Citizen Committee:

Thank you for sending notice regarding the preparation of a draft impact report for the drinking water system/wastewater collection and treatment disposal project for Boonville. I wish to respond as a property owner in Boonville who will be greatly affected under this plan. I am writing to inform board members, citizen committee members, and Boonville neighbors, regarding my concerns for the proposed water and wastewater project. Please distribute copies of this letter to members of the board and members of the citizen committee; regrettably, I am unable to attend your meeting on November 1st.

I am expressing my concerns predominantly based on actual costs and experiences in Lake County regarding the water plant serving the area where I reside. Our multi-million dollar ($3 million plus) water plant was put into operation about three years ago; it replaced an old plant that no longer met state requirements. The water plant provides water to approximately 250 homes plus a number of additional unimproved parcels. Our plant design and function is very similar in size to your proposed project in Boonville. Each parcel where I live is about a quarter-acre in size; water and sewer were not allowed together on each lot by the county in the early 1970s when the subdivision was first approved; therefore, each owner maintains an individual wastewater setup. Costs related to maintain the wastewater system are normally limited to cleanout services every five to ten years.

Boonville residents should be made aware of an unavoidable investment of $10,000 for each cement aboveground water distribution box; this is a mandated expense paid by each property owner in our Lake County community, as it will be in Boonville if your project is approved. This prodigious amount does not include connecting lines to the property or fire hydrants. The boxes are placed at each home or business site; they are accessible and visible from the ground. On average they protrude about twelve inches above ground. They measure approximately twenty by fourteen inches. There is no funding source available for reimbursement for these cement boxes - this will be a $10,000 out-of-pocket expense for each property owner in Boonville who agrees to use the water.

The $10,000 commitment is for water service only, if wastewater is also approved that will be an additional cost for each user to deal with. The board is obligated to explain these known fixed costs and be forthright with property owners before any vote is undertaken. This initial investment charge is not included in grants or loans; water users reimburse the state and others through their monthly payments; however, the initial cement disbursement and metering box is one of many out-of-pocket expenses for each user in addition to the monthly charges. The massive pay-back thirty-one million dollar loan, currently being considered by CSD will be collected in addition to amortized interest directly through users’ billing; the $10,000 cost is above and beyond monthly billing – this is a cost each property owner must pay individually.

I am led to believe the sewer plan if adopted will require all property owners to participate. If true, no one can escape paying for this service. If mandatory, every property owner in the service area will be forced to take part whether they choose to tie in or not. I am hopeful the board is not seriously considering this restriction; it is grossly unfair and borderline autocratic.

An independent governing water board is required to establish and oversee the state- sponsored operation. The initial setup requires the services of an attorney who is familiar with water plant issues and will assist the board during the grant process. The water plant in my area employs two operators, both of whom are certified by the state to oversee daily operation of the plant. They are full-time plant employees entitled to full employee benefit coverage. The operators are licensed by the state and must pass certification requirements. The operators prepare testing compliance reports that are sent to the state. At our plant the operators also monitor meters at each home site, they forward the usage numbers to a bookkeeper.

The bookkeeper is also an employee of the water board. The bookkeeper sends out billing, performs all accounting duties, payment collection, payroll, and other daily record keeping. The bookkeeper provides statements for the board and works with a Certified Public Accountant who files tax returns and performs audits on behalf of the water board.

In Lake County, my water bill/maintenance costs vary each month; however, the yearly cost is close to $1,500.00. This amount does not include optional delivered drinking/cooking water charges or any filtering equipment that is universally used by residents. Vacant homes must pay the full monthly maintenance bill despite not using any water. The maintenance billing covers plant operational costs, employees, upgrading of the plant, electricity, plant building loan, and amortized interest payback to the state. The final cost of water is based on usage; it is a very minimal part of the billing, usually less than $15.00.

Each water/wastewater consumer needs to be prepared for the monumental expense and damage done to properties when lines are initially installed and connected to their homes or businesses. Businesses will be impacted during installation; they will lose income from tourists and locals during the massive street work. When similar work to a small section of downtown Lakeport was contracted out a few years ago one area of a sidewalk was blocked off with the exception of a tiny path to restaurants and shops; traffic was diverted around the area, disruption continued for an entire summer. There was no way to access businesses from the street, the noise was jarring, parking was non-existent, and businesses suffered severe monetary losses. This is a small example of what we will be dealing with considering the impact of a layout as massive as the one proposed for Boonville. The construction part of the project will take years to complete, mainly because of its extensive size and scope.

Under this plan it is inevitable some in-place landscaping, including trees, will be impacted or die if their roots are near the excavation areas; some trees on parcels near the street will be removed for the installation of the water/sewer lines. The costly removal of the impacted trees, and loss of their property attributes will more than likely impact property values and substantially decrease real estate salability.

Additionally, if an individual or business in Boonville rents their property from a landlord they need to be prepared for a substantial increase in rents to cover the landlord’s costs for providing this expensive water and sewer service.

The major problem, and primary complaint, regarding water from a plant is the use of treatment chemicals. There is no way to avoid the chemical taste; residue found in plumbing, water heaters, dishwashers, etc has to be dealt with quite often. Water heaters need to be replaced every few years due to chemical buildup. In our area a large percentage of homeowners installed expensive whole-house water filters and softeners to mitigate the problem. Consumers with health issues must install special treatment equipment if they use chemically treated plant water. Some residents unable to afford the expensive filtering systems have bottled drinking water delivered, others have faucet and shower filters to cut back on the bad taste and residue. Because some chemicals are added to or taken away from the water, indoor and outdoor plants require more than usual amounts of fertilizers added back into their water.

In Lake County, as well as Mendocino County, we are experiencing the threat of fires – our water plant currently has storage tanks for everyday use. Should there be a fire in our area, the plant, which is operationally dependent on power and personnel, will be shut down during evacuations. If tanks go dry, there will be no water personnel available to keep them full for firefighting purposes. This will be a concern for Boonville also; this is an issue that should be addressed by the Community Service District Board in conjunction with the Firefighter’s Association should this immense project be seriously considered.

An ongoing concern regarding placement of sewer lines: Robinson Creek and Anderson Creek are well known by long-time residents to flood during winter storms; Lambert Lane bridge, and the Anderson Creek bypass are vulnerable during major water flooding. Trees have collapsed and sloping banks have eroded on these seemingly mild-mannered little creeks in the past. During winter storms the creek beds can literally reroute causing damage to property, and bridges. If a sewer line is attached to a bridge it is also vulnerable to undetected leaking or outright collapse from earthquakes; even tiny wastewater leaks can cause contamination for miles downstream.

Fortunately, my one hundred, thirty-year old family property in mid-Boonville continues to produce ample water; the water is periodically tested by a laboratory and always shows consistent results. The last test was performed in September 2018: the water has no issues or contaminates. The main sewer tank was upgraded about fifteen years ago and continues to work very well. None of my immediate neighbors are experiencing any problems so it is assumed the sewer/water samplings (as outlined in the project report) were obtained from a small area located in a clustered area of Boonville; obviously, this should be resolved with the property owners and the Mendocino County Health Department for upgrading. This is not an issue for the entire community to alleviate for these unfortunate property owners, they need to address their water and waste problems by upgrading their own property.

If Boonville truly has an urgent water/sewer problem I am sure most of us would be inclined to agree something should be done to avoid health issues for all of us. However, that urgency does not appear to be the area of concern as outlined in the project report; it addresses only a few samples (twenty-three); twenty of those properties were identified as contaminated during the winter months; they appear to be clustered together; ironically, the tested locations are very near the CSD office.

The excessive $10,000.00 cost to each individual user to connect to the water system is shockingly exorbitant; the quality of the water delivered from treatment plants is very undesirable due to chemical treatments; the monthly cost to receive water will definitely increase rent payments and greatly impact household budgets. Businesses will need to deal with changing margins due to the excessive cost of water, sewer, and the disruption of business sites. The costs will eventually “trickle down” to the local consumers who will already be paying large amounts for the same service. Real estate values will decline; homes and businesses will no longer be desirable to prospective buyers as a result of the initial $10,000.00 investment, expensive monthly payments, poor quality water, and an obtrusive and undesirable infrastructure project. The economic cost is excessive compared to any possible benefits, should there be any.

It is certainly possible the water table in Boonville will drop due to the large amount of proposed new deepwater wells (fifteen sites shown on map). The established well sites are near creeks that now meet Boonville’s current water needs; they are primarily located near an established water table that has consistently provided water for personal and business use in Boonville for over a hundred years. Deep well drilling will present an immense problem for these wells. If the deepwater wells are a cause of private wells running dry, the CSD board and a water board could end up facing litigation.

I trust the board will fully review all opinions, and concerns before adopting this plan. I have confidence in the board’s ability to make the right decision for Boonville residents, not just a few property owners who are obviously out of compliance. The last sanitary survey of central Boonville was undertaken in 1974: forty-four years ago! Huge improvements to above or below ground sewer systems have taken place since that time.

The property owners who are having problems with their non-compliant sites need to bring their properties up to safety and health standards. This is their problem to resolve; it is not a problem for a majority of property owners in Boonville who are in compliance to solve for the few; the out-of-compliance property owners should upgrade their sewer systems with modern equipment, and look into addressing their own water concerns. I am sorry for their plight; I know it is not easy for them to deal with, but they must. It is unfair to assume the rest of us will pay thousands of dollars to carry the burden for a few due to their continual inattention to their past and present problems. However, that will be the result if the board agrees to this massively expensive loan obligation. Boonville residents will be forced to deal with an unaffordable, undesirable, and unnecessary project if this plan is implemented.

Thank you for taking my concerns into consideration; I know you will ultimately make a fair and honorable decision for all residents affected by this colossal project. Having lived with both private water/sewer and plant-provided water, I adamantly assure you having the private water/sewer is far superior and considerably less costly compared to plant treated water and sewer services for all the reasons I have outlined in this letter.


Joan Burroughs, Kelseyville

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Valerie Hanelt Replies

Hi Joan,

First of all, thank you for your letter and the effort you put into thinking through all your concerns. I wish I had had this information earlier. It is very shocking what the Lake County system is like at your Kelseyville property. Under no circumstances would we have tried to implement a system as expensive to the individual parcel owner! We would not have gotten this far if our system resembled the one you are dealing with. First of all, the expense! Who could possibly come up with $10,000 per parcel in the first place? I assure you, if we had been talking about that kind of money we would have had to back off a municipal system. This is in our notes from a telephone conference with our project managers at the State Water Board:

“Jennifer recommends using the grant funding as an incentive to property owners to hook-up even if they are not going to use the service.” For example, “the grant funding will expire in three years and after that time you would pay up to $10,000 to hook-up yourself.”

So there is a definite incentive to hook up to drinking water while the State is paying for it, rather than down the road on your own. I don’t believe this $10K has anything to do with the property owner’s responsibility to pay for the lines on their side of the property line, however.

We can't expect our parcel owners to undertake ANY loan repayment. That is why we are going for 100% state/federal grant monies.

Our monthly parcel rate will only reflect what we need for “Operation and Maintenance.” To set up monthly rates we have to use a formula: 2% of the median community monthly income. The State is using approximately $38,800 as our median yearly income (everyone is treated the same). So $38,800 divided by 12 to get the monthly income is $3,233. 2% of that is $65. That is the State formula for the rate required by the Proposition One funds we are applying for. Each system would cost the parcel owner hopefully around $65 for the basic rate. (So if your parcel gets Water AND sewer it would be $65 per system). The 2% would be the base amount. Everyone on the Drinking Water system (residences, Businesses, Fairgrounds, schools, clinic, etc.) would be metered to arrive at the monthly bill. Our understanding is that the bill would be the base rate for a standard amount plus the extra amount of water used beyond that. Your $1500/year doesn’t seem that bad – except that you aren’t getting drinkable water out of it!

The State audits the amount we charge so that we only charge O&E (operating and maintenance) expenses. That has to cover the water system employees, billing, etc. Money collected beyond O&E would be considered a "tax" on parcel owners and would have to be returned. Our future Water Board (under the CSD) is legislated under LAFCO and the State Proposition 18 funding rules. No profit there for CSD.

Another note on the rate being 2% of monthly income formula is that it is predicated on our being in the lowest band of socio-economic status based on median income for our zipcode. On Dec 1st the new American Communities income data comes out and those numbers could change. However, it is critical that we stay a “severely disadvantaged” community based on the upcoming December data as that triggers 100% funding. We will be watching the new data with trepidation.

How could we service loans and still keep our monthly rates low enough for people to afford them in a severely disadvantaged community (which by the State’s definition, we are)? The State’s answer to that is that we can’t – thus the 100% funding. Thus the importance of staying in the “severely disadvantaged” category. Let me go over some points in your letter: Water boxes? Are these water meters? The Drinking water system we are installing includes fire hydrants (State won't approve the system without them) and every parcel has a water meter. The parcel owner is responsible for connecting to the water meter. I am pretty sure these are flush with the ground and are close to the road. But that is a good question for the engineers because no one has thought about their appearance yet. We are trying to find grants for parcel owners to cover the connections costs to hook up to the provided meter at their property line. There is a senior and low income program that we are looking into. We would encourage every parcel owner to sign up for these small grants.

The sewer lines/laterals are paid for right up to the house as the State won't fund unless all sewage is collected. So no expenses to parcel owner for hook up for sewer. Mandatory sewer hook up: Yes, the state will not fund unless all the contaminants are removed in the sewer zone. This is true. We are hoping parcel owners will feel that the monthly rate is not too onerous considering there is no more concern with septic maintenance and their current leach field will now be available for development.

Drinking water hook up: This is optional. Even if you do hook up, you still can keep your own well for use inside the house (with a backflow preventer) and outside for any purpose. Your parcel will have a meter anyway as part of the new system, so you could hook up later. The advantage of using municipal water is that it is safe and will be available even with a power outage. Also it provides enough pressure for sprinkler systems if you build/remodel and have to have a sprinkler because of permits.

Water Board/Attorney. Yes, required. We already have an attorney. His fees are covered by the planning grant and the design grant, which is pre-O&M. Once we are operational and he has guided us through this process and we are signed off by LAFCO and the State, we are hoping there won't be an ongoing need for an attorney. There might be a reason down the road, but hopefully we will get off on the right foot and be doing everything correctly. Bookkeeper: Yes, the part time job of our CSD manager will grow to include the necessary hours to administer the billing.

Also, we hope we have a local water operator rather than a contract with an outside company. Delivered water! Filtering equipment! Treatment chemicals! Dry tanks! I really don't like your Kelseyville system! We will have two huge tanks on Pete Bradford's property for fire suppression. Our system of hydrants every 500 feet is felt to be advantageous to our Fire Department. As to chemicals and taste, the North Coast Water Board (our permitting agency) feels our system (underground aquifer) needs less treatment than reservoirs and after a period of adjustment the taste should be OK. There is a process for people to report tastes, etc. But this is a shared concern of many, and will be discussed Nov 1.

Disruption during installation: Yes, unavoidable. Not sure how bad for how long. Yes, the sewer line will connect under the new Lambert bridge. The Lambert bridge is scheduled to be done - it will certainly have to be done before we hang sewer lines under it. The sewer doesn't go under the Anderson Creek bypass. The Sewer system is smaller than the Drinking water system (which goes to Meadow Estates by the airport and also down to the Elem. School on AV Way). Sewer hook ups stop before AV creek overcrossing, then turns left up Mt View to include the High School and Clinic. Effect on other wells: I don't have the expertise to answer this question - how I wish you could come on Nov. 1st! It will be addressed then. It is one of the most important concerns of parcel owners in the vicinity of municipal wells and the engineers are better able to answer than I.

Joan, I think the bottom line is that we will have a much better system than the one in Kelseyville. The $3-4 million spent in Kelseyville seems to demand that parcel owners bear much of the brunt for an inadequate system. We are hoping to do much better - we are looking at a huge amount of money for our infrastructure. If we had to have the parcel owners pay for it (or even a small part of it) we wouldn't be at this point in the process. CSD has spent zero dollars to this point and is not obligated to continue to construction. Although the State Prop One money will probably never be available again if we turn our backs on it now. Every parcel owner will get a "rate letter" saying exactly what the monthly rates will be. The rate has to be spelled out for a period of years. We won't know what the “O&M” rates will be until the projects are fully designed to the 'nuts and bolts' stage, hopefully by next summer. At that time a parcel owner can "vote." I put that in quotes because the vote is actually returning the letter saying you “protest” it. So about 300 parcel owners (not renters) will get these letters and if 50% plus 1 return a protest, then the project dies. Actually it is over 300 parcels for Drinking water, and under 300 for Sewer, but you get the idea. You will be able to "vote" for each parcel you own. You probably have more than two. Joan, I hope this gives you more information about what we are doing and what we are hearing from the engineers and the State Funding for our project. We have asked our State project manager over and over (and over) if 100% funding is really possible and after three years we have become convinced and have continued planning.

I also want to assure you that the Missouri House is of important historical value. The 100 year old oak trees planted by your grandfather are a community treasure. While installation might disrupt yards and landscaping, I think your trees should be listed in a historical/cultural category in the Environmental Impact Report and everything possible done to protect them.

We are collecting questions (you have contributed a lot in this letter) and we hope everyone leaves the meeting with a better understanding of this undertaking.

Best wishes, Joan,


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Glen and Mary Ricard add:

Dear Valerie,

I apologize for my tardiness in responding to your very impressive presentation of your Boonville projects. Mary and I were amazed at the amount work and progress that has been accomplished.

We are completely supportive of your plans and efforts. Also, thanks for the water test results.

As we explained, our plans (prepared by Architect, Debra Lennox), for rehabilitating the building were rejected by the building department years ago. We proposed retail/office spaces, plus 4 to 6 living
spaces above. There were several pages of nit-picky items, however, the killer was the imposed requirement of an Elevator. (I bet you can count the number of elevators in Mendocino County on one hand.) I took this as a sign that the County was not interested in having
 this property improved. "You can't fight City Hall".

A few interested parties also reported resistance from the County, concerning the septic system. I believe that this septic system was the latest (new) one in this section. It was the location of the
 Village Laundromat. A Community Sewer System will eliminate these concerns.

The advantage of Zero set-back is a major feature for this property to be remodeled. If razed, the 20ft setback would be imposed, which would restrict the possibility of off-street parking and frontage exposure.

You mentioned that the Building & Planning has new leadership, which is fine, but the buyers have moved on.

Thanks again for your efforts and information.


Glen and Mary Ricard


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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 28, 2018

JHIOVANY ALVARADO-PROCOPI, Ukiah. Controlled substance, under influence.


MARCUS CALDWELL, Willits. Rape by force, violence, duress, menace or fear of bodily injury.

JEFFREY CARVER, Willits. Burglary, probation revocation.

Garcia, King, Manuel


WILLIAM KING, Mendocino. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

LAMAR MANUEL, Ukiah. Parole violation.

Marsh-Haas, Montano, Parkinson

HEATHER MARSH-HAAS, Ukiah. Parole violation, escape attempt. (Frequent flyer)

MICHAEL MONTANO, Ukiah. Loaded handgun registered to someone else, criminal street gang participation.

ADAM PARKINSON, Leggett. Failure to appear.

Ruczak, Schwindt, Stevens, Williett

SAMUEL RUCZAK, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

STAN SCHWINDT, Willits. Failure to appear.

DEAN STEVENS, Ukiah. Parole violation, false ID, evasion.

DARRIN WILLETT, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

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I VIEW THIS SPECIES with wonder and pity — and a certain amount of contempt because we dug these holes for ourselves. The two big things we did wrong were to believe in this guy God, believe that there’s really a man in the sky who cares about any of this, who directs our feelings or thoughts or has a report card or a scorecard on our behavior. This is a really crippling belief. And what religions do is use it to control people and scare them.

And, secondly, private property, or any kind of property, is a mistake. I don’t have the answers for how we should have done it. That’s not my job. But I know that this greed, this competitiveness on the level of “I want some more than he’s got; I want more than he has” is wrong.

We started out being cooperative and competitive in equal measures and that’s what made the species great. We learned how to cooperate in the hunt. But, quickly, competition outweighed cooperation. And now the balance between those two is incredibly out of line and it can never be corrected because of the power of the people who have the money.

If all we had were six people who somehow fell out of the sky into a spot in the woods, the first thing they would say to each other is, “Is everybody OK? All right, let’s go find some food.” We would not have one guy saying, “This is my tree. These are my apples. If you want them, you’ll have to give me something.” It wouldn’t happen that way. If this were back to its simplest form, we would share and cooperate.

This will never happen again. It’s out of hand. There’s almost six billion people. We’re beyond the ability to sustain this.

— George Carlin

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Recent news about the “caravan” is on every channel and newspaper, but no one is asking the simple questions. First, how do you get thousands of people to start marching in a caravan across Mexico to the United States all at once? If you have ever been in the military you know that it takes organization to move that many people at one time. This is not spontaneous but a well-organized media event. So who organized this caravan?

Second, why now? Let’s look at the timing. The caravan will arrive at the border on or about Election Day. The only folks who benefit from this timing are those pushing for a wall and your vote to build it. I can hear the cry now: “They’re at the border. If we only had a wall.” So who benefits? It’s not the Greens, the Peace and Freedom Party or the Democrats. But the party of Donald Trump does, and they are milking it for all its worth.

Don’t you get it? You are being fleeced, bamboozled and generally taken to the cleaners by the P.T. Barnum of the 21st century.

Allan G. Tilton

Santa Rosa

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by Bruce Brady

We all do all that we can to fantasize that we are somehow in control, that if we just eat the right organic and (of course) non-GMO'd and gluten free food, do enough time in the gym, yoga in the morning, and spend most of our time, at least when not counting, on peaceful and loving thoughts, that somehow it will all work out. I believe that most of us, in general, do this. I believe that we do this because an understanding that makes us the constant focus of random events is daddy-slowly-removing-his-belt scary, and most will perform astounding leaps of faith and belief to avoid it. On the other hand, having no control and therefore no idea of what's about to hit you is a pretty accurate mirror of life's surprises. Not having a plan, it turns out, is a pretty good plan.

I do not generally quiver in anticipation at the latest digital technology, but the device sitting over there on the dumbec is a virtually perfect example of the concept of 'Whatever' frozen into an unassuming bit of technology about the size and shape of a trade paperback book, open to the middle. Presently, 9476 digital images, all of which I have put there, display at random, each stored in 'the cloud' and displayed for twenty seconds. Each if them captures a sliver of my life or some matter which momentarily (at least) caught my eye. Famous historical photos, students of mine, then and now when possible, kids, relatives… a kind of chronology of the shit (often) that happens. Let's see where this takes us . . .

The first image that I see when I look at the display screen instead of the keyboard is a still image from 'Them,' a classic fifties horror movie which depicts the horror faced by very dressed-up Los Angelinos when giant radiation-bred black ants learn to spell karma. A suited man with a hat looks ready for action as an ant the size of a Humvee looms above focused on the woman (wearing heels), clearly in need of protection. Growing up in Garden Home, a suburb of Portland, and then in the process of suburbanization mirroring the (almost) brainless pursuit of the end, ten year old me rode my bike almost every Saturday that it wasn't raining to watch the matinee. I think I paid twenty-five cents, maybe less. The matinee films were either horror or cowboy movies. Plus, there was almost always a serial, Hopalong Cassidy or some such. A Roadrunner cartoon. For an early adolescent, at least this one, it was a damned sight more interesting than spending my afternoons at home, which in my memory lives on as a black-and-white almost never dramatic sort of place.

Fifty years later, following childhood exposure to giant ants, crabs, scorpions, apes, and an entire menagerie of menacing reptilians, I still cannot really inhabit the imagined reality of solo hiking or, certainly, solo camping in the wilderness. Sharks. No matter how time and experience might soften this deep fear (if such it should be labeled) of the natural world, the lasting message is clear: Nature is an implacable evil with a very long memory. It cares not one whit about you, may hardly be said in any fundamental way even to notice your existence. Pay attention.

Like some sea-creature coming up for air, the reality of this apparent conundrum arose in, of all places my high scool English class. In, say, Moby Dick, is the natural world our enemy or our friend? How 'bout The Journals of Lewis and Clark? Arctic Dreams? Cold Mountain? Earnest Shakleton's remarkable story? Hemingway? Angle of Repose? The nightly news?

Contrary, perhaps, to the first impressions of some, the response to this question seems fundamental to our developing view of the world out there. Those, for example, who go into the woods because that is where they feel themselves most complete know and understand this. Those who spend their days comfortably wandering the nearest shopping mall with a few hundred others and a credit card would obviously not be inclined to agree.

The bazillions of ongoing responses to this determine how we use the world in which we find ourselves. Of course, a good deal of what we 'know' is so deeply embedded in our culture, that much of it becomes naturally deeply embedded in what we don't know that we don't know. And, at the bottom of the page, as they say, it really doesn`t matter much what we think of the entire matter. It's just our particular life, shuffling on at both ends.

Looking again at the image on the screen over there is a lovely view of California desert wildflowers blooming a few months after the terrible inundations of winter a few years ago. After the obligatory twenty seconds, the cover of the American artist Ben Shahn's 'The Shape of Content' appears. Whatever his many other accomplishments, the title of this collection of essays also became the title of my master's thesis. At this point, I can't recall a single crumb of my reasoning, but here in what is likely to be some version of The Last Days, is certainly seems to have become appropriate.

In the absence of any other reason except the fact that most of my friends headed off to college in the fall of 1961, I decided to try it for a semester and really find out whether the local junior college was really, as student wisdom had it, a high shool with ashtrays. A couple of years later, my French3 class met in a subterranean classroom at UC Davis. Every one of the twenty or so of us in class (+ the professor), smoked imported [of prime importance for social ID] Gauloise cigarettes, an evil blend of weapons-level tobacco and shredded radial tires. Evidence suggest that French3 may very well shorten my life measureably.

My version of The Shape of Content had (has) to do with what is known by us literary types as 'pastoralism' (or sometimes 'the pastoral conceit): shepherds, lambs, and the like living in peace and beauty in someplace bucolic and far away. The thesis presumed to demonstrate how the deep worship of Nature lived-on in the modern poet Howard Nemerov, particularly in his lovely (and fairly lengthy) elegy 'The Pond.' This thesis was my ticket to an extra $300/yr. for helping to lead the students at Leggett Valley High School in their hormone-fueled journey to the graduation stage.

But in deep ways, Ben Shahn was there, too. I don't (alas!) know much about Mr. Shahn. Most of what I think I know comes from however I first stumbled, so to speak, onto him in graduate school. This is vanished: not the slightest residue of memory. Most of the rest validates old impressions, and thanks to Wikipedia for that. He was an artist and a graphic designer, and he was an enthusiastic employee of the WPA. I have no idea whether he was, or became, a Socialist, but he was one of the first to plant that lefty idea in my crowded brain, along the notion that, wherever holiness might be found, it was unlikely to be in any city or its suburbs. Ah, the sudden appearance in my life of some of the eventual themes: at whatever cost, begone from the suburbs; place is a kind of holy; idealism, if you can catch it, feels good. And so I found myself a first-year teacher in Leggett, with help from Ben Shahn, like a cosmic three-cushion shot.

It, of course, didn't happen just this way, but nevertheless randomly, the next photo I glance at shows a warmly-dressed Julia Butterfly Hill with both arms raised from atop Luna, the Eel River far below in the background. Any patient and hardy soul who has read this far will be pleased, I imagine, to know that this is today's last picture. Whatever, eh?

Oddly, I knew Julia for well over a year before I ever met her. Berk Snow, one of my first friends from Deep Mendo, was a major force in local environmental activism, often through his readiness the fly-in supplies with his Cessna. He had arranged for each of the four Wild River Show hosts on KMUD (of which he was one) to receive an on-air call and visit with her via her cell phone call every Sunday morning shortly after eleven. I found her engaging and completely easy to visit with, even with a couple of thousand unseen listeners going about their morning tasks or driving along 101.

As yet further evidence that God loves me and wants me to be happy, I was able, perfectly legitimately, to score a ticket to see Joan Baez and Bonnie Raitt together in a concert held at the Mateel to celebrate her two years in the tree, recently ended. Julia was also there, but for some reason, I didn't meet her that evening. This happened a couple of months later in the office at Laytonville High, when she showed up at my invitation to talk to my class before sharing lunch with the faculty. Happily, a recording of her in front of maybe forty kids resides digitally in my I-pod. Julia titled her speech 'The Power of One,' rather the perfect subject for a room full of adolescent supporters (mostly). To say that the speech was transformational, at least for some, is to wander into understatement.

A couple of years later, Julia was preaching to the well-heeled faithful and trying not to be ironic on the (presumably) pleasant and lucrative trails of Canyon Ranch, and I was well into working on another novel, this one with a character like her near the center. However, divorce and the loss of Wild River rather emphatically ended that and the entire adventure has dimmed in memory. Julia Butterfly Hill. Luna. Whatever, eh?

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“14 Sonoma County Spots that are said to be haunted.”

“Santa Rosa school board picks educator for trustee post.”

“Robert Redford selling secluded Napa Valley estate for $7.5 million.”

“Punky’s Pumpkins back in bright orange with Halloween approaching.”

“Assailant bites off part of man’s ear in downtown Petaluma.”

“Obits to die for: How some folks get the last word. A writing class in Penngrove teaches participants the art of writing their own obits in advance, and even having some fun with it.”

* * *


Well this is a slap in the face to another “minority” city council candidate whose only liability was being born a Hispanic male. MSP saw this event listed on the MCNlistserv - it's the third event this electoral season featuring "Women ONLY" Fort Bragg City Council candidates. Word on the street has it there is talk of males picketing this "exclusionary" political forum: "Women Marching Forward Event Sunday, October 28 from 4:00 - 6:00 pm at Eagles Hall 210 Corry St, in Fort Bragg Screening of the Women's March Documentary by local director Mischa Hedges followed by a panel discussion with Hedges, Fort Bragg City Council candidates Jessica Morsell-Hayes, Mary Rose Kaczorowski, and Tess Albin-Smith and Coast Director of Project Sanctuary, Lia Holbrook about women in leadership and the movement forward. Activist craft table, raffle, food, $10 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds, all proceeds to Project Sanctuary. Doors open at 3:30 pm."


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What is happening? It has been happening for years. We have been an oligarchy for at least 30 years, and right-wing talk radio blowhards have convinced a sizable percentage of Americans that fascism is a good thing, that Hair Furor is actually good for the country, and that liberals and the press are the enemies of "patriotic Americans". And whiny Democrats who stayed home rather than voting, are the reason we have this wannabe tinpot fascist dictator in the White House.

* * *


by Bruce McEwen

Last week we learned our downed helicopter crew had just captured a couple of enemy combatants from the huge plantation that downed their CH-53 King Stallion attack helicopter with a FIM-92 Stinger MANPAD (Man Portable Air Defense , shoulder launched Stinger ® Raytheon Corp. Infrared homing, surface to air missile). The POWs (prisoners of war) were Tempest Docilesea and Cholly Gupta, marijuana trimmers by profession, scavengers on this occasion, foraging for anything they might find in the downed chopper that would be useful against the convoy from Pelican Bay. Here’s what happened.

L/Cpl. Early: “Halt! Who goes there? Frien’ or foe?”

Ms. Docility: “Don’t shoot! It’s only like just us – Tempest and Cholly – we’d love to friend you on Facebook , only … you know!”

L/Cpl. Early: “Show me yo’ damn haines.”

Mr. Gupta: “Zee?”

L/Cpl. Early: “What’s ‘at y’all got in yo’ haines?”

Mr. Gupta: “It’s my iPhone 7.”

L/Cpl. Early: “Really? You can get service? – how many bars?”

Mr. Gupta: “New, newt ony service. Noone. It’s newt e’en charged-up, de batt’ry’s dud, dude.”

L/Cpl. Early: “Then why y’all carry it around like ‘at?”

Mr. Gupta: “Force of de habit, sire. Am con’t puts in doon. Und am still look at de screen most of de time, even dough it’s blicked oot.”

Ms. Docility: “Me too. The longest I can go without looking is about three minutes – even though I have no idea how long three minutes is, since my smart phone died, and I can’t tell the time of day or night, either, even approximately, without it.”

L/Cpl. “A’right, you two come with me.”

Ms. Dociliesea: “You won’t hurt us will you?”

L/Cpl. Early: “I might shoot y’all – if you try anything funny.”

Mr. Gupta: “Don’t worry – we’re not comedjians – we won’t try anything even mildly amusing.”

Ms. Doscilesea: “Excuse me, but dish bish just doesn’t like get it; Wull, I mean, like, you are a black man, a man of color, why would you be in the military, oppressing people like us, who are like doing the work of the Universe, growing medicine for the oppressed?”

L/Cpl. Early: “Ma’am, I am a descendant of a prom’nent military figure, General Jubal Early, and my great-great-great-gran’fodder was the bastard son of this famous Son of the South, Gen’l Early – so as y’all cain plainly see, I have not only his name, which my enslaved ancestors adopted after emanc’pation, but I also have his genetic tendencies to generalship, and I joined the Marines to work my way up through the ranks – what we call a “mustanger” – to Commandant of the Corps –now, lace y’all’s fingers a-top y’all’s haids and for’ard march, befoe I poke y’all in the butt with my rusty bay’net. Hup-two-tree-foe, hut-two-tree-foe…”

As the file slogged through the ash they came up to the rendezvous point, where the alert Corpsman Schofield spotted the party and hailed his compatriot: “Reveille Dick, what-cha got, there?”

L/Cpl. Early: “Just what it looks like, Doc: I gots me a couple-a prisoners.”

Corpsman Schofield: “Whoa, dude – that’s awesome as a bent paperclip! Where’d-ja get ‘em?”

L/Cpl. Early: “Just coming over the ridge, yonder, like Jack & Jill after a li’l ol’ pail o’ water.”

Corpsman Schofield: “Dude! Sweet! C’mon -- let’s torture ‘em!”

L/Cpl. Early: “Stand down, Corpsman. Remember y’all’s orders and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There’s such a thing as the Geneva Convention, y’all knows that. We’ll interrogate these here pris’ners, all in good time. For now, y’all git yo’ ass up on that ridge – being careful not to sky-light yo’ fool self -- and keep an eye out for any mo’ civilians, ‘til I relieve y’all– Got it?”

Corpsman Schofield: “Aye, I got it… but you fuckers better save some for me!”

Ms. Docilesea: “You lying bastard! You said you wouldn’t hurt us! (Get up off your knees, Cholly, and stop crying.)”

L/Cpl. Early: “I said no such a-thing, Ma’am!”

Ms. Docilesea: “Don’t you call me ‘Ma’am’, damn you!”

L/Cpl. Early: “Calm down and keep moving – The Doc was only a-pullin’ y’all’s leg, Ma’am. Why, he wouldn’t-a hurt a li’l ‘ol fly -- and the camp’s full of ‘em. Yo’ -- Cholly! On yo’ feet, boy! (I likes calling white folks ‘boy’). Move out!”

(Log on next week to see if L/Cpl. Was lying – or whether his humanitarian instincts are countermanded by his superior officers --!)


  1. Craig Stehr October 29, 2018

    Another excellent Sunday Love Feast at Krishna Temple up the hill above Chinatown in Honolulu. We have affirmed that we are NOT these bodies and we are definitely NOT these minds. We are all the Spirit-Soul only! Never be fooled by this worldly play, but know that you are the eternal witness. On Halloween night, Krishna devotees and friends will go in full devotee garb (with appropriate sandalwood markings) to Waikiki for chanting and dancing in public. Assemble at 51 Coelho Way at 5:30 P.M. Trick or Treat? Welcome to the end of postmodern times. For information, please contact: ISKCON Hawaii at (808)595-4913. ~Mahalo~

  2. Harvey Reading October 29, 2018


    We have been an oligarchy from the beginning. The founders ensured that it would continue to be so with the nondemocratic institutions (like the senate and the electoral college) contained in their supreme law document. Hamilton immediately set out to serve the oligarchs by letting them make fortunes on the once-worthless Revolutionary War bonds issued to veterans.

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