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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Nov. 5, 2018

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A READER WRITES: I still prefer clocks with arms on them, powered by little batteries, and those I must change. I do hope we stop this back and forth time now. I'd prefer being on real time all the time (high noon always being high noon), but would concede to switching to Mountain Time permanently if that gets us off the infernal switching. It's crazy: the day is the day, and time is time, and we should just leave them alone.

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by Malcolm Macdonald

There are cases that wend ever so slowly through the court system. In some civil cases even preliminary results can take years. One such case in the Superior Court of Mendocino County is Miller v. Fort Bragg Unified School District.

Donna Miller began work in the Fort Bragg Unified School District (FBUSD) in August 2001 as a school counselor. She progressed to the job of principal at Fort Bragg Middle School, commencing work there in the summer of 2007. She continued as principal despite a 2013 cancer diagnosis. Her treatment involved several procedures as well as undergoing chemotherapy at regular intervals during the 2013-2014 school year. Miller was allowed to take time off from work for needed treatments.

At the time of Miller's cancer treatments Don Armstrong served as Superintendent of FBUSD. At the end of the 2013-14 school year Armstrong retired. FBUSD hired Charles Bush as the new superintendent. The 2014-15 school year, as it pertains to Ms. Miller's working relationship with her new boss, appears to have been best described as acrimonious. In early 2015, at the urging of Superintendent Bush, FBUSD's Board of Trustees removed Ms. Miller from her job as principal of the district's middle school.

Miller's lawsuit alleges that Superintendent Bush, acting for FBUSD, discriminated against Miller on the basis of her age, gender, and disability. In addition, in her suit that cites ten causes of action, Miller also contends that she was sexually harassed by Bush.

As the case wended its way through 2018, FBUSD, as defendant, sought a summary judgment, which would effectively throw plaintiff Miller's case out. On October 26th, Superior Court Judge Jeanine Nadel ruled on the summary judgment. “The court finds that there are triable issues of fact as to whether Plaintiff [Miller] was a victim of discrimination at the time her contract was not renewed. While it is undisputed that Plaintiff [Miller] was offered a lesser paid job at the time her contract was not renewed and she choose to retire instead, there are also triable issues of fact as to whether this was a constructive termination.”

Referring to the FBUSD decision not to renew Miller's contract in 2015, Judge Nadel wrote, “The board members who were present at the meeting (only 4 out of 5) acknowledged that they relied on the input and recommendation from Superintendent Bush, but there is no evidence as to what that input consisted of in its entirety. Superintendent Bush was the only one to list the alleged reasons for Plaintiff's [Miller] removal/demotion. One of the reasons... elicited through the discovery process is that [Miller] attended a training session without filling out the appropriate form. There is no dispute of fact relating to this incident and the effect on the Middle School while she was absent for one day. Another reason is that [Miller] did not have teaching experience. However, [FBUSD] does not dispute [Miller's] qualifications. A third reason is that the Middle School was on Performance Improvement status in 2014. However, the academic performance actually improved in the 2014 school year. Defendant's [FBUSD] attempt to address the discriminatory reasons by providing self-serving declarations that, “My vote has nothing to do with gender, age, or medical condition” only further support the court's decision that there are triable issues of fact as to whether there is a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason. This is particularly so when [FBUSD] concedes (albeit for this motion only) numerous statements of undisputed facts relating to the qualifications of [Miller} and her history with the District, and the fact that she was replaced with a younger less qualified individual. There is also a triable issue of fact as to the motivation of Superintendent Bush even before the school year began.”

The filings by Miller's attorneys allege that as soon as Bush became Superintendent of FBUSD he “immediately began targeting Miller and [two] other older female Principals in the district.”

According to those same filings, “When Bush first became Superintendent, he asked Miller how old she was, and she informed him that she was 64. In private, Bush repeatedly asked Miller how long she was going to work. When she responded that she wanted to work several more years, including until age 70, Bush said that he would have to see about that...”

Charles Bush

One of the most damning allegations revolves around a conversation Bush had with a long time school district employee in the early months of the 2014-2015 school year. Again quoting from the court filings, Bush told a long time Director of Student Services that “he was going to fire Miller or make her life so miserable that she would quit, but because he had 'taken heat' for firing [one of the other older female principals] he planned to stage hiring a mentor for Miller with no intent of making things work.” Bush uttered these words only a couple of months into the school year.

Miller's suit claims that Bush made sexually inappropriate comments to her during a private meeting in September, 2014. In that meeting Bush allegedly said that boys react differently when they're sexually molested than do girls. He described a boy's sexual response in detail. Miller says she was horrified. The filings also allege that Bush made harassing remarks to an older female bus driver and another school district employee.

The plaintiff's filings further claim that throughout the 2014-2015 school year, Superintendent Bush misrepresented Miller's performance to the FBUSD Board of Trustees, eroding a previously good relationship between the principal and the board.

Miller's case in regard to Charles “Chuck” Bush's behaviors does not stand alone. Among the other court filings is a deposition from a teacher in the Cinnabar School District, where Bush was Superintendent for three years immediately before coming to Fort Bragg. The teacher's deposition details the angry, derogatory tone Bush took with the teacher after a faculty meeting in 2011. The teacher, who had well over twenty years experience at the school, stated in her deposition, “While Mr. Bush was employed I was in my late 50s. He was mean to me and most of the other women on our staff. He was especially mean to two other older female teachers who were also in their late 50s... He... made up false accusations about their performance and lied to the board about their behavior.”

Following his exit from Fort Bragg, Mr. Bush went on to a Superintendent position in the Palo Verde Unified School District, where he is the subject of a lawsuit similar to that of Ms. Miller. When the fecal matter began to hit the fan for Bush in Palo Verde, the local newspaper in Blythe reported in this manner: “On Tuesday, December 13, [2016] The Desert Independent received several documents made available by the Palo Verde USD via a California Public Records Act submission. The first of these was a copy of the in-house email sent to the Board and staff from Superintendent and alleged human being [this writer's emphasis] Charles Bush regarding changes in administration at Palo Verde High School.”

Of course, this alludes to a Bush attempt to force out an older female administrator with many years experience. A brief summary of the Palo Verde lawsuit can be seen in the “Mendocino County Today” section of the online AVA from September 15, 2018.

The filings go on and on in the Mendocino County case, with deposition on top of deposition supporting Miller. Unless some sort of settlement is reached via mediation, the case is scheduled to go to trial in late January.

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H. Michael Laybourn

H. Michael Laybourn, 80, passed away on October 18, 2018 in Hopland with his wife by his side. A Celebration of Life will be on Saturday, November 17 at 2 PM at Brutocao Cellars Tasting Room in Hopland. Friends and family are invited to bring memories of Michael and their favorite dish to share. Michael was truly a Renaissance man who viewed the world through an artist's eye, painting, sculpting, woodworking, composing photos and adding beauty to whatever he did. Michael treasured the community created by bringing people together with music, beer and good food. Through his leadership at the Mendocino Brewing Company's Hopland Brewery, the first brewpub in the nation, he set the standards followed today for successful brewpubs seen around the country. Michael was a dedicated Rotarian, enriching the Rotary Club of Ukiah through the diverse community of members he recruited. Always conscious of the contributions of veterans, he headed up Rotary projects that included the Veterans' Garden and Guitars for Troops. Michael is survived by his loving wife Nancy, with whom he shared his life for 43 years; his daughters Michelle McCord, Brenda Rudolph, Andrea de Noon and son Joshua Reisinger; sister Shanon Smith, brothers Hugh Laybourn and Daniel Laybourn; 4 grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Michael was preceded in death by his parents Harland and Ruth Laybourn, and his brother, Dennis.

Mendocino Talking interview:

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(Photo by Judy Valadao. Click to enlarge)

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by Jim Shields

I’ve said this before but it needs to be said again, it’s never a good idea for elected officials to pick a fight with folks they shouldn’t really be picking fights with.

But that’s exactly what happened this week at a public meeting held in Willits by the Board of Supervisors’ Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee. Two supervisors serve on the committee, Dan Hamburg and John McCowen. Hamburg was absent, so McCowen took public comment Monday, Nov. 29, on 23 proposed changes to the county’s Cannabis Ordinance. (Be sure and read Jane Futcher’s excellent report on that meeting in this week’s paper.)

A pair of proposed ordinance revisions immediately grabbed my attention.

The Ad Hoc Committee is recommending that the current prohibition on issuing new rangeland cultivation permits after 2020 be lifted.

Secondly, the committee is proposing to raise the cap on grow sites from 10,000 square feet to a whopping four acres.

These are both very bad ideas.

The rangeland proposal, if adopted by the full Board of Supervisors, will almost certainly trigger litigation by environmental and wildlife organizations that two years ago reached a compromise settlement with the county over a lawsuit alleging insufficient environmental review relative to its initial proposed cannabis ordinance. Supposedly, the compromise included the ordinance provision prohibiting any rangeland cultivation expansion after 2020.

The Black Tail Deer Association filed the original CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) lawsuit, and their efforts were supported by such organizations as the Willits Environmental Center, the Mendocino Wildlife Association, the Audibon Society, and others. These groups all consider rangeland to be critical habitat for wildlife and fragile lands that require protection from harmful cultivation practices.

Tracing the history of the county’s cannabis ordinance and their involvement with it, the Willits Environmental Center’s website states, “Our efforts were well rewarded. For example, the Ordinance, approved by the Board of Supervisors in the Spring of 2017, protects the County’s remote, drier, less stable rangeland watersheds from widespread expansion of commercial cannabis cultivation … and no mature forest trees, including oak trees, can be cleared for cannabis cultivation.”

According to Jane Futcher’s report on the Ad Hoc Committee meeting, David and Ellen Drell of the Willits Environmental Center expressed outrage at the cannabis committee’s recommendation to allow four-acre grows and to give new permits on rangeland. Rangeland is currently off limits to new permits after 2020, due in part to the Drells’ lobbying efforts and those of the Black Tail Deer Association and the Mendocino Wildlife Association.

“I am stunned and shocked and discouraged that you would open up to new permits in 2020,” David Drell said. “You’re going into new bigger grows.” He implored the county cancel Phase Three and “figure out who’s growing or who’s growing illegally first.”

Ellen Drell told the committee it was “irresponsible” to allow expansion of cannabis cultivation with the current regulation program in “such chaos.”

Expanding grow sites to four acres will open the floodgates to large-scale, corporate cultivation, thus further decimating the ranks of the small pot farmer. It flies in the face of the county’s alleged support of the mom-and-pop growers who historically have been the backbone of marijuana farming in this county.

At the committee meeting, Futcher reported that “cultivator Nikki Lastreto, co-founder of Swami Select in Laytonville … said the committee’s proposal to allow four-acre grows worried her because the change could allow ‘really big corporations to come in to ag land and do really giant grows.’ That, she said, could be a problem for the county’s many small craft farmers.”

The Board of Supervisors and their staff have no clue at this time how many growers and cultivation sites there are in this county.

They don’t know what the impacts of marijuana cultivation are on our watersheds.

They don’t know how many grow sites and/or plants are sustainable in each watershed.

So how in the world can they make an informed decision to expand cultivation in rangelands or bump up grow sites to four acres?

Both recommendations, most likely, call for re-opening the environmental review process if they are to be approved as amendments to the existing cannabis ordinance. You can bet a lawsuit will be filed if that doesn’t occur.

You really have to wonder what thought process produced these two proposals. And that gets me to my main point.

The full Board of Supervisors is scheduled to take possible action on the Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendations on Friday, Nov. 16. That meeting should be postponed and continued to another date.

This Tuesday, Nov. 6, is Election Day. Once the votes are counted, two new supervisors — one from the 3rd District, the other from the 5th — will be elected to the BOS and they will be seated in December, just a few weeks from now. These are new proposals, they should be decided by the new Board.

I can’t think of any compelling reasons for the old Board with two lame ducks to rush the decision-making on these proposed revisions, can you?

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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The vivid fall color poplars at Indian Creek Park in Philo

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(And we thought it was bad.)

by Mark Scaramella

Last month we asked County CEO Carmel Angelo for clarification of several problematic budget categories discussed at recent meetings of the Supervisors. We assumed that since they had been discussed and were known to be in deficit, information on them would be readily available.

The five subjects we asked about were: Management pay raises, the cannabis program, juvenile hall, Sheriff’s overtime and overall revenue projections.

Turns out we were wrong to assume that the information, important as it should be, was readily available.

We were correct, however, to assume that each of the items we asked about represent serious budget problems because each is a major expenditure blithely not accounted for in budget projections.

Although we are more than four months into the current fiscal year, there is still essentially no information on revenue; it takes quite a while for such information to make its way into the County’s budget system.

As far as expense tracking in the four other categories, we are told that it’s not available yet either, but will be later this month (November) when it will be presented to the Board of Supervisors.

For now we can confirm that the cannabis program deficit is well over $1 million; management pay (Supes and senior officials) are taking at least half a mil more out of this year’s budget than last year; Sheriff’s overtime is down from last year but probably still over budget; juvenile hall is over budget because the Board of Supes decided to keep it open even though there are only a dozen or so delinquents, on average, in residence. (An alternative money saver would have placed our resudyak delinquents in the Sonoma County Juvenile Hall for a large net savings.)

Revenue projections are mostly arbitrary guesses by the Auditor and do not factor in what most people — including the CEO and her staff — think is actually going to be realized. You don't know how much money is coming in until several months after it arrives.

To make matters worse, there’s also a sizable deficit in the Agriculture department that had not previously appeared on a Board agenda or discussion.

According to a line item note for the Ag budget salary series, “1st Qtr: Adjustment to move $74,805 from 2710 to 2810 to correct salaries that moved from AG to CN Dept. will be hiring an Assistant Ag Commissioner at a higher pay rate than original budgeted. Dept. is also utilizing extra help to complete backlog of state reporting inherited from previous management.”

Translation: Last year some ag people were assigned to the pot permit program and didn’t do required reporting, causing loss of ag revenue and requiring the employment of extra help to get the reporting done, albeit late, and reinstating the revenue stream. It’s not clear how much is involved but it looks like the deficit in this line item is several hundred thousand dollars because of the cost of extra help and the loss of revenue.

The CEO and her top staff have assembled an impressive array of budget data and budget management software, and they seem competent and familiar with it, but without current data it’s hard to pin down the magnitude of the looming budget deficit. Our back of the envelope calculations are as follows:

Revenues: Instead of the rather arbitrarily budgeted 2% over last year, the County will be lucky to get the same as last year, for a revenue shortfall of at least $1.3 million.


Pot permit program: at least $1 million over budget.

Juvenile Hall: at least $0.5 million over budget.

Sheriff’s overtime and patrol: at least $1 million over budget.

Management and executive pay and benefits: At least $0.5 million over budget.

Ag Department: At least $0.5 million over budget

Total budget gap (revenue and expense): At least $5.0 million.

(Note these estimated costs all come out of “The General Fund,” which is currently at around $66 million overall, and does not include around $200 million in state and federally funded earmarked program funds, most of which go to Health and Human Services.)

The CEO advises us that later this month the picture should become clearer as actual expense and revenue data starts to arrive and is absorbed into the budget system. For now, depending on how the data actually works out, it looks like Mendo will not have any “discretionary” revenue this year or in the near future for roads, salary increases for line workers, or reserves — in fact reserves will be depleted. In addition the Board has already committed what little “discretionary” funds may materialize for emergency services.

Predictions and Implications:

[x] some kind of hiring freeze, previously proposed by the CEO but (sort of) overruled by the Board, probably for the General Fund departments, is likely to be recommended again.

[x] Raises for most line workers who naively assumed they would be up for raises since top officials already gave themselves big raises, will be declared “unaffordable.”

[x] The CEO will place the responsibility for much of the deficit at the feet of the Board itself since the Board turned down the CEO’s earlier proposed hiring freeze, decided to keep juvenile hall open over the CEO’s recommendation to close it, and set up the overcomplicated and failed pot permit program and all its manifest complications without CEO involvement. (Although in the case of the Juvenile Hall overrun, the CEO should have addressed the that problem years ago when the delinquent count went way down.)

[x] While Sheriff’s overtime seems to be down from last year (but still well over the budgeted amount), the Sheriff is ultimately responsible for his own budget and the Board is not likely to turn down whatever the Sheriff ends up asking for in overtime and overall patrol expenses.

[x] Whatever nice ideas the two new incoming Supervisors may have, the unhappy budget reality — which went largely undiscussed and undebated in their campaigns — by the time they take their seats on the Board, most of their time will be spent trying to figure out what to cut.

As far as we can tell from here in Boonville there is no detectable sense of budget urgency among the staff or the Supervisors, two of whom leave office in January.

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(Photo by Dick Whetstone. Click to enlarge.)

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mr. wendal (from Fort Bragg) writes: re: BOONVILLE DEBATES MODERN INFRASTRUCTURE: To avoid a big surprise when you open your “rate letter” next year, be aware that the lowest monthly fixed charges for (definitely not modern infrastructure) water and sewer service at a single-family residence in Fort Bragg is $77…and that’s only if you do not use any water; it’s just to have the mandatory service available at your home. The variable water and sewer charges are added to that. Are there any preliminary hints about the rate structure in Boonville?

Mark Scaramella replies: Standby fees are common in water system rate structures. As far as hints go, so far all we’ve heard is that because Anderson Valley/Boonville is considered economically depressed by census standards, rates cannot exceed 2% of average monthly household income if state grant funds are used. That translates to something like $60-$70 per month for water and $60-$70 for sewer. Exactly how that gets worked out — if it’s worked out — remains to be seen.

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A READER WRITES: Folks in Boonville need to understand that over time their whole aquifer may become polluted, even those outside the project zone.

RURAL AMERICA’S OWN PRIVATE FLINT: Polluted Water Too Dangerous to Drink

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Hospital Board Recs

One of the drawbacks of being willing to do public service is that it makes you a public target. I've been reading with some amusement the attacks on my name in this forum [mcn-listserve] over the last day or so. Zeke Kralin pegging me a "right wing, pro Trump lunatic" still has me laughing.

Yes, I am the treasurer of the Local Friends of NRA group, raising money for a charitable educational foundation dedicated to educating people about firearms safety. With almost as many guns as people in our Nation, this would seem to be a sensible public health approach. I also don't believe in "litmus tests" and stand for including everyone across the political spectrum, the economic ladder, various lifestyles, etc. Our hospital serves all of us, and the Coast is all of us.

The slogan of my candidacy is "Working for a hospital we can trust and be proud of".

I stand for transparency, involvement of stakeholders, accountability and fiscal responsibility. I also stand for keeping and enhancing OB, improving patient experience, and making the Coast and MCDH a place where high quality medical providers want to come and live. Given the dysfunctional health care system in the U.S., these are tall orders.

There is what I call a "caustic narrative" circulating about our hospital, driven in part by grains of truth that need to be corrected, but promoted by people who, for whatever reason, need someone or something to attack publicly, instead of working calmly and diligently to correct things that need correcting. Our hospital will continue to struggle, and our community will continue to lose, if the dominant voices continue to be those who tear things and people down. As we are seeing in our National discourse, it is much easier to sow distrust and division than it is to put one's shoulder to the wheel behind real change to make things better for everyone.

While John Redding may be far to the opposite end of the political spectrum from myself, we both understand administration of large complex organizations. Jessica Grinberg understands how the hospital is at the center of a major economy on the Coast and has Board experience in Mendocino Unified School District. Karen Arnold understands the ground truth of staffing a medical organization. All are reasonable people who are dedicated to working together for our hospital and community. On Tuesday, I urge you to vote:

John Redding, Jessica Grinberg, Karen Arnold & Jade Tippett for MCDH Board.

Thank you,

Jade Tippett

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “My girlfriend's name? Tiny, and she calls me, Big Boy. Anyone else out there want to invade our privacy?”

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TRUMP'S CONTRIVED election specter of dangerous invaders pouring over the southern border is calculated to scare his typical fraidy cat supporter, whose own European ancestors voluntarily stuffed themselves into emigrant ships in the middle of the 19th century for sea passage to America much more perilous than the peasants today walking a thousand miles north from Central America. Can you imagine five thousand randon Trumpians walking a thousand miles to preserve their citizenship?

HUNDREDS OF HYSTERICAL militia members and vigilantes are apparently heading for the US-Mexico border to help stop what President Trump has described as an “invasion” by dangerous migrants. After Trump deployed thousands of US troops to the border in anticipation of migrant caravans that are still hundreds of miles away, several militia groups organized their own caravans, according to The Washington Post. “We’ll observe and report, and offer aid in any way we can,” Shannon McGauley, a bail bondsman near Dallas suburbs and the president of the Texas Minutemen, told the Post. McGauley said at least 100 members of the Texas Minutemen were already en route to the Rio Grande, with more expected to follow. “I can’t put a number on it,” he said. “My phone’s been ringing nonstop for the last seven days. You got other militias, and husbands and wives, people coming from Oregon, Indiana. We’ve even got two from Canada,” he said. Other militia members reportedly showed up in New Mexico last week to offer help to local authorities in Columbus, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

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HERMAN MELVILLE'S "Redburn — His First Voyage" describes the passage of thousands of European emigrants: "How, then, with the friendless emigrants, stowed away like bales of cotton, and packed like slaves in a slave ship; confined in a place that during storm time must be closed against both light and air; who can do no cooking, nor warm so much as a cup of water; for the drenching seas would instantly flood their fire in their exposed galley on deck?… the emigrant passengers are cut off from the most indispensible conveniences of a civilized dwelling.... that no wonder fevers and plagues are the result… We had not been at sea one week when to hold your head down the fore hatchway was like holding it down a suddenly opened cesspool."

MELVILLE'S masterpiece, Moby Dick — memorialized these impious days as industrial-sized sandwiches and a gay bar in San Francisco — describes life on a whaler, certainly a harrowing way to earn one's way, but to pay one's way to America, as 400-500 people at a time did in the time of sailing ships, was paying one's way to 30-90 days of enforced torture, but once you got here you were an American, no questions asked other than if you'd also shipped with cholera or other contagions. Often, whole shiploads of emigrants would be quarantined until they were declared non-toxic. It goes without saying, or should, that conditions on slave ships were much worse.

MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: For a video re-enactment of what it was like to ride third-class “steerage” in the hold of a transport ship from Europe to Ellis Island in the late 1800s, the fine Italian movie produced by Martin Scorcese, “The Golden Door,” comes as close as we’ve seen to the way my Uncle Joe Scaramella described his immigration trip from Italy in 1906 at age 8. (And this was on a steamship with slightly better accommodations than the old sailing ships.)

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(Q) Is Scott faking emotion in this linked segment from NPR?

(a) He's always phony, so why are you asking?

(b) I'm still crying a day later.

(c) Any human being would be moved by that great poem, like what's wrong with you?

(d) Is gross sentimentality a fascist precursor?

(e) Would you trust Scott Simon to babysit your children?

(f) Which Mendo supervisor is most likely to be moved by Scott Simon's emotional reactions?

Thank you for your participation.

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THE FOLLOWING LETTER appeared recently in the SF Chron under the title Concept of Whiteness:


The thing about the white supremacy/white nationalism theme that most concerns and disturbs me isn’t the lone assassins. It’s how the delusional concept of white race has again become an expanding international cultural phenomenon waiting to flare into wildfires and conflagrations. Less than a century ago, Adolf Hitler’s Aryan supremacy doctrine whipped the German people into a frenzy that led to the massacre of uncountable millions of people around the world in World War II — many of them Europeans — with the same nonsense. I call it nonsense not only because science insists there is no such things as distinct human races, but also because my family goes back so many Jewish generations in Europe. Though I’m expected to answer that I’m white on all sorts of applications, surveys, and census documents, even American history didn’t think I quite fit that picture until the Civil Rights era.

The whole whiteness idea morphs continually according to cultural dominance. Most unfortunately, journalists and other communicators, in the way they cover the growing fascist movements, tend to help objectify and reify the delusional racial identity jargon, making the ideas seem other than an ideological construct promoted by and for ruthless manipulative elites. (Marc Sapir, Berkeley)

NOTHING here I disagree with, but fascist delusions have plagued America from its beginnings. So far, though, the bully boys of the hard right don't seem organized well enough to fall out for the specific purpose of doing violence to their perceived enemies in worrisome numbers. That the ones who have — the militia yobbos heading for the border, for instance, are the tip of a very large iceberg is undeniable, hence our president. But Mr. Sapir is right; the fascisti started out in Germany and other European countries as relatively small groups of street assassins, but picked up enough momentum in short periods of time to take over their countries. So far, though, in this country, I don't see them having a plausible leadership other than, maybe, Bannon. Trump, if he went all the way with his instincts, could be even more dangerous than he is. But all this weepy talk from mainline Democrats about "bringing us back together" and "healing," is pure delusion. There is no bringing us back together because we haven't been even more or less together since World War Two. This sucker is irreparably broke. The jackboot is out of the box. I just hope there's more of us, than them.

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YOUTH WANTS TO KNOW: "Chief, one of the best questions I've heard in recent years was when you asked Kate What's-Her-Name where the money was coming from to the start the Mendocino Voice online news service... She snapped back, "Where did you get yours!" as I recall, and nothing more was ever offered by way of explanation. How you got yours and started the AVA is a matter of record -- so that was merely rhetoric on Kate's part -- whoever she is, and whatever agency she works for. Over time, I've come to suspect it's a government front, a facade, or foil to the Mighty AVA. The spooks who came up with it, in my mind, concluded that since Alexander Cockburn was interested in the AVA, and instrumental in expanding its circulation, that they would try and steal Cockburn's fire, by making their false front an echo, as it were, of the Village Voice, which would appeal to the AVA's readership, and hopefully lure readers away to this new, ersatz Voice. You will have read my article on the Settler murder by now, and be familiar with the basics of my reason for thinking the Mendo Voice is a front. You Sir, have studied as many upstart publications as anyone I know and your perceptions into the field (dare I call it "conspiracy theory") of speculation would be quite welcome to Your Trusty Admirer, B. McEwen

ED REPLY: The Mendo Voice is only a couple of years old, I believe, but I was reliably informed some time ago that pot money funded it. I don't see it often enough to venture a critique other than to say from what I have seen it's your basic press release re-write operation, a kind of prose version of KZYX's news. I wouldn't be so vain as to think other local publications were consciously inspired by opposition to the ava, but kinda wish they were so we could have some fun with them. Myself, out of professional obligation I read all the local paper-papers, but the only on-line pages I enjoy are MendocinoSportsPlus, Kym Kemp's Redheaded BlackBelt and Lost Coast Outpost. Local journalists I admire, in no particular order and, except for Shields are unaffiliated with the AVA, are Jim Shields, KC Meadows, Jennifer Poole, and Tom Hine. The AVA's journalo-stable is as good as you'll find anywhere. (You, my son, deserve serial Pulitizers.) The internet has pretty much destroyed journalism in its traditional sense, what with everyone owning his own paper via FaceBook and the rest of the electronic din. But if a lot of these instant chloroform websites weren't free they'd soon be dead.

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Konocti Harbor rebirth slotted for 2019 — Lake County Record-Bee:

Gotta love the artistry in the third paragraph. “After tripping on a 2004 financial snafu involving a U.S. Labor Department lawsuit against the San Francisco plumbers union — which had owned the resort since the 1950s — Konocti Harbor tumbled into dysfunction, and closed its doors in 2009.”

Millions of dollars from the Plumbers Union pension funds had been “diverted” to support KHRS over the years, and Larry Mazzola, president of the union, was saved from prosecution by the intervention of Nancy Pelosi. The 2008 subprime mortgage loan “crash” didn’t help, and the loss of the operations (as well as the attraction for many local property owners) hit many other resorts that had the benefit of overflow bookings when the big stars showed up.

The “trickle down” effect of this property’s economic engine left the structures in disrepair for so long that restoration will be major, including the correction of open-pit wastewater treatment facilities that appear to be getting a big pass from the County’s health department. Maybe not, but the proximity of that plant to the shoreline of Clear Lake, its known antiquated distribution system failures, and Lake County's new “hazard mitigation plan” acknowledgement of true potential contamination risks — to the lake and to the onsite water system — ought not to be glossed over.

Never mind that the County’s probably “re-imagined” this old hulk as a real draw in its new economic recovery plan (“Vision 2028”), just like the Lucerne hotel/castle/college hustle.

Plus, the Essential Public Information Center’s 2018 Annual Award for Exceptional Savoir Faire, for the use of “snafu” in the Lake County Record-Bee — undoubtedly a first and a last — by journalist extraordinaire, Aidan Freeman. Beautifully done!

(Betsy Cawn, Upper Lake)

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Thank you from Blue Meadow Farm

Shelia, Charlie, Kristopher, Tisha, Fred, Celia, Valerie & Helen, Val & Steve, Stephanie, Greg, Aloysius, Barbara & John, Joe & Jade, Judy B, Anica & Larry & Milla, & Ben! Putting the summer field to bed.

The stand will reopen in a few months with winter greens.

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

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 4, 2018

Faber, Fett, Gillespie

SCOTT FABER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

COURTNEY FETT, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

KYLE GILLESPIE, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.

Hanover, Jensen, Karis, Lyon

THOMAS HANOVER JR., Ukiah. Mandatory supervision sentencing. (Frequent Flyer)

JEREMY JENSEN, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

PAUL KARIS, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ADAM LYON, Philo. Domestic abuse.

Maingi, Marin, Mejia

SCOTT MAINGI, Ukiah. Under influence, failure to appear, probation revocation.

JAIME MARIN, Ukiah. DUI drugs-alcohol.

MARIO MEJIA, Fort Bragg. Battery, pot for sale, controlled substance for sale, conspiracy.

Quinones, Rodriguez, Taylor

PETER QUINONES, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

ESTEBAN RODRIGUEZ, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, disobeying court order, resisting, probation revocation.

WAYNE TAYLOR JR., Laytonville. DUI, resisting.

Whipple, Woods, Yeomans

TINY WHIPPLE, Covelo. Probation revocation, special allegation second felony no probation.

CASSANDRA WOODS, Albion. Probation revocation.

DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)

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If the Democrats win the back the House of Representatives in the Tuesday election, guess what? Nancy Pelosi will be the Speaker of the House. The United States will be doomed if that happens. It's the worst thing that could happen. The same with Gavin Newsom in California. If he is elected governor California is doomed. I mean doomed. Unless it's not already doomed because of Jerry Brown.

All you stupid Hollywood misfits and idiots have too much money to care what happens. You are liberal hypocrites to the max. You don't care who wins the elections, you just vote Liberal Democrat anyway.

Mr. Ralph Coon in Los Angeles I give you credit for one thing, you must have graduated from the University of Idiodacy. You must have your head up you're a--. You are hanging by your nuts from an oak tree. You need to shut the f-- up.

Robert DeNiro: You were my hero in the movie Raging Bull. You mentioned a while back that you'd like to fight President Trump. I'm afraid it would be a one punch fight and you would be cold on the floor.

I hope the Republicans keep the house.

God bless Donald Trump

Jerry Philbrick


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(click to enlarge)

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An Epiphany

Warmest spiritual greetings, It has been three months since returning to Honolulu from the mainland east coast. Upon my return on July 24th, I immediately began networking to go back to Washington, D.C. (where I would have stayed if I had received solidarity in the form of housing from the peace & justice/radical environmental milieu). That was three months ago. Once per week in Honolulu I go out and drink beer and watch surfing videos at local social venues. While not ameliorating the problem of being unable to get solidarity in Washington, D.C., this does make the situation more bearable. And then today, Craig Thompson who is at the Peace Vigil across the street from the White House sent me an email message. While he commiserates with the unfortunateness of my problem, he pointed out that "what needs to happen will happen, but on God's time not our time". This wisdom sharing had an epiphany effect! At tonight's Plumeria Alternative Hostel Saturday BBQ, I shared all of this with the assembled staff persons and guests. I talked about how all of us have "similar charism", and how wonderful it is that we are all together right now in Hawaii. It was understood that I have never had such easeful, naturally satisfying social circumstances. All of the religious groups that I had been associated with in the past, be it the Catholic Church, Zen groups, Yoga groups of various types, and whomever I've forgotten, did not result in a permanent social bond. I did well, mind you. Oh ya, I performed my duties punctually and satisfactorily. But the social coherence did not happen. Curious indeed that at a traveler's hostel on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I have realized community. And we aren't even a community! But I digress... I only want to have my mind centered, united with the Source, and be on earth to do the work of the Divine Absolute. That's it. I would prefer to NOT just spend my days watching the days go by. And of course the Divine Absolute already understands all of this. So why am I typing up this message and sending it out? I choose to do this, because it is not possible for me to be living in a country (and world) which is experiencing a total mental meltdown, and ignore the whole thing. I am seeking others who also are committed to uniting their minds with the Source, and then acting in accord with the Divine Absolute. Perhaps I have not been clear about this until now. Therefore, I am sending out this message for sharing and publication. Thank you.

Craig Louis Stehr


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On Oct. 8, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a revised report that indicates that we have a much shorter window of opportunity to limit the most dire consequences of human-induced global warming.

More frequent wildfires, prolonged droughts, more intense storms and the economic disruption that comes with those are just precursors to what’s in store if we don’t act now. Loss of most major fisheries, including 99 percent of coral reefs and agricultural instability would cause food shortages that gravely impact all of us and could lead to the extinction of all plants and animals through Earth’s inability to maintain a life-supporting atmosphere.

This is the existential issue that faces humanity at this time. It transcends political, economic and social ideologies.

There is a proposal supported by the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. It’s called carbon fee and dividend, is revenue neutral and could get the level of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to 50 percent of 1990 levels in 10 years without disrupting the economy. Sounds too good to be true? I thought so too, so I checked it out at

Jonathan McClelland

Santa Rosa

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It’s a good life, just don’t weaken. When that drunk driver T-bones you at 80 mph after running a stop sign or you incur some horrid, incurable disease that surfaced after being submerged in your genetic code no matter how healthy your previous lifestyle was, you will find you are truly alone in the oligarchal jungle called America. You are a consumer and don’t forget it, otherwise you’re of no value to the system.

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From The New Fillmore:

Jonestown Started Here. [Ed note: Actually it started in Redwood Valley and before that in Indiana.]
Forty years ago this month, on November 18, 1978, 909 men, women and children — many of them members of the Peoples Temple from the Fillmore neighborhood — died in the jungle of South America after ingesting a mix of cyanide, sedatives and Flavor Aid fruit drink at the urging of their leader, Rev. Jim Jones.

Two programs this month commemorate the tragedy with local roots:

Discussing Peoples Temple: Understanding the Social, Cultural and Political Influences on the Peoples Temple Movement” starts at 6 p.m.

On Wednesday, November 7, the California Historical Society will present a program featuring historians, academics and survivors at its headquarters at 678 Mission Street. “

On Sunday, November 18, a “Day of Atonement in the Fillmore” is planned, beginning at 1:45 in front of the U.S. Post Office on Geary near Fillmore, where the Peoples Temple once stood. It includes a march down Fillmore to the mini park between Turk and Golden Gate and numerous guest speakers...

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RIGGING THE VOTE: how the American right is on the way to permanent minority rule — Ian Samuel

Taken together, this is a powerful set of tools. Draw maps that let you win even when you lose. Use the resulting power to enact measures to suppress the vote of the other side further. Count on a minority rule president to undercount your opponents in the census, and a minority-rule Senate to confirm justices who will strike down any obstacles to the plan. With the deck this stacked, it isn’t enough to win. Wresting control back from the entrenched minority will take overwhelming victory. It may take, in other words, a genuine political revolution.

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November marks the celebration of gratitude for the abundance we have, and invites us to deepen our sharing with each other and all beings. Sharing promotes health by increasing levels of oxytocin the “feel good” hormone that reduces stress levels. Studies show that sharing positive actions and experiences with someone who is actively listening, attributes to measurable increases in happiness and life satisfaction.

This is the season when nature shares her amazing roots for re-mineralizing our bones and nourishing our blood. Storehouses of sweet yumminess come in packages of beets, rutabagas, parsnips, turnips, celery, daikon, carrots, yams, potatoes, onions, burdock, sun-chokes. These are balanced by warming and circulating roots like ginger, garlic, horseradish, radish and turmeric.

An easy way to prepare them is to clean and chop your collection of roots to bite-size. Put in a bowl and toss with a small amount of oil and your favorite seasonings. Bake, covered in the oven at 350F for 20-30 minutes, then uncover and bake until soft. Serve as a side dish, or make a main dish by topping them with steamed greens and a nut-butter sauce.

Last Class for 2018 on Monday November 26th, 6-8p

Pamper Your Pancreas (and other tips for digesting the holidays!)

Learn about the gallbladder-pancreas partnership and how to care for your digestion while you navigate through this busy season. Tea will be served!

At the Gathering Place, back of the Company Store on Main St. Ft. Bragg.

More info on many things at

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"There was hardly anything I witnessed in the docks that interested me more than the German emigrants who come on board the large New York ships several days before their sailing, to make everything comfortable ere starting…. And among these sober Germans, my country counts the most orderly and valuable of her foreign population…. There is something in the contemplation of the mode in which America has been settled, that, in a noble breast, should forever extinguish the prejudices of national dislikes…. You can not spill a drop of American blood without spilling the blood of the whole world…. Our blood is as the flood of the Amazon, made up of a thousand currents all pouring into one. We are not a nation, so much as a world;…we are without father or mother."

— Herman Melville, Redburn

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(ms notes: This meme is misleading and the 643,000 number is exaggerated and unreliable, but the underlying point is valid.)

“Health insurance is supposed to offer protection — both medically and financially. But as it turns out, an estimated three-quarters of people who are pushed into personal bankruptcy by medical problems actually had insurance when they got sick or were injured.”

Full Discussion:



  1. james marmon November 5, 2018

    I think it’s very disrespectful to Americans to post that “Fool Aid” cartoon and then follow it up with a tribute to Jim Jones, “Discussing Peoples Temple: Understanding the Social, Cultural and Political Influences on the Peoples Temple Movement”. Especially here in Mental-cino County, the birthplace of the People’s Temple and the Socialist movement in America.

    James Marmon
    American and Ukiah Native (since 1954)

  2. George Hollister November 5, 2018

    “There is no bringing us back together because we haven’t been even more or less together since World War Two.”

    We weren’t together durning WW Two, either. But it was a time, going back to our founding, when we minded our own business. The single exception was our Civil War. If we insist on imposing our respective world views on each other, then we should expect conflict.

    Oklahoma City and San Francisco see the world differently. We are not going to change that, and should stop trying.

  3. Steve Heilig November 5, 2018


    At the Anarchist bookshop on Haight Street yesterday, a guy was buying the two most recent AVAs.

    “Good choice”, I volunteered, “even tho I sometimes write for them.”
    “Oh, are you Jerry Philbrick?” he asked, and we laughed.
    “No, that’s actually Thomas Pynchon in disguise again,” I explained.
    “Thought so,” he replied. “Nobody’s that nuts in real life.”

  4. Arthur Juhl November 5, 2018

    Mark, I lost the election for Supervisor as I spoke about the so called budget and the future expenses. I did complain that the BOS were unaware of how the funds were being spent, along with the CEO. I can not understand how the BOS can operate a county without knowledge of finance, especially how to read a financial statement!

  5. mr. wendal November 5, 2018


    I hope that after seeing these numbers more people will openly discuss the county’s budget troubles. There should be at least as much focus by our community on our serious problems here in Mendocino County as there is on Trump. Why do so few want to hear about this? It may not be good form to criticize a fellow liberal here in the county, but wrong is wrong regardless who commits it. That includes the District 4 Supervisor Dan Gjerde. But even after all of this time of his silence on the board, I still have hope that he’ll awaken one day soon and say enough is enough.

    Share this article with your friends and neighbors and then ask them how they think Mendocino County is doing. And take a look at the bloated Health and Human Services budget. Does anyone know how much we spend annually, per homeless person, in the county? And how much is spent, per client, on mental health? Yes, some of that funding is from grants funded by our state and federal taxes but that doesn’t mean we can be free and breezy with it instead of spending it wisely. There must be more people employed by the “helping” organizations in Mendocin County than the number of people in need of help. How much longer before it all collapses?

    Thank you to Mr. Scaramella for his, as always, accurate detailed reporting.

  6. Marshall Newman November 5, 2018

    re: “Day/Time.” El Rancho Navarro, my parent’s children camp near Philo, used to stay on Standard Time throughout the summer. Daylight Savings Time caused sunsets to be so late in the evening it was impossible to have campfires at night and actually have it be dark, hence the deviation. We called it “Newman Standard Time.” It worked great EXCEPT in regards to days off; after being on Daylight Savings Time in the outside world for 24 hours, figuring out when to go back to work was crazy-making.

  7. james marmon November 5, 2018


    “Millions of dollars from the Plumbers Union pension funds had been “diverted” to support KHRS over the years, and Larry Mazzola, president of the union, was saved from prosecution by the intervention of Nancy Pelosi.”

    I sent a copy of Betsy Cawn’s comment to Larry Mazzola Jr. this morning, he was very appreciative. She shouldn’t have implied that he was corrupt.

    Plumbers union accused of diverting $36 million from benefit plans to resort

    “No money is missing. No one got a special favor. No one got a boat or car,” he said. “It’s pension money going into a pension asset. I think it can be viewed as an investment of the pension.”

    “The union, with 2,000 members in Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Marin and San Francisco counties, has owned Konocti Harbor Resort since 1959.”

    “The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, does not claim anyone benefited from the alleged fund mismanagement.

    It does, however, say the trustees should not have continued pumping money into the resort because it is a losing venture.”

    James Marmon MSW
    Former SEIU 1021 President
    Mendocino Chapter

    • james marmon November 5, 2018

      One of the reasons it was struggling financially might be because all union members and their families were allowed free access to the facility. Back in the 60’s members voted in a hourly deduction from their paychecks to support the resort. In 1981, the Federal Court ruled that Joe Mazzoni did not illegally divert pension money to the cause, because it had been voted on. A few years after Joe was killed in a jeep accident on Mt. Konocti in 1989, a group of members and the Department of Labor filed a similar lawsuit against Joe’s son and grandson, Larry Sr. and Larry Jr. The case never went to court as the younger Mazzoni’s decided it wasn’t worth the fight and settled the case, relinquishing ownership. The majority of union members had no problem with the diversion of pension funds to cover operational costs and did consider it a good pension asset.

      James Marmon MSW.

      • james marmon November 5, 2018

        Please change Mazzoni to Mazzona, I don’t want to get my legs broken, LOL.

  8. michael turner November 5, 2018

    “Hanging by his balls from a tree”?????

    Hang down your head Tom Dooley!

    No doubt Brickhead is descended from a long line of vigilantes, the lynch mob mentality deeply ingrained. In his senility he’s probably repeating sentiments he heard around his childhood dinner table.

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