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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018

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ANOTHER INCH OF RAIN fell on the Anderson Valley last night, with more on the way. The National Weather Service forecast: "Unsettled weather with showers, isolated thunderstorms, gusty winds, and mountain snow is expected through the weekend. A new storm may bring additional rain and mountain snow as well as gusty winds early to mid next week."

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MSP keeps a close eye on the Navarro River level because, as we all know by now, while the flood stage is 23.0' - if the sandbar doesn't breach, Highway 128 will flood just east of the Highway 1 bridge and be closed by CalTrans - when the river level hits just 4.5'.

The latest reading from the upstream river gauge found the Navarro River level at 2.09' - and the amount of water headed towards the sandbar was estimated at 47 cubic feet of water per second - in other words, 348 gallons per second.

The NOAA prediction for the future river level was dropped from 4.0' to 2.9' (10:00 pm Saturday) - but that may be adjusted several more times in the near future.


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PUDDING CREEK from Trestle

Photo by Judy Valadao (click to enlarge)

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TO GET A SENSE of what is being considered at Old Howard Hospital converted into a Psychiatric Health Facility, we took a closer look at the floor plans as they are currently being discussed.

(click to enlarge)

OLD HOWARD HOSPITAL is a much larger facility than we thought. And converting it to a 16 bed PHF unit seems to be more capacity than anyone thinks Mendo County would need. But on closer examination, the proposed remodel sketch handed out for discussion at the Measure B Committee meeting this week shows that about half the space is designated as a lock up unit and the other half is a combo Crisis Residential, substance abuse treatment, training and office complex.

(click to enlarge)

THE OTHER IMPRESSION one gets from looking at pictures and diagrams of the site is that it looks like at least two wings were added to the original building since it was first built back in the early 20th Century. The original adobe-looking core building is what appears to be most at risk for seismic damage. The wings may not be as risky and might be easier to remodel.

HOWEVER, even with the combo uses which seem to be under consideration, the proposed facility still looks too big, especially if there’s also a crisis residential facility on Orchard Avenue in Ukiah where the County and Redwood Quality Management previously bought property for that purpose and which is still under consideration.

(click to enlarge)

OPERATING A FACILITY as big as the remodeled version under discussion would seem to be too costly and overly ambitious since it’s hard enough to get professional staff as things are and harder still if capacity is increased this much. Maybe a phased approach will be developed, because setting up the entire Old Howard as laid out in the current diagram and just opening the doors seems way out of scale for Willits and Mendo.

ON THE OTHER HAND, if existing staff currently employed by the County and/or Redwood Quality Management can be simply relocated to Old Howard staff jobs, the capacity question would be less vexing.

(Mark Scaramella)

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LOOKING for a drywall guy, a guy with 30 years experience, a guy who does all facets so perfectly he's an artist of the craft? A guy who's a long-time resident of this area with whole neighborhoods of satisfied customers? Call Gary at 707 843-823

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GOVERNMENT. SIGH. The late Martin Becker was an interesting man. Locals will also remember Dot Becker, for years an assistant to Postmistress Thelma Pinoli at the old Philo Post Office. Martin was born in Poland, educated in Egypt. He was the only member of his family to survive World War Two, by which time he was a college student in Minnesota. A skilled linguist, Martin was attached to the first Army units to enter Germany as they mopped up the final pockets of resistance from the Third Reich. Martin's job was to translate as Army interrogators ferreted out high ranking Nazi war criminals trying to pass as ordinary soldiers. He said most of the interrogators had been American policemen whose interrogation techniques tended to be hands-on, sometimes multiple hands on. Stateside as a naturalized Yankee, Martin always marveled at local government. He'd say, "I remember when government helped people. What happened?"

I THOUGHT about my old friend this week as I read a letter from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, an agency I'd never heard of but soon learned was the new name for the State Board of Equalization, a tax-setting outfit that taxed all of us unequally, with the money raised going to fund state government, grown larger by the year.

"DEAR TAXPAYER: Your Seller's Permit was revoked on November 15, 2018, as prescribed under Revenue and Taxation Code section 6070. Our records indicate (sic) that you did not file the sales and use tax return for the period: July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018."

I WONDERED how the state could revoke something I never possessed, so I called the Santa Rosa office at the number on the letterhead. A man with a strong Spanish accent answered, so strong I had trouble understanding his pronunciation. I guess we should pause here for rote denunciations of me as a racist for mentioning the accent. We exchanged mutual unintelligibilities until he clearly and crisply said, "I am transferring you to someone who can help you." After a very long series of rings a female voice mail message spoke in a thick Filipino accent. I've been to the Philippines so I pucking recognize Filipino-accented English when I pucking hear it! And English-English from American English, and Chinese dialects from Mandarin. And French-accented English from American English. My lingual credentials are all the way in order. And we'll pause again for rote denunciations of racism. The Filipino lady's message said she was away from her desk for the rest of her working life but she'd call me back. Well, not exactly, but she might as well have. Of course she never called back. My colleague, The Major, called his attorney for advice. "We got some kinda bullshit form letter from the pucking state saying a license we never had has been revoked. Are they going to make us pay them off?" The attorney calmly replied, "Ignore it. They used to send me those things all the time. I just threw them away and they finally stopped coming."

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JUST SAYIN' but Afghanistan, historically a disaster for the nations who've tried to subjugate the place all the way back to Alexander the Great on through more recently the English and the Russians, is now shaping up as even more of a catastrophe for the U.S. The Taliban controls much of the country and is attacking supposed "safe zones" in Kabul. Prediction: A Vietnam-like roof-top exit coming soon.

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DEPARTMENT of Unintentional Yucks. Please read the below article from the Willits Weekly describing the new business in town. Life Ray's founder, John Hutchinson, among other bizarre claims, says he's mastered levitation and, coming soon to the Gateway to the Redwoods, Mr. Hutchinson says he will set up a process rendering radioactive material inert. Willits! The next explosion you hear is not, repeat not, a honey oil lab.

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TURNS OUT NPR'S film critic didn't recognize one of the most infamous movie scenes ever. NPR has fired their film critic contributor David Edelstein after he inappropriately joked about a scene from Last Tango in Paris where the actress said she “felt raped.” In a scene from the 1972 film, late actress Maria Schneider revealed decades later  that during the infamous “butter scene” in the 1972 movie — in which the product is used as a lubricant — she was genuinely crying. She disclosed that director Bernardo Bertolucci conspired with actor Marlon Brando to spring the unscripted non-consensual sex scene on her at the last moment. After Bertolucci died aged 77 Monday, Edelstein shocked fans by posting an image from that moment between Brando, 48, and Schneider, 19, on Facebook and captioned it: “Even grief is better with butter.”

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Dick Whetstone)

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by Forrest Glyer, of Willits Weekly

At an eventful city council meeting last week, the council, staff and community members had a discussion regarding the mysterious new “Life Ray” building being constructed near Main and Walnut Streets that has caused quite a stir on social media.

During the opening public comments, Willits residents Cyndy and Craig Sales – who live near the construction site – voiced concern about what the plans were for the metal building currently being built around two large shipping containers.

“We’re a stone’s throw away from Remco, so we were there for all of that catastrophe,” said Cyndy Sales. “We don’t need something else coming into the community that we aren’t aware of.

“Do they have a business license? Has there been [an environmental impact report] done on it? How do we get information? What’s going on over there? They’ve moved two of the containers and now they’re building a building around it.

“We just would like to know if the city can tell us what’s going on. Nobody seems to have answers.”

City Planner Dusty Duley explained that the city approved building permits to allow the operators – including couple John and Nancy Hutchison of the nonprofit organization Life Ray – to build what the “administrative office” zoning in the area allows on that lot – an office building and a single-family residence.

Duley made it clear no use of any kind of hazardous material will be permitted since it’s not an industrial zone.

“Staff is aware of the development that’s occurring on this property,” said Duley. “The current owners have received a building permit to construct an office building. They’ve also received a use permit approved by this council that allows them to build a single-family home in conjunction with operation of a permitted commercial use on the property.

“What’s not allowed is any type of storage of hazardous materials or operation of scientific equipment,” he continued. “You would not be allowed to bring in hazardous material and then use your equipment to clean it on site. You’re not supposed to have a bunch of trucks coming in and creating significant increases in traffic in the neighborhood.

“They have not come in for a business license,” Duley added. “When they do come in for a business license, we can approve an administrative or professional office. If they need an office space to conduct business that’s fine, but those other activities I’ve described would not be allowed. Those types of activities are typically reserved for our industrial-type zoning, and so if that’s what they’re interested in doing, they could not do it on this property and we would certainly direct them towards the appropriately zoned properties.”

The website states the company is “a nonprofit organization developing the technology of John Hutchison for elimination of radioactive contamination.” There are several hours of footage on their websites (, and on YouTube (“JohnKHutchison1”) about the unusual Life Ray techniques.

Canadian-born scientist John Hutchison recently moved to town with wife Nancy, who is originally from Minnesota. Photo by Aura Whittaker, The Willits News. (Click to enlarge)

A big part of their stated goal is to reduce nuclear contamination, and they claim to be able to take radioactive material and convert it into “inert matter.”

The Life Ray website describes the technique: “The theory underlying the technology is that all matter is energy that pulsates. Radioactive elements vibrate at a distorted frequency as they are trying to stabilize. Cutting-edge technology supplies the pulsations that radioactive materials need to stabilize. The technology uses audio and radio frequencies to transmutate radioactive elements into inert elements, which are harmless. The process is much simpler and faster and uses much less energy than current processes for rendering radioactive materials inert.”

Some community residents have applauded their efforts on social media; however, others are expressing worries about unknown effects that may occur as part of Life Ray’s work.

There was some controversy at a previous location in the Brookings Harbor, Oregon, area regarding Life Ray’s operations there, with nearby residents calling in repeated noise complaints. Eventually, a lawsuit was filed.

City of Willits building official Christopher Morgan acknowledged the building plan of constructing a large metal structure around two big shipping containers was different and “interesting” but noted everything thus far has been going by the book, including following through on enforcement against any prohibited activities.

“I’ve had complaints there of work happening after 10 o’clock at night and people living on-site, so I investigated that yesterday,” said Morgan. “What they had was a generator running through the night to charge their scissor lift. I told them our ordinance doesn’t allow you to work past 7 pm, so that needed to be shut down by 7 every night.

“So far, everything that’s approved is what they’re doing. It’s not something we’re having a blind eye to; it’s being looked at [to make sure] it stays within the confinements of what it was permitted for.”

Duley noted city staff have been very up-front with the Hutchisons about what they would and would not be allowed to do with that property.

“I’ve spoken to the operator as recently as yesterday,” said Duley. “I’ve also spoken to the operator before they purchased the property. I spoke to the operator before they had ideas about putting in a building and a single-family home there. And we had the conversation of ‘What the heck are you guys doing there?’ It’s different, OK.

“We appreciate the fact they’re building the building to encompass the storage containers from an aesthetic perspective. But if they’re here to try and bamboozle staff, we’ve got the community on high alert; staff’s already there.

“I know the council from the questioning at the last meeting is there as well,” Duley said. “They’ve been forewarned numerous times, every opportunity that’s been given, and as recent as yesterday. And you’re right, if they want to build a building and then propose a use that’s not allowed in the zoning then, well, at least we got a new building. That’s their prerogative.”

Toward the end of the discussion, one audience member asked: “Does anybody know what’s in the … containers?” but City Attorney Jim Lance suggested the council should stop talking about the topic because it was not on the meeting’s agenda.

“We’ve probably spent more time on this than we should,” said Lance.

Vice Mayor Saprina Rodriguez asked if the council could receive regular updates regarding the status of the property from city staff, and it sounded like that would be included in the plans for future meetings.


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Thanks from Little Lake Fire

Little Lake Fire Department Chief Chris Wilkes gave a heartfelt thank you to the council and community members for their efforts in helping pass Measure J, the firehouse tax measure on the November 6 ballot.

While all the votes have not been officially tallied, Measure J appears to be well on its way to getting the two-thirds voter approval it needs for victory to allow funding and construction of a new Little Lake firehouse.

“Mayor Strong, council members, I want to take some time to say thank you,” said Wilkes. “It looks like Measure J is going to pass at 73 percent. It shows strong public support, and that’s kind of how we’ve chalked it up – it really was a community effort.… The community and council … local service clubs, family members talking to friends and other family members, and really doing public education amongst themselves seems to have made all the difference in the world.

“Even the ‘no’ votes – hopefully when that building’s built and they drive by, they’ll be proud of it, because we’re all paying for it whether we voted ‘no’ or ‘yes’ after it passes.

“We’ll make it a nice place, and it will serve our community for a long, long road ahead I’m sure. So, thank you for your guys’ continued support, and we are moving forward by the day…. We should see [requests for proposals] go out in mid-February.”

Wilkes also responded to an inquiry from Councilman Gerry Gonzalez and presented an update concerning Little Lake’s recent activities during the ongoing fires in California, as well as current local fire alert conditions.

“Just so you’re aware, we do have a strike team leader and one engine and crew over in Paradise,” Wilkes said. “They’re on shift today, actually. They’ve been working over there.

“Also … Gov. Brown put some money towards pre-positioning fire engines when red-flag warnings are in place. We’ve been sent out seven times for red-flag warning strike teams. Marin County once, the other six times in Lake County. But they were on a pre-positioning strike team assignment when they got moved to the Camp incident in Paradise.

“So, it looks like the resources are available, and they are moving around as they should.

“We should pay close attention,” Wilkes warned. “We’ve had no escaped control burns, but we’ve had people burning, and we’ve had to go out and have them stop because of the weather.… When the sun comes out, those light flashy fuels are certainly susceptible to fire.

“Mother Nature plays the role. If wind comes up, it’s a big deal for us.… So, I believe in the burn ban still being in effect at this point. We are not out of the woods yet as far as fire danger goes. Hopefully everybody’s diligent and follows the rules.”

Councilman Ron Orenstein asked Wilkes: “Is it safe to assume that we’re in year-round fire season?”

“The last three years it’s appeared that way,” Wilkes replied. “You have to remember that last year on the Thomas fire down in Ventura our crews came back on December 22. And we were sending out strike teams in late March this year, so it’s been busy.”

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Willits watershed

The council heard an update about the watershed restoration and timber salvage operation being undertaken by North Coast Resource Management to repair the city’s property north of town that burned in last year’s Redwood fire.

NCRM Vice President Todd McMahon told the council things are going smoothly, and the organization has already exceeded original projections of revenue coming to the city from the salvaged burned timber. The city has netted a profit of around $516,000 so far. It had originally projected a gain of $488,000.

Much of that money will likely be spent on reforestation of the property, which McMahon said should be planned for next winter, although he did note NCRM has procured a $130,000 grant from the California Greenhouse Gas fund to help fund reforestation.

McMahon noted there was still one section of the property containing timber which needs to be salvaged. The operation has been delayed because of falling timber prices.

“We were on schedule to do it, and the log market this year was very high – and then it’s gone through a terrible crash,” he said. “The mills cut us off, and until further notice we can’t sell the logs.”

However, he said that section was not as badly damaged, and mostly contains Douglas fir trees, which are not as prone to bug infestation.

Overall, McMahon had a positive outlook for restoration of the watershed.

“There’s a lot of nice green trees that survived up there, too, so it’s looking good. I think we’re going to get a lot of nice natural regeneration from that.”

NCRM plans to submit a full restoration plan to the city soon, which will include creating “shaded fuel breaks” between the watershed and Pine Mountain, and along the main road all the way through the property to help protect against future fires.

“Essentially we’re trying to box in the watershed from fire coming in and then rolling into Willits,” McMahon said.

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Contracts approved

During the meeting the council approved new three-year deals with both the Willits Police Officers Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245 which include 2 percent annual salary raises as well improved benefits.

In the agenda summary report, the raises were described as “an effort to address long-term recruitment and retention in the department(s).”

The council also approved construction of a new WPD firing range. The department’s previous range on the watershed property suffered extensive damage in last year’s fire.

Police Chief Scott Warnock said funding for the new firing range will come from FEMA, a grant from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, and from asset forfeiture revenue obtained by the department.

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Haschak checks in

Third District supervisor candidate John Haschak attended the meeting, telling the council he was looking forward to working with them if his lead in the November 6 vote count holds up as predicted.

“If … I am elected as Third District supervisor I really look forward to being a partner with the city and working together on all sorts of issues that come up,” he said.

Orenstein asked Haschak if he planned on regularly attending Willits council meetings to potentially update them on county supervisor activities.

“Certainly, as much as possible,” replied Haschak.

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Electric charging stations

Duley updated the council on usage of the four electric charging stations the city has installed in its downtown parking lot. He noted statistics from Chargepoint – the company used by the city in conjunction with the stations – show that in the first 15 weeks of being up and running, they’ve been used 135 times for an average time of 2 hours and 15 minutes by each user.

“My assumption is most of the people using those charging stations are folks traveling through town,” said Duley. “They’re parking their vehicle for about 2.5 hours and so, hopefully, that means they’re having an opportunity to enjoy Willits for a moment and spend some of their money [here].”

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Both cats are on dope! They haven't moved all day except to eat, and even then they're suspiciously languid. Opioids probably. Should I carry Narcan in case they o-dee? Hey, suffer the consequences, I say.”

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Thanks to Paul McCarthy's movie I found out the San Juan was in her last hours down at the boat launch in Noyo Harbor. Several large dumpsters await. A crane is floating in the harbor. In 2010 I was assigned a story by Kate at Advocate News to profile the famous local boat.

(Click to enlarge)

I always regret good stories never completed. I did talk to Mr. Abernathy whose world famous boat graveyard had just been carried away by the state. He had this painting of the San Juan in his house.

(Click to enlarge)

The San Juan had been the boat Mr. Abernathy had hoped to rescue most of his hundreds. My historical file is now gone on the San Juan's exploits on the seven seas. Google search has nothing but the recent stories by Rex Gressett, the final owner. Built in the 1920s the boat fished, rescued and did all kinds of cable installation support. She sunk two years ago and has been a nuisance in Noyo Harbor ever since. The question of who pays and what permits to get had the salvage operation tied in knots but at least they got their act together to get it out before winter. The old cedar beams are good but mud and trash filled the bottom of the boat. The engines were rescued and taken to Roots of Motive Power in Willits. That would be another interesting story...

(Click to enlarge)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 28, 2018

Calvillo, Cruz, Davis

EMMANUEL CALVILLO, Covelo. Assault weapon, large capacity magazine.

PHILLIP CRUZ, Hopland. Parole violation.

TOMMY DAVIS, Ukiah. Parole violation.

Emery, Esquivel, Frease

ANDRES EMERY, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

RUDOLPH ESQUIVEL JR., Willits. Parole violation.

AUGUSTINE FREASE, Covelo. Community supervision violation.

Hicks, Lee, Rojas


PATRICK LEE, Fort Bragg. Second degree robbery.

ANTHONY ROJAS, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, probation revocation.

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And beat your enemies to death with heads of lettuce.

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ALAN HAACK WROTE: We have never been the military. We are always the natives and it's always been a holding action, but a change is coming. A new wind is blowing. Can you feel it? We know to disappear into trees to stay alive until fear exhausts itself and love fully arrives. I salute my brothers and sisters who know of this, the ones here now and the ones gone before. When much is dying, much is being born!

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MARCO MCCLEAN REPLIES: We can learn Udmurt, because at present nearly all linguistic materials on Udmurt are in Russian, Udmurt, Finnish or Hungarian. A third phase is to write a response to the bbq. If that sounded like fun. So the plan was to attend via phone-in. It was best interpreted as a proper host. I might still be at a time, into her silicone flesh. The hair on REALDOLL's head and body are not permitted on campus.

Students are encouraged to seek staff help in preventing a fight. Counselors, teachers, administrators, safety security personnel are available to resolve difficulties in ways other than fighting. Students involved in a box of floppies. If you want to rush the whole thing. I took a hesitant step into the room. It was only maybe ten feet across, but it is kind of swimming abilities are recommended? If you fall off a sailboat and the answer of a horse's flute.

— From today's Daily Nonsense:

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by Stacy Philbrick

I've been holding my tongue on this for days, hoping for a better or at least more hopeful outcome, but... It. Just. Keeps. Getting. Worse.

Most of you know I am a true and true advocate for responsible forest management. As a 3rd generation logger's daughter (I'm the 4th) and witnessing the birth and aftermath of the anti-logging/EarthFirst movement, I am sickened to my core at what is happening today all across the West. Every year in this past decade we've seen humongous wildfires. Not just large, but MEGA fires, infernos. Fires SO hot NOTHING survives and will take years to even remotely recover, compared to fires decades ago that didn't burn as intense OR for so long.

What has changed? I'll tell you what has changed. It's the mindset of people who have NO IDEA what forest management is, who are making the decisions or casting the majority vote on how our forests are managed. Not just in California, but all across the western states. We desperately need thinning, selective logging, responsible forest management, and in urban areas fire mitigation ... but we needed it two decades ago. We have dead and dying forests. Standing dead trees, forest floors littered with fuels, no fire breaks....all in the name of what? We have groups who sue every time a timber harvest plan is set. They sue in the name of "habitat", "wildlife", "let nature take its course" and so on. Well, those groups have won. I blame them. They have infiltrated the USFS, BLM and other land management agencies and have for years. Now we are experiencing the consequences of little to NO management of our lands. How many more lives have to be lost? How many more homes, acres, livelihoods need to burn up? What about all the wildlife that no longer have the "habitat" these environmental groups are supposedly saving by not letting us be good stewards of the land and actually take care of it?

As a kid, I remember forest fires, few and far between. But back then, our forests were being logged and the "land agencies" weren't as corrupt as they are today. Fires were no where near as frequent, large or intense as they are now. Why is that? Because someone (or some groups/agencies) figured out a way to cash in on taxpayer money and get paid to sit back and "let it burn". All while locking us out of OUR public lands, not managing and/or mis-managing the land....all under the guise of "saving wildlife and habitat". My heart goes out to everyone affected, emergency personnel, fire fighters, business owners, wildlife, pets ...everyone. MAYBE NOW people will wake up and take a stand?

And before anyone tries to say, "oh its climate change" or "humans are the problem" or "we need more wild places". Humans have been here since the dawn of man. We have survived and reproduced to get to where we are today. Climates are CONSTANTLY changing - we're just here now to bitch about it and blame and impose laws. The best thing we can do (and should've been doing all along) is deal with the changes by lessening the fire fuel loads (logging/thinning), creating fire breaks around urban areas, keeping access roads open instead of decommissioning them etc... I also want to point out that I know fire, in the past, used to be (and still could under the right conditions) beneficial to the land. I also understand that droughts, weather (wind/humidity) and even asshole arsonists play a role in how devastating some of these fires are today. But what I do not understand is the mindset that responsible logging is bad, fuels reduction is bad, fire mitigation in urban areas is bad. I do NOT agree with that. I hope you don't either. Maybe something good will come from all the lives lost and all this devastation...I hope and pray something good does.

— Stacy Philbrick, 11/16/2018

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“He was visiting America. It is said that he was sitting, resting, when he heard a woman screaming. He looked up to see a black woman being surrounded by the police. The police had her handcuffed, and were beating her. He thought the woman had committed a terrible crime. He found out "the crime" she committed was to sit in a section reserved for whites.

Paul McCartney was shocked. There was no segregation in England. But, here in America, the land of freedom, this is how blacks were being treated. McCartney and the Beatles went back home to England, but he would remember what he saw, how he felt, the unfairness of it all.

He also remembered watching television and following the news in America, the race riots and what was happening in Little Rock, Arkansas, what was going on in the Civil Rights movement. He saw the picture of 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford attempt to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School as an angry mob followed her, yelling, "Drag her over this tree! Let's take care of that n**ger!'" and “Lynch her! Lynch her!” “No n**ger b*tch is going to get in our school!”

McCartney couldn't believe this was happening in America. He thought of these women being mistreated, simply because of the color of her skin. He sat down and started writing.

Last year at a concert, he would meet two of the women who inspired him to write one of his most memorable songs, Thelma Mothershed Wair and Elizabeth Eckford, members of the Little Rock Nine (pictured here).

McCartney would tell the audience he was inspired by the courage of these women: "Way back in the Sixties, there was a lot of trouble going on over civil rights, particularly in Little Rock. We would notice this on the news back in England, so it's a really important place for us, because to me, this is where civil rights started. We would see what was going on and sympathize with the people going through those troubles, and it made me want to write a song that, if it ever got back to the people going through those troubles, it might just help them a little bit, and that's this next one."

He explained that when he started writing the song, he had in mind a black woman, but in England, "girls" were referred to as "birds." And, so the song started:

"Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting

for this moment to arise."

McCartney added that he and the Beatles cared passionately about the Civil Rights movement, "so this was really a song from me to a black woman, experiencing these problems in the States: ‘Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.’ "

"Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these sunken eyes and learn to see

All your life

You were only waiting

for this moment to be free."

— as told by Valgeir Sveinsson to Michael Kronk

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In the trying times to come, I recommend investing in whiskey, guns, and gold, not necessarily in that order. In a disorganized society, those should see you through.

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When people in their deep wisdom tell me “You can’t eat gold.” I answer, “Really, do you eat your federal reserve notes? Do you eat your bond certificates, your jewelry, or your valuable paintings?”  Everything has its proper role and place. You can’t eat hot lead, but it may be useful when someone comes to take your cans of beans.

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From the office of Rep. Jared Huffman:

Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) announced today that he will cast his vote in support of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve as the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 116th Congress.  “Nancy Pelosi is a proven leader who has delivered time and again on core Democratic values.  I especially appreciate her deep personal commitment to protecting our natural environment and confronting climate change, ensuring that every American has access to quality affordable healthcare, protecting Dreamers and fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, and bringing accountability and reform to the cesspool of corruption we see in the Trump administration.  “The 116th Congress presents a new opportunity to make tangible progress on climate, on clean air, and on clean water — and I know Nancy Pelosi is up to the challenge because I’ve seen it before. I served in the California State Assembly during her prior tenure as Speaker, and watched with great admiration as she worked with House climate champions to pass the landmark American Clean Energy and Security Act, a comprehensive bill to create clean energy jobs, combat climate change, and transition America to a clean energy economy. That’s just scratching the surface of what she can accomplish: she has led on environmental policy throughout her career, reflecting the values and the lessons of our home state.  “Like many members in the Democratic Caucus, I am also invested in elevating a new generation of Democratic leaders.  Under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership in the next Congress, we will cultivate and empower that new generation of leaders as we prepare for the generational change that will renew and revitalize our caucus for the years to come.”

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IT’S THE 5TH THURSDAY of the month tomorrow - so no Quiz tonight. We shall return for the usual 2nd and 4th Thursdays in December - the 13th and 27th for a special holiday Quiz. Hope to see you there,

Steve Sparks, Quiz Master

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On November 25, 2018 at about 8:15 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were conducting extra patrols in the area of the Sherwood School (32600 Sherwood Road) in Willits.  While in the area they heard an audible alarm sounding from the school.  The Deputies exited their patrol vehicle and approached the school. As they started checking the classrooms, they noticed wet boot prints. Deputies checked the building at which time they located a window screen partially removed and a broken window pain. The Deputies located several boxes outside one of the classrooms. One of the Deputies observed a male subject attempting to hide inside the building. The Deputies ordered the subject out at gunpoint at which time he was taken into custody without incident. The subject was identified as Patrick John Hafner, 58, of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Hafner was also a person of interest in other residential burglaries that the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is currently investigating.  Hafner was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Felony Burglary and Vandalism where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

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Dear AVA,

My name is Bradley Dale Maxfield, A# 51823. I am 6-0, approximately 180 pounds with hazel eyes. I'm currently doing a local prison term of 16 months or in all reality eight months due to half time. I'm writing in search of a penpal, to be more specific a female penpal. My interests are music, literature, history, astrology and life. I like the colors red and white, black and green. My favorite sports are basketball (Warriors) and football (Kansas City Chiefs). I'm a romantic who’s loyal and looking for love, although I've been looking in all the wrong places. My belief is that if I look long enough I'll find what I'm looking for, etc..


So if any females around my age are looking for a penpal as well please shoot me a letter to the Mendocino County Jail at 951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah 95482.

Thank you for your help in finding me a friend to help pass the time with.

Sincerely, Brad Maxfield


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God bless Donald Trump for telling it like it is. Let the kingdom of Arabia and its murdering prince kill its US based newspaper critic and destroy Yemen with its arms made in the United States. After all, they paid for them.

Is this what we become? Rather than an arsenal for democracy we have become the arms supplier for an autocratic regime that makes fascism appear to be a progressive force.

God help us.

Allen ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


* * *


by Dan Bacher

When the federal and state governments make a big announcement that is expected to draw major controversy, they often choose the afternoon or evening before a major holiday or holiday weekend to issue the press release or release a document.

That accomplishes two purposes: it ensures that many reporters are gone for the holiday—and it ensures that the reporters still available aren’t able to ask hard questions about the announcement because the agency staff is also already gone from the offices for the holiday.

This was the case this Wednesday, November 21, the day before Thanksgiving, when the Departments of the Interior and Commerce announced the signing of a controversial Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) the previous week to expedite the “reliable delivery and supply of water” to Western water users, a deal that has ominous implications for the future of salmon, steelhead and other fish species in California and the West.

While agribusiness groups applauded the MOA, fishing groups slammed the agreement for engineering a corporate take over of precious water that is needed to keep salmon, the San Francisco Bay-Delta and West Coast fisheries alive.

This agreement comes at a time when many salmon populations on the West Coast, including Sacramento River winter and spring Chinook salmon and Klamath and Trinity salmon spring and fall Chinook populations, are in peril due to decades of water diversions, water exports and poor dam and reservoir management by the state and federal governments.

Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross last week signed the MOA, claiming that the agreement will ensure that the Presidential Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West is “implemented as quickly and smoothly as possible.”

The memorandum that Trump issued on October 19 directs Interior and Commerce to “do what it takes to ensure that western water users have what they need to irrigate millions of acres of farmland and provide water and power to millions of Americans.”

The Presidential Memorandum directed the Interior and Commerce Departments to take several specific actions, including:

Expediting regulatory actions essential to the operation of water infrastructure while ensuring compliance with the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act; Improving the information and modeling capabilities related to water availability; Expanding use of water desalination and water recycling; Removing unnecessary burdens unique to the operation of the Columbia River Basin’s water infrastructure. “We look forward to collaborating with the Department of Commerce on reducing the regulatory burden on these critical infrastructure projects,” said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. “This Memorandum moves us one step closer toward ensuring Western water infrastructure can meet the demands of water users today, and in the future.”

“Streamlining the regulatory process and removing unnecessary burdens on Western infrastructure projects will help ensure the reliable supply and delivery of water in the region,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “We look forward to working with the Department of the Interior to remove the red tape preventing the American West from improving the infrastructure it needs to thrive and grow.”

The MOA has designated Mr. Paul Souza, Regional Director for the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, as the lead official in charge of managing the “Klamath Irrigation and Central Valley Project’s compliance with the Presidential Memorandum’s requirements.”

That means Souza will be in charge of slashing the amount of water provided for fish and ecosystem survival in the Sacramento-San Joaquin and Klamath River systems — and increase the supplies of water to agribusiness and other water users.

To read the full BOR press release, go here: <> The Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA) blasted the agreement as a move by Deputy Interior Director David Bernhardt to “seize and consolidate control of northern CA water needed by salmon for use of his former clients in the western San Joaquin valley to grow nut crops for export to China.”

"This is the Trump administration throwing California salmon and fishing communities under the bus,” said John McManus, GGSA President. “David Bernhardt, the former lobbyist and lawyer for the Westlands Water District, is attempting a takeover of California’s water needed to keep salmon alive. He’s moving to gag federal biologists that understand salmon protections while he seizes salmon water and diverts it to his former clients, the nut growers in the western San Joaquin desert.”

Bernhardt, who has dedicated much of his career lobbying to eviscerate environmental protections for Central Valley salmon and other species and to export more Delta water to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, is the heir-apparent to Zinke’s position, according to an article in Politico: <> “Zinke has long been expected <> to join a post-election exodus from the Trump administration, even before this week’s reports that Interior’s internal watchdog had referred <> at least one investigation into the secretary's ethical problems to the Justice Department,” according to Politico. “And he already has an heir apparent: Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, a longtime lobbyist for the oil and gas and water industries <>, who would be well placed to execute President Donald Trump's pro-fossil fuel, anti-regulatory policies.”

Financial disclosure forms filed with the Independent Office of Government Ethics on March 6, 2017, more than a month before President Trump nominated him for the Interior post, reveal that Bernhardt received at least $80,000 in 2016 working for energy and agribusiness corporations, reported E&E news.

According to the disclosure report, clients who paid Bernhardt at least $5,000 for his legal services in 2016 include Targa Resources Co. LLC, Noble Energy Co. LLC, NRG Energy Inc., Sempra Energy, Lafarge North America—Western Region, Safari Club International Foundation, Active Network LLC, Statoil Gulf Services LLC, Cobalt International Energy, Rosemont Copper Co., Independent Petroleum Association of America, Taylor Energy Co. LLC, Garrison Diversion Irrigation District, the Forest County Potawatomi Community and Westlands Water District.

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Something strange is filling up inside me this Christmas. Call it spirit. Call it God's grace. Back in my studio, I start a new painting. I call it, "The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Mirror". She holds the mirror up to her face and sees her son.

The choir at Christ Church Episcopal warbles the first few bars of "O Holy Night" -- and again, I feel strange, like I'm stoned on Pineapple Trainwreck.

Pineapple Trainwreck. It's a powerful strain. Uplifting feelings of sweet euphoria coupled with a rushing locomotive of adrenaline and creativity. Oh yeah -- my creative life. It's a homegrown, harebrained surrealism. I'm sorry.

I'm sorry I live in a world without rules or logic. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

I'm sorry, if I sound obtuse. If I sound unnecessarily complex. If I sound ironic. If I sound self-referential. If I sound too post-postmodern. If I sound unnecessarily unnecessary. But that's the way it is. Too bad. Live with it. It's a private interior monologue. We all have one.

Be that as it may, it's Christmas. After dinner, we're watching family movies. Remember family movies? Back when we were kids? Dad loved his Kodak Super 8. Speedy loading. Coaxial cartridges. Acetate-base film.

Celluloid. When did celluloid stop being a thing? I think I missed it.

Celluloid seems romantic. Un Chant d' Amour. Roman Holiday. Pierott Le Fou. Singin' in the Rain. It Happened One Night. Our heart pounds as we spot our true love for the first time. Lips lock in a wine cellar. On a lake in the moonlight. Ah, celluloid. Our first entry into the palace of delights. Ah, celluloid.

And now? The latest now in movies? It's digital, right?

What -- what exactly -- is digital?

It's a silo full of suggestive pixels. A grange and an electro-magnetic storm. Voltage spikes and surges in the electrical circuit beneath the grassy fields, just like Nikola Tesla said.

And color. It's color. Color. Color. Color. Digital is technicolor. Trellis-climbing roses in spring. A rainbow trellis.

Blaze. Don Juan. Kiss of Desire. Zephirine Drouhin. Raspberry Cream Twirl. Iceberg. Cloud 10. Golden Celebration. Graham Thomas. Stormy Weather.

And in the winter?

Frozen, dark-blue skies in winter. Snow fields of light. The dead curled up in the frozen earth.

God bless us, every one! God bless us, every precious one!

John Sakowicz, Hudson, NY, Christmas, 2018

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by Alexander Cockburn (2002)

Driving up highway 101 from Eureka to Crescent City, just south of Orick I kept an eye out for a scenic rest area which, according to a memoir by his wife, Theodora, had once been the site of a cabin owned by Alfred Kroeber.

It’s through Kroeber that the Yurok made their way in the world of learning, their lives distilled into a monograph and footnote. In 1900, Kroeber, the father of academic anthropology in California, began a series of encounters with the Yurok that lasted many years. Many of these Q&A sessions were at this cabin formerly located in the scenic rest area where I was now peering under the hood of my wagon, trying to figure out why my brakes had stopped working.

Here, at the place known as Sigornoy, Kroeber would interrogate Indians, chiefly Robert Spott, a Yurok theocrat. Their conversations eventually had academic consequence in such works as Yurok Narratives and figured in Kroeber’s dispassionate reflections on the supposed “character” of the Yurok, scattered through various works. The Yurok were, he wrote on one occasion, an “inwardly fearful people — the men often seemed to me withdrawn.” Kroeber mused that “for some reason, the culture had simply gone hypochondriac.”

Kroeber never got around to mentioning that between 1848, the start of the gold rush, and 1910, the Yurok population in the region was reduced from about two and a half thousand individuals to about 610. Disease, starvation and murder had wiped out about 75 per cent of the group. It is as though an anthropologist studying the inward fears of Polish Jews never mentioned Auschwitz.

In his Handbook of the Indians of California, published by the bureau of American Ethnology in 1925, Kroeber wrote that “there is one Indian in California today for every eight that lived in the same area before the white man came.” Then he mused that “the causes of this decline of nearly 90%are obscure.”

Kroeber, eager to identify American anthropology in terms of “millennial sweeps and grand contours,” had little patience with that shorter chronological span encompassing the extermination of most of the California tribal groups he was presuming to study. As he put it, “the billions of woes and gratifications of peaceful citizens or bloody deaths” were of no concern. He visited the desperate native Americans of California, writing these tranquil ethnologies, sometimes, after only a couple weeks with the group, all but ignoring the end of history elapsing before his eyes.

This posture bothered some of Kroeber’s professional associates. The linguist Edward Sapir wrote him in 1938, “You find anchorage — as most people do, for that matter — in an imaginative sundered system of cultural and social values in the face of which the individual has almost to apologize for presuming to exist at all. It seems to me that if people were less amenable to cultural and social mythology, we’d have less Hitlerism in the world.”

Anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and the man he named Ishi on the right. On the left is Sam Batwi, an English-speaking Yana who tried to communicate with Ishi (click to enlarge).

 In the back of my station wagon I had the special 1989 California issue of The American Indian Quarterly, in which Thomas Buckley discussed Kroeber’s attitude to the Yurok and his relationship with the Yurok aristocrat, Spott. Buckley described how Kroeber was once asked why he hadn’t paid any attention to recent Yurok history and acculturation. Kroeber answered that he “couldn’t stand all the tears” that these topics elicited from his Yurok informants.

Not that Kroeber was indifferent to pain. He’d been through a fairly harrowing time in the century’s second decade, suffering from Meniere’s disease and psychic ailments, undergoing some lengthy sessions with a Freudian psychoanalyst. He also corresponded with Freud himself. Kroeber’s remark about the tears reminded me of a sudden outburst from Freud once, to one of his intimates, about the filthy and despicable lives of people who ended up on his couch at Bergasse 19.

There may be a secret text here. A fellow who had it from a Yurok once told me Kroeber was a closet gay and Spott was his lover. Freud fortified Kroeber’s addiction to the sweeping cultural judgement. “Among other things,” Kroeber wrote in his big work Anthropology, “Freud set orderly, economical, and tenacious; or, in its less pleasant aspects, pedantically precise, conscientious, and persistent; miserly; and obstinate to vindictiveness… Now, just as the anal-type description fits certain individuals quite strikingly, it seems to agree pretty well with the average or modal personality produced under certain cultures. This holds for instance for the Yurok of native California and their cotribes of the same culture. It holds also for certain Melanesians. On the contrary, within Oceania, Polynesians, Indonesians, and Australians are wholly unanal in character, the Australians in fact standing at a sort of opposite pole of living happily in disorder, in freedom from possessions, and in fluctuations of the moment. And the Siamese are certainly oral if the type has any validity at all.”

Kroeber was basing his perceptions of the Siamese on the work of Ruth Benedict, who had never been to Siam but was keen on majestic generalizations about native traits, having begun her career by contrasting two American Indian cultures, that of the Plains bison hunters and that of the Southwestern Zuni and other Pueblo farmers, as being respectively Dionysiac and “Apollinian” (to use Kroeber’s spelling). During the second World War, the US government commissioned Benedict to write a study of Siam and she responded speedily enough, stating in her book that much in Siamese politics and society could be explained by early child nurture, during which period infants were permitted to manipulate their genitals freely.

Spott was once reproached by his nephew for spending so much time with Kroeber, whose work didn’t do the Yurok much good. “Ah, Harry,” Spott answered, “‘white men hurt so much. We have to help him.”

The Indian had a surer grip on the ethno-cultural problems.


  1. Judy November 29, 2018

    Frank Hartzell,

    If you were referring to the black and white as a painting that Mr. Abernathy had in his home, you are mistaken. That is a photograph I did of the San Juan. It’s not a painting. I have not had it printed so I doubt that it’s hanging on anyone’s wall.

    I can’t even paint a fence without making a mess of it.


  2. michael turner November 29, 2018

    Best issue of AVA ever, with a nuclear scientist posing in his Halloween costume, and another analyst explaining how brush fires are caused by poor forest management (not enough rakes). Let’s call this one the Science Edition!

    • Lazarus November 29, 2018

      You forgot the mental health hospital in the middle of an earthquake zone…
      As always,

      • james marmon November 29, 2018

        If you read County Counsel’s letter to the Measure B Committee you will see that Margie’s Consultant/Contractor may be disqualified (unfair advantage) as a bidder in the County Procurement process should old HMH be recommended to the Board and they move forward on it. Margie’s competitor for the Measure B funds, Camille Schraeder, was smart as she did not bring in her own Consultant/Contractor to promote her case. Carmel Angelo and County Counsel are in Camille’s corner because if Camille don’t get her way on the Orchard Ave project she may just drop the whole ASO contract on their on the dirty little laps. The County is in too deep with Camille, they’ve created a monster. The problem with who will operate the proposed old HMH will also create a mess because the operation of the facility will have to go out to bid. If someone besides Camille is chosen to run old HMH that would take money out of Camille’s pocket, big time. Camille Schraeder is already in deep shit because she is on the hook for that Orchard Ave land, 1.5 million, plus .5 million she will have to give back to the State.

        James Marmon MSW
        Former Mental Health Specialist
        Sacramento, Placer, and Lake Counties

        • james marmon November 29, 2018

          If Margie’s Consultant/Contractor is eliminated from the bidding process, we may get some real numbers on what that facility will really cost. Her Consultant/Contractor left that open ended, claiming that they will have to until they gutted the place to get a full picture on the cost.

          As always


  3. james marmon November 29, 2018

    by Stacy Philbrick

    I feel you home girl. I also come from a 3rd generation Mendocino County logging family, on both sides. I too witnessed the craziness and destruction the enviro-mentals brought to our community and beyond. When Mental Health and Marijuana are our county’s number one and two priorities you know things went wrong somewhere.

    James Marmon (aka Jim Woolley)
    Woolley Logging (died 1986)
    Ukiah, Ca.

    P.S. You forgot to mention using goats for forest management.

  4. George Dorner November 29, 2018

    And just how does Ms. Philbrick explain the enormous grass fires that occur?

    • james marmon November 29, 2018

      lack of grazing. Land used to be grazed by Cows and Sheep before the enviro-mentals decided they wanted their meat from other countries because it is a sin for Americans to profit off any American lands. Before grazing the Natives used to keep grass and brush burned down.

      • james marmon November 29, 2018

        The Natives should also be blamed for ‘Global Warming’

        • james marmon November 29, 2018

          Native American use of fire in ecosystems

          Prior to European colonization of the Americas, some Native Americans in the United States used controlled burns to modify the landscape. These controlled fires were part of the environmental cycles and maintenance of wildlife habitats that sustained the people’s cultures and economies. What was initially perceived by colonists as “untouched, pristine” wilderness in North America, was actually the cumulative result of these occasional, managed fires creating an intentional mosaic of grasslands and forests across North America, sustained and managed by the original Peoples of the landbase.

          • james marmon November 29, 2018

            Ancient DNA Links Native Americans With Europe

            “Where did the first Americans come from? Most researchers agree that Paleoamericans moved across the Bering Land Bridge from Asia sometime before 15,000 years ago, suggesting roots in East Asia.”

            “Researchers have been trying to parse the origins of the first Americans for decades. Most agree that people moved across Beringia, via a vast ice age land bridge (see map p. 410), and began spreading through the Americas, reaching Chile by 14,500 years ago. But the origins of the source populations are not clear, and some archaeologists have even suggested that ancient Europeans crossing the Atlantic were part of the mix (Science, 16 March 2012, p. 1289).”


  5. Malcolm Macdonald November 29, 2018

    “Humans have been here since the dawn of man.”
    -Stacy Philbrick 11/16/2018

    Believe me, I know, self-editing can be very difficult.

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