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MCT: Friday, January 25, 2019

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by Malcolm Macdonald

At the Thursday, January 24th meeting of the Board of Directors for Mendocino Coast District Hospital, Bob Edwards was removed from his position as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

In closed session the board voted 3-1 to remove Edwards from his post. One board member abstained from the vote. Logical conjecture would point toward former Board President Steve Lund as the lone dissenting vote. Lund is a co-defendant with Edwards in an ongoing federal lawsuit filed by a former human resources officer at the hospital. The three votes to fire Edwards came from board members elected in November, 2018.

The MCDH Board invoked an “at will” section of Edwards' contract. He will receive a little more than one year's salary as part of that “at will” agreement. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mike Ellis will take over CEO duties as well as his own for an interim period during which the Hospital’s Board will search for a successor to fill the position.

Certainly, one of the votes for the dismissal of Edwards came from new board member Amy McColley. Her motivations might be numerous, but we need look back no further than the opening minutes of the January 3rd special board meeting. That meeting that was noticed to dozens of members of the public three days in advance via email from the CEO's office. Board members usually receive the agenda for such meetings several days, if not a week or two, earlier. However, during the Jan. 4rd open session, McColley alleged that CEO Edwards deliberately kept her in the dark about the meeting.

After the meeting McColley stated that she only found out about the meeting because she happened to have seen a fellow board member while shopping. In the open session, Edwards seemed to hem and haw after McColley's statement. He muttered something about a Brown Act violation.

On January 4th, McColley said she found out about the meeting on December 28th. She went on to state, “However, it was scheduled and communicated with the BODs [other members of the Board of Directors] on 12/18. I was never polled on my availability and Bob’s intention was always to exclude me from this [meeting].

“I called BBK [the hospital's law firm] attorney on 12/28 and finally was told at [1pm on January 3rd] to go to the meeting. No one wanted to acknowledge Bob’s egregious behavior.

“I was sworn in on 12/26 and Gayl [Bob Edwards' administrative assistant] asked me in front of Bob if I was coming up for the meeting on 1/3. He corrected Gayl, [saying] 1/10. Next day, 12/27, Karen [fellow board member Karen Arnold] asked me if I was coming to the 1/3 meeting… I met with Bob on 12/28. He didn’t know how to handle the 'special circumstance' and he thought not inviting me was best.”

At that January 3rd board meeting Edwards made no attempt to deny the gist of McColley's allegation that he had deliberately failed to notice her. Edwards' motivation seemed to lie in the fact that McColley was a long time employee of the hospital who resigned her position at or near the time that a disagreement between then Chief Human Resources Officer Ellen Hardin and hospital administration reached a boiling point. McColley went on to work for hospitals in the Bay Area awhile before returning to Fort Bragg.

Want another reason why Edwards had to go?

In late October a Planning Committee agenda was emailed to several dozen citizens. Amid the background information section of that agenda was a fully charted out survey performed for MCDH by Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). The survey concerned patients' responses to a number of questions about the service provided by the hospital staff. In general, the HCAHPS survey results showed a fairly significant drop in approval ratings over the first three quarters of 2018 (Jan. through Sept.).

There was nothing in the survey that violated HIPAA privacy rules. It merely contained a series of color coded averages in chart form. However, a couple of days after the release of the survey in the Hospital’s planning committee agenda packet, Edwards sent out an email to the recipients stating, “Please remove and destroy this document.”

That pretty much sums up Bob Edwards' need to control everything around him. He demanded that members of the public destroy the record of a survey taken regarding the care of fellow members of the public. A survey paid for by public tax dollars.

Bob Edwards' tenure as CEO ran three years and nine months. Readers interested in more reasons Edwards had to leave the building can tap into the archives of the online AVA.

Edwards firing is a significant step in the right direction, but this new board of directors is still faced with a hospital teetering on the edge financially, even after the passage of a parcel tax that should bring in an extra $1.7 million annually. MCDH currently has a debt service coverage ratio (net operating income divided by total debt service) of -1.41. That's negative 1.41 as opposed to a required positive 1.25 ratio. The entity that holds the bag for guaranteeing the hospital's debt makes that requirement. That entity is Cal Mortgage (the state-run program that provides credit for healthcare facilities), which owns about 60% of MCDH's overall debt. Because of that negative debt service covenant Cal Mortgage has the right to step in and take over financial management of the Coast Hospital. Right now, if it so chooses.

The passage of the parcel tax last June probably provided the tipping point in favor of Cal Mortgage granting a waiver to allow MCDH to go on governing itself for the time being. This is just one example of why there's much more to be done beyond getting rid of Bob Edwards.

MENDOCINO TV’s coverage of the Coast Hospital District Board meeting on Thursday:

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BAD NEWS for Anderson Valley, good news for Deputy Craig Walker, whose last day policing the Anderson Valley is today, Friday the 25th of January. Deputy Walker is leaving for a job with the Moraga Police Department where he assumes his new duties on Monday. He and Mrs. Walker make their permanent home in Berkeley, so Moraga is just a short freeway hop away. The deputy's departure is also bad news for the Anderson Valley School Board where he's been a sensible, stabilizing presence in a context of confusion and educational musical chairs.

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UKIAH MAYOR Maureen Mulheren has announced that she will run for the 2nd District Mendocino County supervisor seat (representing the City of Ukiah and environs) currently held by John McCowen. Also up for election are the 1st District supervisor seat (Potter Valley) held by Carre Brown, and the 4th District (North Coast) seat held by Dan Gjerde. A bill signed by Jerry Brown in 2017 moved the state’s primary election from June to March, so the election date for the supervisor seats and three Superior Court seats will be March 3, 2020.

MULHEREN hasn't distinguished herself as a Ukiah solon, and she comes from an equally undistinguished city council that has turned over all responsibility for managing our scruffy county seat to a wildly overpaid apparatus of "professionals." Moving from the Ukiah City Council to the Board of Supervisors would seem to be more of a lateral move in terms of organizational assumptions for “Mo,” as she’s informally known around town. Draw a fat salary and fringe package for showing up for meetings and congratulating staff on what great jobs they're doing. We’ll have to wait for the candidate’s platform before we have any idea what kind of supervisor Ms. M might make.

ELECTIONS in the County are often child-like affairs, with voters casting ballots on purely subjective grounds, not to mention a significant voting bloc of Unhappy Mendo Women who would vote for a female serial killer before they’d vote for Abe Lincoln. Mulheren has that vote going in. And when it comes to the supervisor job few people pay any attention whatsoever to county functioning, and are voting blind for all sorts of reasons unrelated to the task. Mulheren also has that ignorance going for her.

McCOWEN has had the misfortune to sit on laughably dysfunctional boards, but despite this handicap has managed a few triumphs. He can legitimately point to his singlehanded reform of the Teeter Plan, a complicated in-house borrowing scheme that had cost the County a lot of money. (See below.) He was the primary force behind the county’s sensible 9.31 pre-legal (medical) pot plan and he helped unseat two of his crooked colleagues, Colfax and Smith, by painstakingly showing the lush pay and benefits received by supervisors not enjoyed by line workers. Colfax went publicly off his nut at McCowen, which helped the general public understand Colfax’s unfitness for office.

BACK IN 2012 McCowen was instrumental in the “de-Teetering” of hundreds of Brooktrails lots, ending a long-standing drain on County coffers. The County was carrying tax-delinquent, unbuildable lots that were not being re-purchased out of tax-delinquency sale and thus not paying the back fees the County was due. Making it worse, the County was committing the money on the assumption it was “receivable” even though very little of it would be “received” because the lots weren’t re-purchased out of tax delinquency. Most of these lots were unbuildable.

SUPERVISOR McCOWEN OBJECTED to the scam aspects of the unbuildable Brooktrails lots as well, arguing that the County needed to do more to alert prospective buyers to the true condition of the lots (vertical, waterless, unbuildable) otherwise the County was complicit in the scam. (People often bought these lots sight unseen, and the serial buyers defaulted time and again.) McCowen's objections fell on deaf ears at first as his colleagues approved the on-going scam on a 4-1 vote. But the Brooktrails lots still did not sell. The Board, again over McCowen’s objections on a 4-1 vote, approved 74 more Brooktrails lots at auction, including the 40 that did not sell the previous year.

FINALLY in June of 2012 the Board got around to seeing McCowen’s point and “de-Teetered” (no longer pre-paying local special districts in anticipation of penalties) the Brooktrails lots and no longer paying the fire, water and sewer assessments up front, saving the County those fees and ending the tax drain. The Teeter Plan management was straightened out and has not been a problem since.

McCOWEN'S DOGGEDNESS deserves high marks, especially in the context of the lazy, often uninformed, disinterested boards he's served with.

AND, as we've often said, he's the only elected official in Mendocino County to spend his off hours cleaning up after the homeless fouling inland streams and public areas.

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FLYNN WASHBURNE totaled his vehicle this morning near Petaluma when he fell asleep at the wheel driving north on 101. No one else was involved in accident. He suffered some minor injuries and is presently hospitalized but expects to be released soon.

Flynn was on his way back to Ukiah from an Oakland-area rehab, which he apparently didn't like. He said he had informed his parole officer in Ukiah that he'd suffered another mishap in a lifetime of mishaps. His parole officer merely informed Mr. W. of his next appointment.

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COUNTY HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR Heidi Dunham followed up Thursday morning on our Wednesday inquiry regarding the upcoming “Supervisors Academy”:

Good morning,

Re: Boondoggles

The total cost of the Supervisor Academy is $15,505. We estimate 75 employee supervisors will attend the first Academy series with a cost per person of $207. This amount includes all eight classes. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Heidi M. Dunham, Director

Human Resources Department

County of Mendocino

(707) 234-6600

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GARDEN SEASON IS APPROACHING and some of the raised beds (14X4) have become available. $30 per year, April 1-end March. Rich soil and irrigation included. Contact Peggy Ridley for more info.

The Boonville Community Garden is at the AV Elder Home in Boonville. Possible in-ground beds available. Please inquire.

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Local is a great choice -- please bring labelled scions from your favorite fruit trees and vine cuttings to the Winter Abundance Workshop for at least two reasons -- less scions will come from the Bay Area workshops this year AND proven Mendocino County grown varieties are likely to perform better here over the long run. What is a scion and how do I collect them? See for a description and instructions.

Winter Abundance Call for Volunteers

Time to gear up for Winter Abundance on February 9th at the Boonville Fairgrounds from 9-4! Unfortunately the AV Foodshed website is down right now, but all the details are posted on the Mendo Local Food Guide site at If you would like to volunteer to help at the 2019 Winter Abundance Fair there are still shifts available for one or more hours:

  • helping with publicity;
  • set-up on Friday afternoon;
  • set up on Saturday at 8:00;
  • registration tables;
  • presenting a hands-on grafting workshop;
  • assisting at a hands-on grafting workshop;
  • speaker hospitality;
  • helping at the seed exchange;
  • helping at the scion exchange;
  • organizing the plant exchange;
  • selling rootstock;
  • bell ringer for classes;
  • and clean-up from 4-5 or so.

If you can and want to volunteer this year, please contact Barbara at or 895-3897.

Onion Starts for Sale

Bunny Bill will be selling onion starts at the Feb. 9th Winter Abundance Fair. He will have Red River, Copra and Silver Star. Due to low demand, if you want Walla Walla or Leeks, you are strongly encouraged to call him at 895-2609. He may not order them this year. Get your beds ready!

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"I AM LOOKING for local group therapy sessions…or a book-club…or just people to talk to… I find it hard to connect in this valley… Yeah, I may be too old, etc. But, as a social animal, I don't want to have to depend on bars for conversation (besides, I have stopped drinking alcohol…)"

WE NOTED this rather plaintive note on one of the gizmo pages, which confirms the opinion of lots of people in the Anderson Valley, and not only the newcomers, that this place can be a tough social nut to crack. Pursuing the nut theme, the nut of the prob is the transient nature of the place. People come and people go, lots of them simply disappearing. People born and raised here enjoy a community based on a shared psycho-social experience. En masse you find them at the crab feeds, old timer funerals and, in smaller groups, the Redwood Drive-in. They used to be able to get drunk and fight at the old Boonville Lodge but local society has been radically blanded down over the past forty years, going from Flannery O'Conner to John Updike, you might say. The back-to-the landers group around the Philo Grange and Boont Berry Farm. Ditto for the neo-hippies. The wine people, one supposes, have a community of sorts where they surreptitiously criticize each other's wines and talk about radicchio recipes and their excursions to France. The airport people socialize among themselves now and then, but are pretty insular. Lauren's Restaurant is a social focal point for both Nice People and nice people, with all sorts of community-oriented nights set aside for fun stuff like the Trivia Night and more serious discussions about, and not to put too fine a point on it, death. The ever-larger local Mexican community, still suffering the two-way language barrier, remains largely apart from the Anderson Valley branch of Gringolandia, although Mosswood Market has created a pleasant cross-over intersection and second generation Mexicans have learned some English at the local schools. Locals who dare risk being seen at the ava's office or, worse, in the company of one of the beasts lurking there, are assured of lively exchanges of views with drop-ins welcome, free advice and candid personality assessments. Full body hugs are five bucks for women, twenty for men, physical assault for anybody who dares say, "I think Joe Biden would make a great president."

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City Council/Planning Commission to discuss the Vision, the Guiding Principles and the Draft Land Use Plan for Reuse of the Mill Site on January 31, 2019

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Tickets are $10.

Fundraiser For Carolyn Livingston & Family.

On Monday, January 14, Carolyn Livingston, our sixth-grade teacher at Anderson Valley elementary, lost her home in a fire. Luckily, her family and pets are safe. Unfortunately, her home was a total loss. To help offset some of the costs that the family will incur, we are having a drawing. There will be six gift baskets including a variety of handmade gifts, soaps, local wine, gift certificates to local markets and restaurants and many more items. We are accepting monetary donations if you are not interested in purchasing a ticket. All donations will be greatly appreciated. Tickets are $10 each. The drawing will be held on Friday, February 1. Call the Elementary School for time and place at 895 3010.

Tickets are available now. Call Belma or Nicole for more details. $10 each Tickets are being sold at AVHS, AVES, Boont Berry, Mosswood Café, and Poleeko Roadhouse.


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POVERTY WITH A VIEW, A COAST READER WRITES: The new Zero tolerance toward the houseless on the Mendocino Coast reaches a new low. This punishing of the poor is increasing everywhere on the coast including Fish & Wildlife, Sheriff and Parks hassling tourists, travelers and anyone else who is pulled off the road at night, a complete waste of manpower and resources. I am beginning to think that the powers that be want Mendocino as a private gated tourist destination for the land swindlers and developers to squeeze profits from their shady deals without regard for the underpaid workers that keep the whole thing running. Many seniors and working folks are living in their cars because there is zero housing here on the coast. This must be part of the new policy based on the horrid study on homeless that Fort Bragg’s elite paid $50,000 that emphasizes ZERO TOLERANCE for the houseless when that large sum could have been used to actually HELP PROVIDE SHELTER or a parking area for folks who need a safe place for the night. The cruel, gleeful way that these public servants are treating citizens is shameful and wasteful.

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by Ryan Burns (Photos by Andrew Goff)

It was still dark and frigid this morning when roughly 140 volunteers gathered in communities from Garberville to McKinleyville and then, in small groups and pairs, fanned out into neighborhoods, parks, greenbelts and riverbanks searching for the county’s homeless population.

As in many other counties across the state and the country, Humboldt County today conducted its “Point-in-Time” count, a collaborative census of “sheltered and unsheltered homeless people” on a given night (last night, in this case).

In Eureka, volunteers met before dawn at a command center of sorts that had been established inside a modular unit, part of the Koster Street complex owned by the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

At the front of the room stood a large, generously bearded man named Robert Ward, who works as the Point-in-Time count coordinator and an administrative analyst with DHHS. A flatscreen TV on the wall displayed a map of Eureka, subdivided into numbered sections, and as volunteers filed through the door Ward assigned them areas to canvass, loaded them up with cloth shopping bags (each of which had been supplied with a new pair of socks, a bottle of water, snacks, and informational material from the county), and sent them on their way.

Ward, sipping coffee from a small thermos, used a dry erase marker to write the names of volunteers on a whiteboard next to the TV, scrawling in the rectangles of a hand-drawn grid showing where each set of volunteers had been deployed.

The last time such a count was conducted, two years ago, it found that the number of homeless people in the county had dropped from 1,180 in 2015 to just 618, a decline of nearly 40 percent. (The 2017 figure was later revised to 759.) When the subsequent report was released, many were skeptical about the results as well as the methodology,

Ward said he and other organizers are expecting a more accurate count this year.

“We do have quite a different approach than we had in 2015 and earlier years,” he said. For previous counts, following rules laid out by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), volunteers were only allowed to include people who agreed to answer fairly extensive surveys.

“We got a lot of reports after 2017 that people just didn’t want to do the surveys,” Ward said. “They didn’t want to answer any questions at all, so they didn’t get counted.”

This year’s effort, which was organized through the multi-agency Humboldt Housing and Homeless Coalition, is using what’s called the “blitz method,” in which teams are deployed to discrete areas and volunteers are allowed to base their count on observation alone. This means that homeless folks who decline to answer survey questions can still be included in the tally. Volunteers can even count cars or structures such as tents or makeshift shelters if it looks like people are living in them.

This year’s count is also more technologically advanced. Volunteers, who attended training sessions or watched an instructional video over the past week, were armed with a smartphone app called Counting Us, which allowed them to survey homeless people with less paperwork.

The accuracy of the Point-in-Time count can have serious impacts on the county’s efforts to solve homelessness, in part because grant funding is often awarded based on those numbers.

Survey questions concern such topics as mental illness, substance abuse, demographic data and each person’s length and frequency of homelessness.

As the morning wore on, Ward could see the results displayed on the flatscreen TV as they were reported in real time. He said preliminary numbers for the “unsheltered” population could be available as early as this afternoon, while the sheltered homeless — those staying in various shelters across the county — will take a bit longer to compile.

Across town, at the back end of the Applebee’s parking lot, a group of volunteers from the local Family Resource Center had set up a service area with long folding tables where DHHS employees sat surveying homeless people from a nearby encampment, many of whom had been attracted by the smell of fresh coffee, burbling chili and warm cornbread.

photo by Ryan Burns

Volunteer Heidi Benzonelli said she and her crew started working at 3 a.m., checking places where people frequently sleep in their cars.

“We [counted] over 23 people just from Truesdale [south of the Bayshore Mall] to Del Norte [just south of Costco] that were obviously [homeless] — you could see the person sleeping in the car,” Benzonelli said.

Benzonelli said volunteers and DHHS staff have worked hard to conduct an accurate count this year and to connect homeless people with available services. The fact that some don’t take advantage of those services troubles her.

“I feel like there’s a disconnect in the community and I haven’t put my finger on it yet,” she said. “These folks are coming over here today. They’re talking to the folks from DHHS. They’re finding out about the resources that are available. I talked to a gentleman over here, he’s got a huge lump on his neck, like a broken back or scoliosis or something.

He told Benzonelli that he’d never been on disability or signed up for food stamps or CalFresh.

“To me there’s no excuse why everybody in this situation shouldn’t have access to the resources that are available,” she said.

DHHS Director Connie Beck told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the count isn’t as easy as it sounds, but she’s confident.

“I believe that we’re going to do the best job possible getting a more accurate number than we’ve had in the past,” she said.


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by Tom Martin

While recent wildfires have occupied the attention of Sonoma County residents this year, another potential disaster sits just down the road in Schellville. There 160 rail tanker cars filled with millions of gallons of highly volatile liquid petroleum gas (LPG) sit in two lines, each a mile long, amid the marshlands. As they sit awaiting shipment to East Bay refineries, each tanker car holds over 30,000 gallons and weighs more than 286,000 pounds fully loaded.

Rail tanker cars filled with LPG stretch across the Schellville wildlife refuge from Highway 121 in foreground towards San Pablo Bay. Photo credit: Harley Milne of Drone Panora Aerial Photography

Many have worried about the potential horror of an explosion at the site. A simple search on the internet under “LPG accidents” provides lists of tragedies caused by a BLEVE – short for a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion. But there is an additional threat to our marshlands north of Highway 37 that is less discussed. The environmental damage and pollution there from an accident at the tanker storage yard could be immeasurable.


At the Schellville yard, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, the freight hauler, stores as many as 160 tank cars, weighing a combined 23,000 tons, on two miles of tracks that it leases from SMART (Sonoma-Marin Transit). That track is built on a thick underlay of unconsolidated marshland soils that flood every year. Flooding weakens the underlying soils, and increases the potential for subsidence. That danger is greatest at the very time when a large number of loaded tankers are stored there. Their purpose is to serve the winter gas needs of the refineries. Alone that is a recipe for disaster.


But that’s not all. A map published by USGS (2010) tells us that the tanker yard lies closely between two parallel earthquake faults, the Rodgers Creek Fault and the Eastside Fault. For a map of the whole wetlands area and its channels, go to

The Rodgers Creek Fault is an extension of the active Hayward Fault that runs through the East Bay, the UC Berkeley campus and San Pablo Bay and north towards Santa Rosa. Geologists indicate it is one of the most likely faults to soon cause a major quake in the Bay Area. The Eastside Fault runs the length of the Sonoma Valley, and parallels the Mayacamas ridge that lies between Sonoma and Napa.

Combined Danger For Schell Slough, Sonoma Creek, San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Preserve, San Francisco Bay

Earthquakes are known to cause liquefaction in marshland soils – particularly in saturated soils that are already weakened by surrounding flooding. Liquefaction causes settlement, and settlement can cause track collapse. Track collapse can overturn one or more tankers leading to rupture and spills. A single spark may cause a fire or, at worst, a violent explosion. LPG being heavier than air, it moves along the ground, and if ignited, causes a huge explosion, damaging all around for a great distance.

The threat goes further. Using the existing nearby channels, the toxic spill from the tank rupture would surely find its way to the nearby marshlands and channels. From there it is only a short float to the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Preserve, and to the Sonoma Land Trust’s Baylands Wildlife Area, both places where tens of millions of public dollars have been spent for land acquisition and habitat enhancement in recent years.

To make things worse, the local fire departments would use foams and chemicals to fight the blaze in places where water cannot extinguish an LPG fire. The chemical compounds from the foams will damage the nearby dairy’s pasture land and adjacent wildlife habitat, and spread runoff to contaminate local groundwater and marshlands all the way to the Bay.

A combination that is truly a disaster waiting to happen!

Write your Supervisor, Join Mobilize Sonoma, Let Your Views Be Known!

Here’s What You Can Do To Protect The Wildlife Preserve And Region!

Write your County Supervisor at

Board of Supervisors:

  • 575 Administration Drive, Room 100 A, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
  • District 1 – Susan Gorin -
  • District 2 – David Rabbitt -
  • District 3 – Shirley Zane -
  • District 4 – James Gore -
  • District 5 - Lynda Hopkins

Ask the Supervisor(s) to protect our wildlife sanctuary by removing the Northwestern Pacific Rail Tankers from Schellville.

Visit to join Mobilize Sonoma.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 24, 2019

Black, Cetto, Graham

JEDAIAH BLACK, Redwood Valley. Controlled substance for sale while armed with loaded firearm, possession of narcotic for sale, armed with firearm in commission of felony, pot possession for sale, conspiracy.

JOSHUA CETTO, Willits. Unspecified offense.

CULLEN GRAHAM, Fort Bragg. Battery, criminal threats, disobeying court order.

Harbour, Maupin, Moynahan

CLINT HARBOUR, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

DAVID MAUPIN, Ukiah. Battery.

SEAN MOYNAHAN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Roston, Schuetz, Valley, Waldrep

BOBBY ROSTON, Ukiah. Parole violation.

PATRICK SCHUETZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

DAVID VALLEY, Ukiah. Petty theft-bicycle, parole violation.

ISAAC WALDREP, Probation revocation, resisting.

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ONE OF THE FEW DIRECT WARNINGS the US received about Japan’s impending attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on August 12, 1941. Serbian super agent Dusan Popov, who worked for Yugoslavian intelligence under the codename Dusko and for Britain’s MI-6 foreign spy operation known as “Tricycle” and in Germany's Abwehr known as Ivan, appeared at the offices of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. He wanted to offer the FBI details on the spy network he was setting up in the United States on behalf of the Nazis. Besides a goodly sum of money, the Germans had given Popov — a wealthy cosmopolitan playboy and the inspiration for Ian Fleming's James Bond — a three-page questionnaire to answer, one full page of which requested detailed information about America's defenses at Pearl Harbor. Although MI-6 had provided Hoover with the strongest of bonafides, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover mistrusted a double agent and a womanizer who was at the moment, Hoover knew, having an affair with French movie star Simone Simon. The bureau refused to take Popov’s revelations seriously. When the Serbian operator later learned of the assault on Oahu, he was crushed. "I had the right information to forestall the attack! I had traveled thousands of miles to deliver the information which would certainly have shortened the war by a year or more. American redtape stopped the information from going through."

— Craig Nelson, Pearl Harbor, From Infamy To Greatness


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I THINK WE ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.

— Franz Kafka

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With our political system in lockdown and our natural world under global threat, we need to look “beyond capitalism” – at least that’s what many Americans under 30 are saying in poll after poll after recent poll. Young people have never experienced an “economy that works for all.” Whether you call it “post-capitalism” or “social democracy” or “democratic (eco)socialism,” something new and better is needed.

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The world speaks to us in horns and the sometimes nearly subliminal hum of traffic. In football scores and movie titles, perhaps most loudly when our lover says Yes. It speaks, of course, in sunsets, too. And in traffic accidents and the screams of birth and the extinction of species. In the scrolling names of the latest dead on the news of the day.

A time of quiet eases all this. Our private reason for building a wall. It helps to keep us separate, no matter how much we are steeped in the world. This, for me, is sometimes The Loud Music Cure, which is an odd way to enter the quiet. But it is sometimes instead the quiet of watching the traffic to by, utterly unjostled by me. To feel myself an atom in the human sea and all that. It is critical here to establish -- and nurture -- some distance.

This works well for writers, who notoriously do their creative work alone. The problem is that the world can't be kept out of the work, although it has been often tried. So a writer can seldom make it quiet, which can lead to deep frustration, even suicide, a notorious affliction of those striving for clear communication. So silence, while golden, is an odd improvement.

So block it out or turn it up. But do something useful. And if that doesn't work, try something else. Be silent or be at your desk, trying to find untried ways to poke the beast. Don't settle for the way it was. In the flood of ways to do it, think different.

(Bruce Brady)

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Dear Editor,

As a long-time reader, I appreciate you and your newspaper enormously. But in response to your continuing ignorance on several issues that you have repeatedly written about: transgenders and vaccinations of children —

A seven- or eight year-old child who feels very clearly that they are not the right gender for their genitalia? This has nothing to do with sexuality. They are no more sexually precocious than any other child of their age. This is a matter of gender identity.

And on the vaccination issue: I might consider it child abuse to give my children the longer and longer list of mandated injections, whereas you would consider abuse not to.

I do not trust the profit driven pharmaceutical industry. I'm not opposed to all vaccinations, but where do we draw the line? Let them catch chickenpox or mumps. If your child is immunized then that's fine. But why worry if mine aren't when yours are safe?

If we are going to mandate to parents for the health of their children, how about: not sending abused (physical or mental) children back to their families? (My daughter worked for several years in the alternative/"delinquents" school in Fort Bragg and told me a lot of stories.)

How about banning violent video games and movies?

How about mandatory vasectomies for all 15-year-old males with a free reversal operation when they are 25 upon request then?


SK Dodge


ED REPLY: We'll just have to disagree. I think children are too young to make momentous sexual/gender choices, and I think it's obvious that widespread public health vaccination has prevented much human misery.

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The punishment for a first DUI offense needs to be made more severe to possibly make people think before they drink and get behind the wheel.

Drunken driving needs to be treated as a felony. Too many people are getting off with a slap on the wrist for endangering the lives of other innocent people.

This paper is full of DUI reports of serious wrecks every week, almost daily. The deaths and injuries caused by those who apparently think it’s no big deal to drink and drive have become an epidemic.

Why aren’t our legislators doing more to strengthen our laws? Think of the cost in lost lives, wrecked vehicles, medical care for those injured and funerals for those killed.

I’m sick of reading about these incidents and worrying about my family members when they are on the road, including wondering if some thoughtless drunk will kill or maim me.

I am angry about this and implore those in law enforcement, the courts and the Legislature to treat this as the epidemic it has become. Do something to strengthen our laws, starting with making it a felony to drive drunk.

It shouldn’t take injury or death to make it a felony. Driving drunk should be a felony. Got that?

Judy A. Mead

Santa Rosa

* * *

* * *


by David Macaray

Even though I’ve long ago forgotten the brand name and baseball player, I vividly recall the conversation. When I was about nine years old, still too young to shave, I walked in on my father who was shaving in front of the bathroom mirror.

Being inordinately inquisitive when it came to things like consumer products and leisure time, I innocently asked my dad why he wasn’t using the brand of shaving cream being endorsed by a famous baseball player. We’d both seen the advertisement, and were both ardent baseball fans.

Without sounding cynical or contemptuous, he answered by saying that the reason this player was publicly recommending the shaving cream was because the manufacturer had paid him to do it. That was it in a nutshell. He was being paid to say he liked it. In fact, truth be told, it was entirely possible that the player had never even used this product, much less preferred it over others.

Not to sound overly dramatic, but my dad’s casual explanation altered my life ever so slightly. Here I was, young enough to still believe in Santa Claus (which I did), but already old enough to regard celebrity endorsements as bullshit. Later of course, my belief in Santa fell by the wayside, as did the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and, predictably, my belief in God.

All of which brings us to Tom Selleck, an actor I’ve always enjoyed watching. How could this charismatic former TV star (“Magnum P.I.”) have been reduced to shilling for a shady mortgage company? It was disgraceful.

And it was more than the mere fact that he had allowed himself to become a glorified carnival barker. What was most annoying about the commercial was Selleck’s overly earnest manner. The eruption of phony vitality and near manic sincerity brought to mind a pesky boil being lanced.

It’s one thing for Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew McConaughey, George Clooney, et al, to endorse upscale products. But becoming a shill for home loans ain’t in that league. No matter how you cut it, peddling reverse mortgages to addled senior citizens is undignified. Was Selleck that hard up? Had the ’07 “Too Big to Fail” financial crisis wiped him out?

Which brings us to Tiger Woods. Because Tiger was still a wealthy man, he wasn’t at the mercy of market forces. He could pick and choose his spots. Unlike celebrities who had to take what was offered, Tiger didn’t have to stoop to selling hemorrhoid cream or representing Chico’s Bail Bonds. Therefore, it was surprising when he agreed to be filmed sitting behind the wheel of a Buick Lacrosse.

This was going to be a tough sell. The advertisers wanted us to believe that a rich, young, exciting, iconic African-American athlete would rather drive the same car that his grandpa drove rather than, say, a snazzy Corvette or Ferrari or Lamborghini.

But right out of the blocks, we all knew it was a lie. Tiger did not drive a Buick. When he had that auto accident in 2009, in Florida, it was widely reported that he was driving a brand new Cadillac Escalade, which made infinitely more sense. He had a wife and a kid. A luxury SUV was totally appropriate. But certainly not a Buick sedan.

As for the advertisers, they take refuge in a counter-argument. They insist that it’s never been about credibility or believability. Rather, it’s all about association. They don’t need us to believe that Tiger himself actually drives a Buick. That bit of information is irrelevant. What they need us to do is associate the celebrity with the brand.

Essentially, all that those Buick advertisers ask of us is that whenever we watch Tiger play golf, or read about him, or see a photograph of him, we associate him with a Buick. Tiger = Buick. Buick = Tiger. There is some heavy subliminal shit being transmitted and received in that equation. The Devil’s work.

On the other hand, if it’s all about “association,” one wonders why they haven’t resorted to the “reverse appeal” approach. Why haven’t companies attacked their competition by using a “negative association”? For example, why didn’t Kellogg’s hire Charles Manson to go on TV and proudly declare that his favorite cereal was General Mills’ Wheaties? Sales would have plummeted.

Of course, despite the faux outrage, we’re really quibbling here. All advertisements—not just those relying on celebrity endorsements—are based on some measure of deceit. They are all filled with varying amounts of exaggerations, misinformation, disinformation, trickery, and outright lies.

Yet everyone I’ve ever talked to insisted they were already aware that most advertisements were “intentionally misleading.” As such, they considered themselves more or less immune to them. No one considered themselves to be gullible enough to fall for those ads. They took pride in having built-in bullshit detectors.

And that’s why American companies continue to spend billions of dollars a year on TV commercials. Because we’re immune to them. Because commercials don’t influence us.

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows. He can be reached at

* * *

BLOOM BLAST: News from Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

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by Dan Bacher

LOS ANGELES – Environmental leaders from the Protect Playa Now! coalition issued a statement on January 22 demanding answers and accountability for a methane gas blowout at a well in the Playa del Rey Oil Field, operated by MDR Hotels, LLC and connected to a methane gas storage field operated by SoCalGas.

The coalition’s call to action follow an emergency order released by the California State Department of Oil Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR). Protect Playa Now is a watchdog coalition working to shut down the Playa del Rey gas storage field beneath the Ballona Wetlands and communities along the Los Angeles coast.

The blowout shot liquids and 100,000 cubic feet of natural gas 60 feet into the air for 10 minutes on January 11, according to the emergency order and a report by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Hazardous Materials.

You can view a video of a worker escaping from the scene of the blowout here:…

On January 18, DOGGR issued an Emergency Order to: (1) bring the well under control, and (2) permanently plug the well, including cementing off the anomalous gas zone, to protect health, the environment, and property in this densely populated area.

“The Order also requires a battery of tests to determine why this incident occurred. A component of the Order is determining whether there is damage to the well deep underground that could allow natural gas to migrate to the surface in the future,” according to DOGGR.

The emergency order indicated that the risk from the blown out well has not been entirely contained, the environmental leaders noted.

“The well is in a dense urban area on the coast and any such release threatens damage to life, health, property and natural resources,” according to the emergency order.

A land developer, MDR Hotels LLC, leased the property from Los Angeles County on the Marina del Rey waterfront to build a hotel, according to a statement from LA County. MDR Hotels LLC is constructing a six-story Residence Inn and five-story Courtyard Marriot on the site:…

“As part of the work, MDR Hotels must ‘re-abandon’ the well on the property to current standards. The well was originally abandoned and plugged in the 1950s,” LA County stated.

Alexandra Nagy, Senior Organizer with Food & Water Watch and a leader of Protect Playa Now!, called on elected officials to investigate the “current dangers posed by the blowout” and assess the need for relocation orders, health monitoring in nearby residences, a sensible and conservative safety perimeter and rigorous air monitoring to detect methane, and carcinogens know to be in the gas like benzene and formaldehyde. She said short term symptoms from exposure to these toxins may include irritation to eyes, skin, lungs and headaches.

“When the gas blowout occurred at Aliso Canyon, the health risks and seriousness of the event were downplayed by public officials and SoCalGas, the company responsible for the disaster there. Families were not able to make urgent decisions about their health and safety,” said Nagy. “Once again, residents have not been notified of health risks associated with this week-long emergency in Marina del Rey. Just like the Aliso blowout three years ago, agencies are not monitoring toxins released at Playa del Rey, such as benzene or formaldehyde.”

Robert van de Hoek, President of the Ballona Institute, added, “The public deserves to know what is a safe distance to be driving, living or even walking by. A safety perimeter was supposed to be established within 12 hours of the emergency order, yet, residents who live directly across the street have not even been notified of the blowout.”

“A public elementary school is within walking distance of the site, and it is possible there also are impacts to wildlife in the marina or in the nearby marine reserve lagoon. We will keep asking about these possible dangers until our questions are answered,” said van de Hoek.

Van de Hoek said the blown out well is surrounded by boat slips, a heavily traveled road and thousands of residents and hotel dwellers. In addition, the blowout is near the City of Los Angeles' Ballona Lagoon Marine Preserve.

“Environmental leaders are demanding public accountability and notification to all in the area concerning the ongoing blowout and its impacts. They also demand to know if evacuations are planned if the leak continues,” according to the coalition.

According to the emergency order, the blowout was controlled but remains an ongoing emergency risk due to the severe well integrity failure.

Coalition leaders noted that the Aliso Canyon gas blowout was at first reported to last only one week. As it turned out, Aliso Canyon blowout lasted for 112 days and displaced an estimated 25,000 people, becoming the worst recorded gas blowout in U.S. history.

“Three years later, families are still suffering from illnesses due to the Aliso Canyon gas blowout. Government agencies like DOGGR need to learn from experience and put families and public health as a first in the face of toxic releases and ongoing dangers to the community. Our communities deserve to be notified of the risk they face living next to a blown out well,” said Nagy.

“Any emergency filling of the drill hole will cause pressure to build up in nearby wells which are also likely in a fragile state, as it is known that the wells from this former operational oil field were improperly capped in the early part of the last century. Therefore, an immediate halt to injecting new gases into the storage field is called for,” Van de Hoek also warned.

Also on January 22, LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin joined Food and Water Watch, Protect Playa Now and the Ballona Institute in criticizing the lack of notification to the neighbors of the abandoned well and the continued risks posed by a potential lack of structural integrity of the well. Bonin stated:

“This morning, I was notified by environmental activists that construction of a hotel in unincorporated Marina del Rey caused a methane gas leak from an abandoned underground oil well, prompting an emergency order from the state of California, directing immediate actions to protect life, health, property and natural resources in the surrounding neighborhood.

“While the construction project, the abandoned well, and the leak all happened outside the City of Los Angeles and outside of its jurisdiction, the site is immediately across the street from the homes of several hundred City residents I represent.

“I am particularly concerned at the lack of notification to neighbors, and at continued risks of leaks due to a potential lack of structural integrity of the well, which state officials said was a “serious concern.” This incident also raises concerns about other old and abandoned wells in the Playa del Rey oilfield area.

“I share the concerns of immediate neighbors, Food & Water Watch, and Protect Playa Now regarding the health and safety of my constituents in the area, and I echo the calls for more information, greater transparency, and a halt to any further injection of gas into nearby storage fields until we can be sure it is safe. Due to the recent events in Aliso Canyon, residents are understandably skeptical of assurances of safety, deserve more information, and demand greater scrutiny.

“Fossil fuels are dangerous. Whether it is their production or their use, they threaten our environment and our safety. That is why I support aggressive measures to transition to 100% renewable energy sources, why I support the STAND-LA effort to impose a safe buffer from fossil fuel extraction and sensitive uses such as schools and residences, and why I am calling for additional investigation of this incident and greater assurances that my constituents are safe.”

Bonin represents Westside neighborhoods on the Los Angeles City Council. His sprawling 11th District includes Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, West LA/Sawtelle, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Venice, Marina del Rey, Playa Vista, Playa del Rey, Westchester and Ladera.

The Playa del Rey gas storage field stores methane, piped in from Oklahoma and Texas, under very high pressure beneath the communities of Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey, Del Rey and parts of Venice, as well as under the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve.


Emergency order:…

Cal OES report:…/c89a78c29cde267388258386006488dd…

Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.

Protect Playa Now! is a collection of concerned citizens mobilizing to protect Playa del Rey, Playa Vista and the surrounding communities from the threat posed by the SoCalGas Playa del Rey Gas Storage Facility.

Ballona Institute advocates for the preservation of the Greater Ballona Wetlands Ecosystem, provides quality nature-themed education to schools and to the general public about the Los Angeles coastal environment, serves as a library for historical archives and scientific research about the natural resources of southern California, and organizes community in the furtherance of the goals of preservation and restoration of nature.

* * *

* * *

STATEMENTS like the recent shutdown remark by Wilbur Ross [unpaid federal workers shouldn't need food banks, they can just get a loan] demonstrate how out-of-touch this Administration can be when it comes to how this government shutdown actually hurts people. Not only are 800,000 federal employees without work or a paycheck and having a hard time paying for basic living expenses, but there is a ripple effect — surrounding and supporting businesses are feeling the effects, threatening our communities’ and country's economic security. The President can open up the government with a stroke of a pen. Instead, he has chosen to use this government shutdown as a tool to fulfill a campaign promise. (—Jimmy Panetta)

* * *

THE ASSESSMENT APPEALS BOARD AGENDA for the January 28, 2019, meeting is now available on the County website:

Please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.

* * *

* * *

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AGENDA - January 29, 2019 Special Meeting

The Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda for the January 29, 2019, Special Meeting is now available on the County website:

Please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.


Community Partners, Colleagues, and Interested Parties:

The Board of Supervisors Special Meeting for the January 29, 2019, has been CANCELLED.

Please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.


  1. james marmon January 25, 2019

    Poor Carre Brown, with Sonoma and Santa Rosa now on the hook for the Tubbs’ fire victims, Potter Valley may have to go it alone.

    Today @ 11:53 a.m

    PG&E Says It Will Abandon Efforts to Sell or Relicense Eel River-Diverting Dams at Potter Valley

    “Today PG&E submitted a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) providing our “Notice of Withdrawal of Notice Of Intent to File License Application and Pre-Application Document” for the Potter Valley Project. As a result, PG&E will expeditiously cease all activities related to the relicensing of the Project. Our decision to cease Project relicensing will also result in the stoppage of our efforts to sell the Project via the Request for Offers (RFO) process.”

    “PG&E recognizes that many stakeholders have invested significant effort in the relicensing process and we are very appreciative. We apologize for any challenges or inconvenience this action might cause.”

    • james marmon January 25, 2019

      I told everyone on the AVA that the only reason PG&E was dealing with Brown and her Sonoma County counterpart was because of the Tubbs Fire Lawsuits, no one ever listens to me.

      James “Marion” Marmon
      God’s Puppet

      • james marmon January 25, 2019


        A bunch of people have been arguing with me, trying to convince me that Carre Brown’s bunch had already sewed up a deal to take over the Potter Valley Project, not true.

        PG&E abandoning water-power project in remote Mendocino County

        “In a letter to Mendocino County stakeholders, the embattled utility said: “We recognize the gravity of this action, but believe it is appropriate given PG&E’s current circumstances.””

        “Janet Pauli, a Potter Valley rancher, said PG&E’s move was a complete surprise.

        The Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, a coalition of five local agencies chaired by Pauli, had worked for months on a proposal to take over the project and had a Feb. 1 deadline to submit the plan, “Suddenly, the path forward just got pulled right out from under us,” she said.

        The orphan process, which could lead to decommissioning “has the potential to threaten the regional water supply,” Pauli said.”

        • james marmon January 25, 2019

          Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission
          ABOUT IWPC

          Protecting Mendocino County’s Water Supply, for Today and for Tomorrow.

          The Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (IWPC)—a Joint Powers Authority representing the County of Mendocino, City of Ukiah, Redwood Valley County Water District, Potter Valley Irrigation District and the Mendocino County Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District.

        • james marmon January 25, 2019


          The whole plan depended on PG&E “transferring it to a local or regional entity as an alternative to the auction.” The Eel-Russian River Commission then decided to let the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission take the lead and submit a transfer plan. Carre Brown and John McCowen have themselves in a mess along with their The Eel-Russian River Commission cohorts. The Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission.transfer plan was shit canned today at noon.

          PG&E will relinquish control of Potter Valley Project

          “The decision was announced in a letter to the Eel-Russian River Commission, which is a commission composed of two supervisors each from Sonoma, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties, and one from Lake County, tasked with overseeing water issues between the two river basins. Supervisors Carre Brown and John McCowen currently serve on the commission for Mendocino County — they last met to discuss this issue in Feb. in Eureka.”

  2. Mike January 25, 2019

    Oh Lord, was going to stand up in public for Mo but I can’t be seen standing next to people with red baseball caps. So…I will whisper: vote for Mo. (Dont worry, my dear Ukiah voter, the AVA editors just are not so well informed as yet on her record like with city road upgrades, and other concrete infrastructure stuff)

    • james marmon January 25, 2019

      Don’t forget her stand against shopping carts.

  3. james marmon January 25, 2019


    “I’m With Her” She’s one fine looking babe, and works out.


    Did Mark Sprinkle ever find David? he’s the key to getting Mark released from prison. Both fine fellas.


    I’m suspicious as to why the AVA refuses to weigh in on that story.

    James Marmon MSW

    • Bruce Anderson January 25, 2019

      Everyone involved seemed to be enjoying themselves, but I will say that kid in the red hat presented the most punchable face I’ve seen in years, Hannitty running a close second.

      • George Hollister January 25, 2019

        So Jerry Philbrick hands off the torch, and the famous editor grabs it, then runs in the other direction. I am wondering if there’s a real finish line, or what? Hannity?

        I can see it now, JP, and BA, sitting in front of a big screen drinking beer, and watching Hannity. That’d be fun. I would say the AVA office is as good a venue as any. Just call the cops, first.

  4. Lazarus January 25, 2019

    There’s an interesting article in Thur’s Willits Weekly, written by Mike A’Dair, and concerns the latest Measure B meeting.
    As always,

    • james marmon January 25, 2019

      Yeah, that’s pretty nuts, hopefully the BoS agrees with the Behavioral Health Advisory Board (Jan McGourty). It appears that the committee is leaving the door open for Margie Handley to still be in the picture and bid for transforming the “ole howard” into combined PHF/CSR/CRT/Training Center/Shooting Range.

      Still nothing from Kit Elliott about the legal hurdles the County would face if the City of Willits doesn’t want it there, or demands that it meets OSHPD standards.

      James Marmon MSW
      Bewildered Subscriber.


      • Lazarus January 25, 2019

        As long as the players remain in place, ole Howard will be in play. That said if I was involved with ole Howard I’d be looking for another deal.
        As always,

        • james marmon January 25, 2019

          It could be held up in the Courts for years. Millions of dollars of Measure B money would have to be used for a private law firm to fight the City unless the BoS takes on all legal fees using general funds. Anyway, Angelo will still make the call. She may be acting like she’s going along with the rest of the committee, but guess who controls the 5 rubber stampers who will make the final decision?


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