Valley People

by AVA News Service, October 5, 2011

IN THE MEDIA clamor surrounding the Aaron Bassler manhunt, Robert Pinoli frequently appeared on television and radio. Articulate and always on point, Pinoli, manager and part owner of the Skunk Train, is the son of Robert and Cecilia Pinoli of Anderson Valley. The Pinoli's other son, John, is a CHP officer.

NOT EXACTLY a prevalent rumor yet, but we hear Laura Hamburg's healing center will soon find a home in Yorkville.

INTERESTING story in the SF Chronicle of September 28th described the efforts of an “ethnobotanist” named Jolie Egert to promote the acorn as a sustainable food source. Which it was for ten thousand years among Native Americans. “A mature oak tree can produce 300 to 500 pounds of acorns per season,” Ms. Egert says, and the 20 species of that hardy tree grow in every part of the state.

IT LOOKS like there may be a chance of football playoffs after all in our newly formed eight-man league. Coach John Toohey says: “We need to get as many people as we can to go to the game this Friday night! Spread the word. The commissioner will be in attendance to watch the game. If he likes what he sees, he is going to organize a 4-team playoff between our league and the league down in the CCS. We need to see a lot community support. Please tell your friends and family to make it to the game.”

COLLEEN SCHENK WRITES: “The Anderson Valley Community Action Coalition will hold a Candidates Night for the two open school board positions on Tuesday, Oct. 11 beginning at 6:30pm in the high school cafeteria. All three new (Ben Anderson, Don Harris, Ernie Pardini) and the two incumbent (Marti Bradford, Dick Browning) candidates have agreed to attend. We have asked everyone to speak for up to three minutes on their qualifications, why they are running, and what they bring to the board. At the conclusion of these comments, we will have a Q&A session. We ask that people submit questions ahead of time so that we can avoid duplication and have an even balance of the type of questions to represent all interest groups. There will also be an opportunity to submit questions during the event. If you have a question(s) that you would like to have asked, please send to Ms. Schenk via email (”

EDITORIAL COMMENT, if you will indulge me, and not that you have any choice. But here at your friendly community newspaper we always welcome an argument. I think it started at candidate forums organized by authoritarian elements of the County's Democratic Party apparatus, or maybe with the otherwise blameless League of Women Voters, but for years now these candidate events have been so chastely vetted by organizers that they're blanded down to where they're a complete waste of everyone's time. “Tell us why you want to be elected and why you're a wonderful human being.” Citizens should be able to question candidates directly without writing their questions down so they can be censored by the organizers of these events. What's so hazardous about allowing people to simply stand and state their questions?

AND NOT to be too grand about it, but I hope I'm not the only person angry that highly paid school administrators can so blatantly attempt to stuff their boards of trustees with persons handpicked by those administrators. Thousands of Americans have died to defend democratic practices, and it ought to give us all pause that not only here in Boonville but all over Mendocino County school bureaucrats stuff their alleged boards of supervisors with their own stooges. A board of trustees is supposed to supervise their administrators, not join them. It has been at least thirty years since a Boonville school board conscientiously supervised its administrators. The whole point of public schools is supposed to be to teach young people to read well enough that they can intelligently participate in a political democracy. But if you have school administrators who have no respect for democratic practices, well, it's not right.

WE NEED better schools in this County, and we certainly need better schools in this community. It's easier to wish for than accomplish, especially in the County where every single school administrator save one signed a letter drafted and approved by Paul Tichinin, superintendent of all the county's schools, and also approved by MCOE's school attorneys based in Santa Rosa (!) that declared 'niggardly' a racist slur. Does anybody out there think that a school leadership that doesn't have a grasp of basic vocabulary is going to hire lively, intelligent, inspirational teachers? They are not. They're going to hire people exactly like themselves — dummies and time servers. (cf the Ukiah and Point Arena school districts.) The one school administrator who didn't sign the niggardly letter but never complained about it? Ms. Love, the black superintendent of the Ukiah schools.

THE NEXT MEETING of the Anderson Valley Community Action Coalition Steering committee is Wednesday, Oct. 5th, 5pm in the Family Resource and Career Center at the High School. “We will update on the deputy dog, the Medical Marijuana Dispensary and working on developing a coalition elevator speech (a short speech any of us can deliver in 30 seconds or less about what and who the coalition is). Hope you can join us.”

AS OF TODAY, and thanks to Monday's drenching rains, we can again apply for burn permits. CalFire, however, points out that Fire Season has not yet been declared officially closed, so don't just run out there and start torching your burn piles without a permit. Check for details with CalFire or Boonville Fire Chief Colin Wilson at 895-3323.

CELEBRATING his 85th birthday Tuesday with a tuna sandwich at Mosswood Market was Mark Scaramella of Boonville, and darned if the guy doesn't look a day over 95!

BARBARA GOODELL reminds us that on Friday, October 28th, there will be a pumpkin carving pizza party at the Boonville General Store from 5:30 to 8:00 pm, complete with seasonal food specials and stone-baked pizza.

WE’VE RECEIVED reports of flagrantly visible marijuana grows of hundreds of plants in the Anderson Valley and elsewhere in the County that are not being pulled up because 1. The recently concluded Bassler search has taken up lots of scarce local law enforcement resources, and 2. Grows in the mere hundreds that aren't trespass or public land gardens are not high priority with law enforcement. There are simply too many of them. In any case, this week's substantial rains have brought Pot Season 2011 to an end. It is now Home Invasion Season.

THE PRESENT JUMBLE of pot laws add to the confusion. You can spend thousands of dollars for zipties and permits and inspections and get official permission to grow up to 99 plants. Or you can spend nothing and take your chances on getting caught which are 1. Almost nil if you're small time, and 2. And even if you aren't small time and are caught you can plead out to a misdemeanor, forfeit this year's crop and pay eradication fees, a much more attractive proposition than lawyers, courtrooms and trials.

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