Mendocino County Today: February 21, 2012
by AVA News Service, February 20, 2012
SOME 4,400 PG&E customers have opted out of the SmartMeter program in a mere two weeks after state regulators gave them the choice. Santa Cruz, Marin and San Francisco counties accounted for the most requests to un-meter the SmartMeters, but Mendocino County tied Santa Cruz in opter-outers adjusted for population. About 250 Mendocino households dropped out between February 1st and 14th. To get out, PG&E extorts a one-time $75 fee and a monthly charge of $10. PG&E predicts it will lose as many as 150,000 of its more than 5 million residential customers. The SmartMeter dropout number is 866-743-0263.
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES HENDERSON AND BRENNAN will be re-elected without opposition and their names will not even appear on the ballot. You would think they would file the same time as all the other offices on the ballot, but that would call attention to the fact they were up for re-election. Not that anyone in the chummy local legal fraternity would be likely to challenge them. Henderson ran as the replacement candidate when the right wing tried to recall Supervisor Hamburg nearly 30 years ago. Henderson and Brennan fit the pattern of mostly marginal judges that we have been saddled with ever since the State legislature mandated that judges had to be lawyers. Prior to that, a system of Justice Court judges, who had a layman's understanding of the law, common sense and local knowledge, were locally elected and accountable to their communities. Now the judges are all elected countywide and are accountable to no one. Henderson is this year's presiding judge. Brennan, who lives in Ukiah, presides over the Ten Mile Court in Fort Bragg.
JOHN DICKERSON, THE CHICKEN LITTLE OF GOVERNMENT FINANCE, and husband of Congressman Wine Guy's local rep Heidi Dickerson, is making another run at creating a job for himself. When Dickerson was head of the taxpayer funded Promotional Alliance, he stonewalled the Grand Jury when they asked for an accounting of how he was spending the public's money. Judge Henderson, a reliable shill for the far right, ruled that it was ok for Dickerson to tell the GJ to stick it. Dickerson also battled with Jim Anderson, the County Administrative Officer at the time, and also managed to alienate the Board of Supervisors, who were in charge of approving nearly all the funding for the Promotional Alliance. The Promo Alliance Board of Directors, finally realizing that Dickerson was a liability, first banned him from speaking at Board of Supes meetings, then canned him.
THE PUGNACIOUS DICKERSON then formed a partnership to run a local winery which was soon in bankruptcy proceedings. Dickerson next showed up as the Executive Director of the Mendocino County Employer's Council. The EC claims to speak for the business owners in the County, but refuses to disclose its members, and refuses to let them vote for the Board of Directors, or even attend BOD meetings. Kinda makes you wonder what kind of fool would join the thing, doesn't it? The EC is a front for the retro views of a handful of multi-millionaires, including John Mayfield, Richard Selzer and Margie Handley of the inland ruling class, and Barbara and Monte Reed of the coast branch.
DICKERSON, a self-styled “life-long Democrat” (code for: “I vote Republican every chance I get”) was a perfect fit for the anti-government agenda of the Employer's Council. As front man for the EC, Dickerson was able to go on the attack against the County establishment that had done him wrong, as he saw it, when he was head of the Promo Alliance. But Dickerson, who bills himself as a “financial analyst,” was fired by the EC after the lights were shut off because Dickerson was so wrapped up in bashing the City and that County that he couldn't be bothered to pay the utility bill.
DICKERSON'S WORK as a full-time government gadfly may be viscerally satisfying to him, but doesn't do much to pay the bills. A year ago he announced a series of meetings around the county to organize a “Reform Coalition” to hold the County accountable for its poor financial management. He claimed the effort was non-political but said he had nine conservative/libertarian financial experts lined up and needed six progressive/liberal financial experts to complete the membership of the coalition steering committee. We never heard any reports on the series of meetings and Dickerson, who sends monthly newsletters to an email list, never mentioned the “Reform Coalition” again. Until now.
DICKERSON HAS JUST ISSUED AN APPEAL to “financial professionals” to join what he now calls the “Coalition for Government Financial Accountability.” “We've just incorporated the Education Fund. We'll organize the larger Coalition this spring.” The “Education Fund,” controlled by Dickerson and two of his friends, has been set up as a charitable organization so donations (to fund Dickerson) will be tax deductible. Dickerson is again calling again for “3 to 6 financial professionals” to rubber stamp his criticisms and lend them an aura of respectability. The bigger challenge will be finding enough people willing to be paying members of the larger coalition. And of course, the coalition will need an Executive Director. And who would be more qualified than Mr. D.?
DICKERSON WAS ALSO PROMOTING the Californian's for Pension Reform, (CPR) a right-wing financed group set up to try and gut public employee pension benefits. CPR recently announced they were dropping their plans for an initiative measure because State Attorney General Kamala Harris had released a misleading ballot title and summary. The criticism was not without foundation (Harris highlighted potential cuts to Nurses, Teachers and Firefighters, the most sympathetic public employee groups), but the overall goal of CPR was to eviscerate public employee bargaining groups. And key elements of the CPR approach were probably unconstitutional. Dickerson was said to be angling for the job of managing the initiative campaign. It is no coincidence that he is renewing his plans to form a local “reform coalition” immediately after the organizers pulled the plug on CPR.
MONDAY MORNING (20 February), a little before 11, Dane Kraich turned himself in at the County Jail, Ukiah. He is being held on no bail. Late Tuesday night the 14th of February, Kraich, a 49-year-old Point Arena man, shot his young wife, Nicole, 24, and disappeared. Kraich had been sought for nearly a week for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, as well as a parole violation warrant out of Idaho on a drug charge. Sgt. Van Patten of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department said Kraich “has several family members in the Point Arena area and connections outside California.” Van Patten also said that Kraich's friends and family “hadn't heard from him since within a few hours of the incident, when he sent text messages to an ex with whom he had a child and to his boss.” The first message said, “I'm sorry,” and the second said “something to the effect of things went too far.'“ The newly married couple were drinking Tuesday night when they argued, according to Van Patten, and Kraich “attacked his wife with closed fists, leaving her bruised and swollen.” Kraich then drove away from the property and his wife left the home on foot. “This is a pretty rural piece of property,” Van Patten said. “She's got a mile and a half to a mile to go to get back to the main road.” She was apparently walking up the long gravel driveway toward Buckridge Road where Kraich discovered her. He told his wife that she wasn't leaving, which seemed to mean she wasn't leaving ever, and fired at her three times with a handgun. The one round that hit her “went all the way through her back,” Van Patten said. Kraich then bundled his wounded wife into his vehicle, drove her back to their house where he put her inside and drove off again. “She thought she was left for dead,” Van Patten said. The young woman, shoeless, again left the house, again making her way down the long gravel driveway toward the main road. She saw Kraich's car returning and hid in the woods by the road, then made her way to a neighbor's house, where she summoned help just after 1am Wednesday. Kraich had worked as a ranch caretaker.
IF YOU think you want to opt out
Because the smart meter’s value you doubt
may force your granny
to pay up or go without