Off The Record

by AVA News Service, March 7, 2012

VERN PIVER died Monday in San Francisco at the UC Hospital. He was 78. I'll have a full obituary in next week's paper. A native of Fort Bragg, Vern was among the Mendocino Coast's best known and most widely respected citizens.I last saw him a month ago at UCSF. He was still woozy from radiation for a brain tumor, but looking at him you wouldn't know he was as sick as he was. I thought he'd beat it because, as always, he radiated confidence and good cheer, laughing and joking with his many visitors. And he was fresh out of surgery! I first met Vern in '74 or '75 at a men's league basketball game. Boonville was playing Fort Bragg for the local championship. As we were warming up, Vern, who was refereeing, came over to me and said, “You gotta take that ring off, sport.” It was my wedding ring. I asked him why. “You might get it caught on the rim.” I hadn't been up around the rim since I was maybe twenty. I looked at him. Vern looked back. Then he laughed, and walked away. I like that guy, I thought. And when I met him a few years later he was coaching Fort Bragg's varsity basketball team. He was a very good coach and, as everyone knows, Vern had been a great athlete himself — a terrific running back in high school, a professional baseball player who certainly would have made it to The Bigs if he hadn't played before the expansion teams were added to major league baseball. I put it to him: Are you the best athlete ever out of Fort Bragg? “No, Silva was better,” he said, referring to a much younger baseball pitcher. The year I remember Vern coaching basketball at Fort Bragg, which was in the middle 1980's, he took Fort Bragg right on past heavily favored Boonville with a team of Fort Bragg kids that Boonville should have beat by twenty. (Boonville did beat Ukiah by twenty. Beat Ukiah twice that year by twenty.) But Vern simply out-coached Boonville who, that year, could put five kids on the floor who could all shoot. You put two kids on the floor who can shoot at the high school level and you win. With five, you beat everybody, or should beat everybody. I know he was from a big family. Vern's dad worked at the mill and Vern put in his time at the ground level of the timber industry. He knew all about Fort Bragg, a living history of the town he devoted himself to in all kinds of ways. The guy lived a long and happy life. At least I never met him when he wasn't anything but laughing and joking. He certainly married the right woman. Betty Piver was with him all the way, and it was she who made all those long drives from Fort Bragg to the city and back over the last years of Vern's life — wife, nurse, driver, medical watchdog, as strong a woman as you'll meet. It's a bright, sunny day in Mendocino County on Tuesday the 6th of March, but for everyone who knew Vern Piver it's not as sunny as it was yesterday before we got the news that he'd left us. Services are tentatively set for Saturday noon in the Fort Bragg High School gym.

DOPE, the discussion that never ends. The Melo Foundation's forum scheduled for the 30th of March at the Cotton Auditorium in Fort Bragg will be heavy on demagogues — Mike Thompson and Wes Chesbro, to name the two most egregious — and heavy on tough talk and guerilla fantasies. Fox News commandoes will stand up and say, “Gol darnit, we gotta go out in the woods and take care of the problem our own selfs,” and all the speakers — Mendo forums, left right and center, don't do dissenting opinion — will pretend that they can do something about wholesale marijuana production before they file out into the crisp Fort Bragg night deluding themselves that 'progress' has been made. And that will be the end of another in-house discussion that's been going on for years, a discussion that ignores the fact that a whole lot of so-called trespass grows aren't trespasses, they're land owners letting people grow for halfsies. “You can do it on my back forty. I get half if you don't get caught. If you do get caught you're trespassing, and I've never seen you before.” Do a Google Earth on your Mendo neighborhood. Now knowing what to expect, we did one on Boonville. As the satellite camera zeroes in, the grows look like lemon groves, neatly arrayed in the backyards on both sides of Highway 128 from one end of Boonville to the other. Of course the in-door grows can't be Googled, but they are just as numerous throughout the Anderson Valley and every other area of vast Mendocino County. When you hear statements like “Everyone in this county is in the pot business” it's not that far short of the reality. In an imploding economy does anyone seriously expect an enterprise that pays lots of off-the-books, tax-free cash can be stopped short of full-on legalization? In just the last week, raids were conducted on two homes, one in Eureka, one in Redwood Valley, where better than $400,000 cash was confiscated by the forces of law and order. Every time the cops make big cash hauls more people are convinced that they, too, should get into the pot business. A smaller number of people, of course, are convinced to try to find dope houses to rip off, hence X-number of annual home invasions, most of them unreported. Looked at objectively, and all things considered, the nebulous legal status of marijuana is perfect for Mendocino County's financial well-being: Every year the cops take off just enough dope to keep pot prices at at least a thou a pound, with prices falling around Christmas to five or six hundred a pound as surpluses are unloaded for spending cash. Legalization would further depress the Mendocino County economy, and depress it big time. Increases in raids, or adoption of Congressman Corktop's military sky spies would simply drive the price of marijuana up, making the business more attractive to more people.

SUPERVISORS HAMBURG AND PINCHES are correct. Short of legalization nothing is going to stop any kind of grow, indoors or outdoors. (A Brooktrails friend says he estimates that there are at least a hundred robo-grows in the Willits sub-division. A robo-grow is a house converted to indoor, year-round marijuana production. One was raided just last week in Brooktrails at 24234 Buckeye Circle. There wasn't a living creature or even evidence of one at that house other than 423 thriving pot plants arrayed under auto-timed lights and water.) Spending more public money on raids like the one on the Mendocino National Forest last year that snagged two whole Mexicans don't do anything but keep pot prices artificially high, thus attracting even more people to give it a go. Congressman Wine Guy's proposal to unleash sky spies and other high-tech military gear on the forests is simply fantasy or, in his case, mere demagoguery. Thompson represents the County's other large scale intoxicant, high end booze, as chemically dependent and a lot more water extravagant than marijuana production. But remove them both from the Mendocino County economy and there wouldn't be an economy here. The Melo Forum will make a few people feel good but it will accomplish exactly nothing because nothing can be accomplished in the present social-economic-political context.

GOLDILOCKS, THE UPDATE: We've had four calls telling us that Miss Audet can be regularly found sitting in front of Mendosa's Market in Mendocino with her black and white miniature bulldog spare changing for booze money. At a very young age, she's racked up an impressive number of drunk charges. We're curious about what has driven her to drink, and by drawing attention to her we hope she can get the help she needs before something bad happens to her, if it hasn't already. Why our interest? Because of her youth and apparent fragility, and the obvious fact that she's in harm's way. We hope someone, maybe even Ms. Audet herself, will tell us how she came to be drunk and without hope in Mendocino.

A BILL PASSED Monday in the US House of Representatives and Thursday in the Senate would make it a felony to participate in many forms of dissent associated with the Occupy Wall Street protests. It is being dubbed the “anti-Occupy” law, but its implications are far broader. The bill—H.R. 347, or the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011”—was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, while only Ron Paul and two other Republicans voted against it in the House of Representatives where it passed 388-3. (Our Congressman Corktop of course voted for it.) Not a single Democratic politician voted against the bill, Democrats and Republicans being united with the trembling corporate and financial oligarchy now terrified that the Occupy demonstrations will revive big time just in time for the conventions this summer. Under H.R. 347 it would be a criminal offense to “enter or remain in” an area designated as “restricted.” Even more sinister is the provision regarding events of “national significance.” What circumstances constitute events of “national significance” is left to the discretion of those great freedom lovers at the Department of Homeland Security. Virtually any large protest could be designated by the Department of Homeland Security as an event of “national significance,” making any demonstrations in the vicinity illegal. For a certainty, included among such “nationally significant” events would be the Democratic and Republican National conventions, which have already been classified as National Special Security Events (NSSE), a category created under the Clinton administration. Also criminalized by the bill is conduct “that impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions” and “obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds.” These provisions, even more than the provisions creating “restricted areas,” threaten to criminalize a broad range of protest activities that were previously perfectly legal.

THE US SUPREME COURT announced Monday that California game wardens can stop and question motorists departing hunting or fishing grounds to see what's been bagged. The case arose out of San Diego where a game warden observing a fishing pier through a telescope in August 2007 saw a fisherman named Bouhn Maikhio reeling in either a lobster or a fish and putting it in a black bag. The warden stopped Makhio's car and found that Makhio had bagged a live California spiny lobster. Charged with the misdemeanor of taking a lobster out of season, Maikhio challenged the vehicle stop and search. Lower courts ruled in his favor, but the state's high court ruled unanimously that the warden had acted legally. The need to protect wildlife for future generations outweighs the minor intrusion of a vehicle stop, said state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye in June. She said a warden would be acting for the purpose of conservation and not criminal law enforcement, which would require a search warrant or probable cause of wrongdoing. Someone who has “chosen to engage in the heavily regulated activity” of hunting or fishing has a “diminished reasonable expectation of privacy,” Cantil-Sakauye said. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this position. The case is Maikhio vs. California, 11-527.

THE CITY OF UKIAH has obtained a $3 million dollar grant to convert Carpenter-Hudson Park into a garden of native plants crucial to the people who once lived in harmony with the natural world prior to the advent of the unnatural people, circa 1850. A key feature of the plan is to enclose the park, the Sun House and the Museum, with a six foot high wrought iron fence, the idea being to discourage the, uh, undesirables presently hanging out in Mrs. Hudson's garden where they shoot up drugs, pound down 40's and use the grounds as an open air latrine. The grant will install a garden of native plants linked to museum exhibits, probably complete with those awful audio descriptions of what you're looking at.

THE SUPREME IRONY in play here is that if the City gets its way, the grandmother oak that is the current centerpiece of the park, and the best example of a native plant on the premises, will be cut down. The tree apparently dropped a limb sometime last year and a large part of the park is currently cordoned off with yellow caution tape. The City looks at the oak as a liability; it might fall on a drunk, you see. Another irony in play here is that several of the current park denizens that Grace Hudson wants outta there are descendents of the very natives she chronicled in her paintings.

PLANS ARE ALSO UNDERWAY for a “Rails with Trails” project along the abandoned rail line in Ukiah (and another stretch of track in Willits). The Ukiah trail is projected to run from Gobbi Street on the south to Clara Avenue on the north, a brief, unsightly stretch of track used as a sort of pedestrian commute line by the walking wounded who camp at the Clara end of the proposed path. There will be a meeting at the Ukiah Vet's Hall on March 13 starting at 5:30 to take the inevitable “input” from the public. The grants to enclose and “interpret” the Sun House and grounds, and to formalize the already well-worn trail along the railroad tracks, are both at least partly aimed at keeping Ukiah's large floating population of drug and drink people out of public view. They hang out at the park and shuffle along the tracks on dope and booze runs at all hours. Fencing the them out of the park won't work and a bike path along the tracks will only increase their travel options from foot to wheels.

A READER WRITES: “OK, the PD did it again this weekend and I'm going to write about it. First they have a page one Empire News subhead saying 'Mendocino sheriff hits pedestrian' when it's the Lake County dude, followed on Sunday by Chris Smith stealing yet another ICO article but calling ICO reporter Chris McManus a man even though there is a lengthy article in the very same issue about her work with women in Sierra Leone. Added to that is their constant typos, dropped copy, factual errors (No, Prince Albert did not die in 1840 and Elvis was not born in 1943, etc., etc.) bad editing of wire stories ('Smith said' - wait who is Smith?, his name appears nowhere in this article) and my favorite, the double dipped sports stories where the exact same story often appears in the 'Side Lines' column and then on another page as a wire service story - ARRGHH!” They say it takes 80 people to put together each issue of the PD - what the hell are they doing?”

WHO BOMBED JUDI BARI? Don’t tell the FBI or their co-dependents clustered around Darryl Cherney and his new movie, but I think I know who did it. Steve Talbot of Frontline, the influential PBS television series, is pretty certain he knows, too. He made a documentary film also called ‘Who Bombed Judi Bari?’ back in 1990. When I talked with Talbot the other day by e-mail he hadn’t heard about Cherney's Who Bombed Judi Bari movie, but he joked that maybe he should have copyrighted the question. Cherney's version of Bari-related events was shown in San Francisco last Friday night in a tiny theater on Post Street just large enough to seat a cult-sized audience partial to the Kim Il Sung school of history. Unlike Talbot’s 1990 investigation of the bombing, Cherney's is not be about who did it but about how Darryl and Judi saved the redwoods before the FBI and Big Timber and Christian crazy men, and men generally, singly or in concert, got together to place a car bomb in Bari’s Subaru, hoping to kill her so they could cut the rest of the trees down without gaggles of hippies hassling their logging crews. Talbot’s investigation tried to find out who was behind the bombing; Cherney’s film doesn’t dare ask that question. Pretending not to know who bombed Judi Bari has made Cherney financially secure and has provided a nice bit of side money for people like Karen Pickett and the “movement” attorney, Dennis Cunningham. Not knowing who bombed Judi Bari is also a recurrent subject on KPFA where, late Tuesday afternoon, I heard the Bari cultists, among them self-certified investigative journalist Dennis Bernstein and the inevitable Pickett, burbling about Darryl’s new movie in the usual Kim Il Sung-ish superlatives. At one point, Darryl even said, “Lots of Hollywood people wanted to make this movie but, well, heh-heh, frankly, they were pretty sleazy.” I almost swerved off 101 at that one. Darryl Cherney, that rock of integrity, had to produce his own Who Bombed Judi Bari to get it right! Only a certain kind of Stalin-brained liberal would buy that one, having bought the attendant mythology for two decades now. When Bari died in 1997, Talbot appeared on Belva Davis’s KQED news show called “This Week In Northern California” to say that Bari had told him that she was certain her ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, had tried to kill her with the 1990 car bomb. Talbot said he would have reported that fact earlier but Bari had told him in confidence. Talbot’s film, however, points at Sweeney, but includes a clip of Bari, looking awfully evasive, saying in effect, “If my husband had done it he couldn’t have looked me in the eye.” Sweeney, by the way, is a former Maoist since self-reinvented in Mendocino County as a garbage bureaucrat. But Cherney and Company, way back, hoping to link a third person to the bomb, and desperate to protect Sweeney, tested the DNA found on the confession letter written by a person calling himself (or herself, if it was co-authored, which it may have been), “The Lord’s Avenger.” That DNA test by a licensed Berkeley lab found male and female DNA on the Avenger’s envelope. If its results, which can be found on the AVA’s website along with the essential case documents and related discussions, were to be matched against the DNA of, say, a dozen likely persons, ex-husband Sweeney foremost among them, we might know Who Bombed Judi Bari. Law enforcement never has been interested in finding out, but then they, like Cherney and Co., also can’t afford to find out because if they did, those findings, at this point, would be more explosive than the bomb that exploded in Judi Bari's automobile that day in Oakland in May of 1990.

MENDOCINO COUNTY’S NEW PROSECUTOR, Paul Sequeira, 53, has sued a former Contra Costa County colleague. Sequeira alleges that Harold Jewett, 55, assaulted him during a hallway argument in March of 2010. Jewett says he was merely defending himself against Sequeira. Much of the dispute between the two men seems to have been fueled by office politics as each backed opposing candidates for DA in the 2010 Contra Costa County elections.

FLIP OUT OF THE WEEK (so far). Deputies were first called to the North State Street trailer park Wednesday morning about 8:30 where a young woman was said to be “running through the area and displaying bizarre behavior.” Bizarre behavior being a rather elastic phrase any more, deputies soon concluded that Lacey Lynn Mononi, 26, was merely drunk and animated beyond the normal parameters of alcohol intoxication.

They told her to stay at home and get a grip on herself. Wednesday night, their second visit on the day to cool out Ms. Mononi, she was still hyper-loaded. On this second visit from law enforcement, Ms. Mononi threatened to kill the deputies and ran out the back door of her doublewide. She’d run about a hundred yards when deputies tackled her, removing two kitchen knives she’d hidden in her jacket. Ms. Mononi was arrested on “suspicion of threatening a peace officer, possession of a dagger or dirk, resisting arrest and violating probation.” She is being held at the Mendocino County Jail without bail.

STATE AND FEDERAL NARCS, on Wednesday (29 February) found 3,881 marijuana plants, 110 one-pound bags of dried pot and $420,000 in cash from two Eureka structures, one of which was described as a “yurt.” The raid team was apparently surprised that so much free enterprise was contained in such a modest structure. Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman for the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, said State agents obtained a search warrant for the yurt and an adjoining house a week ago, and served them Wednesday with help from the Humboldt County Sheriff's department. The yurt's owners, 45-year-old John Eaton Cromwell (one of three elementary school teachers at tiny Maple Creek Elementary in Korbel, Humboldt County, about ten miles east of Arcata) and his girlfriend, 42-year-old Elisabeth Nergaard Olsen, were cited for cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana and maintaining a drug house, but weren't arrested because they have four young children, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff's department. A third resident of the home, and apparently childless, 34-year-old Charles Bruzza of Portland, Oregon was jailed and held on $75,000 bail.

THOSE FEDERAL SUITS filed by the owners of medical marijuana dispensaries in the aftermath of last fall’s federal crackdown on dispensaries have not been successful. The med pot people’s suits basically allege that the raids on them by the Obama administration violated Obama’s pledge to leave them alone so long as they complied with state law. A federal judge based in Sacramento has dismissed the first dispensary suit to make it to him, declaring that the Justice Department remains free to enforce federal drug laws. The dispensaries were hoping that a 2009 Justice Department memo to federal prosecutors directing the prosecutors “not focus federal resources” on individuals who followed their state's medical marijuana law. This memo followed President Obama's 2008 campaign pledge to let states set their own medical marijuana policies, one of Obama’s many unkept pledges.

A LARGE CROWD turned out at the County Courthouse in Ukiah Thursday to attend a preliminary hearing for Billy Norbury, 33, of Redwood Valley. Most of the audience for the prelim, which only led to another prelim set for Wednesday, the 7th of March, was convinced that Norbury, white, murdered Jamal Andrews, 30, because Andrews was black.

NORBURY SHOT ANDREWS to death the night of January 24th in Andrews’ Redwood Valley front yard. Andrews was hit twice, fatally in the head, and once in the shoulder. Sheriff's Department investigators estimated that the murder weapon, a rifle, was discharged several times from a distance of 50 feet. Andrews was a popular reggae musician who’d grown up in Laytonville. Norbury is from a well-known Redwood Valley family where his father owns a construction company. Norbury has arrests for drug and alcohol-related offenses. Andrews’ friends say that Norbury had been overheard at a Redwood Valley bar complaining about Andrews in racist terms.

MENDOCINO County District Attorney David Eyster is personally prosecuting Norbury. Eyster told the Ukiah Daily Journal Thursday that, “Evidence has not been presented to me that would support a hate crime. People can be racist and not commit a hate crime. I believe the evidence will show a motive other than simply race.”

NORBURY lived in the same neighborhood as Andrews. He was arrested soon after the shooting at his home. By all accounts a pleasant and friendly man with no known enemies, Andrews left behind a wife and child.

THE SONOMA COUNTY WATER AGENCY announced last Thursday morning that because of the low rainfall this year the Russian River’s water supply has gone from “dry” to “critical.” “Critical” means the agency will probably reduce Russian River flows from Lake Mendocino to ensure that there “is enough for all water users and for release in the fall to support migrating Russian River Chinook salmon,” according to the SoCo water agency. Sonoma County owns most of the water stored at Lake Mendocino because Mendocino County, when the lake was built, chose to sell the water to downstream communities and to minimally participate in the construction of Coyote Dam behind which is stored the water upon which millions of downstream users depend. Pam Jeane of the SCWA advised upstream interests dependent on regular releases into the upper Russian from Lake Mendocino “to continue using water efficiently — especially farmers and residents of Healdsburg and communities to the north, which rely on releases from Lake Mendocino.”

MENDO DA DAVID EYSTER says medical marijuana farmers would be wise to continue to buy zip-ties for their plants from the Sheriff to reduce their chances of prosecution. “Participation (in the zip-tie program) will continue to be one factor considered by the prosecuting attorney if allegations come before him of criminal wrongdoing,” Eyster said in a press release Thursday afternoon. Eyster said he wanted to address the “confusion” about local medical marijuana regulations now that the County, under threat from the feds, has scaled back its permitting process to allow 25 plants per parcel, down from 99.

ACCORDING to a new study by David Latterman, Associate Director for the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at the University of San Francisco, Mendocino is the fourth most liberal county in California. Only San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Cruz are more liberal. Mendo, according to the professor, ranks higher on the lib index than Marin, Humboldt and Sonoma counties.

LATTERMAN looked at how people voted on certain recent ballot measures to calculate his scale. He found (surprise!) “The most liberal districts are … represented entirely by Democrats,” but if he’d investigated further he’d find that these Democrats are about as liberal as Obama, which is to say they “Talk left, act right.”

THE PROFESSOR says the soundness of his analysis is confirmed by comparing the results to who voted for John Kerry for president in 2004!

MIKE VANDEVEER of Sebastopol nicely sums up the week's national events: “March came in like a lion, politically that is, and it is scary. A Montana federal judge sent a patently racist e-mail to his friends about President Obama, an Arizona sheriff railed on in an hour-long diatribe regarding the validity of Obama's birth certificate, conservative icon Rush Limbaugh called the Georgetown University student who tried to testify on women's health issues a 'slut' and a 'prostitute,' and the House took up the ‘Blunt’ amendment which would allow employers to refuse birth control coverage to their employees. The amendment was defeated, but Speaker John Boehner vows to continue the fight. All this in one day, the first day of March. Unbelievable.”

FROM A MARCH 1937 ISSUE of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Death looked into the eyes of five sailors off the Farallones last Friday when a school of killer whales, mad with the blood lust as they slaughtered more than 100 seals, turned to attack the small boat off the lighthouse tender Sequoia. The killers appeared off the rocky island as a surfboat from the tender was put off with the regular weekly supplies. Five sailors, under second mate Charles B. Medd, were rowing shoreward when they sighted the seven killers engaged in a savage attack on the seals. Flashing through the scarlet water the whales slashed and ripped as the frightened seals fought toward the shore. Suddenly one of the killers sighted the churning oars of the small boat and streaked toward it. As the black fin cut the water, Medd ordered the oars pulled into the boat. The whale cut on through the water, its 25-foot bulk certain to overturn the boat. At the last moment, it dived. Satisfied that the object without movement was not alive, the killer returned to the pack for another attack on the seals. On the island O.R. Berg, lighthouse keeper and F. H. Hamilton, chief navy radioman, had looked on helplessly as they were without guns. The grim tragedy continued, the killing apparently was purely for sport, observers said. An army blimp from Sunnydale, which passed low over the island, played an unwitting part in the slaughter as many of the seals on shore, frightened at the sound of the motors and the sight of the sky monster, slipped back into the water to certain death before the killers' jaws.”

THE BEGINNING of the end for the ongoing Brooktrails scam? As expected, at the end of last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor John McCowen raised “the situation with the tax defaulted lots in Brocktrails.”

McCOWEN NEATLY stated the problem: “Out of the 60-some lots that we [the County of Mendocino] approved for auction, 40 of them were Brooktrails lots. All 40 failed to sell. So even the speculators who’d normally buy those lots apparently have an oversupply of worthless lots that they are unable to foist off on unsuspecting buyers. So nobody bid on them. The new information that I wasn't aware of, and it follows: if the County gets reimbursed if someone buys those lots, we recover the money that we pay out for taxes, assessments and fees. But when nobody buys those lots, the County is responsible through the Teeter Plan to pay the full amount of the taxes due [on unsold and unbuildable lots] to Brooktrails, the full amount of the assessments and fees that they add on. So on each worthless lot we paid, in addition to the property tax, $120 in assessments. They are increasing those assessments to $180 per year for water, sewer and fire, and for most of those lots the water and the sewer will never be available. What disturbs me is that it is $73,000 this year that the County is subsidizing Brooktrails with the fees going up it could be $110,000 next year. Just for the fees… The Brooktrails Specific Plan acknowledges that there are far more lots than will ever be built on. Their plan is to bring the lots down to a lower number that would be approved through consolidation or donation to the district. So the obvious solution, would be to donate these tax defaulted, essentially worthless lots to Brooktrails. The news article I read said that that is not allowed under the current system. So we have no option apparently but to go back out and try to auction them again. So what I will be requesting is that the Executive Office in coordination with the Treasurer and the Assessor bring this item back to the Board for discussion of what our options might be. And if there is some state legislation that needs to occur to address this and remedy it, maybe we should get in favor of that. Another option might be, since the lots are worthless, they should be assessed at zero dollars and that would reduce the property tax burden to the county.”

SUPERVISOR John Pinches: “And that's just the property tax, that's not the special assessments.”

McCowen: “Correct.”

CEO Carmel Angelo: “County Counsel and the Executive Office have been discussing this item. The Debt Committee that is composed of the Executive Office, County Counsel and the Auditor and the Treasurer will bring this back as an item to this Board.”

NO DATE was set, but now that even Supervisor Pinches seems to agree that something needs to be done, we think it will be sooner rather than later that at a minimum the unbuildable, unsalable Brooktrails lots will soon be assessed as having no value or given back to the Brooktrails board at no cost.

FORT BRAGG FILL-UP. A Comptche couple pulls up to the USA pumps Monday afternoon at Highway One and Simpson Lane just south of Fort Bragg. As Mister fills up, Missus. goes off to the restroom. Mister walks out of the service station's office after paying for his gasoline just as a man standing outside the restroom door begins kicking at the door and yelling, “I'm going to fuck you up, bitch.” Mister hustles over to get between the door and “this little tweeker psycho-looking dude” and says to him, “Hey, that's my wife in there!” Mister has never seen tweeker dude before. “He knew a woman was in there because a couple of times she'd called out, 'One minute, please.'“ Mister tells the clerk lady to go call the cops as he and tweeker dude commence hand-to-hand combat. Tweeker dude is soon pinned to the ground, but eventually wriggles free and takes off. Mister gets his license number and tells the cops what has happened. The cops drive Mister and Missus to an address on nearby Ocean Drive where Mister and Missus identify tweeker dude as the man who has attacked them. Tweeker dude is identified as Kris Anderson, 39, of Fort Bragg. The deputy assures Mister and Missus that tweeker dude is as good as over the hill and locked up in Ukiah. “I'm charging him with felony assault and terrorist threats,” the deputy says. “But I called the jail this morning (Tuesday) and he's not there!” Mister says. “He wasn't arrested. They just wrote him a ticket and sent him home. I smell a rat.”

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