Mendocino County Today: April 6, 2012

by AVA News Service, April 5, 2012

Highway101 at Richardson Grove

CALTRANS has been ordered by a federal judge to correct the most important parts of its carelessly drafted environmental analysis that would widen and realign Highway 101 through the ancient redwoods of Richardson Grove State Park in Humboldt County. Southern Humboldt community and environmental groups went to court in 2010 to stop the project designed to make it easier for big rigs to get through the grove a few minutes faster. Naturally, Caltrans thought the destruction of ancient redwoods to accommodate WalMart was a teriffic idea.

JIM MARTIN WRITES: “Saw your item on DFG wardens and questions about a quota system on handing out tickets. To my knowledge there is no such deal; in fact, there are plenty of opportunities during the abalone season for handing out tickets. Easy pickin's, in other words. One thing I do know (as President of the Mendocino County Fish & Game Commission) is that fine moneys in the court system for Fish & Game violations are significantly reduced from what we've gotten in years past. These are the fines that fund our county's Fish & Game grant program for restoration projects, etc. I'm hearing that the courts' fine revenues in general (traffic, etc) are down across the board. Not sure whether people are behaving better, or the economy has people staying home or what. Bottom line: fewer tickets are being handed out for Fish & Game violations in Mendocino County, not more. PS. Everyone's looking forward to the recreational salmon opener on Saturday, April 7. I can't remember a year when the state biologists have predicted such strong returns on both the Klamath and Sacramento rivers. Usually these two runs will converge off our coast starting in June. There will be a lot of four-year old fish in the ocean - big ones. I can't wait!”

PERK CREEP. As expected, the Ukiah City Council will reimburse its five members $600 each for “electronic agenda equipment.” If the hardhitting quintet possesses tax-funded gizmos, you see, the City will save money on paper and communication prep time. (And will leave no paper trail, of course, making it harder, if not impossible, to trace bad decision making.) Another theoretical benefit of the $3,000 outlay supposedly enhances the Council’s ability to stay in touch with headquarters.

PLEASE. There are no paupers sitting on the Council. They can buy their own gadgets, and stay in touch with the Home Front by telephone when they’re conferencing at Asilomar or merely biking downtown to Patrona for a decaf latte in the grim after hours emptiness of downtown Ukiah. The alleged benefits are purely alleged, and don’t justify the expense even if the benefits penciled out, which they don’t appear to.

Willits Justice Center

THE ONLY POSSIBLE hope for restoration of the County seat to something approaching attractive viability is the proposed new County Courthouse, supported publicly only by its sole beneficiaries, our eight Superior Court judges. It should go without saying that the thing will be a monstrous eyesore. How do you know that Mr. Negative? We have 70 years precedent in the transformation of the national landscape to slurburbia and strip malls, and locally in the now abandoned Willits Courthouse. The Willits Courthouse revealed the new judicial aesthetic. The proposed County Courthouse for Ukiah will be the Willits Courthouse. Squared. Exponentially.

SOME OF US will recall that the Willits Courthouse was also sold to us by the royal family of the Superior Court as absolutely hurry-up necessary, only to be abandoned 20 years after it was erected. It remains, however, a crumbling, Stalingrad-like concrete excrescence in the center of Willits, dooming any attempt by that blighted town to regain even a semblance of its old charm.

Butte County Courthouse

THE PROPOSED County Courthouse in Ukiah is not of concern only to Ukiah. It will belong to all of us, in theory anyway, and all of us will visit it at some time or other. It will be Mendocino County’s cornerstone structure, emblematic of our civic pride, and will also anchor Ukiah until doomsday, which is probably sooner than we think if contemporary architectural standards are any harbinger. (Here are a couple of examples of the kinds of monstrosities Ukiah might expect: The Amador County Courthouse, built in 2007, the Butte County Courthouse, built in 1996.)

Amador County Courthouse

EVER ASK YOURSELF why some of the most beautiful buildings in the world were designed and constructed before Christ? That ancient Mesopotamia was a visual banquet of inspirational public buildings? That America, before World War Two, was honeycombed with attractive, coherent communities coast-to-coast? What happened? What things look like directly affect public morale. We used to know that in this country. We even used to know it in Ukiah and Willits, hard as it is to believe now in 2012.

Mendocino County's First Courthouse (built in the late 1800s)

SO HERE COME the Magnificent 8 of the Superior Court with plans, design as yet unrevealed, for a huge new County Courthouse inconveniently — fatally for what’s left of central Ukiah — which will be located on West Perkins where it will join the Adventist Hospital’s piles of cancer-causing structures, the whole show dooming Ukiah and Mendocino County to a kind of welcoming LA-like squalor, reducing Ukiah to a single attractive large-scale structure, the abandoned Palace Hotel.

FISH AND GAME has issued a weasel-lipped amendment of its earlier, and much more forceful warning to the Wine Mob, that fish need water to survive, that the wine gentry can’t suck the upper Russian River dry to frost protect their grapes. “The department wishes to acknowledge it inadvertently omitted from its March letter that enforcement of the (Water Demand Management Plans) by the (State Water Resources Control Board) is currently under court stay. We apologize for that omission.”

WHY? Probably because the wine gentry wouldn’t stop crying until Fish and Game was forced to point out that Judge Anne Moorman of the Mendocino County Superior Court, also succumbing to orchestrated sniveling by the wine people, had stayed enforcement pending a hearing.

A HEARING on what? That bringing some order to the draw on the Russian is unreasonable? That it’s somehow burdensome on this wealthy minority of heavily subsidized vineyard owners, who, under the proposed water management plans they’re allowed to draw up their own conservation schemes?

Navarro By The Sea

EARTH DAY CLEAN UP, April 14, 2012. A great opportunity for local folks to get out to the Mouth of the Navarro River for what hopefully will be a nice weather day while helping to make this part of the world an even more beautiful place. Navarro-by-the-Sea Center, Earth Day Clean Up, Saturday April 14th, 9am to 4pm. Volunteer shifts from 9 to noon and 1 to 4. Free bbq picnic lunch noon to 1 for all volunteers. Please join us if you can for our first annual Earth Day Clean up at Navarro Beach and Navarro-by-the-Sea. Bring your gloves, work boots, and tools if you have them, and please come down and help out. Navarro Beach and Navarro-by-the-Sea needs your energy and support. Projects include trash pickup along beach and river, garbage and slash removal around historic Mill House and Inn, invasive English ivy and eucalyptus removal and disposal, painting and cleanup of Mill House, and repairs to workshop building. To get to Navarro-by-the-Sea, follow Navarro Beach Road west from Highway 1 on the south side of the Navarro River out to the beach. Check in on 4/14 at the table set up in front of the Mill House (the first house you come to along Navarro Beach Road). Check in starts at 8:45 for the morning shift and at 12:45 for the afternoon shift. Please contact Jim Martin at 707-877-3477 or beach1127@aol.com with any questions and/or to RSVP if you want to partake in the free bbq lunch for volunteers — so we can plan for enough fixins for all! Hope to see you there on 4/14. And watch for construction to finally start on the Inn later this spring. First with demolition of the non-historic motel building, followed by critical stabilization work on the Inn. — Linda MacElwee. [Ed note: Ms. MacElwee failed to add that just getting to see these scenic old seaside structures before they’re torn down or remodeled is a treat in itself!]

ALTHOUGH DARRYL CHERNEY won over $2 million in a bogus lawsuit against the FBI and the Oakland Police, he and his co-producer Mary Liz Thompson still want the public to pay $25k for their film promotional costs. http://whobombedjudibari.com/donate.htm because: “Who Bombed Judi Bari? needs to raise $25,000 for travel to festival fees and travel, publicity costs, poster printing, legal fees and post-production costs which will enable us to meet theatrical standards for screening."

GRASSROOTS Peace Conversion with John Lewallen. Please come and participate in creating a peaceful conversion. How can we convert a weapons industry to create jobs and build a society based on renewable energy? Keynote speaker Bruce Gagnon brings 20 years of “Create Peace in Space” work to Lauren’s Restaurant , Hwy. 128, Boonville, on Saturday, April 14, 12 noon until 3:30. Poetry by David Smith-Ferry, “Of this Earth” music with Bill Taylor or Jaye Moscariello, and a special song of freedom by Miranda will be offered. This Peace Conversion event is hosted by the John Lewallen for Congress Campaign. For information, call (707) 895-2996.

COME JOIN in on the fun of celebrating Earth Day by helping to build an outdoor classroom and work on the Creek trail at the Anderson Valley Elementary School. There is going to be a work day Saturday April 21st from 9am-3pm down in the lower field area at the AVES. We are going to be building an outdoor classroom for the students, as well as adding some finishing touches to the Creek Trail and removing some invasive plants along with general clean up of the area. Snacks and lunch will be provided. Bring gloves, hat, water bottle, and wear sturdy shoes. For more information and to RSVP to be included in the lunch count, call Linda MacElwee 895-3230 or email rivercenter@mcn.org. (Linda MacElwee)

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