Off The Record
by AVA News Service, January 15, 2013
CORRECTION: In last week's excellent account of the KZYX board meeting by Sheila Dawn Tracy, it was our editorial error that stated board minutes had been prepared by station manager John Coate. The minutes were prepared by Katharine Colle, board Secretary.
THE McCULLOUGH MATTER so ably written up Bruce McEwen this week had me marveling at the DA's demand that McCullough get 22 years for what is obviously a lover's quarrel, albeit an ugly one by a guy who ought to know better, especially if he's already been to prison. Talk about asking for a return trip! Still though, it's way too much time for the offense described, but watch L-WOP Linda parlay the twenty-two years into forty-four. These ridiculously long sentences are the reason our prisons are overcrowded. Only the true mad dogs should be locked up permanently, and they represent about 20% of the prison population, a fact confirmed by other inmates who always know who's truly dangerous to public safety and who isn't. I'd say McCullough needs to go to the big time-out room for no more than two years, and if he comes out and terrorizes some other woman or, heaven forbid, the same woman, off he goes for the full 22.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY David Eyster has released sentencing statistics or 2012: 110 defendants were sent to state prison as 59 defendants were sentenced to “realignment County prison” where their sentences will be served in Ukiah. Of the 110 defendants sentenced to prison in 2012, six were sentenced to state prison as “lifers.” Of the 110 defendants sentenced to a prison in 2012, 18 were sentenced to state prison with sentences enhanced by one or two “strikes,” a status which reduces their time/worktime credits to 20%. Of the 110 defendants sentenced to prison in 2012, 18 of them were convicted of violent felonies for which the law only allows good time/worktime credits of 15%. In 2012, the DA tells us, a total of almost $800,000 in pot seizure money and assets was dispersed, most of it going to the Sheriff's office, a sizable amount going to the Ukiah Police Department and smaller amounts going to the Willits police department, the Fort Bragg Police Department and Fish and Game. (In 2011 the amount was just over $500,000 with similarly proportioned disbursements, most of it going to the Sheriff's office.)
MENDOCINO COUNTY'S premier deadbeats, Ukiah Sativa Morrison and girl friend, Callie Ashe, applied for temporary restraining orders against two Hopland women who made the mistake of letting Morrison and Ashe move onto their properties. A hearing was held last week before Judge Mayfield of the Mendocino County Superior Court. Most people applying for restraining orders have a real fear of the party they want restrained, but the only thing Morrison and Ashe fear is honest work and, in this case, they attempted to use the court to get back at two people who were their victims. The law requires that anyone applying for a TRO be heard, even these two sinister nutballs, and heard they were, almost two hours worth.
MORRISON AND ASHE had moved in with the Hopland women, first one then the other after the first one booted them off her place. They then moved in to the unsuspecting second woman and she booted them off her place, too, although deputies had to get Morrison and Ashe all the way off the property. The basic agreement in both instances was not complicated. You do some work around the place, you can stay here. Morrison and Ashe not only failed to do their agreed upon chores, true-to-form they got nasty when they were reminded of their obligations. (It was only last year that the two scammers went to a jury with their claim that their Redwood Valley landlord had also ripped them off. How? He'd evicted them for non-payment of rent. Why hadn't Morrison and Ashe paid rent? Because, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we were selflessly growing medical marijuana, and here comes this meanie-faced property owner who tells us to go away when we're trying to carry out our humanitarian mission. The jury was out about an hour before coming back with the inevitable guilty verdict, thirty minutes of which were probably spent laughing. At last week's temporary restraining order hearing, the two women Morrison and Ashe had ripped off had to sit there and listen to Morrison and Ashe vilify them. Ms. Ashe said one of their victims, a medical doctor, during a discussion of breast size, had lifted her shirt to show Ashe her surgically augmented breasts. Ms. Ashe had complained to the doctor that her mate, lover boy Morrison, was always telling her that her breasts weren't up to his specs. “Maybe if I had children they would get bigger,” Ms. Ashe explained to the court and the titillated (sic) males in the room. Then Lover Boy himself got up on the stand to declare that the doctor “goes around flaunting her fake tits.”
THIS WAS TOO MUCH for Judge Mayfield. “Excuse me Mr. Morrison, but I'm going to ask you to use proper courtroom language. Please address your comments to whether or not she ever harassed you, stalked you, intimidated you, molested you, etc.” None of which had occurred. What we had here was two career deadbeats using the court to harass two women that the two deadbeats had wronged.
BUT THE SUBJECT of breasts beat on. The judge, reiterating Ashe's false claim, said to Ashe, “She (the doctor) showed you her breasts and asked you if you wanted to touch them. And you say you felt threatened, and then you moved onto her property? I'm sorry. If you really felt threatened enough to file for a TRO why did you move closer to her?” Because she and Morrison are too stupid to even make up a single plausible lie between the two of them? The gallant Morrison then remarked, “Your honor, I just want you to get these people to stop talking to the Anderson Valley Advertiser and telling them these things about us. The Anderson Valley Advertiser is slandering us!”
JUDGE MAYFIELD replied, “I'm sorry, but if you have a problem with the content of the Anderson Valley Advertiser you will have to take it up at a separate time in another place with the members of their editorial staff.”
MORRISON: “Well, can't you make them stop?”
JUDGE MAYFIELD: “In this country some of the freedoms we enjoy include printing what you want in your own newspaper. And if you have a problem with that I suggest you address your complaints to their editorial staff.”
THE JUDGE politely invited Morrison to sit down and shut up. An observer reports, “He (Morrison) went back into the audience and sat down, and I was watching him and he was grinding his teeth and his mouth was clenched. It was so tight that his jugular was spasming uncontrollably, a telltale sign of a nutcase. When he was sworn in he tried to explain to the court about all his expertise in the field of cannabis. The judge of course said that the issue had nothing to do with marijuana, it had to do with the allegations Ms. Ashe had made that she feared for her personal safety.”
THEN MORRISON snitched off the Mendo dope industry he's always claimed to represent. He said that there was an unspoken code in Mendocino County that the landowner gets half and the grower gets half.
STANDING up in court and talking about the underground economy on the record is not recommended in Mendocino County. “We were growing 12 plants and she (the doctor) told us we could have half. And the judge, trying to pin down the point Morrison was not making, said, “And…?” Morrison replied, “And when we wanted to leave she sent me a text message. I have it right here your honor: 'If you want your plants you can pack up and leave.' And the judge said, “I fail to see how that in anyway threatens your safety.” After an hour and a half of lunatic allegations by Morrison and Ashe the judge denied their requests for restraining orders against their two Hopland victims.
BIDEN'S GUN CONTROL PLAN — Buy your gat at WalMart. According to White House press releases, VP Joe Biden is considering a range of gun control proposals — including an option of working with stores like Wal-Mart to close the so called “gun show loophole” so that more weapons could be bought in retail outlets, the idea being that Wal-Mart would do the background checks that aren't done in private sales and in the parking lots at gun shows. The NRA opposes new restrictions on gun ownership and insists that the best way to deal with the issue of gun violence is more guns, even to put armed guards in all schools. Jay Carney, White House press secretary, said that Biden was overseeing a process engaged with a variety of stakeholders to look at gun violence. “They include gun owners and groups that represent gun owners.” Sheriff Richard Stanek, who attended one meeting at the White House, told the Washington Post said that Biden “wanted to talk to us about the assault-weapons ban, automatic weapons, high-capacity magazines. He added that the meeting also included extended discussion of mental-health issues, violence in video games and films, and the poor quality of information contained in databases used to conduct criminal background checks before issuing gun permits. According to the White House, “soon after” the meetings are complete, Biden will pass his task force's recommendations to Obama, who will then issue a set of proposals for tackling gun violence, none of which will be adopted.
MANBEATER OF THE WEEK: Repeat offender, Veronica Moreno of Ukiah. Ms. Moreno has smacked Mr. Moreno before, and now she's gone and done it again. Yo! Dude! Don't you know by now that when Veronica puts her eyelashes on you should go walk the dog or something?
BAD NEWS FOR LIBERTINES. An antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea has been detected in American patients. A study released last week by the Journal of the American Medical Association announced it had found nine patients with a strain of the sexually transmitted disease immune to the last remaining effective oral antibiotic. This confirms the fears of both the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization who warned last year that untreatable gonorrhea, the world's second most common STD would soon become a reality. We haven't seen the clap-stats for Mendocino County lately, but STDs have been a problem here ever since the Big Naked Pile days of the early 1970s.
A SERIOUSLY GOOD restaurant in Ukiah? Believe it, and this is it: the Walter Cafe seems almost lost in the architectural jumble of North State Street (next to the Day's Inn). This place is seriously good. I had no idea what to expect when a Ukiah friend and I, on her recommendation, went there for dinner on a recent Tuesday night. I think the structure housing Walter Cafe used to be a pizza place where the Ukiah Fat Heads met to celebrate Rush Limbaugh, but Ukiah, before and after dark can be disorienting, and if I hadn't been steered there I would have had a hard time locating it. Once inside, fortunately, there were no residual Limbaugh vibes. You enter through the Sushi bar, which caused me to suspect it was a Sushi place, a suspicion re-confirmed by a jolly greeting from an Asian guy functioning as maitre 'de. It was about 5:30 but there were already lots of people seated and the dining room was hopping. An Hispanic waitress handed us what seemed like five pounds of menus, including a booze list to rival the White House, everything from quality single malts to expensive wines and Boonville Beer. I'm not a decor guy. I'm a sit down and eat guy. But looking around the room… Well, I'm going back in the daylight for a closer look. I was reminded a little of my house. Call it random. There was a display case filled with dolls, one of those decorative Thai elephants, and what may have been an antique gumball machine. The global menu was equivalently eclectic. There was everything from steak to sushi and a bunch of Italian and Mexican dishes, too. Whoever does the cooking has been around, for sure. We ordered too much, six dishes, but the tab was only 60 bucks. My friend said the breakfasts at Walter are also “outtasight.” Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Service is fast and pleasant. Great place — as good as anything in San Francisco.
LAST THURSDAY (Jan 10), the B of A, an ongoing criminal enterprise, recruited Mendocino-Fort Bragg people for a commercial, the idea of which seems to be to retrieve and re-burnish the bank's tarnished public image. I wonder if the producers of this thing realize that the Mendocino Coast, while thespian-rich, is also home to a large population of bank-hostile persons.
HUNG CHOW called into work and said, “Hey, I no come work today, I really sick. Got headache, stomach ache and legs hurt. I no come work.” The boss, John, replied, “You know something, Hung Chow, I really need you today. When I feel sick like you do, I go to my wife and tell her to give me sex. That makes everything better and I go to work. Why don’t you try that?” Two hours later Hung Chow called again. “I do what you say, boss, and I feel great. I be at work soon. … You got nice house.”
JUST IN FROM CRAIG STEHR: “How enlightened do you want to be? This book answers every question in regard to Absolute Reality. Kashmir Saivism, The Central Philosophy of Tantrism, by Kamalakar Mishra. Rudra Press, 1999, ISBN 978-915801-79-4.”
A NEW and not widely noted one percent state tax on wood products is now in effect, much to the chagrin of retailers who say they won't collect enough of it to pay their costs gathering it. Adding to the confusion, AB1492 doesn't apply to all wood products, just some. The money is supposed to help the state's lumber producers speed up the processing of timber harvest plans, which it may do but it's a collection headache for retail businesses and will add an estimated $115 to the cost of a 2,000-square-foot home.
MEMO OF THE WEEK: Effective April 1, 2013, the County will be implementing a change in its Hospital/Physician Network which will result in a substantial savings to health plan costs to both you (County employees) and the County without sacrificing access or quality of care for employees. Please see the important Health Plan notification posted on the HR website, http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/hr/ehb/Announcements.htm. If you have any questions, please contact the Human Resources Benefits Specialists at 234-6603 or 234-6604 or the County's Claims Administrator, Delta Health Systems, at 800-291-0726. We will provide you with further information regarding implementation measures at a later date. (Ed note: This change is projected to save up to $1.9 million annually at no increase in cost or reduction in service to the employees. The savings come from negotiated reductions in provider charges — doctors and hospitals.)
WE’VE BEEN REMISS in failing to report on a subject of some importance to residents of Mendocino County: The elimination of toll takers on the Golden Gate Bridge.
THIS IS THE KIND of subject that the Press Democrat is actually capable of handling in a few short sentences: “The Golden Gate Bridge is planning to automate all of its toll-taking by March. Humans no longer will collect tolls, nor will motorists stop to pay them. Instead, people will have the option of using FasTrak or opening a pay-as-you-go license-plate account. If you do neither and still drive through the toll gate, you can expect to receive an invoice in the mail.”
(THE PRESS DEMOCRAT'S Gaye LeBaron's column in the Sunday Press Democrat was an interesting look back at the little human dramas that often played out at the toll booths back in the day.)
THE SIMPLE FACT of electronic toll-taking took up almost an hour of the Supes' time last month when Mendocino County’s representative on the Golden Gate Bridge District Board, former Third District Supervisor Jim Eddie, delivered his annual report to the Board. Mr. Eddie — one of 19 Bridge District trustees from six Norcal counties — earns about $500 per meeting for attending monthly meetings in San Francisco and occasionally reporting to our Board of Supervisors on Bridge business. Not so incidentally, 44 people, one of them a Boonville kid, jumped to their deaths last year, a grim fact the Bridge authorities prefer not to advertise and Eddie didn't report to the Supervisors.
IF YOU'RE wondering what Mendocino County has to do with the Golden Gate Bridge, or why Mendocino County appoints someone to the 19-member district Board, a little history is in order:
IN THE LATE 1920's, proponents of the Bridge realized that the only way they’d be able to finance the construction cost of the span ($35 million at the time) in the teeth of the Great Depression, they’d have to form a taxing district, aka the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District. The district consisted of San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Del Norte, and parts of (inland) Mendocino and Napa counties. On November 4, 1930 voters in these counties went to the polls and put their homes, farms, and business properties up for collateral to support the $35 million dollar bond issue to finance the Bridge through the Bank of America, which wouldn’t have financed the project without the collateral provided by Northcoast property owners. The vote passed by more than 3-1. The last of the construction bonds was retired in 1971, with $35 million in principal and nearly $39 million in interest being paid entirely from Bridge tolls. With the exception of the Sausalito Lateral approach road (Alexander Avenue today), which was built as a federal WPA project, there were no state or federal funds involved in building the Bridge. Ever since, Mendo’s participation in the bond issue and Bridge District financing meant that Mendo got to appoint someone to the Bridge District Board.
FOLLOWING EDDIE'S summary of the new automated toll taking process, Supervisor Dan Hamburg, a rich person by any standard, said he didn't think rich people (in LA) should be able to buy their way onto sole use of publicly funded highway lanes. (Hamburg seems perpetually surprised that America is a class-based oligarchy, that the rich get all kinds of government handouts most of US don't enjoy.) “You (Eddie) mentioned early in your remarks that people, I think you were talking about Southern California, can now buy access to a special lane of traffic,” Hamburg said.
“Yes, they're going to get their hot lanes,” replied Eddie.
Hamburg: “Are those on toll roads? Are those on regular state and federal roads or toll roads?”
Eddie: “They are allowed to go into the carpool lanes, that's what they're doing.”
Hamburg: “And these are on regular highways?”
Eddy: “It's on one of them. I don't know how many of them got them. But there is— I read an article in the paper about leaders down there talking about it. I was surprised by it.”
Hamburg: “It just seems so fundamentally unfair. I mean, to actually say, well, you know, because you've got more money you get to travel in a certain lane. It's just more of this kind of, you know, where the wealthy kind of get their own infrastructure even, I guess. I really object to that. I'm not sure I understand. I was on the bridge recently and just because I didn't plan ahead early enough I ended up in the Fastrak lane and I don't have a Fastrak card. So I called the Golden Gage Bridge district directly because I knew I was going to get a ticket because I went through without paying anything and they said, Oh no, don't worry about it, you will get a notice in the mail and you just pay your whatever it is, it was cheap, I think it was just paying the toll. Is that the way it's going to work?
Hamburg: “Are you sure?”
Eddie: “It's just the toll.”
Hamburg: “Isn't that an awful lot of mailing? Do people…?”
Eddie: “It is, except we probably have a lot of people that use their license plate, register it and we will collect off their credit card. The other thing is we will have more Fastrak. The out-of-state people will be a little bit slower but they've got agreements with the other states to pay it because the other states are doing it too.”
Hamburg: “Okay, but just for me going through, how will I be billed? Will I have to get somebody my credit card number?”
Eddie: “The State will probably bill it as a violation because when we went back to the state and the state took it over and called it a violation. We didn't do that, we sent out the first notice that they had crossed the bridge and if they pay their fine, but then it was a violation after the first notice.”
Hamburg: “That was on my notice.”
McCowen: “I would like to clarify this point, though. Once this changeover is made [to fully automated} everybody either has to either be on Fastrak or have the license plate arrangement with a credit card. If somebody goes through once this changeover is made is the state in charge of that? And will it would be a violation?”
McCowen: “Or will they still just get a notice from the bridge district?”
Eddie: “It will be a bill sent to them, but not a violation. They got 21 days to pay the bill.”
McCowen: “So as long as they pay the toll amount within that 21 days –”
A CAREFUL READING of Sheriff Allman's “Out There In The Woods,” the full account of the 2011 manhunt for double killer Aaron Bassler, caused me to wonder why the first wave of police on-scene not far from Jere Melo's body, didn’t recover Melo's remains a last faster than they did. They could also see that Melo did not appear to be breathing, that he was probably dead, but they didn’t get to Melo’s body until late in the morning on the next day. What would they have done if the poor guy was still breathing? I know it's easy for me to say, but I don't understand why Melo was left out there overnight. I remember countless hours as a kid in the Marines spent practicing assaults on fortified positions and body retrieval. The Marines emphasized that “We never leave anybody behind,” and there was nothing very complicated about attacking a fortified position, as Bassler's bunker was assumed to be. You lay down covering fire as you flank both sides of the targeted area, firing as you go. An hour after Melo had been shot, when the first cops arrived on-scene, it was unlikely Bassler was still uphill in thick brush with his assault rifle, and even if he had been he would not have had the firepower to shoot it out with a dozen or so cops.
HERE’S THE TIMELINE as extracted from the time references in Allman/Sparks book:
• Saturday, August 27, 10am: Shots heard.
• 1pm, Sheriff arrives on scene. Nobody’s gotten close. Body seen with binoculars, no movement, assumed dead.
• 4pm. Sheriff reports to Mrs. Melo that Mr. Melo is assumed dead.
• As night arrives lights arrive from Fire Dept but they decline to use them, thinking Bassler could still be out there and lights would make them more likely to be targets.
• Sunday, August 28: Daybreak arrives, body still there.
• 9am. SWAT team is 100 yards from body. They decide to creep up to it.
• 11am. SWAT team carefully traverses the 100 yards and gets to where Melo’s body had fallen. Melo confirmed dead, multiple gunshot wounds.
SECOND COMMENT: I think it's time to re-think “hero.” Ian Chaney is the youngish man with Melo when Melo was shot by Bassler. Chaney did what any armed person in Chaney's situation would have done — he returned fire and ran for help. Which is what Chaney did. He shot back as he got outtathere. Melo, even if he'd had a gun, was taken by surprise. If Melo had been armed it is unlikely he would have been able to defend himself.
SIMPLY BEING PRESENT when a bad thing happens is not heroic. It's happenstance. Heroic, if we need reminding, is the Taft teacher who talked down the kid with the shotgun who'd just opened fire on a classmate. The teachers who got their bodies in between children and the Connecticut mass killer were certainly heroic, as were any number of police and firemen at the Twin Towers. Sheriff Allman himself behaved heroically a few years ago when he pulled a suicidal woman out of her vehicle which, by the time Allman arrived, was fully engulfed in flame. Allman had to have been thinking that it might blow up but did not hesitate to put himself at risk. (The woman had doused herself in gasoline and set herself on fire. She died of her burns.)
IT'S PAINFUL to read Jim Bassler's account of how he became aware prior to his son's murderous rampage that there was no help available, that in all the money we pay for government in this country there was none in the form of effective rescue for his mentally ill son who was becoming more dangerous by the day.
AARON BASSLER'S mother, Laura Brickey, remains something of a mystery. She and Aaron's step-father are described in the book as having been regularly spotted in downtown Fort Bragg bars as the massive hunt for her son was underway in the forests north of town. I can understand a person wanting to down a few drinks in the grim situation Mom found herself in, but in public night after night?
TOMMY WAYNE KRAMER'S Sunday column in the Ukiah Daily Journal is unfailingly smart and lively, which is why it annoys all the right people. Last Sunday TWK feared that Ukiah might become Healdsburg, but I disagree. Ukiah would be lucky to become Boonville. I used to stop in at the truly excellent Healdsburg Bakery until I tardily figured out that the bread and baked goods at the Boonville General Store were just as good if not better.
TWK and I share a general hostility for “progressive Democrats,” as he accurately focuses his ire on the local enemies of hope and change, “whose idea of a 'diverse community' is one where everyone thinks exactly alike. And to them, 'working' means writing up grant proposals, or counseling bored children or attending endless meetings. Thus, the moneyed elites in towns like these (Ukiah) are all employed in government offices and school districts.”
AMEN, BRO. And politically they are just as large a hog in the stream as Republicans. Dare to say, in a room full of libs, that Obama is worse than Bush in every way except verbal ability, and listen to the silence except maybe for a whisperered, “Inappropriate.”
NO CHARGES in fatal accident involving semi-trailer rig and bicyclist. Mendocino County prosecutors announced Friday that a state accident investigative team found no evidence of criminal negligence on the part of the driver of a semi-truck trailer rig involved in a fatal accident last summer with bicyclist Doug Rosoff. Rosoff, a well-known Ukiah psychiatrist, suffered fatal injuries Aug. 24, 2012, when the bike he was riding collided with the dump truck at the corner of Gobbi Street and South Orchard Avenue. Investigators said Rosoff’s bike was struck by the truck trailer as both bike and truck were turning right from Gobbi Street onto Orchard Avenue. The report concluded that there was insufficient room between the trailer and the curb for Rosoff’s bike to complete the turn. “It was a tragic accident,” said Assistant District Attorney Paul Sequeira. Sequeira said he determined no charges are warranted in the case after reviewing Ukiah Police reports, and an exhaustive 59-page report prepared by five state investigators with the California Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team. Ukiah Police Chief Chris Dewey said the team twice visited the accident scene to reconstruct what happened. At the time of the accident, Ukiah police said the truck driver “cooperated fully” with investigators, and was not arrested. The truck driver told investigators he was unaware the fast-moving bicycle had come up alongside the vehicle when he began to make the turn onto Orchard Avenue.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: “This is my idea for one of those big, outdoor summer festivals. This is called Slug Fest. This is for men only. Here's what you do. You get about a hundred thousand of these fucking men. You know the ones I mean. These macho motherfuckers. These strutting, preening, posturing, hairy, sweaty, alpha male jerkoffs. The muscle assholes. You take about a hundred thousand of these disgusting pricks, and you throw them in a big dirt arena, a big 25-acre dirt arena. And you just let them beat the shit out of each other for 24 hours non-stop. No food, no water, just whiskey and PCP. And you just let them punch and pound and kick the shit out of each other until only one guy is left standing, then you take that guy and you put him on a pedestal and you shoot him in the fucking head.” — George Carlin
A BUNCH of kids were playing football near Fort Bragg High School about 8pm on a recent Monday when the police got a report that there was a gang fight at Cedar and Harold. Officer Craig Guydan rolled up, jumped out of his car and pulled his gun, yelling at the mystified youths to “Get on the ground!” Soon realizing that the “fight” was high school kids engaged in wholesome fun rather than the usual gang mopes going at it, Guydan holstered his rod. Police Chief Scott Mayberry and Lt. John Naulty have met with several parents to apologize for the misunderstanding.
MENDOCINO REDWOOD COMPANY will host two public workshops on its recent draft release of a Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Communities Conservation Plan to provide more information on the key components of its recently released draft Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Communities Conservation Plan (HCP/NCCP). The two public workshops will be held at MRC’s Fort Bragg office located at 32601 Holquist Lane in Fort Bragg (turn east onto Gibney Lane approximately 2.5 miles south of the Highway 20/Highway 1 interchange, office is on the corner of Holquist and Gibney): 1) Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 from 7pm to 9pm covering aquatic portions of the HCP/NCCP. 2) Thursday, January 17th, 2013 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. covering terrestrial portions of the HCP/NCCP. Inland residents with questions unable to attend these meetings are requested to contact the MRC project leader, John Ramaley, at 707-463-5129 The purpose of the meetings is to assist interested members of the community in reviewing key sections of the draft HCP/NCCP Copies of the HCP/NCCP are available at www.fws.gov/arcata or at http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/nepa.htm. Hard copies are available at Mendocino County Library, Fort Bragg Branch Library, 499 Laurel Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437; Mendocino County Library, Main Branch Library, 105 North Main Street, Ukiah, CA 95482; Mendocino County Library, 390 East Commercial Street, Willits, CA 95490; and Mendocino County Library, 225 Main Street, Point Arena, CA 95468. Send comments by email to email@example.com. Copies of all email comments will be routed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and California Department of Fish and Game. The public will be able to review and comment on the plan until February 21, 2013.
THE FORT BRAGG ADVOCATE-NEWS posted two news items of general interest late Friday afternoon. 1. “As of this afternoon, Jan. 11, Coast Guard Station Noyo River personnel are working to secure ‘Jeanne,’ a local fishing boat that sank in Noyo River. Coast Guard officials say that owner Brad Ewing intentionally grounded the boat during low tide to make some repairs but when the tide turned, it did not float. USCG Station Noyo River Senior Chief Donald Miterko said a private contractor may be called to remove fuel and oil from the boat.” 2. “Sheriff's Lt. Greg Van Patten reported that coroners and State Parks personnel are investigating the death of a 41-year-old Fort Bragg male whose body was pulled from Pudding Creek this morning just before noon today, Jan. 11. Officers are working to confirm his identification, which is not being released at this time.”
MENDOCINO COUNTY Child Protective Services failed to check the legal history of Wilson Lee Tubbs before they placed the infant girl, Emerald, with the Tubbs family. The child subsequently died of a brutal beating. If CPS had checked out Mr. Tubbs they would have discovered he had a prior for possession and sales of methamphetamine, and baby Emerald might still be alive. Instead, she was placed in the home with Tubbs who beat her to death. Allegedly. This terrible crime is still alleged at this point.
THE TUBBS FAMILY also includes Tubbs' 17-year-old daughter and Mrs. Tubbs, a medically trained secretary at Mendocino Coast Hospital. Neither the daughter nor Mrs. Tubbs were present when the infant was beaten to death. It seems clear that the baby was placed with the Tubbs' because Mrs. Tubbs enjoys a reputation as a responsible person, but a responsible person who works, meaning Mr. Tubbs was left to provide childcare in her absence.
AT A RECENT hearing, Mr. Tubbs was represented by Public Defender Linda L-Wop Thompson. Tubbs impressed Courthouse witnesses as arrogant and unrepentant. Even if his fluid version of events is true — the baby accidentally rolled off a changing table, the family dog pulled her off onto the floor — and the severity of the baby's injuries make them improbable, Tubbs did not come off in court as a person saddened by the infant's death. Of course Thompson has probably convinced him he's innocent, so...
AND, SO FAR, CPS is straight-up lying. A report to the court states: “As to the relative placement, the Agency notes that the usual and required placement processes were performed regarding placement of the infant Emerald with the Tubbs family. Background checks were performed and a home inspection was performed by Agency staff.” A background check would have not permitted placement of the child in the Tubbs home because of Mr. Tubbs' legal history.
JAMES MARMON, until his recent suspension for alleged “insubordination,” comments: “I don’t know if I agree with the AVA regarding CPS’s not running a criminal background check on Tubbs. I believe that they did run the criminal background check, but ignored its results. Title IV-E funding pays incentives for relative placements and kinship care. The “Agency” most likely gave the Tubbs family an exemption on the criminal history. This process usually requires that the prospective caregiver (Tubbs) request an exemption from the agency director. In this case, that would have been Bryan Lowery. Our children are in serious danger with him at the helm of HHSA. It’s all about the money, follow the money. PS. A couple of years ago, Mendocino County got “dinged” for not placing enough children with relatives. Historically, most children went directly to one of our private foster family agencies. It had become an extremely lucrative business and flourished until recently. Under the State’s new realignment budget, Child Welfare Services took some significant cuts in regards to foster care. Due to the loss in funding to pay for private foster care homes and/or group homes, the Agency actually developed a dedicated “family finding unit” within its ranks. They have people in charge of hunting down relatives and explaining to them the benefits of “Kinship Care.” I doubt if the worker who conducted the home study on this family was even a social worker. The employees of that unit are not actual social workers, they are considered support staff. That is why the Agency used the term in their court report “background checks were performed and a home inspection was performed by Agency staff.”
AUTHORITIES are investigating the cause of death of a body found Friday morning at Pudding Creek Beach just north of Fort Bragg. The body is believed to be that of 41-year-old Joshua Micah Greenwalt of Fort Bragg. The death does not so far appear to be suspicious in nature, Greg Van Patten of the Sheriff's Department said.
MENDOCINO COUNTY SHERIFF’S DETECT-IVES executed a warrant on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 6:20am at an apartment located at 2100 South State Street in Ukiah in an attempt to arrest Samuel Robert Sierra, a parolee at large. Sierra, a documented Norteno Street Gang member, had been released on parole in July 2012, after serving a prison sentence for a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon. Almost immediately after being released on parole, Sierra removed the ankle monitor, which had allowed State Parole agents to monitor his activities. Sierra also failed to check in with his assigned parole agent as directed. In August 2012 State Parole designated Sierra as a “Parolee at Large.” This is a designation given to a parolee whose whereabouts are unknown. During the search of Sierra's apartment a loaded shotgun with a sawed off barrel was located in a bedroom. The shotgun was found on the floor next to Sierra's bed and was readily accessible to Sierra and the three small children inside the residence. Also located inside the apartment was a Vicodin pill and drug paraphernalia. The three children ages 5, 3, and 2, were taken into protective custody by Child Protective Services. Sierra was arrested for violating his parole, being a felon in possession of a short barreled shotgun, child endangerment, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Felicia Torres, Sierra's girlfriend, was also taken into custody at the scene for child endangerment, harboring a known fugitive, being a felon in possession of a short barreled shotgun, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. They were both transported to the Mendocino County Jail where Torres was to be held in lieu of $25,000.00 bail and Sierra was to be held on a no bail status.
WE WERE SADDENED to learn of the death of George Snyder who, for years, covered the Northcoast for the San Francisco Chronicle. As graceful in person as his stylish prose, Mr. Snyder is survived by his wife of many years, Sara Peyton, a fine journalist in her own right. The couple has lived in Occidental for many years. The Chronicle's obituary rightly quoted a remark Mr. Snyder made to the Sonoma County supervisors, an institution that has always ruled for money over preservation as the endless suburb that is today's Sonoma County makes clear: “A lot of people have made a lot of money in this county, and some of it has been hard on nature.” A memorial service will be held at 11am Saturday (January 19) at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Occidental. Contributions may be made to the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation, 2300 County Center Drive, Suite 120A, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.
EVAN CONNELL is another writer whose passing is unwelcome. Connell's “Son of the Morning Star: Custer and the Little Bighorn” is the best book by far on the General and his famous last stand, but for me “Mrs. Bridge” was even more memorable. A decade later came “Mr. Bridge,” also a fine novel. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, to the minority of book reading hippies, came to represent everything that was “uptight” in American domestic life but, viewed these many years later, the Bridges, and uptight people generally, look pretty good. Don't be put off by the ubiquitous Joyce Carol Oates description of Connell as “one of our most interesting and intelligent writers.” He really was, and he was also a guy who, until his Custer book, struggled to make a living as a writer, working at jobs in San Francisco ranging from meter reader to mailman rather than risk his creativity in the faculty lounge.
WHO CARES who gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame? Any institution honoring great ballplayers that excludes Curt Flood isn't worth joining. Flood not only freed ballplayers to earn the big money they've earned for years now, he was virtually banned from the sport for doing it. And he was a truly great ballplayer, which makes him doubly exceptional as a great man and a great ballplayer. (Ahem. In my youth, I played against Flood and Oakland's American Legion team, the Bill Irwin Post, coached by George Powles. They were national Legion champs two or three years in a row with a lineup that featured Frank Robinson, Flood and Vada Pinson as the outfield, Jesse Gonder catching and Ernie Broglio pitching. My interface with these guys was humbling, as was most people's of the ball-playing sort in the Bay Area circa 1956-57.) BTW, I think Barry Bonds should get in the Hall but only with an asterisk because he was a great ballplayer before he took to the chemicals. But the Hall is a rum institution, filled with bad people, and a few more bad people will hardly make any difference. But Flood's inclusion would certainly class the place up considerably.
THE COTTAGE FOOD BILL, AB1616, means all you excellent home cooks out there can now make stuff at home and sell it so long as what you're making doesn't require refrigeration. Check with the Mendocino County Health Department for details. ((707) 463-4466) (http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/hhsa/chs/eh/index.htm)
BLISS FISHER, the Mendocino County Director of Animal Care, has resigned. She has been out on administrative leave for the past several months. Ms. Fisher succeeded the inanimate Greg Foss who had been roundly criticized by animal rights activists as quick to implement the final solution for stray animals. Ms. Fisher succeeded in winning the confidence of the disparate animal rights groups but apparently offended the tender sensibilities of the people she supervised. The final straw seems to have been Ms. Fisher sharing candid shots with a subordinate of her topless self at Burning Man. (Burning Man began as a celebration of the creative arts by genuinely creative artists but has since become a mob scene dominated by untalented artists and as many sexual exhibitionists, the whole show convened annually in the environmentally sensitive Nevada desert.) There is no allegation that Ms. Fisher suggested or attempted anything untoward, and it is hard to believe that another adult female would be all that distressed at her supervisor's breasts. But the photo of the topless Bliss became the catalyst for a series of complaints and an investigation ensued that documented other princess and the pea type transgressions allegedly committed by Ms. Fisher. County higher-ups are said to have wanted Ms. Fisher to stay based on her success in quieting the animal rights activists, but a majority of her subordinates were said to be adamantly opposed to her continued supervision of their work.
THE FATE of Ms. Fisher aside, the whole episode seems to reinforce an unhealthy pattern at the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) of which animal care is a small part. Subordinates and rivals have learned that they can off their supervisors and/or rivals by filing complaints and getting enough co-workers to sign on to the complaints. HHSA dutifully investigates the complaints, often putting the target out on administrative leave, where they are paid to do nothing pending the outcome of the investigation. But once the investigation is complete no decision is made. Two well regarded members of the social services upper echelon were put on admin leave last year based on allegations from a member of the fiscal team that they'd mismanaged a couple of grants. The County shelled out big bucks for an investigator from San Diego, of all places, there apparently being no one else between San Diego and Seattle who could perform the task. Once the investigation was complete the County sat on the results, which have still not been disclosed. After several months of limbo (and collecting high dollar salaries for doing nothing) both of the higher-ups took jobs elsewhere. So the County spent a bunch of money on admin leave and the investigation, two highly regarded employees left under a cloud, and there was no resolution of the beef. We are told that some highly qualified HHSA employees refuse to apply for administrative job openings that they qualify for because they don't want to risk being hung out to dry like so many before them.
LOUISE (‘WHEEZER’) GONYO is no longer president of the local chapter of SEIU, having been replaced by Dave Ebberly. According to sources within HHSA, Ms. Gonyo, who works in social services, was recently disciplined for ordering a subordinate to provide benefits to a close friend of Gonyo’s who was not qualified for the benefits. In typical HHSA fashion, Gonyo was placed on admin leave, an investigation was conducted, and then nothing happened. Our sources speculate that County and HHSA Admin were afraid to fire Gonyo for fear the SEIU union leadership would allege that Gonyo was being targeted for her union activism instead of blatant misuse of her authority. After the requisite several months of limbo (during which she was paid to do nothing) Gonyo was slapped on the wrist with administrative penalties and SEIU officials were equally grateful to forget about it.
PAUL KAPLAN, SEIU political organizer, who was sent to Mendocino County to throw the Supervisorial bums out of office, and who was the strategic genius behind the failed supervisorial campaign of Andrea Longoria, is also gone. Kaplan was given the hook on short notice, as concern seems to be growing at SEIU's corporate headquarters that SEIU's continued Mendo bungling is undermining employee support for the union. Sandy Madrigal, who recently retired from the County Clerk/Recorder’s Office, has been hired as SEIU's new political organizer, marking the first time since the departure of Jackie Carvallo and John Heise that the SEIU employees have had any local representation. Carvallo was let go for being too nice and Heise for being too reasonable. They were replaced by the thuggish Crystal Padilla who drove as big a wedge as she could between the County and the employees, creating such a poisonous negotiating atmosphere that the union wound up temporarily taking a 12.5% pay cut when the County was willing to settle for 10%. It only took the SEIU leadership three months to figure out (under pressure from their membership) that a 10% cut was better than a 12.5% cut. Those who know her say that Ms. Madrigal (a genuinely nice person not in the tradition of Mendo Nice People) will be a forceful but respectful advocate for the interests of the SEIU membership.
JAMES MARMON COMMENTS: “I am glad I was left out of the discussion regarding past and present SEIU presidents. I was the first president elected to term in 2008 after the merger of SEIU 707 to SEIU 1021. I was asked to resign my post after being accused by the then leadership team of Carvallo and Longoria of being a “dick tator.” When I resigned in 2010, it was one of the smartest things I have ever done. SEIU is extremely dysfunctional. However, with that said, I believe that Dave Ebberly is a good man for the job. I have a tremendous amount of respect for his character. PS. Oh, by the way, I too was placed on paid Administrative leave for 4 months in 2010. When I returned to work, I was never told specifically as to why I was placed on leave, but was given a letter of reprimand for questioning authority and going outside of the chain of my command with my concerns. Social Worker V’s are one of the highest paid employees in the county, and during the fiscal crisis of 2010, I was paid $5,000 dollars a month to just sit home. After I was terminated by Cryer and Lowery, I was paid an additional $50,000 dollars because Stacy Cryer had violated my constitutional protections regarding due process. Don’t you think it is time someone looked at her leadership qualities?”
THE PROBLEMS AT HHSA (formerly known as social services) go back decades, as indicated by our recent articles on Jim Jones’s People's Temple. The entire social service apparatus of the County was put at the disposal of the deranged Jones, pastor of People's Temple and self-proclaimed Christ. For the social services agency of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Jones provided a convenient dumping ground for the human castaways of an increasingly splintered social order, with large numbers of dependent adults and children no longer able to rely on family and community ties. For Jones, the children and adults placed in his care merely represented unending funding units that helped fuel his real estate and political empires. Jones succeeded in infiltrating County government at every significant level, from the court system, social services, Sheriff, District Attorney (with People's Temple lieutenant Tim Stoen functioning as County Counsel) and so on. Temple members in key positions were able to influence decisions to the benefit of the Temple and to squelch any concerns that were voiced. Stoen, from his position as County Counsel, was always able to head off rumors that the Rev was a crook and a lunatic.
WHITE SKIN PRIVILEGE or pure luck? The light at Highway 12 was green so J. Biro accelerated up to the intersection on Middle Rincon Road. The light went to red but as the left turn was operant for traffic on 12, Biro did a classic California stop and made a right. Unfortunately Biro had failed to scan for rollers before denting the law so naturally there was one on his ass immediately. Biro got into the left lanes to Mission Blvd. and when the light changed the cop followed and hit him with the red lamp. Biro wasn't about to pull over into the bus pad so he made a right into the strip mall. A long line of morons waiting at the McFuhrer's driveup blocked the road so Biro made a left into a parking lot. No point stopping on the street to subject himself to extra embarrassment. The cop hit the squawk for a split second before realizing that Biro wasn't being evasive. The trim young Aryan cop strode up to Biro's car while he rolled down the window. License, insurance, registration. Yes sir! Had anything to drink today? No sir! No drugs or prescription medication? No sir! Watch my finger. Biro scanned the cop's finger like a mofo as he moved it left and right. ‘You didn't come to a full and complete stop at Middle Rincon.’ You got me, officer! Sure you haven't had anything to drink? No sir! Wait here. The cop took Biro's papers and called him in. Biro was clean as a whistle. Hadn't been ticketed for a moving violation since 1973. But Santa Rosa was broke and needed revenue. The cop came back and returned the papers. You must come to a full and complete stop! Yes Sir! The cop got in his car and split. Yippee! No ticket today! — J.Biro
KULTURE KLASH. CSpan2's Book TV, shown on weekends, is a rare light of interest in a TV wasteland of America's Holy Trinity of Jocks, Jesus, and Junk for Sale. Today they rebroadcast a meeting of great minds of the US Institute for Peace in DC, where a panel of windbags shared their fantasies over how to get “peace” in Afghanistan. One panelist was a very serious and somber ex-Defense Minister of the Afghan Government, and when he finished his speech and sat down, he was clearly trying to avoid the vision of paradise in front of him. This was a young black-haired woman, sitting in the front row, wearing a sleeveless short red dress. The flimsy cloth rode well above the knees of her crossed legs which were aimed directly at his face just six feet away. Someday soon the old man will find himself back in his home, sitting on the rug with elders, everyone dressed in robes and smoking waterpipes, relating their experiences with the round-eyed barbarians who have ruined their country. “My brothers, by Allah, I tell you, you would not believe the shamelessness of women in America. This girl brazenly flaunted herself to me and as a good Muslim I struggled to avoid the entrapments of Satan! She was not only unescorted in public, but she was in a meeting where only men should attend! But worse was that the evildoers placed her directly in front of me to embarrass me, and the worst was that she was dressed in her underwear! Only with the greatest effort and help from Allah was I able to avoid evil thoughts of perdition! I fear Mullah Omar is right, that we must chop off all their heads to preserve our religion and culture! — J.Biro
TUESDAY HEADLINES from the consistently stupeedo Santa Rosa Press Democrat: “Authorities: Man's body found in trunk of car near SSU 'suspicious.'“ I'd say so unless, of course, the guy crawled into the trunk and killed himself. Then there was this one: “Accused Santa Rosa con man gets 10 years in deal.” If you get 10 years for swindling people you are no longer an accused con man, you are a con man.
SPORTS NOTE. Only a non-sports person could have held out for Alex Smith over Colin Kaepernick, the 49er's sensational quarterback. But until Saturday's pounding of Green Bay a lot of fans were still saying that Kaepernick didn't have “the experience” to handle playoff games. (The debacle in Seattle was not Kaepernick's fault. Kaep played well, the defense didn't.) Everyone, including his fellow players, knew Kaepernick could do things Smith or anyone else could do, and now Kaepernick is the most exciting player in football. Jockdom is one of the last area's of American life where you can't just jive your way on by; millions of people have you on tape and are constantly evaluating your job performance. If the truth were known, Harbaugh probably wanted to start Kaepernick last year. The only problem for the kid now is going to be living up to Saturday's amazing performance against Green Bay. We'll be expecting miracles from him every week. Niners by 10 over Atlanta.