Mendocino County Today: June 8, 2013
by AVA News Service, June 7, 2013
(CORRECTED ITEM) RAUL MALFAVON, 23, of Ray's Road, Philo, was found dead Thursday morning about 6. Malfavon, an unmarried single man with a girlfriend, is assumed to have hanged himself.
IT WAS HOT, DRY, AND BREEZY Friday in Anderson Valley. The temperature in Boonville rose to almost 100. In Ukiah, of course, it got well over 100. Saturday is supposed to be a bit hotter, and just as dry and breezy. By contrast Point Arena, just over the coastal hills, was not expected to get above 70 on Friday or Saturday.
BY SUNDAY, however, the temperature is supposed to drop precipitously down by upwards of 20 degrees as the proverbial “marine layer” (aka fog, aka natural air conditioning) kicks back in and moves east.
THE CALFIRE VERSION of this current heatwave:
Record High Temperatures Lead to Heightened Fire Danger
Red Flag Warning Prompts CalFire to Increase Staffing
— Expected triple digit temperatures, low humidity and breezy winds have elevated the fire danger over the next several days, prompting CalFire to increase its staffing across many parts of Northern California. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning due to the heightened fire danger starting Friday afternoon and lasting through Saturday evening for parts of Shasta, Tehama, Glenn, Butte, Lake and Colusa Counties. On Sunday in the higher country, dry thunderstorms and lightning are possible in the Northern, Central and Eastern Sierra Nevadas. With the increased potential for new fires, CalFire has brought on additional firefighters to staff extra equipment during the high risk days. “While we are hoping we can make it through the next couple of days with minimal fire activity, we are prepared to respond if Mother Nature doesn’t agree,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “With approximately 94 percent of our wildfires being human caused, we are strongly urging the public to be extra careful and to take the proper steps to prevent wildfires.” Since January 1, CalFire has responded to over 2,100 wildfires across California that have charred over 50,000 acres. Fire activity remains significantly higher than average; typically by this time of year CalFire would have responded to only about 1,100 wildfires with 8,000 acres burned. During the Red Flag Warning, CalFire urges all Californians to exercise extreme caution outdoors in order to prevent wildfires. A few helpful reminders and fire prevention tips include: Don’t mow or weed eat dry grass on windy days; Ensure campfires are allowed, and if so, be sure to extinguish them completely; Never pull your vehicle over in dry grass; Never burn landscape debris like leaves or branches on NO Burn Days or when it’s windy; Make sure all portable gasoline-powered equipment have spark arresters; For more ways to help prevent and prepare for wildfires visit ReadyForWildfire.org or www.fire.ca.gov.
THE FAMILY OF FIVE MONTH OLD INFANT Emerald Herriot has taken the first formal steps in their wrongful death lawsuit against the County of Mendocino by filing a claim against the County. County employees named in the claim are: Chuck Dunbar, Teresa Baumeister, John Melnicoe, Sue Norcross and Rita Hurley of the Mendocino County Department of Social Services.
BACKGROUND: Wilson ‘Josh’ Tubbs is currently facing charges of child abuse causing death for allegedly beating the five month old infant girl who was placed in his care by Mendocino County, even though he had at least one drug-related arrest. Tubbs is accused of causing 49 or more bruises, two skull fractures, multiple hemorraghes and severe inter-cranial bleeding after baby Emerald was taken from her mother by Mendocino County Child Welfare Services staff back on June 28 of last year. The family alleges that Mendocino County was negligent in placing the baby in a home which included a known drug abuser. The wrongful death suit that will follow the criminal case will take some time to reach court, probably after the Tubbs trial is over.
CRIME OF THE WEEK: Shawn Lane, 24, of Sacramento, is accused of multiple felonies for holding three Fort Bragg men hostage in their apartment. During his occupation of the dwelling, Lane repeatedly hit the men — one of them a 65-year-old — with a stick and a metal thermos. To emphasize his menace to his hostages, Lane dramatically killed the family cat as the men apparently looked on. Lane's connection to his three captives is not known, but he does have a prior for elder abuse in the Sacramento area. The murdered cat was found buried a block from the home where the men were held hostage for at least three days.
THE FEDERAL lawsuit filed by the Willits Environmental Center, the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Protection Information Center against Caltrans and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opposing the current Willits bypass has been postponed until June 21. Natch, their judicial majesties gave no reason for the delay.
OK. So Michael Koepf does not like Dan Hamburg for all of the reasons he laid out. He is after all a namby pamby progressive/environmentalist responsible for our untaxed marijuana cultivation industry. Not that the IRS could not tax the growers out there if it wanted to. Having unclaimed income and evading taxes is against the law. Dan has not crusaded against paying taxes as far as I know. But Michael wants to associate Hamburg with this and all manner of wrong because he obviously does not like him. His arguments are so weak that he has resorted to attacking him for his religious/spiritual associations. If Dan were a Catholic, would Koepf denigrate him for all those pedophile priests? If he were Muslim, would he associate him with Al Qaeda? If he were Jewish, would he blame him for the persecution of the Palistinians (or maybe praise him)? Dan Hamburg's religious or spiritual predilections, should not be used to denigrate him in a public forum and I object to the AVA's publishing of such offensive crap.
Dan has chosen to fight the system on a matter that is more than personal to him. His wife's dying wish was to be planted on their rural property. California is one of the few states that will not allow this ceremonial act and there are those of us who think that California should mind its own business in this regard. Dan knew that there could be (or would be) a problem, so he did not bother to ask for a permission that would not be granted. He is prepared to fight this jurisdictional battle over the disposition of his wife's remains in court. And I expect at great personal cost in money and stress. He should be given support for this battle rather than criticized by some local goof who has an issue with his politics. He may not become the Rosa Parks of home burials, but he is fighting the same kind of institutionalized disregard for our civil and personal rights.
Nicholas Pinette, Oakland/Point Arena
MICHAEL KOEPF REPLIES:
Dearest Nicholas, the thing about Robespierre is that he never actually cut anybody’s head off. He left that for his Sans-culottes: the fanatic followers that did his chopping. Let’s be clear: it’s sad that Dan lost his wife, but Dan is a known serial activist, and his wife was ill for years, which means he had plenty of time to plan. Frankly, I don’t care where he buried his wife, for as my dear Irish grandmother used to say “if you don’t bury me for the love of it, you’ll bury me for the stink of it.” However, Dan Hamburg is my supervisor and president of the County Board of Supervisors. It’s clear, that as a public official, Dan was well aware of the law prohibiting the backyard burials of cadavers. It’s also clear to the few remaining sober citizens of Mendocino County that Hamburg deliberately set out to break that law and cast himself—once again—into his cherished spotlight of serial activist; this time as a champion of the backyard dead, who you, dear Nicholas, equate with the actions of Rosa Parks!
Now we learn that Dan is suing the county with the apparent help of an attorney who is Dan’s political ally, which means Dan may not pay a dime for his lawsuit. However, Dan is suing for damages, which means another hit on the county budget if Dan’s nuisance suit succeeds. Perfect: Dan gets paid for planting his wife—with a whole lot extra for his grief—and the rest of us have less money to fill the potholes on our roads, or hire deputies to protect our kids. Dan’s a serial activist alright; for himself.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: “I've thought about the place of sports (baseball for me) in the scheme of things. Sometimes when some tragedy happens, people involved in sports will say, ‘It reminds you what is really important — it puts the game in perspective.’ And that's true, but there is an implication that bothers me — that the games are not very important. Why then am I investing so much time in following them? My answer ultimately has to do with Maslow's hierarchy of needs. With our basic needs taken care of, we are free to pursue ‘higher’ things. So while a baseball game is less important than a life and death situation, it is also something that fulfills our higher level needs. It is a beautiful thing when we have the security and leisure to pursue baseball. Life at its best is the creation and enjoyment of activities such as this, and we should appreciate our ability to do so.” — Stephen Schmid
EVERYONE IS INVITED to celebrate all Fathers and Grandfathers at a Benefit for South Coast Senior Center's Meals On Wheels Program, on Father's Day, Sunday, June 16th at the VFW Hall, 24000 So. Highway 1, Point Arena, just north of Pt. Arena. The party starts at 12 noon. Entertainment will be provided by FAST COMPANY and DJ SISTER YASMIN, so shine up your dancin' shoes! Enjoy delicious barbecued chicken and tri tip prepared by Bob Shimon, home made pies and other desserts, and beer and wine. There will be a silent auction, raffle and more. Lots of fun for the whole family! All ages welcome. Information at: 707-882-2137. See you there!! (— Yasmin Solomon)
Lamberg in various family photos
ERIC LAMBERG, 51, of Hermosa Beach, was last seen 11 days ago in Laytonville where he spent two days in a motel. From Laytonville, Lamberg made his way to Fort Bragg, then headed back east on Sherwood Road, a long, rough stretch of dirt road until the pavement resumes near the Sherwood Rez not far from Willits. Lamberg's van was found in a ditch on Sherwood where bloodhounds picked up the missing man's scent walking from his van both east and west. Deep Sherwood Road is honeycombed with side roads and its hillsides are covered in thick brush that has grown up after the clearcuts of the 1990s. The region is, of course, prime dope-growing territory. Lamberg is a big guy at 6'5" and about 220 pounds. His wife says he also suffers from a bipolar condition that can leave him confused. The Lambergs had been on their way to Southern Oregon when Lamberg disappeared. Bloodhounds picked up the scent of where his van was found abandoned in a ditch along a rugged stretch of Sherwood Road, Mendocino County Sheriff's Capt. Greg Van Patten said. The dogs tracked the scent heading eastward along Sherwood Road, a rugged mostly dirt road that winds through the forest between Willits and Fort Bragg. But the dogs also picked up his scent heading west from the van toward Fort Bragg, suggesting Lamberg may have walked in one direction, then turned around and headed in the other, Van Patten said. “There doesn't seem to be any signs he went into the forest,” Van Patten said. Lamberg had been suffering from bipolar disorder and was driving to Oregon where he hoped to seek treatment, said his wife, Samantha Lamberg. After Lamberg spent several days in Fort Bragg, his silver 2004 Honda Odyssey broke down May 26 near Leggett and was towed to Laytonville. He seemed anxious over the phone when he told his wife about the problems with the van but then seemed more relaxed after he checked into Laytonville's Budget Inn, Samantha Lamberg said. He checked out May 28. His wife called authorities May 29 after she hadn't heard from him. The Sheriff's Office issued an alert for the van and monitored his cellphone and credit cards, but found no trace of the man, Van Patten said.
LET THE PEOPLE KNOW
Put Full Texts of Government Contracts Online
By Ralph Nader
Openness in our government is essential for a healthy democracy. When citizens and voters have access to information about the inner workings of their government and representatives, they can cast informed votes. However, when this information remains in the shadows, citizens are left without access to the information necessary for them to properly exercise their civic powers and responsibilities.
Certainly the regular disclosure of how our government spends our tax dollars is extremely important.
In 2006 and 2009, legislation was passed that advanced open government initiatives. With the creation of USASpending.gov in 2006, the public was given access to an online, searchable database that discloses federal financial awards and their recipients. In 2009, the Recovery Act included openness provisions that created a public website to track recovery spending and formed a board that would oversee the Recovery Act funds to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. These were good first steps, but there is much that is left to be done.
Just last month, President Obama signed an Executive Order and a Policy Directive that would officially require data generated by the federal government to be made available to the public online. As with all open government initiatives, this is a welcome development. But again, President Obama and his colleagues in Congress can – and need to – do more.
Attempting to build on the foundation of the 2006 and 2009 transparency laws, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa and Democrat Senator Mark Warner have been working to advance the DATA Act in the House and Senate. The DATA Act passed the House in April 2012, but was not acted on in the Senate and died in committee in the 112th Congress. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs did, however, hold a hearing to discuss the bill, titled “Show Me the Money: Improving Transparency of Federal Spending.” During this hearing, despite bipartisan support in Congress, White House representatives from the Office of Management and Budget and the Treasury Department balked at the bill, giving insight to improvements that could be made. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, however, made it clear that a law is needed to specifically enumerate what information must be reported.
The DATA Act was reintroduced in the 113th Congress (H.R. 2061 and S. 994) at the end of May 2013 and unanimously passed the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. It aims to improve the quality of publicly accessible government information, set uniform data standards, collect spending data, and examine the information to root out waste, fraud or abuse.
Neither the President’s Executive Order nor the DATA Act, however, has gone far enough. There remains one crucial provision that is notably absent from both proposals: making full contract texts available online. Unfortunately, when it comes to government spending and government contracts, the devil is in the details. Providing this degree of public access to reporters, scholars, taxpayer associations, and more competitive bidders would be an important step forward. It would help keep corruption in check, hold government accountable for its actions, propagate best practices in contracting, give rise to significant taxpayer savings, and encourage fiscal responsibility.
Each year hundreds of billions of dollars in federal government contracts, grants, leaseholds and licenses are awarded to corporations. Taxpayers should be able to easily access clear and concise information on how their tax dollars are being spent by the government at all levels. This is especially needed in an era of massive outsourcing to large private corporations.
States across the country have been implementing their own open government initiatives in the past several years. States leading the way by consistently moving toward making full contract texts of all direct government spending available online include Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Texas. Requiring federal agencies and departments to post the full text of all federal contracts online would be the logical next step.
Concerns about confidentiality or cost of such an endeavor are vastly overblown. The computer age should make it possible to efficiently allow for certain redactions related to only legitimate concerns about genuine trade secrets and national security in contracts before they are posted online in a publicly-available database.
To repeat: Let the people know now. No more secret contracts and other deals.
Putting the full text of these contracts online could give taxpayers both savings and better value; lets the media focus more incisively on this vast area of government disbursements to inform the wider public; encourages constructive comments and alarms from the citizenry; and allows research by scholars specializing in the daily government procurement, transfers, subsidies, giveaways, and bailouts.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of ‘Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!’ He is a contributor to ‘Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion,’ published by AK Press. ‘Hopeless’ is also available in a Kindle edition.)