Off The Record

by AVA News Service, July 10, 2013

AS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED, THE COUNTY OF MENDOCINO (and Auditor Controller Meredith Ford acting in her official capacity), is being sued by the cities of Ukiah, Fort Bragg and Willits. All counties in California charge a Property Tax Administration Fee (PTAF) for collecting the property tax owed to cities and special districts. In 2004, the State Legislature, as part of it annual budget flim flam, adopted two programs called “the Triple Flip” and the “VLF Swap,” which had the unintended consequence of putting cities and counties at odds with each other.

THE TRIPLE FLIP, in a series of moves that would make a riverboat gambler blush, diverted local sales tax dollars to pay bonds that were issued to pay off the state's structural deficit; re-directed school property tax revenue from the Education Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF) back to cities and counties to make up for the loss of local sales tax; and made up for the loss to schools of ERAF funds by backfilling from the state General Fund. The VLF Swap reduced Vehicle License Fee (VLF) revenue to cities and counties and once again the state redirected property tax revenue from ERAF back to the cities and counties. (This is as clear as we can make it, but uncross your eyes and keep reading.)

THE NET RESULT was that the cities (and counties) were receiving considerably more revenue from property tax than previously, although much of the increase was in lieu of local sales tax and VLF. The state also said the counties could not charge additional PTAF for the first two years of implementing the new programs. Starting in 2006-07 most counties began charging additional PTAF based on guidelines issued by the State Auditor's Association. Because the funds diverted from ERAF were from property tax, the guidelines treated them like property tax and charged PTAF accordingly. A group of cities sued L.A. County alleging they were being overcharged. Cities and counties around the state agreed to hold off on additional legislation until the L.A. case was resolved. The trial court sided with the county, but the appellate court ruled that the counties had been miscalculating the PTAF. In November the State Supreme Court agreed that the cities had been overcharged.

CITIES AND COUNTIES around the state are negotiating agreements to refund the amounts overcharged, but despite its reputation for love and peaceful simplicity, things are seldom so simple here in Mendoland. In addition to the law suit, the city councils of Fort Bragg and Ukiah have also written public letters to the County Board of Supervisors complaining that for years they have had to fight off state attempts to take “their” money and now the County is doing the same thing. So nine years ago the State Legislature engaged in its usual budgetary sleight of hand and now the cities and counties are left squabbling over the crumbs. The cities say in their lawsuit that they had to sue because the county was not coming to terms, but reliable sources say that discussions were already underway. In fact, the AVA has learned that the City of Willits has already reached a compromise settlement with the county. The item was considered in closed session by the County at a special meeting on Monday but no action was reported out of closed session.

DANIEL HAMBURG v. MENDOCINO COUNTY was also a subject of the special meeting closed session, but again, no action was reported to have been taken. Hamburg is sueing the County for alleged violations of his “fundamental rights of Liberty, Property, Safety, Happiness and Privacy, Due Process of Law; Equal Protection of Law; and Civil Rights.” Hamburg is seeking an order from the Court directing Mendocino County to issue a burial certificate and death certificate for his disceased wife, Carrie, and is also seeking in excess of $10,000 in legal fees as of June 10, the date of the filing. Most people agree that state law needs to be updated to free our dead from the greed based strictures imposed by the death industry, but it is unseemly for a sitting supervisor, and chair of the board, no less, to be suing the county he represents. Oddly enough, Hamburg's own lawsuit cites two examples (Jay Baker in Gualala and the Tebbuts family in Anderson Valley) where petitions were filed with the local Superior Court requesting the right to private burial. Both petitions were granted the same day they were filed. Speculation is that Hamburg is getting bad legal advice since the case would be over if he had siimply filed a petition with the court instead of suing the County. And if the local judges, notoriously shy of getting embroiled in local controversy, pass the buck, Hamburg can rely on his old pal, visiting Judge Kossow, to sign off on the petition.

WE RECEIVED this message anonymously. It originated with Mari Rodin, Ukiah City Councilperson, as she responded to recent criticism: “Why do the media in Mendocino County continuously, relentlessly, and ignorantly criticize the City of Ukiah? If anyone cared about the truth, they would speak to the individuals involved like reporters in most newspapers do. They would then find out that the City is, in fact, a well-run organization that has done an amazing job of dealing with five straight years of financial challenges that have come as a result of factors completely beyond the City's control. (For example, revenues increased only $300,000 between 2008-2012, which is 2% of a $15 million general fund. With immense pressure on expenditures coming from PERS, labor contracts and the loss of RDA, the City still managed to hold down costs to 2%/year over this same period. A remarkable accomplishment by any measure.) The facts regarding the city manager's salary are mistaken. There USED to be executive pay (and several other extraneous and ridiculous pay categories) but to clean up all these behind-the-scenes components of her pay package, the city manager herself (!) suggested we streamline and simplify her contract to make it transparent. Her pay is $150,000 and she may be eligible for merit pay, but that will depend on how revenues come in this new fiscal year. She volunteered to take a 10% salary cut. The statement about administrative overhead is false too. It's laughable! The city manager recommended eliminating her administrative assistant last year to help trim the deficit. The city clerk has taken up some of this role, but not all of it, which has been very difficult. How many executives do you know of who oversee a $62.5 million budget give up their secretary in an effort to do their part in sharing the pain during difficult times? If reporters around here would simply (oh, so simply!) just ask questions directly, they would have a different story to report.”

THING IS, MS. RODIN, all the stuff you complain about is public record from which all us media slime have drawn pretty much the same conclusions, i.e., the Council majority's spending decisions haven't been wise and tend to favor management over line staff. Also, there was the suspiciously selective allocation of Redvelopment monies on your fave restaurant, the talk of an on-staff therapist, and other public statements by you, Ms. Landis and Little Benj that create an overall impression of fuzz brains running the City of Ukiah.

JOHN SAKOWICZ WRITES: “The indisputable fact is that the City of Ukiah has what’s called a 'structural deficit'. The structural deficit happened two years ago as a result of the city’s Redevelopment Authority (RDA) being dissolved per state law (AB 126) and a California Supreme Court decision that upheld the law. The deficit is of $900 000 is now baked into the budget, meaning that if the City Council doesn’t cut the excessive number of executive positions/salaries at the top of its personnel chart, the city can expect this deficit to be recurring year after year going forward into the future. Why? Because in an accounting shell game masterminded by City Manager Jane Chambers, Assistant City Manager Sage Sangiacomo, and City Finance Director Gordon Elton, that $900,000 in RDA monies were used to pad the salaries of those very same executives. Shocking. Absolutely shocking. Some say it was self—enrichment at its worst. It’s all public information. See the Grand Jury’s report.

WE WENT BACK to the Grand Jury Report Mr. Sakowicz referred to. Here’s an excerpt from the “Summary” in the 2012 Grand Jury RDA report: “The 2010-2011 report found that the City used RDA funds to pay significant portions of the salaries and benefits of 18 employees, many of them executive employees. The report also found that some of RDA project time lacked documentation by a code system intended to track staff hours on RDA projects.”

AND BACK WE WENT to the 2010-2011 report: “Finding 14.

Employee salaries are paid with RDA funds disproportionate to the time spent on RDA business. More than one RDA employees’ salary and benefits are paid 100% with RDA funds even though they do not perform 100% RDA business.”

AND, “Finding 24. The RDA is using funds to pay significant portions of 18 employees’ salaries and benefits: City Manager/Exec. Dir.: 50%. Senior Planner: 40%. Ass’t City Mgr.: 80%. Assoc. Planner: 25%. City Clerk: 50%. Ass’t Engineer: 31%. Ass’t Finance Dir.: 15%. Accounting Ass’t.: 15%. Director of Finance: 35%. Administrative Sec.: 20%. Project and Grant Admin.: 100%. Administrative Sec.: 40%. Finance Controller: 7%. Park Service Worker: 60%. Accountant: 15%. Director of Public Works: 8%. Senior Civil Engineer: 32%. Director, Planning & Community Dev.: 35%.”

THE CITY OF UKIAH responded: “The Ukiah Redevelopment Agency pays for a percentage portion of the salaries and benefits of employees that share duties between the URA and the City of Ukiah. The Agency does not pay a disproportionate share of City salaries. The percentage varies among personnel in accordance with the estimated time spent on duties associated with each of the respective agencies and is approved by both agencies with each fiscal year’s budget. The shared resource model increases efficiency through the elimination of redundant administrative staffing and services for both agencies. In Fiscal Year 2010/11 the URA and the City of Ukiah had only one full time staff member funded at 100% with redevelopment funds.”

TRANSLATION: Ukiah jiggered the timecards so that costly financial staffers and managers billed more of their time to the RDA than to the Ukiah General Fund so that the Council's pals in upper management could continue to be employed at their overly generous salaries while the Council appeared to be saving money for the City’s budget. The specific percentages reported by the Grand Jury were not disputed and they show that the City Manager and her assistant spent 50% and 80% respectively on RDA business. Ridiculous on its face. Clearly the numbers were skewed to overbill the RDA account where the money was. Mr. Sakowicz calls it self-enrichment and that’s fair to say, although it’s also standard issue bureaucratic empire building for no other reason than: “because that’s where the money is.”

“WHEN IN THE COURSE of human events, it becomes necessary for our people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…impel them to separation.”

AND SO ON, thunders our Declaration Of Independence, but if you read the document substituting “corporate oligarchs” for King George, you have an accurate picture of the current political situation in America where, to varying degrees, most of us are economic serfs without representation. I don't feel represented at any level of government, but I do think the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, as presently constituted, can be said to be fairly representative of Mendocino County public opinion. At the grander levels of government, however, only the oligarchy's interests are defended.

(MY LAST LINK to the federal government was severed about five years ago when the Post Office stopped delivering my newspaper in a timely manner.)

ALL THIS IS OBVIOUS to citizens of most countries because they understand how capitalism works and they know where they are in the class system capitalism creates. Americans, many of whom are now descending the class ladder, are slowly awakening to the realities of our social-political system and, when fully awake...... well, it won't be pretty, but we're at the point where we've got to have another revolution or our children and grandchildren won't even be allowed into the starting blocks to pursue the happiness we're guaranteed by what's left of our shredded Constitution.

MYSELF, I spent Freedom Day listening to the Giants game on the radio, then enjoyed an afternoon of gluttony and general over-indulgence with relatives, climbed up on the roof for the evening’s fireworks, and called it a day. We may be seriously on the skids as a country, but it's still possible to have a good time.

MISSING MAN'S FAMILY STILL HOPING TO FIND HIM — The wife of a Rodondo man who has been missing since the end of May is still hoping a someone will provide a tip that may lead to finding him. Samantha Lamberg has been at home in Southern California with her 10- and 14-year-old children, wondering what happened to their father, Erik Swan Lamberg, 51, who was last seen in Laytonville on May 27. The Lambergs are separated, and he was driving to Oregon to seek help for mental health issues, according to Samantha Lamberg, who said he is bipolar and was off his medication when he left Southern California around May 23. She talked with him on the phone from Laytonville on May 26. “He sounded paranoid,” she said, “but said he was safe in a motel.” Lamberg had apparently tried to get some repairs done to his Honda Odyssey van in Laytonville, but told Samantha Lamberg the repairs could not begin until after the holiday weekend, on May 28. Nonetheless, the van  —  which had been towed to Laytonville from Leggett  —  was driven away. According to Samantha Lamberg, the Laytonville motel owner said Erik Lamberg and the van were gone on May 28. His credit card showed a charge May 26 for the motel. Samantha Lamberg did not hear from Erik Lamberg between May 26 and May 28, and his credit card was not used again, which she said was unusual, and so she reported him missing the night of May 29 to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. The MCSO found the Honda van on Sherwood Road about 20 miles west of Willits on Saturday, June 1. Deputies did a limited search immediately around the van, and a ground search for Erik Lamberg  —  including a bloodhound  —  was organized for the following Wednesday. Lt. Shannon Barney at the MCSO said the dogs followed what they thought was a good scent about a mile west of the spot where the van was found, but then lost the scent. Since the search, the MCSO has had a couple of calls of possible sightings but neither panned out. “We're looking for tips,” Barney said. Samantha Lamberg is hoping to keep her husband's case in the public eye and has launched a Facebook site dedicated to finding him. In the meantime, however, “I'm down here feeling pretty powerless,” she said. (The Ukiah Daily Journal)

ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY in response to pot raid in the Alderpoint area Wednesday morning: “Get the armed felons and mega grows cleaned out and the area cleaned up and you will see crime drop like a rock and a sudden migration out of the area of these career criminals and it will be appreciated by the majority of people in the area, especially those who still work an honest job or are retired and pay taxes and want a safer family friendly community like they remember not that long ago. This should start a turn around, the people are ready and have had enough body counts and neck tatted criminal zombies who should be locked away and the key thrown away. Good work HCSO!”

LAST TUESDAY, JULY 2, we asked, Why the secrecy when we received the following communique from Carmel Angelo, Mendocino County's chief executive officer. It said Ms. Angelo would “be answering written questions” at Fort Bragg Town Hall on Friday, July 12, 2013 beginning at 10:30am from, it seems, invited persons only. Brandon Merritt would be screening the questions for Her Majesty.

THE NEXT DAY, July 3, the County CEO’s office released the following press release: “County Kicks Off District Budget Presentations. The Public Is Invited To Attend The July 12, 2013 Forum At Fort Bragg Town Hall. Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer, Carmel J. Angelo, is scheduled to present a County Budget Update/State of the County informational presentation in the 4th Supervisorial District on Friday, July 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Fort Bragg Town Hall....”

OF COURSE most people are occupied at those hours, and for most people in Fort Bragg local government means the Fort Bragg City Council. It's way too much to even hope that a County budget presentation might be held at night so the few people who might be interested could attend. But government at all levels operates at its convenience as the hours of Ms. Angelo's visit to Fort Bragg indicate. An hour and a half travel from Ukiah, an hour and a half with the unwashed, a leisurely tax paid lunch at The Wharf, an hour and a half back to Ukiah and...... Miller Time!

LONG-TIME INTERNET STALKER, Michael Hardesty, has been sending his nasty opinions to our website under the name Martin Zemitis, a successful Berkeley entrepreneur. For years, Hardesty wrote to us under various pseudonyms. At first, he's more or less rational, insofar as your generic Randian nutball can be said to be rational. But soon, unable to contain himself, Hardesty's racist and homophobic rants, interspersed with superlatives for fascism as revealed to him by Ayn Rand's fiction, betray him and we cut him off. The Zemitis cover means that Hardesty, banned from newspaper websites throughout the Bay Area, in his desperation to vilify whole populations of people, has moved into identity theft. We apologize to Mr. Zemitis for any embarrassment he's suffered from this lunatic appropriating his name.

I KNOW ETHNIC identifications can be sensitive, but either this guy is an extremely disoriented Mexican or he's an extremely disoriented Arab. Or maybe an East Indian from Watsonville. But Mr. Ghafarisaravi says he's Hispanic, and he oughtta know.

THE MENDOCINO COAST FURNITURE MAKERS celebrate their 15th Anniversary with a show at Odd Fellows Hall in Mendocino. The show opens July 3, but the Opening Reception will be Saturday, July 13, 5-8 pm. I'll be there with butterbean hummus (you have to taste it to understand) and — maybe — the dastardly brownies. Hope you can come. (Norma Watkins)

MORE THAN $10,000 of stolen goods has been recovered by Fort Bragg police and two alleged thieves taken into custody. Joseph Anthony Fitch, 30, and Eric Christopher Seale, 37, also charged with meth possession, were arrested last Tuesday. Police say Fitch's family told police they thought Fitch was robbing houses in Fort Bragg, and Fitch quickly implicated Seale in whose apartment many stolen items were subsequently discovered.

A 29-YEAR-OLD HOMELESS MAN WAS FOUND DEAD beneath the North Cliff Hotel on Thursday morning. The area at the mouth of the Noyo River has functioned as a homeless camp for some time. The young man, not yet identified, went to sleep with his girlfriend on Wednesday night. She woke up, he didn't.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Banks can borrow money at .75% interest, mortgage loans are currently around 4% and Students are charged 6.8% on student loans. What's wrong with this picture? Why aren't people demonstrating? Why do the people in this country take such abuse and not fight back as people do in other countries?

OUTSIDE MAGAZINE  in its June 30th edition proudly declares that Eureka is one of the best places to raise adventurous kids. It names the “towering redwoods on one side and plunging ocean cliffs on the other…” The redwoods, yes… But, plunging ocean cliffs in Eureka? A further read exposes the confusion: The magazine lists a number of amazing places to visit in the area including a “unique pygmy forest,” Jughandle State Reserve, and the Devil’s Punch Bowl in Russian Gulch State Park. All, of course in Mendocino about a three hour drive from Eureka. Humboldt: a great place to live… because it’s really not that far from Mendocino… (—Kym Kemp)

THE COUNTY BUDGET for fiscal year 2013-14 is preliminarily set at about $224 million, which includes a $2.9 million carryover from the fiscal year ending this month. It also includes about $57 million of anticipated revenue for the County's general fund (the rest going to state and federal programs over which the county has little fiscal control). CEO Carmel Angelo told Tiffany Revelle of the Ukiah Daily Journal last week, “Over the past three-plus years, we've gone from a $7-million shortfall to a $7-million reserve; we've saved this county $14 million. We certainly have avoided the (fiscal) cliff … and there's been a lot of work on all fronts.” Final budget hearings begin September 9th.

COUNTY REVENUES REMAIN FLAT, however, while the County’s “structural deficit” continues to deficit because of ongoing debt repayments for the formerly mismanaged Teeter Plan, the underfunded pension system plus continuously escalating healthcare costs and general inflation. Most of the improved budget picture stems from the large reduction in line staff over recent years combined with a 10% wage reduction. Only a sudden improvement in the Big Economy, which is not likely, would the Mendo budget's deficit un-deficit. But given the recent but relative stabilization, county employees (in eight separate bargaining units, about two thirds of which are SEIU members) are expected to demand at least partial restoration of pay and benefits in ongoing negotiations.

THE STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION has begun mailing out another round of tax bills for their controversial “fire prevention fee” fire parcel tax. According to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer's Association the Jarvis Gang didn’t get their lawsuit filed with the state until last March. That lawsuit claims that the parcel “fee” is actually a tax which was imposed illegally by not going through the voters via Proposition 218 rules. And, we're told by firefighters, so far the money is disappearing into the state's general fund, not firefighting.

THE JARVIS people don’t expect a decision any time soon — “Please be patient as lawsuits typically take a long time” — so they advise that property owners pay their $150 tax perhaps $35 less if your parcel's “habitable structure” is on land within an existing fire protection district.

MOST OF MENDO COUNTY outside the incorporated cities is subject to the tax, including all of Anderson Valley although the slightly lower $115 fee will apply to most Anderson Valley homeowners in the Anderson Valley Community Services District because we have fire protection.

OUR SUPERVISORS has repeal of the fee on its state legislative agenda But so far nothing has come of this item. Legislation to repeal or change the fee has been introduced in the state Legislature but hasn't been passed out of any committee. For more information go to the Jarvis group’s website: http://firetaxprotest.org/ Or the state’s tax board fire prevention fee website: http://www.firepreventionfee.org/

STATE ASSEMBLYMAN WES CHESBRO will be term-limited out of office as of December 1, 2014 when, we assume, he'll quickly situate his jive self in some other tax-funded sinecure. 'Bro has milked the taxpayers of California for 16 years since first being elected out of Arcata in 1998 when he succeeded state senator Mike Thompson as State Senator. Thompson had been elected to represent the wine industry in the House of Representatives in Washington DC. Chesbro, who was born in Glendale, stumbled north with the back-to-the-landers in the 1970's and went on to buy a dubious diploma in “Organizational Behavior” from the University of San Francisco. Then he “attended” Humboldt State classes in “natural resources.” According to his own website Chesbro’s “professional experience” consists of a bunch of government recycling jobs plus elected office.

UPON ASSUMING his senate office in 1998, Chesbro proposed a bill that would benefit one (1) person — Francis Ford Coppola — by describing “certain” wine-selling restaurants so narrowly that a sharp reporter at the Sacramento Bee noticed that Chesbro’s Bill would have applied only to Coppola (a big Chesbro campaign contributor) and Coppola's small wine/restaurant chain. When the Bee published their story, Chesbro quickly withdrew the Coppola bill. Chesbro spent eight years as state senator. Term-limited out, he was instantly appointed by his Democratic Party pals to the state’s Integrated Waste Management Board where he did nothing but attend a few meetings a year for a salary of more than $100k a year until former assemblyperson Patti Berg was term limited out as this area’s assemblyperson. Chesbro immediately ran for that office with the backing of Party Boss Mike Thompson and won easily in a district dominated by career Democrats and people who call themselves 'progressives' but loyally vote for whomever the Northcoast's Demo Hackdom puts on their ballots.

LAST MONTH ARCATA RESIDENT HEZEKIAH ALLEN announced that he intended to run as a Democrat for Chesbro’s assembly seat. We don’t know Allen, but simply on the strength that his announcement does not mention wine, he’s already made it clear that he’d be an improvement over Chesbro. And he gets major points for his Old Testament handle. Back to the future, Hez!

WILL PARRISH was released from the County Jail on his own recognizance last Wednesday (July 3rd.) Parrish, also known as Red Tail Hawk, writes on environmental matters for the ava. He'd been arrested for strapping himself to a piece of CalTrans road building equipment in protest of the Willits Bypass.

“KUDOS, a reader writes, “to Supervisors Dan Hamburg and John McCowen for getting “smoked out” at the World's Largest Salmon Barbecue in Fort Bragg. Both of them manned the grills, donning bright yellow rubber aprons and rubber gloves, completely sunburnt, covered in grease, completing grueling, 6-hour shifts to save the salmon. Hamburg recalled that in earlier years, all the county judges used to come down and take a shift. Apparently the 3,000-plus portions of King Salmon come from Alaska. My boyfriend quipped that the motto for next year's event should be, 'Protect and Serve.'“

SOME 3,500 PEOPLE turned out at the Green Center at Sonoma State University on the 4th hoping to hear some music and watch some fireworks. The fireworks fizzled, the many kids there strictly for the fireworks were bored by the classical music, the grass was inaccessible to wheelchairs, and lots of people demanded (and got) their money back. The disabled had to be carried up several flights of stairs to get to the green.

THE MENDOCINO COUNTY Republican Central Committee will meet Saturday, July 20, 2013, 10:00 AM — 12:00 Noon at the Henny Penny Restaurant, 697 S. Orchard Ave (corner of Gobbi), Ukiah 95482. For further information contact: Stan Anderson, 707-321-2592. One possible topic: “Are we as crazy as the liberals say we are, or is it them who's nuts?”

COMMENT OF THE DAY: “I communed with my fellow citizens this Fourth of July weekend for a few hours at a little beach in a Vermont state park. It was a family kind of place. The mommies and daddies were putting on a competitive tattoo display (along with competitive eating). So many skulls, Devil heads, snakes, screaming eagles, flags, and thunderbolts. I suppose they acquire these totem images to ward off some apprehended greater harm, the metaphysically inchoate forces marshalling at the margins of what little normal life remains in this nation of rackets, swindles, and tears. All was nonetheless tranquility, there by the little lakeside, with the weenies grilling and the pop-tops popping. A three-year-old came by where I was working on my tan on a towel in the grass, supine. He asked me if I was dead. Not yet, I told him. Behind him a skull smoking a doobie loomed in blue and red ink on his daddy’s thigh. My people. My country.”

DON'T TELL the Mendo Health Department, but there's a liquor store in San Francisco at 2nd & Balboa called “DRINK LIQUOR” Liquor Store. Been there for years.

MARI RODIN of the Ukiah City Council is leaving the Council for a government blah-blah job — LAFCO the ultimate blah-blah job — in Monterey County. Bowing out with Mendo-Typical solipsistic effusion, Rodin said her “work with the city has been a gift that changed my life, shaped my thinking, expanded my appreciation of local government” and similar arias to ME ME ME ME ME.

IN FACT, she leaves Ukiah a cool mil in debt, administratively top-heavy and an estranged public muttering that the city has been destabilized by the self-serving crackpots.

CALIFORNIA PRISONERS kick off a statewide hunger strike today to protest conditions recognized the world over, except here, as amounting to torture, especially the system's isolation units where inmates can spend years with no human contact. Usually balkanized into warring ethnic units, the strike is unanimously supported by the California inmate population.

ACCORDING TO THE FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE website, our very own “Dr. William J. Courtney is an evangelist for the medicinal use of non-psychoactive, RAW cannabis. Cannabis aka hemp is not psychoactive unless it is dried, cooked or burned, prior to ingestion. While still raw, however it does not affect the cognition or motor skills of its user and therefore, it can be taken in doses 60 times greater than burned cannabis. It is at these doses that cannabis becomes among the most anti- inflammatory compounds ever discovered, that has been proven to cure skin- and ovarian cancer, with medicinal applications for dozens of illnesses. Courtney believes that hemp/cannabis needs to be re-cast as a green, leafy vegetable that should be consumed every day as a nutritional supplement, preferably juiced, by those afflicted by painful inflammatory conditions like arthritis, IBS, etc. Dr. Donald Abrams, MD, Chief Hematology and Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital asserts that if cannabis were just discovered in the Amazon, people would be clamoring to make uses out of it. Instead, it suffers from the stigma of a “street drug” and worse — from the stiff legal sanctions against its possession or use in many states and countries. Courtney says that the FDA, which owns a patent on cannabis, recognizing its medicinal value should change its current status as a Schedule I narcotic with no accepted medical uses, as these two positions are in stark contradiction with one another.”

A DAYLIGHT HOME INVASION in Hopland early Friday evening was said to have been committed about 6pm by three black men who'd fled a home invasion at Hopland and took off south on 101. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department alerted police agencies to be on the lookout for three black men in a black Dodge Challenger. Cloverdale Police soon saw the car rocket past them and gave chase at a top speed estimated at 125mph. The fugitives, having outrun Cloverdale, abandoned the Challenger near Alderbrook due west of central Healdsburg. A house-to-house search commenced while a helicopter hovered overhead and three canine teams and some one hundred officers looked for the men.

UPDATE: Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputies located one suspect around 11pm Friday night and took him into custody. That suspect, later identified as Gregory Ladel Jenkins Jr., was positively identified by a victim as being one of the Hopland robbery suspects. At approximately 5:30am Saturday morning two more individuals thought to be suspects were detained by Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputies and were transported to Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies. One of the suspects, identified as Michael Edwin Steele, was positively identified by one of the robbery victims. The third subject was later released without charges when it was learned he'd been called north by Steele who'd said he, Steele, had been robbed. Sonoma County Law Enforcement agencies were advised to be on the lookout for the third suspect who fled from the Dodge Challenger and is outstanding at this time. Gregory Laden Jenkins Jr. and Michael Edwin Steele were booked into the Mendocino County Jail and were to be held on $250,000 bail. The investigation into the Hopland robbery is ongoing and anyone with information is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

FOUNDER of the annual protests, Mary Moore, has announced there will be no organized protest this year at the exclusive, all male, Bohemian Grove this July. There were some advanced proposals being considered about a “Squeaky Wheels” protest on July 20 which would have focused on the recent government sequester cuts disproportionately affecting the disabled, elderly and poor populations of this country. “Because of internet confusion many people have not understood that this event was only a proposal and is not being planned,” Mary says.

QUOTE OF THE YEAR: “For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up. We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred. I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1936

ON THE FOURTH OF JULY at about 8:19pm, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office received a radio call for service regarding a physical assault in the 100 block of Main Street in Point Arena. Deputies arrived at approximately 9pm and contacted the victim, Timothy Hall, a long time resident of the area. Hall lives at the 'Abalone Arms' at ground zero PA. Hall told Deputies that the suspect, Janet Guess (aka “Janet Planet”), had entered his home and demanded that he give her his prescription medications. After Hall refused to provide Guess with the goods, Guess grabbed Hall’s cane and struck Hall in the head “causing a minor visible injury.” Hall was able to take the cane away from Guess after a brief struggle. Guess continued to demand Hall’s medications then attacked Hall by striking him several times with closed fists. Guess then departed Abalone Arms and Hall called 911. Deputies subsequently arrested Ms. Planet for attempted robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse (57 is elderly?) and transported to the Mendocino County Jail where she was booked to be held in lieu of $150,000 bail.

WHEN LIGHTNING sparked a fire in the hills west of Hopland last Thursday night, and a CalFire chopper showed up the next day when smoke made it visible, the bucket chopper passed low over a ridgetop grow where an ag man was tending his crop. In the nude. Doubly exposed, the ag man dashed for the trees as the chopper gave him a merry blast of its siren, and a good time was had by all.

CRAIG STEHR WRITES: Warm spiritual greetings, Today I spent the whole day in Catholic churches in San Francisco. Beginning with 7:30AM mass at the historic St. Patrick's, and then sat a lengthy meditation at Old St. Mary's. I walked to the National Shrine of St. Francis, and met with the new rector Fr. Snider. We briefly discussed my need of a spiritual vocation, and he appreciates that I have been active with Catholic Worker for 23 years. We agreed to pray for each other. A visit was then made to the Sts. Peter & Paul church, and I discovered upon leaving that the SF Mime Troupe was performing their new play across the street in Washington Square Park, so I watched “Oil and Water,” realizing that it's not just my own circumstances which are dire. I've got one more week at the Berkeley men's shelter. I have no idea what I am going to do or where I am going to go. Of course I have sent out hundreds of emails to activist groups saying that I am willing to relocate to continue being involved. Nothing substantive has been received yet. I have given up all hope, and am praying continuously. I ask for your prayers to receive a spiritual vocation, and am as always only seriously interested in doing the will of God. That's just the way it is with me. Thank you very much, Craig Louis Stehr, Email: craigstehr@hushmail.com Mailing address: c/o NOSCW, P.O. Box 11406, Berkeley, CA 94712-2406.

MAJOR CORPORATION execs now make, on average, about 273 times more than the average worker, according to a recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) of the CEO-to-worker pay ratio at top 350 firms. The average pay, EPI found, was $14.1 million in 2012, up 12.7% from 2011. That’s a big change from a half-century ago. In 1965, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio was about 20-to-1, but it grew over the next three decades, and that growth picked up speed in the 90s. It peaked in 2000 before the early 2000s recession, with a CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 383.4-to-1. It hit a lesser peak again in 2007, before the Great Recession, with a ratio of 351.3-to-1. During the recovery, CEO pay has been climbing upward once more. At the same time, for most Americans, wages have remained stagnant at best.

WILL PARRISH was released from the County Jail on his own recognizance last Wednesday (July 3rd.) Parrish, also known as Red Tail Hawk, writes on environmental matters for the AVA. He'd been arrested for strapping himself to a piece of CalTrans road building equipment in protest of the Willits Bypass.

THE AVA'S FAVORITE PAINTER! Mary Robertson: River Days July 11 — August 17, Krevesky Gallery, 77 Geary, San Francisco. Writer Jon Carroll, a longtime friend of Robertson, reflects on her work. “I have always wanted to live on Mary Robertson's Russian River. Such an indolent place, so dreamy, like an underwater kingdom. The umbrellas, towels, beach chairs, and the people in Mary's paintings are frozen in time, always inhabiting that same summer. It's a little like heaven and a little like camp.”

GEOFF THOMAS of Boonville writes: “So Edward Snowden simply tells the world that the US government has the ability and power to collect information, powers that were legally granted by his own Government .... so where's the problem? Is it now illegal to talk about what is legally allowable in the land of the free? You make something technically 'Legal', but then make it 'Illegal' to mention that which should not be mentioned?I may be slow and I may often be stupid, but can somebody please explain why with all the shit that's happening in the world today, Edward Snowden is America's 'Most Wanted?”

HERE IN DENVER I haven’t yet personally encountered any Political Correctness. But in this neighborhood, diversity we’ve got. Next door is a black man and his Jewish rabbi wife, and they are right across the street from the young gay Mexican fellow. More Spanish than English is spoken on this block. This is what used to be commonly called a “mixed” neighborhood, and that's what it is. If it were transported to Marin County, it would be “diverse” in PC terms but more realistically considered “ghetto.” No one on this very “diverse” street appears to be the slightest bit concerned with the notion of PC. People are too busy living for such nonsense.

If memory serves adequately, I seem to recall that PC is something occurring almost exclusively among middle class white people, most of whom have been exposed to one or another post-60's New Age sort of thing, from “experimenting” with marijuana before it became mainstream — espresso and wine are the drugs of choice now — to gurus from India, the likes of Wavy Gravy and more serious dispensers of wisdom like Dr. Wayne Dyer and Byron Katie, seminar hustlers like Werner Erhard, tarot cards and so forth. PC boils down these days to denial of all stereotyping (in theory although reality can sometimes intrude), earnest trash recycling, calling oneself “progressive” while hypnotically voting for mainstream democrats, and cultivation of gay friends (for some reason gay women seem generally a bit safer to have at the suburban dinner party than gay men). And so on.

Our Esteemed Editor has joked, off the record, that the ultimate political correctness would be expressed in a transgender cripple as president of the US. Off the record only, since the warm-and-fuzzy PC legions, what the AVA sometimes calls The Nice People, would be horrified at the statement although delighted at such a reality, even though we have now seen that the first non-white president is strictly political business-as-usual or worse. And there is no reason to imagine that a disabled person of indeterminate gender would be any different, since anyone aspiring to the presidency is thoroughly corrupted well before getting near the possibility.

National Lampoon did a goof on Joan Baez in the 70s, a sound-alike singing “Pull the triggers, niggers, we're with you all the way, just across the bay... Just because I can't be there, doesn't mean I don't care...” (Google 'Pull the Triggers' to find it on youtube.) This is PC distilled right down to its essence, despite deployment of the hot-button “N” word. — Jeff Costello

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