Mendocino County Today: July 13, 2013
by AVA News Service, July 12, 2013
AS MANY of the worst men in the world assemble at Bohemian Grove, and the
Press Democrat gazes, awestruck, from the prone position the paper instinctively assumes in the presence of power, Cody
Fincher accurately describes how the titans of free enterprise pass their hours beside the Russian River: “What activities take place at
the grove? The grove is the site of a two week retreat every July (as well
as other smaller get-togethers throughout the year). At these retreats,
the members commune with nature in a truly original way. They drink
heavily from morning through the night, bask in their freedom to urinate
on the redwoods, and perform pagan rituals (including the ‘Cremation of
Care,’ in which the members wearing red-hooded robes, cremate a coffin
effigy of ‘Dull Care’ at the base of a 40-foot owl altar). Some (20%)
engage in homosexual activity (but few of them support gay rights or AIDS
research). They watch (and participate in) plays and comedy shows in which
women are portrayed by male actors. Although women are not allowed in the
Grove, members often leave at night to enjoy the company of the many
prostitutes who canoe across the Russian River to service their majesties.”
CHRIS SMITH of the PD wrote: “The splitters at the Bohos' gate
— The funniest movie scene ever? Maybe in ‘Life of Brian,’ when insurgents
with the People's Front of Judea scoff at ‘Splitters!’ — their rivals within
the Judean People's Front and the Popular Front of Judea. It comes to
mind because a group rallying a protest Saturday at the Bohemian Grove
Encampment calls itself the Bohemian Grove Action and Resistance Network,
and Mary Moore is not amused. She's the veteran activist who three
decades ago co-founded the Bohemian Grove Action Network (BGAN). It
organized many demonstrations at the gate of the men-only midsummer
retreat at the Bohemian Club of San Francisco's vast redwood camp near
Monte Rio. Moore's point has been that the public should know who's
inside the grove and what's said at the Lakeside Talks because many of the
men of the encampment are influential and the talks can float ideas that
become policy of national or global importance. Moore doesn't know what
the Bohemian Grove Action and Resistance Network believes or what the
point of a demonstration Saturday, if it happens, will be. But she's not
protesting this year and she wouldn't want anyone thinking BGARN is BGAN.”
MARY MOORE WRITES: “This is short but Smith makes the point in his column yesterday.
Everyone has the right to protest anywhere for anything. They don't have
the right to appropriate the name of another group who has been around for
33 years exposing the ‘good old boys’ network right here in our backyard.
For the past decade when national nut case Alex Jones got inside Boho
Grove. the right wing loony tunes have used our hard work and energy to
latch onto any media attention garnered by our efforts. Our point has
always been to expose the effect of these men’s actions (exposed by hard
research and their daily Lakeside Talks) on the outside world (us), NOT
what they are alleged to be doing inside their encampment. Many of these
theories are just plain crazy and reflect badly on the intelligence of
those making them. This is just the latest effort by an Alex Jones
follower. BGAN is organizing no protests this year — that doesn't mean
people can't do it on their own. But trying to latch on to the credibility
of someone else's name doesn't show a lot of creativity, integrity or
responsibility. Thanks to Steve for sending this and to Chris Smith for
pointing it out.
WE'RE RE-ASSESSING recent Hamburg-related events, specifically our
assumption that the supervisor set in motion the transfer of his troubled
son, Matthew, from the County Jail to a Yuba City psychiatric facility. It
now seems clear that the County Counsel's office and the County's Mental
Health Department made the move without Supervisor Hamburg's knowledge.
County Counsel and Mental Health, acting on their own authority, brought
off the end-around the usual processes by which a person, any person, is
found mentally incompetent to defend himself and is declared so by the
court. County Counsel and Mental Health simply ignored the court part of
the process. And because everyone involved was a Hamburg partisan we made
the false assumption Hamburg had been the shot caller. We don’t think he was. At a minimum, this
episode ought to earn County Counsel a big reprimand.
ENVISIONING DISASTER. We agree with all the people who consider the
Willits Bypass a huge boondoggle that won't even partially reduce through
traffic in Willits. We also see the two-lane viaduct as an elevated
version of “mile marker 22” on Highway 20, the busy two-lane obstacle
course linking Willits and Fort Bragg. Every time there’s an accident of 20 many of us think of mm 22, where there’s been plenty of them on even the clearest of daylit days. Imagine one of those tule fog
mornings in the Willits Valley, and imagine visibility on the viaduct with
big rigs hurtling both directions with no lane divider between them.
Highway 20 is thirty miles of Mojave runway in comparison.
COUPLA other Bypass shots while we're at it: Screaming obscenities at the
cops is really, really stupid in the most infantile sense of “stupid.” And really, really counter-productive, not
to mention a violation of the so-called vow to remain non-violent. It was
bad enough for the opposition to the Bypass when that one psycho threw his bucket of
waste at the CHP guys removing him from the tree, but if you're trying to
influence public opinion as to the folly of this demonstrably crazy
Caltrans project by acting like mental patients yourself, you’re defeating your own hazy purpose.
AND WHAT'S with the rumor being circulated by some protesters that Caltrans is
stockpiling dirt on East Side Road to give to the Sherwood Rancheria for
their housing project in exchange for the Indians shutting up about tribal
artifacts along the bypass route. Where's the evidence for that? Caltrans
says the soil will help restore the blitzed areas around the Bypass
when (and if) the project is completed. We believe Caltrans on this one.
ME ME ME ME MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
To the Editor:
I have a bittersweet announcement to make. I will be resigning from the
city council. I have accepted a full time position in Monterey County
working as an analyst for the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo). I
plan to serve through August 16th.
It has been my privilege to sit on this dais on behalf of the residents of
the City of Ukiah since 2002, 11 years. My work with the City of Ukiah has
been a gift. It has changed my life, shaped my thinking, and caused me to
grow in countless ways, both personally and professionally. My time in
public service has expanded my appreciation for our system of government,
especially at the local level. The range of services that Ukiah Valley
residents enjoy and depend on as a result of the hard work and dedication
of City staff goes largely unrecognized by the general public, and used to
be a mystery to me as well, but it is expansive and impressive. In
addition, my work on the city council has led me down paths that I never
would have explored: I served on the boards of directors of the League of
California Cities Mendocino Transit Authority, Mendocino Council of
Governments, and LAFCo, and made personal connections with professionals
in fields as diverse as green building, hydrology, and the arts, just to
name a few. And now my work with city council is leading me down a new
career path. I will be applying long-honed skills of researching and
writing to problems at the intersection of land use and government, which
I find very interesting.
I want to acknowledge these countless gifts and thank the public for
supporting me and enabling me to be forever enriched by the experience of
Mari Rodin, Councilmember,
ED NOTE: Uh, excuse me, Ms. Rodin, but I think “dais” may be a clue here. Could it be that the narcissism you suffer has its roots in your (and Mendolib's generally) conflation with yourself and royalty?
I have recently begun to hear a number of rumors about a policy adopted by the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office which is referred to as the "Knock and Pay Policy". I have been told that persons who are accused of certain crimes in Mendocino County are given an option of making a payment to the District Attorney's office instead of or in lieu of having a prosecution commenced against that person. I spoke to Mr. Eyster about this policy after I began to hear rumors and he confirmed that the District Attorney's Office is collecting funds from persons accused of some crimes and that his office has been disbursing those funds to school districts and law enforcement agencies in the county, but the occasion did not lend itself to further conversations about the matter. Therefore, I don't know the details of this program.
I wrote to the District Attorney some months ago requesting more information about this policy but my letter went unanswered. I sent a follow up letter but it too went unanswered. I then called Mr. Eyster and Mr. Geniella, his public affairs officer, and neither of them returned my calls
As a citizen and lifelong resident of Mendocino County and as a person who is proud to call myself a Mendocinian I am concerned about this program. It is not clear to me if the persons who are making such payments have been prosecuted or if the payments are made before any prosecution occurs or if the payments are to prevent the prosecution from occurring or if the payments are to buy the payor's freedom. If the payments are to purchase freedom I, as a concerned citizen, am interested to know what the price of freedom is in Mendocino County these days and whether a poor Mexican laborer can buy his freedom or if this program is available only to the wealthiest of miscreants.
I hear all kinds of rumors. I have spoken to local lawyers and to some law enforcement officers. Some know of this program some don't. I have spoken to a member of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors who told me the Board doesn't know the details of the program and don't know where the money goes or how it is tracked.
I don't know where the money goes, how it is tracked, how it is distributed, how the decisions to make a distribution is made, what statutory authority exists for the program or for the disbursal of the money received. I am concerned that an executive officer of our local government is exercising legislative authority in making the determinations about how to assess what appears to me to be a freedom tax, who is entitled to buy his freedom and who is not, when and to whom the money is to be disbursed and for what purposes. I am concerned that the citizens of Mendocino County seem to have no control over these sum, don't know how much is being collected or any of the other important details of the program. I am concerned that the citizens of Mendocino County don't seem to have any way of influencing this policy or the way the moneies derived from this policy are used.
I think there is a lot to worry about when it comes to this program. I may be wrong but I don't have enough information to know that. Therefore, on July 11. 2013 I submitted a California Public Records Act Request pursuant to Government Code Section 6260 et. seq. seeking information about this policy. (I have copied that request below.) If you agree with me I would like you to send a letter to the District Attorney telling him you want all of the details of this program made public. His address is David Eyester, District Attorney of Mendocino County, Courthouse, 100 North State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482.
Thomas F. Johnson
California Public Records Act Request / Government Code Section 6250 et seq
From: Thomas F. Johnson, PO Box 828. Redwood Valley CA 95470. 707-485-1196
TO: DAVID EYSTER, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, MENDOCINO COUNTY COURTHOUSE, UKIAH CA 95482
I would much prefer to have resolved my concerns by private conversations or correspondence with you but I sent the original request for this information months ago and I received no response. I then sent a follow up request and I received no response. Then I called and left a message on your telephone voice mail at your office and I received no response. I then called Mike Geniella and left a message on his voice mail and I received no response. Therefore,
Please accept this request for Public Records pursuant to Government Code Section 6250 et. seq. for the following public records:
As referred to in this request the phrase "the defined public offenses" shall mean any violation or alleged violation of any law relating to marijuana or any other illegal or legal drug, and shall include but shall not be limited to, the growing of, the cultivation of, the possession of, the possession for sale of, the transportation of, or the sale of or purchase of marijuana or any other illegal drug or legal drug in an illegal manner.
This request does not include a request for information about fines or penalties or court ordered restitution paid at the direction of the Superior Court as a consequence of a conviction for a public offense.
This request does include a request for the following:
1. All documents and records of payments during 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 paid by any person to the office of the District Attorney of Mendocino County when, at or about the time of the payment, such person was being investigated for a violation or an alleged violation of any of the defined public offenses and the payment was made by such person as a part of an agreement with the Mendocino County District Attorney's office, including but not limited to, a agreement not to prosecute the person , or an agreement for diversion from prosecution, or as a part of a pre-plea agreement, or as a part of a plea agreement or as a part of a post-plea agreement.
2. All documents and records of payments during 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 paid by any person to the office of the District Attorney of Mendocino County when, at or about the time of the payment, such person was being prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office for a violation or alleged violation of any of the defined public offenses and the payment was made by such person as a part of an agreement with the Mendocino County District Attorney's office, including but not limited to, an agreement not to continue the prosecution of the person , or an agreement for diversion from prosecution, or as a part of a pre-plea agreement, or as a part of a plea agreement or as a part of a post-plea agreement.
3. All documents and records of payments during 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and which were paid by any person to Mendocino County or any public agency other than the District Attorney's Office when, at or about the time of the payment, such person was being investigated for a violation of or an alleged violation of any of the defined public offenses and the payment was made by such person as a part of an agreement with the Mendocino County District Attorney's office, including but not limited to, a agreement not to prosecute the person , or an agreement for diversion from prosecution, or as a part of a pre-plea agreement, or as a part of a plea agreement or as a part of a post-plea agreement
4. All documents and records of such payments during 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 paid by any person to Mendocino County or any other public agency other than the District Attorney's Office when, at or about the time of the payment, such person was being prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office for a violation of or an alleged violation of any of the defined public offenses and the payment was made by such person as a part of an agreement with the Mendocino County District Attorney's office, including but not limited to, an agreement not to continue the prosecution of the person , or an agreement for diversion from prosecution, or as a part of a pre-plea agreement, or as a part of a plea agreement or as a part of a post-plea agreement.
5. All documents and records showing the deposit of those payments referred to above to a bank account and the name of the person or entity owning or controlling that account.
6. All documents and records showing disbursals of sums referred to above including but not limited to, the name of the person or entity to whom the disbursal was made, how much was so disbursed, when the disbursal was made, to which account the disbursal was deposited, for what purpose the disbursal was made.
7. All documents and records showing the policies and procedures of the Mendocino County District Attorney's office relating to the process by which the Mendocino County District Attorney's office obtains monetary payments from persons who have been accused of or any of the defined public offenses, but against whom a complaint or information or indictment has not been filed.
8. All documents and records showing the total amount collected by the District Attorney's Office from persons referred to in request #7
9. All documents and records showing the policies and procedures of the Mendocino County District Attorney's office relating to the process by which the Mendocino County District Attorney's office obtains monetary payments from persons who have been prosecuted for any of the defined public offenses, and against whom a complaint or information or indictment has been filed.
10. All documents and records showing the total amount collected by the District Attorney's Office from persons referred to in request #9 above.
11. All documents and records showing a) the names of people who have made such payments, b) the crimes they were being investigated for or charged with, c) disposition of their charges and d) the amounts they paid?
11. All documents and records relied upon by the District Attorney's Office as statutory authority, case law authority or other authority which authorizes the District Attorney's Office to collect such payments,
12. All documents and records relied upon by the District Attorney's Office as statutory authority, case law authority or other authority which authorizes the District Attorney's Office to disburse those funds.
13. All documents and records that show how the District Attorney's Office determines the amounts of such payments.
14. All documents and records that show how the District Attorney's Office determines who is eligible and who is not eligible to participate in such programs.
15. All documents and records that show how persons without the financial ability to make such payments can participate is such programs.
I look forward to your response in ten days as required by the Public Records Act.
Thomas F. Johnson, July 11, 2013
PRISONER HUNGER STRIKE CONTINUES AT MASSIVE SCALE,
CDCR Lashes Out, Governor Remains Silent, Activists Plan Statewide Rally
Press Contact: Isaac Ontiveros
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
Oakland—The CDCR declared the hunger strike of California prisoners to be a “mass disturbance” and a violation of state law on Thursday as hundreds across the state plan a large mobilization at Corcoran State Prison on Saturday, site of the one the state’s Security Housing Units (SHU) where prisoners are currently on strike. Advocates have expressed concern that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) reaction to the strike will be to escalate the punishment and threats against the prisoners’ peaceful protest. Prisoners and their supporters are urging the CDCR and Governor Jerry Brown to enter into honest and binding negation of their demands. Limited contact with hunger strikers has found them to be in high spirits and aware of the strikes scale and outside support. Earlier this week Pelican Bay strike spokes people stated: *We are grateful for your support of our peaceful protest against the state-sanctioned torture that happens not only here at Pelican Bay but in prisons everywhere. We have taken up this hunger strike and work stoppage, which has included 30,000 prisoners in California so far, not only to improve our own conditions but also an act of solidarity with all prisoners and oppressed people around the world.* “The prisoners are fighting for a restoration of their human rights by demanding an end to prolonged isolation, an end to group punishment, and the draconian policies that land them in isolation with little hope of getting out—along with access to programs and adequate food. “ Says Kamau Walton of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition. “These are the most basic demands and yet the CDCR continues to make threats. This is the response from a prison system that is on notice from the federal courts for an unconstitutional level of crowding and for inadequate medical care, a system that is now being investigated for sterilizing women prisoners against their will. Change is inevitable, the question is whether the CDCR and governor are going to prolong needless suffering.” CDCR has recognized 12,500 prisoners as hunger strikers. While this number is lower than those reported earlier in the week, many have noted more prisoners are taking action than in 2011, and are prepared to risk retribution for maintaining their protest. “People aren’t buying the vilification of the strikers,” says Dolores Canales, of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, whose son is on strike in the Pelican Bay SHU. “These same prisoners have also called for an end to hostilities among racial groups inside. They are also inspiring powerful activism outside the prisons. The strikers recognize that their unity will lead to successfully challenging their conditions. This unity, too, is feared by Gov. Brown and the CDCR.” The strike has received widespread international news coverage, with both the LA Times and the San Francisco Chronicle printing editorials critical of the CDCR. Assembly member Tom Ammiano, chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, stated on Wednesday: “I join the protesters in urging prison officials to make more progress in establishing fair and humane policies in the prisons.” Governor Jerry Brown has remained completely silent on the issue. *The Corcoran Rally will begin at 3pm on Saturday afternoon. Loved ones of prisoners, advocates, lawyers, and former prisoners will be available for interviews throughout the day.
For more information visit: www.prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com
LETTER OF THE DAY.
DAVID BELDEN WRITES: “About the hunger strike at prisons, it has long been recognized that extensive solitary confinement is as destructive to a human being as many types of physical torture, and in some cases more so. Keron Fletcher, a former British military psychiatrist who was on the receiving team for many hostages returned to the UK after solitary confinement and who followed them for years afterward, said that most survived their ordeal, though relationships, marriages and careers were often lost, but none saw solitary confinement as anything less than torture. So, if we call it torture when foreigners do it, please give it its proper name when Americans do it to Americans. The situation is even worse than this: It is primarily Americans of color who are suffering this torture.”
ON JULY 6, we posted a note from John Sakowicz of Ukiah which read: “The City of Ukiah has noticed a Special Meeting on July 10, which will be a closed session with City Manager Jane Chambers and all department heads, presumably to talk about labor contract negotiations. Let us hope this will be the time that the City Council begins to deal with its $1 million structural deficit by cutting some of the 18 positions that were funded, in whole or in part, by the now-dissolved RDA.”
ON JULY 11, Ukiah City Councilman Doug Crane responded: “John, the closed session meeting was not with the department heads. It was with the city's labor negotiator about the process, progress to date and instructions to proceed with the department heads bargaining unit. It was precisely about the Council expectation and instructions to the City labor negotiator to achieve the labor cost reductions that has so far been agreed to by the City manager. The reason for the labor cost reductions is to end general fund deficit spending. Labor cost approximate 70% of the general fund expenditures. The discussion of positions continues but is not part of the labor negotiations. I believe you sincerely want to help but going off half cocked does not help. Doug.”
At the Ukiah City Council meeting on Wednesday, July 3, the Council responded to the Grand Jury report on capping the Vichy Springs landfill (agenda item 13-f). At that time, I heard City Public Works Director, Tim Eriksen, repeatedly say time and time again that he wished he didn't have to cap the landfill site. He talked about seeking waivers from CalRecycle [formerly the California Waste Management Board-Ed]. He said he didn't want to finally close the landfill by capping it, even though the landfill has been not been accepting refuse for 12 years.
Ericson's insistent plea for a waiver at the meeting was echoed by City Councilmember Mari Rodin.
And now, in a front page story in the Ukiah Daily Journal on Friday, July 12, City Manager Jane Chambers has joined the chorus for not finally closing and capping the Vichy Springs landfill.
But let's be clear. The City of Ukiah is out of compliance with state law, and it faces big fines and penalties. The Vichy Springs site was opened in 1954 and has not accepted refuse since September in 2001. However, it has not been permanently closed. It has not been capped. This is a violation of State regulations, Title 27, California Code of Regulations §21110-Time Frame for Closure.
Let's be crystal clear about something else. The CalRecycle regulation requires permanent closure of the site within two years. CalRecycle, LEA (the local enforcement agency acting for CEQA), and the Water Board are all agencies charged with enforcement procedures and the authority to assess penalties, according to Public Resources Codes §45000 and §45023.
Making matters worse, the landfill sits on a web of earthquake faults and in a watershed area. The toxins locked inside the landfill could pop open like a pus explosion in an infected abscess at any given time. The Vichy Springs landfill, incidentally, is built into a hillside, which is not the most stable geology for a landfill. So, let's pray we don't get even a small earthquake tremor in the Vichy Springs area.
My problem with Eriksen, Rodin, and Chambers?
I would like to see the cash balance in the trust fund the City of Ukiah has set up used for finally closing the landfill.
I am beginning to suspect the money isn't all there.
In fact, I would like to see the cash balances in all of the City's enterprise funds. In other cities, these enterprise funds include: landfill maintenance special fund, municipal solid waste-landfill closure and post-closure trust fund, public utilities trust funds (electric, water, and sewer), building and safety enterprise fund, state sales tax set aside fund, affordable housing trust fund, health insurance fund, transportation trust fund, economic development fund, municipal services district fund, private-purpose trust fund, etc.
I would even go further.
If I were on the Ukiah City Council, I would very much like to undertake a total review of the City's enterprise accounting system. This would include: water and sewer rate studies, an indirect cost analysis, a review of GASB 34 fixed assets, a review of the enterprise fund accounting systems, and a review of systems development charges (impact fees).
I have lost faith in the City of Ukiah.
Sincerely, John Sakowicz, Ukiah
HANA DAHL, a young filmmaker from Mill Valley, writes: “Hello! Our Boontling video is finished and thought you might want to spread the word in Boonville. Wes Smoot and Rod DeWitt are the main interviews.