Mendocino County Today: September 14, 2013
by AVA News Service, September 14, 2013
IN ANOTHER ORPHIC announcement wafting out of the Mendocino County Superior Court this week, The Nine Robes inform us that their budget for fiscal year 2013-14 is a mere $7 million, give or take a few thou, to run its “countywide operations.”
THOSE “COUNTYWIDE OPERATIONS” consist of the County Courthouse in Ukiah and its unwanted stepchild, Ten Mile Court in Fort Bragg, a kind of judicial Siberia where The Robes sequester their corrupt (Lehan) and incompetent (Brennan) judges.
LAST NOVEMBER, The Robes claimed they lacked the funding for jury trials, felony hearings, hearings involving in-custody defendants or juvenile matters at Ten Mile. When the Coast rose up in mass complaint, The Robes suddenly found the money to fully operate Ten Mile, and we learn this week that the Court 2013-14 budget contains a $1.2 million “carryover” from this fiscal year, indicating they had the money and then some for Ten Mile all along.
THE PRESS RELEASE concludes with this characteristically arrogant and utterly false paragraph: “Public comments on the budget are invited, but to be considered, they must be submitted by 4pm Tuesday (Sept. 17). Comments can be e-mailed to email@example.com, or sent by mail to Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino, Attention: Court Administration, 100 N. State St., Ukiah, CA 95482.” IN OTHER WORDS, you've got a week to get your comments in, assuming you even hear that comment is being solicited, and the odds of The Court paying the slightest attention to your remarks, let alone responding to them, are nil.
WE SENT IN THESE SUGGESTIONS: “For the first time in this century follow up with threats of legal action those Grand Jury reports that confirm mis and malfeasance in office; do not build a new courthouse for yourselves, especially one that serves only you but contains no space for other court-related functions; do not build a new courthouse at all but spend the $200-plus millions on a revamp of the Palace Hotel as additional court space, thus preserving, at least in outer contours, the sole remaining structure of any size in the Ukiah Valley that represents even a semblance of architectural grace; cut your salaries in half by donating the other half to a County Farm for habitual drunks and the many other chronic dependents you cynically continue to run through the legal system; re-assess your own numbers to find that we really need, at most, four full-time superior court judges while the rest of you hit the road for the even more lucrative job as ‘visiting judge,’ as some 30 of your cynical colleagues presently do.”
the Mendocino Coast songwriter and astrologist,
Her best known song was a lament for the village of Mendocino,
as the town went over from a sleepy artist's colony
to the turbo-charged industrial tourism it's know for today.
ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2013 at 7:47am the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Correctional Staff assigned to work Building One of the Mendocino County Adult Detention Facility entered the cell of an unresponsive male inmate. Deputies found 65-year-old Scott Joseph Smith unconscious and not breathing. Jail medical staff arrived a short time later and determined that Smith was deceased. Smith was housed with three other occupants of the cell. He had been housed at the facility since February 14, 2013 and was facing the charges of failure to appear and assault on a peace officer. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office will conduct a thorough death investigation pursuant to standard policy and procedure.
ON AUGUST 29, 2013 Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Deputies were dispatched to a burglary at a construction project located at the Salmon Creek Bridge at mile marker 42.50 on North Highway 1 in Albion, California. During that investigation it was learned that several construction tools and construction equipment were stolen from locked storage containers. At that time Deputies had no investigative leads as to who was responsible for the burglary. On September 11 at about 4:20pm, Deputies observed a black Honda Del Sol traveling on Simpson Lane.
Deputies had recently received information that this vehicle and its believed to be owner, Richard Olstad, was a suspect to recently reported burglaries in the Fort Bragg area. Deputies knew Olstad was on active probation with a searchable term. After observing Deputies behind him, Olstad made a successful attempt to eluded Deputies. Olstad’s vehicle was located a short time later at a residence in the 31000 block of Turner Road. Deputies ultimately made contact with Olstad at the location. Deputies subsequently conducted a search of Olstad’s vehicle and discovered that he was in possession of multiple construction tools believed to be property stolen from the above construction project. Those items were later identified by the victim as property stolen from that construction site. During questioning Deputies learned Olstad had obtained the property from another individual and that Olstad knew the property was stolen. Olstad was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked for possession of stolen property. Olstad was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2013 at about 7:15pm Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Deputies were dispatched to the 11800 block of Hungry Hollow Road in Philo regarding a neighbor dispute. The reporting party informed Deputies that Brandon Johnson had possibly shot another neighbor's dog the previous day. The reporting party also advised Johnson was in the roadway near his residence causing a disturbance by playing loud music and shouting obscenities. Deputies went to Johnson's residence and as they approached the driveway they could hear him shouting obscenities. The Deputies observed an unoccupied pickup truck parked at the driveway entrance of Johnson's property. Deputies identified themselves and shouted at Johnson to meet with them at the base of the driveway near the unoccupied truck. Johnson came running towards them and Deputies observed he was holding a metal object in his hand. When Johnson came within approximately 15 feet they noticed Johnson was holding a pistol in his right hand. The Deputies took cover and withdrew their sidearms for protection. Johnson stopped and pointed the weapon in the direction of the Deputies for a brief moment then tossed the weapon into the bed of the unoccupied truck. Deputies quickly took Johnson into custody for the listed charges without an exchange of any gunfire. Deputies learned Johnson was prohibited from possessing firearms due to past criminal conviction as well as a current domestic violence restraining order issued against him. Johnson was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for assault with a deadly weapon, and knowing possession of a firearm while prohibited to have one where he was to be held in lieu of $200,000 bail.
SAFEGUARDS? WHAT SAFEGUARDS?
All the news about Syria and the chemical warfare issue have pushed news about Edward Snowden to the back burner. A new revelation about his documents published in the Guardian Newspaper did not get any play in the US media but should be of concern to Americans. The newspaper published in full a “Memorandum of Understanding” between the NSA and Israel which allows the NSA to share with Israel raw intelligence on phone calls and e-mails of American citizens. The MOU places no legally binding limits on the use of data by the Israelis. Of course, the NSA says there are safeguards to protest the privacy of Americans. However, there are no safeguards in the MOU and does any one believe the assurances of the NSA? Apparently the FISA Court has not been aware of this agreement. Also, it is not clear to what extent President Obama was involved. Did he give his blessing to the agreement? Once again our rights are being willfully violated by the NSA and apparently the Adminstration.
In peace, James G. Updegraff, Sacramento
BASEBALL PLAYERS HAVE, AS A GROUP, REMARKABLE EYESIGHT. The ophthalmologist Louis Rosenbaum tested close to 400 major- and minor-league baseball players over four years and found an average visual acuity of about 20/13; that is, the typical professional baseball player can see at 20 feet what the rest of us can see at 13 feet. When Rosenbaum looked at the Los Angeles Dodgers, he found that half had 20/10 vision and a small number fell below 20/9, “flirting with the theoretical limit of the human eye,” as Epstein points out. The ability to consistently hit a baseball thrown at speeds approaching 100mph, with a baffling array of spins and curves, requires the kind of eyesight commonly found in only a tiny fraction of the general population. Eyesight can be improved — in some cases dramatically — through laser surgery or implantable lenses. Should a promising young baseball player cursed with normal vision be allowed to get that kind of corrective surgery? In this instance, Major League Baseball says yes. Major League Baseball also permits pitchers to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow of their throwing arm with a tendon taken from a cadaver or elsewhere in the athlete’s body (aka Tommy John surgery). Tendon-replacement surgery is similar to laser surgery: it turns the athlete into an improved version of his natural self. When it comes to drugs Major League Baseball — like most sports — draws the line. An athlete cannot use a drug to become an improved version of his natural self, even if the drug is used in doses that are not harmful, and is something that — like testosterone — is no more than a copy of a naturally occurring hormone available by prescription to anyone, virtually anywhere in the world. Baseball is in the middle of one of its periodic doping scandals, centering on one of the game’s best players, Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez is among the most disliked players of his generation. He tried to recover from injury and extend his career through illicit means. (He has appealed his recent suspension, which was based on these allegations.) It is hard to think about Rodriguez, however, and not think about Tommy John, who, in 1974, was the first player to trade in his ulnar collateral ligament for an improved version. John used modern medicine to recover from injury and extend his career. He won 164 games after his transformation, far more than he did before science intervened. He had one of the longest careers in baseball history, retiring at the age of 46. His bionic arm enabled him to win at least 20 games a season, the benchmark of pitching excellence. People loved Tommy John. Maybe Alex Rodiguez looks at Tommy John — and at the fact that at least a third of current major-league pitchers have had the same surgery — and is genuinely baffled about why baseball has drawn a bright moral line between the performance-enhancing products of modern endocrinology and those offered by orthopedics. — Malcolm Gladwell, “Man & Superman”
STATEMENT OF THE DAY: An American friend who knows Washington well told us recently that “everybody” there knows that, as far as the drive to war with Syria is concerned, it is Israel that directs US policy. Why then, we replied, don’t opponents of war say it out loud, since, if the American public knew that, support for the war would collapse? Of course, we knew the answer to that question. They are afraid to say all they know, because if you blame the pro-Israel lobby, you are branded an anti-Semite in the media and your career is destroyed. One who had that experience is James Abourezk, former Senator from South Dakota, who has testified: “I can tell you from personal experience that, at least in the Congress, the support Israel has in that body is based completely on political fear — fear of defeat by anyone who does not do what Israel wants done. I can also tell you that very few members of Congress — at least when I served there — have any affection for Israel or for its lobby. What they have is contempt, but it is silenced by fear of being found out exactly how they feel. I’ve heard too many cloakroom conversations in which members of the Senate will voice their bitter feelings about how they’re pushed around by the lobby to think otherwise. In private one hears the dislike of Israel and the tactics of the lobby, but not one of them is willing to risk the lobby’s animosity by making their feelings public.”
Abourezk added: “The only exceptions to that rule are the feelings of Jewish members, who, I believe, are sincere in their efforts to keep US money flowing to Israel. But that minority does not a US imperial policy make.” — Jean Bricmont / Diana Johnstone, “The People Against the 800 Pound Gorilla” (CounterPunch)
A READER WRITES: Will Parish happens to be a great writer and a fairly tireless researcher, but seemingly incapable of objectivity when it comes to analyzing the material he has gathered, particularly if it does not line up with the story he wants to write. No doubt the Willits Bypass is a huge boondoggle, in the way that all big government mega projects are. Seriously, though, aren't you getting just a little tired of the patented (and thoroughly futile) “look at me first” style of opposition to the Willits bypass? The only noticeable effect is to squander additional public funds and further divide the community. If Bob Whitney and the Drells give a bleep about the environment, why aren't they looking into the sewer plant that is leaking a million gallons or so of wastewater into the environment? The sewer ponds leak like a sieve. Right into the high water table of Little Lake Valley.
IT LOOKS LIKE the County did issue the permit for the old mill site in error, but what is the effect of the “victory” won by the Willits Environmental Center and Keep The Code? Instead of bringing the dirt from about a mile away, it is being brought from the south end of the project, adding way more truck miles, way more wear and tear on city streets, way more trucking expense, etcetera. But wait — it gets better. Because there is doubt about the ability to get approval for the mill site in time for next construction season, the contractor will be forced to clear cut seven acres of Oil Well Hill, even without knowing they will need it. So either the seven acres will get clear cut and the extraction not take place, or we will get both the clear cut and the extraction, and more truck miles traveled and more green house gases, etcetera. A few more victories for the environment like that and we will be in really great shape.
GOOD NIGHT, AMERICA — Greetings of the southwest evening, Spent today with Occupy Austin singing protest songs inside the rotunda of the Texas state capitol building, serenading the governor's office under the watchful gaze of security personnel, and a lot of bemused tourists. Sent some emails to NOLA/Mississippi contacts, but no answers. Therefore, the future is unknown, not sure what will happen beyond this week, not excited about returning to California homeless and with no particular reason to be there, no responses from Washington DC at all, watching thoughts arise and dissipate, watching thoughts arise and dissipate, watching thoughts arise and dissipate. Good night America — Craig Louis Stehr, September 12, 2013.