Mendocino County Today: September 20, 2013
by AVA News Service, September 19, 2013
PETER RICHARDSON has settled his pot case. The cops and the DA claimed that Richardson was growing hot house dope for sale. Richardson said he simply needed lots and lots of weed to beat back his prostate cancer. The well-known inland contractor whose Rainbow Construction Company has built several Ukiah-area public structures, has agreed he'll do 90 days on home detention, his probation on a prior pot conviction will be reinstated, the felony charges dropped, and he won't get his confiscated weed back.
ON AUGUST 31ST, we wrote: “A petition is circulating in support of popular Fort Bragg Senior Center director Charles Bush, which is odd because Bush is currently the director and no one among the actual Seniors is unhappy with him. So, who’s unhappy with him? A couple of meddling board members and a paid staffer who don’t know to let well enough alone.”
LAST NIGHT (Wednesday, September 18th), Bush was fired on a 4-3 vote of the Senior Center board.
WE FOUND these minutes from the August 2nd meeting of the Senior board:
“Guests: John Whatley (former Board President). … Upon calling the meeting to order, the President asked if any of the guests wished to address the Board. John Whatley said he wanted to pay tribute to Charles Bush because when he took over four years ago the Grand Jury was studying the Center and morale was low. That has changed dramatically. Board Members in Attendance: Kathleen Johnson, President; Jim Graham, Vice President; Syd Balows; Robert Bushansky; Sandra Donato; Gin Kremen; Ronalie Silveira; and Lizette Weiss. Absent: Lonne Mitchell, who was traveling out of the country. Staff: Charles Bush and Janice Thomaides. Janice reported that the Center was only $10,004 in the red mainly because of fund raising activities and gains in our Royal Alliance investments. An executive session was called to briefly discuss the Executive Director's written response to his evaluation. At the conclusion of this discussion the regular meeting resumed and the Board voted to accept the memo dated August 2, 2013.”
EXCUSE ME, OFFICER, BUT WHAT EXACTLY WAS I DOING WRONG? Will Parrish writes:
I got bailed out of jail Wednesday night at about 10:30pm. At around 10am yesterday, I was on private property, scrawling notes for an AVA story about the tree sitter extraction (i.e., the CHP's padding of their officer retirement funds). Four CHP officers rushed across Highway 101, got on the other side of the fence, and arrested me for supposedly violating my conditional probation to stay away from the Bypass construction zone. I was detained in the back of Officer Davis's van for about four hours in Willits, then held in a holding cell for about seven hours before getting slowly processed out of the jail. The two tree sitters were bailed out this morning by someone else.”
MENDOCINO COUNTY WORKERS VOTE OVERWHELMINGLY TO AUTHORIZE A STRIKE
(Posted by SEIU 1021 on September 19, 2013)
Ukiah – After enduring months of bad faith bargaining, stall tactics and lack of transparency in negotiations, Mendocino County workers this week voted 90% in favor of going on strike.
After three days of casting ballots, county employees tallied their vote Wednesday night. Workers say the county has not moved off its original position and continues to “surface bargain.” There are about 700 employees in SEIU 1021′s bargaining unit.
In addition to continuing recession-era cuts, county administrators are recommending the Board of Supervisors take an additional 3-5% increase to healthcare premiums from workers. Making matters worse, the county won’t bargain the changes with employees, which violates state labor laws.
“Until we challenged them at last Thursday’s bargaining session they had no intention of ever discussing changes in benefits,” said Dave Eberly, SEIU 1021’s Chapter President of Mendocino County. “This goes hand in hand with their lack of financial transparency with the public.”
County employees have given back more than $7 million, lost 10% of their take-home pay and this year took on a 15% increase in healthcare premiums. Now the county is demanding more cuts, even though there is a surplus and many county positions are paid for through federal funding.
Last year alone, the County did not accept $2.5 million in federal funds for social services programs that would have benefitted Mendocino residents and stimulated local economic growth.
With wages declining and the cost of living continuing to rise, Mendocino County workers are hardly able to pay for gas to get to work, food for their families and utilities to keep the lights on, let alone help the economy grow. The county has the means agree to a fair contract with county workers to reverse the cuts that are hampering our region’s economy.
“True leadership would include open dialogue and a plan that includes decent wages and affordable healthcare for workers,” Eberly said. “It is clear the county is playing a financial shell game. It’s time to stand up as a community to put people first.”
I have had the privilege recently to take advantage of our excellent county bus service, Mendocino Transit Authority. There is a community of our neighbors that ride regularly, and for many, it is their sole means of transportation: students and the elderly, and the financially- and physically-constrained, depend on our buses for college classes, the library, doctor appointments, social services, visiting friends, and community involvement.
The drivers are unfailingly polite and helpful, the buses consistently clean. Racks for bicycles, secure mechanized ramps and floor clamps for wheelchairs, are provided.
I have not ridden a bus since high school, but I moved to Redwood Valley and now try to take the bus as often as possible into Ukiah and back for my weekday commutes. The 20-minute walk each way is healthy, and the 20-minute ride each way is great for reading and commiseration...
As climate change and fuel prices inevitably force us back to the socialized transportation of buses and trains, and our air, water, and bodies become filled with the inescapable pollution of chemicals, GMOs and radiation, we humans will look back in sadness and wonder at the wanton destruction of our natural world…
(from Deward Drollinger)
Man, the God, Determindly
Rushes On With The
Of Every Bodies World,
As The Frogs Croak In Horror.
Dam the River!
Fall the Tree!
Frogs Know What I Mean.
Super Market Swamps!
Frogs Know What I Mean.
One Grey Skeleton World,
One Global Concrete
One Empty Windless World
Frogs Know What I Mean…
Dave Smith, Redwood Valley
DEAR MR. WILLIAMSON,
Thank you for the attaboy and criticism (“Hell’s Canyon and Cone Peak”). It’s good to know there are other travelers and map freaks out there. Yet there’s a uniquely American vocabulary used to describe the topography and agreed upon standards of measure. The depths of canyons are measured the same way as the height of mountains: from base to summit. By that standard, LA County’s San Gabriel Mountains., Riverside’s San Jacintos and San Berdo’s San Berdos are all taller than Colorado’s famed Front Range. Also “Hell’s Canyon” is the deepest canyon in North America.
You mention how the drop from Mt. Whitney to the town of Independence is 11,000 feet. That’s true enough but Owens Valley is not a canyon but a valley. Canyons come in just two shapes: V and U-shaped, the latter being V-shaped canyons that have been carved into U-shapes by floods or glaciers. Although it’s very deep and has a huge collection of towering vertical walls, Yosemite Valley’s spacious bottomlands make it a valley.
It’s true that, from where I was standing on Oregon’s Summit Ridge, the Snake River wasn’t 8,000-foot below me. I wanted to point out the depth of the canyon more than pinpoint my exact location. Idaho’s 7-Devils were just 17 miles away — seemingly close enough to throw a rock at — and I’d once caught the view of the canyon from atop (minus a hair) She Devil peak, which is just a hair below its neighbor He Devil, the tallest of the bunch at 9,393 feet. From there it’s a straight shot down and down to the river that’s hidden in the inscrutable depths the same as from the Oregon side. From He Devil the river is 7,995 feet below, though I rounded it off to “8,000.”
Still, in the name of brevity, I suppose I committed the sin of omission. I’ll be more careful in the future.
Happy Trails, Bruce Patterson, Prineville, Oregon.
THIS ONE didn't make sense from the day Patrick Guzman's Cadillac was found with the motor running on the bluffs north of Westport not far from San Juan Creek. That was Monday, Labor Day, September 2nd at 1:30pm. A passerby who'd seen the vehicle at the same spot, also with its motor running earlier in the day alerted the CHP that it was still there with the motor still running.
GUZMAN, 70, of Fort Bragg, wasn't found until Sunday, September 8th, and may not have been found at all if a reporter from the Fort Bragg Advocate, Tony Reed, on Saturday, September 7th, hadn't been poking around the area of Guzman's disappearance when, through his camera's zoom lens, Reed spotted a gun and a shoe over the side of the bluffs. A search team from the Westport Volunteer Fire Department recovered Guzman's remains the next day. An aerial search had been unable to locate the body because it had landed from above in such a way to make it nearly invisible.
THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT had released a public speculation that Guzman had committed suicide. Guzman's family immediately denounced that finding. They insist that Guzman was not suicidal. On Tuesday (17 September), Sheriff's Department Captain Greg Van Patten said there was a gunshot wound to the dead man's ribcage, and that the wound had been inflicted by the odd weapon found at the scene — a Taurus five-shot revolver, which can fire both .45 caliber bullets as well as shotgun rounds. The gun was found with three live, chambered .45 bullets and two chambered shotgun rounds, one of them expended.
THE WOUND to Guzman's ribcage matched the .410 shells found in the gun. Suicides ordinarily don't shoot themselves in the torso unless they're aiming for the heart, and no suicide note was found at the scene. Van Patten said toxicology and blood alcohol tests are pending, along with tests to determine if the gun was indeed fired by Guzman. Van Patten told the Advocate, “We have nothing to suggest a second person was there.” Van Patten also told the Advocate, that “the autopsy results suggest that the gunshot may not have ended his life, but rather, the fall down the steep, rocky bank to the shoreline.”
THE FOLLOWING is from the AVA of July 9, 2003 about another death in the same place as Guzman's peculiar end. It was called…
“Nothing Sadder Than A Young Person Dying For No Reason”
by Bruce Anderson
Sheriff’s News Release, June 30, 2003. 187PC Murder:
“On August 1, 1987, the body of Harlan Tod Sutherland, 24, of Berkeley, was found on the beach near Juan Creek, Westport, California. It was initially thought that Sutherland, who was doing Master’s degree work in Geology, was an accident victim who fell from the cliffs. During the autopsy, however, it was learned that Sutherland had been shot in the head. It was also learned that Sutherland had been the victim of theft of his personal property. Numerous witnesses were interviewed over the years but none supplied any information regarding any suspects in this case. It was later determined that the suspect was possibly one Robert Sutton. Sutton died while in custody in March of 1991 while incarcerated for an unrelated case. Witnesses were re-interviewed and admitted to knowing that Sutton was responsible for robbing and murdering the victim, Sutherland. Based on the witness statements and the totality of the evidence, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office believes Sutton was responsible for the death of Harlan Tod Sutherland. — Sergeant Rick Wagner
* * *
Tod Sutherlund, 24, was shot and killed on a sliver of beach near Juan Creek, north of Westport. His body was found on August 1st, 1987. Sutherlund, a graduate student in geology, was a nice looking, scholarly young man who’d driven up to Mendocino County from Berkeley to study rock formations. He had no enemies, no criminal history and no secret criminal inclinations or associations. His murder stayed with everyone who read about it because it seemed so senseless, and he was so young and so promising.
There had been other unsolved murders north of Westport that year, but the other victims were known to run with the murderous and the ruthless, not that any of them warranted their lonely fates, but awful as they were, these deaths only confirmed what every cop in the county knows and the rest of us should know, which is that there are people among us who will kill over an unpaid dope bill, and a few who will kill for your camera or merely for saying hello to the wrong woman.
There’s still something eerily desolate about Juan Creek, even when the sun is shining and Highway One is humming with traffic. You never see anybody there. Even the old adobe road house east of the highway and perennially vacant and for sale somehow manages to look malignant. Juan Creek feels like a place where bad things can happen. And that year bad things did happen, the worst being the death of this young man who died simply because he happened to be there. A target of opportunity for pure evil.
The Sutherlund murder mystified the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department and saddened everyone else. From all appearances it was an utterly senseless crime, a case of a nice young man being in the wrong place at the ultimately wrong time who seemed to have been murdered for the camera he carried. It was missing, anyway. There was speculation that the county’s lethal hard drug underground did it, but the drug enforcers aren’t psycho killers; they’re bill collectors for entrepreneurs. The drug people kill for reasons consistent with their free enterprise assumptions — pay or die. They wouldn’t have had any interest in a young geologist from Berkeley, and they don’t shoot people for their cameras.
Nobody saw it happen, the police assumed, because they couldn’t find anybody who said they saw it happen, and nobody came forward to say they knew who might have done it. Someone had simply walked up to the young man and shot him in the back of his head, and he fell onto a ribbon of sand that disappears when the tide comes in, just below Highway One.
The bewildering murder almost wasn’t even a crime because the Fort Bragg doctor who did the autopsy had failed to notice the bullet hole hidden beneath Sutherland’s thick head of hair. The doctor thought the young man had somehow fallen from the cliff-like rock face he was studying and drowned; Tod’s corpse had been so thoroughly cleansed by hours of rinsing surf that there was no visible cause of death.
A detective, perhaps more conscientious and certainly much more observant than the medical man, spotted the bullet hole in Sutherlund’s otherwise unaltered head. The bullet had gone in but hadn’t come out; all that showed was a tiny crease through which the tiny piece of lead had made its killing way.
Young Sutherlund’s murder affected many people who didn’t know him, not only because he died for no reason, but because so many of us were touched by his grieving parents who spent weeks, months and then years in all parts of vast Mendocino County, posting fliers and stopping to talk to people who might know something, anything, about how their handsome son had died. Tod was their only child and here they were, a middle aged Berkeley couple — decent, genteel people from a comfortable, orderly world where people aren’t murdered, let alone murdered for a camera, or for saying hello to the young woman and her child camping nearby, or merely because some twisted soul felt like killing someone. The Sutherlunds had lost everything when they lost their golden, hopeful son; when he died a big part of them died too. Everyone who met the Sutherlunds wanted to help, wanted somehow to make their loss a little easier by doing something, anything that might explain it, make it a little less unbearable.
This was such a memorably sad crime that when the terse press release from the Sheriff’s Department appeared two weeks ago announcing that the man who’d shot Sutherlund to death was now known, it wasn’t surprising that people not only remembered the case, they silently applauded the Sheriff’s Department for staying on it all these years.
The cops had worked the case hard at the time but had always come up empty. They’d talked to a young woman who’d been seen not far from where Sutherlund had been innocently spelunking among the rocks at the surf line, but the woman, who’d been camping with her young child — emphatically, perhaps fearfully, denied having seen the victim or anything possibly related to him.
A few months after the murder that summer of 1987, I took a call from a man who said he was pretty sure he knew what happened. He wouldn’t tell me who he was, but he didn’t sound frightened. He just didn’t want to get involved. Or maybe he was scared because he was telling me about a scary man. The caller said he didn’t know for a fact that his suspect, who he didn’t name, had shot Sutherlund but he thought if I mentioned his suspicions in my newspaper the cops might be inspired to look at a certain someone over in Covelo. Not wanting to discourage my informant, and wanting badly to get Sutherlund’s killer, I didn’t tell him that I doubted the police read my paper because it contained opinion so foreign to them that they found the whole of it offensive. I still don’t know if the local cops give it a weekly look, but I know the FBI reads it because an agent told me he read it every week “and enjoy the hell of it.” I was and am nonplused by that reaction.
The caller told me that there was an attractive young mother of a small child who worked at a Covelo market he frequented. He was pretty sure she was divorced or separated from the child’s father because the man she lived with “wasn’t a dad type of guy.” He was, the caller said, insanely jealous of this lady, and he was a very violent man who’d gotten into fist fights with men he thought were flirting with his love interest at the checkout stand. “He’s crazy, mean and he’s a killer,” the caller said, apparently unaware he’d probably just described about a quarter of the county’s male population, and half of Covelo’s.
The caller went on to say that he knew the young woman took her child over to the Mendocino Coast every summer for a respite from Covelo’s long, hot days and, undoubtedly, a respite from her oppressive companion. She and the child camped on the beach “up around Westport, and I’ll bet that bastard followed them over there, saw her talking to that kid on the beach and walked up and shot the boy to death.”
The man knew more than he was saying, I thought, but when I asked him for more he said that was it, that was all he knew, but he said as soon as he read the Press Democrat account of the murder with its mention of a young woman and a child who’d “been seen in the area” when Sutherlund was shot, the caller said he’d “had this feeling” that Sutherland’s summary execution had its origins in Covelo.
I called the Sheriff’s Department. A detective who was soon to retire came on the line. I told him what I’d been told. Months passed. Nothing from the Sheriff’s Department, nothing in any of the other county papers. But everywhere you looked, it seemed, the young man’s crushed parents had put up a small poster with their son’s picture on it pleading for information about his death. And then even they went away, home to Berkeley. Not that the Sutherlunds ever gave up; there was simply nothing more to be known because no one called them, no one called the police, no one called any of the county’s newspapers.
Then, just last week, after years of keeping their ears to the ground, the Sheriff’s Department, in a kind of prose whisper, modestly announced that they knew who murdered Tod Sutherlund.
“I can’t say it was 100% absolutely positive that this was our guy,” detective Kurt Smallcomb said last week, “but we’re 99.5% sure. Unfortunately, he died in prison several years ago so we’ll never be able to be 100% sure he was the guy.”
Smallcomb said that Sutherlund’s parents had called Ukiah every year to ask if there was anything new. “They’re not sure how to take this,” the detective commented. “I don’t think it’s what they thought it would turn out to be.”
Robert Sutton. Killer. The man who the cops are 99.5% certain murdered Tod Sutherlund at Juan Creek on that summer day in August of 1987.
Sutton had a long and well documented history of violence. Originally from Los Angeles, he was described as “an animal” by people who knew him. The Animal roamed Mendocino County stealing from campgrounds, growing pot, breaking into cars. His specialty seemed to be ripping off vacationers and campers, none of whom, fortunately for them, caught him in the act.
Smallcomb confirmed that it seems as if there was a woman involved in Sutherlund’s sudden death, not as a co-conspirator with the killer but as the object of the killer’s deranged affections.
“Remember,” Smallcomb reminded me “in about a six month period in ‘87 we had three homicides on the north coast. All north of Mendocino. People were saying there was a connection. We’d hear something but every time we just missed the person we thought might know something about the Sutherlund case. One of the witnesses resurfaced a few years after the murder, dropped a little info on us and then vanished. We were able to track that witness but we could never get an exact location for her, but we knew Sutton had died in 1991. [Of AIDS.] Then, last fall, we found her. Early on we’d known about her but she was strung out at the time and nobody gave her much credence. But then she straightened out her life and we were able to corroborate another piece of the evidence and it all made sense.”
Sutton was not linked to the other two murders in the Sutherlund period, Smallcomb said. One was attributed to “a dope rip off that went bad.” The other was of a guy who was associated with bad people. “Unfortunately,” the detective added, “one of our suspects in that case is somewhere in Thailand, we think. We don’t know if we’ll ever get him back. But Sutherland was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could have been anybody if this bad guy was around. I can’t take personal credit here,” Smallcomb concluded. “My guys just went out and did a lot of leg work that finally paid off; it was a bad one. I hope the kid’s parents can finally get some peace.”
DEAR FREE SPEECH RADIO NEWS LISTENERS,
We write to you with some extremely sad news. Last Friday, FSRN's Board of Directors issued a two-week layoff notice to all staff, with our last daily program scheduled for Friday, September 27th. Our Board took this action because as of September 13th, FSRN had $32,000 in the bank. We project that in order to close up shop and meet our financial and legal responsibilities, it will cost $29,000. FSRN is currently carrying just over $200,000 in accounts receivable. For much of the year, our major funder Pacifica has not been able to pay us and its past-due balance to FSRN is about $198,000. Many of you have supported FSRN during our struggles to make ends meet. Over the years we have made significant cutbacks to respond to a shrinking budget and weathered several financial crises that nearly brought us to the brink of closure. Most recently, funds ran dangerously low this past Spring, but with your help, we raised more than $100,000 from more than 1300 people like you to keep FSRN on the air. Today, we once again find ourselves in crisis. For those of you unfamiliar with FSRN's operating costs and revenue, we'd like to share a few details. Your grassroots support has been vital to FSRN. Our production currently costs about $36,000 per month. Until recently, your dollars supplemented a $25,000 per month contract with our major donor, the Pacifica Foundation. But our current contract is for just $10,000 per month, which is not enough to sustain daily production at current levels. If we receive a payment from Pacifica, FSRN's Board will decide how the organization will proceed. Depending on the size of the payment, we may have several options. We are discussing the possibility of transforming FSRN into something new, more digitally-centered and financially sustainable, but still focused on bringing under-represented issues and voices about peace and social justice issues to a global audience. We are currently working hard to develop a sustainable business plan that will take FSRN into the next phase and we hope we can count on you for your support when the time is right. Together with hundreds of reporters in communities around the globe, we have brought you more than 3,400 programs and specials, featuring 20,000+ reporter headlines & features. On more than 100 stations across the US, you have heard stories documenting wrongdoing, repression and corruption, and highlighting the individuals, campaigns and movements that work everyday to bring about a more just and equitable society. We know this work has educated and inspired countless people, and contributed to a growing trend of media outlets that focus on news that serves the public interest. We are so grateful to all of our supporters, past and present, for all your contributions. We will keep you informed on FSRN's future and how you can play a role in any potential transformation. And if you know of any major donors who would be interested in investing in FSRN's future, please let us know. In solidarity, FSRN Staff & Steering Committee
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STAY IN TOUCH
DAN O’NEILL, of “Odd Bodkins” fame, informs us:
I'm going to be there. Of the five cartoonists in this show, I seem to be the only one vertical. If you're in the neighborhood…? I warn you. The Museum is deep in the cluster of Education temples. No parking on campus. The place is about two blocks into the campus. Google map your only chance. Hopefully yours, Dan.
THE COMMUNITY OF COMPTCHE has a unique story to tell. The number of professional and talented artists in this tiny town — which seems invisible on most maps — is quite disproportionately large. Though acknowledged far and wide for its diverse musical accomplishments, what of its many artists? Though some are famous, generally they are a shy and reclusive bunch, known mostly by friends and neighbors. That, however, has been changing. This year is the 7th Annual Comptche Art & Wine Event. Each year has brought increased attendance and attention to Comptche, a hamlet without its own dot on the map. Pouring local Mendocino wines and showing only Comptche Artists, this event is unique even by Mendocino standards. It is an Art and Wine fair with the feeling of a country ice cream social. Irresistible! A sculpture garden is an added attraction this year. So you can sip your Oppenlander al fresco in the Comptche sunshine. The Comptche Art & Wine Event is From 2 to 6 pm, Saturday September 28th. It gets crowded later in the day so get there early if you can.
BROWN APPOINTS BIG WATER LOBBYIST
as DWR chief deputy director
by Dan Bacher
The revolving door between corporate interests, water contractors and state government swung open once again on Wednesday, September 18 when Governor Jerry Brown appointed Laura King Moon of Woodland, a lobbyist for the state’s water exporters, as chief deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).
Moon has been a project manager for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan since 2011 while “on loan” from the State Water Contractors, a non-profit association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under contract from the California State Water Project.
"This appointment is just more of the fox guarding the hen house," said Tom Stokely, Water Policy Analyst for the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN). "We know whose interests she will represent - and it's not the taxpayers of California."
"This is just more of the same from the Brown administration, the Natural Resources Agency and DWR," responded Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. "There is a revolving door of water insiders whose political agenda has nothing to do with protecting water, our state's most important resource."
The Department of Water Resources in 2011 hired Moon, the Assistant General Manager of the State Water Contractors from 2000 to 2011, to assist in the completion of the controversial Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the twin tunnels. (http://blogs.alternet.org/danbacher/2011/10/25/state-hires-water-contractor-rep-to-help-oversee-bay-delta-plan/)
In a letter to Assemblymember Jared Huffman on October 13, 2011, Natural Resources Secretary John Laird attempted to explain the status of King Moon, whose hiring by DWR drew fierce criticism from Delta residents, fishermen, grassroots environmentalists and advocates of openness and transparency in government.
“Ms. Moon is working for the California Department of Water Resources, serving on loan from the State Water Contractors until the completion of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan,” said Laird. “She is responsible to and represents DWR solely, and is subject to all DWR rules, protocols and confidentiality agreements.”
Before going to work for the State Water Contractors, Moon was director of strategic planning at the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority from 1997 to 1999, according to a statement from the Governor's Office.
She was special assistant to the regional director at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from 1996 to 1997 and an environmental affairs officer at the East Bay Municipal Water District from 1994 to 1995. Moon was senior staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council from 1977 to 1994. She earned a Master of Science degree in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley.
This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $161,676. Moon is a Democrat.
The Governor's appointment of Laura King Moon as chief deputy director for DWR is just one of many examples of the conflicts of interest and corruption that define California water environmental politics.
Just a few of the many examples of the revolving door between corporations and state government include:
• The resignation of State Senator Michael J. Rubio in February, 2013 to go work in a "government affairs" position for Chevron. Rubio, who was leading the charge to weaken the landmark California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and make it more friendly to corporations, claimed he resigned in order to spend more time with his family. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/23/1189354/-Senator-Michael-Rubio-resigns-to-take-job-with-Chevron)
• DWR's hiring of Susan Ramos "on loan" from the Westlands Water District, the "Darth Vader" of California water politics, to serve as "a liaison between all relevant parties" surrounding the Delta Habitat Conservation and Conveyance Program (DHCCP) and provide "technical and strategic assistance" to DWR. (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/14/18702762.php)
Documents obtained by this reporter under the California Public Records Act revealed that Ramos, Deputy General Manager of the Westlands Water District, was hired in an "inter-jurisdictional personal exchange agreement" between the Department of Water Resources and Westlands Water District from November 15, 2009 through December 31, 2010. The contract was extended to run through December 31, 2011 and again to continue through December 31, 2012.
• The hijacking of "marine protection" in California by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA). Reheis-Boyd chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create alleged "marine protected areas" in Southern California and served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. (http://yubanet.com/california/Dan-Bacher-Top-Censored-Environmental-Story-of-2012-Marine-guardian-lobbies-for-offshore-oil-drilling-fracking.php)
• The failure of Katherine Hart Johns, Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board member, to report her husband’s separate property interest in his lobbying firm, California Resource Strategies, Inc., on her 2006, 2007, and 2008 annual Statements of Economic Interests. The California Fair Political Practices Commission fined Hart Johns only $600 for this overt conflict of interest, in a classic example of how violators of state ethics and environmental laws often get off with a mere "slap on the wrist." (http://www.sacbee.com/2010/03/21/2622315/water-pollution-regulator-failed.html).
King Moon's appointment takes place as the Brown administration is fast-tracking the $54.1 billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build twin tunnels to export water to corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The peripheral tunnels under the Delta will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and fish species, as well as pose an enormous threat to salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.
Nobody sums up the threat that the peripheral canal or tunnels present to the state better than Caleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.
“The common people will pay for the canal, and a few people will make millions,” said Sisk. “It will turn a once pristine water way into a sewer pipe. It will be all bad for the fish, the ocean and the people of California.” (http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/article/delta-tunnel-costs-are-2.5-times-the-benefits:-study-125611)
CRAIG'S HEADED FOR ANDY'S HOUSE
Please know that my Earth First! friend Andy Caffrey, who is running for congress, has invited me to get involved, and sleep on his campaign headquarters floor...the big party HQ grand opening is tomorrow night...if you are inclined, telephone him at 707-923-2114 and give him heaps of love. Stay in touch, Craig Caffrey for Congress446 Maple LaneGarberville, CA 95542Email: staff@CaffreyforCongress.org
OCEANVIEW EASTERN STAR CHAPTER 111 met for their Chapter birthday (#123) and election of 2014 officers on Tuesday, September 17th. Our secretary, Marilla Freitas, made a lovely cake for our birthday and enjoyment! Our Deputy Grand Matron, Gee Gee Querry, was present with her husband, Ken, the Worthy Patron of the Kingsley-Augusta Chapter, Ukiah and helped with our evening ceremony. At the August meeting we formed a Subordinate Committee to act for the Chapter in fund raising. We chose an interim name of Wise Owls. At our next stated meeting each person should bring several name ideas they like and we can make a final choice. It was announced that our sister, Beulah Storts of Gualala, had passed away recently. She had been a past Worthy Matron in Point Arena before that chapter merged with Oceanview. Our sister, Nettie Eldred, was visited by the Worthy Patron, Jim Davis. She had recently settled a financial dilemma, and, it was reported she seemed in much better spirits. Last month we reported her street address incorrectly, so, 695 Diary Rd #10, Auburn 95603. Our sister, Lilian Drinkwater has had some eye troubles and was seeing her physician. Due to new members this year, we have a much fuller roster of officers and star points for 2014. Up and coming will be a short trip on September 28 to the Catholic Church sale in Point Arena with lunch at the Garcia Casino. Let us know if you wish to join us 477-8280, 937-4181, 357-1333. During the latter quarter of 2013 we shall be planning to go to the Redwood Symphony and dinner, the Lions Club Haunted House, and hold a gift wrapping/Santa Claus picture taking fund raiser. Times/Dates to be announced. The Worthy Matron would like to plan a practice session for officers/star points on October 22 which is our normal meeting date, but we are dark in October. Perhaps 1 hour with pizza afterwards. See you all at everything! Mary Danchuk, WM, Order of Eastern Star, Ocean View Chapter 111, Mendocino, CA. Meeting monthly 3rd Tuesday, 6:30pm. Dark October and December.