Mendocino County Today: October 10, 2013

by AVA News Service, October 9, 2013

KARYN FEIDEN WRITES — as a PS to yesterday’s story calling for District Attorney Eyster to subpoena Ukiah attorney and divorce mediator Norm Rosen so that he can talk freely about what happened in his office the day before Susan Keegan’s death. Norm Rosen was the mediator for Susan and Peter Keegan’s divorce settlement. On November 9, 2010, Peter Keegan “went ballistic” with rage in his office as financial terms were being discussed, according to what Susan told at least two friends. One day after that meeting, Susan was dead.

DA Eyster, Mr. Rosen is waiting.

“Please add this link to the website.

Correct link:  justice4susan.com

…so that we can get as much feedback on this case as possible.

The Keegans, in better days

The Keegans, in better days

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ELLEN FAULKNER, 74, of Redwood Valley, pled no contest last week to five trespass infractions. She was arrested in March, April, May and September protesting the Willits Bypass. (An infraction is a legal step down from a misdemeanor.) Ms. Faulkner received 35 hours of community service, no probation, no fines, no fees or stay away order. District Attorney David Eyster had initially offered one year probation, a 20-yard stay away plus $350 in costs. Will Parrish of the AVA, also arrested several times at the Bypass protests, will contest his misdemeanor charges before a jury. Ms. Faulkner told the court, “I put my body in the way to stop an infinitely greater crime from happening: the destruction of the wetlands. None of the regulatory agencies are holding Caltrans accountable for their numerous egregious violations… they have guns and force, we have only our bodies,” Faulkner said. Ukiah Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman praised Faulkner’s “speaking from the heart” and recognized Faulkner’s belief that what she did was right.

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MENDO PUBLIC HEALTH announced this week that a person identified only as a “Willits adult” is hospitalized with a confirmed diagnosis of Meningococcemia, aka meningitis. The disease occurs mainly in children, but may also occur among adults, especially those who live in overcrowded spaces. Cases are usually contained among members of a household who have close contact with each other. Symptoms include irritability, fever, headache, sensitivity to light, altered consciousness and rash with red or purple spots on the abdomen and extremities. A pre-exposure bacterial meningitis vaccine is available for persons from 11 years to 55 years of age. If you have questions regarding your exposure to meningitis contact Public Health Services at 472-2600.

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ON-LINE ADVICE TO THE YOUNG: “I've been working steady for the past 32 years, have never collected unemployment, never been out of work for more than a few weeks, so I feel like I know something about the job market, and I think if a young person just ready to enter the labor force were to ask me for advice, I would say, Don't follow my example. Don't plan on working for a paycheck from now until you retire. Plan on being an entrepreneur. Get your contractor's license, open a muffler shop, open a co-op bakery, start some online enterprise, if that's your thing, just get as far away as you can as fast as you can from the ‘job market’ and the resume game and the promotion game and all of that nonsense. One way or another, you're just going to be exploited, and you'll spend your life working to create wealth for somebody else, not for yourself.”

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THE CONSERVATIVE LIBERALS in the tightly-held Democrat apparatus that selects and helps fund candidates for elected office from Marin to the Oregon border, has tapped Healdsburg City Councilman Jim Wood for the Northcoast State Second District Assembly seat presently occupied by Wes Chesbro. Chesbro is termed out, but he's been termed out of other seats and will be with us forever in one cush sinecure or other, count on it. As will all the people who have now tapped Wood to succeed Chesbro. Wood, a dentist and city councilman in cozy, cosseted Healdsburg, has endorsements from the whole gang of professional officeholders inflicted on the Northcoast back to Doug Bosco.

HEZEKIAH ALLEN of the Mattole Restoration Council and John Lowry, former executive director of Burbank Housing in Santa Rosa, are also candidates for Second District Assembly. The AVA recommends votes for either of them over Wood, if for no other reason than Wood's endorsements. A guy endorsed by the following is more of the same. Squared. Of course, if you think Wes Chesbro, four of the five sitting Sonoma County supervisors, Mike Thompson, Spike Huffman, SoCo DA Jill Ravitch, et al are the way forward, Wood is your guy. (Effren Carrillo, the fifth SoCo supervisor had been anointed to succeed Chesbro until he was discovered in his underwear early one morning trying to break into a female neighbor's house.

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Smith in locker room after game; after being booked for DUI

Smith in locker room after game; after being booked for DUI

ALDON SMITH, the 49ers gifted linebacker, has been charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon. The weapon's indictment arose from a kind of thug party at his San Jose home in June 2012, at which Smith later said he had to fire shots in the air to convince people to leave. Smith picked up a DUI, not his first, three weeks ago, prompting his suspension from the team and a mandatory team commitment to rehab. The Santa Clara County district attorney's office said Smith, 24, still in rehab for drug-alcohol dependency, will surrender on his own later this month. If convicted, he could face up to four years and four months in jail, the district attorney's office said. “The preamble to the assault weapons law states that each assault weapon ‘has such a high rate of fire and capacity for firepower that its function as a legitimate sports or recreational firearm is substantially outweighed by the danger that it can be used to kill and injure human beings’,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “California's prohibition of these powerful weapons is not about hunting or target practice. It is about interrupting the long history of death, carnage and grief assault weapons have inflicted on California communities.” Smith also is likely to face a suspension from the NFL, perhaps pushed back to next season or after his legal issues are resolved.

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HenryWallace “PROBABLY THE MOST DAMAGING INDICTMENT that can be made of the capitalistic system is the way in which its emphasis on unfettered individualism results in exploitation of natural resources in a manner to destroy the physical foundations of national longevity.” — Henry Wallace, Vice-President of the United States, 1941-1948

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BAD THINGS, SIMPLE THINGS

Mighty Editor,

Just a few rash opinions: pot is over, prices are shit, cartels sell to pot clubs, even PC Cali growers rape the land and ship the product to New York instead of giving the medicine to sick people and recreational users in-state. Localites and PC growers are megalomaniacs who try to screw every girl on the trim scene. Work conditions are horrid. Employees have no recourse. Most people who grow weed commercially don't even use it. Most workers are on other drugs. Complete destruction of the watershed. Grows look like Sanford and Son gone to the country. The worst type of lowlifes are rewarded by this shit up and down the food chain. I HATE WEED!!!!!

That being said everyone has a buyout or a sellout, however you frame it, to accept this Empire and its implications. For most sophisticated people it is some form of extravagance and wealth. Me. I am happy with the simple things; vinyl records, paperback books, shitty movies.

Seriously, what have we become?

Nate Collins, Oakland

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BACK OFF, LAFCO

Editor,

A few days ago I received at my residence a mailed invitation (copy attached) from LAFCO of Mendocino County. The invitation stated “LAFCO of Mendocino County Invites your board members and staff to participate in 'Water in the Ukiah Valley' A Community Conversation.”

I am not sure why an invitation meant for my board members would be sent to my residence; apparently LAFCO staff is unaware that the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District has a business office located at 151 Laws Ave. In any case, I have a number of concerns and issues with this forum which I have detailed below.

• Spending Non-water District's Money For This Forum

The greater preponderance of districts within Mendocino County are not water districts and of those water districts in Mendocino County, most are not located in the Ukiah Valley. Of all of the districts in Mendocino County, Ukiah Valley Sanitation District (UVSD) pays the largest dollar amount of assessment to LAFCO for its operations. As is true for all the other districts, we are required by law to pay those assessments and cannot deny payment. UVSD's only way of making that payment is to adjust our sewer service fees to include LAFCO's assessment. There is no reason for UVSD's ratepayers or any other non-water district to pay for a LAFCO water forum.

Another example of the inequity of using all district's assessments: All of the fire districts in Mendocino County are volunteer organizations, most are strapped for cash, fire districts often solicit donations or conduct various community fundraisers to support their organizations. Fire districts also have to pay assessments to LAFCO. There is no reason for them to be paying for a water forum.

The point of these two examples is that LAFCO is taking money from all types of districts located throughout the County and using that money to host a Ukiah Valley water forum; as indicated below, a water forum that is not needed. If LAFCO has that kind of spare cash laying around, it should reduce its budget and send the difference back to the funding agencies.

• Basic Premise Wrong

The invitation indicates that LAFCO will be looking for an answer to the question: “Given the current complexity of water use, supply and governance, how can we re-shape service delivery to best serve the peo­ple of the Ukiah Valley?”

Within the Ukiah Valley there are four water districts (Calpella CWD, Millview CWD, Willow CWD and RRFC) and one City water department. Calpella, Millview, Willow and the City of Ukiah provide water directly to households and businesses; they are a retailer of water. Russian River Flood Control owns the rights to 8,000 acre-feet of water from Lake Mendocino. RRFC wholesales that water to the indicated public agencies and agricultural users. Each of the indicated agencies also have their own water rights. This is a common model found to be effective all over the state; it is not unique to the Ukiah Valley. These agencies have been successfully delivering water to their customers for many decades. The delivery of water to these agency's respective customers or the governance associated with these public agencies is hardly a complex thing to understand; if you pay a little bit of attention.

In my opinion, the “given” part of that statement is inaccurate. If your basic premise is inaccurate then all that follows will also be wrong.

• LAFCO Intrusion — Why Now?

The second half of the LAFCO question, asks “how can we re-shape service delivery to best serve the people of the Ukiah Valley?”

Who is “we"? Is “we” LAFCO? Except for the City of Ukiah, the above mentioned water agencies within the Ukiah Valley are already moving forward to “re-shape” service delivery compared to past practices.

Example 1: Calpella CWD, Millview CWD, Willow CWD and Hopland PUD through contract arrangements are successfully sharing human resources, equipment, administration, billings and accounting and office space. Through the foresight of their respective Boards of Directors, they have been doing this for some time. The thought is that if this arrangement continues to work well, they can consider consolidation in the future. If they do propose to proceed with consolidation, they will be able to demonstrate to their service recipients that consolidation could work without negative effect to them. This is a reasonable approach, admirable in its concern for assuring workability.

Example 2: The Boards of Directors of Redwood Valley CWD and Russian River Flood Control just agreed to begin the process of annexing the jurisdictional boundaries of Redwood Valley CWD into RRFC and at the same time dissolve the Redwood Valley CWD as a public agency. If this occurs, RRFC will then provide retail water services in Redwood Valley and Redwood Valley CWD will no longer exist.

These agencies did not need LAFCO or any other outside forcing agent to tell them to seek this level of cooperation and effort. Why, all of a sudden, does LAFCO want to intrude upon this process?

• LAFCO — Supposed to be Objective Hearing Body

LAFCO regulates the boundaries of various public agencies. It is required to make an objective decision regarding any change of boundary requested by districts or cities. Regarding the two examples provided above, LAFCO will likely at some point in the future hold a public hearing to make decisions about requested changes of organization for these agencies. Attempting to influence the circumstances of these agencies today will call into question LAFCO's objectivity in the future.

Why would LAFCO want to subject itself to possible future challenges because it has demonstrated its lack of objectivity?

• LAFCO Not a Planning Agency

While it would be accurate to say that a decision by LAFCO to allow or disallow a district to change its jurisdictional boundaries has a planning effect; LAFCO is not a planning agency such as a county or a city. It certainly is not a water planning agency. Water agencies do water planning. LAFCO law does require an agency, such as a water district that is seeking to enlarge its boundaries, to provide a Plan For Service that demonstrates that the district has sufficient water to meet the needs of the new territory without negative effect to existing customers. But notice this Plan comes from the water agency, not LAFCO.

Why all of a sudden, does LAFCO want to influence water planning?

• LAFCO Advises Brown Act Violations

Apparently, based on the invitation received, some­one has questioned the attendance of various Boards of Directors for purposes of a “conversation” as having the potential for Brown Act violations. This past Thursday, I received an email from LAFCO Executive Officer, Bruce Baracco, providing Brown Act advice. The email indicated: “If you anticipate that any of your Board Members will be participating in the LAFCo Water Forum on October 23rd; County Counsel Thomas Parker (who is also LAFCo Counsel) advises that the Forum announcement should be posted wherever you normally post your public notices for regular meetings of the Board. This way, compliance with the Brown Act will be assured.”

The Brown Act requires a public agency to post a California Codes agenda for its regular and special meetings (See G.C. 54954 & 54954.2). (Attendance at this meeting would be a “special meeting” for all of the agencies, including LAFCO.) The Act requires every agency participating in a meeting to make that posting including meetings that occur outside an agency's jurisdictional boundaries. For greatest public awareness, postings should be at the agency's regular posting loca­tions and at the meeting location. Posting a flyer or an invitation from another agency does not of itself meet the requirements of the Brown Act; the public has no way of knowing if the respective agency's legislative body will be attending that event. The agency has to tell the public via its own agenda posting that it will be attending that event.

Willful violation of the Brown Act is a misdemeanor; by this email LAFCO has advised various Boards of Directors to commit a misdemeanor.

• Using Public Funds to Influence An Election

Richard Shoemaker is the Chair of LAFCO; as Chair of LAFCO presumably he will receive a certain level of prominence in the public's eye for LAFCO hosting this “water forum.” Along with three other candidates, Mr. Shoemaker is also running for election to the RRFC Board of Directors. I am one of those candidates. The election will occur 12 days after this water forum. Aside from my other comments, I think that the Commission has erred in attempting this forum before an election; this has the taint of using public funds to influence an election. I protest.

For all of the above reasons, I am requesting and strongly urging that the Commission hold a Special Meeting as soon as possible (24 hour notice required) and cancel this ill-considered and ill-advised forum. (Notice requested if you hold this meeting.)

Also for all of the above reasons, should this forum go forward, I will be recommending that my Board not attend and will be urging other Boards to not attend.

Frank McMichael

Ukiah Valley Sanitation District, District Manager

ED NOTE: Frank McMichael was Executive Director of LAFCO for several years before joining the Sanitation District.

One Response to Mendocino County Today: October 10, 2013

  1. John Sakowicz Reply

    October 10, 2013 at 8:57 am

    We need an update from Frank McMichael about the Sanitation District’s lawsuit against the City of Ukiah.

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