Mendocino County Today: October 18, 2013
by AVA News Service, October 17, 2013
WE ARE SADDENED to learn of the death of Susan Shields, long-time editor and publisher of the Laytonville-based Mendocino County Observer. Mrs. Shields died on Monday the 14th of October of heart failure.
JUST SAYIN', but something is suspicious about this one: Two sets of doctors, one in Ukiah, the other at UC San Francisco, said they were sure that Daniel Camara's infant son had been beaten into a coma. Camara was duly charged with felony child abuse, which comes with a life sentence if the charge is pursued to conviction. But Camara went out and got himself a very good attorney, a very well connected attorney, Duncan James, a former Mendocino County District Attorney. DA David Eyster, prior to his election, worked with James in James' Ukiah office. And whaddya know but Assistant DA Paul Sequiera pops up in court last Tuesday saying, “The victim's condition is evolving to the extent that the child seems to be recovering to a condition we didn't anticipate. The charges may not be appropriate anymore.” The doctors at UCSF said there was evidence that the Camara baby had suspicious injuries he apparently suffered prior to the one (or ones) that put him in a coma. The baby is no longer in a coma. Coincidentally, Sequiera just won the conviction of a Fort Bragg man named Tubbs for beating his foster infant to death. Tubbs had Public Defender Linda Thompson defending him, which is like walking into court with a neon sign on your back saying, “Dear Jury, Please send me to jail for the rest of my life.”
CASIMIR GEORGE JANUSZ, 36, of Hopland is being sought for questioning in the death of his 5-month-old son. Janusz brought the unconscious infant to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center's emergency ward about 9:30 Wednesday morning where the baby died.
Janusz disappeared while his son was being examined.
His vehicle was soon located on his family's ranch at Hopland, but there was no sign of Janusz.
DEPARTMENT OF UNINTENTIONAL HILARITY: “After an extensive search and interview process,” the press release from the Mendocino school's boss begins, “I am pleased to announce that Sage Statham has been hired as the new MCN manager. Sage will begin his tenure as MCN manager on Thursday, Oct. 17.” Sage, and there's a Mendo monicker for you, must have been hiding while the “extensive search” was underway because he's worked for MCN for years.
MCN, AN INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER, is Mendocino County's only socialist enterprise, being located and heavily subsidized by the Mendocino Unified School District. The wacky press release announcing the new guy goes on to say (natch), “We are excited about the energy and new ideas that Sage will bring to MCN and at the same time, very pleased that Mitch will be staying…” “Mitch” is Mitch Sprague. Way back, he and a cunning little fellow named Innis persuaded Mendo Unified to start a business for them out of educational funds, a tax subsidized private business that has paid Sprague handsomely over the years. (“Excited.” School people are perpetually vibrating with excitement.)
HERE COME THE FEDS AGAIN. One would think that with an old pothead in the White House and methamphetamine a scourge everywhere in the land, that the US Attorney's office would find something more socially useful to do than renew their subpoena for Mendocino County's long-gone medical marijuana permitting program. Worse, the Supervisors are complying, and complying through cryptic remarks by County Counsel Tom Parker that he'll turn over “a limited number of unredacted county records. The Board of Supervisors directed that the records be provided to the federal grand jury as requested by the subpoenas,” Parker said.
IF I WERE a marijuana person who'd signed up with the County for a permit, I'd be plenty worried.
AND I WOULD be very unhappy with the Supervisors, especially supervisors Hamburg and Pinches, who have always been absolute bricks in support of sensible marijuana polices. Not that we'll know who exactly voted to cooperate here, but given their public statements over the years it should have been unlikely that Hamburg and Pinches would vote to cooperate with the fed subpoena rather than force the feds into court so we could all see what exactly they want.
SUPERVISOR McCOWEN helped write the County's brief fling with regulatory commonsense on the marijuana issue, so it's unlikely he'd voted to turn over “unredacted records.” Supervisor Gjerde was not on the Board when the County's pot program went up in smoke, so to speak. But why would he vote to snitch, er, cooperate? Supervisor Brown of Potter Valley, whose district's hills positively reek of devil weed? I'd suppose Mrs. Brown, a citizen of the law-abiding type, would be more inclined to cooperate, but she's only one vote. At least two other supes voted to turn over the “unredacted” records.
THE REAL QUESTION here is what exactly is in play? What are the feds looking for? Why do the feds keep coming back? Do they think they're on to old fashioned corruption in the Sheriff's Department? That certain local officials are illegally close to the industry in the context of the federal Zero Tolerance stance?
SUPERVISOR PINCHES told Tiffany Revelle of the Ukiah Daily Journal that the decision to cooperate was made simply to save the County legal fees. Of course the County Counsel's office couldn't be expected to defend the County, and of course the County has previously ignored offers of donated legal help from attorneys who are in court against the feds all the time. “If the feds want to keep coming after us, they can keep coming after us, but we're not going to keep spending money,” Pinches said.
MENDO'S BREAK-THROUGH ordinance, before it was shut down, permitted up to 25 plants per person and “collectives” as many as 99 plants. The collectives were charged $1,500 and paid monthly inspection fees of about $500, plus $50 per plant for zipties identifying legally cultivated plants lest the cops assume the grow was unauthorized. The program essentially put the Sheriff's Department in the nationally unique position of licensing a drug the feds consider illegal. But, the Sheriff's Department garnered nearly $830,000 which Sheriff Allman says helped cover the cost of collecting grow fees and monitoring the grows.
IT WAS A YEAR AGO this month, County officials were subpoenaed by a federal grand jury for “any and all records” having to do with the pot program. The Supervisors vowed to protect the identities of the approximately 90 people who'd bought permits, all of them claiming they were growing for medicinal use.
THERE ENSUED a deal with the feds that Mendo could eliminate personal identifying info from its files. Now, a year later, County Counsel Parker is saying the feds can have unedited files.
HAVING HAD THEIR INITIAL $16 MILLION CLAIM unceremoniously and flatly denied by the City of Ukiah, the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District is following through with a major lawsuit against the city “presently seeking to recover damages of $15,176,064.44 and prejudgment interest over many years of $13,380,323.70 bringing the total present value of the damages to over $28,556,388.14.”
The lawsuit alleges material breach of several agreements between the City and the District and entails thousands of pages of backup documents, mostly of a financial nature, demonstrating that the City of Ukiah “misrepresented” (apparently knowingly) the number of sewer connections in a way which underestimates out-of-city connections allocated to the District to favor Ukiah at the expense of the Sanitation District to the tune of the millions in damages. The misrepresentation then, ahem, flows naturally downhill into a multitude of financial calculations over several decades. The suit will be officially filed on Monday in Superior Court in Ukiah demanding damages and a special master and an audit of the books (which so far have been prepared by the City of Ukiah’s accounting department and mostly unavailable to the District’s staff) and, based on the amount of detail in the suit just on the District’s side so far, may take months if not years to resolve, all the while accruing interest at the rate of 10% per annum on the underlying mountain of dollars. And the interest will further accrue as the suit proceeds. Suffice it to say it could get, ahem, smelly. And since the City and the District are still joined at the (un)proverbial sewer lateral, one might hope that whatever animosity (not to say costs) may be generated among the officials and admin staffs that it will not, ahem, spill over onto the ratepayers, be they in or out of the City. (PS. Much of this, ahem, nastiness, could be avoided if the City of Ukiah would engage in fair and reasonable negotiations about the size of the problem with the UVSD staff and what should be done about it, rather than forcing the District to go to court to have the problem addressed after which a judge will probably order the parties into case management anyway, albeit with the extra costs associated with court cases.)
EPIC NEEDS YOU TO FILE YOUR RICHARDSON GROVE COMMENTS NOW-ISH
by Hank Sims
Across the Arcata flatlands from Cypress Grove — and across one particular ideological divide — stands the Environmental Information Protection Center. We popped in there because we got word that things were happening around one of the venerable Humboldt County environmental group’s current signature issues.
Late last week, the group put out an action alert about Caltrans’ Richardson Grove Improvement Project, which aims to smoothen the curves between the tall trees to the south of us, near the Humboldt/Mendocino border. EPIC has filed a couple of lawsuits against the project on a wide variety of grounds, and so far has come up short. A federal judge and a Humboldt County Superior Court judge have both ruled mostly in Caltrans’ favor. EPIC continues to fight on.
At the moment, EPIC is looking to challenge one condition that the federal court placed on Caltrans — a revamp of the “environmental assessment” that the agency originally filed in connection with the project. Comments on Caltrans’ supplement to their original Richardson Grove environmental assessment are due on Oct. 21, and EPIC is looking for people to chime in.
Gary Graham Hughes (above), the executive director of EPIC, was happy to receive the Outpost as it popped in on him without notice this morning. As Hughes sees it, Caltrans is not complying with the terms of the federal court order by publishing a “supplement” to its Richardson Grove environmental assessment. Rather, he said, the agency should be doing a larger rewrite of the original assessment.
So Caltrans is supplementing the assessment but not rewriting it. Is it a distinction without much difference? Hughes thinks not. “They’re basically setting things up for an ongoing stalemate, which doesn’t do anyone any good,” he said.
Perhaps. But EPIC is running out of cards to play. The federal court disagreed with EPIC’s contention that Caltrans needed to perform a full environmental impact statement on the Richardson Grove Improvement, rather than the far more lightweight environmental assessment. The group has filed an appeal with a state appellate court in an attempt to overturn their loss in Humboldt County Superior Court.
Though EPIC continues to work on timber issues — as well as water, weed, wildfire and a host of other things — of late, its big fights have been with Caltrans. Courtroom wins have been hard to come by. In addition to Caltrans’ mixed (but largely favorable) result over the Richardson Grove issue, the agency has so far steamrolled EPIC on the Willits Bypass. EPIC has another suit against Caltrans over improvements to Highway 199, along the Smith River, which are, like Richardson Grove, aimed at making it possible for industry-standard trucks to safely access Humboldt County. No one is looking at the impacts of what all of these projects, taken together, are looking to accomplish.
“Caltrans still isn’t being forthcoming with the community about cumulative impacts,” Hughes said.
In any case: Take a moment to read EPIC’s Richardson Grove action alert. It contains information about how to make your voice heard to Caltrans, if you are so inclined.
LOCAL MEN’S ROLLER DERBY LEAGUE TO PLAY IN NATIONALS SATURDAY
Deep Valley Belligerents began their Derby career three short years ago and in that time, they have worked hard to make a name for themselves in the world of Men’s Flat Track Roller Derby. Members of the league will be converging in Iowa this weekend to represent our local area in the Men’s Roller Derby Championships.
Starting off as Derby widowers as they watched their wives and girlfriends take to the track, a group of men decided that they too would like to push people around on skates. That was the beginning of Deep Valley Belligerents. DVB is a traveling team made up of members along the west coast from Oregon to the Bay Area. Men of all shapes, sizes, ages and walks of life converge at their practices to keep each other on their toes literally.
All of that hard work and determination paid off as the new kids on the block in the world of Men’s Roller Derby quickly climbed the ranks and found themselves in 8th place in the world. The league was pretty pleased with that ranking as only the top 8 teams were asked to participate in the Mens Roller Derby Championships in Sioux City Iowa. Traveling by various methods, the men will all meet up in Iowa and be ready to skate against number one ranked “Your Mom Men’s Roller Derby” at 8:30 am Central Time Zone, 6:30 am Pacific Saturday October 19th. Local fans can watch the league online at http://wftda.tv/ Depending where DVB places in the rankings, they will be playing more games this weekend.
It took a lot of hard work and dedication, but our local Internationally ranked Men’s Roller Derby League is proudly representing Northern California this weekend in Sioux City Iowa.
Left: Red Eye Jedi, Sloppy Joe and JB the Rockstar putting up a wall.
Right: Bad Ells D, JB The Rockstar, Graves and Chemtrail holding back the opposing team's blocker
Photos by: Roger Schultz/Hot Shots Sports Photography
CALIFORNIANS TO PROTEST GOV. BROWN’S ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD
By Dan Bacher
WHAT: Protest of Jerry Brown receiving environmental award
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 17, 5:30-7 - Speeches/Press Conference at 6
WHERE: Le Parc Hotel, 55 Cyril Magnin St. San Francisco
On Thursday, October 17, approximately 200 California residents will be outside Le Parc Hotel at 55 Cyril Magnin Street in San Francisco from 5:30 to 7 pm protesting the Blue Green Alliance’s honoring of Governor Jerry Brown with its Right Stuff Award. In particular, the protest will focus on Brown’s support for fracking, a massive twin tunnels project and his emissions trading scheme.
The protest was organized by a group of individuals unaffiliated with national environmental organizations who were galvanized by Brown’s most recent assault on the environment: the green lighting of fracking in California.
“Jerry Brown ignored the majority of Californians and the rank and file of the Democratic Party who support a moratorium on fracking,” said organizer Damien Luzzo. “He signaled that he would not sign any of the moratorium bills and only signed the already weak SB4, after he gutted it at the 11th hour at the behest of Big Oil.”
According to organizer Lauren Steiner, “When I worked on Jerry Brown’s presidential campaign in 1992, he was an uncompromised environmentalist. Now he will support any industry, including polluting ones, if he thinks it can bring jobs and tax revenues. In 1992, the old Jerry Brown limited his campaign contributions to under $100, so he wouldn’t be beholden to special interests. The new Jerry Brown has accepted $2.5 million over the past few years from the oil and gas industry.”
At the rally, Steve Ongerth, founder of the IWW Environmental Caucus, will talk about how he and some Earth First!ers founded what became the BGA in 1998 and how far the group has strayed from its original purpose.
Pamela Zuppo, from the San Francisco chapter of 350.org, will speak on Brown’s support of fracking.
Michael Preston, from the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, will speak out against the peripheral tunnels and Shasta dam raise that will cause massive fish extinction and destroy the whole Bay Delta Estuary just to divert water to Big Ag and Big Oil.
Tom Goldtooth, from the Indigenous Environmental Network, will urge Brown to reject REDD+ carbon trading credits, which allow corporations to grab huge swaths of land in developing countries in order to keep polluting at home, usually in low income neighborhoods populated by people of color.
Hezekiah Allen, former Executive Director of the Mattole Restoration Council, an organization committed to community-based watershed protection and restoration, forest protection, and water conservation, will talk about how progress in renewable energy can get us off fossil fuels today, if only political leaders like Jerry Brown had the will to do so.
The final portion of the program will be the reading of a list of groups and individuals who should have received an environmental award this year instead of Jerry Brown. These include:
• Holly Mitchell, who introduced a strong fracking moratorium bill in the state legislature and LA City Council members Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin, who recently introduced a fracking moratorium motion in Los Angeles;
• Mark Jacobson, from Stanford University, who has developed a plan to power California with 100% renewables by 2030;
• The Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice, whose lawsuit halted fracking in public lands in California;
• Truthout, the on-line publication whose investigative reporting uncovered fracking off the California coast;
• The Coalition to Decommission San Onofre, whose tireless work led to the shutdown of this dangerous nuclear power plant;
• State Senator Lois Wolk, a tireless opponent of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, whose recently signed bill SB43 allows customers to get more than 20% of their power from renewables;
• The Klamath Justice Coalition, a coalition of members of Indian Tribes and activists who have helped stop fish kills and fought for dam removal on the Klamath River;
• The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, which has filed hundreds of successful lawsuits and complaints compelling industry, agribusiness, cities, counties and water boards to comply with the Clean Water Act; and
• Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who has waived residential solar permit fees, initiated a solar thermal rebate policy and a green jobs training program, sponsored Green Building and Compostable Food Ware ordinances and helped negotiate a $114 million settlement with Chevron.
TO THE EDITOR,
The October 12th “March Against Monsanto” in Eureka, CA was part of a global day of protest against genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). The Caffrey for Congress van drove from Garberville to the demonstration at the Eureka courthouse, and participated in the event which featured lining the curbs with protest signs held by participants in costume after the conclusion of the march, and an array of speakers. Significantly, District 2 Congressional candidate Andy Caffrey spoke of his pioneering involvement in opposing the biotechnology industry back in the mid-1980s. He talked about the relentless multifaceted campaign, including direct action, which he organized against the atmospheric release of a genetically-engineered microbe called Frostban which was ultimately stopped and the company which invented it, Advanced Genetic Sciences bankrupted due to this campaign. His message is we have to fight as hard as we can, the people — Republicans, Democrats, and independents — are with us on the issue, and we have to cost the GMO producers money or cause Monsanto and the rest to think our resistance is going to cost them money in order for us to prevail. Thanks to Caffrey’s anti-Frostban campaign there have been no other atmospheric releases of GMO bacteria anywhere on Earth ever since. In 2002 the BBC named Caffrey a World Historic Figure as the “World’s First Genetically-Engineered Crop Trasher.” Caffrey also spoke of a lobbying trip he took to Washington DC in June, during which he met with staffers for 25 members of the House of Representatives and the Senate about GMO fish, trees, and the threat to world food crop seed stocks by GMOs. He said all of those House members are for GMO food-labeling, but are ignorant of the vast threats posed to nature and humanity’s food supply by GMOs. He encouraged us all to write to our representatives to inform them of our GMO concerns and predicts that a federal GMO food-labeling bill could pass through Congress after the 2014 elections. Other speakers highlighted the inherent criminality and history of lies that biotechnology companies have engaged in to mislead the public, create a fake need for their products, and their being interwoven in the Washington D.C. political culture. A long list of Monsanto-paid individuals in presidential administrations, on the Supreme Court, and in Congress were noted, proving Monsanto’s tentacles extend nationally and increasingly internationally. Speakers included North Coast Earth First!, which has insight into vast corporate networks as a result of the timber wars with Maxxam, and who continue with treesitting campaigns and remain a regional counter force to invasions from elements of the corporatocracy. Others detailed the extensiveness of GMOs in food production, and the biotechnology companies have branched out in an endless attempt to realize increased profits. One point which was repeated was the need to have an attitude of concern for ensuing generations, and the children and grandchildren of speakers also spoke. Carrying signs such as “Resistance is Fertile,” a group of children took over the speakers area and voiced the need that adults be responsible environmentally. One speaker extensively detailed the larger design of the biotechnology industry to control the food supply to introduce products which would contribute to dependence and a docile public, which was noted as an element of a larger plutocratic agenda. Signs which had altered the name to “Monsatan” were held in the curb line, which resulted in passing motorists honking horns, giving a thumbs up, and shouting, “thank you” as they drove past. Another criticism was the biotechnology industry’s considerable delusion, in that they believe that they are playing God as a result of eugenic experimentation. In contrast to the more bizarre aspects of this out of control industry, a common sense response from the speaker’s platform, and in conversation throughout the day was heartening. Congressional candidate Andy Caffrey informally conversed with the assembled, and then he and volunteers went around Eureka and Arcata posting campaign flyers. The public is invited to weekly Wednesday and Thursday evening 6 P.M. potlucks featuring discussions of bioregional conversion and videos about climate destabilization. Fridays include the “Thank Jah It’s Friday” Listening Lounge, enjoying the KMUD morning show with an opportunity to call in, and an all day open community space. Caffrey for Congress headquarters is located at 446 Maple Lane, one block east of Hemp Connection in downtown Garberville. Telephone messages may be left at 707-923-2114.
Craig Louis Stehr, Garberville