Mendocino County Today: November 15, 2013
by AVA News Service, November 15, 2013
Richard James Petersen, 71, of Ukiah, California died on September 23, 2013, of pancreatic cancer. A memorial will be held on Saturday, November 23, at the Mendo-Lake Clubhouse, in Ukiah, starting at 1pm. Beer and Barbeque will be provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring other dishes. Attendees may also bring a softball-sized or smaller rock to be included in Richard’s memorial cairn. Call Petersen Law Office for info at 468-5184.
Mr. Petersen was born in Fort Bragg on September 30, 1941, the fifth of six sons. He graduated from Fort Bragg High School and continued on through law school at Boalt Hall at U.C. Berkeley. He was admitted to the bar in 1967. He became well known for the criminal defense work he did all over Northern California up until 2011.
Mr. Petersen is survived by two brothers, Robert and Allen, as well as his three sons, Justin, Jacob and Brandon and six grandchildren.
Mr. Petersen loved packing mules into wilderness areas all over the Western United States for hunting, fishing and rock collecting with his family and friends.
RUMORS. One blowing through the County Admin Building is that County Counsel Tom Parker is on his way out the door. Admin had wanted Doug Losak in the job but Losak's minor brush with the law last year when he was the subject of a late night stop and a tiny bit of pot and a gun in a locked case was found in his vehicle. Somehow, in the county where drugs and guns are not only prevalent but revered, and intoxicants are the two primary cash crops, Losak is considered to represent an ongoing conflict of interest.
JIM TAT KONG and Cindy Bao Feng Chen were shot to death in an execution-style shooting last month just off Highway 20 near Fort Bragg. The murders are being investigated by both local police and the feds, the latter's involvement pegged to an apparent assumption the killings may be related to organized crime. Jim Tat Kong was a resident of the East Bay, Cindy Bao Feng Chen lived in San Francisco where she owned an impressive array of real estate.
THE POPULAR Ukiah restaurants called Café Walter and Ruen Tong, both on North State Street, are unlikely to survive more than $1.9 million in fines for wage theft from 47 workers over three years. Co-owners, Yaowapha Ritdet and Steve Walter were charged with the thefts by the State Labor Commission. Employees at the two restaurants regularly worked at least 11.5 hours a day, six or seven days a week with no meal breaks, according to a press release issued Thursday by the State Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. The restaurants did not pay minimum wage or overtime, in violation of the law. Additionally, some of the workers were forced to sign time cards stating they had only worked between five and six hours each day. Others were paid in cash with no information on the total hours worked, rate of pay or deductions provided.
THE INVESTIGATION, conducted by state and federal labor regulators, examined employment practices at the two restaurants from June 19, 2010 through June 15, 2013. The 47 workers are due $1,086,436 in unpaid minimum wages, $376,640 in unpaid overtime and $153,582 for no meal period premiums, according to a state department of labor relations press release. In addition, a total of $189,250 in civil penalties were assessed for wage violations.
OBAMA ANNOUNCED THURSDAY that he is changing his healthcare law to give insurance companies the option to keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be canceled. The administrative changes are good for just one year, though senior administration officials said they could be extended if problems with the law persist. The President acknowledged that “we fumbled the rollout of this health care law” and pledged to”"just keep on chipping away at this until the job is done.” It's unclear what the impact of Thursday's changes will be for the millions of people who have already had their plans canceled. While officials said insurance companies will now be able to offer those people the option to renew their old plans, but companies are not required to take that step. The main industry trade group, America's Health Insurance Plans, said Obama's offer comes too late and could lead to higher premiums, since companies already have set 2014 rates based on the assumption that many people with individual coverage will shift over to the new markets created under Obama's law.
Karen Ignagni, president of the industry group, didn't speculate on whether companies would extend coverage for those threatened with cancellation, but warned in a statement that “changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers.”
Insurance companies will be required to inform consumers who want to keep canceled plans about the protections that are not included under those plans. Customers will also be notified that new options are available offering more coverage and in some cases, tax credits to cover higher premiums. Under Obama's plan, insurance companies would not be allowed to sell coverage deemed subpar under the law to new customers.
Only last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a Senate panel she doubted that retroactively permitting insurers to sell canceled policies “can work very well since companies are now in the market with an array of new plans. Many have actually added consumer protections in the last three-and-a-half years.”
OF COURSE no one is fired for the ObamaCare debacle, which also of course is a conceptual debacle because the insurance industry wrote ObamaCare. But at a minimum you'd think that Sebelius would get the sack.
OBAMA, looked at from the AVA's outback rook about as far from the power levers as it's possible to get, remains a mystery. We can't decide if he's simply weak, or the victim of ongoing betrayals by the people around him, or he's just another hollow man along the lines of Bill Clinton, Gavin Newsom, and any number of the shiny-teeth ciphers occupying public office, a Chesbro-Huffman kinda guy who wants to be President simply to ride around in limos and Air Force One without doing anything at all except call up drone murders of Arab grandmothers. With Obama, it's one catastrophe after another, and he smiles on through like some guy walking into a Christmas party.
STATEMENT OF THE DAY (by Clay Johnson, former Obama innovation expert who founded the company that built Obama’s 2008 campaign site; and CEO of Department of Better Technology. Also the author of The Information Diet: The Case for Conscious Consumption), describing the Congressional Obamacare hearing exchanges between congresspersons and Obamacare’s contracted techno-staffers: “From watching the hearing [on October 24], from a technologist point of view, both the questions from Congress were sort of absurd and not particularly helpful, and the answers from the contractors were also just demonstrably ignorant of the technology that they were managing. And so, you have these bizarre exchanges where, you know, a member of Congress is asking the vice president of CGI Federal about code inside of the website that isn’t even being displayed and isn’t even relevant to the user, and the VP of CGI Federal not even recognizing that it’s not displayed and not even relevant to the user. It was this really baffling set of exchanges. It’s like watching my one-year-old argue with my cat.”
CHUCK MORSE, Mendocino County's Agricultural Commissioner, says a Light Brown Apple Moth was trapped last month in a Ukiah neighborhood. The critter attacks a variety of fruit trees and can be harmful to grapes.
OBAMACARE — “Taking a Failed Market System to a Whole New Level” — on KZYX, Friday, November 15 @ 9 AM
“All About Money” returns to KZYX on Friday, November 15, at 9 AM with a special edition show, “Obamacare: Taking a Failed Market System to a Whole New Level,” with guests Margaret Flowers, MD, and attorney Kevin Keese.
Coincidentally, Dr. Flowers will be featured after our show on “Bill Moyers Journal,” on PBS, on Friday night, November 15.
KZYX broadcasts are heard live at 88.1, 90.7, and 91.5 FM in the Counties of Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt, and Sonoma in northern California. They also stream live from the web at www.kzyx.org. The listener call-in number iis: (707) 895-2448.
MENDOCINO COUNTY CUTS ITS AG PRESERVE CONTRACTS
Move will mean slightly more property taxes for county coffers
By TIFFANY REVELLE
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a measure that will cut the property tax break owners of agricultural land get as part of agricultural preserve agreements they have with the county under the Williamson Act.
The act requires that the land stay in agricultural production for a certain length of time -- usually 10 years, according to Mendocino County Assessor-Recorder Sue Ranochak -- in exchange for a lower property tax bill.
Having in recent years lost the state funding that compensated the county for its loss of property tax revenue, the board on Tuesday adopted the provisions of Assembly Bill 1265, which allows the county to temporarily shorten the 10-year Williamson Act contracts by one year.
The move will mean the county will collect more property taxes in that year.
The bill lets counties implement new Williamson Act contracts with landowners that run for 10 percent less time in exchange for the property owner getting 10 percent less tax relief. Ranochak said the upshot is that the county temporarily shortens the contract for one year in order to calculate a special assessment that will show up on each property owner's property tax bill.
"This does not affect the term of the contracts," Ranochak explained. "For one year, (the landowner) would pay the difference between what (s/he) would have normally paid and what the Prop. 13 amount would have been."
Proposition 13, passed in 1978, reduced property tax and limited the increase of assessed property value to no more than 2 percent annually.
Ranochak said the county currently holds fewer than 1,700 Williamson Act contracts after audits in recent years were done to see how many of the contract-holders were actually keeping their land in agricultural production. The act the board took Tuesday will affect roughly 1,400 landowners, according to Ranochak.
The average bill that will show up on those landowners' property bills is about $200, according to Ranochak, who added that the bills range from less than a dollar to $1,700.
The measure passed 3-0, with 3rd District Supervisor John Pinches and 1st District Supervisor Carre Brown abstaining.
Tiffany Revelle can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter @TiffanyRevelle or at 468-3523.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
BOYFIGHT II: The Rise of McGuire!
By Hank Sims (Courtesy, LostCoastOutpost.com)
When we last checked in with next year’s state senate race, it was Chris L. versus Eric L. for the title of Second District’s Sassiest Candidate.
But hey, here comes 34-year-old Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire! If early polls leaked accidentally a-purpose to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat are anything to go by, the Healdsburg dreamboat is currently mopping the floor with the Angel-Faced Arcatan and the Natty Novato-ite!
McGuire’s platform, as we see, is not markedly different from the other two contenders. All three stand as strong advocates for:
• Dark sports jacket.
• Blue and white patterned shirt.
• No tie.
• Teeth for days.
So why is McGuire getting all the love? Well, despite Chris Lehman’s early shock-and-awe charm offensive — he stepped out early with an endorsement from Senate Majority Leader Darryl Steinberg — he has been unable to corral the totality of the North Coast Democratic political machine. Rep. Jared “The Silver Fox” Huffman recently threw down for McGuire, as has Rep. Mike Thompson and former Rep. Lynn Woolsey.
The leaked poll obtained by the PD, and the responses thereto, give a hint of the boyfight to come. Novato City Councilman Eric Lucan is slagged off as a sure loser. Arcata’s Chris Lehman is taunted as a Sacramento insider and a sleazy moneyboy. Overall, the poll shows McGuire currently standing with 30 percent of the vote, Lehmann with four and Lucan with three, though rival camps say the questions were leading and slanted and unfair.
Hoo, baby! It’s gonna be quite a spectacle! And we haven’t even talked about another potential candidate, the right-leaning wrestling star Gabe Tuft, of Cotati, who keeps flirting with stepping into the ring and showing the Demo boys what’s what! Check this out!
WHITE HOUSE DRUG POLICY DIRECTOR ANNOUNCES DESIGNATION OF 12 COUNTIES IN NINE STATES AS HIGH INTENSITY DRUG TRAFFICKING AREAS
The White House
Office of the National Drug Control Policy
For Immediate Release
November 14, 2013
12 Additional Counties will Receive Additional Support from Federal Program Designed to Disrupt Drug Trafficking through Coordinated, “Smart on Crime” Approaches to Enforcement
(Washington, D.C.) –Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced the designation of 12 additional counties in California, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). The designation will enable the 12 counties to receive Federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers. It also will allow local agencies to benefit from ongoing HIDTA coordinated initiatives working to reduce drug use and its consequences across the United States.
The newly designated counties are:
Humboldt County in California, as part of the Northern California HIDTA.
Cecil and Frederick Counties in Maryland, as part of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA.
Forrest County in Mississippi, as part of the Gulf Coast HIDTA.
Rockingham County in North Carolina, as part of the Atlanta-Carolinas HIDTA.
Williams County in North Dakota, as part of the Midwest HIDTA.
Florence and Horry Counties in South Carolina, as part of the Atlanta-Carolinas HIDTA.
Bradley County in Tennessee, as part of the Appalachia HIDTA.
Dickenson County in Virginia, as part of the Appalachia HIDTA; and Roanoke County, as part of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA.
Wyoming County in West Virginia, as part of the Appalachia HIDTA.
Created by Congress in 1988, the HIDTA program serves as a catalyst for coordination among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug trafficking regions of the United States. Law enforcement organizations working within HIDTAs assess drug-trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to decrease the production, transportation, distribution, and, chronic use of drugs and money laundering. There are currently 28 HIDTAs located in 46 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.
“Drug trafficking and production place a tremendous burden on our communities,” said Kerlikowske. “As the Obama Administration continues to bolster drug prevention, access to treatment, and other evidence-based public health approaches to drug policy, today’s announcement demonstrates our continued commitment to expanding ‘smart on crime’ programs that protect communities from drug-related harm. By designating these new counties, we will enhance the ability of Federal, state, and local authorities to coordinate drug enforcement operations, share intelligence, and adopt state-of-the-art technology to improve public health and safety.”
In addition to designating 12 new counties, ONDCP also announced nearly $3 million in discretionary funding to 21 HIDTAs to enhance targeted enforcement and drug prevention efforts nationwide. This includes $660,000 in support of the new counties designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. The discretionary funds will support strategic priorities based on the unique threats in each HIDTA, including prescription drug abuse and synthetic drugs.
In April, the Obama Administration released a science-based drug policy that addresses the national drug challenge as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. The 2013 National Drug Control Strategy is built upon the latest scientific research demonstrating that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully prevented and treated, and from which one can recover. The Strategy directs Federal agencies to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use before it begins, empower healthcare workers to intervene early at the first signs of a substance use disorder, expand access to treatment for those who need it, support the millions of Americans in recovery, and expand “smart on crime” approaches to drug enforcement.
More information on the Office of National Drug Control Policy available here. More information on the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program available here.
Here’s the HIDTA map for 2011 before the 12 additional counties were added.
PIANOS AT PLAY:
Ukiah Symphony joins with star pianists for seasonal sounds
The 34th season of the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra continues its successful run into the holiday season on the weekend of December 7 and 8 with "Sounds of the Season," a varied musical offering featuring the accomplished pianists Elena Casanova and Elizabeth MacDougall. Conducted by Symphony musical director Les Pfutzenreuter, the performances take place at the Mendocino College Center Theatre on Saturday, December 7 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, December 8 at 3:00 pm. The program will meld a spirit of lightness and play with the deep professionalism and talent of the two featured performers to create a spirited entry into the holiday season.
Featuring music from different eras and countries, the program is unified by an uplifting theme, which makes it especially appropriate for children. It begins with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 10 in E-flat major in three movements (Opus 365), which Elizabeth MacDougall describes as "quintessential Mozart." The concerto features two fairly even piano parts, beautifully integrating the two "voices" of the instruments. The result is simple, clear and beautiful, with the broad appeal that has made Mozart so beloved through the ages.
Saint-Saёns' "Carnival of the Animals" continues the program's musical offerings. A product of the Romantic period of classical music (1815-1910), this 14-part piece features music with different instruments representing different animals, including the kangaroo, swan, elephant and tortoise. This technique entertains while it teaches children about the individual instruments that make up an orchestra. This piece is a favorite of the Ukiah Symphony, which performs it in concerts for local school children to introduce them to classical music.
Also featured in "Sounds of the Season" is Russian Christmas music by the 20th century composer Alfred Reed, and a Canadian Brass Christmas, arranged by Luther Henderson and Calvin Custer. The program concludes with a rousing Christmas sing-along.
Mendocino County concert-goers already know how lucky they are to have pianists Elena Casanova and Elizabeth MacDougall in their midst. Both soloists in their own right, they have played with each other and with the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra many times. Hailing from Havana, Cuba, Elena Casanova is conversant with Cuban as well as European classical music, is a well-known guest performer with Northern California symphonies, and is President of the Board of the Ukiah Community Concert Association, among other nonprofit associations. Elizabeth MacDougall, an active local performer, teaches piano at Mendocino College and privately in Ukiah. Recently, she has added solo cocktail piano music to her wide classical music repertoire.
Tickets for "Sounds of the Season" are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $5 for youth 18 and under, and are on sale at the Mendocino Book Company at 102 South School St. in Ukiah or at Mail Center, Etc. at 207A North Cloverdale Blvd. in Cloverdale, or online at www.ukiahsymphony.org. Concertgoers can also buy a season ticket for $68, which includes admission to this and the following two concerts of the Ukiah Symphony's 2013-14 season. Still to come is "Sound the Trumpet," featuring former San Francisco Symphony principal trumpeter Glenn Fischthal, and a "very Russian" Shostakovich concert featuring pianist Aaron Ames.
"Sounds of the Season" is made possible by support from Realty World/Selzer Realty, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Daubeneck Insurance Service and Brian Hanson, M.D. For more information, call the Ukiah Symphony Box Office at 462-0236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.