- Anderson Valley
- Mendocino County
by AVA News Service, March 19, 2014
THE KING SPEAKS
Dear Editor Anderson:
Thank you for including a likeness of me with Mr. McEwen’s March 12th article, “The Reign of King David.” I lament had I only started my diet sooner it may have been more difficult for your graphic artist to morph my chubby face into Henry VIII’s portrait. That aside, let me get to the point of this letter. Though I occasionally see him in the courtroom, I sometimes question whether reporter Bruce McEwen is really there. His rendition of “facts” in the article relating to the Escareno criminal case could not have been further from the truth. For example, starting in December of last year I have been objecting to the Escareno case being heard in Juvenile Court. I have done so every single time I attended a hearing on the case. In direct conflict with what Mr. McKewn wrote, it was I who demanded that the courtroom be open to the public and accessible to the media. The fact that your reporter hasn’t shown up to court hearings in the case for more than two months is not my fault, and probably not your fault either. It is, however, like tuning in to the last half hour of a movie and reporting publicly that you’ve seen the entire show. If correcting the illegal sentence imposed in 2010 was going to be beneficial to this defendant, I would be arguing from the same position. Instead the defendant was given an illegal “gift” in 2010 to which he was not legally entitled. The law requires that we now fix that prior mistake no matter how the chips may fall. What I am arguing in court is not only fair for the victim’s family, but also consistent with the mandates of law. Please stay tuned.
David Eyster, District Attorney, Ukiah
THE REPORTER RESPONDS
Dear DA Eyster
Whenever a lawyer uses the word facts, in quotes, I put on my 3D movie glasses. The conflict of your fact (that you’d been objecting since last December to the case being heard in juvenile court) with what I wrote lies in the depth of a quotation by Ms. Elliott, wherein she says she just got notice last Thursday of your wish to send her client to prison. Do you see the difference? As for the “fact” that I haven’t showed up for hearings in the case for more than two months, please keep in mind that my staff is smaller than yours. If you could lend me just one or two of your half-dozen investigators, three or four of your score of secretaries, and one deputy DA, I think I could keep abreast of every single case you prosecute. Even singlehandedly, I do a better job than your own press secretary, five local weeklies and two daily papers combined. But this case is far from over, and unlike the last half of a movie, nothing worth reporting will be likely to happen until then. One more point on “facts”: by the time you lawyers get through wrangling over them, they are generally mangled beyond all recognition. Keep in mind that Escareno probably would not have pled to the murder — which he may well have not done, anyway — unless he got the “gift” as you call it.
Bruce McEwen, Boonville
THE DAMON GARDNER CASE & ME
I noticed in the February 12th edition of the AVA's “Off the Record” section (actually the on the record since it is printed and distributed), the latest in the Damon Gardner case. Gardner, a former deputy DA in Mendocino County, was not found guilty earlier this month of wounding a man during a bar room scuffle in Sacramento. Oh yes, a misdemeanor indeed. Why should a drunken gun toting District Attorney not be able to get into a street brawl when he wants to and shoot somebody over a girl? Why shouldn't he be able to illegally use his concealed weapon while intoxicated just like everyone else? Actually, it is illegal for him to carry a weapon while drunk and not on duty. Why should he be subject to the same draconian laws such as the 10 year, 20 year, life law? He would surely push for such a law if any regular sap was involved in the same situation, and if he was trying the case. This reminds me of the case of the son of one of Arnold Schwarzenegger cronies who was involved in a murder a few years back. It was a case with all the earmarks of a first degree murder but all the kids involved only received manslaughter charges and 16 year prison time. The specific politician's son had his sentence reduced to 7 years by the Governor. Although he did not actually commit the murder, anyone who knows California law should know that a person who is a bystander (and friend) of the killer is just as culpable under the Felony Murder Law as the murderer himself. When asked, the Governor stated (I paraphrase) “the kids were drunk and angry.” That's why he thought the kids deserve a break, not the fact that the kids was the son of his political buddy. He blithely ignored the trial record where friends quoted the kid as saying “don't worry, my dad will get us off". They then got rid of the murder weapons and burned their clothing by the river. Hmm — nothing suspicious there? Being drunk sure didn't help in my case when I was confronted by a man brandishing a shotgun. In fact, the DA was so politically motivated to prosecute that they charged me with two murder counts for only one homicide, in direct violation of the Fifth Amendment's ban upon double jeopardy. Since I'm from the wrong side of the tracks and was neither a deputy DA nor a politician's son, I guess I deserved the two life sentences I received. Oh, yes, the justice system corrected itself back in 1993 and now I'm only serving a single sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Maybe its only a nother example of “Just Us” instead of “Justice".
Just another incarcerated inmate, name withheld, Willits
MENDOCINO COUNTY OLD TIMER LOOKS BACK
What we used to do, is handle poor people locally. (Let's put the mental cases aside.) It used to be, there was direct local interaction between the needy and the poor. It used to be, individual families took in orphans. Orphans were generally children whose parents were unable to take care of them. There was a tradition of families taking in orphans, that went back to the Mayflower. Remember “Little Orphan Annie"? We also had orphanages. Most of the orphanages were run by churches. The Catholic Church was big on it. There was accountability in local involvement, because locally people wanted their money spent on programs that worked, because dysfunctional adults were also a local burden. There is a long history of orphans in America growing up to be successful adults.
Why were parents unable to take care of their children? Because they did not have enough money to. Also, these parents were drunks, or otherwise dysfunctional as parents. Remember Huckleberry Finn's father, a redneck alcoholic. Remember who was supposed to take care of Huck, the Widow Douglas. Mark Twain is writing about the way it was.
Orphans had it rough. They were often taken advantage of. But that being said, orphans were better then, than the welfare system treats children today. That is because the welfare system is no substitute for a dysfunctional family. The welfare system is no substitute for community involvement. Orphans in America past, had a better opportunity because they had a better chance to learn what a child needs to learn to succeed. The central government system will never do this. I should not say never, because some of these children are rescued by going into the military. The central government welfare system is more likely to prepare a person for prison than a successful life. The more money that goes into the system the worse it gets.
There has been a long history of local people taking care of adults who had limited abilities. When I first came to Comptche, single men lived in simple shacks on people's properties and were “care takers.” That all went away. It is not even legal. I remember all these single men were drunks. Most did not drive. They did not hurt anyone, they had a place to stay, and if they needed to see a doctor they were driven. These men worked for people doing chores. They also got some money from the county. So where are these guys today?
What has happened to community involvement? We traded local community involvement with the poor, for a welfare check, food stamps, housing vouchers, Medicaid, etc. The poor are now, “not my problem.” Just look at San Francisco, and every city in the US where economic inequality is the most. The top ten cities, by the way, where inequality is the greatest in the US, are heavily Democrat, and very liberal. This is not a “right wing” phenomena. OK, ask liberal citizens of any of these cities what to do for the poor. They will say, give the poor more money, and tax someone else. There is no desire to get personally involved. People today are more likely to take in a stray dog than a stray kid. That is the problem. Nancy Pelosi is going to cry the blues about inequality, but she and her fellow liberals are not going to do anything to seriously address the issue. Throwing money at the poor, is throwing crumbs. Look at the schools. Do liberals send their children to dysfunctional public schools? Of course not. But do they try to fix the problem? In fact they support the status quo. Wealth is knowledge. It starts at home, but it also requires a formal education.
What our central government welfare system has also done, is alienate the poor from the rest of society. The poor are treated more like pets, not like citizens. Also, if a person wants to do something, good luck. The system prevents meaningful personal involvement. Ask our favorite supervisor about his experience.
Mental health needs to be looked at with a historical perspective. Mentally ill people have never been treated well. Even when we had mental institutions, we had mental health practitioners practicing eugenics, performing frontal lobotomies, giving people electro shock therapy, etc. Substance abusers were often lumped into the mix with people who had more complex issues. Do we need mental health institutions? Yes we do. But how is this done? It is an easy thing to talk about and blame people about, but how do the mentally ill get proper care without the abuse? How do we determine who needs to be there? In my opinion, every substance abusing homeless person needs to be there. That is easy to say. The system needs to be much better than it was. People suffering from severe psychosis, need to be there. That is also easy to say. But how is this to work? Again, this will work better locally than by the hand of the central government. Will it be perfect? No, not by any means. But it is local people who have to deal with mental illness, and it is local people who pay the price.
Name Withheld, Ukiah
You are hilarious, Bruce. Here's your line about Bari and me, from the AVA two decades ago, regarding our encounter at the Great KZYX Station Invasion: “You whispered, 'Fascist, fascist, fascist' to her, and she whispered, 'Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you' in return."
You know I admire your wide-ranging literary prowess, but more than one person commented mirthfully about your foray into bodice rippers. More than mere “reporting.” And you're still lurking at the scene!
Now Bruce, you do need an editor at the AVA, to smooth away contradictions, such as your current claim that I slammed the door on Bari's foot — this, against your printed apology to me, two decades ago, retracting that claim. Soon, readers will be doubting even your Legal Notices! Whom do they write toom in order to complain? The FCC? It is a communications embarrassment, isn't it?
Gordy Black, Mendocino
Ed Reply: I defer to the gentleman's total recall. Slammed, closed, shut — whatever, the diva of dissent bullrushed her way on in anyway and the fait was accompli. The episode was filmed. Go to the movie, Gordo, and report back. PS. The scintillating dialogue? You apparently concede its accuracy.
“BALLAD OF QUEEN VICTORIA OF THE NEW LAND”
(aka Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs)
Do Not Give A Rhyming Dictionary To That Old Fart!
We don’t know where you’re taking us,
Miss Vickie. Is it to war with Russia?
Do we really need the Ukraine?
Are we the United States of Prussia?
Are you Point Lady for the neocons,
Projecting a century of American empire?
You’d launch our army, navy and our air force,
You’d throw my low-rent neighbors into that
Military/industrial/Ivy League pyre?
You want the restoration of Khazaria
Coronation of your in-laws, the Kagans,
You want a Khaganate of Nuland,
A demented dream of the spaced out Reagans?
Oh why, Miss Vickie, must we cross the dark Dnieper?
Will only the blood of the bear suffice?
Will only the blood of my neighbors appease?
Do you desire post nuclear paradise?
If you yearn to ride with Vlad the Hammer
As the neocon Lady Godiva
We will arrange your peak moment,
If you just don’t go to war with Ivan.
Miss Vickie, you’re the haughtiest,
Your schooling the plutocrapiest.
Some say your politics are Zionist,
But you're just a typical exceptionalist.
You say you want to bring them democracy
But you wouldn't know it from okra seed.
Bill Hatch, Merced
There are interesting comments by Edward Snowden in his recent testimony to the European Parliament. When asked if he had exhausted all his avenues before leaking the classified information he said that he reported his concerns to ten different officials, none of whom took any action. The reaction fell into basically two categories — warnings not to “rock the boat” and “let the issue be someone else's problem.” He also pointed out that as a private contractor he was not covered by Presidential Policy Directive 19 which set up a system for questioning classified government actions. The NSA in the past has denied he ever brought his concern to anyone's attention. Given the methodical way he has handled the release of the information I am sure he has the names, dates, and times of his conversations with the officials and their responses.
James G. Updegraff, Sacramento
THANKS, ART LOVERS!
Letter to the Editor
Thank You to Handley Cellars and Local Artists!
The members of Anderson Valley Arts (AVArts) would like to thank Milla and the staff at Handley Cellars, along with many local artists and the community for their support of the arts and our organization during the annual Art In The Cellar exhibit.
In addition to Handley Cellars’ contributions through the sale of wine, the following local artists donated works to a raffle benefiting AVArts: Christopher Cisper, Peggy Dart, Antoinette von Grohn, Sony Hatcher, Rainbow Hill, Doug Johnson, Jaye Moscariello, Judy Nelson, Judy Nelson, Jennifer & Jeff Schlafer, Kim Howland-Wooley and Jan Wax and Chris Bing.
Support from Handley Cellars, local artists, community members and visitors to Art in the Cellar helps AVArts bring diverse, quality visual and performing arts programs to valley students that would otherwise not be possible including supplemental arts activities which provide new art experiences in the schools. AVArts also awards scholarships to graduating seniors committed to pursuing the study of art in college and to students in grades 3-12 to attend arts-related classes at organizations like SPACE — Near and Arnold's School of Performing and Cultural Arts in Ukiah.
Thanks again to everyone for helping AVArts achieve its purpose of reinforcing community spirit and making the arts a more visible and important presence in our community!
Anderson Valley Arts Members
ODE TO 711
To the Editor:
Drove past old 7-11 today, my hangout, years gone by.
And I was surprised to find, old hangouts don't really die.
There sits Carla, same stool same glass,
she manages to assume with dignity, a certain class.
And look, there is Cadillac, away behind the drum.
They found himin his trailer home, dead at 41.
Mike sits and holds the table,
on the right side of the stage.
Too sick to play his guitar,so tired, for one his age.
The Indian smiles singing Jimi,
his drink, it moves in time, while Mel,
he strums his bass guitar,and I sing "Summertime."
Gino hangs a blue note, out on the line to dry.
We take the cue and follow, a glimpse of times gone by.
The ghosts,they dance quite slowly,
In a tight embrace. I hear the pop
of the cue ball flying,and we vanish without a trace.
Where are you now, you 7-11 heroes?
The ones like me, to survive? Where are your guitars,
your cue sticks, are you still alive?
The tax man properly hangs a sign,
so very incongruous,
he adds his numbers all day long,
and never, never knew us.
Does he hear the jukebox crying,
and the sharp roll of the dice?
The cigarettes, the cheap perfume,
the shaker full of ice?
Do our ghosts all dance around,
the tax accountant's head?
I think the 7-11 may be gone,
but the spirit is not dead.
L. Newton, Talmage
THAT REDNECK MENTALITY
To Whom It May Concern:
Regarding the letter to the editor concerning "redneck mentality," and "our" new Boonville. It seems to me that the "redneck mentality" stands for hard work, family, and helping out each other in times of need. I came to this area in the 70s when there was a lot of logging going on and there still were mills running as well as plenty of water in the river and sheep covering the hillsides instead of alcoholic-driven water-sucking vineyards. It also seems those "rednecks" kept plenty of fish and game in the area while the river was a constant healthy provider even in the drought of 1976/1977.
Those rednecks knew how to get things done. I guess that's what attracted me to this area. Hell, I guess I'd be proud to be called a "redneck." They say long hair hides a redneck.
Now that being said, sure, the fight should be taken outside whether they're caused by rednecks, gays, wine snobs, Latinos, blacks — you know? I've seen fights by all of them and I never thought, "Oh, it's that gay mentality," bitch slap them and all that.
I think that some of the responsibility in this thing probably lies in the hands of the bartender. How long were these "rednecks" served? It is the bartender's responsibility to put a stop to these actions before they get started. If D'Ann Wallace is the owner or partner as I'd assume from the tone of her letter, then maybe she should fire that bartender and not allow that person back in just like those rednecks. Or maybe everybody should be given a warning and let them live their lives knowing that D'Ann "ain't gonna put up with any of that darned hooliganism in their establishment." After all, she's known as quite the "hard ass."
Cozis Grotto, The Deep End
ZOOM INTO ZOOMBA!
AV Elementary Track/Mile Run and Christmas Lights/fitness classes
Once again, The students and teachers of the Anderson Valley Elementary would like send out a BIG Thanks to Dean Titus for his help to roll out the track on the lower field. This comes at an important time as the Annual Mile Run is coming up and the students are training everyday. The track is an important part of our PE day on a daily basis. Thanks again Dean for your heartfelt community service for the AV Elementary students. Please come visit our track and our students on Mile Day April 24/25 from 8:30-12:00.
Still looking for extra Christmas Lights to brighten up our Bus Barn PE Space (that we call the 'Bowling Alley'). If anyone has some extras to donate please call Kira Brennan @ 877-3479. Also, there are some great weekend fitness classes happening including Zoomba! Also Open Gym and Weight Room opportunities! Call Deleh@ 684-6680 for schedules or check out the Website:
Thanks for all,
Kira Brennan and the AV-B-Well Team
KZYX, OBAMACARE, INDIANS
KZYX. I was a member of the MCPB Board of Directors from 2006-2008. I was also a volunteer programmer with the station for about a decade, off and on. The recent spate of public back and forth is undignified and regrettable. I actually had a good experience on the Board. We took our roles seriously and, to my recollection, worked very diligently for the good of the membership. I haven't been involved with the station since I left Mendocino County (in 2008) and, so, cannot vouch for anybody's efforts or perspective. I do find it somewhat disheartening that the Ukiah studio remains elusive. The need to drive to Philo in order to volunteer was always the worst part of the deal. Honestly, I don't listen to radio anymore. I prefer curating an assortment of podcasts and listening at my leisure.
Affordable Care Act implementation.
For the past six years, I have been employed at the Sacramento Native American Health Center. I have been a key staff member on all phases of our journey through ACA implementation. In a sense, my experience has been a parallel to the national implementation. I was originally hired as the Director of Funding & Development. That lasted a few years, until we realized that the national economy had sent everybody back to the trough and that increasing productivity and decreasing waste were more relevant pursuits. So, I was made the Director of Operations, a new position for us. It was during this period that we implemented Electronic Health Records, which has been an incredible improvement over paper charting. During the past year, I have obtained certification as a Medical Auditor and my title is now Compliance Officer (CO). This is, again, a new position for our organization. During that time, we have gone from 28 employees to nearly 80. Last year, we received accreditation from the AAAHC as a Patient-Centered Health Home. The Billing and Patient/Member Services departments are under the CO. Two of our Care Coordinators have recently become Certified Enrollment Counselors for the Covered California initiative. Theoretically, we will soon be able to bill for their enrollment activities.
Unfortunately, Covered CA is struggling quite a bit in 2014. As you have likely heard, the infrastructure is inadequate for the epic nature of the challenge. Additionally, the constant re-jiggering of the same basic insurance company options over the past year has been a real bear with which to struggle. In Sacramento, we have multiple versions of the “Blues” as well as a few different contractual variants of Molina's network. While it is a headache to manage from a billing perspective, it is downright heartbreaking to watch many patients struggle with the changes. We try to educate them as much as possible, and many of them have very sophisticated perspectives on public insurance by now, but it is very easy to find yourself stuck in a month-long coverage gap with all of your referrals and provider relationships broken. It seems like it is going pretty well, conceptually, and will likely be fine if given the time to settle out, but these are, indeed, hairy times in the safety net.
A Decade of Disenrollment.
Last year, we un-celebrated the ten-year anniversary of our elimination from the rolls of what used to be called the Pinoleville Indian Community. As we suspected, we were just among the first of many. Across Indian Country, the scourge persists, although it pains me to say it, the recent increase in embarrassing media coverage of tribes is good news for us. The tribes are shameless, of course, having wallowed in depravity lo these many years. It is, however, amazing what the election cycle will do to revivify the “conscience” of those serving in Congress. From the multinational chicanery represented on the excellent Netflix series “House of Cards” to the wacky misadventures of the Grim Reaper of Cedarville Rancheria, Cherie Rhoades, the veil is being lifted on the darkness in which these tribal leaders have been operating since the dawn of tribal economic development. It really couldn't have gone any other way upon the introduction of a mass of relatively low-functioning to normal tribal leaders to a bunch of seedy attorneys, politicians and gaming investors.
New Dawn for Unaffiliated Ukiah Valley Pomo?
Last week, a US Federal Court Judge apparently re-directed a request from multiple Pomo Indians living in Ukiah to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The notorious white/black hat-wearing Ukiah attorney Lester Marston crafted the novel request several years back and the BIA is stumbling in its efforts to obfuscate the issue. One has to hope that Marston repairs the defects in the request identified by Judge William Alsup, who parsed the docs submitted to his court down to the finer points of the meaning of “the Indians” and “close to all” of a set of Indians. It seems that a stronger evidentiary presentation of “facts” wouldn't hurt either. Of course, at the Bureau, nobody really cares about facts, language or justice. It's “anything goes” in a world where Federal Officials do favors for the promise of golden parachute deals into positions as Tribal Gaming Commissioners.
Are you listening, Ronald Jaeger?
Until next time,
Eric Enriquez, North Oak Park, Sacramento
MEMO OF THE WEEK
Just In From The Department Of Fish And Wildlife:
As the unprecedented drought continues in California, a number of the state’s coastal rivers and streams are in danger of reaching critically low stages later this summer, threatening rural drinking water supplies. But plans are now in place to assist landowners that store water for use later in the season through a state program.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) announced today that they will expedite approval for the installation of storage tanks by landowners who currently divert water from these important rivers and streams. The action comes under the State Water Board’s Small Domestic Use (SDU) registration program.
Installing tanks to divert and store water when flows are higher will help improve rural water supply reliability and fire safety while also relieving pressure for in-stream diversions during the drier months when fish need it most.
The State Water Board has an existing statewide registration program for domestic use of water, allowing home water uses such as drinking and fire protection. These small domestic registrations must comply with general conditions from the State Water Board and typically receive project specific conditions from CDFW.
Landowners eligible for the SDU program currently can request approval to divert to storage. However, this can be a lengthy process requiring site-specific evaluations that address in-stream and habitat needs.
With today’s action, CDFW has essentially “pre-approved” the installation of storage tanks that meet the general criteria. The State Water Board has agreed to incorporate these criteria as conditions of approval, and to expedite the issuance of the registrations. This action will result in the collection of water during any upcoming precipitation events, taking advantage of higher flows, and using the stored water later in the season when there may be little to no water available.
Some of these water tanks can provide months of storage to meet domestic water supply needs.
“We have been working in these coastal communities for many years, and have good reason to believe that these emergency changes are going to be welcomed,” said Charlton H. Bonham, Director of CDFW. “Many landowners who have wanted to take these steps can do so now more quickly with greater regulatory certainty from our department.”
This action is designed to capture water when it is raining and right after rain events. It is not designed to expand any applicant’s existing water right or amount of diversion. Capturing rain when it falls from the sky and storing it for use later can also help reduce the impacts to fish and wildlife from diverting water from streams during the driest times of the summer.
Today’s action was the direct result of suggestions made by local communities and fish conservation organizations such as Trout Unlimited, Mattole River Sanctuary Forest and the Salmonid Restoration Federation.
“The drought is going to be really hard for fish and wildlife as well as agriculture and people,” said State Water Board Executive Officer Tom Howard. “CDFW and the State Water Board are open to any solution from any corner of the state on how to make it through these tough times together.”
Expedited permitting is available to applicants that meet all of the criteria set forth in the program. SDU program eligibility can be found [here.]
Eligible parties are those that are already diverting from a stream under a riparian basis of right in CDFW Regions 1 or 3. The party should be diverting for domestic and fire protection use only, and has or will install a rigid style water storage tank. The storage tank should be big enough in size to store at least 60 days of water supply for the house.
Parties who are eligible will need to accept the general CDFW conditions, most importantly that they will use the stored water as a substitute for withdrawing additional water during the summer when flows are lowest. The State Water Board will expedite processing of registration forms where the party meets the CDFW eligibility criteria.
This will help protect fish during periods of low stream flow, especially this year with the drought conditions.
With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. The Governor signed legislation to immediately help communities deal with the devastating dry conditions affecting our state and to provide funding to increase local water supplies after it was passed with bipartisan support in the legislature.
Governor Brown met with President Obama about crucial federal support during the ongoing drought, and the state continues to work with federal partners to ensure coordinated drought monitoring and response. Governor Brown and the administration have also expressed support for federal legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Representatives Jim Costa, Tony Cárdenas and Sam Farr.
Across state government, action is being taken. The Department of General Services is leading water conservation efforts at state facilities, and the California State Architect has asked California school districts and Community Colleges to act on the Governor’s call to reduce water usage.
The Department of Transportation is cutting water usage along California’s roadways by 50 percent. Caltrans has also launched a public awareness campaign, putting a water conservation message on their more than 700 electronic highway signs.
In January, the state took action to conserve water in numerous Northern California reservoirs to meet minimum needs for operations impacting the environment and the economy, and recently the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced they would seek the authority to make water exchanges to deliver water to those who need it most. The State Water Resources Control Board announced it would work with hydropower generators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to preserve water in California reservoirs, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought.
The state is working to protect local communities from the dangers of extreme drought. The California Department of Public Health identified and offered assistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and is working with other state and local agencies to develop solutions for vulnerable communities. CAL FIRE hired additional firefighters and is continuously adjusting staffing throughout the state to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture launched a drought website to help farmers, ranchers and farmworkers find resources and assistance programs that may be available to them during the drought.
Even as the state deals with the immediate impacts of the drought, it’s also planning for the future. In 2013, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and CDFA released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.
Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water campaign launched four public service announcements encouraging residents to conserve and has resources available in Spanish. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water.
STOP THE NOISE!
I am writing this in regards to our wineries’ wind turbines. I have read and heard the concerns of the noise problem involved in these activities and have now experienced the same. There is no respect from these people for their neighbors who have been here long before the grapes. The property and privacy rights of neighbors have been violated by people who have been allowed in the Valley to clear the land of big trees with the promise of agriculture, jobs and the money that comes with tourism. The noise that you hear from the tractors and sprayers at all hours, organic or what not, has also been accepted. But it’s at a price. This blatant noise pollution is the icing on the cake. We cannot let this keep going on. There has to be a happy medium somewhere that must be reached. This is not why people live in this beautiful valley, to live this wonderful life in the country. To give it all away to the wineries.
STOP THE NOISE!
Upset People in Philo
HOW TO SAVE THE UDJ REDWOODS
To the Editor:
On Wednesday, March 19, 6pm, at Ukiah City Hall, the Ukiah City Council will consider removing two towering redwood trees located just outside the Ukiah Daily Journal building at the corner of School and Mill Streets in Ukiah. The City’s arborist has stated that the trees are unhealthy and should be removed.
The UDJ hired its own arborist and came up with a nine-point plan for restoring the trees’ health within one year for which the UDJ is willing to pay. They are also providing $2 million insurance coverage. The only issue is who would be responsible for a damage claim exceeding $2 million that happened during the year of restoring the trees. That would normally be the City’s responsibility, but they have asked the UDJ to indemnify them (i.e., cover their losses) if there is such a claim. The UDJ has refused.
Thus the question before the Council is: Should the City assume the risk of a claim exceeding $2 million for the year it will take to restore the trees to full health? Note: if the trees cannot be restored within a year, then they will be removed as a public nuisance.
The nine-point plan includes removing all dead branches, so any risk will be immediately minimized. And the remaining branches will be under close observation to evaluate the restoration efforts; any weakening will be quickly detected. The risk posed by these trees will probably be less than average, not greater. On behalf of the community, including the trees, we thank the UDJ for stepping up and committing its resources to their preservation.
Mendocino County has just begun a new ad campaign to draw tourism, highlighting our “towering redwoods.” Cutting down trees that are older than any human is an extreme measure. The trees in downtown Ukiah provide essential shade and a connection to nature. Every one we cut down diminishes our humanity. Please come to the Council meeting on Wednesday night and help us save these majestic giants.
Dennis O’Brien, Secretary/Treasurer, Mendocino Environmental Center, Ukiah