Off The Record (May 7, 2014)
by AVA News Service, May 7, 2014
A STORY BY MARGIE BINKER in last week's ICO (Gualala), describes an audit of the City of Point Arena that found “…nine categories” of “material weakness” or a “significant deficiency.” Well, there is an ongoing question about Point Arena's ability to govern itself and this would seem to point in the direction of confirmation.
MTA TICKET PRICES are going up, but there's no truth to the rumor that the perennially mismanaged County bus service's former general manager, Bruce Richards, has changed his name to Dan Baxter and has snuck back into his old job. Baxter appears to be a different person, same skill set. The agency's most recent meeting if its untrustworthy trustees, was of course held during the day when working people dependent on MTA buses can't attend. The agency's trustees — all employees of one public agency or another — can attend because they're retired or are paid to do jobs so nebulous no one knows or cares if they're at their desks. One person opposed another fare increase. She was, of course, ignored.
THE MENDOCINO TRANSIT AUTHORITY is about 80% subsidized out of public money. Natch, though, it pays the boss the usual exorbitant, fringe-saturated salary and is “overseen” by the usual crew of rubberstamp drones drawn from other public bureaucracies and Ukiah's seemingly infinite non-profit fiefdoms. While steadily raising ticket prices, MTA has built itself a lavish new headquarters (aka bus barn) in South Ukiah with, natch, a real nice, big office for Richards-Baxter.
JUST SAYIN', but when Shirlee Zane or any other elected person publicly says embattled SoCo supervisor Carrillo or any other man “treats women like objects while sober,” shouldn't the accuser spell it out so we can all judge if this or that guy behaves badly? Does she mean the Supervisor treats women as sex objects or furniture? Is he one of these “Hey, baby” droolers? Worse? Or is Zane simply racking up points with her “feminist” constituents by piling on the guy? Call me old school, but men and women are either mannerly in all contexts or they aren't. These days, though, we have so many unsocialized, totally insensitive people running around that bad manners are prevalent, good manners increasingly rare.
ENOUGH WITH CARRILLO ALREADY. The Press Democrat continues to hammer the Sonoma County supervisor after his acquittal on charges of misdemeanor mopery. Carrillo tried to either peer into, or enter through a window, the apartment wherein dwelt a vague object of his late-night affections. The young woman had been asleep when Carrillo came a' courtin'. Two female roommates were also present. The ladies armed themselves with butcher knives and called the cops, who soon discovered the disoriented solon wandering around outside in his underwear and socks. Three sober women brandishing butcher knives would deter most lust-blinded drunks and, all-in-all, the episode was never so much threatening as it was pathetic. To hear the PD and lots of the comment, you'd think a tumescent Carrillo had kicked in the door and charged at the women with a machete.
THE PD's ogling coverage has been, and continues to be, incessant. Front page everyday. And now Carrillo's colleagues are poised to censure Carrillo for “unseemly behavior.” As if the rest of us need a supine collection of porn-basted nuzzlebums at the Press Democrat and a sorry collection of outback politicians to lecture us on “unseemly behavior.” Hester Prynne lives!
WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT of morality, Donald Sterling, consensus scumdog, was secretly taped. Think about that, and think about yourself wired for sound in unguarded moments. Then imagine that your most “inappropriate” remarks are uploaded to the world by a person seeking to harm you. Bad as this guy is, a crime was also committed against him. He was recorded without his permission or knowledge and that recording was made public. If it can happen to him it sure as hell can happen to you. All you libs out there congratulating Snowden for revealing government secrets (and I'm one of them), should also be defending Sterling's right to privacy.
V. Stiviano and Donald Sterling at a Clippers game
THE OWNERS of two Ukiah restaurants, Ruen Tong Thai Cuisine and Walter Café, were arrested last Wednesday morning and arraigned in federal court on tax fraud charges. Owners Yaowapha Ritdet and Steve Walter face an array of accusations ranging from filing false tax returns, to failing to report a foreign bank account.
WE'VE WRITTEN to the National Greens and the State Greens to find out what happened to the Mendocino County Greens. No reply. We know the answer anyway. There aren't any. Greens, that is, as an organized political entity. The Mendo Greens have always been an extension of Northcoast Democrats. Although the Green Party, at the national level, puts up smart people who are usually better on the issues than conservative Democrats, on the Northcoast we get candidates who don't seem to even know what the issues are or, if they do, they stick to vacuities because to discuss the issues like grown-ups in other countries do makes you un-electible.
HERE IN “PROGRESSIVE” CENTRAL? We finally get a progressive candidate for Congress, Norman Solomon, and he can't even pull ten percent of the vote against the corporate Democrat, Huffman.
EVEN WHEN The One True Green, Richard Johnson, walked among us — a pygmy among midgets! — he inevitably wound up with the conservative liberals who make up the Democratic Party of Mendocino County.
5TH DISTRICT SUPERVISOR Dan Hamburg is registered Green, but is a mainstream Clinton-Obama kind of dude most at home with $45-a-plate Demo fundraisers at Coast spas, at which you will never, ever see a working person — a logger, a UPS driver, a vineyard worker, although you will see a County worker or two. You will see the locals who hold the better government jobs or run vague non-profits, a few prosperous real estate hustlers. But as a whole, the local Demo demographic precisely replicates the secure demographic typical of the state and national party. Which is why more than half eligible Americans don't vote, and which is why there hasn't been a mass Fight Back since the scattered but useful Occupy Movement. If things are working for you, as they obviously are for the Dan Hamburg types, why go out there and try to organize the people who really need government help.
IT'S ALWAYS PUZZLED me how the above Mendo-mentioned can delude themselves into thinking that the Democratic Party is the way forward, or is in any essential policy at all different from Republicans. How could a rational person work up any political enthusiasm for, say, Wes Chesbro, Mike Thompson, Jared Huffman, Mike McGuire, and now this dentist guy from Healdsburg? I don't get it. It doesn't seem intellectually or emotionally possible.
OF COURSE ingratiating oneself with this caponized crew makes sense if you're after a cush local public job, and a couple of them can be fun when they're drunk, but politically? They're the enemies of all hope.
THE DEMOCRATS of Mendocino County all have really nice teeth, as do all their candidates, because they can afford to go to the dentist. I mention it because now they've selected their dentist as their next Assemblyman. As a profession, dentists suffer a very high incidence of mental illness, right up there with harpists, but as blandly corrupt as politics have become, a crazed candidate can have an attractive cachet. A Democrat dentist like candidate Wood of Healdsburg, A Nice Community For Nice People, will at least bring the laughing gas to the insider party Democrats are on the Northcoast.
JUST THE OTHER DAY, I got a flier from Dentist Wood for Assembly. His flier was almost identical to the one I got from Mike McGuire for State Senate. Like McGuire, Wood is depicted in action as a warm, wonderful human being. He's picking up trash by a stream; he's holding an apple as he chats with a Senior Citizen; he's grinning at a wholesome-looking couple at a farmer's market; and he's walking a dog that a wolf would be ashamed of being related to, a dog with nice teeth.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY for the Mendocino County Department of Mental Health: “Don't you drink? I notice you speak slightingly of the bottle. I have drunk since I was 15 and few things have given me more pleasure. When you work hard all day with your head and know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky? When you are cold and wet what else can warm you? Before an attack who can say anything that gives you the momentary well-being that rum does? The only time it isn't good for you is when you write or when you fight. You have to do that cold. But it always helps my shooting. Modern life, too, is often a mechanical oppression and liquor is the only mechanical relief.”
WATER. Supervisor Pinches has often said that water is a concern in Mendocino County only when there isn't any. Then it rains, most of the reservoirs fill up, and the concern disappears.
THIS YEAR, water arrived late, and not in the amounts needed, but enough to quickly convince some inland water districts (Willits and Brooktrails) that they were flush.
BUT WATER POLICY, especially inland, still wants rational discussion and planning given the new demands on the resource from the grape industry, now synonymous with “agriculture” in Mendocino County.
THE RUSSIAN RIVER, and thousands of downstream entities and persons as far south as Sausalito, are dependent on the partially diverted Eel River water flowing through an ancient tunnel into Potter Valley.
THE WHOLE inland Mendo water show rests on this tunnel, a modest, early 20th century device to power Ukiah by turbines at the Potter Valley end of the tunnel. A mile-long and the dimensions of the old Tunnel of Love at your local carnival, and the manmade lake supplying the water collected from the Eel River flowing through it, are the lynchpins of a patchwork quilt of a system for a million downstream people. I don't think many people are aware how tenuous it all is. Sure, there are larger populations in the state in danger of going dry, but the one whose thirst is quenched by the old tunnel is plenty large enough.
IN A DROUGHT such as the one we've got going, the downstream people dependent on the tunnel get kinda testy about who gets how much of the diverted water flowing through it. That water begins by feeding the upper Russian at Potter Valley, then flows into Lake Mendocino whose waters in turn are released, in a flow determined by the feds (Army Corps of Engineers), into the lower Russian River and on downstream at a rate theoretically aimed at satisfying all its human dependents while preserving fish runs.
HOW MUCH of the Eel, partially diverted at Potter Valley, flows through the old tunnel, is also determined by the federal government via the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and also by PG&E.
WHEN YOU COUNT up all the agencies involved in portioning out this modest amount of agua, you immediately see that much of the trouble is built-in.
THIS YEAR the concern about not enough water is likely to be year-round in most areas of the County, although Willits and Brooktrails say they're presently flush. Presently, is the operative word here as what appears to be a long, hot summer commences, and a couple of federal agencies and a confusing myriad of self-interested local water districts decide who gets how much.
MENDOCINO COUNTY has, ever since the creation of Coyote Dam and the water piled up behind it at Lake Mendocino, gotten the dry end of the water stick.
GUINESS MCFADDEN, the well-known Potter Valley rancher, grape grower and power plant operator at the Potter Valley end of the diversion tunnel, has correctly pointed out how unreasonable and unfair the feds have been this drought year in deciding the diversion flow from the Eel. Late rains, McFadden wrote, could and should have resulted in more water from the Eel flowing through Potter Valley and downstream into Lake Mendocino for use by locals, especially locals in Redwood Valley. The feds (i.e., the National Marine Fisheries Services, NMFS) said no, and the late spring bonanza was allowed to flow on out to sea while Redwood Valley, the most parched of all downstream users, had its taps shut.
LAKE MENDOCINO remains half-full. And most of its water is owned by Sonoma County. Hot weather and hot weather demand will deplete it further and, by the end of the summer, we'll all, even Willits, be lamenting the drought and arguing about how what water we do have can be equitably allocated.
WHAT REALLY NEEDS to happen is local control of the resource, which isn't likely given the relative power of the federal government and Mendocino County, assuming Mendocino County, with its competing water districts, could unite around a specific water sharing plan. And Mendocino County, as Pinches has many times pointed out, should at least be thinking about storage plans for what rain we do get in the winter months when and if it rains again like it used to rain.
OR, AS A MENDO GUY puts it: “Lake Pillsbury is entirely within Lake County, within the Mendocino National Forest (which embraces six counties), impounding the main stem of the Eel River (which some believe should more accurately be called the ‘east branch’) which captures waters which flow from the headwaters of the Eel, which are located in Mendocino County, to divert water through a tunnel to the Russian River so it can be sold by the Sonoma County Water Agency at a tidy profit to suburbanites living in Marin County so they can have lush lawns and sparkling clean cars as Mendocino County water runs down the gutters and into the drain.”
DA DAVID EYSTER deserves credit for maintaining a healthy amount of information and statistics related to his office at the DA's webpage (http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/da/). The DA's stats are arrayed in an unbiased manner. There are statistics on cases filed and charged, felonies and misdemeanors and a breakdown of which are infractions and probation/parole violations, etc. by month. And they’re kept up to date.
THERE’S ALSO AN ASSET FORFEITURE SUMMARY. Mendo seized a lot of money in cash and property in 2012 and 2013, more than $4.4 million in cash and goods in 2013, up from $2.3 million in 2012. (About $270k was returned to the persons it was seized from in 2013 and $454k was returned in 2012.). That’s a net of almost $350k a month for 2013. And so far in 2014 it’s running almost $300k per month.
TEN PERCENT of the asset forfeiture money ($410k in 2014) goes to the DA’s office and DA office forfeiture expenses. 25% ($1 million-plus) goes back to the state’s general fund, 64% (goes to an amorphous category called “Law Enforcement Administrators Association Education Fund,” which appears to be related to training and drug prevention projects. (Drug use in the county and everywhere else is statistically on the increase.) Tiny amounts of seized money goes to the California District Attorneys Association and a special “Sexual Assault/Special Investigation Fund.” The rest of this 64% goes to the local police agencies involved in the seizure. A small remaining amount is donated to local drug prevention groups based on applications submitted to the DA who alone gets to dole it out. (The eradication fees that Eyster collects in the many marijuana cases which get reduced to misdemeanors upon such fee payments are in addition to the asset forfeiture and, somewhat surprisingly, those funds are not summarized in the DA’s otherwise extensive on-line reports.)
BUT there’s one set of on-line statistics which are not all that impressive. The DA’s “Jury Outcomes” report for 2014. According to the DA there have only been nine jury trials in the first one-third of 2014 (four months) — of those, four were DUIs, one was a reckless driving case, one an abalone case (with two defendants), a child molestation case, an on-line child-solicitation case (originating out of the County), and the long-overdue prosecution (and conviction) of Fort Bragg multi-arrest gang-banger Ivan Sanchez for assault with a deadly weapon. Of those nine jury trials, six resulted in guilty verdicts, two in hung juries (Peter Richardson’s DUI and Chris Federline’s DUI), and one not-guilty (the child molestation case against Richard Delapena). Not difficult cases, not a heavy trial workload and not a particularly stellar conviction rate. Also of note in the 2014 jury trial list is the absence of the DA’s two top prosecutors: DA Eyster himself, and his high-paid, highly-touted Assistant, Paul Sequeira.
SO WHAT? This is so what: With all that prosecutorial talent not bringing difficult cases, why is the case against Dr. Peter Keegan — the only suspect in the murder of Mrs. Keegan in November of 2010 still not charged? Mrs. Keegan's death certificate says, “Homicide.” Dr. Keegan was the only other person on the premises that night his wife was bludgeoned to death. The doctor said his wife slipped and fell in her bathroom, but the injuries to the top of her head are not consistent with a fall. And so on. Is the case a legal slam-dunk? Probably not, but justice demands that a jury make the final decision, and justice demands that the DA gets the case to a jury. There is no one in local law enforcement who does not know the doctor did it.
ON MAY 1, 2014, 22 days after the Supervisor's meeting of April 8th, the video of the April 8th meeting has been posted. Big deal, you sneer as you shrug and shift your over-amped info-intake valves to greater disasters, especially the ones that come with YouTube videos. Belated postings annoy us because we're probably the only people in the county who watch the leadership in action gavel to gavel.
TARDY POSTINGS should also annoy you because the County, which is your tax money, pays a private individual to post the meetings, a simple matter of some distracted sloth directing his torpid fingers to click here, click there. If the sloth were getting paid by, say, the Ukiah Safeway to post stuff you can be sure that Ukiah Safeway would quickly find someone else's torpid fingers to do the clicking and the clacking if the sloth couldn't click and clack in the timely manner he's getting paid to click and clack. It's a small thing, but it's a small thing that indicates how the bigger thing is managed.
STATEMENT TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS by Helen Michael, April 8, 2014 “I look forward to the day when I can walk up in this podium and say, Good job. Good contract. And applaud your hard work and willingness to work together because I know that they will come! Just not today. Because even though the budget item was removed from today's agenda, we employees are here to remind you that you have failed to reach an agreement with us and any agreement must include restoring our wages. If any of you read the fact-finding report you would know that the independent fact-finder agreed with the principle point of the report that SEIU’s request to reinstate our wages beginning with 3% in January 2014 was totally reasonable and within your budget, and could be accomplished without going against your self-imposed Policy 32. That simple compromise would have gone a very long way to rebuilding trust and morale in your workforce. But rather than choosing to compromise and show your own employees a sign of good faith and leadership, you chose to pay that exact same amount of money [$250,000, ed] to a Bay Area law firm to negotiate against us. How can you insist that you can't afford to work with us and then turn around and send those funds to San Francisco? Why has this board chosen this troublesome path when it could have been a win-win for everyone? We employees have been crucial partners in getting this County back on track and there have been serious human consequences to your policies of austerity. But the sky is not falling. Experts agree that the County is getting better and the reserve is well past what you set as your goal. Now is the time for us to be part of the recovery. It only takes three votes to change your direction and do the right thing. We are united and stronger than ever. We are ready to do whatever has to be done to get a fair contract and we are prepared to go back to the table when there is something to go back for.”
SUZY MILLER of Boonville also laid it on the Supes: “My name is Ms. Miller. I'm a constituent of Dan Hamburg from the Fifth District. I am also an employee of 20 years with the Mendocino County Department of Public Health. We gave you 10% of our salaries to use when you needed it. Now you are acting like a relative who won't pay back a personal loan. Just because you can doesn't mean you should, Dan [Hamburg]. It's not the Mendocino Way to continue to disrespect your employees and constituents in this way. We're here. We have given you our loyalty and our dedication and we expect the same in return.”
NO RESPONSE whatsoever from the Supervisors, probably because there's nothing they can say. They, with their enablers at SEIU headquarters, have created a lot of bad feeling where none need exist.
MUCH LATER later in the April 8 meeting, CEO Carmel Angelo told the Board that “labor relations” were covered by materials on her County webpage. We looked for them. But all we could find was: “The County of Mendocino employs approximately 1,030 employees, who are represented by eight bargaining units. The Executive Office and Human Resources is responsible for negotiating on behalf of the County with representatives of those bargaining units regarding wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. The County of Mendocino is committed to open communications within the organization and with the public. Information on labor relations and labor negotiations between the County and its bargaining units will be updated periodically so employees and the public have a clear understanding of bargaining status and what is being considered.”
THE MOUNTAINS OF LEGALESE that dominates what’s there from last year provides anything but “a clear understanding.” But nothing's been posted on the CEO's site since October of 2013.
LAST FEBRUARY, we reported that Supervisor Pinches had said after the expensive and fruitless “fact-finding” report by the three “independent” arbitrators, “I find it funny that after all of this work by both SEIU and the County since November on this whole AB 646 fact-finding business — the result is that it’s advisory. This process is completely non-binding. Thank you for the advice [from the fact-finding report] to spend one-time funds for ongoing [actually a one-time 3%) pay increases, but this county has been there and done that. The Board is committed to doing this the right way, and I think the majority of our employees know that and understand that little by little, we’re getting back into a position to provide some relief — and make it stick this time.”
PINCHES was referring to the County paying big bucks for outside hired gun attorneys equally unfamiliar with local conditions and unconcerned with the wreckage of bungled negotiations they leave in their wake. Gone are the days when the chief negotiators for both sides lived in the community and knew they would need to work together on future issues.
THE COUNTY PAID $250k to the Bay Area Union-busting law firm of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore (which we incorrectly noted in Helen Michael’s quote to the Board on-line as $750k last week). The $250k was approved by the Board of Supervisors on the consent calendar with no discussion at their March 25 meeting: “RESOLUTION NO. 14-041 (i) (BOS Agreement No. 12-136-A2) Approval of Amendment to Board of Supervisors Agreement No. 12-136 with Liebert Cassidy Whitmore Increasing the Total Compensation for the Period of December 11, 2012, Through June 30, 2014, to $250,000 to Provide Legal Services - Human Resources -- Approved and the Chair is authorized to sign same.”
THE BOARD clearly thinks that they’re justified in paying $250k for outside legal services and advice, especially in the contentious negotiations atmosphere which has been festering for almost a year now, an atmosphere the Supes are responsible for creating.
IT WAS BAD ENOUGH in prior years when the County paid an outside consultant $70k-$80k to negotiate for them, now they’re paying $250k and they have very little to show for it besides a bunch of disgruntled workers.
COUNTY EMPLOYEE PAM PARTEE WRITES: "The 3%, $250,000, figure came from the county’s estimation of what the 10% would glean for the county coffers back in 2010. Since then, the county employee count has been trimmed as well as the wages. If you look at the 2013-14 Mid-year Budget Report [available on the County’s website under Administration] you can’t help but notice that most departments are in the black due to salary reduction and vacancies. What most county residents don’t take into account: 1) we are no longer competitive with adjoining counties so we are losing our younger staff to better paid positions elsewhere as well as encouraging retirement of our veterans because their pension wage base is in the past rather than the future, and 2) almost everyone employed by the county except the SEIU line staff has a straight 3-4% base wage county contribution to a deferred retirement account in addition to their pension–so they already have the 3% extra. Nonetheless, the county has allowed management to demand a me-too to their negotiated contract so if SEIU gets a small raise, they get the same. This has allowed the county to use the “me-too” clause to argue against an increase for their lowest paid workers. A better approach would be to bring up the lower wages to keep the line employees here and attract good candidates for the open positions we now see constantly advertised. Don’t we want to encourage younger residents and job candidates to work in our communities rather than accept better paying jobs elsewhere?"
DENTI-CAL IS BACK! Millions of low-income Californians on Thursday regained many of the dental services they lost five years ago during state budget cuts that virtually eliminated non-emergency dental benefits for adults. Governor Brown promised last year he would restore funding for Medi-Cal dental benefits when the state could afford it. It appears the state can again afford this crucial service, and Thursday the Governor announced Denti-Cal would again be funded. Well, mostly funded anyway to most of its original range of services.
RECOMMENDED READING: The current New Yorker for three fascinating stories on pain-pill addiction in the heartland; Chinese industrial espionage; and the capture of El Chapo, “the world's most notorious drug lord.”
INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE isn't an issue in Mendocino County, but our large population of seekers-after-altered-states-of-consciousness pay top dollar for heroin in pill form. El Chapo? Methamphetamine is a Mexican import, and there is plenty of methamphetamine available in Mendocino County where it destroys lives and, along with alcohol, drives the crazier, more violent crimes. Local distribution is obviously organized, but the higher-level people who bring it here and get it to our dentists (that there's a tweek joke) seems to be a mystery beyond local capacity to solve. We understand that neighborhood distributors of go-fast powders require that new customers use with them. This cagey precautionary makes it difficult-to-impossible for police to work their way up in the general direction of the kingpins because few cops want to use a drug that makes their teeth fall out and abbreviates their lives by three or four decades.
THE WILLITS WEEKLY is a year old and solidly viable with a healthy ad base and a stable of capable writers. Ringleader Jennifer Poole has committed a rare act of faith. She has started and succeeded in establishing, from scratch and not a lot of money, or any money, a print newspaper business in a time print newspapers are on the way to history's bottomless dustbin. The WW is, of course, also available on-line, but Ms. Poole's print version seems to have taken hold in Willits where the chain-owned Willits News has previously enjoyed an almost-monopoly. The Press Democrat is circulated throughout the county but contains almost zero Mendo news, and even less about Willits unless some holdout enviro is getting arrested at the disastrous Willits Bypass.
THE CURRENT ISSUE of the Willits Weekly features the four candidates for Third District Supervisor answering questions about why they're running and what they might do if elected. None is so bold as to say, “I want this job because it pays $65,000 a year with an array of fringe benefits undreamed of by most Americans. I've got the iron labonza to sit through hours of meetings, many of them pointless and/or non-productive. It will be the steadiest, best paid job I've ever had. Elect me and you'll never hear or see me again unless I run for a second term.”
IF THE SUPERVISOR-elect is conscientious, and we've suffered a bunch lately who were not conscientious and crooks besides, he or she can at least help keep the County kinda solvent and at least try to hire capable people. (The County is, and will forever remain, broke. It owes past and present employees more in pensions and medical care than it can possibly pay, the same fiscal position America is in, basically, with more debt than can ever be repaid.)
THE PRESENT SUPERVISORS get high marks for restoring a plausible solvency. We think, however, they've totally botched negotiations with County employees and seem to think, with the exception of Pinches, that a $5 million dollar investment in a Fort Bragg trash transfer station is a good idea. And, as per ancient custom, they don't demand regular reports from their department heads, without which it is difficult to make rational overall spending and personnel decisions.
(SPEAKING of Pinches, he hasn't endorsed anybody in the 3rd District beyond once making a cryptic comment to us about getting someone from the third Grade to run for the job. We interpreted that to mean he didn't like any of the four.)
HOLLY MADRIGAL came off best by far in the Willits Weekly's candidate's Q&A, although I don't think her inert presence as public radio trustee and her auto-yes vote on the $5 mil transfer station in FB are pluses as the government experience she boasts of. Pinches, and we'll miss his genius for cutting through the pure bullshit that much of the public's business comes wrapped in, said he thought trash transfers could be made at a widespot in the road. Not quite. But you don't need to jack up disposal fees for captive customers to fund a transfer station that isn't needed and one that will cost Coasties lots more in garbage fees. There's an existing alternative at Pudding Creek, but, its proponents in local government say, Pudding Creek is inadequate to the new larger garbage trucks that out of economies of scale use less fuel and therefore are less polluting and blah blah blah. Make do, mofos! (I'm not opposed to the transfer station simply because my old friend Mike Sweeney wants it. Objectively, and the cunning little psycho aside, it's extravagant and a bad deal for Coast garbage customers.)
HAD TO LAUGH when Wagenet pointed to the County's tourist promotion boondoggle as an example of one of his triumphs during his previous tenure as Third District Supe. Public money to promote private wine businesses?
OF THE PRESENT SUPERVISORS, we think overall their functioning as a board has been pretty good except for employee negotiations, which they've thoroughly botched. But from even the most cautious lib-pwoggie perspective there's nothing happening anywhere in Mendo that might make someone jump up and do a couple of dance steps. Local government rumbles along pretty much as it always has.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: It was a perfect Saturday in San Francisco, sunny with a cool, fog-freshened breeze blowing in off the Pacific that sent white puffs of sail scudding to and fro on the Bay. There were throngs of people happy to be outside and alive. Does one really want to consider one of the great monsters of modern history on a day like this? I mentally kicked myself for leaving the light for the dark of a theater to watch the much darker, true-to-the-facts-as-known, story of Dr. Mengele, the infamous Nazi geneticist smuggled out of Europe after World War Two by the International Red Cross, fake identity kit courtesy of the Vatican. The perfectly acted, brilliantly written, Argentinean film called The German, is absolutely riveting, its implications unencouraging, to say the least. With several international police agencies hunting him, Mengele, three years after the war, made his way to Argentina where a well-funded network of Nazis and fascist-oriented German-language Argentineans, complete with their own German-language communities and schools, provides Mengele with a new life. The Mossad was able to track down Eichmann in Argentina but just misses Mengele, who makes a hurried escape to Paraguay from a rural lake in a pontoon plane. Mengele never was captured even though he barely disguised his name and lived fairly openly in Brazil for many years until his death by drowning in 1979. Mengele sent tens of thousands to their deaths at Auschwitz where he often worked weekends as a volunteer murder maestro and, to his dying day, although aghast at Brazil's multi-racial population, the committed diarist wrote that he was pleased so many German immigrants continued to name their children “Hitler.”