Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Feb 24, 2016
by AVA News Service, February 24, 2016
STACEY CRYER, boss at the County's Health and Human Services agency, has resigned effective April 1st. Ms. Cryer has caught endless flak, much of it deserved, over the failed privatization of County mental health services, which have turned out to be virtually non-existent under the Ortner Management Group of Yuba City.
JUST IN FROM FORT BRAGG
Judy Valadao Reports from Fort Bragg:
"At the January 25th meeting the Council was asked to consider declaring a shelter crisis. Lindy Peter’s followed
by asking that a discussion of declaring a Shelter Crisis be the focus of the next Public Safety Committee meeting.
What a farce that meeting was. The discussion was not about a Shelter Crisis but instead about the Extreme Weather Shelter (EWS), which
by the way are two separate subjects. The Grand Finale of the meeting was the Grand Tour of the Old Coast Hotel.
Director Anna Shaw was nowhere in sight.
"At the January 11th Council meeting Lindy Peter’s asked for an oral progress report from Hospitality Center because
of the amount of money that had been handed over for the purchase of the Old Coast Hotel. He also asked if the
Council could ask Anna Shaw and get a report from her during a council meeting.
"As an act of fulfilling this request several Hospitality Center’s Board members came to the Feb. 8th Council meeting
and did in fact give a report on the Extreme Weather Shelter. However, the extent of the report on the Old Coast Hotel
was about the remodel and who got the contracts. I don’t think it’s stretching one’s imagination too far to say, I think
what was expected was a report of services being offered within the walls of the Old Coast Hotel, not what they
planned to do to the walls.
Again, the Director Anna Shaw was nowhere in sight.
"The Board Members of The Hospitality Center were asked if their meetings were open to the public and their answer
was “Yes, they are.” A back and forth conversation between the board members and mayor Dave Turner pointed out that portions of the meetings could not be open to the public. A member of our community did in fact go to the
Board meeting last week and got there at 9:00. By 9:10 she was asked to leave and was in fact in her car on her way home.
The extent of her attending the meeting was a prayer and then she made a statement. That’s it.
"According to the
The Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act these meetings should in fact be open to the public if for no other reason than
the amount of public funds they receive. That in fact makes this the rule. I would go a step farther and say if in fact
The Board is discussing the clients of this organization perhaps they themselves are violating confidentiality laws. What would
your reaction be if you showed up for meeting of the Hospital Board and 10 minutes into the meeting you were asked
to leave because they were going to discuss the patients? It is my understanding that Boards are created to oversee
the running of an organization as well as oversee the finances. This is public information, or should be.
Case Managers, (qualified or not) physicians (licensed or not) and the director are the ones who discuss the clients care.
"Isn’t it a bit odd how Anna Shaw attended every meeting and spoke at every meeting while she had her hand out for 1.2 million dollars?
Once that money was securely placed into her hand she doesn’t even attend Council Meetings even when requested to do so, perhaps
she wasn’t asked per Lindy’s request, I don’t know.
"After two meetings with The Hospitality Center people we still have not been told what services are offered inside the Old Coast Hotel.
"Remember one year ago when this project was made known to the public? Do you remember community members asking why they weren’t notified?
The City’s answer was simple.
"We didn’t have to notify you."
"I heard those exact same words used on another project. Tess Albin-Smith was at the February 22nd City Council meeting to discuss the trees being
removed at the northern most end of Harrison St. She said any safety issues had been resolved back in 2012 by trimming the trees and removing one.
Now all of a sudden the chain saws have returned with no notice given. She asked Tom Varga why didn’t they just trim and top the trees because
they serve as a wind break on the block. Tom Varga replied you can’t top the trees because they will die. (Wrong answer, Tom) It just so happens
Tess is a registered forester and has worked in the business for 32 years. Tess corrected the City-paid Varga by telling him you can top them, trim them
and remove anything you want from them…they will still sprout. So Tess asked the City why the neighbors weren’t notified. There was a very familiar
answer to that question. 'We didn’t have to notify you.'
"Tess also made the announcement that she will not be inviting teams to Fort Bragg in October for the huge soccer tournament as she has done in past years.
The fields are such a mess with gopher holes the out of town teams complain about safety and rightfully so. Three years ago Tess spoke at a Council meeting
about this very issue. So, while plans of artificial turf are being discussed for other fields and paid for by yet another grant the City will be missing 3 days of
motels being filled and money being spent in local businesses. At least Tess was courteous enough to inform the City even if
'she didn’t have to'.”
THE FORT BRAGG ADVOCATE-BEACON is homeless. Sort of. The premises have been sold from under the venerable weekly (and the venerable ladies who run it) by the hedge fund outfit that is busily selling all the buildings of the chain-owned County newspapers. The Advocate is renting space near the new Fort Bragg Taco Bell. The Ukiah Daily Journal building has been sold. The Willits News building has been sold. The papers themselves have been on the market for several years with no takers.
SAD that for more than a hundred years these papers, begun by local people, were also always owned by local people. Then the buzzards of chain-owned papers took over and, as of this writing, Media News Group went to Digital First Media to Alden Global Capital and the Advocate-Beacon was marched out into the fog.
WILDLIFE NOTES, a reader writes: "Saw a HUGE Mountain Lion at mm 10.5 outside of Boonville a coupla weeks ago. It was as long from nose to tail as the highway was wide in the other lane. He was stalking something and walked across the road in front of me. Wow. What a beauty. Nutmeg red like I've never seen. I've seen about seven mountain lions in California over the years — all in Mendo County. Once I saw a mother with two cubs jump onto Hwy One at Irish Beach. Another crossing the road by Montgomery Woods State Forest. All were tawny colored — not red like this one. Maybe it was more of a winter coat, what with the rain and no sun to bleach out. What a beauty. Shocked to learn how many had been killed. As far as I'm concerned, they can eat all those tick-laden deer that keep running into cars on the highway. Also, the alleged bear damage? Wake up! Did you also notice that stupid bear article was in the paper with the same headlines the day after CCC voted out Lester. What I've noticed is that after the last great gail/gale (!!??) WIND — all the willows were lain down on their sides. The wind was pelting from above and all the willows around Point Arena, the Stornetta's, etc., look like they've been lain on by a bear! I'm thinkin' it's not bear damage at all they are seeing, but wind damage which has lain down a lot of the low-lying trees and bushes around the Coastal areas and inland from there. Trying to make room for multibillion dollar homes? Get rid of the wildlife first. So they get into bad rep in the paper — bad press for our berry-eating bears in California?"
THE PROBLEM WITH FACEBOOK
Before I get into that though, allow me to present why I thought Facebook was making me dumb.
A little over two years ago, I read a lovely book, Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed, by Howard Gardner, an American developmental psychologist at Harvard University. The book compelled me to write him a note and ask for an interaction. The man was gracious and offered me his time.
Gardner’s hypothesis is that the world we live in is one where it is ridiculously simple to find people who agree with you. But there is a downside to that. Because everybody around seems to agree with you, prejudices that exist in your mind are reinforced.
As theories go, I thought it compelling. But the implications weren’t evident to me until recently, when I started to examine my media consumption habits, Facebook included. Each time I checked my Facebook feed, I thought I could see a pattern. On the one hand, I had in excess of 500 friends and subscribed to at least a dozen groups. On the other hand, my feed was populated by posts from friends that ran into just double digits.
Eventually, I realized that this monotony in feeds that populated my timeline was because all of it originated from two kinds of people. Those whose posts I hit the most number of likes on; and those who frequently hit like on my posts. Other friends on my network were invisible entities — unless I chose to actively seek their timelines out. The more I thought of it, the more I was convinced this is a problem. What I like is inevitably what I agree with. What about those I disagree with, or whose posts I don’t hit a like on? Why should they be invisible?
Interestingly enough, the numbers of people whose feeds I could see also ties in with the Dunbar Number. First proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, he argued, a human being could on average maintain 150 meaningful relationships. By meaningful, he meant that if all of these people were in the same room, everybody would be comfortable. Implicit to comfort is that everybody shares more or less similar worldviews.
My readings suggest social media architects of the kind who work at Facebook deploy this idea in their algorithms to limit interactions and visible ideas to the boundaries imposed by this number. Else, their product may seem chaotic to most humans. While the architects may be right in deploying the wisdom Dunbar’s Number contains, I am convinced these interactions in the digital world contain a fatal flaw.
In the offline world, I live in a space different from the one my elders do, or the one my sibling does. My friends come from backgrounds dramatically different from mine. That is why when my folks chide me for my lack of spiritual beliefs; my sibling disagrees with me on what constitutes the good life; and my friends vehemently argue over political ideology, there is no acrimony — at best, animated conversations. I can’t hit a like button here or unfriend them. By the very nature of my relationships, my biases aren’t confirmed. Instead, they are challenged, unlike Facebook, which provides me comfort that comes with homogeneity.
That said, Facebook is only a metaphor for a larger problem that terrifies me. Allow me to put that into context. Around two years ago, I took to drinking green tea because I was told it is good. To understand why, I punched “is green tea good for me?” into Google’s search box. Practically every answer the engine threw up pointed me to resources that argued why it is indeed good.
As a little experiment, I typed, “Is green tea bad for me?”. The numbers of arguments on why it may not be so good after all were as many as why it is good. The answers I was looking for were dependent on the bias built into my question. The algorithms that power the searches were feeding my biases.
To understand what happens if I eliminate the implicit bias in my question, I typed green tea into the search bar. This time around, the results were mixed. Some pointed to why it is good and others to why it is bad. This is where my problem really is. We live in times where the potential to find ways to amplify our biases is unprecedented.
Most of us carry tablets, smartphones and every kind of always-on device. Every media company, whether established or in start-up mode, has latched on to the ubiquity of these devices. That explains the explosion of applications, which offer personalized news feeds, the communities they seek to build and relationships they hope to forge on their platforms. This explosion in personalization is killing diversity and making us dumber.
To draw yet another parallel, think of food. Once upon a time, food was at a premium. Human ingenuity took over and agriculture was industrialized. Scarcity gave way to abundance and foraging became a thing of the past. Fast food culture took root. This culture though, came with an underside. Humans became sedentary, turned corpulent and acquired lifestyle diseases. To combat these diseases, we are now compelled to make informed choices on the food we consume and proactively avoid sedentary lifestyles.
If this analogy is extrapolated into our world, Clay Johnson’s advice in The Information Diet resonates loudly: “Consume deliberately. Take in information over affirmation.”
In our own interests, therefore, it is incumbent to deliberately decide what information to consume, what communities to be part of, and what relationships to nurture. The alternative is: Be dumb, stay dumb.
AN UNHAPPY SHELTER EXPERIENCE
My name is Amy King and I want to share my experience with you. I responded to an ad from Mendocino County Animal Services to foster a sweet little dog who had mange and was completely hairless and needed a warm place to crash.
Fostering seemed like a good idea, at first. Once I went and picked up Minnie it was all over from there. The staff was not only rude but, treated me like I was an inconvenience for saving this poor pup. Not once did they call me and ask how she was, in fact, I called the shelter multiple times to try to get her into the vet and get the medical treatments she needed. After the shelter manager gave me one medication she was done. Who made her a vet anyway?
Minnie did not get better, she got worse. I proceeded to take Minnie to my own vet, I had no choice, she was sick. I wasn't going to let her die. After thousands of dollars later, multiple medications and treatments, it was determined that she had an enlarged heart and a heart murmur... And sever allergies. There was no way I was taking her back to that disgusting, unsanitary, God forsaken place, so I adopted her AT FULL Price. She's happy and healthy today, no thanks to Mendocino County Animal Services!
I'm furious with our county for not taking responsibility and stepping in to deal with these types of problems, suffering and lack of medical attention! Why not let a non-profit take over. Anything would be better than what I witnessed! I want our government representatives to do something about the situation down there and let Petaluma Animals Services step in.
A READER WONDERS: “So when a lesbian commits a sex crime against a minor, it ain't published news?”
NOPE, and neither is the DUI our supe of schools picked up a couple of weeks ago.
ALL COSTCO BRIEFS FILED, HEARING NEXT;
Mediation continues about Palace Hotel
by Justine Frederiksen
All briefs have been filed in the ongoing court case regarding a proposed Costco store in Ukiah and both sides now are waiting for a hearing to be scheduled.
City Attorney David Rapport confirmed Monday that the next step will be for the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco to schedule a hearing in the case, which was brought by Davis-based attorney William Kopper, who is arguing that the environmental impact report for the warehouse should not have been certified.
Rapport said he did not expect a hearing to be scheduled before May.
Kopper filed the appeal in July of 2015 on behalf of a group called “Ukiah Citizens for Safety First,” after a Mendocino County Superior Court judge two months earlier dismissed the lawsuit Kopper filed against the EIR prepared for the store.
The lawsuit was originally filed in early 2014 on behalf of four plaintiffs, two employees of Lucky and two employees of FoodMaxx, but all of them have since asked to be removed. The only name still attached to both the group “Ukiah Citizens for Safety First” and the appeal is Kopper’s, as he has refused all requests to reveal any other names.
Another ongoing issue with no end in sight is the status of the Palace Hotel, which is still in limbo after one mediation session between representatives of both the City of Ukiah and building owner Eladia Laines.
Rapport confirmed Monday that the first scheduled mediation session was held earlier this month but could not give any details about it, only to say that “discussions are ongoing.”
Mediation was recommended as an alternative to the city seeking a court-appointed receiver for the long-vacant Palace Hotel by visiting Judge Leslie C. Nichols.
The city filed a petition last year asking the Mendocino County Superior Court to appoint a receiver to take over rehabilitation of the building from Laines, but instead Judge Nichols suggested strongly that both sides consider mediation.
Rapport said both sides have a conference call scheduled with Judge Nichols Wednesday to update him on the case.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
KIRT MORSE and crew are hard at work on a major re-do of a central Boonville landmark, most recently called the Live Oak Building.
Live Oak Remodel
MENDOCINO COUNTY'S Retirement Board presides over a broke retirement fund, paying out much more than the fund generates from its investments, most of which are in the stock market. The board has voted to consider options which, end result, could make retiree checks somewhat smaller.
EXTREME WEATHER SHELTER (EWS)
EWS operating results were reported at Fort Bragg's Community Safety Committee Wednesday, February 17th. The shelter opens to the homeless when the predicted temperature drops below forty degrees or the probability of rain exceeds 20%. The local "faith community" provide the shelters. Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center administers the homeless service.
Based on weather conditions the EWS opens from mid-November through mid-April offering meals and shelter for homeless not already housed at either Hospitality House or in Transitional Housing. During the first half of the EWS season an average of twelve men and four women are fed and housed nightly. With few exceptions they are the same individuals each night. A full-time paid attendant accompanies the EWS homeless while at the shelter.
Between mid-December and January 31, the EWS was open every day but three, 94% of the time.
Through January 31, MCHC received $32,905 to operate the EWS. The County furnished $30,000. The Mayor's Fund and other private donations provided $2,905. Expenses for the two and one-half month period were $17,434, leaving $15,471 to operate the EWS the balance of the winter storm season.
Each night the EWS opens costs a minimum of $413. Existing funds allow the EWS to open approximately one-half of the remaining winter season.
Donations to keep the EWS open more nights can be made to the Mayor's Fund, P.O. Box 2168, Fort Bragg.
UKIAH is short of space, way short. The town's planners peg the vacancy rate at 1.5 percent, which is just about the tightest in the state. Rents are rising proportionately.
LIFE IN PRISON FOR MENDOCINO COUNTY FATHER WHO SEXUALLY ABUSED TWO DAUGHTERS
UKIAH, February 23. - A Mendocino County parent was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to 81 years to life for the chronic sexual abuse of his two daughters over a 15-year period.
In preparatory remarks made before imposing sentencing, Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman described the case against Donald Earl Dunakin, age 63, as one of the worst child sexual abuse cases she had ever seen. The oldest victim also eventually addressed the Court, while also confronting her father. Those in the packed courtroom sat silently as the victim courageously explained what he had forced her and her younger sister to endure. She thanked some of those who have since helped her in recovery.
Assistant District Attorney Paul Sequeira then echoed Moorman’s sentiments. “The defendant has asked for leniency so that he can have some hope, but he doesn’t deserve any hope. What hope did the defendant given his daughters as he abused them day after day, month after month, year after year? Mr. Dunakin deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison for what he did,” said Sequeira.
Dunakin plead guilty back in October to six felony counts of child sexual abuse, including four counts of perpetrating a sexual act with a child under the age of ten. Sequeira said all the charges stem from continuous sexual abuse of two separate victims during a time period spanning from 1997 to 2014.
Dunakin and his longtime live-in companion Ina Selene Medina were arrested at their Talmage area home in January 2014 after the county’s Child Protective Services unit was made aware of the abuse happening in the Dunakin home. CPS, in turn, reported the information to the Sheriff. Sheriff investigators gathered evidence that the couple -- who had lived together in the Ukiah Valley for 30 years -- had been sexually abusing at least two of their children for many years, sexual abuse which included sharing their children as sex objects with male adult friends of Dunakin.
Medina eventually entered guilty pleas in April 2015 to charges that included aggravated sexual assault on a child under the age of fourteen years, and lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of fourteen years. Judge Moorman sentenced Medina in June 2015 to a stipulated sentence of 20 years to life in state prison. Assistant DA Sequeira also handled the prosecution of Medina.
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 23, 2016
Avants, Barela-Moreno, Brandon
JAMES AVANTS, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public. County parole violation.
VERONICA BARELA-MORENO, Ukiah. Criminal threats, probation revocation.
AUDREY BRANDON, Redwood Valley. Pot possession for sale, probation revocation.
Byrne, Goldin, Howard
PATRICK BYRNE, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
JONATHAN GOLDIN, Valley Village/Gualala. Pot cultivation, possession for sale.
RONNIE HOWARD, Redwood Valley. Honey oil extraction, possession of meth/paraphernalia, offenses while on bail.
Jones, Pratt, Renner, Smith
JOHNNIE JONES, Fort Bragg. Witness intimidation.
AARON PRATT, Ukiah. Court order violation.
CHRISTOPHER RENNER, Crescent City/Ukiah. Lewd/lascivious acts with child under 14.
KEVIN SMITH, Ukiah. Probation violation.
THE FEROCIOUS LIFE OF BARBARA YALEY
by Jeffrey St. Clair
My friend Barbara Yaley died yesterday morning. The news was delivered by a close mutual friend and it came as a shock from which I’m still reeling. Three weeks ago Barbara was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. She started chemo treatments immediately and never left the hospital. I didn’t even know she was sick.
Many longtime CounterPunch readers may have encountered Barbara from her time together with Alexander Cockburn, in the late 1990s and the early Bush era, as the two of them migrated up and down the California coast from Barbara’s place on Milvia in Berkeley and Rancho Cockburn in Petrolia on the Lost Coast. Those were high times for CounterPunch, as well as Alex. Much of our vicious biography of Al Gore (Al Gore: a User’s Manual) was written on the telephone in Barbara’s house, with her African parrot Ernie spewing hilarious profanities in the background.
Barbara teamed up with Cockburn, but she never operated in his shadow. Barbara Yaley was a titan in her own right. She earned a PhD from Berkeley in criminology and used it to fight ferociously for the oppressed. She specialized in hopeless cases: death penalty cases, cases involving racist cops, the drug war, long-term solitary confinement. After our book Whiteout: the CIA, Drugs and the Press, Alex and I spent much time together organizing in Richmond, California against the street slaughter from gang violence sparked by the drug war. Barbara, whose years of footwork as a private investigator took across those mean streets, served as our Vergil, guiding us through that fraught terrain.
Barbara was brilliant, strikingly beautiful and very, very funny. She could stand toe-to-toe with Alex on just about everything and often edited his prose, making it sharper. She loved rock music and reggae and hippies and outsider art.
I got a call one night from Alex with a grudging requests.
“Can you score a couple of tickets for the Springsteen show in Portland?”
I started snickering. Alex was no fan of the Boss and had made a point of savagely deprecating his music for years.
“For Barbara and who else?” I said.
“Well, uhm, me.” Fake coughing. “And grab a couple of tickets for you and Kimberly, as well.”
This was the tour for Springsteen’s post-911 album “The Rising” and during the show Barbara lured Alex from his seat and had him dancing in the aisle to “Badlands.” Later, Alex said he was grooving to the tones of Clarence’s sax, but we all knew it was Barbara’s irresistible appeal.
Barbara was a Californian through and through and she loved the state for (not in spite of) its glorious contradictions. When the director Tim Robbins invited Alex and I to record a commentary for the DVD of his film Bob Roberts at the sprawling Claremont Hotel in the Berkeley Hills, Barbara asked to tag along. Alex told her that it would likely be a pretty boring affair. Barbara countered: “Oh, Alexander, I have no desire to listen to you and Jeffrey drone on and on, again. Heard all that before. But I’ve waited my entire life to go swimming in that sublime pool, where Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth once made out.” When Alex and I emerged from our recording session three hours later, Barbara was sunning in a lounge chair by the pool, shades on, gin and tonic in hand, looking very much like Ava Gardner.
Barbara deplored anything that was corporate, pre-processed and conformist. I recall getting a tongue-lashing from her one night while we were stalled in a traffic jam on the Bay Bridge, running late for a gig at City Lights Bookstore in Chinatown. I slid a Commodores CD into the player to pass the time. “Jeffrey, I’m appalled at you! Turn that off and put on some hip hop or blues,” she demanded. “I can’t stand Soul Dreck!” Barbara rummaged through my CDs, grabbed one and handed it to me. “Try this.” It was Peter Tosh’s “Wanted: Dread & Alive.” Cockburn mumbled from the backseat. “Stoner.”
She adored birds and dogs and, unlike many hardcore leftists, she loved children—hers, ours, Alex’s daughter, Daisy, and pretty much any kid off the streets.
Barbara Yaley was one of the most liberated and liberating people I’ve ever encountered. Her vivaciousness and unrestrained joy for life was infectious, as was her optimism for a better future even in the grimmest circumstances. To be able to change the world you have to actually believe that it’s possible to make things better. And that’s the way Barbara lived, head on into the future, no looking back.
I miss her already and will for a long, long time to come.
(Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: email@example.com. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
NEW RESEARCH RELEASED MONDAY found that sea levels are rising at the fastest rate they have in the past 2,800 years, due to manmade global warming. A team of international scientists from universities in the United States, Europe, and Asia used sea indicators from marshes, coral atolls, and sediment drilling cores to compare the past 100 years of data with historical sea-level variations from thousands of years ago. The scientists found that until the 1880s, the fastest seas rose was about 1 to 1.5 inches per century. However, sea levels rose 5.5 inches from 1900 to 2000 and since 1993, the rate has jumped to a foot per century. In two studies published Monday, researchers said by 2100 the world’s oceans will rise between 11 to 52 inches.
GOT HER GAME FACE ON
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Bernie is unacceptable as a modern candidate for president. When he entered politics he had little wealth. After 30 years in politics he has a net worth of $330,000 while Hillary accumulated $120,000,000 as a professional politician. Many Americans probably consider him crazy. I love the guy.
* * *
FEELING 'THE BERN' ON LANSING STREET, MENDOCINO
(photo by MendocinoSportsPlus)
THE WOLF IN REFORM’S CLOTHING
It isn't just Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster who is sounding the alarm about the proposed "Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act" of 2016. The highly-respected District Attorney of Ventura County also recognizes that the proposed wholesale changes to our system of criminal justice is a sweet-sounding wolf in sheep's clothing trying to shortcut its way to the ballot. Read Ventura County DA Greg Totten's thoughts below.
"Gov. Brown has introduced a voter initiative that would allow tens of thousands of dangerous criminals to be released early from prison. A Feb. 14 editorial in The Star urges rejection of this measure. As district attorney, I strongly agree with The Star's recommendation. I am particularly troubled by the process the governor is using to place the measure before voters and the sweeping changes it contemplates.
At first blush, the so-called Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 sounds good. After all, everyone is in favor of public safety. But in truth, this artfully crafted title is misleading because the proposal actually jeopardizes our safety.
If approved, it would overturn four decades of laws passed by the voters and Legislature that have lowered crime rates and protected the public by keeping the most serious criminals behind bars. Additionally, the stated goal of rehabilitating inmates, although laudable, is largely illusory because the measure neither defines nor funds programs necessary to accomplish this goal.
The untimely filing abused the initiative review process and essentially "gutted and amended" a previously filed initiative. This denied the public the right to comment as required by law. The last-minute amendment also significantly shortened the required time period available for official review by both the Legislative Analyst's Office and the attorney general. This lack of transparency should be troubling to California voters.
At its core, the initiative is a throwback to past failed policies that allowed corrections officials to release felons after they had served very short periods of incarceration. These practices produced record levels of violent crime and are strikingly similar to the policies the governor now proposes. Among its many negative impacts, the initiative would make the following changes:
Give the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation virtually unlimited authority to reduce sentences for "good behavior" without regard for the current limits on credits approved by the voters and Legislature. The initiative would enshrine this bureaucratic power in the California Constitution and authorize reductions for all classes of crime, including murder, rape, child molesting and human trafficking.
Grant criminals a constitutional right to be considered for parole after serving just a portion of their sentences without regard to the gravity or number of offenses committed.
Make criminals eligible for early parole consideration by disregarding consecutive sentences imposed by a judge for additional crimes, prior offenses and enhancements. This effectively treats the worst offenders the same as first-time offenders.
Nullify provisions of the Victims' Bill of Rights enacted by voters in 1982, which requires enhancement of sentences for prior serious felony convictions.
Undermine the protections of Marsy's Law, enacted by voters in 2008, which requires that sentences be carried out as ordered by the court, and provides that sentences "shall not be substantially diminished by early release policies intended to alleviate overcrowding in custodial facilities."
Abolish much of the Gang Violence and Juvenile Crime Prevention Act, passed by 62 percent of voters in 2000, by restricting the prosecution in adult court of juveniles charged with murder and other serious offenses.
Disregard the will of 81 percent of voters who enacted the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act, by allowing prison officials to reduce prison sentences of human traffickers.
I respect the governor and shared the above concerns in a recent lengthy meeting with him and his staff. I also am sympathetic to the challenges he has faced in complying with federal court orders on prison overcrowding and have offered to work with him on legislative efforts to address this challenge. But I cannot support the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 because it will endanger, not protect, California.
Gregory D. Totten is Ventura County's district attorney.
HILLARY CLINTON'S BIG WIN IN NEVADA CAUCUS DOESN'T ADD UP
The Lakeport Police Department issued the following "advisory" Monday @ 8:03 pm:
"We want the community to be aware of multiple counts of mail theft from residential mail boxes in the City of Lakeport last night. Unknown person(s) got into numerous mailboxes and stole mail in the area of Esplanade, Lily Cove, Oak Knoll and Lypoyoma streets. Many items of mail from this area were located today in the 900 block of S. Main Street. We believe the suspects opened and searched through the stolen mail looking for items of value such as cash, checks, credit cards or information that could be used to steal a persons identity. The recovered mail was turned over to the Lakeport Postmaster.
Later in the day we received a report that over the past two nights, unknown person(s) also searched through mail boxes in the Armstrong Street area. We don't currently know if any items of mail were actually stolen from this area. There were also other reports of mail theft in the city last week. We are advising residents to consider the following: Invest in a locking mail box, don't leave mail in a residential box overnight or for other extended periods, if you can't retrieve your mail from the box on the same day, have the post office hold the delivery or have a friend or neighbor get the mail for you. If anyone has information on these mail thefts please contact us.
Please report suspicious persons, vehicles or activities to us immediately. TEXT-A-TIP Text "TIP LAKEPORT" followed by your message, to 888777"
BARBED WIRE, CANNED FOOD
And Generals Who Should Have Been Shot At Dawn
by Clancy Sigal
There’s something to be said for being a sissy under fire.
Today and into spring marks the 100th anniversary of the two battles that shaped all our lives to this very moment.
The World War One mass butcheries known as the Somme and Verdun created Hitler, made Stalingrad and Hiroshima possible, and led to the secret “imperialist” Sykes-Picot Agreement in the Middle East that’s become the blueprint or today’s map. And – this is no stretch – to 9/11, ISIS and the recent San Bernadino massacres.
In 1916 at the French fort of Verdun in 303 days of the longest battle ever fought in history 750,000 French and German men died, were wounded or simply were pulverized to tiny bits by shelling from cannon as far away as 17 miles. (The drones of their time.) Not far away on the Somme a million British, French and German soon-to-be-dead men likewise were sent into suicidal hails of machinegun fire by heartless and stupid generals mentally living in yesteryear’s war. The point was not to win or lose but as the German commander boasted, “to drain the life blood” of the enemy.
Industrial death was made possible by a new technology, barbed wire, long guns, and canned food.
Even though not a single inch of ground was gained by either side at Verdun, France could claim to have “won”. Similarly the British declared a “great victory” at the Somme. Similarly, most of our top brass routinely report “progress” in Afghanistan or over Syria.
That Great War a hundred years ago and those battles are the Original Sin we live with today.
Could it have been otherwise?
Yes. If millions of men had declared conscientious objection. It didn’t happen.
Yes. If the soldiers had mutinied at the sound of the first barrage. It didn’t happen…until the war’s last days when half of France’s infantry divisions, influenced by Russia’s red revolution, refused to fight.
Yes. If there had been mass desertions as spread among Russian troops that sparked their uprising.
But the Allied and German generals were merciless with their deserters. The French made a big ceremony of executing absconders drawing up the whole regiment to witness the firing squad “pour encourager les autres” in case the disease spreads which it did. (See Kubrick’s magnificent Paths of Glory.)
On the other hand the British behaved as if they were committing an obscene shame, hiding executions in disused abbatoirs and giving the firing party a furlough to get over it. Many of the executed soldiers were teenage working class volunteers who cracked up with shell shock or had been previously wounded.
What’s chilling is that men chosen for the execution squad were often the close comrades of the condemned – and yet uncomplainingly did their duty. (Although one such soldier, who had to shoot his best friend in the head as a coup de grace when the man refused to obediently die, himself died in a lunatic asylum with it on his conscience.)
When word got back to the boys’ home towns that they weren’t honorably Killed in Action but shot after being court martialled their neighbors would scream “Coward!” at the families. Brutality was not limited to the battlefied.
Altogether 306 British men were shot at dawn. For decades their families had to live with the stigma, and it was only after a sustained campaign by living relatives that the dead soldiers were posthumously pardoned – over the objections of the Ministry of Defense “not least because of the fear that they might create unwelcome and unforeseen legal precedents”. Like shellshocked drone operators over Syria?
Who were these dead cowards? Shot At Dawn, by Putkowski and Julian Sykes, says “Often in poor physical health, these ill-educated, inarticulate individuals were frequently exhausted from the strains of constant horrific trench warfare which drained their resolve – and ultimately their lifeblood.”
The TV reality show “What Would You Do?” asks my own question. In the trenches, under fire, what would you do?
Today there’s a Shot at Dawn monument in Staffordshire.
(Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
THE STATE'S Public Health department reports that the number of small fry getting immunizied is up 7%. New legislation requires that students be vaccinated before they enter primary school or enter school at the seventh grade level. Required vaccinations include measles, mumps, and rubella, chickenpox and polio.
State statistics for the 2015-16 school year showed 1,000 Mendo County kindergarteners in public and private schools were fully innoculated out of 1,134 students reported, or 89 percent. That compared to 947 students a year before. Of course, and thanks to internet misinformation, a large number of Mendocino County parents refuse to vaccinate their children. There are ways around the vaccination requirement, unfortunately, and the dispute is simply one more sign that Western Civ is on the downward slide.
DEMO ASSEMBLYMAN Kevin McCarty of Sacramento has introduced a bill that would mandate that gun sales be video-taped. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says video recordings would stop those from buying guns for others who can’t pass background checks.
BILL TAYLOR & JAYE ALISON MOSCARIELLO will be interviewing Mark Shepard of New Forest Farm and Spencer Smith of Jefferson Holistic Management on KZYX on February 29th from 1-2 PM (90.7 FM, 91.5 FM, 88.1 FM Fort Bragg, live stream at kzyx.org, listen afterwards at jukebox.kzyx.org).
Film showing Thurs. March 3 6:30 (film starts at 7 PM sharp with discussion after) at Redwood Valley Grange of "Restoration Agriculture in Practice" with Mark Shepard. The film offers instruction in biomes, keyline water management, agroforestry, silvopasture, alleycropping, economics to create biodiversity and diverse revenue streams from the farm. Please forward to anyone you think would be interested if you wish, especially folks on large acreages but really to anyone interested in creating abundance on land - large or small - to which they have access.
Restoration Agriculture offers solutions to so many ills of our current annual agriculture system. By planting a food forest, we can do less work, cause less destruction, and harvest crops year after year for hundreds of years (OK, future generations will be doing some of that....). Implemented on a large scale, it can eliminate the dead zones created by fertilizer runoff in the Gulf of Mexico, the Baltic Sea, and other areas and sequester much carbon to reduce global climate change. There are three ways to learn more about it in Mendocino County (the first one can actually be heard from anywhere with internet).
Finally, Mark Shepard and Spencer Smith are teaming up to teach a 3-day workshop March 18-20 at Ridgewood Ranch on the Willits Grade; info and registration is at
Please contact Bill Taylor with questions at 707-272-1688 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE DAVID LUNING BAND TO PLAY IN CLOVERDALE MARCH 17
Cloverdale Arts Alliance presents superb Americana music third Thursdays, October to May
Cloverdale, February 23, 2016 -- On Thursday, March 17, the Cloverdale Arts Alliance is pleased to present Americana Night with artist/producer David Luning and his band. Luning's music has been called "gritty, joyful, soulful Americana." His earnest songwriting, lively storytelling, and rich, captivating voice will have you believing you're listening to a hardened veteran of Nashville. The Cloverdale Arts Alliance is located at 204 N. Cloverdale Blvd. Tickets are $15 for Cloverdale Arts Alliance members and $20 for non-members. Doors open at 7:00pm; music from 7:30 - 9:30pm. Americana Night takes place the third Thursday of each month from October through May.
To receive reserved seating privileges, purchase advance tickets online at www.cloverdaleartsalliance or at the Cloverdale Arts Alliance during normal business hours. Tickets are available at the door.
NO BOCCE FOR CRAIG
Available For More Eco-Revolution
Please know that I have extended my stay at San Francisco's Green Tortoise travel hostel until Monday, February 29th. I am available for current acts of environmentally focused divine anarchy, including attending the upcoming political conventions, going on the road on a meandering tour of America, and more writing/creative performance based collaborations. Not interested in retiring to the bocce ball courts,
Craig Louis Stehr
February 23, 2016