Off the Record (Mar 30, 2016)
by AVA News Service, March 30, 2016
FOR YEARS, we've been denouncing Jack Silver as a scammer and his phony environmental front, River Watch, as a scam. Which he is, and which it is. So when Silver hit Fort Bragg, Solid Waste of Willits and the County with one of his patented shakedown letters — pay me or I'll sue you for water quality violations — we assumed the three entities named by Silver were as innocent as fresh snow. Silver said the named parties had not properly prevented run off at the Caspar Dump, hence uncontrolled pollutants were escaping the combination dump and transfer station. Silver lives off allegations that are only marginally founded in fact, or purely technical, suggesting that various towns and entities, all of them well-insured, are deliberately fouling water.
A READER SETS US STRAIGHT on Caspar: "A while ago in one of your columns you said 'everything possible was done at Caspar tranfers/dump' to prevent toxic run-off. Not true. The County used harbor dredgings, at that time with much more metals from boat and bridge paint than now and sandy besides, to cover the place. This was to save money. Clay is what should have been used. It seals and doesn't blow away or run off. Maybe Will Parrish could dig into this, no pun intended. You may (rightfully) not favor 'River Watch,' but that does not mean County/Caspar site are not guilty as charged!!"
AT STATE SENATOR McGUIRE'S Ukiah Be-In last week, attendees were forced to sit through a painful presentation by professional Native American Priscilla Hunter, big wig at the Coyote Valley rez. Hunter went off on Charlie Fielder of CalTrans, consensus fork-tongued white man. Ms. Hunter was not content to flail Caltrans and Fielder for their present day sins, real and imagined — there is no evidence of a village site or burials being destroyed by CalTrans, for instance — but took us back in time to babies being smashed against the rocks by the first wave pale faces into Mendocino County.
REGARDING the old Psychiatric Health Facility, or Puff Unit, a lock-up place on Bush Street, Ukiah, where people could be held for, as I recall, 48 hours, a reader asks, "And why should anyone think the County would do a better job operating a PHF now than it did then? And if the purpose of the Sheriff's initiative is to build a PHF (and the other facilities he names in his little essay) why is that not mentioned in the initiative? Why not say build a building for mental health services as described in Exhibit A?"
BECAUSE THE SHERIFF'S PLAN is a plan in broad outline, and he's trying to keep costs down, and his plan is apparently offered on the safe assumption that the Supervisors will do absolutely nothing. It will be a minor miracle if it gets past the voters, but lots of people agree with Sheriff Allman — the problem of disturbed and/or helpless and/or globally incapacitated, untreated persons on the streets is a growing problem unlikely to be effectively addressed by our leadership.
ONE MAJOR PROBLEM with the old PHF was the Ukiah PD's weariness at being constantly summoned to restore order. The incompetents running the place were unable to subdue the more volatile nuts and, I suspect, the very sight of certain psychiatrists caused the violence prone to immediately go off. (One episode saw the staff lock themselves in their offices while a large, young psycho raged up and down the hallway, threatening them with mayhem.)
I'M MOS DEF not saying here that mental health workers should be prepared to wrestle crazy people when they report for work every day, but psych units have been capably (and humanely) managed for years. The secret? Big guys. And big women to subdue the female 5150s. Experienced psych techs — the aforementioned large people — "wrap up" the nuts, hugging them to immobilization. Or long enough to slip them into less physically exhausting restraints.
ACCORDING to a retired Talmage Mental Health Technician there are seven steps to restraining a physically menacing or combative patient: 1. Grab mattress off nearest bed. 2. Turn mattress into vertical position. 3. Push nut into nearest corner with mattress and hold until nut calms down. 4. If necessary use a thick blanket either with or instead of mattress. 5. Apply neoprene restraint pancho (like those in current use at the jail). It covers nut's upper torso and arms. 6. Cinch pancho with velcro fasteners at waist and under crotch. 7. Get the nut, er, patient on the right meds.
THE PSYCH WARD at SF General, and the hospital's emergency room, both urban war zones, depend on the uniformed presence of mammoth Samoans. They are absolutely necessary for the physical safety of patients and staff alike, and are frequently called upon to subdue mammoth Americans of all ethnicities. The libs just can't face the obvious fact that this country is off the rails, that force must often be exerted — not excessive force or assaultive force, simply restraining force.
RECOMMENDED READING: "A Resolute Man" by Annie Proulx in the March 21st issue of The New Yorker, the jolliest incest story you'll ever read. In the same issue, "The Go-Between — The Mexican actress who dazzled El Chapo" by Robert Draper, is an interesting account of the tripartite rendezvous of El Chapo, Sean Penn, and Kate del Castillo.
OVER the long, long years I've found The New Yorker contains really good stuff on an average of about every third edition. This week, even a long, silly piece, with pics, of China's new wave fashion designers, and an equivalently lengthy political thumbsucker about Bernie and Hillary, the innately boring politicians, couldn't deflate the pure delight provided by Ms. Proulx's story. (I hasten to add that I like Bernie, hope to be able to vote for him, but he's about as interesting as my sock drawer. Check that: My sock drawer can be pretty exciting. I keep a gun there and a half-pint of quality booze. The excitement would begin with the tandem appearance of weapon and hooch, not that that's likely. Hillary might be interesting if we got unedited film of her and Bill at home, which would undoubtedly be a profane version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.)
THE FARTHER up the Coast you get, the smarter the voters. In Sonoma County, as in Mendo and Lake, donors are heavy for The Bern over Ms. Ghastly. As of the end of January, Bernie raised twice the money that Hillary did, a whole lot of it in individual donations. The Federal Election Commission also reports that Marin, Napa, and Frisco, Hillary leads Bernie about 3-1 in contributions, silent confirmation that the Silicon zomboids now dominate San Francisco politics.
IN MENDOCINO COUNTY, as of January 31st, Mendocino County fired off $46,400 to Bernie, $18,300 was snagged by the imperial she-hawk.
FROM THE AREA north of Marin, Bernie received 5,808 donations at an average of $84, Clinton 2,340 donations for an average of $475.
A UKIAH WOMAN arrested repeatedly over the past several years for assaults, vandalism and illegal camping has reportedly accepted a “unique” plea agreement that reportedly moved her out of state to live with family.
According to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, Kelisha S. Alvarez, 27, was arrested Nov. 9, 2015, after reportedly breaking a piece of equipment while being treated at Ukiah Valley Medical Center.
Mike Geniella, spokesman for the office of District Attorney David Eyster, said that due to repeated misdemeanor vandalism charges in her history, Alvarez was charged with felony vandalism and was facing jail time for the latest incident at the hospital.
However, Geniella said the DA’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office crafted a plea agreement that would waive incarceration if Alvarez agreed to be released into the custody of her mother in Oklahoma and seek treatment there. He could not comment on what type of treatment she would receive.
On March 9, Alvarez pleaded no-contest to the felony vandalism charge, and Geniella said “she was released from Mendocino County Jail on March 17 into the custody of her mother, a resident of Oklahoma, and to our knowledge she is now in Oklahoma.”
Geniella said the deal will be formalized at her sentencing, which is scheduled for April 15 before Judge David Nelson. Alvarez is not required to attend.
Geniella said this plea agreement was not typical, but rather a “unique attempt at solving a chronic and frustrating problem for everyone,” referring to the defendant’s “chronic vandalism incidents and chronic run-ins with law enforcement.”
Due to repeated disturbances that included assaults on its staff prior to her November arrest, the hospital had filed a protection order banning Alvarez from entering the facility, and she was arrested repeatedly for trespassing.
Following her formal sentencing, which will likely involve her receiving a year of probation to be served in Oklahoma, Geniella said if Alvarez returns to Ukiah she will likely be in violation of her probation, which does not end until January of 2017.
“If that happens, she will be picked up and charged with violating her probation, and the merry-go-round starts all over again,” Geniella said. He estimated that Alvarez has been arrested, charged and jailed temporarily at least 22 times in Mendocino County. — Justine Frederickson, Ukiah Daily Journal
FOREVER AND EVER goes the discussion about what to do with the abandoned and crumbling Palace Hotel in downtown Ukiah, enriching lawyers as the endless jawing endlessly continues. Ukiah's attorney, David Rapport says the lawyers for the city and the building owner have scheduled another conference for the end of the month. He says the city is firm on what they want and should know then if they can reach an agreement. Ukiah has asked the Mendocino County Superior Court to get involved, appointing a receiver to take over rehabbing the building, but instead went to mediation. Some are asking for the money for mediation to instead go to rehab the old hotel.
COMMENT: Re: Online local support for Bernie Sanders On line is good, flesh-and-blood volunteerism is even better. Just a footnote. Mendocino Coast Folks for Bernie Sanders opened the first-in-California HQ for Bernie last October and we're going strong with over 60 volunteers presently and a Fort Bragg storefront open 7 days a week. We're busy doing local phonebanks to voters in the City and then will be moving to larger areas in our county. We also do events, postcard writing, etc. So do look at our facebook page. But then come and help us put California in Bernie's camp! We're only a few points behind statewide, so your two-hours real volunteer effort each week could make the difference. — Rod Jones, Mendocino
FACEBOOK FRIENDS OF DR. PETER KEEGAN were startled to see seven photographs of a bathroom appear on his home page in early March of this year. In Facebook tradition, the photos he posted were automatically shared to the news feeds of a wide network of Keegan “friends,” ”friends of friends,” and others.
“Please explain! What am I missing?,” asked one of those friends in a Facebook comment.
Perhaps that friend did not realize that the photos show the bathroom in which his wife Susan Keegan’s body had been found in November 2010. The friend may not have understood that the vinyl tiles missing from the floor and the damaged sheetrock visible in some of the photos were signs of the police search for evidence, executed with a warrant several years ago. Beyond all that, the photos were generally unremarkable, except that the somewhat ragged-looking bathroom no longer appears to be used much — no towels, no toiletries, a window without covering.
Why did Dr. Keegan shoot those photos and then post them on Facebook? Did he make a bizarre error of some sort? Was it a Catch Me If You Can taunt? Or perhaps it was a sign of something law enforcement often sees in unsolved crimes — the suspect returning to the scene, the suspect preoccupied with his deeds, the suspect reenacting the event, or boasting of it.
Dr. Keegan removed the photos from his Facebook page within a day, leaving behind only the creepy shadow of a troubled mind.
Edgar Allen Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart” might offer a hint of what’s going on. In that story, the narrator receives a visit from police after neighbors report hearing a shriek. The narrator greets them warmly, convinced that no evidence remains of his cunning crime, in which he killed “the old man who vexed me,” dismembered the corpse and buried it under the bedroom floor. The officers are soon persuaded that no crime has been committed, but they linger to engage in friendly chatter.
Meanwhile, a noise grows steadily under the floorboards, seemingly heard by the narrator alone. To mask the sound, he talks faster and more vehemently, paces about with a heavy stride, and frantically scrapes his chair over the growing din. The noise will not be silenced, yet the officers smile on.
The narrator’s agony intensifies. “I felt that I must scream or die! And now — again! — hark! Louder! Louder! Louder! Louder!”
Finally, he can take it no longer. “Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! Tear up the planks! Here, here! It is the beating of his hideous heart!”
Is Dr. Keegan hearing something grow louder and louder and louder? Fear not, Dr. Keegan. Others hear it, too.
A STORY FROM FRIDAY'S NYT on a vineyard near Laytonville contained this paragraph:
"Mr. Bewley braved a tangled thicket of bureaucratic agencies, eventually planting 140 acres. The other 5,000-plus acres support cattle raised for organic meat and a most unusual timber project."
DOUBT IT. Not in Mendocino County. France, there would be a bureaucratic thicket to brave, not here, not if you're a winery or a vineyard. It's pretty much a bureaucratic free fire zone for grapes.
FANATICS, a comment by Eleanor Cooney of Mendocino:
"It's time to discard useless, obfuscating terms like "Christian" and "Muslim." We need to see the issue clearly, which is that all fundie right-wing religious zealots, no matter what their particular "flavor" and no matter what collection of syllables and consonants they utter when they name themselves, nor what "uniform" they happen to wear, are one body and are in timeless mortal opposition to peace, progress and forward thought everywhere. They always have been, and they always will be.
"The only reason our own American fundie fanatics are not committing in-your-face atrocities is because they are constrained by living in a (however imperfect) secular western democracy. The Xtian right in this country look with secret envy upon their bearded, turbaned or ski-masked counterparts in the Muslim world. They wish they themselves could be turned loose to stone adulteresses, behead and burn apostates, throw gays off of tall buildings and so forth. They wish they did not live with laws that prevent them from fully expressing themselves, as they were able to do in centuries past, during the Inquisition, for example.
"The Xtian right and the Muslim right, and the right wing of ANY system of authoritarian superstitious belief (and that includes so-called "atheistic" dictatorships, where the dictator himself becomes a "god"), are not, as they like to pretend, in opposition to one another. They are the same, brothers under the skin. Their common enemy is every rational, forward-thinking, freedom-loving, secular person anywhere on the planet, at any time.
"PS. It's disingenuous to say that "Islam" (for want of a better word) does not mistreat women and that we should refer back to the Koran as proof of that. The Republican party of Lincoln's time bore just about zero resemblance to the Republican party of today; in the century and a half since then, it has morphed into something that Lincoln would not recognize. The name is all they have in common. So we have these words--"Republican" or "Islam"--and we use them as if we all agree on what those words contain, and then we build arguments upon them, like building a house on landfill.
"In exactly the same way as with the above example, though the Koran might have included directives on the fair treatment of women (I don't know; I've never read it, the same way I haven't read The Book of Mormon or the Bible or the Supplemental Hardware Guide or the Hackensak Telephone Directory), the "Islam" of today has, in plenty of societies, maybe not all, but plenty, plainly morphed into something else entirely in the intervening twelve centuries, and not just here and there and in a few instances. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and great swaths of Africa are notorious for their casual, everyday, wretched treatment of women. Granted, the men don't always fare so well either, and being rich or poor is going to have a lot to do with how much you suffer, male and/or female, but to be penisless in such parts of the world puts you many abysmal notches below from the moment you're born. It's what they are doing today that we are speaking about, not what they might have been doing centuries ago.
"The Wahhabist Saudi Royal Family, Caliphs, Grand Muftis, Ayatollahs, Imams, chieftains and warlords who are in charge in these deeply sexist, rigidly gender-segregated, pathologically puritanical places would be surprised indeed to learn that they are not practicing "Islam."
TWO WEEKS AGO, the Mendocino School District brutally fired three teachers at an open meeting of their school board, axing the trio without stating why they were being fired. Fort Bragg Unified did the same thing at their board meeting this week, although FB did their dirty work in closed session. Four teachers and a classified employee got their walking papers. The FB meeting had its poignant moments when a delegation of middle schoolers appeared to speak to the board on behalf of their teachers. Why are these dismissals being done in the middle of the school year? Did the school administrators and their captive school boards hire unsuitable people? Or is it the school administrators and their captive school boards who ought to get the ax?
I'VE SEEN lots of school staffers offed over the years. But I've seen a lot more nepotistic hires who never should have been hired in the first place. But they had pals on their school boards and, in extreme cases such as Boonville, were even related to administrators.
MOST OF THE PEOPLE fired go quietly, but a few exercise their right to have the reasons for their dismissals read out in open session. Listen to me, fired teachers! Pull the house down with you. Tell the truth about why you are being dismissed. Let us know the true state of education at your school. Don't just shuffle off. Do good on your way out the door.
LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS are dominated by "liberals" — in my vast experience anyway, and liberals are dependably the cruelest and most arbitrary because, well, I dunno, a lack of soul, I'd say, an inability to empathize arising out of their own personal economic security. In Mendocino County, the libs are everywhere at the power levers, and everywhere they themselves are public policy's first priority.
EXAMPLE: Ukiah is teeming with well-to-do libs — Ukiah pays its city manager an annual pay package worth a quarter mil — but there's a woman with a bunch of kids — little kids — who will be camping out with her brood at Lake Mendocino, Ukiah's alternative to closing its "emergency winter shelter." One would think in-town shelter could be found for her, especially since her children are all enrolled in elementary schools.
BUT THE LIBS will say, with a rueful shake of their fifty dollar haircuts, "Well, gosh, rents are so high, there's just no space, and this woman has all these kids, and who rents to kids, and hasn't she heard of birth control?"
IF THE COUNTY, and its incorporated towns, invested their retirement funds in local low cost housing instead of the stock market ponzi, retiree pensions would be a lot safer and we'd have a dependable housing stock that paid a smallish but safe return on investment. The County is already broke, of course, and headed inexorably for bankruptcy when retirees will be lucky to get a dime on the dollar, and nothing will be done about housing the houseless.
THE POINT IS, for all the lib-progressive keening about how "proactive" and generally politically cool they are, Mendocino County is a comprehensively retro place.
A COUNTY CORONER in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, Charles Kiessling Jr., has begun ruling heroin overdose deaths as homicides, meaning that the persons providing the drug can be tried for murder. "If you chose to sell heroin, you're killing people and you're murdering people. You're just as dead from a shot of heroin as if someone puts a bullet in you," Kiessling says.
MEANWHILE, a writer for Harper's magazine makes a strong case for the legalization of all drugs, arguing that lots of people function ok under the influence of one thing or another.
THE MENDO GRAND JURY has found that County departments comply with California Public Records Act requests. Their report is called, "For the Record: Records Management in Mendocino County Government." Jurors, without identifying themselves, visited nearly a dozen County offices where they got what they asked for without a lot of "I really have to see if I can give you this...."
THE GJ EXPERIENCE coincides with our experience here at the AVA. We haven't had any trouble lately getting the material we've asked for. But info hasn't always been so forthcoming. Compliance has much to do with who's sitting as supervisors, who the DA and Sheriff are. If they're stonewallers, department heads will be, too. At the mo, info is forthcoming.
SPRING TIME IN CLEARLAKE: The 911 calls came one after the other around midnight two nights ago. The first call was from someone in the house who said Troy Burnett was going nuts. The people Troy was going nuts on needed police to do something about him. A few minutes later someone called to say Troy had concluded his freak out by setting the house on fire.
TURNED OUT that Troy had attacked his father and stepmother with a shovel, then torched his home with himself, his sister, his elderly father and step mom inside. Everyone but Troy had to be hospitalized. Troy has been charged with attempted homicide and arson of an inhabited structure.
AN AP POLL says 62% of Americans assume that one kind of substance abuse or another is a serious problem in their communities. (Troy's attempt at family immolation over in Clearlake has tweek written all over it.) Substance abuse is certainly prevalent in Mendo where booze and crank run neck and neck for abused substance of choice. Hard to say about heroin although it's here and, drug people tell me, easily available in one form or another. And prescription drug abuse is everywhere. My theory, boiled down, is that life for so many people has become so unhappy that they zone out of their realities on one thing or another — soma, Huxley called the stuff that cooled you out to a malleable passivity, although drunks and tweekers don't tend to passivity.
AS MANY OF US are aware, lots of dope gets shipped outta here via UPS, the Post Office, FedEx and whatever other delivery services get stuff where it's supposed to go. Just last week cops were called to Ukiah's UPS facility on Cherry Street where they found more than two pounds of Mendo Mellow wrapped up and ready to go. The person who dispatched the dope probably isn't traceable, but we know a lot more leaves the County this way than is intercepted.
REMEMBER LAST APRIL — of course you don't — that was when a majority of the Board of Supervisors couldn’t even muster the courage to vote for Dan Hamburg’s already lame proposal to ask Mendocino Redwoods to voluntarily stop poisoning trees until the fire hazard issue could be "studied"? The problem with poisoning non-commercial tree species (besides the poison itself) is that it creates a large scale fire hazard as thousands of acres of standing dead tanoak, a “weed” species according to lumber specialists, remain upright until they fall over and decompose. Apparently, according to the so-called authorities, standing dead timber killed by pests on government land is a huge fire hazard, but standing dead timber killed by industrial toxins on vast private holdings like MRC's is not.
RATHER THAN ASK MRC to hold off the poisoning for awhile, the Board gave Madelin Holtkamp and her reliably tame “Mendocino County Fire Safe Council” $25,000 to study the problem and report back. (Ms. Holtkamp has been a ubiquitous presence at County non-profits for many years. Wherever there's a big pool of loosely supervised public money here comes Madelin in her bathing suit and water wings at full gallop.)
MS. HOLTKAMP probably got the $25k from the Board because the Board thought highly of her non-forestry background and keen analytical skills as demonstrated by her pre-Wildfire Protection Plan statement last year. Holtkamp had said that the problem of experiencing uncontrolled catastrophic wildfires stems from having too many trees. “There are just too many trees,” said Holtkamp. “There are more trees out there now than at any time since the inception of Western civilization on the North American continent. Finding a reasonable way to address that risk is something we are looking at. The solution is: We need fewer trees. Everyone knows that. It is how to economically remedy that, that is the tricky bit.”
MS. HOLTKAMP went on to say that Native Americans who lived here prior to 1850 used fire as an ag management tool. “In the summer, when the grass turned brown, they would throw a couple of burning twigs out there,” Holtkamp explained. “Then they would go over to the Coast and go fishing. In the fall when they came back, everything was great and there was no problem.”
HELL, EVERYONE ALSO KNOWS that the Indians were organized as non-profits back then too. They still are. But at least the Indians got the job done.
MS. HOLTKAMP is now “set to unveil” (TA-DA!) her $25,000 “Community Wildfire Protection Plan,” which Third District Supervisor Tom Woodhouse (one of the three Supes who didn’t want to inconvenience MRC by asking them to hold off for a while) has described as not only “a good plan,” but "the best plan this county has ever had,” according to Mike A’Dair in last week’s Willits Weekly. (Gee, Tom, even better than your homeowner's insurance policy?)
HOLTKAMP’S “GOOD PLAN” incorporates “input from local communities all over the county.” It has three parts: 1. Identifies areas where the risk is high. (We already knew that, of course; it’s mostly MRC’s large forest holdings.) 2. Summarizes fire hazard reduction plans that local fire departments have developed (already in place before the $25k was spent), and 3. Provides further basis for local fire agencies to submit grant applications to carry out their proposed plans (which the Supes could have done without giving Ms. Holtkamp $25k.)
THE COMMUNITY WILDFIRE PROTECTION PLAN does nothing to actually reduce the fire hazard or even suggest anything new. It was obviously a classic stalling tactic to cool-out those irrational enviros (like Comptche and Coastal firefighters and a few retired Calfire firefighters, plus a number of local residents who live near MRC’s huge tracts of dead trees) who thought that MRC should be ordered to stop the dangerous practice and remove the hazard (as is being done on government land where the dead trees were killed by pests).
SO IT’S NO SURPRISE that Ms. Holtkamp’s $25k “good plan” is nothing of the sort and will do absolutely nothing about MRC’s vast dead standing timber holdings.
BUT, there’s one little item buried in Mr. A’Dair’s report about the pending Community WildFire Protection Plan that is noteworthy: “Holtkamp said the scope of work included a summary of the specialized scientific literature available on the question of whether dead trees left standing in the forest add to forest flammability. She noted most of the studies reviewed by County forestry advisor Greg Giusti concluded that dead and standing trees in the forest did add to fire potential.”
OOPS! Now Ms. Holtkamp and Mr. Giusti and the authors of all that “specialized scientific literature” have to be added to the list of “irrational enviros and worryworts” who think that hack and squirt needs to stop.
HOWEVER, Ms. Holtkamp’s proposed solution is not to suggest that anybody actually stop hacking and squirting. No, no, no. That would be, gasp! confrontational, maybe even, double gasp! negative, and not at all proactive. After spending months on the problem, Maddie, as she's known around Ukiah, has concluded that the Board of Supervisors should “seek funding to undertake the study from the state Board of Forestry and Fire Protection and Calfire.” (So, can we get the $25,000 back, please?)
THE CITY OF UKIAH'S hydro-electric plant is up and running at its max capacity of 3.5 megawatts, not enough to supply more than a third of Ukiah’s electric power, but enough money to meet Ukiah's city manager's extravagant pay package plus, maybe, a street sweeper or two. When Lake Mendocino is full, as it is now, the force of the falling water makes the turbines whir faster, creating even more electric power to the tune of between $350,000 to $700,000 annually. The hydroelectric facility was installed out of a $23 million bond passed some 30 years ago. Techno-probs kept it from being fully operational for many years, but it's been a dependable source of power since 2007.
(History note: At the turn of the century, Ukiah-based engineers diverted the Eel River at Potter Valley, installed turbines at the Potter Valley-end of the diversion tunnel to bring electricity to Ukiah. They got 'er done in a couple of years, and the turbines ran without major breakdowns for the next hundred years.)
LITTLE MIKEYS POTEMKIN MEETING: Somewhere between 75 and 90 people, excluding staffers and invited speakers, showed up at Ukiah High School last Thursday evening to listen in on a cliche swap put on by local officials. The bogus session was convened by State Senator Mike McGuire, D. Healdsburg. These things occur in lieu of action, which is why they're popular among career officeholders.
THIS STATE operates from the top down. The Governor, especially this one, makes policy almost unilaterally, while lockstep Democrats of the McGuire type sign off on whatever Governor Brown has decided to do. Mikey's Ukiah meeting promoted the illusion of leadership without Mikey going to the trouble of actually trying to do something about this, that or the other aspect of rolling civic collapse.
THE LITTLE GUY hotly denied that the meeting the same day on homelessness was a closed affair. He said it was rsvp because of a lack of space. Pause here for hollow laughter. Ukiah is mostly space, empty motel space, empty church space, empty space here, empty space there.
TWO MORE SIGNS that we're in the End of Days: John Kasich, described by corporo-media as the "moderate" Republican running for President, has voted to defund Planned Parenthood. He's opposed to abortion, but says he would allow it "if the girl's father is the parent" but would oppose it "if the girl's next door neighbor was the father." Second sign: President Obama says his "favorite" columnist is David Brooks of the New York Times.
PROFESSIONAL HOMELESS ADVOCATES are putting in a lot of OT these days trying to keep state money flowing their way. The only specific plan in years for actually getting the homeless off the streets has been advanced in broad outline by Sheriff Allman. Meanwhile, Mendocino County pays annual millions for vague programs which are unable to cope with, or even rationally address, the growing numbers of severely screwed-up people broadly described as "homeless."
THE FAUX do-gooders of Fort Bragg, for example, have funneled thousands of public dollars toward failed programs and even structures that claim to be of help to the wandering shoals of thanatoids who wash up any place they can get a free meal without any commitment whatsoever to giving up (1) booze, (2) drugs, (3) booze and drugs, (4) crime. The numbers of people who've lost work and shelter through no fault of their own are a tiny, tiny minority of the "homeless."
THE RUFFING-TURNER AXIS SPEAKS:
Measure U update.
First, the initiative to ban social services downtown is now called Measure U and will appear on your June 7, 2016 ballot under this name.
Second, while many of us would like to believe that Measure U could never pass, we must not allow ourselves the luxury of simply hoping we are right. Measure U is still controversial and there is still a lot of misinformation being spread around. It is important to recognize that there is a lot of fear and anger being stirred up around this measure and we must continue to actively push back against these forces. To be effective in the campaign to defeat Measure U we need to reach out to our networks and leverage the support of our friends. We must continue to educate our fellow citizens. We must make Measure U a priority and ask the people we know to do the same, which is why Go Fort Bragg has reached out to the groups who are being targeted by Measure U to lead this campaign. Several leaders within the social service community responded to our call and have stepped up to organize this effort. Their voices and leadership will be invaluable in showing the potential for serious damage to our community if Measure U passes. Go Fort Bragg supports their campaign. We hope you will do the same.
WHY MEASURE U?
Initiative Measure U was started after the taxpayers and voters in the City of Fort Bragg watched City Council align with an out of town special interest group and
· the signatures and grievances of over 1200 residents and voters
· the hundreds of people who attended the city council meetings and spoke against locating the Homeless Day Shelter at the Old Coast Hotel
· the best interests of small business and tourism
· letters from professionals and parents of mentally ill clients asking for a more private, accessible location for services that provides more housing
We saw City Hall ignore the voters and:
· Waive the parking requirements in the zoning ordinance in February of 2015
· Ignore the fact that the housing and the facility is not 100% accessible to people with disabilities
· Ignore the zoning requirement for a business on street frontage in the Old Coast Hotel
· Ignore proof of more appropriate locations for the Homeless Day Shelter and MORE housing
· Deny lead paint issues in the Coast Hotel which have recently been revealed
· Spend 1.2 Million Dollars to gain only 10 of the 40 beds needed to house our most needy
· Spend public money on a lawsuit to fight their constituents
· Try to stop U from voting on this zoning change
The supporters of U believe:
· Fort Bragg deserves a downtown that inspires opportunities for business and tourism
· Mental Health, Disabled and Social Service Clients deserve a private location that is accessible to the disabled and provides lead free housing
· The people who live in Fort Bragg do not want a Homeless Day Shelter in the Old Coast Hotel and the voters need to be heard and determine the direction of downtown
· Measure U restores the democratic process with the VOTE!
Measure U is a grassroots community effort sponsored by folks representing all political parties, all ethnicities and socio-economic classes who live, work and vote in Fort Bragg
The Proponents of Measure U who believe in Rational Zoning, Democracy and Quality of Care for our most vulnerable and needy!
WHAT WILL MEASURE U DO?
Initiative Measure U amends Title 18, Chapter 18.22 of the Fort Bragg Municipal Code (Commercial Zoning Districts) and Table 2-6 with the following:
C. CBD (Central Business District) zoning district....
A social service organization is not a permitted use under any circumstances unless such organization was established and existing at a location within the CBD zoning district prior to January 1, 2015…
Table 2-6, Social Service Organization -CBD- not allowed
What this means is:
Measure U will “not allow” Social Services in the Central Business District and:
· Institute a zoning ordinance that promotes tourism and small business
· Preserve the historic business district
· Maintain a safe, clean, pedestrian friendly downtown
· Protect property values
· Protect and “Grandfather” Social Service programs established at a location in the district before January of 2015
· Prove that the community does not want a Homeless Day Shelter in the Old Coast Hotel and require a move to an appropriate location where clients will have better access to care, more housing, privacy and a lead free facility
· Institute rational, logical, sensible zoningin Fort Bragg
Initiative Measure U is a simple, non-discriminatory zoning change that insures the bright future of Fort Bragg’s Central Business District by celebrating the city’s rich history and allowing businesses to prosper.
When passed by a YES VOTE Measure U will:
• Protect the Historic Business District
• Support Small Businesses
• Support Tourism
• Support Rational Community Development
• Protect property values
• Support client rights to privacy, access to services and a lead free facility
· Prove that the community does not want a Homeless Day Shelter in the Old Coast Hotel
· Support Change in City Government
· Restore Democracy in Fort Bragg City Government
What will Measure U do? U will make a difference in the City of Fort Bragg.
The Proponents of Measure U, folks who live and work in the City of Fort Bragg.
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