Mendocino County Today: Thursday, May 26, 2016
by AVA News Service, May 25, 2016
GOTTA HAND IT TO MENDOLIB. They're always hustling — not to make the County (or the country) work a little better, hustling to get people like themselves into the high paying public jobs in all of the County's public bureaucracies. Who are they? Lots of trust funders, lots of people who already hold cush jobs in city and County government. Politically? They are Bill and Hillary to their solipsistic, self-interested cores because, politically, Billary represents people exactly like them — comfortable people, people who think it's simply wonderful that Jared Huffman is our congressman, and a pair of Healdsburg nerf balls allegedly represent us at the state level. Excuse the sweeper here, but this Mendolib apparatus, like some kind of insatiable succubus, is fastened to the necks of about 70 percent of us, and whatever and whoever they support you can be sure represents more of the same times ten.
THE FOLLOWING was written by a long-time opponent of Mendolib, but reflect almost exactly our opinions.
THE VOTERS of Mendocino County are about to anoint Fort Bragg attorney Patrick Pekin as our next Superior Court Judge. How can a virtual unknown come out of nowhere and beat a better qualified and experienced attorney like Keith Faulder? The short answer is Fort Bragg attorney Steve Antler. Antler runs a cottage industry hiring himself out as a campaign manager. Antler's strategy depends on networking Democratic Party insiders to form a solid base of coast lib and inland lib. Antler and Pekin spent a lot of time over the last year touring around the county with Antler making the introductions and getting paid for his time. Pekin's job was to mouth the usual platitudes about treating everyone fairly, while avoiding saying anything of real substance, then earnestly asking for an endorsement.
WE BELIEVE the voters have a choice between two qualified candidates. We also believe that probably half the people who endorsed Mr. Pekin did so without really knowing anything much about the guy or even whether anyone else was running for the seat vacated by Judge David Nelson. Their decision to endorse Pekin, in effect, was made in a vacuum. As it turned out, Ukiah defense attorney, and former interim District Attorney, Keith Faulder, had decided to run for judge but gallantly waited until Nelson announced his retirement before starting his campaign. By then Antler and Pekin had already circled the Mendo block several times and Pekin had a who's who of libs already in the bag.
COAST LIBS for Pekin include Antler, the inevitable Rachel Binah, Lee Edmundson, Margaret Mary O'Rourke, former Fort Bragg City Councilmember and current KZYX Board of Directors Chair Meg Courtney, Fort Bragg City Manager Linda Ruffing, disgraced former Supervisor Kendall Smith, and Jeff Tyrell, the former district rep for State Senator Noreen Evans. Inland lib is represented by Ukiah Mayor Steve Scalmanini, former Ukiah Mayor Jim Mastin, charter county proponent Robin Sunbeam, Lynda McClure, Ginger Poulson, Joe Louis Wildman and Willits City Council members Madge Strong and Jolly Holly Madrigal. (In addition to Sunbeam, Pekin is also endorsed by at least half the candidates for the Charter Commission, almost all of whom are card carrying members of coast or inland lib.)
ODDLY ENOUGH, Pekin also rounded up conservative Fort Bragg realtor Paul Clark and the equally conservative Madeleine Melo, widow of Fort Bragg forester and City Council member Jere Melo, who was murdered by Aaron Bassler. Melo was investigating reports of a trespass marijuana grow which turned out instead to be an opium poppy garden. Mrs. Melo has dedicated her life to warning others of the dangers that trespass marijuana gardens pose to woods workers and those who just enjoy going for a hike, as well as the environmental destruction of trespass marijuana grows. Why she would endorse an unknown against a man endorsed top to bottom by law enforcement, is a mystery. Pekin also gained the endorsement of Martha Barra, wife of Employer's Council stalwart Charlie Barra, and conservative Mayor Bruce Burton of Willits. We think it goes back to Pekin making the rounds before anyone knew there was another candidate in the race. Pekin himself is a blandly acceptable character with chameleon tendencies who allow others to see him as one of them.
PEKIN lost no time getting introduced to the marijuana advocacy groups. He and Faulder were both on a panel at a cannabis confab held in Willits a few months back. But Pekin got the endorsement of marijuana movement lawyers Omar Figueroa and E.D. Lehrman, both of whom were also at the Willits event. Neither is a resident of the county but Pekin and Antler no doubt think the endorsements send the right signal to the cannabis community. Faulder is well known as a very successful defense attorney, who handles a lot of marijuana cases, but he was also known as a tough prosecutor, including marijuana cases. The pot growers have no reason to think Pekin will cut them slack, but they know Faulder will not. Faulder's current status as attorney of choice for marijuana defendants is testimony to his courtroom skill, but ironically may have cost him the support of anti-weed warriors like Bruce Burton and Madeleine Melo.
PEKIN has also made much of his status as a volunteer firefighter, although we question how many calls he has really been on. Where are the photos of Pekin rushing into the burning building? Comforting the accident victim? They may exist but if they did we would probably have seen or heard about them by now. What with full time campaigning for judge for the last year, and a three year old and a pair of one year old twins at home, we doubt candidate Pekin has much time to answer the fire alarm bell. But it has been enough to get him the endorsement of about ten of the local fire chiefs, including Anderson Valley Chief Andres Avila.
PEKIN'S other claim to fame is that he has coached high school students in mock trial competition, which is admirable but hardly the deciding factor in the race for Superior Court Judge. Faulder, a married man with grown daughters, has also coached mock trial competition and serves on the Board of Directors of Project Sanctuary which provides shelter and services to victims of domestic violence. Both candidates are willing to take the time to volunteer in our community and we are willing to believe they are both nice people who enjoy the love of their wives and children. But who will make a better judge?
PEKIN'S endorsement list, in addition to being top heavy with coast and inland lib, also has some real deal killers. We have already mentioned Kendall Smith who brazenly defrauded the County out of thousands of dollars of travel reimbursement for travel she did not take. After three Grand Jury investigations found against her she still refused to pay. It took the threat of arrest and prosecution from current District Attorney David Eyster to force Smith to pay up a small fraction of what she actually stole. Pekin is also endorsed by former Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools Paul Tichinin whose only accomplishment in twenty years in office was raising his pay and taking taxpayer funded jaunts around the country. Tichinin even had the gall to ask for a retroactive pay raise after he left office.
FINALLY, Pekin is endorsed by former judges Jonathan Lehan and Kirk Gustafson. Credible reports say Lehan was fortunate to escape public charges regarding his, ahem, less than professional conduct in the workplace. Gustafson, unable to hack the rigors of a 10 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon workload, retired on stress disability saying, it was just too much. What was really too much was his dysfunctional personal life centered on a collapsing relationship to a talented but troubled woman. Lehan and Gustafson were also marginally competent at best so it is not clear why Pekin values their endorsements.
MARGINAL JUDICIAL COMPETENCE brings us back to the Honorable Clayton L. Brennan, who presides over the Ten Mile Court in Fort Bragg. Brennan, married to former Ukiah Mayor Mari Rodin at the time, was a circuit riding defense attorney, specializing in drunk driving cases. Brennan made it a point to show up in court in seven different counties to troll up enough cases to make a living. Most courts in modern day America are run on a sort of factory system with defendants serving as the raw material that gets ground into a type of sausage that sustains the defense and prosecution attorneys, investigators, expert witnesses, bailiffs, and judges. The average drunk driving defendant shows up for arraignment without an attorney and without any idea what is happening to him or her. Attorneys like Clay Brennan, with no reputation or ability to attract clients on their own, are always on hand, hoping to be appointed to represent the unfortunate defendants. Mommy Brennan was or is a federal judge. Mom's help was significant in getting Brennan his sinecure at Ten Mile.
AWARE that one of the sitting judges planned to retire, Brennan hired Steve Antler to make the introductions to coast lib and line up endorsements. Antler, as promised, and as he was paid to do, delivered coast lib for Brennan. Inland lib was no problem as Brennan was married to Ukiah Mayor Mari Rodin who easily enlisted inland lib who were eager to take up the cry that Clay needs a job. Mari had long grown tired of the extra childcare duties that fell to her while Clay made the rounds of seven counties piecing together a marginal living as a lawyer. Brennan, with the help of Antler, was an easy winner at the polls. But it quickly became apparent that Brennan was a decided underachiever when it came to understanding the law or applying it. After a series of embarrassing gaffes, Brennan was exiled to Fort Bragg where his marginal abilities generally go unnoticed.
PEKIN AND BRENNAN share a number of other similarities besides paying Steve Antler to hard wire them with coast and inland lib. Like Brennan, who was a full blown circuit rider trolling the courts, Pekin also sought clients from among a captive audience as he was assigned to represent state prison inmates. Pekin says he was selected because of his legal expertise. The fact is, he put his name on a list because he needed clients just like Brennan needed clients. Also like Brennan, Pekin seems to have plenty of time to campaign. If Pekin was the hot shot lawyer his ads say he is, he would not have time to campaign virtually full time for a solid year. Faulder, on the other hand, has to balance his time on the campaign trail with his duty to represent a full stable of clients.
FAULDER has more experience as an attorney, and his experience is broader and more varied, having been both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. Faulder's full caseload alone proves his skill. We also give the edge to Faulder based on his many more years of working and living in Mendocino County. We think it is important that our local judges fully understand the on the ground experience of life in Mendocino County. Faulder is smart, capable, accomplished and has the legal and life experience that best qualify him to serve as judge. But if you like Steve Antler and think Clay Brennan is a great judge, vote for Pekin.
MOVE OVER BOTANICAL GARDENS —
Hospitality House's $187,049.00 For Planting Twenty Dollar Bills But Not A Carrot In Sight.
The Giving Garden grant is for to be used over three years.
This is for the garden at the Hospitality House on McPherson St.
* * *
These are the invoices for the Giving Garden. Notice the April invoice says utilities are $1372.16 then in May they corrected it saying they overbilled $643.60. Why didn't City staffer Jennifer Owen ask about the huge increase in the utility bill? They are just rubberstamping these things and writing out checks! Also notice how the hourly rate of pay changes for the Director. Some people in Fort Bragg think that is done to balance things out.
Notice the agreement at the following link names Jennifer Owen as Grantee. The CDBG regulations say the Grantee is to monitor ALL programs financed with CDBG monies.
People in Fort Bragg were told there would be gardens at the Hospitality House and Transitional House also. The only thing at the transitional house was a patio.
WHAT’S AN EOB, YOU SOB?
I enclose a scanned copy of a bill I recently received from the Ukiah Valley Medical Center, the Adventist Hospital in Ukiah. This is a bill for a routine follow-up “encounter” with a specialist after some surgery I had a couple of years ago. In the past, these simple office “encounters” (which do no good other than checking to see if there has been any recurrence of the condition I was treated for back when; there hasn't) have never exceeded $70 or $80 after Medicare coverage is accounted for. Now all of a sudden I am being billed for almost $170, more than double the charges for previous “encounters,” with mysterious add-ons labeled as either "Medicare payments" or "Medicare discounts." One of the Medicare "payments" is listed as a negative payment of about $11.
Obviously, I don't understand the mathematics nor the reason for the mysterious Medicare add-ons, so I called the customer service number listed on the bill. After many failed attempts I finally got hold of a friendly but inarticulate young woman named Julie who listened to my question about why the Medicare payments were added and what they meant.
She immediately replied, "Oh, our bills are very hard to understand."
She then rattled off a bunch of other charges which I didn't understand and which did not appear on any statement that I have which she apparently was reading from a screen concerning my account. I asked what those numbers were and she mentioned some other Medicare acronyms I again did not understand.
Julie then told me that she didn't understand the reason for the Medicare entries and that I should call 1-800-Medicare and ask for an "EOB." She then proceeded to explain the process of asking for an "EOB" without telling me what an EOB was. Finally I interrupted her and asked what an EOB was and she replied, "Oh, sorry, that's the Explanation of Benefits."
I replied that I didn't see that I was getting any benefits at all; in fact, I was being charged extra. She did not see any humor in that remark and told me again that UVMC bills are hard to understand and the Medicare information is plugged in there by a computer program.
Notice also that the bill shows that that this was a second notice, because I had tried to get an explanation for the earlier bill but couldn't get through to their customer service representatives and therefore did not pay it.
I told Julie that I wouldn't mind paying making a partial payment along the lines of my previous payments of about $70, but that I didn't see why I should pay for charges that I don't understand and doubt apply or are computer mistakes.
Julie agreed and said that the partial payment would be fine.
I am left wondering about whether I will be denied service at Ukiah Valley Medical Center in the future if I don't make a full payment for something that I doubt is correct. Or if a partial payment will only complicate things further since I doubt that “Julie said it was ok” will stand up as a reason for partial payment in front of Judge Nadel in small claims court. Or trying to call Medicare and asking (probably another computer) for an EOB that will probably not "explain" anything but just kick the over-bill down the road.
Name withheld, Ukiah
YORKVILLE BOBCAT/Chicken Eater nabbed:
ON WEDNESDAY, May 25, 2016, at about 9:00 AM, Kay Graves, 74, of Fort Bragg, was in her kitchen when she was confronted by a strange man standing near her in her house. The man was wearing fabric tied around the lower portion of his face to conceal his identity and demanded that Graves give him money. Graves told the suspect that she did not have any money and he replied that he needs money and demanded that she give it to him. Graves maintained that she did not have money to give him and he turned to leave. When the suspect turned Graves saw that he was holding a large black handgun at his side. The suspect walked out of Graves’ house and ran toward the east into the woods. Graves called 911 and Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies arrived and began searching the area. A Sheriff's Office canine was used to assist in the search. The investigation eventually identified nearby resident Matthew Rantala as the suspect. Rantala was arrested and the disguise that he wore during the crime was recovered, as was the handgun. The handgun was found to be a replica firearm. Rantala was subsequently lodged in the Mendocino County Jail on charges of armed robbery, residential burglary, and personal use of a deadly weapon, with bail set at $200,000.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE FROM HERE
To the Editor:
Why does it feel like Mendocino County is getting left behind in the marijuana industry we helped create? I think it’s time the local police and sheriff stop preying on local marijuana growers for the money in confiscating land, homes, vehicles, cash, etc. Which is obviously what’s going on, since we hold second place in drug related confiscations in the state, first being LA County. Our dollar value of confiscations is not far behind LA County and they have multiple millions of residents, where Mendocino County only has a couple hundred thousand residents. We need to embrace the pot industry if we don’t want to get left behind, just so crooked local law officers can line their pockets with extra cash. The Mendocino County police force continues to grow by filling residents’ heads with nonsense about how they are not safe because of gang violence, we have no higher gang violence ratio than any county in California. Our gang violence is so low, we don’t even have to mix gang members with the general population in the county jail. We have enough single cells for them in our tiny jail. Why we need to spend millions on a new courthouse to sentence more people to an overpopulated outdated jail is beyond me. Sheriff Tom Allman seems very far from a hero to me, with his mental health outreach. Our county jail is full of mentally ill inmates who need help, not long prison sentences and a lock down cell to themselves for 47 out of every 48 hours at the jail. While our local sex offenders and child molesters are free to roam their very own module. Our sexual offenders and child molesters outnumber our gang members.
Which leaves me to believe we need to spend more time making sure our women and children are safe from sexual offenders who obviously have mental issues and meth addictions, and might not be doing time for offenses that probably would not have happened if our hero Allman was actually doing what he says and getting the mental health situation under control. He would probably be too busy to be raiding pot farmers and we would be passing laws and regulations to help our economy and marijuana industry flourish, which would bring millions in tax money and provide hundreds of jobs, that would help reduce our homeless population, so tourists won’t shy away from our county.
Or maybe I’m just crazy and should seek Tom’s award winning mental health outreach.
Javier Garcia, Mendocino County Jail
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 24-25, 2016
Aguilar, Bixby, Davis
FERNANDO AGUILAR, Ukiah. DUI, paraphernalia.
DONALD BIXBY III, Canoga park/Ukiah. DUI.
BRITTANY DAVIS, Ukiah. Mandatory supervision sentencing.
Diaz-Guerrero, Ella, Evans
JAVIER DIAZ-GUERRERO, Covelo. Rape, contributing, controlled substance, failure to appear.
CONNOR ELLA, Santa Barbara/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
WILLIAM EVANS, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
Flowers, Guevara, Halvorsen
DEVON FLOWERS, Poway/Willits. Pot cultivation, sale, resisting, probation revocation.
MIGUEL GUEVARA, Ukiah. Meth possession for sale, paraphernalia, leaded cane/billyclub, resisting, failure to appear, probation revocation.
NICHOLAS HALVORSEN, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
Heidinger, Hicks, Jun
SCOTT HEIDINGER, Failure to appear, probation revocation.
IVORY HICKS, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
LI JUN, San Francisco. Commerical ab diving.
Mallett, Milberger, Scarberry
JANET MALLETT, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
STEPHANIE MILBERGER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
NICHOLAS SCARBERRY, Laytonville. Meth sales.
Schleper, Schmidt, Svendsen
BRANDY SCHLEPER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.
DANA SCHMIDT, Willits. Domestic assault.
ASHLEY SVENDSEN, Willits. Probation revocation.
Taylor, Tompkins, Williams
PATRICK TAYLOR, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.
KELSEY TOMPKINS, Ukiah. Arson.
EDNA WILLIAMS, Ukiah. Under influence, interference with emergency personnel, probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
A microscope is a wonderful tool, but it’s not very useful for making a map of the country.
America’s problems aren’t political in origin and they won’t be solved by our debauched political process. Therefore the political rumblings and eructations aren’t very relevant. They’re interesting in a cultural way, but no more relevant than the summer replacement shows on network television.
In fact, in the one truly helpful thing Donald Trump has ever done, he has demonstrated in practice that the American political process is in fact a scripted network television program.
America hasn’t “suddenly” adopted gay rights as the result of a nefarious campaign by activists. It isn’t coming from a seizure of the political and judiciary process. It’s coming because most people weren’t thinking at all about LGBTQ-Trans-Whatever people, until the Right decided to use them as a scapegoat and a scarecrow to herd the Evangelicals to the voting booth. Thus presented with a fearful threat, most Americans thought about it for the first time and realized, to their own mild surprise, that they couldn’t care less about these people who have always existed among us and whom we’ve always known and never concerned ourselves with much.
So, having thought about it a little, we’ve decided we just don’t care. America is a country based on positive freedom, meaning that you’re free to exercise your rights unless we decide you’re not; you don’t need permission first. As an example near the edge of absurdity, it hadn’t ever bothered us before that people who looked and acted like men or women and used the bathroom with people they resemble. At least in the Men’s room, which is the only place where men will always look each other in the eye, it wasn’t any issue I’ve ever been aware of in my 50 years.
So let it be with Hillary and Trump. Yes, the Democrats are going to re-create their 1968 debacle with the same sense of pre-ordained doom as if it were being written by Sophocles. A President Trump might do slightly less damage, as everyone in Congress would unite to sabotage him. A President Clinton would have at least one party in her corner, if a mortally wounded rump of a party, as she tried to sell whatever’s left in America not totally usurped by Finance and the War Party.
But no current politician is going to solve the problems they’ve so assiduously created. Indeed, the specious and fatuous concerns they present as “Issues” give away the show entirely. Not one of their “issues” are any of the things menacing America, nor posing any hope of future improvement.
As usual, life will go on and people will react and respond, and find new ways to get things done. Eventually the political elites will catch up. Better that we ignore them and refuse to give them the deference they will demand.
The Mendocino County Animal Care Services Shelter would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to the wonderful folks at the Anderson Valley Farm Supply and the Lion's Club for hosting a Mobile Adoption Event on Friday, May 20. Both organizations donated their time, plus food and drinks.
AND-- all the money collected was donated to the shelter!! With those funds, the shelter will be fully sponsoring two of our guests! Thank you so very much. We appreciate the generosity of the folks in Anderson Valley, and all over our county! Check out the shelter's official website for information about all of the shelter's great guests, our sponsorship and foster programs, and information about becoming a volunteer, at www.mendoanimalshelter.com. And thank you again to Anderson Valley Farm Supply and the Lion's Club.
MENDOCINO ANIMAL SHELTER, Ukiah
Mary is a loving, playful girl who is obsessed with tennis balls! This girl can entertain herself for hours, but is most happy with a fetch buddy. When she's not chasing that fuzzy yellow ball, she has a mellow disposition that makes her great company. Mary is friendly with other dogs and kids, but she's not fond of cats, so a feline free home would be best. Mary is so ready to be your best friend, so come meet her today! Mary is 47 pounds and 6 years young. For the most updated information about the guests at the Ukiah Shelter, please visit the official county website at
Padme is a 3 or 4 year old, spayed female cat, ready to go home with you today. She is a big fan of hanging out on laps and is quite affectionate and generous with her purring sweetness. Padme I was found as an abandoned stray, but was most probably socialized with people because she is so friendly. All the shelter's guests can be seen on the official Ukiah Shelter website: www.mendoanimalshelter.com
YOUTH PROJECT RECOGNITION OF THE JIM LEVINE LEGACY SCHOLARSHIP
Mendocino County Youth Project and Mendocino Family and Youth Services have chosen the 2016 Jim Levine Legacy Scholarship Award winners. The 2016 Jim Levine Legacy Scholarship awardees are: Citlaly Correa of Anderson Valley High School, Jennifer Sanchez Villagomez of Point Arena High School, Natasha Higuera of Point Arena High School, Lauren Curlee of Point Arena High School, Frank Ortiz of Ukiah High School and Bayliee Kaser of Ukiah High School. Each graduating senior receives a $500 scholarship, to be paid directly to the university, college or trade school the student enters in the Fall of 2016, to be used for fees, books, and other school items.
The annual scholarship program, keeps the spirit that Mr. Levine brought to the Youth Project by selecting the ideal applicant who; has overcome personal difficulties, reached out to help others, is graduated in June 2016, and is focused on building a future and a career through education and or advanced technical training. The Scholarship Committee considered carefully the attributes and essays of the many high school applicants from different schools around Mendocino County. While it was felt all applicants were worthy of recognition, the committee members expressed their admiration for the hard work and dedication the award winners and their references shared in the applications.
If you are interested in making a tax deductible donation to the Jim Levine Legacy Scholarship please contact MCYP at 707-463-4915 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
NEVER HILLARY. Breaking News: Hillary Audit.
RIGHT TO THE POINT
What Are We Waiting For?
I've run out of cool spiritual greetings, so I will get right to the point. I have paid for another week at the Zen Hostel in Gainesville, Florida. Therefore, I am still on the eastern seaboard. I want to perform powerfully effective tantric rituals and other appropriate activity in service to the Divine Absolute, to enhance our street protesting and general leftist dissent, in eco-defense of Mother Earth in these particularly insane times. I have money, am healthy, much wiser at 66 years of age, not identifying with the body-mind complex because I know what I am, and to hell with the stupidity of postmodern globalized materialism. I'm ready to leave for points north to seriously fuck with the bastards in Washington, D.C., New York City, take a break at the Earth First! RRR in Michigan late June, and then on to the bogus conventions in Clevo and Philly. Where are my people? What are we waiting for?
Craig Louis Stehr
May 24, 2016