Mendocino County Today: Monday, May 30, 2016
by AVA News Service, May 30, 2016
HAVE FUN THIS SUMMER AT HENDY WOODS
by Kathy Bailey
The camping season is well underway at Hendy Woods State Park and visitors and locals alike are enjoying the recently renovated Day Use Area. Hendy Woods Community is again sponsoring the Second Sunday free day use entry for local people. We will pay the day use entry fee for residents of Yorkville, Boonville, Philo, Navarro, Comptche, and Elk. To take advantage of this offer, know your zip code! Hendy Woods is Anderson Valley’s only large public open space and we feel strongly that everyone should have access to the park regardless of their ability to pay a fee. The program was very popular last summer and we look forward to another great year.
We are thrilled to be able to report that the waterline replacement project is complete and it has made a huge difference! The water that comes out of the faucets is clear! Wow, how about that! Also, there has been no need to shut down campsites or other facilities because of pipe break flooding—quite an improvement. State Senator Mike McGuire and Assembly Member Jim Wood were instrumental in getting this project off the sidelines and onto the home run tally. We owe their staffers Kerrie Lindecker and Ruth Valenzuela a big Thank You as well.
Replacing the big water holding tank will happen after this camping season concludes. The tank is already on site so there is no going back! We are confident the project will be completed as designed.
On another really good note, the Sector found some money to do an interim fix on the awful bathrooms in the Wildcat campground loop. Toilets were replaced, the key to the project. Stalls were also replaced and the walls and floors painted. A huge improvement! The Sector still has to find some money to replace the roofs, which are probably the original wood shake from 1963 based on the looks of them. The moss is basically holding the shakes together.
The park’s seasonal staff is up and running and we will have a new ranger in the Fall after he completes his training with our current ranger Natasha Morris, who has taken a transfer to elsewhere in the Sector. Unfortunately, our own organization’s cadre of volunteers has been heavily impacted by health issues, both the volunteers’ and their families’. We are actively working to rebuild our volunteer base. Please give us a call at 895-3746 or send a message from the website HendyWoods.org if you have time to help out. Possibilities include leading interpretive walks, staffing the Visitor Center, and helping with invasive weed eradication.
We would love to be able to say that the permanent Maintenance position has been filled, but the Sector has so far been unable to get approval to fill the position. Our long-time maintenance person died a year ago April and had also been out on sick leave the previous summer. With all the wonderful improvements that have been made in the last couple of years, it would be a real shame if things were allowed to deteriorate for lack of a consistent eye on maintenance. We are truly hoping that approval for the hire will happen immediately after the beginning of the new fiscal year July 1.
We hope to host a visit this summer with Acting District Superintendent Mike Lair, who was appointed after the tragic accidental death of Superintendent Liz Burko. We think it is important for him to see what a wonderful park we have at Hendy Woods. He is based at the District office in Duncan’s Mills, Sonoma County.
Come take a walk at Hendy Woods, on the trails, in the old growth Redwood Groves, or along the river. You can bike along the roads too. Although paying the day use fee or coming on the subsidized Second Sundays of the month will get you much closer to Big Hendy Grove, you can always park at the Greenwood Road bridge and walk or bike in for free. Little Hendy Grove is not far from the bridge. It’s a beautiful day in the park no matter how you arrive!
WARRIORS SHOOTING GUARD Klay Thompson told the media in Oklahoma after Saturday’s tension filled win to even the playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder that if the Warriors stay close and don’t fall far behind they don’t lose confidence because "We got a team with great spurtability." “Great Spurtability” thus goes into the AVA’s pantheon of memorable recent coinages with “Dozergrow,” the heedless scraping of the landscape to make a quick buck growing pot or grapes. These new coinages will join earlier coinages such as “hill muffins,” “Mendolib & Coastlib,” “strange bongfellows,” ‘Quickdraw’ Wattenburger, Tom ‘I’m looking into it’ Mitchell, “hipneck,” and Doug ‘Oil Can’ Bosco.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY was teeming with distracted visitors through the holiday weekend, wining and dining and milling around buying stuff, which is what people also do over Labor Day weekend. And on the 4th of July and every other day set aside to remember the grimmest days of our staggering republic and some of our greatest people. We've packed a lot in in a mere 400 years, America, with much turbulence to come.
WE ARE HOME to lots of veterans, with many more sleeping forever in our modest cemeteries, many of them killed in faraway places in forgotten wars. It's a melancholy thought to know that veterans from wars all the way back to our Civil War rest here in the Anderson Valley, not far from several people who were born during the Revolutionary War. The saddest to me are the veterans of the wars I remember because I knew people who fought in them, and only a fluke of a birthdate kept me from fighting in Vietnam. I was born two years too early. Friends of mine went. Friends of mine died there for no reason at all, as some of us realized while they were dying.
ARE THERE VALID reasons for fighting a war? Yes, lots of them. The dove-festooned placard we see around that says 'War Is Not The Answer' always makes me think, "Depends on what the question is." Sometimes war is absolutely necessary. Fascism had to be stopped. I would have volunteered for World War Two, as millions of Americans did. There was almost no internal debate on that one. Depending on your point of view Left Fascism was stopped halfway in Korea, which was a good thing. Vietnam? Not justified by the geo-political realities known at the time. Iraq? Straight-up fraud. Afghanistan? I thought a retaliatory strike at the Taliban government for their role in 911 was justified. Naively, I thought we'd be in and out. Years later we're still there. The War On Terror? We've managed to create thousands more terrorists, so many that our great grandchildren will be holding them off.
THE MOST POWERFUL anti-war statement ever comes in the form of a novel by Dalton Trumbo called Johnny Got His Gun. It was so persuasive our government banned it and sent its author to federal prison for other reasons, but his novel had to have helped put Trumbo behind bars. No injustice to a minor masterpiece intended, but to sum up 'Johnny' it's about a guy from a place like Boonville, circa 1916, sent off to fight in World War One. He has no idea of the issues involved (scholars are still looking for them), barely knows where he is when he lands in Europe where he's so badly disfigured in battle, so terribly wounded, that he's rendered mute and he can't be identified. So Johnny, who still has a memory, lies in a back ward in a veteran's hospital swaddled in bandages head to foot remembering the simple pleasures and beauties of his life before his catastrophe.
MY FAVORITE veteran is the late Richard 'Dick' Day of the Philo Day Ranch where Richard grew up. His family home is a vineyard these days but the old ranch house and apple drier are still there. Richard Day grew up in the Anderson Valley. He remembers Daniel Jeans, the former slave who cleared the land for Anderson Valley's first school and homesteaded Ham Canyon due west of today's Anderson Valley Elementary. Jeans, by then an old man, showed young Day the scars on his back from his years of servitude. (The historical record of Mendocino County is so faint that we know very little about the ex-slaves who travelled with pioneer white families to frontier Mendocino County. We know of a number of black settlers in Covelo and Daniel Jeans and his family in the Anderson Valley. And there was the famous Nigger Nat of Mendocino who died a wealthy man.
RICHARD DAY, a tall, robust man who lived well into his eighties, told me when he was drafted to fight in World War Two he'd never been out of Mendocino County. His last night before heading for induction in Oakland he'd spent in Ukiah's Palace Hotel. "It was the most luxurious thing I could think of to do," he said. "They told me I'd be home in two years, but it took me six to get back here." There were lots of young men like Richard Day, young men who'd never gotten much beyond the uneventful places they were born in. It's not hard to imagine how they yearned for those uneventful places in the slaughterhouses of Europe and Asia, and now the Arab countries. Endless war.
* * *
FROM THE MAY 2014 AVA:
HISTORICAL NOTE: Ham Canyon is a homestead site pioneered by a freed slave by the name of Daniel Jeans who also cleared the land for the first school in Anderson Valley now known as the Little Red School House Museum. Jeans' descendants — Jeans was married to a Native American from the Anderson Valley, a story in itself — lived in the valley until World War Two when the family's homestead was absorbed by the June Ranch.
HAM CANYON undoubtedly got its name from the Old Testament designation of black people as the sons of Ham, i.e., slaves. There were Boonville old timers alive as late as the early 1980s who recalled, as boys and girls, Daniel Jeans showing them his scarred back from heavy applications of the whip during his slave days. How Jeans came to Boonville is not known, but he probably had an association with a pioneer white family he'd known in the South, perhaps Missouri, where many of Anderson Valley's early settlers came from. Covelo, incidentally, became home to enough black immigrants in the latter half of the 19th century to prompt locals to designate an area of the town as a black neighborhood, assuredly in less sensitive terms.
IT'S WORSE than sad that so much Mendocino County history has been lost. The Jeans family saga alone is epic from what we know of it.
DAVID SEVERN ASKS: With all the hoopla about taxing marijuana when its legal what gives with how we tax wine? Compare CA with KY.
WAITING FOR RAOUL
RAOUL van Hall, recently resigned Program Director at KZYX, posted this notice on the MCN Listserve Sunday: In the coming days, I will be writing a letter detailing my reasons for leaving KZYX. — Raoul van Hall, Audio Arts LLC. On the Air - In the Air – Online
THE LATEST TURMOIL AT KZYX
Cur Mudgeon wrote (about Stuart Campbell): “But if this guy really is as Stalin-esque as you say - and I'm not arguing with your asessment of him, because I don't know him - how could the entire board and members not realize it? Wouldn't any clear-thinking member recognize this and get rid of him somehow? It is a listener-supported organization, after all; not everyone could be fooled. Could they?”
* * *
First of all, not quite Stalinesque but rather Nixonian. And not everybody has to be fooled but only enough people. Make a list in your mind of historical figures who were voted into office, and had close friends, and loved puppies and bunnies, and were terrible people who did terrible things and nonetheless had their cadres of fatuous and staunch supporters (such as Tim Bray) who all pointed out that they were voted into office, sometimes many times in a row, and people complaining about beheadings and gassings and fingers in the till should shut up and get with the program.
Get this: Stuart Campbell was not voted into his current position on the board by the general membership. We were not permitted to vote either for or against him. The root of this is the subject of pending legal proceedings that rightly threaten the nonprofit status of MCPB, the corporation that controls KZYX. If they lose NP status, they lose their annual six-figure CPB grant, and they'll have to learn to operate like other radio stations that somehow survive without a tax money derived bailout every year, and they won't be able to do it. Without that annual shot in the arm, which amounts to not only a shot, nor an arm, but a whole replacement body from the arms down, MCPB would have failed every year of its existence, going all the way back to the 1980s, and the boardmembers aren't equipped to answer that. They're having secret sweaty consultations with their legal advisors right now. They've asked Dennis O'Brien for a few more weeks to think about how to respond, and I don't know why he said, sure, fine, take a few more weeks, but he did. Maybe he did because he knows that losing their nonprofit status would also cost them their license to keep feeding a total of $20 a day in electricity to their three transmitters that together cover the county. Maybe he wants to give them a chance to finally grow up, to improve. Anyway, those weeks are running out. You don't know anything about that, either, because of the lack of transparency characteristic of everything about KZYX, the same lack of transparency behind your not knowing anything about Stuart Campbell and how he operates. Sakowicz is right on this score.
Other radio stations that pay their managers and office people well also manage to pay their airpeople, who are the ones doing what any community radio station is there for in the first place. Stuart Campbell, currently on the board as the so-called representative of the airpeople, has never spoken up for the airpeople in any way, much less to get them paid even a pittance for their work, and he's been a power in the station for years and years.
When he was board chairman, he refused to insert in the public inspection file anything sent in by the public or membership that he wanted kept secret. He refused to accept into the public record anything written to the board. He personally intercepted email to the board and spoke for the board in replying. He appointed the members of the manager search committee, then applied to the same committee to be manager at $60,000/yr. And right now he's the chairman of the so-called programming committee and the finance committee. The idea of such a creature sitting with the levers of power arrayed around him is appalling. The list of his sleazy perfidy is as long as your arm, speaking of arms.
And, to be fair, it isn't just Stuart Campbell. MCPB has been a rat king since the beginning. Look up rat king. Tails, not arms.
It'll be interesting to read Raoul's take on his experience at KZYX. He writes that he'll provide it soon. He has to decompress a little, and anybody can understand that.
Marco McClean, Mendocino
KZYX FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE
WE THINK KZYX should be re-organized, completely disbanded and restructured to ensure community control. KMUD in nearby Garberville provides an excellent organizational model. KMUD arose out of community meetings. KZYX arose out of the private enterprise of a single individual, a Limbaugh Republican named Sean Donovan who managed to get himself paid about $30,000 for his organizational work. The decision to pay him was made by the management group Donovan had appointed to run the station in his stead.
DONOVAN POISONED KZYZ in its crib by organizing it as forever self-appointed and self-succeeding. And it was headquartered in the Anderson Valley, thus ensuring domination by non-linear stoners with liberal-ish pretensions. Whatever other virtues the core group may have possessed it was always short on discipline, long on petty feuding and even pettier jealousies.
ONE OF DONOVAN'S first acts after ensuring his 30 grand, was to fire talented radio people like Mitch Clogg and Marco McClean. From there on it was a parade of marginally competent, fearful people in charge who have kept the place broke and in turmoil ever since.
THE PRIMARY WAY KZYX is fundamentally screwed-up is its bloc of programmers, enough of them to vote as that bloc for management least likely to interfere with them. There is a core of programmers at the station whose corpses will be found slumped over the station's ancient turntable. They can't be removed, they'll never leave. A new manager, let alone a new program manager, who threatens the life tenure of this death-grip claque of bores and their scheming allies on the station's inert board of trustees, is fought full-time and, ultimately, undermined. It will be a minor miracle if the newly appointed station manager, a pleasant and capable woman named Lorraine Dechter, can survive the machinating aspirations of a Lilliputian figure called Stuart Campbell who appeared out of nowhere to easily win over the station's dominant mediocrities, but, miraculously, didn't get the boss job over Dechter. The infighting, back-biting, and internal sabotage that goes on at KZYX is astounding given the small stakes involved, but the net effect of the unending turmoil has cost the station what little community support it had. Ms. Dechter, and the now departed Raoul van Hall, have represented the long needed fresh air, but these new faces were immediately subjected to the age-old sabotage from the station's entrenched chronophages, collectively on air, a kind of instant audio chloroform.
STATION TRUSTEES are also largely self-selecting. When they leave, if they ever leave, they tap their soul bros and sis's to succeed them. The pure idiots on the board — there are at least three — led by the ubiquitous Campbell, are enough to finish off any non-profit, but it's unlikely the sane trustees will move against them. It wouldn't be "appropriate," as the fascist wing of Mendolib characterize people and opinions they disapprove of. And the entire board doesn't do what a non-profit board is supposed to do — raise money and keep the enterprise solvent. KMUD doesn't need federal grants to keep afloat. Neither does KPFA. KZYX should regroup as a true community radio station wholly dependent on the community it serves. In its present state it could not do that.
HANSEL & GRETA AT THE UKIAH SHELTER
Hansel and Greta came to the shelter with their seven puppies. The pups are now old enough to be adopted, and Mom and Dad are looking for their new homes. Greta has a gentle, affectionate nature that made her a wonderful mom and will make her a great family member. Greta walks well on a leash, is smart and attentive and we expect her to be an easy, eager-to-please addition to her forever home. Greta is 2 years old and 52 pounds. Hansel is a silly, energetic, affectionate guy who loves everyone, people or dogs. He is playful and needs a home where he gets daily exercise and activity. He would be a great addition to a family with active, older kids or a hiking pal for a single person. Hansel is 2 years old and 71 pounds. For information about Hansel and Greta, call Mendocino County Animal Care Services Shelter at 707-467-6453. And please check out the shelter's official website:
To the Editor:
John Arteaga’s generally thoughtful monthly column went off recently into a discussion of architectural achievements in Ukiah: “The lustrous ground concrete floors in the new gas station at the Coyote Casino which looked like Terrazzo,” and “The imaginative complexity of bolted-together timbers which reminded [him] of a Japanese pagoda.” He looks forward to the soon-to-be Chipotle Drive-In at Perkins and Orchard after having discovered that the Chipotle outlet in Santa Rosa has “a very nice kind of postmodern ambiance with its beautiful walls of perforated plywood.”
I had to check your masthead to assure myself I had not picked up Architectural Digest by mistake. I imagine Arteaga is on the edge of his seat awaiting the forthcoming splendor of the Dollar Store in Redwood Valley and the In-and-Out Burger destined for the Raley’s mall.
Then Arteaga’s column glanced off into a rant about the delays in approval of the Costco Big Box destined for the far end of Airport Boulevard with 16 unneeded new gasoline pumps in a town not experiencing long lines at existing gas stations. He complains that “some hack lawyer from the Central Valley” is hanging up City Council approval of this “hugely popular project with whatever kind of nonsensical lawsuit.”
He does not bother to mention that Costco and the City Planners never bothered to consider the major traffic hazards at the Talmage Interchange the additional Big Box would create. The Planners themselves hung up the project for two years while preparing a $6.2 million traffic mitigation plan that CalTrans refused to approve. By that time, the State Legislature had canceled the RDA (redevelopment) program, the expected source of the $6.2 million, and the City was left high and dry with no available funds for the road work. Costco declined to fund the road improvements themselves.
Arteaga solves this problem by blandly suggesting that the “county (actually the City) has got to borrow a few million to make the necessary road improvements on Talmage and probably repaving Airport Boulevard” that Arteaga feels is crumbling. He reassures us that such a loan “would quickly be repaid by sales tax receipts from the store.”
If this is the case, why-oh-why doesn’t Costco, with the huge profits Arteaga predicts, just pay for the road improvements itself and be done with it?
Could it be that, with Walmart shutting down 256 stores this year across the country and other big boxers scaling way back as well, the days of huge shopping malls crowding out local retailers is finally about over and Costco is having second thoughts about Ukiah? Could it also be that the bankers are not interested in loaning more money to the City of Ukiah? The City is deeply in debt and needs to pay off, starting in 2021, the RDA loans they took out years back and that are now costing 6% interest per year. With no foreseeable growth in our economy or tax receipts in the near term, the City Council will just have to occupy itself with their interminable indecision about the Palace Hotel while dribbling out small amounts from the General Fund for such silly projects as one lane traffic on State Street, a proposed round-about at Low Gap and State, and subsidized outdoor luncheonettes.
James F. Houle, Redwood Valley
POT FUELED LAND RUSH IN THE EMERALD TRIANGLE
by Peter Fimrite
Trinidad, Humboldt County — Pot politics are nothing new to Sunshine Johnston, who has been cultivating cannabis on her organic farm near the famous Avenue of the Giants for many years. But the emergence of land speculators in the Emerald Triangle is threatening to ruin her bucolic buzz.
Johnston, her friends, neighbors and fellow growers are perturbed by hordes of high rollers who are snapping up every old ranch, logging tract and forested parcel that goes on the market.
The scramble for land in Humboldt County and, to a lesser extent, Mendocino County, is an apparent attempt by entrepreneurs to cash in on the possible legalization in November of recreational pot peddling in California.
“The way people are behaving is like multinational corporations in Third World countries,” said Johnston, 43, who runs a growers cooperative called Sunboldt Grown that sells medicinal and “artisanal” weed. “There’s a feeling of a free-for-all and of people taking advantage of the local community.”
The land grab is happening here in part because Humboldt has name cachet in the weed world and because the county was the first in California to adopt a commercial marijuana land use ordinance.
‘It’s pot on crack’
The pot industry is hardly new to the county — the Emerald Triangle has long been the world’s best-known ganja-growing region — but nobody can remember the market for property being this red hot since the once-thriving timber industry began dying out decades ago.
“It’s like a gold rush,” said Kevin Sullivan, a real estate broker who recently sold several large, historic ranches in Humboldt County to growers who he said were open about their intentions. “People are coming from all over the place, from different states, and they’re all buying to grow or to split the land up for multiple people to grow. It’s pot on crack, and it’s driving prices up.”
Jim Redd, a real estate agent who specializes in ranch sales in Humboldt and Mendocino counties, said land that under normal circumstances would sell for $1,500 an acre is now going for up to $4,000 an acre.
Gone in a week
One 65-acre plot in Redway, midway between Fort Bragg and Eureka, had 25 offers recently when it was put up for sale. It eventually went to a marijuana cultivator, neighbors said.
Redd said buyer consortia generally try to subdivide the big ranches, which can be 5,000 acres or larger, into parcels that can accommodate a dozen or more grow sites on the property.
“There are not many large ranches that go on the market, but if they do they are gone within a week,” Redd said.
Mitchel Bryant and two other investors recently bought four parcels, each 30 acres, just outside Garberville for about $1 million. Their plan is to obtain licenses from the county to grow medical marijuana.
Bryant said he bought 200 acres for about $500,000 two years ago, and that pot farm did so well that he decided to double down.
“We were basically, like, wow, the timing looks pretty good,” said Bryant, 34, who lives in Walnut Creek. “We had to look where we are allowed to do it, where we can find people to operate it, and there is obviously brand recognition with the Humboldt name.”
Bryant says he’s already been contacted by several people who want to buy his land, including an investment company in Southern California that indicated it was willing to offer a good deal more than what he paid for it. For now, he has no plans to flip the property.
The situation is alarming for those who wish to preserve some of California’s most beautiful, environmentally sensitive forests and coastal areas. Sullivan said the speculators are outbidding all comers, including land conservation groups.
The Wildlands Conservancy, which over the years has bought 150,000 acres of forest and coastal wildlands in California and created 15 nature preserves, was recently outbid by pot growers for a 6,500-acre ranch on the Eel River.
“It’s extremely unfortunate,” said David Myers, executive director of the conservancy, which was prepared to finalize a purchase agreement for $15 million when the growers swooped in with more than $20 million.
“Every landscape is, in its own right, a masterpiece, and once you start scissoring it up, you can’t bring it back,” Myers said.
The Wildlands Conservancy did manage to obtain an option to buy another property, a spectacular 128-acre stretch of coastline known as Scotty Point. The site, between the seaside town of Trinidad and Patrick’s Point State Park, is a former pot farm.
The conservancy now has a little more than a month to raise $2.3 million to complete the purchase, allowing Myers to turn Scotty Point into a nature preserve with hiking trails and Adirondack shelters for camping.
“We have to close this deal, or else it goes to pot growers. That’s the sad truth,” Myers said as he stood on a steep hillside above the rocky knife-edge point, sea lions barking amid the roar of the ocean. “We’re trying to make a last run at some of these properties before they’re split up and sold off to pot growers. I see it as the last chance to preserve some of these great spaces.”
The hot real estate market is evidently driven by a measure likely to qualify for the November statewide ballot that would legalize recreational use of marijuana. It is being helped along by a perception that the federal government, although it still considers marijuana an illegal drug, is no longer strictly enforcing laws against growing or selling the aromatic crop.
Meanwhile, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, the District of Columbia and Alaska have legalized recreational use of the drug. If California follows suit, Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties — the Emerald Triangle — would undoubtedly be the primary region for cultivators.
That’s largely because the area already produces 60 percent of the weed consumed in the United States, including a significant portion of what has been sold for 20 years to California’s medical marijuana dispensaries. Marijuana infuses more than $400 million a year into the Humboldt economy alone.
The booming industry isn’t hurting real estate agents — Sullivan and Redd say they are making money — or the many local businesses, especially agricultural merchants, that cater to marijuana farmers.
It’s not just that consumers consider Humboldt to be to pot what the Napa Valley is to wine. Adding to the fabled Humboldt stamp is the county’s landmark Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance, which went into effect Feb. 29.
It allows up to an acre of outdoor cultivation, a half acre of mixed-light growth and 10,000 square feet of indoor growth on each parcel licensed by the county.
The ordinance, which has a deadline of Dec. 31 for cultivators to apply for a permit, gives incentives for growers to set up shop in agricultural zones. That’s where many speculators and pot growers looking to relocate are concentrating their efforts.
More than 40 applications have already been submitted to the county, but there are at least 370 known growers who are expected to apply before the year is out, said Steve Lazar, the county’s senior planner. The county has about 8,400 pot growers, according to a 2012 survey.
“There has been exponential growth in the industry, and we’ve had a lot of action in the last six months,” said Lazar, who helped draft the marijuana land use ordinance. “We like to say we are the tip of the spear.” Likely to spread
The hemp industry is also growing in other places. The market is likely to take off in counties that draft laws regulating cultivation — 15 of California’s 58 counties are working on permitting plans, according to marijuana lobbyists.
Besides Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino counties, pot growers are flocking to places such as Calaveras and Placer counties. It is widely believed that the Central Valley will become a major growing region if marijuana cultivation becomes fully legal — after all, though Humboldt is where the action has always been, most varieties of pot grow better on flat ground in full sun.
“Humboldt County is the poster child, but this phenomenon is really a statewide challenge,” said Hezekiah Allen, former proprietor of a Humboldt pot farm who is now executive director of the California Growers Association, which represents cannabis cultivators.
There are, in fact, quite a few problems with the trend, said Robert Sutherland, founder of the Humboldt Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project, which filed a lawsuit to block the Humboldt County ordinance on the grounds it encourages environmental damage.
“We’re talking to a very large degree about absentee owners trying to get in on the ground floor,” Sutherland said. “The county in their policies of non-enforcement and overly liberal allowances has waved a green flag at the world and said, ‘Come here.’ As a result, we’ve had a huge influx of people snapping up land and showing no respect for the environment, for the community or for the law.”
Environmental damage from pot farming has been a major problem for decades. Drug traffickers growing illegally, often on public land, use pesticides and fertilizers that have poisoned wildlife, including endangered spotted owls and Pacific fishers.
Growers have clear-cut trees, removed native vegetation, diverted streams, caused erosion, shot deer and littered the landscape with garbage and human waste.
The Humboldt County ordinance does require growers to meet environmental guidelines to get a permit, but it does little to address the illegal grow sites, which account for about 80 percent of what is sold on the East Coast, said Lt. John Nores of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The hope is that the taxes collected by the county for marijuana cultivation can be used to fund law enforcement efforts against drug cartels, Nores said.
“What we’re trying to do now is mobilize all of the growers who are trying to do it right to help fund us, and we’re getting a lot of grower support,” Nores said. “They are going to be our biggest funders by design, in the taxes they pay to grow.”
Still, Sutherland said, not enough is being done to protect the locals who were responsible for legitimizing the pot trade in the first place.
“Humboldt County has a worldwide reputation, and it was earned by people who weren’t growing to make a lot of money. It was to produce a high-quality product,” Sutherland said. “These people are trying to cash in on our reputation by mass-producing a junk product with our label on it.”
Growing the right way
Lazar, Humboldt County’s senior planner, said the pot industry “has had profound impacts on the county, for good and for bad. How we transition from an unregulated industry to a regulated one will be central to our success.”
The reefer madness is especially tough for people like Johnston, who prides herself on growing cannabis in an environmentally sustainable way, without pesticides or chemicals. She longs for the day when hemp is legal across the country, the black market has been eliminated, and land speculators interested in bulk production have moved to the Central Valley.
When that time comes, she said, Humboldt will be the undisputed artisanal grass capital of the country, and restaurant goers will be selecting her sinsemilla varietals for after-dinner tokes.
“Ecological agriculture is the answer,” Johnston said as she sauntered through fields of sticky red and yellow flowering buds with names like Loopy Fruit, Blue Dream and Mendocino Diesel. “It’s about planning for the future, healing yourself and healing the land at the same time.”
(Courtesy, the San Francisco Chronicle.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 30, 2016
Black, Brace, Edwards
AARON BLACK, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
JASON BRACE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI.
KYLE EDWARDS, Toledo, Oregon/Ukiah. Drunk in public.
Espinosa, Freeman, Garcia, Halvorsen
ASHLEY ESPINOSA, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
JOSHUA FREEMAN, Potter Valley. Drunk in public, probation revocation.
ERIC GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Loitering, probation revocation.
NICHOLAS HALVORSEN, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, battery on peace officer, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
Hammon, Harwick, Hensley
SEAN HAMMON, Ukiah. Talmage. DUI, suspended license.
MARY HARWICK, Willits. DUI-Drugs.
CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)
Kelly, Martin-Tuso, Massarelli
ANTHONY KELLY, Willits. Probation revocation.
RICHARD MARTIN-TUSO, Redwood Valley. DUI, suspended license.
ROBERT MASSARELLI, Fort Bragg. More than an ounce of pot.
Nunez, Pinola, Reyes-Ramos
BETTY NUNEZ, Ukiah. DUI.
ANTHONY PINOLA, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
ANTONIO REYES-RAMOS, Ukiah. DUI.
Sanders, Skaggs, Williams
THOMAS SANDERS, Willits. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
BRIAN SKAGGS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
EDNA WILLIAMS, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
SKEWED REALITY/MIRACULOUS VISIONS
In the Mind of the Artist ~ In the Eye of the Beholder
by Nancy MacLeod
What is a miraculous vision? Does it really have to do with miracles? Is it only religious? Is it science we just don't understand yet? Or is it a fantasy, a skewed reality, fun but not serious?
In an art show opening at the Oddfellows Gallery in Mendocino this June 9, a group of Mendocino County artists explore this idea - what is "real", what is fantasy... just a little "off-real", off kilter?...what is "miraculous"? Until science can explain something, it's relegated either to the realm of "miracles", of "wackos", or it's dismissed out of hand as "impossible". "The claims that the world was round, that wax could record sound, that ether could carry radio waves, that rays could penetrate and 'see inside' matter, that a heavier-than-air machine could fly - all have been dismissed in their day as impossible and contrary to scientific knowledge." (Desmond Leslie, 1955)
So, again, what is a miracle? The tiniest flower; an amoeba; a human being; life on other planets; saving this planet...
I asked the artists to tell us a little about their work, what inspires them, excites them about their work, how they might come up with the idea they want to convey...
The artists include:
Mike Sorbelli. Currently working on what he calls "Kaleidoscope Glass" — a very labor intensive process taking more than a hundred hours to create a piece, a cross between fusing and casting glass, resulting in a gorgeous, uniquely patterned object. He says "I have always admired ancient art and over the years have seen spectacular examples of Roman and other ancient glass objects. These objects are as beautiful today as the day they were made 2000 years ago. This ancient glass inspired 'Kaleidoscope Glass', and I imagine someone thousands of years from now digging up one of my pieces and wondering about the maker."
* * *
Gene North. Does meticulous paintings using classical techniques with mind-blowing detail. She spends between 500 and 1,000 hours on a picture. Her subject matter ranges from spiritual to political; charming, deep, humorous, exquisite. "I think the part about pictures that I have always liked the most," she says, "is the challenge of accurately describing experiences or inspirations that I wish to remember. For me to have interest, it's got to have a lesson, some meaningfulness, or it refuses to clear out of my mind until I paint it, so I kind of have to do it. I like to paint heroes and goddesses, with plenty of horses. I like to make graven images and pray to them while I paint them! I want the world to be happy. I am an artist because it prevents me from exploding."
* * *
Marvin Schenck. Many of his delightful prints, drawings and paintings have involved dream imagery as well as landscapes. He finds inspiration in Mendocino County scenes and the Post Impressionist landscapes of the Society of Six, an early 20th century Bay Area painting group. Recently retired as Curator at the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, he says of his work: " I have always been fascinated with icons and archetypical objects and stories. In my own small way I am a storyteller.
Colleen Schenck. Her handcrafted jewelry and small-scale sculptures combine precious and non-precious metals to contrast color and texture. Ancient and historical art forms, architecture and archetypal forms, as well as her personal life, influence her stunning work. "I work primarily in metal fabrication, but try not to let the traditional metal techniques dictate the form or design. The use of precious with non-precious metals reflects my love of their colors and the seductive nature of their surfaces. Architectural forms frame animal shapes, archetypal motifs and stylized leaves, and over the years have become a part of my personal visual language. The symbolic quality of hearts, hands and crosses give my work a ritualistic appeal as well as a sense of ancestral memory."
Nancy Macleod. "My main goal in painting is to make political, social and spiritual commentary in a way that is playful and fun to have around. I like to paint pictures about things I think have an important message. Some of those things are really very ugly, like war, injustice, environmental destruction...but I don't like to paint ugly things. The idea I want to convey is often serious, the execution is meant to be fun, playful, so as not to scare the viewer away, but to give them pause to think on it without being beaten over the head. I paint in what I call "Primitive Narrative" style, or "Folk Art Fantasy".
Julie Higgins. "My work is a process of story telling and pushing through the mundane of life into the magical and imaginary which connects me to my sense of nature and how I belong or fit in. Working primarily with soft pastels due to their vibrant color and tactile quality, the process is very intuitive with color, form, imagery and symbols often leading from one to the next. It is feeling, emotion and play, set in an ever nurturing landscape often with juicy earthy women, sensual form and lots of color.
Jim Colling. Painting since he was a child, he is inspired to paint at every turn — flowers, landscapes, seascapes, portraits. Since his retirement from business in 2001, he has been painting full time and has rediscovered the importance of art: that it is foremost in his thoughts, and has blossomed along with his ambitions and inspiration.
Katherine Lewis. Growing up in Elk, California, in the middle of woods, gardens and a farm, childhood memories are what inspire her colorful and carefree compositions. She leans towards the narrative, with one foot in children's illustration and writing, the other in fine art. Her father, artist Will Lewis, was also a great inspiration to her, as he shared with her his studio and materials since she was very young. Her aim is to spread feelings of peace, childlike wonder and lasting joyfulness to those who view her art.
* * *
Cassie Gibson. Sews lovely fabric panels depicting scenes from nature. Says Cassie: "The process of working on a piece in my studio frees my mind and gives me a sense of peace and fulfillment. Some days I bounce into the studio — others I drag myself in, planning only to clean. Somehow being in my 'Palace of Art' (named by my son) enhances my mood and hopefully brings new ideas circling into my head."
Katie Gibbs. Sea creatures cut from steel and painted brightly with automotive paint make her wonderful sculptures dazzle with creative humor...
Laura Pope. "Recent mixed-media sculpture pieces point to the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and how we create our identity." Among other things, her work honors the history of disempowerment women have survived and are so remarkably emerging from.
* * *
Julie Beardsley. Combines rhinestones, beads and found objects and says about her work: "I like to imagine what is within, in a metaphysical sense. I don't think about how to 'make' art, it's just something that happens every day. I try to look at the world and see the beauty in the patterns and compositions around me."
Rainbow Hill. Fashions dazzling beaded jewelry inspired by nature to create personal adornment for casual and ceremonial wear.
* * *
Stan Peskett. Paints in shadow boxes with fun, panoramic views of local institutions.
Colleen Bassett. Delightful oil paintings of local landscapes. "The subtleties of distance and atmosphere, light and texture, reflect my exploration in what is layered on the canvas."
Moss Rock- Fantastical ceramic sculptures, sure to ignite your imagination.
Rose Ayala. Oil and acrylic. "My art explores the fantastical and celebrates the vast kingdoms that lay inside us. My painting process is a slow build-up of layers and layers of acrylic until the idea finally presents itself. The starts of paintings are heavily influenced by either the mood of a color or a geometric pattern. By the end, I aim to capture a moment in a revelry."
Craig Hathaway. Redwood burls, driftwood and other woods made into intriguing, luscious tables.
* * *
Besides the big galleries, there is also a gift shop on the first floor, with smaller works of art - Hand painted silk scarves from Cassie Gibson, "Art-To Wear" back-pack purses by Nancy MacLeod, and various other smaller works from the artists. Be sure to check it out as well.
The artists' reception is Saturday, June 11, from 5-7:30pm, and will include plenty of snacks as well as live music by Chris Gibson and friends. The show runs from June 9-July 4, 10:30-5:00 every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Come and explore these artists’ perceptions of the real and mystical, and get your own imagination flowing.
The Odd Fellows Gallery is facilitated by FLOCKworks, and is on the corner of Kasten and Ukiah Streets in Mendocino.
CAPTAIN KIRK SAYS VOTE FOR V
Measure V is a public safety ordinance written and supported by local experienced firefighters and others in our community. Retired CalFire Air Attack Captain Kirk Van Patten is a primary proponent of Measure V and worked for 40 years for CalFire. Although retired, he now works training firefighters and is highly respected by his fellow firefighters. Voters should consider his arguments seriously as he has been working locally directing the fighting of fires. Ted Williams, Albion Fire Chief, is also a primary proponent of Measure V. His letter to our Board of Supervisors in early 2015, on the county website, is actually an academic document with facts and footnotes on the science of fires in the forest.
Measure V simply requires forestland owners to remove dead and standing trees that they have killed because dry wood burns hotter and faster and ignites more easily than living trees. All California rural landowners are required to clear 100 feet around their homes for the same reason. The 90,000 acres of forestland with herbicide killed dead and standing trees present a clear and present danger to firefighters as “snags” or dead trees kill firefighters every year. A forest fire fueled by these dead stands in Mendocino forests would likely be deadly to the many neighbors of Mendocino Redwood Company as roads are few in these areas.
The primary opponents of Measure V are Mendocino Redwood Company and the Ukiah Daily Journal. Mendocino Redwood Company has spent at the least $200,000 opposing Measure V. Their argument is that they bought a forest devastated by L.P. Lumber in 1996. They proudly state they are growing 14 million redwood and fir trees and that the only way they can do this is by leaving dead and standing trees killed by an herbicide. They don’t agree that dead and standing trees catch fire more easily and they have company experts to tell you why they don’t. They spend $300 per acre to hack and squirt. Other alternatives cost more so they are not considered. MRC is putting company profits above the safety of the public. George Hollister, in the Ukiah Measure V forum admitted that the fire danger from dead trees will be high for the next year but is an acceptable risk. Since trees are killed with hack and squirt every year, every year into the future “the fire danger from dead trees will be high.” In this way, MRC conveniently takes the profits, while taxpayers bear both the risk and costs of fighting the fires.
MRC local management simply says MRC is great and shifts the blame on to the forest management done before them. Their election mailers are almost entirely pictures and devoid of substance.
The Ukiah Daily Journal has been a strong supporter of L.P. Lumber’s forest practices since I came here in 1974. The UDJ editorial role has been to politicize the issue. Lacking any evidence, they claim proponents have ulterior motives to “stop logging.” In other words, the proponents are simply “tree hugging hippies.” Such baseless ad hominem contributes nothing to their argument. They utterly fail to address the argument on its merits or to provide any true rebuttal to experts in firefighting like Kirk Van Patten and Ted Williams.
Neither MRC or the UDJ even recognize the concerns of the firefighters. Look on the web at MRC’s info and compare it to Citizens for a Fire Safe Forest. Get the facts.
Vote YES Measure V.
Peter Good, Loni Baur
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The lost boundaries of social behavior. As a frequent business traveler, I observe the way many Americans present and conduct themselves in public. A sizable segment of the public seems to have lost all concept of what respectable appearance and behavior might mean. I see people dressed in pajamas or like clowns, dropping F bombs loudly in cellphone conversations in proximity to other travelers. I see business travelers purchasing smelly fish sandwiches, consuming them in flight and handing flight attendants their huge bag of trash. Obese men and women board flights with huge carry-ons, including hanging bags that hit and almost knock the head off of any aisle seat passenger. To blame in my mind, is an education system that promotes the “anything goes and nothing matters” mentality so pervasive in our society. If a teacher can’t scold (let alone expel or punish) a wayward kid, and parent/s are themselves unqualified for the role, that will be the result. What you are seeing in local and national politics is just a manifestation of this illness.
UPCOMING EVENTS AT THE UKIAH LIBRARY.
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION APPROVES RESUMPTION OF CA OFFSHORE FRACKING
by Dan Bacher
Claiming that fracking poses “no significant impact” to the environment, Obama administration officials on May 27 finalized their plans to allow oil companies to resume offshore fracking and acidizing in California’s Santa Barbara Channel.
The announcement from the two agencies responsible for oil drilling, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), ended a court-ordered settlement placing a moratorium on offshore fracking and acidizing for oil in the fish and wildlife-rich federal waters off California.
The two agencies reported they have completed a comprehensive environmental analysis evaluating the potential impacts from the use of “well stimulation treatments” - acidizing and fracking operations — on the 23 oil and gas platforms currently in operation on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore California.
Based on the analysis in this joint Programmatic Environmental Assessment (EA), BSEE and BOEM issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI) from the use of specific well stimulation treatments in oil and gas activities on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), according to a joint statement from the two agencies.
The agencies wrote in their FONSI, “Overall, most resources will not be impacted or impacts will be negligible. In some cases where impacts are somewhat more pronounced, such as with discharge of produced water, the impacts are minor, short-term and localized.”
“Drawing on the best available science, the EA provides information and analysis on the use of well stimulation treatments in federal waters offshore California,” said BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper. “The comprehensive analysis shows that these practices, conducted according to permit requirements, have minimal impact.”
Likewise, BSEE Director Brian Salerno, said, “BSEE is fully committed to safeguarding the environment. Anyone familiar with our regulations understands that they not only address worker and operational safety, but also require the industry to function as environmental stewards. We consider vigorous environmental enforcement central to the Bureau’s mission.”
The EA and the FONSI are available for viewing at pocswellstim.evs.anl.gov.
Miyoko Sakashita, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Oceans program, vigorously disagreed with the agencies’ finding of “no significant impact” — and warned they may file new litigation to halt offshore fracking.
“The Obama administration is once again putting California’s beautiful coast in the oil industry’s crosshairs,” said Sakashita. “Our beaches and wildlife face a renewed threat from fracking chemicals and oil spills. New legal action may be the only way to get federal officials to do their jobs and protect our ocean from offshore fracking.”
Sakashita said offshore fracking was halted in January after a Center lawsuit challenged what they described as the federal government’s “rubber-stamping “of fracking permits without any analysis of threats to wildlife and ocean ecosystems.
According to Sakashita, the case resulted in a settlement agreement that required the Obama administration to stop authorizing offshore fracking and acidizing until federal officials completed a review of the environmental impacts of the practices, required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
“But today’s finding that offshore fracking has no significant environmental impact glosses over the serious hazards of fracking and fails to answer key questions about the risks of this controversial oil-extraction technique,” she said.
Offshore fracking blasts vast volumes of water mixed with toxic chemicals beneath the seafloor at pressures high enough to fracture rocks. “At least 10 fracking chemicals routinely used in offshore fracking in California could kill or harm a broad variety of marine species, including sea otters and fish, Center scientists have found,” she noted.
“It’s disturbing that officials charged with protecting our oceans are shrugging off these risks and authorizing oil companies to resume this dangerous practice. The California coast can’t take another oil spill or a deluge of toxic fracking chemicals,” Sakashita said.
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, said the Obama administration appears to be “doubling down on fracking, instead of providing climate leadership and protecting our communities and our environment.”
She said this move paves the way for offshore fracking permits that were previously frozen and the dumping of toxic wastewater directly into the Pacific Ocean where Californians swim, fish, and surf.
"It’s clear that Americans want an inspiring new vision for our energy system, with more than half opposed to fracking in recent polling. The president continues to indicate that he is not the person to fulfill that vision. It’s a vision that can only be achieved by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and moving swiftly to a system driven by energy efficiency and renewables,” she said.
A Freedom of Information Act and Associated Press investigation in 2013 revealed that oil companies had conducted fracking operations over 200 times off the Southern California Coast over a 20 year period. Ironically, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California at the same time that oil companies were fracking off the coast. (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/brtf_bios_sc.asp(
The “marine protected areas” created under her leadership fail to protect the ocean from fracking, acidizing, other offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
Leaders of fishing groups, Tribes and grassroots environmental organizations called for the full enforcement of the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999, including bans on oil drilling and pollution in marine protected areas. However, state officials and MLPA Initiative advocates supported only banning or restricting fishing and gathering in these faux MPAs, in violation of the law.
As the late Zeke Grader, the long-time Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA), told me in 2014, "If these are true marine protected areas, they why are we allowing drilling and other insults to the ocean in them? The whole MLPA Initiative was a phony process that provided an opportunity for Big Green and government bureaucrats to write press releases claiming these were ‘protected areas’ when in reality the fishermen and Tribes got screwed. We should have bans on oil drilling in all of the marine protected areas."
Unless new litigation by environmental groups is successful, fracking and acidizing will resume off the California coast — and these unprotected “marine protected areas” may be fouled by fracking wastewater discharges or a big oil spill resulting from an accident off one of these offshore oil rigs.
AMBASSADOR ROBERT BLACKWILL ON KMEC
Tomorrow, Memorial Day, at 1 pm, KMEC Radio is pleased to announce a show with Ambassador Robert Blackwill. Memorial Day at 1pm.
Robert Blackwill is a retired American diplomat, author, Senior Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations and lobbyist. Blackwill was the United States Ambassador to India (2001–2003), and United States National Security Council Deputy for Iraq (2003–2004), where he was a liaison between Paul Bremer and Condoleezza Rice.
Blackwell will be discussing his new book, War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft.
John Sakowicz and Sid Cooperrider are our hosts and producers.