Mendocino County Today: Friday, June 24, 2016
by AVA News Service, June 23, 2016
CALFIRE SUSPENDS BURN PERMITS IN BAY AREA COUNTIES
While recent rains this winter and spring have been a welcome sight in California, drought conditions continue to increase fire danger in the region prompting CAL FIRE to suspend all burn permits for outdoor burning within the State Responsibility Area of the following 14 counties:
Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Yolo and areas west of Interstate 5 in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties
This suspension takes effect Monday, June 27, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. and bans all outdoor burning except for campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property with landowner permission. Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is maintained in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland. A campfire permit can be obtained at local CAL FIRE fire stations and online at PreventWildfireCA.org.
Since January 1, 2016 CAL FIRE and firefighters across the state have already responded to approximately 2,100 wildfires that have burned over 32,000 acres.
While outdoor burning is no longer allowed, CAL FIRE is asking residents to ensure that they are prepared for wildfires by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of Defensible Space around every home.
“As conditions across California are drying out further we must take every step to prevent new wildfires from sparking,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “Residents must ensure they have Defensible Space by removing dead trees and overgrown vegetation from around their homes, but do so safely.”
Here are some tips to help prepare homes and property:
- Clear all dead and or dying vegetation 100 feet from around all structures
- Landscape with fire resistant/drought tolerant plants
- Find an alternative way to dispose of debris such as chipping
For additional information on how to create Defensible Space, as well as tips to prevent wildfires, visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org.
The department may issue restricted temporary burning permits if there is an essential reason due to public health and safety. Agriculture, land management, fire training, and other industrial-type burning may proceed if a CAL FIRE official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit.
ENGLAND VOTES 52-48% TO LEAVE THE EUROPEAN UNION — OVER 35 MILLION VOTES CAST. Seen as a vote against neoliberal policies and globalizing elites. Other European countries now considering leaving as well.
PS. A good place to check results:
IN RELATED NEWS: The English Pound dropped to lowest levels since 1985 in currency trading.
THE MAN who died in the awful motorcycle accident on Highway 20 Tuesday was identified yesterday by family members on their facebook page. He was Rudy Makinano, 62, of Santa Rosa, whose wife Cyndi was also seriously injured in the crash.
HOPING FOR TRANSITION
by Mark Scaramella
The Board of Supervisors, at their Tuesday meeting, again discussed the status of the transition of privatized mental health services from Ortner Management Group (OMG) of Yuba City to Redwood Quality Management. There was no formal presentation, just a meandering discussion of a few questions from the Supervisors. By far the most commonly used word during the discussion was “hope.”
Supervisor Dan Gjerde wanted to know about the status of the mental health “patient advocate” position which he said was “one of the most important positions” the County should provide and which had either not been filled or not effectively filled or filled by an 800 number, or there were gaps in coverage, or if filled no one knew about it… “Now I’ve been told that the contract for the first live body we’ve had has expired,” said a frustrated Gjerde. “Without that position, the public contacts us, the Supervisors, and asks for help, or to intervene. But that’s not our job, managing county staff. Our job is to develop policy.”
Behavioral Health (the merger of Mental Health and Substance Abuse) Director Janine Miller replied that the position had been contracted out for years — the “patient advocate” wasn’t even a county employee? — but that “in 2015 they retired at end of the contract. Then we filled that with county staff as an Acting position. Then we filled it with another contractor… We are doing another contract. … We have a candidate for this fiscal year, starting in July.”
Gjerde: "I’m not getting those complaints now. If it’s someone else, I hope we’ll notice."
Miller: “I hope they’ll be visible to community; it will be part of the contract to do that.”
After the usual rambling statement about how he had endured years of criticism, and how “hopeful” he was about the transition, and how much he wanted to help, Supervisor Tom Woodhouse finally got around to asking how hiring and staffing were going, adding, gratuitously, “I know it’s really tough.”
Regarding County staffing, Ms. Miller of course agreed that the transition was the bureaucratic equivalent of an Everest expedition, agreeing with a martyred, “We have struggled. We have hired two new people since the start of the transition. We’ve done interviews. We are hopeful with some job offers. But we’re not where we want to be. We are hopeful that by July 5 we will have more. We are more short than we hoped to be, but we have done more than we expected. We are making our timelines. RQMC has been fabulous. RQMC has been helpful. But there’s lots more to do. RQMC has ramped up hiring eight or nine psych staff.”
Gjerde then complained about the tone of the recent presentations to the Fort Bragg and Ukiah city councils by Mike Pallesen, head of the local Rural Communities Housing Development Corporation. “The Fort Bragg Council was given a stark picture of what could be coming their way,” said Gjerde. “Housing for 30 or 40 homeless people? But Mental Health housing is not for just homeless, so why say that? The grant only requires that people be in jeopardy or homeless. It’s broader than that. So I question the way it was presented. The cities need more specifics about what is required, not the way the grant writer may think about it. That’s not necessarily what the pubic wants or what parents want. They want an apartment for their child so he’s not at their house. They should check in with us and validate the requirement and the latitude of potential residents. We should be able to move ahead with city support, but there’s no reason for them to narrowly define this. The project could be dead on arrival if they do not recalibrate.”
Ms. Miller said she’d be happy to have the team come back to the Board for clarification and that there would be no more city council presentations “until we are more clear.”
Supervisor John McCowen: “This kind of project requires political will by people who are susceptible to public concern and public comment. But critical needs are not being met. If not here, then where? If the answer is nowhere, we’re not doing our job.”
Gjerde finally made it bluntly clear what he meant: “We want housing for low income residents of this County, not those who have moved here for some reason.” (I.e., transients and street bums.) If you tell the City Councils that the County wants them to help provide housing for transients and bums, the cities probably won’t cooperate.
Supervisor Woodhouse asked about the crisis line and the “access” line and about which functions the County was doing in-house post-Ortner and which were in RQMC’s contract.
Ms. Miller replied that the County has assumed oversight of 25 adult conservatorships through the public guardian’s office. She added that she plans to change what was a confusing situation with access and crisis lines which were sort of combined under Ortner. The access line is required to be available 24/7 and is supposed to provide advice on how to “access” services and what people’s rights are. The “crisis” line will be changed just to deal with people who are having an urgent mental health breakdown of some kind. (But, she added, cops will still do 5150s.)
Ms. Miller also intends to upgrade the “access” line to cover all social services, not just mental health so that a larger pool of county employees can be drawn from to staff it.
Staffing these two lines remains a problem though. However, when it’s up and running she will issue a clarifying press release and that she hopes to be able to respond to calls somewhat like an emergency dispatch center.
Ms. Miller noted that the County will also be taking over medication management for adults 25-and-above. This seemingly simple task is harder than it seems because there are often difficulties in getting “clients” to 1. Buy their meds. 2. Arrange transportation to and from a clinic or hospital for injection or dispensing. 3. Take the meds. And 4. Follow-up.
Supervisor McCowen wanted to know why so few of the Memorandums of Understanding with other agencies and organizations were completed.
Ms. Miller replied that they were being assembled piece by piece with each organization and it’s time consuming because they are taking it seriously and the other organizations have to be willing and able to meet their side of the agreement. “So some sections are not filled out yet,” Ms. Miller said.
Asked how things were going, Camille Schrader, owner of Ukiah-based Redwood Quality Management Company, shrugged and said, “Good. We are finalizing contracts. Putting language in subcontracts and including reporting. Changes to electronic health records are very technical. Cash flow projections have to be set up so they work because we have to pay before we are reimbursed. All our adult providers have been trained on Mental Health Plan and how charts are filed and the way we work. Hospitality Center and Manzanita Services are staffed and have started to accept new adult referrals. The County has been very helpful.”
Then there was a discussion of Mental Health Services on the Coast, an historically more difficult area to provide services.
”We are looking for space on the coast,” said Schrader. “We met with the cops, the clinics, the city. We have tentative MOUs. There are just lots of specifics which can’t be worked out in two months. So some will be left outstanding. We hope to have it all in the MOUs before it’s presented to Supervisors. The adult need on the Coast is proportionally higher. We hope to ramp up the Youth Project and Hospitality Center to full running on the Coast including substance abuse and serious mental illness. But we need to build up space. Inland preparation is going well. We hope to take over the old Sizzler building for crisis residential. We are talking to the hospital about when that building will be demolished. We’re very anxious. We will provide support to providers and the county on medication appointments, transportation, purchasing, etc. Those partnerships are in work.
Supervisor Gjerde proposed some kind of big confab in Fort Bragg on the Coast in September to bring all the issues, agencies and family members together to see how things are going.
Ms. Schrader agreed, adding, “the hospital and police in Fort Bragg are overwhelmed. Should substance abuse be included? I don’t know. But we have to pay attention to it. And Round Valley — we need to find out what they need. It’s not easy.”
Ms. Miller summed up tentatively: “Maybe some goals we will not meet, but we are hopeful.”
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Unfortunately, two subjects were not discussed:
No mention of the status of the data the County has demanded from Ortner — a bad sign.
And no mention of how the cost of all this will be worked out. If the County is assuming responsibility for large parts of what Ortner was doing, how much will that reduce the RQMC contract? And what will be the overall privatized cost after all the “hoped for” changes are made?
PROTESTS ERUPT AGAINST MENDOCINO REDWOOD COMPANY
Measure V Passes Ban, but Herbicide Spraying Continues, Increasing Fire Danger
Press Release from: Save Our Little Lake Valley, Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Earth First!, Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters
For immediate release: June 21, 2016
Contact: Naomi Wagner 707 459-0548; Cell 382-2310
Comptche, CA-Activists today blocked trucks and vehicles transporting logging crews, in a protest against Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC). The company uses a practice known as “Hack’n’Squirt” to kill hardwoods on their forest holdings.
Protesters called for a “lock’n’block” protest at noon at the gates of MRC Timber Harvest Plan #1-14-148 MEN, nicknamed “Half Way to Hell,” near the tiny town of Comptche, in the heart of southern Mendocino County.
On June 7, a two-thirds majority of voters in Mendocino County passed Measure V, declaring the practice of leaving of dead standing trees a public nuisance. Despite the overwhelming voter mandate, MRC continues the practice of dousing the forest with the chemical Imazypr, leaving thousands of tan oaks and other hardwoods dead but standing, exacerbating an already critically high fire danger by adding dry fuels to the forest during the fifth year of drought in California.
“We locked down today because MRC is continuing to hack and squirt after the people went to the ballot box and told them to stop. When the normal civil channels don’t work, that’s when you get civil disobedience and non-violent direct action,” said longtime County resident, Lara Anderson. “We’re putting our bodies on the line to stop this dangerous practice and to expose the MRC’s dead-end brand of forestry,” she said.
A large crowd of supporters carried signs with messages like “Poison is Bad Forestry”, “Fisher Family – Go Back to the Gap.” A large banner expressed the groups’ central demand, reading: “MRC Stop Hack’n’Squirt Now!”
Long-time forest activist Linda Perkins of Albion explained, “The ‘Half Way to Hell’ plan is 580 acres of total decimation. They are taking it down to the nub.” The plan includes three silvicultural prescriptions designated Group Selection, Transition and Variable Retention, all “forms of Even Age management leading to more tanoak growth, more poisoning and more dead, standing trees,” said Perkins.
“MRC is converting the forest to monoculture tree plantations, claiming restoration, but they’re actually doing the opposite, taking too much too fast, reducing diversity. This is bad for the earth as we know it. They should heed the will of the people or have their FSC [Forest Stewardship Council] Sustainable Certification revoked,” she concluded.
The plan also includes an unknown acreage of previously hacked and squirted hardwoods, which will become dead standing trees. The Company refuses to disclose to the public the locations where it is applying the poisons. Currently, the contractor is only required to report the use of chemicals to the Agriculture Department within thirty days after use. The Mendocino County Ag Commissioner has warned about breathing smoke from burning materials treated with Imazapyr. The Initiative was heavily backed by local volunteer firefighters.
Measure V is awaiting certification after the required thirty-day period following the election. Proponents are bracing for an expected lawsuit by MRC challenging the law.
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DECODING NAOMI WAGNER'S PRESS RELEASE announcing her demonstration against MRC at Comptche:
SAVE OUR LITTLE LAKE VALLEY was the catch-all term for opposition to construction of the Willits ByPass.
THE COYOTE VALLEY BAND of Pomo Indians' Tribal Council probably has no idea that they are now involved with an effort to pressure MRC to drop the chemical poisoning of non-commercial tree species. Tribal bigwig Priscilla Hunter has long been affiliated with Wagner and Company.
EARTH FIRST! IN MENDOCINO COUNTY died with Judi Bari in 1997, less than ten years after Ms. Wagner was instrumental in the formation of a Bari Cult that successfully prevented Bari's former husband from becoming the primary suspect in the car bombing that abbreviated Bari's life. Bari, her ex-husband (and killer) Mike Sweeney, presently Mendocino County's lead garbage bureaucrat, and the Northcoast's premier ripoff artist, Darryl Cherney, managed to portray the false narrative of the Bari Bombing into a three million dollar federal payday for themselves.
THE BAY AREA COALITION for Headwaters is a thirty-year nonprofit scam consisting of a single woman called Karen Pickett based in Berkeley. Under the false cover of various do-good causes, Pickett and a small handful of people, including the ubiquitous Cherney, have diverted donations to themselves.
MS. WAGNER and her direct action team are trust funders and retired people, almost all women, average age 75. Wagner herself has been a recreational protester for years. MRC's unneighborly intransigence brought the dwarf bully girls on themselves, and will, from now on, face months of Screaming Meemies at their gates. The Fisher Family, MRC's owners, can expect to see the Meems at their homes in Pacific Heights, San Francisco. Footnote: Bari herself dominated Wagner et all by her considerable force of personality while privately regarding all of them as "nuts."
MRC IS LUCKY to have this crew doing "direct action" at their gates. Public opinion will soon reverse itself.
FISH AND WILDLIFE says trail cameras have captured what may be another gray wolf roaming Northern California, "a lone wolf-like canid" in Lassen County. There are so many dog-wolf hybrids around these days, I wonder how F&W can tell the diff from the kind of grainy film they get of these creatures. Their wolf photos remind me of alleged Big Foot sightings.
MY ANIMAL INFORMANT tells me that wolves or hybrids are rarely seen at the Ukiah Shelter but are not unknown there. There are Mendo people who keep wolves and wolf dogs but not many, at least according to the available anecdotal evidence.
"WOLVES have long, spindly legs. The coat may have a
moth-eaten appearance, definitely not sleek or pampered looking. They
certainly have a more distant look in their eyes than domestic dogs — they
don't have that look of love that everyone goes on about — Ohhhh, my dog
loves me soooo much. Yeah, right. I think it's criminal to keep a wolf in a house, and anyone who does
should be put into public stocks.
"I THINK in this decade, the violent types go for the pit bulls; they assume the breed is always aggressive. People with wolves may actually be more in the woo woo department, and probably think they are really groovy having a beast in the house, and that they are communing with nature and god by having a one-on-one relationship with something wild. Ick."
ANDERSON VALLEY LAND TRUST’S 25TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT-CELEBRATION
Saturday, August 6, 2016, 4 PM-7 PM. To highlight this milestone, one of our founding Board members, John Scharffenberger, has graciously offered to host a late afternoon of tasty treats, Anderson Valley wines, music and merriment at his lovely home and gardens set amidst thirty-plus beautiful acres nestled in redwoods and oaks just outside Philo. Many know John for his creative work in the sparkling wine and chocolate industries. Others know him for his advice and assistance to budding entrepreneurs far and wide. But when asked what he is most proud of in all his successes, his response usually includes, “and my garden here in Philo.” Proceeds from the event and silent auction benefit AVLT’s continued work to assist landowners to preserve the unique beauty of our rural landscape through conservation. Tickets are $100 per person (includes food and wine) and can be purchased on our website http://andersonvalleylandtrust.org/avlt-25th-anniversary-event/ or by contacting us at email@example.com or 707-895-3150.
MORE DELAYS FOR UKIAH COSTCO AS APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS LAWSUIT
by Justine Frederiksen
An appeals court in San Francisco this week further delayed a proposed Costco in Ukiah by upholding a lawsuit that halted progress on the project two years ago. Releasing its decision just days after oral arguments from both sides were submitted June 15, the First District Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by William Kopper on behalf of “Ukiah Citizens for Safety First,” which argued that the environmental impact report for the project should not have been certified.
“He won, we lost,” said City Attorney David Rapport. “But if we had to lose, this was the best way to lose, because the issue involved is the easiest to fix.” The lawsuit filed by Kopper, an attorney based in Davis, alleged that the EIR certified by the Ukiah City Council in early 2014 was inadequate in several areas, including its assessment of the traffic and noise impacts the store would create. Rapport said while the court dismissed nearly all of Kopper’s claims and found most areas of the EIR adequate, it did find that the analysis of the energy use of the proposed store was not handled correctly.
Rapport said that after the EIR was certified and the appeal filed, a lawsuit involving the city of Woodland led to a change in the California Environmental Quality Act that requires “a separate discussion of energy use in an EIR.” Since the Ukiah Costco EIR was certified prior to this change in the law, Rapport said it addressed energy use, but did not have it in a separate section as is now required. The city attempted to rectify the situation by adding “an addendum to address this new requirement, but the appeals court said the energy use section had to be included in the EIR before it was certified “and could not be adopted afterward.”
Rapport said the court’s ruling did not reflect on the adequacy of the energy use analysis, only that the process of including it in the EIR was incorrect. The next steps for the city once the appeals court decision becomes final in 30 days, Rapport said, are to determine if it wants to make changes to the energy use section, then once it has deemed it ready, it will make it available to the public for a mandated 45-day period to collect comments. Once that is complete, the EIR will go back before the Ukiah City Council for possible certification following a public hearing. Rapport said comments at that time should be limited to the energy use of the store, as the other sections of the EIR were deemed adequate.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
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UKIAH CITY PRESS RELEASE: COSTCO UPDATE
State Court Of Appeal Issues Decision In Ukiah Costco Case
Ukiah, CA. June 22, 2016. – A Ukiah Costco is one step closer to reality.
The State Court of Appeal has issued its decision on the Ukiah Costco case that was heard in San Francisco on Wednesday, June 15th. The decision ruled in favor of the City of Ukiah and upheld the superior court decision in its entirety, except for one item regarding an addendum to the environmental impact report (EIR) that addresses energy use by the project.
The Court of Appeal’s decision sends the case back to the Mendocino County superior court to direct the City to bring the energy section of the Environmental Impact Report into compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. As directed, the City will circulate an energy section of the EIR for public comment and will consider the discussion of the project’s energy use and public comments about energy use before deciding whether to recertify the EIR and approve the project.
Following that step, the City of Ukiah will file a report in the superior court showing that this has been done. The adoption of an adequate energy use section in the EIR should clear the path for Costco. It will take a minimum of 30 days for the Court of Appeals decision to become final and return the case to the Mendocino County court. It may take the superior court some additional days to issue its instructions to the City. The energy section of the EIR will have to be available for public comment for an additional 45 days.
The addendum in question was not part of the EIR. A court of appeals decision in a case involving the City of Woodland, California was issued after the Costco EIR was certified and after the lawsuit challenging the EIR had already been filed. That decision interpreted CEQA as requiring this separate discussion of energy use in an EIR. While the Costco EIR contained a discussion energy use in various sections, it did not contain a separate section on energy use or all of the information required by the City of Woodland decision. The City attempted to remedy this omission by adopting an addendum to address this new requirement. The Court of Appeal said the energy use section had to be included in the EIR before it was certified and could not be added in an addendum adopted after that.
Background: What’s taking so long?
The development of a Costco store is a major project with impacts to other development, traffic, employment, sales tax, and more. All of these must be considered and, in some cases, mitigated, in order to ensure that the project is a good fit for Ukiah.
However, the primary reason for delays are lawsuits. A Davis-based attorney filed a lawsuit in May of 2014, originally on behalf of four local plaintiffs and a group the lawsuit called “Ukiah Citizens for Safety First.” Two of the original petitioners said they had not agreed to be part of the lawsuit and were removed when they complained. The lawsuit asserted that the City of Ukiah failed to adequately evaluate and address the environmental impacts resulting from the development. All of those charges which were rejected by the Mendocino County superior court.
A separate lawsuit by the same attorney and plaintiffs challenged the sale and purchase agreement between Costco and the City; that lawsuit was later dropped. The Mendocino court decision was appealed by Ukiah Citizens for Safety First. The remaining two individual plaintiffs did not participate in the appeal.
What were the lawsuits about?
The lawsuit challenged the City’s certification of the Costco Environmental Impact Report based, in large part, on expressed concerns that traffic improvements proposed for the Talmage Road /US Highway 101 Interchange (Interchange) are inadequate.
However, both the City’s traffic engineers and the traffic engineers from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) have designed traffic improvements to the Interchange based on traffic counts and projections of future traffic through the year 2030, including traffic from Costco and the build-out of the Redwood Business Park. The City has anticipated the need to improve the Interchange for many years and would have constructed them whether Costco had decided to locate in Ukiah or not.
Nevertheless, both the conditions approving the Costco Project and the agreement selling the property to Costco require the completion of these traffic improvements before Costco can open its doors.
On April 17, 2015, the Mendocino County Superior Court heard two-and-a-half hours of oral argument in the lawsuit challenging the Environmental Impact Report for the Costco project before it rejected all of the petitioners’ claims. In her 19 page decision, Judge Jeanine B. Nadel found that the City fully complied with the California Environmental Quality Act and State land use planning law.
The same attorney subsequently appealed that decision to the State Court of Appeal, 1st Appellate District in San Francisco, which was heard on June 15, 2016. Except for the use of the addendum to comply with the City of Woodland case, the court of appeal upheld Judge Nadel’s decision.
My very most favorite column in the AVA is Todd Walton's. I look forward to it every week, and read it first before anything else. He does not appear in this week's paper, and also was absent a couple of weeks ago or so, much to my disappointment. His column is not long. I certainly wish you would be sure he is in every issue - wedged somewhere between the latest horrors of the local hospitals or animal shelters or drug busts or real-estate self-promotion… His column is always thought provoking, encouraging, and expresses many of the progressive values I know you agree with.
Nancy MacLeod, Philo
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ED NOTE: Mr. Walton told us recently that he was going to reduce his submissions to something less than weekly for personal reasons. So far he has not. Sometimes when ad space increases we get tight for the fixed amount of remaining space which, amazingly in this era of tweets and general illiteracy, is still in demand by a number of good local contributors. We know Mr. Walton has a loyal following and, with your urging, we will try to get every one of his columns into print.
MENDOCINO COUNTY ANIMAL CARE SERVICES SHELTER
Otilia is a sweet, beautiful grey and white tabby who, when she isn't chasing cat toys around the adoption room, loves to lounge around in the laps of volunteers and staff, soaking up all the love she can. If you think Otilia sounds like the "purr-fect" cat for you, come and meet her at the Ukiah Shelter.
Huckleberry is as sweet as the fruit he's named after. He is a bit timid, especially when first meeting people, but he gets over his shyness quickly. He's great on a leash and knows basic commands. He's young and energetic and needs a home where he gets daily exercise as well as encouragement and affection. He does well with other friendly dogs, but we always suggest a meet and greet with a potential adoptee, if you have other canines in your home. Huck is a Hound mix, 54 pounds and 1 year old.
Don't forget to visit and bookmark the shelter's official website: www.mendoanimalshelter.com.
We're also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 23, 2016
PETER COLE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Suspended license, false impersonation of another.
JAMES HAFLICH, Riverbank (CA)/Ukiah. Possession of booze or drugs in jail.
JONATHAN LARSEN, Ukiah. Under influience.
LAURETTA LONG, Ukiah. Controlled substance.
DENNIS MACKENZIE, Las Vegas/Redwood Valley. Vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, controlled substance.
JESSE McGARY, Elk. Domestic assault.
DANIEL NOORDA, Ukiah. Under influence, controlled substance, contempt of court.
ANTHONY STILL, Redwood Valley. Pot possession for sale.
LOVED TO DEATH
Senator Boxer advocates for the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act, which includes Cotoni-Coast Dairies in Santa Cruz County, so we can provide lasting protections to some of California's coastal gems. But the Coast Dairies property is already protected in perpetuity by the deed restrictions written by the Trust for Public Land. Boxer suggests the proposal will boost local economies by enticing even more visitors to explore our spectacular coast. Unfortunately, the beaches on the North Coast of Santa Cruz County are already saturated with visitors and suffer from inadequate law enforcement, with a surfeit of graffiti, trash and vandalism.
Residents don't want to see the North Coast 'loved to death' by an influx of visitors that exceeds our capacity to cope with their needs and impacts: parking and traffic management, sanitation, trash, law enforcement and public safety, emergency response, natural resource protection, and more.
We ask the federal and state legislators to fund a comprehensive management plan and to provide funds for ongoing maintenance, patrols and facilities before adding Cotoni-Coast Dairies to the California Coastal National Monument.
— Nick Bock, Davenport, Santa Cruz County
QUILT TRAIL KICKS OFF IN FORT BRAGG
New public art is appearing around Fort Bragg as Soroptimist International Noyo Sunrise begins the Mendocino County Quilt Trail on the coast.
Currently mid-size quilt blocks are installed on the outside of Sew n Sew Fabrics, 890 N Franklin St., Fort Bragg, and in the sun porch at Redwood Coast Senior Center, 490 N Harold St.
New blocks are in the works and some should be available at the Fort Bragg Quilt Show this weekend, June 25 and 26 at Dana Gray Elementary School.
Quilt Trail blocks are purchased by donors, who select from a set of traditional designs and colors. Each design is laid out by Cindy Jo, a local professional quilter. Members of Soroptimist International Noyo Sunrise and volunteers prepare the plywood blocks and prepare and paint them for installation by the owners.
Three sizes of blocks are available, 2x2, 4x4, and 8x8. All net proceeds support Soroptimist projects and scholarships. Soroptimist members Judy Whitlock and Mary Sue Rhoads are spearheading the new program. Contact Judy Whitlock at 964-6483 for further information.
THREE TERRIBLE JOBS: PART II:
STACKING CARDBOARD AT BUDMAR
by Louis Bedrock
The rumor was that Budmar was a contraction of Bud and Mary, which were the first names of the original owners. The cardboard mill was in an ancient factory building in Bloomfield New Jersey. It might have had flying buttresses and gargoyles on its exterior walls.
My friends Alan and Stefan had gotten summer jobs there working eight hours a day, six days a week on the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. graveyard shift. Alan, philosophy major, practicing existentialist, red diaper baby and red diaper adult, perpetually cheerful, made the job sound like fun. I joined them.
The work consisted of unremitting physical labor.
When the fresh cooked cardboard emerged on the conveyer belt, it was cut by machine to the desired dimensions. Jim, who operated the machine and adjusted its settings, also was responsible for tying the sheets of cardboard into bundles of approximately fifty pounds. Alan, Stefan, and I removed the bundles from Jim’s worktable and stacked them onto pallets. As the height of the bundles augmented, so did the effort required to stack them. When the piles reached the height of our shoulders, we felt like shot putters tossing very heavy shot.
There were no breaks except when a stoppage was necessary for Jim to readjust the settings. When one of us took a break for “lunch” or made a run to the bathroom, the other two had to work harder and faster.
Inside the mill, it felt like a hundred plus degrees with one hundred percent plus humidity. By the end of the shift, we were exhausted and filthy. We would go to the locker room, shower off the sweat and cardboard dust, which clogged our pores and our every orifice, change into our civilian clothes, and go to Alan’s air-conditioned house to crash. We often stopped at The Shortstop Diner on nearby Route 3 for breakfast. Sometimes we got carry out orders and ate at the house.
Sometime in mid July, the owners and managers told us that they were shorthanded, backed up with orders, and that they needed us to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for the following month. They sweetened the deal by offering us time and a half for the extra hours.
Unlike prisoners on a chain gang, we were at Budmar voluntarily--and, we were paid. We earned $1.66 an hour for the first forty hours, and $2.49 for each additional hour. Nevertheless, led by Alan, we sang work songs like Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang”, Leadbelly’s “Bring Me Little Water, Silvy”, and Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons”.
When we weren’t working, we were sleeping. Stefan complained that he spent the whole day dreaming that he was stacking bundles of cardboard, and then he had to get up, go to the mill, and stack bundles of cardboard.
In the middle of August, the mill had to shut down for a week for cleaning and maintenance. The beaters, which turned prime materials like newspaper, old cardboard boxes, and water into raw cardboard pulp, had to have its storage tank drained and washed down. The owners were Italian and we used to joke about surreptitious late night dumping of cadavers into the beater’s mix, but we found no bones during the cleaning.
Alan, Stefan, myself, and “Crazy Johnny” had to shovel the viscous, foul-smelling, gray semi-liquid mess from the beater storage tank onto dump trucks, where it was taken to the nearest some place else — perhaps a reservoir, and dumped. One day, as we stood knee deep in this stuff, which we had named “cardboard shit”, Alan informed us that what we were experiencing confirmed Archimedes’ Third Principle:
—Unpleasant work seeks its own level.
We had to wipe clean the surfaces of the machinery and lubricate moving parts like the blades of the beater and the rollers beneath the conveyer belt. “Crazy Johnny” sustained minor burns when the solvent he was using to clean out the pipes caught fire. While I was cleaning the blades of the beater, I couldn’t avoid remembering my friend Larry R. who had been seriously injured after he had fallen into the dough blender while working at a cookie factory; he had almost lost both legs.
We somehow survived that summer. It was a tremendous relief to tell the owners that the last week of August would be our final week at Budmar.
Washington, D.C.- In the dead of night while civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) led Congressional Democrats in righteous protest to call for a vote on gun safety, Congressional Republicans added insult to injury by quickly reversing an earlier vote on a provision by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) to remove Confederate flag displays from national veterans cemeteries. At 3:10 am, without allowing any debate, the Republican House majority approved a partisan conference report that had been filed only hours before, which omitted the Huffman-Gallego-Ellison amendment despite its earlier House approval.
“Amidst a historic protest to demand action on the nation’s gun violence epidemic, in the wake of the largest mass shooting in our nation’s history, we are seeing the real priorities of the Republican majority; they have refused to allow any votes on gun safety, but did find the time to try bring back the racist symbol of the Confederacy. It is shameful that Republicans would once again seek to allow Confederate battle flags, a historic symbol of hate, to be flown over VA cemeteries. Republicans are showing where their allegiance lies — and it is not with the victims of gun violence,” said Rep. Huffman.
‘I demand that Speaker Ryan allow a vote on common-sense gun safety measures, such as implementing universal background checks, closing firearm sale loopholes, keeping firearms out of the hands of terrorists, supporting law enforcement and first responders, and fixing our mental health system. We will not break for a congressional ‘recess’ until we are allowed to vote on the commonsense, bipartisan bill to reduce gun violence. No bill, no break!”
Just last month, the House of Representatives passed the Huffman-Gallego-Ellison amendment to the 2017 VA funding bill, to prohibit federal taxpayer funds from being used to fly the Confederate battle flag at cemeteries operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA currently permits the display of the Confederate flag on Memorial Day as well as on Confederate Memorial Day at 131 facilities.
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RE DEMOCRAT'S SIT-IN:
(On line comment) — More grandstanding from a do-nothing Congress. It's all a bad show with the only true goal the embarrassment of the other party, while ignoring the very real fact that innocent people die while Congress dithers.
This time it is the Dems turn to show righteous indignation knowing all the while they will attach a rider to a bill that is guaranteed to be rejected by the Repubs, thus giving the opportunity to the Dems to show us all how rotten the Repubs are.
Next time it will be the Repubs jamming in a rider the Dems can't accept and so on. And around it goes while Americans languish in the agony of innocent death.
Why not pass a bill that actually improves conditions? Good question for others to answer.
Republicans & Guns—
I phoned the California Repub GOP in Sacramento and found they would not answer the question: "Why would Republicans be opposed to those on the No Fly List not being allowed to buy weapons?"
I was immediately referred to the National Committee which is inundated with phone calls and only takes messages.
Keep them coming. Call: the GOP @ (202) 863-8500
SACRAMENTO JUDGE RULES DELTA PLAN IS ‘INVALID’
by Dan Bacher
Judge Michael Kenny of the Sacramento Superior Court today ruled that the Delta Plan is "invalid" after a successful legal challenge by multiple Delta parties who argued that the controversial plan is not protective of the water quality or the fish species that depend on fresh water flows for their survival.
The Court, in its tentative ruling vacating the plan, said the Delta Stewardship Council must redo the Delta Plan to include a number of quantitative measures of performance, including reduced reliance on the Delta for future water needs by exporters.
Since the Delta Plan relied heavily on Governor Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels Plan, now called the California WaterFix, to achieve its goals, Delta and public trust advocates see this as significant victory that will delay the twin tunnels for years.
The Delta Plan was required by the 2009 Delta Reform Act. It was to establish new rules that would further the state’s "coequal goals" for the Delta: "Improve statewide water supply reliability, and protect and restore a vibrant and healthy Delta ecosystem, all in a manner that preserves, protects and enhances the unique agricultural, cultural, and recreational characteristics of the Delta."
In his decision, Judge Kenny said: “To be clear, the Delta Plan is invalid and must be set aside until proper revisions are completed. As Respondent itself argued previously, in light of an invalid Delta Plan, there is no proposed project, and consequently nothing before the Court to review under CEQA. The Court does not believe that piece-meal CEQA review is feasible under circumstances in which significant Plan revisions are required.”
Representatives of groups who participated in the lawsuits against the weak protections in the Delta Plan hailed the decision. They plan to issue a full press release on Friday, June 24.
“The court invalidated the Delta Plan because it blatantly failed to comply with the law and, consequently, was not protective of the Delta," said Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). "The Plan failed to mandate specific requirements that would reduce reliance on the Delta, provide for more natural flows, reduce harm from invasive species or increase water supply reliability though increased regional self-sufficiency."
"The order will require major changes in the Plan that will reverberate though-out the document necessitating new environmental review. This will delay WaterFix’s efforts to construct the Delta tunnels by years and force the state and federal contractors to reassess whether they wish to expend tens of billions of dollars for a project that will supply less water from the Delta," explained Jennings.
Tim Stroshane, policy analyst with Restore the Delta (RTD), said, “Judge Kenny has told the state that the Delta Reform Act means what it says. The Delta Stewardship Council must go back to the drawing board with the Delta Plan and actually require numeric measures that must reduce reliance on the Delta water. This decision will force reductions in reliance on Delta waters by Metropolitan Water District, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Westlands Water District, Kern County Water Agency, and Alameda County’s Zone 7 Water Agency on the Delta, for their future water needs.”
In a statement, Jessica Pearson, Executive Officer of the Delta Stewardship Council, said they were "disappointed" with the ruling.
"While the Sacramento Superior Court’s May 19th ruling upheld significant aspects of the Council’s Delta Plan, the tentative ruling from today unfortunately moves to set aside the Delta Plan until specified revisions are completed," Pearson stated. "At the same time, the Court validated the Council’s role in creating an enforceable Delta Plan, and the Council’s use of best available science to set direction for the Delta."
"While the Council is still considering the full implications of the ruling, we are disappointed that the Court chose to invalidate the entire Delta Plan because of what it identified as inadequacies in two discrete areas:
- The lack of legally enforceable, quantifiable targets for achieving reduced Delta reliance, reduced harm from invasive species, restoring more natural flows and increased water supply reliability, and
- Inadequate “promotion” of options to improve the way water projects move water across the Delta."
For the complete statement from the Council, go to: https://mavensnotebook.com/2016/06/23/this-just-in-delta-stewardship-council-issues-statement-on-courts-tentative-delta-plan-ruling/'
If constructed, the Delta Tunnels would hasten the extinction of Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperiling the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. A broad coalition of fishing groups, conservation organizations, Tribal leaders, family farmers, environmental justice advocates, Delta residents and elected officials opposes Governor Brown's California Water Fix.
The project is designed to ship massive quantities of northern California water to corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies, and oil companies conducting fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods.