Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Aug 2, 2016
by AVA News Service, August 2, 2016
MRC's ANTI-V CAMPAIGN
MRC's most recent "Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committee Campaign Statement" has been filed with the state. The statement covers the first half of 2016 (January through June), and during that stretch MRC reports spending $184,288.37 to defeat Measure V. Add the $56,448.03 MRC spent against V during the second half of 2015 and you get a total of $240,736.40 (just shy of a quarter mil) spent by one corporation in less than ten months to defeat a county referendum. Here's the statement for the first half of 2016:
(— Mike Kalantarian)
BIG TURNOUT for the Simple Living Fair over the weekend. The Fair has slowly evolved from a disorganized gathering of Mendo’s hippie tribes, heavy on crackpot woo woo to an orderly presentation of practical instructions on how to live smarter and generally better.
THE SHERIFF’S PRESSER on last week’s pot raids mostly discussed eradication of North County gardens, especially those gardens illegally diverting water and generally slobbing up their areas with chemicals and garbage. The task force blitz also hit an unspecified region of Mountain View Road and Signal Ridge, neighborhoods where more people than not grow the love drug.
“A SIGNAL RIDGE bust Monday, which is between Boonville and Point Arena, yielded 16,000 plants. Allman said there was an excessive amount of pesticides and fertilizers found, along with seven water diversions. No suspects were located. “On Mountain View Road, between Boonville and Point Arena, 53,000 plants were eradicated from one grow. No suspects were located.”
WE HAD REPORTS that a CAMP team had headed up Peachland where there are numerous grows and diversions of Indian Creek. Apparently CAMP is saving them for another day.
A WEEK of hundred degree days has inspired that most unlikely of dog day blooms, the pink lady, presently making their improbable annual appearance seemingly everywhere in the Anderson Valley. The ladies’ appearance coincides with that slight Fall chill in the early morning, heralding the season’s change.
BEAR LINCOLN has been arrested at a large grow — 9,000 plants — on and around his property in Covelo. The big trouble for Bear may be the two loaded weapons also found there. Of course finding weapons and assigning ownership of them are two different things. But Bear is a convicted felon, and you can be sure the cops will try to pin the guns on the guy they've been after ever since the famous shoot out that led to the deaths of Deputy Bob Davis and Bear's cousin, Leonard Peters. Lincoln was acquitted after a trial that attracted national attention.
ACCORDING to the Sheriff’s presser on the Lincoln raid, “On Tuesday, a 9,000-plant grow was discovered in Covelo along with 12 loaded guns. “Prior to our guys going to this, I met with several members of the Round Valley Indian tribe and have had their support of the operation,” Allman said. Allman said Eugene A. Lincoln, 61 (the same man who has been known as “Bear” Lincoln and was acquitted in 1997 of the 1995 shooting MCSO Deputy Bob Davis), was allegedly operating the marijuana cultivation site in the 21000 block of Henderson Road, which was found to be staffed with illegal Mexican workers. Mexican workers told law enforcement they were working under Lincoln for $200 a day, a piece of the overall profits, and were told to tend the garden and not talk to each other, according to Allman. A nearby stream was also found to have been dammed up for water theft. Each person working at the property was in possession of a gun or had one where they were living. No gunfire was exchanged between law enforcement and the suspects.
Lincoln, Hernandez-Cruz, Avendano-Sarmiento
Besides Lincoln, five other arrests were made. Martin Hernandez-Cruz, 55, of Covelo; Jose A. Avendano-Sarmiento, 33, of Santa Rosa; Herminio Dela Cruz-Castenada, 45, of Covelo; Bruno Fernandez-Sagrero, 65, of Ukiah; and Juan A. Rivera-Lucio, 26, of Covelo, were arrested on suspicion of participating in the marijuana cultivation operation, and were booked into the county jail where they have since been released, according to jail records.
DelaCruz-Castenada, Fernandez-Sagrero, Rivera-Lucio
TWO HUNDRED A DAY, and profit sharing? Bear sounds like a great employer.
LINCOLN was assumed by local law enforcement to be guilty of shooting Deputy Davis to death. In one of the many ironies in the case, Davis, a former Navy Seal, was also a Native American and was regarded among Covelo’s NA’s as fair and honest. Then-DA Massini ducked the Lincoln matter. She assigned a young attorney named Aaron Williams to prosecute Lincoln. The young guy was totally over-matched by Tony Serra’s team. But looking back, neither side presented a clear narrative of what happened. Or may have happened. Deputy Miller changed his story, rendering his testimony not credible to the jury. Bear told a simple story of a police ambush. The jury believed him. The People had said that Lincoln, after an initial exchange of gunfire with two deputies, Miller and Davis, made his way back up the hill and opened fire on them again. The defense suggested that Deputy Davis died from friendly fire at the hands of Deputy Miller. Maybe, maybe not for both versions. Until Bear writes his memoir we won’t know. We’ve been told by people who claim to know that Bear fled the area on horseback, riding northeast to a hippie cabin deep in the hills where he remained hidden until he reappeared with Serra in San Francisco to give himself up four months later. The police from multiple agencies were definitely trying to kill Lincoln the night of the event, and would have if they’d caught him. Local law enforcement conducts itself much more professionally these days, but that was an edgy time for an historical fact. Nothing we wrote about it has ever been challenged.
RICHARD SHOEMAKER, former supervisor from the Ukiah area and career holder of upper echelon public jobs, is Point Arena's "part-time" manager at $50,000 a year. (His girlfriend is Fort Bragg City Manager Linda Ruffing, who makes three times that.) Point Arena’s 450 or so citizens, many of them not registered voters, have managed to rack up disproportionate debt. Shoemaker may be trying to balance the tiny town’s books by imposing unpopular fees on this, that and the other thing, although his own bottom line has always been his primary concern. He slapped a ten dollar fee on the town’s annual 4th of July fireworks display, and now he’s really stirred up the fogeaters by suggesting a 3 percent local tax on medical marijuana. (There are proportionately more bad backs in Point Arena than any other place in the world.) The prob the stoners, er, patients, have with Shoemaker’s pot tax is that it would be added on to an already hefty 8.125% tax on the miracle drug at PA’s thriving little pharmacy. Maybe Shoemaker could halve his preposterous part-time salary to help lift PA out of its deficit doldrums, but that probably isn’t up for negotiation.
A PUFFEROO distributed to the County's chain-owned papers touts Coast Democratic Party super-delegate Rachel Binah as she "mentors” a pair of unsuspecting Fort Bragg girls. The two young ‘uns are described as partial to Bernie, but by golly Rachel will have converted them to middle-of-the-road extremism by the time they get home.
IN THE SAME breathless piece, we read, "The longtime party loyalist [Binah] was joined this year by first-time delegate Jim Mastin, well-known in Ukiah as the former elected mayor and former chairman of the Democratic Central Committee. Mastin ran for the position of delegate pledged to Senator Bernie Sanders."
AND IMMEDIATELY went over to Hillary, weasel-lipping to the reporter, Tim Riley, about how Bernie's principles will continue to resonate inside the party.
MASTIN, who seems to have emerged from years of political stupor, fired right back: “Contrary to Tim Riley’s statement I have not gone over to Hillary. Below is the not yet published letter I sent to KC Meadows before I even left Philadelphia which elicited an apology from Mr. Riley.
Reporter Tim Riley (UDJ 7/29/2016) states that “…Jim Mastin is now supporting Clinton…” I never said that and after the horrific speech by General Allen Thursday night I’m not sure I’ll ever get there. I was dumbstruck by the vehemence with which Allen made his case for murder in the name of the American people. I’m not naïve, war will always be with us, but if Clinton is trying to woo us with images of her as a mother and grandmother and then follows it with full-throated death & destruction it’s not working.
Jim Mastin, Ukiah
COUNTY NEEDS TO ACT ON PHF
Mendocino County appears to be on the path to another moment we will all look back on as a great opportunity lost. They have before them the possibility - and we think likelihood – that the voters will approve Sheriff Tom Allman’s plan to build a mental health lockup and crisis center. Commonly known as psychiatric health facilities, or PHF (usually pronounced “puff”) these are places where people with mental health problems can be taken when they are acting out. And kept there. We have all seen – all too often – the derelicts talking to themselves, walking aimlessly into the street, accosting people going into our out of stores, sometimes screaming. Or the person in your neighborhood who is suddenly off his or her meds and proceeds to abuse or attack people nearby. The police see it almost every day. As our story last Sunday about the Ukiah Police Department’s struggles with exactly this kind of patient pointed out, police are forced to take these folks to the local emergency room which is not the place for them, and worse, officers can end up having to babysit them until a mental health worker can take over. At a recent Board of Supervisors meeting the county administration brought to the board an alarmist and overwrought report which basically concluded that having a PHF in Mendocino County would break the bank. (Why don’t they ever come to that conclusion when someone suggests raising the COLA for county retirees making $75,000, $100,000, $150,000 a year in retirement? But we digress.) We agree with Sheriff Allman that the sole purpose of the report was to discourage voters from approving the measure. Already it seems, the county has forgotten that its own Kemper report on the county’s mental health contracting disaster specifically recommended a local PHF. Instead of trying to derail a sensible solution to raising the funds for a local PHF, the county should be devising plans for making the best use of its mental health dollars and looking forward to being able once more to provide real, caring, local treatment for our mentally ill patients. The BOS itself should have come up with this idea long ago.— K.C. Meadows, Editor, The Ukiah Daily Journal (Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
TOO INCOMPETENT TO EVEN PULL OFF A HOME INVASION
On 07-30-2016 at approximately 3:17 A.M. Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a possible robbery which had occurred at a residence in the 9000 block of Colony Drive in Redwood Valley, California. Once at the location Deputies contacted a 42 year-old male and a juvenile male who stated a subject came into their residence, through their back door, armed with two hand guns. The 42 year-old male further described the subject as being heavy set, wearing a ski mask, camouflaged shirt and being in possession of a semi-automatic handgun and a revolver. The 42 year-old also stated the subject had an approximate 1 to 2 foot pry bar tucked inside his waistband. The subject pointed the handguns at the 42 year-old male and the juvenile male, ordering them to give him money. The 42 year-old male advised they had no money and began trying to calm the subject down. During this time the juvenile male was able to leave the room and call 911. The subject then left out the rear door of the residence, with the 42 year-old male following at a distance. The 42 year-old male observed the subject walk to the residence to the east, and disappear behind that residence.
During this investigation Deputies determined that Miguel Arreguin, 26, of Redwood Valley, had committed the above listed violations. When Arreguin's residence (nearby to the victim's residence) was searched Deputies located camouflaged clothing (consistent with the victim's statements), a dark colored ski mask, and an approximate 1 to 2 foot pry bar. Also located inside Arreguin's residence were a Smith and Wesson .357 caliber revolver, and a CZ model 2075 Rami 9mm semiautomatic pistol (these firearms matched the descriptions given from the victim's statements). Both firearms were loaded with live cartridges in the chambers. Arreguin was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Assault With a Deadly Weapon (Firearm), Attempted Robbery, and First Degree Burglary and held in lieu of $75,000 bail.
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NOTE TO DA: NO COUNTY JAIL TIME FOR THIS PUNK
On 07-28-2016 at approximately 10:20 PM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a possible domestic violence dispute in the area of Cox-Schrader Road and Highway 101 in Ukiah, California. Once at the location Deputies contacted an Adult Female who stated she had been involved in a physical altercation with her boyfriend, Oscar Silva Hernandez, 19, of Ukiah, next to their vehicles on Cox-Schrader Road. During the physical altercation Silva Hernandez grabbed a hold of the Adult Female, covered her mouth, so she could not scream, and then proceeded to punch the Adult Female multiple times in the lower back area. During this altercation the Adult Female tried running away from Silva Hernandez multiple times, but Silva Hernandez each time caught up to the Adult Female and dragged her back to their vehicles. Silva Hernandez also showed the Adult Female a hand gun and advised her if she yelled for help he would kill her. The Adult Female was able to free herself and run towards a vehicle, which was parked on Highway 101, next to where their vehicles were located. As the Adult Female got closer to the vehicle Silva Hernandez went back to his vehicle and left the area. The Adult Female had injuries to her knee's from falling during her altercation, and her clothing was covered in debris and dirt. During this investigation Deputies were able to locate Silva Hernandez and placed him under arrest for Kidnapping, Felony Domestic Violence Battery, Felony Threats, and False Imprisonment, but no handgun was recovered. Silva Hernandez was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
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DUMP HIM, LADY
On 07-27-2016 at approximately 7:38 PM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to investigate a domestic violence dispute. Deputies, once on scene, contacted a 30 year-old female in the 2000 block of Sanford Ranch Road in Talmage. Deputies learned on 07-27-2016 at approximately 5:30 PM the 30 year-old female was physically assaulted by her husband, Charles Schlapkohl, 46, of Ukiah. During the altercation Schlapkohl punched the 30 year-old female in the face, just above her mouth, causing redness and swelling. The 30 year-old female had injuries consistent with the reported physical assault. During the investigation Deputies contacted Schlapkohl and placed him under arrest for Felony Domestic Violence Battery. Schlapkohl was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
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MODESTO WAS NEVER LIKE THIS
On 07-27-2016 at approximately 12:50 A.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the Howard Memorial Hospital (1 Marcela Drive in Willits) for an assault victim being treated in the Emergency Room. Upon arrival at the hospital, Deputies spoke with a 40 year-old male from Modesto who was visiting his family in the Brooktrails area. Deputies learned that the incident occurred at a residence in the 26000 block of Maize Drive in Willits.
The assault occurred when the 40 year-old male entered a bedroom and saw Bryan Stencil, 32, of Willits, involved in an argument with a female at the location. The male subject attempted to intervene in the situation and was punched in the face by Stencil. The 40 year-old male had significant injuries to his face that required medical treatment at the hospital. Deputies searched the Brooktrails area for Stencil with negative results. On 07-28-2016 at approximately 12:50 A.M., Deputies were called back to the residence on Maize Drive because Stencil had reportedly returned to the home. Deputies responded to the residence, contacted Stencil outside, and placed him under arrest for Battery with Serious Bodily Injury. Stencil was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
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YOU DO THIS IN FRISCO, GARCIA, AND YOU'RE A DEAD MAN
On 07-30-2016 at approximately 9:08 P.M. Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a possible fight in progress in the 200 block of Blue Bonnet Drive in Ukiah, California. When Deputies arrived they contacted a 46 year-old male who reported he had been physically assaulted by a subject named Ricardo Garcia, 21, of Ukiah. Deputies learned Garcia had taken a large rock and thrown the rock at the 46 year-old male, hitting him in the head. The 46 year-old male was complaining of pain to the front area of his head. During their investigation a Sheriff's Sergeant contacted Garcia at his residence. Garcia, armed with a 25 inch machete, came at the Sergeant while pulling the machete from its sheath. The Sheriff's Sergeant was able to physically gain control of the machete and Garcia without further violence. Garcia was placed under arrest for Felony Assault of a Peace Officer. Once the investigation was completed Garcia was also placed under arrest for Assault with a Deadly Weapon in regards to the original reported physical assault of the 46 year-old male. Garcia was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be booked and held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
All fathers are unknowable to their sons but some are more mysterious than others. The Victorian stereotype was a whiskered patriarch behind a study door, the son, barred from entry, tiptoeing past. Now the door is open, and the study has been converted to a playroom, and fathers are expected to be on hand. Even so, inaccessibility remains a dominant motif: the workaholic dad, out early and back late, available only at weekends; the divorced dad, living elsewhere, available only on alternate weekends; the abusive or alcoholic dad, available but not to be trusted; the sperm donor dad, available only since 2005, when a change in the law removed his right to anonymity; the accidental dad, heedless of the consequences of his donation, unacquainted with or unaware of his offspring. Daddy, We Hardly Knew You, the title of Germaine Greer’s memoir about her father, might serve for countless others. Even dads who are seemingly there for their children have been known to turn willfully vague when interrogated about their past. Most enigmatic of all are the dads who die young, or when their children are young, or both: photographs preserve them, and memories (if they exist) reanimate them, but whatever’s expected of a father usually dies with them, whether it’s discipline, stimulation, wisdom, indulgence or just a palpable presence about the house.
— Blake Morrison
MADNESS, MURDER, ‘MARIJUANA’
by Fred Gardner
In Sagamihara, Japan last week, a 26-year-old man stabbed 19 disabled people to death — the worst mass killing in the nation's postwar history. The media focused on why Stoshi Uematsu, who had repeatedly threatened to commit such an attack, had been released from a mental hospital earlier this year. Jonathon Soble's report in the New York Times included the following:
"The authorities said Mr. Uematsu had tested positive for marijuana during his hospitalization. The relationship between cannabis use and psychosis has long been debated, but many experts believe the drug can exacerbate the symptoms of people predisposed to schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
"A Japanese television network, TBS, quoted an unidentified childhood friend of Mr. Uematsu’s as saying he continued to smoke marijuana after his release.
"Another person who knew Mr. Uematsu told the network that his personality had begun to change late in his college years. This person said that although he was usually friendly and outgoing, he began using synthetic marijuana-like drugs, covered his back in tattoos and showed bouts of aggressive behavior."
Soble of the Times did not distinguish between marijuana, which is almost impossible to obtain and very expensive in Japan, and the "synthetic marijuana-like drugs" that one acquaintance specified Uematsu used. Cannabinoid drugs made by bootlegging chemists have a markedly less benign side-effect profile than the herb; smoking them would also result in the "positive for marijuana" drug test administered at the hospital. O'Shaughnessy's ran an interview with Dr. John Huffman, "the inadvertent inventor of Spice," in 2009, but his warning hasn't penetrated the consciousness of the New York Times's reporters and editors.
It is very common to read that a given killer had been "under treatment for depression," but the reporters never drill down to determine which pharmaceutical drug(s) might have induced the flip-out. Nor do the authorities ever say that a killer had been on Prozac or "Prozac-like drugs." The experts analyze and speculate about the killer's religious or political motivation, but when it comes to pharmaceutical triggers, they're very protective of privacy — the drug manufacturer's.
THE NEIGHBOR’S LAWN SIGN
Now it's time to make up your mind
the primary's over, so's your lawn sign
You were feeling the Bern
Now you know it's her turn—
put up a sign for Jill Stein
Jill’ll cut the funding for war
There’s so much that we need it for
Health and education,
All those aging bridges to restore...
Now you might say, Listen Fred
Clinton ain’t that far ahead
And every vote for Jill
is a vote away from Hill
We might get the Donald instead.
Relax —Clinton wins in a landslide
Wall Street is all in on her side
And the Pentagon, too
and the SEIU
And NGOs underwriting pride
And millions of women know the truth
in the privacy of the voting booth (so called)
they'll raise their voice
for freedom of choice—
an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth
So relax… And don't forget
Qadaffi was killed at her command
Obama could not stay her hand
And what a merry laugh
she had with the chiefs of staff
Watching Libya disband
Syria was next on her list
A threat to Bibi’s right to exist
The neocon queen
was keen to intervene
But Russia helped Assad resist
In their old Cold War that never dies
Putin is Stalin in disguise
And noble Ukraine
Is Republican Spain
And Soros is progressive and wise
And let's not forgive the DNC
Stealing votes from decent Bernie
Putting in the fix
for the nominatrix
In the name of “Democracy.”
Pass on their lesser-evil line!
We know we can't win this time
But we gotta start somewhere
And she’s already there
So put up a sign for Jill Stein
Let's break out of our bind
let's get the Green Party defined
Whether you own or lease
The issue is Peace!
Put up a sign for Jill Stein
WIKILEAKS CHIEF Julian Assange says he has “quite a lot of material” from Hillary's campaign and will release it in stages for maximum publicity, and a grateful nation is again indebted to Assange.
THE FOREST has become an unregulated industrial zone as operators race to suck the last gulps from the teat of prohibition while they position themselves to come out on top in the legal market. The stakes are high. No pun intended. The competition for domination of the emerging legal cannabis market is fierce, and Humboldt County has become the battlefield.
That’s why it looks like a war zone around here. Our hillsides are cratered by pot plants instead of bomb blasts, massive convoys of dump trucks, cement mixers and earth-moving equipment crisscross our watersheds while desperate refugees survive in make-shift camps. The War on Drugs has given us all PTSD, and now that the government has finally conceded defeat, growers have gone on the offensive, and they’re fighting each other for market share. This last battle in the War on Drugs may be the most deadly yet for Humboldt County.
— John Hardin, Humboldt County
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 1, 2016
Boswell, Freeman, Garcia
IAN BOSWELL, South Lake Tahoe/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license, probation revocation.
DAVID FREEMAN JR., Redwood Valley. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
RICARDO GARCIA, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
Gray, Hinojosa-Corona, Knight
BOBBY GRAY, Ukiah/British Columbia-Canada. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
JOSE HINOJOSA-CORONA, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
KEEGAN KNIGHT, Willits. Domestic assault.
Koski, Lawrence, Little
AARON KOSKI, Fort Bragg. Battery, civil rights violations/punishments, probation revocation.
DEBORAH LAWRENCE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
JOSEPH LITTLE, Fort Bragg. Under influence, probation revocation.
ANTHONY MCCOY, Ukiah. Community Supervision violation.
DAWN MCKNIGHT, Ukiah. Vehicle theft, carjacking, second degree robbery, forcible kidnapping, use of weapon during crime, conspiracy, suspended license.
Pike, Racklin, Schlapkohl
DARRELL PIKE, Hopland. Under influence, parole violation.
LEROY RACKLIN III, Pittsburg (CA)/Ukiah. Suspended license, override of ignition interlock, failure to appear.
CARLEY SCHLAPKOHL, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
WHO’S REALLY WORSE?
To the Editor,
The 2016 Presidential sweepstakes presents a unique match between the two most repugnant mud wrestlers in America - "Horrible Hilly" and "Dirty Donny". The pro-choice frump versus the pro-life grump.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are shameless, blameless masters of deception.
Clinton has perfected the fine art of "cunning ineptitude" as shown in her e-mail treachery and Benghazi blunders.
Trump has developed a bizarre form of Tourette's syndrome, enabling him to shoot his mouth off willy-nilly while deflecting criticism with a blizzard of dip-shit mumbo jumbo.
Since they're both sleazebags, who's the lesser evil - Clinton the covert sleazebag or Trump the overt sleazebag?
Trump, the overt, is less dangerous because he's transparent and can be restrained before he does too much damage.
Clinton, like Gollum, operates in the shadows below the radar.
So, where did these despicable "characters" come from? Hillary Clinton is the self-realized Tracy Flick from Alexander Payne's movie "Election" (1999). Donald Trump is a composite of General Dreedle and Milo Minderbinder in Joseph Heller's classic novel "Catch 22".
According to the U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section I), Donald Trump is eligible to be President of the United States, since he's a natural born citizen, over thirty-five years old, and a resident within the United States for fourteen years.
The Constitution does not require that the President of the United States "be of good character". Had that been a qualification, most of our Presidents - including Bill Clinton - would never have been allowed to run for the office.
After inauguration on January 20, 2017, a magnanimous President Trump, in the spirit of unity, will appoint Hillary Clinton Ambassador to Libya making America safe again.
P.S. In Leicester, England "trump" is slang for passing gas.
SIX MILES SOUTH OF BOONVILLE on the old Mathias Ranch…
PENSION DEBT, PART 2
by John G Dickerson
The reason real change hasn't happened is the pain necessary to drive that change was shoved decades into the future. Local and State governments can take up to 30 years to "pay off" unfunded pension debt. I've looked at the unfunded pension payment schedules for 7 counties - 1/3 of the 21 that have their own County Pension Funds instead of being part of CalPERS. Mendocino was the only county that decided to take the full 30 years.
The notion of "generational equity" in local government is each generation should pay the cost of the services they received - and that includes the pensions of retirees who provided those services. The application of that principal is unfunded pension debt should be paid before the current County staff retirees ON AVERAGE. We also have the oldest County staff on average of the 21 counties - so ours are the closest to retirement. The Pension Fund's actuary - if I recall correctly - estimated the average number of remaining years of employment of today's County staff was about 8 years or so. The amortization method the County is using starts with low payments that triple over 30 year. They are so low they are less than the annual expense for the first 10 years (or so - not looking it up right now). So - not only is our County violating the "intergenerational" principal - they actually planned to not only make future residents and taxpayers pay 15% or so more than the original debt that came out of the Great Recession!
The point is - our County shoved the real pain of paying this debt decades into the future. Until the pain of inertia is greater than the pain of change there will probably be no change. Until the County is literally "cash flow insolvent" - that is, unable to pay bills and salaries when due - I fear County - Retirement - and frankly Union officials will do nothing real to confront this very slow growing threat.
I'm going to say in my last article 2 weeks from now that we should try to negotiate a "Grand Pension Bargain" that needs to achieve several goals - which I'll lay out in the article.
BUT - I doubt that will happen for all sorts of reasons. And so - my conclusion is this County will eventually be forced into federal bankruptcy court where it will have to ask the court to seriously reduce the pensions it owes to then employees and retirees. That's because most of the County's debt is unfunded pensions.
It's absolutely infuriating to see this slow motion financial wildfire coming - but no one is willing to confront it.
The longer it takes to get there - the worse it's going to be, esp. for the staff and younger retirees at that time.
ED NOTE: Dickerson and his sycophants, like Jared Carter, were calling for the County to declare bankruptcy (and thereby stiff the retirees) in 2009 when the idea of bankruptcy did not seem so far fetched. No one says the pension debt is not a problem, but it is a 20- or 30-year train wreck, by which time something else will have happened — either meaningful reform at the state and/or federal level or the entire improbable financial house of cards that this nation and world are founded on may come tumbling down.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I always marvel at the assumption that Gore would have been better than Bush. You can’t say whether a Gore presidency would have been better or worse than Bush because it never happened. Any conjecturing about a Gore presidency is only opinions and fantasy, but not reality. It’s very possible, though unlikely, that Gore would have made an even bigger mess of the world than Bush had. Maybe Nader did us a favor by stealing his votes. (And I believe Nader said something to the effect that he wasn’t stealing votes from Gore, but that Gore was stealing votes from him, so why don’t we conjecture what a Nader presidency would have looked like as opposed to a Gore presidency?)
I myself thought there couldn’t be a worse president than Bush and then Obama strolled onto the scene.
This election makes an even better case for a third party vote than any in the past. We know for a fact that half the country will hate either Trump or Clinton. We don’t know that about Stein or Johnson.
I’d rather have Jill Stein’s humble political experience than Clinton’s proven track record of death and destruction any day.
KEITH BRAMSTEDT WRITES: I went to the Progressive Festival at a park in Petaluma yesterday. Daniel Ellsberg was the featured speaker. He's 85 now. He said he thinks these two presidential candidates are the worst choice we've ever had. He used the term "proto Fascist" to describe Trump, who he said would be very dangerous as president. He thinks Hillary is strong on women's and children's issues but would be "hawkish" as president. He also thought Bernie did much better in the primaries than he (Bernie) had expected he would do, and that Bernie could have won the nomination. Ellsberg is quite sharp and lucid for 85 and spoke for forty five minutes.
ED REPLY: I didn't know it was still in existence. I was banned from the Pwog Festival two years in a row but set up my table anyway and was able to meet lots of people I thought were a lot better than the officious little prick who runs the thing. He told me I couldn't do what I was already doing. I challenged him to call the cops like a good little pwog, but he stamped his little feet and left me alone. He probably lives off the entry fees for the rest of the year. I think Hillary is much more the dangerously proto-fascist type than Trump who would have to be a lot slicker than he is to jack boot the rest of us. I would also say from her fist-to-the-face voice that Hillary is not only a deeply unhappy person but far more violent than Trump who's more buffoon than menace.
LOGGING FOR WATER
Does Logging Help California’s Drought?
by Will Parrish
The day after an unseasonal June rain swelled the streams of the northern Sierra Nevada, Marily Woodhouse steered her 2003 Dodge Dakota through 65 miles of winding mountain roads near Mount Lassen. Woodhouse first traversed the area on horseback shortly after moving here 25 years ago. Back then, the land was lush with life, and its towering conifer forests furnished refreshingly cool air on days that were blistering hot beyond the canopy's shade.
Now, acre after acre of land of the Battle Creek Watershed is parched as far as the eye can see. Nonnative plants like star thistle and mullein compete to cover bare ground that was once studded with pines, firs, and cedars. Rather than finding sanctuary in the forests, Woodhouse now collects data that she says demonstrates the epic damage that has been wrought by the state's largest timber corporation, Sierra Pacific Industries, or SPI.
Nearly every week, for more than seven years, Woodhouse has stopped at the same 13 stream locations in the watershed. At each spot, the founder of the environmental group Battle Creek Alliance uses specialized equipment to examine and record water temperature, water pH, soil temperature, and "turbidity": a measure of individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in the air.
In 2012, the Ponderosa Fire torched 27,234 acres in the watershed. But Woodhouse says SPI inflicted much greater harm through post-fire "salvage logging," which involved removing virtually every large- and medium-sized tree in the burned area — both living and dead — and deep-ripping the denuded soil to a depth of three feet with heavy machinery in order to accelerate the growth of newly planted trees.
"I used to think clear-cutting was the worst thing, but it's not," Woodhouse said regarding the salvage logging. "They took everything down to bare dirt. The water quality went crazy bad."
SPI officials have repeatedly defended their logging practices in Battle Creek and elsewhere, and have even argued that they eventually improve the health of forests and streams.
For decades, environmentalists have countered that industrial logging, in fact, damages watersheds because it involves removing vegetation that anchors hillsides and constructing logging roads that cause chronic erosion that chokes streams and rivers with sediment.
However, during the past year, a growing chorus of academics and conservationists has given comfort to the state's logging industry by arguing that California would actually benefit from more logging, especially after years of punishing drought.
At the heart of the debate is the increasing realization that forests throughout the Sierra, Klamath, Siskiyou, and Coast mountain ranges — like the forests that once stood in Battle Creek — are important components of California's water system. Not only do the trees store and filter huge amounts of water, but they also provide shade for the mountain snowpack so that it will melt gradually to fill the state's reservoirs with a steady, year-round supply of water.
And an expanding number of scientists and environmental groups are now arguing that many of California's forests, because of years of fire suppression and other unsound ecological practices, have become overcrowded with trees and that these forests are holding too much water in the soil. Cutting or thinning the trees, they say, will release the groundwater into streams and rivers so that California's dams and reservoirs can capture it.
A leading proponent of this thinking is UC Merced chemical engineering professor Roger Bales, chairman of UC's Sierra Nevada Research Institute. The institute operates 1,300 sensors that measure the geochemical balance of water in the Sierra Nevada's forests, meadows, and streams. "Our groundwater is our largest storage reservoir," Bales noted in a May presentation at Yosemite National Park. Given that 60 percent of the water supply used in California comes from the Sierra Nevada alone, Bales encourages people to think of the iconic mountain range as "California's water tower."
Another proponent of logging for water is the environmental group the Nature Conservancy, which is helping to bankroll Bales' work. Last year, the group caused a stir in the state's environmental community when it published a report called "Estimating the Water Supply Benefits from Forest Restoration in the Northern Sierras." The report mainly focused on how thinning national forests impacts the forest's ability to store snow and use water more efficiently.
"The broad point we are making is that the Sierra Nevada and other forested watersheds are the source of most of California's water," said David Edelson, co-author of the report and the Nature Conservancy's Sierra Nevada project director, in an interview. The report concluded that, if the current rate of forest thinning in the Sierra Nevada increases three-fold, there could be up to a 6 percent increase in the average annual streamflow for some watersheds that supply the state's reservoirs.
But many environmentalists reject the idea of cutting down more trees in order to increase water supplies. While some do not oppose thinning forests that are dense with young trees, many agree that the claims of increased water runoff via more logging are greatly exaggerated, and that such an approach could wreak havoc on forests and river systems alike.
"Saying that more logging produces more water is Orwellian 'lies are truth' speak," Woodhouse said.
"It's amazing that this idea has cropped up again," said veteran hydrologist Jonathan Rhodes, referring to logging for water. "I've seen it come and go throughout my career, and it always ends up thoroughly debunked."
Earlier this year, Rhodes and fisheries biologist Christopher Frissell released a comprehensive study that found the Nature Conservancy's report to be deeply flawed. Rhodes and Frissell's study — which was commissioned by the private environmental foundation Environment Now and drew on roughly 230 scientific research citations — concluded that in order to substantially increase the state's water supplies, California would have to do much more than thin forests. "If people really want to take the approach of creating more water runoff through logging, we will be looking at draconian levels of forest removal in this state," Rhodes warned in an interview.
Nonetheless, the logging-for-water idea has recently gained traction in Sacramento and among some other environmental organizations. The conservation group Pacific Forest Trust is currently sponsoring legislation, Assembly Bill 2480, written by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D-Hollywood, that could increase forest thinning in certain watersheds to release more water for the state's reservoirs.
The state Assembly has approved AB 2480, and it's scheduled for another hearing in the state Senate later this summer. It if passes, it would head to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.
Many of the state's municipal water agencies oppose the bill, however, because it could require ratepayers — California consumers — to pick up the tab for forest thinning. "Our principal concern is the financing methods," San Diego County Water Authority representative Glen Farrell noted at a June 28 state Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee meeting.
Environment Now director Doug Bevington said in an interview that it's crucial for municipal ratepayers to scrutinize claims being made by logging-for-water proponents. "Bay Area water users are being asked to subsidize damaging logging to the Sierra Nevada and won't see any supply benefits," he said. "They may even have to pay more later on to address the damage to watersheds from all that logging."
* * *
The theory of thinning or clearing forested areas in order to significantly increase water supplies has been around since at least the 1950s, and has always enjoyed timber industry backing, environmentalists say. Bevington, the author of the 2009 book, The Rebirth of Environmentalism, compares the logging-for-water theory to the logic used by deer hunters as they contributed to the extinction of wolves in the American West.
"The claim that cutting more trees would get us more water is similar to the old idea of slaughtering wolves to improve deer hunting, which actually wound up messing up deer populations," he said. "In both notions, a simplistic mindset ignores natural complexity, leading to harmful results."
Over the years, the logging-for-water arguments never gained widespread acceptance, in part because of the deepening recognition of logging's monumental impacts on watersheds.
A case in point is the primary watershed serving the East Bay. The Mokelumne River is the main water source for 1.4 million East Bay residents, including those in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, and Alameda. The river's headwaters are in the Stanislaus National Forest in the central Sierra Nevada, and a major reservoir — the Pardee — traps the Mokelumne's water before releasing up to 325 million gallons per day into the 95-mile-long Mokelumne Aqueduct, which conveys it to the East Bay Municipal Utility District's distribution system. Research suggests that 60 percent of the Mokelumne's flow comes from water stored in the Sierra soil, as opposed to snowmelt.
According to Katherine Evatt, one of the state's leading experts on the Mokelumne, historic logging has damaged the watershed through road-building and soil compaction. Logging roads are the main source of soil erosion and landslides in disturbed forests, and they also alter runoff patterns and permanently disrupt subsurface water flows. Further damage comes from the use of heavy logging machinery, the cutting of trees, and then dragging them out of the forest. Burning leftover brush and applying herbicides create even more havoc.
In the late-1990s, Sierra Pacific Industries purchased approximately 78,000 acres in the Mokelumne watershed. And SPI has conducted a considerable amount of clear-cutting in the area, which Evatt said has greatly increased the amount of sedimentation in EBMUD's reservoirs — a cost that is ultimately passed onto utility ratepayers, because it reduces the reservoirs' storage capacity.
But it's not just the Mokelumne and Battle Creek watersheds that have experienced these impacts. From 1997 to 2014, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection approved more than 512,000 acres of clear-cutting in the state, or about 800 square miles: an area approximately as large as Alameda County. And SPI has completed most of these clear-cuts.
From overhead images, such as those from Google Earth, the checkerboard pattern of clear-cuts in watersheds like the Mokelumne gives the land a disturbed appearance reminiscent of leprosy on human skin. Other large timber firms, such as Seattle-based Green Diamond Resources Company, which owns more than 400,000 acres of mainly redwood and Douglas fir forestland in Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity counties, also rely heavily on clear-cutting.
"If you walk in a more natural forest, you'll hear birds, insects, see evidence of small mammals, feel moisture in the soil — it looks, feels, sounds, and smells like a forest," said Evatt. She is also president of the environmental group Foothill Conservancy, which is dedicated to protecting the Mokelumne River and its watershed. "But when you walk into a clear-cut or young plantation, it's nearly devoid of life — dry and hot."
The main architect of SPI's success is Archie Aldis "Red" Emmerson, who, according to Forbes magazine, is worth $3.6 billion. Emmerson's son, Mark Emmerson, argued during a 2011 presentation to the UC Berkeley School of Forestry that his company's techniques are helping restore forests over the long run and are essential in the fight against climate change. "In the next 70 years, we will triple the inventory in our forest," he said. "Our tree size will go up from 17 to 30 inches in diameter. We will have pulled 500 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere."
But critics say SPI's claims are based on scientific models that are calculated to put a happy face on the company's activities, which they say are permanently degrading the forests through converting them to plantations. Healthy forests are layered, with multiple canopies, small openings where the sun shines through, and darkened hollows where it does not. Different plants and animals thrive in the different habitats.
"SPI is very good at growing trees," said Calaveras County resident Susan Robinson of the conservation group Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch. "But they are also very good at turning forests into something more like cornfields or almond orchards."
SPI is the state's largest private landowner and controls more than 1.8 million acres of forestland. Roughly 80 percent of California's timber production currently comes from logging on private lands, with 20 percent of logs sourced from national forests. Thirty years ago, however, it was the reverse: 80 percent of logging occurred in national forests.
The timber industry has relentlessly lobbied to open up more logging on public lands. According to critics, that is partly because of the pace at which many logging companies are decreasing forest stocks on property they own.
* * *
Currently, there is little disagreement over the fact that national and private forestlands have sustained enormous damage from logging practices and from a century of fire suppression. Numerous forests today are more crowded with trees than ever before. And many of the trees are approximately the same age, an unnatural condition resulting from clear-cutting and other harvesting methods known as "even-aged management."
Some proponents of forest thinning, including UC Merced's Bales, see a synergy between removing trees to guard against fire and extracting more water from mountain runoff. "From a water-resources perspective, there is a sweet spot in between too many and too few trees," Bales wrote to The East Bay Monthly in an email.
The ideal forest pattern, Bales argues, involves creating openings in the forest that are big enough to allow snow to pile deeply, while leaving a sufficient number of large trees to shade the snow and extend the melting season until late summer.
In June, during a presentation to the California Senate Committee on Water and Natural Resources concerning AB 2480, Laurie Wayburn, president of the Pacific Forest Trust, made a similar assertion to that of Bales. She argued that "overly dense, even, closed-canopy forests" had altered runoff patterns in the national forests, and that thinning — followed by the reintroduction of prescribed fires — would be a means of restoring "more water-rich forests."
At the June 28 meeting, committee chairwoman state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-LA, said Wayburn had given a "fantastic presentation" showing that increasing water supply through improved forest management would be a cost-effective measure.
But the Center for Biological Diversity's Justin Augustine contends that such claims are fodder for "a get-rich-quick scheme" that will ultimately benefit timber companies like SPI, rather than watersheds and downstream water users. And Hydrologist Rhodes and fisheries biologist Frissell, who wrote the Environment Now report, say the benefits of logging for water are vastly overstated, and that proponents are omitting its enormous downsides.
"The idea is that if you aggressively cut timber, then you'll have a bigger timber supply, more water, and less fires," Rhodes said in an interview. "Well, only one of those things is true."
Overall, Rhodes and Frissell's report found that "the effects of logging on water flows are often negligible, nonexistent, or negative, and even in the more optimistic scenarios, the potential effects are small, transient, and ill-timed." The report concluded that during drought years, water supply increases from logging would be minuscule.
In addition, logging produces substantial environmental harms: Rhodes and Frissell identified nine types of damage that result from logging-for-water projects, such as increased water pollution from logging and erosion from logging roads.
These effects can also be expensive to the downstream communities using the water, Frissell and Rhodes wrote. According to their report, numerous scientific studies have also concluded over the years that sustaining increased runoff through tree removal would mean clearing large areas of forest at a high frequency — as much as 25 percent of a watershed area every 10 years. The physical principle involved is straightforward: When forests are thinned, the trees that remain tend to consume whatever water becomes available. As a result, loggers would have to fell large numbers of trees in order to substantially increase water runoff, Rhodes noted, and that runoff would invariably be heavily polluted with sediment because of the amount of logging involved.
Many environmentalists have a mixed view of the ideas touted by the Pacific Forest Trust and the Nature Conservancy, as well as of AB 2480. The bill, for example, calls for reducing the number of rural roads through forests, a move that all involved agree would be beneficial to watersheds. But it also includes language that could pave the way for logging-for-water projects.
Environmental groups' divided positions on the bill are reminiscent of the political battles concerning the 2014 state water bond, Proposition 1, which earmarked hundreds of million of dollars for environmental restoration projects but also furnished $2.7 billion for new water storage projects, a compromise that many fear will lead to the construction of new dams in California.
Izzy Martin, CEO of the Nevada City-based Sierra Fund, supports the ideas on which AB 2480 based. She labels it a great starting point for restoring forests through thinning, though her organization has not taken a position on the bill due to concerns that it may finance ineffective projects.
John Buckley, executive director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, said he is withholding support from AB 2480 because it focuses only on five watersheds, rather than addressing the totality of California's forests, and also because the bill doesn't address logging practices or other impacts to watersheds. He supports the idea of thinning to enhance watersheds, but said he would rather the bill create incentives for selective logging practices that thin out overly crowded forests, resulting in "lower levels of bare soil, greater protection for watersheds, and significant other ecological benefits."
Martha Davis, who helped lead the campaign to restore Mono Lake in the eastern Sierra in the 1980s and '90s, has promoted stronger links between forest restoration and water supply planning as an adviser to state agencies during the last decade. But while she has not taken a public stance on AB 2480, she said that some of the ideas about increased water yield through logging are far too one-dimensional. "Some of the studies I've seen so far are treating watersheds like a dam, such that if you just tweak the knob, there could be more water coming out of these systems," said Davis, now the policy director for the Inland Empire Water Agency in Riverside County. "That's not the way it works at all."
Evatt of the Foothill Conservancy has supported a new collaboration by the U.S. Forest Service and the Amador Water Agency to thin forests to reduce wildfire risk, protect water quality, and improve water yield. But she says legislation like AB 2480 is dangerous, because it would fund forest-thinning projects specifically for a single purpose: increasing water yield. "Watershed management and restoration approaches should be more holistic, not focused on a single output or commodity, whether that's timber products, recreation, or more water," she said.
Given what opponents describe as AB 2480's vague language, which promises funding for projects that improve watersheds, some fear that companies like SPI may receive public financing for damaging projects that they claim are beneficial. The Feather River is one of five watersheds that would get special attention under AB 2480. Others are the Trinity, Pit, McCloud, and Sacramento river watersheds.
In total, these watersheds encompass some 7 million acres, about 62 percent of which is publicly owned, mainly by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. SPI also owns a considerable amount of land in the watersheds, and the company is the largest purchaser of logs from logging on public forests in those areas.
* * *
Battle Creek is a 350-square-mile drainage fed by water from melting snow that drips down the western slope of Mount Lassen. It's also one of the most critical watersheds of the northern Sierra. Because of the creek's ample year-round flow of cold water, state and federal wildlife managers have deemed it the most welcoming area in California for the reintroduction of endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon. Baby Chinook must have cold water to survive.
As a result, Battle Creek is the focus of an ongoing $128 million state and federal restoration effort that involves dynamiting hydroelectric dams and constructing fish ladders. The Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project is one of the most expensive aquatic species restoration programs ever undertaken on the West Coast. Only the removal of two dams on Washington's Elhwa River in 2014 entailed a bigger investment.
But critics say the fisheries agencies' progress in restoring the winter-run Chinook has been persistently undermined by SPI's destructive logging practices upstream. In addition to the salvage logging, the company has clear-cut thousands of acres of Battle Creek's forests in 20-to-40-acre swaths since the 1990s.
The impacts from erosion in the area have been dramatic. Jim Smith, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is one of numerous state and federal agency employees administering the Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project. "Since the fire, we've seen an extremely high level of sediment input into the watershed," he said. "Some of our deep pools in the south fork, which were some of the best areas for the salmon, just aren't deep anymore."
The question is how much of it has to do with the 2012 Ponderosa Fire versus SPI's logging practices. Smith, as with other state and federal employees, pins most of the blame on the fire. And SPI Research and Monitoring Manager Cajun James asserted in a report that her company's salvage logging actually reduced soil erosion, contending that sites in Battle Creek "disturbed only by fire produced substantially more water runoff and soil erosion than did sites that received post-wildfire salvage logging."
However, most studies of fire-induced erosion show that it dramatically declines a year later, once grasses and forbs grow back. By contrast, the use of heavy equipment in post-fire logging compacts the soil, and the application of post-fire herbicides prevents vegetation from re-establishing itself. Without adequate vegetation to anchor them, hillsides erode into roads, ditches, and culverts for years afterward.
Woodhouse has hired Jack Lewis, a retired statistical hydrologist from the U.S. Forest Service, to analyze the data that she collects on her weekly trips through the watershed. His findings strongly support her claims, pointing to significantly increased erosion in areas impacted by salvage logging and clear-cutting.
Following a 2011 Sacramento Bee investigation of SPI's logging in Battle Creek, the California Natural Resources Agency directed four state agencies, including the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, to study the impact of clear-cutting on creating sediment-filled runoff, but reported finding "only one instance of low-magnitude sediment delivery (less than 1 cubic yard) directly associated with a clearcut."
Woodhouse said the study's participants failed to find any evidence of logging-induced erosion because they conducted their study at the worst possible time: early fall, before winter rains that would have begun washing sediment into the creek basin. In an email, which was obtained via the California Public Records Act, Cal Fire forester Duane Shintaku later wrote to SPI executive staff members asking permission to conduct further studies, which, he said, "would provide the evidence we need if anyone questions the validity of the Task Force's findings." Despite the friendly nature of this entreaty, the SPI staff turned down the request.
The 1973 California Forest Practice Act was designed to strengthen protections against streamside logging and compel timber companies to harvest selectively. And in a 2009 letter to the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, a nine-member governor-appointed board that is the policymaking branch of state forestry, Deputy Attorney General Anita E. Rudd opined that the 1973 law "requires the [b]oard to adopt regulations that include . . . measures for soil erosion control, water quality and watershed control, [and] flood control."
But many environmentalists say this isn't really happening in California, and the main reason is the pro-timber bias of the state Board of Forestry. The board includes three representatives of the timber industry, and over the years, a majority of the board's members have had some association with logging. Currently, two of the seven members of the board have worked for SPI — company forester Richard Wade and Stuart Farber, now of the timber consulting firm Beatty & Associates — while two other members currently or formerly have worked for other timber companies
Under California law, a lumber company must submit a timber harvest plan — a sort of scaled-down version of an environmental impact report — to the state before logging a forest. The so-called "lead agency" for reviewing timber harvest plans is Cal Fire. In an interview, Russ Henly, assistant secretary of Forest Resources Management for the California Natural Resources Agency, said he thinks Cal Fire staffers are "doing a very good job" with their timber harvest plan review responsibilities. "I know they give a hard look to the cumulative impacts of logging as part of the harvesting plans," he said.
But critics contend that Cal Fire is uniquely favorable to the industry it regulates and that it routinely rubber stamps logging companies' plans. The agency's approvals also greatly aid the industry when environmentalists attempt to challenge timber plans through litigation.
"In court, it's not about who gave the better argument, but rather about whether an agency — in this case, Cal Fire — simply has some basis in evidence for their conclusion," said Augustine of the Center for Biological Diversity. Augustine has been involved in several lawsuits against SPI timber harvest plans. "That's a very low bar, unfortunately, that allows agencies to do bad things and still get away with it."
If organizations like the Nature Conservancy are keen on protecting the state's water supply, some say, they should be advocating for reforms of the Board of Forestry and Cal Fire. Instead, the Conservancy has teamed up with the state's main timber-lobbying firm — the California Forestry Association, or CalForests — to promote logging-for-water proposals.
Shortly after the release of the Conservancy's 2015 report, CalForests Chairman David Bischel and the Nature Conservancy's Edelson co-authored an op-ed in the Mercury News, calling for an increase in "the pace and scale of fuels reduction in [national] forests as an important part of the state's water strategy."
The fact that SPI also claims that clear-cutting helps restore forests — and, thus, improves the health of watersheds — worries opponents of logging for water, like Environment Now's Bevington: "SPI's promotion of clear-cutting is a particularly audacious example of a disturbing trend in which harmful logging projects get repackaged to seem like they are somehow beneficial to forests, when, in fact, they are not."
He says that the Nature Conservancy's collaboration with CalForests is roughly akin to collaborating with SPI itself. SPI CEO Mark Emmerson is the board chairman of CalForests. And according to CalForests' financial statements, SPI gave $71,500 to the organization from 2011 to 2015, more than any other company.
* * *
Given that avenues for increased forest protection are largely blocked at the state level, environmental activists have sought other options to build momentum for change, including an effort to create a groundswell for reform in cities and counties. In 2015, the city of Berkeley became one of seven California cities to call on the state Legislature to enact a ban on clear-cutting, joining San Francisco, Daly City, Davis, Menlo Park, Monte Sereno, and Brisbane. The resolution cited Berkeley's desire to protect its water supply from sedimentation and pollution caused by SPI.
"We've talked to lots of legislators," said Sierra Club volunteer Karen Maki, who is an organizer of the campaign for a statewide clear-cutting ban and a resident of Los Gatos. "They're sympathetic, but they aren't doing much yet. We figured if we got a lot of cities to pass the resolutions, it would start to have some influence."
Maki acknowledges that a ban on clear-cutting is not a cure-all. But it is an important step, she said, in terms of protecting California's water supply and quality alike, and one that most environmentalists should be able to rally around. In 1990, a ballot initiative called Forests Forever that would have banned clear-cutting throughout the state lost by only three percentage points.
Menlo Park City Councilmember Catherine Carlton presented her city's resolution calling for a clear-cutting ban to the League of California Cities annual convention in 2014, and she said she received a strongly favorable response from other city councilmembers and mayors. "It's an idea that makes sense, so I'm sure it will keep coming up," she said.
The municipal resolutions call attention to another aspect of forest degradation: climate change. The Berkeley version asserts that the timber industry accounts for roughly 10 percent of the state's greenhouse gas emissions.
According to scientific predictions, global warming is causing more variability in California's climate, with more intense storms, longer dry periods, and less snowpack, with more precipitation falling as rain instead of snow.
Hydrologist Rhodes says the renewal of logging-for-water claims is particularly frustrating given that there are lower-cost ways of restoring these watersheds on public lands that don't involve logging. Three of these methods include the reduction or cessation of livestock grazing near streams and meadows in headwaters, reductions in the extensive network of logging roads in national forests, and the restoration of beaver populations, which helps to slow water on its course downstream so that it trickles into the ground.
But Bevington said it's not surprising that the logging-for-water claim has gained renewed attention in California during the recent intense drought.
"In desperate times, people are more susceptible to believing promises of easy water, rather than looking closely at the problems with those claims," he continued. "But if EBMUD or other utilities end up subsidizing logging in the Sierra Nevada and other mountain ranges, Bay Area residents are likely to see no significant benefits in terms of water flows."
(Will Parrish lives in Ukiah. His work also appears in the East Bay Express, North Bay Bohemian, and on Counterpunch.org.)
AUGUST 5TH: FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK
Join artists and their hosts for an evening of art, music and refreshments as you stroll from one venue to the next; each showcasing local art and artistry. Held in Historic Downtown Ukiah on the first Friday of each month, the First Friday Art Walk is the perfect way to relax your body, mind and soul. This enjoyable evening begins at 5:00 p.m. and promises to delight your senses; all while enjoying the company of others. For more information contact (707) 462-1400.
Featured Artists and their Host.
The Arts Council will be exhibiting the work of the Women Artists of Covelo
Selected works from the 5th annual Women's Art Show, Covelo CA. Participating artists include, but are not limited to: Rainbow Ganges, Carol Borden, Jenn Procacci, Christiane Esparza, Jesse Jones, Lynn Zachreson. You'll find the Arts Council office at the Train Depot at 309 East Perkins Street.
The Art Center Ukiah will be featuring "Small Works" - Original art work from paintings, mixed media, fiber, sculpture, ceramic and photography; the size of which does not exceed 12' X 12" in size. The Art Center is located at 201 South State Street.
Bona Market Place will be featuring the beautiful paintings of Kathleen Gordon Burke. You'll find Bona Market Place at 116 West Standley Street. (707) 468-1113
Connect Insurance and Ukiah Massage are proud to host Stone Smith, whose artwork is inspired by his misspent youth as a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast and punk deviant. Stone brings to life monsters and magic from the deepest dungeons of your nightmares. He will be featuring illustrations from his portfolio including werewolves, baphomets, and other icons of the dark and dreamy rhealm. Come and join Mo and Andrea at 304 N State Street.
The Corner Gallery will be featuring the photos of local photographer Deborah Briggs and the Imaginative Drawings by twin sisters Emily and Adrianna Oberg. You'll find the Corner Gallery on the corner of State and Church Street.
Enoteca is pleased to be featuring an art show by Chat Ko entitled "Meditation Imagery"; exploring the correlation between the mind and the automatic. The Enoteca Wine Bar is located at 106 West Church Street.
Paradigm will be showcasing the carvings, art and Jewelry of Eagle and Yoli Rose with their Bones of the Earth collection. Very unique local people. Snacks, wine from Tahto Vineyards and a lovely garden space. Please join us at 312 North School Street.
The Ukiah Library is hosting the "Moroccan Jar Lanterns" project. Transform ordinary jars into Moroccan Lanterns and make your summer evenings more magical. Bring your own jars or use one of ours. Enjoy an evening of crafting, accordion music with Don Willis, yummy pizza and book sale. This event is family friendly, free to the public and sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library. The Ukiah Library is located at 105 North Main Street.
FREE EVENTS DURING THE WRITERS CONFERENCE AUGUST 4-6
Open to the Public, during the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference. Mark your calendars.
Author readings - St. Anthony's Church, Mendocino - 6:30-8 pm, Thursday, August 4.
Author readings - First Friday in Fort Bragg, Town Hall-5:30-8 pm, Friday August 5
Paths to Publishing - Mendocino College, Coast Center, Room 112-114, Saturday, August 6, 1-2:15 pm
MCKENNA FAITH & JOHN MATTERN to play final concert of 2016
25th Anniversary Sundays in the Park concerts
Sunday August 14th
Ukiah, CA. - On Sunday, August 14th in Todd Grove Park at 6:00pm Fowler Auto & Truck Center, The City of Ukiah, KWNE-FM and MAX 93.5 are proud to present the final concert of the 25th Anniversary Sundays in the Park concert series featuring Ukiah’s Home Grown Favorite’s McKenna Faith and John Mattern.
Starting off the final concert of the 2016 season, McKenna Faith will grace the stage with her first class, high-energy, boot-stompin’ country music. McKenna is a country music singer/songwriter and Nashville Recording Artist hailing from Ukiah. She grew up in the barrel racing circuit, where she competed in the World Finals. Singing the National Anthem at rodeos lead to half-time performances; and eventually she traded her saddle for a guitar and started co-writing and recording in Nashville, where she now lives. She has toured internationally and has shared the stage with some of country’s biggest names like Dierks Bentley, Thompson Square, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Neal McCoy, Lee Brice and Brett Eldredge.
The young musician has always loved music. She launched a tour to promote her debut album in 2011, “Sugar & Spice,” and toured the country, performing over 100 concerts in 2012 alone, including the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. Faith describes her style of music as a mixture of “country/rock/pop” and counts Beyoncé and Miranda Lambert among her musical influences. “They’re both so fierce and careless and they own the stage and put on an amazing show,” Faith said. “I would say watching them has helped me perform on stage.”
Music is Faith’s passion, and she believes in the importance and power of music. “Music is important to me because no matter what mood I’m in, I feel that once I start singing, writing and performing, everything goes away and it makes me so happy,” she said. “I feel like it’s therapy for a lot of people, including myself.” Her debut single to country radio Somethin' Somethin' is quickly climbing the charts.
Gracing the stage the second set will be Ukiah native John Mattern performing many selections from newly released collection of songs, ‘Fire Girl’ which is his visitation back to his roots. Filled with his guitar playing that spans from Vince Gill to the Rolling Stones, his pedal steel and slide guitar is rooted deep in the blues and country. This collection is a personal story based biography of all original music, telling stories of a musician’s life growing up in the vineyards of rural Northern California. He gives homage to his wife, partner and best friend, a fire fighter paramedic who inspired the title track “Fire Girl”. This record is filled with deep private moments of reflection, to rowdy fun times driving his 1952 GMC down Old River Road.
John is an eclectic multi instrumentalist, blending influences of folk, rock, country, jazz and blues into a style uniquely his own. He was drawn into music as a sax player at 12 years of age, then got serious about it at 17 years old when he took up the 5 string banjo and bluegrass music. He went on to study music seriously at Grove school of music and New England Conservatory, making jazz and classical saxophone his focus.
Over the past decade he revisited his roots including folk, rock, bluegrass, blues, country, soul, funk with influences of Willie Nelson, Peter Gabriel, Merle Haggard, Beethoven, Townes Van Zandt, James McMurtry and Miles Davis. Mattern, who taught music in Ukiah for 10 years, states “I didn’t grow up listening to AC-DC,” he recalled, citing Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson as childhood favorites. . John is one of the most respected music educators in the state; In 2007, classical music station KDFC of San Francisco named him 2006 Music Educator of the Year, selecting him from among 600 music teachers in Northern California. Mattern also is regarded by many as one of the more eclectic and innovative saxophonists performing in Northern California today as well as a sought-after studio musician. For more than 15 years, Mattern has been the sideman of choice for performers such as Bonnie Raitt, the Temptations, Little Anthony and the Imperials and Alex DeGrassi - just to name a few - shifting easily from jazz to reggae to classical to rock.
This final concert will not only showcase great local talent from the Ukiah Valley, it will also be the final concert for Sundays in the Park founder and promoter Spencer Brewer. “It has been a fun ride all these years helping to bring the public together each summer to hear great music, sharing food with family & friends and celebrating who we are as a community.²
UPCOMING EVENTS HAPPENING AT THE UKIAH LIBRARY