Off The Record (Feb, 8, 2017)
by AVA News Service, February 8, 2017
AFTER YEARS of tax-free income while proclaiming marijuana’s miracle properties and all-round groove-o centrality to life in Mendocino County, a small group of persons who can justly be called ingrates are about to sue Mendocino County on a bogus claim essentially arguing that they shouldn’t be taxed but claiming the tax initiative statutes that apply to everyone else don’t apply to them.
AS THEY PUT IT: “A complaint against Mendocino County has been filed in Mendocino Superior Court. Plaintiffs challenging the notion, declared by the Board of Supervisors, that the "Marijuana Tax" (Measure AI) was approved by the voters, despite having received less than 2/3 of the vote, constitutionally required for special taxes. Under the California Constitution, Article XIIIC, all taxes are either general taxes or special taxes and require different percentages of the total vote. General taxes require a bare majority; special taxes require a super-majority, i.e., 66 2/3%. Measure AI is a special tax. It proposed a county wide tax on legal medical and non-medical cannabis but failed to achieve 66 2/3% required for special taxes.Plaintiffs ask the Court for Declarations: 1) that the tax increase was a special tax subject to Article XIIIC's super-majority vote requirement and was defeated by receiving less than 2/3 voter approval. 2) that such measures as AI and AJ, as a scheme to circumvent a super-majority requirement, are prohibited by the California Constitution. Plaintiffs, Mendocino County residents and voters, include Michael Johnson, Pebbles Trippet, Paula Deeter, Teri Johnson, Ron Edwards, Ralf Laguna, Noel Manners. Defendant is Mendocino County.” Larry Rosen, attorney and Ukiah-area pot pharma, is drafting the suit.
CARL SHAPIRO, the ultimate public defender, has died at his home in Fairfax. Carl was 100, and lucid to the very end, lucid enough to laugh at being sent home from Kaiser Hospital because “We’re not a terminal care facility.” Tony Serra, a famed criminal defense attorney himself, told me once, “I want to be Carl Shapiro when I grow up.” Nobody is likely to be the kind of people's lawyer that Carl was. Born on Bastille Day appropriately enough, Carl could have parlayed his brains into piles of money but instead spent his life defending the otherwise undefended and, some would say, the indefensible. A veteran of World War Two’s little known Alaska Front, Carl, a Harvard graduate at the time that institution maintained quotas for Jews, landed in Marin when persons of ordinary means could still afford to buy in. An associate of the Hallinan law firm in his youth, Carl has never been able to say no to a defendant, and he's had some doozies, including yours truly, and the guy who burglarized Daniel Ellsberg's house in Mill Valley and was still wearing Ellsberg's shoes when the cops picked him up. And a rapist who was caught running down a highway with his pants down, to name the kind of defendants Carl was likely to be seen with at the defense table with.
Photo taken in 2004 at the San Anselmo office of Carl and Helen Shapiro. Chris Stewart / The Chronicle
Without Carl and his late wife Helen, both of whom always went all-out for defendants even public defenders tried to run from, the truly hopeless would be that much more hopeless. When Carl appeared in Mendocino County’s Superior Court, lawyers packed the room to watch him work and, in his late 80s, he worked without a net, admitting to me, “I’m so old judges are afraid to crack down on me.” (Local connection: Carl is step-grandfather to Kevin Davenport, prosecutor at Ten Mile Court, Fort Bragg.)
LINN BOTTORF has died. A long-time resident of the Mendocino Coast, Linn slipped away last month without even an obituary in the Advocate-Beacon. He seems to have died a pauper with only a single devoted friend looking out for his interests and visiting him regularly at Sherwood Oaks in Fort Bragg. Linn was most fortunate in that sole remaining friend, the brilliant Eleanor Cooney of Mendocino whose wit, warmth and intelligence is equivalent to ten families. Linn’s family apparently disowned him, but Eleanor took care of everything a family would ordinarily be responsible for, and Linn was not an easy person as he became more and more estranged from his senses. I met him accidentally when he appeared years ago at a 4th of July party at my place in Boonville. He was a great story teller and a very funny man, truly the life of that party. He occasionally wrote a letter to the paper, which we always welcomed as a departure from the weekly political drear that preoccupies most of us. Linn would stop by the office as he passed through Boonville with his dog, Baxter, in tow. Then, suddenly, I heard he was sick, not physically ill but sick in the sense of losing himself to himself and the rest of us. Ms. Cooney invited me to join her in a visit to the patient at Sherwood Oaks. I almost wish I hadn’t gone because Linn, as I knew him, was not there. Senile dementia? I guess. He could shuffle around and make it to the bathroom and back, but he didn’t seem to recognize his sole devotee, Ms. Cooney, and he certainly didn’t know me. I understand he lingered like this for at least two years and at last, mercifully for him, has gone. But he was well known in Coast art circles, taught classes in Fort Bragg, was widely recognized in the communities of Mendocino and Fort Bragg. It insults his memory that there has been no formal announcement of his passing.
A STORY called “Survival of the Richest — Why some of America’s wealthiest people are prepping for disaster” by Evan Osnos appeared in a recent New Yorker.
IT SURPRISED ME that a large number of tycoons, many of them having amassed tech fortunes, have zero confidence in the basic structures of our frazzled country. One billionaire puts the whole article into this sentence: “I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now." Forty percent of the mega-rich seem to think that “stockpiling beans and rice is a better investment than a 401k.”
HELL, I BELIEVE rice and beans are a better investment than a 401k, and I don’t believe that unregulated capitalism is a rational foundation for a society, but I don’t see this sucker coming down in some kind of sci-fi catastrophe, or even a series of them.
BUT THE BILLIONAIRE survivalists are thinking in apocalyptic terms. They fear mass attacks by mobs if/when the economy collapses, social dissolution after natural calamities like earthquakes, killer disease outbreaks… One guy even drags out the truly hysterical fear that a huge hunk of California will break off into the Pacific.
ONCE YOU SET out on the Possibilities Path you are guaranteed to life with a constant case of the heebie jeebies. Stay with Probabilities, and stay off the internet, transmitter of fear and irrationality. Stay with the rational, the sane, many of whom you can find in the highbrow print publications that really aren’t so highbrow us lowbrows can’t decode what we read there.
BUT LET’S say it all happens at once, the same month, say. A massive earthquake cripples north and south California, the national economy, the wolves of Wall Street freshly unmuzzled by Trump, collapses to Great Depression levels, roving bands of desperate thugs mass frontal attacks on wealthy neighborhoods. Etc. The full monte of social collapse.
FIRST OFF, the apocalypse assumes an absence of authority — police, emergency services apparatuses, even the military, all of the people who get paid to roll for catastrophes will roll for whatever happens. In Frisco’s ’06 earthquake, the Army was in the streets within hours. Of course the Presidio was still a military installation with troops at the ready, but chaos, even today, doesn’t remain chaotic for very long.
EVEN AT UNEMPLOYMENT levels of 30 to 40 percent as occurred in The Depression, when there was no government safety net of any kind, there was very little disorder, and nobody starved. Of course we’re not the same people we were then; the Depression-era generations were tougher, much more resilient, and millions of us were still rural and small town, meaning we could live out of our backyards.
THE MATERNAL SIDE of my family lived in a small town in Southern Illinois during the Great Depression. They shared a neighborhood cow, maintained a large garden, my grandmother and neighbor women canned everything left over from their gardens and stored the largesse in their storm cellars. People got by.
TODAY’S population will be more unruly in a context of civic collapse, and they’ll be wholly dependent for everything for a relatively brief period while the Big Mac economy boots back up. The economy that collapsed during the Depression was the speculative part of the economy, the swindling bankers and investment brokers. It will collapse again because Obama didn’t re-regulate it and Trump is poised to wipe out the weak Obama regs that were put in place. Speculative banking causes a lot of people a lot of pain, but much of the economy simply will go on making and selling stuff, and maybe the rest of us will get rid of it, permanently.
ONE of more sensible and humane billionaires interviewed for the apocolypse-prep story thinks his rich pals investing in golf course estates in New Zealand are not only wrong in their apocalyptic assumptions, but they could avoid them altogether if they didn’t resist a fair system of taxation and government investment in the basic amenities of life — jobs, housing, effective education, single payer, and so on. The tension we all feel is really, at bottom, caused by the growing economic injustice that will be hastened and deepened by Trump.
A HEAVY HITTER named Rebecca Solnit wrote a long essay for the January 19th edition of the London Review of Books called "From Lying to Leering: Donald Trump's Fear of Women." I'll say out front I admire her work, and have been reading her for years, but I thought her essay for LRB was off in fundamental ways, and so overwrought it bordered on straight-up candy-ass-ism:
"WOMEN TOLD ME they had flashbacks to hideous episodes in their past after the second presidential debate on 9 October, or couldn't sleep, or had nightmares."
I READ this lead sentence from Solnit to the women in my life and they just laughed, agreeing with me that if the image of Trump pacing and looming up behind Hillary during the so-called debate frightened women these women must be short on frightening experiences.
YUP, I WATCHED that debate, and, naively, as Trump began his prowl, I half-expected the great speakers-of-truth-to-power, the two multi-millionaires allegedly moderating the debate for CNN, Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper, to suppress Trump, to tell him that he couldn't undermine and attempt to intimidate Hillary in a debate format by constantly looming up behind her with his childish pantomimes, pacing around the stage like he's the only person on it worthy of consideration. But that's what he does, and nobody stops him.
OF COURSE the pathetic moderators (and where was Big Bill Clinton?) let Trump do and say whatever he wanted because, I guess, the advertisers expected the show to go on. Trump was certainly outrageous with his strutting, neo-Mussolini performance, and for the first time ever I felt some sympathy for Hillary, but someone should have ordered Orange Man to stay behind his own podium or we'll pull the plug on the event. That’ll be the day, huh?
I THOUGHT Hill held up pretty well considering the context. But traumatizing for women watching? Please. Let's save the terror adjectives for women who endure peril as a condition of their daily lives, and there's millions of them right here in Liberty Land.
ADDITIONALLY, Solnit claimed, basically, that Clinton lost not on the issues and her political history but because of hysterical male rage, that inchoate male anger that hated her, a candidate so far superior to the orange sociopath that she only lost because white men can't tolerate strong women.
SOLNIT: "You could pick out a lot of feminist high points and corporate and neoliberal low points in her career, but for anyone more interested in the future of the US and the world her 2016 platform seemed most relevant, though no one seemed to know anything about it."
PROBABLY because it didn't exist beyond the usual platitudes that pass for a Democratic Party platform and Hillary's platform specifically: "We'll increase the marginal tax rates for people with incomes over $5 million; capital gains tax will go to 30%; every child deserves a fair chance; America's long struggle with race is far from finished."
PEOPLE who are barely getting by, or have already slipped through the cracks, a slight bump in taxes on people making more than $5 million a year has no meaning, no relevance. Struggling people are not going to bother to vote for this kind of incremental vacuity.
BUT ORANGE MAN steps up with his transparent bullshit like, "We're going to build a wall and the Mexicans are going to pay for it" and, to millions of white people, male and female, he manages to sound to them like he's the guy who will solve all their grievances, especially their ethnic grievances. Mr. Take Charge, Mr. Tell It Like It Is, while to the leftover left, people like the majority of US, we know he's going to make everything worse faster than Hillary would have made things worse.
ONE LAST SHOT: Solnit, definitely an inside the bubble person, sees "heterosexual white men" as either overtly or covertly, Trumpian, that hetero Whitey's complaints about "identity politics" is a codeword for a secret Klan-like yearning to lynch black people and fag-bash. And, natch, oppress women.
I THINK a total focus on identity politics is code for refusing to talk economics, real economics about how it has come to be that Bill Gates is about to become the world's first trillionaire. When it comes to talking money, the Democrats always slip slide away because, like for Trump, the top dog Democrats don’t consider people unlike themselves, people inside the long, black limos.
HILLARY LOST because she and the Democrats don't stand for anything. For people like me, the leftover left, she and the Democrats are monstrous across the board, everything from drone attacks on wedding parties to repeal of Glass-Steagall.
INDIANS VS. CALTRANS: Caltrans. has been trying to get a suit tossed brought by Mendo tribes alleging that Big Orange surreptitiously and deliberately destroyed archeological Native American heritage sites at the north end of the Willits Bypass.
COYOTE VALLEY'S tribal chair, Michael Hunter's press release spells out the tribe's beef with CalTrans: “As our complaint alleges, on September 12, 2013, in the dead of night, Caltrans’s bulldozers destroyed one of our sacred sites in Little Lake Valley without tribal monitors notified or present. The National Advisory Council on Historic Preservation referenced the destruction of this ancient village as a ‘major violation of federal law’.”
CALTRANS has tried to get the tribes' suit thrown out, but this week, Justice White of the US District Court in Oakland, in a complicated decision, has allowed parts of the tribes' claim to proceed. It's in federal court again in two weeks.
FORT BRAGG READER COMMENTS: “There are three kinds of homeless, those that lost their jobs or had an event outside of their control, there's the "lifestyle" homeless, and then there's everyone else (drug addicts, mental issues, etc...). If it were up to me, the only group that'd get anything in government assistance is group 1. That group deserves all the help they can get to get back on their feet. The other two groups, put them on a ship, send it 100 miles off the coast and sink it. This region has had enough of this crap both figuratively and literally. It's time to stand up to the homeless industrial complex.”
A READER RECOMMENDS: "The God of Small Things" is a novel by Arundhati Roy. It was written in 1997 but I just got around to reading it last week. I am very glad I did. Her writing style, and subject matter, greatly reminded me of William Faulkner's early masterpieces "The Sound and the Fury" and "As I Lay Dying." If you liked either of those novels, I recommend you give Roy's book a try.
ANONYMOUS CRITICS of the County's Animal Shelter continue to harass the Shelter with endless, and endlessly time-consuming requests for records that this handful of hysterics claim is evidence of mis-management. I think it's evident, and has been evident, that the Shelter does the best it can in impossible circumstances of a constant stream of unadoptable animals that the County's insane No Kill policy causes to pile up in cramped quarters. Visit the place and you will see for yourself fifty or so hopelessly violent pit bulls abandoned by their hopelessly irresponsible owners, i.e., love drug farmers. I think the County should stop honoring these endless requests for paperwork.
RECOMMENDED READING: Reads more like a PhD thesis, but despite that, "What Soldiers Do — Sex and the American GI in World War Two France" by Mary Louise Roberts even managed to surprise me with its scholarly enumeration of the many crimes committed against Italian, French and Belgian civilians during the occupation. Many of the soldiers committing rape and murder went unpunished. Needless to say, however, black soldiers committing the crime of rape, or merely accused of it, were often executed. Seriously disillusioning book for people who believe the Steven Spielberg version of WW Two, but won't surprise many veterans of any war.
“DEAD WAKE: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson. The German U-Boat sinking of the luxury liner drew a reluctant Woodrow Wilson and America behind him into World War One. Fascinating descriptions of life on both the doomed luxury liner and the U-Boat, told chronologically as the submarine hunts big kills off the Irish coast. (As a public service from Boonville's beloved weekly, next time someone asks why we got into WWI, explain it was to make sure our industrialists GOT PAID. American businesses fronted the belligerents millions in war materials. If the Germans had won, all that money in war materials fronted by American businesses would have been lost. Best informal account of the WW I period can be found in Dos Passos's USA Trilogy.) And, as Helen Keller correctly noted at the time the war was for “J. P. Morgan & Co, and the capitalists who have invested their money in shrapnel plants, and others that turn out implements of murder who want to develop new markets for their hideous traffic.” BTW, Thomas Mann, the Magic Mountain man himself who, in a few years had to flee the Nazis, thought the attack on the Lusitania was a great thing: “The destruction of that impudent symbol of English mastery of the sea and of a still comfortable civilization, the sinking of the gigantic pleasure ship" [was swell].
ANOTHER BOOK kinda hard to follow because it's not well organized, is "Truevine" by Beth Macy. It describes the true and truly depressing lives of two black albino brothers either kidnapped from their mother as children or sold by her out of desperation to a freak show operator, circa 1920. The freak impresario exhibits the boys as gibberish-speaking wild men for many years and, later, as the talented musicians they grew up to be. They're finally re-united with their mother in the Truevine ghetto of Roanoke, Virginia. "Two brothers, a kidnapping, and a mother's quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South." And then some. But, as often happens in this country of unending variousnesses, a white Roanoke lawyer who admires the heroic tenacity of the boys' mother to find her stolen children, and wildly eccentric himself, and as interesting as the accounts of pre-War circuses and freak shows, this kindly man makes sure mom gets regular remittances from the crooks who have stolen custody of her boys. The entire saga would test the gifts of the best novelists, and I guarantee you'll read along gasping to yourself at events and practices unimaginable today.
WITH ALL THE INFLATED comparisons of Trump to Hitler, seekers after truth will want to read, "Hitler, Ascent 1889-1939" by Volker Ullrich, a scholarly but readable account of the man who nearly took fascism clear over the top to world dominance. Trump and Crew, fortunately for US and the world, aren't nearly as formidable, at least so far, as Hitler was, who, early on, used his oratorical and prose gifts to attract thousands of highly skilled thugs to form his political juggernaut. He was not a lightweight. Trump is a lightweight. Bannon, Trump's Rasputin, is less of a lightweight, but I don't see Americans ever going over in the required mass numbers to anything like Hitler's highly organized ruthlessness. I think we're headed for a lot of disorder and probably a financial collapse, but not fascism. It's sooooooo not fun! And we're a soft, ruin-loving kind of people. Our fascism will come with someone like Bill Clinton, or a rock and roll general.
FINALLY, and I recommend this one as airplane reading — light entertainment unlike the usual heavy scholarly inquiry typical of AVA readers, but "Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe Airport" by Saul David, is interesting in its meticulous account of how the Israelis, via a commando raid, rescued a planeload of highjacked civilians from Uganda where they were being held by a Palestinian faction supported by the monstrous Idi Amin. I zipped right through this one waiting in vain for so much as a paragraph describing Palestinian motives, but it was not to be.
HASH OIL is not the way… "When I was young I was told they made hash by young naked woman running through fields of cannabis, and then having the resin gently shaved off their bodies and either water based or oil based, pressed into hash. Let’s get back to this, a lot of times the old ways are the best ways….no sexual perversion here, men typically are too hairy to get optimum results." [One-line comment in the wake of yet another house blown up by dumb guys trying to make hash oil.]
JUSTINE FREDERICKSON of the Ukiah Daily Journal wrote a truly frightening story in this Saturday morning's paper about grant-grabbing for public art projects, of which Ukiah already suffers too many that look like they're rendered by children, some of whom were either on drugs or never came all the way down after their last acid trip.
WHY NOT FULLY restore the pictured old time advertisement on McNab's rear wall which I, and I'm sure many others, think is beautiful, especially against the old brick, and a reminder of a time Ukiah, commercial and artistic, was not the aesthetic horror it is today. Restoration of the McNab wall is a straight re-illustration job, impossible to screw up with Edenic hippy-dip fantasies of a Mendoland that never was. Get that grant, get the paint and the ladders, and get going! It’s art!
ALL I KNEW about this Milo Y character before the Berkeley riot last week was that he's one of the neo-fascisti grouped around Breitbart. I looked him up and found a ho-hum roster of his statements where there's lots to argue with but not anything to shut him down over. Really, is the "left" so precious, so fearful that they want him banned? I think the guy's remark about being banned from San Francisco is actually funny, but he’s basically just another Brit Tory who’s parlaying a glib conservative spiel and flamboyant presence into a fortune. After the Berkeley affair — of course he’s promised to come back — his book quickly became the number one bestseller on Amazon.
THERE ARE LOTS of books about earthquakes, but the two best, I think, are Marc Reisner's "A Dangerous Place: California's Unsettling Fate" and "The San Francisco Calamity by Earthquake and Fire” by Charles Morris, which was printed the very year of The Big One, 1906, and long unavailable.
THE TWO BOOKS are wholly unalike, and I bring it up only because we’ve seen a marked increase in feel-able temblors recently and because The Next Big One is overdue.
REISNER’S excellent book is part scientific treatise, part graphic but informed speculation about what is likely to happen in the Bay Area with The Next Big One. (You don't want to be there.)
MORRIS'S book was published in 1906, apparently a hurry-up job by a guy otherwise known for his dime novels. If you can find a copy in good shape, it will cost you upwards of $140, one in bad shape maybe $15. Morris was apparently on-site when it happened and, like a good reporter, he simply walked around taking notes on what he saw and interviewing survivors as he went.
MY SISTER found my copy at a Friends of the Library sale. It's battered but readable, although someone, perhaps a child, has ripped out a page. The old photos alone are worth whatever price you might pay.
AS US EARTHQUAKE SCHOLARS know, and as Morris reminds us, "There was a violent shock in 1856, when the city was only a mining town of small frame buildings. Several shanties were overthrown and a few persons killed by falling walls and chimneys. There was a severe shock also in 1865, in which many buildings were shattered. Next in violence was the shock of 1872, which cracked the walls of some of the public buildings and caused a panic. There was no great loss of life. In April, 1898, just before midnight, there was a lively shakeup which caused the tall buildings to shake like the snapping of a whip and drove the tourists out of the hotels into the streets in their nightclothes. Three or four old houses fell, and the Benicia Navy Yard, which is on made ground across the Bay, was damaged to the extent of about $100,000. The last severe shock was in January, 1900, when the St. Nicholas Hotel was badly damaged."
THEN '06, and then there was Loma Prieta in 1989, the first and last sizable Bay Area quake since '06, which was terrible enough in its own right but much weaker than The Next Big One is likely to be.
MORRIS: "One onlooker says: 'Were it not for the fact that the soldiers in charge of the city do not hesitate in shooting down the ghouls, the lawless element would predominate. Not alone do the soldiers execute the law. On Wednesday afternoon, in front of the Palace Hotel, a crowd of workers in the mines discovered a miscreant in the act of robbing a corpse of its jewels. Without delay he was seized, a rope obtained, and he was strung up to a beam that was left standing in the ruined entrance of the hotel. No sooner had he been hoisted up and a hitch taken in the rope than one of his fellow-criminals was captured. Stopping only to obtain a few yards of hemp, a knot was quickly tied, and the wretch was soon adorning the hotel entrance by the side of the other dastard."
MY FAVE from Morris, who is unflinching throughout: "One man made the trooper believe that one of the dead bodies lying on a pile of rocks was his mother, and he was permitted to go up to the body. Apparently overcome by grief, he threw himself across the corpse. In another instant the soldiers discovered that he was chewing the diamond earrings from the ears of the dead woman. 'Here is where you get what is coming to you,' said one of the soldiers, and with that he put a bullet through the ghoul. The diamonds were found in the dead man's mouth afterwards."
AND THE HEART-RENDING: "When the fire caught the Windsor Hotel at Fifth and Market Streets there were three men on the roof, and it was impossible to get them down. Rather than see the crazed men fall in with the roof and be roasted alive the military officer directed his men to shoot them, which they did in the presence of 3,000 people."
AS TOLD TO the Pacific Sun of this week, Congressman Huffman said, "This president is like a walking target for impeachment, so stay tuned. I think there is reason to believe there will be the most credible case for impeachment you'll ever see, in the short term."
JOHN SAKOWICZ, newly appointed to the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District board of directors, spoke before the Ukiah City Council recently, an appearance memorialized by the Ukiah Daily Journal. He offered a solution to the lengthy and costly legal fight between the two agencies. Sako proposed the city and the district split the cost of the legal fees and make the city's billing practices completely transparent. This might be the most sensible solution we have heard yet. The alternative is to spend millions more on legal fees bringing the case to trial followed by millions more while it drags through the appeals process. Whatever the merits of the Sanitation District case, the cost of legal fees is probably already far beyond any benefit the district can hope to recover at trial.
SAKO SAYS AS AN ALTERNATIVE the city can tear up the Participation Agreement with the district and transfer the district ratepayers "to an independent district" that can do their own billing and maintenance. But Sako follows up a promising proposal with an impossible one. The city can't tear up the participation agreement with the district. Any changes to the agreement that governs how the two entities are supposed to work would have to be negotiated. And the Sanitation District is already an independent district. It contracts back to the city for billing and maintenance because the city can do those things more cheaply than if the district had to do it themselves or hire an outside contractor.
SAKO BLAMES THE LAWSUIT on former Ukiah City Manager Jane Chambers who he says refused to respond to the district. (That history is murky, but if true it's been a very expensive unreturned call.) The result was a $27 million lawsuit which is one hell of a wake up call. Several years later, the city and district are deeply enmeshed in an increasingly expensive lawsuit with no end in site. And no clear victor except for the lawyers. Worse yet, every dollar of legal fees is paid for by the ratepayers and taxpayers. The City of Willits and Brooktrails were in a similar lawsuit several years ago. After spending a couple of million in legal fees they finally agreed to a settlement where they agreed to forget the past and agreed on how to work together going forward. Will the City of Ukiah and the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District be able to do the same? Or will they keep flushing millions of taxpayer dollars down the sanitary sewer drain?