Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
by AVA News Service, May 17, 2017
DA EYSTER WRITES: "Lori Ajax, chief of California’s new Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation headquartered in Sacramento, says 'the state' [read: local prosecutors and all law enforcement agencies] must aggressively root out black market pot in order for the legitimate industry to thrive.' This message should set expectations for those who continue to be there or are venturing into the new frontier. Play by the new rules or expect old-fashion criminal litigation."
PUBLIC EXPRESSION at the Board of Supervisors Meeting, Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Sheriff Tom Allman: I'm a little embarrassed to be here today. I was here last month in front of you and I said that in 2016 this board did not recognize National Peace Officers Memorial Week. And I reminded you that it was this month, May 15, yesterday, and certainly there's no recognition for it. I just want my deputy sheriffs and law enforcement officers throughout the county to know how much they are appreciated. In 2015, 40 law enforcement officers were killed in our nation. 20 of them were white law enforcement officers, two were Native American, eight African Americans were killed and two Alaskan Indians were killed. I would encourage this board to work with the Deputy Sheriffs Association to show how much they are appreciated. The fact that there's not a proclamation — I'm over it. I'm not going to write a proclamation for myself as a peace officer. But I do want our deputy sheriffs to know that they are appreciated. They go out there every day. When people are running away from gunfire, our deputies sheriffs, our Highway Patrol, our police officers, are running toward the gunfire. Protecting this county in ways that other people cannot comprehend. They are appreciated. I would hope that maybe somebody this year could put it on the calendar for next year that May 15 is a very important day. May 15 reminds us that there are law enforcement officers, male and female, young and old, every ethnicity possible, that go out and do everything they can to maintain the peace as peacekeepers. And for those of you who are watching, any deputy sheriffs, any officers, thank you very much. Thank you for going out there every day and doing your job for a salary that has not been returned to you which five years ago was taken away from you. I appreciate you are staying in Mendocino County. I appreciate you maintaining the peace. I appreciate you supporting me. Thank you very much.
Board Chair John McCowen: I assure you that no one intends any disrespect to our law enforcement officers. I think quite the contrary is true. And we will be sure and have that on the calendar next year. But typically it is the department's responsibility to sponsor proclamations relevant to their area. However —
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Ross Liberty: In the little bit of management training I've got I know that it's useful to catch people when they do something right. Somebody doing something right. I think this board — I'm here to express my appreciation to the board for the support they gave in my decision to purchase the Masonite property and also to let you guys know that as a result of that Rhys Vineyards bought three acres and we just closed last week and they should be starting tractor work in a day. I think they are going to be a great addition to our community. They are very high end. They have a great reputation. Their average bottle, their sale price for a bottle of wine is $70, so it's a really -- they have a lot of investment in the vineyards in our county and I'm glad that you guys kind of moved this forward. If it wasn't for your efforts I wouldn't have done it. So thank you very much. Thank you.
McCowen: That's great news.
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Joy Bieler, SEIU Member At Large: I am here to ask that you prioritize increasing Mendocino County employee salaries. Every single one of my coworkers are struggling. These are your public service employees. They are working long hours due to the lack of staff available to get the job done. Or they are working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Their lives are out of balance. Well-being is at the heart of every person and having a balanced lifestyle is certainly important to the quality of the person's ability to live a productive and enjoyable life. It seems like every week the faces change. When one person retires another person turns in his or her resignation. I work in the emergency response department for family and children's services. I'm not a social worker. But almost every suspected child abuse referral crosses my desk. The amount of these referrals is staggering. In the three years that I have worked for the county I have seen in my department alone 12 people hired and 17 people leave. Imagine my stress when I get yet another referral knowing that there is not enough staff to fully investigate and respond in many cases with the much-needed services for these families in need. Most all the people that have left have left because they can no longer stand the long hours and low wages that it takes to do the job that they are asked to do. I love our community and the work I do. But I don't know how much longer I will be able to continue to work under these conditions. Please restore much-needed balance to our community of workers. I would like to ask that everyone who is a county employee sitting here this morning please stand. [One or two dozen audience members stand.] These are the people I work with every day.
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Natalie Shepard: I'm a social worker supervisor with children's services. I've been working with children services for almost 4 years now. I just want to share with you that I appreciate as Sheriff Allman pointed out, that we feel a little underappreciated when it comes to the work that we do, the wages that we receive. I'm a mom. I've got six kids at home. Three weeks ago I worked 167 hours in a two week pay period. That took time away from not only my personal time but it takes away from my family, my children, while I'm serving the children of this community and giving the children of this community a priority. I really encourage you all to look at the work that we are doing on a daily basis. The harm we put ourselves in. The harm we are putting our families in. And the neglect we are doing for our own families. Make us feel appreciated, make us feel valued. Give us what we deserve. Thank you.
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Angie Wienot: I did not come into child welfare because of the money. But it certainly would help if you can attract social workers. I'm a social worker III in emergency response. I'm on the front lines. One of the first people to have contact with families and to check in on kids to make sure they are safe. It's my passion. I absolutely love doing what I do. I love families. If we can keep families together, that is our goal. If we can't, if we have to remove the children, I don't like removing children. I don't like tearing families apart. I don't like hearing kids tell me about all the sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, that they have gone through. But I'm willing to do it because I care about the children and I care about the community. It's really difficult to do it alone. I have not had one consistent supervisor in the three and a half years that I have been in my position. I have not had another investigator in the unit with me this entire time during three and a half years stick with me. Everyone that gets hired leaves for a better paying job or because it's a stressful position. I don't blame them. But it's really difficult to keep our communities safe. We do it for the families, the children. We do it for law enforcement. They need us, as Sheriff Allman was saying, and they need us when they are arresting parents and we have to come pick up the kids. As a first responder in the emergency response unit, I have to go out and pick up those kids for them. If we don't have enough staff to do that then this community is at a loss and children are in danger. So if you guys could encourage new hires by raising wages that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Ricardo Quintana: I work at the Department of Transportation. It's nice being able to talk to all of you. This is my first time seeing you guys. So it's great. This is my first time speaking so I apologize. My coworkers want to be here but they are not. They picked me to do it. So okay.
Chair McCowen: You are doing fine.
Quintana: I'm here for wages. I'm here to ask you guys to help us get what used to get in our wages. I got here in 2015. I could share so many stories about how many of our guys have had to work two jobs. Luckily they are married and just to be able to pay their bills — We've had so many guys come who were hired after me, as new employees come and then leave just because they can't pay their bills. And then there are times when we are just doing a job like where it's not our job to do it but we have to do it because we don't have skilled guys to do it. Or good guys. The good guys can go get more money somewhere else. That's out of classification. That's not good. Thank you for your letter of appreciation. That was really great during the winter storms because we had a really bad waiter with all the rain and stuff. People are working. You know about the condition of the roads. With the bridge being out. Here's an appreciation letter we got from one of the people out there. 'We live out on Springs Road and we want to let you know how much we appreciate the hard work your people did in getting the Bailey bridge installed and open so soon. All on overtime. Working through the cold rain under pressure was noticed. Raley's and In-'N-Out Burger here I come! Thanks to you all, Signed Joyce said Richard Harrington.' I don't know how many times people have come up to me and said they appreciate how much you do and how underpaid you are. We appreciate it so much. So I hear it from the public and I hear it from work. It's really hard. I rent a room. I live paycheck to paycheck. I have to budget. Last year I almost qualified for food stamps. I was like, Wow! I will take that opportunity because that would really help me out. Like the Harrington's said in their letter, those companies, Raley's and In-N-Out Burger, they could just leave town, they are the backbone of the county. So we have to help each other out. I know you guys are smart. I used to work in another county for the Air Force. We would sit around and punch out the numbers and I know it's a lot of work, guys, but we can give and take and we can make it happen. So thank you so much.
$70-A-BOTTLE WINE MOGUL BUYS A PIECE OF MASONITE
“Rhys Estate Vineyards Expanding Vineyard Operations In Mendocino County”
The Friends of Liberty, LLC recently announced the sale of a portion of the former Masonite property to the highly acclaimed Rhys Vineyards. Friends of Liberty, LLC’s Principal Officer, Ross Liberty, has expanded his Factory Pipe business over the years, acquiring a portion of the available Masonite acreage that had existing buildings on it in 2012, which now houses Factory Pipe’s main operation. Rhys Vineyards has purchased a portion of this acreage in Mendocino County as an addition to their diverse Estate portfolio. Mr. Liberty commented on the recent sale, stating “I'm excited to have Rhys Vineyards as a new neighbor and for them to be a part of our community. The reputation of their wines will further raise the image and awareness of Mendocino County as a premier wine growing region, moreover, Rhys Vineyards will provide good living wage jobs with good benefits”.
For over the last 15 years, Rhys Vineyards has developed seven estate vineyards, six in the Santa Cruz Mountains and one in Anderson Valley, each of which is capable of producing uniquely compelling, distinctive, soil driven wine. Their vineyards have been carefully selected to highlight the unique conditions found in these geologically diverse mountains. Each of their existing seven sites are located on a unique and completely different geology. Rhys Vineyard wines are described as “stunning and all distinctive”, as well as “balanced and harmonious”.
“As Rhys expands, we need more space and having a winemaking facility in Ukiah makes a lot of sense, since most of our current development is focused on Northern Mendocino County, Anderson Valley and Sonoma. We’re looking forward to playing a significant role in the economic revival of Ukiah and the surrounding areas“, said Javier Tapia CFO, Rhys Vineyards. Mr. Tapia adds, “For me, it’s a personal homecoming of sorts; as a young vigneron, Mendocino County is where I began my career in the United States in the late 90's".
Rhys Vineyards operates on the philosophy that real wine quality is produced in the vineyard not the winery. Driven by that belief, each of their seven vineyards is managed with a "spare no expense" viticultural approach that is based on organic and biodynamic farming methods. Their goal is to naturally balance their vines while cultivating a vibrant and biologically diverse ecosystem in and around each vineyard.
I WONDER if it ever occurs to the young whippersnappers who comprise most of Mendocino County media these days to apply their critical faculties to press releases, especially the dependably self-congratulatory press releases issued by local government. A young person with sound instincts should turn up the laff track every time any person in elected office issues a public statement.
READING AND LISTENING to this morning's torrent of unchallenged bullshit from a variety of public agencies, all of it accepted as plausible, I heard and read how Assemblyman Wood's commitment to his constituents had persuaded the governor to allocate $1.5 million to clean up after the criminals growing pot on public land. The money will be divided among Humboldt, Mendo and Trinity counties. There was no mention and, of course, no one asked, if the money was sufficient to the task and who would be doing the clean-up. Upshot? Wood is a veritable dynamo of a public servant and Jerry Brown is, well, he's been getting over now for sixty years talking left, acting right.
THE MOST IRRITATING local renditions of press releases, to me anyway, have to do with homeless services, the latest being showers for Ukiah's ever larger population of free range drunks and drug addicts, people who used to be confined to mental institutions where at least some of them regained themselves. Implicit these days in the homeless conversation is the inalienable right of deranged people to live on the street.
THE ONLY PLACE where this assumption prevails is among the people paid to "serve" the homeless. Everyone else is fully aware that nothing is being done to arrest the growth of homelessness, and even more aware that the true situation is that public subsidies are underwriting pathological behavior. To me, it's a toss-up of who's more pathological, the helping professionals who put out a steady drip-drip of self-serving blah-blah about what a swell job they're doing or the lazy young dummies who pass it along as "news."
LAST WEEK, we heard how the usual Ukiah-based non-profits were organizing a shower installation for the unbathed. The assumption was that the unwashed desired an occasional hygienic tune-up, a clear case of some helping pro saying to herself, "Gawd, I'm trying to give this bum a free lunch but his b.o. is blowing me outtahere!"
SO, according to local media a few days ago, the helping pros not only had a location for free showers all lined up, they were engaged in earnest discussions of protocols — coed bathing or single-sex? Washing machines for engrimed clothing while they showered? Towels provided? And so on. But today we learn that one of Ukiah's innumerable water agencies wanted more money than is available to hook up service. No showers at that location and so it's back to the day-long donut meetings to come up with alternatives, the most likely one being no showers for the homeless.
A FEW MONTHS AGO, the helping professionals were talking about a "tiny houses" project that would shelter the homeless. There were the usual earnest discussions of how the tiny houses, all located in one spot perhaps on deep South State Street in the neighborhood of the Animal Shelter, would be managed. The homeless person would, of course, have to be managed, and he couldn't be loaded coming and going from his teensy abode, and on and on. The upshot? Tiny houses are permanently on hold.
UKIAH pays for more government per citizen than, I daresay, any town its size in the United States. Why isn't the prodigiously compensated city manager and his enabling city council (the least capable elected officials in Mendocino County) trying to come up with something resembling a homeless strategy?
I'D SAY because, in the current social-political context, there isn't a solution. State and federal government aren't even talking about what to do about the growing number of homeless people, many of them permanently crippled by combinations of mental illness and substance abuse. We're on our own, so now what?
FIRST, ignore the non-profit grant gobblers and public money-dependent doers of 9-5 good. They are an obstacle to effective management of dependent persons. The Supervisors and the elected councils of Fort Bragg, Ukiah and Willits should direct their lushly compensated management teams to look at the problem of the homeless from this simple perspective: We've got to get people unable or unwilling to help themselves off the streets. How best to do that without going more bankrupt than we already are?
WELL, how about you, Mr. Negative? What would you do? I'd support Sheriff Allman's psych ward and establish a mandatory modular neighborhood next door to the jail for transients of the habitually impaired type.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 16, 2017
Anderson, Cooper, Dubose
AUSTIN ANDERSON, Kelseyville/Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
TREVOR COOPER, Redwood Valley. Suspended license.
NATHAN DUBOSE, Ukiah. DUI.
Favila, Ford, Gensaw
DANIELA FAVILA, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.
MAURICE FORD, Lakeport/Ukiah. DUI.
RANDAL GENSAW, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
Hoge, King, Liebig
DENISE HOGE, Willits. DUI with priors, controlled substance, probation revocation.
ASHLEY KING, Clearlake/Ukiah. Burglary, grand theft.
ASAAD LIEBIG, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
Lockett, McGregor, Miles, Piggott
WILLIAM LOCKETT, Willits. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
ROY MCGREGOR, Fort Bragg. Disturbing the peace.
JAMES MILES, Ukiah. Second degree robbery.
ROBERT PIGGOTT, San Francisco/Ukiah. Fugitive from justice, controlled substance, driving without license.
CALL FOR ARTISTS — DEADLINE MAY 22!
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is currently accepting applications for the 25th Art in the Gardens which will be held on Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 11AM to 5PM. We invite artists who work in a wide variety of mediums to submit an application to exhibit their original work on the Mendocino Coast. The spectacular summer floral displays of our gardens provide a unique and natural setting to display and sell art. This celebration of creative expression, gorgeous gardens, music, beer, wine, and food. Entry to this well-attended fine art event is easy and affordable! Selected artists will have the rare opportunity to display their finest work at this breathtaking 47 acres by the sea, recently voted fifth best botanical garden in the nation by USA Today. While there is a non-refundable jury fee of $20, there is no booth fee. The event functions on a cashiering system freeing artists from having to handle cash and compute tax. A 30% commission will be taken from all artists' sales. The commission and all proceeds from this spectacular event will directly benefit the non-profit Botanical Gardens. Gardens staff and volunteers will be available to assist selected artists in display set-up and take-down as well as provide relief for artists in need of a break. Additionally, our non-profit support organization, Friends of the Gardens, provides an ample complimentary breakfast for all participating artists the morning of the event. Applications will be accepted now through MAY 22, 2017. You can apply online at www.gardenbythesea.org/AIG2017. Please call 707-964-4352 ext 19 or email email@example.com with any questions.
J. EDGAR HOOVER: THE MAN WHO NEVER DIES
by Clancy Sigal
“Just the minute the FBI begins making recommendations on what should be done with its information, it becomes a Gestapo.”
— J. Edgar Hoover, FBI chief, who constantly fed confidential files to his political friends
Before we rush to embrace the FBI’s “proud tradition of impartiality and neutrality” just because Trump screwed the pooch in firing its fumbling director Comey, just hold on a second.
A chunk of my life was spent hiding from, or being chased by, FBI agents who, in conversation, I found uniformly tightassed Organization Men and facelessly conservative. OK, this was in the bad old days of the gay-bashing, commie hunting, Mafia denying, blackmailing J. Edgar Hoover who no president from FDR to Nixon had the guts to fire because The Chief had the goods on them. (FDR’s mistress Lucy Mercer, Truman’s political ‘father’ Kansas City crooked boss Pendergast, Eisenhower’s girlfriend Kay Summersby, and let’s not even think Jack Kennedy.)
As a secret and (normally, until the past few days) secretive police the FBI was born in the 1920s to protect us from immigrants and radicals. Under its weird boss J. Edgar Hoover it never wavered from its reason for existence, the Red Hunt, reds to be defined loosely. It was, and still is, racist to the core.
If you saw “Mississippi Burning” with Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe as heroic G Men chasing the white killers of black civil rights workers, it’s a lie. I was in the south in the 1960s when Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, to help his brother Jack’s re-election prospects, flooded Georgia (where I was) with white southern born FBI agents who did absolutely nothing except stand by passively while local white cops and their KKK allies brutalized African American kids and their parents.
As Kurt Vonnegut was fond of saying, And so it goes.
J. Edgar never died, his paranoid ghost stalks us. The agency is a rigid top down yessir nosir bureaucracy with a historical and irresistible tendency to break and bend laws. (It messed up the 9/11 investigation by not listening to its own whistleblowers. It loves entrapping dumb-as-dogshit, mentally retarded “terrorists”.) By many accounts, the agency was virulently anti Hillary and today is “Trumplandia” with agents openly admitting who they voted for.
Within living memory the agency engineered COINTELPRO, to illegally disrupt antiwar, civil rights and left groups; and colluded with presidents Kennedy and Nixon to smear Martin Luther King into (they hoped) suicide.
Shed no tears for Comey. Think what life is like for the occasional honest, trustworthy, Constitution-loving agent – they’re out there – under Comey, Trump and coming to work every morning in a building named for J. Edgar Hoover.
There are some really good books about the FBI by Curt Gentry (The Man and the Secrets), Tim Weiner (Enemies: a History of the FBI) and Seth Rosenfeld (Subversives: the FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Nixon’s Rise to Power) about the agency’s war on students.
(Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
You are going to love this. Outside a sporting goods/outdoor equipment mega store, a parking space somewhat closer to the entrance, with a sign, Reserved for Expecting Mothers. Not sure what an expecting mother is, but I’m thinking any woman so heavily pregnant she has difficulty walking from the parking lot, isn’t going to find it crucial to stop by a place selling cheap fishing lures and kayaks. About time a vet got put on the Supervisor's board. And she's a double vet, too, what with her years in the Air Force. Next time my lumbago acts up I know who I'm going to see!
CLIMBING THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE: Teen daredevils release video of night climb on the Golden Gate Bridge tower
by Kelly McLaughlin
Two daredevils dangled from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge in shocking footage of the trespassing teenagers attempted to climb the 746ft-high structure with no safety equipment.
YouTube daredevil Peter Teatime and his exploring pal, Tommy Rector, shared jaw-dropping footage of themselves doing tricks as they climbed the iconic Californian bridge.
Scouring the thick, red cables, Teatime and Rector sprinted up the bridge's frame, even stopping to do backflips and somersaults on the narrow 'walkways'.
As if standing at the height of 746ft wasn't enough of a thrill, the daring duo decided to dangle their entire bodies over the edge of one of the bridge's towers, with only their fingertips stopping them from making the long fall to the ground below.
Teatime, an 18-year-old from Allenton Wisconsin, said: 'It was a tough climb and incredibly tiring, those cables get very steep.'
Despite climbing the bridge - and trespassing near it - being completely illegal, Teatime still called his climb a 'must-do'.
'But for any explorer the Golden Gate Bridge is an absolute must-do, as it's the tallest bridge in the US and such an iconic structure,' he said.
Teatime said that he and Rector climbed the structure in about ten minutes, after slipping under security fences unnoticed.
He said of the climb: 'We didn't do any preparation for the climb, nor have any safety equipment, we just had to focus our minds on the cables, while trying to dodge security cameras.
'I've had lots of experience in climbing at great heights, such as cranes and skyscrapers, so I wasn't nervous at all.
'Even with hanging off the edge my mind was completely clear and free of worry, we waited for a break in the traffic so if an accident were to occur, we wouldn't hurt anyone else.
'I've got plenty more daring climbs planned from around the world, so be sure to subscribe to my YouTube page: PeterTeatime, to see what happens next.'
(Daily Mail On Line)