Mendocino County Today: Monday, Sep. 11, 2017
by AVA News Service, September 11, 2017
MINI-HEAT WAVE SUBSIDES. 103°F in Boonville on Sunday. But temps will return to something like normal for the rest of the week. 25% chance of rain on Tuesday. Windy mid-week.
MENDOCINO HEAT WAVE
by Zack Anderson
Next, the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was given power to scorch the people with fire. And the people were scorched by intense heat, and they cursed the name of God, who had authority over these plagues; yet they did not repent and give Him glory.
— Revelations 16:8-9
Sometimes I stare into space
Tears all over my face
I can't explain it, don't understand it
I ain’t never felt like this before…
– “Heatwave,” Martha and the Vandellas
When I think of Mendocino I think of twisting up the serpentine highway from Navarro-By-The-Sea towards Navarro Ridge Road, and careless souls tumbling over the perilous cliffs. I think of when Olie lived on the ridge, and how he returned from Alaska one summer to find his prized mare had kicked the kind lady caretaking his horses, breaking her jaw and arm.
When I think of Mendocino I think of Dennis Lanz, Jerry Philbrick and jagged chalked lines on clumpy football fields. (And who remembers 49er linebacker Dan Bunz wearing a Philbrick Logging cap in the jubilant locker room after beating the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI?)
When I think of Mendocino I think of elegant troubadour-poet Bill Bradd, who guest lectured in Ms. Pickens’ English class. The last time I saw Bill he had several three-ring binders full of abstract numbers and theorems: his own system of handicapping football games; what is poetry anyway but a supreme gamble? Bill, if you’re on the fifty-yard-line somewhere, I hope you’re doubling down.
When I think of Mendocino I think of the old blowhole south of Albion Nation, and how silver plumes of untamed Pacific rumbled and bucked through the craggy bluff, a cosmic warning that future debts to Nature can never go unpaid.
When I think of Mendocino I think of fiery Coach Jim Mastin, the Cardinals’ long-time coach, and a friend of my dad and Uncle Ken’s. Jim’s son Davey played basketball against us, and I think of his Mendo teammates Mike Pollard, Zach Chouteau, Bruce Robinson, Adam Beak and Rob Sears. I think of the bandbox gym and the sound of buses idling in the parking lot and stepping through the doors into the yellow light and the smell of the dusty rafters and the cramped locker rooms a flight down and the door leading out to the football field below and how it all seemed more important than anything, I mean, just listen to the cheerleaders.
When I think of Mendocino I think of Main Street, Dick’s Place, Patterson’s (now with two Candlestick seats) and the Seagull and Mendosa’s Market. I think of the Mendocino Hotel where my dad had a coffee with Herb Feinstein while outside a barefoot harmonica player slept on a pile of gunnysacks. I think of stopping for RC Colas with my Uncle Ken at Little River Store after walking Glass Beach and the fishing boats in Noyo Harbor and the wooden water towers bleached by the salt air of time. I think of abalone divers peeling off their wetsuits in the Van Damme parking lot and log trucks steaming around the bend to Georgia-Pacific in Fort Bragg or Masonite in Ukiah or the mill in old Philo.
When I think of Mendocino I think of Captain Fathom and the Marvelous Miss Mellon and a guy named Banjo Bob who liked to take his shoes off wherever he sat down. I think of teepees and incense and firewood and Chevy trucks with Charley Pride and the Sir Douglas Quintet on the eight-track.
When I think of Mendocino I think of riding in Uncle Jerry’s old yellow VW bug with Gene and Gary Waggoner to softball tournaments in the gray and shivering in the bleachers, hoping for the ten-run rule.
When I think of Mendocino I think of Victorian-roofed B&Bs, small rocky islands freckling the gray water, and the Heritage House where they filmed a movie with the guy from M.A.S.H, and the next right turn was Frog Pond Road where Jeff Miller’s parents lived. I think of Coach Jim Miller and his big brown Bronco and the suspension bridges and vista look outs looking out but never in. I think of the Ledford House where Mrs. Mastin was the owner/chef and how to this Boonville kid it might as well been Maxim’s in Paris or even the Sun King’s Versailles.
When I think of Mendocino I think of trying to hold onto fragments of a long-ago life, and Eric June and Jerry Tolman and Ronnie Penrose and Jeff Burroughs, of Brian Roberts and Richie Wellington and Aron Evans and G.P. Price grabbing rebounds like they were the last ice cream cones on earth. I think of counting mile markers up and back, the trees and the rocks and the ribbon of river emptying into the Pacific and here we are again, angling up to the dream-vision of the little white town on the cliffs, and the wooden houses and the promise of some ephemeral eternal fleeting glory we knew for sure was hiding in the whistles and thumps of balls and helmets and bats and the squeak of shoes cutting off the baseline while the smell of stale popcorn mixed with sweat and damp Pendletons and muddy boots and the thin perfume of bubble gum lip gloss which was all the rage until it wasn’t.
When I think of Mendocino I think of fog and cypress trees half-hidden by mist and a cold wind that blows hard and not so hard but never stopping until Comptche. When I think of Mendocino I think of many things, but never hot, baking, or suffocating.
While growing up I’d never, not once, been on the coast when it was warm. Want to know why a land war in Russia isn’t a good idea? Try playing centerfield in Point Arena on an April Tuesday. True, it would be nice up playing little league games at the old Air Force radar station on the ridge above Gualala, but that’s several miles inland and out of the fog bank. There were rumors of 70-degree days in Manchester, of temperate afternoons on Little Lake Road, but people claim to see bigfoot on Greenwood Ridge too.
But now I’m thinking that everything I thought I knew was wrong; it wouldn’t be the first time. “Heatwave” comes on the radio and I roll down the windows and am blasted by 95-degrees of Texas fastball weather, the kind of high hard one that makes you duck and mutter. Maybe Martha and the Vandellas were singing about a Motown lothario combing his hair in the carnival lights. Or maybe, like me, Martha was stuck on the wrong side of Elk, crawling north on Highway One behind two Winnebagos and a jacked-up ice cream truck with gun racks where the waffle cones should be.
As the needle hovers around thirteen MPH, the RVs ignore one shoulder oasis, then another. Mongol camels laden with silk and golden skulls moved faster through blinding Gobi desert sandstorms. Tapping the gas into the next stunted straight stretch, I calculate the odds of a successful pass, double yellow lines be damned. But a blind turn lurks at the end of the illusion, and as desperate for freedom and sanity as I am, I can’t let naïve optimism destroy what’s left of my dwindling supply of reason. In an act of frustrated defiance, I roll down the windows and crank the AC: heat, cold, heat, cold. It’s a trick Olie taught me when we worked at Hendy Woods years ago, and had access to the ranger vehicles. Immature? Check. Pointless and wasteful? Check, check. Schizophrenic? Well, now that you mention it, doctor…
When I get to Big River to walk the trail the sun has opened up with both barrels. It’s hot in the parking lot and hotter the farther upriver I go. It’s hot at the quarry. It’s hot in the shade of the oak and redwoods. It’s hot every step of the way and hotter every step back. It’s hot when I try to regroup by parking outside of the Ford House in Mendocino and hot when I sit on a bench near the bookstore and little art shops and tourists clutching cameras.
At eight p.m. I’m still sitting on the bench and it’s 77 degrees. It’s magic. It’s Mendocino. And somewhere Coach Mastin is yelling, “Get off yer candy Boonville ass, Anderson. It’s a trial by fire and no one walks out the same as they walked in.” The very thought makes me hotfoot it back to the car and roll down the windows and crank the AC.
NOTES IN A BOTTLE
My name is Bradley Dale Maxfield, aka. $teezi D. I'm currently serving time at the Mendocino County Jail. I am writing to inform the people of our community on the treatment and living conditions we are currently faced with.
First, while I was housed in the isolation housing unit, better known as the five-man SHU, the cells we were placed in were caked in human shit. The crevices within the ISO windows were stuffed with shit and no matter how much we tried to clean them with rags given to us by the correctional officers it was impossible to fully clean them. One man spent two and a half days cleaning his cell that was nearly covered completely with shit. Although he cleaned as best he could with the rags, he had no help in doing so.
Another issue is the way they treat and house people suffering from mental illnesses. I've personally seen them harass and beat up a man in iso who with no doubt in my or the mental health doctor's minds has a severe mental disability. They are wrong for doing so and should grow the bleep up. We are still human. Even though we have made decisions that have landed us in jail here, that does not make it okay for correctional officers to mistreat us. Also they are legally housing four people to a cell. This causes chaos within the cell due to the small amount space we have to move around in trying not to bump or get into one another's personal space. From the Wood Bros, skin brothers, bros, and the pizza bros, I would like to speak for us all by saying we all deserve a lot more respect as humans than we are currently getting, as well as human rights which they are neglecting. Title 15 section 1240 states that we are to be given three hours of yard time (meaning outside) per week. God only knows when that has ever happened. It sure hasn't ever happened since I've been locked up. My cellmate Troy Wood has been coming here for some time and informed me that in the maximum and medium housing units they've never received the amount of yard time per week we are by law supposed to be given. We fully agree.
Boats also make the jail feel like each room is packed to overcapacity. Title 24 section 1231.3.5 states that no beds not attached to the walls (boats) are allowed except for in minimum security units due to safety reasons. I am currently in orange and white stripes and considered a maximum one classification housed on the boat in the new B-mod maximum-security unit house in Cell 20 with Fred, Julio and Troy. I'm 100% putting my inhumane experience provided by this jail in my music to protest and inform the people on their cruel treatments and constant discrimination, etc.
I hope this letter will be published to let the real ones out there know about some of but not all of the screwed up ways we are being treated. To my family reading this, I love you and cannot wait to be home. To my homies who are locked down, the ones doing life and the ones going through it tough in the streets, I send my love. To my brother Justin aka J.C., I send my prayers and love and ask God to keep you safe and out of this at a place. To all the people in Mendocino and the whole 707 area, Like my Jamaican brother Oliver says: One Love, man.
The road dog,
Bradley Dale Maxfield
* * *
This is a continuation of a letter I wrote a couple of weeks ago.
After a few short miles we got to my truck, Sally. Sally the suburban drinks the 5 gallons of gas that my pops brought with him. He wanted me to go home and lick my wounds but as I told you I'm stubborn. He got in my ’burb and left his truck where mine was. I lost a day somewhere. It's Saturday night by the time we made it back to Reggae on the River. I drove right in to storm the bridge to get in. The punk security guys blocked the bridge and surrounded me. They say I'm kicked off the property and can't get my stuff to make a civil lawsuit. I'm trying to talk to my night hog people but since I was talking shit to their fearless leader, some lame with a paint job we will call “Timbo,” they didn't want to lose their jobs with the Mateel. I get it.
After telling the CHP and overnight security how I really felt I turned around and went across the street to the gas station. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. I got the CHP officer’s badge number who made me out to be a fool the day previous. Get this, my birthday, in the same right order is his badge number. I did what any person who is high on mescaline and thinks he is Rainman would do: I bought Powerball tickets. I got tickets and my dad bought me a 24 ounce bottle of Sierra Nevada. He was driving my truck home.
The hell with this. I'm going home, or so I thought. My pops and I are contemplating on getting tacos from the roachcoach next to the gas station when out of nowhere “Timbo” comes running at me. He threw his walkie-talkie at me. Maybe he was mad because his old ludie looks like Skelator from He-man. The walkie-talkie broke on the ground. We started to jump them. Next thing I know I'm surrounded by the same people from two days before. I called my brothers. But no help at the moment. They hit me with mag lights, punched and kicked me on the ground, handcuffed me and beat me senseless. The CHP and Humboldt sheriffs let these lames jump the hell out of me. I talked shit a lot but I also back it up. I was bleeding from my head to my shoulder. I sat up in handcuffs and proceeded to talk shit to Timbo and his punk lames who were baptized in sucka sauce for at least an hour while being recorded. I said some pretty heinous and horrible things.
I was shoved into the back of the cop car after the ambulance took an hour to come from Garberville. The EMT’s name was Tonya and she was smoking hot. Anyway, they say I'm going to jail for assault and battery on some security lame I don't even know. My head was bleeding, my nose was broken. My lip was re-split and I had bruising all over me and I was arrested. Oh, yes.
So since we were two miles past the Mendocino County line I got a ride to the Humboldt Hilton in Eureka which by the way feeds convicts way better than here in Mendocino. I was denied medical attention at the hospital in Eureka. Why? I don't know. Then I was transported to the jail where I saw the mother of my son the first time in a year.
She was whacked out of her mind, so sucked up she look like a Safeway chicken. She saw me and wigged out, so they put her in a cell across the way. I tried to bail out but the lady at Alladin bail bonds refused because I'm a big guy. So I was housed in 529. I saw some brothers I was in San Quentin with and chilled for a few days.
If you don't go to court on your third business day you get released with another court date. So now I was free. I got my phone that was shut off, a half a pack of smokes and $30. I put $10 on the brothers’ books when I left.
I called my pops to come get me and he told me about four hours he’d be there. So I bought more smokes and some shades, a couple of ice-teas, then I went to the boardwalk by the ocean. I saw a local on Humbee on a bench and I asked him if he had some herb. He did, of course. He had a glass blower and busted out his torch and blew me a chilling right there on the street. We walked around and chilled and buzzed and ate some tacos until my pops showed up well past sundown when we talked and laughed and smoked some more joints. Finally we made it to my house. I watched Netflix for about two hours then I passed out on my couch. I left in the morning. I took my recycling in to get some gas money.
Upon leaving I got pulled over because I have a warrant for criminal threats and vandalism. I was at Reggae on the River when those crimes were alleged. They left my truck, rolled up the windows, and took it up on my way to the Mendocino craptank that they call a jail.
I got $51. Sweet. I'll get some zoozoos and and then I'll be fine. I've been coming to jail for 11 years. That's nothing to brag about, but I have become pretty smart in jailhouse lawyering. I called my people as we all do. Nobody can help but they all cared. Yeah, right. I've got thousands of friends but no one visits. People owe you money but not on your books. I see it time and time again. I tried to bail out for ten hours then I found a phone number I had forgotten that I had in the catacombs of my brain. I called my buddy “Stayle Phresh.” I told him I should have called him ten hours earlier. I asked him if he could go to Alladin and bail me out. My Pops would be my cosignner, I just need $140. He said he’d be there in ten minutes, a true homie. Sweet. I’m out. I get my truck, pick up a girl I’ve been seeing and drive home.
I woke up and grabbed some smoke and took her back home. My power steering was out because my line got cut on the flywheel. So I went to O’Reilly’s. I got a hose but I had no money left for fluid. So I headed to Walmart to see my buddy we will call “John.” I aksed him if he wantd to go to Santa Rosa. He said, Yeah. We went on Orchard and I saw my other homie. I pulled over and picked him up at Chipotle. He asked where I was going. I said Walmart. He agreed to come along. I drove through Lucky’s parking lot then hit Orchard and headed to Walmart. I parked and went inside to get power steering fluid for my truck.
But that didn’t work out well. Next thing I knew we were stranded on the side of 101 going south. I put on my shoes. I changed out of flip flops. While gathering my small duffle bag with my essential nitrous with my bubbler and some geenery, a CHP SUV flipped around. Oh great, I’m thinking.
The officer told me to get in my truck and put it in neutral and he’d push me to the turnout about 500 feet up the road. After parking my truck I asked him for gas. He told me they do not carry gas any more. He left me and my new amigos on the side of 101. We started hitchhiking. Five seconds later we got picked up and dropped off at Jack in the Box in Willits. My homie ordered some food for us. I got a strawberry shake and I asked the manager to call an ambulance. We ate. But it’s very hard for me to eat considering my hole through my lip. They came and got me and my friend and I parted ways. Thank you hippie hitchhiker.
Upon my arrival I was swiftly seen by medical staff. They stabbed my lip with a big needle and I promptly passed out. I came to outside with a cigarette and the Willits cops threatening to taze me if I did not leave the premises. I told them I had no idea how I made it outside, much less with a lit cigarette before I woke up. They called for backup while I was stumbling to the road maybe because I kept calling the cop “Karate Kid.”
Then Mendocino’s finest showed up. Great, again. It’s ok though because to anyone who’s done time in Motel Mendo I knew these two former correctional officers, Big Logan and Robertson. They hopped out of their cop cars. I started laughing. Logan said, “What’s up, Dogg? How you been?” I said, Good, I guess. Karate Kid there is trying to taze me. But I just wanted to know where Highway 101 was. He gave me directions. I laughed and bid by adieus.
I went to Brown’s market. I hit some nitrous while I walked. Finally I made it to Brown’s after a short but colorful walk. I sat on the bench out front, tired, hurt and with the worst case of cottonmouth. I looked in my bag for some money. Oh wait. Guess what? My wallet was stolen, I remembered. I asked this gentleman going into the store if he could spare a dollar for an ice tea. A couple minutes later he came out and gave me one. Before I opened it the dill weed behind the counter came outside and said he’s calling the cops for my panhandling.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m very hot-headed. So then after a few choice words and some hand gestures I waited on the curb hitting the nitrous, smoking from my bubbler until the Karate Kid, Big Logan and Robertson showed up. My dad was on his way from Ukiah with gas for my truck. I had called him at the hospital, I guess. The cops showed up. It’s kinda like a party now. The former correctional officers know that I am an f-’d up person. But they were still respectful. So am I until or unless pushed. Then Boom!
My pops showed up. Perfect timing. I got in his truck and drove to my truck to put gas into it and I convinced him to go back to Piercy and try to get my stuff back. My lip was fixed and I was ready to ride on some fools.
But I drove back to Ukiah first. When I got there I was rolling a joint when a cop pulled up. He asked me to step out. I did so. I have a big problem with Ukiah Police and cops in general. Probably because I just got off 30 months of felony probation on August 1st. Anyway the cop told me I was being detained until another officer talked to me. Officer Douchebag, I mean Officer Donahue then talked to me for about two minutes and placed me under arrest for criminal threats and dissuading a witness. I freaked out and called him some choice words because he said he was towing my truck.
I went to jail again. I just had bailed out the night before. I tried to bail again. Nope. They doubled my bail and Aladdin doesn't want to do it. So now I'm in B-Mod locked down being denied mental health medications and medical attention. I had to go to the emergency room after five days of being here. I put in medical slips to see a doctor. I felt as if I had the worst cold or flu ever. My body ached. I was cold and in cold sweats and I was ignored for three days. Finally correctional Officer Williams pulled me out to see the nurse. She took my temperature and it was 103.7! I almost died in this craptank.
She got on the phone. 20 minutes later I was in the emergency room. The two nurses I had were bad asses. One of them hooked me up to an IV and took some blood. My fever was still high. I was sweating like someone who is lactose intolerant eating ice cream. I asked for a soda and something to eat and he hooked me up. I stayed for a good five hours. They told me the problem. I had some wierd blood infection probably from how dirty this jail is and the fact that I have multiple wounds still to this day open and untreated.
Now to contradict what Lieutenant Bednar said in last week's AVA. I have been denied mental-health, medical care and shoes for the past 22 days. My headaches are unbearable and my night terrors are very vivid and real. All the staff here knows about the neglect. And I have people like the mental health doctor and sergeants who I will sue in civil court which I am currently doing. Overcrowding, inadequate mental and medical treatment is a daily occurrence here in the Mendocino County Jail. Think about it: if they spent the dollars they stole from marijuana crops that they raided on a new jail or even if they let someone privatize the jail, B-mod would not be filled with boats and C-Mod would not have four people to a cell that is only supposed to house two people. It is not only inhumane but unconstitutional and is considered by many as cruel and unusual punishment. Our first, eighth, and 14th amendment constitutional rights have been and currently are being violated. The lieutenant or Captain or Sheriff Thomas Allman himself can say what they want to say about this place but they are denying our basic needs for hygiene and sanitation which are not being addressed. Treatment by certain correctional officers is not professional or humane.
I'm just one voice, but I challenge the current population to write their experiences to the AVA. Soon you will have 300 or more stories that contradict what that mental health dude in the fishing vest says or what Lt. Bednar or Captain Pearce or Sheriff Tom Allman say. The medical and mental health treatment is not only inadequate, but it intereferes with the prescribed treatment from our outside doctors. They try to say we don’t get three hots because of budget cuts when really they buy tazers with such a high voltage it kills people. Not only that but I am filing a civil suit tort law against Humboldt County, the CHP and Mendocino Couty jail, also the Ukiah Police Department. Even if they go nowhere, I’m not letting them crap on us and doing nothing about it.
If anyone can help us get lawyers from the ACLU to help this journey it would be much appreciated. Like I said, I need family love sent and they want me to do 21 years for vandalism and criminal threats that I did not do. I’m so mad that they are not helping us, but kicking us while we are down. They treat us like we are guilty. The cops lie on the police report then on the stand they say, “I don’t recall,” or “I don’t know,” just like classification says here when you put in a request slip to be moved or reclassified they say your housing is “appropirate” or “sometime in the future.” Those are not proper answers.
My name is Anthony “Tone Dogg” Gonzales. Thank you for your time. Give us Justice or let us go free.
FROM TOMMY WAYNE KRAMER'S Sunday column in the UDJ, he being one of very few must-read writers in this area. But, but, but he's soooooo negative, the tighty whiteys whine as, in the next breath, they point to this or that over-compensated non-profit chief-tess as an example of pure selflessness. Not to be unreasonably negative myself, I'd say when the reality is negative negativity is the only rational response. A good writer gets me interested in stuff I otherwise have no interest in, in this case popular music. I tuned out at Sinatra, and even him I caught only when I happened to be in some place where he was on the box. TWK sent me racing through his whole column, a prose excitement rare in Mendocino County outside the white hot pages of Boonville's beloved weekly, that is.
I'D JUST ARRIVED back from three years in Borneo with my bride and two-year-old son. We rented an apartment at 199 Frederick, corner of Ashbury. The apartment manager was a Chinese guy who called himself Tommy Tung. He tried very hard to be cool but not speaking English put cool permanently beyond his grasp. It was so weird out on the street my poor wife wouldn't even leave the apartment unless I went with her. I was a little weirded out myself. When I'd departed in '63 there were a few beatniks screaming bad poetry at each other in North Beach, but the shaggy beasts they'd inspired only came on in force in '67, and we just happened to be at ground zero.
WHEN LING had adjusted to life in Liberty Land to where she'd venture more than a block or so from home base, we'd walk down to the Panhandle where famous, or about to be famous groups played for free. I think we saw Janis Joplin and the Jefferson Airplane, but later when thousands of people were paying their way in to watch them I was happy attendance wasn't mandatory. The faux innocence of Flower Child-ism and accompanying debauchery seemed clearly headed for the social-psychic rocks. I enjoyed the anarchy of it all but I was seriously political, or thought I was, righteously swelling the mob at many a direct action. I dropped some acid, very much enjoyed the mescaline that was around too briefly, dropped white cross speed pills to write reams of bad prose. I was maybe 25% hippie but early on had reconciled myself to life as an extremely uptight, orderly, punctual, straight white man.
WHEN I MET a fleet-footed centerfielder playing fast-pitch softball in Cloverdale named Tom Hine when I landed in Boonville circa 1970, we immediately hit it off. We must have seemed a strange pair, him looking like a young Pa Kettle, me like the assistant credit manager at Ukiah Sears. We talked books a lot. I knew he was into music but I couldn't talk about music because I didn't know or care anything about it. Deliberately sitting in a room listening to the Rolling Stones to me would be some terrible new torture.
SO, IN THE SUNDAY JOURNAL, my old friend describes the music fever that had America's youth so infatuated in the 1960s. He writes so well about it I'm almost sorry I missed MC-5:
"…My kids, no doubt curious as to how their ol’ pappy squandered his youth, asked me to name the best group or act I’d seen. I wound up explaining it something like this:
Suppose The Beatles were playing tomorrow night at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse and you had free tickets and the band was in its absolute prime and would give the best show of its career.
The same night, at The Forest Club, a band also at its peak called the Rolling Stones would open with its first set at 8 p.m. and play until 1 a.m. You’ve got tickets for that one too.
At Alex Thomas Plaza an outdoor festival with Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd, all at the top of their game, will play a free starlight show.
Then we hear the MC5 will appear at Boomer’s Bar in Laytonville with a cover charge of $100. It’ll probably be among the band’s better performances.
It would be one of life’s easiest choices for me. I wouldn’t pause a second before announcing I was headed to Laytonville, don’t bother waiting up…"
JEEZ, when Larry Livermore's band played Laytonville a few years later an old drunk named Piano Jimmy or something like that assaulted Lar who, by the way, went on to become the producer of among other lucrative musical groups, Green Day, making so much money he could have bought all of Spy Rock.
LAYTONVILLE ITSELF made the New York Times today (Sunday) to the huge amusement of locals who marveled at "Dateline Laytonville" next to a headline on "the newspaper of record" as if Laytonville was as well known a dateline as "Dateline Paris" or "Dateline Boonville."
To the Editor:
Mendocino County pulls letter addressing cannabis raids.
I must say that Ms. Tressel’s reporting on my Breasts Not Busts Demonstration at the BOS meeting in the Ukiah Daily Journal last week was sadly mis-characterized. Why would I do a “Breasts Not Raids” action, when “Busts” is the obvious play on words and were the very words written (in blue sharpie) on “most” of my breasts?
My clever pun emphasizes my demand that the BOS hurry up and represent the interests and well-being of the small family farms in Mendocino County as opposed to these strangling regulations, confusing, expensive permitting processes and continued raids mid-compliance including eradication of plants just weeks before harvest.
During my allotted three minutes, I made it clear I was particularly distressed about Mr. McCowen’s cowardice in withdrawing his letter to Fish and Wildlife after their recent aggressive raids. I also recalled the retreat of the BOS on the 99 plant 9.31 program when [US Attorney] Melinda Haag went after landlords with threats of legal action against the BOS. Once again the chairman abandoned principle and deferred to law enforcement.
The board started the meeting at 9 a.m. They discussed the ordinance among themselves with their deputies for nearly an hour even with Mr. Gjerde absent and Mr. Hamburg calling in from his vacation via cell phone. Mr. McCowen then admonished the public prior to opening for public comment by saying, we should “hurry this along,” “not be repetitive,” “not repeat ourselves,” being quite redundant himself and eating up valuable minutes.
I opened my statement saying that I had addressed the board nearly two years ago on the wisdom of issuing Provisional Mendocino Medical Marijuana Licenses to the local family farmers (99 and under) allowing us to do our business under the umbrella of the county, which would include: cultivation, processing, dispensaries, transportation, distribution and sales. I still seek this immediate relief.
I then spoke emotionally about what it’s like to be busted by law enforcement because I find this issue sorely missing from the conversation about compliance and permitting. As is stated in Tressel’s article “Eyster in May stated there would be ‘aggressive enforcement’ of the new cannabis laws and fully supports law enforcement getting involved, especially for environmental violations, he has said.”
I asked how the board expects farmers who are voluntarily applying for permits, inspections and investing thousands of dollars, with no guarantee of safety from raids, should be expected to expose themselves any further? I may have exceeded my time limit by 90 seconds, yes, but once I Busted the Board I was leaving the room when Mr. McCowen threatened to shut down the process until September.
My voluminous response from the back of the chamber was in response to that threat. I said, “You are screwing the farmers and the economy and I will not be silent.” So, I guess that was another 20 seconds. I exercised my 1st Amendment Tuesday morning and it felt really good.
Perhaps Ms. Tressel could spend valuable journalistic time investigating the issues I raised instead of judging me and taking the wit and intelligence out of my courageous and meaningful demonstration.
One thing I would agree with in her report: I “caused a scene” and brought much-needed attention to a subject that’s gotten very little. We need an immediate moratorium on eradication without due process. Oh. and she forgot to mention my name.
Sherry Glaser, Ukiah
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “A lady sent me a video of a cat doing something smart. I'm not buyin' it. I've known Skrag for almost a year now and in all that time I've seen only one sign of intelligence in him — his ability to show up on time for meals.”
MENDO COPS CRACK DOWN on Illegal Grows To Protect Regulated Growers
by Peter Fimrite
WILLITS, Mendocino County — The caravan of law enforcement trucks bounced over a dusty old logging road through redwood groves, across the Noyo River and along tracks used by the beloved Skunk Train, before stopping next to a sign that read “Family Camp.”
There, in hillside clearings cut from the forest, was the target of a raid in August by a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office task force: 811 bright green marijuana plants.
Digging deeper, the deputies found an illegal assault rifle and two other guns, a makeshift hash oil lab and pumps stealing water from the river — common trappings within a black market for pot that is still thriving in Mendocino, Humboldt and other northern counties despite the industry going legal.
Now, law enforcement agencies have a new focus for crackdowns that have happened with varying intensity over the years. They’re trying to protect the regulated, taxed marijuana market as California prepares for legal sales of recreational pot starting as soon as January. For some officials, the sentiment is: The state should get what it voted for.
But as the recent ride-along with the sheriff’s office suggested, busting illegal cannabis is as difficult as ever. Bootleg ganja has been circulating around Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties — the famed Emerald Triangle — for decades, and backwoods growing is ingrained in the culture.
Legalization of weed under Proposition 64, which passed last November, has catapulted thousands of growers into the frenzied forefront of a new retail industry, but the black market endures. For example, about 8,000 outdoor growers produce weed in Humboldt County, but only a little more than 2,300 have filed applications under the county’s medical marijuana permit process.
“What we’re seeing up here is that the temptation, the incentives for compliance, are apparently not there for a lot of people,” said Josh Meisel, a sociology professor and co-director of the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research. “So what is it that is making people not want to be licensed? Is it the cost, the bureaucracy, is it because they just want to remain under the radar?”
At least for now, law enforcement officials in Mendocino County and other areas are using a triage strategy — concentrating on unpermitted grows that are harming the environment.
“All these trees were just whacked down and piled,” said sheriff’s Lt. Shannon Barney, pointing out several dozen fir trees dumped on the hillside as detectives behind him chopped down pot plants and fed them into a wood chipper.
Barney said the pot operation was spotted during a flyover, and probably would have been left alone if the property owners had applied for permits to grow cannabis. It was only when authorities looked closer that they discovered the guns, the hash oil lab and the illicit irrigation pipes.
“These plants take a lot of water and they are not native here, so they are diverting water away from the Noyo River,” Barney said. “It’s a cumulative effect with each grow. The more water that’s diverted, the river goes down and the water warms up, and that harms the fingerling steelhead, chinook and coho salmon.”
Barney said as many as 75 percent of residents in some remote areas are pot growers. And, he estimated, about 10 percent of the marijuana in the county is being grown legally. Experts say California’s black market provides 80 percent of the pot sold in states where it remains illegal.
Hezekiah Allen, the executive director of the California Growers Association, an advocacy group for more than 600 medical marijuana farmers, said the forbidden trade will remain as long as there is a lucrative out-of-state market for cannabis. Growers currently make between $500 and $1,300 a pound, depending on the quality, location and time of year the pot was harvested.
“I think it’s going to be practically impossible to get rid of it until something changes on the federal level,” Allen said. “California’s marketplace is finite. There are a lot of people who would choose to be in the legal market, but can’t get in, so some folks are going to be forced into the black market for lack of a better option.”
But Lori Ajax, chief of the state’s new Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, declared earlier this year that local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies must aggressively root out black-market pot for a legitimate industry to thrive. Mendocino County District Attorney Dave Eyster said he is trying to do just that.
“If you are cheating the system or not doing it right, you’ll probably come in contact with law enforcement and face possible prosecution,” Eyster said. But he added, “Does anyone really think that in January the switch will be turned on and all of our problems will suddenly go away?”
His department is relying on state and local ordinances that require growers to meet environmental standards to get a permit. So far this year, 74 sites in the county have been raided, yielding 18 arrests and 89,940 plants. A year ago at this time, 62 raids had netted 38 arrests and 152,128 plants.
Those numbers don’t include the crops hidden by cartels in state and national parks. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Marijuana Enforcement Team has seized more than 500,000 plants so far this year — an amount that, by the end of the year, may approach the haul in 2009, when more than a million plants were seized by the state’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting program, known as CAMP.
“It continues to be a large problem. The cartel groups haven’t been hindered at all,” said Lt. John Nores, who heads the Fish and Wildlife team. “It’s gone up because we’re out of the drought and we have so much water in the state.”
Beyond the cartels, thousands of hippies and entrepreneurs remain in the hills, fully or partly living off their crops.
“I know the state doesn’t have enough resources to keep track of everybody,” said Robert LeClair, a longtime black-market farmer in Mendocino County who is in the process of gaining proper permits and going legit. “I don’t know if the county has enough resources to do it, either.”
The hope is that taxes collected by the government can fund law enforcement efforts, which will, in turn, deter illegal operations and generate additional taxes. Wholesale prices for pot are also expected to drop with the mainstreaming of the industry, providing less incentive for bad actors.
LeClair, though, said people are always going to find a way around regulations, especially if they can profit from it. Prop. 64 gives priority licensing to existing growers, but taxes, quality-control systems and environmental regulations are expected to cost thousands a year.
Even for those who wish to make good, there is confusion over what is permitted under various rules that are being formulated by state, county and city governments.
“Proposition 64 was supposed to make things more black and white,” said Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman, “but I think it has made way more gray areas.”
No arrests were made during last month’s raid, which targeted adjoining properties and nabbed about 417 pounds of marijuana. But detectives questioned two people: a woman who said she was paid $20 an hour to take care of 786 plants, and a man named Chris who said he believed his own 25-plant patch was legal.
While Mendocino County exempts people growing 25 plants or less from going through the registration process, Barney said the river diversions were illegal.
Chris, a bare-chested man in dirty blue harem pants, said he had been allowed to live on the upper property for 10 years in exchange for tending to the small marijuana garden for the 83-year-old landowner.
“We’re not bad people trying to disturb the earth,” said Chris, whose 8-year-old son watched as sheriff’s detectives chopped down the plants. “We’re just living out here off the grid, trying to be ourselves.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 10, 2017
Adams, Browning, Grebil
AARON ADAMS, Mendocino. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CASEY BROWNING, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, probation revocation.
ANDREW GREBIL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
Heath, Hoffman-Brady, Koski
MICHAEL HEATH, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
CHRISTOPHER HOFFMAN-BRADY, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
AARON KOSKI, Fort Bragg. Criminal threats.
Maciel-Garcia, Mattern, Maxfield
JOSE MACIEL-GARCIA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JAMES MATTERN, Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.
JUSTIN MAXFIELD, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
Merino, Mitchell, Rojas
FLAVIO MERINO, Salinas/Redwood Valley. DUI, no license.
TODD MITCHELL, Albion. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia, resisting, probation revocation.
GABRIEL ROJAS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
HILLARY CLINTON’S new book What Happened includes what a Washington Post headline calls a "subtly savage takedown of Bernie Sanders." One passage of the book says that "because we agreed on so much," Sanders couldn't argue on policy grounds and "so he had to resort to innuendo and impugning my character." Clinton adds that "his attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump's 'Crooked Hillary' campaign."
Solomon was a Sanders delegate from California to the Democratic National Convention and the nationwide coordinator of the Bernie Delegates Network.
He said today: “At first glance it may seem odd that Clinton has gone out of her way to rip open old wounds from a primary campaign that ended well over a year ago. But there’s a kind of perverse logic at play. Whatever aspects of score-settling or personal anger might be involved, what’s much more significant is the apparent political calculus.”
Solomon added: “If Clinton weren’t determined to boost the corporate wing of the Democratic Party for the future, her new book’s jabs at Bernie would be gratuitous and bereft of tactical logic. But those jabs are not mainly about the past. Looking ahead while recounting her version of what happened last year, Clinton is attempting to scapegoat not only Bernie Sanders but also his activist base. She’s trying to discredit the progressive wing that’s now ascendant in the party from the grassroots.
“By a thin margin, six months ago Clinton’s backers were able to shoehorn the uninspiring former Labor Secretary Tom Perez into becoming chair of the Democratic National Committee. But the DNC is close to floundering under the continuation of the same kind of leadership that led to the November 2016 disaster.
“After losing the presidential race, Hillary Clinton and the big-money elites behind her are fearful that they could lose control of the Democratic Party apparatus. Clinton’s decision to attack Bernie Sanders via her book is a reflection of that fear.”
Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org, an online activist group that now has 1.5 million active members. He is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He recently wrote the piece "DNC Fraud Suit Exposes Anti-Democratic Views in Democratic Party."
(John Sakowicz, promotion of an upcoming KMEC-Radio show out of Ukiah.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
If it keeps on rainin’ levee’s goin’ to break
If it keeps on rainin’ levee’s goin’ to break
When the levee breaks I’ll have no place to stay.
….Cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good,
Now, cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good,
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move.
– Led Zeppelin
America’s levees, physical, cultural, social, spiritual, etc. are past or close to their stress points. We’re staggering to our death with each “gunshot” like we’re high on Angel Dust, too zonked on the orgy to know we’ve been hit by untold numbers of bullets. It’s just a matter of time now. How sad but how horrifying too. I see everyday first hand here in Florida the grotesque disfiguration of human relations, pathetic and depressing senior internment camps called retirement communities spawned from valuable agricultural land, ticking teenage tragedies waiting to detonate, abandoned strip malls cum ghost towns, dilapidated communities brushed to the side by “newer, brighter developments.” Although there is much good here, the hopelessness and brokenness I see in people’s faces is heartbreaking. But the anger and fear is even more troublesome. What a mess.
AS HURRICANE HARVEY lashed Texas, Naomi Klein wasted no time in diagnosing the “real root causes” behind the disaster, indicting “climate pollution, systemic racism, underfunding of social services, and overfunding of police.” A day after her essay appeared, George Monbiot argued that no one wants to ask the tough questions about the coastal flooding spawned during Hurricane Harvey because to do so would be to challenge capitalism—a system wedded to “perpetual growth on a finite planet”—and call into question the very foundations of “the entire political and economic system.” Of the two choices, I vote for Monbiot’s interpretation. Nearly forty years ago, the historian Donald Worster in his classic study of one of the worst natural disasters in world history, the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, wrote that capitalism, which he understood as an economic culture founded on maximizing imperatives and a determination to treat nature as a form of capital, “has been the decisive factor in this nation’s use of nature.”
— Ted Steinberg
(Click to enlarge)
IRMA WILL ALMOST SURELY become one of the worst hurricanes in US history. Quick growth statewide in recent years means there are many more people in harm’s way than during 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, the last storm this strong to hit the state. Initial estimates from insurers are that, with Harvey, Irma could rank among the country’s all-time costliest natural disasters. The connection between climate change and hurricanes like Harvey and Irma is complicated, but there’s one thing for sure: Rising seas are making coastal floods worse, and seas are rising in Florida at some of the fastest rates anywhere in the world.
— Eric Holthaus
FEDERAL AUDIT REVEALS $84.8 MILLION MISUSED FOR DELTA TUNNELS PLANNING
A federal audit has determined that the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation improperly used over $84.8 million in federal taxpayer’s money in the planning process for Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels project.
The Inspector General for DOI has issued a 42-page report detailing the misuse of the money and the recommendations made to Reclamation to resolve the issue. “The Bureau of Reclamation was not transparent in its financial participation in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan,“ the title of the audit obtained by the Associated Press sums up.
Governor Brown has continually said that taxpayers will not pay for the construction of the tunnels, but the conclusions reached in the federal audit reveal that federal taxpayers have indeed already paid over $84 million to subsidize the widely-unpopular project.
The Delta Tunnels plan, renamed the California WaterFix in 2015, would build two massive 35 mile long tunnels under the Delta to export Sacramento River water to the Westlands Water District, Stewart and Lynda Resnick's agribusiness operations in Kern County and other other growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The tunnels would also provide water for Southern California water agencies and for fracking and other extreme oil extraction operations in Kern County.
The audit said the water contractors who will benefit from the project, not the federal taxpayers, were supposed to pay for the project, a joint state-federal proposal that could cost up to $68 billion in total.
The Inspector General determined that Bureau officials “did not fully disclose to Congress or other stakeholders that a total of $84.8 million in federal funds were used to pay for the planning costs of the State of California’s BDCP.”
In addition, the audit revealed:
- Reclamation did not disclose that it used these funds to subsidize 64% of the Central Valley Water Project (CVP) water contractors’ share of the state’s planning costs “and could not provide us with any explanation of why it did so.“
- Reclamation financed its participation in the tunnels project planning “by using a complex process that was not transparent to stakeholders.”
- USBR made a determination at the regional level, without suffIcIent analytical documentation, that $50 million in federal funds was not reimbursable, resulting in these funds not being repaid to the Treasury.
- Finally, USBR did not expend funds under its third financial assistance agreement with DWR in accordance with the authority delegated to the Commissioner under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act because the funds“were not used to plan, design or construct projects to create or improve instream habitat.”
“We are concerned that the absence of transparency displayed by USBR during the planning phase of the BDCP will be perpetuated in the future,” the Inspector General concluded. “We therefore made four recommendations to address the weakenesses in USBR’s policies and procedures that allowed USBR not to disclose to Congress and other stakeholders that $50 million in federal funds was being used for the BDCP and that these funds would not be returned to the Treasury as expected.“
You can read the audit, including the conclusions and recommendations, here: drive.google.com/...
The investigation resulted from a complaint the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed on the behalf of a Reclamation employee on February 19, 2016. The complaint detailed how a funding agreement with the California Department of Water Resources was “illegally siphoning off funds that are supposed to benefit fish and wildlife to a project that will principally benefit irrigators” under the California WaterFix.
PEER claimed that of the $60 million in Coordination Act grants spent, “not a dime went to habitat improvements.“ Instead, the group said the money was actually being expended on work that will harm critical habitat for at least five endangered and threatened fish species. More information: www.counterpunch.org/...
Westlands Water District general manager Thomas Birmingham defended the use of the federal money for tunnels planning, telling the Associated Press that he “knew of nothing about the arrangement that was inconsistent with state or federal law.”
“Birmingham says that under federal law, water districts that would benefit from the tunnels have to repay the taxpayer money only if the project is built,” according to AP: abcnews.go.com/…
The California Natural Resources Agency has not yet responded to my request for a comment on the audit.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, issued a statement noting that the “same type of obfuscation“ exposed in the audit is being employed in the financial planning for the project’s construction:
“As we knew from research completed by our colleagues over the last few years, funding has been misused to finance the planning of the Delta Tunnels. We are seeing the same type of obfuscation in the financial planning for the construction of the project.
"Central Valley Project contractors cannot afford 45% of the $17 billion initial construction costs without a subsidy. State Water Project Contractors, like Metropolitan Water District are not being honest with their boards about their partners or ratepayers how much it will cost in total. It is a boondoggle that is being shoved onto 98% of Californians who will be paying for generations.
"The truth is Westlands and the other west side San Joaquin Valley growers could not afford the planning process without tax contributions from federal taxpayers. How can MWD or SCVWD partners have confidence in Westlands as a partner for a project that starts at $17 billion?"
After hearing of the audit’s release, Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, said, “Our prayers are being answered.”
“It's ironic that the same Bureau of Reclamation that misspent taxpayers money for Delta Tunnels planning won't let us sit on the committee for the planning for reintroducing winter run Chinook salmon to the McCloud River,” she stated at Friday’s press conference to kick off the Tribe’s Run4Salmon in Berkeley.
“These are the agency faulty details that keep the Winnemem Wintu worried about the Delta Tunnels and the Fish Passage Pilot Project. Salmon need passage out of and into the Delta,” Chief Sisk concluded.
The Tribe is currently engaged in a campaign to bring back the descendants of the McCloud River winter-run Chinook salmon from the Rakaira River in New Zealand to reintroduce to the McCloud above Shasta Dam. This summer, the Tribe and their allies partnered with GoFundMe to help fund the collection of genetic samples of the winter Chinooks from New Zealand. More information: www.dailykos.com/...
Restore the Delta and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe are both plaintiffs in recent lawsuits filed to stop the Delta Tunnels. The final tally of the Delta Tunnels CEQA lawsuits is 18 cases brought by 80 plaintiffs, according to Alex Breitler of the Stockton Record. Read them here: https://t.co/NlVev0SuMw
Meanwhile, the state’s audit of funding for the Delta Tunnels is slated for release in October. On August 10 of last year, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted 9 to 2 to conduct the audit, as requested by Assemblymember Susan Eggman and Senator Lois Wolk.
Burning Man 2017
CRAIG'S SUNDAY MORNING SATORI
Sunday Morning in San Francisco
The Japanese incense is lit, am now sitting at the computer, about to go to the Mechanics Institute Library which is open today from 1 to 5 p.m. An Ocean Beach walk is a possibility later on. Tomorrow morning looks good for a Kabuki Spa visit. All things change~all things remain the same! I am encouraging everyone to stop identifying with the body and the mind, and instead, only be the "eternal witness". Immortality...take it or leave it. ;-)
LEGAL MARIJUANA IS ALMOST HERE. IF ONLY POT FARMERS WERE ON BOARD