Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2017
by AVA News Service, September 18, 2017
ALLISON GLASSEY has resigned as director of the County Museum in Willits. A former County administrator, Glassey's sinecure was arranged at the Museum by the Supervisors as a reward for her years of, ah, ethical flexibility. (In an ava suit against the County some years ago, Glassey's lies were transparent.) We understand that she was forced out at the Museum or face prosecution for "financial improprieties." For reasons known only to her, although the County had authorized the hire of a professional curator three years ago, one was never hired. An unqualified couple, Russ and Syliva Bartley of Fort Bragg, were hired by Glassey to do whatever it is they do at the Museum.
AS WE REPORTED LAST Month, Mendo’s Chief Probation Officer (CPO), Pamela Markham, was defintely out. Or is she? Markham was put on paid administrative leave last February amid allegations of favoritism and having an affair with a subordinate, apparently consummated during work hours.
FOR REASONS buried deep in California’s judicial bureaucracy, the CPO is selected by the Superior Court judges but is a county employee. Which means the local taxpayers have been on the hook for full pay and benefits — at around $10K per month — for month after month while multiple investigations into Ms. Markham’s conduct drag along. The decision to pay Markham to stay home was announced in an undated email from Presiding Judge David Reimenschneider. A Probation department employee sent the email with accompanying background to the AVA, which we ran back in April of 2017. The on-line version of the story has since generated an unprecedented 92 comments, many from people signing their own names and with close ties to the case.
MARKHAM’S APPOINTMENT — she formerly worked as a Probation Officer in Lake County — which took effect in July 2016, was announced in a glowing press release issued May 23, 2016, by Judge Reimenschneider and County CEO Carmel Angelo who was quoted saying, “We are very excited to have Ms. Markham join our executive leadership team. Her experience and leadership skills will be an asset to the county and bring new energy to the probation department.” Reimenschneider added that he looked forward to “many years” with Ms. Markham as CPO. Markham added that she looked forward to “continuing to implement evidence-based practices to promote public safety by reducing recidivism.”
MS. MARKHAM QUICKLY DELIVERED on the “new energy” front. According to the on-line comments for Scandal of the Week, Markham was openly flirtatious in ways that were seen as inappropriate for a professional work environment. She reportedly spent hours at a time behind closed doors with one of her subordinates. But instead of “many years” as Mendo’s Chief Probation Officer, Markham lasted less than eight months before being put on admin leave. Which means she has spent more time on paid leave than she did “on the job.”
IN TYPICAL MENDO FASHION, highly placed officials suspected of misbehavior are quietly placed on leave and just as quietly asked to resign months later, often with a lump-sum payment for going away quietly. The conduct which lead to the forced resignation and the amount of the pay-off are routinely hidden behind the cloaks of “personnel matter” and “employee confidentiality.”
IN CONTRAST to the fanfare which greeted Ms. Markham’s appointment, the Superior Court and the County have been silent on her removal as CPO. As far as we know the decision (or lack thereof) has not been announced to the Probation Department employees. We understand that the County’s initial investigation quickly confirmed the charges of favoritism, but no action was taken because the judges referred the case to attorneys at the state level. And the state attorneys insisted on additional investigations and re-investigations.
MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS LATER, the results of the initial investigation were confirmed, and after additional pointless delays Ms. Markham was relieved her duties as CPO, which would seem to terminate her employment with the County. Except that the judges then told the County “She’s your employee, not ours.” And there the matter rests. Ms. Markham, who has been removed from the only position she ever held with the County, continues on in a sort of only-in-Mendo employment limbo. And she continues to collect her estimated $10k per months in full pay and benefits at taxpayer expense.
THE HOT POTATO named Pamela Markham is not likely to be picked up soon, either, because Ms. Markham, whose husband is a Lake County attorney, has retained her own attorney, who has the judges and the County tied up in prolonged legal exchanges with no end in sight.
CALTRANS AND THE ALBION BRIDGE
The information about arsenic leaking is the newest attempt by Caltrans to persuade everyone that a new Albion River Bridge (twice as wide as the current bridge) and a new Salmon Creek Bridge along with a wider road from Navarro Ridge to Albion Ridge is what is needed. Why has it taken three years to get a response from the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) if it is that bad?
At first it was a 1,000 year tsunami that would damage (not destroy) the bridge, then the deck was supposedly crushed and rotten (it was not the case), then the connectors were not good any more and then the timbers were supposedly rotting.
What about the the huge environmental & financial impacts of dismantling the bridge and driving it to a Superfund site in Kettleman City?
The concrete industry is one of two largest producers of carbon dioxide (CO2), creating up to 5% of worldwide man-made emissions of this gas. Cement manufacture contributes greenhouse gases. Concrete causes damage to the most fertile layer of the earth, creates hard surfaces which contribute to surface runoff that might cause soil erosion, water pollution and flooding. Concrete dust released by building demolition and natural disasters can be a major source of dangerous air pollution. The presence of some substances in concrete, including unwanted additives, can cause health concerns due to toxicity and radioactivity.
In order to evaluate if the Albion Bridge would be rehabilitated or replaced geotechnical and seismic surveys would need to be performed which would involve major vegetation removal (260 plus trees); 10 drill sites with boring depths of 50 to 150 feet; use of explosives; grading; and temporary road construction. Platforms in steep terrain would be delivered via cranes or helicopters.
For more information see http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist1/d1projects/albion/
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Look at the deadbeat lying there right in the middle of the driveway like he owns the place. I'm on duty round the clock, no time off, earning my bed and board. Him? Contributes nothing, ever. Ugly, too. Look at that color scheme and tell me he shouldn't be named Skrag. Hell, he only shows up to eat, then he stretches out for all the world to see for a two-hour nap! I'm telling you that cat's an unending provocation!”
NINE FELONIES FILED ON FORT BRAGG MEN, 'NO BAIL'
The Fort Bragg Police issued the following press release Monday @ 11:35 am. MSP heard a BOLO on this subject involving an incident in Fort Bragg last Saturday night when we followed & posted the incident in real time.
As always, subjects named in press releases should be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law:
"On Saturday, September 16, at approximately 7:32 pm, officers of the Fort Bragg Police Department were dispatched to the 100 Block of Minnesota Avenue for the report of a gang-related altercation which had just occurred.
When officers arrived on the scene, they made contact with the victims and requested a medical response to the scene.
During the course of the initial investigation, Officers determined three suspects; Andrew Hurtado (age 18), Ricardo Arenas (age 21), and a third suspect yet to be identified had blocked the path of the victim’s vehicle with theirs when the victims were returning home. They then pulled one of the victims from the driver side of the vehicle and assaulted him utilizing a knife, baseball bat, and chain.
When one of the victims stated they were calling the police, the suspects returned to their vehicle and fled the scene.
Andrew Hurtado and Ricardo Arenas are known members and associates of the Norteño criminal street gang.
It was also determined earlier in the evening the same suspects had been in front of the victims’ residence while the victims were preparing to leave to the store.
The suspects brandished red bandanas towards the victims while shouting unintelligible remarks. The suspects then followed the victims in their vehicle for several blocks before speeding away.
On Sunday, September 17, at approximately 12:00 am, officers of the Fort Bragg Police Department, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sherriff’s Office, and Agents with the Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force served arrest and search warrants at two locations in the Fort Bragg area.
Andrew Hurtado was located and taken into custody. Ricardo Arenas is still outstanding and a warrant for his arrest has been issued. [Ed note: He was subsequently arrested and booked on the same set of charges.]
This investigation is ongoing and anyone with any information related to the above incident may contact Officer Breyer at (707) 961-2800 ext. 189 or on our anonymous Crime Tip Hotline at (707) 961-3049.
(MSP NOTE--According to the Jail site, the 6'1", 190-pound Mr. Hurtado was arrested by Fort Bragg Police Sunday, September 17 @ 1:16 pm.
He was booked in the Mendocino County Jail Sunday @ 11:39 pm on the following felonies (No bail):
- Attempted Murder
- Threaten a crime with intent to terrorize
- Assault with a deadly weapon, great bodily injury
- Stalking & threatening great bodily injury
- False imprisonment
- Conspiracy to commit crime
- Battery with serious injury
- Controlled substance.
In addition, there was a charge of "Street Terrorism" but it didn't say if it was a felony or misdemeanor charge.
Mr. Hurtado had his booking photo taken Monday morning @ 12:59 am, and. of course, is still behind bars.)
This Was The MSP Post:
"Ambulance Stages For Assault On Minnesota Avenue
The scanner said (7:38 pm) MCDH ambulance #9140 was asked to stage near an address on Minnesota Avenue in Fort Bragg (we're withholding the address & apartment number) for an "assault victim." Fort Bragg Police are en route.
At 7:41 pm, Police were on the scene and said no staging was necessary, it was "clear' and the ambulance could arrive at the scene.
At 7:49 pm, Dispatch out a BOLO (Be On the Lookout) from Fort Bragg Police for a Brown Nissan, CA plate # 7ULP008, occupied by two (named) Hispanic males."
GARBERVILLE gets no respect: I’ve seen the scruffy Southern HumCo crossroads often referred to “Gooberdam,” and Willits as “South Gooberdam.”
CASPAR FOR SALE
123 acre Caspar property for sale for $3,500,000
How does having to listen to loud music in Caspar until early in the morning on a weekend compare to looking at a possible sale of a property of 123 acres that includes a variety of homes, open space, and center of downtown Caspar? This may be the largest offering of a town on the California coast.
For more information see https://www.annesmithrealtor.com/properties/
Sheriff Tom Allman on Cannabis Hour, 9 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 21 on KZYX
You're under arrest! Those are words no one ever wants to hear. Who's getting busted by the Sheriff and who's not under the county's new medical cannabis cultivation ordinance? If you'd like to hear what Sheriff Tom Allman has to say about his job since the county's new cannabis regs went into effect in May, tune in to The Cannabis Hour on KZYX at 9 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 21 when Sheriff Allman will be my guest live in the studio. We'll take questions on 707 895-2448 at about 9:40 a.m. If you miss the show, listen on jukebox.kzyx.org. See you on the radio!
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 18, 2017
Arenas, Benitez, Blunt, Boughton
RICARDO ARENAS, FORT BRAGG. Attempted murder, assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, stalking and threatening bodily injury, false imprisonment, kidnapping, battery with serious injury, street terrorism, criminal threats, felon with controlled substance with weapon, conspiracy.
REYNALDO BENITEZ, Boonville. DUI.
CHARLES BLUNT, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MARK BOUGHTON, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
Hurtado, Maldonado-Mata Jr., Pearson
ANDREW HURTADO, Attempted murder, criminal threats, assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, stalking and threatening bodily injury, false imprisonment, kidnapping, battery with serious injury, street terrorism, felon with controlled substance with weapon, conspiracy.
RAFAEL MALDONADO-MATA JR., Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ADAM PEARSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
Wade, Winkler, Wyse
KELLY WADE, Ukiah. Suspended license, failure to appear.
ERIN WINKLER, Battery, elder abuse, under influence.
DANIEL WYSE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
Did you see a mountain lion?
Woodlands Wildlife is recording mountain lion sightings. If you saw a lion in the last week or so, please email the date, time of day, and place to WoodlandsWildlife@mcn.org. We're beginning to see several clusters of sightings. One where Little River Airport Road intersects with Comptche-Ukiah Rd, one about a mile up on Little Lake, and this week two sightings near the south side of the Albion Bridge (one down by the water and one on the bridge itself). Their territory can be up to 10 square miles, and of course they don't follow straight lines, and we have large areas where people to make sightings are absent.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
157 years ago this day the Battle of Antietam, bloodiest day in American history.
Up until the mid 1930s there were events at the site on the anniversary attended by national politicians and senior military personnel.
70 -75 years seems to be about the limit when big historical events are commemorated and publicly acknowledged in the US before passing totally into history. Back in the day I worked n the archives of our city newspaper (founded in 1764) and would run across obits of the last Revolutionary Vets in the 1830s.
Eventually even the events of 9/11/01 will fade into history.
PITY THE WORKING CLASS. It’s not enough that they build and repair our houses, flip our burgers, drive our Ubers (at a net loss), wax our pubes, harvest our apples, butcher our chickens, sell us our tchotchkes, and hand us our nine-irons, all for a federal minimum wage of $7 per hour (or a princely $2.13 for tipped work). All of that is necessary, but not sufficient. They must also be sober, polite, punctual, frugal, respectable, respectful, polite, servile but not in a creepy way, smile, bag our groceries without being asked, make nice patterns in the froth of our lattés, go the extra mile, give 110%, and above all stop being so ungrateful — after all, they live in the greatest country in the world!
by James Kunstler
A very brave law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, named Amy Wax has published the astounding argument that human beings in America would benefit from adopting “bourgeois values” and behaving accordingly. Bourgeois (Boozh-wah, for the underspeeched) may be an unfortunate term-of-art, since it came to be used as a pejorative back in the old hippie days — something that Ms. Wax might remember, since she is a Baby Boomer — but what else might you call this bundle of traditional values: honesty, fidelity, thrift, temperance, punctuality, fortitude, gratitude, dedication, kindness, loyalty, et cetera?
A glance at Amy Wax’s credentials might induce a head-snap.
Amy Laura Wax received a B.S. summa cum laude in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale in 1975. She was then a Marshall Scholar in Philosophy, Physiology, and Psychology at Somerville College at Oxford University. She earned an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1981, training as a neurologist, and received a J.D. from Columbia in 1987, where she was an editor of the Law Review. She was a Law Clerk to the Honorable Abner J. Mikva, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1987-88. From 1988-94, she served as Assistant to the Office of the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice, where she argued 15 cases before the United States Supreme Court. Wax was a member of the Legal Affairs Committee, American Academy of Neurology from 1986-1992. In 1994, she joined the faculty of UVA [University of Virginia]. She taught courses in civil procedure, labor law, and poverty law and welfare policy. She became Class of 1948 Professor of Scholarly Research in Law from 2000-01. After becoming a visiting professor to Penn Law School in 2000, she joined its faculty in 2001.
By some miracle, she didn’t end up a professor of Intersectional Gender Justice. Of course, the Social Justice commissars around the country regard her as just another neo-Nazi punk committing violence-through-speech against the ethno-sexual minorities who seek to throw off the shackles of Cis-White Privilege oppression. In an op-ed essay in the Philadelphia Inquirer (co-authored with Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego School of Law) titled Paying the Price for Breakdown of the Country’s Bourgeois Culture, Wax argued that “the single-parent, anti-social habits, prevalent among some working-class whites, the anti ‘acting white’ rap culture of inner-city blacks” and the “anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants” are not suited to a First-World 21st Century Environment.
The casual observer (from Mars) might take all that as self-evident, but it’s a hard sell nowadays, especially in Ivory Towerville, where, supposedly, the rectified essences of abiding human intelligence are said to dwell. That super-refined scholarly nation-within–a-nation is also mostly walled off from the more unappetizing realities of what an American-style First-World 21stCentury Environment actually is. In fact, that very “environment” is mostly characterized by a breakdown of just about everything that might promote the formerly eternal verities. It has been accompanied move-for-move by a breakdown in economic relations that leaves a big chunk of the national demographic peon-ized, bereft of work that is either meaningful or pays enough to support a family, and places them at the mercy (actually, there is no mercy) of gigantic, dishonest, avaricious companies and public institutions driven by stupid crypto-religious ideologies.
Oddly, the personal economic calamity represented by that trend is mirrored on the Ivy League campuses where a tiny elite cadre of tenured professors enjoys immunity from both impoverishment and real critical thinking, while an ever-expanding corps of serf-like adjunct teachers does all the heavy-lifting in the classrooms and struggles to pay the light bill — and a new breed of diversity deans and other administrative hierophants feeds gluttonously at the trough of the college loan racket.
The main criticism of Amy Wax’s prescription for cultural improvement is that it’s simply not possible to go back to the economically stable world of the 1950s that supported the roster of human virtues she wants to bring back online. It may be so, alas, but that still doesn’t obviate the basic value of behavioral norms. And deep down in their dark Gnostic hearts, the Social Justice Commissariat must agree. Otherwise, why would they be promoting so strenuously the exemplary earnest behavior of the DACA “Dreamers.”
Amy Wax was hammered by her colleagues at the Penn Law School for daring to express these ideas. More than half of the law faculty signed an “open letter” of censorious opprobrium against her. They “categorically rejected” her arguments without offering any counter-arguments. The law school’s chapter of the Lawyer’s Guild is maneuvering to get her fired from her teaching duties. That’s how we roll now in Witch Hunt Nation. I think Amy Wax has the fortitude to get through this. But will the universities ever recover?
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
MY JOB was to get over there and kill Boers. You went to war to kill someone, and they tried to kill you back.
— George Ives, last surviving soldier of the Boer war, died in 1993 at age 111
(Photo by Susie de Castro)
Single Payer the Democratic Party and the Non Profit Industrial Complex
(Single Payer Action)
STRONG COALITION CHALLENGES STATE TUNNELS’ FINANCING
State Validation Process Would Allow Bond Measures to Move Forward Without Detailed Plans, Clear Financing Responsibility or Completed Environmental Review
A legal challenge to the financing of the WaterFix Twin Tunnels has been filed by three environmental organizations joined by the California Indian Water Commission. The State’s is asking for $11 Billion in bonds without identifying the sources of revenue or indicating how total costs will be shared with the Central Valley Project, its Federal partner in the WaterFix.
“The State would like a blank check from rate payers to finance the Governor’s tunnels,” said Carolee Krieger, President of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN.) “With only 10% of the WaterFix engineering and design completed, there is no reliable cost estimate for the tunnels’ financing. This Validation proceeding is premature until these important issues are settled”
The State Validation process, if unchallenged, would allow bonds to be issued for tunnel construction without legislative or individual contractor’s consent. Contesting the State Water Resources Control Board validation of financing for the tunnels are C-WIN, AquAlliance, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) as well as the Federally recognized California Indian Water Commission. "State agencies are driven by the Governor to try and solidify every step of the WaterFix before he leaves office," said Barbara Vlamis, executive director of AquAlliance. "Fortunately we are part of a strong team that is equally determined to protect the source waters in the Sacramento River watershed," she concluded.
"The California Indian Water Commission's involvement in this filing is about upholding traditional indigenous responsibilities to the lands andwaters of California," said Don Hankins, President of the CIWC. "With this filing, we affirm our commitment to future generations through protection of the lands and waters of this state, and the associated organisms, which we also maintain obligations to," he added.
In a recent ruling by the 9th District Court of Appeal, federally reserved Indian water rights have precedent over all state and federal water rights. This puts a new twist on how much water there really will be available for the tunnels or any other project.
Carolee Krieger, California Water Impact Network 805.969.0824,email@example.com
Barbara Vlamis, AquAlliance, 530.895.9420, firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Hankins, California Indian Water Commission, 530.592.7469, email@example.com
Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, 209.464.5067, firstname.lastname@example.org
ECLIPSE FROM THE AIR
A British Airways pilot clicked this photo of solar eclipse when his plane was crossing Atlantic ocean . One can see another plane on same flight path. Beautiful shot
A READER WRITES: “If you have any doubts about the power of nature, this video is of DRY Thunderstorm lightning that causes the majority of Forest Fires. It appears that the video was filmed from a stationary remote camera as a human operator may not have survived this strike. Notice where the lightning strikes the river bank, then into the river and downstream.”
HOWEVER, according to on-line comments the video is not of lightning, but of a controlled demolition of in-stream logs or an attempt to widen the river at the point of the explosion. “NOT lightning — video is from Finland Published on Dec 20, 2012.” Which does seem like a better explanation than lightning which would be much harder to capture on film.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK
With the issue of immigration as with so many others, it’s a question of who’s getting gored. Deplorables have got a legitimate beef with millions of people being let into the country at the same time as millions of jobs are being sent overseas. But, to their enormous discredit, the Democrats paint Deplorables objecting to their own pauperization as cretins and racists. And then they feign astonishment that these same subnormals won’t vote Democrat. No doubt everyone now knows about the fubared terror attack on a London tube train. Again, with this issue also, both in the US and Europe and elsewhere, it’s a question of who’s getting hurt. If the multitude of terror attacks had been directed at American and European politicians and billionaires, if 9/11 had killed thousands of them instead of thousands of corporate drones, as sure as we sit here the borders would have been closed to Muslims and the deportations would have been well underway if not complete. The rationale? It’s simple. They’d say, geez, we really regret having to do this but we have no choice, we can’t separate the good apples from the bad and we have no way of telling which good apple might turn rotten. So we have no alternative. And the high and mighty wouldn’t even blink and they’d entertain no counter argument. It would be portrayed as self-evident that it’s a question of national security. The oh-so-enlightened judiciary that saw fit to stymie the Trump travel ban would no doubt dismiss lawsuits challenging the deportations and the immigration bans as frivolous. And any consideration of such action being unconstitutional or unlawful would be deemed too far-fetched to waste the valuable time of the courts. In other words, people of the same social class would close ranks to protect their own. But, because it’s the Joe Shmoes getting killed and maimed, the high and mighty mount the pulpits and deliver thundering denunciations of Islamophobia and counsel tolerance. Let’s see how tolerant they’d be if the dead were hundreds or thousands of Congressmen and Members of Parliament and the Davos goers. They’re not expendable. But people like us surely are. Big Ag and Big Biz want cheap labor and one way to do it is open the immigration floodgates. But if those millions flooding in from Mexico were teachers and lawyers instead of semi-literate laborers you can bet your bottom dollar that the southern wall would be miles high by now.
(Click to enlarge)
CLASSES IN CONCRETE - Art for your garden! Two weekends — three projects, October 14, 15, 21, and 22, 10:00AM to 4:00PM
Join James Maxwell, local multimedia artist and author, for an exploration in concrete sculpture. This four-day learning opportunity will teach you to create and mold TUFA concrete, a highly accurate detailed veneer for garden art. All students will leave the class with more ideas and more courage to try something new! Contact Information: Please email class organizer, Linda Brown (email@example.com) if you have any questions. Fees/Admission: Register for Class - Payment - Supply List at The Garden Store $225 for two weekends (Sat, Sun) — Class size is limited to 16 people. Payment is due upon sign-up. Please note, workshop fees are non-refundable after Saturday, October 7, 2017, unless the workshop has been canceled or rescheduled by the Gardens. Reserve your space by phoning 707-964-4352 ext. 16 or just stop by The Garden Store at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.
MENDOCINO CANNABIS JOB FAIR
Mendocino Cannabis Resource (MCR) is hosting the first ever Mendocino Cannabis Job Fair (MCJF) to be held in Mendocino county.
The MCJF is scheduled for September 28th, 2017 from 1pm to 5pm at the Little Lake Grange, 291 School St. in Willits CA.
The job fair is Free to attend for Job Seekers. Job seekers must be 21 years or older.
To register for the Job Fair, Resume Workshops Contact mendocinocannabisresource.com or call 707-223-4367
There are Cannabusinesses looking to hire for a variety of positions.
Jobs include: Accountant/ Bookkeeping, Administrator/ Executive Assistant, Human Resource, Consultant, Budtenders/ Retail, Chefs, Delivery Drivers, Extraction Techs, Farm/ Garden Labor, Graphic Artist, Master Growers, Management, Sales/ Marketing, Lab Techs, Security & Trimmers.
Confirmed cannabusinesses exhibiting include: Emerald Grown Cooperative, Flow Kana, Happyday Farm, Julia Carrera & Associates, KB Cannabusiness Consulting & Staffing, Mendocino Appellations Project, Mendocino County Growers Alliance, Mendocino Group, Moontime Medicinal, Nurturing Seed, Old Kai Logistics, Perry Hay, LLP — Cannabis Accounting, California Grow Services and more companies joining daily.
For those seeking jobs, there will be a series of Free Resume Writing Workshops sponsored by Flow Kana and Old Kai Logistics.
- Thursday, Sept. 21st from 1pm to 3pm
- Saturday Sept. 23rd from 1pm to 3pm
- Wednesday Sept. 27th from 1pm to 3pm
@ the Mendocino Cannabis Resource (MCR) Office 399 d S. Main St. Willits CA
All Employer Exhibitors & Sponsors receive an informational packet to make hiring easy and effective for their company which was sponsored by Mendocino Group. There's still an opportunity to sign your cannabusiness up! Go to mendocinocannabisresource.com to learn how to apply. Deadline to apply is Friday, September 22nd to be included in the job fair program.
Interviews are available on request with Karen Byars founder of Mendocino Cannabis Resource, LLC and representatives of any of the employer exhibitors & sponsors of the MCJF. Call 707-223-4367 to set up interviews.
by Michael Koepf
I’m beginning to know John. Not completely, of course, for who can entirely know another when we seldom wholly know ourselves? Nevertheless, when it comes to politicians, it’s best we give it a try. Like a cat that plays with a mouse, some of these people find pleasure while messing with our lives.
Who’s John? Why it’s distinguished John McCowen, Chairman of the Board of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors—those homegrown policymakers who think they control our county bureaucracy busily enforcing the myriad rules and regulations that impact so many things we do. That’s how I’ve come to know Chairman John. Why? Because Chairman John has put me (and others) out of the short-term rental business. Chairman John claimed—at last week’s board of supervisor’s meeting—that we’re the “scofflaws” of “the short-term rental game.” We’re the outlaws of AirBnB. However…we don’t sell dope or meth. We sell a comfortable bed to tourists so that they can have a peaceful sleep.
Chairman John has led the charge to make us pay our TOT; (transient occupancy tax) apply for a business license, and obtain a use permit if we want to stay in business along a private road. Others, as well as myself, have complied with the initial requests, but obtaining a use permit requires several thousand bucks, even though other types of businesses that prosper along these same roads don’t have to pay a dime. Nonetheless, Chairman John believes there’s a short-term, rental crisis, and he recently led the board to issue an emergency moratorium against what he has darkly characterizes as “the short-term rental game.” Katie-bar-the-door! Chairman John is fighting to keep the sleepy tourists away.
Chairman John’s emergency moratorium came to climatic conclusion last week.
I watched it all on You Tube. It’s the best way to observe a meeting of the county board. You can pause and get a beer to help wash the tedium from your brain. On the day I watched, Chairman John was looking good. He wore a brown suit, purple shirt with a modest, tasteless tie. I won’t question the color of his shirt, but it is the favored color of the Service Employee International Union (SEIU)— that contentious, expensive association entrenched in our county seat. (International is the clue) Clever shout-out, Chairman John; the union loves your shirt. The union’s got your back, but make sure they get that raise or there will be something else in your back. (Metaphorically)
As far as appearances go, Chairman John has an avian nose. I’ll avoid his unfortunate mustache, which, perhaps, the You Tube video distorts. However, I sent Chairman John a bottle of Grecian Formula to darken up the ends. Chairman John, anything Third Reich is verboten, or don’t you know?
Chairman John wears his glasses low. He has an ample head of hair, but when it comes to his face, somber and serious is the case. He’s often legalistic, as if he’s channeling his Dad, who, according to the campaign literature of Chairman John, was a lawyer and county judge. However, Chairman John’s not a stranger to the droll when he intends a sarcastic point if things aren’t going his way. He also repeatedly uses the phrase “if you will,” a figure of speech I do not like. It’s pretentious and condescending. If you will, what? Need more time to digest my extremely important words?
Nonetheless, as I watched Chairman John, I learned that he’s a dedicated man. He takes his job seriously. (As he should) But…too seriously? Is being Chairman John the most important thing in his life? He may be the king of the little big time, but is there anything else? Perhaps he’s a party dog at night. None of my business, of course, but politics is a dangerous, absorbing business and a blanket on the human heart.
At the meeting last week, along with Chairman John, the rest of the board was there. Present was, Bambino la face, (Baby Face for non Italian readers)—Dan Gjerde—the consigliere, instigator and assassin of the short-term rental folks. Also present was Carre Brown on her final term on the county board merry-go-round. Handsome Dan Hamburg, my supervisor, was there, as was Mrs. Croskey, recently appointed and soon to leave. Can’t blame her. Too bad, this lady has the brains.
The audience, as usual, was largely comprised of cannabis capitalists. Week in and week out, they take up most of the Supe’s meeting time, in this case half the day. Their complaints are varied, but it all boils down to this: what the hell were they thinking when they thought legalization would make the little guys rich? A drug deal is a drug deal and everyone wants a bite. When Gavin Newsom lured them down the road of legalization, do they really think he did it for mom and pop and their little patch of plants? Look what’s going on in Santa Rosa and other cities in this state. Down in Santa Rosa for a minimum buy-in of two million bucks, corporate cannabis capitalists are buying up warehouse space. Corporate, industrial dope is the future of the cannabis game, and the Democrat party is backing these rich guys to the hilt. You think the Democrats will get a cut? Adios Mendo-dopers. Even if you envision some socialist dream, you won’t be better off in Canada where the government is starting to grow dope on its own.
However, during this weekly cannabis encounter, a poignant question was raised. Supervisor Croskey asked Chairman John about requiring a use permit for cannabis growers along a private road. After all, if public safety is one of the stated goals of ridding short-term rentals, who wants to live next door to a gunfight when prowlers come around to rip your neighborhood grower off? (My words not hers.) Chairman John took umbrage. “I would not include that, frankly,” he asserted in a huffy voice. No explanation was offered. But is Chairman John leery of piling yet another onerous expense on the heads of our cannabis class? Increasing fees keep most growers hidden in the hills, where the county, and soon the state, can’t tax their crops to death. If anyone doubts this, or that there isn’t mayhem along our private roads, then they haven’t read the New York Times this week. An article by Thomas Fuller points out that in Mendocino County growers are not coming into government programs, and as full legalization approaches, the heists and murders go on.
Chairman John is a clever guy. He’s deferential to the cannabis capitalists, undoubtedly believing that they’ll soon share their profits with the county and make him a saving hero of the county budget, perpetually in the red. Come to think of it, Chairman John never calls these hidden toilers of the soil “scofflaws” like he does with the dangerous outlaws in the short-term rental crowd.
Ninety percent of our pharma growers are still hiding in the hills. Can’t blame them. They’d rather take their chances with the sheriff than throw in with Chairman John. Handsome Dan knows. During the morning session he made the obvious point that out of an estimated one thousand growers in this county, less than one hundred have come in. Bet on it, Handsome Dan is in the know.
Of course, the issue of short-term rentals and use permits for shared roads is but a penny in the county’s money bucket compared to the potential dope deal as stated above. However, short-term rentals finally came up in the afternoon session. Short-term renter “scofflaws” had three minutes to have their say. With one exception: Norman Duvall, former, long-time supervisor and once upon a time Chairman Norman of the board.
At the core of the war against short-term renters is the false assumption (minus any hard data) that short-term rentals make rental housing scarce. A savvy young realtor testified to the salient point that lack of rental units is, in fact, a statewide problem, not just Mendocino’s. She’s right. For contractors and builders—given government and environmental regulations as well as zoning laws and strict codes against development—its expensive, time consuming and difficult to obtain building permits in this state. There’s also the fact that over the past twenty years, California has been inundated by a vast, inward immigration. Legal or illegal, everybody needs a place to sleep. Mendocino’s no different. Another noticeable reason for diminished rentals in Mendocino County is the influx of people hoping to cash in on the imagined, cannabis utopia. I know of landlords who have checked up on their rentals to find marijuana growing in the backyard, or lit up like Christmas trees growing in their garage. It puts their property in jeopardy by way of confiscation with the Feds and with the State. It’s safer with AirB&B. One speaker pointed out that use permits on shared roads are not required for day care centers; home care centers; repair shops of any kind; private schools; animal husbandry sites; sawmills and beauticians.
Beauticians? What’s going on in the woods? Are growers styling their hair? More people traverse a private road to use these facilities on any given day than an AirB&B couple driving down a lane to catch up on their sleep. Logically, nobody—unless they’re assembling an atomic bomb— should be required to purchase a use permit to conduct a small business on their property. This includes the pharma-farmers. If there’s a problem with a neighbor, there’s always shared cups of coffee or a remedy in the civil courts. Call me a Thomas Jefferson, but do we need permits to live?
The testimony against the emergency moratorium and high hurdle of a use permit continued, until Chairman John called the star witness in his defense—the aforementioned, former Chairman Norman Duvall. (Suspiciously prearranged?) Speaking rosy petals of praise, Chairman John smiled effusively as Chairman Norman walked to the podium to back up Chairman John’s contention that short-term rentals were depriving people of places to rent. Former Chairman Norman made these hugely, salient points. Firstly, Chairman Norman said that he had recently spoken to a friend who owned an established Bed and Breakfast over on the coast. The owner told him that they had “smoke alarms in their rooms.” Norman’s implication was that short-term rentals do not. They do. In fact, AirB&B hands them out for free as well as first aids kits. Secondly, Chairman Norman, looking anguished, informed Chairman John and the board that somebody told him that on any given night in Mendocino County there were “six to eleven people sleeping in their cars.”
That’s all? Obviously, Chairman Norman doesn’t realize that trimming season is here. Do people sleeping in cars—often transients, drunks and tweekers—have money to rent a place? With that I rest my case, and allow Chairman Norman to return to his haze. But he didn’t. Chairman Norman went on too long. His three minutes were up. Chairman John told Chairman Norman that his time “was on the yellow line, but I might even extend it,” he said in a very pleasant voice. And Chairman John did. Norman took advantage and continued raking his irrelevant evidence about. I couldn’t help thinking of that young lady two weeks before, testifying in favor of short-term rentals, that young lady who Chairman John so rudely dismissed when her three minutes were up. There are rules for politicians and there are rules for the rest of us.
And so it went. Until the end—the exciting, concluding vote of whether or not the emergency ordinance against short-term rentals should remain in place and be extended for several months or possibly for a year, as Deputy County Counsel Kiedrowski advised, a guy with comb-over hair streaming sections and codes from his mouth. However, Chairman John had hit a snag. First, Supervisor Gjerde—the originator of this mindless scheme—put himself on hold. Gjerde clammed up. Baby Face said little to back up Chairman John. Additionally, Croskey, Handsome Dan, and Carre Brown, citing letters, phone calls and input from constituents, said they were no longer convinced that the emergency moratorium should remain in place. Now critical of the ban for which he voted on before, Handsome Dan took the lead against continuing the emergency ban. There followed a testy exchange between Chairman John and Handsome Dan. At one point, Chairman John, apropos of something, huffed “either you have integrity or you don’t…oh well.” There may be something between these guys that only insiders are privy to know.
But the die was cast. The issue went to a vote. Chairman John and Baby Face went down on a vote of three to two. Victory! Whoever you are, if you want to apply for a business license, and pay the TOT; you’re free to start a short-term rental…unless you live along a dusty road. So, it’s back to the use permit, and really no victory at all. Chairman John has lost and won again, but that’s how this county works, but does it truly work for us?