Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Sep. 21, 2017

by AVA News Service, September 21, 2017

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by Rex Gressett

All day last Saturday, like the gladiator that she is, Marie Jones, Development Director for the City of Fort Bragg, conducted a public participation workshop on the old G-P mill site at the Starr Aquatic Center. A repeat performance at Town Hall is coming right up tonight, Thursday, September 21. The workshops are funded by a $150k grant from the Coastal Commission meant to jump start the eternally inert Mill site development.

The organizers provided colorful charts and posters along with elaborate graphs and many maps. There was a sign-up sheet so Ms. Jones could demonstrate to the funders of the event and the City Council how many people had attended. The charts were really colorful and there was truly an abundance of maps.

I had an opportunity to ask Ms. Jones how this planning exercise differed from the previous community planning sessions that took place in the 2006 and the 2012 eras. These are very different, she told me: "That was before we had these fabulous technologies to create posterboards. That was more like Powerpoint.”

The workshop was conducted four times Saturday. In the first round Marie Jones spoke to ten deeply bored folks. The persistent souls who showed up got tea (no coffee) and an opportunity to share their creative ideas if they had any with the city and the community.

Any saga extending over 17 years has to involve a certain amount of running around in circles. If you wobble down even a crooked line for that long, you are almost certain to find yourself somewhere. The Mill site is the exception that proves the rule. There was a prolonged public groan a few months ago when Marie Jones and her boss, City Manager Linda Ruffing, announced that the hugely expensive, massively complex, long embattled and finally fully negotiated Mill Site Specific Plan was to be discarded and forgotten like a jilted lover. The Specific Plan, they announced, would be replaced by a Local Coastal Amendment, which would henceforth encompass the zoning ordinance for the Mill site. It was a new ballgame. We thought we were back on square one then. After Saturday's all-day workshop we found out how far back square one can be.

On the maps there were various levels of development density indicated in varying colors. Colored pencils were provided and we were asked to color in some cool ideas. Post-its were provided to facilitate elaboration if that was wanted.

When I got my colored pencils and my sticky notes, I was gently restrained from dropping them in the trashcan by my companionable companion who reminded me to be nice. But it was not just me, there seemed to be mute agreement among the ten of us present that the workshop was so clumsily disingenuous that on some level everybody was either offended or at least confused. I saw Linda Jupiter, that stalwart of the “Go” party and irrepressible booster of City Manager totalitarianism, cruising sadly by my table with a look of cynical disappointment and ironic humor that had the poignancy of a Rembrandt. After 17 years of contributing good ideas the community’s idea well had pretty much run dry.

But as we sat around coloring there was one person deeply enthusiastic and aggressively coloring in his map. This individual turned out to be Mike Hart, of the Skunk Train. He approached the development director and tried to lay out his situation and proposal for the future of the city. I thought it deeply weird that Ms. Jones and Mr. Hart had not previously met.

Mr Hart's plan was ambitious, detailed and, he told us, was already on the desk of the executives at GP. Marie Jones looked through and around Mr. Hart.

The Skunk Train, it turned out, had been in complicated negotiations with Georgia-Pacific for some years. Vague rumors of deal-making had leaked out, but our Development Director had recently made it clear to the City Council that the Skunk had dropped their proposal.

The CEO of the Skunk had a different story. He buttonholed Marie Jones and persistently outlined his company’s ambitions to acquire 53 acres adjacent to the Skunk train property, including the dry sheds. This parcel has been blessed by the Department of Toxic Substances Control with a No Further Action Letter indicating (inaccurately) that it is free from toxins. The parcel extends right up to but does not include the dioxin-laden pond area (toxic swamp).

Mr Hart gave us to understand that he was on the brink of finalizing the Skunk's deal with GP. Indeed, it is set to close in November. The Skunk had even lined up a partner for the development of a Hotel. They wanted to abandon their own collapsing sheds and workshops and run tracks out to the dry sheds. They thought it would be great if the Skunk Train ran right along the coast so people could see the whales from the comfort of the passenger coaches. They had proposals for housing. It was all about to happen.

Marie Jones masked whatever astonishment she may have felt with calm displeasure.

Ms. Jones, as Development Director, is the go-to person for any project of any kind or in any scale proposed for the Mill site to the city. Councilman Will Lee had recently brought to the city the inquiries of a developer for multi-family housing. When Will asked Ms Jones about it at the council meeting Jones dismissed the inquiry with a wave of her hand. She is presumed to hold all keys to Fort Bragg development large and small. A new fence, a remodel, a commercial lease, you name it, it starts and often ends in discussion over the counter with her Development Department. The Skunk Train did not bother to consult Ms. Jones. Now it is starting to look like not bothering was the key to the Skunk proposal's success.

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IF WE WERE UKIAH PEOPLE, we’d despair that the dispute between city government and the sanitation district serving much of it, has devolved into endless legal disputes. We’d also be wondering why the Superior Court, way back, didn’t order both parties into binding arbitration.

WE WROTE the following in October of 2013:

HAVING HAD THEIR INITIAL $16 MILLION CLAIM unceremoniously and flatly denied by the City of Ukiah, the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District is following through with a major lawsuit against the city “presently seeking to recover damages of $15,176,064.44 and prejudgment interest over many years of $13,380,323.70 bringing the total present value of the damages to over $28,556,388.14.” The lawsuit alleges material breach of several agreements between the City and the District and entails thousands of pages of backup documents, mostly of a financial nature, demonstrating that the City of Ukiah “misrepresented” (apparently knowingly) the number of sewer connections in a way which underestimates out-of-city connections allocated to the District to favor Ukiah at the expense of the Sanitation District to the tune of the millions in damages. The misrepresentation then, ahem, flows naturally downhill into a multitude of financial calculations over several decades. The suit will be officially filed on Monday in Superior Court in Ukiah demanding damages and a special master and an audit of the books (which so far have been prepared by the City of Ukiah’s accounting department and mostly unavailable to the Sanitation District’s staff) and, based on the amount of detail in the suit just on the District’s side so far, may take months if not years to resolve, all the while accruing interest at the rate of 10% per annum on the underlying mountain of, ahem, dollars. And the interest will further accrue as the suit proceeds. Suffice it to say it could get, ahem, smelly. And since the City and the District are still joined at the (un)proverbial sewer lateral, one might hope that whatever animosity (not to say costs) may be generated among the officials and admin staffs that it will not, ahem, spill over onto the ratepayers, be they in or out of the City. (PS. Much of this, ahem, nastiness, could be avoided if the City of Ukiah would engage in fair and reasonable negotiations about the size of the problem with the UVSD staff and what should be done about it, rather than forcing the District to go to court to have the problem addressed after which a judge will probably order the parties into case management anyway, albeit with the extra costs associated with court cases.)

AT THIS POINT, four years later, we agree with KC Meadows’ assessment of the mess, as presented editorially in Sunday’s Ukiah Daily Journal. We hope the new guy in charge at the Sanitation District, Joe Tait, brings to his formidable task some basic reason and desire for sensible reconciliation, which would have to occur all on his side given the composition of Ukiah city government.


SAN DISTRICT TELLING MORE TALL TALES — Wasting more of its own ratepayers money, the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District has now hired a media consultant to spin its tall tales about recent payments to the San District from the City of Ukiah. The San District took out a full page ad in the Ukiah Daily Journal on Thursday to try to convince their ratepayers that they are succeeding in their attempt to extort money from the City of Ukiah taxpayers through a bogus lawsuit claiming the city owes them something like $35 million, money they say they can trace back to the 1950s. Not only is the lawsuit ridiculous, the ad (and a press release the San District sent out through their media consultant and a new Facebook page) portray a $4,544,482 payment from the city to the San District as “the result of mediation” on the lawsuit. That’s just not true. The payment from the city was after a routine request from the San District to access that amount from the San District’s own reserves, reserves held by the city in a long standing arrangement whereby the city collects the sewer rates from San District customers and puts them in an account for the San District to draw upon. That $4 million the San District asked for from its own reserves in August was duly handed over by the city and is supposed to go to San District operating expenses and debt service from the sewer system jointly built by the San District and the city. We suspect that those funds may instead be helping pay the almost $4 million in legal fees the San District has already racked up trying to get money out of the city. The San District ad also deliberately misleads on two other payments the city made to the San District of the District’s own money between 2013 and 2016. Some $2.8 million in October 2013 was, again, the city duly processing a check from a request by the San District for some of its own reserves. Another payment, in April of 2016 was the city giving the San District money it requested from its own Rate Stabilization fund. The San District is now claiming the city has paid these millions in reparations to the District, which they claim is an admission of the city’s fault in the lawsuit. Nothing could be further from the truth, which is that all these payments are simply the city giving the San District its own money as requested. That the San District needs this money is understandable. They have spent millions on the lawsuit and now have hired a media firm on top of that to try to sway public opinion in their favor. It’s really shameful. The San District ad says: “Actions speak louder than words – you be the judge.” The ratepayers of the San District certainly can see the actions this board has taken to waste millions of their money, money that could be going to improving the sewer system and preserving or lowering rates. The San District’s ratepayers should be demanding that they drop their crazy lawsuit immediately. The San District board is way out of its depth here and the ratepayers will be the judges in November’s San District board election, an election in which we hope district voters will oust all the incumbents on the ballot and demand bringing some sanity back to a sewer utility that has important environmental and financial challenges ahead.

A READER WRITES: We won’t have to figure out a way to return to a culture of thrift over gratification if the orange menace sitting in the Oval Office has its way… It’s ABOUT TIME the city settled with the Ukiah Sanitation District, RE-affirming a couple of local Grand Jury reports that sided with the Sanitation District and recommended they bring suit against the City of Ukiah… had the citizens held their elected officials more accountable, MUCH less money would have been spent on Lawyers in a frivolous series of events. The ratepayers and residents of Ukiah suffered the financial consequences. On a side note, it’s funny that responding entities to Grand Jury reports generally say that most of the Grand Jury recommendations aren’t warranted and won’t be implemented… and then scurry offf to go perform the Grand Jury recommendations. Current case in point is the inadequate response from the Mendo Parks and Rec District RE: the 2017 Mendo County Grand Jury report about MCRPD board finance mismanagement.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Yesterday, in response to yet another insult from the deadbeat cat, Skrag, I was compelled to demonstrate my lineage, as grand a pedigree as any in Boonville. Skrag, with typical insolence, strolls up today with a picture of his father — alleged father, I pointed out to him. ‘Get outta here, Skrag,' I said. ‘You're obviously just another feline hit and run job, although your so-called father is ugly enough to be your dad.’ He says to me, ‘You'll pay for that Little Dog’."

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Three Mendo Firefighters injured fighting the fire.

by Christi Warren

A wildfire burning grass and vineyard in Mendocino County grew to 142 acres overnight, after breaking out Tuesday afternoon along the western edge of Highway 101 just north of Hopland’s commercial district.

The blaze, estimated at 80 percent containment Wednesday, broke out about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday near Crawford Ranch Road around the same time a grape truck with a smoking engine was seen in the area, Cal Fire said. On Wednesday, it was still unclear if there was any connection, said Cal Fire Spokeswoman Tricia Austin.

Three firefighters have suffered minor injuries.

While structures were temporarily threatened Tuesday, they were no longer threatened Wednesday, Austin said, explaining that Hopland’s weather — with scattered showers — had aided firefighters’ progress.

Cal Fire crews, assisted by Hopland, Ukiah and Redwood Valley fire departments, were expected to remain on scene throughout the day.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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CAPTAIN FATHOM, disheveled and disoriented, wandered into our office late Tuesday afternoon. Whatever meds the famous founding father of the Albion Nation is on, he was off them, ebullient as ever but pretty much incoherent. He said he's 78, "same as you, chief," and "the angry young white men of Mendocino County are talking revolution." I said the angry young white men lack leadership and a plan, but I'm available to at least point them in the correct direction. "You got a twenty I can borrow? You know I always pay you back." Fathom tottered off in the direction of alcohol. And, an hour later, drunk, reappeared to ask for a ride to Bald Mountain. "I'll give you a thousand for a ride." Nope. "Ten Thousand." Nope. Fathom lunged off into the night. I'm pretty sure he has his own place five or six miles up the Albion Ridge from Highway One, but he's in no condition, mental or physical, to be unsupervised. Fathom does best in the County Jail, where his celebrity is acknowledged and he enjoys regular visits from Sheriff Allman. The founding father of the Albion Nation is quite likely to also become the founding father of the Sheriff's in-county psych unit which, we hope, is voted into reality this November.

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SPEAKING OF THE SHERIFF, we disagreed with nothing he said to the Supervisors Tuesday re marijuana production in the county.

But we'd add that there has always been an intolerable level of violence associated with the love drug all the way back to its outlaw beginnings, and the almost simultaneous realization by the thug community that ripping it and its growers off could be quite lucrative. The recent violence is really nothing new, especially at this time of year.

THE SHERIFF cited the recent honey oil explosion at a Willits property whose owners were licensed to grow but not brew up extract in a lab on the premises. The Sheriff said the lab contained $3 million worth of equipment. One would think that people with all the right gear would be able to manage production without blowing the place up, but it isn't called dope for nothing.

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SORTING OUT THE DAILY DELUGE of national and international catastrophes in order of peril, Trump's blustery, boorish appearance at the UN yesterday just might be the beginning of the Mother of all Catastrophes. "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.... Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime,” Orange Man declared.

THE PROBLEM is that if Rocket Man, aka Kim Jong Un, thinks he's going to be attacked, or is attacked, he can and undoubtedly will take out South Korea and much of Japan with him. He might even lob a missile into downtown Frisco; he apparently has that kind of long-range capacity. It seems obvious that Trump doesn't understand how dangerous this situation is, the magnitude of the disaster that could be unleashed on the world, blithely saying a while ago that even if it comes to war with North Korea all the casualties would be confined to Asia. Given what we know of Rocket Man, a good pal of former NBA star Dennis Rodman, is that his vanity is Trumpian, that Trump could probably cool him out by an invitation to the White House and courtside tickets to the NBA finals. But it's beyond absurd that the world's fate is in the hands of the two craziest people in it, with Trump having the edge in pure nutball-ism, and something unprecedentedly bad is poised to kick off.

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In September at the house of Barbara Champion and Randy Dalton transpired the first and foremost meeting of the Unity League. In attendance were a rep from Martin Luther King Christian Leadership, Heile Selassie of the Black Liberation Front, the Pong Reservation, Professor Ping-Pong of Willits, and Alan Graham, IWW, Earth First/Albion Nation, Anna Marie, Gualala, Head of the General Defense Committee. The first and most important task to Trump Trump, and second to provide shelter for whoever needs it. With a donation of your good wishes this will happen. Heil-Perkins, IWW Albion, will take over the funding along with KK. McQuire, owner of a Bald Hills Ranch, Fort Bragg. PS. Do not despair fellow humans, the darkest hour is just before the dawn.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham


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Dear AVA,

My name is Chris Conner and I'm currently serving time at San Quentin. I made a mistake and now I'm paying for it. Recently I was talking to a friend of mine from Willits and he told me that if I was doing time that you might send me the Advertiser for free. It's not that I don't want to pay for it. It's just that my situation ain’t the best right now, financially speaking that is. So if possible I would love to read the Advertiser and would share it with the other fellas on the tier. I know you all are probably pretty busy so I won't take up too much of your time. Until next time, so long from San Quentin. May the Good Lord bless you and yours.

Chris Conner

San Quentin

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To Alan Crow Sr.:

For most of my life I hated you. I hated you for the cruel and despicable abuse you inflicted upon my mother and for refusing to be my dad during the many times I've struggled in my lifetime.

But most of all I hated you because I knew the struggles I experienced were due to being cursed with genetics from your gene pool.

The hate I had for you was manifested in many different forms. It came in the form of me throwing rocks at your house when I met you briefly 27 years ago. It destroyed my sense of self-worth because growing up feeling bad about who you were translated into me feeling bad about who I was. And it destroyed my ability to maintain healthy personal relationships. All of these deficits are in large part the reason I write this from behind the walls in a state prison.

But fortunately I am also blessed with genetics from my mother's gene pool. All the good ones! And it is in that goodness that I no longer hate you. I am able to forgive you because in my mind you are dead. In my dreams you have died a thousand deaths thus making it impossible to hate a dead man.

And in your death I rejoice. I rejoice because you no longer have the ability to control my life, my happiness or the manner in which I function in this world.

But now much to my disgust you have come back from the grave to haunt me in the form of a phone conversation with my mother during which you told her you refused to meet me because I threw rocks at your house 27 years ago.

The old me would have been enraged and hurt at your rejection, but not now. Not ever!

Instead I give you what you were never able to give me. I give you forgiveness, compassion and my love.

And then, once again, I dream of your death. And I bury you along with all the shame I carry at knowing you are my father.

Rest in peace,

Alan Crowe Jr.

Salinas Valley State prison

PS. And to you my son “Dylan Crow” I am from the deepest part of my heart sorry for coming to prison. I love you. You and your sister Whitney are the only things in this world that matter to me. So please hold off a little longer. I'm coming for you!

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Dear AVA,

I saw your segment in Valley people regarding my situation. I wanted to extend a personal thank you for the effort you have been making.

The series of events that led up to my CDCR commitment has been poured over quite a bit by those who were close to it. Mendocino Public Defender Linda Thompson presented each of Deputy District Attorney Kevin Davenport's "deals" while I was in jail. Attached to each of them was the condition that I provide testimony against Aaron Channel in exchange and each of them entailed a life term.

In the initial offer (15 to life with testimony, if memory serves), I refused on two grounds. I wasn't going to testify against Aaron (both a prison death sentence and a moral compromise I was unwilling to make) and, in the political environment of former Governor Gray Davis, any life term equated to life without possibility of parole so any such deal wasn't a deal at all. I quite colorfully replied to the offer in a manner commensurate with its ridiculousness.

After Aaron took the deal for 19 years and eight months at (then) 85% I was offered 25 to life. I refuse this deal as well on the same grounds as above, namely its equivalency to life without.

In a meeting with Linda Thompson at the courthouse while the jury was off deliberating whether or not I was a heinous creature deserving of perpetual isolation from society, she quite confidently assured me of the likelihood that I would be able to come by her office later and pick up my court records from her personally; you know, since I wasn't going to be convicted.

Things didn't go this way, obviously. Instead, the jury came back in a couple of hours and sent me off to my doom. I was in such a state of shock when the verdict came in that I nearly broke down when Mr. Reynolds (the father of an "acquaintance" of mine, as he put it) put his hand on my shoulder on the way out the door.

Thompson's closing statement (the only statement, really, since she merely stood up and said "the defense rests," when asked to call the first witness) was in effect "my client is a horrible person but the district attorney can't prove he did this particular horrible deed."

In light of this obvious non-defense, let's visit a couple of other critical points for a moment.

Linda Thompson filed a 995 motion to force Judge Nelson to conduct a review of Judge Brown's decision to admit the "confession" (which I still vehemently state was coerced; watch the thing). Judge Nelson responds to this was to completely agree with our motion, then state that it was his place to tell another judge how to do his job. That is the very essence and purpose of an 995 motion!

Thompson's response? Well, that sucked, but what can you do?

This was all pretrial, mind you.

With the knowledge that Judge Nelson was against the idea of admitting the "confession" and would likely throw it out if he was the trial judge, it would make sense that an intelligent lawyer would want to make sure the case was heard by this guy at trial, right? Here's what ended up happening instead.

Thompson filed a 176.1 motion to recuse the initial judge from hearing the trial. It was sent to Ten Mile Court where a 176.1 happened again. Then it went to the Willits courthouse. Apparently the District Attorney's Office was having some sort of feud with the presiding judge in Fort Bragg and Davenport was required by District Attorney Norm Vroman to 176.1 him. Then Lehan, with another 176.1 motion.

Hell, I thought, all we have to do is keep filing these 176.1 motions until we land in front of Judge Nelson and hope like hell Davenport doesn't 176.1 that guy. If that happens, the state essentially has no evidence and will want to offer a more intelligent deal (since life in prison for essentially driving a truck a few miles down logging road is nincompoopery at its finest).

So, after Lehan, we landed in front of Judge Henderson. Who is this guy? A family lawyer with absolutely zero experience in criminal cases. In fact, we later discovered he was so inept at criminal jurisprudence that the district attorney had to confirm with Linda Thompson in court to guide Henderson on how to resolve certain issues of basic criminal procedure.

Anyway, I immediately told Linda Thompson to, as I recall, "176.1 this jackass." Her response was that she had a good feeling she could get somewhere with this judge and she was going to keep him. Looking back, I should have flipped out in the courtroom immediately and filed a Marsden motion to remove Linda Thompson from my case at once. Of course, I was just a dumb kid who doesn't know any of these things, so that didn't happen.

Going back to the beginning, we were both picked up (Aaron Channel and I) on the word of August Stuckey (King Rat, for any who don't already know.) Stuckey gave no less than four different versions of events, each of which portrayed Stuckey as the innocent and helpless victim of the Abreu Channel machine. In one version of events, Aaron and I had threatened to rape and kill his sister Candace and he didn't lure Don Perez to Fort Bragg. (Ask Aaron's wife how he and I feel about rapists if this scenario still sounds plausible.)

In another scenario, Aaron and I repeatedly stabbed Stuckey with ice picks until he acquiesced and lured Perez to us.

Our motive? Who knows? In fact, there was absolutely no connection to Perez for either Aaron or I. August, however? Turns out they were gay lovers! That sounds like a pretty solid connection to me. In fact, the only evidence that led from Perez to any of us was the presence of Stuckey’s phone number in the abandoned truck of Mr. Perez.

Anyway, I think you get the idea. There's so much wrong with this case and how it was handled that any moron with a law degree should have been able to get a better deal or beat it outright.

No cause of death was established. ("The cause of death is determined to be: undetermined," according to the autopsy report.)

No murder weapon was recovered — no murder was even established.

It was conjecture that his throat was cut, but no blood was found on his shirt below the neck. More likely scenario: taped to a tree and left for dead. Proper charge: negligent homicide or voluntary manslaughter.

Maybe I will write a book about this travesty. I've nothing better to do with my wasted life.

If anyone out there still gives a crap about justice, I've always got an open ear.

Go figure,

Tai Abreu T-61118
High Desert State Prison A5-215
P.O. Box 3030
Susanville, CA 96127

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NO QUIZ this week. We do alternate Thursdays, the 2nd and 4th one of each month. See you next week - Thursday, September 28th.

Cheers, Steve Sparks, QuizMaster

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(Click to enlarge)

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The following press release was issued by the Mendocino County Sheriff Office Wednesday at 9:32 am:

"On Tuesday, September 19, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office confirmed, through fingerprint comparison, the victim, in this case, was 19-year-old Ramon Naranjo (Castaneda), pictured below.

It is believed Ramon may have lived in or frequented the San Jose area before traveling to Covelo.

An autopsy was conducted on Friday (9/15/2017) which confirmed the manner of death as being a homicide. However, the exact cause of death is not being released at this point in the investigation.

The Sheriff's Office is requesting anyone who may have information about the movements or whereabouts of Ramon in the days and weeks before his death to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Communications Center at 707-463-4086 or the Sheriff's Tip Line at 707-234-2100.

Original Sheriff Press Release

This was the initial press release on the incident from the Mendocino County Sheriff:

"On Wednesday, September 13, around 10:30 Aam, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a call regarding a deceased person near MPM 24.98 on Covelo Road in Covelo. Cal Fire and Covelo Volunteer Fire responded to the scene and confirmed the person was deceased.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies and Detectives responded to the scene and initiated an investigation. The male adult has yet to be identified. The decedent appeared to be a Hispanic male, between 25 and 35 years of age and he was clearly the victim of a homicide.

The scene appeared to be an area where the body was dumped but did not appear to be the scene of the crime. The investigation revealed the body was placed at the location during a very short period of time just prior to the call reporting the body had been found.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is requesting anyone who may have seen a vehicle or persons acting suspiciously anywhere on Highway 162 (Covelo Road), south of the town of Covelo to the Dos Rios area, or parked in any of the dirt pullouts along this route, between 9:45 AM and 12:00 PM to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Communications Center at 707-463-4086 or the Sheriff's Tip Line at 707-234-2100.

There are current posts on some social media sites claiming a certain vehicle was seen and/or that an arrest has been made in this case. This information is not accurate. The Sheriff's Office has not identified an involved vehicle and no arrest have been made in this case. The Sheriff's Office is requesting assistance from any citizen who might have information about this case."

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On 09-19-2017 at approximately 4:07 p.m., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies received a radio call for service for a residential burglary in progress in the 29000 block of Highway 20 in Fort Bragg. Prior to deputies arrival, the victim Jeremy James, 42, of Fort Bragg, restrained the suspect pending law enforcement's arrival.  After arriving and investigating the incident, deputies learned the victim entered James’ residence and found the suspect inside removing personal property. The victim carried out a citizen's arrest as the suspect tried to leave and the victim restrained the suspect until law enforcement arrived.  Deputies conducted a search of the suspect following his arrest and found him in possession of several items of the victim's personal property.  During that investigation, deputies determined the suspect also entered two vehicles and attempted to remove additional property.  Deputies determined the suspect had provided them a false identity.  Deputies later positively identified the suspect as Joseph Hull, 31, of Fort Bragg. Hull was also confirmed to be on felony probation for Theft of a motor vehicle.  Hull was ultimately transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of Burglary of the First Degree, False Personation of Another, Possession of Stolen Property and Violation of Probation. He is being held in lieu of bail set at $50,000.


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I’m from Hoopa and have visited Covelo a couple of times this past month for the Blackberry Festival and Labor Day Rodeos. I love the place! We were housed by a generous family and others helped us repair our truck without accepting our monetary gesture of thanks. Everybody we met there was friendly and helpful. They have an awesome park, two rodeo grounds, a couple of parts stores, a decent grocery store and a nice looking High School. You can even grab a burger and shop at the thrift store across the street (we don’t have luxuries like that in Hoopa). It’s a beautiful valley with lots of great folks. Bad stuff happens in good places all of the time. Covelo, like Hoopa, is geographically isolated making it difficult for understaffed news organizations to easily cover the good stuff and great people. I’m convinced crisis oriented articles/press releases have helped skew the overall perception of our communities. It’s not entirely the media’s fault. I know how it is to run an understaffed news organization. We do the best we can with the resources we have. As for Hoopa and Covelo “getting worse”, that’s probably true. Everywhere is “getting worse.” Please remember there are good things and great people in these small towns, but they don’t often make the headlines. My condolences to this young man’s family.

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The hairpin turn at the end of Oat Valley on Highway 128 northwest of Cloverdale, circa 1932. If I recall correctly, that embankment reinforcement on the right was still there in the late 1950s. (Marshall Newman)

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To the Editor:

It is with a heavy heart that we, Simon and Luke Keegan, write this letter. As many in the community already know, a number of years ago our family suffered the unexpected, tragic loss of our mother, Susan Keegan. We are currently reeling from the dubious decision to indict our father, Peter Keegan, with the use of a grand jury, meanwhile coping with his diagnosis of stage four cancer. Given our lack of control over the public nature of recent events, the purpose of this letter is to make a unified family statement regarding these allegations, and to clarify a number of falsehoods that have been presented in the media. The number of facts that have been blatantly misreported is astounding; as are the number of assumptions, inferences, and suggestions.

We are disappointed to see coverage of our mother’s death repeatedly mentioning that “friends and family” believe that there was some foul play in our mother’s death, based on the beliefs of a select few individuals that continue to refer to themselves as such. We are aware that our mother had some highly motivated friends, who have refused to accept this incident for what it was, an accident. We are disheartened that their misguided attempts to make sense of our mother’s death has contributed to the reporting of false information, presented as truth and fact, and worse, a gross mischaracterization of our father. We are in no way affiliated with these individuals, nor do we support their actions.

It is out of a deep, forever love for both our mother and father that we wish to honor our family and our truths. We continue to stand steadfast by our father’s side, and cherish our memories of our mother.

Luke & Simon Keegan, Ukiah

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To the Editor:

A thoughtful pause in the Ukiah community’s energetic discussion of the Mendocino County District Attorney’s decision to charge Dr. Peter Keegan in the murder of his wife, Susan, could be wise.

Reminder: Dr. Keegan’s guilt or innocence will be determined in a court of law, not the court of public opinion. This is not a popularity contest, and should not become a defense-orchestrated public relations campaign. Forensic evidence, findings from a series of search warrants, and the testimony of informed witnesses will dictate the outcome. An unbiased jury of Dr. Keegan’s peers will deliver the verdict, without giving weight to rumor or guesswork. The truth will not take sides.

That should reassure anyone with a personal interest in the case, no matter what they believe happened on Nov. 11, 2010, when just two people were in the Keegan home, and one was murdered. The District Attorney’s subsequent investigation of Susan’s death was deliberate, painstaking and, yes, very slow, but it was most certainly not a “witch hunt.” Anyone who uses a phrase like that dishonors the investigators, the judicial process, the friends and family who pleaded for a careful examination of the evidence, and the grand jury that voted overwhelmingly to indict Peter Keegan.

For reasons of history and tradition, the use of criminal grand juries is less common in California than in many other states. In New York, for example, they are convened routinely, especially with high-profile crimes. Prosecutors sometimes prefer to present their case to a grand jury, rather than at a judicial hearing, to be assured that the scope of their evidence is persuasive to ordinary citizens. They are obliged to present all available evidence – exculpatory, as well as incriminating. While the law does not permit witnesses to appear with their own attorneys, it does require the defendant to be notified that a grand jury is meeting, and to be offered a chance to testify. If Peter Keegan availed himself of that opportunity, the jury would undoubtedly have heard the defendant’s side of the story in detail.

After many days of testimony, the grand jury in the Keegan case applied the legal standard of “strong suspicion” to hand down its indictment. No one is celebrating that outcome, which is heartbreaking to all who knew and loved the Keegan family; indeed, it is a tragedy eclipsed only by the established fact that Susan was murdered. For that, Dr. Keegan must be allowed to face a jury of his peers, and the community given a chance to hear the evidence gathered against him. That is the only pathway to justice.

Karyn Feiden (Susan Keegan’s cousin), New York

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To the Editor:

The problems that the homeless/transient population in our community have been well documented in this paper. Citizens, property owners, and business owners, on a daily basis have to contend with cleaning up human waste, drug paraphernalia, trash, discarded clothing and belongings, and having to deal with break-ins, fires, thefts, and abuse. Indirectly, all of these members of the taxpaying community see money having to be spent on clean-up, law enforcement, and medical addition to what they have to spend to secure their own property and safety.

In addition, the habitually homeless have figured out how to game the system. They haul around a huge amount of ‘possessions’ to discourage them from being arrested, because otherwise law enforcement would have to inventory and safeguard all of their things. Spending a few nights in jail, particularly during the winter months, gets them out of the weather. They receive three square meals, and if they require medical treatment, its all free and available, courtesy of the taxpayer.

The homeless will not go away if they are ignored nor will they if they receive services to sustain themselves. It is now time to move to solutions, not band-aids:

  1. A simple search on the internet shows that, depending on the study, between 20 percent and 40 percent of the homeless population has mental illness. If our homeless/transient population is 600, then around 200 fit this category. There is no good place to take these people when they are in a law enforcement encounter. Jail is not set up to care for the mentally ill. If they are taken to the UVMC, then a law enforcement officer must guard them 24/7. Let’s support Sheriff Tom Allman’s ballot initiative this fall. These people need to be taken off the streets to a place where they will receive proper care and supervision.
  2. Well over half the homeless/transient population has a substance abuse problem. Some are also in the mentally ill category. The rest got to their situation either because they had a substance abuse problem where they could not hold a job or their behavior is such that the others in their living situation could take it no longer. Many with substance abuse issues, perhaps found themselves ‘down on their luck’, lost hope, and turned to one substance or another to escape reality. This is the segment which is inclined to theft or utilize government welfare or charity in order to sustain their habit. Whether these people want it or know it, they need help. I would guess, this population would be on the order of 200 or 300. They need a place to go where they can get support, treatment, and supervision. Some municipalities claim success if shelters are open and available 24/7. It is obvious, to me then, that the proposed Homeless Services Center is much too small with little or no bed space. The guests will have a place to hang out during the day, but then they will be able to go about their business at night. So, while a small number of people may be helped, the vast majority will be just sustaining their lifestyle, and the community will continue to deal with the problems these people leave behind. Seems to me, if law enforcement encounters someone who has violated a law or an ordinance such as being under the influence, in possession of illegal substances, contraband, weapons, or stolen property (e.g., shopping carts), trespassing, panhandling, defecation in public, illegal camping, or disturbing the peace, they should be able to arrest the person and take them to a Remediation Center, open 24/7 . Certain staff at the shelter could be deputized as law enforcement officers to take custody of the individual and place them in low level detention. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial, so a Judge could stop by the center every few days, and hold a trial ... it would be much the same as traffic court. The sentence would be a no-nonsense treatment program.
  3. There are a number of people who have chosen homelessness or being a transient as a way of life. The only difference is the latter moves on to some other municipality when their welcome is worn out. Our county jails should be reserved for serious crime. Those who are homeless or transient are habitually committing low level crimes. For them, a low cost detention center operating much like the one in Arizona. If these guests find this facility unsuitable, they are free to move along somewhere else.
  4. There is a small population who are truly down on their luck and need help. They aren’t abusing substances and they are not committing crimes or causing problems. They just don’t have any place to go. These folks need a gentle hand, and with transitional housing and loving support, they will be back on their feet in no time.
  5. Between Federal and State Law, the homeless/transient population has learned to gum up law enforcement and fleece the tax payer for ‘free’ services. If they want to avoid arrest, they make know how to make that process difficult and time consuming. However, going to jail for a few nights is actually an upgrade for them as they get bathed, a bed with a roof over their head, three square meals, and medical care. We will need to find out from local law enforcement and care providers which laws actually enable the homeless/transient population and then contact our representatives Huffman, Wood, and McGuire to get them changed.

It certainly is no easy life being homeless. Except for the fourth group, there is no reason to pity them. Most citizens want their city back and see the population of homeless and transients on the decrease. I think we all want to get the homeless they help they need to either get back on their feet or placement in one institution or another. It really is time to think big and do what is needed to do instead of ‘just doing something’.

D.E. Johnson, Ukiah

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, September 20, 2017

Azbill, Diamond, Gahm, Mackey

BRITTON AZBILL JR., Covelo. County parole violation.

ZACHARY DIAMOND, San Leandro/Hopland. DUI.

ARNOLD GAHM, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, sentenced for mandatory supervision.

KRISTINA MACKEY, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, escaping while charged with misdemeanor by force or violence.

D.Nonnarath, T.Nonnarath, Offerall

DENNIS NONNARATH, El Sobrante/Ukiah. Failure to appear, conspiracy.

THEPBANGON NONNARATH, Oakley/Ukiah. Failure to appear, conspiracy.

JACOB OFFERALL, Covelo. Probation revocation.

Pace, C.Tran, T.Tran

KYLE PACE, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

CUONG TRAN, San Jose/Ukiah.

THU TRAN, San Jose/Ukiah. Conspiracy.

* * *


If you’re talking about elected bodies, especially at the federal level, you don’t need to elaborate. Do Republicans have anything at all besides tricks to enrich the rich and ruin everyone else? Republicans pretend to be patriots. This is surely a joke. Is ruining the American worker patriotic?

The Democrats are no different. They wrap themselves in the mantle of virtue and high-mindedness. But who are they kidding? Like their Republican opposites, their raison d’etre is the interest of the billionaire donor class.

The Democratic Party steadfastly defended the interests of exploitative businesses and strenuously worked against the interests of ordinary people, they resolutely ignored the steady sinking prospects of the vast interior of the country at the hands of these giant companies. Now Democrats ridicule these citizens whose lives they destroyed. Racists, they are, or fascists. Deplorable sez Hillary.

The ordinary working of language itself seems to have ceased especially on campus. They say “diversity” when they mean the most rigid Stalinist conformity. The most laughable is the use of the word “progressive” in reference to people who dedicate themselves to afflicting the afflicted. They say that Hillary is for Black people, especially Black women. Seriously?

* * *

IF YOU WANT TO LOOK in our rearview, it’s lynchings and race war and genocide all the way back, from Hispaniola to Jolo Island in the Philippines to Mendocino County, California, where we nearly wiped out the Yuki people once upon a time.

— Matt Taibbi

* * *

* * *


by Dan Bacher

In a major victory for Delta Tunnels opponents, the Board of Directors of the Westlands Water District on September 19 voted 7 to 1 against their participation in Governor Jerry Brown’s California WaterFix project.

Growers in the massive district, located on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, cited the high cost of the state-federal proposal as their reason for rejecting the project. Politically powerful Westlands is the largest irrigation district in the country.

The district would be one of the key beneficiaries of the proposed 35-mile long twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — and their rejection of the project is a major loss for the Brown administration’s campaign to fast-track the construction of the tunnels. It also sends a message to other water districts that the cost of the controversial plan is not worth the potential benefits.

The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California board is slated to  vote on the tunnels in early October, but the Westlands vote delivers a major blow to the project.

“Westlands’ decision to not participate in the California WaterFix will make it very difficult for other agencies to participate,” Tom Birmingham, the General Manager of Westlands, told the Los Angeles Times.

In a statement issued the day after the meeting, the district said they rejected the California WaterFix because the project is “not financially viable” from their perspective:

“The District appreciates the efforts of Governor Jerry Brown and his administration to balance the interests of many. Indeed, over the last twelve months the State administration worked diligently to define a viable project, but from Westlands' perspective, the project is not financially viable.”

Westlands' principal source of water is the Central Valley Project, a project operated by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. The CVP is integrated both operationally and financially. However, under the ‘participation approach’announced by Reclamation for CWF, only CVP contractors that chose to participate in CWF would pay the costs of constructing and operating new facilities, with no assurance that those contractors would receive the water supply benefits resulting from CWF.

Westlands supported the development of CWF and has invested considerable financial resources, time, and expertise into its planning, but consistently stated that it would not obligate the farmers it serves to billions of dollars in debt without reasonable assurances that the project would produce reliable, affordable water supplies. The District recognizes that solving Delta conveyance issues is critical to ensuring reliable water supplies to support the economy of the State, but it cannot support a project that would make water supplies for its farmers unaffordable.”

Delta Tunnels opponents are very pleased with the Westlands decision.

"Today is a very good day for California,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, in a statement. “By rejecting California WaterFix, the Westlands Water District has dealt a blow to the project. There are many better solutions for creating a sustainable water supply in California.”

She noted that Metropolitan Water District's math used to justify the construction of the project is based on a “sizable contribution from Westlands,” as is the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s math.

“They now have to come up with a lot more money for the Delta Tunnels,” Barrigan-Parrilla stated. “It won't pencil out for them either.”

The Brown administration tried to downplay the significance of the Westlands decision.

“There is one thing on which everyone agrees: Our aging infrastructure needs to be modernized,” said California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird in a statement. “Failing to act puts future water supply reliability at risk. This vote, while disappointing, in no way signals the end of WaterFix.”

The Westlands vote against the tunnels is not the only victory in the campaign to stop the project on the same day. The Los Angeles City Council Energy and Environmental Committee also voted no for the Delta Tunnels project -- “until the project is fully financed and Metropolitan Water District meets all their considerations,” according to RTD.

On September 18, over 40 ratepayers drew significant media attention by holding a No Tunnels, No Water Rate Hike rally in front of Los Angeles City Hall.

Rally and meeting participants included representatives of Food & Water Watch, Consumer Watchdog, Union de Vecinos, Restore the Delta, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Concerned Citizens of Compton, Southern California Watershed Alliance, Sierra Club Angeles Water Committee, March and Rally-LA, People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER), and Ground Game LA, neighborhood council leaders and faith leaders.

“The Delta Tunnels would raise water rates and property taxes in Los Angeles, costing ratepayers a total of $2.5 to $4 billion,” said Brenna Norton of Food and Water Watch. “These massive tunnels would change the way water is diverted from the Bay Delta and would send additional water to corporate agribusinesses in the Central Valley, while Southern California ratepayers pay more for no additional water.”

Norton said the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has endorsed this rate hike, which would be imposed by the Metropolitan Water District, even though it plans to reduce water imports from the Delta.

Also on Tuesday, the Santa Clara Valley Water District in San Jose voted to pass a "no regrets package" planning $100 million for 9 different projects like stormwater capture, leak repair and gray water, RTD stated.

Delta Tunnels opponents are urging people to show up for their public meeting on September 26th to tell them to vote no on the project.

On Monday, the Associated Press revealed that "dozens of water agencies and millions of families and farmers would be on the hook” for building the Delta Tunnels. AP obtained new documents from Westlands — and confirmed the expanded funding demands in phone and email interviews with state and local water officials:

Also on Monday, the California Indian Water Commission joined three environmental groups — the California Water Impact Network, AquAlliance and California Sportfishing Protection Alliance — in filing a legal challenge to the financing of the Delta Tunnels.

A recent landmark 9th Circuit ruling that federally reserved Indian water rights have precedent over all state and federal water rights puts a new twist on how much water there really will be available for the tunnels or any other project — and could put a big wrench in state and federal plants to build the massive 35 mile long tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

“The California Indian Water Commission's involvement in this filing is about upholding traditional indigenous responsibilities to the lands and waters of California," said Don Hankins, President of the federally recognized 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."

For more information, go to:


23 Responses to Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Sep. 21, 2017

  1. Lazarus Reply

    September 21, 2017 at 7:58 am

    “SPEAKING OF THE SHERIFF, we disagreed with nothing he said to the Supervisors Tuesday re marijuana production in the county.”

    Personally I would like to know the cost of Marijuana to the Sheriffs department and others. I would also like to know exactly how much in forfeitures is acquired by said agencies per year…
    As always,

    • james marmon Reply

      September 21, 2017 at 8:35 am

      Nobody in their right mind are going to give any real numbers Laz, Mental-cino County operates on trust. Your request is not politically correct and will hurt feelings, get a hold of yourself or you will be joining Captain Fathom on Anderson’s naughty list.



    • Mark Scaramella Reply

      September 21, 2017 at 11:32 am

      You can start with:
      but it appears to have not been updated since late last year.

  2. Eric Sunswheat Reply

    September 21, 2017 at 8:27 am

    “there has always been an intolerable level of violence associated with… [stealing property wealth resources] …all the way back to its outlaw beginnings, and the almost simultaneous realization by the thug community that ripping it… off could be quite lucrative.”

    Bernie Sanders is scheduled to be in SF on Friday, tomorrow.

  3. susie de castro Reply

    September 21, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Oh, yes, THE Bernie Sanders who stole the election from Hillary Clinton.

    • james marmon Reply

      September 21, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Thank God!!!! We know that’s why we won, lol

      • james marmon Reply

        September 21, 2017 at 9:37 am

        The socialist party will never support a democrat or republican for president. Had Bernie ran against Trump, Trump would have won by a landslide, real Democrats would have crossed party lines just to vote against Sanders, like many of us did against Hillary.

        • Harvey Reading Reply

          September 22, 2017 at 5:51 am

          Apparently “real democrat” = “republican” for you. Truth is “real democrats”, whose numbers are ever-dwindling in this brainwashed country that prefers to vote for those who represent only wealth, voted for Stein, lame as she turned out to be.

    • Harvey Reading Reply

      September 21, 2017 at 10:22 am

      Even if your nonsensical assertion had any validity to it at all, having that monster out of the picture is something to be thankful for. It will never be “her turn”.

      • james marmon Reply

        September 21, 2017 at 10:35 am

        See susie, I was right. Spoken by a true socialist.

      • susie de castro Reply

        September 21, 2017 at 11:17 am

        “Never say Never”, as the saying goes, or if you don’t like that one, then: “God works in mysterious ways”. Oh, you don’t like that one either? How about, “Whatever”.

  4. Craig Stehr Reply

    September 21, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Just forget all of the mundane crap for a moment, and show up at City Lights Bookstore at Columbus & Broadway in San Francisco TONIGHT at 7 P.M. for a book signing and reception with Francis Ford Coppola. Obviously, the after party will segue across Jack Kerouac Alley into the historic literary watering hole Vesuvio’s Café. P.S. If you want to stay over in SF, Green Tortoise travel hostel on Broadway has vacancies.

    • LouisBedrock Reply

      September 21, 2017 at 11:46 am

      “Just forget all of the mundane crap for a moment,”

      …so you can read Craig Stehr’s mundane crap.

      • Craig Stehr Reply

        September 21, 2017 at 1:08 pm

        Who is forcing you to read anything that I post?

        • Harvey Reading Reply

          September 22, 2017 at 5:53 am

          Touchy, touchy, touchy, Stehr… Where’s that good ol’ inner calm?

  5. LouisBedrock Reply

    September 21, 2017 at 11:30 am

    “I’ll get around to seeing Ken Burns series on the war in Vietnam some time soon. It will be kind of a chore, something I’m really not looking forward to. That’s because I’ve already heard that the Ken Burns documentary declares the war in Vietnam a “tragic mistake” based on “misunderstanding” of something or somebodies by other somebodies. In a way that’s enough for me. I understand the war in Vietnam as not a tragic mistake, but a vast and heinous crime, a crime wave really, lasting 3 decades from 1945 to 1975. During the last third of that time alone more than 3 million people lost their lives.”

    Bruce A. Dixon

  6. Alice Chouteau Reply

    September 21, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Bernie Sanders saved the election! The Dems better dump Hilary now if they intend to survive.
    Rex–those city workshops are a hoot, coloring and sticky notes…whee! Then the city will pretend to care about public input, whilst quietly shelving unpopular projects for later. The train idea, seems to me to violate the ‘no concessions’ rule for that area. I also wonder if tsunamis, earthquakes, and rising sea level coupled with more powerful storms have been factored in. I like the idea of doing nothing more on the mill site, except cleaning up the toxins DTSC says are safe…

  7. Judy Reply

    September 21, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Alice, the ‘no concessions’ rule was for the Coastal Trail.It was part of the deal for getting the trails put in.

  8. Jim Updegraff Reply

    September 21, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    D. E. Johnson has got it right.

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