Mendocino County Today: Friday, Sep. 22, 2017

by AVA News Service, September 22, 2017

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EXPLOSION AT MARIJUANA EXTRACTION LAB ON CROPLEY LANE

by Jennifer Poole, The Willits Weekly

A reported explosion last week at 563 Cropley Lane in Willits – the old Mosher Brothers Supply property – led to the discovery of an illegal and “highly sophisticated” marijuana extraction lab.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Little Lake Fire Department firefighters were called to the property at 1:41 pm on Tuesday, September 12 after a citizen, who was approximately 200 yards away, “felt the shock wave of the explosion,” Sheriff Tom Allman told Willits Weekly.

When deputies and fire personnel arrived, they saw “an approximately 30,000 square foot industrial metal-sided building that did not appear to be on fire,” according to the press release put out by MCSO. “Upon closer examination the building had a large hole in the roof which was caused by an unknown projectile being expelled through it during a witnessed explosion inside of the building.”

“The piece of metal that put the hole in the roof,” Allman said, “went through a shipping container before it went through the roof, and was found 225 feet away from the building.”

When responders entered the building, “attempting to locate any potential injured person(s),” the press release stated, they didn’t find anybody there, but they did find the marijuana extraction lab.

Allman said officers from the California Department of Justice, who arrived at the scene on Wednesday, told him “this was the largest extraction lab that's ever been seen in California.”

Along with CO2 canisters under 2,000 psi pressure, Allman said, officers found “several hundred gallons of ethanol” in the building. Law enforcement personnel confiscated an estimated $3 million worth of equipment from the site, Allman said, along with “several hundred” marijuana plants growing in five large hoop-house greenhouses on the property.

The 8.2-acre property – complete with a pond and a well – did have an “application receipt” for cannabis cultivation from the Mendocino County Department of Agriculture posted on the gate to the driveway. The receipt, dated July 27, 2017, was issued to a Patrick Anderson of Hopland, and was for an application for a “1B medium mixed light” cultivation permit, which would allow 5,000 square feet of cannabis cultivation.

As the document reads: “This receipt, when signed and embossed, certifies that the Department of Agriculture is in receipt of an application to cultivate cannabis at the above listed address. The garden at this site is considered to be in compliance, or working toward compliance, until such time as a permit is issued or denied.”

It is not possible to get a permit for a marijuana extraction facility in unincorporated Mendocino County yet, as the County is still writing the rules for extraction labs and other cannabis facilities.

Interim Ag Commissioner Diane Curry said the file number on the cultivation permit, AG_2017_0668, told her that no cultivation inspections had yet been done on that property. “If the number on the permit [0668] is correct,” Curry said, “they are way out on the list of people to do pre-site inspections. We’re currently working in the 300s now. In that respect, though, had we gotten a complaint, they would have moved up to the top of the queue.”

Curry said that if the Ag Department gets a complaint about a cultivation site that has a permit application filed with her office: “We are basically out in the field doing an inspection on those sites within a week. We’re very thorough; we do handle those very quickly.”

When asked if Ag Department inspectors would have asked to inspect the metal building if they’d gone out to Cropley Lane to check out the cultivation operation, Curry said: “Well, we would’ve asked a lot of questions. The interesting thing with these cultivation sites we’ve been working with, pretty much everything is fair game on the property. They have to get every building permitted [by Mendocino County Planning and Building Services], and maybe that building was permitted, but Planning and Building probably hasn’t gotten to this one yet, though they are doing aerials.”

When 563 Cropley Lane was on the market back in 2015, according to online real estate sites, it was listed in the “Warehousing: Bulk Oil & Gas, Storage, Truck Stops” property class. And a local news story about the new Mosher Brothers business in 2007 reported that the then-owners were installing “propane, biodiesel and red diesel pumps” for their customers.

The Major Crimes Task Force is heading up the investigation into the incident. Sheriff Allman said the investigation was “very active,” although there have been no arrests so far. “I have heard,” Allman said, “that the exact same [extracts] company was busted and arrested in Sonoma County.”

Online sites show 563 Cropley Lane is now owned by Costacino LLC, and the “registered agent on file for this company” is Dennis Hunter, with a mailing address of 563 Cropley Lane.

A “Dennis Hunter” is the owner of several cannabis extract companies out of Santa Rosa, including AbsoluteXtracts, CBD Guild and Cannacraft. A “Patrick Anderson” has been in the news recently as the “budmaster” for AbsoluteXtracts, in stories about a joint effort between that company and Lagunitas Brewing Company to produce a new marijuana-flavored beer called “SuperCritical.”

In June 2016, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Sonoma County law enforcement officers raided the headquarters of CBD Guild and several other associated properties, and arrested Hunter – “a Rohnert Park man with a history of evading arrest” – on suspicion of felony manufacturing of a controlled substance, holding him overnight on $5 million bail.

http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/northbay/sonomacounty/7076067-181/dennis-hunter-cannabis-commerce

Santa Rosa police officials said, according to the Press Democrat, that Hunter “ran an extensive concentrated cannabis oil production operation that appeared to use illegal and hazardous production methods and was in violation of a variety of city codes.”

Hunter was released the next day, and no charges were filed. Press reports quote Hunter, who went to high school in Willits, as saying authorities were concerned that his companies were using butane in their cannabis processing, but they found no butane.

A June 12, 2017 story in the North Bay Business Journal quotes Hunter as saying: “‘We were trying to do everything right — in dialog with local and state government, doing tours’ with government officials, he said, chuckling. ‘We were trying to set the model — get rid of the stigma of these little garages where people are blowing themselves up’.”

In conclusion, Allman commented that the presence of an illegal and potentially dangerous cannabis extraction lab right next to a cultivation site that is going through the permitting process “doesn’t surprise anybody. The social acceptance of marijuana is leading us down the path of a very dangerous situation,” he said. “The workers at this site were not of the trained level that you would expect for this level of investment. Maybe they watched a YouTube video on the process.”

“The legislative intent of the permit process,” Allman continued, “was to not lower the quality of public safety in any neighborhood, but this certainly didn’t meet the mark of that goal.”

(Courtesy, The Willits Weekly; photos by Jennifer Poole)

* * *

MENDO MURDER UPDATE

Gaestel (pre-arrest), Gaestel (after arrest), Blank, Wells

A Long Day for accused murderers began with Fred Geastel, Gary Blank, Michael Kane and Jesse Wells, the four remaining defendants in the Jeffery Settler murder who were arraigned on the information from the preliminary hearing which ended two weeks ago.  Endorsed file copies of the information were passed out and the prosecutor, Deputy DA Josh Rosenfeld, announced that the People would not be seeking the death penalty.  Judge John Behnke said that he would want that put in writing at some point, and the lawyers for the four defendants said they would be filing 995 motions (motions to dismiss) for their clients, and this would be heard by a different judge (one who had not been present at the prelim) on December 15th, the briefs to be all in by November 13th and the DA’s response by November 28th.

Wuester, Fitzgerald, Mohamed, Kane

* * *

Ruoff

Next up was Joshua Ruoff, accused of killing Timothy Sweeting and burying the corpse in a shallow grave (which Timmy’s dog found) on a pot farm near Dos Rios, before fleeing to New Hampshire.

Mr. Ruoff had tried to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, but after two psychologists interviewed Ruoff, this ploy failed and Trial is now set for October 24th.

* * *

Ryan

Then came Steven P. Ryan, accused of shooting to death Chris Davis who had been dumpster diving for recyclables near Ryan’s apartment in Ukiah east of the Perkins Street exit on Highway 101.

Defense attorney Carly Dolan complained about discovery issues and the trial will have to be reset sometime in the next two weeks when the materials requested have been turned over.

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Silver

Finally, Caleb D. Silver, accused of using two weapons, a hammer and a knife, to kill popular Fort Bragg resident Dennis Boardman and stealing Boardman’s truck, and abusing his dog by leaving it abandoned in the truck with no food or water.   Silver’s lawyer, Eric Rennert wanted this left out because he thought it would inflame the jury – also, Mr. Rennert wanted no mention of an inmate at the jail who Silver complained to about how hard it was to cut Boardman’s throat without a serrated knife.  These issues were being discussed before Judge John Behnke when in mid-afternoon Judge Ann Moorman became available to help negotiate a possible plea deal.  The terms prosecutor Deputy DA Tim Stoen made were 15-to-life, as opposed to 25-to-life if convicted by a jury.  The two weapons allegations would add another year each, and the car theft would add three, for a total of 15-to-life, plus five.  Rennert wanted credit for time served and Judge Moorman calculated that Silver would be eligible for parole in about 18 years.  Silver asked for some time to think it over, and he was given until next Tuesday at 1:30.

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Dyer

And one more: Jewel Dyer is accused of killing his father with a baseball bat in Laytonville. On Monday Mr. Dyer's lawyer, assistant public defender Carly Dolan, said her client was 1368, that is, mentally incapable of participating in his own defense, and that trial too was postponed.

(Bruce McEwen)

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ED DESK

INTERESTING SHOW Thursday morning on KZYX with hostess Jane Futcher and Sheriff Allman. The Sheriff didn't come right out and say so, but he might as well have straight-up indicted the Supervisors for complicating county pot rules beyond all reason. If I didn't happen to know them and closely follow their functioning, I'd think the Supe's pot rules were some kind of weird practical joke. If I were a grower I wouldn't even consider signing up with the county to buy protection against raids, which is essentially what the county is selling.

I THINK the county's pot rules should be radically simplified, maybe based on a flat rate — people growing between twenty and forty plants, ten grand. Larger ops, fifty g's, with all parties subject to local, state and federal environmental laws.

THE COUNTY saw local pot rules as a big boost to the county's general fund, but proceeded to create a process that discourages sane people from signing up, thus creating very little income for the county and total confusion for everyone else.

THE ONLY disagreement we have with the Sheriff's position is that the violent crime he laments, as do we all, would occur even if there were coherent rules and everyone was signed up and legal. The thug-brains learned early on that pot growers living and working in Mendo's vast outback were, in thug-think, easy marks. And since their crop was illegal, who were the ripped off growers going to complain to? Although the cops long ago began responding to pot thefts, thugs still assume that growers are easy to take off. Not only do they have dope to steal, a lot of them keep lucrative amounts of cash on hand. Criminal attitudes aren't deterred by rules. I don't know any growers who aren't armed, hence the occasional shoot 'em ups that are a fact of rural life in Mendocino County.

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AS THE ONLY PERSON on the local flab glab wimp wamp pwog slog non-existent left to debate, in public, the downside of the love drug — at one debate I was opposed by Dr. Peter Keegan of Ukiah — I also always caveat that as a committed juicer much of my adult life that I'm not here to make invidious comparisons between one substance as a means of consciousness alteration and another. Alcohol is a dangerous drug, and I've done some dangerous things under its influence, things I could have brought off a lot more efficiently if I hadn't been loaded. (Attention literalists: the last half of the foregoing was a joke.) Stoners mostly just veg out, soooooo of the two substances marijuana is less harmful. But I don't think anybody is about to argue that dope or booze has been good for what's left of our tattered society. If, however, you absolutely gotta get outta reality, pot keeps you harmlessly on your couch with a jumbo bag of Cheetos and the Grateful Dead. Alcohol  of course is for the truly adventurous. Speed? Absolutely not. Hallucinogens? Purely dependent on your relative sanity prior to ingestion and therefore, contra-indicated for at least 90 percent of Americans. Straight reality? Best of all because you don't miss a single act of the greatest show on earth.

MARIJUANA IS BAD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, and by young I mean people between the ages of ten and twenty. Our nation's future don't seem to be getting the information that pot is a lot stronger than it was in 1967, that smoking lots of it at a young age can screw you up big time for the rest of your life, and that's even if you don't go completely 5150 because you're genetic legacy includes a tendency to schizophrenia that's ignited by marijuana use. Veering off here into Anecdote Land, I don't know a single kid in the Anderson Valley who started heavily smoking pot as a high school kid who didn't run all the way off the rails as an adult. Not one.

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INTERIM THIRD DISTRICT SUPERVISOR Georgeanne Croskey is our heroine of the week for reversing her vote to put the county's emergency services dispatch out to bid. The Supes, John McCowen sensibly dissenting, Supervisor Gjerde absent on vacation, had voted 3-2 to put dispatch up for grabs. And they did it in the face of all the county's firefighters, ambulance people and cops, the people who depend on efficient dispatch to save our lives begging the Supes to leave dispatch with CalFire.

AN OUTSIDE CORPORATION would have come in with the lowest bid if CalFire's dispatch work were thrown out there, which would have screwed things up royally over the short haul and, long term, steadily put the screws to Mendo for ever higher fees.

BUT GJERDE returned from vacation, pulled the subject back onto the agenda, and the issue was again discussed, with a parade of fire chiefs again pleading with the Supes to leave dispatch with CalFire, Ms. Croskey regained her senses, and dispatch will remain with CalFire on a 3-2 vote.

REMAINING INSENSATE and, worse, lamely excusing their stubborn votes to put dispatch out to bid were the dependably insensate Fifth District supervisor, Dan Hamburg, and the increasingly obtuse Carre Brown, both of whom said they wanted to remain with "staff recommendations" to put the dispatch contract out there where the corporate vultures feed. In the life and death context of getting police, fire, and medical help to disaster scenes, for Hamburg and Brown to remain loyal to errant staff recommendations is just plain irresponsible. Staff, at least in theory, work for the Supervisors, the Supervisors for us, and why do Supervisors have to fear what staff thinks?

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DR. BILL COURTNEY, Mendo's famous pot doc and his family are vacationing on the Caribbean island of Dominica, hit by Hurricane Maria. A friend of Courtney's writes: "We don't know at this time what their status is. All communication with the island is gone. We know they were prepared for this event, but have not yet heard any news. As soon as we hear anything we will send out another email to inform everybody. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers."

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NATCH, Trump supporters are as unconcerned as Orange Man at the nuclear risk of war with North Korea. One of them writes, "What a great speech President Trump gave at the UN today! A lot of the people in the audience weren’t too happy and the looks on their faces showed it. Did you ever think you’d again see an American President in full view of the world not bowing and scraping, apologizing, selling us out, sucking foreign ass, and speaking up for the interests of the United States and the American people?"

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Guy I've never seen before, one of many busy bodies who visit this place every day, says to me, ‘I see you still have your nards, Little Dog, what's with that?’ So I say to this guy, ‘Next time I see your old lady I'll ask her if you have still have yours, buddy.’ The nerve of some people.”

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LIBRARY BOARD RESPONDS

Dear AVA folk,

We greatly appreciate the support you have shown Mendocino libraries over the years. No other publication prints as fully the information about library events and programs. Thanks!

And thanks for the recent kudos you gave to Dave Frick, the Bookmobile guy, for passing out free eclipse glasses. A limited quantity of these were distributed at all the branches.

We do, however, want to respond to comments in the Off-the-Record column of July 26th since it was directed in part to the Library Advisory Board.

You ask us "to look into whether those new tax dollars are being spent in the manner that the Measure intended."

In fact, the LAB has been doing this since Measure A was passed. We are sure you remember that before passage of Measure A the library had cut hours to 3 or 4 days a week, had no children's or teen librarians, and had no budget for books or other materials. The new funding has accomplished the lofty goals you listed and we have a vibrant program with great staff.

You question the relevance of some of these programs - putting "library programs" in  quotations - but modern libraries are really community gathering points and resource centers. Our libraries are also the only source for high speed internet for many, many Mendocino County residents.

But where are the books, you ask. Out in homes throughout the county. Since the Measure A money arrived over $1 million has been spent on new books and other circulating material (DVDs, audiobooks, etc.) You ask about the Bookmobile and we can tell you 1) that the Bookmobile would not be on the road without the sales tax funding and 2) that every item on it is a post-Measure A purchase. Lots of bestsellers, but also books by local writers, graphic novels, children's books, how-to guides and more. Much of this is available online so you don't even need to  come into a branch. Our interchange with Sonoma County and programs like ZIP bring requested books to any reader with a free library card.

So contrary to your fears, adults are in charge. Professional librarians are in charge. The Library Advisory Board has and will continue to look at ways of improving our library system. One item atop our current agenda is supporting a new branch in Laytonville.

We will pass on to the librarians that you would like some pressers highlighting new books.

Thanks again for your support.

Michael Schaeffer, Comptche

5th District representative on the Mendocino County Library Advisory Board

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DUMP HIM, KID

On 09-17-2017 at about 1:12 AM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to a family disturbance between a mother and daughter at a residence located in the 100 block of Laws Avenue in Ukiah.  While the Deputies were at the residence they learned the daughter (17 year-old female) had been physically assaulted by her boyfriend, Anthony Amante, 20, of Ukiah, while the couple was at the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show earlier in the evening.

Deputies learned the female juvenile and Amante became engaged in an argument and he physically assaulted her by grabbing her by the neck.  Deputies noticed injuries consistent with the reported assault.  Deputies confirmed the juvenile female was in a dating relationship with Amante and discovered he resided next door to the female juvenile.  Amante was contacted and eventually placed under arrest for felony domestic violence battery resulting in him being booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000.00 bail.

* * *

WHO’S RUNNING the Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency GSA (and who they are linked to):

Carre Brown - Supervisor (also Farm Bureau Member and helped organize the legal challenge to the State Board  Stream Flow Maintenance policy)

Zachery Robinson - Husch Vineyards  (they were busted for stormwater violation)

Jerry Cardoza - Upper Russian River Water Agency (sits on the Millview Water District - busted and fought with DWR over illegal diversion and  water rights)

Douglas Crane - Ukiah City Council - Builder

Alfred White - Russian River Flood Control  (mission: to manage water resources for Mendocino County)  - comments into FERC on PVP - Director  of Viticulture La Ribera vineyards

So: three farm bureau reps and one manager of an illicit diverter.

And - they did not want the RCD [Resource Conservation District) to have a seat as that would be too many County Agencies.

BTW Carmel Angelo (the County Administrator) is there keeping tabs on things.  Nothing happens without her approval (remember the Stormwater Ordinance - backwards movement and legal challenge by CAG [Coast Action Group] and Russian Riverkeeper).

Meeting attendees are the usual suspects - with Sonoma County Water Agency there watching things.

Alan Levine, Coast Action Group
Affiliate of Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance
126 Steiner Ct.  Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Phone:  707 542-4408
Background: http://theava.com/archives/68930

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NINE YEARS FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE

Hello Everyone in Mendocino,

You all know me as Benjamin Miller. I'm currently sentenced to nine years for a simple domestic case. I want everyone to know this time doesn't affect me. However it affects my two-year-old son Alan Benjamin Miller. The District Attorney, Beth Norman, doesn't understand. She's punished my child for a simple first-time domestic case which ordinarily would involve mandatory 52 week anger management classes and misdemeanor probation. For the first time in my life I was not on probation and was raising my son in hope of all possibilities in a good future.

District Attorney Beth Norman and Judge Nelson and Judge Behnke. I took a plea bargain under duress/coercion. 30 years versus six years and my first time rehabilitation and 52 week anger management classes was ridiculed during my open speech in court. I also introduced the victim on my behalf in the case in the galley as having a verbal statement for the court.

This was swiftly disregarded. January 15, 2017, I was not on parole or probation or any supervision and any prior cases are so old and out of date and apples and oranges.

This is the season to be out fishing with my child. However we have a sane and mercifully disposed district attorney. Let's make a deal. Public Defender always signs off along with paid counsel Jona Saxby.

My father Dennis Coatney paid Jona $6000 in return to fight. However she simply signed off on whatever punishment she and Beth Norman came up with knowing they are best of friends. I should have guessed improper counsel and a lack of counsel. Let’s make a deal! This saves a court from trial expenses and stays within budgets. Whereas our justice system has a slamdunk on to whatever sap or uneducated person with a family to support. Typically our justice interest has gone to crap. Let's make a deal.

Fortunately that's where the district attorney came in with correction — coercion under duress to plea bargain. That's certainly the way it works here in progressive Mendocino County.

Benjamin Miller

San Quentin

ED NOTE: Be all this as it may or may not be, you don’t get this kind of time for a slap or two.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, September 21, 2017

Evans, Faire, Feliz

ANTHONY EVANS, Chester/Willits. DUI with priors.

RAMIRO FAIRE, Ukiah. Suspended license, probation revocation.

NATHAN FELIZ, Tulare/Ukiah. First degree robbery, carjacking, witness intimidation.

Humecky, Kester-Tyler, Knight

RACHEL HUMECKY, Fort Bragg. Under influence, probation revocation.

DEVIN KESTER-TYLER, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

WILLIAM KNIGHT, Ukiah. Unspecifed violation of State Parks regulation/law.

Martinez, Maxfield, Pollard

STACY MARTINEZ, Ukiah. DUI.

BRADLEY MAXFIELD, Willits. Probation revocation.

JOSHUA POLLARD, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

J.Sandoval, M.Sandoval, Welsh

JAVIER SANDOVAL, Willits. Unspecifed violation of State Parks regulation/law.

MICHAEL SANDOVAL, Talmage. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, disobeying court order.

YVONNE WELSH, Ukiah. Under influence.

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

If I haven’t mentioned it before let me take the opportunity right now. I utterly detest the expression ‘and I was like.’ That’s the expression in the past tense. In a variant that I will call the present past tense it is spoken as ‘so um like.’ I first began to notice this creeping into the speech patterns of primarily young people in the workplace about 20 years ago. Oh, how it grated on my ears. And then it got even worse. Full fledged educated adults began using the expression. Before long the game was over. There was no stopping it. Any attempt to fight back by gently hinting that this expression made people sound like idiots was useless. That it made them appear short on vocabulary to actually describe the state of their minds but rather to only state what the state of their minds was ‘like.’ There were magazine articles written about it and before long academics with doctorates in linguistics who became apologists for the expression came out of the woodwork risking their reputations. They would explain how, after giving it much thought, the expression was not merely okay but perhaps even a stroke of communication genius. Oh my God, kill me.

There are other locutions that have crept into American English that make me wish I would hurry up and die. One is up talk where nearly every spoken sentence, if you were to see it written out, would end with a question mark. At first it was a thing of the young but it has reached every age group and educational level. It is another sign of hesitancy and uncertainty about everything. It is not cool to speak as if you are sure about anything, especially your opinions. It is offensive and politically incorrect since others might hold different opinions and we must never offend. It’s so in your face to talk with certainty. Another is the speech of females of any age up to about 50 who sound like teeny tiny 3-year olds. Businesses have a penchant for using these little girl voices for recorded phone messages. It’s maddening! Have I lost my marbles or do these things bother anyone else?

* * *

NO BANKER LEFT BEHIND

My telephone rang one evening, my buddy called for me

Said the bankers are all leaving, better you come 'round and see

It's a startling revelation, they robbed the nation blind

They're all down at the station, no banker left behind

No banker no banker no banker could I find

They were all down at the station, no banker left behind

Well the bankers called a meeting, to the White House they went one day

They was going to call on the President in a quiet and a sociable way

And the afternoon was sunny and the weather it was fine

They counted out our money and no banker was left behind

No banker no banker no banker could I find

They were all down at the White House, no banker was left behind

Well I hear the whistle blowing, it plays a happy tune

The conductor's calling all aboard, we'll be leaving soon

With champagne and shrimp cocktails, and that's not all you'll find

There's a billion dollar bonus, and no banker left behind

No banker no banker no banker could I find

When the train pulled out next morning, no banker was left behind

No banker no banker no banker could I find

When the train pulled out next morning, no banker was left behind

No banker no banker no banker could I find

When the train pulled out next morning, no banker was left behind

No banker no banker no banker could I find

When the train pulled out next morning, no banker was left behind

(Ry Cooder)

* * *

HISTORY RECORDS CASSAVA STATES, no sago, yam, taro, plantain, breadfruit or sweet potato states. What was so special about grains? The answer will make sense to anyone who has ever filled out a Form 1040: grain, unlike other crops, is easy to tax. Some crops (potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava) are buried and so can be hidden from the tax collector, and even if discovered, they must be dug up individually and laboriously. Other crops (notably legumes) ripen at different intervals or yield harvests throughout a growing season rather than along a fixed trajectory of unripe to ripe -- in other words, the tax man can come once and get his proverb due. Only grains are visible, indivisible, assessable, storable, transportable and "rationable."

James C. Scott

* * *

WESTLANDS WATER DISTRICT: CALIFORNIA WATERFIX IS 'NOT FINANCIALLY VIABLE'

by Dan Bacher

The Westlands Water District’s Board of Directors rejected Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels project on September 19 because the California WaterFix “is not financially viable,” according to a statement from the district.

The district also said they cannot support a project that would make water supplies “unaffordable” for Westlands farmers.

The powerful agricultural water district's rejection of the Governor’s “legacy project” is a potentially fatal blow to the controversial project, since other water districts slated to vote on the WaterFix in the next few weeks could follow Westlands’ lead and vote no also.

Here is the complete statement:

“After a thorough analysis by independent consultants and District staff, multiple special board meetings, and grower workshops, the Westlands Water District Board of Directors voted by a margin of 7 to 1 to not participate in the California WaterFix (CWF). 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.

Westlands Water District is the largest agricultural water district in the United States, made up of more than 1,000 square miles of prime farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties. Under federal contracts, Westlands provides water to 700 family-owned farms that average 875 acres in size.”

Governor Jerry Brown, who has been out of the state at climate conferences in New York and Connecticut this week, hasn’t yet responded to the Westlands decision.

However, California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird tried to downplay the significance of the vote against the tunnels.

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

John McManus, Executive Director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA), disagreed with Laird, saying that the “takeaway from today's vote is that the current twin tunnels plan is dying from its own weight.”

“It's way too big and expensive, even for the growers in the desert-dry western San Joaquin Valley who need the water the most,” said McManus. “There's no doubt that the existing method of transferring northern California water south is deadly for salmon and other wildlife and absolutely could be improved upon, but not by this behemoth.  Maybe this will open the way for a more rational discussion on a new way forward.”

Carolee Krieger, Executive Director of the California Water Impact Network, was also pleased with the Westlands vote.

“If the Central Valley farmers can’t afford this expensive boondoggle, how do the State Water project urban ratepayers think they can pay 100 percent of these costs?” Krieger said. “The tunnels project could bankrupt many water agencies, including the four South Coast water agencies in Santa Barbara County, while providing no benefits.”

“What really needs to happen is the state must come to grips with how much water there really is available in the Delta watershed,” noted Krieger. “At this point, it’s been documented that there are 5-1/2 times more water rights promised than can ever be delivered and our public trust resources have been totally left out of that number. Our public trust assets need to have a seat at the table when the courts adjudicate the water that’s really there.”

The Santa Clara Valley Water District Board will vote on whether or not to support the tunnels on September 26. Yesterday the district voted to pass a "no regrets package" planning $100 million for 9 different projects like stormwater capture, leak repair and gray water, according to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta (RTD).

Also yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council Energy and Environmental Committee voted no for the Delta Tunnels project -- until the project is fully financed and the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California meets all their considerations.

The MWD Board is expected to make its decision whether or not to finance he California WaterFix at its meeting on Tuesday, October 10: mwdh2o.com/...

“California WaterFix has long been envisioned as a partnership between urban water agencies and agriculture,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the MWD, in response to the Westlands decision. “It was clear that this would be a difficult vote for Westlands, as it is for us all. It's equally clear that actions must be taken to secure a reliable water supply for the state and to safeguard our economy. California must find a path forward from here that works for all of the partners.”

Delta Tunnels opponents, including water ratepayers, environmental justice advocates, family farmers, Tribal leaders, Delta residents, recreational and commercial fishermen, conservationists, and many elected officials, say the project is potentially the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history.

The tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on both the Trinity and Klamath rivers, according to project opponents and scientists.

For more information, go to: www.dailykos.com/…

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WATERSHED ENVIRONMENTAL POETRY FESTIVAL

Saturday, October 7, 2017 Noon-4:30 P.M. ~FREE~

Martin Luther King Jr. Park at Center & Milvia Streets in Berkeley, California, two blocks west of the Berkeley BART train station.  For more information: (510) 525-5476 or email info@poetryflash.org

Please know that there will be a creek walk with poetry beginning at Oxford & Center Streets at 10 A.M. Additional: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com

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POINT ARENA CITY COUNCIL MEETING September 26, 2017

Regular Session - 6:00 pm

City Hall - 451 School St.

Mayor Scott Ignacio ~ Vice Mayor Barbara Burkey ~  Richey Wasserman ~ Jonathan Torrez ~ Anna Dobbins

28 Responses to Mendocino County Today: Friday, Sep. 22, 2017

  1. Harvey Reading Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Re: ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

    I’ve heard that since the late 60s… I always thought it was something that originated with hippies.

    I figure with crap like that, live and let live. After all, I put up with yuppie and “business” terms, like “buzzword”, “mission statement”, “goals and objectives”, etc.

    All languages change over time.

    • Harvey Reading Reply

      September 22, 2017 at 6:26 am

      Maybe it started with the “beatnicks”?

    • sohumlily Reply

      September 22, 2017 at 7:40 am

      That’s VALLEY GIRL talk, Harv.

      Like, it’s been around for decades.

      • Harvey Reading Reply

        September 22, 2017 at 1:19 pm

        Preceded the beats? The 60s? As I recall valley girl talk got popular for a while in the eighties, which would suggest a 70s genesis.

      • Harvey Reading Reply

        September 22, 2017 at 1:32 pm

        Now that I take a most critical look back in time, it seems to my foggy memory that Maynard G. Krebs used that style of talk on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, a TV series which premiered in ’59. C’mon now this is important sh*t, and far more entertaining and interesting and intellectually stimulating than discussions of Trump and his retinue of idiots, or Hillary the monster.

        • Harvey Reading Reply

          September 22, 2017 at 2:14 pm

          Speaking of Bob Denver, when John Denver’s song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, became popular, I first thought, “Wow!, I didn’t know Maynard (or Gilligan) could sing.” Then I saw the album cover photo and thought, “Wow, he surely has changed from his TV days.” It finally dawned on me that they were two different people, with different first names and a shared surname. That pretty much sums up my life.

    • LouisBedrock Reply

      September 22, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Words like “so”, “well”, or “like” function like their counterparts “alors” in French or “pues” in Spanish.

      They are interjections.
      While they don’t add meaning to the utterances that follow them, they’re like a pause or a deep breath taken before diving into the pool or lifting a weight; or delivering the news:

      So I just grabbed the first job I could find after I graduated.
      Well, I’m fine, but Florence has a bad cold.
      It’s like I woke up this morning with a head ache and nothing’s gone right since.
      Like she split yesterday without saying goodbye.

      • George Hollister Reply

        September 22, 2017 at 8:45 am

        Well, so, it’s like, you know, whatever.

        • Bruce McEwen Reply

          September 22, 2017 at 5:19 pm

          And where were all you snooty language purists back when dig it was like duh and groovy was awesome?

          What kind of cliche was cloying your tongue, Geo. W. Hollister, when you were squiring the draftees’ girlfriends around Sacramento?

          And, you Bedrock, lost in Lorca and Dali, what were your favorite cliches?

          Harv, do I need even ask?

          Ms Lily, much wow, awsome-awsome, double awesome, gag XQZ-moi w/ a like spoon and thank *Jah it’s like Friday!

          *Love The MUDD

          • Harvey Reading Reply

            September 22, 2017 at 6:28 pm

            Poor McEwen, poor, poor McEwen.

  2. james marmon Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 7:12 am

    WOW the 49ers scored four touchdowns, don’t forget to go to Jack in the Box today and get your free Jumbo Jack with purchase of large soft drink, yummy.

    • George Hollister Reply

      September 22, 2017 at 8:20 am

      That 49er quarterback can pass, too.

    • Harvey Reading Reply

      September 22, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Do you have a death wish, James?

  3. Lazarus Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 7:45 am

    “Upon closer examination the building had a large hole in the roof which was caused by an unknown projectile being expelled through it during a witnessed explosion inside of the building.”

    Must have been a pretty good bang, the “unknown projectile” was said to be 4 feet in diameter, made of stainless steel. It was some kind of containment vessel lid…anyway, they ain’t found it yet… and they’ve been look’n…the 4 foot stainless steel lid…
    As always,
    Laz

    • Lazarus Reply

      September 22, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Oops..I guess they did finally find it…the 4 foot stainless steel lid…225 feet away…Must have been a pretty good bang.
      As always,
      Laz

  4. Randy Burke Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 8:09 am

    On line comment of the day: And if I hear just one more “at the end of the day” statement, I might consider ending it in the night.

    • Harvey Reading Reply

      September 22, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Oh, don’t do that. If you do, then “they” win.

    • Stephen Rosenthal Reply

      September 22, 2017 at 9:59 am

      Not merely fake news, but old fake news. Articles cited were written by two bloggers (no professional/educational animal-related credentials) and a veterinarian associated with a quack (Mercola).

      • susana de castro Reply

        September 22, 2017 at 1:29 pm

        It don’t matter. I’ll give you my own unadulterated and authentic opinion, and it goes something like this: Squirrel away your nuts, little Big dog, and that goes for Skraggle buns, too.

        • Harvey Reading Reply

          September 22, 2017 at 2:20 pm

          Diamond agrees, and so do I. Why should dogs pay the price for the stupidity of their owners? I’m all for neutering the irresponsible humans, for, oh so many reasons. I’m also all for mandatory birth control and free abortions for humans in general.

  5. Bill Pilgrim Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 10:01 am

    RE: “NATCH…Trump’s great speech.”

    The term “Ugly American” will ascend once again and become common in most of the world (except Israel & Saudi Arabia.)

    I’ve got news for the troglodyte (and his ilk) who praised the speech and it’s ominous implications: Trump’s ascendancy does not signal the rebirth of a bygone era…but the death of an age. He comes not to reinvigorate American capitalism, supremacy and hegemony… but, like Commodus and Nero, to destroy it.
    The truth is being shouted from the roof tops (and cell towers): the American system is now so corrupt and putrid only a total collapse offers hope of transformation.
    Some say our current civilization is dying. I say it’s already dead… it just won’t lie down.

  6. Jeff Costello Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 11:44 am

    “Like” as a speech filler had been around longer than “uptalk” which I recall hearing in the 90’s first. It does indicate a crisis of confidence. Sometimes I’ll say to someone doing it, “Are you asking me or telling me?”
    Speech fillers are unnecessary, people talk too much as it is.

    • Bill Pilgrim Reply

      September 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      …And don’t forget “vocal fry,” also known as creaky voice, glottal fry and laryngealization. It’s also one of the most annoying speech patterns to come along. It reminds me of bullfrogs around a pond at night, or a door with hinges that need oiling slowly opening in a soft draft.
      The phenomenon is most prevalent among young women. It’s not attractive or compelling at all. Musical speech is being replaced by ear grating.

      • susana de castro Reply

        September 22, 2017 at 4:37 pm

        The worst trend, ever, to hit the ‘air waves’. Like the plague, it has infected the entire country. I refuse to listen to anyone who allows themselves to use it. I do not listen to any NPR radio, except if it’s local, and only if there is no voice fry/freeze.

  7. Jim Updegraff Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    It turns out Aaron Hernandez, age 27, had severe CTE. Stage 3 of 4 of the disease – can cause violent mood swings, depression – more like a 60 year person with CTE.
    All you fathers that are pressing their young sons to play football take note Hernandez was only 27 when he committed suicide. Mothers, is this what you want for your sons?

    ps. I wonder if an of the kids playing football for Mendo HS will develop an early case of CTE?

  8. Jim Updegraff Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Bruce: No “what is New on Climate?” tomorrow. ‘She who must be obeyed’ has committed us to a day of Worship Sharing at our Quaker Meeting retreat and Sunday, of course, is the Lord’s Day. Did have come interesting stuff which I shall hold for next week.

  9. Jim Updegraff Reply

    September 22, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    John McCain has announced he will not note for the Obama appeal bill. Will be interesting to see what El Trumpo the Village Idiot will twitter about him.

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