Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017
by AVA News Service, November 21, 2017
HIGHWAY 128 CLOSED MONDAY AFTERNOON (at 1:53pm)
Route 128 is closed in Mendocino County near Route 1 due to flooding of the Navarro River. It is unknown at this time when the highway will reopen. (Caltrans)
At 6:30 this morning, CHP (California Highway Patrol) reported on the closure: "per CTS [Caltrans?] closed till about noon tomorrow."
THE MAN who jumped to his death off the Noyo Bridge on Tuesday, November 14th, has been identified as 42-year-old Justin Lee Smith, a transient whose last permanent address was Boise, Idaho. Despite a valiant effort by Fort Bragg police, with an assist from the Coast Guard and the Fort Bragg Fire Department, to revive Smith, he died at the scene.
SHERIFF ALLMAN called Monday with the sad news that former Sheriff Tim Shea has died in Texas. Shea ran the department from 1982 until 1990. He always reminded me of a stern Irish cop out of the early 20th century. He was a no-nonsense guy. In the Mendo context of his time, you could always see Shea's jaw muscles begin to move at the sight of certain liberal local personalities.
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THE SHERIFF ALSO mentioned that he's looking for retired cops who might be interested in providing fresh eyes on the County's cold cases. I doubt many retired cops read this fine publication, but current cops should if they don't, much as the liberal politics might annoy them. I think we connect a lot of Mendo's psycho-social dots, and our archive is matchless, matchless, I tell you!
MENDO COAST 'EMERGENCY WEATHER SHELTER' STILL CLOSED
Number Of Days It Should Have Opened: 3
Number Of Deaths (So Far) From Exposure: 0
Once again, on a rainy night, the Fort Bragg Emergency Weather Shelter was closed thanks to the "business decision" of the Hospitality House not to run it this year — a decision, it should be noted, made at the very last minute. In fact, two days before it was supposed to open.
MSP has learned, however, the Hospitality House decided it WILL run the winter shelter this year. A decision made, no doubt, after outrage was expressed about their "business decision." Expect an announcement later Monday.
Word on the street is it will open after the Thanksgiving holiday — after some type of "assembly" permit is applied for and granted.
It has been said County officials will not release the $50,000 to anyone BUT Hospitality House — so if they don't run the emergency shelter no one can.
The 11th-hour decision not to run the shelter by the "profit-obsessed" non-profit has been viewed by many as retribution for them getting called on the carpet by the City of Fort Bragg planning commission for code violations that nearly saw them shut down. Modifications to their use permit included not allowing the homeless who gather at their property to be transported to the emergency winter shelter.
The Hospitality House is expected to run through the $50K from the county over three months then simply shut it down and walk away. It is supposed to be open from Mid-November to April. In fact, if you call the emergency shelter "Hot Line" issued last year (707-356-8163) like we just did, the recording informs callers the shelter will be open on Sunday, April 16th — then says "check-in" is 4:00 pm and wishes the caller "Happy Easter."
One can only hope a new entity will be tasked with running the shelter next year. The compassionless Hospitality House has proven, over a decade, they are not capable of running it.
MSP has said it before, and will say it again: The management of the Hospitality House, as well as their board of directors, (and the City of Fort Bragg for allowing this to happen), should hang their collective heads in shame at the present situation. It's not like they didn't know winter was coming. It's an inhumane disgrace.
MCN COMMENT #1: Usually even the smallest towns have less expensive housing (subsidized perhaps) for working class families. But not so much here. When I first moved here I paid $700 for lovely small cottage. Moved a couple more times before landing in a senior park. It was a bit tight but trailer space/lot rent 9 years ago $250. Now it is $450 and rising. And the nice cottage? Well over $1400. Yes, taxes may be going up but like the rest of our country — so is greed.
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MCN COMMENT #2: I agree that the rents are high but we have to remember it's about location. Being a coastal community and the beautiful scenery we view daily is how the landlords feel it's justified. I do feel that regardless of that, some of the rentals are substandard for what they are asking. Another thing that frustrates me is you see many ads that say single person only, no pets, no visitors, no this or that, basically— no life. Also, why is our minimum wage here not $15 an hour?
THE RED BLUFF RAMPAGE raised a couple of big questions: Homemade guns, about which nothing can be done if the lunatic has the skills to make one, and restraining orders, which largely go unenforced but about which something can be done. Violators of restraining orders should be jailed and prosecuted. Of course jails are running at full capacity so it's unlikely judges will bestir themselves to ensure that their orders are obeyed. But who knows how many women and children are terrorized by men legally restrained from contacting them. Restraining orders in Mendocino County and most places are the same as not having one.
THE SHOOTER in the Red Bluff case was out on high bail for attacking a neighbor. He wasn't supposed to have guns but police were repeatedly called out to his address when neighbors complained he was shooting up the sky, they apparently didn't bother to confiscate Mr. Lethal's weapons. Between getting out on bail for attacking a neighbor, Mr. L murdered his wife, and then, a few days later, attempted to shoot up an elementary school. Sure, this guy was an extreme case, but if his bail conditions and the neighbor's restraining order had been enforced he would have been in jail rather than attempting to murder children.
SAN FRANCISCO is again arguing about the design of its public commodes and kiosks. I never thought design was a problem with either. The problem with the commodes was and is the behavior of a small population of people who, no matter how often the commodes are serviced, render them unusable. I have often found them flooded or so fouled that I'd hustle into a hotel to use the facilities. I was once challenged as I strode through the lobby of the Palace like I belonged there. I fumbled for my wallet. "I have an appointment with Mr. Willie Brown. I have his number here. You can call him." The house dick, or whatever kind of dick he was, backed right off.
THE CITY generally has lost much of its appeal for this native. Too much visible hopelessness, too many high rises, too much money, too many acquisitive bulletheads who, with so many of them in one place, makes the City unreal in an uninteresting way. The Anderson Valley still feels like a specific place with specific personalities. Try as they might, the wine and tour juggernaut hasn't destroyed the jewel of Mendocino County.
MEANWHILE, I've been back on the Grassy Knoll, sucked in by the release of more JFK Assassination files. The conspiracy books are piling up, I'm out of tinfoil, the contrails Saturday and Sunday were clearly paused over Boonville, strange people are giving me funny looks. I have always tended to believe Oswald, improbable character that he was, acted alone. The latest revelations make it irrefutable that he was not only known to the FBI and the CIA, the FBI was paying him as an informant. A guy with no money and no job wouldn't have been able to move around the world like Oswald did. It's clear, though, that he was one of the shooters, if not the only one, although the stuff I'm reading tends to denigrate both the Italian rifle Oswald possessed and his marksmanship. He was a Marine-qualified marksman, meaning he could put a round in a bullseye at 500 yards with an M-1, the rifle he used wasn't at all the dud it's often described as, and Oswald had it scoped. Looking down out of the 6th floor window, Kennedy was an easy target at about a hundred feet. The physics of bullet trajectories make my pretty little head spin — the magic bullet, the acoustics of Dealey Plaza and all that. I just don't know. I'm too dumb to decode the science. I'll admit, though, it's clear that powerful forces conspired to kill the president and it remains a fascinating case. The prob is, for the layman like me, arguing specifics is arguing, often, with zealots, the kind of people who won't get off it. "And another thing, you lunkhead, did you know…" But I have been mesmerized by "JFK and the Unspeakable — Why He Died and Why It Matters” by James W. Douglass. That book and a monograph of assassination arcana assembled by Mendo guy, John H. Perrill, called "Assassination of America" have been learning experiences. Both contain lots of factual stuff of the irrefutable type I hadn't known, LBJ's illegit son, for instance. (But the "son" didn't show up in court to confirm paternity, so who knows? It's debatable.) Send Perrill a few bucks care of Wilderness Road Books, Mendocino 95460 for an interesting compendium of Assassination facts and conjectures.
DON PARDINI celebrates his 87th at the Buckhorn Saturday night
JUST IN FROM PETIT TETON
Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report, October 2017
Yesterday we hiked across the farm to collect our prize, the lion's mane mushroom (see photo attached) that appears most years from a hefty branch of an old live oak growing alongside a seasonal watercourse in the company of a grove of incense cedar on the far reaches of the wild part of the property. I grabbed Chichi's leash because we have to pass by the yak fencing and she immediately started skipping, jumping and twirling knowing we were going for a hike. It was a lovely fall mid afternoon, the air heavy with moisture setting up for today's rain. We tramped through last year's high dry grasses on a thin carpet of new green from this year's rains, across a seasonal creek containing a few puddles of standing water, out into the wild-lands following pig and deer trails to our destination. On the way we closed the gate to the lower yak field so we could cross safely since no matter where they are on their 12 or so acre rocky, hilly, treed range, they hear or see or smell us coming and they and the dog do not mix well.
We were not disappointed this year: our tree produced a beautiful 2lb mushroom and we arrived to pick it at it's peak. The mushroom's 6" root is planted deep into the tree branch which is about 6' up. We always look at all the nearby oaks to make sure we haven't missed mushrooms but have found no other. The oak's neighborhood is now thick with incense cedars which were babies when we first arrived over thirteen years ago. Then, the mother tree, near as tall as a redwood but much fuller at the base, stood amidst her many babies scattered at her feet. But now there's a forest of cedars which have spread further afield, many 6-10' tall, and so cramped they'll have to self thin to survive. Incense cedars are native to the foothills of the Sierra and the pocket on our and the neighboring property is unusual. Since they prefer serpentine soil, which we have in abundance, and which most other trees and plants shun, someone must have dropped a seed long ago which thrived.
On the way home we sank onto a hillock of grasses and sat for a spell to admire the beauty of the view and the day while ChiChi lay nearby gnawing greedily on a deer leg bone with a hairy hoof still attached which some killer critter had left in the high grasses. She hadn't finished it when we rose to head back and kept us giggling watching her drag it home with her head held high to avoid tripping.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday everyone.
Nikki and Steve
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “You know why people only eat Thanksgiving dinner once a year? Because it's terrible, that's why. Freezer turkey, Wonder Bread stuffing, axle grease gravy, sour cranberries, generic pumpkin pie. Let's skip straight to Christmas, this little dog says!”
EIR: HUMBOLDT HAS 15,000 MARIJUANA GROWS
by Daniel Mintz
The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Humboldt County’s new commercial marijuana ordinance estimates that there are up to 15,000 grow operations here and environmental review can only be done for the minority that come into the regulatory system.
At its November 16 meeting, the county’s Planning Commission held its first hearing on the draft ordinance and its EIR. As noted during a staff presentation, many comments on the EIR focused on the prevalence of unpermitted marijuana grows.
Humboldt County is processing 2,300 permit applications filed under the deadline of the existing commercial production ordinance, which is being updated. About 90 permits have been approved so far.
There’s plenty of concern about the much larger number of growers operating outside of the permitting system. Some will enter it when the new ordinance is approved and the county accepts more permit applications.
Saying that “an over-arching theme” of the comments on the EIR is a concern about lack of environmental review of the county’s unpermitted cultivators, Commissioner Brian Mitchell asked for clarification on “when will all those get reviewed, if not now?”
Patrick Angell, the EIR’s project manager, said the review only evaluates the conditions that will change when the county launches its new phase of regulation.
The county’s 2,300 permit applications and unpermitted activity both represent the “baseline” or existing condition, Angell continued. More applications will be submitted under the new ordinance and the EIR evaluates the impacts associated with that.
“The EIR estimates that there are up to 15,000 cultivation operations right now and you have 2,300 that have come in for permits, so that seems to suggest you have a rather substantial number out there who would be determined to be unpermitted and potentially illegal,” said Angell.
Planning Director John Ford said an overall effort to do more code enforcement includes marijuana-related enforcement, and a “strong response” has been gained to the county’s issuance of 71 notices of violation.
During a public comment session, Nate Madsen of Honeydew said his neighbors have told him they’ve dealt with violation notices and have found the county to be “very reasonable” about resolving issues.
But he added that the county needs to re-evaluate its approach.
“You guys came out in the first place and said, ‘Hey, here’s our program, come join – and if you don’t we’re going to beat you over the head’,” Madsen said. “I don’t respond well to threats and I don’t think a lot of people do, and I think people felt threatened by this program and that’s why they’re not participating.”
Also during public comment, Scott Bauer of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Watershed Enforcement Team said that “one of the biggest issues we don’t see addressed” is that the new ordinance lacks a cap on the total number of cultivation sites.
Growers and their advocates had concerns about some of the regulatory proposals, such as 1,000-foot setbacks from residences and 600-foot setbacks from school bus stops.
Commissioners began reviewing the EIR’s regulatory alternatives, directing staff to rework and bring them back in several cases.
But most commissioners supported applying the provisions of the new ordinance only to those who submit new permit applications, not those whose applications are already in the system.
Commissioners also considered an EIR alternative that would eliminate a provision limiting the maximum amount of cultivation area permitted to one individual to four acres.
Commission Chair Bob Morris argued against eliminating the limit, saying not having it will offset the goal of “not letting these mega-grows get out of control.”
Recalling the county’s timber industry history, Morris added, “When you get big industries here, that’s outside investment money … and when they make a profit, the odds are, that profit goes outside of Humboldt County.”
Most commissioners agreed that the four acres per applicant cap should be maintained.
One of the main issues related to the EIR is establishing odor setbacks and setbacks from community plan areas. Staff was directed to do further work on them.
The hearing was continued to the commission’s Nov. 30 meeting.
UKIAH, Nov. 20. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations this morning with guilty verdicts and true findings across the board. The jury found Thessalonian Catrell Love, age 27, formerly of Apple Valley, guilty of attempted criminal threats, a felony; attempting to willfully and maliciously dissuade a witness from cooperating with law enforcement and the prosecution by threat of force, a felony; and attempting to willfully and maliciously dissuade a victim from reporting a crime, a felony.
The jury also found true special allegations that the defendant has previously suffered a felony conviction in San Bernardino County Superior Court in 2010 for arson of an inhabited dwelling or property, as well as having suffered a felony conviction in in Mendocino County Superior Court in 2016 for attempting to willfully and maliciously dissuade a victim by threat of force. After the jury was polled, thanked, and excused, the defendant's matter was referred to the Adult Probation Department for a social study and sentencing recommendation. The case will be back on calendar on December 19, 2017 at 9 o'clock in the morning for judgment and sentencing. The prosecutor who presented the evidence at trial and made the closing arguments for the People was District Attorney David Eyster. The investigating law enforcement agencies responsible for putting the case together were the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's own investigators. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman presided over the five-day trial and will be the sentencing judge on the 19th.
(District Attorney Press Release)
THE VALUE OF SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS
(Education in Anderson Valley)
by Michelle Hutchins, Superintendent of Anderson Valley Unified School District
How would you like to make a little extra money while making a big impact on education in our valley? Becoming a substitute teacher could be just what you’re looking for.
Eight years ago, the U.S. Department of Education introduced the Common Core State Standards, and almost all states adopted them. The legislation redefines and standardizes what American students should know at each grade level K-12, and it has the potential to raise student achievement nationwide. This is exciting, but it requires every teacher in Common Core states to learn new teaching methods and material.
Almost a decade later, many school districts, including Anderson Valley Unified School District, are struggling to fully implement the standards. Research shows that one of the best ways to make progress is to have teachers who are new to the Common Core observe master teachers, and then to have those master teachers observe and instruct the new teachers. We cannot do this at AVUSD because we do not have enough substitute teachers.
So, if you really want to help our community, here’s a great opportunity: become a substitute teacher!
It’s not hard. You must have a bachelor’s degree, pass the CBEST, agree to a background check with fingerprinting, and receive a clean bill of health on your tuberculosis test.
After that, simply register as a substitute at our district office. You can teach any level K-12 and any subject once you pass the CBEST—a basic skills exam required to become a California public school teacher. As a substitute, you are not expected to be a subject expert, only to follow the lesson plans of the absent teacher. On the rare occasions when the regular teacher cannot not create lesson plans, you can either create some of your own or decline the assignment.
You have complete control over which assignments you accept. If you only want to teach high school students, let us know and we won’t call you for elementary openings. If you only want to work on Fridays, let us know and we won’t call you Monday through Thursday. You have total flexibility to work as much or as little as you like.
Once you agree to be a substitute, you can tour our school campuses and spend a little time with the administrator to familiarize yourself with our facilities. Then, on a morning when we need help, we’ll call you for the type of assignment you’ve said you’re interested in. You can always decline, but if you accept, you’ll come to school and check in at the school office where you’ll receive lesson plans and access to the classroom.
If at any point during the day you feel you need additional support, you can call an administrator. They can either remove a disruptive student from the classroom or work in the back of the room. Their presence often deters even the rowdiest of students. Unlike surrounding school districts, most of our class sizes are small—fewer than 20 students—and therefore, relatively easy to manage.
While we do not offer formal training, substitutes are invited to join our regular teachers at the beginning of every school year for annual teacher training, where we cover everything from classroom management to curriculum to designing lesson plans and more.
If this sound interesting to you, please contact Wanda Johnson in our district office and she can walk you through the whole process.
The lack of substitute teachers in our schools is part of what is holding back our progress, limiting our student achievement. In addition to implementing Common Core practices, we need to provide our teacher interns with more opportunities to observe experienced teachers in action. We have a high number of interns who have not yet completed teacher training. Without more substitutes, we cannot accelerate their learning in the classroom.
We pay substitutes $160 a day. Whether you are retired and looking for something to do, or between jobs and looking to supplement your income, as long as you care about kids and education, substituting could be a wonderful option for you. More local substitutes will also have a unifying effect in our valley. Rather than adults and children passing each other on the street with no familiarity, more of us will have a relationship. That suspicious group of teens will now be that bunch of kids you know and care about. Those rambunctious elementary school kids will not be annoying strangers, but rather, endearing goofballs. Let’s improve our schools together. Call us today at 707-895-3774!
LOOKS FROM HERE that old fashioned sirens are still the best area warning system, much more likely to reach the imperiled than reverse 911 calls to people who may not be reachable via the new technologies. I’ve never heard the Redwood Valley-Potter Valley sirens but I’m told they can raise the dead, reaching every area of those two regions. And in red flag weather, PG&E should simply cut power to the danger zones. Better (much better) to lose television reception for a few hours than your life or your house, most of us surely agree. BTW, Santa Rosa’s emergency services office, about five people, was in Yosemite for a conference the night of the big fires. Many victims of the disaster down there seem to agree that old fashioned sirens are the best possible alarm system.
ANDERSON VALLEY could use a siren or two. If a wind-driven fire got going in our narrow-roaded hill areas, well, Sonoma County serves as the eternal example of what can happen.
CHARLES MANSON has died. As Valley old timers will tell you, often illustrating their confirmations with their experiences with the maniac and his “family,” Manson and several of his depraved harem lived on Gschwend Road, Navarro, circa 1966.
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CHARLES MANSON WAS A NIGHTMARE FROM THE ‘SUMMER OF LOVE’
Manson in the Haight, from one who knew him...
by David Smith
Fifty years ago, at the height of the “summer of love,” up to 30,000 hippies crowded San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, dancing to the psychedelic music pioneered by bands such as the Grateful Dead. The event attracted thousands of young people to the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco — a small neighborhood that soon became the epicenter of a counterculture movement centered on the philosophy that chemistry and drugs could improve life experiences.
This was the complex environment that wrought Charles Manson, the notorious cult leader of the murderous Manson Family who would become a national obsession. I studied Manson, who died Sunday at age 83, while researching psychoactive drugs in the late ’60s, watching as he became an infamous symbol of the dark side in the summer of love — and helped to stunt progressive policies for decades to come.
I first interacted with Manson and the women who followed him as a physician in 1967 while treating them at the health clinic I launched to serve the growing population of young drug users in Haight-Ashbury. I quickly discovered that their philosophy smacked of delusions of grandeur, fueled by LSD and mind control. Manson used his influence over the young female members of the Manson Family to control their behavior, changing their names to dissolve their identities. The philosophy was bizarre — but so was the whole of Haight-Ashbury, and Manson just seemed another character moving through our scene.
My next interaction with the group was in 1969. By this time, hippies had begun moving out of Haight-Ashbury and into the country, so we formed health groups to provide visiting nurses to their communes. We saw this as an opportunity to study the new counterculture communal phenomenon, prompting my clinic’s administrator, Al Rose, to temporarily live with and study the Manson Family on their ranch.
Rose brought back interesting field notes that served as the basis of our paper “The Group Marriage Commune: A Case Study,” published in the Journal of Psychedelic Drugs and completed before Manson Family members began killing people. We found that Manson served as the group’s absolute ruler, often performing drug-involved magic tricks to show his mental powers. The group consisted of 20 core members. Manson would use the sex lives of the women to determine who was truly committed to the philosophy and his control.
Failure to adapt brought discipline; many were asked to leave involuntarily. Failure to conform to Manson’s philosophy or refusal to have sex with any member of the group were also grounds for expulsion. The Family’s members never discussed murder or violence with us, but in an interview with member Susan Atkins in 1980 for her parole hearing, it became clear that Manson had probably formulated his “Helter Skelter” worldview — which predicted a race war in the United States — while they were using methamphetamines, leading to the infamous Tate/LaBianca murders in 1969.
Atkins said she spent five years in prison before Manson “left her brain.” We know now that drug-infused mind control is a very real phenomenon among such susceptible youths. Further, it is difficult to identify and anticipate. Society still has not fully grasped the danger when drugs, cult leaders and alienated youths mix. With the growing drug problem today, there is a potential for more violent cult acts to occur.
For many, the Manson episode validated their fears of the counterculture movement. But while there were legitimate negatives to the era, there was also real good happening — such as new forms of psychedelic music; increased racial, gender and religious tolerance, as well as acceptance of gays and lesbians; and the advance of the theory that addiction should be treated as a disease in mainstream medical settings.
I observed these changes firsthand. In May 1967, the San Francisco Health Department had refused our request to set up a free health clinic in the area. Health officials resisted the idea of serving long-haired, drug-taking, sexually promiscuous hippies, hoping instead that such people would just go away. This was the atmosphere that gave birth to the phrase “health care is a right, not a privilege” — which eventually became the protest statement for the national free-clinic movement. Half a century later, the slogan undergirded President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and the fight now to preserve it during the Trump presidency. Few people understand how it evolved from the counterculture movement.
Charles Manson and his Family took advantage of this progressive movement to advance their own ideas of death, destruction and a tarnishment of moral principles. It is only despite the horrors of Manson’s crimes that the spirit of the “summer of love” survives today.
(David Smith founded the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, which is now part of HealthRIGHT 360 in northern California.)
PERV STATS, local division. It takes some digging to find out the specifics of their actual crimes which reside in the police reports on the original outrages committed by registered sex offenders. Since there are so many of them in our porn-drenched, decadent country, it may be time to consider a kind of reservation and sorting center to permanently separate the worst of them from us normal, non-criminal pervs. On the perv rez they'd all at least have a fixed address, from which they wouldn’t be allowed to stray.
PERVS VARY. Some people find themselves with registered status for statutory rape, for instance. And there's a big difference in potential harm between, say, a weenie wagger and a cho mo. The exhibitionist should of course be suppressed, but all he's doing is presenting an unappetizing visual to random passersby. The rapist, the cho mo, and the rest of the assaultive types should never get out. But here we are with all these on-line perv rosters that prevent the theoretically "cured" from maintaining a permanent address. Nobody wants the registered offender in the neighborhood. So he wanders around as a transient unregistered anywhere unless the cops, as they have in the case of the dead-eyed cho mo who has recently appeared in Fort Bragg, happens to learn of of them. Then he's driven back out on the road. I'm told there are presently 36 certified sex offenders in Fort Bragg alone, 16 of them with no fixed address.
STATE WATER BOARD MAY CAP POT LICENSES
by Jim Shields
The marijuana industry (and I’m not talking about cottage growers and the “Mom and Pops”), their lobbyists, and far too many local officials (especially here on the Northcoast) forget, don’t know, or don’t care that state legalization efforts were forged in the midst of California’s record five-year drought that ushered in statewide mandatory water consumption cuts.
They forget that some state legislators prior to legalization laws were observers at the infamous Island Mountain mega-grow that siphoned off a half-million gallons of Eel River water per day reducing stretches of it to desert-like hard pan. By the way, that daily diversion rate amounted to 90 million gallons over a six-month growing season. Here in the Laytonville County Water District where we provide water to 2,000 people a day, we only pump out 70 million gallons in a whole year.
They forget that while a majority of state voters favor legalization, they also want it with lots of strings attached. Such as enforcing stringent regulations protecting natural resources and water and watersheds.
Fortunately, those state agencies with primary responsibilities for carrying out the various regulatory frameworks associated with legalized cannabis, have reminded everyone in the last few weeks that legalization comes with all those necessary strings attached.
As I reported to you a month ago, the State Water Board adopted a new statewide policy establishing strict environmental standards for cannabis cultivation in order to protect water flows and water quality in California’s rivers and streams. The new regulations and programs address the not-so-friendly watershed practices of too many cultivators.
The Water Board understands that it’s all about water: you can’t grow weed without it.
Underpinning Water Board’s regulatory framework is the realization that commercial cannabis cultivation is growing significantly and spreading to new areas of the state following adult use legalization through Proposition 64.
One of the cornerstones of the Water Board’s regulatory package is if left unregulated, cannabis cultivation could pose serious threats to water quality and fish and wildlife by diverting water or releasing fertilizers, pesticides, and sediments into waterways.
Clearly the Water Board understands it was the intent of legislators, to the point of specifically referencing North Coast “environmental damage,” that the state would be paying close attention to all natural resource issues. As I said, this is a fact lost on far too many in the emerging marijuana industry, as well as local officials who are implementing cannabis ordinances in numerous counties.
In making its new rules, the Water Board relied on numerous reports and studies regarding the impacts of cultivation on watersheds, including a staff report discussing watersheds in Mendocino and Humboldt counties:
“In the most impacted watersheds, diminished streamflow is likely to: have lethal or sub-lethal effects on state- and federally-listed salmon and steelhead trout; and cause further decline of sensitive amphibian species. The 2015 CDFW study concluded that cannabis cultivation on private land has grown so much in the North Coast region that Coho salmon, a federal and state listed endangered species, may go extinct in the near future if the impacts of cannabis cultivation are not addressed immediately.”
So what are the plans of the State Water Board to address the impacts of cannabis cultivation immediately?
It appears the Board will be taking a watershed-by-watershed approach to determining how many permits and licenses will be issued to cultivators. It’s all about the cumulative effects of pot farming, basically the same environmental standard theoretically applied in logging, land use planning, capital construction projects, and the like.
In a very enlightening interview last week with Water Deeply, Water Board staff explained their approach to dealing with various cumulative impacts of marijuana cultivation on watersheds. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
Cannabis cultivation can impact local water by reducing flows in streams and creeks or polluting waterways with pesticides and other agricultural chemicals. Even the construction of roads and buildings for cannabis farming causes sediment runoff and erosion that damages nearby streams and rivers. Until recently, this was difficult to address because many growing operations were illegal.
The new rules will be implemented through five regulatory programs, which will require certain permits depending on the size of the operation. Among other things, the new policies limit how much water needs to be flowing through a channel before water can be diverted for marijuana growth, how many acres of land an operation can disturb, how growers should dispose of their waste and how the new permits will be enforced through cooperation with local, state and federal law enforcement.
Water Deeply recently spoke with Erin Ragazzi, an assistant deputy director for the State Water Board’s Division of Water Rights and Water Quality Certification and Scott Couch, section chief of groundwater protection at the State Water Board, about developing the new policy.
What damage can cannabis farming do to water quality? And what kind of damage are you hoping to reduce with this regulation?
Erin Ragazzi: There’s a variety of different types of damage that can occur, depending on where the cannabis cultivation activities are taking place, and the measures that are put in place to protect the environment. Our focus here is mainly on surface water and groundwater protection, and the beneficial uses associated with them.
Scott Couch: I just wanted to also add that we’re seeing the types of things on the cultivation side, like waste – just trash, human waste, waste from fertilizer, pesticide containers, things like that. We don’t want that stuff in the water.
Ragazzi: That’s definitely something that the policy in general order addresses. We have specific conditions related to sediment controls, targeted specifically at land, then the roads. So, in the policy, we really direct people to make sure that they’re meeting the requirements in the road [building], and then having appropriate best management practices in place to control sediment runoff.
That wouldn’t be a problem in many cases, except that we’ve got cannabis cultivation in areas of the state that aren’t highway-developed, and these rural areas, in order to gain access there is a lot of road building that wouldn’t occur with traditional agriculture.
Couch: Yeah, we’re seeing a lot of damage in the North Coast, in particular, for road-building activities that are contributing to sediment and damaging streams and habitat.
Up until this point, cannabis growing has mostly been on the black market in California. In some of our previous coverage, Scott Greacen, at the Friends of the Eel River, mentioned that many growers – who are already using the black market – might just continue to do so to avoid regulations. Do you think there is a risk that these further regulations are going to push more growers to take that route, or discourage people who are already using the black market to start growing legally?
Ragazzi: Well, I think that we are cognizant of the need to develop requirements that we think are protective of water quality, but also create an environment in which people want to come in to the regulated community, because they have been in the black market for so long. What will be your carrots and sticks? One key component of that is doing the education outreach to make the folks aware of what we’re requiring, why we’re requiring it, but then also having the enforcement arm necessary to facilitate folks knowing that they can’t hide in the black market, but that we are going to be taking enforcement actions against folks that are not registered and enrolled in our program. I think there are incentives already as part of the legislation that incentivize people to come into the process earlier rather than later. There’s the potential to have a limited number of plant identifiers and licenses issued by the various entities, and so those folks that come forward earlier are going to be in a better position than folks that may stand on the sidelines and wait for a while. There are those carrots in terms of the early adopters, and the board has an enforcement policy that is very focused on education as one of its first pillars, before you move directly to further enforcement. We don’t directly inform the other agencies for purposes of eradication. Typically, to my knowledge, what occurs is the State Water Board staff will go out with California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff and their warden, and as part of those joint inspections there may be an eradication process that takes place, depending upon the unique circumstances of that specific site.
* * *
It’s worth noting the remark by Ms Ragazzi’s about limiting the “number of plant identifiers and licenses issued by the various entities, and so those folks that come forward earlier are going to be in a better position than folks that may stand on the sidelines and wait for a while.”
Apparently, the Water Board and other state agencies are planning on restricting or capping the number of cultivation licenses that can be issued, most likely based on an “environmental impact calculation” of how many grow sites and/or plants are allowable per watershed. That’s a great idea that local officials should take note of, immediately. It’s a much-needed regulation and would address the issue of the out-of-control expansion of pot production, especially here in Mendocino County. It also would address the major issue concerning the economic survivability of the small cottage grower who has seen the selling price of marijuana plummet because the market (black, gray or legal) is flooded with surplus pot primarily due to the failure of local governments enforcing natural resource provisions in their own ordinances
For example, Mendocino County that has an ordinance that prohibits removing a single tree if the purpose is for growing marijuana. There is little evidence the County is enforcing that strict rule, especially in the view of CALFIRE who this past summer admonished the BOS for its failure to do so.
It’s the same case with water-related issues. The county doesn’t have a clue if cultivators are in compliance with water codes and regulations regarding water sources, diversions, pond building, road construction, etc.
The Water Board’s regulatory approach should be emulated by all local governments involved in the cannabis legalization process because what they’ve done so far, sure isn’t working.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org)
COMMUNITY CHORUS: Mendocino College
Mendocino College presents the Redwood Chorus Winter Concert on December 8th and 9th at the Mendocino Presbyterian Church on Lansing Street in Mendocino. Music will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 8, and at 2 p.m. on December 9th. Featured works led by conductor Jenni Windsor will include The Coronation Anthem No. 4 by George Frideric Handel, accompanied on the Church’s magnificent organ by Robin Knutson, also the beautiful Ukrainian Alleluia, and the afro-Cuban chant Yemaya. The chorus will surround the audience with sound as they perform pieces throughout the church. Treble’d Women and Cor Unum will start things off with an eclectic combination of the beautiful and the amusing music of the season. Admission free-donation requested.
Dec. 8, 7 p.m. Redwoods Chorus Winter Concert at the Mendocino Presbyterian Church
Dec. 9, 2 p.m. Redwoods Chorus Winter Concert at the Mendocino Presbyterian Church
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 20, 2017
Cisneros, Dunsing, Harrison
HENRY CISNEROS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
NICKOLAS DUNSING, Ukiah. Petty theft, controlled substance, smoking-injecting device, probation revocation.
BRANDON HARRISON, Ukiah. DUI.
Michael, Soto, Wright
HEATHER MICHAEL, Ukiah. Resisting.
ROMAN SOTO, Manchester. Battery, participation in criminal street gang, parole violation.
NICOLE WRIGHT, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
TURN AROUND THE SOHUM SLIDE
by John Hardin
What a difference a couple of years can make. Suddenly, SoHum seems to be sinking. The Mateel is broke. KMUD is on the brink, and the business district in Garberville has a hockey player’s smile. No one has moved into Paul’s bookstore since he got evicted. No one has moved into the previous location of Paul and Kathy’s bookstore, in Redway, since their previous eviction almost a decade ago, but getting back to Garberville. The restaurant at the North end of town seems to be the latest gap in our grill. The House of Burgess Restaurant is now closed, and empty. Across the street, the ice cream shop, Treats, has been closed for a couple of years now. The big theater next to it hasn’t shown a movie since 2016. Across the street again, the bank in the next block of Redwood Drive is closed, and everyone else seems like they’re just barely hanging on.
The Chamber of Commerce keeps organizing street parties, and they’ve made feeble attempts to revive Arts Alive, but Garberville’s illicit sparkle is gone. The bling has blung, leaving just another poor small rural town with a big drug problem. Weed has lost it’s intrigue, along with it’s profit margin, reducing the whole sexy outlaw industry into little more than hard, boring, farm work that barely pays the bills. Say goodbye to the Napa County of fine marijuana, and say hello to the new Southern Ohio of the West Coast.
The easy money is gone, and growing marijuana gets closer to honest farm work every day, and honestly, honest farm work sucks. I’ve done it. I respect the people who do it, but I hope I never have to do it again. I’m not a farm guy. I don’t mind growing my own weed, so I can get high while I do my thing, but my thing is not farming.
I think that if we, here in this community, can be honest with ourselves, most of us will realize that we are not farm people. The people who I met when I first moved here, were not farmers. They grew pot, but they also painted, made pottery, played music and made art. They didn’t move here with a burning desire to grow the very best marijuana in the world, and a shitload of it. They moved here to get away from the rat race. They grew cannabis to pay their bills, and to buy time to pursue what they loved, be it quality time in nature, their propensity for other drugs, or their own art, music or craft. They called it “The Cannabis Grant.”
I’m sure that some of the people who grow cannabis around here, do it because they love growing weed, and they never get tired of it, because growing weed is what they were born to do. That’s not most of us though. Most of us were looking for a way to avoid long hours of hard work. Growing marijuana was a way of stealing your life back from the man. People grew marijuana so that they could enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without selling themselves into corporate slavery. Growing pot was stressful, and it wasn’t easy, but it didn’t consume your whole life.
Today, most people in the business are working themselves to death on a non-stop light-dep treadmill to hell. The artists and writers and oddball misfits who grew marijuana to buy some autonomy and freedom are getting squeezed, and for people in the industry, growing marijuana is rapidly becoming just another shitty job. This is not the time to let your talents and your dreams languish while you toil away your life in Humboldt’s ganja fields. Get out while you can. You have better things to do.
Don’t measure your success in dollars, because dollars mean nothing. Measure your success in happiness; measure it in time spent doing what you love. Whether it’s playing the guitar, talking with friends, painting, hunting, fishing, gardening, working on cars, writing, partying or fucking, nothing you can buy will ever make up for what you lose by giving up what you love. When you deny your own talents and proclivities that way, you rob the world of your creativity, which makes the whole human experience that much less interesting.
When a lot of people deny themselves what they love, for an irresistible monetary incentive, it deadens the whole community, because people who deny themselves what they really love, for money, die inside. They die inside, and they become resentful of anyone who has the courage to live their dream and do what they love. This community resentment gets translated into words and actions that beat people down spiritually. Here in SoHum, we find ourselves caught in a spiral, where the lower the price of weed falls, the harder we work. The harder we work, the more resentful we become, and the more resentful we become, the more we beat each other down.
Our whole economy is built to beat people down, and to force them to abandon their dreams and sell themselves for money. Capitalism needs people who are dead inside, because people who are dead inside buy more crap, take more drugs, go to the doctor more often, and do what they are told. When you sell yourself for money, it’s like surrendering without a fight. It is the most debilitating kind of defeat, and no amount of financial success can mitigate that loss.
The strength, and future, of SoHum does not lie with the cannabis industry. The strength and future of SoHum lies with the many talented and creative people who are getting the life squeezed out of them in the cannabis industry, and are being beaten down spiritually by a resentful community. One of the things that makes cannabis so attractive is the creativity it can release in the user, but one of the worst things about the cannabis industry is all of the creativity it squashes with never-ending hard farm work.
As a community, we need to recognize that the cannabis industry will employ fewer people in the future, and a lot of those people will be low wage workers. Most of the honest jobs in our local economy pay low wages. If we can figure out how to create housing and establish businesses that cater to the needs of people with low wage jobs, and make life easier for people at the lower end of the pay scale, we can create an environment where people feel less pressure to stick with an unsatisfying job, and more freedom to try something different. The more we can do to help release the creativity that is already here, the faster we can build an attractive local culture and a vibrant, diverse and resilient local economy. Honestly, it’s about time.
TERRIBLE JOBS #4: RAVAGES OF THE NIGHT SHIFT
by Louis S. Bedrock
Scientific research and anecdotal evidence suggest that our metabolism is screwed up by working the night shift. One’s biological clock is not easily reset.
I took a job at the Ballentine Brewery in Newark, New Jersey in 1970. My hours were from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.. Lunch was at 3:00 a.m..
I lasted for six months.
I never got used to working at night.
My responsibility was to test the beer and ale that was maturing in large vats in the cold, dark, labyrinthian cellars of the brewery. Beers and ales needed to be tested several times daily for CO₂, O₂, temperature, clarity, alcohol content, color, and pH value.
Hop oil had to be added to some vats. Hop oil has a strong, sickeningly sweet stench that clings to skin and clothing
Some tests merely required checking gauges and meters on the vats; others had to be done with thermometers, spectrophotometers, and other equipment and materials in the laboratory. I carried with me two metal carriers that each held eight quart sized mason jars. Thus, I was able to test 16 vats on each trip.
Data had to be recorded in logs. At 4:00 a.m., this was more difficult than it sounds.
The cellars were dark, damp, and slippery. They reeked of beer and hop oil. I wore an old pair of jeans, galoshes over an old pair of army shoes, a lined army jacket, and a sock hat in this underworld. The beer rotted galoshes and they had to be replaced every two months.
The cellars were spooky. Sleep deprivation and a febrile imagination populated them with shape-changing, blood-drinking aliens and sadistic serial killers that lurked in the shadows behind the vats and stalked me as I made my rounds.
I worried about getting lost in the Borgesian cellars and never being seen again.
For lunch, I brought a tuna fish or peanut butter sandwich and an apple. I drank coffee that we brewed in the laboratory, never beer. Lunch was an entire hour, so I frequently took a twenty minute nap.
At 7:00 a.m., when my relief arrived, I went to the locker room, showered, and changed my clothes. Even after showering, the smell of hop oil lingered on my hands. I drove home amid rush hour traffic caused by people going to work.
I was taking courses at Upsala College in the afternoons. I tried to get four or five hours sleep before noon but it was often difficult because of the light and because of the noise of normal people’s normal activities.
I was always tired. I nodded out during classes. I nodded out on friends’ couches. I nodded out in the Main Street Diner, where I often ate my second lunch of the day. I nodded out in my girlfriend’s arms while we were making out. She was understanding.
Friday and Saturday nights I was off from work. I used Saturday and Sunday to study, catch up with homework, do laundry, shop, clean the apartment, and catch up with sleep. However two days didn’t suffice to compensate for my disorienting, sleep depriving schedule.
In November, I applied for a GI loan and found a part-time, late afternoon job in a drug store, so I left the brewery. It was good to be able to sleep at night again.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
SMART is seeking an $836,000 grant to pay for a feasibility study of a proposed rail link to Suisun City. Other details in the same SMART presentation, specifically, passenger rail extension cost estimates, are as follows:
[x] Sonoma County airport to Windsor, $55 million.
[x] Windsor to Healdsburg, $125 million.
[x] Healdsburg to Cloverdale, $170 million.
The same presentation also referred to “bike projects underway” but gave no cost estimate for finishing the SMART multi-use path.
While I applaud SMART for pursuing grants, this one distracts from what Measure Q promised — and SMART has yet to deliver. To deliver upon what was promised to voters by Measure Q, SMART should prioritize the following:
Increase service to every 30 minutes during commute hours. Target hourly service on weekends and weekdays during non-commute hours.
[x] Complete the Larkspur extension.
[x] Complete the unfinished bike path segments along the existing rail line between Sonoma County airport and San Rafael.
[x] Complete the rail line north to Cloverdale.
SMART should focus on completing what was promised to voters in Measure Q before committing additional money and resources to new projects.
COFFEE RATIONING, WWII
Nov. 19, 1942 — America’s larder is thinning. Retail sales of coffee will halt for a full week starting midnight Saturday as a prelude to “java” rationing Nov. 28. Panic buying similar to that which emptied liquor shelves before the new tax went into effect, was expected before coffee sales are frozen. San Francisco’s meat picture is not so very fat, for that matter. Lamb and pork will start coming into retailers’ empty ice boxes today, as the 480-odd slaughterhouse men who walked out Monday in a wage dispute had a full day’s killing in yesterday. Milton Maxwell, vice president of the Butchers’ Union, said beef will be available again tomorrow from the ten plants idled by the walkout. He explained that freshly killed meat would taste like redwood shavings fried in peanut oil, and had to be hung at least 24 hours in the “chill room” before being offered to the public. Even with this supply coming back, federal quotas, which failed to take into account San Francisco’s war worker population, will still mean a meat shortage, with most shops getting a daily supply sufficient to keep them operating for only a few hours. “This quota,” Maxwell said, “is giving San Franciscans slightly more than a pound of meat per capita per week.” (SF Chronicle)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Yeah, you see the victims coming out a quarter century after the abuse proclaiming their “strength”. They say “I am strong.” Well, no, the facts tell a different story. Their actions throughout weren’t those of strength but those of fear and weakness and dependency.
That said, in the corporate world, it’s similar: fear and weakness and dependency. You drink the Kool-Aid and pretend to like it. No matter how heinous or preposterous or criminal the required cant is, you mouth the required words, you sign the required docs, you attend when and where you are told. Or else. And the “or else” can be ruinous. Either drink up and smile or get the hell out.
Corporations are totalitarian dictatorships. No freedom of speech, no freedom of information, no freedom of association.
SPEAKING OF FATHERS, I must admit that I was certainly fortunate to have had a Dad who not only worked hard and accomplished much with his skills, talents and his own hands, but was able to pass on those abilities and the value of such efforts to his two sons. Dad’s “sex talk” consisted of the one line of “Keep your dick in your pants,” which while not exactly enough help to more forward with, certainly was good and sound advice. Dad taught us that if we were somehow able to learn to enjoy whatever work it was that we were doing, we would never have to work a day in our lives. If even half of the no-ball wonders in our society could master such a concept our nation might still be growing better rather than falling apart. — Anon
by James Kunstler
As long as sexual hysteria is the order of the day, there was a juicy item stowed on the back blue pages of The New York Times this morning. They report that actor Jeffrey Tambor is leaving the title role in Amazon’s hit TV series Transparent after two women on the set accused him of sexual misconduct.
One was “actress” Trace Lysette (notice The Times reverting to the antiquated gendered term when the new correct mode is to use “actor” for all on-camera persons). The other victim was Mr. Tambor’s on-set assistant, Van Barnes.
“My back was against the wall in a corner as Jeffrey approached me,” Ms. Lysette said in her statement on Thursday. “He came in close, put his bare feet on top of mine so I could not move, leaned his body against me and began quick, discreet thrusts back and forth against my body. I felt his penis on my hip through his thin pajamas, and I pushed him off of me.”
Mr. Tambor was only accused of “groping” Van Barnes. We’re informed near the end of the story that both victims are transgender women, that is, men who went through some kind of medical procedure to present as women.
Hollywood was especially proud of the transgressive series for pioneering TV programming into the new frontier of transsexual manners and mores, something America really needed to know about. The show was showered with awards. Its creator, Jill Soloway — who “identifies as non-binary,” and refers to herself with the pronoun “they” in their relations with the media — has said that they hope to use the series to explore ideas of gender identity through a “wounded father being replaced by a blossoming femininity.”
Well, I guess that sort of does say it all about the fundamental state of American culture these days. We are living in the land of the wounded father. The nature of his wound is not quite specified, but if one were to guess, one might venture that something happened to his testicles. Cut off? Shot off? Industrial accident? We’re not informed. But the remedy for that misfortune is to turn into a woman, or at least act like one.
An interesting angle on all this from, say, a zeitgeist point of view, is that the archetypal father is not missed. Society does not need him. Rather we need him to go through the mystical passage to become a tragic-comic mother figure, a harmless old vessel full of rueful wisdom and comic relief. Of course that is the message that has been coming through loud and clear in the cultural scripts of recent days, with all the carping about cis-gender white folks (i.e., men) being responsible for all the woes of humanity.
My own meta-take on this whole business is that the archetypal father is secretly rather sorely missed in the USA. The mental inversions of the Progressive intelligentsia tell me that, deep down, the Left is in a state of deranged anguish over it. Trump has inflamed them especially because he fills the role of national father so badly for them with his vulgar incoherence. Nothing he does reassures anybody. They are desperate to shove him off-stage. He only reminds them how badly they miss a real and proper daddy. And their rage about it prompts them to destroy anybody else who reminds them of a bad daddy, by any means necessary — sexual misbehavior being a very convenient means in a culture that celebrates its lack of boundaries.
Lately, male authority in America has gone along with this script, perhaps (I have to guess) because they have screwed up public affairs so royally — especially the financial management of the national household — and they are deeply ashamed. So they have been willing to submit, at least, to a certain amount of symbolic castration to avoid having to act differently, or actually accomplish anything on the nation’s pretty long to-do list.
This psychodrama is not going to continue indefinitely. At some point the men in this country who are not Trump are going to rediscover that they have a purpose and even an obligation to act like men. But it will be interesting to see how the Transparent TV show continues into Season Four minus the character that is its reason to exist. The fact that the producers seem to think they can just carry on as if nothing happened tells us a lot about the delusional thinking of Hollywood.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
(Click to enlarge)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Why aren’t the Womenfolk permitted to just slap a masher right across the kisser anymore? It’s an ancient extra-discursive communication that transcends all cultural boundaries. No drawing of blood, breaking bones or losing teeth. A plain old slap in the face (like the one I once received at John’s Barn nightclub in Mt. Home, Idaho, for being a tad too forward to a lady in tight jeans, Tony Lama boots and a Resistol hat). That seemed both a ladylike way of repelling any aggressive advance while providing just enough negative reinforcement to prevent future naughty behavior. Al Franken, Geo. (wheelchair) Bush, Weinstein, indeed, all the mashers would have benefitted greatly from a well-deserved slap.