Off the Record
by AVA News Service, December 9, 2010
THE AVA will appear in small claims court at 5:30pm January 5th against County Auditor Meredith Ford and 4th District Supervisor Kendall Smith. After several months of runarounds, our papers are filed, and Ford and Smith have been subpoenaed to appear. We're trying to get the $3,087 back from Smith that she chiseled from County taxpayers by filing bogus travel claims. We've subpoenaed Ms. Ford because she writes the County's paychecks. We want her to deduct the money from Smith's lush monthly compensation and put it back in the general fund. Although ordered by the DA to deduct the money, Ms. Ford said she wanted "a second opinion" before she did it, which is like getting stopped for drunk driving and telling the cop, "Sorry, I need a second opinion before you can arrest me." Please. A County employee needs a second opinion when the top law enforcement officer of the County orders her to do something? Thereupon commenced a laughable passing of the buck that even saw the buck passed to a friend of all the local girls involved — Smith, Ford, Nadel, Angelo — in the Sonoma County Counsel's Office. That lady said, "Yes, girls, that dirty dawg of a man hassling Sister Smith does indeed need a court order to get the money back for Mendocino County. The buck thus returned to Mendocino County, it landed on County CEO Carmel Angelo's desk. Ms. Angelo, yanking an opinion out of mid-air declared, essentially, "Yes, indeed, girls, that dawg ain't getting it." The money, that is. We see this thing as the first round in a long fight to prevent the supervisors from getting any travel money. It's outrageous that in a County where a family of four thinks it's lucky to be barely getting by at $30,000 a year, and lots of families aren't getting by at all, that these five people, who make $68,000 a year plus every perk known to Western Man, get paid public money to drive to work. We're not picking on Smith. Supervisor Colfax undoubtedly chiseled a lot more travel money than she did but Colfax, a more experienced scammer, was crafty enough to keep his reimbursement figures so vague it was impossible to determine exactly how much he stole.
I WAS TALKING with this college-bound kid the other day about her essay, the one the U.C. system requires of its applicants submit. She was having trouble coming up with a subject. "I've got a topic for you," I said. "A can't miss. You'll knock 'em out. Write about the Like Dudes, you know, the young people who indiscriminately spray us with adverbs, as in 'I was like going to the like store, when like this dude like said...' That kind of thing. You could call it The Attack of the Adverbs." The kid was skeptical, and so was I when I read U.C.'s narcoleptic sample subject matter. (1) "Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or schools — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations." If you step out of the guidelines implied here, the marginally literate graduate student reading the essays for five bucks each won't get it, and if you stay within the guidelines you'll bore yourself to sleep by the second sentence. An essay about the Like Dudes would probably offend the Like Dude reading it. So I said, Here. How's this? "I come from my mommy and daddy. Mommy cries herself to sleep every night and Daddy sits in front of the television drinking beer until he falls out of his chair on to the floor. None of my classmates can read but they're all going to college. My community is dying. Lots of people have no jobs. They're getting kicked out of their houses, too. No one knows anybody else. I can buy drugs anywhere. The tourists drive through. Sometimes they stop. The men are dressed like little boys. The women wear too much make-up and look like they haven't had any fun in thirty years. I want to get out of this place before it kills me. I'm pretty sure I want to be a communist when I graduate." That wouldn't get you into Stanford, but it might get you into Mills.
BOTH MISS BAUER and Mr. Jordan were arrested in Willits about the same time on the same night. The charge was disorderly conduct. They were booked 8 minutes apart and released from the County Jail in Ukiah later the same night 6 minutes apart. God Lord Jesus The Merciful don't tell me that Miss Bauer is associated with Mr. Jordan. If she is, there's got to be an immediate intervention. Something has got to be done to rescue this child! Then we looked her up on My Space where she says she likes Twilight, which is about vampires, and darned if she doesn't seem to have found one!
MAKE $$ MAKE TROUBLE is a 2-day hands-on, grant writing workshop for non-profits, grassroots groups, and indivduals. Grant writer Ed Nieves will cover the nuts and bolts of grant writing composition, from locating grants, to budgeting and writing successful proposals. Work 1 on 1 with feedback from Ed while formatting your project into a grant proposal. Saturday and Sunday December 11th & 12th, 10am-6-pm. $60-$100, Sliding Scale and Scholarships available. All proceeds benefit KMEC Community Radio and the Mendocino Environmental Center. Call Nieves (707) 463-1760 or the MEC (707) 468-1660 for more information. (— Christina Aanestad)
RECOMMENDED VIEWING. Maybe. It's not for everyone, but it held my attention for all its five-plus hours. "Carlos" is about the infamous Carlos the Jackal, a roving, often state-sponsored, international terrorist, a real guy whose deeds were truly amazing, especially the one during which he and an international crew of revolutionaries hijacked an entire OPEC conference. I must confess I was delighted to see that event re-enacted. The French finally arrested Carlos in the Sudan for what they said was the murder of two of their policemen and an Arab snitch. Carlos got life without. The film is very well done. All the characters are plausible replicas of the real life figures they're based upon. The events portrayed are portrayed realistically. Carlos is not romanticized. He may even be vilified, as he's depicted jumping from one exploited woman to another, and he mistreats prostitutes he picks up in discos. I entered the theater about 11:30am where I joined the usual geriatric matinee audience of maybe 30 Greek seaman's caps, and it was dark when I got out. I'm still wondering if the movie was worth an entire afternoon.
THE FLIP OUT of the year trophy for 2010 goes to Mr. Arthur Gonzales of Covelo. Mr. G went all the way off last Friday night: “At 1130 hours Round Valley Tribal Police were investigating a possible intoxicated driver on Tabor Lane in Covelo. During the investigation the driver of the suspect vehicle, Arthur Gonzales, attacked the Tribal Police Officer. During the attack, Gonzales punched and kicked the Tribal Police Officer several times causing injury. The Tribal Police Officer was able to use his portable radio to summon emergency assistance from the Sheriff's office and California Highway Patrol. The closest available deputies and CHP officers responded from the Willits area. The injured Tribal Police Officer in the meantime attempted to subdue Gonzales by spraying him in the face with pepper spray but it had no effect. The Tribal Police Officer withdrew to a safer location and awaited the arrival of the responding deputies and officers. Gonzales then directed his anger towards the Tribal Police vehicle that had been left at the scene. Gonzales picked up an old car tire and began to throw it at the windows of the Tribal Police vehicle, which resulted in over $400 worth of damage. Gonzales had fled the immediate area prior to the arrival of Sheriff deputies and CHP officers. A search was conducted and Gonzales was located near Lot #4 on Concow Blvd. A Sheriff's deputy drew his sidearm and ordered Gonzales down to the ground. Gonzales refused to comply with the orders and instead ran at a full sprint towards the deputy. The deputy quickly holstered his sidearm and drew his Taser. Gonzales closed within feet of the deputy before the Taser was deployed. The deployment of the Taser brought Gonzales' attack to an immediate end. Located in the area where Gonzales was apprehended were a large knife and an axe handle. Both the knife and axe handle had blood on them. It was later discovered that Gonzales had entered or attempted to enter several residences on the Reservation while evading law enforcement. In one of the residences five Pit Bull puppies had been bludgeoned to death. Gonzales is a suspect in the death of the five puppies and the investigation is on-going. Gonzales was transported to Howard Hospital for medical clearance and then to the Mendocino County Jail.” — Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Press Release
RUMOR HAS IT that Judge Jonathan Lehan plans to retire from his current Ten Mile Court bench seat soon. Rumor also has it that the odds-on favorite to replace him is His Honor Clayton Brennan, who now hosts the Ukiah Drug court where his inexperience and inconsistent rulings do the least harm. The thinking apparently is that since the Ten Mile Court doesn’t handle major cases it might be the right place for Brennan. The big stuff will continue to be routed to Ukiah. But Ten Mile does more than DUIs and abalone poaching. Lehan also handles some serious civil cases, which he inevitably botches one way or the other, and it wouldn’t be long before coastal attorney’s started routinely bouncing Brennan from their cases if Brennan replaces Lehan in a judicial lateral move if there ever was one.
FORT BRAGG is belatedly considering offers from Solid Waste of Willits and Empire Waste Management of Santa Rosa to take over the Caspar Transfer station. Which the Fort Bragg City Council could have done months ago when the other County transfer stations were privatized except for......ta-da, Mike Sweeney, Mendocino County's trash czar (and unindicted car bomber). If Sweeney had made Fort Bragg fully aware that Fort Bragg's trash customers would get cheaper, more efficient garbage disposal from Willits-based Solid Waste of Willits, or Santa Rosa-based Empire Waste Management, Fort Bragg would have made the transition to either of these private trash haulers months ago. But Sweeney screwed up the deal with his typically furtive and always self-interested scheming, all of which we've outlined before and will spare you a re-hash of now. Simplified, the situation is this: If the County's trash is privatized, which it all soon will be, Sweeney should be out of his cush County job as garbage boss. There will be no need for his services. Sweeney has tried to stave off privatization simply to save his outrageously overpaid and now redundant position. The Fort Bragg Advocate News of course dutifully quoted Sweeney as to his astute handling of Fort Bragg's garbage affairs, as if Sweeney's version was an honest recitation of how Fort Bragg got from there to here.
MICHAEL LAYBOURNE REMINDS US: "Today is the day that the Microwave oven was patented in 1945. The heating effect of microwaves was discovered accidentally in 1945. Percy Spencer, an American engineer from Howland, Maine, was building magnetrons for radar sets with the American company Raytheon. He was working on an active radar set when he noticed that a peanut chocolate bar he had in his pocket started to melt. The radar had melted his chocolate bar with microwaves. He and Raytheon decided to experiment. The first food to be deliberately cooked with Spencer's microwave was popcorn, which worked. The second was an egg, which exploded in the face of one of the experimenters. Exploding eggs is accomplished by using microwave radiation to heat polarized molecules within the food. Making a device for sale to the general public was something new for Raytheon; most of its equipment was built to be run by military officers, who could be trusted to read the manual and handle the instrument carefully. But the oven would have to be much more foolproof t if it was going to be put to work in restaurants, which were seen at first as its main market. Operation had to be as automatic as possible, for most users would never read manuals, like me, and the company also had to anticipate that most of them would experiment with it, pushing buttons all over to see what would happen. Many at first thought that the radiation would sterilize you, but the radiation produced by a microwave oven is non-ionizing. It therefore does not have the cancer risks associated with ionizing radiation such as X-rays and high-energy particles. Long-term rodent studies to assess cancer risk have so far failed to identify any carcinogenicity from 2.45 GHz microwave radiation even with chronic exposure. So there. This, of course, reminds us to congratulate Pam Jensen on her club anniversary. Pam entered our club on 12/11/2007, National Noodle-Ring Day and... The day that first class postage increased from 10¢ to 13¢ in 1975. After considering all this and, relieved about microwaves, Ted Turner purchased 12,000 acres in Nebraska for Bison ranches in 2001on the same day. How about that!"
SUPERVISORS FROM MENDOCINO, Lake, Tehama, Glenn, Colusa and Trinity counties have agreed in principle to establish "welcome centers" at the Mendocino National Forest's most commonly used access points. The idea of the unwelcoming welcome centers is to cut off supply lines to the pot gardens infesting the forest's vastness. "Visitors will be inspected for black irrigation tubing, a common item used in the infrastructure of pot gardens. The centers would be manned 24 hours a day four and a half months a year beginning each March. The idea is to snip the grows in the bud (sic) with preventative measures." Prediction: Never happen, and if the unwelcoming welcome centers do happen, unless they're staffed by Navy Seals with night goggles, bet on the Irrigation Tubing People.
AS THE FISCAL chickens wing towards their global, national, state, and local roosts, the squeeze is on Mendocino county's non-profits, even the venerable ones like the Mendocino Art Center where, thanks to an inept board and two wacky directors in a row, the very existence of the Center is threatened. Fort Bragg's refurbished Aquatic Center seems to have come to the belated realization that the many millions spent on rehabbing the pool and related facilities neglected to set aside money for an endowment, a fund that would keep the chlorine in the water, so to speak. Down the road at the Art Center, a series of financial blunders have imperiled it. A critic of the current executive director, Tom Becker, who ran up a Marine Corps flag outside his quarters, that move alone sending an apprehensive quiver up the collective spine of Mendocino Village, says Becker "is not serving as an unpaid volunteer if you consider the $1,200/month (plus utilities) MAC apartment for which Tom is paying the Art Center $100/mo. His own home is leased out...sweet arrangement, if you ask me. The worst part is his running the Art Center like a military institution. He also lacks any knowledge of the arts and the people skills necessary to bring in community support...." Becker's predecessor, Karen Ely resigned when it was discovered she'd tarted up her resume to the point of pure fiction, but had also managed to quickly run the Center into the financial red and alienate wide swathes of the community as she ran up the deficit. Presently, the Center's board is said to be considering an absolutely suicidal move whereby a wealthy person would loan them a million bucks in the form of a mortgage. If you need loans to continue operating you're already dead.