Bruce Anderson vs. Supervisor Kendall Smith Explained

by Letters to the Editor, January 10, 2011

On January 5, 2011 the editor of the Anderson Valley Advertiser appeared before Judge John Behnke, and accused 4th District Mendocino County Supervisor Kendall Smith of padding her expense account to the tune of over $3,000.  The disheveled and rambling Anderson, who mistakenly referred to the defendants as plaintiffs in the courtroom, provided no evidence to back up his claims.  Never the brightest bulb in the journalistic drawer, Anderson was ultimately told that small claims court is not the proper venue to go after a corrupt county supervisor.

The legal action, which wasted hundreds of dollars of taxpayer money for a judge, bailiff, clerk and secretaries, was based on allegations that during her tenure as a supervisor since 2006, Supervisor Smith had overcharged the county $3,087 for travel expenses.

To do her job, it was regularly required that Supervisor Smith stay overnight in the inland town of Ukiah, where county business is conducted.  The Board of Supervisors meets twice a month, and it’s a tough 3-hour round-trip ride to the Supervisors’ chambers from her home in the coastal town of Fort Bragg.  In the wild winters of Mendocino County, this trip over steep and treacherous mountain roads can be difficult, if not outright dangerous.

Sometimes, meetings and business required her to stay over-night.  Smith claimed that starting in January 2006 when she took office, she was reimbursed at the rate $46.17 per trip for travel back and forth to Ukiah - even on days she did not make the drive home.  She claimed that she was coached by a former supervisor that it was OK to charge the mileage reimbursement as a minimum per diem fee for overnight lodging in Ukiah.  She also claimed there was no legal mechanism for her to clearly and honestly charge for the overnight lodging at its actual rate.  According to Smith, county policy is that she is entitled to the 46.17 mileage reimbursement fee, regardless of whether or not she actually makes the trip, if it’s charged towards lodging during “back to back” two-day meetings.

So the real skinny is:  she apparently loosely charged for travel expenses, even if she stayed overnight at a friend’s house, and applied the mileage fee to pay her friend a hundred bucks a month to stay in a spare room.  So, in lieu of making the three-hour drive, at times she paid her friend $100 a month to rent a room, and used car-mileage fees from the county as rental payments, all without keeping any receipts whatsoever.  Make sense?  Well, this is Bruce Anderson’s latest grand-conspiracy theory.

The 3K over five years works out to about 50 bucks a month - a fact that seems lost on the bald and blunt Mr. Anderson.  At the rate of $46.17 per seventy-mile round-trip, that would not even have paid Smith to trudge over the hill to Ukiah for a single BOS meeting!  And to properly represent the 4th District, a supervisor needs to spend more than just a couple of days a month in the county seat of Ukiah.

Whether or not Supervisor Smith was morally or legally correct to charge mileage reimbursements for a room she was renting in Ukiah is not for me to say.  But, the lax way that county supervisors charge expenses does not say much for the conduct and ethics we should demand of our representatives, nor does it bode well for the rich possibilities of real corruption and wrongdoing, where real issues of money, power and intrigue are concerned, in a county laced with illegal drugs, greedy speculation, and sheer, unbelievable stupidity.

Obviously, the Board of Supervisors need to clean up their act.  According to Smith,  Supervisors have been coached, coming into office, to charge for lodging against the minimum mileage fee, if staying in Ukiah for these “back to back” days of meetings.  The county policy makes no provision to cover overnight expenses, except to charge it at the same rate as the mileage fee.  This policy needs to be changed.

But coastal representatives should not be required to appear to lie in the eyes of stupid and yellow newspaper owners, in order to safely and effectively do their job.

It would seem that $100 a month for a supervisor’s accommodations in Ukiah would be a bargain.  A hundred bucks barely covers two-nights stay at a motel, nor two trips over the hill - the bare minimum it would take for the 4th District Supervisor to do her job.

In the real world, Mendocino County Supervisors make a generous $68,000 a year, a good deal more than the supervisors in any of our neighboring counties in Northern California.  Supervisor Smith had no need to appear to chisel a few hundred extra bucks from the county budget.  Apparently, when other supervisors were caught with their hands in the till over this same issue, they sheepishly returned the money.

But if anything, in the real world, Supervisor Smith might be commended for reducing her carbon footprint, and staying over in Ukiah when circumstances demanded it, instead of wasting the time and fuel to drive over the hill.  She was following standard county policy for the Fourth District supervisor, to charge travel expenses against the cost of lodging in our expansive county, and did so without fraudulent intent.

Instead of going after a county representative with this sort of petty, nickel-nosing stab at exposing corruption, county taxpayers should demand that the idiotic Bruce Anderson find a new cause to believe in, now that the Giants have won the Series, and get his rich nephew to reimburse us for flaying a dead horse in small-claims court.

--David Gurney

15 Responses to Bruce Anderson vs. Supervisor Kendall Smith Explained

  1. Bruce Anderson Reply

    January 10, 2011 at 6:47 am

    On the off chance anyone’s really interested in what went on in court
    the other evening, the whole show is available on Ukiah Valley
    Television. If Gurney thinks its ok for elected officials to steal so long
    as I’m opposed to them doing it, he could just say so and save us the
    effort of wading through his turgid prose. Supervisors Smith and
    Colfax took much more than a few thousand dollars; they stole many
    thousands, all of it applying to their retirement credits, which means
    the total amounts add up to grand theft. There are lots of people in
    jails and prisons for stealing less. I’ll also note that Gurney
    apparently attended the hearing but didn’t introduce himself, hence
    the long distance insults. I wrote about this crackpot some time ago
    when he wriggled out of charges arising from a drunken grapple with a
    State Parks ranger. He didn’t care for the attention.

  2. David Gurney Reply

    January 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Brucie-boy still doesn’t get it – there was no actus reus nor mens rea for a crime in either case, hence no basis for prosecution.

    That this this idiot doesn’t know the first thing about criminal law should come as no surprise. That he runs a “newspaper” certainly is.

    His comments on his previous slander and liable, which went unprosecuted simply to avoid drawing attention to his worthless little yellow rag, do not deserve the credit of a response.

  3. Charlie Reply

    January 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    What Bruce doesn’t get is that Kendall Smith is not guilty of any crime or wrongdoing, and no court has found otherwise. I watched the full video of the hearing, and he made a fool of himself. His whole case was based on hearsay and false assumptions, including the false assumption that he could bring the case as a small claims action. He presented no actual evidence of any wrongdoing, only his recital of 2nd and 3rd hand hearsay about the facts. He made the false assumption that a Grand Jury finding is a legal finding of fact; it isn’t.

    The judge clearly stated that he probably doesn’t have jurisdiction since Anderson didn’t bring a legally valid case. But the judge said if he does have jurisdiction he will decide the case in favor of Kendall Smith because no evidence was presented against her.

    This was never anything more than blowhard Bruce’s latest lookit-me attention-getting stunt. He doesn’t even have standing to sue as a taxpayer because he’s not a legal resident of Mendocino County any more, having moved to Oregon and then San Francisco.

    • Bruce Anderson Reply

      January 11, 2011 at 7:04 am

      Charlie Who is at least as well informed as Mr. Gurney. In fact, DA Meredith Lintott, responding to the findings of four successive grand juries, found that Smith had been paid for travel untraveled. Lintott directed the County Auditor to recover the money by deducting it from Smith’s supervisor’s pay. The Auditor didn’t do that, hence my small claims action which I took when the DA blithely announced, “If people are unhappy about this matter they can take it to small claims.” My evidence, affixed to my claim, was a pile of grand jury reports, media accounts of Smith’s (and Colfax’s) chiseling plus what I think are the relevant legal citations. I live in Boonville at 14625 Highway 128. I can be found at that address, or at my office in central Boonville, 4 days a week. In the summer months I am in Boonville for weeks at a time. I am registered to vote in Mendocino County. Stop by some time, “Chuck.”

      • David Gurney Reply

        January 11, 2011 at 9:09 am

        Brucie should have asked his buddy Timothy Stoen for DA advice, instead of the truly inept Lintott. She, obviously, has no legal authority to direct the auditor to take money from anybody’s pay. Duh. So Brucie-boy takes it upon himself play cop, jury, and executioner, and try to sell more copies his piece of shit “newspaper” along the way.

        And he STILL doesn’t get it – no crime was committed. The lax policy allowed these supervisors to “chisel” some extra pay – which in normal circles is called travel expenses. They got away with it. Get over it. Anderson’s objections seem to be the ravings of an unhinged psychotic. As a result of his fulminations, now they have an even sweeter deal to take extra money unaccountably. Nice going.

        This wanna-be Gonzo journalist, in reality a newspaper owner, is a roving outpatient with previous episodes of violence and threats of violence. He has published rifle-scopes over the faces of people he doesn’t like, a la Sarah Palin. He practices the Dick Cheney style of journalism, which is shoot people in the face first, and ask questions later. His humor is the taunting of a punk-coward bully – not funny at all, except to the nervous and the weak. He is a disgrace to the writer’s trade, and to the 2nd Amendment in particular. That writers faun to get their pieces published by this asshole is sad commentary on the state of the press in this nation.

        • Bruce Anderson Reply

          January 11, 2011 at 10:19 am

          Wow! “Rifle scopes over the faces of people he doesn’t like?” I’m guilty of many sins but not this one, and what’s with a guy who didn’t say a word to me the other night when I saw him in court but calls me all kinds of names long distance? (Of course I didn’t know it was Gurney until later but I sure would have enjoyed talking directly with him.) I’m taking my Smith complaint to the new DA, and we haven’t heard yet how Judge Behnke has ruled on my small claims action although I expect him to rule that I was in the wrong legal pew and that government people can’t be sued this way.

          • David Gurney Reply

            January 11, 2011 at 11:44 am

            On Nov. 27, 2002, you published in your so-called “newspaper,” a photo of Darryl Cherney. Superimposed over the bottom of the photograph, in large bold letters, are the words “Shoot To Kill (No Reward)”.

            This act of inciting terrorism is worse than printing crosshairs over someone’s picture, which leaves the intent at least somewhat ambiguous. Your intent on Nov. 27th was clear.

            Unfortunately for you, this act of terrorism is still in existence.

          • Bruce Anderson Reply

            January 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm

            To anyone but an illiterate like Gurney, that was a joke, and a joke that is now eight years old. Am I being stalked by this screwball?

  4. subscriber@theava.com Reply

    January 11, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Good to see you still pissing off all the right people, Bruce.

  5. David Gurney Reply

    January 12, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Yeah? – subscriber@theava.com Who?

    • subscriber@theava.com Reply

      January 13, 2011 at 6:52 am

      Like you, maybe.

  6. Jeffrey DeVilbiss Reply

    January 12, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Wouldn’t anyone sincerely attempting to run for Superviser from the coast look at the more than generous compensation (Pay) and either run for the office or do something else with their time. Why do they need to play with the taxpayers who are already overpaying them for their “services.” Anyone running know how far it is to Ukiah and what it costs to get there and back or stay the night. If they beleive the twice a week BOS meetings and volunteered extra time there arn’t covered by the More than generous salary and percs, why would they run for the office? The woman is a greedy theif and should be doing time.

  7. Wendy Roberts Reply

    January 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

    The fact that Smith and Colfax filed false travel claims is documented in great detail in two of the three grand jury reports on this subject. These reports can be read on the Mendocino County Grand Jury website. Just Google it. Moving on from this debacle, it’s time for the taxpayers to demand that supervisors conform to the same in-county travel policy that applies to everyone else. If they want to be reimbursed for allowable business-related travel, why should they not file timely expense claims showing the allowed purpose of the travel, the destination, miles traveled and receipts for any other related expenses?

  8. mark Reply

    January 12, 2011 at 11:21 am

    It is so odd that most of the people who apply terms such as “Rag” and “Yellow journalism” devote much time to buying said product and obsessing over the content. Countless times I have heard “People” for lack of a better word, claim same, yet lay down their buck for the paper. I assume mostly a paranoid type personality, devoid of spine.

  9. Jake Bayless Reply

    January 12, 2011 at 11:48 am

    David Gurney – you said here:

    “The lax policy allowed these supervisors to “chisel” some extra pay – which in normal circles is called travel expenses. They got away with it. Get over it.”

    Seriously? This is the best you got? This is public servitude? Simply because someone CAN get away with something does not mean they SHOULD. I’d like to think that the folks we elect have better moral fiber than that… but clearly, that The AVA has pointed it out, and followed through with trying to force some responsible change is over the top? No.

    Calling names is not productive. It can be funny, yes, but the issue at hand is elected moral fiber. Regardless of someone’s political persuasion in Mendocino County, The AVA has got your back. That’s awesome, laudable, and something few communities have anymore (least of which is mine).

    ~Jake Bayless
    Sonoma County

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