Press "Enter" to skip to content

MCT: Wednesday, October 2, 2019

* * *

WARM AND DRY weather is expected to persist today. Clouds will increase this afternoon in the north where a few showers are possible this evening. Slightly cooler temperatures and a few clouds will persist Thursday and Friday before warm and dry weather returns through Monday. Additional rain is possible by the middle of next week. (National Weather Service)

Ed Note: But in Boonville this morning there's a light frost and the industrial frost fans are at full roar.

* * *


SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS’ noble attempt to get the Board to enforce Measure V, the voter-passed initiative to declare intentionally killed trees left standing a public nuisance, went nowhere Tuesday morning when Williams couldn’t even get a second on his motion, even after he tried a second watered-down version to send the question to the Board’s General Government Committee to look into. (We’ll have more about that discussion in the next few days.)

BUT THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS MOMENT on Tuesday came when a rep from Mendocino Redwoods, Mendo’s prime tree-poisoner and prime target of Measure V, came to the podium:

“John Curry, Mendocino Redwood Co. — Mendocino Redwood Co. has no objections to an affirmation such as this [“Affirmation of the County’s Duty to Implement and Defend Laws Created Through Initiative”]. But it should be accompanied by an affirmation by the board to ensure that the County has the authority and the ability to cost-effectively enforce a ballot measure before approving it and placing it on the ballot. Imagine yourself in a situation where the voters approved a racially discriminating policy and passed it. There's no authority or way to enforce that by the Board of Supervisors. In addition, the county code says that any ordinance that goes against the Right to Farm Act should be considered immediately repealed. The Measure does not state who will enforce it even if it became law. The only mention of the County is that it shall not travel on private property. We think that this is out of the jurisdiction of the County to pass a regulation like this and it should be regulated by the Board of Forestry.”

IT’S ONE THING for MRC to dispute the legality of the Measure, of course — they’re already on record about that. But to compare the public’s declaration that poisoned trees are a nuisance to passing a “racially discriminatory policy”? That’s a new low in corporate whining.

UNFORTUNATELY, nobody in the room, including the Supervisors, called Mr. Curry on this outlandish reference.

COMPARE THAT LOW-POINT with the following high point statement about the poisoning practice and the fire hazard it creates by Willits resident Cynthia Raiser Jeavons: “Capitalism makes its profit by taking public resources — the trees, the air, the waterways — and putting as much risk on the public as possible by using those resources. The public bears those costs and a company or corporation takes whatever profits they can make and those are personal profits. But the risk is the public's. And that's a real concern.”

(Mark Scaramella)

* * *

* * *


AB 857 is a public banking bill awaiting the governor's sign off. When it becomes state law, what would prevent our County's leadership from starting one in which County money would be placed? Why? Mendo now places its money with big banks or money markets that invest in all manner of environmentally destructive stuff, and here we are in the most progressive county in the United States! (Well, I've heard that anyway, although off hand I can't think of anything that might be considered progressive to come outta here.) Yes, yes. Local entropy would certainly be an obstacle, but if the idea has achieved state sanction, obviously lots of counties are in favor, so why not us?

FROST FANS thundered into life about 4am Tuesday morning at the Boonville end of the Anderson Valley and, presumably, also roused many more of us between here and Navarro. A major nuisance you say? As a grape industry grandee famously put it, "My grapes are more important than your sleep!" Evidently.

IS SEAN DONOVAN still among the living? As KZYX celebrates 30 years of managerial turmoil and opioid audio, I haven't heard the station mention its Republican founder. I only tune in mornings to get the MSM's version of big events, so I may have missed mention of the founding father, but we published an announcement last week about the 30-year celebration by station steno Jerry Karp implying that "the community" got KZYX up and running.

NOPE, Donovan did it all by himself then billed the station $30 grand for his selfless gift to Mendocino County. (Giants walked among us in those days!) By then relocated to Alaska where he was soon fired by an NPR station up there. I bring up KZYX's origin fable as one more example of how local history gets re-written to misrepresent what in truth happened.

KMUD, in SoHum, by way of contrast, was indeed a grassroots community effort and, unlike KZYX, organized in a way that makes it accountable to the community. And it reports local news and it spares its listeners the expense of NPR programming. KZYX, by contrast, is dominated by its programmers and whomever happens to be on staff, all of it in theory, overseen by, and I don't mean to be abusive here, but “marshmallows” is the descriptive that always comes to mind when I think of the station's board of directors. It is what it is, as the young people say, but it's so generically same-same you could swap it for the NPR franchise in Mogambo, Alabama and nobody either place would know the diff.

* * *


(photo by Harvey Reading)

* * *


Defendant Michael Ray France, age 31, generally of the Ukiah area, was sentenced to 48 months in state prison Monday afternoon in the Mendocino County Superior Court. France stands convicted by earlier plea of being a felon in unlawful possession of a firearm.

Originally placed on supervised probation on July 5th and released from custody with a suspended state prison sentence hanging over his head, the defendant wasted little time in violating the law.

Arrested by the Ukiah Police Department for domestic violence on August 11th during the wee hours of the morning, the defendant was subsequently found in violation by the Court of the terms of his probation after a contested evidentiary hearing held on September 4th.

* * *


During the late summer of 1999, Jürgen Knemeyer lived in Willits on Hilltop Drive. He was a long-time resident of Mendocino County–helping raise his daughter, working as a journeyman at Ukiah’s California Tile, and supplementing his income by cultivating marijuana.

* * *

HAAS-LILIENTHAL HOUSE under went a $4.3 million dollar renovation in 2018. The house is the only intact private home of the period that is open regularly as a museum (complete with authentic furniture and artifacts).

Built in the Queen Anne style, the house features prominent open gables, varied styles of shingles and siding, and a turreted corner tower topped by a “witches cap” roof. Built of redwood and fir, the house withstood both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes with only minor damage. The house cost $18,500 to construct and deeds in the family’s possession indicated a property cost of $13,000. The great majority of dwellings listed in the same year were quoted at costs between $700 and $2,000, making the Haas home quite expensive for its time.

In 1973, the Lilienthal’s heirs donated the house to the Foundation for San Francisco’s Architectural Heritage.

Designed by Peter Schmidt and opened in 1886. Schmidt is known to have designed many Victorian houses in Pacific Heights.

* * *



Last Tuesday I was honored to attend the Climate Mural dedication at Ukiah High School. The students worked with Laura Marshall to create a mural that showed what they can do to have an impact on climate change. The themes were around family planning and supporting young people, plant rich diets and reducing and reusing food waste to turn it into compost. Over 350 students helped the French and biology classes of Eveline Rodrigues create the leaves of the trees with their individual and family changes that they will be making including not using plastic straws, bringing reusable water bottles and walking and biking more. I have added some videos and photos to the @ClimateActionMendocino Facebook group so that you can see them.

Tuesday was the kick off workshop for the Ukiah 2040 General Plan. There were over 60 people that came out to give their input from all over Ukiah and as far as Redwood Valley. I was the only person from Oak Manor Neighborhood, there was a kids corner as well as services to translate in Spanish. One of the parts I enjoyed the most was the "Mad Libs" like exercise where you chose words that were listed on a board and created what your "vision" would look like for Ukiah. Mine said "Ukiah is a welcoming community that is built on a sense of community, entrepreneurship and collaboration. We are proud to live in a city with vibrant neighborhoods, community events and natural resources."

After attending the Russian River Watershed Association meeting on Thursday I visited the Ford Street Project opening of transitional housing for homeless families in our community. It was moving to read the notes that the clients left regarding the impact that the program has had on their lives. Having a place to live where you can be with your children and create a safe environment for them while working and getting on your feet will provide a hand up to get families off the streets and in to secure housing. To briefly go back to the RRWA you may have noticed a new billboard on Highway 101 if you are headed south bound off of Highway 101 (photo attached) that bares the branding of "Streets to Creeks" which is a regional campaign to raise awareness around litter as a cause of contaminants in the Russian River. You will also hear commercials on Pandora and advertisements and posts on Social Media this is the power of leveraging regional partnerships.

Work is underway in Riverside Park at the end of Gobbi Street. The project to restore the habitat of the former City of Ukiah sewer treatment plant is funded by a grant helped funded by Prop 1 the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014. The goal is to return the park to the most natural state possible and reduce the amount of flooding and hopefully create a fish restoration site. There will be more public meetings and updates to the community for this project. Finally, on Sunday evening I attended the Fire Safe Council Fundraiser at Barra Winery. The work that was completed in the western hills will have a big impact on moving forward with being more proactive for fire mitigation for our community and it was a pleasure to support this group and their future goals of outreach. You can find out more information at

Have a fantastic week!

Mo Mulheren, Ukiah City Council

* * *

A MAN BROWSING for books in Cincinnati's cavernous old main library. The library was demolished in 1955.

* * *


Dear Mr. Scaramella,

I write to you to address several inaccuracies published in the Mendocino County Today section of your website on September 27, 2019. The specific item involves a question from Ms. Kathy Wylie to Supervisor candidates in the Fourth District. I will not address the comments of the candidates, but do wish to address your editorial comments that follow those of the candidates. Your comments contain four factual misstatements. The statements, along with the facts and discussion, are detailed below.

Factual Inaccuracy 1: “…the County has forced new hires into "defined contribution" 401k-style pension plans instead of the "defined benefit" most county employees still have.

Facts: Neither the Mendocino County Employees Retirement Association (MCERA) nor Mendocino County have a defined contribution (DC) plan for any members/employees. No County employees have been forced into a “defined contribution” 401(k) style plan as such a plan does not exist.

Discussion: The California Legislature enacted the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) in 2012. In accordance with the new law, Mendocino County enacted a new benefit tier for employees hired after January 1, 2013 (PEPRA Members). The PEPRA benefit tier offers a lower level of benefits than those earned by employees hired before January 1, 2013 (Legacy Members), but the PEPRA Members still have a defined benefit (DB) pension.

Additionally, your use of the word ‘most’ in the above statement is also inaccurate’. While it has been true previously that the majority of MCERA active members (those still working) were Legacy members, that is no longer the case. As of June 30, 2019, 55% of the active members in MCERA are PEPRA members.

Factual Inaccuracy 2: “Making the problem much worse, however, is the county’s sustained handing out of ever larger salaries to their upper management class along with the associated increased pension liability which goes with them.”

Facts: Looking at MCERA members with over $125,000 in pensionable compensation provides an appropriate scale to the issue. Of the 1,119 active members in MCERA, only 18 earn more than $125,000 in annual pensionable compensation. In terms of total salary, those earning over $125,000 annually had an aggregate pensionable compensation of $2.6 M relative to the MCERA total of $61 M. Those earning more than $125,000 annually accounted for 4.3% of the total pensionable compensation of active employees.

Discussion: The Mendocino County Employees Retirement Association (MCERA) employs a professional actuary (Segal) to prepare an actuarial valuation as of June 30 every year. This valuation is based on a number of assumptions since it is projecting outcomes years and decades into the future. One of the key assumptions in the actuarial valuation is the rate of salary growth. The specific assumption used by MCERA is that payroll grows by 4.5% per year on average. Some years we see salary growth below the assumptions, others it is above. The key is that over the long-run, total salary growth has averaged about 4.5%.

Hypothetically, if the 18 highest paid MCERA active members received a 100% increase in salary (a preposterous figure to demonstrate the fallacy of the argument), that would equal only a 4.3% increase in total salary. If you scale the 100% salary increase down to only 20% for the highest paid active MCERA members, then the overall salary growth is 0.86%. With this appropriate perspective, your assertion that the individuals who account for 1.6% of the employee population and 4.3 % of the total pensionable compensation for MCERA are ‘making the problem much worse’ does not seem to withstand scrutiny.

Factual Inaccuracy 3: “The county could theoretically lobby the state to put a cap on pensions, …

Facts: The inaccuracy here lies in the inference that a cap on pensions does not already exist. PEPRA (referenced above) implemented a number of changes in pensionable compensation for members who became members of a California public pension plan after January 1, 2013. PEPRA includes a limit on total annual pensionable compensation.

The PEPRA earnings limit for 2019 is $124,180 and this limit is indexed to increase each year to match inflation. This means that a PEPRA member who earns in excess of this number only pays contributions up to the PEPRA salary cap, and their retirement benefit is based on the salary on which contributions are paid. As you can see, PEPRA members are subject to a limit on their pensions.

In addition to implementing a cap on pensionable compensation, and thereby pensions, PEPRA also included other changes to pensionable compensation. Most significant of these changes is the exclusion of a number of pay items from the calculation of a member’s pension. Items that are

excluded for PEPRA members include On-Call and Standby Pay; Supplemental Pay; Uniform and Vehicle Allowances and Vacation Cash Outs.

Discussion: The facts above clearly demonstrate that a cap on pension benefits already exists for PEPRA members. If your statement above is suggesting that the County seek to reduce the pension benefits of Legacy members, there are steep legal hurdles to such a proposal. Chief among these is what is known as the ‘California Rule’ which is based on a California Supreme Court ruling.

Further, it is important to note that a defined benefit pension is, in essence, a contract between employer and employee. MCERA Retirees and active Legacy Members have fulfilled their part of the contract by providing services to the employer and making contributions to the retirement system. It would not seem a prudent strategy for the employer to default on the contract now that the employees have fulfilled their contractual obligations.

Factual Inaccuracy 4:”…how can they do that when the (sic) can’t even bring themselves to stay on top of the county budget with ordinary monthly reporting?”

Facts: MCERA is a separate legal entity from the County, with many fewer moving parts. The MCERA Board is responsible for governance and oversight of the organization. The Board demands that MCERA operate in a transparent manner.

To that end, MCERA provides financial statements to the Board of Retirement every month. These statements detail the monthly and fiscal year-to-date Statement of Plan Net Position, Changes in Plan Net Position and Cash Flow Analysis as well as a list of all items paid (Vendor Ledger) during the month. Additionally, the MCERA Board receives a quarterly budget update approximately 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. You can find a copy of the most recent monthly financial statements here: and the fiscal year 2018-2019, fourth quarter budget update here:

As for the much more important actuarial valuations, MCERA conducts an annual valuation each year that is published on our website at The Actuary also presents the valuation to both the MCERA Board and the Board of Supervisors.

Additionally, every three years the MCERA Actuary conducts an experience study where each assumption underlying the annual actuarial valuation is tested for validity and updated as needed. Finally, in 2018 the MCERA Board engaged a different actuary to conduct an audit of the MCERA Actuary’s processes and valuation results. The auditing actuary fully reviewed the work of the MCERA Actuary and issued a report concurring with the work of the MCERA Actuary.

Discussion: If there is more that MCERA can do to be transparent and forthright in our financial reporting, I would be most interested to learn. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly to discuss your ideas in this regards.

I hope you will consider the above information and consider issuing a retraction of the published inaccuracies.

Should you have any questions regarding the information contained here, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at or by calling the MCERA office at 707.463.4328.


James Wilbanks, Ph.D. Executive Director


Mark Scaramella Notes: Thanks for responding.

(1) I’m glad to hear that Mendo does not force new employees into a defined contribution plan. I recall that being discussed by the Supervisors a few years ago, but apparently it wasn’t implemented for some reason.

(2) You’ve drawn the line higher than I would.

(3) The limit is around $124k? Some “limit.” (Does that include disability — for stress, etc.?) But better than nothing.

(4) My comment was about the Supervisors and the CEO, not MCERA. Why don’t you apply for the CEO job?

* * *


Alvarez, Campbell, Clark

JOEL ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Controlled substance without prescription, probation revocation.

MICHELA CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

KELLY CLARK, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Diaz-Carmona, Elza, Espinoza-Mendoza

ARTURO DIAZ-CARMONA, Covelo. Rape of person under 18 years of age.

TYLER ELZA, Willits. Domestic abuse, evasion, probation revocation.

PAULA ESPINOZA-MENDOZA, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, controlled substance, paraphernalia.

Essex, Fitch, Hurtado

LANCE ESSEX, Laytonville. Criminal threat, disobeying court order, paraphernalia.

FREDRICK FITCH, Redwood Valley. Battery, petty theft.


Keller, Kostick, Lawson

RANDALL KELLER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-solicitation of lewd act.

JEFFREY KOSTICK, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear. (Frequent Flyer)

NOLAN LAWSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Martin, Osornio-Santacruz, Wood

BRANDON MARTIN, Willits. Domestic abuse, robbery.

JOSE OSORNIO-SANTACRUZ, Boonville. Unlawful taking of bird-animal-fish, plus three unspecified charges.

DONALD WOOD, Visalia/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

* * *


I just returned from a week in the Outer Banks where I had no access to internet or email and only the TV for contact with the “outside” world. On the few occasions that I tuned in to see what they call “news” channels, the only bullshit that I was able to hear was impeach, impeach, impeach followed by countless commercials for prescription drugs, mortgage deals, credit card offers and loans of every kind. It was truly enlightening yet disgusting. Surely anyone that watches any of this has to be completely lost.

In a recent discussion with one of our local attorneys regarding a local legal issue, the lawyer I was speaking with pointed out that our attorney was clearly making up his own version of the law and violating statutes that were already on the books. I pointed out to him that without enforcement, there is NO LAW, which he accepted completely and sadly. This is where America now finds itself, where anything goes and nothing really matters. Law does not exist if there is no entity willing to enforce it and those who rule today simply make shit up as they write the pathetic, depressing scripts that they all act out on our national stage.

* * *

* * *

WHO'D HAVE THOUGHT that the sound of a crumbling dam, coming from Pennsylvania Avenue in the District of Columbia and audible everywhere, would be so agreeable?

What will be the downstream events? Will the flood sweep away corruption in American politics? Will it reach the wide emerald lawns of the financial sector? Will it cause a recount of our defense needs, of our military machine, bigger than all the rest of the world's? Will it sweep away the rot in our healthcare-and-drug businesses? Will it result in the gigantic employment-generator that rebuilding our public infrastructure would need -- schools, roads, cities, hospitals, communication, railroads, air and water, childcare? Will it wash away our centuries-old racism? Will it free the thousands of suffering, mourning, unattended, incomprehending adults, children and babies at our southern borders?

Or will it make a spectacle, a TV show and social-media storm, for our passive enjoyment, highly entertaining and soon forgotten?

Would it, could it, should it prompt a re-examination of how we live our lives, of what a citizen of a republic owes its land for the living it affords, the freedom, for the joys and dramas of liberty?

Could it, as an analog for "the blood of tyrants and patriots" wash away the evil has that gradually filled the space that should be occupied by this quality that has eroded and shrunk beyond recognition, this element of character that now sounds old-fashioned, antique and quaint--this thing once known, taught and discussed, this essential ingredient for any republic: Civic Virtue?

It is hypocritical for an atheist to pray. Sometimes, though, I invent a god because something makes me so grateful I have to thank something or somebody. This is one of those times when atheism and secularism just don't cut it. "Please, God, hear us, teach us, show us, speak to us!"

(Mitch Clogg)

* * *

* * *

I REMEMBER, LIVING IN SAN FRANCISCO from 1970 to 1998, freshly minted hippies would arrive on Haight Street long after the Summer of Love, complete with love beads and head bands. When I leaned in to listen to them---they usually had Australian accents. Or were they from Dingburg's perennial Hippie Enclave?

* * *


Freedom, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Profits — From Popcorn Lung to Vaping Lung, the Systemic Criminal Negligence of America Inc.

Imagine being trapped in an endless nightmare where corporations are free to sell you products known to be deadly. You buy a blood thinner your doctor ordered that can cause you to hemorrhage to death because there is no antidote. The breast implant you just received has been known to cause cancer. Finally you are encouraged to buy e-cigarettes that are laced with known toxins that can destroy your lungs. Welcome to America Inc.

2002— A deadly lung condition was reported in microwave popcorn plant workers in Missouri who had been inhaling the butter flavoring vapors while working. The potential toxicity of the vapors had been known since 1986. ( E-cigarettes not only contain addicting nicotine but a cloud of toxins. 39 of 51 e- cigarettes tested contained some of the same chemical that caused popcorn lung. (

In 2004— NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), issued an Alert to Workers Who Use or Make Flavorings which stated, “breathing certain flavoring chemicals in the workplace may lead to severe lung damage” ( They add that the safely of these chemicals has not been established for inhaling them.

2007— Sold to millions of people, E-cigarettes, which contained multiple known toxins in their vapor, were freely and legally allowed to come to the US market. They were not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) or any other agency.

2012— The CDC (Center for Disease Control) again warns that breathing in flavoring chemicals may cause severe lung damage.

In 2014—The first scientific paper to study human exposure to flavorings in e-cigarettes was published.

By 2016—The e-cigarettes companies had made over $11 Billion in profits, while freely selling known lung toxins to millions of people.

In 2016—The Surgeon General warns about the dangers to the lungs of flavorings and other toxins in e-cigarette smoke. Yet e-cigarettes continued to be freely and legally sold. Over 7,000 e-cigarette flavors are currently on the market and less than 1% have established recommended safety exposure limit.

In 2017—The FDA allowed e-cigarettes to remain unregulated on the market until at least 2022.(

2019—After hundreds of people had suffered lung damage and some died as a result of vaping, the FDA starts working on a plan to regulate e-cigarettes. (

9/28/19—“Deputy Director of the C.D.C. says that consumers had no way of knowing just what is in the liquids they are vaping”. (

As with the tobacco industry, corporations have no economic incentive to make the health risks of their products public. Corporations are driven by short term profits not health and safety. Federal and State regulations did not protect popcorn workers or those who use e-cigarettes.

The US has toothless agencies that give the illusion of protecting the public health but do more to protect corporate profits. We will continue to live this public nightmare until we, the people, act to end it.

Dr. Nayvin Gordon,


Author’s Note: Dr. Gordon is a Family Physician who has written many articles about health and politics. He may be reached at

* * *

TIPPI HEDREN has her cigarette lit by a crow on the set of The Birds, 1963.

* * *


Throughout Russiagate, the interests of national security state officials converged with those of the neoliberal Democrats who lost to Trump in 2016. The unwavering focus on a conspiracy theory allowed Democratic elites to stave off the transformation that should have resulted from losing to a billionaire con man who posed as a working-class champion. Ukrainegate grants them yet one more extension: Instead of a Democratic primary where issues like Medicare For All, education, climate change, immigrant rights, militarism, and class warfare are addressed like never before, the country risks another incessant fixation with an intra-elite battle that relegates voters, and their concerns, to the margins. Democrats risk not only sidelining voters but their own best opportunity to reach them.

It is possible that enough incriminating evidence will be uncovered to make the Ukrainegate gambit worth it. But there are already enough parallels with the self-defeating scandal that consumed Democrats over the course of Trump’s first term to give pause. That is, at minimum, worthy of careful reflection as we head into the period that will decide whether Trump is to win or lose another four years.

* * *


Join us for our 5th Annual Spooktacular Fall Carnival for kids at the Fort Bragg Library on Saturday October 26, 2019. The festivities will be from 11 am-12:30 pm and include games, face-painting, costume contests, prizes and lots of treats!

Costumes are not required but always fun.

For more information, please contact the Fort Bragg Library at 707-964-2020 or via email at

* * *


Sunday October 6th in the Abalone Room at the Little River Inn. 4-5:30 p.m.

There will be a few munchies to sustain you through a short reading and power point presentation, followed by cake and a lovely Prosecco.

* * *


by Dave Zirin

The NCAA—about as amoral a cartel as exists this side of the GOP—has issued all the threats. If players had the right to earn money off of their names, images, and likenesses, they argue, the entire college sports system would effectively implode. They thundered this repeatedly in the direction of California Governor Gavin Newsom, but it didn’t stop him from signing SB-206, which passed unanimously in the California state Senate. The bill, also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, allows college athletes to get a cut of the profit they generate with their labor.

While Newsom signed the bill—on LeBron James’s HBO show, no less (LeBron was a big supporter of the bill)—credit for the victory belongs to the thousands of NCAA athletes who over the years have raised their voices against this corrupt system. From former UCLA great Ed O’Bannon, who took the NCAA to court when he randomly saw his likeness in an NCAA video game, to Ramogi Huma and his organization, the National College Players Association, which has been agitating around this issue for years.

Also in the trenches around this issue has been the NFL Players Association. I received this comment from DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA:

“This legislation is just the beginning and we hope it leads other jurisdictions to do the right thing. We support this movement because we know the NCAA has refused to treat college athletes fairly and instead continues to exploit them not only on the issue of compensation, but on their rights and healthcare as well.”

The NCAA’s response has been predictable:

“As a membership organization, the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA’s rules-making process. Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California We will consider next steps in California while our members move forward with ongoing efforts to make adjustments to NCAA name, image and likeness rules that are both realistic in modern society and tied to higher education. As more states consider their own specific legislation related to this topic, it is clear that a patchwork of different laws from different states will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field for 1,100 campuses and nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide.”

In other words, the NCAA’s army of lawyers is coming.

Jay Bilas, ESPN host and thorn in the NCAA’s side, tweeted acidly, “I hope the horrible ‘confusion’ the NCAA speaks of doesn’t cause the NCAA and its members to cancel football games or suspend play. This whole thing is so confusing…unless all of the money is going into your pocket. It’s pretty freaking clear and understandable then.”

Stewart Mandel, a longtime writer for Sports Illustrated, also punched a hole through this argument by saying, “The NCAA/conferences are trying to manipulate the public into believing that athletes profiting from use of their NIL [name, image, likeness] is the same thing as being paid by their schools to play sports. They. Are. Not. The. Same.”

I reached out to David West for his perspective. The recently retired 15 year NBA veteran is now the President of the Historical Basketball League, which aims to provide pay for players as well as education in a direct challenge to the NCAA. He said,

“California’s SB206 is a step in the right direction for college athletes. But with that said, the legislative process has watered down this bill so that its impact will be minimally felt, if ever. I remain focused on the HBL and holistically changing the landscape of college sports, so that college athletes get a truly equitable opportunity whereby they’re offered compensation, education, and complete NIL rights.”

I also contacted Ben Carrington, a professor at the University of Southern California who, among other academic endeavors, teaches about the intersection of sports and society. He e-mailed me:

“For once the hackneyed sports cliché is true: This is a game changer. We’ll likely look back on this day, September 30th 2019, as the moment when the unjust and inherently exploitative system that is the NCAA-controlled, college sports spectacle, finally began to break. We’ll be ashamed and embarrassed, a decade from now, about how we allowed a system that exploited the sporting labor of predominately young African American men (they are not ‘kids’), whilst their surplus value went into the pockets of overwhelming white male coaches and Athletics Directors, of how they were treated differently from everyone else on campus because somehow, this Victorian upper-class idea of ‘amateurism’ applied to the student athletes, and the student athletes only. As Taylor Branch famously put it, college sports in America has the ‘whiff of the plantation’. Well today we saw a way off that plantation. Student athletes finally being given rights to see themselves as having collective interests and the ability to exercise control over how their images and likeness is used and to get paid to coach if they want to. This is huge.”

It is absolutely huge. It is also merely the beginning. Expect more states to pass similar legislation (Florida is already starting the process). Expect more threats like those already issued from the athletic directors at Ohio State and Wisconsin who said that California schools would eventually be booted out of the NCAA and that they wouldn’t go to the West Coast for games. In response, California state Senate member Nancy Skinner, the person who first brought this bill to the legislature, said, “We have lots of experience with threats from entrenched interests. Lots.… We’re the fifth-largest economy in the world. We withstand those threats.”

* * *

* * *

TO COMMEMORATE THE 2ND ANNIVERSARY of the Redwood Complex Fire 2017, there will be a collection of artworks on exhibit at the Ukiah Campus of Mendocino College, in the Art Gallery, in the Center for Visual and Performing Arts and in other locations on campus.

The Gala Art Opening of the Phoenix Projects is on Sat. Oct 5., at 7 pm. The 33 minute film, "From the Ashes", will be screened at the Gala Opening, at 7:30 pm, near the gallery and Center Theater.

The filmmaker Jaye Alison Moscariello appreciates all that so many of us have been through, and she truly loves and respects all of you for the myriad contributions and inspiration.

Please feel free to invite any and all that you would like to see the film and the exhibitions.

For more info: 707-272-1688 (Bill or Jaye)

Mendocino College is located at 1000 Hensley Creek Road

Ukiah, California 95482

* * *



  1. John Robert October 2, 2019

    Measure V,
    Supervisor Williams “couldn’t even get a second” vote.
    Surprisingly Supervisor Haschek didn’t step up.
    No surprise at all that Supervisor Gjerde stayed quiet.

    Gjerde has got to go!
    His choosing to stay silent and not standing up for his Coast constituents nor his fellow Coast Supervisor Williams sais exactly where his head is at. He’s pandering for a few wealthy people, folks connected here on the coast to larger corporate interests.

    Coast voters, we’ve got to throw the little ass kissing politically aspiring do nothing Dan Gjerde out of office.
    He is the face of what has gone wrong with our political system. He fills a chair and has no desire to do the greater good for the people he represents. His interests are collecting paychecks and power. He has no connection to children or this community. He doesn’t think or care about what is good for future generations. This Coast is a special spot, we deserve better.

  2. Lazarus October 2, 2019

    “Surprisingly Supervisor Haschek didn’t step up.”

    Why are you surprised? This Sup has been a bust for the 3rd District from the beginning. He ran a campaign of accountability, kick ass and take names, so far I ain’t seen it. All I’ve seen is letters to the editor about himself, trips to fancy places under the auspices of county business, and pointless commentary during the BOS meetings. They need to fire Angelo and elect people from the 1st, 2nd and 4th Districts who can actually do the job.
    As always,

  3. Harvey Reading October 2, 2019

    I’d give at least 5 gallons to the cause …

    Hugh Thompson is a REAL hero, too.

  4. Harvey Reading October 2, 2019

    With the sh*t candidates they’re running, you’re damned right the democraps are sidelining voters, lots of ’em, me included.

  5. Stephen Rosenthal October 2, 2019

    And then there were – how many? Just saw that Bernie Sanders underwent a procedure for a blocked artery, having two stents placed in said artery. 78 years old with heart problems. Methinks his campaign will not survive this news. As futile as it seems, I’m on board the Tulsi Gabbard train.

  6. George Dorner October 2, 2019

    And if we are rightfully honoring Hugh Thompson, we should also consider Charlie Litecki.

    • Harvey Reading October 2, 2019

      And Ron Ridenhour(sp?) and Seymour Hersh, and, undoubtedly many, many others. As I recall, Liteki later renounced his Medal of Honor.

  7. Kathy October 2, 2019

    Thank you for the detailed pension fund information Dr. Wilbanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *