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Mendocino County Today: February 15, 2012

THE CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING has resurrected Steve Talbot's first documentary for Frontline called,  "The Best Campaign Money Can Buy," just in time for this year's $2 billion presidential race. Watch it online at As Talbot points out, "Of course, the story we were telling and the big money influence we were exposing at the time is now worse than ever with the Citizens United decision and the Super PACs. But that's no reason to stop shining some light in the dark corners."

THE COUNTY of Mendocino has filed suit in Superior Court against the operator of the Ukiah Transfer Station (County of Mendocino v. Solid Wastes Systems, Civil Action No. 59459.) alleging that increases in the gate fee in 2010 and 2011 exceeded the amount allowed under a 2003 contract. The County asks that Solid Wastes Systems be ordered to refund more than $253,000 in “excessive and unauthorized gate fees from unincorporated County users” since 2010. Since October 1, 2010 the gate fees at the transfer station have gone up 57% for self-haul customers and 31% for Ukiah area franchise solid waste collectors who then passed the increase through to commercial and curbside customers in the greater Ukiah area. “This lawsuit is necessary to protect the public from arbitrary rate increases,” said County Supervisor Dan Hamburg. Hamburg also stated “The County can’t accept such large increases without strong evidence that they are justified by the actual cost of providing the service.”   The County contends the right of the operator to impose increases is limited by rate adjustment guarantees included in a 2003 Site Use Agreement between the County and the transfer station operator. The transfer station was built in 2001 under a contract with the City of Ukiah, but because 55% of the solid waste comes from outside the City limits, the County signed a separate Site Use Agreement with the transfer station operator in 2003 that protects County rate payers by imposing a limit on rate increases. “The company has done a good job of operating the transfer station, but they can’t be allowed to ignore the 2003 contract that was intended to protect the ratepayers,” according to County Supervisor John McCowen. Solid Wastes Systems, which is under the same ownership as Ukiah’s franchised trash collector, got approval for the increases in 2010 and 2011 from the City of Ukiah by claiming that it was losing money.  The County acknowledges that larger rate increases may be necessary but insists that they must be justified based on an independent financial audit by an auditor approved by the County.

MENDOCINO County's Department of Public Health announced Monday there have been no additional reports of bacterial meningitis since a Ukiah toddler was diagnosed last week with the potentially deadly disease. The three-year-old boy was flown to Oakland Children's Hospital late last week in critical condition. Public health officials have contacted everyone they could find who had been in contact with the child in the past few weeks, including a large group of between 40-60 people at a Super Bowl party. The toddler also attended a Ukiah day care facility. The disease can incubate for about 10 days. That period has passed for some people the boy been in contact with but not for others. The child was diagnosed with meningococcemia, an infection of the bloodstream that can spread to spinal fluid. It starts like a flu and quickly escalates to a variety of serious symptoms including fever, headache, sensitivity to light and lethargy.

Cherney with Attorney Dennis Cunningham

DARRYL CHERNEY and the affiliated ghouls still profiting from the car bombing of Judi Bari in 1990, have now produced a hagiographic movie depicting themselves heroically NOT finding the bomber. Cherney literally can't afford to find the killer. I say killer because Bari enjoyed perfect health prior to the bomb but died of cancer in 1997. The bomb murdered her in slow motion. Cherney made a cool million off a phony federal lawsuit arising from the FBI's and the Oakland Police Department's bumblingly premature arrest of Bari and Cherney for knowingly transporting the device. Out of the proceeds of the suit which, not so incidentally, was carefully edited by the feds and Bari and Cherney's lawyers to excise any mention of who might have done it, Cherney bought himself a pot farm near Garberville. Maybe he used some of the money to make this film, which is called Who Bombed Judi Bari, but having known the guy I doubt if much of his own money is involved in his Kim Il Sung-like docu-drama.

Sweeney at Work

THE NORTHCOAST being a kind of open air witness protection program where everyone is whatever he or she says he or she is, Cherney's self-interested version of the spectacular 1990 events still prevail. An honest inquiry into the bombing, portrayed in Cherney's film as a "mystery," was made by Steve Talbot in 1990. It's also called Who Bombed Judi Bari. But unlike the mercenary crew who've produced Cherney's epic, Talbot is a well-known writer and documentary filmmaker  whose work is often seen on Frontline. Talbot's film points to Bari's ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, as the bomber. Sweeney is a cunning little sociopath who has since reinvented himself as a respectable citizen. As per the long local tradition of Mendo self-makeovers, Sweeney now functions as Mendocino County's chief garbage bureaucrat. In the turbulent 1960's and late into the 1970's, Sweeney was affiliated with a Maoist terrorist gang calling themselves Venceremos. When the "revolutionary" fad ended Sweeney, by then married to Bari, was living near Santa Rosa where he and Bari made a nice living shaking down Hewlett Packard over the corporation's development plans. It was in his Santa Rosa incarnation that Sweeney blew up a hangar at the old Naval airfield west of the Rose City. He was annoyed, you see, by the air traffic on weekends. He and Bari, having successfully made a nice hunk of dough off a lawsuit against H-P moved to Redwood Valley here in Amnesia County. They soon separated because Sweeney rightly objected to Bari's affiliations with Cherney and other undesirables, especially as those undesirables influenced the couple's two young daughters. It was not a happy separation, to say the least. Sweeney threatened Bari with a court fight for custody of their children while Bari threatened to go public with Sweeney's prior life as a political maniac. Women have been murdered for less reason, but somehow Sweeney, when the bomb exploded in his wife's car in Oakland, was almost immediately excluded from the suspect pool, and has remained excluded by both the FBI and Cherney and Company, co-dependents, in my opinion, in an ongoing conspiracy to protect Sweeney. And here we are 22 years down the line and these creeps are still lying about the case and protecting the bomber. Or bombers.

MIKE needed to remove her with aplomb.

He also needed to stay cool and calm.

So always-useful Darryl Cherney

hired an old radical attorney

and steered the dupes away from Sweeney’s bomb.

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