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ISOLATED SHOWERS will continue through the morning hours today. Drier northerly flow will then commence across the region this afternoon. A weak front may bring light rain back to the coastal areas Friday night. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S RAINFALL: Yorkville 1.12", Boonville .75"
YIKES: 57 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Wednesday, bringing the total to 2108.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: I’ve received sustained public concern in regard to the data integrity of in-county ICU bed availability and surge capacity. Hospitals are required to report to the state on a daily basis. These are the numbers the state uses in region calculations. As self-reported by the three Adventist Health hospitals in Mendocino County to the California Department of Public Health for December 14, 2020:
Licensed ICU beds: 4 Willits, 4 Fort Bragg, 12 Ukiah (4 are neo)
Available ICU beds: 3 Willits, 2 Fort Bragg, 4 Ukiah
Surge beds: 24 Willits, 11 Fort Bragg, 10 Ukiah
CALIFORNIA, THE LATEST EPICENTER, IS REPORTING MORE CORONAVIRUS CASES THAN MOST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD
The state is reporting unnerving numbers: California has set nationwide records for new cases again and again in the past week — most recently on Wednesday, when it posted more than 41,000 infections. If California were a country, it would be among the world leaders in new coronavirus cases, ahead of India, Germany and Britain.
COVID SOUTH COAST TESTING UPDATE: NEW TIME
There's been a lot of confusion created about testing this Friday in Point Arena. It appears testing will now occur at 1 PM at the Veterans Building/City Hall on Friday. This testing is being provided by the same organization that does the testing in Ukiah. As in Ukiah, they are requiring people to pre-register at http://lhi.care/covidtesting/. We do hope that things will smooth out for a future testing. We realize how important it is at this time.
Paul Andersen, Deputy City Manager, City of Point Arena
CHRISTMAS ARRIVES EARLY FOR DOG SHOOTER -- REDUX.
FORT BRAGG, Wed., December 16. –
Previously convicted by a no contest plea of felony animal cruelty on October 5th, defendant Katie Rhiannon Smith, age 35, of Caspar, was back in the Fort Bragg courthouse Wednesday afternoon for her formal felony sentencing hearing.
To recap, Mendocino County’s District Attorney personally charged defendant Smith back in April with felony animal cruelty, as well as a sentencing enhancement for personally using a firearm in the course of that crime.
These charges were the result of the defendant taking her German Shepherd out on a remote logging road in the Caspar area and shooting him multiple times in a botched attempt at do-it-yourself euthanasia. At the time of the shooting, the dog was being force to wear a plastic cone around its neck and head.
The gunshots severely injured the canine, but did not kill him. As one might expect, the gravely injured canine fled his owner with great haste into the woods.
After having wandered injured in the forest for approximately a week, the obviously malnourished dog was seen by Good Samaritans and rescued. The veterinarian who successfully saved the dog’s life – named Thunder the Wonder Dog by his rescuer -- opined that the cause of Thunder’s severe malnourishment was likely owner neglect since he was able to return to a healthy weight following multiple surgeries to repair injuries inflicted by the bullets.
Rather than face a jury of her peers last October and have them decide her fate, the defendant plead no contest on October 5 to the felony animal cruelty charge the day before jury selection was scheduled to get underway. The personal use of the firearm enhancement was dismissed when the judge told the parties that he would exercise his discretion to strike and dismiss that enhancement after trial if found true by the jury.
Thereafter, leading up to Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, the defendant was ordered to cooperate with a background investigation by the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department. As required by law, the probation officer thereafter prepared a written summary of her findings and submitted a written sentencing recommendation based on all available information. In this case, it was Probation’s recommendation that the defendant be sentenced to the maximum term allowed by law for felony animal cruelty -- 36 months in the local prison.
Likewise, in preparation of today’s sentencing hearing, the assigned prosecutor prepared in advance and filed a sixteen-page brief that analyzed the People’s evidence and applicable sentencing laws. Also citing to the callous nature of Smith’s cruelty and her dishonesty throughout the course of the investigation, Deputy District Attorney Josh Rosenfeld independently concluded that the defendant’s cruelty -- and justice for Thunder – mandated that the defendant receive the modified maximum term allowed by law.
During the course of a four-hour sentencing hearing, the reporting Deputy Probation Officer characterized this case as one of the worst cases she had seen in her 15 years of public probation service and she referred to Smith’s cruelty as “sickening.” Probation stuck by its written recommendation asking for 36 months in jail. Likewise, the prosecutor stuck by his written arguments and orally argued for the maximum sentence.
But then, when all was said and done, something shocking happened. Near the end of the sentencing hearing, Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Clayton Brennan unexpectedly invited defendant’s Smith’s public defender to make a motion to have the defendant’s felony conviction immediately reduced to a misdemeanor. Of course that motion was made and Judge Brennan granted the reduction over the People’s objection.
But he wasn’t done yet. Judge Brennan then placed Smith on a grant of unsupervised probation for a term of 36 months, understanding that come January 1 that 36 months may be reduced to 12 months as a matter of law pursuant to Assembly Bill 1950.
Judge Brennan also decided that defendant Smith need not serve any jail time for her now reduced conviction. Instead, he sentenced her to 360 days in jail but suspended execution of that time. This means that the defendant will not serve a single day in jail as a result of her cruelty unless and until the People are able to prove sometime in the next 12 months that she has violated her probation.
What are the terms of the defendant’s unsupervised probation? Judge Brennan ordered that she submit to a 4th Amendment waiver (search clause) and that she attend counseling so she can avoid committing animal cruelty in the future.
Judge Brennan denied the People’s request that defendant Smith be prohibited from owning or possessing animals during the term of her probation.
He also declined to address the People’s request that the defendant be ordered to reimburse the County for all or part of the cost of the legal services provided to her by the taxpayer-funded public defender, despite the defendant’s self-reported income of $11,000 per month.
If there was a small victory to be found in this travesty of justice, it may be for some that Judge Brennan ordered Smith to complete 500 hours of community service. However, he had the audacity to suggest that Smith be allowed to serve her hours working side-by-side with the kind-hearted volunteers who save and protect abandoned and neglected animals at the Mendocino Coast Humane Society.
At the direction of Mendocino County District Attorney Eyster, the People have filed a notice of appeal seeking appellate review by the higher court.
When asked for comment, DA Eyster paused, shook his head and then said, “It is tough to find justice for victims and the community when there are two defense attorneys in the courtroom – one sitting at counsel table and one wearing a black robe. Today’s actions by the coast judge diminish ongoing community and law enforcement efforts to hold animal abusers accountable for their crimes. What kind of message does this send? Not a good one.”
SLO, SLOWER, SLOWEST
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting, Tuesday, December 15, 2020, public expression by David Ayster:
Scrolling through social media last Thursday, December 10, I came across a lengthy post on the Facebook page of our District Attorney's office describing a man who had pled guilty to a crime as “obviously a slow learner." And I read that the man had "been in hot water with the law previously." I saw the exact same piece in the Anderson Valley Advertiser on December 12, two days later. In both cases it was unsigned. Is this a case of an unattributed article in a local paper being used as a press release or was it a press release created by the District Attorney's office? I'm confused. Why would insulting commentary on a person be allowed on county social media? Is this typical social media output by county departments? An antiquated phrase like "been in hot water with the law" reads like something I would see in the gossip pages of a certain local paper. But a man being called a slow learner is just insulting. I found on the District Attorney's county webpage this statement: "At all times the mission of the District Attorney's Office is to carry out the law in a fair, evenhanded and compassionate manner." With no one signing that embarrassing Facebook post who are we to think is responsible for it? Who approved it? Who is accountable? Can we no longer rely on our elected officials or county employees to show respect for the public? Even the people who have “been in hot water"? We don't know who wrote, edited or posted the essay. But I think someone should have been advised to think twice before pressing send on it. If it's an article from a local paper there should be a link to the local paper with the author's name attached. If it's a press release, I will just say that this is 2020 not 1920. It's a bad look. It's harmful to public relations and I think this county can do better. No one is served well by anonymous, insulting essays being posted by the offices of elected officials posted on social media. Does the county have any control over social media used in their name with public money? Does the county have clarity on social media usage by the different offices? Is there a clear policy regarding the county’s expectations with departments’ use of social media. Many county departments have Facebook pages. Does each department have clear policy? A step toward accountability would be for the county to require that every social media post being sent out by a county office be identified by the author. I am asking the board to consider mandating personal accountability on the official social media accounts run by a county offices. If someone were held personally responsible for social media posts it might improve the content of Facebook pages and other social media of county offices. In the meantime I think an apology is necessary.
Supervisor/Chair John Haschak: Thank you for those comments.
Mr. Ayster is a Fort Bragg resident who is an owner of a cannabis retail outfit called “root one botanicals” which produces medicinal cannabis concentrates. In 2016 he was reported to have told the Fort Bragg City council that he was concerned that a proposed cannabis dispensary ban perpetuates a stigma surrounding cannabis and its use.
The original District Attorney press release
CANNABIS LICENSING CHEAT CONVICTED, TO SURRENDER IN FEBRUARY TO DO TIME
UKIAH - While California laws have in recent years evolved to allow for the licensed cultivation, distribution, sales, and use of cannabis, there are still those out there not willing to play by the rules and, instead, circumvent the legal marketplace in favor of the ever-present black market.
One such scofflaw, defendant Zachary Pierre Brown, 41, of Ukiah, had his day in court – again -- Wednesday. Brown was convicted by guilty plea on Oct. 23 and this week he was back in the Mendocino County Superior Court for his post-plea formal sentencing hearing.
Brown stands convicted of maintaining a location for the unlawful cultivation of non-licensed (illegal) cannabis, a felony. When all was said and done, the Court placed Brown on 36 months of supervised probation and ordered him to serve 180 days in the Mendocino County Jail.
While on probation, the defendant cannot possess more than eight ounces of medical cannabis, assuming he has first obtained a written medical recommendation from a license California physician.
In accepting probation, he also has agreed to a 4th Amendment waiver (search clause), testing, 200 hours of community service, a $2,000 penal fine, and other terms, and conditions.
He will not be allowed to cultivate or otherwise be involved in the sales of cannabis -- legal or otherwise -- for the term of his probation.
Brown was also ordered to have prepared and to pay for an environmental remediation plan to be presented to biologists with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Once approved, the defendant has been ordered to pay to have that approved clean-up plan executed to the satisfaction of the biologists at the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
As documented by law enforcement and reiterated in the Probation Department’s sentencing report, Brown was operating a commercial plant nursery on Boonville Road, selling unlicensed cannabis clones for a profit to interested buyers.
Operating under the name “Phresh Start,” the defendant told law enforcement that he did not like doing business with trimmers and marijuana bud dealers; that he would make more money by simply raising and selling starter plants (clones) in the black market.
During the January 2020 search of the defendant’s property, 5,050 cannabis plants and 23 pounds of processed cannabis were seized.
Law enforcement agents from the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, assisted by deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, wardens and environmental scientists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and soldiers from the California National Guard, obtained and served a search warrant to conduct an environmental investigation of the location relating to unlicensed cannabis cultivation.
As anticipated during that investigation, the search party found multiple environmental violations of law all relating to the defendant’s on-site commercial and unlicensed factory operation.
At the time of the search, the defendant was also still on an informal grant of probation, having been earlier convicted in the Mendocino County Superior Court of misdemeanor domestic battery and DUI. That probation was terminated Wednesday as unsuccessful and the defendant was ordered to serve an additional 40 days in the county jail for having violated terms of his probation, that violation time to be served consecutive to the cannabis time.
Obviously, a slow learner, defendant Brown was also convicted in the Mendocino County Superior Court in 2017 of a misdemeanor marijuana offense. He was on court probation for two years for that conviction, an informal probation that expired in March 2019. Less than a year later, he was back in hot water with the law because of his continuing involvement with black market marijuana.
The attorney who handled the prosecution of this defendant is District Attorney David Eyster. Mendocino County Superior Court Presiding Judge Ann Moorman sentenced Brown.
ALMOST HALF OF MENDO IS ON AID
“HHSA maintained public assistance benefits, including CalWORKs, CalFresh, and Medi-Cal for 39,257 County residents.” (Mendo has less than 90,000 residents, according to the census.)”
BUT NOT MANY GET HOUSING HELP
“HHSA provided payments of $66,021 through the CalWORKs Housing Support program to continue supporting 38 families in interim or permanent housing in the month of November 2020.”
(From the CEO’s December 15 report)
I was catching up with some Valley People columns and saw the bit about Clare’s Cafe.
This ad is from the 1955 AV High School yearbook. Based on the fact that the Philo Cafe also appears adjacent, Clare’s was, given the lack of candidates, in all likelihood housed in what became the Last Resort.
One of the side benefits of having all those yearbooks scanned from the 1940s through 1979, plus some earlier ones one from the 20s - 30s, is being able to reconstruct through the ads what the valley business community looked like in those halcyon years (as well as in several other communities in Mendoland and Sonoma County that purchased ads). (“McKinney’s” was the Philo Market, also the proprietors of the Philo Cafe.)
On Monday December 7, 2020 at 10:02 A.M. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to contact a 65 year-old male from Ukiah regarding a fraud report.
The elderly victim reported his bank card had been stolen and fraudulently used several times at numerous different retail establishments in the Ukiah area. The elderly victim provided deputies with bank statements listing the times and locations the transactions took place.
The Deputies, assisted by Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Investigators, contacted several of the retail establishments and identified Jessica Escobedo-Fernandez, 25, of Ukiah, as a suspect.
The Deputies and Investigators continued their investigation and developed probable cause to believe Robert Huang, 38, of Ukiah procured the elderly male’s personal information and Escobedo-Fernandez acted in concert with Huang to use the fraudulent debit cards as a means to illegally obtain approximately $4,800 in merchandise.
On Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 9:40 P.M. Deputies contacted Escobedo-Fernandez in the 600 block of South State Street in Ukiah.
Escobedo-Fernandez was arrested for Felony Obtaining Credit Using Other’s ID, Felony Theft By Forged/Invalid Access Card Over $400, Felony Grand Theft From Person, and Felony Conspiracy to Commit Felony Crime.
Escobedo-Fernandez was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where she was booked on the listed charges and to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
Also on Saturday, Decembr 12, 2020 at 10:54 P.M., Deputies observed Huang driving a white SUV in the 700 block of South State Street.
Deputies conducted a traffic stop and arrested Huang on charges of Felony Obtaining Credit Using Other’s ID, Felony Theft By Forged/Invalid Access Card Over $400, Felony Grand Theft From Person and Felony Conspiracy to Commit Felony Crime.
Huang was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
PAWNS STOLEN STUFF TWO MILES FROM WHERE IT WAS STOLEN
On Monday, December 7, 2020 at approximately 6:12 P.M. a Deputy from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to investigate a residential burglary in the 1400 block of Redemeyer Road in Ukiah.
A 69 year-old female and 65 year-old male advised when they arrived home on the above date they noticed a security safe was missing from inside the residence. During the reported burglary the only item taken from inside the residence was a small security safe. Nothing inside the residence was touched and no other items were taken.
The Deputy’s training and experience lead him to believe the suspect or suspects who took the safe had knowledge of where the safe was located inside the residence.
During the investigation, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were contacted by the elderly victims and were told some of the stolen property that was inside the safe had been pawned at a business in Ukiah.
Deputies responded to the pawn shop and collected evidence and the stolen property. Deputies also learned the suspect in the burglary was Mandee Nelson, 30, of Ukiah, who was a relative of the elderly victims.
On Monday, December 14, 2020 at approximately 9:40 P.M. Deputies were in contact with Nelson via text messaging. Nelson agreed to bring the remaining stolen property back to the elderly victims.
Deputies contacted Nelson in the 1400 block of Redemeyer Road and arrested her without incident. The remaining stolen property was recovered during the arrest.
Nelson was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
BACK FROM THE DEAD
On Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 4:47 PM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received an agency assistance request from the Ukiah Police Department regarding a unresponsive adult male at an apartment complex in the 700 block of South State Street in Ukiah, California.
Ukiah Police Officers were unable to immediately respond as they were in the process of handling other calls for service.
A Sheriff's Sergeant responded to the apartment complex and arrived prior to medical personnel who had also been dispatched to the location.
Upon arrival, the Sheriff's Sergeant located an unresponsive 21 year-old male laying in the apartment complex's carport.
The Sheriff's Sergeant began a medical assessment and noticed the adult male had a faint pulse and was unresponsive to pain stimulus (sternum rub).
Based upon the Sheriff's Sergeant's training/experience, he feared the adult male was suffering from an opioid overdose, which if gone immediately untreated could result in dead.
At this time a Ukiah Police Officer arrived on scene as the Sheriff's Sergeant administered a 4MG dose of NARCAN to the adult male.
The dose appeared to be ineffective so the Sheriff's Sergeant administered a second 4MG dose of NARCAN which after a short time appeared to have a positive affect on the adult male's condition.
The adult male became responsive and was examined by medical personnel who arrived on scene. During the examination the adult male refused medical treatment and was released at the scene.
The adult male stated he had ingested edible marijuana/cannabis prior to having the medical emergency and denied any opioid use.
Based upon the circumstances of the medical emergency, including the positive affects of the NARCAN deployment, it is believed that the edibles were possibly laced with an opioid.
In April 2019 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) began to issue NARCAN® (Naloxone HCI) nasal spray dosage units to its employees as part of their assigned personal protective equipment. MCSO's goal is in protecting the public and officers from opioid overdoses. Access to naloxone is now considered vital in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control. The California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard has reported Mendocino County ranking, per capita, 3rd in all opioid overdose deaths.
Narcan nasal spray units are widely known to reverse opioid overdose situations in adults and children. Each nasal spray device contains a four milligram dose, according to the manufacturer.
Naloxone Hydrochloride, more commonly known by the brand name NARCAN®, blocks the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose (both medications and narcotics) including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness.
The antidote can reverse the effects of an overdose for up to an hour, but anyone who administers the overdose reversal medication in a non-medical setting is advised to seek emergency medical help right away. The spray units can also be used by Public Safety Professionals who are unknowingly or accidentally exposed to potentially fatal amounts of fentanyl from skin absorption or inhalation.
The issuance of the Narcan nasal units, thus far, have been to employees assigned to the Field Services Division and the Mendocino County Jail medical staff. Employees are required to attend user training prior to being issued the medication.
Sheriff Matthew C. Kendall would like to thank Mendocino County HHSA Public Health for providing the Narcan nasal units to the Sheriff's Office free of charge as part of the Free Narcan Grant from the California Department of Public Health.
Since the April 2019 issuance, there have now been six separate situations wherein Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Patrol Sergeants/Deputies have administered NARCAN and saved the lives of six people in need of the life saving antidote medication.
Live in Anderson Valley? Want to help others in your community? Our volunteer Grocery Deliverers make sure households in isolation throughout Anderson Valley receive the supplies they need, quickly and safely. To sign up, go to volunteerNCO.org and select the orange “Mendocino County Volunteer Enrollment Form” button. For more information, call 462-1959.
YA THINK? Headline of the Day: Biden boasts of cabinet diversity, including Buttigieg, but is this identity politics?
WHEN Liz Evangelator-Barney was county-approved to continue her social media work with the Sheriff's Department, a contract worth about $15,000 to her, she became the target of an unfounded vilification campaign led by Alicia Bales, the program director at KZYX. Ms. Bales was immediately reinforced by others on her contact roster, including the late Judi Bari's sister, an art professor based in Maryland, none of whom bothered to determine the facts, none of which had anything to do with Ms. Barney's work and, in any case, were Ms. Barney's private affair.
IT ALL GETS CURIOUSER. Bales and Co., and I write from unhappy experience with her and her lamentable friends, don't fight fair. Despite their bold talk about speaking truth to power they operate entirely in a self-congratulatory echo chamber which allows no critical opinion of any of them, and they always travel in self-ratifying groups. (Back in the day we called them The Dwarf Bully Girls because they were short, yappy, unhappy creatures reminiscent of packs of chihuahuas, a few deballed, slack-jawed male thanatoids bringing up the rear.)
MS. BARNEY won't get the opportunity to confront any of them. Ms. Bales' employer, publicly-funded, tax-exempt public radio, unavailable to the public, and which bills itself as “Free Speech Radio Mendocino County,” wouldn't dream of inviting Ms. Barney on to the air to defend herself against the now widely circulated libels about her. And Ms. Bales, in charge of who gets on the public airwaves at the station, of course didn't ask Ms. Barney about the libels Ms. Bales circulated before she circulated them.
IT SEEMS that County CEO Carmel Angelo, on her own authority, is hiring Carol Brodsky and Chris Pugh, both from what's left of the Ukiah Daily Journal, to do the county's public information work. But the usual “request for proposal” process required for the Sheriff’s public info servivces hires closed on November 12th without identifying who got the contract. A call to the lady in charge of it, Ms. Nguyen, hasn't yet been returned. Ms. Angelo did write back with this explanation: “We are in the process of contracting with each of them for assistance. They will augment our PIO staff (1) for social media, disseminating pandemic information and better public comment availability during BOS meetings. I did add this to my CEO report for yesterday’s BOS meeting.”
From the CEO Report, 12-15-2020:
Social Media Update: The County is currently in the process of entering a contract with Carole Brodsky and Chris Pugh to handle the County’s social media platforms, press releases and stories on behalf of the County to keep our community updated with the most current information surrounding emergencies, news, and events.
IS THE BRODSKY-PUGH HIRE an end around Ms. Barney, a way of diverting county PIO tasks away from Ms. Barney? We may or may not be able to find out, but here's hoping.
THE SAD NEWS that the Cliff House will close for good, driven out of business by an extortionate state agency, inspired this reminisce from a reader: I was so shocked that the Cliff House will have to close. It was a very special place in my early California days. I had driven two months in my little blue Volkswagon through the West, tried out Boulder Colorado… not for me. Camped in remote Canyons of Utah alone, spent time in the Grand Tetons and met some sweet Bay Area Californians and moved on toward California seeking a new life. Drove up the Coast through LA which felt shallow and empty… And when I hit Big Sur was stunned with the extraordinary beauty and power of the Pacific; camped for a few days and knew I would stay in Northern California. I love the Pacific. It always brings me such great joy… to this day. Driving 128 and coming to the bridge and slowly making the way up to the top looking out at the Navarro merging with the ocean… It never ceases to be a thrill that brings a swift inbreath and a heart that opens to wonder. What a beautiful place we all have in this remarkable landscape. The first time I drove up 280 from Palo Alto to the Golden Gate I was captured by the majesty of the city and the bridge. It was like a fairy tale to me, the beauty. I turned around and drove back and took a right toward the ocean instead of driving into the City. And there was the Cliff House. I stopped and went inside. In 1976 it was dark and smoke filled with small windows, but it was such a unique restaurant and I roamed around for a while. And since then, my first stop in San Francisco remained a favorite place in my heart. After they remodeled it into that amazing tall glass walled restaurant, I would eat there whenever I drove to the peninsula or coming back to Boonville. It was such a special place. I am heartbroken it will be a thing of the past. Thank you for bringing the story into the paper. I am appalled that the Park Service would take such a stance that would absolutely shut it down. Merciless. Another very old and special place in the City that bites the dust. I am very very sad about it. The other piece in your paper was so well written and to me, a true perception of reality. Jonah Raskin is a fine writer. And a clear thinker. I appreciate your putting it in the paper."
USED TO BE that Mendocino County's schools were run by their school boards. Those boards hired an administrator and left the educational task to him or her. The school board was directly responsible for the superintendent. No more. The Boonville School Board has hired an outside guy, handsomely compensated of course, to find candidates for the superintendent position that this outside guy feels are right for the Anderson Valley. And he will consult every possible person and/or entity en route to the handful of finalists his consultations with everybody and everybody's brother have allegedly filtered up to him. The prob with this process is that ultimately no one in Boonville is responsible for whomever the outside guy selects for us. The school board should advertise the job in the professional journals the edu-drones read, interview the respondents who look good, pick one of them. You are the people we elected — or were dragooned into serving because no one wants the job — you should be responsible. Don’t shirk your duty. If you aren’t confident you can handle it, resign, otherwise all you’re doing is sitting around three-hours of tedium and signing off on whatever is shoved in front of you.
THE ANCIENT MARINER of the Boonville school board, Dick Browning, a retired school administrator, explains the Boonville School Board's abdication: "I’m writing to update you on our search for our next superintendent. As you may know, Superintendent Michael Warych is retiring at the end of June, 2021, after three years of exceptional service to our district. We have begun the process to hire our district’s next superintendent.
"Scott Mahoney is assisting us with the process. Scott was superintendent in the Waugh School District in Petaluma for nineteen years and retired from the Ross School District. Since retirement he has assisted thirteen districts with their searches for a superintendent. Scott will be reporting to our School Board during the process.
"Between now and January, 2021, Scott will be gathering input from both individuals and groups of employees, parents, and community members regarding desired professional qualifications and personal attributes of our next superintendent. The input will be used to develop advertising materials, screening criteria, and interview questions. Scott will be meeting with:
- Current superintendent
- Employees in groups (Zoom), via a survey, and individually (if desired)
- Parents in groups (Zoom), a SurveyMonkey Survey, and individually
- Anderson Valley Teachers leadership
- Anderson Valley Classified Employees Association leadership
- District English Learner Advisory Committee
- Community members in meetings and using a SurveyMonkey Survey
- School board members
- School Office Managers
- School Principals (individually at their sites via Zoom)
- Special education staff members
- High School students using a SurveyMonkey Survey
- District Office staff members
- Other groups and individuals as needed"
THE NEWSOM RECALL seems pretty well-organized. A couple of inland ladies are contacts for the statewide effort, which is fine with me given the governor's $350 unmasked dinner and his unnecessary shut-down of thousands of small businesses, but it won't work. Newsom cannot lose a recall election in this heavily Democratic state unless a whole lotta middle-of-the-road extremists registered as Demo vote for his Republican opponent. And that won't happen.
I SEE that Hillary wants to do away with the Electoral College. Not so fast, Hil. Yeah, yeah, you won the popular vote, and only you managed to lose to Big Wampum, but you lost to him big time in the deplorable states. Without the scant protection of the College, California and New York would easily win every national election which, of course, the Democrats think would be a good thing.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 16, 2020
BRUCE ADAMS, Navarro. Battery.
MARK BEVAN, Fort Bragg. Trespassing/refusing to leave, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
ANDRES CHAVEZ, San Bernadino/Piercy. DUI-alcohol&drugs, felon-addict with firearm, parole violation.
MARISSA FRENIER, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
by Dan Walters
Will the third time be the charm for California’s tortured effort to write a model ethnic studies curriculum for high school students? Last month, state schools Supt. Tony Thurmond released the third draft of the curriculum, more than a year after the first version generated a storm of well-deserved criticism for its quasi-Marxist tone, four months after Gov. Gavin Newsom labeled No. 2 as “insufficiently balanced and inclusive,” and two months after Newsom vetoed a bill to make high school ethnic studies mandatory because the curriculum hadn’t been finalized.
The first draft basically suggested that high school students be indoctrinated into believing that anyone in America not a white male is oppressed.
“At its core,” the draft declared, “the field of ethnic studies is the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with an emphasis on experiences of people of color in the United States,” adding, “The field critically grapples with the various power structures and forms of oppression, including, but not limited to, white supremacy, race and racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, islamophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia, that continue to impact the social, emotional, cultural, economic, and political experiences of Native People(s) and people of color.”
In critiquing “systems of power,” it advised, “These are structures that have the capacity to control circumstances within economic, political, and/or social-cultural contexts. These systems are often controlled by those in power and go on to determine how society is organized and functions,” adding, “some examples of systems of power are: white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy.”
Jewish legislators denounced it, saying it would “institutionalize the teaching of anti-semitic stereotypes in our public schools.”
Thurmond quickly promised major revisions, and the second draft emerged last summer. It was toned down somewhat, albeit with snippets of the first version’s us-vs-them rhetoric, and the list of ethnic groups to be paid homage was expanded.
However, it was still filled with often incomprehensible educational jargon, such as declaring that ethnic studies help students “conceptualize, imagine, and build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promotes collective narratives of transformative resistance, critical hope, and radical healing.” Can anyone translate that?
Facing criticism from Newsom and others, Thurmond launched the second rewrite that was released last month.
There are still some ideological tinges, such as declaring that ethnic studies “connect ourselves to past and contemporary social movements that struggle for social justice and an equitable and democratic society; and conceptualize, imagine, and build new possibilities for a post-racist, post-systemic racism society that promotes collective narratives of transformative resistance, critical hope, and radical healing.”
Overall, however, it is much improved, eliminating most of the victimization agitprop and balancing accounts of how ethnic groups have been mistreated with descriptions of those that overcame discrimination and prospered. It also relies more on students’ exploring issues on their own rather than being ideologically indoctrinated.
“Our educators and students have told us there is an overwhelming need for tools and resources that promote an honest accounting of California and our nation’s history, and to see themselves reflected in the lessons taught in our schools,” Thurmond said as he released the third draft. “The recommendations presented today offer a bold and balanced pathway to uplifting the stories and experiences that are rarely told in our classrooms.”
There’s nothing wrong per se with ethnic studies that honestly confront students with the difficulties and benefits of living in a multicultural society, especially one as complex as California.
The third draft, while still open to valid criticism of some details, is a workable framework for bringing those issues into high school classrooms.
(Dan Walters is a columnist for CalMatters.)
“Congratulations. Very scary four years.”
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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
RE RICHARDSON GROVE: I'm afraid of a truly unique, and one of the last stretches of "unmanaged" road becoming yet another Broadway thoroughfare. I'm afraid of ugly franchises everywhere, and the linchpins which start that process. I'm afraid of the WalMart-ification of America, and that everywhere you go will look like the inside, and outside, of some thoughtless, hideous, litter strewn, convenience oriented plastic prison full of dull entertainments for obese hollowheads. I'm from Los Angeles, and in the 16 years that I've lived up here, I've watched LA slowly creeping closer like the disgusting oozing alien thing it is. The only bulwark holding it back being our natural landscape and the people's iron will to protect it even in the smallest, seemingly arcane doses.
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WHY DIDN’T YOU VOTE?
Calmatters asks a couple of Humboldt State students why they didn’t participate in the November election.
by Freddy Brewster
He Supported Bernie
(Sergio Berrueta, 28, is a student at Humboldt State. Here is how he explains his decision to not vote.)
I didn’t vote this year because, frankly, I didn’t like the candidates for both parties. I wasn’t going to vote for Trump, but I also wasn’t going to vote for Biden. I’ve been registered as a Democrat since the first time I could vote in an election, and this time around I didn’t think Biden was fit enough as a candidate.
I was a Bernie Sanders supporter like many other college students.
In the last election in 2016, I voted third party. It was the same, I didn’t like Clinton as an option and I voted third party because I was like, I believe in this other thing and I don’t think the system is really working out.
What I want to see in a politician is someone that is going to focus on the nation. It’s weird because you have one candidate saying let’s make America great again, but they’re not really doing what would make this place great.
What I want for a candidate is someone who is fighting for us. We need universal healthcare, we need access to proper public health, that is the biggest issue for me. Someone that is pro-choice, someone that wants to actually work on gun control because that has been a problem for years.
I am tired of constantly funding the military for endless war. I just want a candidate that is going to focus on this nation because we have been so focused on everything outside and we haven’t focused on what is going on here. We have problems internally and we should be growing, we shouldn’t be going backwards.
My mom has voted Democrat in every election. My grandpa, he flip-flops. In the last election, he voted for Clinton, in the election prior he voted for Romney, and in 2008 he voted for McCain. But he voted for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. He also voted for Reagan in the 80s, and I’m still mad about that — even though I wasn’t alive then.
My friend Patrick voted — or he better have, I don’t remember. Heidi, my partner, voted, she did by mail. I registered (in Humboldt County) and they mailed my ballot to an old address, but once again, I didn’t vote this election because of what I said.
It boiled down to this: No matter what happens, things are going to kind of stay the same. You gotta vote for the lesser of two evils and honestly — I hope I don’t sound weird or anything — but it came down to morals.
* * *
It Wouldn’t Have Mattered
(Gabe Kim is 21 and a student at Humboldt State. He said he didn’t think his vote would make a difference.)
I didn’t vote.
There were a few things going on, one was laziness and another reason is that I realized, yeah sure, my vote matters a little bit, but it’s not going to affect the outcome of the election one way or the other.
Most of my friends and family voted and they probably did for Joe Biden considering the overwhelming amount of people that swing that way.
I don’t feel ostracized in any way because I didn’t vote. You know, if I were to sum it up in one sentence, I just really didn’t feel like it. I didn’t feel like it mattered and that there is no reason to go out and expose myself to other people during a pandemic.
I kind of have been in a downward spiral this semester when it comes to a lot of things. I think the pandemic really has caused me to feel isolated because I can’t go to school and I can’t do this or that and I just figured, why go out and vote and expose myself. And I didn’t really understand the whole mail-in ballot thing.
So it was a number of things, I don’t think I could point to only one specific reason that caused me to not vote.
I mean, is it a bad thing I didn’t vote? Umm, maybe some people would say that. But for me, even when I did vote two years ago… I didn’t know who was doing what. I didn’t really do my research.
When I voted in 2018, there was a lot of stuff to go through. You weren’t just voting for the top dogs, you were also voting for things within the county and within the state and the different levels of government. I got overwhelmed and I mean, I don’t know exactly who is the best candidate for the position or whatever.
If I were to have voted, I would have voted for Joe Biden, but a lot of the stuff that politicians talk about are very broad and I don’t really involve myself in politics unless it directly affects me. Something like student loan debt or something like that would encourage me to go out and vote more.
If politicians were to come down to my level and do things that appeal to me, that directly affected me or related to me, not just broad things like whether or not we are going to be in the Paris Climate Agreement or the Iran Nuclear Deal.
These things matter and I understand that, but they’re not really affecting me.
(This coverage is made possible through Votebeat, a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. In California, CalMatters is hosting the collaboration with the Fresno Bee, the Long Beach Post, and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.)