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Mendocino County Today: February 23, 2012

SAVE HENDY WOODS! State Senator Noreen Evans has gotten the California Department of Parks and Recreation to convene public workshops across the state to find local partners to help keep parks open. DPR will present a “How To” explanation for all parties interested in forming partnerships for operating a state park. The workshops in our region will be held as follows: February 23 – Fort Bragg: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the CV Starr Community Center, 300 South Lincoln Street, Conference Room 3. February 24 – Santa Rosa: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Julliard Park, Church of One Tree Community Center, 492 Sonoma Avenue. These workshops will concentrate on the process for entering into partnership agreements for keeping parks open and will not be taking testimony on why certain parks were chosen for closure. If you are interested in receiving future updates on the status of state park closures.

JOHN LEWALLEN, independent candidate for US Congress in California’s new Northcoast Second Congressional District, cordially invites the public to his formal Declaration of Candidacy on Thursday, February 23, at 1pm, at the Mendocino County Elections Department on Low Gap Road in Ukiah. Lewallen, 69, a long-time resident of the Anderson Valley, lives in Philo. He owns and operates the Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company with his wife, Barbara. Lewallen is campaigning to support local livelihoods and a healthy environment, promises to promote public health and to "end suicidal military spending, and end the prohibition of cannabis to develop a world-class cannabis products industry." For more information, visit the website

NCRA, the little train that couldn't, thought they had assemblymember Wes Chesbro lined up to introduce legislation to allocate $500k a year from state transportation funds. All Chesbro needed was a few letters to show local support for the request. NCRA asked the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG), the local transportation funding agency, for support, at which point both Phil Dow, MCOG's Executive Director, and Bruce Richard, the Mendocino Transit Agency's Executive Director, rushed to the funding barricades in opposition. Both Dow and Richard have made careers, and built their agencies, by sucking up as much taxpayer cash as they could lay their grasping hands on, but nothing concerns a state-funded bureaucrat than the thought that some other agency is trying to muscle in on their cash stream. Dow and Richard raised so much fuss about rail money going anywhere but to Richard's ghost buses that Ruth Valenzuela, Chesbro's local rep, told the MCOG board that Chesbro was no longer going to introduce the subsidy legislation requested by NCRA. It gets worse…

Bruce Richard

MTA WAS JUST AWARDED $2.5 million to buy four brand new 39-seat buses — a bus for for every rider! MTA is famous for running big, empty buses all around the County (and little crowded ones on the Ukiah-Boonville-Gualala route) and now he'll have four new buses running around empty. The existing buses don't run on a schedule that could be used by working people (or much of anyone else, for that matter). MTA also runs a cab service, "Dial-a-Ride," in Ukiah and Fort Bragg, at a taxpayer subsidized cost of $15-$20 per passenger. Because the point of MTA is to secure government funded jobs for people like Richard rather than providing actual service to the public, MTA's Dial-a-Ride customers are often forced to wait an hour or more for a ride. By contrast Hey Taxi!, a private company based in Ukiah, offers rides in the Ukiah area for about $5 a pop, operates nights and weekends, and does so without any government subsidy. If MTA hired Hey Taxi! to provide the Dial-a-Ride services, they could do the job better and cheaper and provide better service to the passengers. MTA could still skim $5 a ride off the top to keep Richard employed doing whatever he does all day long.


Here’s MTA honcho Bruce Richard

With a shovel in his back yard

He’s going solar!

A big green high roller

But he looks more like a retired bank guard.

Bruce Richard & Staff at MTA Barn Groundbreaking

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