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Mendocino County Today: April 21, 2012

HO HUM ELECTION shaping up. Except for the interest in the Congressional race generated by the stark choice between the genuine progressive Norman Solomon and a field of More-Of-The-Same-Democrats leavened only by a few Northcoast cranks, not much of interest on the ballot, although the alienato will of course vote for Tom Lynch over Wes Chesbro.


INCUMBENT SUPERVISOR John McCowen, Ukiah, is being challenged Andrea Longoria, also a Ukiah-based County worker probably put up by those Sacramento incompetents at SEIU, more of an extension of the flab wing of the Democrat Party than a labor union. Fastened at the throats of County employees who pay thousands every month in union dues for representation they don’t get and would be better off providing themselves, SEIU is backing Longoria who otherwise has no support.

McCOWEN was not supported by the AVA for election, but we think he’s turned out to be a very good Supervisor unafraid to address, and addresses intelligently, controversial issues, including the across-the-board pay cut for County workers that set SEIU off. The vote to cut worker pay was unanimous at the Supes level and, it seems evident to everyone but SEIU, represented either a choice of pay cuts or layoffs. Rather than settle immediately on the ten percent cut, both sides proceeded to string out bitter back and forth until finally settling on the original ten percent.


MS. LONGORIA, a working mother of six children and a Native American, certainly deserves high marks for domestic fortitude, but there’s no reason to replace McCowen with her. The first campaign filings reveal that Longoria has raised $1362, all but fifty bucks of it from the Pinoleville Pomo Nation of Ukiah, yet another Northcoast tribe with casino dreams, although there’s an existing casino just up the road at Redwood Valley, then another in Willits, then another in Laytonville, and to the south, one at Hopland, one at Geyserville, one planned for Cloverdale and a monster in the works for Rohnert Park. There is also a teensy gaming hall in Covelo and, on the Mendocino Coast, one at Point Arena. McCowen has not yet filed a campaign finance statements because he doesn’t have to as an elected official. McCowen has said he plans to run an open campaign and to again have a campaign account, but hasn’t yet revealed the details.

FORT BRAGG CITY Councilman Dan Gjerde is the only person running for the 4th District supervisor seat. Kendall Smith, who currently misrepresents that district in the misrepresentation tradition of Patti Campbell, announced last year that she wouldn't run for re-election after serving two consecutive terms distinguished only by her dogged pursuit of travel reimbursements she was not entitled to. Only when she was threatened with prosecution by DA Eyster did the chiseling Smith return some of the money she’d stolen from the taxpayers.


GJERDE has so far collected $1,836 in contributions, $1,536 of which is listed as cash. The remaining $300 is an in-kind contribution for professional web services and campaign literature from his brother Tom Gjerde of Sacramento.

A COUPLE of weeks ago, I wrote this blast at the highly grasping and reliably hypocritical Noreen Evans: “State Senator Noreen Evans, who routinely complains about her low pay, which is $95,291, not including generous retirement, per diem, car allowance and other benefits that the 99% only dream of, has admitted to taking tens of thousands of dollars annually for doing legal work on the side for two Santa Rosa law firms. Evans says she has maintained a part time law practice since 1982, but since being elected to office she has only reported her outside income for the last two years. The Fair Political Practices Commission recently notified Evans that she needed to refile her 2010 and 2011 disclosure forms to accurately report that the income she received was from a law firm that she owns, and not one where she was merely an employee. Evans will also be required to report more detailed financial information than if she were merely an employee, including how much the business is worth and how much income she received from it, as well as each individual source of income worth more than $10,000. Evans had previously reported her law practice income as a range of from $20,000 to $200,000, the better to conceal the actual details.”

EVANS’ ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT called up to complain. I told her to put it in writing; I didn’t want to waste my time listening to a long whine about how I’d maligned the hard-hitting solon who, incidentally, I last wrote about when she took a corporate-paid junket to Maui which she tried to pass off as having to do with the people’s business. Evans is again in the news as leading a state posse against a very funny television ad for the State Lottery that has a spiffy-looking babe slapping a doofus dude to wake him up to the long shot rewards of gambling. The ad, you see, encourages violence. Anyway, Evans’ assistant wrote the following:


“Mr. Anderson,

“Likewise, we'd prefer a call (or a written request) to get the facts before publishing a hit piece. [Evans’ complaint is implicit in her defense of outside legal work.]

“1. When has Sen. Evans objected to her salary or ‘low pay’? The only objections made have been the overstepping of constitutional authority by the Controller and rejection of state cars, which costs taxpayers more and decrease her offices' ability to meet with the 928,077 constituents in her 11,958.85 square mile district — the 4th largest in the state. [She objects every time she’s caught grasping an outside nickel for herself, as is the case here. Typically, she blames the State Controller.] 2. The article is off-base to say Sen. Evans ‘admitted to taking tens of thousands.’ She earned it, and she reported it. [Belatedly, and only because she was asked why she was doing it.] 3. In fact, she OVER reported her earnings. [If Noreen will send me the diff I promise to do good with it.] 4. FPPC forms require a box check for range in income: $0-$499, $500-$1k, $1,001-$10k, $10,001-$100k, and so on. Her additional income for 2011 was in the $10,001-$100k, not $20k-$200k. [Oops. How does the poor thing get by!?] 5. NOTHING was concealed. [Only all the prior years.] 6. As a lawmaker and chair of the Senate Judiciary, she believes it's important that she maintain the skills and knowledge needed to make and apply the law. It's her area of expertise. [I can tell.] 7. Many elected officials maintain their professions while serving the public. Done appropriately, it's beneficial for taxpayers to have elected officials with many applicable skills and knowledge basis — who wants a career politician representing them?” [Serving the public? I think we’re the ones getting served here, and Noreen clearly will be in office for years to come, a career actually.]

THE CLAP STATS! The Mendocino County Department of Public Health reports that January through March of 2012 Mendocino County residents had 84 cases of Chlamydia and 5 cases of gonorrhea. Herpes, or Human Papilloma Virus (HPV, aka venereal warts), are also being treated but don’t have to be tallied. There were no reported cases of syphilis.


OH MY. The day before she’s scheduled to be in court to answer to pot charges, Angela Pinches gets popped again for tweeking and child neglect. According to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department, “The unexplained, early morning appearance of a 2-year-old girl outside the home of a Mendocino County couple led to the arrest of Ms. Pinches for suspected child endangerment and being under the influence of drugs.” The 2-year-old was standing naked at 6:30 Thursday morning standing outside a neighboring Redwood Valley home by the couple who lived there. An hour later, Angela Pinches appeared and said she’d left the girl with her 9-year-old brother for a short time, having left “the oven door was open to help keep them warm.” But the child tottered out the door and down the street more than a hundred yards to the Vineyard Oaks Drive home where she was found. Ms. Pinches was booked into the Mendocino County Jail and her children taken by Children’s Protective Services.

Kyle Stornetta

WHEN BADGED POT RAIDERS descended on the Stornetta Ranch near Point Arena on March 7th, they not only found commercial quantities of marijuana but also a frozen cache of illegally taken wild salmon and ducks. The Mendocino County District Attorney's office is pondering charges against Kyle Edward Stornetta, 31, of Manchester, on both the dope and the wild game. The raiders found 18 wild steelhead — 17 of them spawning females — and 56 ducks, all stored in freezers. Fish and Game spokesman Harry Morse said the legal possession limit on waterfowl is 14 and that “the adipose fins of the fish — the fin just in front of the tail fins — had been removed in an attempt to make them look like hatchery-raised steelhead.” The Garcia River runs through the Stornetta property and the ranch is noted as a stop on migratory bird routes. Fish and Game pointed out that more than $20 million has been spent rehabilitating the Garcia River fish habitat but poaching on the scale Stornetta was apparently engaged in, which is widespread in the Point Arena-Manchester area, could undo the restoration of the Garcia. “Those 17 females could have produced about 70,000 eggs to help restock the river,” said Fish and Game biologist Doug Albin.

Garcia River Estuary

PLANS BY THE CLOVERDALE Rancheria of Pomo Indians to build a casino and resort on 65 acres of tribal land at the southern edge of Cloverdale have been approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Cloverdale tribe, 540 persons strong, is proposing 2,000 slot machines, 45 card tables, a hotel, convention center, and entertainment center, the whole show larger than the casino complex next door in Geyserville. The Cloverdale City Council is unanimously opposed to the Cloverdale casino.

Plastic Pipe at typical Pot Grow

ON WEDNESDAY we complained about Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro’s opportunism behind a bill to increase penalties for people growing pot on public lands. However, Chesbro’s bill does have one useful component — not that The Chez is the first person to focus on large scale gardening supply convoys as a way of reducing trespass grows (Supervisor John Pinches brought it up years ago) — but Chesbro’s the first state legislator to address it: The bill would give CHP officers and sheriff’s deputies “increased authority” to stop vehicles in state forests, national forests or on private timberland with “agricultural irrigation supplies” — mainly black plastic pipe. The CHP currently has authority to stop vehicles for safety checks, but the provision in Chesbro’s bill would allow cops to stop vehicles with black plastic pipe, water bladders, drip irrigation equipment as well as fertilizer. Since there are only so many large scale suppliers of these items in the Emerald Triangle it probably won’t be long before cops will be monitoring local garden supply outfits like they do bars for DUI drivers. Cops could “inspect bills of lading, shipping, or delivery papers, or other evidence to determine whether the driver is in legal possession of the load, and, upon reasonable belief that the driver of the vehicle is not in legal possession, to take custody of the vehicle and load and turn them over to the custody of the sheriff of the county in which any of those items are apprehended.” No doubt the ever-creative pot growers will try various countermeasures such as bogus paperwork, shell-buyers, intermediaries, etc., but a black-plastic pipe (et. al.) monitoring system will certainly increase large trespass pot growers’ logistics probs.

A REMARK about a senator’s high pay

Which she could quite simply underplay

Brings an ‘Oh my heavens’

by a staffer from Evans’

office who’s ready to make our day!

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