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Mendocino County Today: May 8, 2012

RYANE SNOW has passed away. The popular Coast mycologist was best known for generously sharing his vast knowledge of mushrooms with three generations of locals. Snow, who held a PhD in chemistry, was the go-to mushroom guy on the Mendocino Coast. He'd lived in Mendocino County since 1982.

ABSENTEE BALLOTS were mailed out to Mendo voters on Monday. More than half of us in the County now vote absentee, a process hastened by the closing of many outback voting precincts as a cost-saving measure.

A READER comments that at last weekend's Point Arena Daffodil Festival, “The tweakers were picking the daffs and trying to sell them to the tourists. Closing the Sea Shell Inn over here was like shaking an old wool blanket full of moths, then watching them all fly around without a place to land, looking all blurry-eyed in the daylight.”

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE JARED HUFFMAN might want to re-think his sponge gambit. Huffman is mailing out little sponges emblazoned, “Huffman. Congress. Dip in water. See what happens.” We dipped the one we got and nothing happened. All it did was float. Anyhow, seeing as most Americans already think of their elected reps as sponges, if not leeches, a candidate doesn't seem well advised to confirm the stereotype.

WE OFTEN HEAR or read back-to-the-land sagas told by the now aged representatives of the flower child diaspora of the late 1960s as young people departed the cities for the more placid areas of the west and east coasts. What you don't hear much, if at all, is the primary reason for the urban exodus which, in the case of the San Francisco Bay Area to West Sonoma County and north to Trinity County, was the everyday level of street violence in the Bay Area cities, not to mention the world class maniacs like the Zodiac and Zebra Killers. The urbs had become a major bummer, man. It propelled thousands of counterculture types northward. Of course it was also possible to buy logged over land cheap in Mendocino and Humboldt counties, much of it financed by Bob McKee, arguably the pivotal expediter of the Northcoast back to the land movement. Now that the revisionist histories extolling the “Albion Nation” and the like are appearing, I'm looking forward to a new book by David Talbot (bother of Steve) on the “nightmare of violence and divisiveness that followed the dreamy days of peace and love.” Talbot's book is called “Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love.”

STAN ANDERSON informs us that the Mendocino County Republican Central Committee will meet at Gribaldo's Restaurant in Willits this Saturday, May 12th from 10 to noon. No hippies, no long guns. Side arms ok so long as they're holstered.

WE'RE GRATEFUL to all the people who've donated ancient AVA's. Thanks to you, we now have a complete archive, ours having been ransacked by the irresponsible and the untrustworthy. We now require that alleged researchers and writers be accompanied by one of us as they paw through the years of Mendocino County's true history we now have hidden away, accessible only with an escort. There are also complete archives of America's last newspaper at UC Davis and the University of Michigan.

WE SUSPECT KEN HURST, but whoever gave us a black arkansas apple tree must know how badly we covet this most delicious and rare fruit. We've got it in the ground, and so far it is thriving. Thank you.

QUOTE OF THE DAY from Michael Lewis: “If I were in charge of Occupy I would probably reorganize the movement around a single, achievable goal: a financial boycott of the six ‘too big to fail’ Wall Street firms: Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo. We would encourage people who had deposits in these firms to withdraw them, and put them in smaller, not ‘too big to fail’ banks. We would stigmatize anyone who invested, in any way, in any of these banks. I’d try to organize college students to protest on campuses. Their first goal would be to force the university endowments to divest themselves of shares in these banks.”

BUDGET PROBLEMS KEEP MOUNTING for the City of Ukiah. The General Fund is projected to be $1.8 million in the red for next fiscal year unless drastic cuts are made. Nearly a million of the shortfall comes from the loss of Redevelopment money which the City was using to pay administrative salaries, including a big chunk of the salary and benefits of the City Manager, Assistant City Manager, Finance Director and others. The City has milked the Ukiah Redevelopment Association (RDA) cow this way for years. Normally, when funding for a position goes away, so does the position. Instead, City Manager Jane Chambers is recommending laying off the Sun House Museum Director Sherrie Smith-Ferri and all of her staff, as well as public works line staff and a police officer and fire fighter position. Museum supporters and firefighters turned out in force to support their programs, but no one pointed out the obvious — that the City could get a lot more bang for its layoff buck by offing a couple of high priced administrators instead of essential people doing essential work. The City Council will appoint an ad hoc committee to study the issue and report back.

THE OTHER REDEVELOPMENT SHOE dropped when the California State Department of Finance told the City of Ukiah that some $6 million dollars set aside for the COSTCO project was not an “enforceable obligation,” because contracts to encumber the money had not been signed by last year's deadline. Without the extensive road improvements that were to be funded by the RDA, the future of the COSTCO project is uncertain. It's a heckuva note in the first place that a hugely successful private business like CostCo should get a large hunk of public money for site prep.

THE RACE for Second District Supervisor continues to be low key, although incumbent Supervisor John McCowen's handmade, spray painted signs have begun to appear around Ukiah. The signs have been criticized for not being “professional” enough, but they provide visible proof of McCowen's frugality, and frugal is always reassuring in profligate times. McCowen's challenger, County employee and former SEIU bargaining team member Andrea Longoria, is so far pretty much invisible apart from a candidate's night and a mostly unheard appearance on Norm de Vall’s local radio Access show. Early speculation was that SEIU would pour significant money into the race, but so far all but $50 of the $1,362 raised by Longoria has come from the Pinoleville Pomo Nation, of which Longoria is a member.

McCOWEN HAS THE ADVANTAGE of regular exposure at the Board of Supervisor's meetings while Longoria has seldom if ever attended Supes meetings, except to complain about the pay cuts the Board was seeking to impose on her and fellow SEIU people last year. Nor has she attended Ukiah City Council meetings where McCowen is also a regular and occasionally weighs in on the issues facing his home town.

FOR YOUR ONLY IN MENDO files: We've all heard of sleep walking, but sleep driving? Randall D. Jennings, 43, of Fort Bragg said he was “sleep driving” when he piled head-on into two southbound vehicles containing a total of six tourists, injuring all of them. The three-car pile-up on Highway One north of Cleone near the intersection of Little Valley Road occurred in May of last year. Jennings, represented by Timothy O'Laughlin and prosecuted by DA new hire Jared Kelly, insisted he was driving in his sleep. Jennings took his unique defense all the way to a just-concluded jury trial that quickly found him guilty of two counts of felony reckless driving and four counts of misdemeanor reckless driving. Dr. Richard Miller of Mendocino, psychologist, and host of an equivalently implausible bi-weekly psych hour on KZYX, appeared as a witness for the defense. Jennings will be sentenced on June 18th at Ten Mile Court, Fort Bragg.

RAISING AWARENESS about Gender Diversity and Sexual Orientation — Local production company, Ukiah Aware, presents Out & About, an artistic and educational exploration of gender diversity and sexual orientation on Sunday, May 20, 2-5pm in the Social Hall of the Ukiah United Methodist Church. The production is free (donations are appreciated) and will be translated into Spanish; all are welcome. The Ukiah United Methodist Church and PFLAG North Bay (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) are production co-sponsors. For more information, contact Ukiah Aware at (707) 234-7155 or visit www.ukiahaware.com. — Dianne Durham

THE SUPERVISORS, slipping into their hair shirts, will meet at Saint Anthony’s Parish Hall in Mendocino next Tuesday (15 May), not in their lush leather swivel chairs in Ukiah. Beginning in 2006, the Board has annually held several of its regularly scheduled meetings in outlying areas of the county, most of them in the Fourth and Fifth Districts where their free lunches tend to be radically superior to those on offer in the culinarily-challenged areas of the County. The meeting starts at 10:00 a.m., and ends sometime late afternoon.

OCCUPY MENDOCINO Street Fair This Saturday, May 12. Noon To 5, Laurel Street (& Main) Block Party. Occupy Mendocino is hosting a major event to educate and energize support for economic justice, while creating a fun, community-building day: Speakers Platform with local and visiting political leaders, economists, and others sharing important information and ideas on: *How the 1% has gamed the system – while hurting us 99%ers. *How Wall Street deregulation and greed crashed the economy and created the Great Recession. *How the super-wealthy and corporations get special treatment and tax rates at our expense. *How our American democracy is failing. *What you can do to help change things. · Tables and booths of our local non-profit agencies, sharing the good works and services they help our Coast with. · Fun!... Music all afternoon, great Food offerings, Children’s Section, and more. Come join with us and your friends and neighbors – enjoy a great day together – and become a part of “the solution.” ….and pass the word on to others! For up-to-the-minute details, please see: www.occupymendocino.net/fair.html For questions, etc. please call 964-1722 or 937-0334 Our Afternoon’s Speakers: Norman Solomon and five other candidates for U.S. Congress, a representative from Mike Thompson’s office, Rachel Binah, Tom Wodetski, Jim Tarbell, Walt McKeown, Charles Wood, Jessie Van Sant, Rick Childs, Howard Ennes, and others. Tables by our Non-Profit Agencies: Project Sanctuary, The Children’s Fund, The Obama campaign, KZYX, Transition Towns, The Humane Society, Hospice, Ocean Protection Coalition, Move To Amend, Soroptomists, Noyo Food Forest, and others. Music all afternoon by: Gene Parsons, Chris Skyhawk, Steven Bates, The Occupy Songsters, The Children’ Chorus, Peter Black, Michael Coleman, Bob Dease, and others.

SALVADOR SANTANA will perform at The Forest Club in Ukiah on June 6th. His new single “Into The Light” will be released in June accompanied by a video. Salvador Santana is a 28 year old keyboardist, vocalist, composer and songwriter who is set to re-visit his roots when he plays at a number of venues this summer with his new band with Alex Nester (vocals & keyboards,) Jared Meeker (Guitar), Blake Collie (Drums) and Itai Shapira (bass). Salvador Santana is pushed by a need to step out of his comfort zone in a quest for new ideas. Exuding the Bay Area vibe, he began playing drums at age 3, sitting on his father’s lap. But his true love was discovered when he began taking piano lessons at six. He later studied at San Francisco’s heralded School of the Arts before attending Cal Arts in Valencia. His education, passion and lineage have turned Salvador Santana into a monster on the keys.

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