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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Summer Weather | 10 New Cases | Laird Retires | Stickel Missing | Fire Boxes | Reliable Information | Fire Season | AV Meeting | Pot Shot | Ed Notes | Unidentified Objects | Mendo Manson | Needs Met | Fiddleheads Finito | Yesterday's Catch | Water History | Tiburon 1957 | NYC Liberation | Heat Melt | Madison Grant | Livermore Cover | NPR Economy | True Education | Spear Rack | Lazy Press | Minor Miner | Moving Rivera | Money Machine | Barking Mad

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ROUTINE SUMMER TIME WEATHER across Northwest California will continue as high pressure aloft maintains clear skies and warm to locally hot temperatures across the interior. Coastal areas will remain seasonably cool, with persistent marine layer clouds during the overnights and mornings along with some afternoon clearing. (NWS)

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10 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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ROY LAIRD: 36 YEARS as Anderson Valley Volunteer Firefighter

On Sunday, the Fire Department had a little retirement party for some of our firefighters who had retired during the past year or so. Roy Laird was one (after 36 years). Former Chief (and long time friend) Colin Wilson wrote a very nice letter to be read. Everyone in the Valley should know how important Roy was to the Department for a long, long time.

I had other commitments today so I'm sorry to say I won't be able to come to the event today. I wanted particularly to say a few words acknowledging Roy's contribution to the Department, the Deep End community and the great asset he was to me during my tenure as Chief. 

For a few years Roy and I were the longest tenured members of the Department but he had started a few years before I did so, even when I retired, he had won that contest. Seven years later Roy was still “on the job” while I was “on the couch,” so at this point he's the clear winner going away. I'm not sure how Roy's tenure would rank in the history of the Department but if he's not the longest serving member, he's certainly very near the top.

Roy was not just long serving; he has been a truly key player for most of the time he served. Very early in his career he was made Captain of the Navarro Station which was long before there were Holmes Ranch or Rancho Navarro Stations. He was promoted to Battalion Chief during the last half of his career, a position he filled with great talent and skill during my tenure as Chief. 

Roy was one of three or four people who were absolutely invaluable to me. Given the size of Anderson Valley, it was not possible for me to be present on every scene and often, even if I could respond to the Navarro area, all the serious work would have been done before I could get there. As Chief, and particularly a newly appointed chief, I always felt responsibility for the outcome of every incident, whether I was there or not. When I heard Roy responding on any call, I immediately knew I could relax, whatever needed to be done would be done and done in a professional and competent manner. I'm not sure I would have survived those first few years without Roy to lean on and I will be forever grateful. 

Thank you, Roy, for myself, the Department and all you have done for Anderson Valley. 

Colin H. Wilson

Retired Chief, Anderson Valley Fire Department

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37-year-old Nathan Stickel was hospitalized at Ukiah Valley Medical Center on June 5, 2021 for symptoms associated with his mental illness. Parents Jeanette and Brandt Stickel said that night he fled the hospital, Nathan was seen hours later at the Redwood Valley Market convenience store, and they are “extremely worried” because he has not been seen or heard from since.

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THESE RED FIRE BOXES have been popping up all over Anderson Valley and people are starting to ask what they are.

After countless hours of mapping by former Fire Chief Wilson, a matching grant from the Mendocono Community Foundation, and lots of local support, we are now installing these fire boxes containing critical emergency information. 

The info includes road systems, topography, structures, water sources, helicopter landing zones, etc., and will be invaluable to both local and out-of-district first responders in the event of a large scale incident.

Chief Avila had an opportunity to use a similar resource while on strike team assignment in Kern County last year and, impressed by the efficiency, brought the concept home. Thanks to everyone whose work made this project happen.

(AV Fire Department Presser)

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Miller Report for the week of June 28, 2021; by William Miller, MD; Chief of Staff at Adventist Health - Mendocino Coast Hospital

COVID-19 has had many effects on our lives including how we think about information we receive from various sources.  We have been bombarded with information about it from the very beginning of the pandemic.  There is so much out there, especially on the internet, and much of it contradictory, that it can be difficult to tell what to believe sometimes.

During the past 16 months that I have been writing the Miller Report, I have tried to provide information that is based on scientifically known facts and less on opinion.   I have received much feedback from the readership and I appreciate it.  One thing that I have been asked is why I do not provide alternative points of view on such topics as the safety of vaccines, for example.  

The reason is that the information I provide is based on what is published in scientific journals that are highly respected in the healthcare field and upon information provided by the FDA and the CDC.  So much of what is out there on the internet is not what one should consider reliable information from reliable sources.  Here are some guidelines that I use which you might find helpful to judge what you are reading on the internet as being reliable or not.

First, when we Google a topic or question, we need to understand how the search engine arranges the answers.  Literally, there will be hundreds of thousands of responses.  Part of what arranges those responses as to which ones come up first is based on our own preferences.  In other words, we will always get a biased search response based on what we have tended to look at in the past.  So, if you often go to websites that are, say, anti-vaccination, you will be preferentially directed towards that type of site.  This becomes a bias on the information you are receiving.  This is especially true for social media websites such as Facebook.  If you want to avoid such bias, you need to evaluate the websites and the information on them.

Websites of scientific and medical journals specifically try to avoid bias.  Articles in these types of journals undergo something called “peer review”.  This means that no article gets published without being judged by other experts in the field.  They critically look at how a study was performed, whether the analysis of the data was done correctly and did the results of the study actually support the conclusions.  Another important aspect of scientific articles is that they must reference previously reported studies.  That way, the article is based upon the body of knowledge and less upon the opinion of individuals.

A few months ago, one of my readers sent me an article that appeared to be published in a scientific journal.  The article made a number of claims that vaccines in general are dangerous and that the COVID vaccines are unsafe.  The article was an editorial piece, meaning an opinion, and not a scientific review of the subject.  I was curious and so I looked into it further.  It turns out that the “journal” was in fact an on-line blog maintained by the author herself.  She had given her blog a name that sounded very authoritative and actually included the word “journal” in the name.  In the editorial piece, she referenced three other “articles”, all of which were her own.  This is an example of a situation that a critical reader should consider with some skepticism.  It is not peer reviewed, the “journal” may sound like a scientific publication because of its name, but it is not. Referencing one’s own authored “articles” also suggests that the article is more based on personal opinion of the author and less so on any body of scientific knowledge.

Here is another way to spot something that may not be reliable.  Ask the question, is the headline “sensational”?  Taking the vaccination safety question further, I received another response from a reader that was a link to a video entitled, “Say goodby to your loved ones if they get the COVID vaccine.”  It was a video claiming that there are all sorts of unreported deaths from the COVID vaccines that are being kept secret by our government so that big pharma can profit.  The headline alone should alert a skeptical reader seeking the truth to be wary such a link.

A common error made in many pseudo-science reports is claiming correlation as causation.  To illustrate, I will give an obvious example.  “The number of pirates on the ocean has been decreasing since the year 1800 while at the same time global temperatures are warming, therefore, the loss of pirates is causing global warming.”  This is a very common type of error.  When a person died shortly after getting a COVID vaccine, the immediate claim of many was that the vaccine caused the death.  In fact, when hundreds of millions of people are getting vaccinated, one would expect that occasionally something else happens to some of those people shortly thereafter.  If one of them won the PowerBall shortly after being vaccinated, I doubt that anyone would claim a causation.  This type of error must be guarded against when it supports a preconceived bias.  Scientific studies are designed to detect the difference between what is simply coincidence and what is an actual cause-and-effect.  Using large numbers of subjects in a study helps limit such problems and if the sample size is large enough and the effect is common, then the claim of cause-and-effect might be supported.

Both the CDC and the FDA have teams of scientists and healthcare experts that spend their careers looking at data from numerous scientific sources.  They make recommendations and decisions based on the scientific evidence and on what they believe is in the best interest of the public.  In this time of political turmoil, it may be easy to become suspicious of what any government entity is telling us.  However, at least with respect to the CDC and the FDA, the data upon which they are basing decisions is available to the public.  There is transparency.  The recommendations are supported by references to scientifically respected, peer reviewed, journals.  So, if a member of the public has a question or concern about the basis for any decision the FDA and the CDC has made, that person is free to look it up and review the data themselves.

I trust what the CDC and the FDA put out because I have reviewed what they base their decisions on and I trust the sources they are using as reliable.  In America, we believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion, but we should keep in mind that this does not mean everyone’s opinion is right.  I will try to continue to report information based as much as possible on what is supported by sound scientific evidence.

As always, you can look up prior Miller Reports by visiting

The views expressed in this weekly column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher or Adventist Health.

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Anderson Valley Community Services District

To be held via teleconference Phone # 669 900 6833 Zoom Meeting ID 845 5084 3330 Password 048078

Public comments must be submitted by 10:00am on July 1st, 2021 electronically to

Thursday July 1st, 2021 at 10:30am

Call To Order And Roll Call:

Recognition Of Guests And Hearing Of Public:

Approval Of June 3rd, 2021 Regular Meeting Minutes

Changes Or Modification To This Agenda: 

Report On Drinking Water Project

Report On Wastewater Project

Public Outreach

Concerns Of Members:


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CON CREEK is just about dry. It's down to a few forlorn puddles. In a week, it will be fully de-watered. Con Creek is the used-to-be year-round stream near the Elementary School. It has always been my guide to the biological health of our shared natural neighborhood, and, extrapolating from that small particular to the large Anderson Valley general, a dry Con Creek is muy malo, which means very bad in Mexican. No habla agua. I've never seen Con Creek completely dry. And it's about there.

I ASK everyone who stops by the bunker, “How's your water holding up?” This morning, a hill-dwelling lady said, crossing her fingers, “My well's getting about a half-gallon a minute,” and she has a large garden, which only adds to her apprehension. A Senior Citizen answered, “Not too good. My prostate is shot. Gotta go every coupla hours,” adding, “Oh, that water. We're all on short rations at my house. My pump starts sucking sand real fast if we don't watch it. Hell yes, I'm worried. It's only the end of June.”

WE TEND TO FORGET how many hill people are on gravity-flow springs or pump from whatever streams are in their area. Historically considered, not many people lived in the hills of the county 70 years ago. In 1950, there were only 30,000 people spread over the Mendo vastness, most of whom were flatlanders. The population of our dear home of golden hills, redwoods and sea grew almost exponentially from the middle 1960s when some large ranches were subdivided and sold to the back-to-the-landers for low money down and easy monthly payments; much logged-over timberland was also sold off by the cut and runners who weren't about to wait around for the commercial trees to grow back. Bob McKee of the Garberville area almost single handedly negotiated the parceling off of Southern Humboldt and Northern Mendocino counties. What had been timber and grazing land was suddenly populated, as new settlers learned new lessons about the true meaning of homesteading in a vastness that had not been populated at all except, of course, by the native peoples who lived on it for eons without destroying anything other than each other occasionally in recreational warfare. And here we are today, thousands of little Mendo-frogs in a big pot of disappearing water on slow boil. 

ADDING immeasurably to water and fire anxieties, is the neo-fact of many, many people growing marijuana in areas with little-to-no water, hence all these water trucks we see on our highways and biways. There's been subsistence pot gardens in the hills for years — mortgage-fighters, especially for families, as single people made enough for winter vacations in Costa Rica. The cops took off enough plants every year to keep prices rosy, and everyone was living happily ever after when the dope business suddenly got wayyyyy outtahand. 

AT THE MO, we've got this sudden influx of people from all over the world — Bulgarians, for crisakes! — many of them not committed to the principles of non-violence. And here we are with no water and the whole show threatened by apocalyptic fires.

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(Research by Deb Silva)

Manson's Mendo Arrest in 1967

Charles Manson was arrested near Leggett in July of 1967, just a mere four months after he was released from federal prison. He was arrested for interfering with an officer carrying out his duties and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The minor was 15-year-old Ruth Ann Moorehouse. Ruth Ann was the daughter of Dean Moorehouse a preacher from the San Jose area.

Dean Moorehouse also made the press in Mendo County. From this link:

Aug. 17 — Dean Allen Moorehouse (born 2/13/20 in Minnesota, male Caucasian, 5-5, 157 lbs., gray hair and blue eyes) grew up in the Minneapolis area and had at least two older siblings — one brother, two sisters. In 1939, at the age of 19, Dean married Audrey Lucile Sirpless and during the course of the couple’s 28-year marriage, they produced four children; Kathleen Adair (1940), Deane Thomas (1941), Sharon Lee (1945) and Ruth Ann (sometime in 1951/1952/1953)

In 1967, the then 47-year-old Moorehouse reportedly was employed, or formerly employed as a protestant minister and was residing in San Jose, California with his family. Around this time, Dean befriended Charlie Manson after picking up the ex-con hitchhiking through the area. Manson had recently been paroled from federal prison after serving almost six years of a ten year sentence for forging a $37.50 check in May of 1959.

Moorehouse invited Manson to dinner at his home and Charlie ended up staying the night. Manson and Moorehouse discussed the Bible, sang religious songs and when Charlie admired an old piano at the house, Dean told him he was welcome to have it. Moorehouse told Charlie he was always welcome in his home and Manson became a frequent visitor, taking a special interest in Dean’s youngest daughter, Ruth Ann.

Sometime that summer, Manson found a Volkswagen Microbus for sale in Moorehouse’s neighborhood and negotiated a deal with the owner to trade it for Dean’s piano. Shortly after acquiring the Microbus, Charlie took Ruth Ann on a trip up the coast which prompted her parents to report her as a runaway. 

The pair were eventually apprehended by Sheriff’s deputies on Friday, July 28, 1967. Ruth Ann was returned home and Charlie was arrested for trying to interfere with the police. 

The following month, Dean and Audrey officially ended their marriage, filing for divorce in Sonoma County.

Dean was arrested on Thursday, March 21, 1968 and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, after he was found in a Redwood Valley home that Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies raided for marijuana. 

Sheriff’s deputies arrested 11 individuals on a range of charges and Dean was slapped with the delinquency charge because the majority of those in the home were not of age.

Dean was arrested again in May, after Roger Tholan and Gertrude Romanski told authorities that the $50 of LSD they were found in possession of, was sold to them by Moorehouse. Dean was charged with a violation of Section 11912 of the Health & Safety Code.

A few weeks later, Ruth Ann married 23-year-old Edward L. Heuvelhorst in Santa Cruz, in an effort to become emancipated. According to Ruth Ann, the marriage only lasted one day, and she soon headed to the Los Angeles area where Charlie and the family had relocated months earlier. Soon to follow her was an angry Dean, reportedly hell bent on getting Ruth back. When Dean arrived in Los Angeles, he met up with Charlie at Dennis Wilson’s house where Manson immediately diffused the situation by kneeling down and kissing the preacher’s toes, welcoming him to the party.

Dean spent the rest of the summer at Dennis’ house living in the guesthouse in exchange for taking care of the landscaping duties. He reportedly became a devout follower of Charlie and championed his lifestyle and philosophies. In August, Dean headed back to Mendocino in order to face trial for the LSD arrest back in May. The trial resulted in a hung jury and was set to be re-tried in December. 

In the meantime, Dean returned to L.A. and reconnected briefly with the family at Manson’s Spahn Ranch.

Dean’s second trial began on December 17, and this time he was found guilty. He returned for sentencing on January 2, 1969, when Judge Wayne Burke sentenced Dean to 6 months at the Vacaville Medical Facility. Records show he was received the following day and that he was transferred several times during his incarceration, serving his sentence in multiple facilities, including Folsom and San Quentin.

After the Tate-LaBianca murders were connected to the Manson family, LAPD sent detectives to visit Dean in prison. According to the officers who made the trip, Moorehouse offered little to help their case.

Dean was denied parole on May 7, 1969, March 3, 1970, and August 26, 1970, before he was finally granted parole on March 23, 1971.

Little has been documented about Moorehouse’s activities in the years that followed. Records indicate he lived for a long time in the Redding area. In May of 1991, Dean was convicted on charges of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 and given a 8-year term in state prison. He served 52 months of the 8-year term and was paroled on Saturday, September 2, 1995. He violated parole less than two years later and was returned to prison on May 29, 1997. Dean was re-released on parole on May 22, 1998 and discharged from parole supervision on Sept. 9, 1999.

Dean Allen Moorehouse passed away on Saturday, May 22, 2010 in Shasta Lake. 

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Fiddleheads Cafe in Mendocino, known for its controversial stances on the state's mask mandate during the pandemic, is closing for good after the new owners of the building decided to cancel its lease.


[1] The departure, loss of Fiddleheads is no loss at all as there is nothing of value there to be lost. Decades ago in Mendo's heyday this corner of the old livery stable, AKA, Shell Building was not an enclosed space within the building. The small space, a clipped 45 degree corner was opened to the street and possibly left open for horse shelter in bad weather a long time ago. In the mid-80s I would park my motorcycle there in the evening while going across the street to The Sea Gull for dinner and local entertainment and mount my old “horse” for the cruise home on a dry seat. Another long-time local recently mentioned that he sold hot dogs in that corner many Moons ago. This is now our history. And so the old Seagull's departure, if not tragic, was indeed a serious loss to Mendocino community at large and not soon to be forgotten. but Fiddleheads will not be missed and will go down as simply a dark stain if ever mentioned again.

[2] The loss of Fiddleheads, or any other business, is not “tragic.” Landlords raising the rent on local businesses, “killing” them, has been going on for at least the last 50 years in Mendocino, but it is not a disastrous event, cf. 1906 earthquake, hurricanes, Vietnam War, etc., etc., etc. 

[3] You’re right, the loss of Fiddleheads is not a great one, but the rental increase may very well be “tragic,” and will most likely put a lot of others out of business. I’m thinking of Lulu and Victor’s terrific bakery, Wanda’s toy shop, and others. Investment groups are taking over our communities; they care not a whit for the folks who live here; they’re in it to make money! We are blessed that the folks who live at The Woods and who formed a collective to buy it, won the bid, although there were many other bidders (investment groups/corporations) that bid higher. That was a win for our coast and for community! 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 29, 2021

Camarillo, Casey, Cauley

ESTEBAN CAMARILLO, Willits. Harboring wanted felon, conspiracy.

KYLER CASEY, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

DANIEL CAULEY, Willits. False ID to police officer, failure to appear.

Combs, Cook, Garay

TIMOTHY COMBS, Fort Bragg. Burglary, resisting.

DAVID COOK, Redwood Valley. Parole violation.

ZANDER GARAY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.

Garfias, Gayski, Ginskey

RICARDO GARFIAS, Santa Ana/Ukiah. False information to police officer, no license.

BENJAMIN GAYSKI JR., Willits. County parole violation, probation revocation.

SARAH GINSKEY, Fort Bragg. Battery on peace officer, resisting.

Grant, Hill, Knight

JOSEPH GRANT, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

MATTHEW HILL, Ukiah. Vandalism, controlled substance, probation revocation.

JOHN KNIGHT JR., Ukiah. Felon-addict with firearm, controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm. controlled substance for sale, special allegation: not eligible.

Lewis, Lopez, Martinez

SHALOM LEWIS, Fort Bragg. Parole violation.

JOSE LOPEZ-FLORES, Ukiah. DUI causing bodily injury.

ISMAEL MARTINEZ, Fort Bragg. Evasion.

Moody, Patterson, Piver

PATRISHA MOODY, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

AUSTIN PATTERSON, Garberville/Ukiah. Under influence.

MARK PIVER, Ukiah. Failure to register, county parole violation.

Raschka, Ruptak, Silvey

MICHAEL RASCHKA, Oroville/Ukiah. Parole violation.

NATHAN RUPTAK, McKinleyville/Ukiah. Controlled substance, metal knuckles.

DALE SILVEY, Fort Bragg. Paraphernalia, disobeying court order, failure to appear.

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by Mark Scaramella

Summary: There’s no hope.

Tuesday morning, Supervisors Ted Williams and Glenn McGourty brought the County’s newly hired Water Agency “program manager” Josh Metz to Anderson Valley to chat with locals about the drought. The frustrating presentation was convened at the Boonville firehouse.

Mr. Metz dominated the first half of the meeting, answering simple questions with prolonged statements of the obvious. Most of Mr. Metz’s observations were administrative and funding-related — he referred to the need for “sustainable funding” more than sustainable water. Although Mr. Metz did mention the eternal possibility of raising Coyote Dam and maybe running some pipes around the Ukiah Valley.

Lake Mendocino is at an historic low

We’ve written a lot about water in Mendocino County and the Anderson Valley over the last three decades and we could have provided some useful background to the visiting, ahistorical County team, but the meeting was so dominated by Mr. Metz and a bunch of new-to-the-party questions from the audience that the session was more like a meeting of amnesiacs than water solvers.

As a public service at no charge to the County, let’s look at some relatively recent and still relevant Anderson Valley and Mendocino County water history.

Let’s begin with the famous “lost” Anderson Valley portion of the County General Plan written in 2008 by Gene Herr, Barbara Goodell and Kathy Bailey, which then-Chief Planner Ray Hall said he had requested from Valley locals, but which he later claimed to have lost and which was therefore not included in the Anderson Valley section of the General Plan Update, replaced by bland boilerplate from an expensive, outside consultant:

“Community workshops held in conjunction with the General Plan Update have highlighted some of the challenges facing Anderson Valley. Many participants cited concerns about a lack of affordable housing. Small residential parcels are in short supply and very few have been created in the last two decades. The average price of land has sky-rocketed. An influx of relatively affluent people from urban areas has pushed the price of property ownership out of reach for many residents, including a broad range of income levels from farm workers to teachers and other professionals. Water is another concern often cited in the workshops. A fragmented regulatory system and absence of basic information about amount, location, and quality combines with increasing demand to create uncertainty about whether there will be enough water available for the many competing uses. (The County’s three test wells have not provided useful data about water table depth and trends, while anecdotal reports say that water tables are dropping.) The Navarro River watershed is already listed under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act as impaired due to excessive sediment and temperature. A federal procedure established targets for improving water quality but did not adopt an implementation plan to enforce them. There is concern among some residents that increasing agricultural diversions may be contributing to unprecedented low flows in the Navarro during the dry season. Currently there is no public water supply with all residents relying on wells or diversions of surface water. Neither is there any community sewer system. Residents rely on individual septic systems. There is no official source of information about pollution or contamination in well water. The lack of public infrastructure limits the development of both economic activity and affordable housing. This, in turn, makes it difficult for children who were raised in Anderson Valley to continue to live here and prosper. Workshop attendees also cited a strong desire to avoid the ‘Napafication’ of Anderson Valley, particularly not wanting to see tasting rooms strung one after the other along every mile of highway between the towns. Taking up available commercial space to the exclusion of other businesses and opportunities.”

Notice their reference to “The County’s three test wells [which] have not provided useful data about water table depth and trends, while anecdotal reports say that water tables are dropping.”

Today’s visitors had no idea that the County had installed three test wells in Anderson Valley. Have they been abandoned? Last we heard they were waiting for more years of data to be accumulated before any conclusions could be drawn. Those years have now passed.

Next, let’s look briefly at how water permitting works in Mendocino County with an example from 2009, dated, but still applicable.

[AVA Dec. 2009]

LAST WEEK a Redwood Valley couple, Jeff and Maureen Taylor, got Planning Commission approval to subdivide their nine-acre property into four separate parcels. A big issue was whether there was enough water to support four parcels. The Planning Department and the Water Agency both insisted that the Taylors needed four test wells drilled and the results run through a hydrologic test to determine if there was adequate water on each. The Taylors had told the Planning Commission that if they were required to conduct time-consuming and expensive hydrologic studies they would simply withdraw the subdivision request and eat the cost of preparing it to this point.

THE POINT? When the Garden’s Gate project was approved last month [back in 2009] for up to 200 new residential units on a former vineyard site south of Ukiah [still undeveloped because the County never finished an “updated” traffic study], the Water Agency wasn’t even consulted and the Planning Commission wasn’t even in the decision loop. Chief Planner Frank Lynch insisted that because the draft Ukiah Valley Area Plan had vaguely alluded to water, there would be plenty of water for the large Garden's Gate development. Nobody mentioned water availability or hydrologic studies. A 2005 “will serve” letter from the Millview Water District, which had no technical basis whatsoever, was taken as proof that there would be water for the 200 homes when they were built.

THE TYPICALLY MENDO MORAL of the story? If you want to make a modest subdivision prepare yourself for many rinsings through the bureaucratic wringer. But if you want to build 200 homes with lots more water demand, all you have to say is you have a five-year-old one-sentence will-serve letter and you’re home free.

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Before we continue with our mini-history, is it appropriate to ask where Mr. Metz came from and what qualifies him as Mendo’s latest water agency guy? At one point McGourty hinted at the answer when he said that back in 2009 Mr. Metz had helped McGourty with a casual survey Anderson Valley grape people did of themselves, concluding, of course, that those surveyed were very happy with their own water practices: "Grape Growers Congratulate Each Other".

Mr. Metz, a Humboldt State grad from the 90s, has some modest academic credentials which he rattled off — bachelor’s in this; master’s in that — but his selection as the new Water Agency guy probably has more to do with his long association with McGourty, not his history or knowledge of the water situation in Mendocino County or Anderson Valley.

After the intro, Supervisor Williams asked Metz what he thought the revived Water Agency would do and what it would cost. “We’re essentially a clearinghouse,” replied Metz, admitting that as currently proposed the Agency would have no authority to oversee or direct the 40 or so separate water agencies in the County. (They do have some authority, of course, but they’ve never exercised it.) Metz then told Williams that he thought the Agency might involve four or five water specialists, presumably including himself, at a cost of $750k to $800k, at least demonstrating that he knows the going rates for bureaucrats these days.

Toward the end of one his monologues, Mr. Metz reverted to the Mendo’s standard canard’s and which, unfortunately, is about all any of these $150k/year bureaucrats have to offer: “Hopefully by November we’ll get some rain.” A couple of women in the audience couldn’t help but snort and giggle at this typically pathetic attitude of the people who’ve been installed as Mendo’s water planners.

Back to some history.

[AVA, November 2008, Supervisors meeting report]:

“After a presentation about the new dam at Brooktrails subdivision northwest of Willits, which is expected to at least partially solve the area's perennial water shortages, Supervisor Pinches noted, ‘It's commendable of you and the Brooktrails board to develop this water project and increase the size of the dam on a fish-bearing stream. It took you three years. We talk about 10 or 20 years to do a project.” [Pinches' reference was to the County's foot-dragging on the Boy Scout Lake expansion project also designed to slake Willits' and maybe Redwood Valley's thirst. Its expanded capacity is a County project, hence Pinches' frustration with the hurdles attached to its projected expansion as compared to Brooktrails relatively fast increased capacity while leaping similar bureaucratic barriers.] Pinches continued, “That's just unacceptable. Brooktrails did it in three years on a fish stream. We have been told ten years [for the Boy Scout Lake Project, which is not on a fish-bearing stream.] But if you put attention to it you can do it.”: "File It Under Ridiculous"

Last we heard, the Scout Dam project — a project which had gone through several costly formal stages of development — had bogged down in negotiations with the nebulous group of Boy Scout administrators in charge of it. When Pinches got sick and retired in 2015, the project was shelved.

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[AVA, December 30, 2009, Supervisors Meeting]

“SUPERVISOR JOHN PINCHES was visibly upset with CEO Tom Mitchell for not including his Scout Lake water development project on the County’s list of priority funding targets, which did include emergency generators at the Ukiah Airport. ‘Is that [the generators] on the same parity as getting a viable water source for the people of Mendacina County?” asked an indignant Pinches. ‘My message or the message of this board is not getting through! What is more important to this county? What are we going to do when we run out of water? What are we going to do if we don't get significant rain this year? All this paperwork hasn't brought us nuthin'. And when it comes to the priorities, water issues are “Integrated Water Resource Management Planning and so forth.” We've had that goin' on 20 years now and it hasn't brought us a gallon of water! Where's our Water Agency? Every week we talk about extending our drought. We're not doing nuthin' about it!’

MITCHELL didn’t help matters by blandly informing Pinches that the Scout Lake Project wasn’t far enough along to seek funding for. “I don't have a transmission system,” said Mitchell. “I don't have any of the capital infrastructure needs. We are not at the point yet where I can ask for funding.”

’WHAT COMES FIRST, the chicken or the egg?” replied Pinches. “We gotta have some money to even move the project along. We don't have the project. Now you're saying we gotta have the project totally designed before we can move forward. With that process we're never gonna get anywhere! It's kinda like a cub bear trying to get out of a trash can. We're not gripping anything. We’re not takin' hold. We gotta move this forward. Thousands of people are dependent on this. Nobody is stopping this except us! Scout Lake is damned important to Mendacina County. I'm getting a little bit impatient and starting the first of the year I'm going to get a whole lot more impatient. If you want me to fill this board room with hundreds of people demanding some action, I can do that! I don't think that's necessary. But when I see a list that includes airport generators as priorities and has nothing about water development it drives me nuts!’

THE OTHER Supes got Pinches to calm down a bit, and finally Mitchell grudgingly agreed to put Scout Lake on the funding list, sort of. Whether it's wholly there or not remains unclear.

* * *

Since it’s now 2021 and we have a new Board since the last time the subject arose, Mendo might want to explore John Pinches’ proposal to revisit the legalities and arrangements associated with “Decision 1610” which essentially ratified Sonoma County’s ownership of most of inland Mendo’s water.

AVA, November 12, 2013: "Is Sonoma County Stealing Mendo Water?"

And, AVA October 8, 2013 "Johnny Pinches’ Last Act"

Pinches’s argument back then was essentially that since most of the water in Lake Sonoma actually falls to earth in Mendocino County in the Dry Creek Drainage, it could be used as legal leverage in re-negotiating the water and money arrangements no in place which so favor Sonoma County. But, as the above-linked stories show, back in 2013 nobody but Pinches was interested in even looking into the options.

Toward the end of the roadshow, Supervisor McGrape, er McGourty, pointed out that Anderson Valley has the capacity for twice the current vineyard acreage, although they might find it hard to get enough water for that much more vineyard here. A couple of attendees asked if there could be a limit on vineyards, especially given the long-term drought conditions the Valley faces. McGourty put on his politician hat to answer that that was theoretically possible since they’re doing something like that with pot. But then McGourty reverted to the party line, reminding the questioner that the County depends heavily on the money from vineyards an associated economic activity for its operating revenue.

Although McGourty, like his fellow newcomers to the party, has no idea what to do about the water problem, he did concede at the end of the meeting that “We [meaning mainly grape growers in Mendocino County] can’t count on having all the water we want anymore.”

* * *

TIBURON CA. 1957. St. Hilary's Church (1888) and a cannibalized 1940 Pontiac. (Photo by Ansel Adams)

* * *


by Jonah Raskin

I had a near-perfect day in New York on the last Friday in June. I went to my favorite movie theater, The Film Forum, on Houston Street and watched a classic French gangster flick, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge starring Alain Delon and Yves Montand. Then I ate oven-fired pizza and drank a Moretti at Arturo’s on Thompson Street in Greenwich Village. Two friends from Teaneck, New Jersey joined me at an outdoor table. Every table at Arturo’s was taken. I could hear live music from inside: a standup bass and a sax. Every pizza place and restaurant in the Village was packed. The streets were thronged. After 18 or so months of lockdown New Yorkers acted like they were liberated. You might have thought they had been living under a dictatorship, and in a way they had been. COVID-19 cracked the whip. The bodies of the poor piled up.

It was a warm night so many women and some men were scantily attired. I felt very much the way I’ve felt in the South of France in summer when the French eat and drink at small outdoor restaurants with tables and chairs set up in the street and conversation soar.

I got around the city by subway and by train when I went to Westchester and Columbia counties. I was staying in Brooklyn near the Gowanus Canal in a neighborhood rapidly becoming Yuppified. To visit friends in Manhattan I had a 50-minute or so ride on the F train and also on the 1 and the 6. The subways aren’t the way I remember them from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. I saw no people sleeping in subway cars and subway stations and no signs of crack cocaine, but it’s also a dirty city with garbage everywhere.

While I was in New York, the Democrats held a primary to decide who would be the candidates for mayor and district attorney. Voters cast ballots for their first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth place candidates for mayor. It’s called Ranked Choice Voting and supposedly it eliminates run-offs.

Eric Adams won about 30% of the first place votes. “America is saying, we want to have justice and safety and end inequalities,” he explained at a news conference. “And we don’t want fancy candidates.”

Adams is Black and an ex-cop and he says if he’s elected he’ll stop gangs from menacing Black neighborhoods and also make cops more responsible to communities of color. Not surprisingly, Blacks voted for him. He also had strong support from organized labor. His way might be the way of the future: a Black man who wants more police, more funding for the police, and less police brutality and racism.

When I had conversations with friends—most of whom I have known since 1968 and who are now retired and living comfortable lives—they were about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement. The consensus seems to be that politicians and corporate CEOs talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk and aren’t in the least bit eager to reform capitalism. New Yorkers want more racial equality, but they also want law and order and an end to the current crime spree that has been in part fed by the pandemic.

Not long ago, the recording on the PA system on the subway said, “If you see something, say something.” The recording has been changed. It now says, “If you see something, tell a police officer.” The recording also says, “The New York City Police want you to know you are subject to random searchers.”

The liberation of the city doesn’t go to the core of the Big Apple.

New Yorkers are a curious lot. They know the rules and try to follow them, but they also identify with the underdogs and the marginalized. The best news that I heard when I was in New York was that former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s license to practice law was suspended. A New York court ruled that Giuliani made “demonstrably false and misleading statements” while fighting the results of the 2020 election on behalf of Donald J. Trump. Goodbye and good riddance, Rudy.

What’s the take away? Don’t count out the cops and the law and order crowd. Expect moderate Black politicians like New York’s Eric Adams, to capitalize on the Black Lives Matter movement and vault into positions of power.

I recommend Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge starring Alain Delon and Yves Montand. You feel for the gangsters and want them to succeed at their big heist and you despise the despicable cops. Paris is the main stage for the drama. It’s not the Paris of the Eiffel Tour, the Arc de Triomphe, or the cafes where Sartre, Camus and Simone de Beauvoir dreamed up existentialism. It’s a city as gritty as New York. The cops and the capitalists are aligned against the guys who want to liberate their own share of the wealth.

Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.

* * *

* * *


As part of California State Parks’ commitment to redressing racist and discriminatory features within the Parks system, a 1948 memorial honoring Madison Grant in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park has been removed. 

The large stone monument was removed by an excavator during a small ceremony on June 15, attended by California State Parks and National Park Service leaders, history scholars, and representatives of the Yurok Tribe and Save the Redwoods League. The ceremony focused on both acknowledging the past while creating a more inclusive and equitable park system for the future. 

California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, and other partners have been in discussions for several years about how to address problematic historic memorials and outdated interpretive exhibits related to the founders of the Save the Redwoods League, found in several state parks in Northern California. These planning efforts are part of a larger effort within California state government called the Reexamining Our Past Initiative, to identify and redress discriminatory names of features attached to the state parks and transportation systems. The move comes in the wake of a national conversation about the names of geographic features and builds upon Governor Gavin Newsom’s work to support equity, inclusion and accountability throughout the state to better reflect our values.

In 2020, the North Coast Redwoods District of California State Parks took action towards this effort by installing an interpretive sign in “Founders Grove” (Humboldt Redwoods State Park), that added context to the story of the founders of Save the Redwoods League beyond their conservation efforts. That same year the League publicly acknowledged and disavowed the racist beliefs of those same founders. 

Additionally in 2020, California State Parks received a letter from 212 academics, requesting the removal of the Madison Grant Memorial Rock in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park due to Grant’s role in promoting racist, anti-Asian, eugenicist and anti-miscegenation laws. The letter was prepared by David McIntosh, a historian of race and science at UC Santa Barbara, Dr. Paul Spickard (History, UC Santa Barbara) and Dr. Rena Heinrich (Dramatic Arts, University of Southern California). The scholars also presented their letter to the Council of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, which passed a resolution of support. 

The North Coast Redwoods District’s superintendent, Victor Bjelajac, decided to take action. 

“California State Parks and our partners recognize the dark truth behind some of the 20th century’s most prominent conservationists, including League founder Madison Grant,” said Bjelajac. “Grant used his privilege to advocate for and influence the development of discriminatory laws impacting millions of people across the world. While we value his contribution towards protecting ancient redwoods, we fully reject his racist ideology and are committed to creating a park system for all people, regardless of race, creed, or ethnicity. The Madison Grant Memorial has stood in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park for three quarters of a century. It is long overdue that we remove it. Going forward, we will focus on honoring those people who build parks for everyone.” 

According to Rosie Clayburn, the Yurok Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer, “We applaud State Parks’ decision to remove the Madison Grant Memorial. In addition to espousing racist ideologies, members of the eugenics movement destroyed numerous Native American burial sites to collect the skulls that were used to support their ridiculous and harmful claims. We encourage all conservation groups to take a hard look at their founders and follow the North Coast Redwoods District’s lead when it comes to eliminating monuments to hate.” 

In addition to removing the memorial from Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California State Parks will be installing a new interpretive sign for the site that tells the fuller story about Grant, his conservation legacy, and his role in the eugenics movement. The exhibit, created with input from the academics, the National Park Service, Save the Redwoods League, and the Yurok Indigenous Community, will be placed on the location where the Madison Grant Memorial previously stood. 

“Save the Redwoods League has been working closely with our redwood park partners to share a more honest and complete narrative about the early leaders of the redwood conservation movement, and in particular, to repudiate Madison Grant’s racist beliefs,” said Sam Hodder, President and CEO of Save the Redwoods League. “We collaborated with our partners on the new sign in order to help explain why the rock was removed and provide a fuller accounting of Grant’s legacy. This work is critical to empowering all people to build meaningful connections with our parks, and it’s an opportunity to begin healing ourselves and our communities from historical wounds.” 

The new interpretive sign will be installed in the park later this summer and will be unveiled at a public event in the fall. That event will focus on creating a state and national park system welcoming to people of all backgrounds, races, and ethnicities.

* * *

* * *


Changes in the price of bread and gasoline likely will have more effect on the typical citizen’s life. Nonetheless continual media obsession, especially on the part of the serious “objective” media like NPR, leads to disproportionate concern with the health of the stock market. It also promotes and helps sustain the core belief that markets are the source of all truth.

* * *


Not sure what “woke” means.
Or “Critical Race Theory.”
But here’s what I think.

Americans need
A complete understanding
Of their own history.

When two schools of thought
Exist as to that history
Teachers should say so.

— Jim Luther

* * *

* * *

IT’S AMAZING to see how many people have built reputations as commentators on foreign countries and world affairs who have never been there, have no idea, beyond vague tropes, of what those countries are. It’s because they are seeing the entire world from Washington’s perspective, and don’t think there is any other perspective worth having. It’s truly amazing, I’ve seen the decline of this profession into such willing subservience. We don’t have any core of regular columnists or people trying to challenge established narratives. We do have voices that pop up periodically, but they’re so drowned out by the regular columnists who just voice the same tropes over and over again. The intellectual laziness of the American press in covering the world has never been as extreme as it is now. It’s just as dangerous in most of what’s called NATO countries to be contradicting the narrative as it is in the United States.

— Stephen Kinzer (

* * *

SCOTT'S RUN, West Virginia. Miner's child - This boy was digging coal from mine refuse on the road side. The picture was taken December 23, 1936 on a cold day; Scott's Run was buried in snow. The child was barefoot and seemed to be used to it. He was a quarter mile from his home.

* * *


How do you Move a 30-Ton Diego Rivera Fresco? Very Carefully.

For decades the monumental 10-panel fresco by Diego Rivera depicting a continent linked by creativity has been mounted in the lobby of a theater at City College of San Francisco. There, somewhat tucked away from the art world, it has been cared for as a labor of love by a de facto guardian who has long dreamed of finding a way to allow more people to experience it.

Now, after a four-year, multimillion-dollar undertaking involving mechanical engineers, architects, art historians, fresco experts, art handlers and riggers from the United States and Mexico, the 30-ton, 74-foot-wide-by-22-foot mural has been carefully extracted and moved across town to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where it will go on display on June 28.

“Diego was building a metaphoric bridge between the Mexican culture and the tech culture of the United States,” said Will Maynez, the former lab manager of the physics department at City College, who became the unlikely guardian of the work, which is owned by the College.

Maynez, who is Mexican American, speaks fluent Rivera and has spent 25 years researching and promoting the fresco, “Pan American Unity.” Its panels are a kaleidoscope of Rivera’s thoughts: the looming goddess of earth, Coatlicue; Mexican artisans; American industrialists; historical leaders of both nations; dictators; Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo, and himself. Its full title is “The Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on This Continent…”

— Carol Pogash, NY Times

* * *

* * *


People became possessed of the most amazing ideas, not only the rich and the powerful but especially them, especially in this period of flux after communism did a faceplant, as the USSR went down the tubes, as Yugoslavia broke apart and then flared into a nasty war and many other happenings. Happenings like that massive economic reshuffle called globalization. It seems that all this went to certain people’s heads making them draw the most extraordinary conclusions.

The central animating idea was that any significant decision-making ought to take place in corporate boardrooms and not in government offices or national legislatures. A lot of people at the upper end of American society thought this, not just those in C Suites. 

But the more things change and the more they remain the same. One Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a phenomenally rich Russian profiting massively from the Soviet sale of state assets, crossed Putin and got thrown in jail for ten years. Compared to other Russians who got on the wrong side of Putin, Mikhail is at least still alive. At least I think he is. And he supposedly still has some of his money. 

Carlos Ghosn formerly of Renault and Nissan got presumptuous and apparently stepped on some nationalist sensitivities over in the Land of the Rising Sun. He’s on the run and reportedly holed up in Lebanon. 

Jack Ma got a hat size too big and started saying what he really thinks. He got reeled in by the CCP. He’s been pretty quiet lately. And there’s probably others like Jack and Carlos and Mikhail that got too far over their skis that we haven’t heard about. 

But other corporate heads have been good little doobies. Seems that Tim Cook realized who calls the shots in China, ie not Tim Cook. He’s been spotted now and again staring into the middle distance re-thinking his convictions, and according to one account I read, wrote a kow-towing letter to the boys in Beijing after they expressed some displeasure over Apple business practices. 

The head of Nike, John Donahoe, just said that Nike is a brand of and for China. Good move. More of that John. It’s not just all about money, at least not in China, it’s also about words of love, those beautiful whispered sweet nothings, you know, plus self-abasement and willing subjugation, these are what the Beijing billionaire communists really like. 

To the point then. It’s not just some of the political movers and shakers over yonder that object to this concept that business men rule everything of any consequence and give governments orders instead of the other way around. Back in those more traditional places, where history isn’t history and the past isn’t even past, there’s a hierarchy of power and money-men aren’t at the tip. It’s men that command men with guns that rule.

Over on this side of the pond, a similar sentiment took hold where multitudes of ordinary people took severe exception to this notion that they count for nothing, that their needs and interests don’t matter, that they’re all racists and idiots and deplorable anyway, and according to the traditional right-ward side of the political spectrum, they ought to accept their diminished economic circumstances with smiling equanimity as good patriotic Americans. Because that’s what the market sez. Well, phooey to all that. 

Which places us where we’re at now. The whole globalism scheme was cockamamie from the start, with no economic sense behind it, with engorged corporate balance sheets looking like gigantic, bulging financial aneurysms ready to blow on the one hand and half the population that can’t make the rent on the other. Cockamamie or not, American Oligarchs and their Deep State errand boys are fully invested and are defending their newly found prerogatives tooth and nail. A good thirty years and more have been spent plus uncounted billions on this dispensation of things and no mere election and no one such as Trump is going to un-do it. Or even challenge it. 

But the system they’ve devised is barking mad. It hasn’t got a leg to stand on and, in reality, all the crazy shit that our esteemed host writes about amounts to floundering attempts to salvage something out of this complete fucking debacle. 

If history is any guide, and it usually is, this won’t end well for American shot-callers that screwed up so massively, nor the nation-state that they purport to run. Events are out of their control, and to a great part of the American populace, they look ridiculous. And if they want to stay on top, they can’t afford to look ridiculous.


  1. Craig Stehr June 30, 2021

    Warmest spiritual greetings,
    Please know that as the month of June comes to a relatively calm end in California’s Mendocino county, I am happy to report to you that my health is good, there is sufficient money in the bank to ensure my earthly maintenance, and I am focused on being part of the solution to worsening global climate destabilization. I remain concerned about peace and justice issues; however, they are nowhere near as devastating as the global heat wave caused in part by the melting out of ice sheets, (which no longer refract the sun’s rays back into outer space, that being their ecological purpose).
    I am eager to leave The Magic Ranch and go forth! When you are prepared to have me be where you are, and focus with you on spiritually centered direct action, as well as fundraising in order to finance the radical environmental movement, please inform me of this without delay. I can be packed and outta my place in 20 minutes. As ever, I am NOT “thanking you in advance for your cooperation”. Why would I say something that insane?? ?

    Craig Louis Stehr
    Snail Mail: P.O. Box 938, Redwood Valley, CA 95470-0938
    No Phone…Just Send Me An Email
    June 30th, 2021

    • Cotdbigun June 30, 2021

      Homeless bum seeking new victims ?

    • Chuck Wilcher June 30, 2021

      “When you are prepared to have me be where you are, and focus with you on spiritually centered direct action, as well as fundraising in order to finance the radical environmental movement, please inform me of this without delay.”

      Just don’t ask me to pay rent.

      • Craig Stehr June 30, 2021

        I am willing to pay rent, depending upon the situation. P.S. Shall we discuss “income”?

  2. Lee Edmundson June 30, 2021

    Fiddleheads? I’ll miss it because it serves the very best french fries I’ve ever enjoyed here on the coast. Politics of Chris Castleman notwithstanding. A stand up (albeit misguided) guy.

    My real concern is for the fate of all the other tenants in the building. Have they all been evicted? Please advise, anyone who knows.

    What are the new owners plans/intentions for this building? Please advise, anyone…

    Plain fact is, hedge funds and investment groups are buying up property right left and center. Time will come when all of the Town of Mendocino is owned by folks who don’t live here. An absent landlord community, so to speak.

    To take another point: When do we begin having in person hearings again? BoS? MHRB? MCRPD? Planning Commission? Fort Bragg has started in person meetings. Let’s go. Democracy face-to-face and not screen-to-screen.


    Thanks in advance.

    • John Robert July 3, 2021

      Fiddleheads is the only business in that building having the lease pulled.

      It is pure political-cancel culture extremism. A small group of loud voices having direct access to the ones holding power.
      In this case it’s individuals having inroads to the owners of the building. That is the reality Chris Castleman is facing. It’s not about rents being raised or new owners.

      The Fiddleheads saga is an example of everything that is currently wrong with our country. This was a young man who worked hard his whole life, stumbles onto the Mendocino coast, falls in love with its natural beauty then tries to put down roots. Not knowing the local scene, he trusts in being a good American citizen. That virtue works in most other parts of our country. Chris puts his life savings down on his venture, supplying honest food to folks. Anyone who spends a few moments observing the way he runs his business and who his primary clientele is would see that it’s the blue collar folks. It’s the workers of the coast who stop in to grab breakfast sandwiches on their way to re-roof your house or fix your plumbing or perform handyman services at 7am. It’s the folks who want a good hearty lunch without all the bourgeois bullshit.
      He has local musicians show up with fiddles, guitar, mandolins and harmonies. Folks sit in to be part of a community. Anyone take a moment to notice the extensive collection of antique books lining the wall? It’s a tiny slice of the owners collection. Who on the Mendocino coast doesn’t like someone who is well read?

      Politics killed that business. Same small scared group of vocal elitist who all they had to do was avoid his business if they were in fear of catching the rona. Cross the street. Cut the corner. Stay home. Nope they’re going to run him out of town. The folks who have nothing but time on their hands to sit at their computers.

      Fiddleheads and Chris Castleman is/was a breath of fresh air to the staleness of the village of Mendocino. The place was Americana. His intent was honest. His values were freedom, liberty and justice for all.

      I let him know he’s got huge potential in the data files he keeps of all the image captures and scenes he’s recorded of the local ronanazis entering his business then performing their nuttiness. I for one hope he sets up a YouTube channel of all the local wackadoos who took time to go into fiddleheads with their malevolent intent already predisposed to hate.

  3. Harvey Reading June 30, 2021

    “When two schools of thought
    Exist as to that history
    Teachers should say so.”

    Not when one of the “schools of thought” is based on lies.

  4. Rye N Flint June 30, 2021

    RE: Test Wells

    “Last we heard they were waiting for more years of data to be accumulated before any conclusions could be drawn. Those years have now passed.”

    Who at the county is tasked with this job? Is there a county water monitoring technician?

  5. Jim Shields June 30, 2021

    Regarding: JOHN MCCOWEN’S June29 comment on Pot Referendums:

    “Supervisor Mulheren has nailed it with this quote: “This isn’t a sound bite topic.”

    Please get the facts before signing a misleading referendum to force an expensive special election to repeal something that is already going to be repealed.

    The Supervisors have been listening and paying attention. The Supervisors have agreed to a limited amount of expansion without the provision for 10% of parcel size (which was itself a limitation with many restrictions – not an entitlement).

    Expansion will be capped at a maximum of 2 acres at least until January 1, 2026 and only with approval of a Major Use Permit and numerous restrictions and conditions.

    The only people who are not listening are the referendum proponents.”

    Just to set the record straight, the 10% Expansion Rule is still in effect, nothing has changed. The cultivation caps and implementation dates McCowen referred to is a “direction” the the four Supes approved (Haschak opposed) near the conclusion of the June 22nd meeting. The phased-in caps of 2, 5, and 10 acres over 3-year increments is a Proposed Amendment to the current Phase 3 Ordinance. Planning and Building Staff was “directed” to draft a proposed amendment to the Phase 3 Ordinance which included those items mention in your letter.
    Keep in mind that the “direction” first given by the four Supes did not include any reference to the 10% Rule. When Supe Ted Williams realized the 10% Rule was not included, he raised that fact and said it should be included. His colleagues agreed with him and it was added in. One must assume there’s a reason why the 10% language was restored to the “direction.” Staff speculated they thought the proposed amendment could be ready for a meeting in August. Also keep in mind the four Supes’ “directive” did not include a direction to conduct an EIR. But in any event McCowen’s comments deal with a proposed amendment, not an approved action taken by the Board amending the Ordinance.
    The BOS is planning to take up that Proposed Amendment for consideration later this summer, perhaps in August, but it has not been approved yet. Who knows it may never come before the BOS for consideration and approval. If you read the Phase 3 Ordinance just approved on June 22, you’ll find that the 10% Expansion Rule is still in effect. Here’s the actual language: “Appendix A, footnote *6 – Parcels in the AG or RL zoning district that have a minimum parcel size of ten (10) acres or larger may cultivate up to 10 percent of the parcel area with the issuance of a Major Use Permit.” That provision is the major reason there are two Referendums being circulated now, and it is certainly still in effect. There’s enough confusion at this point in the process underway. McCowen is confusing a proposal with an approved action or decision made by the BOS.
    —Jim Shields

    • Kirk Vodopals June 30, 2021

      The cannabis regulation system was never intended nor designed to admit all of the “small mom-and-pops” of Mendo into the fold. And how could it? The state won’t give a variance to folks who try to farm on hillslopes over 30% and truck in water even in wet years. Mendo County will never be able to herd all the cats. Most of these cats (aka Argentinian carpet baggers) have their “legal” areas in plain sight but got a few hundred stashed in the bushes or in some indoor scene in Point Arena. Same shuffle all over the Emerald Triangle. The dance continues.
      If you want to give a break to the real mom-and-pops, then don’t do code enforcement on anyone over 60 who’s been in the business for decades. Give them a tax break. The rest can grow between their tomatoes like their parents used to.

      • Rye N Flint June 30, 2021

        How about, “don’t do code enforcement on people that signed up to get permitted and are following through on it.” I have too many friends with red tags from their surprise “Cannabis inspection”. Why not start with scheduling inspections with the owners, like environmental health and PnB do? I heard that the cannabis dept doesn’t even have it’s own vehicles, and are forced to do “ride alongs” with code enforcement… is that true?

    • John McCowen June 30, 2021

      Jim Shields: No confusion here. I’m very aware deletion of the 10% of parcel size rule and addition of a 2 acre cap are proposed amendments that have not yet been adopted. But you have confused the 10% of parcel size rule with the much more modest point raised by Supervisor Williams. The change suggested by Williams (and agreed to by the Board) caps cultivation for parcels over 10 acres in size at “10% of parcel size or 2 acres whichever is less.” Which means the owner of a 15 acre parcel could apply to cultivate 1.5 acres. the owner of a 20 acre parcel could apply to cultivate 2 acres, but the owner of a 640 acre parcel would still be capped at 2 acres. And then only with a Major Use Permit and a bunch of other requirements. And while the original 10% of parcel size rule may have been the major reason behind the referendum you support, the other group seeks to repeal Chapter 22.18 in its entirety, which will mean we are stuck with Phase 3 of the current ordinance which does not align with State law, does not protect neighbors and does not result in State Annual Licenses. Many of the growers (legal and illegal) who support repeal of Chapter 22.18 fear the accountability and enforcement that will come with a functional ordinance.

    • Bob A. June 30, 2021

      I’m not liking the “democracy is too expensive” drift that the conversation has been taking. I signed one of the petitions today, and I urge anyone that actually cares about the people’s voices being heard to do the same.

      • John McCowen June 30, 2021

        Bob A. – It’s not that democracy is too expensive, it’s that the people’s voices have been heard and the 10% of parcel size expansion will be deleted. If the Supervisors fail to follow through then a recall would be in order accompanied by an initiative to repeal the 10%. The referendum is simply not necessary.

        • Bob A. June 30, 2021

          John – You have been touting the “democracy is too expensive” line in this comments section for the last several days, so it is disingenuous of you to claim otherwise. Additionally, you’ve characterized people with opposing views as “hysterical”. Perhaps you should take a moment to examine your statements and think about your motivations honestly.

          • Bruce McEwen June 30, 2021


          • John McCowen June 30, 2021

            Bob A. – For the record, I never said “democracy is too expensive” – that’s your line. What I’ve asked is this: “Is it worth triggering an expensive special election to repeal something that is already going to be deleted?” My issue isn’t the cost of democracy but the waste in squandering taxpayer money. If the Supervisors don’t keep their pledge to delete the 10% of parcel size provision then the people still have recourse via the initiative. But in that case you would know it’s necessary. As for hysteria, some of the opponents of Chapter 22.18 have wildly misrepresented the environmental impact it will have. Keep in mind we are talking about replacing a couple of acres of one legal crop with a couple of acres of another legal crop. On ground that has already been cleared, tilled and used for crop production since before 2016. And they will still need a Major Use Permit and a State Annual License before they can put plants in the ground. Yet the opponents claim doing so will kill wildlife, poison the streams, suck the acquifers dry and destroy our way of life. Such wildly false claims are calculated to inflame peoples emotions, not to inform them.

  6. Rye N Flint June 30, 2021

    RE: Proof of water

    Proof of water quantity is required only when subdividing, building in the coastal zone, and building an ADU (Addition dwelling unit). The county allows people to build a the primary SFR (single family residence) without a proof of water quantity from a well or spring. In other words, you can build your first home on the property with water delivery, but not the 2nd residence. “If the source of drinking water is a well or spring, the property owner shall hire a qualified person to determine whether the well or spring meets the county proof of water requirements for an accessory dwelling unit. If the property is located within a service district, the property owner must provide written approval from the service district specifically authorizing the connection of a second residential unit.” 0.5GPM per residence. in other words… you want a 2nd home, your well or spring has to produce 1 GPM.

    Water Quantity Form –

    Guidelines for Accessory Dwelling Units –

  7. Rye N Flint June 30, 2021

    RE: Water flows downhill

    “Mendo might want to explore John Pinches’ proposal to revisit the legalities and arrangements associated with “Decision 1610” which essentially ratified Sonoma County’s ownership of most of inland Mendo’s water.”

    Interesting facts I recently learned: Sonoma owns the water rights to most of lake Mendo, Marin Owns the water rights to most of Lake Sonoma. Watersheds were obviously developed in an unsustainable fashion, of take from your rural Northern Neighbor.

    • Kirk Vodopals June 30, 2021

      Cadillac Desert…. good book. LA would be a wasteland without north to south transfers

      • Bruce Anderson June 30, 2021

        Reisner’s book on the inevitable Ca earthquake, A Dangerous Place, is also a must read, although one that might cost you some sleep. His premature death while still in his forties was a huge loss. Everything he predicted in Cadillac Desert has come true, and then some.

        • Lazarus June 30, 2021

          Yellowstone, Yellowstone…
          It would make the San Andreas look like a tremor.
          Be Swell,

        • Kirk Vodopals June 30, 2021

          many east coasters think we’re going to fall into the sea… how did Reisner die?

          • Stephen Rosenthal June 30, 2021

            Colon cancer

          • Mark Scaramella June 30, 2021

            Wikipedia: Reisner died of colon cancer in 2000 at the age of 51 at his home in San Anselmo, California, survived by his wife, biochemist Lawrie Mott, and their two daughters. His final book, ‘A Dangerous Place,’ was completed before his death but did not appear in print until 2003.

            • Bruce McEwen June 30, 2021

              Am I alone in having read the piece in CounterPunch about how the CIA set up Wikipedia,?

              • Marmon June 30, 2021



              • Harvey Reading June 30, 2021


      • Rye N Flint June 30, 2021

        Yes, I read that book in college, 20 years ago, and it is mostly excellent. It is also heartbreaking that it predicted so many issues coming true. While it may confirm how common the pattern is, of taking water from the wet North and bring it south to the big cities, it’s doesn’t make it right. If we are recommending good books, I recommend “Ecotopia” by Ernest Callenbach, about how we could make some good changes for our shared ecology.

  8. Stephen Rosenthal June 30, 2021

    I’ve never been to Fiddleheads, but I say good riddance. Reading Castleman’s comments in the SF Gate article, it’s clear that he just doesn’t get it. “Asset to the community” my ass. His place could and likely would have become a Covid super spreader site.

    Mr. Fiddlehead should look at his eviction as a blessing. Now he can move to Texas and be welcomed with open arms for his views. Better be careful, though, Texas is changing what with the influx of left-leaning Californians in recent years.

    • John Robert July 3, 2021

      Mendocino coast truly an interesting place, where ignorance grows alongside wealth and prosperity.

  9. Rye N Flint June 30, 2021

    RE: Cliff’s wise words of advice.

    If the proponents of the proposed cannabis referendums are to be believed, enacting the new ordinance will result in untold environmental devastation. In truth, the dysfunctional system of little to no regulation is the cause of actual environmental damage.

    The new ordinance actually provides greater protections to the environment and is a huge step to reducing the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation in our county. The County has spent countless hours hearing from the broad spectrum of stakeholders and has crafted an ordinance that creates a path forward for compliance, while enacting strict environmental protections and water use regulation. In addition, enacting the new ordinance will create a clear distinction between those in compliance and those flaunting oversight, enabling effective enforcement against bad actors.

    Should either of the referendums qualify, we’ll be stuck with the current dysfunctional system for months, and should they pass, for years. It is time for us to begin to repair our broken cannabis system and allow the process of thoughtful representative democracy to move ahead.

    I urge voters to decline signing either referendum.

    Clifford Paulin

    Mendocino County 1st District Planning Commissioner”

  10. Stephen Rosenthal June 30, 2021

    Today’s Miller Report should be required reading, especially for those who continue to post citations and weblinks from, shall we say, questionable and politically motivated sources. You – and we – know who you are.

  11. Chuck Artigues June 30, 2021

    Personally, I think the fries at Overtime Brewing are pretty decent, the beer even better! I’m just saying…

    • John Kriege June 30, 2021

      Overtime does have good fries. Other good fries : Noyo Fish Company, and the Q,

  12. Rye N Flint June 30, 2021

    Recall, Fires, and Power Companies… haven’t we been here before?

    Remember back in the year 2000? When Gov. Gray Davis was being recalled for suing ENRON, and a recall was the only way to stop the lawsuit? No? You just remember the “Join Ahnold” campaign? Oh… Well, prepare to be blindsided again if you didn’t learn your lesson the first time around.

    “During a interview during the summer of 2001 for the Public Broadcasting Service’s Frontline television show, Enron’s chief operating officer Jeffrey Skilling strongly denied that the company was doing anything but playing by the rules of the free market, the working out of supply and demand.

    The recently released transcripts indicate that traders were unabashed about what they were doing, repeatedly using words like lying and stealing to describe their activities:

    “It’s called lies. It’s all how well you can weave these lies together, Shari, alright, so,” says an Enron employee.

    To which “Shari” responds: “I feel like I’m being corrupted now.”

    The first employee adds, “No, this is marketing,”

    On a widely distributed tape, one Enron employee says: “He just (expletive) California… He steals money from California to the tune of about a million.”

    “Will you rephrase that?” asks a second employee.

    “OK, he, um, he arbitrages the California market to the tune of a million bucks or two a day,” replies the first.

    “They’re (expletive) taking all the money back from you guys?” complains an Enron employee on the tapes. “All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?”

    “Yeah, grandma Millie, man”

    To which the Enron trader responds with utter contempt: “Yeah, Grandma Millie, man. But she’s the one who couldn’t figure out how to (expletive) vote on the butterfly ballot.”

    “Yeah, now she wants her (expletive) money back for all the power you’ve charged right up, jammed right up her (expletive) for (expletive) $250 a megawatt hour.”

    According to the June 1 CBS report, “when a forest fire shut down a major transmission line into California, cutting down power supplies and raising prices, Enron energy traders celebrated, singing ‘burn, baby, burn.’””

  13. Marmon June 30, 2021


    Can anyone tell me if Dr. Jenine Miller, HHSA Director, has any experience or training from outside of Mendocino or is she just another home grown Schraeder puppet?


    • Marmon June 30, 2021

      Judge Luther sent me away from Mendocino County “to learn and come back and help others”.


  14. Lynne Sawyer July 3, 2021

    Dr. Miller’s article on how to judge scientific information should be required reading for every student in high school before they are allowed to graduate. Somehow a sizeable percentage of US citizens missed out on instruction in logical and analytical thinking in school.

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