Shower/Wind/Sun | 29 Cases | Suspect Arrested | Arnot Found | Bye Smith/Story | School Bonds | Hey PG&E | Expensive Absurdities | Curator Cherney | Tax Protest | Vista | Ed Notes | State Hospital | Decommissioning PV | Splitter | Slam Dunked | Street Vendors | Restricting Rentals | Yesterday's Catch | Buster Retires | Nietzche | Tam Rain | Narcan Saves | Pandemic Idiocy | England 1970 | Loudoun County | Sidewalk Vigil | Centrism | GOP Strategy | Hastings-ectomy | Ferry Ukiah | Dem Meeting | Boiling Water | Heroes/Patriots
IN THE WAKE of last night's cold front, lingering showers and brisk winds will gradually diminish with some breaks of sun by day's end. A series of weaker fronts will bring periodic rain Friday through the weekend, along with a slight cooling trend. (NWS)
29 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
TWELVE YEARS AGO A CANNABIS GROWER WAS MURDERED NEAR HOPLAND and a Suspect Has Finally Been Arrested
On September 11, 2009, 52-year-old Raul Delara Ruiz was beaten to death by three men on a cannabis farm along Highway 175 in Hopland.
Two days ago, a quiet break in the case occurred in which a 30-year-old San Rafael man named Eduardo Albe Cardenas Salvarado was booked into the Mendocino County jail on charges including murder and false imprisonment.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Captain Greg Van Patten has confirmed that Salvarado was arrested for his suspected involvement in the murder that occurred over twelve years ago....
MISSING HUMBOLDT COUNTY MAN FOUND
[UPDATE 10:45 p.m] David Arnot has been officially located, his daughter Kelsey Arnot told us. He is in a Ukiah shelter for the night and will be “heading home from there.”
WELL IT’S THE END of an incredible 4.5 years for us here in the Anderson Valley … we are officially closed for tastings in our Philo location (our new Healdburg location is opening soon).
This Friday/Saturday we are cleaning and open for wine and #smithstorysundries shopping only … only vintage & antique collectibles are 50% off and we also have a few workroom tables, chairs and an outdoor bench for purchase. Photos will be uploaded by Friday.
Interesting facebook comment re local tax bill: “I just opened my property tax statement and was shocked by the addition of the Mendocino Unified Bond measure. I thought that it was to be $60 per $100k in assessed value but it is more like three times that amount in additional fees. Anyone else see that? I’d love to be pointed in the right direction to read the bond measure. I found this that supports my original thought, but clearly doesn’t match what I’m being charged.”
TODAY from Supervisor Williams:
The "Mendocino Unified bond" line item on property tax bills for those within the school district represents the sum of three separate bonds: the existing K8 school, Albion school, and recent voter-passed bond for high school project.
The new bond has a rate of 0.06 (for a combined school bonds total of 0.181 in the 2021-2022 tax year).
It has been explained to me, an excess premium from the first 2020 election bond sale (sold May 2020) was intended to be used over approximately three years to bring down the tax rate, but was applied in approximately the first two years. This had the effect of significantly reducing the 2020-21 tax rate from an estimated $150 to $78 (aggregate tax rate across all elections). Since the premium that was supposed to be used to pay down the debt service and therefore the tax rate this year (2021-22) was previously used, the tax rate was higher than initially planned at $181 across all elections. It is expected that the tax rate will drop to approximately $161 next year and continue to drop after that. A larger tax rate was levied this year to make up for the lower tax rate levied last year.
In my review, the amounts levied match the voter passed language. The uneven billing is unfortunate. Elected Mendocino County Auditor-Controller Lloyd Weer retired mid-term in September, so further analysis of the chronology will likely take time.
RUNNING IN CIRCLES
by Mark Scaramella
I spoke with CEO Angelo in her office in 2019. I also spoke with members of the CEO’s budget staff. Despite the free lunch, I think I can write objectively about what has since ensued. I make the above confession in the same spirit of disclosure that Presiding Judge Ann Moorman made at the opening of one of her recent “ex parte” hearings in the matter of Sheriff Kendall v. Mendocino County:
“I do want to say at the outset that I want to disclose I saw and interacted with Mr. McMullen on Saturday night at a musical event hosted by Nelson Vineyards, and it does not give me cause or pause to believe that I cannot be fair in this proceeding. But I did see Mr. McMullen, and I elected to say hello to he and his wife, and exchanged general pleasantries, and, of course advised him that I would be disclosing the interaction today on the record. In addition, Mr. McMullen and I also belong to the same Crossfit gym. While we do not attend at the same time, we belong to the same -- they call them boxes. So we belong to the same box. And, occasionally, we cross paths, but we do not attend classes together. So with those disclosures in mind, I am prepared to go forward today.”
But before we get into the hearing, let’s review some relevant history.
For years the Sheriff’s overtime budget was underfunded so the Supervisors could claim they had approved a “balanced budget,” knowing that the Sheriff would exceed the overtime budget by whatever it took, depending on the number of manpower-intensive serious crimes that occurred, also dependent on overall availability of that manpower. Some deputies became known for volunteering for overtime with a few earning more money than their bosses. But nobody ever complained because the overtime was all spent for legitimate law enforcement.
The Board and the budget people just sat back and waited to see how much overtime was accumulated and then the CEO and the Auditor magically found the money to cover it, typically through under-runs in other General Fund departments.
In 2018, when the CEO allocated a gratuitously provocative zero to the Sheriff’s overtime, then-Third District Supe Georgeanne Croskey pointed out that zero was ridiculous because history shows that the Sheriff’s overtime had been running around $1.6 million.
From our coverage at that time:
Supervisor McCowen: “It is not realistic to have a zero line item for overtime. The CEO is suggesting a $300,000 if we were to put a number in there. I do think that's conservative. As we have all said we don't know what may happen as the year goes forward. But we know we are going to have some overtime just in the normal course of events. If there is no disaster or there are no tragic car wrecks for complicated homicides that we naturally would drive further over time. If we have none of that we still know that we are going to have it. So perhaps between now and tomorrow the executive office and the sheriff can work to identify what other line items in the budget could potentially reduce to at least put in the $300,000 for overtime which would be kind of the minimum realistic figure I believe.”
Angelo: “I'm fine with that. If that's the board direction we will do that. And then – … What I have noticed in the last 10 years with the sheriff's office overtime, which of course you have noticed as well, is when the positions and critical positions are really low obviously that's when we have more overtime. What I am also seeing is a real effort on the part of the Sheriff's office, particularly with various funding streams either being diminished or going away [probably a reference to a significant decrease in pot-related asset forfeiture plus the approximately $1 million cannabis permit program deficit] there is a real effort to focus on the overtime. The positions – he [the Sheriff] has his positions filled now. If we were going to budget overtime right now in the Sheriff's office we would have budgeted approximately $300,000. With what happens with the sheriff's office, it is, it's just, you know, you never know what the next crisis is going to be. So I'm fairly confident. I have to say that we have had problems in dealing with the Sheriff's budget. He obviously has managed his budget very well. And he has helped. So we can talk about this tomorrow when this board is ready to make recommendations and make decisions on this. If we are going to budget I would say that we would have budgeted approximately $300,000. The other thing is that we can't really say today as far as what happens over the next 12 months that it is possible that there are other funding streams for overtime that we just -- we just -- you know -- we just don't have right now, or don't have the ability to say right now. Honestly, in seeing the Sheriff’s budget I don't have a problem with this. Clearly you are the decision-makers and if you do [decide] we will rearrange the money.”
Deputy CEO Janelle Rau said they put zero overtime in the budget because they plan to keep close track of the department’s overtime.
Rau: “I have been working with the Sheriff's office on their budget. They did go through some budget balancing strategies [translation: they made some ridiculous assumptions]. And working with their budget officer Kyra [the Sheriff’s budget analyst] and the Sheriff himself they did do some reductions to meet net County cost. [Arbitrary cuts.] With that is an understanding that the executive office is going to be working with them hand in hand and in turn with the board, meaning that we will be coming to you -- and there are descriptions in the information to you -- monthly, not quarterly. We will be coming to you with adjustments as they are necessary. We have made that arrangement with the Sheriff to say, you let us know when there is an issue so we will have discovered that between all of us here if there is one. Overtime was one of them. We knew it was out there. It is a strategy that we will watch. And that we will look at their vacancy factors as well to see in their total 1000 series [general fund] where they will be. It's a different approach this year. But we have been working on it effectively. Kyra and I started working on it this last year in July to make sure we could come here and feel good about what we are giving you and actually give you the confidence that we will be informing you as we go along as well.”
So the CEO’s Office and the Sheriff are going to start providing monthly reports on overtime! Does anybody believe that? They should have been doing routine monthly overtime tracking all along, and now all of a sudden they’re going to start monthly reporting?
Never happen. And, as predicted, it never has happened.
Mendo just does not do monthly budget and staff reporting. In all likelihood they will ignore the overtime as it routinely goes over-budget like they do everything else and wait until it’s a problem, then make some verifiably untrue declaration like the magic assumption change from 5% position vacancy to 10% position vacancy and cover the overtime like they always do by shorting other already short departments.
Supervisor Croskey wanted to hope — in spite of her gut knowledge that even $300k is nothing more than a place holder figure — that this still-ridiculous $300k approach would help.
Croskey: “That helps. I certainly have concerns. But we have nothing budgeted for overtime. It's not as if overtime won't happen. I understand we will be looking at it as we go. But it's — it's not as if — I don't know — I have concerns that we are pretending that that $1.6 million is — that we will find a way as we go. But…” [Shrugs.]
This was the first meeting in June of 2018. We said we’d be looking closely at the first July agenda (July 10, to be exact) to see what kind of monthly overtime tracking Ms. Rau, Ms. Angelo, Sheriff Allman and the crew actually come up with.
* * *
That was then, now is now.
When we said “Never happen” back in 2018, we were right. Nobody tracked Sheriff’s overtime, no reports were made. Nobody even asked about it.
And as usual, after not tracking the Sheriff’s OT as promised, the County magically covered the overtime and, using Mendo’s tried and true approach to most problems — Mendo ignored the issue and nobody mentioned for a couple more years.
Then last summer Assistant CEO Darcie Antle reminded the Board of an obscure Government Code provision that “California state government code and county policy — that the county has never enforced — puts personal responsibility on the official authorizing the obligation. It is in County Policy 1, section 1.1, Sources of Authority and Priorities and in the case of a conflict.”
Supervisor Ted Williams immediately asked, “Can we decide today to follow this?”
Supervisor Dan Gjerde quickly agreed: “If it’s county code, I don't know why it's not being followed already.”
Williams: “Maybe we can give direction that we expect county code to be followed.”
CEO Carmel Angelo posed this hypothetical to the Supervisors: “Say the Sheriff comes in $1.6 million over budget. Am I going to send him a bill for $1.6 million? And when he says he won't pay it, and he goes public, is the board going to say he's going to have to put up $1.6 million?”
CEO Angelo clarified.: “When I started in 2007 [as Health and Human Services Director] this was one of the policies that was explained to me by then interim CEO Al Beltrami. All department heads were very well aware of this policy. This policy has never been enforced. If this board would like me as the executive officer to enforce it, what we would do is, we know when a department, whether it's run by a department head or elected official, as you know when we come back every quarter we can project if the department is going to be over budget. … But we could have them sign that they have received the policy and they are aware of it and they understand it and we could attempt to enforce it. That's the best I can say we could do.”
Williams: “I support that. Let's do it. … I am reluctant to not follow state law as far as budgeting. It's not really a budget if you set a limit and then department heads are able to spent outside of the limit.”
Williams and Gjerde thus demonstrated their fundamental misunderstanding of what a budget is. A budget is a plan, not a limit, not a cap. If properly managed, budgets set priorities, keep track of revenues and expenses, and allow management to adjust expenses as experience indicates. Overruns and underruns are common and that’s why budgets are adjusted based on experience and careful tracking.
Gjerde piled on: “It is pretty drastic. But on the other hand management employees and department heads and deputy department heads are paid top dollar — they may not think that but I think they are by Mendocino County standards — and with that comes responsibility. So I don't think it's that drastic in some respects. I think people should be able to manage their budget one way or the other and they need to make choices.”
County Counsel Christian Curtis: “This is not just county policy, it is state law.”
Curtis tried to summarize the budget process using words like “expectation,” but failed.
Curtis’s office is one of the offices that routinely goes over budget because he and the CEO hand off major county legal matters off to expensive outside lawyers. But nobody threatened to hold Mr. Curtis responsible for his overruns, only the Sheriff was singled out.
And Curtis confirmed that the policy applies to elected officials “like the Sheriff.”
Then Williams got on his high horse: “It's not our money, it's the people's money. State law gives the authority to budget the people's money to the supervisors. It's a mistake to allow these overages. The board is never in a position to say, No, you cannot spend that money. It's already been spent. We need to align with state law. … This is not for us to decide. This is state law. This is what we need to follow. We don't have the liberty to say that a department has a tight budget and decides to run over. We have to live within the budgeting process. If you have $100 in your budget, you don't spend more than $100. Or you come to the board through the process and the board will approve it.”
That was back in June of this year. Was anybody surprised that Sheriff Matt Kendall took this inane discussion as a threat to send him a bill for maybe over a million dollars in overtime that he would have to pay himself? After all, two Supes had called for its enforcement and the other three didn’t object.
At about the same time Kendall became aware that CEO Angelo was maneuvering to consolidate the County’s computers, including the Sheriff’s, and had been taking steps to absorb the Sheriff’s computer equipment and staff into a new larger IT department headed by her friend Deputy CEO Janelle Rau. According to sworn declarations, the Sheriff and his computer staff became aware of these efforts as computer staff positions and accompanying budgets were quietly proposed to be moved out of the Sheriff’s department.
The Sheriff balked at that too. Law enforcement computer systems cannot be compromised by giving them to non-law enforcement staffers.
So in August, the Sheriff filed a lawsuit in Mendocino Superior Court asking Presiding Judge Ann Moorman to officially declare a “conflict” with the County Counsel’s office based on the County Counsel’s office’s split allegiances: County Counsel can’t advise the Sheriff on legalities while also advising the CEO and the Board. An official conflict would mean that the County would have to pay for the Sheriff’s own attorney, and not just any attorney, Kendall insisted that he would only accept the Duncan James law firm out of Ukiah, a firm whose rates are higher than comparable out-of-county law firms.
The first legal volley was fired when Duncan James filed for an “ex parte” hearing on the dispute. When we looked it up, we found it amusing that an “ex parte” hearing is typically requested “when one of the parties seeks urgent court intervention.”
“Urgent intervention”? In Mendo? Please.
Since that filing, the lawyers have been un-urgently piling on with declarations and affidavits and motions and more hearings…
After the first few flurries of filings, Judge Moorman told a lawyer named Donald McMullen who works for Duncan James, “Originally, the way it was phrased in the moving papers was as a takeover of the Sheriff's IT department. and I’ll be honest with you, I didn't really care for the hyperbole.”
Oh, but it wasn’t hyperbole. That’s exactly what it was. The CEO and her staff called it “consolidation,” but that was a thinly veiled understatment designed to hide the fact that it was an attempted takeover.
But the issue at hand in court is whether there’s a conflict, whether the Sheriff can hire his own attorney and then present independent legal opinions on such subjects as the Sheriff’s budget and his computers to the Board.
But according to the transcripts from the ex parte hearings, that question has already been answered — as the lawyers say, it’s moot.
Judge Moorman: “So one of [the issues] is the consolidation of the Sheriff's IT with the County IT department, and it appeared to me both from some statements made on paper in terms of filings in this case, as well as statements made during proceedings that I've now taken judicial notice of, that there was -- that the Board of Supervisors agreed that there is a conflict of interest in your office's ability to represent the Sheriff on this issue. Do you agree?”
County Counsel Curtis: “Yes, I would concur with that.”
So why are they even in court? Apparently because the “conflict” issue has devolved into whether Kendall can make the County pay for Duncan James and his legal staff.
The sheer level of absurdity on top of wasteful, pointless, expensive absurdity is hard to fathom from the outside looking in.
Not only that, but apparently County Counsel Curtis doesn’t dispute the Sheriff’s need for overtime. “If we're talking about an expense incurring overtime,” Curtis told Moorman, “I'd say this without having dug too deep into the particular question. But it's quite likely that I'm going to be advising the Sheriff and the Board that, yes, the Sheriff has the authority to go ahead and incur these overtime costs. Yes, Board, you have to authorize them. I'd also be talking to the Sheriff, you also have an obligation to go ahead and tell the Board. Maybe not when the costs are incurred, but during the portion of the recording cycle that you've gone over budget for these reasons, and that the counsel has opined that that is within the scope of the Sheriff's authority. If the Board decides at that point that they disagree with me, I can't represent them against the Sheriff because I'm conflicted out.”
Which brings us back to 2018 when the CEO promised to keep track of overtime but never did. If they had simply done what they promised to do and set up a notice and tracking system for Sheriff’s overtime back then, none of this wasteful folderol would have even come up.
Toward the end of the ex parte hearings in September, Judge Moorman tipped her hand, telling the lawyers:
“There is a conflict of interest facing the office of County Counsel on the issue of whether and to what extent the Board of Supervisors can lawfully consolidate the Sheriff's information and technology systems department within the broader county information services department, including but not limited to data access, collection, preservation and sharing, and email. This conflict of interest includes advising the Sheriff regarding the law and possible avenues of recourse to resist such efforts and/or insist upon an independent system with adequate staffing and financing in light of statutory and constitutional mandates. That is the conflict of interest I'm finding that I'm going to say pertains to the IT issue. The budget issue, I'm going to find a conflict of interest on. But I want to think a little bit more about what, precisely, it is. And I’ll set a future hearing if I think I need one. Otherwise, you'll get a written ruling from me in pretty short order.”
It’s now more than six weeks later and no written ruling has been issued. But even when it is, nothing much will have been accomplished. The Supervisors will continue letting the CEO squeeze the Sheriff, no mechanism for keeping track of overtime will be set up, the Sheriff will probably keep asking for pricy advice from Duncan James, the County Counsel will respond with a muddled opinion, presumably sort of agreeing with the Sheriff, and the issue that Williams, Gjerde and the Board stupidly provoked with Sheriff will be right back where they started… Well, not quite where they started: several hundred thousand dollars in lawyers and court costs and lots of staff time will have been frittered away with more to come.
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN MISTER CHERNEY'S NEIGHBORHOOD
UKIAH TAX GRAB - PROTEST DEADLINE IS MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8
AVA News Service
LAFCO, AN OBSCURE government agency that is little known or understood, is about to approve up to $1 million in new taxes annually for property owners in the Ukiah city limits. LAFCO, which stands for Local Agency Formation COmmission, is in charge of deciding on annexations by cities or Special Districts (among a few other equally arcane things). It's funded by an assessment that the LAFCO Board of Directors votes to impose on every city, every Special District and the County. Most Special Districts (think water, fire, sewer, cemetery) resent the annual assessment because they are unable to see what, if anything, LAFCO does for them.
AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE is the Ukiah Valley Fire District (UVFD) which is about to be handed an annual windfall of nearly $1 million dollars. On November 8, LAFCO will hold a Protest Hearing as the final step in approval of the annexation of the City of Ukiah into the much larger Fire District. The District and City of Ukiah are part of a joint powers agreement to provide fire service to the District and the city. The District has a couple of voter approved special assessments (taxes) that were voted on by the District voters (but don’t apply to the City of Ukiah — yet).
IF THE ANNEXATION of the city by the District is approved, the assessments that were previously adopted by the District voters will start showing up on the tax bills of every homeowner and property owner in the City of Ukiah. All without a vote of the people who will be paying the tax. It only seems fair that city residents should pay the same assessments as District residents, since they both receive comparable service. Except throughout the lengthy annexation process nobody bothered to tell city residents and property owners they were about to get hit with a new tax that they didn't have a chance to vote on.
GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY is the ultimate oxymoron and it clearly applies in this case. This proposal has been sailing along under the radar with the unanimous support of the Ukiah City Council, the UVFD Board of Directors, the County Board of Supervisors and LAFCO without anyone ever saying they were approving a huge increase in taxes on city residents. Instead, they tried to create the impression that no new taxes would be involved.
EVERY ANNEXATION requires a tax sharing agreement between the agency doing the annexing and the agency that is being annexed. All of the above agencies gave their blessing to a “Zero Tax Sharing Agreement.” Anyone who noticed the obscure agenda item would have thought it wasn't going to increase taxes. But “zero tax sharing” was only between the City of Ukiah and the Fire District. The tax will not be paid by the City to the District but will be added to city property tax bills.
SUPERVISOR (“the Mo you know”) MULHEREN sponsored the item at the Board of Supervisors but never bothered to explain that the impact would be to stick every property owner in the city limits with a new tax that they weren't going to get to vote on. Mo is very determined to keep people informed about social events happening in Ukiah like Pumpkin Fest, various trail walks, and the Trucker's Light Parade but doesn't seem to think it's important to mention a $1 million dollar tax hike.
THE TAX CAN BE PROTESTED but only if the residents and property owners fill out and return the Official Protest Form to LAFCO no later than the close of the Protest Hearing that will be held by LAFCO November 8 at 10:00am. Postmarks won't count but protests mailed today (Thursday) will probably find their way to LAFCO in time. Or maybe not. The USPS, never a match for Hermes, the Greek winged god, has become even more problematical of late. If people want to make sure their protest counts they can drop off the completed protest form at the LAFCO office. The only problem there is that LAFCO is only open Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 9:00am-1:00pm.
UNLESS LAFCO sets up a drop box, the forms can only be dropped off from 9am-1pm Friday or from 9am to the close of the Protest Hearing on Monday. It's almost like there's a conspiracy to see that any protest falls short.
LEONARD WINTER, of Medstar Ambulance, is making a last ditch effort to turn out the protest vote. In addition to taking out a full page ad in the AVA last week, he's sent a mailer to the residents of the City of Ukiah urging them to protest the tax. The main point of Winter's letter is that the tax should be approved by a vote of the people. And if enough people send in a protest that's what will happen.
THE DISTRICT AND THE CITY are telling people the money raised by the tax/assessment will only go for fire service and can't be diverted for any other purpose. But that's not true. The hidden agenda, according to well founded speculation, is the money will be used by the District to run their own ambulance service to take away business from Medstar. Which explains why the popular Winter is so keen on forcing a vote on the tax.
IF THE PROTEST SUCCEEDS and the issue goes to the ballot, the hidden issue of the City of Ukiah and the District trying to squeeze out the long-serving private ambulance service will come out into the open. Medstar (formerly known as Ukiah Ambulance) has been serving Ukiah and inland Mendocino County for some 80 years. Winter knows the ambulance business inside and out and has a well-respected crew. It's not clear what, if anything, the District knows about running an ambulance service.
THE CITY OF UKIAH provided the coup de grace (as if any were needed) to the ill fated County Exclusive Operating Area (EOA) fiasco — which was always DOA (as noted years ago by the AVA). At the time Sage Sangiacomo, the exorbitantly paid Ukiah City Manager, said Ukiah was paying for its own ambulance study that would provide a more workable alternative. At the time the Board of Supes finally ditched the EOA, Sangiacomo said the report has been received and would shortly be made public after a bit of inhouse review. Years later the report — the so-called “AP Triton study” is still under wraps.
IT'S BELIEVED the report laid out what Ukiah would need to do to get back in the ambulance service business. The answer apparently is to freeze out the private company that has provided the service for generations. Is this a good move? Will it provide better service to the people of Ukiah and the surrounding Fire District? Will it somehow benefit outlying areas like Anderson Valley, Laytonville and Covelo? Who knows? If the protest is not successful there will be little or no public discussion or debate about these issues.
THE FIRE DISTRICT is being guided in this process by Doug Hutchinson, Chief of the UVFD. Proponents are making a big deal that the extra $1 million dollars will go to the District and not the City of Ukiah (which is often viewed with skepticism by neighboring Districts and residents). But before Hutchinson was Chief of the UVFD he was Chief of the City of Ukiah Fire Department, a position he owed to the City Manager, who hired him. And during the EOA process it was very clear that Chief Hutchinson was willing to do whatever the City Manager told him to do. Based on the stealthy path followed by the non-transparent annexation of the City of Ukiah by the Fire District it looks like nothing has changed. And it may be that the City of Ukiah is de facto annexing the District. But just like the $1 million in taxes and the ambulance takeover, no one is talking about it. And they won't unless the tax protest succeeds.
ED NOTES: Preliminary Takes On The June Election, Mendo Branch
Fort Bragg City Council - 4 Incumbent Seats
- Jessica Morsell-Haye
- Tess Albin-Smith
- Lindy Peters
- Marcia Rafanan
We're for Lindy as a sure bet to resist the preposterous name change for Fort Bragg. We don't know anything about either of the hyphenates or Ms. Rafanan, and will depend on the trustworthy sectors of the Fort Bragg electorate to influence us.
Healthcare District Board - 3 Incumbent Seats
- Jessica Grinberg
- Amy McColley
- John Redding
The peevish Redding seems to annoy lots of Coasties, but that virtue probably isn't enough to keep him on. We'd be interested in Norman deVall's take on this election.
Sheriff - Appointed Incumbent Matt Kendall
Good guy, good cop, good Sheriff. We'd be surprised if there's any opposition to him despite the supervisors starting a pointless and wrong beef with him over his budget and computers, which the Sheriff batted away as if so many illogical fleas, but he's still had to go to a lawyer to defend himself against five people who should be his allies.
District Attorney - Incumbent C. David Eyster
Probably running unopposed because he makes reasonable and proportionate charging decisions. Of course most of the people prosecuted are a sad sack prole catchment not competent to function in an increasingly vicious, class-based society that has crippled them from birth, and whose labor is no longer needed even if they weren't caught up in a desperate daily struggle to somehow make their way more or less normally in the context of a society organized, and profiting from, their catch and release dependency.
Eyster's downside is his imperious personality tendencies and his recent, wrongheaded criticism of interim County Auditor Chamise Cubbison for refusing to sign off on DA's office travel reimbursements — doing her job, in other words — and padding his office with six, highly paid investigators he manipulated out of County CEO Angelo where 2-3 would be sufficient.
The DA is media-accessible, but the ava and Jim Shields being the only media left in the county that pay attention to county government or the Courthouse's prole processing center, media accessibility isn't much to brag about.
Auditor - Position is vacant but if there's any justice left in Ukiah, Ms. Cubbison deserves the position. She stood up for herself and stood up for the taxpayers when she went head to head with Eyster (and won) without, natch, the aggressive support she should have gotten from the supervisors.
Superintendent of Schools - Incumbent Michelle Hutchins
Ms. Hutchins will be opposed by an administrator from the Ukiah School District, Nicole Glentzer. If there are any real issues in this one it will be a surprise. The mighty ava is sticking with Ms. Hutchins.
POTTER VALLEY PROJECT
A Oct. 26 Press Democrat article aptly described the multiple issues facing the Potter Valley Project, but I was taken aback by Rep. Jared Huffman’s statement that decommissioning may be a faster and easier way to deal with the project.
As with the federal licensing process, the decommissioning process will require millions of dollars for multiple environmental studies, and it most likely will cost between $100 million and $500 million to address infrastructure, sediment, mitigation, restoration and litigation.
The Russian River needs the water, and so does the Eel River. Lake Pillsbury, part of the Potter Valley Project, provides a year-round water supply for water users and endangered fish in both rivers, and it provides critical water for wildland fire suppression.
If corporate sponsors can fund the studies for a decommissioning process, surely they can find the $18 million needed to complete the studies for a future Potter Valley Project — hopefully one that preserves Lake Pillsbury and implements fish mitigation enhancements for the Eel River in lieu of removal of Scott Dam.
None of this will be fast or easy.
SLAM DUNK SLAMMED
The Mendocino County COVID-19 Department Operations Center has confirmed a positive COVID-19 case among staff at the following location:
Slam Dunk Pizza
1708 S Main St, Willits, CA 95490
Members of the public who visited this facility between the dates of Wednesday October 27th and Friday October 29th, 2021 may have been exposed to COVID-19, and are advised to seek COVID-19 testing if unvaccinated, or seek testing if exhibiting symptoms while vaccinated.
Slam Dunk Pizza management is responding quickly to the positive case. We appreciate their cooperation to find those who could be exposed, and Public Health only publishes the businesses names and locations because it is impossible to identify everyone in the public who could have been exposed.
Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren would like to emphasize the importance of staying home from work when exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. Common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, fatigue, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or new loss of taste or smell.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and masking, contact the Mendocino County Public Health COVID-19 Call Center at (707) 472-2759 or visit our website at: www.mendocinocounty.org/covid19
OREGON COAST’S LINCOLN COUNTY VOTES TO RESTRICT VACATION RENTALS
Lincoln County residents voted Tuesday to phase out vacation rentals in the coastal county’s unincorporated residential areas.
Voters approved Measure 21-203 by a wide margin in preliminary results, with 58% voting yes. The hot-button issue drew 44% voter turnout in the county, one of the highest turnout rates in the state for the off-year election.
The measure, an initiative petition brought to the ballot by a coalition of neighborhood groups, would phase out short-term rentals in residential areas of unincorporated Lincoln County over five years and halt immediately the issue of new licenses. Vacation rental rules within the boundaries of Newport, Lincoln City and other incorporated cities would not be affected....
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 3, 2021
ROGELIO AVALOS, Winton/Ukiah. Controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, armed with firearm in commission of or attempted felony, felon-addict with firearm.
KONI BARRY, Clearlake/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
EDUARDO CARDENAS-ALVARADO, San Rafael/Ukiah. Murder, personal use of firearm, false imprisonment, security assessment.
DAVID FITCH, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
NICHOLAS LANZIT, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
SHAYLYNN LOCKHART, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DANIEL MENDEZ, Ukiah. DUI.
MATTHEW RUSSELL, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
JONATHON THOMPSON, Fort Bragg. Vehicle theft, failure to appear, probation revocation.
POSEY’S SURPRISE RETIREMENT IS UNDERSTATED, TYPICAL BUSTER
by C.W. Nevius
Gerald Dempsey (Buster) Posey has amazed and impressed us for 12 seasons. He’s hit walk-off dingers, caught no-hitters, one of them a perfect game, and won three World Series — without ever changing expression.
And it turns out he had one last admirable surprise.
Retiring from baseball, when he clearly still has the skills to be an elite catcher, is just about the most Buster-esque thing he could possibly do.
He will, of course, low-key it at his announcement Thursday. That will be right on brand.
Whenever he got the game-winning hit or clutch home run, he would announce that he was “just fortunate to get the barrel of the bat on it.” As he racked up the Major League Baseball awards — Rookie of the Year, MVP, batting champion, Gold Glove — he rarely failed to give credit for what he called the real reason for his success ... remarkable good luck.
And yet, he’s never been mistaken for someone who didn’t know his mind. If anything, he’s known for quietly taking powerful personal stands.
Before the 2020 season, after his wife Kristen and he adopted two babies with medical conditions, he gave the situation — and the outbreak of the pandemic — some thought. And then, in the most jaw-dropping announcement until today, he said he’d decided not to play the season.
But he returned this year, kicked butt, and, naturally, was named National League Comeback Player of the year — for the second time.
The first was after his horrific injury in a collision at home plate in 2011. The crash fractured his leg and tore ligaments in his ankle, necessitating surgery. It ended his season, just 45 games in, and there was serious speculation he’d never play again.
Instead, he became an All-Star, won the batting title, was named MVP and hit a stadium-silencing grand slam in Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Reds. Even Posey noticed how Great American Ball Park went still when the ball cleared the fence.
“It’s kind of weird running about the bases and didn’t really hear a sound,” he said at the time.
Then he added, “I was just fortunate to get a good pitch to hit and got the barrel of the bat on it.”
At this point we’d say, “Don’t ever change, Buster,” but it is obvious he never will.
As one of his teammates said this year, “Buster’s heartbeat is just a little slower than the rest of us.”
Buster actually admitted to me at a pre-season media session that he was boring on purpose during the season. It’s too distracting to have to come up with entertaining quotes all the time. Once the games started, we got straight vanilla from Buster.
It’s a shame, because he can be pretty funny. He’s definitely sarcastic, and teammates learned to be on guard for a snarky one-liner.
And yet, once in a blue moon, he let the emotions flow.
Last month, one win away from clinching the National League West pennant, Posey came to bat with the bases loaded in the third. He singled to center, of course, driving in the two go-ahead runs for a lead the Giants never lost.
Standing at first he pumped his fist and actually yelled. Huh, people said, that was out of character.
“I save it for the right moments,” he deadpanned.
Actually, for a lot of Posey fans, it won’t be the six career walk-off hits or the critical home runs they’ll remember. They’ll think of him behind the plate for three no-hitters and Matt Cain’s perfect game in 2012.
For indelible memories, it is hard to beat July 13, 2013, when Tim Lincecum needed 148 pitches to complete his no-no. When the last out was recorded, stoic, even-keel Posey rushed the mound and enveloped Lincecum in what became known as a “Buster hug.”
Lincecum, frankly, looked absolutely shocked.
Because he saved it for the right moments.
And this, finally, is also the right moment. You know he’s given retirement some careful thought. And you also know that his family is a big part of making the decision.
But mostly, it is so impressive that an elite player of his abilities, who has achieved nearly every important award and goal in the game, has decided he’s done enough and is going to walk away.
There will be no sad final season down the road, when an aging Posey can’t catch up to the fastball and his playing time is limited.
In a sport where players generally have to be pulled from the clubhouse, kicking and screaming, Buster is leaving with his head up, his reputation intact and his expression unchanged.
As always, he’s doing it his way.
Fans will be disappointed of course. But there will be no doubting his legacy and the respect and affection Giants faithful will retain.
As one said on Twitter: “I will accept this plan under the condition that he is retiring from baseball so that he can represent us in the Senate.”
This is Friedrich Nietzsche in the asylum in 1899.
THE REDWOODS ARE REJOICING: Why this location got the most rain in the Bay Area during the atmospheric river
by Gwendolyn Wu
When the atmospheric river blasted through the Bay Area last weekend, it shattered plenty of rainfall records, but one spot in particular was a standout: Mount Tamalpais.
The highest peak in Marin County towered above all others, logging 16.6 inches of precipitation in 48 hours as of about 7:30 a.m. the Monday after the storm struck, according to the National Weather Service. The only other spot that even came close in the Bay Area was Venado, near Healdsburg in Sonoma County, with 14.3 inches.
Fast-forward one week, and the drizzle that fell over parts of the Bay Area this weekend wasn’t just drizzle on Mount Tam.
“Mt Tamalpais throwing us a treat this morning,” the National Weather Service’s Bay Area office tweeted Sunday morning. “Reporting 0.39 (inches) of rain over the last 24 hours, 0.19 over the last 3 hours and 0.08 last hour. The redwoods are rejoicing.”
All of which might lead casual weather watchers to ask: Is Mount Tamalpais the wettest spot in the Bay Area?
The answer depends, meteorologists said.
Mount Tam on average saw about 66 inches of rainfall a year between 1981 and 2010, while Venado saw closer to 60 inches, according to data from Oregon State University. But depending on the year, some locations get more rain than others. The 30-year annual averages are the most recent comprehensive data of Bay Area rainfall.
Mount Tam’s topography creates favorable conditions for rain, experts said.
“It’s one of the first higher peaks coming off the ocean, and with western winds it’ll wring out any of the moisture coming across the Pacific,” said NWS Bay Area meteorologist Ryan Walbrun.
The winds force clouds and air upslope, and if strong enough, can lead to precipitation and thunderstorms.
“When the flow of air is perpendicular to the mountains you get the maximum amount of lift,” said Jan Null, a meteorologist who runs Golden Gate Weather Services. “And that’s the case with Mount Tam, the Santa Cruz Mountains and the drainages going into the Russian River like Venado.”
For instance, Oak Ridge in Sonoma County receives on average 58.7 inches of rain per year, making it one of the rainiest spots in the Bay Area, according to Oregon State University data. But it received just 6.7 inches during last week’s storm, not even cracking the top 10 rainiest spots during that 48-hour period.
As storms pass over the mountain ranges and descend, the clouds warm up and dissipate. That’s how a peak like Mount Tam receives nearly five feet of rain on average, but 20 miles away in San Rafael, the city measures just three feet of rain in a year, Null said.
The final effect is a rain shadow, where there’s significantly less rainfall behind a mountain region. For instance, the South Bay generally sees less precipitation because the Santa Cruz Mountains block most of the moisture from coming inland.
Marin County’s badly depleted water supply benefited enormously from the bountiful rain, data shows: Seven reservoirs in the Mount Tamalpais watershed rose from just 32% to nearly 50% of total capacity after the atmospheric river deluge.
Light rain is expected to continue over parts of the North Bay this week.
“For the people up there, it really makes it feel like the rain hasn’t stopped,” Walbrun said. “That’s good given the drought and fire danger.”
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Now I am old, poor, no dental insurance, and expected to live out my life while funding government administered healthcare that follows no particular rules, during a never-ending epidemic that keeps elders home from work, unable to shop or travel, eat in a restaurant, or appear in public without a useless mask…
AND: Idiots everywhere spout off endlessly about a “lamedemic”, refuse to be vaccinated, and appear to wish the 5,000,000 dead a kindly “too bad, fuck off”, while we approach a million dead Americans, meanwhile our local governments dither and screw around with our safety…
OH, and your hospitals are staffed at about 60%, unable to hire nurses, med-techs, x-ray techs etc, and they are quiveringly worried about the future, while banking record profits and hoarding their CARES act money, whilst your Federal Government has financially abandoned you to starve, lose your home, and pay more and more for absolutely everything…
And you idiots STILL won’t acknowledge that there is a serious infectious disease threatening your life and that of your family…
And you call ME crazy?
Hey, keep smokin’ that dope, it will fix everything…
THE RED PILLING OF LOUDOUN COUNTY, VIRGINIA
Notes on a “realigning” election
by Matt Taibbi
The drama that played out in upscale Loudoun County, Virginia over the last year or so, and cost Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe the governorship last night, is a book waiting to be written. In fact, if companies like HBO or Netflix have any sense, it will soon be a movie as well, because almost every hot-button issue in American national politics was rolled somewhere in this sprawling, preposterous, rage-filled suburban drama.
I have a longer piece on this coming, and have to return to the area at least once to follow up, so I can’t get into it in depth yet. But as I scan the news from an Amtrak seat, on the way back north after watching Tuesday night’s shocking come-from-ahead loss by McAuliffe, a few things are already clear.
McAuliffe’s collapse, and the corresponding underdog win by private equity titan Glenn Youngkin, is already being caricatured nationally using the language of 1980s politics. We’re meant to understand that the Loudoun County story — which is too complex to summarize easily but involves furious disputes between local parents and the school board over a variety of issues, including a pair of sexual assaults — was cooked up by Republicans as a cynical dog-whistle campaign.
“The GOP ran a master class on race-based identity politics,” wrote CNN’s Bakari Sellers. “The return of the Lee Atwater playbook. Pretty grim,” is how former Harry Reid chief of staff Adam Jentleson put it. “Hats off to the depraved cynicism and villainy and race baiting. It worked in Virginia,” seethed Wajahat Ali of The Daily Beast. Van Jones last night called Youngkin the “Delta variant of Trumpism.”
Just as McAuliffe had no message apart from trying to tie Youngkin to Trump, these commentators seem helpless to do anything but fall back on a cookie-cutter formula for responding to Republican electoral victories in the Trump era. This drive-by commentary misses the weedsy, multi-layered nature of the Loudoun County mess. Some of the parents I interviewed last night, for instance, didn’t agree with Tanner Cross, the Christian gym teacher who spoke out at a school board meeting this past May, saying his religion would prevent him from complying with a proposed transgender policy requiring the use of preferred pronouns. “I’m a teacher, but I serve God first,” he said. However, some were still furious that Cross was suspended after his speech, essentially for violating a rule not yet put in place.
I met people who didn’t care about “Critical Race Theory,” if they even knew what it was, but were still offended by the existence of a closed Facebook group — the “Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County” — that contains six school board members and apparently compiled a list of parents deemed insufficiently supportive of “racial equity efforts.” Still others were troubled by a controversy involving the process by which an outside consultancy called the Equity Collaborative came to be hired, at a cost of roughly $500,000, to conduct an “equity assessment” based on a report of racial insensitivity at one school.
There is a version of that latter story that is almost too comical to be believed — one reason I have to go back is to nail down those particulars — but it’s undeniable there are Loudoun County parents, many of whom are high-powered professionals working at banks or white shoe law firms, who initially smelled a rat on the finance side and only later worried about the politics.
Also complicating the “Lee Atwater” narrative is the role of Asian and South Asian parents in yesterday’s results. “A lot of immigrant families came here specifically for the school system,” is how one Indian-American parent put it to me Tuesday. “When you start messing with that, and say, we don't have a say, that’s when people who’ve always voted Democratic will flip on them.” Reporting about Asian and South Asian families upset about new initiatives to deemphasize admissions criteria like test scores has often been dismissive or caricatured, and that certainly seems to have been the case in Loudoun County, where a significant portion of the people seriously being cast today as dupes answering a dogwhistle are immigrant, minority residents who’ve given Democrats their votes for decades.
One of the biggest stories in electoral politics in the Trump years has been the near-absolute conquest by the Democratic Party of places like Loudoun County, i.e., well-heeled districts with high percentages of college-educated voters. With Trump on the ballot, voting red became all but impossible for residents in these places, not just intellectually and politically, but socially. In certain suburbs, voting Republican while Trump still breathes air is an act that will put you “a notch below child molester” in the community, to use the Woody Allen phrase.
The significance of Youngkin’s win is that it signals Republican competitiveness in those districts again, something that would have been unthinkable even a year ago. These white-collar, highly educated voters, the kind of people who get their shots, don’t watch wrestling, and send their kids to Harvard and Princeton, are the Democratic Party’s base. It took something pretty weird and intense to drive them to defection, and don’t trust anyone who tries to explain it in a tweet. This one really is a long story, and a wild one at that.
DESPITE THIS STRING OF FAILURES, liberal pundits and Democratic leaders will continue to extol the virtues of an ideology they call “centrism.”
That ideology is the product of an arrogant detachment toward the needs of working people and a dependence on corporate and big-donor funds.
Now, these pundits and leaders will probably insist that voters are “angry.” That brings to mind a line John Lennon speaks in the movie Backbeat when someone asks him why he’s so angry. “I’m not angry,” he says, “I’m desperate.”
Millions of voters are desperate, too, and the platitudes of the past won’t sway them anymore.
— Carol Mattessich
UC HASTINGS COLLEGE OF THE LAW SEEKS TO REMOVE GENOCIDAL FOUNDER’S NAME
The University of California Hastings College of the Law will work on removing the name of its founder, who sponsored massacres of Native Americans in the 1850s, the board of directors voted Tuesday.
The vote authorizes one of the nation’s leading law schools to work with state lawmakers and others to change the institution’s name.
Hastings Law School was founded in 1878 by Serranus Clinton Hastings, a wealthy rancher and former chief justice of the California Supreme Court. Its graduates include Vice President Kamala Harris and former California Assemblyman and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
But historians say the school’s founder helped orchestrate and finance campaigns by white settlers in Mendocino County to kill and enslave members of the Yuki Indian tribe at a time when California law had legalized lynch mob attacks on Indians along with kidnapping and forced servitude in what some state leaders openly called a war of extermination.
The expeditions arranged by Hastings resulted in the deaths of 300 Yuki, and the government reimbursed him for expenses, including ammunition.
The attacks were part of a three-year series of slaughters and kidnappings by settlers known as the Round Valley Settler Massacres that by some estimates claimed at least 1,000 Indian lives.
The school began to investigate Hastings’ legacy in 2017 and has been working on “restorative justice” initiatives, including establishing a free legal aid program for the Yuki and other tribes, founding an Indigenous Law Center and creating a campus memorial to the Yuki people.
“That work has raised our awareness of the wrongs committed by the college’s namesake and the ongoing pain they cause, and our decision is that we can no longer associate our great institution with his name,” said Carl Robertson, who chairs the Board of Directors.
“I’m not terribly proud of carrying the Hastings name on my law license. There is no forgiveness in this,” Willie Brown said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle
In 2020, the law school at UC Berkeley stripped itself of a 19th-century namesake who espoused racist views that led to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. John Boalt’s name was removed from a school building after a three-year process.
Joseph Cotchett, a trial lawyer and alumnus who has donated about $10 million to the school, told the Chronicle that if the Hastings name remained, he would pull his name from its newly opened Cotchett Law Center.
“I will do everything in my power as a 55-year alumnus of Hastings to change the name, and to honor the Indian tribes that were massacred and were taken advantage of,” Cotchett said.
However, the Hastings name for the college is enshrined in state law and can’t be changed without first changing the law.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is expected to introduce such legislation, perhaps next week, the Chronicle said.
“Hastings definitely needs a name change,” Wiener said. “The idea that this institution would be named for someone who exterminated Native Americans is untenable. To me, it’s a no-brainer.”
Natasha Medel, a Yuki descendant, thanked the college board on Tuesday for its decision. “I look forward to standing next to you and doing what is right for my people,” she said.
Background: "The Genocidal Namesake Of The Hastings School Of Law" (July 2017)
CORRECTED FINAL REMINDER: Coast Democratic Club Meeting
Please Note: Meeting Thursday, Nov 4 Begins 6 Pm
Due to rain and Covid protocol we will forgo outdoor Social Time: originally scheduled for 5:30 PM
Jughandle Farm Meeting Room
Bring Proof of Vaccination and Wear a Mask
Dress warmly: Doors will be open for ventilation
Seating will be socially distanced
Our Mission Is To Elect Progressive Democrats
Let's Get To Work!
What local races interest you?
Join the conversation including Club Members
Dan Gjerde, Supervisor District 4 and Ted Williams, Supervisor District 5
LOCAL RACES: All County elected officials with terms ending December 2023
Candidate Filing Period: February 14 - March 11, 2022
Primary Election Day: June 7, 2022
Board of Supervisors District 5 - Incumbent Ted Williams
Fort Bragg City Council - 4 Incumbent Seats
Healthcare District Board - 3 Incumbent Seats
Sheriff - Appointed Incumbent Matt Kendall
District Attorney - Incumbent C. David Eyster
Auditor - Vacant
Superintendent of Schools - Incumbent MIchelle Hutchins
Hold The House/ Hold The Senate
California Congressional Districts
Jughandle Farm Driveway is across from the North Caspar entrance on Highway 1
From the South it is the next driveway after Fortunate Farm; at the STOP sign, turn left to the meeting room in the green building and park in the field.
‘BIDEN STOPS RELEASE OF JFK PAPERS’ ON KMUD
"Heroes and Patriots Radio" returns to KMUD on Thursday, November 4, at 9 am, Pacific Time. Our guest is Jefferson Morley. Our cohosts are John Sakowicz and Mary Massey.
Jefferson Morley's latest book, THE GHOST: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton is "the best book ever written about the strangest CIA chief whoever lived," says New York Times best-selling author Tim Weiner. Morley is an investigative reporter and author in Washington DC who has worked as an editor and writer for the Washington Post, Salon, The New Republic, Arms Control Today, and AlterNet
Morley is editor of the blog JFK Facts. He is also editor of The Deep States website. His books include The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster, James Jesus Angleton and the forthcoming Scorpions Dance: The President, the Spymaster, and Watergate.
Files relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy were supposed to be released last Tuesday, but late last Friday, in a Friday news dump, President Biden stopped the release and issued a statement: “Temporary continued postponement is necessary to protect against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations that is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure.”
Morley said last week: “People are wondering if there’s a smoking gun in the files. The failure to abide by the law is the smoking gun. Biden has delayed it, as Trump did. There’s no reason they won’t delay it more. You have to hand it to the CIA. Since the day the president was assassinated, they have engaged in decades and decades of deception and delay.”
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