REVISING LONG HELD ASSUMPTIONS, judicial division: Only two Ukiah sites have been considered for the proposed new County Courthouse, one of which, the library site, has been found not doable. That leaves the depot site on West Perkins opposite the Adventist Hospital complex on about a ten-acre parcel mostly owned by the defunct railroad and private parties. Initially, a large parcel north and east of Ukiah's crumbling downtown was briefly in the mix as a proposed location for a new Courthouse. It was never a contender.
IF A NEW COURTHOUSE should be built, it will rise where the old train depot now rests on the south side of West Perkins. We are informed that negotiations between the state and the owners of the depot parcel are underway, although the new Courthouse has not been finally authorized for construction and may not ever be authorized if, as is likely, the state budget continues to contract.
WHEN AND IF the Courthouse is built, it will not include County offices presently housed along with the courts in the existing Courthouse. The DA, the Public Defender, and the old court records archive, to name three County functions, will either remain in the old Courthouse or be housed in privately owned buildings expected to appear on land surrounding the new Courthouse, meaning that the County would be leasing private space that the County does not presently have to lease because several County functions are presently housed in the County-owned Courthouse.
WHY DOES MENDOCINO COUNTY have so many judges? Because social collapse has meant a quantum increase in the number of citizens turning to drugs and alcohol for solace and crime for income, not to mention small claims actions and, of course, a big increase in people who annually get married and divorced. A large percentage of Mendocino County's 90,000 people run afoul of the law, many of them repeatedly, and another large number are in and out of the courts on civil matters, the American population having become litigious, running to court to settle beefs that adults of yesteryear sorted out themselves outside the legal system.
WHEN THE COUNTY supported two superior court judges, Broaddus and O'Brien, these two crotchety old boys could handle the relatively low volume of pre-collapse crime by themselves, and they didn't have to monkey around with a lot of the publicly-funded handholding you see in courtrooms today. When the collapse began in 1967, and reached the deluge proportions in the middle 1970s that continues to this day, a third superior court was added presided over by James King of Willits. Then, the lawyers controlling the state legislature upgraded all the County's courts to superior court status, resulting in the elevation of a bunch of jive hippies to superior court status with the Sun King-quality pay and fringes commanded by superior court judges. The hippies had been functioning as part-time judges in the County's outback justice courts in Covelo, Laytonville, Point Arena, and Boonville, their off-hours occupied in stoned grab ass up in the hills. That made seven superior court judges for Mendocino County and a total of ten when the full time Muni Court judges at Willits, Fort Bragg and Ukiah also became superior court-qualified. So, in 2012, we have a lot of judges, many of them retired but still sitting around the state as fill-in judges, more judges for a population our size than anywhere in the state, maybe in the country.
SKEPTICS can be excused for thinking this story is missing most of its facts: The Sheriff's Office reported that “on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at approximately 1:20am deputies were summoned to the area of Eel River Road and Ridgeway Highway in Potter Valley where a man said he'd shot himself in the foot. Nicholas Andrew Noel, 32, said he had been camping in the bushes about ten miles up the Deshield Ranch Road from Eel River Road, but could not describe the exact location. Noel advised there was a bear in the area, so he grabbed his shotgun and was looking for the bear when he accidentally shot himself in the right foot. Noel said he immediately applied his belt as a tourniquet to his leg to stop the bleeding. Noel said he got a ride from two unknown persons who happened to be driving by his location in a vehicle he could not describe. He was subsequently dropped off at the intersection where deputies located him. The two unknown persons then drove to a residence on Van Arsdale Road and used the resident's phone to call 911. The two unknown subjects then left the area. Noel was transported to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center for treatment to his non-life-threatening injury.”
THREE FEMALE MAN BEATERS triple team one Westport male then battle responding deputies: Sunday night at about 11pm, deputies were summoned to a domestic dispute in the area of the Westport Hotel, soon amended to 24590 Seaview Drive, Westport, where a man, not identified, said he had been assaulted by Cicely Kishbaugh, 27.
Miss Kishbaugh and her alleged victim were, the cops determined, “cohabitating partners who had engaged in a verbal argument that escalated into Kishbaugh physically assaulting the victim. After speaking to all involved parties, deputies went to place Kishbaugh under arrest and she immediately resisted and physically assaulted the deputies. During this time, two other suspects identified as Alexandra Freeman, 25, of Fort Bragg, and Shari (Elizabeth) Marchesi, 51, of Eureka, began to interfere and engaged and physically assaulted the deputies." The three warrior women were arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail. One of the deputies was later treated at the Mendocino Coast District Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained as a result of the melee.
TWO SHARP EARTHQUAKE jolts were delivered to Boonville at 8:15 Tuesday morning. At work high atop the Farrer Building in the center of town, I headed for the door to seek confirmation from Torrey Douglas down the hall that the one-two punch that had caused our hundred-year-old structure a serious shudder came from an earthquake, and not some other apocalyptic source. Earthquake confirmation was quickly forthcoming from the Sheriff's Office. They said they'd felt it, too, and officially the quakes measured 4.5 and 2.5, with their epicenter two to three miles northeast of Lake Mendocino.
CALIFORNIA'S STATEWIDE GRANGE convention will be held in Willits next month. It should be a hot one, so hot a Granger says the beefs amount to an internal “civil war.” What exactly these beeves are remains a mystery to us outsiders. But Bob McFarland, President of the California State Grange, put it this way in a recent press release: “On Monday, September 17 the Master of the National Grange suspended the charter of the California State Grange for a period of six months or until the California State Grange can be returned to working order.” Three days before, charges were filed against the National Master by ten past and present California State Grange officers and 19 individual California subordinate Granges for his alleged abuse of authority. The California State Grange will continue to operate as a nonprofit corporation, as required by the laws of the State of California. The elected leadership of the California State Grange will continue to serve and manage the affairs of our organization. The annual meeting of the California State Grange will take place, as scheduled, beginning October 10 at the Little Lake Grange in Willits, California. For more information visit: http://www.californiagrange.org/convention/index.html. During this suspension, efforts will be made to resolve the issues between the National Grange and California State Grange. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call. (916) 454-5805. Faithfully, Bob McFarland, President, California State Grange.”
ON THURSDAY, October 4, Republican US Senate Candidate Elizabeth Emken will be coming to Fort Bragg to meet Mendocino County voters. She will eat lunch at the Cliff House Restaurant, noon-1:30pm. Following lunch, Ms. Emken, hosted by the indefatigable Stan Anderson, Republican warrior in a county teeming with Obamaniacs, will have about two hours to meet with the local news media. Info at 707 321-2592.
BILL BRADD READS at Andrea Luna on First Friday October 5 at 6pm. Bradd, Poet Laureate of the Ten Mile River, is reading from his work Notebooks From the Emerald Triangle, at the opening of Piece Work at Andrea Luna, 107 Laurel St. in Fort Bragg. Piece Work, a collaboration between poet Bradd, and artist-designer Luna brings words into the gallery/boutique, which features art & fashion: spoken word, words on the walls and an added tag with a piece by Bradd and other local poets on each piece of clothing being shown. A shop owner downtown since 1997, Andrea Luna says: “In difficult times, Art nourishes the Spirit. I am committed to exploring creative and innovative ways to expand the Art scene in Fort Bragg.” The first Friday poetry reading and opening is from 5 to 7. Contact: Andrea Luna, email@example.com, 707-972-4494
COASTAL CREATIONS BRUNCH: Saturday, October 13, 10:30am, at Gualala Arts. After the Gualala River Run, stay for the Coastal Creations Brunch, presentation of trophies by Sheriff Tom Allman, and buy a chance to win an I-Pad in an incredible raffle on Saturday, October 13, beginning at 10:30 am at Gualala Arts. This feast, open to everyone, is aimed at rewarding runners, walkers and community members for their support, and features vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals by local chefs, Roxanne Claflin and Kim Ghezzi. Costs for registered adult runners and walkers is $7.50, and children under 10, $3.50. Cost for non-registered adult diners, for the Brunch only, is $10, and $5 for children 10 and under. Purchase meals, with check or cash only, on the day of the Brunch. For more information, call Action Network at 884-5413.