Low Pressure | Missing Michael | Concert Cancelled | Lost Dog | Leroy Lowery | Lunar Eclipse | M Endorsers | Homebrew Festival | Artshow Opening | Wildflower Show | Fog Works | Maintain Parks | Ferrill Store | Skunk Appeals | Ukiah Protestors | Ed Notes | Ukraine | Rollerville Waterwheel | Water Curtailments | Comptche Pastoral | Sinister California | Noyo Harbormaster | Elect Glentzer | Libertarians | Yard Sale | Yesterday's Catch | Garcia Mill | Serendipity | Starving Babies | Microbusiness Grants | Souvenir Edition | Trust | Water Rules | Western Landscape | Reunion | Bay/Breakers | Sinking Ship | Insane Society
LOW PRESSURE tracking toward the Pacific Northwest will bring some drizzle as far south as Cape Mendocino today, but any steadier light rain will be found near and north of Del Norte County. Coastal clouds will linger this weekend while the interior sees sunny skies and warming temperatures. High pressure will allow for mainly dry weather this weekend into early next week. (NWS)
UPDATE: MAY BE HEADING TO SANTA ROSA
Michael has been missing since 730am 5/10. He is only 15 years old! Last we have heard he made it to Ukiah and some of his friends said he may try to head to santa rosa. Some one is keeping him in there home and possibly driving him around. I have no idea who the person is but they don't have my permission to have him. I love my kid with all of my heart but i am not doing him any favors by denying the things he is capable of. He is a great kid but he is extremely lost and he needs help. He is a sweet kid most of the time but he can also turn on a dime. He will steal from you if given the opportunity. Mike is a danger to both himself and others. Please don't let him convince you to house him. He has manipulated multiple people into giving him rides and hiding him out. At this point any adult found harboring him could find themselves in serious legal trouble! He needs to be found so I can get him some help. If you have nothing nice or helpful to say then please just say nothing at all. I'm a good mom and I love my kids and I am doing the very best I can. I don't need a bunch of criticism on top of the hell I'm already going through.
CONCERT CANCELLED: Le Vent du Nord grounded in Quebec
This is the news we hate to deliver: Ukiah Community Concert's Sunday grand finale with Le Vent du Nord has been canceled because two of the band members tested positive for Covid and the group is not able to fly from Quebec to California.
If you already purchased a ticket through Mendocino Book Company, Mazahar, or Brown Paper Tickets on our website, you will be refunded by our Treasurer, Marilyn Simpson (707-489-4007).
Please call Susanna Janssen at the UCCA with any questions or for further information: 707-463-2738. Be well and we will keep you posted!
LOST DOG seen at Yorkville Cellars. I tried to approach the dog, it ran away from me towards Hulbert Lane.
DR. LEROY RAMSEY LOWERY
Dr. Leroy Ramsey Lowery was born on April 12, 1930, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to LeRoy and Mary (Ramsey) Lowery. He passed away on May 5, 2022, in Ukiah, where he resided for 42 years. He was 92 years old.
Lee graduated from Sacramento State College in 1952 and later received a doctorate degree in Education from U.C. Berkeley. His whole career was in education as a public school teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent for Rio Linda Union School District. He was also an assistant chancellor for West Valley College in Saratoga, California and president of Mendocino College in Ukiah, from which he retired. A highlight of his professional career was being the Consultant to the Senate Education Committee for the state of California. After retirement, he served on and chaired the City of Ukiah Master Plan Committee, played golf, teaching it to his grandchildren, enjoyed Bay Area sports teams, especially the SF Giants, and welcomed numerous grand and great-grandchildren. In 2000, after the passing of his first wife, Ione Field Lowery, he married Ruth Pixley, of Ukiah, and treasured her and her family for 22 years. He was truly blessed with such loving and caring family members.
Lee is survived by his daughters Jill Dacanay and son-in-law William of San Jose, Linda Sue Anderson, and Kim Kesler and son-in-law David of Ukiah. His grandchildren are Leah and Steve Mendoza, Cody Max, Blake Kesler, Taylor Kesler, Robert Dacanay, and Christie and Charles Brown. Great grandchildren are Steve and Andria Mendoza, John and Kristen Mendoza, Travis Mendoza, Myles Mendoza, Tanner Mendoza, Marshall Max, Clayton Max, Cecily, Carmelo, and Cedric Brown. He has six great-great-grandchildren. Grandpa will be missed and fondly remembered by his family.
Arrangements are under the direction of Eversole Mortuary.
MEASURE M ENDORSERS
The Measure M (AV School Facilities Bond) Committee is proud to thank the following citizens for their endorsement of Measure M and appreciates their commitment to AV schools with a Yes vote on Measure M:
Donna Pierson Pugh, Retired School Principal
Richard “Dick” Browning, Retired School Administrator and Board Member
Philip Thomas, Retired Teacher and Senior Center Treasurer
Michael “Flick” MacDonald, Retired Teacher and Coach
Jim Boudoures, Philo Saw Works
Pilar Echeverria, Business Owner
Robert Pinoli, AVHS Retired Teacher/Athletic Director
Current Commissioner Coastal Mountain Conference
Melinda Ellis, Business Owner
Ric Bonner, Anderson Valley Health Center Board President
JR Collins, Retired Superintendent
Dr. Leah Collins, Anderson Valley Health Center
Star White, Parent
Kathy Cox, Retired Teacher
Deborah Cahn Bennett and Ted Bennett, Navarro Vineyards/Pennyroyal Farms
Sarah Bennett, Navarro Vineyards/Pennyroyal Farms
Aaron Bennett, Parent Co-Owner Navarro Vineyards/Pennyroyal Farms
Kathleen Bennett, Human Resources Navarro Vineyards/Pennyroyal Farms
Aaron Wellington, Parent
Erika Damian, Parent
Veronica Barragan, Public Employee
Linnea Totten, Retired Teacher
Robert Day Retired Contractor
Emilia Theobald, Teacher
Bruce and Ling Anderson
Elizabeth and Wallen Summers
Ricardo and Francisca Suarez
Evette La Paille-Thomas
Claire Walker English
Gwyn Leeman Smith
Evan Marie Petit
Ana Maria Guerrero
May Ann Grzenda
Mary Pat Palmer
Gabriela Lena Frank
Daniel P. Horton
Dawn Emery Ballantine
— Yes On Measure M Committee
HOMEBREW FESTIVAL AND WILDFIRE SAFETY EXPO COMING MAY 21
Mark your calendar for a fun and educational dual-purpose event!
Ready for some fun that’s both light-hearted and informative? The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council (MCFSC) invites you to experience the Homebrew Festival and Wildfire Safety Expo at the outdoor beer park at Anderson Valley Brewing Company in Boonville from 3–6 pm on Saturday, May 21.
Homebrewers of beers, ciders, meads, and other fermented beverages from around Northern California will be competing to win the People’s Choice and/or Brewer’s Choice awards. In addition to dozens of local homebrews there will be raffles, food from Slam Dunk Pizza and Fairall Farm’s Little Blue Food Wagon available for purchase, and live music courtesy of the Back Porch Trio.
“We are calling it the fourth MOSTLY annual Homebrew Festival because we had to take two years off due to Covid,” explains MCFSC Executive Director Scott Cratty. “Hopefully this is a triumphant return and we can keep doing it for many years to come.”
Adults 21 and over may purchase a Homebrew Festival ticket that grants them unlimited tastings of the dozens of homebrews on offer. General admission is $35 in advance or $40 at the door, and "Very Important Taster" early access tickets cost $60 in advance or $70 at the door.
A separate tasting and judging will be conducted for the Brewers’ Choice award led by Fal Allen of Anderson Valley Brewing Company, and also includes special guest judge Assemblymember Jim Wood. One grand-prize beer will be selected to be commercially brewed by AVBC itself, giving the winning brewer not only bragging rights but also the opportunity to assist on brew day, learn about scaling their recipe for larger batch sizes, and see it produced using a commercial brew system. Event sponsors Ukiah Brewing Company, Hopland Taphouse, and Northspur Brewing in Willits will host pint nights with the winning brew.
Proceeds from this event will support MCFSC’s mission to inform, empower, and mobilize county residents to survive and thrive in a wildfire-prone environment.
The Brewfest is accompanied by a free Wildfire Safety Expo, with dozens of information and service providers in attendance plus live fire demonstrations, kids’ activities, and tips and swag for keeping yourself and your family safe and prepared for wildfires. Attendees will get a chance to order a reflective address sign, pet some grazing goats, and speak with and learn from local neighborhood Fire Safe Councils, fire departments and other first responders, local public and private organizations, and firewise service providers offering professional help in getting you and your home as safe and prepared as possible.
The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council is also offering a short quiz contest on wildfire safety. The quiz and all of the answers can be found on the MCFSC website (firesafemendocino.org), and all participants will be placed in a drawing for valuable readiness-related prizes including a potentially life-saving professional home risk assessment, gift certificates to local suppliers, and a fully-stocked emergency go-bag for four.
More information about both events may be found at mendohomebrewfest.com.
SUCCESSFUL RETURN OF WILDFLOWER SHOW
After a hiatus of two years, the Anderson Valley Wildflower Show resumed at the County Fairgrounds April 30-May 1. Many AV Unity Club and community members came together with tremendous energy to make it happen. The public was extremely supportive and appreciative of the event. We would like to thank everyone who made the 2022 Wildflower Show such a success.
The Sanhedrin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society returned this year with books and posters to offer and was kept busy with many visitors’ questions. Also joining us this year on Saturday was an information table from Hendy Woods.
Thank you to Anderson Valley Jr/Sr High School’s art instructor, Nadia Berrigan, whose students exhibited beautiful watercolor wildflower paintings. Unity Garden Section members selected by vote three artists to receive $50 youth development awards.
An invasive plant table with specimens, pictures and information regarding the damage these plants cause to native species provided a necessary counterpoint.
A special thank you to our Publicity Head for gathering items for the Silent Auction from businesses up and down the Valley, in addition to our members who provided gifts. Their generosity resulted in the largest contribution to the Unity Garden Section Scholarship Fund in its history.
Many thanks to the following business contributors: The Bewildered Pig, Bee Hunter Wine, Farmhouse Mercantile, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, Roederer Estate, Domaine Anderson Winery, Philo Ridge Vineyards, DragonFly Designs, Wickson Restaurant, Anderson Valley Farm Supply, Pennyroyal Farm, California Native Plant Society, Lauren's, Anderson Valley Brewing Company, The Pot Shop, Brashley Vineyards, Twomey, Navarro Vineyards & Winery, John Hanes Gallery, The Company Kitchen, Weatherborne Wine Corp., Scharffenberger Cellars, Boont Berry Farm, Disco Ranch, Rossi's, Northwest Tire & Oil Company, Gowan's Fruit Stand, Mosswood Market, Lula Cellars, Anderson Valley Market, Lemon's Market, The Rock Stop, and Foursight Wines.
A big thank you to Deleh Pasewalk and her helpers from the Teen Center for the especially delicious food available in the tearoom.
We also wish to thank the following people who helped our club members with collections, identification, plant donations, set-up, or cleanup: Jade Paget-Seekins, Lynn Halpern, Caleigh Lennerth, Hans Hickenlooper, Kristy Hotchkiss, Scott Hulbert, Sarah McCarter, Ric Bonner, Anita Soost, and Angela DeWitt.
Thank you to Becky Johnston and the Fairgrounds staff for all their help, as well as to Robert Rosen, the Anderson Valley Brewing Company and the AV Methodist Church for allowing us to place our advertising banners on their respective fences.
We extend an invitation to community members to join us in next year’s Wildflower Show adventure. Contributors with new ideas can only help improve this unique event. Additional collectors knowledgeable or interested in identifying plants are especially welcome.
Please email Jean Condon or Mary Ann Grzenda at email@example.com if you are interested.
Anderson Valley Wildflower Show Committee
PS. The Anderson Valley Unity Club Garden Section is proud to announce the winners of three $50 youth development awards to outstanding art students from Nadia Beringer’s art classes at Anderson Valley Jr/Sr High School. The awards were in conjunction with the annual Wildflower Show held at the Fairgrounds April 30-May 1. Fifteen students submitted beautiful watercolor paintings for the exhibition. Kellie Crisman, Gibelli Guerrero, and Miranda Mendoza are the three winners.
There is a wonderful relationship between Anderson Valley schools and the Unity Club. Blanche Brown, teacher at the one-room Peachland School, began the show as a project with her students in 1926. The Unity Club took on the responsibility of the show in the late 1950s. We have encouraged student participation for many years. Their paintings, photographs and other art work have joined hundreds of flower species on display in June Hall. On the Monday after the show, students and their teachers enjoy the specimens and work on class assignments related to botany.
Most of the funds raised by the Unity Club throughout the year are given to graduating seniors as scholarships. One award is specifically given by the Garden Section to a student who has an interest in the natural environment.
Congratulations to Kellie, Miranda and Gibelli.
Jean Condon and Mary Ann Grzenda, Co-Chairs
Anderson Valley Wildflower Show
PARKS ARE GOOD
Parks Are Where Communities Happen
I fell in love with parks because of my two kids. They would use the slides and swings while I talked to other parents. A few years later, I was the community leader who obtained a state grant to build the Los Alamitos Creek Trail, a linear park. On any given day you would see bicyclists, joggers, walkers, rollerbladers and even people in wheel chairs. Parks are where communities happen.
This past Saturday I visited Bower Park, a County Park in Gualala, with Vicki Williams and a local park advocate. It's an amazing place with so much to offer! Except that it is mostly unusable due to years of neglect by the County. Did you know only $600,000 has been budgeted for museums and six parks. That the current budget approved by the Board of Supervisors has $0 allocated toward park maintenance? And did you know there is not one employee dedicated to parks?
Everywhere I have lived, parks are a low priority and take a back seat to flashier, often wasteful ones. Not funding parks adequately is wrong-headed and a detriment to our sense of community, so much of which was lost during covid.
What is needed, urgently in my opinion, is a sustained effort to undo years of neglect and that means enough funding to work off a large backlog of park maintenance projects. Set an ambitious goal of completing those over the next 2-3 years.
It will be money and time well spent because parks are where community happens.
Candidate for Board of Supervisors
MENDOCINO RAILWAY TO APPEAL COURT’S RULING
by Megan Wutzke
On Thursday, April 28, Mendocino County Superior Court rejected Mendocino Railway’s request to dismiss the City’s lawsuit. In response, Mendocino Railway announced that it has suspended most of its plans to redevelop the Pudding Creek Mill Site.
In June of 2019, Mendocino Railways bought 77 acres of the northern portion of the Mill Site from GP, and on August 11, 2021, they sued GP for eminent domain of the Mill Site. However, on October 28 the City filed a complaint in Mendocino County Superior Court, arguing that the railway should no longer be considered a public utility, as it is only an excursion train.
In response, on January 14, Mendocino Railway submitted a demurrer requesting a dismissal of the case. In their request, they claimed that the City had no jurisdiction to file a complaint, as the Skunk Train is a public utility. Therefore, it is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission and by federal laws.
However, on April 28, Judge Clayton Brennan dismissed the demurrer, stating that Mendocino Railway’s argument is “overbroad.” He also says “Mendocino Railway has already been the subject of a CPUC judicial determination”, referencing a similar 2004 case with another Mendocino Railway train, the Napa Valley Wine Train. As such, the City’s lawsuit can continue.
According to Mendocino Railway’s press release from May 5, the ruling is being appealed.
The press release also stated Mendocino Railway’s new focus on securing funding to reopen the tunnel between Willits and Fort Bragg, and to remediate the Mill Site. The Mill Site requires extensive environmental restoration from its history as a lumber mill. The plans outlined in the “Little Stinker” newsletter, released in November 2021, have been suspended. Mendocino Railway President Robert Pinoli explains the lot will remain empty for the foreseeable future.
“The City Council’s baseless and hostile actions against Mendocino Railway have made it clear that they oppose any development of the property and that the property is likely to remain vacant and of no benefit to our community for another 20 years, or at least as long as this City Council remains in place,” Pinoli said.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
MICHELLE HUTCHINS, incumbent Superintendent of the Mendocino County Schools, has been on the receiving end of the nastiest secret slander campaign I've seen in the fifty years I've lived in Boonville. This letter is typical:
“The ballots are here. At this time, I have only one important recommendation. I’ve received a number of comments about the job Michelle Hutchins (county Ed Sup) is doing. None good. I’m happy to provide more information privately, but for now my recommendation is a vote for Nicole Glentzer for County Superintendent of Schools.”Ginny Rorby
Dear Ms. Rorby:
What have you heard about incumbent superintendent Hutchins?
IMO she's the victim of the most malicious secret slander campaign I've seen in my fifty years in Mendocino County.
Best to you,Bruce Anderson, AVA
Bruce, without saying who this came from, this is one several the reports I've received. For my part, Nicole is endorsed by Becky Walker, FBUSD superintendent, whom we all know and admire here on the Coast.
"What I've witnessed and heard from trusted sources, Michelle Hutchins (current County of Ed Supt.) is not an effective leader, but more importantly, she is vindictive and unprofessional. If you disagree with her, you become her enemy, and the school(s) you represent suffer for it. I've seen it happen repeatedly. Kids do not come first for her, and her ego is her driving force.
I first heard about Michelle from my doctor in the Bay Area whose daughter works as a teacher in Anderson Valley, where Michelle was Superintendent. She told me how awful Michelle was at her job, and that she was dishonest and vindictive.
I first met Michelle at a League of Women Voters campaign workshop. Michelle told those of us mounting our first campaign, that what she did in her campaign was concentrate all of her campaigning inland, primarily in Willits and Ukiah, where nobody knew her and likely didn't know about her troubles in Anderson Valley.
That being said, I don't know Michelle's opponent, Nicole Glentzer, only that she is the assistant superintendent of Ukiah Unified, and she comes highly recommended by the Ukiah Unified Superintendent, Deb Kubo, whom I do know and have great respect for."Ginny Rorby
All pretty vague, Ms. R but thank you for replying. As a resident of AV I watched Ms. Hutchins at work here and I've got to say I think, and our school board thought, she did a good job but was disliked by a handful of elementary staff who continue to malign her. Anyway, best to you and thank you again for responding.Bruce Anderson
THE HUTCHINS campaign reports that all Hutchins' campaign signs on the Coast have been stolen. Never seen anything like this in Mendocino County, and the persons doing this are "educating" your children.
THANK the gods of justice and fair play that important people are ignoring the secret slander campaign against Michele Hutchins mounted by the management of Ukiah Unified and retired superintendent Paul Tichinin operating out of Fort Bragg:
DA EYSTER: "I am joining former Sheriff Tom Allman in endorsing Michelle Hutchins' re-election" David Eyster, Mendocino County District Attorney.
DR. MARVIN TROTTER: "I enthusiastically support Supt. Hutchins for re-election. We have MULTIPLE problems in our society. They can all be improved with the best education possible for our children. ESPECIALLY in elementary school. Supt. Hutchins has the intelligence, experience, common sense, and commitment to make improvements in our children's education. PLEASE join me in Re-Electing Supt. Hutchins — Sincerely, Marvin Trotter, MD”
LONG SHOT CANDIDATE for 5th District supervisor, John Redding, has posted vote-for-me signs here and there the length of the Anderson Valley. So far, not a roadside sign of incumbent Ted Williams.
THE LATE JUDY PRUDEN was the last person to really, really love Ukiah, love of the civic type defined here as a dogged person so devoted to the place where she lives that she appears at every public meeting, serves on all sorts of commissions, constantly writes letters to the editor alerting her fellow citizens to this or that planning or building atrocity. She fought valiantly and uphill all her days.
I WAS REMINDED of the formidable Ms. Pruden when I stopped to use the public bathroom in Ukiah's dungeon-like convention center, the only reason for visiting that grim space except for the cheery gift shop at the School Street entrance. The bathrooms are still closed for no apparent reason, as are the offices of our alleged state reps, Wood and McGuire, their empty offices a kind of tangible metaphor for the utter vacuity of the vacuous pair.
BUT THE UKIAH CAVES do have a large magazine rack where I scooped up a nifty little booklet called “Ukiah's Unique Urban Forest, An Interpretive, Self-Guided Tour of Ukiah's Trees, Parks, and Public Places” by Judy Pruden. In a mere twenty pages, Ms. Pruden manages to include a lot of interesting info, merging items of the town's history with photos and the lineages of the trees she finds unique, or at least worth mentioning. Highly recommended.
AS WE KNOW, Ukiah, Judy Pruden notwithstanding, has marched steadily backwards, beginning in the middle of the 19th century as so purely savage that it and the rest of the murder-drenched county was administered out of Santa Rosa, then became by the 1920s a coherent, pretty little tree-lined town and then to the unplanned horrors we see today as expressed in the entire length of State Street.
UKRAINE, THURSDAY, MAY 12
As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:
Finland announced that it wants to join NATO. Russia's invasion of Ukraine prompted the country, which shares an 830-mile border with Russia, to shift from its long history of neutrality and military nonalignment. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called Finland's entry into NATO a threat to Russia. In a recent poll, nearly three-quarters of Finns supported joining the military alliance. Finland is already a member of the European Union and has been a NATO partner since 1994.
Siemens is leaving Russia after nearly 170 years. The German industrial giant put all new business and international deliveries in Russia and Belarus on hold at the start of the war. Now it says it will exit the Russian market entirely, calling the decision a direct consequence of Russia's war in Ukraine. Siemens employs some 3,000 people in Russia, according to Reuters. Most of its business there involves service work on high-speed trains.
The Russian-installed government in the Ukrainian port city of Kherson will ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to annex the area, according to Russian state media. It's the latest evidence that Russia wants to claim more territory in Ukraine. In response, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser in the Ukrainian president's office, vowed: "The Ukrainian army will liberate Kherson."
The U.N. Human Rights Council voted in a special session to investigate possible rights abuses in northern Ukraine. China and Eritrea voted against the resolution. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet referred to "egregious human rights violations that have occurred" in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions. The U.N. suspended Russia from its top human rights body last month.
RESTRICTIONS EXPECTED AS EARLY AS JUNE FOR RUSSIAN RIVER WATER USERS As Drought Spurs New Regulatory Approach
by Mary Callahan
State water regulators could begin suspending water rights in the Russian River watershed as early as next month as the drought extends into a third summer, intensifying water conservation needs in the region.
But curtailments are likely to affect fewer water diverters this year than last, when dangerously low reservoir levels forced state officials to freeze water rights for more than 1,800 landowners, water districts and municipalities to ensure minimal supplies remained in the two main reservoirs, especially Lake Mendocino, through fall.
The luxury of time has allowed this year’s plans to reflect a more refined, nuanced approach to cutbacks, based in part on public input, water regulators say. Their goal: to sustain base stream flows and stored supplies in a river system that is the lifeline for rural residents, farms and city dwellers in Mendocino and Sonoma counties.
That is no easy task this year, which began with three months that were the driest for any such winter period on record.
Lake Sonoma, the region’s largest reservoir, is at 58% of its seasonal capacity, lower than it was a year ago at this time.
Water regulators are optimistic a voluntary sharing agreement among those who pull supplies directly from the Russian River and some tributaries could stave off some pain.
If enough people participate, it would allow those with older, “senior” water rights to share their allotments with junior water right holders who otherwise would have their surface water diversions reduced or halted entirely, as happened on an unprecedented scale last year.
“The water rights priority system normally is all or nothing — you can use your water right or it can’t be used,” Sam Boland-Brien, supervising engineer with the State Water Resources Control Board, said in an interview Wednesday.
A sharing agreement, if broadly joined, “kind of lets everybody get through the drought together,” he said.
A new framework for emergency curtailments, approved unanimously Tuesday by the five-member water board, reserved space for that sharing agreement while also outlining a more precise way to hone cutbacks in the upper river based on differences in hydrology and demand.
A similar methodology was used to determine which of 300 water rights were curtailed in the lower watershed last year. But in the upper river, above the confluence with Dry Creek near Healdsburg, water rights were suspended for all 1,500-plus diverters, including the cities of Cloverdale and Healdsburg, as well as grape growers, farmers and water districts.
Mendocino County Farm Bureau Executive Director Devon Boer was among those applauding the move Tuesday, calling it “a huge leap forward.”
Mendocino County landowners, who represented a large share of the users affected by last year’s crackdown, were grateful “looking at the draft regulation this year that geography wasn’t used as a (lone) curtailment guideline, especially for the upper reaches,” she told the water board.
The finalized regulation comes as the region — indeed, all of California — faces a third year of abnormally low rainfall, with each successive year compounding parched landscape conditions and pressure on already strained groundwater resources, a key supply in times of drought.
Where Does the Water Go?
Water from the Russian River and its tributaries irrigates vineyards, food crops and pasture, while serving as a main source of drinking water for cities stretching from Ukiah in Mendocino County to Novato in northern Marin County. Sonoma Water, the region’s main wholesaler, distributes its supplies to more than 600,000 residents in Sonoma and Marin counties from riverside pumps near Forestville, downstream of Lake Sonoma.
Even more complicated is the system of water rights that dictates who gets to take water. It dates back more than a century, to an era before the onslaught of human-caused climate change and the more severe and persistent droughts already occurring as a result. The difficult decisions before regulators, who must determine that there’s enough water for some people and not for others, are tense endeavors, with serious economic impacts.
But when there is no natural flow in the river — only what’s released from Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma to sustain imperiled fish populations and recreational use — water rights holders no longer have the same rights. They can see their diversions reduced to 55 gallons per person per day for human health and safety needs.
The timing and extent of curtailments this year have been hard to predict and remain unclear in large part because of uncertainty about the status of inflows from the Eel River, a key supplemental source for the Russian River. The two systems are connected via a 114-year-old power plant in Mendocino County’s Potter Valley that PG&E is seeking to relinquish.
That water, which runs into a fork of the upper Russian River, feeding Lake Mendocino, is flowing at a comparably high rate, thanks to heavy October rains that raised the level of an upstream reservoir at the beginning of the water year, Boland-Brien said in an interview.
But PG&E has in recent years sought permission from federal energy regulators to lower the rate in order to meet its obligations to safeguard federally protected fish, and it is so far unclear if a request will be made this year and what it will include, Boland-Brien said. That call could have significant implications for how much water is available to users in the Russian River watershed.
The Eel River water is especially critical for farms, ranches, vineyards and thousands of rural residents along the upper river, in Mendocino County and northern Sonoma County.
The key reservoir for those users, Lake Mendocino, though only at 68% of its seasonal capacity, is in slightly better condition than it was a year ago, when the water level was the lowest ever for spring.
Boland-Brien said Wednesday that the state water board staff had expected to impose curtailments in May, but an April storm and splashes of rainfall since keep easing conditions just enough to forestall the inevitable.
Under the revised regulations, water rights holders will be required to track their status using the online Russian River Watershed Curtailment Status List and to comply with orders delivered there.
Another of this year’s revisions provides additional authority to the state water board staff to curtail diverters in four priority subwatersheds — Green Valley, Dutch Bill, Mark West and Mill creeks, strongholds for imperiled coho salmon and steelhead trout — even in the absence of other curtailments.
Additionally, those afforded the strongest type of water rights, known as riparian rights because their properties touch the river or a creek, will be required this year to provide a 12-month water use plan or default to an allocation based on their average 2017-19 usage.
Also new this year is language in the framework specifying that water obtained under the human health and safety exemption can be used to water outdoor food gardens or domestic livestock.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
CALIFORNIA: A sinister suggestion of transience. There is a quality hostile to men in the very earth and air here. As if we were not meant to make our homes in this oddly enervating sunshine. California will be a desert again. It is all as impermanent and brittle as a reel of film.
— J.B. Priestly
NOYO’S NEW HARBOR MASTER:
Anna Neumann might not be what you’d expect in a Harbor Master. But you’ll be even more amazed to hear about all the incredible things she’s doing to make Noyo Harbor even more fun, safe and sustainable.
PEOPLE LIKE GLENTZER
Letter to the Editor
As a long-time educator in Ukiah, I have had a wonderful experience working with the youth of our community at both Ukiah High School and South Valley. My seven years of being the principal at South Valley have afforded me incredible opportunities to work with district and community leaders. The responsibility of serving all students - especially those in need - is what motivates me to get up each morning with vigor and purpose. People like Nicole Glentzer inspire thousands of others (who work with our youth) never to give up. Our work is hard, taxing, exhausting, and many times traumatic. Nicole Glentzer is one of the most critical people I directly credit for unconditionally supporting my school (and all other schools in our county) at an unparalleled level. We must elect her to the office of County Superintendent of Schools so we can all succeed.
South Valley High School Principal
565 Doolan Canyon Dr.
12 FAMILY ALBION YARD SALE MAY 14TH/15TH 3.25 miles up Albion Ridge Rd. next to Albion Grammar School. 9:00 - 4:00.
I'll be selling Wood working tools, fishing rods and gear, camping equipment and housewares. There Will be furniture, clothes, antiques, garden stuff, kids stuff -- EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN.
No early birds please.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 12, 2022
RICHARD ASHLINE, Ukiah. Criminal threats, parole violation.
FREDDY FUENTIES, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, vandalism, damaging communications device, resisting.
BRADY GOFORTH, Willits. Grand theft, appropriating property for own use without trying to return it, conspiracy.
MOISES MARTINEZ-SANTACRUZ, Philo. Domestic battery.
CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
NATHANIEL STILES, Clearlake/Ukiah. Burglary, conspiracy.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Well I’ll be goddamned.
I was looking around for a bottle opener, reached into a box of rusty tools, found one of those old style devices with the pointy can opener on one end and rounded bottle opener on the other.
Stamped on both sides in fine script:
Brewers since 1860
That’s what I call serendipity.
COVID-19 MICROBUSINESS RELIEF GRANTS NOW AVAILABLE
The Prevention, Recovery, Resiliency, and Mitigation Division (PRRM), in partnership with the Economic Development and Financing Corporation (EDFC), is excited to announce the availability of $2,500 COVID-19 Microbusiness grants.
Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to microbusinesses physically located within Mendocino County. Grant applications are being accepted through June 1, 2022. There will be a brief review period of the applicant’s eligibility and approval will be ongoing throughout the application period with an anticipated time of disbursement of all grant funding to take place by June 30, 2022.
Eligible use of grant funds includes the purchase of new equipment, investment in working capital, application for or renewal of a local permit, payment of business debt incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, and costs resulting from the pandemic health and safety restrictions or business interruptions or closures due to the pandemic.
Priority is being given to microbusinesses operated or owned by a member of a group that has faced historic barriers in accessing capital, including, but not limited to, women, minorities or persons of color, veterans, undocumented individuals, and individuals living in low-wealth or rural areas on low incomes and Microbusinesses that suffered economic impacts or revenue losses due to COVID-19.
To see the full eligibility criteria and to apply for a grant, please visit: https://www.edfc.org/microbusiness-relief-grant-program/. For application support, please contact EDFC at (707) 234-5705 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Assistance in Spanish is available upon request.
IN THE WEST, a man would rather trust another man with his wife than with an acre-foot of his water.
— Bernice Frederick Sisk
FACING SEVERE DROUGHT CONDITIONS, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in July 2021 requesting 15% voluntary reduction in water use statewide. But California residents have so far failed to meet the water savings request, and Newsom has extended a drought emergency to all 58 counties. Local water suppliers are now required to put in place water shortage contingency plans.
Here are some basic state rules to know:
- No watering outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes excess runoff.
- No washing down sidewalks, driveways and other hardscapes.
- No watering outdoor landscapes during or up to 48 hours after measurable rainfall.
- No operating a fountain or decorative water feature unless the water is part of a recirculating system.
- No washing a motor vehicle with a hose unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle.
- No irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians.
- No serving drinking water other than upon request in eating or drinking establishments.
- Hotels and motels must provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily and will display a notice of this option in each bathroom.
WE HAD ACTED upon the western landscape with the force of a geological agent. But aridity still calls the tune, directs our tinkering, prevents the healing of our mistakes; and vast unwatered reaches still emphasize the contrast between the desert and the sown.
— Wallace Stegner
S.F.’S ICONIC BAY TO BREAKERS is run by a southern company whose chairman donated to Marjorie Taylor Greene
Tal Kopan, Rachel Swan
WASHINGTON — The founder and executive chairman of the company that will put on this weekend’s iconic Bay to Breakers footrace in San Francisco has donated money to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who has spread false, bigoted and dangerous information about topics ranging from mass shootings to COVID vaccines to the 2020 election.
Known as much for tutus and chicken costumes as competitive running, the 12-kilometer Bay to Breakers was acquired three years ago by Capstone Event Group, which puts on running races mostly in the Carolinas. The race is taking place on Sunday. Capstone’s board chair is John Kane, a former North Carolina college football player who founded the company after becoming an endurance athlete, according to a profile in Midtown Magazine.
On Wednesday, a Twitter account that describes itself as revealing corporate political donors to ultra-conservative politicians tweeted that Kane had given thousands of dollars to Republicans including Taylor Greene, former President Donald Trump and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.
Federal Election Commission data reviewed by The Chronicle shows that a North Carolina-based John Kane of Capstone Event Group has donated $1,000 or more to several prominent Republicans since 2020, and gave the maximum donation of $2,800 to Trump’s campaign. In 2021, Kane gave $1,000 to Greene, North Carolina Senate candidate Mark Walker and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and $500 to a group supporting Gaetz. The FEC lists no donations for Kane since May of last year. Political donations are public record.
THE SANE SOCIETY?
by Christopher Ketcham
“The fact that millions of people share…so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same mental pathology does not make these people sane.”– Erich Fromm, The Sane Society, 1955
Erich Fromm, a psychoanalyst who escaped Nazi Germany to live in the U.S., looked in vain for sanity among Americans. He pronounced our collective worship of more goods, produced at bigger volume, at faster rates to be a form of regimented mass insanity.
On occasion he could be downright vicious in his views of our insane society, positing that if the robot American – you and me – “dared to articulate” a concept of heaven, it would, “look like the biggest department store in the world, showing new things and gadgets, and himself having plenty of money with which to buy them. He would wander around open-mouthed in this heaven of gadgets and commodities, provided only that there were ever more and newer things to buy.”
But of course: the American Dream.
“Men are increasingly automatons, who make machines which act like men and produce men who act like machines,” he wrote in 1955. “In spite of increasing production and comfort, man loses more and more the sense of self, feels that his life is meaningless, even though such a feeling is largely unconscious. In the nineteenth century the problem was that God is dead; in the twentieth century” – and even more so in the 21st – “the problem is that man is dead.”
What to do?
Fromm’s answer, which then as today has an air of utopian fantasy, was the devolution of mass automated consumerist society into small communities guided by what he called “humanistic communitarian socialism.”
Humanistic: oriented towards human beings, and not towards some higher entity – not the all-powerful State or the Market or a conception of God – and yet – in Fromm’s peculiar vision – oriented also to keep in mind Homo sapiens’ humble place in the cosmos, housed within the natural world as plain member and not lord. Communitarian: organized in small communities relatively self-sufficient, self-governing, autonomous, where no big corporations provide monopoly services and goods, and no big governments oversee all. Socialism: in Fromm’s conception, not merely the redistribution of wealth by a democratic body, and not necessarily redistribution by the state as we know it; but socialism as ethical practice, a way of finding the good by taking responsibility for the welfare of everyone else in your small community — and it must be small because such an endeavor is impossible in a big one (as true empathy, care and connection cannot be scaled up – human nature doesn’t allow it).
Forgotten today, in the 1950s and ‘60s Fromm was a heavy hitter in American intellectual life, a fixture of the Saturday Review magazine and New York Times Book Review, best known for his enormously influential study of authoritarian psychology, Escape from Freedom. The Sane Society is the better book, though it was not as well publicized, probably because it castigated rampant Fifties capitalism in the U.S., hardly the same easy target that Germans under Nazism offered in a victorious post-war America.
My own heaping dose of Fromm recently taken leads to a number of conclusions in the context of the highly developed and complex form of insanity now dominant that can be described as ecocidal mania:
- Human beings revolt at inhuman scale, at governments and corporations grown too big; public governments and private corporate governments fail to answer to real needs while increasingly they dictate the fate of humanity – literally in the form of control of the food supply, energy supply, means of finance, and on and on. Inhuman organization (a bipartisan affair, directed by Democrats as much as by Republicans) is too centralized to offer individuals a sense of agency, relatedness, participation, a sense of social cohesion and purpose. The tight interlocking of centralized systems – of markets, governments, corporations, labor, media, education, agriculture, and so on – neutralizes even modest individual action, rendering people into mere playthings of the forces of bigness.
- The ecosphere rebels against our obscene growth in numbers and appetites: the global commons is falling apart from human overshoot. We are alienated from knowledge, understanding and care for the carrying capacity of earth systems.
- We are trapped in a debt-money matrix that demands growth, because debt requires continual growth in order to be paid off, and continual growth has nothing to do with the real needs of people for community, companionship, love, shelter, food, clean water, clean air (add to the list, readers, please!).
- We embrace a robotic technophilia, the belief that technology will allow us to continue to expand the human enterprise ad infinitum. Embraced without reserve, deployed without limits, and thus free to rampage, technology asserts monopoly control over society, transforming vast numbers of living breathing people into tech personnel, or algorithm mobs, or members of the hive-mind, or quintessences of digital dust – humans acting like machines (becoming dead, that is) to better act in concert with machines said to be more alive than humans.
- The United States, Fromm’s heavenly department store, is the world imperial model of technophiliac growthmania to be emulated. But it is a model bound by the laws of nature to self-destruct, as nature dictates limits to the growth of any species, technology be damned. Developing nations now have among their chief goals the replication of the American paradigm of living the Dream, though counsels from prophets in their ranks said this was a bad idea. “God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the West,” Mahatma Gandhi warned India back when it had a mere 300 million people. “If an entire nation of 300 millions took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts.” India has thrown Gandhi to the garbage heap.
- We don’t know what to do in answer – we are alienated from real world action. We know we cannot continue growing without cease. To do so invites catastrophe.
- Some on the fringes of public discourse have a name for what’s likely to be coming absent a radical change in course: it’s called collapse. These thinkers declare themselves collapseniks, in the mocking Slavic diminutive, or collapsitarians, or if inclined to seriousness, collapseologists.
Big picture is that maybe now is the time to start listening to the warnings of the collapseologists. It might be the sane thing to do.