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TEMPERATURES WILL COOL today and into the weekend across much of Northwest California. In addition, light rain is expected, particularly during Saturday. Showers will come to an end Sunday with warming expected on Monday and early next week. (NWS)
Marge Evans, former owner with her husband, Todd Evans of Wellspring Renewal Center passed away peacefully Wednesday morning, May 25, 2022. Leaving the hospital she came back to her current home in Sonoma CA and was put on hospice after a series of strokes. During that time many people she loved were so fortunate to have a chance to tell her stories, squeeze her hand, and share their love before she passed.
Marge was a woman of towering compassion: for her friends; loved ones; for anyone disadvantaged; for animals, and particularly for her husband, Todd and her sons, Matthew and Scott (who preceded her in death. Words don't feel adequate to describe her depth, or what the world has lost.
Marge started our local Foodbank with Daphne McNeil. Marge also was a gifted and artistic quilter. During her hospice time at home she was surrounded by the beauty of her quilts and the visits of her family and friends.
It will be with a deep sense of regret that I walk down the cobblestone walkway and look back at this cozy little country house that I've called home for the last 14 months. I experienced some of the greatest joy and some of the deepest sorrow of my life during the short time I was here. But this little house embodied the warm, loving spirit of Mrs. Summit and her wonderful family who spent so many years here. I hope the new owners will appreciate it the way I have.
NOTE TO ANDERSON VALLEY JR./SR. HIGH SCHOOL PARENTS AND GUARDIANS,
Two important reminders:
Check Your Student Out Before They Leave Campus
With the prevalence of cell phones, sometimes parents grant permission directly to their student without contacting the school office. The school, during school hours, and in the TO AND FROM school nexus, are responsible for all students, whether a parent has given permission or not, if the check out procedure has not been followed. WE ARE ALWAYS willing to implement your release directives, but PLEASE, we must have the conversation first with you BEFORE the student leaves campus. This is especially important during this time, where we have been experiencing some difficulties with youth violence in this area, as we want to be sure your kids are safe and accounted for and you know where they are headed. Please, a parent/guardian must call the office BEFORE a student leaves campus.
We know it has been really hot the past few days, but please remember the dress code rules of pants at hip bones or above, no midriff tops, cleavage, or straps of less than two inches. Shorts need to be no higher than the fingertips. Students will be offered clothes to change into or may call home for other clothes. PLEASE DO NOT take your student home, just bring them new clothes.
Your help is appreciated.
My heart is broken, my mistakes have cost me EVERYTHING, I am owning them, I am Choosing to change who I am. Back to “Old Stacey.” I want to apologize to everyone who I alienated including my children and family. Bronwen is a beautiful person and I thoroughly fucked that up. My family at Walker Nation didn’t deserve what I put them thru, Alexander ‘Audie’ Hanes didn’t deserve what I put him and his mother thru. I hit the bottom, I broke, now I am trying to rebuild one day at a time. Please be patient and I will show you the old Stacey. If it’s not too late possibly salvage my marriage with my best friend, Bronwen. Drugs, alcohol, tragedy, selfishness, dishonestly, and betrayal have all put me into a tail spin and I plan to come back a better Stacey. Stacey is Back and I want people to give me a chance to prove it. I love you all and thank you for being my friend. You will have to get your entertainment elsewhere because the shitshow is over.
UKIAH MAN SUSPECTED OF ATTEMPTED MURDER IN RECENT DRIVE-BY SHOOTING HAS BEEN ARRESTED MULTIPLE TIMES
20-year-old Ukiah man Bryan Montiel Sanchez has been booked into the Mendocino County Jail and charged with attempted murder for his alleged role in the nighttime, drive-by shooting that took place this Tuesday. Within the last year and a half before the drive-by shooting, Sanchez has spent a minimum of 112 days in county prison. He has been allegedly involved in multiple criminal circumstances involving firearms, drugs, high-speed pursuits, and burglary. Sanchez has been arrested on multiple occasions over the last year. In most of those incidents, law enforcement says Sanchez’s crimes were committed in the company of male juveniles.…
Several weeks ago, I posted here about my intent to help save the youth of our valley from the opioid crisis, with the emphasis on Fentanyl. It goes without saying that opioids are not the only problem drugs in society, but this newest form of addiction makes the others look like Kool-Aid. I can state this from personal experience.
Beyond a few verbal comments as to the validity of my intent, I received several dozen emoji’s.
While I appreciate being, “liked,” what I need are fellow warriors, with or without children of their own, who are willing to give of themselves to help our addicted youth and to prioritize keeping the clean ones from getting started to begin with.
I have a number of ideas on ways to intervene, but I’m asking ALL of you to get involved in this dialogue. One of the comments to my original post was, “It takes a village…”. Truer words were never spoken. So, please, respond to me here, or simply call me at (707) 489-2915. I can’t do this alone.
Furthermore, if any of you have an at-risk or addicted child, friend, or loved one who could benefit from talking to a man who found a way to walk through the Hellish fire that is addiction and come out fighting on the other end, do not hesitate to ask my help.
VELMA'S FARM STAND AT FILIGREEN FARM
We are open for the season again! The farm stand will be stocked with spring veggies, dried fruit, and fresh flowers to fill your home. We will be open Friday 2-5pm and Saturday 11-3pm. Offerings include: lettuce, beets, fennel, kohlrabi, chard, kale, spigarello and broccoli, fava beans, bok choy, artichokes, turnips, spaghetti squash, potatoes, herbs, frozen blueberries, dried fruit (prunes, apples, raisins, peaches), olive oil, quince apple butter, and fresh flower bouquets! We will also have a few flavors of Wilder Kombucha available as well. All produce is certified biodynamic and organic. Follow us on Instagram for updates @filigreenfarm or email Annie at email@example.com with any questions. We accept cash, credit card, check, and EBT/SNAP!
BARBARA BLATTNER on Mary Zeeble's glamping proposal for Ray's Road, Philo:
I would like to introduce myself as a long time Valley resident. I arrived in Anderson Valley, in 1948, celebrated my first birthday at the sawmill camp across from what is now AV High School. At that time it was a vineyard. My parents were migrant workers, from Arkansas, we had worked the fruit harvesting in Sacramento Valley and the In the State of Washington. Those were different times as well. Some people accepted us, others didn’t. We spoke with heavy accents. Being different and new was not a good thing. So we were fortunate because many southerners found their way here. We started our own community, as, following us, the alternate lifestyle folks came — another big uproar. Then the Mexican folks. With every wave of change, there’s been an uproar. I consider it a blessing in disguise, a blending of cultures. We’re at a time that we can prepare to keep the Valley alive and well. Logging will soon be a memory, and the pot gardens are not as profitable. So we need to embrace our new economy by moving forward to the tourism trade. I’m so happy the Ranch is going to be a beautiful place for people to enjoy. In the early years here, I never felt this was my home; I was a transplant, I don’t feel that way now.
Approximately two and a half years ago I sold the Ranch to Mary Zeeble. I was so happy with her vision for the Ranch, and her refurbishing the units and providing lots of rentals to folks in what had been empty spaces for so long, (excited) that it wasn’t going to be sub-divided, or marijuana. Weddings at the Ranch made me very happy. Jerry & I were married at the Ranch in 1992. One of my grandchildren had his wedding here as well. I sold the Ranch, by the way, I never wanted to, but financially I had no choice. My Insurance quadrupled, and taxes, general upkeep, failing health… forced me to sell. I love this place, but gossip, and misconceptions, run amuck. I love the renters at the Ranch, they’re sweet people, who have been very kind to me. It blesses me daily to see our little community alive like a busy beehive. Mary has a creative energy. I trust she’s going to make this a thriving beautiful place.
— Barbara Blattner
ED NOTE: Before Barbara owned the property, which abuts the old Philo Mill to the east, Barbara's late husband, Jerry Blattner, and Jim Dean, presided over Unicorn Youth Services, a truly excellent home and rehab center for troubled teenage boys. Prior to that wholesome incarnation of the property, mass murderers Leonard Lake and Charles Ng rented the main house until… One day in '83 (I think), a big, black helicopter landed on the highway in central Philo, disgorging an armed FBI swat unit who jogged the short distance down Ray's Road and took up assault positions on the house where Lake and Ng were living along with a large cache of weapons and ammo Ng had somehow stolen from a Marine armory in Hawaii and gotten it all the way to Philo. The two killers surrendered peacefully. Deputy Squires said later that if they'd chosen to shoot it out, that given the guns and ammo they had, they could have held off the feds for some time. It wasn't much after that the two degenerates' kidnap, rape and kill factory was discovered in Calaveras County. Lake, incidentally, also managed the old Philo motel with his then-wife Cricket, the latter fired from her job at AV Jr. High for trying to lure 12 and 13-year-old girls, my daughter among them, to the motel's hot tub for photo shoots with Lake who, also at the time, functioned as a volunteer firefighter and recording secretary with the Anderson Valley Volunteer Fire Department.
As the nation observes Memorial Day and honors those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country, travel to gatherings with family and friends will dramatically increase vehicles on roadways during the holiday weekend. In an effort to make sure motorists obey the laws and reach their destinations safely, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will enact a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP).
With seat belt safety the primary focus, the Memorial Day MEP will run from 6 p.m. Friday, May 27, to 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 30. CHP officers will be patrolling throughout the state, monitoring the roadways for seat belt violations, distracted drivers, speeders, and anyone suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“Memorial Day should be a time for honoring our fallen heroes and spending time with loved ones,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “It should never be marked by tragedy caused by car crashes. Please buckle up, follow all traffic laws, and arrive at your destination safely.”
Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of all vehicle occupants killed in crashes within CHP jurisdiction last Memorial Day were not wearing a seat belt. In all, 35 people died in crashes during the 78-hour MEP in California. Additionally, CHP officers made 979 arrests throughout the state for driving under the influence.
The CHP’s Memorial Day MEP coincides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ongoing “Click it or Ticket” seat belt campaign, which continues through June 5.
The CHP also reminds drivers to protect child passengers by placing them in age-appropriate child safety seats. Whether it is a harnessed safety seat or a booster, the law requires children under 8 be secured in the backseat. Infants and children under 2 should remain rear facing in their car seat. To have a child safety seat technician properly install or check your child safety seat, please visit https://www.chp.ca.gov/find-an-office and schedule an appointment at your local CHP Area office.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.
TICKETS to The Beach Ball are going to be available starting this week at Lemon's Market, BoontBerry, and AV Market. $20 for 18+ and $10 for 12-17. Kids free! Remember this is a late evening event going until about midnight... two different musical sets by Mama Grows Funk and Boonfire! June 18th at the grange, poster below for reference!
For the health and safety of all our community members, please stay home if you are sick, be aware of exposure before coming, test day of if possible, and don't hesitate to continue to wear a mask inside. We all want to have a fun time, let’s just be smart about it!
THE ANNUAL VETERAN'S DAY MEMORIAL celebration is scheduled for Sunday at 11am at the Evergreen Cemetery, Boonville.
REST EASY, AMERICA, the San Francisco Unified School District announced it will remove the word “chief” from its jobs titles after complaints from Native American community members that the term too often was a short-hand denigration of Indians. Seems Frisco is being a tad over-sensitive here. I mean, really, when I see or hear the term “chief fiscal officer” or “crew chief” or “fire chief,” I, a highly evolved liberal (cough-cough), have never before associated the term with Indians.
ACCORDING to a recent Gallup Poll, 83 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. That figure seems a little low. Seriously, do you know a single person who thinks big picture things are going to get better? With Biden? Or whatever lunatic the Republicans come up with? Speaking of America's most high profile victim of elder abuse, Biden described soaring gasoline prices as an "incredible transition." Wonder what the old boy meant. Transition to what, mass immobility?
WHILE THE SUPERVISORS and Ukiah (of course) ignored the Marbut Report on Mendo homelessness, Fort Bragg paid attention, as described here my mayor Bernie Norvell: “A requirement of receiving funds to operate the Emergency Winter Shelter (EWS) this year from the county was that we collect and enter data on all the clients through the Homeless Management Information System. (HMIS.) The city plans to give an end of season report on the Emergency Winter Shelter that includes information on the clients collected through the HMIS system. The city adopted the Marbut Report as a guiding tool to handle its homeless population as well. A large part of our rules for EWS were developed around the report. For example, limiting the nights available for clients that have not established any sort of residency while offering those same clients an opportunity to relocate closer to home or an area with more resources available. For the clients that could establish local ties they could stay in the shelter but after two nights had to prove enrollment in services that are built to help you up. We also do our best to limit encampments and keep them from becoming an environmental disaster. Just part of what we are up to.”
NOT TO SECOND-GUESS the forces of law and order, but is it really necessary for a thousand armed agents of local, state and federal agencies to all show up at an atrocity site like the Uvalde school?
FOR THE RECORD, historically, the worst school mass murder occurred in Bath, Michigan on May 15, 1927. The 45 dead included 38 children, the Principal, the Superintendent of Schools and 8 teachers. The lunatic was armed with dynamite and a .38 cal. revolver.
MATT LAFEVER INTERVIEWS CHARISMATIC EX-COP TURNED CANDIDATE TRENT JAMES
by Matt LaFever
Democracy is alive and well in Mendocino County. On Monday afternoon, in the eleventh hour, former Mendocino County law enforcement officer Trent James formally registered as a write-in candidate for the sheriff of Mendocino County, challenging incumbent Matt Kendall.
With just two weeks before the June 7th California primary elections, James heeded the callings of Mendocino County supporters moved by his YouTube channel entitled “Confessions of an Ex-Cop” and stepped into the race driven by an agenda focused on scrubbing the corruption he sees as endemic to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
James’s claims of corruption lie within a mix of facts, rumors, and gossip. James’s accusations aimed at MCSO’s command staff generally consist of alleging misconduct from their pasts as proof of current corruption. To date, claims of MCSO’s purported corruption have not been proven in a court of law.
Less than a month ago a U.S. District judge dismissed a RICO civil case filed by multiple parties implicating MCSO and the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office in cannabis robbery and extortion schemes. The judge called the case “larded with conclusory and speculative allegations.”
Even Write-In Candidates Have to Register
In Mendocino County, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Katrina Bartolomie stands as the facilitator of free and fair elections. She told us that since her election in 2005, this is the first write-in candidate for a county-wide leadership position she has navigated. Bartolomie said that she had to contact a representative of California’s Secretary of State for the formal procedures she needed to follow.
Bartolomie told us that despite the spontaneous connotations of the term “write-in candidate”, the State of California requires a formal process to be followed if someone wants to actually run as a write-in candidate. The ultimate goal of that process is to ensure that a write-in candidate is a permanent resident of the area they are running to represent. This requirement comes from the expectation that any candidate running for an office be a voter in the county so they could cast a ballot for the race they are actively running in.
Trent James Books It to Submit His Papers
James contacted Bartolomie last Friday, May 20, and learned that he had to sign all documents in person, as set out by the State of California. Determined to register, James started a GoFundMe over this last weekend, raised nearly $3,000, and hopped on a plane to sign the documents so the write-in votes could officially be tabulated.
Along with his registration documentation, James had to collect forty signatures from Mendocino County residents who would support his candidacy. He told us he flew into SFO on Monday and drove directly to the Perkins Street Starbucks in Ukiah where he said nearly eighty residents met him to support his bid for Sheriff.
Why Trent James Is Running for Sheriff
James has not long sought the role of sheriff but told us he was stirred to run by supporters of his efforts to expose presumed corruption within MCSO. “It wasn’t something I had thought about doing until I was inundated with messages from people taking pictures of my name written on the ballot,” he said. He thought to himself, “I can keep posting YouTube videos or I can at least put myself in as a write-in candidate and make a positive change.”
What Trent James Would Change as Sheriff
James has spent the last seven months using his YouTube channel to recount what he characterizes as the corruption within the command staff of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the Willits Police Department. He explained his priority as sheriff would be purging “toxic leaders” that he says “have no business in those positions.” He says current MCSO personnel have told James they are dissatisfied with the agency’s leadership culture.
If James were to become Sheriff, it is worth considering the tenor of a workplace in which the newly elected administrator actively disparaged the command staff as an election strategy.
According to James, MCSO’s recruiting and retention issues are a product of the staff’s lack of trust in MCSO’s command staff.
However, staffing shortages are not unique to MCSO. A diverse array of media outlets including CNN, Fox News, and Newsweek have reported at length about agencies across the United State struggling to recruit and retain personnel. The National Police Association estimates that in 2020, 86% of the nation’s law enforcement agencies were experiencing staffing shortages.
Two trends are converging to create this staffing crisis: there are fewer young people interested in serving in law enforcement and a phenomenon known as “The Great Resignation” where law enforcement has seen a 44% increase in retirements and 18% increase in resignations in recent years. These two trends have left agencies around the country unable to fill the gaps left by those that leave the profession behind.
James, a former resident deputy in Covelo, learned of the importance of community policing while getting to know Round Valley. He believes getting out of his patrol car, talking to people, and getting to know the community helped build trust in a community often distrustful of law enforcement. If he was elected to serve as sheriff, James said he would emphasize relationship building and community policing to restore the community’s trust in the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department.
James’s framing implies that most Mendocino County residents do not trust MCSO. A review of MCSO’s Facebook page will show the agency playing an active role in fires, power outages, telecommunication disruptions, and more. Recent posts about a power outage on the coast, for instance, show many residents expressing appreciation for the department and its work getting out information.
Trent James, Where Do You Live?
Over the last seven months’ worth of videos, James has told his viewers he was in Florida, Texas, on the East Coast, and at points visiting Ukiah.
Katrina Bartolomie, Mendocino County’s Clerk-Assessor-Record told us one of the requirements for a legitimate candidate, write-in or not, is to have permanent residence in Mendocino County.
This issue of candidate residency reared its head this year in Del Norte County when Randy Watz was forced to resign after winning a sheriff’s race and investigators found that he was renting a place in Del Norte but his permanent residency was in fact across the state border in Oregon.
We asked James to walk us through moving to several different states in his videos while at the same time being a resident of Mendocino County?
He told us that when he was fired from the Willits Police Department, he moved to Florida in October 2021 with his then-girlfriend. He eventually came back to Ukiah and rented a room at a friend’s home, which is the address he is currently registered to vote from. He stayed in that rental for approximately two months and says he still maintains it as his home base.
James also has a residence in South Texas, where he told us he is exploring “business opportunities” doing private investigator work which he said makes him a resident of two separate states.
Some accuse James of being a permanent resident of Virginia, which he said is not true
A search of Whitepages.com, a database that combs through public records and ties phones and addresses to individuals, does indicate that an address in Seaford, Virginia was recently associated with his name.
Despite his recent movement, he told us growing up in Mendocino County, and graduating from Ukiah High, he sees the county as his home and intends to make it his full-time residence if he was to become sheriff.
Trent James and Law Enforcement Transparency
According to James, one of his core philosophies is law enforcement transparency. Throughout his videos, he attributes a culture of secret-keeping to the Mendocino County law enforcement and, when he spoke to us, vowed to stamp it out and cultivate communication with the public.
He expressed support for body cams on Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies emphasizing that utilizing these body cams can help determine if complaints against law enforcement officers have merit.
James also supports California Senate Bill 1421, passed in 2018, which makes police records related to use of force incidents, sexual assault, and acts of dishonesty accessible under the California Public Records Act.
Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall has stated that James is being provided information about an active investigation by deputies within his organization which is a breach of protocol, and potentially illegal. James resolutely denies this.
We asked James if he were sheriff, how would he handle someone in his organization talking about an active investigation, even if it were for the sake of transparency. He said, “If I had documented proof, they would be fired.”
During James’s videos, on multiple occasions, he cited information he said he gained from active law enforcement officers and human resources documentation not available for the public, even if requested with a public records act request.
Crisis Workers, Use of Force, and the Public Safety Advisory Board
Addressing the Defunding the Police movement and the call to redirect some funding to mental health services, James was all for it. He asserted law enforcement should not be in the business of psychiatry or counseling. “We’re peacekeepers and we enforce the laws.”
Former Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman and the current sheriff, Matt Kendall, have both worked for mental health funding. Measure B, an initiative pushed by Sheriff Allman, has led to growing resources and awareness of the partnerships required to provide mental health treatment instead of just law enforcement.
Regarding the use of force practices in Mendocino County law enforcement agencies, James said he did not see or experience much unnecessary use of force during his tenure as an MCSO deputy and WPD officer.
He argued a police officer’s best tool is communication. “You have to treat people with respect. The ones who have to use force are the ones that don’t talk to people.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a Minnesota policeman, the national conversation about police use of force came home to roost in Mendocino County with the establishment of the Public Safety Advisory Board, a group designed to bring law enforcement and the community together to reflect on the use of force incidents in Mendocino County.
James spoke favorably of this concept because it emulated his philosophy of transparency. He did note that a civilian’s perception of the use of force is considerably different than a trained law enforcement officer and thought civilians participating in the process should be given a “citizen’s academy” or required to do a ride-along to understand the realities facing law enforcement.
Is Trent James Anti-Law Enforcement?
Trent James’s campaign to expose corruption in the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has been used as fodder online for those that are anti-law enforcement.
A cursory review of his Youtube channel’s comment section will show a fan base bringing frustration with law enforcement to the table and having their preconceived notions of corruption validated by a narrator with the persuasive narrative framing of “I was once one of them.”
James told us that those who use his stories as proof of their anti-law enforcement beliefs “misunderstand my message” and he said unequivocally, “I am not anti-law enforcement. Some of my friends… best friends are law enforcement. I’m anti-corruption, lies, and not being transparent.”
James’s critique of law enforcement is more specific, he said. “I’m not talking about patrol guys. I’m talking about the specific people I’ve addressed in my videos.”
James said he could empathize with those who have grown an anti-law enforcement bias having experienced negative interactions with the police himself.
How Trent James Would Clean House
Considering James’ focus on removing four members of MCSO’s command staff specified on his YouTube channel, we spoke to him about how he would go about implementing that goal.
James recognized that those members of the command staff are protected by the Peace Officer’s Bill of Rights affording them due process, in addition, there are also labor unions designed to protect the rights of employees. He also acknowledged the complexity of disciplining an employee for misconduct committed at a separate agency, a sort of double jeopardy if there are no other offenses to point towards.
James proposed that running these employees through a modern background check, more robust and comprehensive than when they were initially hired, could give cause to terminate their employment.
To both of these issues, James simply said, “There’s an answer to every problem. I have plans.”
A police chief wrote an opinion article in the Washington Post entitled “I used to be a police chief. This is why it’s so hard to fire bad cops” that lined out the challenges law enforcement leaders have in weeding out bad actors. Internal affairs investigations become delayed due to legal contracts. If the administrator finds enough to fire the employee, often an appeal process occurs that is “staggeringly favorable to bad cops.” An arbiter or panel, or civil service commission would then get involved.
When asked how this sort of cleaning of the house could exacerbate MCSO’s staffing shortage, James said the command staff he would target are not the “guys who go to calls”. He gave ground that the employees’ absences would make the agency “hectic for the first year or so,” but predicted the move would be “beneficial as a whole” to MCSO’s day-to-day operations.
Trent James, Restorative Justice, and the Depopulation of California’s State Prisons
As California’s homelessness and open-air drug markets become fodder for conservative media, James argued the state is “reaping the repercussions” of the redefinition of criminal sentencing such as what occurred when Proposition 47 passed. He described these dynamics contributing to the rise in crime and expressed concern that a minimal-punishment approach flies in the face of victims of crime.
He spoke critically of current Governor Gavin Newsom and told us he voted to recall him in 2021. From James’s view, Newsom is running California as he had run San Francisco— lax on crime at the expense of victims.
James proved traditional, nearly conservative when it came to California’s efforts to depopulate the state prison system, describing it as a “failure on the part of the state.”
Trent James and Mental Health Services
James argued that mental health support was the answer to California’s growing drug addiction issues. “You can sometimes punish, but it is an education issue, increasing resources towards mental health,” he said.
He recognized Mendocino County’s Measure B, but characterized its substance as lacking. Despite promises of crisis workers working alongside law enforcement, he remembered when he was working as a deputy requesting the backup of a mental health professional who would then refuse to respond.
Trent James on Cannabis Enforcement
Considering cannabis’s outsized influence on Mendocino County law enforcement’s work, we asked James about his approach to the cannabis industry and if he agreed with the current sheriff’s approach. Sheriff Kendall currently focuses his agency’s efforts on trespass grows plagued by violence or environmental damage. James told us he agrees with Kendall’s approach. “It is a disservice to allow those illegal operations to continue when legal growers are trying to do what is right.”
Trent James and Rebuilding Trust with Other Local Law Enforcement Leaders
Trent James has spoken at length on his YouTube channel about the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Willits Police Department, and the Ukiah Police Department. We asked him if he was to become sheriff, how could his videos affect the collaboration with law enforcement entities around Mendocino County.
Mendocino County’s law enforcement and emergency responders are constantly providing mutual aid to other agencies whether it be crime, fire, or traffic accidents. Collaboration and trust are essential in a rural county.
He assured voters that despite his critiques of these agencies, when it came down to it, “in law enforcement we’re going to have the same goal. We should be able to be adults, be mature, and deal with the situation.”
James also pointed out that he has never met most Mendocino County law enforcement officers. With that, he saw no reason his YouTube content would get in the way of collaborating with other agencies.
James did note that he specifically did not like Willits Police Chief Fabian Lizarraga, but said he promised to help WPD in an emergency situation, but beyond that would tell Chief Lizarraga, “Don’t ever call me.”
If Trent James Becomes Sheriff, Will He Turn Into the Thing He Hates?
Many leaders talk of change and “draining the swamp, but as the realities of a position come to fruition they find themselves slotted into the same behaviors and issues they disparaged when running for the office. We asked James how he will remain steadfast to his goals if he was to actually be at the helm of MCSO.
He conjured current Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall. James said one of the chief complaints he hears regarding Kendall is how he changed once he started to work his way up the command structure.
Derek Hendry, former Willits Police Lieutenant, also went through a personality shift as he started to ascend the ranks of WPD, James recalled. He remembered telling Hendery, “You’re becoming the guy you used to hate.”
Personality traits that James says he often associates with law enforcement are insecurity and immaturity. These tendencies contribute to personality shifts as they ascend the command structure, JameS argued.
James is committed to remaining himself despite any pressures he faces. If he were to change, he said, “It would be a disservice to everyone. There is no personality there. You’re making it so the public doesn’t view you. You’re like a robot.”
Trent, Will You Delete Your YouTube Channel If You Become Sheriff?
Considering the incendiary content of James’s YouTube channel and the fact if he was to be sheriff he would have to manage the same personalities he spoke of in his videos, we wondered whether James would delete his YouTube channel if he becomes the Sheriff of Mendocino County.
Initially, James said, “I’m not going to delete it if I become sheriff. I don’t see a need to delete the whole thing.”
He said the videos galvanized his supporters and brought him to this moment where he is now running to be sheriff. “There are going to be sheriffs that might not agree with me, but I’m not going to hide it. I’m not going to conform to make them comfortable.”
Sheriffs from Humboldt, Trinity, Lake, Sonoma, Glenn, and Tehama Counties have proven vital collaborators when dealing with incidents that crossed county lines. We proposed a real-world hypothetical to James if he were to become sheriff: Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal and Trinity County Sheriff Tim Saxon, who both have a working relationship with Sheriff Kendall coordinating cannabis enforcement, are leery of this new sheriff and talk of his YouTube videos. We wondered what James would do if he sensed his videos were interfering with Mendocino County’s ability to partner with agencies such as these? Is it worth alienating allies to prove a point?
This gave James pause, and he responded by saying, “Mendocino County is my main priority. It’s the reason I want to get this position. To make it a better place, if my videos get in the way of that, I would consider deleting them.” He did add that before removing any video, he would have a strongly worded conversation with anyone distrustful of him simply because of his videos. “Why would they be concerned about exposing dirty cops?”
The Uphill Battle of the Write-In Candidate
There are less than two weeks before the election. When we spoke with Bartolomie on Tuesday, nearly 4,000 ballots had already been collected. Compared to general elections, primary elections like the one on June 7 usually see about 35%-40% of voters turn out. She characterized a political bid like James’, just weeks before election day as an “uphill battle.”
Bartolomie confirmed that James has become an official write-in candidate, but specified he will not physically be on the ballot. Those interested in him as sheriff need to write his name legibly in the space provided.
She also told us that if someone wanted to change their ballot once it had been sent to her office via the mail or dropped in the county’s ballot box, that would not be possible. “Once the ballot is in our possession, it cannot be changed,” she said.
Over the last two decades, the election of Mendocino County Sheriff has most often resulted in the incumbent retaining their role. Incumbent Tony Craver beat challenger Richard Bumpus in 2002 with 78.6% of the vote.
In 2006, Kevin Broin, serving as interim sheriff after Craver retired during his term, defeated Tom Allman and Don Miller with 38.92% of the vote.
In 2006, two elections were held because the June primary was so close with Don Miller receiving 22.43% of the vote, Kevin Broin receiving 38.92%, and Tom Allman receiving 38.56%.
That November, a runoff election was held where Tom Allman beat Kevin Broin with 53.90% of the vote.
Tom Allman was the only formalized candidate in 2010 winning 97.95% of the vote and 2.05% going to write-ins.
In both 2014 and 2018, Tom Allman ran unopposed garnering 98.24% of the vote.in 2014. In 2018, he would earn 98.32% of the vote with 1.68% going to write-ins. Just over a year and a half into his term, Tom Allman would retire early, appointing Matt Kendall sheriff.
The past twenty years of elections suggest write-in candidates are a disadvantage compared to known entities working with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
Trent James and the Weeks Ahead
Ultimately, James says that “if you support Kendall, great. It’s about who you think is the best fit for Mendocino County. I’ve never done this before and I’m figuring it out in a matter of days. If I lose, it is what it is.”
Now that James is back in Mendocino County, he said the next two weeks will be dedicated to campaigning. He told us how amazing the support has been for him entering the race. He told us one of his supporters is making t-shirts, and he intends to take out radio ads, and use social media to message as much as possible between now and Election Day.
(For full disclosure, this reporter is a member of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office volunteer Search and Rescue team.)
TRENT JAMES IS REGISTERED
So, I’m sure most of you know by now I’m officially registered as a write-in candidate for Sheriff of Mendocino County. A special thanks to all of you who took time out of your day to meet with me and sign my Petition. Because of you I was able to exceed the amount of votes I needed to get registered.
Now there is a lot to do and a very short amount of time to do it, since voting ends on June 7th. Since I registered last minute and not when I initially was able to (which I take full responsibility for) my way of campaigning will differ from the norm and be a little unorthodox. However, even if it is last minute, I am still going to put 110% effort into this election.
Since yesterday I have been getting a TON of messages, calls and emails from people in the Community asking me terrific questions pertaining to my plans for Mendocino County and the Sheriff’s Office, if I’m elected.
Also, I realize a lot of you have no clue who I am, my background (especially in law enforcement), why I’m running and what my plans are going forward. That being said I decided the best way to address all of these things, given the current time situation, is to do a YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JugN9TWCZfE.
I will be covering my background, plans for the County and Sheriff’s Office (if elected), as well as my plans for the remainder of this election period. I would like to answer as many of your questions as possible in the video. So, if you have a question you would like addressed, please let me know.
You can comment on this post, send me a direct message, or send it to my personal e-mail, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget the “s” in the middle. Your names will be kept confidential.
Thank you very much for all the continued support. I look forward to addressing your questions and concerns with 100% transparency.
To the Editor:
Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall is now starting to panic. He is now saying that Trent James "being provided information about an active investigation by deputies within his organization is a breach of protocol, and potentially illegal."
Really, Matt Kendall? What are you trying to cover up?
I give a few examples.
Law enforcement has been shaking down the cannabis community for the last 50 years. Extortion and worse. The 2005 murder of dispensary owner Leslie Crane, who refused to pay for "protection", still remains unsolved. Les refused to pay extortion money. Also, Les had photos of cops loading horse trailers with stolen weed.
Also, Deputy Bob Davis's murder in 1995 was never solved. He was almost certainly killed by another deputy. It's no coincidence that Deputy Jason Craver immediately transferred out of Mendocino County SO to Sonoma County SO after the shooting. Other deputies here in Mendocino County didn't want to serve with him.
And I don't believe Deputy Brett White committed suicide in 2007, as alleged, at his home in Covelo (he was shot in the back of his head). Then-segreant Shannon Barney suspiciously made the 911 call from White's home. Barney was the ringleader of a wife-swapping lawsuit brought by then-deputy Jason Cox. The lawsuit was settled, and the case was sealed.
And, in 2008, it was wrong for Shannon Barney to allow Deputy Eric Gore to bleed out with a false claim that there was a bomb in Eric Gore's Waugh Lane apartment in Ukiah. There was no bomb. There was no reason to believe there was a bomb.
Is it a coincidence that White and Gore were both killed in less than a year? And that both White and Gore were preparing to testify in Cox's lawsuit?
All these cases should be reopened by the FBI. I just wrote to them. Trent James is blowing the cover off of years of secrecy and corruption in a good-ole-boy sheriff's office.
MCSO's rank and file are decent and honest. But its management -- past and present, especially Tony Craver -- needs to be investigated.
ED REPLY: Panic? No signs of panic when I saw the Sheriff early Monday. And the rest of this is simply malicious speculation based on even more malicious gossip.
AN ON-LINE COMMENT RE TRENT JAMES: Like Mr Flatten, Mr James talks a lot…
I was thinking of the world of my childhood, and the very idea that a sworn law enforcement officer would look like this or attempt to be a “celebrity,” is absurd…
People from Texas, are mostly people from other places, these days, but I have to wonder just how this guy supported himself since quitting the MSD, and, just what he thinks he is up to currently…
Filling out some forms, and enlisting the endorsement of a sketchy sort of dude like Mr. Flatten, makes me wonder what the next level of Police malfeasance will actually be.
If you want to live in Mendocino County, think first about who settled it, and just what is going on there in the present…
Mendo isn’t Texas, and Sheriff is just a low level Government Job…
Mendocino is a schism of conservative/religious insular folks, and a whole lot of crazy drug activity, kind of like Humboldt…
The “Wavy Gravy” hippies are all gone, and what is left is Native Americans, Cartels from Mexico, grape/marijuana farmers who very much want to be left alone, and a tight knit group of OG Mendo settler’s descendents, who are Trump-Loving Republican Crazies… And then there’s the Adventists…
Mr. James looks out of his mind, and he also looks like a gang member, and his chances of being elected Sheriff do not appear to be fantastic…
Matt Kendall is a crappy Sheriff, but like everything else on the North Coast and in Mendo in particular, everyone lives with belt-fed corruption and poor quality succession in government offices, according to the whims of “got-yer-backism” and the regular payoffs and informants…
Mr. James isn’t exactly Sonny Crockett, but what he sees in the mirror and what I see in a Law Enforcement model employee, are sufficiently different that the idea of this guy, getting a $300,000/year leadership role in Mendocino County Government, leaves plenty of room for rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off…
Nice 15 minutes of fame, but I don’t think Spotify is gonna pay $300,000,000 for your “blog”…
Back to the gym, for another 4 hours of “working out.” another 17 “neck-tats” and dude, you will be ready to work for the “Indian Casino” as a bad-ass bouncer…
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 26, 2022
JUSTIN ASHFORD, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DAVID BROWN, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
JESSE DAVENPORT, Willits. False personation of another, controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear.
BETTY FILLMORE, Ukiah. Attempt to receive stolen property, controlled substance.
THOMAS GALINDO JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
FRANK SORBERA, Willits. Narcotic/controlled substance for sale.
MARK SPITSEN, Ukiah. Shoplifting, probation revocation.
MAY WINEBRENNER, Ukiah. Protective order violation, resisting.
UKRAINE: THURSDAY, MAY 26
As Thursday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would help efforts to overcome global food shortages in return for sanctions relief, according to a Kremlin readout from his phone call with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. The British foreign minister swiftly responded that "Putin is trying to hold the world to ransom." Western powers accuse Russia of blocking key Ukrainian exports like wheat from access to ports currently under the control of Russia's Black Sea fleet. Yet Russian fertilizer and grain sales have also been snagged by sanctions — a contributing factor to rising world food prices.
Battling in eastern Ukraine remains an "active kinetic fight" — not a stalemate, a senior U.S. defense official said. Ukraine's deputy defense minister described the fighting as reaching a "maximum intensity." Russia continued to make incremental gains, sending smaller units to go after smaller towns in the east's Donbas region, according to the Pentagon. The U.S. official added that 85 howitzers were now in Ukraine and over 400 Ukrainian soldiers were trained to use them. In Ukraine's northeast, meanwhile, a governor said Russia was shelling and hitting civilians in Kharkiv.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sharply criticized suggestions by former U.S. Sectary of State Henry Kissinger that Ukraine should cede some territory to Russia as a way to end the war. Speaking in his nightly address, Zelenskyy castigated Kissinger for "emerging from the deep past and saying that a piece of Ukraine should be given to Russia." Kissinger, who turns 99 on Friday, called for Russia-Ukraine peace negotiations to start within the next two months during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday. He also suggested the two sides return to the status quo before Russia's February invasion — when Russia already controlled parts of eastern and southern Ukraine. Zelenskyy compared Kissinger's remarks to Europe's appeasement of Nazi Germany before World War II.
Putin portrayed the flight of foreign companies as a win, saying "it's for the best," that Russia could fill their niches. Starbucks and McDonald's are among the major companies that have left. Speaking via video to a regional economic forum, Putin also insisted Russia has grown stronger due to Western sanctions. The Kremlin's own economists have painted a more dire picture as the sanctions continue to bite.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin became the latest leader to visit Ukraine. She met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv and visited Irpin and Bucha. Concerned by neighboring Russia's aggression, Finland applied to join NATO earlier this month. French President Emmanuel Macron had a phone call Thursday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and urged him to drop a threat to veto Finland's bid to join the defense alliance.
WILL CALIFORNIA VOTERS APPROVE BETTING ON SPORTS?
by Dan Walters
Earlier this year, it seemed possible that California voters would face the bewildering civic task of choosing which of four competing measures to legalize sports wagering would prevail — if any.
Now, however, it’s down to two and it could be just one by the time votes are cast in the November election — or maybe even none.
About 30 states have some form of legal wagering on sports events, thanks to a 2018 Supreme Court decision overturning a federal ban on such bets. California, the biggest potential market, has lagged because of protracted wrangling over who could operate sports books.
Indian tribes, which have a monopoly on casino gambling in California, longed to expand into sports wagering, but horse racing tracks and local cardrooms also wanted the action and so did the big online wagering corporations such as Fan Duel and Draft Kings.
The issue knocked around the Legislature, without resolution, for several years as the competing interests jousted for position.
Finally, a group of casino-owning tribes, led by Pechanga, qualified a ballot measure that would require sports bets to placed personally inside casinos and at horse tracks.
The measure also took a shot at the tribes’ old enemies, the cardrooms, by exposing them to some lawsuits.
In response, a coalition of cardrooms, aided by local government officials, floated a competing measure that would give them a piece of the action, but it failed to garner enough signatures.
The Fan Duel/Draft Kings faction then weighed in with a measure allowing on-line betting and that, in turn, sparked a second coalition of three tribes, called Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming, to offer their own on-line wagering measure.
Its sponsors feared that if voters were given only a choice between Pechanga’s in-casino betting measure and the on-line wagers offered by Fan Duel, Draft Kings, et al,, they’d opt for the latter, preferring to use their computers and smart phones rather than drive to one of the tribal casinos, which are often in rural areas.
However, a few days ago, tribal sponsors of the alternative on-line measure decided to forego the 2022 ballot, aim for 2024 and go all-out to defeat the Fan Duel/Draft Kings version. On-line and television spots depicting the measure as a money grab by out-of-state interests are already running.
So, it would seem, the stage is set for an all-out battle over the Fan Duel/Draft Kings on-line measure — but it’s not quite that simple. The Pechanga measure requiring in-person betting has enough signatures to make the ballot so its tribal backers must decide whether to proceed or drop it and join the other tribal group’s battle against the on-line corporate proposal.
If the Pechanga measure remains on the ballot, it will also face a stiff opposition campaign by the cardrooms because of its gratuitous lawsuit provision.
Finally, there is a chance — although probably not a very good one — that rather than spend several hundred million dollars fighting each other, the factions would do what they had been unable to do for years: compromise and withdraw everything from the ballot.
For many years, once a measure qualified for the ballot, it would remain even if its sponsors changed their minds. But a recent change in state law allows qualified measures to be withdrawn, thus providing leverage to force legislative action.
The provision has already been implemented once this year. A measure changing California’s limit on medical malpractice damages is being taken off the ballot because of a compromise that’s been given fast-track approval in the Legislature.
50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MENDOCINO COUNTY MUSEUM
Come help celebrate our County Historical museum, take a special tour, and see some interesting historical artifacts.
The Mendocino County Cultural Services Agency cordially invites you to attend the 50th Anniversary Celebration for the Mendocino County Museum!
This event will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2022 from 1:00 – 3:30 pm at 400 East Commercial Street in Willits, CA.
The community is invited to explore a pop-up “memory lane” exhibit featuring images and artifacts that span five decades of collections and museum programs. A celebratory cake cutting ceremony will kick of the festivities at 1:00. Staff and volunteers will offer Behind the Scenes Tours from 1:30-3:30.
This event is free to the public, open to all ages, and is sponsored by the Friends of the Mendocino County Museum and Mendocino County Museum.
Learn more about the Mendocino County Museum and view our full program calendar at www.mendocinocounty.org/museum. For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Museum at 707-459-2736 or email@example.com.
If you've never been, this is a really nice museum packed with fascinating historical artifacts and stories. Plus, the awesome Roots of Motive Power museum is next door. Remember... "Ignorance of your culture is not considered cool", attributed to The Residents, 1978.
I have no affiliation with this event, I just dig local history.
On this day, 25 May 1895, libertarian socialist author Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for two years' hard labour for "indecency" for having sex with men.
Though many potential witnesses refused to testify against him, he was convicted, and upon sentencing judge stated: “It is the worst case I have ever tried. I shall pass the severest sentence that the law allows. In my judgment it is totally inadequate for such a case as this. The sentence of the Court is that you be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for two years.”
Wilde's detention would cause him serious health problems which eventually contributed to his untimely death.
In his essay, The Soul of Man under Socialism, in which he expounds his political ideas, he declares: "Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion."
STEVE HEILIG: Tom Robbins spoke at my college in the late 1970s. My girlfriend and I biked over. He was a good comedian in addition to being a unique writer (this in contrast to Hunter S. Thompson, who’d also appeared in the same hall and just made a crass ass of himself).. Afterwards, milling around at a reception, he took a look at my tall beautiful partner and said “I’ve got a nice hotel room down in town, would you like to come with me?” She, bless her, pointed at me and just said “I’m with him.” Robbins looked me up and down, shrugged, and said “OK, I guess he could come along too.”
AUTUMN FABER INTERVIEWS TRENT JAMES
Here are Trent James's answers to the questions I posed. There is also a link to his latest video talking about his platform at the bottom of this page.
One of the ongoing issues with Matt K is his absolute refusal to have the financials of the budget audited. I believe he is suing the BOS over it and has called it a "witch hunt". As Sheriff, will you be committed to transparency with how the department distributes its budget? What can the community expect from you with regards to this? Are you willing to undergo an audit from an independent auditor?
TRENT: When I talk about transparency, it applies to everything. I am fully supportive of any audit at the Sheriff's Office and it's something that can take place immediately, if I am elected as Sheriff. The current Sheriff believes that there is confidential information the BOS has no legal authority to view and believes they aren't to be trusted with said information. If there is nothing to hide, then there isn't a good reason to not authorize an audit of the Sheriff's Office. I think if there is a qualifying outside auditor to facilitate this, then it is more than reasonable. I don't understand what suing the BOS will accomplish in the long run.
What is your stance on Black Lives Matter? Over the past few years, with the advent of body cameras and citizen recordings, more and more incidents of police brutality and discriminatory practices within law enforcement across the country have come to light. What is your understanding of this? What steps would you take as acting sheriff to ensure that the inherent bias that exists within law enforcement is addressed and mitigated? Will you take any steps to ensure that deputies that want to report misconduct within the department have a safe and effective avenue to do so? Will you address the lack of representation of women and minorities within law enforcement and focus recruitment efforts to include a wider segment of the population, including more women and Black, Brown, and Native people? - Would you be willing to employ body cameras for your deputies?
TRENT: I am a very big advocate and supporter of all minority groups. I worked for a number of years in Covelo, which is predominately Native American and there is a very sizable Hispanic population there as well. During my time there I was able to hear a lot of their concerns and distrust (understandably so) from prior law enforcement contacts over the years. So, I made it my mission to help them with everything I could and show them that not all Law Enforcement are bad and that the vast majority of us do care. That being said a large part of my platform is also accountability. I have zero tolerance for any racial bias what so ever, or treating ANYONE differently based on their sex, race, religion, heritage, etc. Personally, I have never seen it on a Patrol level, with anyone I have worked with at the Sheriff's Office or at Willits PD, however I know it exists in the World. This also ties into the use of Body Cams, which I am a big fan of as well and helps add to the accountability aspect. In my opinion they should be turned on with every single contact and made readily available to the public, if an issue such as that arises. I would hope that no such instance occurs, however, if it does it needs to be reported immediately and will be dealt with immediately as well. There is an old school way of doing things with SOME people in law enforcement (mostly the older generation) where it's almost taboo to "tell" on a fellow Cop, when it came to witnessing unjustifiable use of force, or treating someone in a negative way, based on what they look like. These sorts of individuals have no place in law enforcement and are the exact reason why there is a massive distrust with Police today. If elected that entire culture will cease to exist. If anyone covers for another, or fails to report on an any instance mentioned above, at the very least they will find themselves without a job.
During my time at the Sheriff's Office there was an almost non-existent female presence on Patrol. The jail staff was far more diverse in regards to Gender. We weren't getting very many female applicants on a Patrol level and I am not sure why that is. I would start my efforts from recruiting from the Jail itself, as stated above it's a far more diverse population and I do know some of the Correctional Officers with to eventually go out to the Street. Also, it would be incredibly advantageous for us to start going to various areas of the County that have a higher population of minorities and talk about the employment opportunities available to them. Recruitment from academies and areas outside the County would be a priority as well, with a very strong emphasis on recruiting female minorities.
Can you speak a little further on your stance with regards to marijuana cultivation in the county and how you will approach your constituents with regards to enforcement?
TRENT: With regards to the Cannabis Community and Marijuana Cultivation I have no issue with the "mom and pop" grows, or the ones who are cultivating legally. In fact, I have friends who grow marijuana legally. The "mom and pop" grows more often than not are trying to make money to support their families and the legal licensed growers have paid their fees and taxes required by the County and State, in order to do so. Those types of individuals have never been the problem. The problems come from the illegal trespass grows and the Cartel grows, which held a very heavy presence during my time as a Resident Deputy in Covelo. Those were the grows where we would have homicides, robberies, kidnappings, etc. Those types of individuals would be my entire focus when it comes to enforcement.
Can you talk a little bit about your approach to your position as sheriff and what your focus and priorities will be?
TRENT: If elected, my main focus is to remove the toxic and corrupt individual's that currently occupy the Sheriff's Office. They are a large part of the reason why the Sheriff's Office is what it is today, which is a failure. Its why employee retention is incredibly low and why recruitment is almost non-existent. A complete overhaul of that Department is 100% necessary in order to have it be a fun, harmonious place to work, as well as (more importantly) serving the public in a much more efficient and effective manner. My priorities are ensuring we would remain completely transparent and accountable to the public. There wouldn't be any more coverups or lies in order to protect friends or family members. This will not be accomplished overnight; however, it has to start somewhere.
BAY AREA WINE EXECUTIVE FACES $3.75M FINE FOR ALLEGEDLY RIPPING UP TREES AND OTHER UNPERMITTED ACTIVITIES
by Andrew Chamings
As the megadrought bakes California, leaving parched lake beds and aggressive water restrictions in its wake, the state's creeks and wetlands are more fragile, and vital, than ever. Punishments handed down to landowners who damage that delicate environment are now matching that seriousness.
A Bay Area winery executive is facing a multi-million dollar state fine for allegedly removing trees and destroying a small wetland on a rural patch of land east of Cloverdale in Sonoma County.
Hugh Reimers and Krasilsa Pacific Farms could be on the hook for up to $3.75 million in fines for allegedly cutting down trees, grading, ripping and other activities near tributaries to Little Sulphur Creek, Big Sulphur Creek and Crocker Creek in the Russian River watershed, according to the state water board.
In a complaint filed May 9, the the board accused Reimers and Krasilsa Pacific Farms of failing to abide by a 2019 cleanup and abatement order, which required them to restore the streams and wetlands. The initial complaint was filed after two hunters “came upon a bulldozer operator clearing and bulldozing steep hillsides,” according to the water board's report. “Additional information submitted by the hunters indicated up to 150 acres had been deep ripped.”
"The actions of the dischargers caused the destruction and degradation of state waters in violation of California law," said Joshua Curtis, North Coast Water Board assistant executive officer.
The damage from work on the property still threatens fish and other aquatic species in the area, according to the water board.
"Their resistance to restoring those waters caused a loss of natural resources that would otherwise benefit the public, and the proposed fine shows there is a cost for failing to comply with regulations that protect the environment," Curtis said in a news release Tuesday.
The board will hold a public hearing sometime in the first week of August to vote on whether to approve the proposed fine.
"I was pleased to see this today," said Anna Ransome of Friends of Atascadero Wetlands, a local environmental group that has worked for several years to bring attention to the issue. "We really hope this sends a message to other people with the same idea that there are serious consequences to doing this kind of unpermitted work."
Industry publication Wine Business reported last year that a 2,258-acre Cloverdale ranch on the property in question at 29810 River Road was previously listed for $10 million. Its Sotheby's blurb stated that around 150 acres of “prime mountain cabernet vines” could be planted at 1,600 feet elevation. The ranch is no longer listed, as the listing agents told the publication that most of it cannot be sold until the issues are resolved.
Reimers allegedly directed the removal of 40 acres of oak woodlands on the property in 2018 for a vineyard development, which, along with other unpermitted work, damaged the watershed and resulted in fine sediment being discharged into the tributaries.
We Cooperate with Destiny for Enlightenment
Warmest spiritual greetings everybody, It is another balmy evening in Ukiah, California. The weeks go by, and still there is no clue whatsoever of why I am here. I have no reason to be in Mendocino county. But tomorrow, there is a dental appointment in Windsor, CA near Santa Rosa to get a crown for the broken tooth, and maybe have the molar which has an infection underneath an old root canal treated. There is slightly over a thousand dollars in the checking account. That's it! I have no idea how payment is going to be done...maybe Medicare, maybe the state Partnership plan. And I am still eating food, which needs to be fresh and nutritious, (in addition to the Plowshares free meal up the road). And then, there is the certainty that I will at some point move out of the Building Bridges homeless shelter into the great unknown. There's hope. 😊
Craig Louis Stehr
THE GUN GOD is not accustomed to having its sacrifices questioned.
There are a lot of opinion pieces out there in the media after Tuesday’s massacre at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, just as there were nearly ten years ago after Sandy Hook. And like then, some of them sound in anguish and some in hopelessness. Many of them tally up the violence in expressions of outrage and demand action, action that never seems to come. And many just throw up their hands in despair and say, this is what America has become.
And all of them would be right. They were right two weeks ago. They’ll also be right when it happens again, at the next outpouring of anger and outrage at this country’s unfathomable political paralysis in the face of an endless, repeating loop of carnage caused by those who take out their hatreds, frustrations and (sometimes) delusions on others through the easily-obtained tools of automatic and semi-automatic weapons.…
SHOT DEAD AT SCHOOL, Uvalde, Texas, May 24, 2022