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Mendocino County Today: January 2, 2012

THE FAUX MEDITERRANEAN VILLA that seems to have suddenly materialized near the foot of Nash Mill Road has locals wondering who the lavish phantasmagoria belongs to. People by the name of Rennie, we're told. There are so many of these apparitions strewn among the once uninhabited hills of Anderson Valley anymore with, of course, a consequent loss of what was once a community, we long ago lost track, and never were much interested in the golden horde to begin with. I mean I don't want to seem unwelcoming, but what we have now in the bucolic Anderson Valley is affinity groups, I guess you could say, the diff between the then of, say, 1980, and the now of now being the schools. We all got to know each other because our young lives with our children were invested here. When the golden ones arrived they'd lived their young lives somewhere else, and now there are so many of them, and they're so rich in an anonymously barbarous kind of way, this place is no longer recognizable as a community in any known sense of the term.


HERE COMES ONE NOW as featured in Sunday's Chron, a Philo wine guy named Burt Williams who, the breathless wine writer (sic) John Bonny Bonne, tells us is “the alter ego of Henri Jayer.” Whoever he is. But Burt appears in living color because he makes wine Bonne approves of, and I'll bet the more free cases of the stuff Bonne gets the more enthusiastic he is. (I wrote about Williams some years ago in connection with what I viewed as the industrial murder of a Forestville kid at the Williams-Seylem winery in West Sonoma County. An intern, the boy stuck his head into an unmarkled tank of nitrogen and died instantly. To put it gently, the rest of the kid's family was also killed by the way Williams-Seylem went into full denial-threat mode.)

A MENDOCINO COUNTY MAN was in critical condition Monday after a weekend accident in which he was struck by a vehicle on Highway 1 in Manchester, the CHP said. Authorities suspect Steven M. VanCleave, 34, was intoxicated when a motorist reportedly came upon him stumbling along the middle of the highway Saturday night. Authorities said the driver, Arkansas resident Garrett Graham, 22, told authorities that VanCleave was straddling the double yellow line and flailing his arms as Graham slowed and tried to steer away from him. Finally VanCleave stepped back into the northbound lane and into the path of Graham's Subaru Legacy, the driver told the CHP. The car struck him, threw him up on the hood and into the windshield, then dumped him back onto the street as Graham hit the accelerator by mistake and then the brakes, the CHP said. VanCleave broke both legs in the 8:25 p.m. crash and was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where he remained in critical condition Monday, a nursing supervisor said. The accident remained under investigation, the CHP said.

COMMENT OF THE DAY: Here it is New Year's eve, and we are all a little older and wiser. Sure, we are facing some tough times, and the leadership is in chaos, but what is new about that? Now that we have been thru it, we are that much stronger for the effort, right?
How many times have you heard that kind of crap?
I grew up in the city of Brotherly Love. In 1978 there was a back to the earth group of black Americans who called themselves MOVE. They were weird people, but kind of fit in with the Moonies, HareKrishnas and other weird counterculture folk at the time. But Frank Rizzo was mayor, and he loved his law and order. He said that Nixon and Agnew were the greatest Americans that ever were, and he went after anyone who did not fit into the picture of apple pie, etc. So there was a police raid on the MOVE house in Powelton, which is a neighborhood in west philly, close by Drexel and Penn. There was a shoot out and a cop got shot, some say by his team's cross fire. The MOVE house got moved, and they all went to jail or someplace else. Move ahead to 1985, Wilson Goode is the first black mayor of Philadelphia and MOVE has not gone back to the earth, but further west to Cobbs Creek area, and have a house that was a bunker, with a PA system blaring BS and disturbing the peace. A real blight on the 'hood. So the cops are called in, and a confrontation unfolds.
Well, what happened was the first time that the cops dropped a bomb on a house in Philadelphia. The entire block burned to the ground, 65 homes destroyed, and all the MOVE members killed, except for Ramona and Birdie Africa.
Then the disaster capitalists took over. The cost of rebuilding the block was in the millions. The no bid contractor messed it up and they had to rebuild it all over.
So the moral of the story is that we never learn.
I asked my brother what ever happened to Wilson Goode. He told me that after he retired he got a job at a community college teaching Home Cooking. (— Andy Bekelstoni)


Simpson Lane Roundabout Public Art Project

Simpson Lane Roundabout

County of Mendocino

Letter of Interest Deadline: January 25, 2013

Application Deadline: February 8, 2013

See more & print application & guidelines at:

1. Eligibility

Open to professional artists residing within the coastal region of Mendocino County, California, between Westport and Elk.

2. Budget

The Arts Council of Mendocino County has secured an A. D. Abramson Award of $ 5,000, all-inclusive, for this project. The full amount of this award will be paid by the Community Foundation of Mendocino County directly to the artist that is selected by the Simpson Lane Roundabout Public Art Project Committee.

The artist is at liberty to raise any additional funds required to complete the work and may also solicit donations of material or services. The ACMC will serve as fiscal receiver for the project, allowing any future donations to be tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. The ACMC will retain 20% of any additional funds received in order to offset the costs of project administration, with the exception of the A. D. Abramson Award.

3. Art Opportunity

The Arts Council of Mendocino County and the Simpson Lane Roundabout Public Art Committee seek an artist or artist team to create a sculpture for the Highway 1 Roundabout now located at Simpson Lane just South of Fort Bragg, CA.

The Arts Council of Mendocino County is managing the Call to Artists, with the final decision to be made by the Simpson Lane Roundabout Public Art Committee. The Committee seeks design proposals for the Roundabout that address the design criteria below (please see section 6) and which will also pass an engineering review by CalTrans and the Mendocino County Department of Transportation. A total of $ 5,000 is available for materials, installation, and artist payment.

The selected artist(s) will benefit from significant exposure on Highway 1, which runs along some of the most beautiful coastline in the country. In addition, the selected artist(s) will benefit from numerous promotional opportunities including registry on

4. Project Timeline

• Letter of Interest Due: January 25, 2013

• Proposals Due: February 8, 2013

• Email Notification to Artists: by February 28, 2013

• Artwork Installation: ideally by December 2013, with allowance for permitting delays

5. To Apply

The Artist Application Form, CalTrans Specifications, and As-Builts are available for download at or by calling 707.463.2727.

By the January 25th deadline, please send an email to Alyssum Wier indicating your intention to submit an application by the Februrary 8th deadline, a brief description of your design and a verification that you meet the eligibility requirements.

By the February 8th deadline, please:

1. Complete and submit an Artist Application Form

2. Submit a full-color rendering of your proposed design as well as a description of the design and construction process.

• Submit 3 – 5 examples of past work that represent your ability to do this project. Images in digital format are preferred.

• Resume (optional)

 Mail application packet to:

Arts Council of Mendocino County

309 East Perkins Street

Ukiah, CA 95482

or email to:

6. Design Selection

Artist proposals will be evaluated by the Simpson Lane Roundabout Public Art Committee and the Arts Council of Mendocino County and assessed according to the following criteria (roughly in order of importance):

· Reflects Local Culture, History and Spirit of Place

· Uses Local, Environmentally Responsible (Up-cycled or recycled) Materials

· Integrates Well with Site and with Surrounding Landscape

· Simple / Dynamic Design

· Professional Artistic Quality

· Engages the Community & Youth -- Community participation in design or construction process

· No Maintenance Required – Maintenance funds are currently unavailable, no water or electricity for lighting or kinetic features is currently available.

· Durable – ages well; able to withstand marine environment

Designs that create a hazard for drivers (ex.: a blinding glare) will not be considered.

7. Artist Requirements

Upon receiving the commission, successful artists are required to sign a form acknowledging payment of stipend (50% upon signing; 50% upon completion), scope of work – which may include fundraising events and community relations, a timetable for execution including necessary transportation approvals and permits, and a release to Mendocino County and ACMC of non-exclusive promotional rights to their artwork. Due to its location, the artwork is acknowledged to have an unpredictable life and may be removed or repaired as needed at the discretion of the community.

8. Questions & Information

For questions about this project, please contact Alyssum Wier, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Mendocino County, at or call 707.463.2727.

The Arts Council of Mendocino County is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To learn more about the ACMC, go to

— Bill Mulvihill, Publicity & Membership Manager

Arts Council of Mendocino County


How about some Frankenfish?

By Dan Bacher

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a draft environmental assessment (EA) finding, in spite of much evidence to the contrary, that genetically engineered (GE) AquaAdvantage salmon pose no risk to the environment.

The document claimed that the fish “will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States.” It also claimed that the GE salmon, the first ever intended for human consumption in the United States, is unlikely to harm populations of wild salmon.

The FDA made the finding in spite of a petition from conservation groups requesting that it complete a comprehensive environmental impact statement on the risks GE fish could present to the natural marine environment.

The finding occurs as the Obama administration is continuing and expanding some of the worst environmental policies of the Bush administration, including exporting record amounts of water out of the Delta, killing record numbers of fish at the Delta pumping facilities and promoting the privatization of the fisheries through the “catch shares” program.

Earthjustice filed that petition in May 2011 on behalf of the Ocean Conservancy, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, the Center for International Environmental Law and Greenpeace.

“FDA’s narrow analysis fails to seriously consider the risks these genetically engineered fish could pose to our natural environment,” said Earthjustice attorney Khushi Desai. “If these fish mix with wild salmon, the ecological harm could be devastating. This genetically engineered fish puts the entire US salmon industry at risk, and most importantly it could threaten the very survival of our native salmon populations.”

After more than a decade of behind-the-scenes work with the GE fish sponsor, AquaBounty Technologies, the FDA announced last fall that it intended to approve AquaBounty’s application. In response, the public sent over 400,000 comments to the FDA opposing the “Frankenfish” and demanding mandatory labeling of any GE fish approved for sale to US consumers, according to a statement from Earthjustice.

“Materials submitted to the FDA by the owner of the GE salmon, AquaBounty, raise serious, unanswered concerns regarding potential destruction of wild salmon populations,” according to Earthjustice. “These concerns are significant enough to warrant a more thorough environmental impact statement, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.”

In the draft EA released Friday, the FDA accepts AquaBounty’s representation that no fish will escape, survive, or reproduce in the wild—even though that type of security cannot be guaranteed.

Conservationists, fishermen and consumer advocates take the company at its word that this is just their first step in a broader plan to produce these GE fish and others like them around the world.

Consumers don’t want Frankensalmon

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, slammed the FDA decision to tentatively approve Frankensalmon.

“Despite insufficient testing and widespread opposition, AquaBounty’s genetically engineered (GE) salmon took the final step towards becoming the first FDA-approved genetically engineered (GE) food animal,” Hauter said in a statement. “The Food and Drug Administration released its draft Environmental Assessment, clearing the way for this transgenic organism to be approved by the agency under its new animal drug approval process.

“Food & Water Watch is far from alone in condemning this historic decision – one that disregards numerous polls revealing that the vast majority of consumers oppose GE salmon. Over 40 members of Congress and scientists at other federal agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, have also voiced strong opposition to GE salmon, citing the lack of scientific rigor and expertise at the FDA,” she noted.

“To add insult to injury, this product may be hitting the market without labeling, meaning that concerned consumers who have demanded labeling will be unable to identify GE from non-GE salmon. Not only does this ignore our fundamental right to know what we are putting on our plates, it is simply bad for business, as many will avoid purchasing any salmon for fear it is genetically engineered,” she stated.

The Obama administration tentatively approved the Frankensalmon less than 2 months after Proposition 37, the initiative calling for the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food in California, was narrowly defeated on November 6. Pesticide companies, led by Monsanto and Dupont, and other corporations spent nearly $50 million to defeat the grassroots effort.

Hauter noted that the FDA, tasked with protecting consumer safety, failed to conduct the appropriate studies to determine if it is safe to eat or even if the fish can live up to AquaBounty’s claim of faster growth rates. And, by releasing an environmental assessment instead of a more thorough environmental impact statement, the FDA failed to fully consider the threat this controversial new fish could pose to wild fish populations.

“Congress can still keep FDA from unleashing this dangerous experiment,” Hauter said. “Bipartisan legislation would ban the commercialization of this controversial fish. Food & Water Watch will be examining legal options to force FDA to do a more thorough assessment of this new GE food animal.”

Although Hauter said this latest FDA decision is a blow to consumer confidence, she encourage everyone to contact their members of Congress and demand this reckless decision be overturned. She also said Food & Water Watch and its allies will be collecting comments to deliver to the FDA during their public comment period.

Jaydee Hanson of the Center for Food Safety noted that the environmental assessment says that the comment period is 30 days, but the Federal Register notice says 60 days.

“I have confirmed with the relevant FDA staff that the Federal Register notice is correct. So 60 days for comment are in order,” said Hanson.

Caleen Audrey Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, urges everybody to sign Food & Water Watch’s petition telling Congress to stop the approval of GE salmon.

“Please sign on to this request to keep GE salmon, the Frankenfish, off the market. These Frankenfish are sure to kill wild Chinook salmon!” said Sisk.

The Obama administration’s abysmal record on salmon, fish and water

The Obama administration’s tentative approval of GE salmon for human consumption occurs in the context of an administration that has continued and expanded some of the most odious environmental policies of the Bush administration.

The Obama administration is the first-ever federal administration to officially endorse the construction of a peripheral canal or tunnel, a project that will hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish species by diverting massive quantities of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to corporate agribusiness and southern California.

The Obama and Brown administrations also presided over record Delta water exports and massive fish kills at the state and federal pumping facilities in 2011. The record water exports resulted in the “salvage” of a record 9 million Sacramento splittail and over 2 million other fish including Central Valley salmon, steelhead, striped bass, largemouth bass, threadfin shad, white catfish and sturgeon.

These fish kills couldn’t occur at a worse time. An analysis by the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA) has found that since year 2000 over one hundred million fish (102,856,027) have been sucked into the Delta pumps. This figure includes twenty six million valuable game fish, many of which are endangered.

This is in spite of the fact that the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, signed by President George H.W. Bush in the fall of 1992, set a goal of doubling the Bay-Delta watershed’s Chinook salmon runs from 495,000 to 990,000 wild adult fish by 2002. The legislation also mandated the doubling of other anadromous fish species, including Central Valley steelhead, white sturgeon, green sturgeon, striped bass and American shad, by 2002.

Rather than doubling, the Central Valley Chinook salmon fishery has suffered a dramatic collapse over the past decade, now standing at only 13 percent of the population goal required by federal law. As if tentatively approving GE salmon, fast-tracking the construction of the peripheral tunnels, exporting record amounts of water from the Delta, killing millions of fish in the Delta pumps and refusing to enforce the Central Valley Project Improvement Act wasn’t enough, the Obama administration has promoted the privatization of fisheries through the “catch shares” program.

“Under the guise of conservation, a system called ‘catch shares’ is being pushed by the government and larger members of the fishing industry alike to make a public resource, our fish, like private property,” according to Food & Water Watch. “Traditional, small-scale fishermen are being pushed out of the industry as these shares are handed out for free with most going to larger, industrial fishing operations. Worldwide, catch share programs have meant fewer jobs for fishemen – and the effects spread to whole communities – fewer fishermen means less dollars for local shops, restaurants and more. For consumers, it can mean lower quality fish and a further reliance on industrially processed foods.”

You can read the Federal Register notice here.

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