THIS JUST IN: Chair Dan Hamburg reported out of Closed Session on Tuesday afternoon that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, acting as the Air Quality Management District Board of Directors, has directed that the Air Pollution Control Officer (Chris Brown) be placed on administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation. (The announcement did not say what the investigation involves or whether the administrative leave is with our without pay.) More to come.
BRONWYN HANES had previously pled out to embezzling some $27,000 from the Anderson Valley PTA. Tuesday, the single mother of two and long-time local resident, was sentenced to 90 days in the County Jail followed by weekends in jail. Ms. Hanes was also placed on five years probation. Facing the courtroom in which several local women active in the PTA were seated, the contrite Ms. Hanes read a statement expressing her sorrow for her duplicity and her apologies to the PTA for stealing from it and, by extension, the children of the Anderson Valley.
THE DISPOSITION of the Hanes case seemed to take the defendant and her attorney, Catherine Elliot, by surprise. Ms. Elliot had argued for no jail time, and even the DA had insisted on a minimum of weekends in jail plus, of course, full restitution. But Judge Moorman insisted on the 90 days plus weekends and expressed her surprise that Ms. Hanes had not told her present employer that she'd been convicted of theft, an omission the judge immediately rectified by directing Ms. Hanes to "tell them today." Ms. Hanes will have to report back to the court that she has indeed informed her employer, a Napa wine company, of her conviction.
AN ATTRACTIVE WOMAN in her late 30's, Ms. Hanes was ordered to re-pay the Anderson Valley PTA at the rate of $450 per month, which may be impossible for Ms. Hanes if her employer does not hold her employment for her while she's in jail. A 90-day sentence usually works out to about half the 90, meaning Ms. Hanes will still be incarcerated for a month-and-a-half and then face a year or so of weekends in jail.
THE JUDGE and prosecutor Paul Sequiera made frequent reference to a prior conviction involving a forged check that Ms. Hanes sustained in 1997 in Sonoma County, the implication being that Ms. Hanes seemed given to financial chicanery. Ms. Hanes will be back in court on Wednesday, February 13th, at which time she will be told when to report to the County Jail.
LINDA MacELWEE reminds us of what's happening in the embattled Navarro watershed, beginning with a workshop on Tuesday February 19, 2013, 8 a.m. to noon, at River's Bend Retreat Center, 18450 Ray's Rd, Philo. This, first in a series of workshops, is primarily geared for vineyards, orchards, and farms. The workshop will provide Anderson Valley farmers with updated information about current and future water needs in the Navarro Watershed, research on wind machines, recent fish population surveys and resources available to help farmers implement conservation practices. Speakers and topics will include: Irrigated Agriculture Water Needs in the Anderson Valley- Glenn McGourtey, Viticulture Advisor, UCCE Mendocino/Lake Counties; Frost Protection without Sprinklers- Temperature Condition Requirements: Mark Battany, UCCE Viticulture Advisor, San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara Counties; Navarro River Fish Populations- Mendocino Redwood Company, NOAA Fisheries; Conservation Resources- Laurel Marcus (Fish Friendly Farming), Carol Mandel (NRCS), Linda MacElwee (MCRCD), Jason Pelletier (The NatureConservancy) This event is co-sponsored by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy and the Anderson Valley Winegrower's Association. There is no charge for the event. Coffee/Tea and pastries will be offered. R.S.V.P. to Linda MacElwee (MCRCD); firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 895-3230.
STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL Kamala Harris alleged in a lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court Monday that Standard & Poore lured the state's public pension funds, everyday Californians and miscellaneous other entities to invest in crooked mortgage-backed securities via inflated ratings. The U.S. Department of Justice filed essentially the same charges Los Angeles on Monday, accusing the S&P of fraud for awarding high ratings to risky mortgage bonds that helped bring about the financial crisis. The California suit alleges that the rating company's actions led directly to a combined $1 billion loss for the California Public Employees Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System. More than 1 million California homes were foreclosed between 2008 and 2011 and another 570,000 are in danger of being lost to foreclosure, according to a California Senate report.
WE'RE TOLD that unattached young women floating through marijuana country on the lookout for successful pharmas are called 'potstitutes.'
TRYING to get information out of government offices is never easy, especially here in Mendocino County where a cult-like secrecy is the norm and pure fear is the prevalent emotion among county workers, so when we tried to find out why Bob West of General Services had been fired or laid off or sent to the timeout room — whatever happened to him — we really had to dig. And? Apparently the guy had become so unpopular with the people he supervised that they were threatening to wildcat strike. Or worse. It's allegedly being sorted out, and we'll report back. Maybe. Some day.
ON FEBRUARY 4, 2013 at approximately 10:52pm hours Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were on routine patrol near the 100 block of Talmage Road when they observed a Green Honda Accord fail to stop at a posted stop sign. The Deputies attempted to make a traffic stop but the driver of the vehicle accelerated and sped away from them. The Deputies activated their emergency lights with siren and pursued the vehicle. Officers from the California Highway Patrol and Ukiah Police Department joined the pursuit as the vehicle entered onto northbound Highway 101 from Talmage Road. The vehicle fled from the Deputies at speeds reaching 100 mph. The Deputies and CHP Officers followed the vehicle northbound on Highway 101 and then eastbound onto Highway 20. The vehicle passed other vehicles by crossing into an oncoming lane of traffic and also weaved unsafely at times. The vehicle later turned northbound onto Potter Valley Road and reached speeds of 65 mph while still evading law enforcement personnel. The vehicle later turned northbound onto Eel River Road and continued until it reached Van Arsdale Road and then turned onto Old Logging Road. A short time later the vehicle turned onto a riverbank access road and drove into the water of the Eel River. The driver, later identified as William Jackson IV, 33, of Potter Valley, jumped from the vehicle and ran through the river attempting to escape the pursuing Deputies and CHP Officers. CHP Officers were able to apprehend Jackson after a short foot pursuit and arrested him without further incident. Jackson was wanted on an outstanding Mendocino County felony arrest warrant for kidnapping and domestic battery and was also on formal felony probation out of Santa Clara County for domestic battery. Jackson was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail for the outstanding arrest warrant, for violation of his probation (1203.2 PC) and felony evading of law enforcement (2800.2 CVC). Jackson was to be held on a NO BAIL status because of the probation violation charge.
ON FEBRUARY 2, 2013 at 2:30pm hours Mendocino County Sheriff's Sergeant Derek Scott conducted an investigation into the sex offender registration status of Benjamin Delgado, 38, of Hopland. Sergeant Scott oversees the SAFE (Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement) Program for the Sheriff's Office and noticed that Delgado was not living where he stated on his sex offender registration paperwork. Sergeant Scott located Delgado and developed probable cause to show Delgado failed to notify the Sheriff's Office of the address of his new residence, as required by law. Delgado was arrested for failure to register and for violation of probation. Delgado was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a no bail status.
ON JANUARY 20, 2013 at 2:53pm Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was dispatched to Keith's Market in Covelo, California in regards to reported physical altercation. Upon arriving at the grocery store the Sheriff's Deputy discovered Kevin Harlan, 46, was being examined by personnel from the Covelo Ambulance Service. The Sheriff's Deputy interviewed eyewitnesses and reviewed store surveillance footage of the reported altercation. The Sheriff's Deputy learned Harlan and Samuel Franco,36, were both shopping inside of the store at the time of the incident. Franco was standing at the deli counter when Harlan approached and stood closely beside Franco. Harlan began to engage Franco in unpleasant conversation as the pair had an unfriendly relationship. During the conversation Franco extended the side of his arm to move Harlan from his position. This prompted Harlan to slap Franco in the head with a glancing blow. The pair engaged in further unpleasant conversation at a short distance before Franco punched Harlan one time in the face with a closed fist. Harlan immediately fell to the ground and remained there for several minutes in an unresponsive state. Medical personnel were summoned to the store and attempted to provide treatment to Harlan who later became somewhat responsive. Harlan refused medical treatment against the advice of ambulance personnel. The Sheriff's Deputy accepted Franco's private person’s arrest of Harlan for battery, as a result of the slapping incident inside of the store. The Sheriff's Deputy placed Harlan in handcuffs and was placing him in the backseat area of the Deputy's patrol vehicle when Harlan unexpectedly showed signs of a medical emergency. Harlan was immediately released to the care of ambulance personnel who were still on scene. Harlan was transported to an out of county hospital by air ambulance for further medical treatment. On 01-29-2013 Harlan was recovering in the hospital when he suffered another medical emergency and died as a result. Sheriff's Detectives are conducting further investigations into Harlan's death and will be submitting their investigative reports to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office for review. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is urged to call the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.
RELEASE OF THE DRAFT MENDOCINO TOWN PLAN UPDATE for Planning Commission Hearing
Mendocino, California, 1/28/2013: The second draft of the Mendocino Town Plan update has been released for public review and is available on Mendocino County’s website:
The Mendocino Town Zoning Code will be released by February 1st. The draft Mendocino Town Plan update and Zoning Code will be considered by the Planning Commission at a public hearing to be held on February 28, 2013 from 2pm-6pm at St. Anthony’s Parish Hall, 10700 Lansing Street in Mendocino. Comments on the proposed draft will be accepted at the public hearing; written comments may also be submitted. Once the Planning Commission has reviewed the draft documents, a recommendation will be offered to the Board of Supervisors. The County Board of Supervisors will review and consider the Town Plan update in a subsequent public hearing to be announced at a later date.
The current Mendocino Town Plan was adopted in 1992. The updated draft of the Mendocino Town Plan reflects changes that have occurred since adoption, changes in the environment, economic circumstances, and issues identified at the previously held community meetings. The Town Plan addresses historic preservation, affordable housing, growth, land use, and a new section regarding sustainability has been added to the plan.
You may write letters to:
Abbey Stockwell, 120 W. Fir Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
NEW ORLEANS REMAINS, in its decay, authentic in the sense that it illustrates all of our problems, all of the time. Corruption, vice, stupidity, ecological irresponsibility, mass industry, artistry, culture, architecture. Mardi Gras is something to see even if it may be a fraction of its prior grandiosity (before temporary immigrants aka tourists ) turned the event into another commodified excuse to get shitfaced. One day New Orleans will be our haunted ruins, set in a sprawling, permanent swamp, as the hurricanes become more and more frequent, and sea level breaches the sea walls and the delta disintigrates into the dead zone. (Random On-Line Comment)
RELATIVE TO THE SUPER BOWL
1. I'm surprised no one mentioned the possibility that the power failure was the result of sabotage. Say, for example, it came to light that Iran had caused the outage as a demonstration of what they are capable of. Whenever I have occasion to (nervously) pass through the Lincoln Tunnel I can hardly believe that tube is still in one piece. It seems such an obvious and easy target.
2. The man-cave in which I vegetate each day has, in addition to my laptop, 2 TVs. One is a rear projection 50 incher (Hi-def, flat screen) and the other is a very cheap Phillips 20" TV. Years ago Costco had a giant stack of them piled near the door selling for $99/ea if I recall.
So anyway, here is how I handled Super Bowl Sunday: Both TVs and the laptop are turned on. The 'puter is mainly on CFN but when no fresh posts appear I look elsewhere...like the Fred on Everything blog, the aliensinthefamily blog, my email (I continuously stay on top of the Inbox and purge the Spam folder)...or when really desperate, play Solitaire.
The big Akai TV is tuned to channel 2 where the SB will appear (actually, it's on 702 to get it in Hi-def) but I have it muted because I cannot tolerate all the audio distractions of the pre-game hype and activities. In particular I hate the singing of the Star Spangled Banner because, inevitably, the performing artist will NOT do a straight-forward rendition but rather - especially if the artist is Black - will go into all sorts of vocal flights of fancy that relate in NO way with the sense of the lyrics. I noticed that the artist this year was Alicia Keys who appears to be a very pretty light-skinned Black woman. I could not help being curious how she would deliver this song so I un-muted the TV. Sure enough about half way through she began to murder the S-S-B. In the trade, singers who perform in this manner are said to be song "stylists." As soon as I was assured musical murder was being committed I resumed mute mode.
What little interest I had in this year's contest was the result of two things: My son-in-law is obsessed with the 49ers (why I don't know...they are 3000 miles away) so I try to give emotional support and (2) Ray Rice, Ravens running back, played right down the road from me at Rutgers which is one of my two Alma Maters.
This year I decided I'd find out what all the hoopla was over two shows, Downton Abbey (on PBS) and Girls (on HBO). Both are shown in prime time. I had missed last Sunday's episode of Downton but played catch-up when it was re-broadcast at 8PM. Then at 9PM THIS week's episode played. Finally, at 10PM Girls played. I juggled these two shows plus the SB on the two TVs, always with the SB muted.
I think you can get a clearer appreciation of the crassness of American entertainment when you watch a SB halftime show with the sound off. Beyonce and her crew of look-a-likes did not fail in this. The (as someone upthread called them) "Mandingo" pelvic thrusts may have raised a woody for me 54 years ago but now, well... it's a national embarrassment. I am beginning to understand those Saudi morality police.
And continuing on the theme of crassness, the contrived dances and other histrionics (again, mainly by Black players who score a TD, or even just make a nice block) are hard to take coming from grown men. What ever happened to penalties for "excessive celebration?" (Random On Line Comment)
ROLLER DERBY ON THE MOVE
Mendo Mayhem Ladies Roller Derby and Deep Valley Belligerents Men’s Roller Derby are famous for their moves on the track with both leagues having record breaking 2012 seasons. January saw both leagues packing up their gear and rolling deep into the heart of Ukiah to their new home at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds. Skaters can be found practicing their moves and working on their game in Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights in Carl Purdy Hall.
While Skate City provided both leagues with a home base and helped local Roller Derby get off the ground, the leagues felt growing pains as they skated in front of capacity crowds. Fearing having to turn fans away due to occupancy restrictions, the new location at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds provided room for growth and changes in the leagues. With all these changes, both teams feel confident that not only will the leagues benefit from the added exposure but their sponsors will also reap the rewards of the new location. Sponsorship opportunities are available for both men’s and women’s teams.
Local Roller Derby is looking for skaters of all skill levels to fill their rosters for the upcoming season. Monday night’s practices have been deemed “Derby 101” nights with the basics of Derby being taught by coach Allison “Gnar Gnar Jinx” Dickson. She can be heard telling her skaters “I know you can do it!” as she teaches them drills and leads them in an exercise routine developed to strengthen and tone muscles needed to be a strong skater.
Experienced Derby skaters are working hard at endurance practice on Tuesday nights. Coach John “JB The Rockstar” Brown pushes men and women alike through their paces as he builds up strength and endurance in his Skaters.
Thursday nights are women’s scrimmage night where skaters get an opportunity to practice the skills they have been instructed in against other skaters on the track.
Men take over the track on Sundays with Coach Kim “Chica Boom” Garcia showing her skaters that she expects them to bring their all to the track.
Mendo Mayhem will be holding their first home bout at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds on March 2nd. Tickets are available online at mendomayhem.com, from any derby girl and at dig! Music in Ukiah. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. A limited amount of season passes are also available for $40. This bout will also be a benefit night for Wyatt Phillps, a local student who is battling T-Cell Leukemia. A portion of the funds raised at this bout will be donated to Wyatt for travel and food expenses connected to his cancer treatments.
Local roller derby teams, Mendo Mayhem and Deep Valley Belligerents are excited to announce their move to the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds. Check out your local derby teams online at mendomayhem.com or deepvalleybelligerents.com for schedules and support one of the fastest growing sports in the nation!
TEN YEARS AFTER POWELL’S UN SPEECH, Old Hands Are Ready for More Blood. By Norman Solomon
When Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke to the UN Security Council on February 5, 2003, countless journalists in the United States extolled him for a masterful performance — making the case that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The fact that the speech later became notorious should not obscure how easily truth becomes irrelevant in the process of going to war.
Ten years later — with Powell’s speech a historic testament of shameless deception leading to vast carnage — we may not remember the extent of the fervent accolades. At the time, fawning praise was profuse across the USA’s mainline media spectrum, including the nation’s reputedly great newspapers.
The New York Times editorialized that Powell “was all the more convincing because he dispensed with apocalyptic invocations of a struggle of good and evil and focused on shaping a sober, factual case against Mr. Hussein’s regime.” The Washington Post was more war-crazed, headlining its editorial “Irrefutable” and declaring that after Powell’s UN presentation “it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.”
Yet basic flaws in Powell’s UN speech were abundant. Slanted translations of phone intercepts rendered them sinister. Interpretations of unclear surveillance photos stretched to concoct the worst. Summaries of cherry-picked intelligence detoured around evidence that Iraq no longer had WMDs. Ballyhooed documents about an Iraqi quest for uranium were forgeries.
Assumptions about US prerogatives also went largely unquestioned. In response to Powell’s warning that the UN Security Council would place itself “in danger of irrelevance” by failing to endorse a US-led invasion of Iraq, the adulation from US media embraced the notion that the United Nations could only be “relevant” by bending to Washington’s wishes. A combination of cooked intelligence and geopolitical arrogance, served up to rapturous reviews at home, set the stage for what was to come.
The invasion began six weeks after Powell’s tour de force at the United Nations. Soon, a search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was in full swing. None turned up. In January 2004 — 11 months after Powell’s UN speech — the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released a report concluding that top officials in the Bush administration “systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq’s WMD and ballistic missile programs.”
Left twisting in the wind was Powell’s speech to the UN Security Council, where he’d issued a “conservative estimate” that Iraq “has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent.” The secretary of state had declared: “There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.”
Nineteen months after the speech, in mid-September 2004, Powell made a terse public acknowledgment. “I think it’s unlikely that we will find any stockpiles,” he said. But no gingerly climb-down could mitigate the bloodshed that continued in Iraq.
A decade ago, Colin Powell played a starring role in a recurring type of political dramaturgy. Scripts vary, while similar dramas play out on a variety of scales. Behind a gauzy curtain, top officials engage in decision-making on war that gives democracy short shrift. For the public, crucial information that bears on the wisdom of warfare remains opaque or out of sight.
Among the powerful and not-so-powerful, in mass media and on Capitol Hill, the default position is still to defer to presidential momentum for war. Public candor and policy introspection remain in short supply.
The new secretary of state, John Kerry — like the one he just replaced, Hillary Clinton — voted for the Iraq war resolution in the Senate, nearly four months before Powell went to the UN Security Council. During the crucial lead-up months, Senator Kerry was at pains to show his avid support for an invasion. In early October 2002, appearing for an hour on MSNBC’s “Hardball” program live from The Citadel as an audience of young cadets filled the screen, Kerry said: “I’m prepared to go. I think people understand that Saddam Hussein is a danger.”
Since then, Kerry has publicly said that he would have voted for the war resolution even if he’d known that Iraq actually had no weapons of mass destruction. But on the Senate floor, Kerry prefaced his vote for war by rhetorically demanding to know why Saddam Hussein was “attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don’t even try.” The senator emphasized that “according to intelligence, Iraq has chemical and biological weapons.”
Months later, when Powell trumpeted that theme at the United Nations, the landslide of testimonials included this one from a future US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice: “I think he has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding them, and I don’t think many informed people doubted that.”
Meanwhile, the Washington Post edition with the editorial headlined “Irrefutable” also included unanimous agreement from each of the opinion columns on the facing page.
Longtime Post columnist Richard Cohen attested to Powell’s unquestionable veracity with these words: “The evidence he presented to the United Nations — some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail — had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool — or possibly a Frenchman – could conclude otherwise.”
Inches away, another venerable pundit held forth. Powell managed to “present the world with a convincing and detailed X-ray of Iraq’s secret weapons and terrorism programs yesterday,” wrote Jim Hoagland, a Post foreign-policy specialist. He concluded: “To continue to say that the Bush administration has not made its case, you must now believe that Colin Powell lied in the most serious statement he will ever make, or was taken in by manufactured evidence. I don’t believe that. Today, neither should you.”
Fast forward to the current era. What are Richard Cohen and Jim Hoagland writing — about Iran?
On February 6, 2012, exactly nine years after proclaiming that “only a fool” could doubt Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Cohen’s column declared flatly: “The ultimate remedy is Iranian regime change.” Four months ago, Cohen wrapped up a column by observing “there is still time for Iran to back down before President Obama’s red line — no nuclear weapon — is crossed. This is a war whose time has not yet come.” Not yet.
Hoagland — a decade after telling readers they should put their trust in Colin Powell’s “convincing and detailed X-ray of Iraq’s secret weapons” — is now making clear that his patience with Iran is wearing thin. “Until recently,” Hoagland wrote five weeks ago, “I had been relatively comfortable with Obama’s assertions that there is time to reach a peaceful resolution with Iran.” Hoagland’s column went on to say that military strikes on Iran “threaten disastrous political and economic consequences for the world,” so diplomatic efforts should try to avert the need for such strikes — before they become necessary.
So goes the dominant spectrum of opinionating and policymaking for war, from eagerness to reluctance. Propaganda lead-ups to warfare are as varied as wars themselves; and yet every style of such propaganda relies on deception, and every war is unspeakable horror.
After jumping onto ghastly bandwagons for one war after another, the nation’s media establishment is available to do it again. So is the current US ambassador to the United Nations. So is the new secretary of state. They’re old hands, dripping with blood. They have not had enough.
(Norman Solomon is the author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He is the founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder of RootsAction.org.)