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Mendocino County Today: February 8, 2013

THE CITY OF UKIAH received a report Wednesday night on General Fund revenues and expenditures for fiscal years 2011/12 and 2012/13 and projections for general fund expenditures for the next several years into the future. The Ukiah Daily Journal ran a story Wednesday morning that highlighted nearly a $900,000 budget surplus for fiscal year 2011/12, which makes it sound like everything is pretty hunky-dory, right? Not exactly. Ukiah has an almost equal general fund deficit projected for the current fiscal year and according to information posted online, a million or more in annual deficits every year through fiscal year 2017/18. Last year's surplus was also mostly the result of one time revenues and one time savings in expenditures.

THE GOOD NEWS is that Ukiah's Fund Balance (cash on hand) at the end of last fiscal year was just under $6 million smackeroos. The bad news is that Ukiah is projected to run in the red $1.25 million this year and next and another million the year after that, taking the fund balance down to $2.4 million. The real budget heartache begins in fiscal year 2015/16 when Ukiah's half-cent sales tax for public safety (Measure S) sunsets and the deficit jumps to $2.8 million followed by $3.5 million each in 2016/17 and 2017/18, resulting in a projected general fund deficit of $7.6 million. Except Ukiah, which has a general fund budget of about $14 million annually, will be out of cash and out of business long before then. If the voters extend Measure S, which brings in about $2.5 million annually, Ukiah will still be broke by 2017/18 and still running deficits of a million or more annually. So far, the City Council and City Manager seem content to keep a tally sheet on the looming fiscal disaster, but appear incapable of coming up with a plan to deal with it.

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Aten
Aten

CONRAD ARTHOR ATEN, 44, of Harrison, Michigan, was taken into custody in Harrison, Michigan on December 12, 2012 out of Mendocino County on an arrest warrant for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child (288.5 PC). In September of 2012 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a report alleging Aten had sexually abused a child under the age of 14-years-old over a period of several years. During the course of a four-month investigation Sheriff's Detectives were able to obtain evidence to corroborate the victim's allegation. Aten moved from his residence in Mendocino County after learning of the investigation. Through follow-up investigations Sheriff's Detectives determined Aten moved to Harrison, Michigan. Sheriff's Detectives enlisted the assistance of the Claire County Sheriff's Office in locating and arresting Aten after the issuance of the arrest warrant. After his arrest, Aten was housed at the Claire County Jail and on January 24, 2013 he was extradited back to California. Aten is presently in custody in the Mendocino County Jail where he is being held in lieu of $300,000 bail. Anyone wishing to provide Sheriff's Detectives with information about Conrad Arthur Athen is urged to call the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line at 707-234-2100.

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Salgado
Salgado

THE MENDOCINO COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT had announced last Wednesday that a woman smoking a cigarette outside her home in Gualala suffered a severe eye injury when she was struck by shotgun pellets fired in the direction of the home.

A description of the bad guy’s car led Sonoma County deputies to the Kashia reservation at Stewarts Point where they arrested Lamont Salgado, 18, and Christopher Ochoa, 21, and took a .20-gauge shotgun from them.

Ochoa
Ochoa

The 39-year-old victim was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and still has not been identified because she and her family fear further attacks by gang-inspired young people now common on the South Coast, Ukiah, Willits, and Fort Bragg. The injured woman had been standing outside the home a little after 10pm when a white car passed by and someone fired four to five shotgun rounds in her direction. Salgado and Ochoa were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy and booked into the Mendocino County Jail. Much to the shock and astonishment of many South Coast residents, bail was inexplicably set so low — $65,000 — that Ochoa posted it and is now free. DA Eyster is expected to re-file charges accompanied by much higher bail.

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CONGRESSMAN THOMPSON’S much ballyhooed public meetings to discuss gun control measures have resulted in the following recommendations:

• Reinstating a federal ban on assault weapons and a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

• Requiring background checks for most gun buyers, closing a loophole that enables felons, domestic abusers and mentally ill people to acquire firearms.

• A crackdown on illegal gun trafficking and straw-purchasing, the practice of buying a gun and giving it to a convicted felon or other prohibited buyer.

• Funding federal research on the causes of gun violence and supporting local programs to take unwanted guns off the streets.

• Improving prevention, early intervention and treatment of mental illness and addressing the shortage of mental health professionals.

• Helping schools implement safety programs.

• Addressing the American culture's “glorification of violence” in movies, television, music and video games.

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THE ACCIDENTAL DEATH Ukiah psychiatrist Doug Rosoff last August has been thoroughly investigated and found to have indeed been an accident. Nevertheless, Mrs. Rosoff continues to insist her husband's death did not occur from his own negligence. It did. Repeat examinations of the scene and interviews with witnesses found that Rosoff, on his bicycle, attempted to squeeze through the busy Orchard Avenue intersection as a dump truck hauling debris from the demolished McDonald's at that site was turning. The few feet between the oncoming cyclist and the turning truck instantly narrowed, and Rosoff and his bike fell beneath the truck's rear wheels, crushing Rosoff. The driver was found blameless. The Ukiah Police Department, whose investigations were assisted by the CHP, cannot release their findings without Mrs. Rosoff's permission.

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CRIME OF THE WEEK: Parolee arrested after robbery, attempted break-in — On Tuesday, February 5, 2013, Ukiah Police arrested a 52-year-old Ukiah man Saturday night after he allegedly broke into a South Ukiah home and left wearing an elderly woman's clothing and with a purse, then led police on a foot chase after he reportedly tried to break into another home in the area, according to the Ukiah Police Department. Police received a call at 8:45pm on Feb. 2 from an elderly woman in the 800 block of Waugh Lane, who reported that a caucasian man about 40 years old with a thin build had entered her second-story home through the rear patio door. The man reportedly put on some of her clothing, including a white skirt from her bedroom, then fought with the woman's husband in the couple's living room before running out their front door with her purse and clothing. The elderly couple was not hurt. Police checked the area with the assistance of other local law enforcement agencies but didn't find the man. About two hours later at about 11pm, the Ukiah Police Department received a call from a woman reporting that a caucasian man wearing a hooded sweatshirt was trying to get in through the rear patio door of her home in the 700 block of Village Circle, about a third of a mile away.

Radcliffe
Radcliffe

Officers responded and found the man behind the caller's home. The man saw the officers and reportedly ran eastbound through the apartment complex, jumping a fence onto the railroad tracks with officers chasing him on foot. The man jumped another fence of a home in the 800 block of Waugh Lane, where UPD officers captured and arrested him. The elderly woman from the first call identified the man as the person who broke into her home and took her purse and clothing. The suspect was identified as Marc Patrick Radcliffe, 52, of Ukiah. He was booked at the Mendocino County Jail on suspicion of robbery, burglary, attempted burglary, resisting arrest, prowling and violating his parole. The victim's purse and clothing were not found. Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the UPD at 463-6262.

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DOROTHEA AND THE CASE OF THE STOLEN TRUCK

PART 1: In brief. Buy a towing company with a fenced stor­age yard. Comply with 32 pages of California Highway Patrol regulations. Now you are in business to steal. You can rack up storage fees for towed vehicles by providing no written instructions for the procedure to retrieve the towed vehicle. The California Highway Patrol also fails to provide any procedural instructions. Then you charge storage fees for every day the person seeking the return of the vehicle is sent on a bureaucratic goose chase, tracking down incomplete, wrong or contradictory instructions. At varying rates from $45/day to a high of $70/day, the storage racket is a lucrative one in itself, as the only service provided is parking in a fenced junk­yard. For that much money, the besieged vehicle owner can buy a motel room and house a homeless family and car if they have one, or for the higher $70/day amount, fancy digs which include FREE PARKING. Or more economically, for under $100/month, one can rent a parking space for a motor home in a nightly locked storage yard. Before trying to find a legal basis for these outrageous fees, remember that the vehicle was taken unlawfully, that the registered owner was not notified by any agency that his truck had been impounded. After six days of trying to find the whereabouts of the towed truck, because the California Highway Patrol would not tell me without first giving them the license plate number and the vehicle identification number (vin), numbers I didn't think of memorizing, I discovered that the truck was at Ukiah Auto Dismantlers. There I was instructed that I needed to obtain a written authorization from the registered owner. As the registered owner was in jail for something he did not do under a guilty until proven innocent parole “violation” — all charges were subsequently dismissed — I had to wait until a weekly visitation to obtain the written authorization. When I presented that paper, I was told that it had to be stamped by a notary public. Two more days lost as notaries are expen­sive. I had to find an affordable mobile notary who had to make a special appointment at the jail which was in the late afternoon. Then the CHP had to accept that document, I had been told, before I took it to the Auto Dismantlers. Every day of delay cost $45 storage fees, $50 for the notary, gas money and lunch money. At almost 75 years old, I live on a small disability plus a little extra. By Christmas, thanks to this runa­round, my credit union account was zero, my savings used. The owner of the truck had $300 of savings to retrieve the truck. By now over $450 was “owed.” I , who usually do not get sick, was sick from stress and a lyme disease attack, and angrier than I had probably been in 20 years. If you amble over to the Law Library at the Ukiah Courthouse to check Lexis Nexis to search for a legal basis for these outrageous charges, you will find NOTHING. Look in the Deerings California Code. NADA. Another day of searching. Dan, the morning law librarian who can help find citations, found a 2013 Addendum to the Deerings California Code 22651.07, which reads that rates for public tows and storage are to be decided by agreement between the law enforcement agency requesting the tow and the towing company. When I asked CHP officer Soria and then the acting commander Moffett, he told me that the CHP had no such rate agreement. I then requested and received a few days later 32 pages of the CHP contractual agreements with their listed towing companies. Nowhere are any rates mentioned. However, within 72 hours of the towing the owner of the vehicle can pay the tow charge and just be given the vehicle with no further charges. In this case, the insurance would have covered the towing charge. The California Highway Patrol posts its Mission Statement on its website. Nowhere in its Mission Statement can I find any authorization to permit a towing company to charge RANSOM before returning a stolen vehicle. Boo-hoo, the county government is broke, I hear repeatedly. Then why is not some of this penalty income stream for non-stolen vehicles returned to taxpayers instead of enriching the already rich towing companies? Mrs. Pitman, since your truck was wrongfully taken, according to your accounts in recent AVAs, I'd like to talk to you personally about action to be taken. Please contact me thru the Editor of the AVA.

PART 2: (My recent account of the theft of my friend and helper's truck was cut short by a stuck computer at the Ukiah courthouse law library. The afternoon librarian did not know much about the workings of the one operating computer so I couldn't make changes or additions to the account. The story continues.) The next morning I was informed that the truck was taken off my land by a helper specifically instructed by three people not to touch the truck. I called the California Highway Patrol early that morning to report a stolen truck. After a lengthy call, I was told by the CHP dispatcher that I could not report a stolen truck by telephone, but must come to the CHP office in person or else request an officer come to my land to take a report there. Since my neighbors do not like police presence, I chose to drive to the Ukiah office. When I requested that the dispatcher keep a record of my call stating that I had attempted to file a stolen truck report, she said she could not do that. At the Ukiah office I soon discovered that the truck was not stolen, but “taken without authorization.” Therefore, no stolen truck report could be filed because I did not have the vin number and license number of my friend's truck memorized. Nor would the CHP tell me where the truck was located or which of their authorized tow companies had taken the truck. It took five or six days to obtain that information from the helper who was incommunicado in the jail for something he did not do. Instead, I was to ask for a form from the DMV next door to file a report. Meanwhile, at the jail, my helper, having bought a phone card was trying to reach me. However, the phone company which sells the cards has rigged the card so it would only call a land line. My only available phone is a cellphone which will not accept calls from the jail. Neither could he contact the CHP to file a stolen truck report himself, using his newly purchased phone card. After two or three days of no one at the CHP answering his calls, my friend stuck his hands through the cell bars, refusing to lock up until the jail deputies called a CHP officer to visit him at the jail. That officer refused to file a stolen truck report. No reason was offered. Back to the DMV office. By now it is almost closing time. The DMV clerk and her supervisor both state that no such release form exists. I was to ask for the necessary form at the towing company. Now with the vin number and the license plate numbers ready, I returned to the CHP the next day, as no business could be conducted over the phone, to find out who was holding my friend's truck — Ukiah Auto Dismantlers. There at the Dismantlers office, I was informed that the owner of the business was out on a job. No one else could help me. Another day's attempts wasted. By then I was angry, as every additional day a $45 storage fee was being charged. I called the Dismantlers “truck thieves.” On the following day, Wayne Hunt, owner of the storage yard, informed me that no such release form existed. What I was required to do was get a signed letter from the owner of the truck stating that he authorized the truck to be released to me. When I brought the letter to the CHP, the officer at the desk informed me that the letter needed to be notarized at the jail. Another day's attempt squandered. Another $45. The following morning, after pricing all the Ukiah notaries who would go to the jail, I hired the least expensive mobile notary for $35. She was unable to get an appointment at the jail until late afternoon. So I took the letter to the Auto Dismantlers to request that the truck be released. However, I soon learned that I had to pay both the tow charge plus the accumulated charges of $45 per day for parking. This was more money than the $300 which had been reserved for the truck's timely release. Although insurance for the truck would pay for the tow, I did not have those papers handy, requiring yet another errand to the AAA office for a duplicate copy of the truck's insurance. By this time the bill was greater than any money available. Wayne Hunt personally informed me that in 30 days the truck would be his. That was it. I called Wayne Hunt a god and goddess damned thief. He replied that I was a f------ c---. Polite business terminology, eh? Despite my helper's friends' and two employers' attempts to convince Wayne Hunt to return the stolen truck, pending the AAA insurance paying him for the tow, he refused to do so. His stated reason was that I had called him a thief, implying that I could have gotten the truck back had I not called him what he is. At the next weekly visitation at the jail, my friend told me to retrieve all his possessions from his truck. It was around 2:30pm when I arrived at Ukiah Auto Dismantlers to load my friend's gear and tools from his truck, with particular instructions to remove his inverter which was clamped to the battery and connected by wires where it sat on the floor of the truck. Wayne Hunt made me wait a while while he conversed on the telephone. Then he said I'd have to come back later. When I blew up again, he threatened to call the police on me. I responded that I'd call them myself. Graciously, Wayne Hunt offered me his telephone. I called Officer Farnsworth. With the help of the two CHP officers, I removed everything from the truck to my friend's Suburu except the inverter. Because I couldn't find the wire cutters to clip the wires and didn't have a wrench to unbolt the wires, Wayne Hunt said to return the following day, as it was getting dark. Before we three left, Wayne Hunt bragged to the two CHP officers about the new car he had just purchased for his girlfriend which has such smooth acceleration that before he knew, he was going 80 mph. He said he would need to buy a regulator. This was the crowning touch after stealing the work truck from a dyslexic helper and friend of a nearly 75-year old woman. The following day Wayne Hunt refused to let me take the inverter, even though I brought a wrench to remove the nuts without clipping the wires. I told him that if he thought my friend's inverter was truck equipment, he should try to order a Suburu equipped with an inverter from the Suburu dealer. After 30 days had expired, after Wayne Hunt claimed to own the twice stolen truck, he hung the inverter from his shop wall as a trophy. Sincerely, Dorotheya M Dorman. PS. Wayne Hunt owns both Ukiah Auto Dismantlers and the TNT wrecking yard in Willits.

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MORE EVIDENCE that the bypass is going ahead full blast. (Grist Creek is just off 101 at the Covelo turnoff.)

Notice Of Intent To Adopt A Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND). 60-Day Continuation Of Project Determination For DR 1-2011.

Mendocino County continues to review comments and other information received with respect to a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for Development Review #DR 1-2011; to establish a concrete batch plant at 37342 Covelo Road; APN 036-190-26. The Notice of Intent (dated December 12, 2012) stated that a determination was scheduled to be made on February 7, 2013. A determination by the Director is hereby extended 60 days to allow the applicant an opportunity to respond to comments received on the draft environmental document. The public comment period was closed on January 30, 2013; however any substantial revisions to the MND will be recirculated for public comment in accordance with CEQA Section 15073.5.

CASE#: DR 1-2011

DATE FILED: 4/26/2011

OWNER/ APPLICANT: GRIST CREEK AGGREGATES, LLC.

AGENT: RAU AND ASSOCIATES

REQUEST: Development Review for the establishment of a concrete batch plant.

LOCATION: At Longvale, approximately 2.5 miles east of Highway 101, extending along the north side of State Highway 162, between the highway and Outlet Creek, located at 37342 Covelo Road; APN 036-190-26.

PROJECT COORDINATOR: JOHN SPEKA

ENVIRONMENTAL DETERMINATION: The County has prepared a Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration for the project; a copy of the Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration is available for public review at 860 North Bush Street, Ukiah, California, 95482. The 30 day public comment period on the draft document ended January 30, 2013. The document is available online at the following Web address: http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/planning/publicnotices.htm

The Director shall make a determination on Monday April 8, 2013 whether to adopt the environmental document with or without revision. To file an appeal of the Director’s determination after April 8th, a letter must be submitted in writing to the County Executive Office along with the appropriate appeal fee. Appeals must be received within 10 days of the Director’s determination on April 18, 2013, to be found valid.

Additional information regarding the above noted item may be obtained by calling the Department of Planning and Building Services at 463-4281, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.

STEVE DUNNICLIFF, Director of Planning and Building Services

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“WILD FRIDAYS,” an International Wildlife Film Festival road show will begin on Feb. 22 in Ukiah.

It's time for the International Wildlife Film Festival to roll out its amazing animal features once again! This Post-Festival tour, fresh from Missoula, Montana, is a benefit for the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project. The Festival opens Friday, February 22 in Ukiah, and continues for five more Friday evenings through March 29. Our series of “Wild Fridays" begins with “Otter 501,” the Festival’s winner in the Best Theatrical Film category, which features an orphan sea otter pup that gets a second chance at life in the wild. Stars of the following Fridays' films will include “Broken Tail” (a Bengal tiger), cranes, primeval creatures of New Zealand, and India’s sloth bear of Jungle Book fame. We will also meet Jim Brandenburg, one of the world’s greatest nature photographers, sharing his inspiration from the untamed north woods of Minnesota. For our final feature we will join David Attenborough for an updated look at what is happening at the earth’s poles. Films will be shown at the Ukiah Civic Center, 300 Seminary Avenue. The doors open at 6:20 with live music presented by a variety of local musicians and a chance to socialize. Films begin at 7 pm. Tickets are available at Mendocino Book Company or at the door. A suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children is requested for each evening. Festival-goers can also procure a series ticket for $50. Buying a series ticket is a great way to save money and support the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project (RVOEP). The RVOEP is a community-supported outdoor environmental education program of the Ukiah Unified School District and serves over 2,000 students each year. Donations provide vital funding for staff, field trip transportation, and other program expenses. To learn more about the RVOEP and see a full film schedule, visit www.rvoep.org or contact — Helen Menasian, Education Coordinator, at 489-9932.

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