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Mendocino County Today: April 5, 2013

A MILDLY FRAUGHT Wednesday in San Francisco began with a dead man and a bomb scare. I'd just footed it out to Baker Beach and was truckin' home along Lake when I couldn't help but see a man crumpled at the foot of a tree, his head hanging over the curb. He seemed to have fallen there; even drunks tend to array themselves more or less comfortably before they black out. This guy looked dead. His shopping cart sat at an oblique on the sidewalk. It look like it had died, too. Lots of homeless people maintain orderly carts with their worldly goods of recognizable utility. But this cart looked like the guy had simply upended a trash container and called it his. A woman walked past willfully not noticing, perhaps mistaking me for the dead man's companion, which would be an honest mistake given my workout duds. Another lady was parking her tiny Fiat Smart Car, carefully maneuvering it into the space without nudging the dead man's head. She must have noticed the macabre irony in claiming a parking spot with a dead guy's head in it. I wondered where she would have drawn the line. Head and neck? Head, neck and shoulders? But she was nice and a good citizen. “Do you have a phone?” I asked the lady. “I think this poor man is gone.” She called 911 and joined me for a two-person vigil. People walked past. A young Chinese woman asked, “He sick?” “If he's lucky,” I said. “He isn't breathing.” She got halfway in her car, but leaned out to say, “Thank you,” before she drove off. I nudged the corpse's elbow. “If he isn't dead he's doing a good impersonation,” I said to my fellow concerned citizen, an Arab I judged from her accent assuming I was wrong as usual. We could hear the sirens. Say what you will about SF's civic services if you call 911 they're on the way immediately, and not only in the sedate neighborhoods like this one. You call for help, they come. And they turn out in force. Soon, a dozen uniformed firemen and emergency services people disgorged by two big red trucks had joined us at the dead man. And just as my 911 companion exclaimed, “I think he just moved.” I pushed his shoulder. The dead man's eyes opened. If he'd been breathing all this time his breath was the shallowest I'd ever seen. He hadn't moved in a full five minutes. Wrapped in layers of rags, he looked like a Taliban flushed from a week-old sniper's hole. As the senior emergency person on-scene, I guess, the formal emergency people let me ask the dead man, “Dude, are you ok?” And the dead man got to his feet — gymnastically got to his feet given that he was fresh back from wherever you go when you suspend your own animation. He tottered a few yards from his shopping cart when he was surrounded by the emergency services people who, after a few unsuccessful attempts to elicit a verbal response from the dead man, strapped him onto a stretcher and wheeled him up and away. The City saves these people every day all day and night, saves them until they can't be saved.

AROUND THE CORNER, at California and Lake, Frisco's big black bomb squad van, a vehicle the length of two presidential limos with two more limos on top, was pulled across the middle of California Street. A dozen cops had cordoned off two blocks with yellow crime scene tape. A lingering neighbor explained, “There's a suspicious package on top of a garbage can. They think it's a pipe bomb.” Situations like this, I think the cops should get out a bullhorn and do a running narrative on what's up rather than spend their many idle minutes this little drama took to play out shooing people away from the tape.

LATER IN THE DAY, the fog having roared in to instantly convert a 72-degree afternoon to the Bering Sea, I biked up to Pacific Heights where Obama was due for a fundraiser. There was an army of cops, reinforced by Secret Service Suits, assembled to protect the President from the sight and sound of the people he allegedly represents. They'd blocked off the area, keeping a mild-mannered crowd of maybe a couple of thousand at least two blocks away from the $30,000 per plate fundraiser for the “liberal” wing of the two parties. The Democrats are already raising money for Hillary, Obama having screwed up his going-on eight years and made America even more despairing. Note: This is political San Francisco — wealthy people liberal on race, gender and sexual issues, but as vicious as Republicans on economics. They're interchangeable, really, and they've got to go. Yeah, yeah, there's the Progressive Caucus of the Democrats, mostly black members of the House, but you have to drive a few miles east over the Bay Bridge to Oakland to find one in Barbara Lee, but at election time she and the rest of the “progressives” faithfully vote to keep the money flowing upwards.

PipelineSignsTHE DEMONSTRATORS arrived with a lively little marching band. Most of them were brandishing identical (and expensively printed) placards expressing opposition to the proposed Keystone Pipeline. I heard lots of comments from the upscale Keystone crowd along the lines of “Obama will vote No on it, but sometimes he needs reminding on things.” I'd say so. The more pressing issues were represented by people holding banners opposed to the ongoing persecution of mega-whistleblower Bradley Manning, Obama's rollback of habeas corpus law as represented by Guantanamo, his laughably corrupt sign-off on the free pass forever for Monsanto. One couple held up a replica of a drone of the type our government uses to pre-emptively murder “terrorists,” even if they're American citizens.

A LOT of the handmade signs were beyond naive. One read, “Let's cure our addiction to fossil fuel now.” Myself, I could adjust to no fossil fuel by tomorrow, but I'd say most Americans, as this point, are in no position to get excited over anything beyond keeping themselves sheltered and fed. “Greed is killing the middleclass,” another earnest handmade sign said. Narrowly considered, that's true, but the system we have is pegged to usury and encourages accumulation, and also flaunts the rest of the Original Sins so, as revolutionaries always ask, “What's to be done?” That's the only question anymore.

MEDIA HACKDOM was out in force, the faces you see reading the news on television. They circulated through the crowd gathering comments from the protesters, which they'll edit down to a cliché or two whose net message will be, “Isn't it all just so democratically grand. Our president is just a block away after flying in on a carbon spewing airplane the size of a football field to eat a marginally edible $30,000 dinner while fleecing a bunch of saps who think he's the cat's pj's.”

SUPERVISOR CAMPOS was in the crowd, natch. He looked like he was hoping someone would recognize him. He reminded me of that old joke about Howard Cosell spotted eating dinner by himself. “Either everyone recognized him or no one did."

A WOMAN wayyyy past her pom-pom days was dressed as a cheerleader in a pullover that had “Earth” inscribed on it. Well, hell, good for her, and good for all them for trying. No one knows what to do about The Beast. We all at least sense that things have spun dangerously out of control, that the political class is part of the problem (Mendo's new congressman, Spike Huffman, attended a prelim cocktail party at a billionaire's Sea Cliff house), that the One Percent is killing the country and taking the rest of the world down, too.

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A READER WRITES: “It’s Debra DeGraw of the Mendocino County film office, not DeGraff — and the only thing Mendocino County about it is the name. There is no official connection with or financial contribution from the county. The County Film Office is funded by Ms. DeGraw drumming up contributions to pay herself for a modest amount for time and expenses. The Fort Bragg Chamber of Commerce gives her space, although I think she provides an in kind contribution by being there to answer the phone etc. But it is the County film office in name only.”

THANKS FOR THE CORRECTION.

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BYPASS UPDATE; CHP CHIEF BRIDGETT LOTT

By Jennifer Poole, Willits Weekly

https://www.facebook.com/WillitsWeekly

April 4, 2013 — Warbler still on hunger strike; “shocked” CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow tells Noreen Evans he did not make the call to proceed Tuesday; “Rally for the Valley” Saturday at the Rec Grove from 2 to 6pm.

Teala Schaff, communications director for state Sen. Noreen Evans, told Willits Weekly Tuesday night that the top official for CHP, Commissioner Joseph Farrow, told Sen. Evans in her office Tuesday afternoon that he was “shocked” at Tuesday's show of force on the day a publicly announced meeting on the Willits bypass between Sen. Evans and Caltrans Director Malcolm Daugherty was scheduled. Farrow told Evans he did not make the call to proceed, did not know who did, and “promised to get to the bottom of it,” Schaff said.

A call to Commissioner Farrow was returned late Wednesday afternoon by Chief Bridget Lott, who is the commander for CHP's Northern Division and who was on the ground in Willits on Tuesday.

Chief Lott told Willits Weekly that she had made the call to proceed with forcibly removing tree-sitters on Tuesday, without consulting her superior officer about the specific date.

“That’s my call as a CHP commander to make a decision as to what’s in the best interest, considering the resources available, the weather, safety, and the overall consideration of having everything put together in place,” Lott said.

When asked if it was typical for a CHP operation of this scale, relative to the local population, not to be approved at the top, Lott said: “What happened in this case is similar to every other case. I have some autonomy to make decisions, but we don’t work in a vacuum. Commissioner Farrow did not specifically know the date of the operation, but he had an awareness of the overall plan.”

CHP is a large state agency, Lott said, with eight field divisions, including the Northern Division, which covers 13 Northern California counties

Tuesday was selected “to push forward,” Lott said, because “the construction project was at the point where the trees needed to be come down, and that’s what happened yesterday.”

Lott told Willits Weekly she was not aware of the meeting between Caltrans and Sen. Evans that had been publicly announced for Tuesday afternoon.

Lott would not confirm the number of CHP officers that were deployed or comment on the large number of officers deployed in Willits over the last two weeks except to say: “We deployed a sufficient number of officers to ensure the safety of everyone.”

Lott said Tuesday’s operations went “very smoothly, without the public being completely disrupted. People went to and fro on their business; we kept traffic running on Highway 101 and the streets; and we were able to get the protesters down safely.”

Four of the five tree-sitters were removed peacefully, Lott said, with “one individual becoming combative, throwing feces and trying to entangle the officer and pull the officer out of the tree. He and the officer were in immediate harm’s way. A minimal use of force was taken; he sustained almost no injury, was treated, and released into county jail.”

That protester, who was shot by several bean-bag projectiles, was Martin Reign Katz, 24, of Willits, who was arrested for: misdemeanor trespass; misdemeanor resisting or obstructing a public officer; misdemeanor battery against a peace officer in the performance of their duties; felony battery on civilian emergency employees (non-sworn) engaged in performing duties; and felony resisting or threatening officer.

A charge of $15,000 bail for each five charges was set. Charges for all other bypass protesters arrested over the last two weeks have been dropped, but Katz has reportedly been charged with resisting arrest and with battery.

Sen. Evans released a statement Tuesday night saying: “I am shocked and dismayed at what seems to be an excessive use of force on unarmed protestors. Thus far, I feel Caltrans and CHP have been slow to respond to my questions and quick to act regarding the Bypass Project.

“I had asked to be kept informed on a daily basis prior to any extraordinary action on this project,” the statement by Evans continued, “as I represent the 1.3 million Californians living in the Second Senate District where this project is taking place. Regretfully that did not happen today.”

Save Our Little Lake Valley’s “Rally for the Valley” at the Rec Grove Saturday from 2 to 6pm will begin with a ceremony honoring the five tree-sitters, and continue with a speech by Amanda “Warbler” Senseman, and music by Dirt Floor Band, The Real Sarahs, Madge Strong and John Wagenet, and more. — Jennifer Poole

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WE WERE TRYING to keep up with events as they occurred based on initial reports on the tree sit extractions, when we realized they were all coming from the crackpot perspective. We watched the video and assumed it was a full portrayal of what happened, but the nut behind the camera omitted the fecal flinging that prompted the cop to shoot back with beanbags. The waste was dumped on a cop climbing the tree outside the safety of the cherry picker. He might well have been startled enough to fall, and he was far enough up the tree to have been seriously injured over even killed. The first reports, including the video, made it seem as if the Blue Meanies had simply flipped out and shot some harmless doofus sitting in a tree.

LOOKED at from a historical perspective, events in Willits are just another chapter in legitimate protests being hijacked by free floating trust funders who arrive out of nowhere and proceed to alienate public opinion. The demonstrators as individuals become the story, and the story becomes them, and the real issues are lost. As is another chapter in the struggle for civic sanity.

MR. KATZ, the turd-tossing loon the CHP shot with beanbags, we now learn, was shot when he grabbed the cop climbing the tree outside the cherry picker and wouldn't let go. This dramatic event occurred at the Willits Bypass protest Monday morning. The cop probably wasn't in danger of falling because he was in a harness and attached to the cherry picker, but he still could have been injured banging into it or the tree. “Also,” we're informed, “I don't believe Katz was shot in response to the shit flinging, but in response to grabbing the cop. The cop providing cover then fired the bean bag projectiles to persuade Katz to let go of the cop, although Katz appears to have struggled all the way. Unconfirmed reports say he has a history of similar behavior.”

Michael Katz, Tara Dragani
Michael Katz, Tara Dragani

FROM BOONVILLE, we can say that any controversy that encourages people like Katz and the hustlers from so-called Northcoast Earth First! is, out of the box, a doomed cause. Protests should be led by people like the Drells and the other ground floor opponents of the Bypass such as elected members of the Willits City Council, the people who have followed Caltrans' ever fluid Bypass plans from the beginning. Now we'll have a handful of Katz-like idiots and his psycho girl friend, Tara Dragani, getting themselves periodically arrested until the Bypass runs out of funding mid-span.

IF OPPONENTS of the Bypass allow the nuts to represent the opposition to the project, Caltrans wins.

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HISTORY NOTES: Cold Spring Mountain (California Department of Forestry). August 5, 1931: “This community was shocked Sunday when word was received Thomas Lynch passed away in San Francisco. Tom, as he was familiarly called, had been working as fire lookout at Signal Ridge and a week previous had gotten out of bed to answer the telephone and had stepped on a thorn on the floor of his tent. The thorn penetrated the bare foot and a portion broke off in the foot. On different days during the week he had friends who called on him try and get the thorn out with their pocket knives and by Friday his leg and foot were quite sore and badly swollen and he was brought to Point Arena for medical attention. Saturday he was taken to San Francisco, arriving there shortly after midnight. Blood poisoning had by that time reached such a stage nothing could be done and he died about five o'clock Sunday morning.” (Ukiah Republican Press)

May 17, 1933: “Oliver Moore, fire ranger of Willits was here during the past week to oversee the building of a lookout station on Signal Peak, it is understood a telephone line will be run from the station to Philo. A road has been built to the top of Signal which will eliminate a long steep climb that has had to be made on foot to reach the summit.” (Ukiah Republican Press)

1990: Due to budget cut the Lookout will not be staffed this fire season.

FROM THIS WEBSITE;

http://californialookouts.weebly.com/mendocino-county.html

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JUST IN FROM THE FEDS: Press release from the Department of the Interior follows: Washington, D.C. – The Department of the Interior today released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) evaluating the potential removal of four privately owned hydroelectric facilities on the Klamath River. The Final EIS identifies the preferred alternative as full removal of all four facilities; the matter now awaits congressional action before the Secretary of the Interior may make a determination of whether the removal of the four facilities is in the public interest. Informed by numerous public meetings and consultations with local and tribal governments throughout the Klamath Basin, the Final EIS analyzes the impacts and benefits across a broad spectrum, including ecological, aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, social, and health. As part of the analysis, the Department also evaluated scenarios that would leave all or some of the facilities in place. The Final EIS also describes significant environmental effects that cannot be avoided for each alternative analyzed, as well as a synopsis of major impacts and benefits for each alternative. Tables describing these topics are presented in the executive summary. “The EIS released today, considered in combination with the previously released Overview Report, represents the most comprehensive scientific, engineering, and environmental evaluation of facilities removal ever undertaken in the Klamath Basin,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “The preferred alternative finds that removal of the four facilities and implementation of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement are important components of a durable, long-term solution for local communities and tribes to advance the water and native fishery resources of the Klamath Basin.” The EIS was undertaken as part of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), which laid out a process for determining whether the removal of the facilities would advance the restoration of salmon fisheries in the Klamath Basin and how it would impact local communities and tribes. Signed in February of 2010 by more than 40 entities, including the states of Oregon and California, PacifiCorp, three Indian Tribes, irrigation communities, fishing communities, and non-governmental organizations, the KHSA calls for a robust scientific and environmental evaluation of the potential removal of these facilities. This evaluation is an important part of a large-scale effort among partners in the region to develop long term solutions to the water challenges of the Klamath Basin that restore natural fish production, establish reliable water and power supplies, and support healthy communities. The KHSA directs the Secretary of the Interior to make a determination of whether the removal of the four privately owned hydroelectric facilities is in the public interest and will advance restoration of the salmonid fishery of the Klamath Basin. The KHSA also calls for certain conditions to be met before the Secretarial Determination is made, including an authorization by Congress. Having met the Department’s obligation to undertake an evaluation of science, engineering, and environmental studies under the KHSA, Salazar called on Congress to pass the legislation needed to enact a durable and longstanding solution for the Basin. “By releasing the EIS and final Overview Report, Congress, local stakeholders, and the public have a comprehensive analysis upon which to develop and enact a legislative solution to the ongoing, complex challenges in the basin,” Salazar said. “Once again the communities of the Klamath Basin are facing a potentially difficult water year under a status quo that everyone agrees is broken. We need a comprehensive solution addressing all of the needs of the Klamath Basin, including fisheries, agriculture, refuges, and power.” The Final EIS considers and responds to more than 4,000 comments received on the draft EIS. Under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Department is required to identify a preferred alternative in the Final EIS. The Final EIS is available at www.KlamathRestoration.gov. Paper copies are available for public inspection at several libraries in and around the Klamath Basin. The Overview Report, which synthesizes the findings of more than 50 individual engineering, scientific and economic reports and underwent extensive peer review, was released in February. The Overview Report includes a discussion of the levels of scientific uncertainty associated with the reports and is also available atwww.klamathrestoration.gov .

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HISTORY NOTES: Cold Spring Mountain (California Department of Forestry). August 5, 1931: “This community was shocked Sunday when word was received Thomas Lynch passed away in San Francisco. Tom, as he was familiarly called, had been working as fire lookout at Signal Ridge and a week previous had gotten out of bed to answer the telephone and had stepped on a thorn on the floor of his tent. The thorn penetrated the bare foot and a portion broke off in the foot. On different days during the week he had friends who called on him try and get the thorn out with their pocket knives and by Friday his leg and foot were quite sore and badly swollen and he was brought to Point Arena for medical attention. Saturday he was taken to San Francisco, arriving there shortly after midnight. Blood poisoning had by that time reached such a stage nothing could be done and he died about five o'clock Sunday morning.” (Ukiah Republican Press)

May 17, 1933: “Oliver Moore, fire ranger of Willits was here during the past week to oversee the building of a lookout station on Signal Peak, it is understood a telephone line will be run from the station to Philo. A road has been built to the top of Signal which will eliminate a long steep climb that has had to be made on foot to reach the summit.” (Ukiah Republican Press)

1990: Due to budget cut the Lookout will not be staffed this fire season.

FROM THIS WEBSITE;

http://californialookouts.weebly.com/mendocino-county.html

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CENTRAL VALLEY-BASED SUPERMARKET CHAIN TO PAY MORE THAN $2.5 MILLION FOR SETTLEMENT OF HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL CASE — Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster announced Thursday that his office, along with 34 other California District Attorney offices, has reached a settlement in a civil law enforcement action against Save Mart Supermarkets, a settlement totaling more than $2.5 million in civil fines and penalties. Save Mart Supermarkets is headquartered in Modesto, California and operates throughout California as Food Maxx, Maxx Value Foods and Lucky brands. The settlement, which was filed in the San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton, resolves allegations that Save Mart violated California laws for the safe storage, handling and disposal of hazardous waste generated from spills and customer returns of hazardous products.  Investigators from various environmental health agencies throughout the state and participating District Attorney’s Offices, such as Mendocino County’s District Attorney, as well as local hazardous waste inspectors engaged in a statewide investigation that revealed violations of law at Save Mart stores. Save Mart worked collaboratively with the prosecutors and their investigating agencies to promptly address the specific violations. As a result of the investigation and prosecution, regulated wastes produced by California Save Mart stores will now be properly stored, handled, transported, and disposed of at proper facilities and appropriate records will be kept documenting compliance with California law. The alleged violations occurred over a period of several years at most of the California Save Mart stores and distribution centers, which included Albertson’s Stores acquired by Save Mart and converted to either the Lucky or the Save Mart brand.  Under the Final Judgment Save Mart must pay $2.557 million in civil penalties, costs and expenses for supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in the State, and will be bound under the terms of a permanent injunction prohibiting similar alleged violations of law in the future. As part of the overall settlement and based on a equitable agreed to by the participating District Attorneys that takes into account the number of local stores and legal expenses incurred, Save Mart Supermarkets is required to pay $3,000 directly to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office by January 2014. The Environmental Health Division of Mendocino County will receive an additional $2,600. As part of the 72-page settlement agreement, Save Mart will also pay to fund designated environmental projects throughout the state. (District Attorney Press Release)

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PLEASE JOIN Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman and Steve Sparks on Sunday April 7th at the Mad Dog in the Fog. The event starts at 3 pm with the Book Signing and Q&A discussion following at 5:30 PM. The Q&A discussion will cover such topics as Mental Health, Gun Control and the Marijuana culture of Northern California and promises to be a thought provoking event. To view this invite, copy and paste this link into your browser: http://new.evite.com/l/IVZZA2HZYY

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