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Mendocino County Today: May 5, 2013

DUDE FEST 2013.
 Most of Saturday’s Boonville BeerFest drinkers were young white people. Veteran festers said attendance seemed to be up, traffic down, this year. Not much rowdiness inside.

Reddick
Reddick

The male beer drinkers tended toward the shirtless Josh-Reddick-in-Bermuda-shorts look; the women were not in burkhas. It was a very warm, breezy
 day, “perfect day for a beer festival,” as one sidewalk stroller declared the obvious. Most of the 
attendees wore funny hats, sometimes color-coordinated to indicate some kind of ad-hoc group or brand loyalty. In no time, people were wearing their small 
beer glasses on ropes around their necks. For the price of admission ($75?), you get endless refills. It’s not an event for recovering alcoholics or people with impulse-control issues. As the afternoon wore on,
 sidewalk banter was happy-drunk loud. Toward the end of the day one group of young celebrants outside the Fairgrounds venue surrounded an old van and broke into a loud impromptu song consisting of two words: “More Beer,” repeated over and over again, for quite a long time, in unison, to a goofy sing-songy melody. 
Some of the pedicab coolies were athletic females, for the first time since those silly cabs have been employed at these events.

Kuny
Kuny

Several locals maintained food booths set up along the sidewalk; they 
included the Family Life Christian Center’s smoky barbecue set-up, the ubiquitous taco truck, and 
Dan Kuny's hot dog & hamburger barbecue stand. The local ice cream shop reported brisk business. Lots of young men trucking past had ice
bags flung over their shoulders. Very bad music (is there any other kind at beer bashes?) emanated 
from the Brewpub patio early in the afternoon, but by late afternoon all Boonville was surround sound. Several CHP cars patrolled Highway 128, but only one DUI stop, and that didn’t occur until 3:30. (Although there’s always the chance of late arrests.) We asked Dan Kuny if he had a permit
 for his busy hamburger stand (a fundraiser for youth football). He laughed and replied, “Hell yeah!
 Charlie Hiatt gave me a permit!”

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Tubbs
Tubbs

THE PRELIMINARY HEARING for Wilson L. Tubbs III, 38, of Fort Bragg, is scheduled for Thursday, May 9th, but both prosecution and defense agree that the hearing is likely to be delayed pending results of lab tests requested by defense attorney Linda Thompson. Tubbs is accused of “child abuse resulting in death” of a five-month-old infant girl placed in his home by Mendocino County Children’s Protective Services. On December 2nd, Tubbs had appeared with the comatose and badly bruised child at Mendocino Coast District Hospital. He initially said the infant had fallen from her changing table, but later conceded he’d struck and violently shaken her. Flown to Oakland Children’s Hospital, the baby was pronounced dead on December 4th. Tubbs was arrested December 10th, and remains in custody at the Mendocino County Jail under $500,000 bail.

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JOIN US for a Bird Walk in Hendy Woods! Chuck Vaughn, the President of Peregrine Audubon, is leading a Bird Walk in Hendy Woods on May 11 from 10 am to noon. Meet at the Day Use Area. This is an opportunity to learn how to ebird and contribute any of your bird sightings to Cornell University. This allows you to keep track of your own birding data and help birds and birders globally. You could develop a "hot spot" for your own yard! All you need is an internet connection at home. However, our main objective is to learn and enjoy the birds that are using Hendy Woods now. Come sharpen your birding skills with a master birder. William and Valerie would love you to come and to support the Hendy Woods Flora and Fauna committee and our projects to document and protect the creatures that are in our park. Hope to see you there! Valerie Hanelt and William Sterling

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EDITOR,

A comment on Dan Hamburg’s campaign fines levied from the FPPC as a result of misreporting campaign financing: There are fundamental things that the FPPC tells candidates and campaign treasurers about campaign financing.

One is to never accept a cash donation for more than $99. Another is to keep a record of required FPPC information on every donor that gives the campaign $25 or more. So to raise real money legitimately in a campaign, there has to be a lot of reporting and record keeping. Another is all money coming in has to go to the campaign bank account, and the source of this money has to be accounted for. A campaign is blessed when it has a competent treasurer that is willing to volunteer to do the reporting work and do it correctly. I had one when I ran for office many moons ago, it looks like Dan did not. The mistakes the FPPC cited Dan for are ones that should never happen. That being said, politics is a dirty business and the activists that get involved in campaigns are too often not exactly the kind of people you take home to the family.

This is true here in Mendocino County, and it does not matter which side of the political spectrum the activists come from. Political fund raising is a particular problem. Large political fund raising events can raise a lot of money and have limited reporting because people can give serial $20 donations. Anyone in Mendocino County politics knows this. So, maybe there is a jar for donations at the bar and as long as the individual donations are less than $25, there is no need to keep track of where the money comes from, or how many times an individual donates. Of course, if the treasurer is unscrupulous and smart, any $100 or $50 bills that happen to end up in the jar will be changed for $20s and $10s before the bank deposit. For a long time I wondered, how did these large fundraisers raise all this money, yet show a bare minimum of donations over $100, which have to be make public? It took a while for me to connect the dots on this. And BTW, the FPPC does not care about $20 donations, no matter how many come from one individual.

Another way large donations are given anonymously, a form of illegal bundling, is one donor gives $99 each to numerous people to donate to the campaign. So a high profile donor can remain anonymous while gifting a large sum. This shows up in the campaign records as many $99 donations from people no one really ever heard of. Or it might not show up at all, if the gifted donations are given to the campaign at a fundraiser in $20 increments.

My point? Rightly, the FPPC is going after the Hamburg campaign, but the real money in Mendocino County political campaign fundraising shenanigans remains below the radar.

George A. Hollister, Comptche

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NEARLY A THIRD OF AMERICANS THINK AN ARMED REVOLUTION WILL BE NECESSARY SOON

Almost a third of registered voters believe their gun rights have been so threatened that an armed revolution could be necessary in the next few years, a poll has found. Farleigh Dickinson University surveyed 863 registered voters for the Public Mind poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4. The questions focused on gun control and whether armed revolution would be necessary to protect individual liberties. The poll was conducted from April 22 to April 28, CNS News reported. The survey included the statement: “In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties.” 29% of respondents said they agreed, 47% disagreed, 18% said they didn't agree or disagree, 5% said they were unsure, and 1% refused to respond. Most of those who agreed that armed revolution might be necessary were Republicans. Republicans seemed far more certain that armed revolution was needed, with 44% of those agreeing with the statement identifying as Republicans. 18% of those who agreed were Democrats, and 27% were Independents. “The differences in views of gun legislation are really a function of differences in what people believe guns are for,” said Dan Cassino, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson. “If you truly believe an armed revolution is possible in the near future, you need weapons and you're going to be wary about government efforts to take them away.” (Courtesy, the London Daily Mail)

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LETTER OF THE DAY:

Editor,

Every year at this time we should remember one of the most notorious events in United States history.

On May 4th, 1970, four students were killed and nine others wounded by National Guardsmen dispatched by Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes to Kent State University.

The students were opposed to President Richard Nixon's continued expansion of the Vietnam War. Rhodes, a loyal Republican sympathetic to Nixon, publicly pledged to “eradicate” the protesters.

Two of the dead students, Allison Krause and Jeffrey Miller, were peacefully participating in the protest. Sandra Scheur and William Knox Schroeder were not demonstrating. They just happened to be walking from one class to another when guardsmen started firing indiscriminately in the general direction of where they believed some of the participants were congregated. Nixon stated just days before the shooting that "bums" were responsible for the unrest and were destroying our campuses. Arthur Krause, father of 19-year-old honor student Allison, defended the memory of his slain daughter and responded: “My child was not a bum.”

LAUREL KRAUSE of Fort Bragg remains active in the ongoing effort to bring her sister's killers to justice.

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SHERWOOD VALLEY RANCHERIA announces temporary agreement with Caltrans to stop bypass excavations north of East Hill Road. 

Willits Weekly talked to Michael Fitzgerral, tribal chairman of the Sherwood Valley Rancheria, Friday morning about a report the tribe had been prepared to file for an injunction against Caltrans in Ukiah Superior Court that day, for failure to adequately consult with the tribe about protection of Native American cultural and archeological resources.

 “The tribe is aware of, and gravely concerned about, sacred and village sites that, while known to the tribe, have not been properly identified by archaeologists working on this project,” Fitzgerral said in a media statement released Friday afternoon. 

“We are in negotiations and consultations with Caltrans at this time,” Fitzgerral told Willits Weekly. “As it stands, they are willing to hold off on any excavation or pile-driving for about a week.

"The archeologist we hired to work with us is gathering information from locals. We want them to slow down on moving any earth until we come up with a good plan.”

This temporary agreement has not yet been confirmed with Caltrans. 

Fitzgerral said the tribe had not been consulted since 2002, despite the 2006 final environmental impact report’s citation of “coordination with the local Native American community” in a “cultural resource investigation conducted for the project” in 2005, after the final bypass route “Modified Alternative JiT” had been selected.

“The archeologist said he’s met with us,” Fitzgerral told Willits Weekly, “but I went back through our minutes all the way back to 2004, and I don’t see any mention in there that we had a consultation.” 

There were meetings between the tribe and Caltrans in 2001 and 2002, after surveys done in 1999 and 2000, including a 1999 “Positive Archeological Survey Report, Willits Bypass, Mendocino County” marked “(confidential), prepared by Blossom Hamusek, Caltrans.” 

When Fitzgerral looked through minutes of those 2001 and 2002 meetings between Caltrans and the tribe (sent by Caltrans), he found a number of documents listed that the tribe was supposed to receive, that were never received. “We’ve not yet seen anything,” he said. The tribe has asked for those documents, and is hoping to get them by Monday. 

The EIR says the conclusions of the cultural resource study and the assessment of the project’s effects on historic properties for the current bypass route “are documented in the Historic Property Survey, Willits Bypass Final EIS/EIR Volume 1 3-20 Report (HPSR) and Finding of Effect (FOE) document (Caltrans 2005i).”

But the actual Historic Property Survey Report is a “technical study,” and although mentioned in "Volume 1 3-20" (page 20 of chapter 3) of the final EIR, and cited in the bibliography, the actual report is not available in the final EIR documents posted on the Caltrans website’s Willits bypass page. 

What is found in Appendix A, Mitigation Measures, of the final EIR (in Section 2, Cultural Resources, page 3), is the following [note, the text has been struck through in the paragraph below, which formatting is not available on Facebook]:

“ARCH-1: Once a preferred alternative is selected, and if that alternative is one of the “build” alternatives, Caltrans will conduct a detailed examination of archaeological properties. The Final EIR/EIS will report the findings of this examination and determine the level of impact and if further mitigation is required. 

Then under the struckthrough text is this paragraph: 

“Mitigation Measure ARCH-1 is no longer required. This has already been accomplished.”

Fitzgerral said tribal representatives had walked the bypass route north of East Hill Road – “the south end is already destroyed,” he said – and questioned one of the Caltrans engineers about what plans were in effect for protecting archeological and cultural resources, but the engineer "couldn’t answer a lot of questions.”

“We know there’s archeological sites out there,” Fitzgerral said. 

The tribe is trying to “set up a meeting with full counsel and Caltrans to sit down and talk,” he said, to see if Caltrans is in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act and also to set up “a good memorandum of understanding” regarding treatment of cultural resources but, Fitzgerral said: “We’re waiting for the Caltrans lawyers to call back.” He added that the tribe's lawyers "are in contact with all the agencies.

Fitzgerral also mention the tribe’s unhappiness with a March 20 letter sent to state Sen. Noreen Evans by Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty, which cited the Sherwood Valley Rancheria as a supporter of the Willits bypass. “That’s not true,” Fitzgerral said. “We were supposed to be in consultation about it so we could get our people out there, but it’s never happened.” - Jennifer Poole, for Willits Weekly 

Statement from the Sherwood Valley Tribal Council, released after Willits Weekly talked to chair Fitzgerral Friday morning: 

May 3 Media Statement

On April 25th the Tribal Council for the Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians met with Caltrans regarding the construction of the Willits Bypass. The Tribe requested that Caltrans cease construction involving ground disturbance activities until the Tribe is provided with all the cultural resources studies and reports on the Project to allow the Tribe adequate time for review and commenting and provided a field visit of all archaeological sites to allow for the proper analysis of the potential impact on tribal cultural resources in consultation with the Tribe. 

The Tribe is aware of, and gravely concerned about, sacred and village sites that, while known to the Tribe, have not been properly identified by archaeologists working on this Project. The Project site consists of one of the largest conglomerations of cultural sites, including burials, work areas, village sites, cooking areas, and all of the places that one might need to survive and live.

The Project will cut into these important sacred places and cause irreparable harm if Caltrans proceeds unilaterally with construction prior to the proper analysis of the impact and a mitigation plan of the Project on tribal cultural resources in consultation with the Tribe. 

Caltrans has agreed to cease all ground disturbance activities until at least May 8th, when it plans to start some excavation work at Bent 5.

In response to our concerns about any ground disturbance work planned on some of the sites identified in a recent April 2013 report received by the Tribe on April 26, 2013, Caltrans has assured us that they will cease work until the State Historic Preservation Office has provided clearance. 

The Tribe continues to request that Caltrans immediately issue a stop-work order to suspend ground disturbing activity on the Willits Bypass project until completion of the analysis of the impact of the Project on tribal cultural resources is properly performed in consultation with the Tribe. (Courtesy, Willits Weekly)

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DroughtMapRECORD DRIEST MONTHS in Parts of Humboldt — “For parts of Western Oregon and a large part of northern California, this is the driest January to April on record,” writes the National Weather Service. For all of Mendocino and most of Trinity and Humboldt in these first four months of the year, rainfall is the lowest ever seen. The Weather Service points out that, of course there could be more precipitation in the coming weeks, but, they write, it “will take a lot of rain to shorten our deficit. Unfortunately, long range outlook calls for little change, with below normal precipitation into mid-summer.” (Courtesy, LostCoastOutpost.com)

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JOHN WESTER WRITES: “Your May 1 edition of the AVA arrived today here in San Diego May 4. (The day of the Kent State shooting by the way.) I usually got the AVA three days after publication a year or so ago before the UPS in Petaluma started messing with your fine publication. Maybe the complaints finally got through but I'm not holding my breath. In an unrelated matter, in /Off the Record/ a few weeks ago you told a story about an elderly Chinese woman on a crowded bus asking a homeless man to remove his belongings from the seat beside him so she could sit down. You wrote that she asked him "Preeze." Twice. I think you may have that backwards. Perhaps I'm wrong but its been my experience that the Chinese have problems pronouncing the "r" when it is at the beginning of a word, but not the "l". There is a town in the mountains east of San Diego called Julian that had a bar dating from the late 19^th Century called the Rongbranch, not the Longbranch, the Rongbranch. There are two stories about the origin of that name. One, told by the apologists, claims that the bar was located at a fork where one road led down the mountain to Santa Ysabel on the way to San Diego while the other was a dead end, the "wrong" branch. The other story, more likely I think, is that Julian once had a sizeable population of Chinese who worked the gold mines discovered in the late 1800s (the only reason Julian came to be) and that the rednecks named the bar the Rongbranch because the Chinese couldn't pronounce "Rongbranch" (not that they would have been allowed inside to drink) but they would have had no trouble pronouncing "Longbranch". I had a friend I met soon after he emigrated from China to the US who used to say "loom" instead of "room." But perhaps the lady in your story did say "preeze". If she did, she might have been putting the guy on. — Regards, John Wester, San Diego

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Aamer in 2002 with two of his children
Aamer in 2002 with two of his children

SHAKER AAMER, 44, is the only British citizen being held at Guantanamo Bay. He has been detained without charge for more than eleven years and on hunger strike since mid-February, one of more than 100 prisoners taking part in a protest which has brought the camp close to meltdown. America has twice cleared him for release, but insists he can leave only if he goes to Saudi Arabia — where he would face further imprisonment and be separated from his British wife Zin and their five children. 


* * *

Editor,

I began my hunger strike on February 12, 2013. There was a time when I worried about a whole lot of medical problems that were causing me suffering: the knee that has caused me pain since I was beaten up early in my detention; my back which gets re-injured each time the FCE Team [the Forcible Cell Extraction team, formerly known as the Emergency Reaction Force] comes in and beats me up some more; the kidney trouble that is made worse by the yellow water that comes through the taps around here; the swelling in my ankles caused by wearing shackles every day.

But since I started the hunger strike, my concerns about all this have pretty much been overridden by the endless desire for food.

My treatment was bad before, but since the beginning of April I have been treated with particular venom.

They started by taking my medical things. I had an extra blanket to lessen my rheumatism, but that was soon gone. My backbrace went at the same time. The pressure socks I had to keep the build-up of water down did not last long.

Then they came for my toothbrush. Next, my sheet was taken, along with my shoes. My legal documents vanished soon after, leaving me only my kids’ drawings on the wall. They were the last to go.

And now I am left alone. Since 8am Monday, April 15, I have had nothing, not even my flip-flops.

I am meant to sleep on concrete, and when I say alone, I mean alone in a very lonely world. The bean hole is what they call the small hatch on the door through which they normally pass my food.

Recently they have started using a padlock to close it all day long. The OIC [Officer In Charge] keeps the key so no one else can open it.

One reason they do this is that, despite my being on hunger strike, they were making me take the meals through the bean hole at lunchtime, and then refusing to take the clam shell [the polystyrene platter] back until the evening meal. I couldn’t throw it out of my cell, since the bean hole is locked. So it just sat there.

I used to think the food around here smells disgusting, but when you’ve not eaten for two months or more, having any food sit around in the cell is pure torture. But then that’s the point, isn’t it?

I often quote 1984 by George Orwell (it’s probably the book I’ve read more than any other but the Holy Koran): “Torture is for torture, the System is for the System.”

They have taken to sending the FCE team in for everything. That’s if I’m lucky. Normally, if I ask for something, I just don’t get it. That includes my medicine.

Then, if I want water — and I have to ask for a bottle, as you can’t drink the stuff that comes out of the tap — they don’t bring it until the night shift.

The FCE team comes in, some 22-stone soldier puts his knees on my back while the others pin my arms and legs to the floor, and they leave me a plastic bottle. You’re allowed only one bottle at a time, as having two is somehow a threat to US national security. That means from morning until night, I have nothing to drink unless I conserve it carefully.

My lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, has talked to me about this. He told me about Hurricane Carter, the black American boxer who was wrongfully jailed for murder — Bob Dylan did a song about him. Carter realized that American prisons try to control you by taking away every choice you might have, as that’s what we humans use to build our sense of who we are, whether it’s something trivial like what we have for dinner, or something important. They try to reduce you to nothingness. It’s ironic, but that’s what the authorities do to the soldiers too, to make them into automatons: they’re just meant to follow orders.

This is what they try to do to us. For a while I was doing better, mentally, because I just refused to do what I was told. If they told me to come in from recreation, [in Shaker’s block, prisoners are normally allowed two one-hour periods outside their cells each week] I told them I wanted to just sit there, on the ground, as a peaceful protest.

So they would send the FCE goons to beat me up. Sure, that hurt physically, but it meant I was not just their robot, their slave. And for a while that worked for me. I was making my own decisions.

But now there’s nothing I can refuse to do. Sometimes I have not even had my bottle of water. So I have no food, no water, no meds, no linen, no books, no rec, no shower— nothing. I have been deprived of everything but my life. So that’s the only decision I have left: to live or to die.

I do sometimes worry that I am going to die in here. I hope I don’t, but if the worst comes to the worst, I want my kids to know that I stood up for a principle. The guards stare at me 24/7. I hear they’ve been saying that we started the problems here. That’s a sorry joke. There’s nothing I could ever do to them, even if I wanted to. They have all the guns, and they have ten soldiers for each prisoner.

They waste more than $1 million a year for each man they house here, 40 times what it would cost in a maximum security prison in the US. And for what? We get nothing. They just get a headache.

Later the same day, I just got FCE’d for no reason. Just as when they did it after the last time I took my lawyer’s phone call, I had asked for nothing, I had done nothing, they just came along: tramp, Tramp, TRAMP — busted in, and beat me up. They just wanted to hurt me.

ForceFeedChairThe 23 force-fed prisoners are strapped into chairs like this one, described by manufacturers as “padded cells on wheels.”

A thick plastic tube is forced into the stomach via a nostril and roughly removed after each feed.

Extra doctors have gone to the jail to do the feeding, which the American Medical Association condemns.

I try to avoid them all the time now, but they try to provoke me, and when that doesn’t work, they just beat me up. I am trying to keep calm and not react, but it’s hard.

They told me that if I wanted water, they would FCE me; then they FCE’d me and did not give me water. They are going crazy in this place. They are driving all of us crazy too.

I wrote their numbers down as best I could. I am known only as 239 here, and like me, they have no names. They are meant to have numbers so we can report them, but normally now they cover these up. But this time I saw two. One, a young man, was A2 06186. Another was E6 08950. Report them if you can. I am sitting here in my cell, waiting for them to come to FCE me again. It’s the only thing I have ahead of me.

Hopefully they won’t hurt my back and shoulder too much next time. It’s so painful I can hardly move them. I sometimes wonder whether this is because I may be leaving soon and they are taking revenge on me. After all, that is what they did to Ahmed Errachidi, who they called The General, for the month before he left in 2007. They treated him so badly.

You may not believe me, but even now I try to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel. For some reason, I am optimistic. After all, I’ve been cleared for six years now, so how can they keep me here?

PS: At the same time as I wrote this, I wrote to the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, but I very much doubt that the US will allow such a letter through. So the best way I can get my message out (and perhaps even to him) is by writing this.

Shaker Aamer, Guantamo Bay, Cuba

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