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Mendocino County Today: June 9, 2013


LATE FRIDAY the Highway Patrol released the name of the young man who stole the car of a Coast volunteer firefighter on Wednesday and then lead a parade of cops and firefighters on an exciting high-speed chase over Mountain View Road, through Anderson Valley and up Highway 253 before he was caught when the car had a flat tire. His name is Roman Soto, 23 of Manchester. He was arrested about nine miles up Highway 253 for stealing the vehicle. Somewhat amusingly, he was also charged with “failure to yield, driving on a suspended license and resisting arrest.”

THIS WAS NOT THE FIRST TIME Mr. Soto, who is identified a “Native American” in his booking information, has had contact with local law enforcement. In August of 2012 he was arrested for possession of marijuana for sale, vehicle theft and receiving stolen property at a swap meet. In February 2012 he was arrested for possession of marijuana for sale.


INNOCENTS ABROAD: Vietnamese cab driver who said he was on one of the last helicopters out in '75. I mistook him for a Filipino because he wore a jaunty porkpie hat. “Can Pacquiao beat Mayweather?” I asked. “No,” the driver said just prior to identifying himself as Vietnamese. Manny Pacquiao lives in the Tenderloin with his wife in a rent controlled studio. He eats at the excellent Bodega Restaurant at Larkin and Eddy. “The streets in my neighborhood are bad,” he says, “but I stay home most of the time anyway.”

USUAL POINTLESS shoes-off bullshit non-security at the San Francisco Airport, and now we're in the business class lounge, next door to the first class lounge, far from the sight and sound of the rabble. Free booze, tiny sandwiches, bags of sun chips, corporate art, bananas and apples. First class lounge probably gets bigger sandwiches. My first trip anywhere but coach, in the rear with the gear, as we used to say in another lifetime. Of course the journey to the olde country is funded by Mr. Gatsby, hence business class. The flight is delayed nearly an hour, of course. Many of my fellow adventurers are watching the aftermath of the latest lone nut, this one in Santa Monica. Now that the government has us all under surveillance, the odds of terror attacks and lone nuts has probably doubled. I wonder if the Mendo List Serve is armed?


HowCalTransSoldON MONDAY, JUNE 10, from 7-9pm two of the most articulate opponents of the Willits Bypass will take their roadshow to the Boonville Firehouse in downtown Boonville with a presentation called “In Defense of Little Lake Valley: Stories From The Campaign to Stop The Caltrans Bypass.” Scheduled guests are Amanda “Warbler” Senseman, AVA contributor and Bypass protester/tree sitter Will Parrish, plus a showing of the fine local documentary “How Caltrans Sold the Willits Bypass.” Will Parrish writes, “In Willits, the California Department of Transportation is in the process of paving paradise to put up an unnecessary freeway. It is arguably the most destructive development project to occur in Mendocino County in decades. It would cost more than $300 million and destroy the largest area of wetlands of any Northern California project in the past half-century, while doing remarkably little to alleviate in-town traffic congestion. Learn about the Bypass from people who have been on the frontlines working to stop it, and also learn how you can be involved.” (Sponsored by: Little Lake Valley Defenders.)


MENDOCINO COUNTY IS PREPARING to spend much more on capital improvements next year after several years of letting things go for austerity reasons. According to CEO Carmel Angelo’s introduction to next year’s budget, “In the 2012-2013 budget, the County was only able to allocate $105,000 toward the County’s multi- million dollar list of Capital Improvement needs. This recommended budget proposes $1,316,036 be applied to our Capital Improvement Plan to begin to address the priorities identified by the General Services Agency and the Board of Supervisors. Many of these projects are long overdue, especially considering that major investment in capital maintenance and improvements ceased in 2006.

ACCORDING TO General Services Manager Kristin McMenomey: “The following have been identified as unmet General Fund Capital facility needs:

“There are several County facilities that are in critical condition as it pertains to the roofs. The condition of these roofs are the result of many factors, including end of life as well as deferring maintenance resulting in increased damage from normal wear and tear. The following County facilities have been identified as the top priority for roof replacement within the next five years at a minimum:

  • • County Administration Center, Low Gap Road, Ukiah $3,000,000
  • • County Museum, Willits $350,000.
  • • Ukiah Public Health and Mental Health Facility $1,000,000.
  • • Sheriff Training Center, Low Gap Road, Ukiah $300,000.
  • • Yokayo Center (Social Services), State Street, Ukiah $700,000.
  • • Ukiah Veterans Administration Building and Shed $25,000.
  • • Willits Integrated Services Center (WISC), Willits $400,000.

These roofing projects are estimated to cost approximately $6,000,000 over the next five years. GSA anticipates scheduling prioritized roofing projects beginning in FY 13/14.”

IN ADDITION: “County’s Property System — Since 1995, the County of Mendocino has used property system software acquired for ‘at no cost’ from Sutter County. The property system is used to send and track property tax bills, maintain information regarding parcels, record current and historical property assessments, log unsecured assets for billing, and many other functions. The property system is necessary for the collection of well over 100 million dollars of tax revenue per year. The County’s current software system, titled the ‘Mendocino County Property System,’ is obsolete; it features a system code base/language that dates back to the 1970s, and represents a significant risk of catastrophic failure. The property system was created by a County development support staff which no longer exists within the County system. The County has no available staffing resources to utilize, no dedicated vendor maintaining the system, no user documentation and we have extremely limited developer documentation. Recent County staffing retirements and relocations has left the property system without support resources. Soliciting staff to support this outdated system and technology would not be effective or efficient. Currently, County GSA/IS staff expends a great deal of resources attempting to address the performance shortcomings of the current software and continually experiences issues with providing adequate support. Due to the risks involved with maintaining the current software system, coupled with the costs associated with maintaining its platform, it is recommended that the Board of Supervisors authorize staff to begin a review and analysis associated with the replacement of the Mendocino County Property System. The project is estimated to cost up to $1,000,000 with an annual maintenance cost of $100,000. This project is anticipated to be rolled out during FY 14/15.”

THERE’S ALSO AN UNANSWERED QUESTION about the $900k budgeted for retiree healthcare in the context of Obamacare which may or may not cover some or all of it.


AT THEIR MAY 21 meeting the Board of Supervisors had agenda item entitled: “Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the County of Mendocino, Ukiah Valley Fire District, and the Pinoleville Pomo Nation Concerning Mitigation for Off Reservation Impacts Resulting from the Tribe’s Casino and Hotel Project.”

AGENDA SUMMARY: “The Board of Supervisors Ad-Hoc Committee has met and discussed with the Pinoleville Pomo Nation and other interested parties the anticipated offsite impacts of the proposed casino and other related facilities to be constructed at 2150 North State Street, Ukiah, California. The proposed MOU represents the tentative agreements agreed to by the interested parties. It is requested that the Board of Supervisors review and approve the proposed MOU.”

IN THIS CASE, the “mitigation” is: Cash. After several people spoke to the item, both enthusiastically pro and mildly con, the Board had a short discussion of the agreement which has been worked on for several years since the Pinoleville Pomo tribe first proposed building another casino/hotel north of Ukiah right of Highway 101:

HAMBURG: The state approved this arrangement which kind of trumps the county. I know that for myself I have a lot of sympathy with the arguments being made by Ms. Lockhart and Ms. McGee regarding the suitability of the site for a casino given the traffic impacts and the proliferation of casinos all over inland Mendocino County. I just can't imagine another casino could possibly be profitable in this area. It seems like everybody's just -- every casino kind of cannibalizes every other casino. I just don't know where all the gamblers are. It's a sad commentary on our overall society. This is no criticism whatsoever of Native Americans and trying to get money out of these. But it's really a sad commentary that this is the -- what we call economic development in Mendocino County is more and more and more casinos encouraging more and more and more gambling and all the things that go along with gambling problems in our society. The only other thing that I want to make specific reference to is Recital B where it says the county recognizes the tribe as a federally recognized Indian tribe recognized… that's three recognized in one sentence, that's pretty tricky English. But anyway, the next sentence, the tribe owns lands within the boundaries of which constitutes the original rancheria land. Now if ever there was a sentence that was built for obfuscation that's it. I have no idea what that sentence means. And I did pass English. So I don't know what, I don't know why anything has to be written in such a confusing manner, but I'm sure there are some lawyer somewhere who was paid $300 an hour to craft that sentence.

MCCOWEN: That may have been one of the true beneficiaries of the agreement.

HAMBURG: I totally agree.

MCCOWEN: But I would point out, and I agree the language is not a model of clarity, but that is the part of the recitals and it's really not the heart of the agreement.

HAMBURG: I know. I know. I know.

MCCOWEN: But I think it may refer to the fact that the tribe does own land within the boundaries of the original rancheria land and once this parcel is purchased, and it's my understanding that there is currently some sort of lease-option agreement, but once the tribe knows they are ready to proceed I'm sure they would finalize that purchase and these lands within the boundaries of the original rancheria land will be owned by the tribe. But that certainly could have been stated with greater clarity.

HAMBURG: In English, maybe? In English would have been good.

PINCHES: Obviously what happened in the early 60s when they built the freeway out there that separated if not legally, it separated that piece of property physically from the Pinoleville lands. Then that probably led them to sell it and whatnot, but it physically separated that from the tribal lands. But I'm totally supportive of what the tribe wants to do. Frankly, I think that casino and hotel will do great there for the simple reason that it will be the only gambling facility that's actually right on 101 Highway. I think that's really smart. In my opinion.

HAMBURG: What about Coyote Valley? It's not on 101?

PINCHES: You can't really see the casino from 101. It's there, but you don't see the physical building. It makes a big difference in attracting people that are going through the area. The biggest problem as they move forward is that casino project in Rohnert Park. Otherwise, you'd get a straight shot between here and the Bay Area. So that's what your investors are going to have to look at. But that's not the issue we're talking about. I'm totally supportive of this. You talk about developer fees, do you realize that we are asking the tribe under this agreement to put up front $600,000 a year, actually more than that, it's over $700,000. But $600,000 of that is going to be on an annual basis. So I guess if this project moves forward the tribe is going to completely bear their fair share to Mendocino County. If I was a tribal member and was committing myself to this I would be a little reluctant although I guess when you run the numbers the investors seem to think that this will all work. But paying this $600,000, basically that's money up front before you can even start operations.

HAMBURG: It just tells you how lucrative gambling is, John.

PINCHES: Well, I guess so. Anyway, I think the county is getting its fair share for the services that we are going to provide. You look at the $200,000 to pay the sheriff annually, that doesn't guarantee that the sheriff even has to show up for a call. It's just says you're going to pay the sheriff's office. We don't ask that from anybody else that's building a store or anything. We don't ask for a developer fee from anybody else. But the tribe seems to be in agreement to move forward. So if this moves forward it looks like it's going to be a good deal for everybody except for the person who needs to gamble.

The Board then voted 4-1 to approve the Memorandum of Agreement with the Pinoleville tribe, 4-1, Hamburg dissenting.


SONOMA COUNTY has announced plans to do some work at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport. According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat the work involves lengthening the runways which is supposed to somehow give an “economic boost” to the area. But, based on the photo accompanying the news report, we can think of some work at the airport that might take priority over runway lengthening.


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON announced Friday it would shut down the troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant. The move comes 17 months after the San Onofre plant was closed because of problems in steam generator systems. The plant powered about 1.4 million households in Southern California before the outage. Until now, Edison had vowed to restart the plant. But the company released a statement Friday saying it would stop the process to fire up the plant. “We have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about when or if [the plant] might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs,” said Ted Craver, chairman and chief executive of Edison International, parent company of SCE. SCE President Ron Litzinger said in a statement: “Looking ahead, we think that our decision to retire the units will eliminate uncertainty and facilitate orderly planning for California’s energy future. Edison International Chief Executive Ted Craver said Friday that the company had spent more than $500 million on replacement power during the plant's outage. San Onofre Nuclear Generating station was shuttered earlier after a tube in the plant's replacement steam generator system leaked a small amount of radioactive steam on January 31, 2012. Eight other tubes in the same reactor unit later failed pressure tests, an unprecedented number in the industry, and thousands more tubes in both of the plant's units showed signs of wear. The wear was blamed on tube vibration caused by excessively dry and high-velocity steam and inadequate support structures, particularly in one of the plant's two units. Tube vibration and wear has been a problem at other plants, but the specific type of vibration at San Onofre had not been experienced in the industry. Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric (which has a 20% stake in the plant) spent more than $780 million replacing the steam generators several years ago, which ratepayers are now repaying. (Courtesy, the Los Angeles Times)


Dr. Strada
Dr. Strada

PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION AND TREATMENT OFFERED at North Coast Family Health Center and Mendocino Coast District Hospital — The North Coast Family Health Center and Mendocino Coast District Hospital have added psychological evaluation and treatment to its list of healthcare services offered to residents of the Mendocino Coast. To provide the service, E. Alessandra Strada, PhD, FT, MSCP has joined the MCDH and NCFHC Provider Team as a clinical psychologist. Dr. Strada provides outpatient services at NCFHC and inpatient consultations at MCDH. Dr. Strada holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology, a PhD in East-West Psychology, and a post-doctoral Masters in Psychopharmacology. She is an adjunct associate professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and adjunct faculty in the post-doctoral psychopharmacology program at Alliant University, San Francisco. She is a fellow in thanatology, the scientific study of death and its processes and the author of two books on the subject: “The Helping Professional’s Guide to End-of-Life Care: Practical Tools for Emotional, Social and Spiritual Support (Jan. 2, 2013)” and “Grief and Bereavement in the Adult Palliative Care Setting, Oxford American Palliative Care Library (May 7, 2013).” In addition, she is a former assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and attending psychologist in the department of pain medicine and palliative care at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, where she developed and directed the psychology fellowship in pain, palliative, and hospice care. Dr. Strada is also a regular presenter at national and international conferences. Her clinical work and research focus on psychological care in chronic and advanced illness, end-of-life, grief, bereavement in the palliative care setting, and non-pharmacological treatment of chronic pain. Dr. Strada has also worked extensively to promote stress management and burnout prevention for clinicians. Her treatment approaches include integrative use of psychodynamic, existential, and insight-oriented approaches with cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, guided imagery, mindfulness, and meditation. (Coast Hospital Press Release)


FRED GARDNER WRTES: The picture of the dreadlocked yid on your front page reminded me of an old New York joke:

“What has two legs and sleeps with cats?”

“Mrs. Katz?”

“Wrong, Mrs. Shapiro.”

* * *

The reffing in basketball and umpiring in baseball is so bad that sometimes I just turn off the tube. Friday night Giants pitcher Mark Affeldt had a 2-1 count, threw a strike that got called a ball, walked the batter and then Goldschmidt homered. I don't usually go for technological fixes, but for calling balls and strikes…


FIREWOOD PERMIT SALES SUSPENDED on Jackson Demonstration State Forest Fort Bragg– California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Mendocino Unit is suspending firewood permit sales on Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF), due to the very high demand for permits and a limited supply of available downed wood. Firewood areas will remain open to those with valid permits until the wood supply is gone, September 15th, or the first significant rain which ever occurs first. Information regarding the firewood program is available at the CAL FIRE Fort Bragg office located at, 802 North Main Street, Fort Bragg, CA (707) 964-5674. Office hours are 8-12 & 1-5 Monday through Friday.


  1. chewsome June 9, 2013

    In the Pinoleville retail restaurant casino hotel complex MOU board level discussion transcribed in the AVA June 9, 2013 Mendocino County Today blog, Supervisor Hamburg objected to Recital B, but conceded to Supervisor McCowen’s opinion that it was not the heart of the agreement.

    However, Hamburg’s real point could have been, look, the County’s hands are not tied to the state gaming Compact agreement with Pinoleville in an MOU, if we do nothing by not objecting to Recital B.

    What the County is doing by voting to not excluding portions that provoked Hamburg’s expressed concerns on Recital B, is to empower the Pinoleville gambling development interests to return to the State legislature for a new Bill to give up state ownership of land which was not specifically allowed by the gaming Compact.

    Recital B helps to give the endorsement of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to the casino hotel tribal status validity specific land parcel location, despite all denials from board members.

    The Supervisors continued to talk in vague terms at the meeting item approval, and the explanation of why the site qualified for the project, spoken to by project proponent John Tang did not ring true, after Tang evaded by drifting on other topics.

    It would be interesting as to whether County Counsel has a detailed legal analysis which backs up their lackluster enunciation, which the Ad Hoc Committee would be willing to release per Public Record Act request.

    Pinoleville gaming development is trying to dodge Compact defects realized with lessons learned from the now pending August 2nd trial against Governor Brown and the Graton Casino MOU.

    Far from being passive participants, it appears that the Mendocino Supervisors and its Ad Hoc committee, actually are steam rolling advocates for an otherwise ineligible casino gambling site on N. State St., just north of Ukiah. Is this County government at work?

  2. chewsome June 9, 2013

    Correction paragraph two:

    However, Hamburg’s real point could have been, look, the County’s hands are not tied to the state gaming Compact agreement with Pinoleville in an MOU, if we reject Recital B.

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