Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: July 14, 2013

SpyRockMemoriesRECOMMENDED READING: “Spy Rock Memories” by Larry Livermore. The Mendocino County literary oeuvre is pretty thin, although there are lots of good writers in our beloved mother county. This book helps make up the deficit, and is the best thing I've read on the general subject of Back To The Land in that fraught decade — 1970-80 when the city had become so violent that thousands of people fled north where they bought logged over land in remote areas up and down the Northcoast and settled in, not knowing what hard work it is to carve out a homestead where there's no developed water, let alone a power grid. Livermore was not your generic back-to-the-lander. A gifted writer, he describes in vivid detail his struggles to establishment himself in the infamous outlaw stronghold of deep Spy Rock, the wild outback northeast of Laytonville, establish himself on both the land and with his neighbors. While still a newcomer in a place where suspicion came with the primary occupation — marijuana production — Livermore began producing the pioneering zine, The Lookout, which instantly made him persona non grata with both his mountain neighbors — as pot growers they didn't like the attention — and the residents of Laytonville, who didn't like Livermore's descriptions of their town as an unpromising collection of ramshackle buildings strewn haphazardly along 101 with a lot of ramshackle personalities to go with the architecture. Then he became famous, and then he became rich and famous. I knew Livermore was famous when a Boonville kid asked me if I knew Livermore. “Yup, known him for a long time. We're good friends. He writes for my paper when the spirit moves him.” The kid looked at me with renewed respect. I had to tell him twice before he believed me. By that time Livermore had formed or managed a bunch of famous bands, including Green Day, which made him and them gadzillions. His pioneering zine, The Lookout, was nationally distributed. I have to admit that I still haven't heard any of the music apart from an a-rhythmic ditty Livermore gave me many years ago called “Fuck You and Die,” to which, try as I might, I've never quite been able to dance to. But apart from his fascinating accounts of establishing his home above the snow line on Spy Rock, including some harrowing trips home by snowshoe, I found Livermore's stories about how his zine grew and the genesis of his life as a music entrepreneur absolutely fascinating.


“Spy Rock Memories” will be of great interest to the thousands of people of the Northcoast who've carved out lives for themselves in the vast back country of Northern California, and of equivalent interest to the general reader who simply likes good stories well told. (


FRIDAY, TORI CAMPBELL, a long-time news reader at KTVU, went live at noon to announce the names of the Asiana pilots at the controls of Flight 214 as "Sum Ting Wong; Wi Tu Lo; Ho Lee Fuk; and Bang Ding Ow.”

KTVUPrankMS. CAMPBELL, even as she plowed phonetically on through the joke roster, remained oblivious that she and the station had been pranked. They thought they had a scoop and, as it turned out, they did after a fashion.

WHAT SEEMS to have happened is that KTVU received a call from a man — probably a man, this being a white guy kind of gag — alerting the station that he had the names of the pilots. The station duly called the National Transportation Safety Board where an “intern” confirmed that the joke names were indeed the true names of the pilots, which means not only had KTVU been pranked so had the NTSB, with Ms. Campbell as the fall guy (sic).

AS THE JOKE went viral and a global laugh went up we all wondered why nobody at KTVU caught it before the uncomprehending Ms. Campbell ran with it on the air.

MS. CAMPBELL soon issued an on-air statement that the names were wrong, but laying off KTVU's gaffe on the “intern” at NTSB. The names, she sort of apologized, were “inaccurate and offensive” but had been “mistakenly confirmed” by the NTSB.

THE NTSB SAID “the intern had acted outside his authority” but had been “trying to be helpful.”

ADDING to the global hilarity, KTVU had just been promoting itself as “being first on air and on every platform in all aspects of our coverage (of the crash at SFO) was a great accomplishment, but being 100 percent accurate, effectively using our great sources and social media without putting a single piece of erroneous information on the air, is what we are most proud of as a newsroom.”


LINDA WILLIAMS reports in the Willits News that “California River Watch has filed a claim with the City of Willits threatening to sue the city in federal court. The city has 60 days from June 21 to remedy the situation or be sued.”

IF WILLITS again succumbs to this shakedown it will be the third time Jack Silver has gotten over on The Gateway to the Redwood Empire.

WE’VE WRITTEN ENDLESSLY about this character and his bogus non-profit, California River Watch. Here’s how it works: Silver finds a technical violation of the federal Clean Water Act. (I’ve long suspected he’s got a tipster in the State Water Agency). Then he fires off a letter to the alleged offender threatening to sue for lots of money but, he says, “Show me you’re trying and send me some good faith money and I won’t take you to court.” Municipalities usually pay up because it’s cheaper to pay Silver to go away then go into court against him.

SILVER has pulled this neat bit of extortion up and down the Northcoast. You name the town, that town has paid him off — Fortuna, Ukiah, Ferndale, and innumerable mom and pop businesses. He burned Willits for $40,000 in “attorney’s fees” back in 2002, and has alleged since that Willits’ sewage treatment plant “discharges raw sewage into gutters, canals, and storm drains connected to adjacent surface waters.” He got that information from the State, and how accurate it is, well, he makes it sound like it’s very serious and Willits is somehow tolerating it. Which Willits is not doing. None of Silver’s victims are deliberately out of compliance with the Clean Water Act.

AS MS. WILLIAMS reports, “The claim filed against Willits is nearly identical to the claim River Watch filed against the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District in April with the creek names changed and the specifics associated with the sewer system adjusted. In January, River Watch filed a claim against Mendocino County about the county's storm water runoff into the Russian River. Some of the remedial measures requested were a dry-weather inspection of the piping, mapping of the storm water drain outfalls and requirements to mitigate construction site runoff. The county denied the claim and River Watch filed suit in federal court in March.”

BASED IN OCCIDENTAL in West Sonoma Couny, Silver is organized as a charity non-profit. His board of directors, when he incorporated in 1996, consisted of family members. His goal, he claims, “is to strengthen the ability of citizens to protect water quality in rivers, tributary watersheds, oceans, bays, wetlands, surface and groundwater in Northern California.” His goal, obviously, is to enrich himself by continuing to cash in on Water Quality Act loopholes accompanied by disproportionate fines that make it possible for Silver to exploit them.

A REVIEW BY THE WILLITS NEWS in 2011 “of its annual reports since 2003 showed River Watch received $1.61 million from legal settlements; $201,000 from grants and $97,000 in donations. During this same period it spent about $1.3 million in legal fees. The top year to date in settlements came in 2008 when River Watch received $831,000.”


SF MIME TROUPE IN POINT ARENA — INVITES COMMUNITY TO A SCHMOOZE BEFOREHAND. The community is invited to a community potluck with the San Francisco Mime Troupe on Tuesday, July 16, at 7pm upstairs at the Odd Fellows Lodge in Point Arena. Please bring a dish and hang out with the troupe the night before they present “Oil & Water” at the Arena Theater (show is the next night, on Wednesday, July 17 — sponsor tickets still available and include reserved seating. Contact Shauna at or 882-3272 for more info. Hope to see you there — blake more PS. Kids are welcome!



Hello everyone,

I want you to know that the Anderson Valley Education Foundation is sponsoring the Northern California Premier of the movie, “Goodbye World” at the Grange. The movie was filmed in the Anderson Valley and includes many local residents as extras. Please save the night of Friday, August 2nd. Doors will open at 5:30 for food and beverages with the screening at 7 pm. Following the showing, the director will hold a Q&A session. I hope you can come. Please forward this message to friends who may be interested. Tickets are $15 per adult and $7 for children 17 and under. Tickets are available at Laughing Dog Bookstore, All That Good Stuff, and Lemon's Market. Funds raised from the event will help support the Education Foundation's three primary activities: Summer Internships, Scholarships and Grants. Hope to see you there! — Dick Browning, Philo


Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *