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Mendocino County Today: July 20, 2013

MOTHER FACES JAIL TIME after allowing toddler access to meth, alcohol.


A Boonville mother who admitted to allowing her toddler son to ingest life-threatening amounts of methamphetamine and alcohol will serve 270 days in county jail as part of a suspended state prison sentence ordered by Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman. At sentencing hearing held on July 9th, the mother, Samantha Ann Margeret Dellvalle, age 22, was warned by the Court that a violation of any term of her probation will result in the young woman being sent to state prison for up to four years. Having reviewed the Probation Department’s social study of the defendant and sentencing recommendation, Judge Moorman announced in court that she had decided not to impose a state prison sentence at the outset on Dellvalle, allowing the defendant to, instead, be incarcerated in the county jail. The Court said it had reached this decision because of the defendant’s young age and lack of prior criminal record. Deputy District Attorney Shannon Cox argued for the imposition of a state prison commitment, citing the overall seriousness of the case and the fact the child could have easily died. Cox argued this was an appropriate case to be used to send a wake up call to other parents in community who may be similarly-situated. Dellvalle had entered a guilty plea on July 9th to felony child abuse and endangerment, following her earlier arrest in Boonville in March of this year. A co-defendant, Raymond Earl Mabery, age 21, was also charged with child abuse, but also with being under the influence of controlled substances and possessing drug paraphernalia. Prosecutor Cox said the case against Mabery, a relative of Dellvalle, is still pending. Dellvalle’s son was rushed to Ukiah Valley Medical Center by his grandmother who became concerned over how sick he appeared after she picked him up at Dellvalle’s house. At the hospital the boy was found to have dangerously high levels of methamphetamine and alcohol in his system. With proper medical care, the boy recovered and is now in the custody of his biological father. (— District Attorney Press Release)


JUSTICE4SUSAN Keegan website announced.

Dr. & Mrs. Keegan
Dr. & Mrs. Keegan

Ukiah, California (July 19, 2013) – The friends and family of Ukiah resident Susan Keegan, whose death has been declared a homicide, will launch a website on July 23, 2013, honoring what should have been her 58th birthday. On the morning of November 11, 2010, Susan Keegan was reported dead in her Ukiah, California home by her husband, Peter Keegan, MD. Dr. Keegan – Harvard undergraduate, UC San Francisco medical school – claimed Susan abused drugs and alcohol and speculated that her death was either an accident or a suicide. Dozens of friends and family members told the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department something very different – that Susan was a healthy and vigorous writer, artist, and community activist and a pillar of the Ukiah community in the midst of an acrimonious divorce. The day before Susan’s death, Dr. Keegan was reported to have “gone ballistic” in the office of their divorce mediator. The Sheriff’s office mishandled the early investigation and autopsy and released the body to Dr. Keegan, who immediately had his estranged wife cremated. Newly elected District Attorney David Eyster stepped in soon after and reopened the inquiry. Two search warrants have been executed on the Keegan home and in August 2012, Mendocino County officials amended the death certificate, citing “homicide” as the cause of Susan’s death. Law enforcement authorities say “there is a person of interest” in the case, but there has been no arrest and no prosecution. With the third anniversary of Susan Keegan’s death only a few months away, the Justice4Susan Committee wants answers. The web site provides details about the Keegan homicide, links to media stories, and offers opportunities for people to Stand up for Susan. AbouAbout the Justice4Susan Committee: We are personal friends and family members who knew both Susan Keegan and Dr. Peter Keegan well, and loved them both. Immediately after Susan’s death, each of us independently contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office to share our suspicions about the nature of her death. In time, we found one another and agreed that we had an obligation to Susan to seek the truth from the Mendocino County law enforcement community. Justice is our only goal.

Contact the Justice4Susan Committee:


On the morning of November 11, 2010, Susan Keegan, age 55, was reported dead in her Ukiah, California home by her husband, Peter Keegan, MD. Her death certificate identifies cause of death as HOMICIDE. There is one suspect in the case, but no one has been prosecuted. Family, friends and the taxpayers of Mendocino County are waiting for justice.

How long will the wait continue?

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speaking Out for Susan

Susan’s friends and family began pleading with the law enforcement community of Mendocino County to investigate her death from the moment it was announced. Those pleas continue to this day.

Her husband’s claim that this vibrant, healthy woman could have been sufficiently intoxicated to fall and hit her head seemed far-fetched. In the weeks before she died, some in the Ukiah community had received odd phone calls and unannounced visits from Dr. Keegan claiming Susan had become an addict. They knew it was untrue.

The law enforcement authorities eventually agreed. In August 2012, almost two years after her death, they amended her death certificate to call the death a homicide.

Those close to Susan told the authorities:

• “In all the years I knew Susan, I never saw her stumble or lose control. She was a sure-footed, strong and confident woman. She did not rush or act irrationally. She was intelligent, capable and careful…. I urge you to press for an investigation into this matter.”

• “Moderation was part of Susan’s character. She was clear-headed, rational, organized and very responsible… I am hoping that sufficient care, time and resources will be put into determining the cause of Susan’s death… It is easiest to deal with the truth, whatever it turns out to be.”

• “I feel that I know her well and that she was an exceptionally grounded, principled, and clear-headed person….”

• Susan and I were in especially close touch during this difficult period … I have firsthand knowledge of how she was spending her time, and what her emotional state of mind was. She was sad, but very forward-looking, and most certainly in full intellectual and emotional control. “

• “Nothing will bring Susan back. But painstaking investigation and vigorous prosecution are not only the duties of your office; they will also be a fitting tribute to our late friend.”

(For a complete summary of the case and related documents go to


ASSISTANT DA PAUL SEQUIERA issued this terse statement Thursday on the unprosecuted murder of Susan Keegan. “It’s still under investigation.”

REALLY? We’re not talking about the Kennedy Assassination here. We’re talking about the highly likely murder of a woman committed by her husband, a woman bludgeoned to death in her South Ukiah home by her doctor-husband of 30 years. What’s the hold-up? The DA might lose the case? This isn’t a ball game. We’re not compiling won-loss stats here. We’re talking about an unprosecuted crime. It’s way past time to arrest Doctor Keegan and prosecute him. Maybe he’s innocent. We won’t know until it’s sorted out in a public way, but this “it’s still under investigation” baloney has become insulting. If Joe The Tweeker’s wife had been found bludgeoned to death in the marital bower under similar circumstances, you can be sure that Joe would already be in his third year in the state pen.

IS THE KEEGAN case as simple as that? Maybe the DA can tell us. The doctor said he found his wife dead in her bathroom of the home they shared. He said she’d fallen and hit her head. The wounds to Susan Keegan’s head were not, however, consistent with a bathroom fall, hence the upgrade of the death certificate to homicide.

THE DOCTOR said his wife was a drunk and a pill-popper, an assessment that does not square with Mrs. Keegan’s busy daily schedule. She was a woman who got up every morning and did things, as her many Ukiah friends are prepared to testify. Pill-popping drunks don’t do much besides indulge themselves. If Mrs. Keegan was a drug-addled drunk the people she saw every day would have noticed. They didn’t.

SUSAN KEEGAN’S death has been officially ruled a homicide. There was one other person in the house when she died. That person, Doctor Keegan, didn’t offer any other explanation for his wife’s death than that he’d found her dead in her own bathroom and had immediately slandered her to the police as likely having fallen under the influence. He didn’t say he heard a possible intruder during the night or offer any other explanation for what might have happened to his wife. One death, one suspect, one death certificate that says homicide.

THE DA’S OFFICE under Eyster has yet to prosecute a single tough case. Sequiera was hired to prosecute tough cases. The endless delays in this one are starting to smell. How is it possible to have a homicide, one suspect — but no arrest, no prosecution? This kind of class-based prosecution policy has gone on for years in this county, most famously in the 1987 Fort Bragg Fires. In that one, a handful of crooks got away with burning the heart right out of the town. I could list a dozen major crimes from 1970 to the present that either went unprosecuted or some kind of cozy deal was worked out with the well-placed, well-connected perp.

SUSAN KEEGAN was a good person. She was prepared to leave the marriage and move on. Doctor Keegan was very angry, murderously angry, that half their property would belong to Mrs. Keegan, and he did what he did, which was to commit murder, a murder under investigation since November of 2010.

OUR LATE DA Norm Vroman even prosecuted egregious domestic violence cases, knowing they were iffy because the female victims refused to testify against the “man” who had beat them. Vroman prosecuted these cases anyway because they should have been prosecuted, win or lose.

EYSTER’S done some good things — his dope prosecution policy is a very good thing for the County — but letting woman killers slide because the cases aren’t airtight is signing off on murder.


• November 11, 2010 — Susan Keegan reported dead at her Ukiah home by her husband, Dr. Peter Keegan.

• November 11, 2010 — Family and friends call Sheriff’s office and explain why death should be treated as suspicious.

• November 13, 2010 (approx) — Body released to husband and cremated shortly afterward.

• Fall 2010, Winter/Spring 2011 — Family and friends begin calling the Sheriff’s office and the DA’s office urging a full investigation.

• June, 2011 — Search warrant executed at Keegan home.

• Summer/Fall 2011 to Winter/Spring 2012 — Family and friends continue to call DA’s office inquiring about the status of the investigation. DA tells the public the case is “under investigation.”

• August, 2012 — The cause of Susan Keegan’s death is officially declared “Homicide.” Sheriff’s office tells media “there is a person of interest.”

• Fall/Winter 2012 — Family and friends continue to call DA’s office inquiring about the status of the investigation. DA tells the public the case is “under investigation.”

• January 2013 — Second search warrant executed at Keegan home. Family and friends continue to call DA’s office inquiring about the status of the investigation.

• April 2013 — Assistant DA says case is “under investigation.”



A SONOMA COUNTY reader writes: “Come on. Doesn't anyone understand what was happening when Supervisor Efren Carrillo was caught ‘prowling’ with ‘sexual intent’ or planning some kind of burglary? Let's put on our thinking caps. Why on earth would someone be wandering around a lawn outside an apartment complex late at night? Hmmm. The answer of course is that he just left another woman's bedroom in a hurry when her husband came home. So when she heard the husband’s keys in the lock she immediately sent Carrillo out the window and kicked his shoes and pants under the bed and welcomed hubby home with open arms. Then, since Carrillo also probably knew the woman in the neighboring apartment, he knocked on her window so he could ask her to call a taxi for him. Hey! What would you do if you had left an apartment in a hurry with no shoes or pants and needed some help — discreetly. You'd probably knock on somebody's door or window hoping that they would be understanding and not ask too many questions. Clearly, that plan didn't work out and the supervisor was caught with his pants down. Of course none of that is a crime. I think they are postponing any serious hearing for at least a month while they wait for the husband to forget about when he came home and thinking, ‘Ohhhh — THAT explains why the bed was warm when I got home.’ The case would have gone ‘cold’ by then. The husband wouldn't realize what had probably happened. I assume that when Efren bailed out of jail the woman he was with called him on her cellphone and told him she had thrown his pants and shoes in a dumpster. This kind of problem is not unusual for American politicians. It goes all the way back to George Washington and Ben Franklin. For example, there is a story about how George Washington caught pneumonia when he left a woman's house without adequate clothing one time. I'm sure that somehow Supervisor Carrillo will escape this mess with the assistance of Doug Bosco, his patron, and Bosco’s newspaper, the Press Democrat, which Bosco owns a large share of. I don't know if the PD would carry an ad offering a reward for the supervisor's pants and shoes — no questions asked. But I expect that the case will be orchestrated by Bosco and high profile Sonoma County defense attorney Chris Andrian. In a way I feel sorry for Supervisor Carrillo. He was just looking for help in an awkward situation and he got arrested for stalking and attempted burglary. Sheesh!”



John Sakowicz: I am speaking as a private citizen only. This Wednesday the Ukiah City Finance Director Gordon Elton is retiring. The city is doing a proclamation. With the help of the Anderson Valley Advertiser who did an article earlier this week, I would like to cite some of Mr. Elton's dubious achievements: Hijacked redevelopment funds, of upwards of $1 million annually, for up to 10 years to pay for —

(Mumbling from Board Chair Dan Hamburg.)

Sakowicz: This is a non-agenda item. …to pay for this…

Hamburg: I realize that. I just don't know where you are going with this, John.

Sakowicz: To pay for — well, he bankrupted the city.

McCowen: Excuse me, Mr. Chair. It's not something that's within our purview and public comment is for items not on the agenda but within our purview. I believe County Counsel could confirm that.

County Counsel Tom Parker: Yes sir.

McCowen: It's not necessarily an open forum.

Sakowicz: This is for information purposes.

McCowen: It’s not an open forum.

Sakowicz: Okay. All right. Well, I will be publishing this and I will be reading it at the Ukiah city Council meeting on Wednesday.

Hamburg: Thank you. Thank you, John. Okay, others who would like to address the board?

Supervisor John Pinches: Mr. Chairman.

Hamburg: Yes.

Pinches: This is the first time — I have sat here for over 10 years, going on 11 years. This is the first time that I have ever seen public expression restricted in any way at this forum.

Hamburg: Well, um. (Clears throat). Ok.

Pinches: I don't understand. I mean, three minutes of public expression should be three minutes of public expression. Period.

Hamburg: Well, thank you for that. Umm, Supervisor McCowen did ask for County Counsel's opinion and he did concur.

Pinches: I disagree with that opinion.

Hamburg: Well, yeah. I hear you. I understand what you're saying. And uh, Mr. County Counsel would you like to offer further consideration?

Parker: Yes. The, the public expression is for items that are not agendized as has been stated and is well-known. The — but my legal analysis is that the county has no jurisdiction over the city. Mr. Elton is not a county employee. The county could – the county would have no, no jurisdiction to agendize honoring Mr. Elton's services to the public in general or the, to the city of Ukiah in particular. So it — that was the basis for my conclusion, there really is —

Hamburg: Yes, well. You know. I — I’ll let Supervisor Pinches speak but I do also have some concerns because now, you know, every time somebody speaks we are going to have to analyze whether it's something we have purview over and that's going to be a tough standard to meet, you know, fairly often.

Pinches: First of all, City of Ukiah taxpayers are also County of Mendocino taxpayers. They are the same group of people. If we are going to start selecting who can say anything and who can say what, I guess my first question would be, who's going to be in charge of that?

Hamburg: Well, ostensibly, it would be the Chair with the advice of County Counsel. And you will be Chair quite soon.

McCowen: I am willing to leave it to the prerogative of the Chair, but, as a matter of law and Brown Act compliance, public expression is for matters under our purview but not on the agenda and the concern is not so much that the speaker rose to honor the city employee but his intent from his opening comments was actually the opposite. I do not think that is appropriate because that city employee really would have no equivalent forum in which to respond.

Hamburg: Yeah.

McCowen: So just kind of as a matter of decorum I did not think it was appropriate. But again, at the discretion of the chair.

Hamburg: Well, I agree. It's a slippery slope. And it may be something we should talk about a little bit more after this meeting. But, I have to say, Supervisor McCowen, that I share your, your chagrin at somebody getting up to criticize someone who's not a county employee. And again as you said, in a forum where that person has no — you know, I was thinking how someone once got up, and it's not really that infrequent, somebody will get up and blast a supervisor or criticize some ill treatment they received in a county department from a particular individual working for the county and that never elicits a complaint from a Board member even if you happen to be the Board member who is getting wailed on, that comes with the territory. But to get up and wail on an employee who doesn't even work for the county, I just don't — I have a little bit of a problem with that. So I am going to rule that that comment was out of order and I will discuss it further with County Counsel and the CEO sometime in the future.



The Caspar Children’s Garden (CCG) preschool board of directors has been working since early spring on an agreement to move their program to the farm house located at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (MCBG). This past week the board was unexpectedly informed that the Botanical Garden was no longer interested in renting to them. CCG has already spent over $8000 (almost half their savings) applying for a County use permit (in conjunction with the MCBG and their landlord, the Mendocino Coast Recreation & Park District) and were willing to make improvements at their own expense. With this disappointing news, the program is now in need of a new home. The preschool has 25+ years experience running a successful business serving hundreds of families; a team of experienced teachers; a large group of parents waiting to enroll their children this fall; and a storage unit packed to capacity with all the materials and furniture that belong in an early childhood program. If you know of a possible location or can contribute in any way to this urgent request for assistance, please contact the CCG director, Sandra Mix, at or 707-367-9763.



I work in the Anderson Valley and coach high school basketball in the 
Mendocino School District. I once coached basketball in AV and had a short
 AD fill-in at Mendocino High to add to my public school volunteer
 credentials. You recently reprinted an article from Paul McCarthy's blog 
where he attacks Robert Pinoli, and accuses the Panther soccer team of 
cheating by illegally practicing.

 With the name of Mr. McCarthy's blog being Mendocino Sports Plus, I would 
like to remind your readers that this blog, and Mr. McCarthy himself, have
 no connection to Mendocino High School or Mendocino High School Sports,
 whatsoever. The name may indicate otherwise. This is his Facebook page we
 are talking about.

 As a senior coach in Mendocino, I find myself apologizing for him 
regularly. This is the second time he has attacked Mr. Pinoli, who I
 personally believe is one of the more honorable members of CMC, NCL, and
 NCS. (I challenge any sports fans to know what those letters all stand
 for). It was embarrassing to go play basketball in Point Arena when the AD 
and school were accused of being “pussys” and “chicken” to play Mendocino,
 when they had to forfeit for not having enough players (for 8 man 
football, the small school version of football). When Laytonville won big 
in football, Cory James Sr., one of league’s hardest working multiple-
sport coaches, was accused of running up the score. I remember calling the
 AD, Sue Carberry, in Laytonville, to beg for forgiveness, when he likened 
the beautiful new campus to a prison. In fact, the AD and principal in
 Mendocino have been on the receiving end of abuse for not running and 
supporting the 8 man football program the way he would like it. My 
personal favorite was when he accused the AD, Mr. Gold, of not properly 
teaching the football coaches of how to turn on the showers.

 Most parents I talk to love this facebook page for the wonderful
 collection of pictures of our kids playing games. I personally enjoy this
 part. The “shoot first” and “deal with the facts later” type of writing 
that Mendocino Sports Plus engages in is entertaining at times, often
 hurtful, regularly embarrassing for MHS, fun to respond to, and sells
 papers. (Just ask the AVA.)

 — Jim Young
, Mendocino High School Basketball

ED REPLY: O please, Jim. What sniveling. High school sports around here is 
lucky to have anyone even notice, never mind writing about them. As for the
 ancient whine that the adventures of our scintillating local personalities 
sell newspapers, well, har de har. I'm glad McCarthy takes the time,
 whether or not you agree with him. Not everyone is cut out to be a pom-pom girl.

YOUNG WRITES BACK: I was very clear with what I agree with and what I
 don't. It is sort of logical, I guess, that I would back the “trash 
talkee's” (coach volunteers and AD's) and you the “trash talkers". You 
say sniveling, I say it takes some thick skin to spend multiple years in 
youth sports. Ask your son. You know I love your paper. — Jim

ED REPLY: It takes thick skin to roll out of bed everyday anymore, Jim. As Tarzan said to Boy, “It’s a jungle out there.”


COMMENT OF THE DAY from reacting to a stream diversion bust of two out-of-state growers at Willow Creek: Okay. Has anybody checked out Willow Creek lately? It's crazy. Fountain Ranch Rd all the way into town, both sides of the river down through Kimtu and more. Wide open flat fields full of weed. I correct myself- the sheriff could spend EVERY day out there busting. This train has run away, jumped the tracks and gone over the edge...we are careening through space....and we are approaching the bottom. Expect a hard jolt of reality soon. We are about to see the over-saturated market. I'm calling $600/pound by January....foreclosures and massive property crime to follow. Hope that was fun!



County of Mendocino, Ukiah, CA

July 19, 2013

RE: People Vs William Edward Parrish Case NO MCUK-INNT-13-16663-000

Dear District Attorney David Eyster,

Among other destructive projects that Caltrans has in the works, I have been following this decision by Caltrans to forge ahead with this very harmful freeway bypass through Little Lake Valley. There are many violations of environmental laws being carried out, and these wick drains were not in the EIR. Also, this is nesting season and this should have stopped this project to allow time to consider alternatives and complete the court process. This is in court, and waiting for the decision by the judge.

One very viable alternative would be to have the bypass go by way of the railroad tracks, still leaving plenty of room in case the railroad starts up again someday. EPIC has the plans, but Caltrans only wants the most expensive project, even though they only have money for a two lane each way. Four lanes is their plan to flatten out, in hopes for money for an expanded bypass in the future. This bypass all goes back into a one lane each way Highway 101 north of Willits. This is mind boggling that this choice for a bypass is being allowed. This could actually affect the water supply of Willits in draining the wetlands, in addition to the other obvious destruction to habitat that makes Willits a very special place, as the Gateway to the Redwoods.

Caltrans caused this back up issue in the middle of Willits town, by making Highway 101 go from 2 lanes in each direction and narrowed it down to one lane each way there at the Safeway gas station.

The bypass Caltrans is forging ahead with will cause irreparable harm to the wetlands, and it is a waste of money as it does not connect traffic from Highway 20, and above Willits the traffic is very light. Caltrans has shown time and time again to NOT listen to the will of the people, and be practical.

Caltrans needs to use the alternatives and make the 2 lanes in each direction bypass by the railroad tracks, and fix the middle of Willits town back to two lanes in each direction all through town, not just at the south end by the shopping center.

For these reasons, I support these young people trying to protest (as it seems to be the only thing that gets attention to this destructive project). One can’t replace the wetlands, tributaries to the rivers once dried up and fish can’t travel there, the ancient trees and habitat for wildlife. Willits should be making this area into a protected Wildlife area, rather than allowing Caltrans to be destroying it.

Aside from the Bay Bridge disaster wasting money by side stepping processes, killing 100’s of Cliff Swallows at the Petaluma River Bridge , wanting to harm Richardson Grove State Park (all for STAA Trucks over 65 feet), and Route 199/197 to log old growth, this destructive plan is not well thought out.

It is not ok for Caltrans to ruin our environment for their projects, and I hope Jerry Brown expands his investigations to all these wasteful projects going on. This money could be better used to fix Highway 101 from San Francisco north and through Santa Rosa, where traffic is still a nightmare any day one gets caught in commuter traffic or lunch time.

Our great grandparents and grandparents entrusted Richardson Grove State Park to the State in 1922 to be protected, as they saw the forests and wild lands being destroyed at an alarming pace. We CAN slow this destructive process down, before it is all gone, never to be recovered.

Please see the whole picture here. We need to be protecting the environment, while also making compromise and building in the least destructive manner to preserve our precious Redwood Highway from Willits to Oregon along 199. Please drive up and see for yourself, how light the traffic is above Willits, until you get to Eureka.

This is why the people are protesting; they know it is just plain wrong to go through with this wasteful and destructive way of bypassing Ukiah, that will not solve the problem of the road narrowed in the center of town that is the cause of this congestion.

Will Parish is an excellent Journalist, and he is very brave to stand up against this BIG MACHINE called Caltrans who is not listening to the people who have scientific proof of how destructive, this choice of a bypass is. Please don’t pump this case up, as many of us would also be climbing trees or equipment if we were younger, to stand up for what is right for the environment, our North coast, and for Willits town I have been enjoying passing through all my life, and stopping to eat, get gas, and shop.

William Parrish did not do anything violent. He was simply protesting in a very peaceful way, and he stands for what I and so many (thousands) believe. This bypass through the wetlands is a terrible idea.

Please administer justice pursuant to Penal Code 851.8 (d) and dismiss William Parrish.

Thank you for your consideration in this very important matter.

Sincerely, Trisha Lotus, Eureka



Our Community Access Television facility here on the Mendocino coast that has offered training to citizens to create programming since the 1970's and provided vital visibility to local governmental affairs, is threatened to be destroyed. This is a situation where an internecine playground squabble between factions of Footlighters, a local theatrical club, was allowed to turn into a situation where MCTV was the scapegoat. It appears that the judge was incompetent (if not biased) and very possibly had a conflict of interest. The Footlighters' lawyer is, obviously, corrupt and primarily interested in his portion of the take. Lawsuits have forced the dissolution of the 501(c3) MCTV facility. That's why I signed a petition to Fort Bragg City Council and Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Will you sign this petition? If so, click here: Many thanks!

Howard Ennes, Fort Bragg



ONE in every four women is a victim of domestic physical violence at some point in her life, and the Justice Department estimates that three women and one man are killed by their partners every day. Between 2000 and 2006, thirty-two hundred American soldiers were killed; during that period, domestic homicide in the United States claimed ten thousand six hundred lives..... (A Raised Hand, Rachel Louise Snyder)


IN CALIFORNIA'S community college system, 85 percent of entering freshmen need remedial English, 73 percent remedial math. Only about a third of these students end up transferring to a four-year school or graduating with a community college associate's degree.



Elk Resident Vincent Longo Named To Dean's List At Ithaca College—

Ithaca, NY (07/19/2013)(readMedia)— Vincent Longo, a resident of Elk and a Television-Radio major in the class of 2015, was named to the Dean's list in Ithaca College's Roy H. Park School of Communications for the Spring 2013 semester. From day one, Ithaca College prepares students for success through hands-on experience with internships, research and study abroad. Its integrative curriculum builds bridges across disciplines and uniquely blends liberal arts and professional study. Located in New York's Finger Lakes region, the College is home to 6,100 undergraduate and 400 graduate students.



  1. John Sakowicz July 20, 2013

    Thank you for publishing the verbatim exchange that lead to the unprecedented incident of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors censoring a member of the public during the time set aside for non-agenda public comment.

    Since Tuesday’s meeting, the County CEO has apologized to me in private. Two Supervisors have also expressed that, had they been Board Chair, they would let me speak and not silenced me by ruling me “out of order”, as Chair Dan Hamburg did with County Counsel Tom Parker’s agreement. These Supervisors would have let me continue, as was my absolute right.

    As of today, I have not received a formal apology from the Board for what was for me a public humiliation. Nor has the Board’s policy on non-agenda public comment been corrected, clarified, and made public, so that this violation of free speech does not happen again.

    I was silenced presumably for not speaking on an issue related to County business. County Counsel Parker pontificated and obliquely referred to California Government Code: 54954.3, which states as follows: ” (a) Every agenda for regular meetings shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body on any item of interest to the public, before or during the legislative body’s consideration of the item, that is
    within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body, provided that no action shall be taken on any item not appearing on the agenda unless the action is otherwise authorized by subdivision.”

    But there”s a problem with that. Two problems, actually.

    One, Hamburg held me to a double standard.

    Two, I was indeed about to speak on issues related to County business.

    Let’s first take the problem of a double standard.

    Readers must know that in the past, non-agenda public comment has seen members of the public speaking on all manner of issues unrelated to Mendocino County Board of Supervisors business. This has included comments on issues as disparate and unrelated to Board business as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, genetically modified food, global warming, the decriminalization of marijuana, gun control, the economy, healthcare, immigration, etc.

    Clearly, the Board held me to a different standard.

    That said, my comments were not unrelated to County business, as Hamburg suggested. And he knew this.

    I’ll explain.

    Presently, the City of Ukiah has filed two lawsuits against the County of Mendocino. Both lawsuits are concerned with money. Ukiah City Finance Director, Gordon Elton, about whom I wanted to speak on Tuesday, is directly linked to both lawsuits.

    The City of Ukiah, along with the Cities of Willits and Fort Bragg, are suing the County of Mendocino and Auditor-Controller Meredith Ford for hundreds of thousands of dollars they claim she overcharged them in fees for administering the cities’ property taxes.

    Ford’s office is responsible for distributing each city’s share of the property taxes collected in the county, for which it charges an annual Property Tax Administration Fee.

    The amounts purportedly overcharged by the County Auditor in administration fees on county-city transactions known as the “Triple Flip” and the “VLF Swap” add up to $339,630 for Ukiah, Willits, and Fort Bragg from fiscal year 2006-07 to 2011-12.

    However, Gordon Elton should have known in his capacity as Ukiah City Finance Director that the State of California set up this arrangement, not the County of Mendocino.

    Although the California Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 19, 2012, that counties could not charge cities for the additional cost of administering the allocation of property taxes resulting from the Legislature’s enactment of the Triple Flip and VLF Swap, the Court’s ruling only applied to the problem in the 2012-13 fiscal year, and it was not intended to correct past fees. It was not retroactive.

    Consequently, Gordon Elton could have saved both the City of Ukiah and the County of Mendocino the time and money of a specious lawsuit . He should have advised the Ukiah City Council before it acted.

    Gordon Elton, as City Finance Director, also failed miserably on a second issue involving the City of Ukiah and the County of Mendocino…the sales tax revenue sharing agreement.

    Like the City’s lawsuit against the County Auditor on property tax levies, the lack of a sales tax revenue sharing agreement between the City and the County falls right into the lap of the city finance director.

    The City and the County have been in “discussions” for years. Why so long? Because the City heavily depends on sales taxes to fund its general government services. And the City has been running a $1 million budget deficit for two years as it refused to cut payroll despite losing $1 million in RDA funds.

    In closing, it is a statement of fact that Hamburg held me to a double standard on non-agenda public comment. But Hamburg also censored what I was about to say about the ways in which I believe Gordon Elton has not only failed his employer, the City of Ukiah, but has also failed the County of Mendocino.

    Gordon Elton did not deserve a glowing official proclamation from the City of Ukiah on the occasion of his retirement. It was absurd.

    And it was politics as usual…elected officials covering up for staff as payback for those many occasions when staff covers up for elected officials.

    Government is an insiders game, my friends.

    The losers? You guessed it. You. Me. We, the People.

    We’re the outsiders. And now, we’re censored during public expression during Mendocino County Board of Supervisor meetings.

    To Ukiah Mayor Doug Crane’s credit, he did not censor me during public comment after the proclamation reading at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. I cited Gordon Elton’s failings — as best I could in three minutes — including the City’s two lawsuits against the County and Elton’s role by association in those lawsuits.

    I should not have been silenced at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

  2. chewsome July 21, 2013

    Author John Sacowicz, in an oversight has glossed over and not mentioned the material fact, that it was at the initiative or instigation of Supervisor John McCowen that Chair Hamburg, who apparently was either asleep at the switch, easily swayed, or suckered, made the erroneous decision without full facts at hand, when Sacowicz’s apparent fine exhibit of public comment free speech was suppressed by the Chair acting for the Board.

    No doubt the dark days of Board Chair discretion delaying the hearing of Public Expression to the dreary end of the meeting session are coming back. There was another seemingly abusive discretionary punitive action by Chair Hamburg at the Board meeting about a month ago or so, that received not even an uptick outside of the board room that I am aware of.

    That was the situation of a woman who had submitted a speaker’s pink slip to the Board, who wanted to comment on a Consent Calendar item, relating to a matter on the coast that was in Hamburg’s supervisor District.

    The Consent Calendar was held up from its normal early meeting day adoption, which would occur after pulling any items for further discussion at discretion of an individual Supervisor.

    At least a couple of hours after the start of the meeting, Supervisor Carrie Brown interjected during the meeting proceedings to Chair Hamburg that the Consent Calendar had not been heard, and that someone in the audition was still waiting to be heard after submitting a speaker’s card.

    The Chair responded in kind, brought up the Consent Calendar item, asked if any items were to be pulled for discussion. The item the young woman wanted to address was not pulled. The vote was taken and Consent Calendar passed 5-0.

    Hamburg glared at the woman. She got up in a huff and stopped out of the meeting. Apparently Hamburg was dolling out his own style of punishment to spite the woman who must have been on the wrong side of the political fence, from even showing up to waste her time in a fruitless attempt to participate in democracy.

    If Chair Hamburg keeps on the track record that he is now running, soon his comparison to disgraced former county supervisor Mike Delbar may be in order, akin to a bad hangover that makes you wish you didn’t sip from the glass that contributed to the problem in the first place.

  3. […] The Anderson Valley Advertiser (July 20, 2013) also ran a detailed story about the inexplicable delays in prosecuting the case. Bruce Anderson and his rambunctious weekly have been determined voices in the Justice4Susan campaign ever since Susan’s death.  Bruce recognized the incompetence of the Sheriff’s early investigation, applauded the DA’s intervention, and has never stopped asking hard questions. […]

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