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Mendocino County Today: Friday, June 13, 2014

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WILLITS MAYOR HOLLY MADRIGAL reports that “The [Willits City] council received a detailed report regarding the status of the Emergency Water Supply Project. The $2 million project is well underway and staff is continuing to seek ways to decrease the cost of the project. Additionally, the City is applying for various grants and loan programs to fund this critically important project. Our water plant operator did report that we are still in decent shape at the reservoirs due to some late spring rainfall. We are no longer overflowing but the reservoirs are still full.”

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REPORT FROM THE FIELD, Thursday, June 12th: The Navarro River, already closed for weeks at the mouth, is down to a trickle at the Greenwood Bridge, Philo. Gone are the swimming holes beneath the bridge enjoyed for years by locals. All the County's streams are depleted early this year. There are an unprecedented number of draws on Mendocino County's waterways, but this year the early depletions seem more attributable to drought than vineyards and pot grows.

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SAD to see the Little League field at Mendocino neglected. A meticulously maintained little jewel of a miniature ballpark for a number of years, the baseball-oriented children of Mendocino now play in Fort Bragg, historically a baseball stronghold.

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FOR A WORK DAY THURSDAY, I was surprised to see the large number of passengers, replete with delighted and waving children, riding the Skunk Train as it chugged through town. Fort Bragg, given its amenities and beauty, has always seemed to suffer from an under-reporting of its charms. Noyo Harbor, which still retains a kind of Cannery Row feel with a population of characters right out of Steinbeck, was busy with innumerable salmon boats coming and going over the always treacherous breakwater; the old Haul Road off of which are probably a hundred hidden little beaches, and the coherent uncrowded, unhurried town itself with its plethora of good restaurants and interesting shops, including three really good bookstores. Fort Bragg is quite a pleasant contrast to cluttered, crowded Mendocino just down the road.

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COMMENT OF THE DAY: The fall of Mosul (Iraq) is not a minor setback that can be corrected by deploying special ops and lobbing a few bombs on targets in Mosul. It is a complete policy collapse that illustrates the shortcomings of the abysmal War on Terror. The American invasion and occupation of Iraq is entirely responsible for the problems that plague Iraq today. There were no bands of armed terrorists roaming the countryside and wreaking havoc before the US invasion. All of Iraq’s troubles can be traced back to that bloody intervention that has left the country in chaos. Will Obama send US combat troops to Iraq to fight the jihadis and reverse events on the ground. If so, he will need Congress’s stamp of approval, which may not be forthcoming. Also, he should prepare his fellow Democratic candidates for a midterm walloping like they’ve never seen before. The American people have never supported the Iraqi quagmire. The prospect of refighting the war in order to beat the radicals which the administration-itself created through its own disastrous arm-the-terrorist policy is bound to be widely resisted as well as reviled. Americans have washed their hands of the “cakewalk” war. They won’t support a rerun. — Mike Whitney

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YOU READ A PRESS DEMOCRAT headline that says, “BIG POT BUST IN LAKE COUNTY” and say to yourself, “Who would have thought?” But this bust was not only fairly large by the Emerald Triangle's elastic standards but is a good example of why more and more people are attracted to the industry.

At Bobby Rex Goforth's Kelseyville property, deputies seized $50,708; 70 pounds of processed marijuana; 7 pounds of honey oil, two handguns and three rifles. Goforth is 57.

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CATE WHITE, a native daughter of Mendocino County, was raised on Greenwood Ridge Road and was educated in the Anderson Valley schools. She is the daughter of Alfred and Mary White of Ukiah. Cate is an artist living in Oakland. She also makes her way as a gardener. The talented Ms. White has been selected as one of eight finalists for the Tournesol award — 10k plus giant studio at Marin headlands for a year, plus solo show at bigtime gallery in SF.


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Join us for a great storytelling benefit for 48hills! A fun lineup of investigative reporters and journalists will tell “Strange but True Tales of Investigative Reporting.” You get to hear from A.C. Thompson, one of the nation’s top investigative reporters; Bruce Anderson, publisher of the Anderson Valley Advertiser; Laura Fraser, bestselling author; Annalee Newitz, editor of; filmmaker Jerry Lee Abram …. And yes, me, Tim Redmond. Should be a blast. Tickets are $15 to $250, pay what you can, it’s a benefit. It’s June 16, 8-10 pm, at the Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa. You can buy tickets here.

— Tim Redmond

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JIM MARTIN WRITES: A capacity crowd enjoyed an evening of dinner, drinks and music at the historic Navarro Inn at Navarro River Redwoods State Park, as part of the first Navarro-by-the-Sea Day on Saturday, May 31. This is the first time in over 30 years that any events have taken place inside the Navarro Inn, which has been shuttered for decades and was saved through the continuing efforts of local supporters in partnership with California State Parks. The event started with volunteers working on various maintenance projects, including invasive species removal, trash pick-up on the beach and estuary, and repairs to the historic inn and nearby Mill Company House, the two remaining buildings of the original town of Navarro built in the 1860s. At noon, volunteers received a barbecued lunch generously donated by the Savings Bank of Mendocino County and served by Ericha Heinsohn-Sevy and Lisa Rambo. Then the inn was open for afternoon tours where visitors could see the construction progress, and bid on silent auction items donated by local businesses and supporters. The day ended with an evening dinner and concert, put together by Pattie DeMatteo of Mendocino Stories and Music Series. By 7 p.m. the inn was packed with visitors, enjoying dinner, beer and wine donated by local breweries and wineries, and delicious homemade desserts. Performers for the night included Marcus McCallen, Lenny Laks with Mark Gauche, Pattie DeMatteo, and The Ukeholics with Dennis Hudson, Doug Read and Denver Tuttle. Over $6,000 was raised during the all-day event to help continue the renovations on the inn and get it open as a public interpretive center to share the cultural and natural history of the area. The goal is to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the renovations and to have the inn open on a regular basis to the public or available for private rentals by the time it turns 150 in 2015. But there is still a ways to go in completing the renovations, including the permanent roof, rebuilding the fireplace as a source of heat, restoring the floors downstairs and historic windows upstairs, finishing the interior interpretive displays, and making the building ADA accessible.

History: Since 2000, the all-volunteer nonprofit Navarro-by-the-Sea Center has been working with State Parks to save both the inn and Mill Company House. The inn was built by Captain Charles Fletcher as a tavern and inn for mill workers, sailors and travelers on the coast. It was in continuous operation as a roadhouse and popular dining spot and bar until the 1970s when it was eventually shuttered. State Parks acquired the inn and surrounding property in 1996. But by 2010 the inn was on the verge of collapse, with the wood footings rotted away, shed additions tearing away from the original building, siding unraveling and fasteners rusted through. Led by the efforts of Navarro-by-the-Sea Center, the inn and Mill House were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, and the focus has been on raising funds to complete critical stabilization work on the inn before the building was lost. The stabilization work was completed in fall of 2013 by Rosenthal Thornton Construction, and interior finish work on the downstairs was initiated by Lori Kaye this past winter. But there is still a ways to go in completing the interior work and having the building ready for regular public use.

Award nomination: Because of the grassroots effort behind the project, the challenges faced, and success in saving the inn, the stabilization project has been nominated for the 2014 Governor's Historic Preservation Award for and the California Preservation Foundation 2014 Preservation Design Awards. The inn is no longer on the verge of collapse, but additional funds are needed to complete the renovations and officially open the historic inn as an interpretive center. Navarro-by-the-Sea Center is always looking for donors and volunteers interested in helping complete the work. Visit the website at or contact me, Board President Jim Martin, at 707-877-3477

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ON JUNE 11, 2014 at about five minutes after midnight, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Correctional staff assigned to work Building One of the Mendocino County Adult Detention Facility entered the cell of an unresponsive male inmate. Deputies found him unconscious and not breathing. Jail medical staff was present and evaluated the man. No pulse or respirations were detected, and life-saving measures were started. Emergency services were summoned and ultimately transported the man to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.


The 55-year-old inmate was the sole occupant of the cell. He had been arrested on June 10, 2014 for being under the influence of a controlled substance by Willits Police Department. The District Attorney's Office will conduct a thorough death investigation pursuant to standard policy and procedure. The inmate's name will be released after notification is made to his next of kin.

UPDATE On 6/12/2014, the Sheriff's Office was able to release the identity of the inmate who is 55-year-old Steve Neuroth of Ukiah, California. A forensic autopsy was performed today. Results of the autopsy are pending blood-alcohol and toxicology analysis. (Sheriff’s Press Release)

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Bodjack, Cooper, Gujal, Johnson, Moye, Salazar, Shattuck Sr., Shattuck Jr.
Bodjack, Cooper, Gujal, Johnson, Moye, Salazar, Shattuck Sr., Shattuck Jr.

KEITH BODJACK, Ukiah. Assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm; Failure to appear; false ID to a police officer.

DEBRA COOPER, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

DYLAN GUJAL, San Francisco. Possession of felony quantities of meth and pot.

LYNNE JOHNSON, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, revoke probation.

DEREK MOYE, Ukiah. Transportation of marijuana.

RUBEN SALAZAR, Pasco (Wa). Arrest in Leggett by CHP as a fugitive from justice.

WALLY SHATTUCK, Sr. Fort Bragg. Pot growing, processing, possession for sale, possession of assault weapon, possession of large capacity magazine.

WALLY SHATTUCK, Jr. Pot growing, processing, sale.

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RAPE -- An officer responded to Kohl's on North Orchard Avenue at 2:30 p.m. Monday and took a report of a rape that allegedly occurred a month prior and was just being reported by a third party.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- An officer responded to the 500 block of North State Street at 7:08 p.m. Monday after a woman reported that her boyfriend had been hitting her all day and arrested Britton L. Azbill, 32, of Covelo, on suspicion of domestic battery, intimidating a witness and violating his probation.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE -- Caller in the 700 block of El Rio Street reported at 9:02 p.m. Monday that a man just broke into the house with a big stick and was hitting the wall. An officer responded and arrested a 56-year-old Ukiah man for being under the influence of a controlled substance and possessing drug paraphernalia.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Caller in the 900 block of Marlene Street reported at 10:12 p.m. Monday that his girlfriend punched him in the eye and locked him out of the house. An officer responded and arrested Maria Vega, 28, of Ukiah, on suspicion of domestic violence.

SUSPICIOUS PERSON -- An officer spoke with a suspicious person on the railroad tracks near Cherry Street at 11:39 p.m. Monday and arrested Rolando R. Ruiz, 25, of Ukiah, on suspicion of possessing meth and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

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HIGHWAY 128: Vegetation removal in preparation for culvert rehabilitation at various locations from the Robinson Creek Bridge to the Mendocino/Sonoma County line will continue. Work hours are 7AM to 5PM, weekdays. One-way traffic control will be in effect. Motorists should anticipate 10-minute delays. (Caltrans)

HIGHWAY 253 (at milemarker 10.5): PG&E of Ukiah has been issued a Caltrans Encroachment permit for utility repairs 2.8 miles west of Butler Ranch on Tuesday, June 17. Work hours are 9am-3pm. One-way traffic control will be in effect. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays. (Caltrans)

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They are murdering all the young men.

For half a century now, every day,

They have hunted them down and killed them.

They are killing them now.

At this minute, all over the world,

They are killing the young men.

They know ten thousand ways to kill them.

Every year they invent new ones.

In the jungles of Africa,

In the marshes of Asia,

In the deserts of Asia,

In the slave pens of Siberia,

In the slums of Europe,

In the nightclubs of America,

The murderers are at work.

— Kenneth Rexroth

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Iraq is in a downward spiral? Really, well isn't that part of the script? Destabilization followed by occupation followed by further destabilization.

What do you call someone that tweets? A twat? What is it with the latest twitter craze? Don't people who use twitter have expensive phones with even more expensive service? Then why are these twats going apeshit hunting for a possible hundred bucks cast away by some greedy ass millionaire laughing at seriously are you kidding, $100 buckaroos, people are going apeshit over a hundred bucks which couldn't last a homeless dude more than a day or two in Baghdad by the bay, or pay for what a months worth of tweets and phone calls for these twats, if they're lucky? What faux generosity on display and the dip-shit media and dumbass Americans eat it up.

Jerry Brown appears to be the Teflon Governor, a man of unassailable austerity measures for the masses. A stern functionary of the Democratic Party with boogie-woogie counterculture feel-good community roots. A very reptilian individual indeed. A seasoned career politician he still has that New York Italian grimy feel when you meet him, (was that his get tough phase to distance himself from his past radical rhetoric) but he's not from New York and neither is he Italian so what was that gangster feeling I got from him? Aha, he's Irish/German with some real power, a thorough and official gangster feel all to familiar to a Chicago kid such as I. Well as they say, the greater the wealth and power the greater shall be the judgment.

The US Mexico border is a human catastrophe and should be challenged by the International body. As if that means anything anymore. Again the one with the upper hand needs to make the gesture. As far as the US flag is concerned I recall a recent quote as to the flag being present at many of the savage massacres of the indigenous population, and indeed this is true. Which brings me to a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed, Lincoln.

I heard it was extremely boring and long but come to find out it was a joy to watch someone act out words that I recalled reading from Lincoln back in school. In a great quote from the movie Daniel Day-Lewis (playing President Lincoln) says, “The part assigned to me is to raise the flag which, if there be no fault in the machinery, I will do. And, when up, it shall be for the people to keep it up. That's my speech.”

Which raises some great questions about what the flag did in fact mean at that specific time. Did Lincoln these words in the context of bringing black people into greater inclusion and equality in the United States and if so does the flag represent a different context here other than war and genocide? Any Hollywood movie is bound to have some historical blunders but all in all the consensus is that Spielberg did a good job and I say the movie is a joy if you like Lincoln.

Gun violence in the US nowadays? Now its being fueled by drugs and social isolation, wealth and social media?!? It's still all sameness and separation. Sameness and separation cause the angst in this society fueled by unfulfilled desires. Everyone is forced to be the fuckin same eat the same shit do the same shit like the same shit (more than ever), and everyone is completely fuckin’ separated in every way possible.

Whether it's desiring too much or in fact having too much powerlessness corrupts as much as power does so they said before so perhaps we're now back to power corrupting as much as powerlessness?


Emptying of aquifers, oil drilling and fracking all cause earthquakes we now know, and the Teflon Governor wants to bring safe fracking to a desert valley near you?!? The earthquakes are patterning across southern California this spring. Everyone’s a bit antsy. Well aren't earthquakes a focal point of any millenarian thought? Feeling a bit apocalyptic, are we?

I agree with the AVA on most public observations such as the one that the Great Liberal Failure was permitted office these past six years to pave the way for some retrench neo-liberal saviour or some great rightwing takeover in the next switchout. People get ready for more of the same.

The philosophical consequences of this all? Proof that mankind is not progressing as told by the Great Liberal Myth but rather regressing. Yes, the people of the past were better than us. There was a Golden Age. The mass of us are headed straight down the toilet in this modern construct.

What is hidden from us in the Age of Darkness we are in, the Kali-Yuga, the final phase, what is hidden will become visible again with the beginning of the new cycle. This much we know.

Onward. Nate Collins, Berkeley

PS. Don't forget the excellent radical rhetoric (to be honest songs about love and other things as well) of at least 18 Jamaican artists will be on full display in international musical style at the Mendo Fairgrounds June 20-22 at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival aka Boomsville Reggae Festy.

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With regard to John Arteaga's letter (AVA, June 11), I want to set the record straight. Everything I've said or done as a critic of KZYX has been done in good conscience — in good conscience, and only after serious consideration, and only after consulting counsel.

I'm sorry if Mr. Arteaga doesn't respect the right to dissent. I'm sorry if he doesn't respect openness, especially open debate, in all things. Someday, I'll share with the AVA readership an article I just pulled from being published. It's titled, “The New McCarthyism at Public Radio".

I understand that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) received my article and that it may be read into the record by someone other than myself at the CPB's next Board meeting on June 23-24 in Portland, Oregon.

Incidentally, held off publishing the article for now out of respect for the rest of the KZYX Board and John Coate.

As a matter related to openness, my guest on my radio show on KZYX on Friday, June 13, will be former FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson, who now teaches at the Iowa University School of Law. My second guest is Sarah Morris, who is senior policy counsel for the Open Policy Institute at the New America Foundation. The show is a follow-up on my last show about how big telecom is pricing net neutrality — the Open Internet — out of the market. I invited John Coate to co-host the show with me given his tech credentials. He can't do the show due to a prior commitment.

Also, former FCC Chairman Michael Copps is a confirmed guest for a future show, once the FCC starts to make rulings on net neutrality. I like Copps. A lot. He is a man of conscience. While at the FCC, he was the only commissioner to vote against the acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast.

His lone dissenting vote was a good call by Copps. It was a vote against the continuing conglomeration of big media. In his dissent, Copps wrote, “This acquisition is simply too much, too big, too powerful, too lacking in benefit for American consumers and citizens.”

My point? Dissent has its place, Mr. Arteaga.

John Sakowicz, Ukiah

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by Dan Bacher

In an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee Forum section on June 1, former State Senator Tom Hayden touts the “green energy” policies of California Governor Jerry Brown, even though anti-fracking activists have nicknamed the Governor “Big Oil Brown” for his subservience to the oil and gas industry.

“California is poised to spend $120 bill by 2020 towards constructing a sustainable green economy, says Hayden in his piece, “Brown’s steady march to an alternative energy future.” ( =cpy)

Hayden describes Brown “as a modern Archimedes, the ancient Greek philosopher who searched for a leverage point from which to transform the world.”

“California is that leverage point, a modern economy that Brown wants to 'decarbonize' Brown pledges the creation of 500,000 clean energy jobs over his two terms, on top of the current 1.2 million,” gushes Hayden.

Hayden also touts the allegedly “visionary” energy policies of Jerry Brown. “It’s a long way from the early days when Brown was ridiculed as a Zen outlier speaking riddles about renewables. None dare call him Moonbeam now,” says Hayden.

The former Senator acknowledges the public outcry over fracking, as well as the necessity of “making the connection between greenhouse gas reductions and environmental justice,” but doesn’t call for a ban on fracking like the majority of environmental groups in the state have called for.

Hayden is right that none call Jerry Brown “Moonbeam” now. Brown has transformed himself into “Big Oil Brown,” one of the worst Governors for fish, water and the environment in California history. ( )

Brown signed Senator Fran Pavley's Senate Bill 4, the green light for fracking bill that clears the path for expanded fracking in California, in September 2013. The last minute amendments to the bill by the oil industry were so odious that they spurred the League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund to withdraw their support at the last minute for the already weak legislation.

The bill made California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of fracking permits optional -and prevents imposing a moratorium on fracking for 15 months. Brown signed the bill after receiving at least $2.49 million over several years from oil and natural gas interests. ( )

Hayden makes the following incredible statement, “Lacking legislative support, Brown’s alternative is to build a regulatory apparatus so formidable that fracking won’t be occurring any time soon.”

In case Hayden missed it, fracking is occurring already. In fact, a Freedom of Information Act and Associated Press investigation revealed that Southern California marine waters have already been fracked at least 203 times in the past 20 years. ( )

And the current “regulatory apparatus” created under Senate Bill 4 is one that the oil industry lobby praises.

Just ask Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast, who praised the governor’s signing of Senate Bill 4 for creating the “environmental” platform to expand fracking in California. ( )

“With the signing of Senate Bill 4, California has the toughest regulations of hydraulic fracturing and other energy production technologies in the country,” said Reheis-Boyd. “While SB 4’s requirements went significantly farther than the petroleum industry felt was necessary, we now have an environmental platform on which California can look toward the opportunity to responsibly develop the enormous potential energy resource contained in the Monterey Shale formation.”

But the Governor’s signing of the green light to fracking bill is just one of the many attacks on the environment that Brown has engaged in – and that Hayden is greenwashing by writing his puff piece about Brown.

Governor Brown is an avid supporter of the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation+) that allows Northern Hemisphere polluters to buy forest carbon offset credits from the global South. Brown is trying to link an agreement among Chiapas, Mexico; Acre, Brazil; and California, to AB32, which commits to a 25% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for 2020, and an 80% reduction for 2050)

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, exposed the impact of Brown’s REDD policies on the environment and Indigenous Peoples when he spoke at a protest against Brown’s failed environmental policies in San Francisco on October 17, 2013 ( :

“Despite being awarded, as I speak, for his supposed environmentalism, Governor Brown is moving ahead with a policy that grabs land, clear- cuts forests, destroys biodiversity, abuses Mother Earth, pimps Father Sky and threatens the cultural survival of Indigenous Peoples

This policy privatizes the air we breathe. Commodifies the clouds. Buy and sells the atmosphere. Corrupts the Sacred.

This policy is called carbon trading and REDD. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. But REDD really means Reaping profits from Evictions, land grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of biodiversity. REDD does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at source. And REDD may result in the biggest land grab of the last 500 years.”

Brown has also rushed the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, a $67 billion boondoggle that will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and numerous other fish species, as well as imperiing salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath River. The plan would take large tracts of fertile Delta farmland out of production in order to irrigate drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, all under the guise of “habitat restoration.

Every scientific panel, ranging from the Independent Delta Science Board to the National Academy of Sciences, has criticized the flawed “science” behind the twin tunnel plan. ( )

The Brown administration also authorized the export of record water amounts of water from the Delta in 2011 – 6,520,000 acre-feet, 217,000 acre feet more than the previous record of 6,303,000 acre feet set in 2005 under Schwarzenegger. Most of this water went to corporate agribusiness, including mega-farmers irrigating unsustainable, selenium-laced land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The record water exports spurred massive fish kills at the state and federal Delta pumps. The Brown administration “salvaged” a record 9 million Sacramento splittail and 2 million salmon, steelhead, striped bass, largemouth bass, threadfin shad, white catfish and sturgeon in the Delta export pumping facilities in 2011. Since the actual number of fish killed in the pumps is at least 5 to 10 times those reported, the actual number of fish killed is probably 55 million to 110 million.

More recently, Governor and the Obama administration oversaw the systematic emptying of Folsom and other northern California reservoirs last year during a record drought, imperiling salmon and steelhead and local water supplies. ( )

Brown has also forged ahead with one of the worst environmental programs of the Schwarzenegger regime, the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. In one of the most egregious conflicts of interests in modern California history, Catherine Reheis- Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Takes Force for the South Coast, as well as serving on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. ( )

It is no surprise that the alleged “marine protected areas” fast- tracked under the administration of the Governor who Hayden calls a “modern day Archimedes” fail to protect the ocean from pollution, fracking, offshore oil drilling, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.

Other abysmal environmental policies of the “Green Energy Governor” include the following.

• California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA): Brown is trying to weaken or even eliminate CEQA, one of California's greatest environmental laws, to fast-track big developments for giant corporations like Walmart, Berkshire Hathaway, General Electric, Valero and Chevron.

• Department of Conservation Appointments: After Brown fired Acting Director Chernow and Oil and Gas Supervisor Miller and appointed oil industry-friendly Mark Nechodom, risky injection oil drilling permits increased by 18 percent.

• Clear cutting in the Sierra Nevada: Brown is doing nothing to stop Sierra Pacific Industries from clear cutting forests, destroying wildlife habitat, and contributing to climate change.

• “Theme Park” Wetlands: The Department of Fish and Wildlife under the Jerry Brown administration is working with the Annenberg Foundation to bulldoze a section of the Ballona Wetlands to build an interpretive center and help with the “restoration” of the land around the center.

As I have documented in article after article, Brown is on a “steady” march, but it’s a march to the destruction of salmon and other fish, rivers, the Delta, ocean and the environment, not to “an alternative energy future” as Hayden proclaims.

For more information about Brown’s abysmal environmental policies, go to:

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In a pair of letters, the captured U.S. soldier asks his government to reserve judgment about his disappearance -- and complains about the officers leading his unit in Afghanistan.

Writing from a Taliban “prison,” Bowe Bergdahl urged his family and his government to wait until they had all the facts before judging him for leaving his base. Then Bergdahl explained, at least in part, why he left his fellow troops in 2009.

“Leadership was lacking, if not non-existent. The conditions were bad and looked to be getting worse for the men that where actuly (sic) the ones risking thier (sic) lives from attack,” he writes in a letter dated March 23, 2013 and obtained by The Daily Beast. It’s one of two letters sent by Bergdahl to his parents during his five years held by the Taliban-allied Haqqani Network in the tribal region of Pakistan.

“If this letter makes it to the U.S.A., tell those involved in the investigation that there are more sides to the cittuwation (sic),” he adds. “Please tell D.C. to wait for all evadince (sic) to come in.”

The copies of the two letters were given to The Daily Beast by sources in contact with the Taliban. U.S. and western officials confirmed they were the same letters delivered by International Red Cross from the Taliban to Bowe Bergdahl’s family. Together, they represent the first comment from Bergdahl himself on the controversy over his departure from his base in June 2009, leading to his capture. Fellow troopers have attacked Bergdahl, saying soldiers were injured and killed as military resources were devoted to the search for him.

Bergdahl was freed last month when the White House agreed to swap him for five senior Taliban members who had been jailed in Guantanamo Bay prison since 2002. The Obama administration has been assailed by Congress for making the trade without notifying them in advance, and for releasing the former Taliban fighters into the custody of Qatar, where they will be allowed to reunite with their families and live fairly freely though they’ll be monitored.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby declined to comment on the Bergdahl correspondence on why he left his base. He said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has “already made clear that the Army is going to review the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and captivity,” adding that “we need to reserve judgment until that process is complete.”

The handwriting in the two letters -- one from 2012 and one from 2013 -- does not match, and the 2012 letter in particular transitions from greetings to the family into a long, rambling, almost lyrical philosophical missive about God and nature. But U.S. and Western officials say the family told administration officials that they believed the letters to be genuine. These sources spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private correspondence.

The text is also evocative of selections of Bergdahl’s journal published by The Washington Post Thursday, which he had mailed back to a close friend in the states before he disappeared.

The Bergdahl family in Bowe’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

International Red Cross spokeswoman Anna Nelson would not confirm that the letters were those delivered by her organization to the Bergdahl family.

“We do this in a strictly humanitarian capacity and the messages only include family news,” Nelson emailed Tuesday. The ICRC transmits thousands of messages every year between family members separated by conflict, including detainees -- 280,000 messages in 2012 alone. “Because of the private nature of the messages, the ICRC does not comment on their individual content and feels it should be up to the families to decide what they wish to do with them,” she wrote.

Bergdahl’s first letter to his parents, dated 27 November 2012, is addressed in care of “Geneve Red Cross,” and identifies the sender as “P.O.W. BOWE BERGDAHL, U.S. ARMY -- AFGHANISTAN WAR PRISON,” though he was believed to be held in Pakistan. The letter is addressed to “FATHER ROBERT BERGDAHL -- U.S.A.” following the format of ICRC messages.

“To my friends & family, in regards to the circomestance (sic) here, I am as well as can be here,” he writes. “I am given food and drink.”

The rest of the line is blocked out, which officials say is how it arrived to Bergdahl’s family. It continues, “…though spring is coming and when you read this it will be hot again.”

He writes of recent rain, and of wondering what spring is like at home in Idaho.

Another line is blocked out before it continues, “I pray everyone is well. I think about you all every day. And all the things that happened in my life. I miss you all, but as papa says, God’s will be done. All things happen for a reason.”

The letter shifts into musings about faith, philosophy and more. “All things happen for a reason. Mathematics is full evidence of this. Just because we cannot understand the master equation does not mean it is not there,” he writes. “Math is God’s code for this Universe and beyond. I miss you all.”

“So take a breath with the wind on your face and feel the life flow through you,” he writes—something both he and Taliban officials say he wasn’t experiencing in Taliban captivity.

U.S. officials briefed on his recovery say he claims he was held in a cage in the dark for weeks at a time, sometimes even hooded except when drinking or eating.

“Remember, tomorrow is promised to no one, so be gratefull [sic] for the sleep of night, and be thankfull [sic] for the downing sun, that you may wake to see it home. Goodbye, and God bless.”

Taliban and former Afghan officials say he was held in cages or basements in a series of safe houses. Partly, these measures were meant to keep him secure after his two escape attempts in 2011 and in late 2012. Partly, they were designed to keep him safe from CIA drone strikes—as well as factions of the Taliban who wanted to kill him rather than trading him.

“Remember, tomorrow is promised to no one, so be gratefull [sic] for the sleep of night, and be thankfull [sic] for the downing sun, that you may wake to see it home. Goodbye, and God bless. May you see clear all that is here,” Bergdahl ends the 2012 letter. “I pray that you are all safe.” He then adds a drawing of an animal paw -- something officials say his family pointed to as a sign the letter was genuine.

In the 2013 letter, he seems to be well aware the US army was investigating his disappearance from his base -- which was officially termed “absence without leave” because he was captured shortly after walking away.

He starts on a social note, saying he missed Thanksgiving and wished good hunting to his family and friends. Then he sets about explaining why he left his base, in poorly spelled block print.

“The cercomstance from the begaining of my time in Afghanistan from immedet top to bottom (spelling typed as per the letter), where bad for troopers espeshly in my PLT. (Platoon.) Orders showed a high disconcer for safty of troopers in the field, and lacking clear minded, logical and commonsense thinking and understanding from the topsides,” he writes.

“The cercomstance showed signs of going from bad into a nightmare for the men in the field. Unexeptable conditions for the men working and risking life every moment outside the wire,” Bergdahl adds.

“There are some risks that are forced to be taken, however it was made clear more than once that clear minded understanding from leadership was lacking, if not non-existent. The conditions were bad and looked to be getting worse for the men that where actuly the ones risking thier lives from attack as well as Afghan ellements.”

He admonishes them to wait for all the evidence, and ends “Things well. Take care. Keep powder dry. Miss Id. Bowe Bergdahl PFC 2nd PLT B Co. 1-501st U.S. Army.”

Other correspondence provided by the Taliban sources to The Daily Beast includes letters sent privately by the Bergdahl family to their son’s captors through religious leaders in Quetta, Pakistan.

One of the mailings includes a photo of Bergdahl’s mother Jani and father Robert holding a Christmas 2013 letter to their son, written both in Arabic and in English.

Robert is wearing a yellow ribbon on his black shirt, sporting the long beard he grew to show solidarity with his captive son, and mother Jani is veiled, following the custom of women in the region where her son was being held. The sources who provided the letter to The Daily Beast say the family had been coached on how best to communicate with the Taliban including showing respect for such local customs.

The coaching shows in the carefully letters from the Bergdahls to their son’s Taliban captors, entreating them to treat him well and to pass on their letters to him.

“Of course, we worry about his health and well being,” they write in a 26 November 2012 letter. “It has been almost 4 years since we embraced him. Is it possible to see him once again on video?” The Taliban did deliver another video to them at the end of 2013.

The Bergdahls write in the accompanying letter to their son that they had traveled to Washington, DC, recently “to plead again for your freedom.”

“There are many people on your team across the country, but you know it is hard for everyone to come to an agreement,” they write. “We hope the diplomats who have worked so hard on your behalf will have a chance to finish their work and bring you home,” they add.

The family’s letters for the most part detail family matters like recent births or an update on Bowe’s pet. The Daily Beast is not releasing those letters out of respect for the family’s privacy.

(Courtesy, The Daily Beast.)

* * *

NICK JOHNSON ON KZYX. “All About Money” returns to KZYX on Friday, June 13, at 9am with former FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson, who now teaches at the Iowa University School of Law. Our second guest is Sarah Morris, who is senior policy counsel for the Open Policy Institute at the New America Foundation. The show is a follow-up to our last show about how big telecom is pricing net neutrality — the Open Internet — out of the market. We also hope former FCC Chair Michael Copps will be a guest once the FCC starts to make rulings on net neutrality.


  1. Jim Updegraff June 13, 2014

    Comment of the day: Mr. Whitney speaks my mind. It would an insanity for us to get involved in thiis sectarian battle. Plus as he correctly points out aerial bombing will not stop the ISIS invasion.

    Most likely It be Iran that will fully engage the ISIS since they have said they will destroy the holy Shite shrines in Karbala and Najaf. If we do get invovled it will probably end up with the U. S. planes and drones supporting Iranian ground forces.

  2. Harvey Reading June 13, 2014

    Re; Jerry Brown. He always was a flake, and always will be, a perfect democrapic party man. I have wondered for years how California might have fared under Jerome (sp?) Waldie, who got my vote ‘way back when.

    If this truly was a place bursting with exceptionals, the likes of the Clintons, the Bushes, and Obama (and Kissinger for Vietnam), along with their lackeys in the cesspool called congress and the “supreme” court would have been locked up long ago … and the key thrown away. Everything that is happening in the Middle East is a result of U.S. stupidity and arrogance and greed.

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