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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, August 13, 2014

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AS OF AUGUST 12 at 7pm the Lodge Wilderness Fire had expanded again to about 11,000 acres with 45% containment, another improvement since yesterday. The number of structures being threatened is down from 58 to 16 indicating firelines are holding in spite of difficult weather. The firefighting effort is now at 189 engines, 62 crews. 28 bulldozers, 13 helicopters, 25 water tenders, and 2324 personnel. On Tuesday evening CalFire reported that “Firefighters continue to experience challenges in the southeast portion of the fire. Crews will take advantage of the change in local weather to support suppression efforts. Interior portions of the fire will continue to burn and may be visible from highway 101. Resources continue to improve contingency lines in the area of Cahto Peak and Ten Mile Creek.” The Hazardous Weather Outlook has apparently passed. Evacuation Warnings and orders remain unchanged from yesterday with evacuations ordered for areas south of Highway 101 and west of Cummings Road to Leggett including The Hermitage, Big Bend and Camp St. Michael. The evacuation shelter at the Leggett School, 1 School Way is still open. Please visit for information on how to prepare for an evacuation.”

THIS MORNING'S UPDATES [7am, Aug 13]: 11,100 acres, 45% containment, estimated cost $24 million, "Firefighters continue to improve line in the areas of the Tenmile and Low Gap Creek drainages. Fire spread is expected to be minimal, however high potential for extreme fire behavior exists. Areas of the fire burning in duff and slow surface litter are being closely monitored. Interior portions of the fire will continue to burn and may be visible from Highway 101. Resources continue to improve contingency lines in the areas of Hargus Road and Tenmile."

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DA EYSTER could teach Gandhi a few things about passive resistance. An occasional rumor wafts out of the DA's office that the prosecution of Dr. Peter Keegan for the murder of his wife, Susan, “remains under consideration.” Susan Keegan was found bludgeoned to death on November 11th, 2010. Her death was ruled a homicide. Dr. Keegan was the only other person on the premises when his wife died. He told the police that Mrs. Keegan probably died from a drunken fall in her bathroom, nicely maligning his wife of thirty years for the last time. The prob is that the wounds, plural, to the top of Mrs. Keegan's head were not consistent with a fall. So here we are nearly four years later and… “the case remains under consideration.”

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ChiefMayberryFORT BRAGG POLICE CHIEF Scott Mayberry submitted his resignation to the Fort Bragg City Council at Monday night’s Council meeting. A roomful of Mayberry’s supporters were on hand to ask the Council not to accept the resignation, implying that the popular Mayberry was somehow being pressured to resign by the City. But substantial rumor has it that Mayberry is retiring to take a position working for Chief District Attorney Investigator Tim Kiely in District Attorney Eyster’s office, perhaps as the Fort Bragg office investigator, with the announcement to be made sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the City is paying for an outside interim Police Chief until further notice.

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HELP! About a week and a half ago, a Willits guy lost his tool bag, his welding cart and a key ring that he'd placed in the tool bag. The loss occurred somewhere along the stretch of highway from the junction of the Ukiah Road and 128 to Nash Mill Road when Willits Guy's tailgate opened and his stuff spilled out. “I really need that key ring,” he says. “It has a couple of girl's rings on it, but the keys are what I really want back.” Reward. Call 650-771-2213 if you found the keys, and you'll go directly to heaven for helping this guy out.

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JAIL TERM ORDERED in assault with deadly weapon driving conviction.


An Ukiah woman convicted in June in a precedent-setting drunk driving and assault with a deadly weapon case was sentenced Tuesday morning in Mendocino County Superior Court to one year in jail, and ordered to complete a year-long residential treatment program when that jail sentence has been completed.

Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman suspended a five-year state prison sentence, but warned convicted felon Joan Rainville, 54, that she would go to prison “if you violate any part of this sentencing order.”

Rainville’s sentencing Tuesday capped a year-long effort by the District Attorney’s Office, which decided to charge Rainville with two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon after she plowed through a fence and rammed a neighbor’s house over the 2013 Memorial Day weekend. No one was injured but the vehicle Rainville was driving narrowly missed a guest at the Westside Ukiah home, and then rammed into the wall of a bedroom where an 8-year-old boy was sleeping.

The DA’s office employed a novel assault with a deadly weapon prosecution strategy, contending that Rainville’s fifth DUI in 16 years (three involving accidents) warranted the felony charges. Assistant District Attorney Paul Sequeira successfully argued that the prosecution didn’t have to prove Rainville meant to hurt anyone, just that she had been warned repeatedly in past driving under the influence cases that driving while intoxicated could be dangerous to human life.

A jury of 10 women and two men in early June came back with guilty verdicts on the six charges Rainville was facing after just a few hours of deliberations.

District Attorney David Eyster commented today that Rainville has proven that she is a danger to the community when allowed to mix alcohol and motor vehicles. “Rainville’s history of crashes while excessively under the influence of alcohol required that we give her case special attention,” said Eyster.

Judge Moorman on Tuesday opted against the Probation Office recommendation that Rainville be sentenced to state prison for five years. Prosecutor Sequeira also favored a state prison sentence, contending that Rainville was a chronic public risk.

“What makes you think that you will be the judge she finally listens to?” Sequeira asked rhetorically of Judge Moorman.

Moorman set another hearing for next Tuesday to flesh out terms of Rainville’s supervised probation.

(District Attorney’s Office Press Release)

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DECOY STINGS are never crummier than when they target small businesses. Find an old-looking kid and send him to buy cigarettes from a Mom and Pop store? And do it in a context where a large percentage of the young people allegedly being spared the horrors of nicotine have been huffing pot products since they were twelve? The cigarette police seemed to have gone on the inactive list in Mendocino County, but the office of Alcoholic Beverage Control marches on.

ACCORDING to an intriguing story by Lisa Walters in the August 8th edition of the Independent Coast Observer, Bones Roadhouse in Gualala was cited on the 21st of July for selling a beer to an undercover teen. “A longtime Bones bartender told the ICO a mix-up occurred during a particularly busy evening when an inexperienced server took an order for beer from a large party. Though he asked for IDs and the decoys had the correct year and month, July 1999, the day of birth was still several days off, the bartender said.”

A HARRIED SERVER is expected to notice to the day the ages of the little crumb bums hired by a government agency to deceive him? Who's being protected here?

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DR. ALAN SAMPSON, an opthalmologist with offices in Lakeport and Ukiah, has filed a claim against the County of Mendocino for $7,869,310. The doctor's 24-year-old son died in a 4am accident at the 101 and Highway 20 off ramp on January 11th of this year. The claim alleges that the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department was "negligent" in not establishing a "landing zone for helicopter, causing Cal-Star helicopter to be waved off, thus leading to delay in treatment, resulting in the death of claimant's 24-year-old son.

FROM THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL, January 14, 2014: “Lake County man dies on Hwy 101; Alcohol appears to be a factor, CHP says — A Kelseyville man was killed early Saturday morning when his car rolled over while exiting Highway 101 to Highway 20 near Ukiah, the California Highway Patrol reported. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office identified the man as Andrew D. Sampson, 24, of Kelseyville. According to the CHP, Sampson was driving a 1997 Honda Accord and exiting northbound Highway 101 onto Highway 20 around 4am on January 11 when the car veered onto the left shoulder of Highway 20. When Sampson tried to regain control of the car, it overturned and landed on its roof in a drainage ditch on the south shoulder of the highway. Sampson, who reportedly was not wearing his seatbelt, was ejected. Sampson suffered major injuries and was airlifted to a hospital in Santa Rosa, but died enroute. There were no passengers in the car. The CHP reported that alcohol appears to have been a factor, but the cause of the collision is still under investigation.”

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IN A LESS POIGNANT CLAIM, Luis Hernandez wants the County to buy him a replacement pair of shoes he says he didn't get back when he was released from the County Jail. Hernandez wants $79.99 for the shoes and $28 for the insoles, "the ones with the jelly inside." He says the County can send him the money "at my mailing address."

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RECOMMENDED EATING: 3 Potato 4 at 1051 Market, San Francisco, between 6th and 7th, a wholesome little restaurant in an unwholesome neighborhood. The place is so small there's not even room for a stool, let alone a table — a literal hole-in-the-wall. The friendly young guy proprietor sells “gourmet organic russet wedge-cut or waffle-cut sweet potatoes.” He also sells gluten-free soups and chilis. Friendly Young Guy bakes the potatoes in the shape of fat french frys in a hurry-up oven, shovels them into a paper cone and hands the customer the potatoes and one of more than a dozen “artisan sauces,” if you're the potato-dipping type. Choosing the garlic pepper mayo, I walked outside to a table-top trash bin to enjoy my meal, hoping Friendly Young Guy can stay in business on a block whose customer base is not committed to healthy ways of living.

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UP A BLOCK I waited for the Market Street shuttle to get me up to Market and Castro where, a block over, I could catch the 33 up and over the hill to Clement. The stop was crowded with Trendo-Groove-o's, the girls made up like Betty Boop, the manboys kinda reminiscent of Archie comics. They were headed west for the mass aural assault called Outside Lands, a “concert” in Golden Gate Park that screws up the flora of the park for a month. You could hear the “music” all over west San Francisco. I know I'm old and crotchety, but from what I could hear of the tunes I'd pay a hundred bucks not to go.

ANYWAY, here come two young cops, on foot, both white. An older black guy togged out in tough guy duds — do rag, oversize football jersey, black trousers cut off at the shins — the whole of it sartorially age-inappropriate, and more comic than menacing at any age, was smoking a cigarette. The smoker was a fairly big guy who looked a lot stronger than the two cops. “Excuse me, sir,” one of the cops says, “there's no smoking at Muni stops. You'll have to put it out.” Here we go, I thought, major unpleasantness is about to kick off. Everyone around me seemed to tense up, expecting the worst, and probably surprised at the request, unheard of in the collective Frisco experience.

I ALSO THOUGHT, What the hell? Market Street from Powell to Van Ness is a sea of criminality, and the cops are telling this guy to put out his cigarette? Eating my fries across the street I'd watched a couple of drug deals consummated and then an exchange of an undoubtedly stolen hand-held gizmo for cash. Enforcing a smoking ban in the Market Street context borders on crazy. But without so much as a defiant mutter the smoker dropped the smoke and ground it out with his shoe. Later, on-line, I confirmed that smoking in Muni shelters is indeed an infraction, but I'll bet these two cops were the first guys to enforce it maybe ever.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 12, 2014

Adams, Anderegg, Bacon, Butler, Hallmark, Hammond
Adams, Anderegg, Bacon, Butler, Hallmark, Hammond

CURTIS ADAMS, Willits. Misdemeanor battery, resisting an officer.

JAMES ANDEREGG, Ukiah. Court order violation, probation revoked.

JESSE BACON, Willits. Violation of community supervision, possession of a device for smoking or injecting. (Frequent flyer)

DAWAYNE BUTLER, Yakima, Washington. Driving under the influence of alcohol.

KENNETH HALLMARK, Clearlake Oaks. Stalking and threatening bodily injury.


Jackson, Lowe, Miller, Pena, Portocarrero, Taylor
Jackson, Lowe, Miller, Pena, Portocarrero, Taylor

JOSEPH JACKSON, Fort Bragg. Misdemeanor battery, failure to appear.

VICTORIA LOWE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JAMES MILLER, Ukiah. Robbery, death threats, false ID to a police officer, probation revoked.

HECTOR PENA, Ukiah. Drunk in Public.

BEVERLY PORTOCARRERO, Ukiah. Misdemeanor battery against a peace officer.

DANIEL TAYLOR, Ukiah. Under the influence of a controlled substance, probation violation.

Torres, Vargas, VonKruse, Walrath, Zaccaria
Torres, Vargas, VonKruse, Walrath, Zaccaria

ALEJANDRO TORRES, Ukiah. Violation of community supervision.

JUDITH VARGAS, Ukiah. Parole violation.

JOSEPH VON KRUSZE, Upper Lake. Court order violation.

MARK WALRATH, Ukiah. Possession of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance, armed with firearm, ex-felon with a firearm, driving on a suspended or revoked license, loaded firearm in public.

DIANE ZACCARIA, Ukiah. Under the influence of a controlled substance, probation revoked.

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SHERIFF ALLMAN in the New York Times: “Old hippies are not our problem — old hippies get it,” Sheriff Allman said. “They're going organic; they're doing water reduction.” So are “young hippies,” he continued. “I'm talking about people that move here in April, grow marijuana as fast as they can until October,” Sheriff Allman said. “The 20-year-old kid who wants to make his million bucks, and he's using these steroid fertilizers. He doesn't care about how much water he uses, or what he puts in the soil.”

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FRED GARDNER WRITES: Here's an item about Mrs. Doubtfire from 1993. It ran under a piece about Prozac. I wonder if he was on it, or some chemical variant.

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The real theme of Mrs. Doubtfire is success. Sally Field is a very successful interior decorator who can't get home to her Pacific Heights mansion till 7pm. Robin Williams is an actor, a failure. She kicks him out after his impulsiveness has cost him yet another gig. But when he gets his own TV show, she lets him see his kids again. It's one blatant implausibility after another. That a 13-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl would hang out together after school. That yuppie kids would have no extracurricular activities or separate friends. That Wild Robin and Prissy Sally could have made it together for 14 years. That there are no nannies from Central America in San Francisco. That a man can get made up as a woman and become unrecognizable to his wife and children. That a father can have a "healthy relationship" with his children posing as a female nanny. That an unemployed actor would skip a meeting with a TV station owner offering the break of a lifetime. That a father needs his kids more than they need him. — FG

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DAVID GURNEY WRITES: The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to go with the sole timber harvest bidder, and decimate an area of old and second growth redwoods in an area of County property that should have been protected as a park. Coast 4th District Supervisor Dan Gjerde, in an act of total cowardice and non-support of his local constituents, and the advice of County Staff, voted along with three other conservative board members to go ahead full steam, with a faulty plan to destroy this beautiful area. Dan Hamburg was to only Supervisor to recommend waiting until more reasonable plans are adopted.

SUPERVISOR DAN HAMBURG ADDS: Dan Gjerde seconded and voted for my motion (which failed 2-3) to reject the Mendocino Redwoods Company bid and direct staff to resolve the outstanding issues of public access, old growth retention, protection of native plants and choice of timber operator before bringing this back to the Board in 2015. Dan voted with the majority on a motion (which passed 4-1) to refer public access issues to the Airport Advisory Commission. I also voted "no" on that motion because I believe that bifurcating the issue (ie, separating the timber harvest from the public recreation/access objective) will result in the latter remaining unaddressed. I'm very disappointed in the Board's action today. I believe it was short-sighted to take a small amount of money (perhaps $100k) in exchange for a much more valuable public resource. … I think that the majority of the Board doesn't believe that public access is a key component of what goes on at the county-owned LRA property. This in spite of the fact that it is included as one of five objectives in the Non-Industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) that is the legal guide for operations there. But please ask the Board members themselves (Pinches, McCowen, and Brown) to speak for themselves.

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At the time of its acceptance [by voters], the cost of constructing the rail and pedestrian/bicycle system between Cloverdale in the north and Larkspur in the south was estimated to be $541 million. Eight months later, the 2007-2009 economic downturn was taken into account, and the estimate increased to $664 million. Today, construction plans have been scaled back and are being managed in segments. The first phase, between Sonoma County Airport and San Rafael, represents approximately 60% of the system’s intended distance at a projected cost of $428 million. SMART estimates another $230 million will be required to complete the entire 73-mile project. SMART’s inability to generate accurate cost and revenue projections puts into question the reliability of its forecasting methodology (pages 15-16). To date, SMART has only identified operating and maintenance reserves in its long-term forecasts. Actual costs will not be understood until labor contracts and operating logistics are better known — probably in 2015. The unpredictability of operations and maintenance costs represents an enormous economic risk. SMART has limited options for dealing with unexpected costs.

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THE US ALREADY LOOKS more and more like a Third World country. America’s great cities, such as Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis have lost between one-fifth and one-quarter of their populations. Real median family income has been declining for years, an indication that the ladders of upward mobility that made America the “opportunity society” have been dismantled. Last April, the National Employment Law Project reported that real median household income fell 10% between 2007 and 2012. Republicans have a tendency to blame the victims. Before one asks, “what’s the problem? America is the richest country on earth; even the American poor have TV sets, and they can buy a used car for $2,000,” consider the recently released report from the Federal Reserve that two-thirds of American households are unable to raise $400 cash without selling possessions or borrowing from family and friends. Although you would never know it from the reports from the US financial press, the poor job prospects that Americans face now rival those of India 30 years ago. American university graduates are employed, if they are employed, not as software engineers and managers but as waitresses and bartenders. They do not make enough to have an independent existence and live at home with their parents. Half of those with student loans cannot service them. Eighteen percent are either in collection or behind in their payments. Another 34% have student loans in deferment or forbearance. Clearly, education was not the answer.

— Paul Craig Roberts

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A NEW WORD! -- (“’Tis new to thee,” old man Prospero mutters. “And you dropped an “L”.) The word is “haptics,” which in the New Yorker (blog, 7/16) seems to mean “the feel of something,” and in the world of nano/virtual movers & shakers means (my approximation) “the technology of giving us the sensation of touching objects we’ve actually lost touch with.” – Example: making a pilot feel, through his cockpit yoke, that he’s directly controlling ailerons, etc. which are actually controlled by servo-mechanisms which give no feedback. – I wonder when Hapticleer will upgrade e-books to reproduce the sensation of erasing other readers’ marginalia from Library books.

Haptics – a wonderful metaphor. Say, “the haptics of democracy, as funded by plutocracy . . . “. But why spoil a perfectly good day? I prefer thinking of a grandchild’s leap into my arms as haptics of innocence. Eloise and Jack do that now. Soon enough, so will Robert “Bear” Hayward. I am not innocent, but I feel innocence in their leaps of faith or trust.

Dark haptics -- (opposite of innocent haptics): CEO’s & School Supe’s haptic responses to Grand Jury. Mostly the pair deny, on the illogical basis of not having information (CEO), with Mr. Tichinin (as quoted in UDJ) referring to “falsity and misrepresentation.” A blandit, he seems not quite to dare saying “lie.” A helpful reader writes that all Grand Jury reports are “vetted by County Counsel for libel and other actionable offenses and, under California Penal Code §933(a), approved by the presiding judge before release.” Furthermore, under PC §930, unindicted public officials can sue jurors for defamation. “Draw your own conclusions,” helpful reader writes, “about the validity of [GJ] reports” issued under these conditions of serious review & legal scrutiny. I assume that the CEO’s LA lawyers scrutinized the report, at County expense, even though Acting County Counsel hasn’t yet found the bill. My conclusion: our BoS should act as though CEO and School Superintendant chose not to respond to the GJ.

Limei emailed me,“ski goggles/baleaf.” – Some scammers’ lines are too poetic to trash without comment (though I do not open the messages). I like to think Limei (a web name, pronounced “Limey”) is a refugee from mid-East sectarian violence. S/he rests on an elbow in an English pasture green, studying a new language & suddenly noticing that the sky is greater than any belief or dictionary. [Insert virtual interrobang here.]

Inarush & constitutionally hopeful, Isis read a UDJ item announcing our County Free Library’s Logo contest. She momentarily thought the item signaled a national search for permanent county librarian. Clear the BoS just isn’t going to do that. -- Al suggested that an interrobang, rampant in a garden of delight be the logo. The interrob (combo of exclamation point and question mark = WTF?!) is already the logo of the New South Wales library. Above and below the Equator, interrobang nicely expresses the emotional effect of discovery.

BOG&GSAT – Danny was talking trash and making a parable of a free, individualistic society from the rubbish blown up against the fence north of Jensen’s Truck Stop: “Prevailing wind. Trash builds up. Then someone appears & collects it. Always a different person – once it was me, when we lived out there. That’s free choice, no coercion.” -- Found myself, thinking of Supervisor McCowen’s admirable efforts among the homeless, under their & our bridges. It’s “their bridges” when we other the homeless, “our” bridges when we want to move the homeless along, and “their & our” bridges when we try to be a community, including the homeless. – So many bridges, so much trash! -- Thoreau showed up, addressing McCowen & Danny by quoting himself: “It is not so important that many should be as good as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere; for that will leaven the whole lump.” I won’t burden Supervisor McCowen & Danny with being absolutely good. They walk with us on common ground, shining their little lights, brighter than my own. – On the way home from meeting I stopped to help a mother & daughter who were picking up ripped envelopes & Kohl’s flyers & Anthem/Blue Cross inscrutabilities scattered in the star thistle along Ricetti Lane. The post box looters had been out the night before. Useful easy work, voluntary & sociable, but not sufficient to salvation, social or existential.

Frumious Interrobang – Jim Armstrong caught one! He writes, “Thanks for making me waste a half hour or so. – You can get an interrobang in Microsoft Word by holding down the ‘alt’ key and entering 8253 on the number pad. Damned if I can find out how to do it in Windows Mail.” He also sent along a link, for the typographically curious:

After another half-hour’s work Jim had cut & pasted one of the critters into an e-mail. Frabjious day!

Leonard Siffleet – The photo of him darkened my young, avid reading (“Life’s Picture History of WW II,” John Hersey’s “Hiroshima,” Mailer’s “The Naked & the Dead,“ etc.) about how we beat the Germans & the Japs. (I bet my parents said Japanese.) Siffleet was an Australian P.O.W., photographed bound, kneeling & blindfolded just before Yasuno Chikao beheaded him. – Worth looking at that photo, as we keep up our limited airstrikes against the psychopathic IS Caliphate. When that Caliphate captures a U.S. pilot, downed by a Saudi-supplied U.S. missile, what will ISC do? And we? It will take some strength to be a civilian in that latter day.

E-mail from Isis – “Technically, monkey bars should be called ape bars. Monkeys are not capable of swinging their arms overhead from one rung to the next. Apes are chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, or gibbons.” The rhythmic certainty of the assertion shows that she’s been tending her very smart 8 year-old grandson, and quoting him. It’s less what he’s certain of, than that he’s certain there are certain certainties. That’s a good place to start pre-adolescence. – His younger brother frequently asks “Why?” and makes fewer pronouncements. – I have seen the future, and I’m not telling. Learned that self-restraint from my older daughter, who – in the midst of an important, young adult crisis – said “Dad, don’t tell me the end of the story.” Didn’t. Won’t.

Jonathan Middlebrook, Potter & Redwood valleys

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by Fred Gardner

Seattle’s first retail outlet for marijuana opened in July, some 20 months after Washington state voters passed Initiative 502. Legalization as defined by I-502 is now becoming real — but it doesn’t apply to people under age 21. How will law enforcement deal with underage smokers at this year’s Seattle Hempfest?

In the past, young and old would openly smoke herb as they strolled the 1.5-mile strip of parkland along sparkling blue (or drab gray) Elliott Bay. Seattle police would maintain neutral visages, which became friendlier over the years as it became obvious that smoking pot doesn’t make people violent. The Seattle Hempfest — which grew from a vigil protesting the Gulf War in 1991 — has been like the forest in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a “green world” where the usual rules don’t apply. Friendliness and mutual respect are in the air, along with aromatic terpenes.

“The city has expressed concerns that Hempfest shares to some degree,” says lead organizer Vivian McPeak, “about young people smoking at the Hempfest and young people being exposed to smoking at the Hempfest. So we’re doing something a little historic. We have two fenced-off areas, not exposed to public view, in the southern portion of the event that will be adult smoking lounges. We’re going to ID people going in there. And we’re going to suggest and request that people 21 and over use those places to imbibe.”

“Now I don’t expect that everybody’s going to do that this year,” McPeak went on, “but we’re introducing the concept. We’re cooperating with the city’s suggestion, because if we can make this work at the Hempfest, conceivably, at every large public event in the state of Washington there will be a place similar to a beer garden where adults will be able to smoke pot.”

This year’s Hempfest runs from Friday August 15 through Sunday August 17. Vivian McPeak does not expect any citations to be issued. As Wanda used to say, “Be there or be in DARE.”

Prohibitionist Falsehoods

Because so many Prohibitionist mouthpieces are liars, it’s hard to take seriously their assertions about marijuana use harming “the developing brain.” Much of the alleged evidence involves studies in which young rodents were given stupendously high doses of THC. Then there’s the flimsy, flawed study attributing an eight-point decline in IQ to heavy, early marijuana use. The politicians and the corporate media treat this IQ loss as a well-established and significant fact. To cite one of a thousand ready examples...

Earlier this month, after the New York Times editorial board came out for legalization, “Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked Times columnist David Brooks for his expert opinion. “I have two basic issues,” Brooks pontificated with his evil-chipmunk grin. “One, the effects on the teenage brain really are pretty significant...” He made the assertion with total confidence, knowing Gregory wouldn’t ask him to cite any relevant research. Nor would the host of “Meet the Press” ever say anything rude like, “You didn’t care about their developing brains when you cheered under-21-year-olds on to battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, did you, David?”

Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post chimed in: “I’m with David. I think I don’t have a huge problem with letting states experiment. [Thanks, Ruth.] But I think for states to decide to go the full legalization route is a problem precisely for my mommy reason... Everybody knows who has teenagers like me, the fact that alcohol is legal increases their access to alcohol. Making marijuana readily, legally available will increase their (laughing into the monitor) my kids are at home laughing at me.”

This was a double falsehood: U.S. teenagers have readier access to marijuana than to alcohol, and if her kids were watching, they were groaning in embarrassment. Marcus then bolstered her “mommy reason” with a cliche and an untrue fact:

“A big social experiment is going on. We do not know the outcome except that the best evidence is that you lose, if you use marijuana as a teenager regularly, eight IQ points.”

The segment ended with the evil chipmunk — though there is no greater lover of individual freedom in theory — advocating “government playing some role in restraining some individual choice just to create a culture of healthiness for especially the teens.”

Dr. Grinspoon’s Line

O’Shaughnessy’s asked two trustworthy physicians for their line on “underage” marijuana use.

Lester Grinspoon, a professor of psychiatry emeritus at Harvard Medical School and the author of several pro-cannabis books, acknowledges, “There is evidence that the brain is still developing until about 21.” Synapses and myelin sheaths (insulation) may still be forming. Unused neural pathways are still being pruned into the 20s.

“But I have seen no evidence that marijuana is causing harm,” Grinspoon went on, “in contrast to alcohol, which is a proven neurotoxic. The whole question of ‘underage smoking’ has to be viewed in the context of alcohol, which is the college kids’ alternative to marijuana.

“Alcohol is proven to be harmful, and the people who drink a lot of it can harm themselves. Women who drink a lot while they’re pregnant will risk Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in their children. If I had to choose an intoxicant for 18-to-21 year olds, I would far prefer marijuana to alcohol. My official position is: ‘remain virginal until age 21.’ But we live in the real world, and that’s not going to happen. And therefore, if one says anything negative about adolescents using marijuana, parents have to add, ‘If he’s going to use something, it’s far less harmful than alcohol.’

Grinspoon adds that prohibition creates “the-seeking-of-the-forbidden-fruit phenomenon.” Also, he notes, “if you get too stoned, you get anxious and you never want to do it again."

Dr. B's line

Dr. B is an experienced pediatrician with a loved one about to start high school. She told us, "I’ve had many discussions with him. He is not sick. He has no diagnosis. So he shouldn’t be putting anything into his body or brain. That is not wholesome and healthy. I’ve explained to him that chemicals — even natural chemicals, even though cannabis is natural — it’s still a biologically active compound that can and does work in the brain and the body. I’m not saying 'No,' I’m saying 'Wait. Let your brain develop become the human being that you’re meant to become. Your job right now is to go to school, get an education, participate in sports and live a drug-free life.

“'Later in life if you feel that this is something you want to do, and your brain is developed… I’m not going to have any control over you. For now, let your brain develop the way it should.'"

"It would be different if he was sick.

"He and his father stop by my office from time to time and he’s seen some of the young people that I take care of. He’s a nice, sensitive kid. He’ll say, 'Mom what’s wrong with that patient?' Or, 'Does CBD help that patient?' He gets what I do and he gets it that the cannabinoids have a strong effect on the brain.

The Imaginary Party Line

If your real goal is to minimize marijuana use by healthy young people, your strategy has to be education (see above), not prohibition. Demand can overwhelm prohibition. Education can reduce demand.

Isn’t “legalization” supposed to mean the end of prohibition? Why maintain it for those under 21? Why assume that marijuana prohibition — which everyone now recognizes as a “failure” — is somehow going to succeed if focused on people under 21? It makes no sense.

We have to ask: who has the biggest stake in maintaining Under-21 Prohibition? Answer: the helping professionals — addiction specialists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and a diverse array of therapists and counselors.

Under-21 Prohibition also guarantees an ongoing role for law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The helping professionals require, businesswise, that treatment for marijuana addiction be compelled by the courts.

Bottom line: Under-21 Prohibition means say goodbye to our peace dividend — a big part of it, anyway.

* * *


by Dan Bacher, August 12, 2014

Governor Jerry Brown on August 11 signed legislation to extend the deadline to place a new water bond on the November ballot by 48 hours.

“Today’s legislative action provides additional time to get an acceptable water bond -- one that’s affordable and considers the needs of all Californian," said Brown. "Let’s work together to get this done.”

The action gives Brown and legislative leaders more time to negotiate a replacement to the $11.14 billion water bond that is currently on the November ballot. That measure is part of the water policy-water bond package, passed in a special session of the State Legislature in November 2009, that creates a clear path to the construction of the peripheral tunnels.

Brown's action follows the introduction of an updated $7.195 billion water bond proposal that can be found at

The Governor will convene a meeting at noon today, August 12, at the State Capitol in Sacramento with Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and more than a dozen agricultural, water, environmental, labor and business leaders who support the water bond proposal introduced yesterday in the Legislature.

"Governor Brown, Speaker Atkins and pro Tem Steinberg’s water bond proposal provides for water use efficiency and recycling, effective groundwater management and $2.5 billion for additional storage," according to a statement from the Governor's Office. "It invests in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities, and provides for watershed restoration and increased flows in some of California’s most important rivers and streams."

Senator Dianne Feinstein, known for her strong support of agribusiness interests including the Westlands Water District and Stewart Resnick, owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, praised the Governor and Legislature for their work on revising the water bond.

“Governor Brown and the legislature have worked hard to revise the water bond to provide sufficient funds for water storage and other priority issues," said Feinstein. "Today's proposal includes $7.2 billion for California’s most pressing water infrastructure needs including water storage, Delta restoration, levee improvements, groundwater remediation and water reuse. I hope members of the legislature act quickly to place it on the ballot and I will do all I can to help get it passed this November.”

RTD: Revised bond is not BDCP-neutral

Brown claims that his water bond proposal is tunnels neutral, but Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) critics say it is anything but. Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, today cited several specific provisions of Governor Brown’s water bond proposal that are NOT “tunnels neutral.”

Restore the Delta called upon the governor and the legislature to remove taxpayer funding that would replace needed river water flows taken by the tunnels, and have taxpayers fund mitigating tunnels damage.

"The governor and others claim their proposals are ‘tunnels neutral’ while at the same time funding mitigation or replacement water,” said Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and quacks like a duck; it’s a duck. These provisions quack loudly and they say, ‘thanks for funding activities essential to building the massive water export tunnels for a few mega-grower billionaires.”

The group said Possible BDCP related funding in the bond would range from $1.3 Billion to $1.4 Billion, citing the following provisions:

Page 10 Chapter 6. Protecting Rivers. Lakes, Streams, Coastal Waters and Watersheds. ($1,450,000,000)

79727 (II) Delta Conservancy ($50,000,000)

This funding is BDCP-related. It contains no limitations to already-owned State lands, or approval by boards of supervisors of the county or counties in which the lands are located.

Page 11 79733 ($200,000,000)

BDCP-related water purchase: Wildlife Conservation Board for projects that result in increased stream flows.

Page 13 797XX ($475,000,000) (e) CVPIA 3406(d)

BDCP related - water purchase: A water supply for wildlife refuge obligation of the Central Valley Project (CVP), intended to free up water for CVP agricultural water deliveries.

Pages 13 & 14 79733(a) ($87,500,000)

BDCP related: Dept. of Fish & Wildlife for water quality, ecosystem restoration, and fish protection facilities.

Pages 22 & 23 Flood Management ($395,000,000)

797XX - $295,000,000 - BDCP related habitat being funded through levee programs.

Page 24 Reallocation of Prop. 84 $105,000,000

Could be used for BDCP

Page 24 Reallocation of Prop. 50 $95,000,000

Could be used for BDCP

Possible BDCP related funding = $1.3 Billion to $1.4 Billion

(Restore the Delta is a 15,000-member grassroots organization committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

BDCP Background:

Governor Jerrry Brown's Bay Delta Delta Conservation Plan to build the 35-mile long peripheral tunnels won't create one drop of new water, but the project will lead to horrendous environmental degradation, according to tunnel critics. The construction of the tunnels, estimated to cost $67 billion, will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

BDCP opponents say Brown's "legacy" project will destroy the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas that provides a nursery for many species. It will harm salmon, halibut, leopard shark, soupfin shark, sevengill shark, anchovy, sardine, herring, groundfish and Dungeness crab populations stretching from Southern Washington to Southern California.

Under the guise of habitat restoration, the BDCP will take vast tracts of Delta farmland, among the most fertile on the planet, out of production in order to irrigate toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and provide Delta water to Southern California developers and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County.

The tunnels are being constructed in tandem with the federal government's plan to raise Shasta Dam, a project that will flood many of the remaining sacred sites of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe that weren't inundated by Shasta Dam.)

One Comment

  1. Bill Pilgrim August 13, 2014

    RE: New Word…Haptics. It seems many of these new coinages involve some kind of deception, acknowledging how out of touch many can be with things as they are.
    Another example: “Optics,” a word commonly employed in science and medicine but now being used by an increasing number of journalists and commentators in place of “looks” or “appearance”… as in: “The optics of the encounter were not encouraging.” Even the executive editor of the NY times demonstrated no shame when last year he wrote: “We realize that the optics of our coverage may have been…etc”
    It implies we’re not smart enough to distinguish between what we’re actually seeing and our ‘perception’ of what we’re seeing.
    Propagandists… the lot.
    It is not WE who cannot see what’s happening, but THEM…locked as they are in their old, failing world views.

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