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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, August 16, 2014

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AS OF AUGUST 15 at 7pm the Lodge Wilderness Fire has more or less stopped expanding at approximately 12,346 acres and 70% containment. Two more injuries were reported bringing the injury count to 15. There are still 16 structures declared threatened, but that’s way down, as is the entire firefighting effort which is down again from 132 engines 24 hours ago to 62, but with 60 crews along with 8 bulldozers (down from 12 yesterday), 7 helicopters, (dowm from 10 yesterday), 18 water tenders (down from 23), and 1527 firefighters (down from 1922. On Friday evening CalFire reported “Crews continue to patrol areas outside the control lines for any potential new spot fires. Interior portions of the fire will continue to be consumed and smoke may be visible for an extended period of time in the Ukiah Valley which may create possible health issues. The high-pressure system building over the area today and continuing in to next week will cause warmer and drier conditions. Fire resources have begun suppression repair on the west side of the fire.” An Evacuation Warning is still in place for Camp Seabow, Bowman Ranch, Hunt Ranch, Tan Oak Park, Elk Creek and Mad Creek, The Hermitage, Big Bend and Camp St. Michael. CalFire adds, “Please visit for information on how to prepare for an evacuation.”


SATURDAY MORNING'S UPDATE [7am, Aug 16]: 12,346 acres, 70% containment, "Crews continue to focus on containing spot fires within our contingency lines; steep slopes and rugged terrain are making access difficult.... Fire resources will continue suppression repair efforts on the north and west side of the fire. CAL FIRE and all of the Cooperating Agencies would like to thank the entire community and local businesses for their overwhelming support and hospitality."

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ALTHOUGH the state elections mostly present the usual choices between bad and worse, the Mendo elections in November will be interesting.

LOCAL RACES, however, are seemingly sedate affairs with the real electioneering off-stage and gossip-based, kinda tea leaf-like, Indonesian-ey shadow play-ey-like, in a seething county in a collapsing country where history starts all over again every morning and you are whatever you say you are. Fascinating, though, to the amateur anthropologist-journalist.

There'll be a couple of candidates’ nights in tense, chuckling rooms where the questions are carefully vetted to exclude those that might actually elicit an interesting or telling response. Then the local papers will be deluged with “I'm for him” or “I'm for her” because him or her is “for the kids” and likes dogs. Some time before the vote, more diffuse than ever because of vote-by-mail, the candidates will take out ads listing the names of all the people they can dragoon into signing up to endorse their candidacy. This 6th grade practice seems especially effective in Mendo where the totally uninformed can say to him or herself, “Hmmm. I see that Billy loves Jennifer, but I don't like either one of them so I'm voting for Barb.” Study enough elections and you understand how George W. Bush got elected. Twice.

THE BASIC SPLIT in the Mendo vote is between the conservative liberals of the Jared Huffman type and what might be called the old timers. Old timers now include not only the old old timers but the neo-old timers repelled by the smug arrogance of liberals, all of them quite well off and/or ensconsed in good paying public jobs. There is also a rear guard of older commie beatniks who understand that the Democratic Party is also corporate-owned and no different than the Republicans on the big issues of war and peace and economics. In Mendo, a lot of Republicans, about 40 percent of the vote, are blue collar people privately employed. They've voted against their true interests for years but hate liberals so much they just keep on voting against themselves.

AT THE LEVEL of the Mendo board of supervisors, Pinches, McCowen, Carrie Brown, and Dan Gjerde draw support from both camps. Freshman supervisor Gjerde, although tightly affiliated with the oppressively un-progressive local Democrats, is generally a good nuts and bolts guy who sticks thoughtfully to local issues.

(CAVEAT: We think Gjerde and his fellow Supes are totally wrong on trying to sell Fort Bragg and the rest of the upper Mendo coast a $5 million trash transfer station, and we think he and three of his colleagues' inexplicable 4-1 vote to log that small parcel of County-owned land abutting the Little River Airport makes no environmental or economic sense. If the County leadership thinks it needs money (a measly projected hundred thou from the nutting log job) that bad why not sell the parcel for perhaps a much bigger profit? Hamburg was the only No vote as a lot of his constituents from the Albion Nation looked on from the audience during the vote.)

WITH THE BALLOT solidified for the November elections, we have Warren Galletti headed for an easy win over Joens-Poulton for Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools. Galletti has the huge advantage of being a Mendo native who's well-known from his years as a local sports guy, having gotten to know lots of people as he traveled all over the County for ball games. And County Superintendent is a county-wide election.

JOENS-POULTON is preferred by the long-time present superintendent, Paul Tichinin, with whom, given his stumbling ballot statement, he seems to share a severe learning disability. The County Office of Education has for years been an absolute sinkhole into which millions of annual educational dollars disappear every year. This year's Grand Jury has confirmed that the present superintendent, Paul Tichinin, is a featherbedding incompetent, and that several of his lieutenants are straight-up crumb bums. The GJ said the whole operation is, as we've said for years, spectacularly mismanaged, even by Mendo standards. This Joens-Poulton character, assistant superintendent to Tich, would represent more of the same and, of course, is supported by Tichinin. Galletti's no intellectual, the goddess knows, but he's at least a nice guy. The “job” comes with no identifiable duties, an assistant with even less visible responsibility and pays better than $120,000 a year.

WE PREFER Jolly Holly Madrigal over Tom Woodhouse for 3rd District supervisor. Madrigal has a public record of votes you can like or dislike, but Woodhouse, so far, hasn't taken any stands on anything, putting himself out there simply as Mr. Nice Guy, always a savvy strategy in a county run by Very Nice People (who you never want to turn your back on).

THE PRIMARY reservation we have about Madrigal is her proud alignment with that oppressive blob of a local Democratic Party apparatus. What Mendocino County definitely does not need is a combined female version of Wes Chesbro, Dan Hamburg, Richard Shoemaker, and Jared Huffman. The job is supposed to be non-partisan, which is how 3rd District supervisor John Pinches, whom Madrigal aims at succeeding, always approached it. Pinches was totally focused on local stuff, and way, way ahead of the curve on the crucial water issue, to name one matter the Laytonville cowboy did us all big favors by keeping front and center. And he watched how public money was spent. The above mentioned Democrats — collectively regarded here as the Chesbro Curse — are totally focused on themselves and their personal welfare. They live to suck up tax money and think they deserve it.

AN INTERESTING RACE for Fort Bragg City Council pits former mayor Lindy Peters and one of the Cimolinos, a relative of the former supervisor presumably, against fog belt versions of the Chesbro Curse. Peters and Cimolino are arrayed against incumbent mayor Dave Turner, Heidi Kraut and, gasp! Mark Iacuaniello, the last narrowly averting a perjury charge during his truly shameful performance during the Matt Murray affair, revisited below.

ONE ELECTORAL bright spot burning beacon-like out of the Fort Bragg fog, is an actual brain surgeon running for the Coast Hospital Board: Dr. Peter Glusker! A truly great doctor, if anyone can cure Coast Hospital of its perilous fiscal ailments, Glusker can.

THE FORT BRAGG RACE is indicative of the County-wide split we described above which, in simpler terms, might be best understood this way: “I've lived here for 50 years. I go to a meeting of the Fort Bragg City Council or the school board or whatever board, and I see people sitting up front in big leather chairs making decisions about my town who I've never seen before. Or even heard of. And they all kinda look like Cabbage Patch dolls and grin and chuckle a lot, but there's obviously something deeply untrustworthy, deeply false about them.” And Iacuaniello is the archetype.

IACUANIELLO narrowly missed a perjury charge in the Murray matter, lying on the stand after betraying Murray at the Point Arena School District where Murray was hired to bring some order to the elementary school in that perennially troubled school system, then operating in a kind of state conservatorship. Murray pulled things together and was so good at doing it the existing staff, a twenty-year-old clusterfuck of sloth and edu-stupidity, led by Iacuaniello, teamed up against Murray and got PA's gutless school board to fire Murray.

HERE'S HOW Iacuaniello was summed up in court by Murray's attorney: “Mr. Iacuaniello consistently tells only part of the story, half-truths, the half of the truth that benefits him, but not the other half. Even though Mr. Murray's first year evaluation was outstanding on all the elements, yet he rated Mr. Murray as less than satisfactory. In a confidential report to the board he reported that Mr. Murray was ‘good but not outstanding’ and if there was no improvement in teacher relations he would not recommend a raise or contract renewal. He effectively manipulated the board in one direction while telling Murray the opposite.

“Mr. Iacuaniello insisted that the teacher who falsified her credentials and background continue to work at the school under a change in title and slight change in job where she was no longer the teacher of record, but still the teacher of the class.

“Then there was the Beguiristain fraud in which Mr. Beguiristain didn't have a bachelor's degree but Iacuaniello continued to let him teach Spanish even though he had seen a transcript showing that he did not have a bachelors degree.

“Mr. Iacuaniello had already set up Paula Patterson as [elementary school] principal in the months prior to Mr. Murray’s termination. He had planned it and asked for her resume in the spring of 2006. [Murray was terminated in November, 2006.] Then he placed her into a coordinator job so that she could get administrative experience. Mr. Iacuaniello wrote that he would continue to support Mr. Murray while at the same time he was developing ‘the Patterson Plan.’

“Mr. Iacuaniello continued to insist that complaints be described as ‘concerns’ so that they would not have to be reduced to writing. Yet at the same time he was raising these so-called concerns in private confidential reports to the School Board. Murray never got an opportunity to see or respond to these complaints or concerns.”

Iacuaniello’s own attorney’s response did not refute these statements, only attempted to put them in a different light:.

“Would you really ask for complaints to be put in writing if you had the personality that my client has? Instead, he called them ‘concerns’ so that they could be dealt with without being reduced to paper.

TRANSLATION (now in 2014): My client is too dumb to formulate the necessary malice that's required for you to find in favor of Mr. Murray. But make no mistake; Mr. I is a treacherous little bastard.

YOU'LL KNOW that Fort Bragg is completely and forever doomed if Iacuaniello joins the incumbent passo-aggressos on the Fort Bragg City Council.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 15, 2014

Aguayo, Brown-Steele, Fairbairn, Ficarra
Aguayo, Brown-Steele, Fairbairn, Ficarra


SPARROW BROWN-STEELE, Ukiah. DUI with Gross Vehicular Manslaughter.


ROBERT FICARRA, Redwood Valley. Under the influence of a controlled substance; resisting arrest.

Goodrich, Martinez, McGrew, Salo
Goodrich, Martinez, McGrew, Salo

BOYD GOODRICH, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ANTHONY MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ASHLEY McGREW, Ukiah. Felony domestic assault. (What kind of “man” would call the cops on this woman?)

ERNEST SALO, Fort Bragg. Court order violation; probation revocation.

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by Adam Randall

A Ukiah Woman is being held at the Mendocino County Jail on $200,000 bond after allegedly killing a 18-year-old Calpella boy in a DUI related crash, according to reports by the California Highway Patrol and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Sparrow M. Brown-Steele, 19, was arrested by CHP on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and two counts of driving under the influence causing injury. All three are felony charges, according to the sheriff's booking logs.

Brown-Steele was driving a 2010 Toyota Sequoia SUV and ran off the road hitting a tree at approximately 9:28 p.m. Thursday, CHP said. The incident was near Willits on Eastside Road.

The victim, whose name is being withheld, was ejected from the front passenger seat after the vehicle rolled several times.

Another passenger in the back seat, a 15-year-old boy, suffered minor injuries including a broken rib, CHP said. No injuries were reported for Brown-Steele.

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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ACCORDING to a UPD press release back on June 19, Sparrow Steele was arrested for possession of nitrous oxide, marijuana, and providing alcohol to a 17 year old minor. Now a teenager has died and a younger teenager is seriously injured. Yet here she is driving a large SUV — drunk. (“Allegedly.”) And under 21. Are there any alleged adults in this picture?

“ON JUNE 19th at about 9:55 PM Ukiah Police responded to the 200 block of Observatory Avenue for a group inhaling nitrous oxide. Arriving officers located a group standing around a parked vehicle, and numerous empty nitrous oxide canisters scattered on the ground. Officers observed a device used to inhale nitrous oxide on the seat of the vehicle, and contacted a 17 year old male juvenile from Covelo. The juvenile was wearing a backpack, and when he moved officers could hear additional nitrous oxide canisters rattle inside the backpack. The juvenile was found to possess more than 5 unused nitrous oxide canisters and several grams of marijuana, and was arrested. A search of the vehicle revealed numerous used and unused nitrous oxide canisters, a partially consumed bottle of liquor, beer, and over half a pound of marijuana. Officers arrested 19 year old Sparrow Mary Steele, of Ukiah, for possessing nitrous oxide, possessing marijuana, possession of alcohol by a minor, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.” (Ukiah PD Press Release)

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Letter to the Editor:

It is depressing, sad, and disheartening that Mendocino County supervisors are giving Ortner an extra million dollars (bringing the contract value to $7.7M) and they still won’t provide 24/7 Crisis Residential Treatment Centers (CRTC) in Fort Bragg and Ukiah, with stays up to 30 days. Most counties in California have those for early intervention crisis medical treatment. Instead ICMS (Ortner by one of their other names) will lease a building in Fort Bragg to do something else. Looks like another year of no Recovery Programs for people with severe mental illness, and for people who in addition, also suffer from substance use disorder. For $7.7M, we should have two CRTCs, and Recovery Programs all over the County. It only takes a County car and a couple of experienced people to take Programs out to other communities. The wall of resistance to mental health crisis and recovery programs here is huge — the four Ortner men, Directors of Mental Health and Health and Human Services, and the CEO. This appears to be enough to convince a majority of the supervisors to choose another year without critical mental health services, and with the unnecessary suffering of hundreds of their constituents and people close to them.

Since their current staff eliminated 80 positions in the Department of Mental Health, they can now complain of no capacity to do programs. I wonder if they ever listen to themselves.

Sonya Nesch, author of Advocating for Someone with a Mental Illness; Comptche

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ON AUGUST 12, 2014 at approximately 11:00 P.M., Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office observed a large commercial water truck traveling west bound on Goose Lane in the Brooktrails Township. Deputies checked the area for the water truck due to the water thefts being committed in our county by the use of these commercial style water trucks. Deputies located the water truck at the end of Dogwood Terrace, along with the driver of the water truck, Kevin Bouthillier, 39, of Willits. At the time Deputies arrived Bouthillier was actively taking water from the fire hydrant on Dogwood Terrace. During an investigation, which included contacting the water district for the Brooktrails Township, it was found Bouthillier was illegally taking water from the Brooktrails Township without permission. Bouthillier was placed under arrest for Theft of Utilities (498 PC) and then transported to the Sheriff's Office in Willits where he was cited/released for the listed misdemeanor violation.

(ED NOTE: According to their website “Bouthillier's Construction Inc. is a Multifaceted full service construction company. A DBE Woman owned firm since 2011. Prior to that, however, Bouthillier's Construction had been in operation with 20 plus years of Construction experience. In 2011 the company reconfigured, incorporated, and became what it is today. We have constructed multiple Soldier Pile Walls, CIDH Piers , along with Tie Back Drilling and Installation. We are well versed in several aspects of heavy construction.”)

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Local water thief caught wet-handed

by Ken Kiunke

Once plentiful, due to California’s extreme drought status, water has become a hot commodity, and is becoming more and more expensive as utility companies are forced to raise prices and restrict usage.

The Community of Brooktrails Township, in Mendocino County just north of Willits, is feeling the pinch, and has recently restricted residents to limited water usage. On Tuesday, August 12, the town announced that residents would be restricted to 200 gallons per day or 6,000 per month, per customer. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but the same day the water restrictions were put into place, a Willits man, 39-year-old Kevin Bouthillier, was caught stealing water from fire hydrants in Brooktrails Township and the surrounding county. Kevin Bouthillier is part of the family that owns Bouthillier Construction, Backhoe Service and the Little Lake Napa Auto Parts in Willits. In 2009 Kevin was recognized for helping the local fire departments conduct a training drill on Main Street in Willits. He was on hand with his backhoe to help conduct the exercise as they torched an abandoned building, and knock down a wall as they finished up. This time, however, he was in a commercial water truck, the kind used on construction sites to lower dust and loosen soil, and was spotted at 11pm on Goose Lane by Sheriff’s deputies. They grew concerned because of increased water thefts in the area. They located him again on Dogwood Terrace, a little ways northwest of Brooktrails, and this time he was observed with his truck hooked up to a hydrant and filling it with water. An investigation confirmed that he was taking the water illegally, and he was cited for misdemeanor violation Penal Code 498, theft of utility services (water). It was not clear if he was taking it for construction site purposes, or hoarding it for other uses such as irrigation. He was released to face later sentencing and/or fines.

(Ken Kiunke is Bureau Chief and News Editor with United Reporting-Crime Beat News. Courtesy,

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3RD SUNDAY POTLUCK, 17 August, 6pm

AVFS Aug 2014 flyer

This Sunday, we will again be sharing a potluck meal at the AV Solar Grange in Philo. For the past year, AV Foodshed has been hosting the 3rd Sunday Potluck, accompanied by a "presentation". This month's format will be a little different.

The theme for this month is:

AV Foodshed is busy continuing our mission to promote local food and community. We have many exciting projects in various stages of imagining, planning, and promoting.

At this month's potluck you will have the opportunity to learn about and connect with such future projects as:

- Fermentation Fest II

- C'mon Home to Eat in October

- Rural Living Skills Booth at the County Fair

- 2015 AV Foodshed Calendar

- Next Year's 3rd Sunday Schedule

- and more

What is working? What can we do better?

Bring your ideas, energy, and a dish to share.

Hope to see you there.

Jim Devine (3rd Sunday committee),

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Go field! And this is with almost no watering.

Heirloom, Early Girl & Cherry Tomatoes

Corno di Toro, Gypsy & Bell Sweet Peppers

Padron, Jalapeno, Anaheim & Poblano Peppers

Rosa Bianca, Beatrice, Nadia, Galline & Asian Eggplant

Basil, Strawberries, French Prunes

Zucchini & Patty Pan Squash

Sunflowers & Zinnias

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Dear Editor,

At the Coast League of Women Voters meeting with CEO Carmel Angelo answering questions regarding the 2014-2015 County budget, I had a question. I began with a statement about the 2000 foreclosures in Mendocino County from 2008 accounting for a drop in county revenue, due to a loss in property taxes not on the charts. There were also losses in transfer fees. MERS, the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, set up by Wall Street banks was used to bypass paying transfer fees to the Assessor's Office. An audit would show how many were MERS foreclosures and how much in transfer fees were lost to the county. However, recently the NY State Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge had determined that MERS had no legal standing to foreclose.

I asked, Do you see any gains to be made by an Audit of Foreclosures in the Assessor-Recorder's office?"

Carmel referred the question to Supervisor Dan Gjerde.

He said “A Petition was received asking the Board to Fund a Audit. He said the Assessor is an elective office, an office independent of the Supervisors oversight. You would need to take up the matter with the Assessor.” Supervisor Dan Hamburg had said previously that there is no guarantee monies the Supervisors approve for an audit would be spent appropriately for an audit. The Assessor, Susan Ranochak, may request funds from the BOS, but she did not. Dan Gjerde reported that the County Assessor said there was nothing to be gained by an Audit. Do you wonder about that and how the loss of money affected services in our county?

Sincerely, Agnes Woolsey


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Re: The new 49er stadium in Santa Clara:

I guess if fans need a $1 billion stadium with all the bells, whistles and luxuries, charging $55 for parking and $10 for a beer is, indeed, the price the suckers — I mean fans — need to pay. Or are these prices simply reflective of what the Powers-That-Be figure is what the market will bear? (I'd bet on that one.)

When I was a little boy in the 50s we'd go to 49ers games at Kezar. We'd bring smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches. The adults would bet 25¢ or whatever on what would happen on every play. We'd watch Y.A. Tittle, Leo Nomellini, Bob St. Claire, Hugh McElhenny, R.C. Owens, Joe Perry et al, year after year. You had a TEAM to root for, and not just laundry worn by rented players. (Yeah, yeah, Y.A. left for the Giants, but John Brodie had been there for a while, groomed to take over when the time came.) I don't remember what the prices for tickets or concessions were then. (You can't compare parking because there was none.) For all I know, the prices were equivalent, adjusted for inflation. (Although I suspect, not so much.) But I guarantee that attending those games was less stressful and more fun.

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(This mention of Leo Nomellini reminded me of an item I wrote back in the fall of 2000 a few days after Nomellini’s obituary appeared in the SF Chronicle.)

LeoNomelliniLEO ‘THE LION’ Nomellini, star tackle for the 49ers from 1950-1963 died of cancer at age 76 October 22 at Stanford Hospital. His football friends contributed tributes and anecdotes to a couple of pretty good Bay Area obits for the big bruiser the following day. But they left one anecdote out. It happens that Mr. Nomellini was a down-the-street neighbor of ours when I was a kid growing up in Palo Alto from 1953 to 1955. Mr. Nomellini was born in Italy and grew up in Chicago. He was a tough but friendly man who was well known to the neighborhood as the big 49er lineman down the street who always waved and smiled at the star-struck kids who rode by on their bikes. These were the days of hand-powered push mowers. Nomellini, who stood 6-feet 3-inches and weighed upwards of 270 pounds, impressed us kids by being able to stand on one edge of his front lawn and give his big push-mower a giant shove and it would somehow mow 20 or so feet of grass before it came to a stop at the other end of Nomellini’s lawn. Nomellini would then stroll across the new-mown strip, turn the mower around, give the mower a couple of short pushes to catch whatever it had missed on its prior one-shove dash across the lawn, and then shove the mower back across the lawn again, and again, and again in single bursts until it was thoroughly mowed. By the time he was done, Nomellini usually had ten or twelve awestruck kids standing around watching and applauding each shove. He didn’t pay us much attention though — the future Hall of Famer was all business. — Mark Scaramella

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TO KNOW just how he suffered would be dear;

To know if any human eyes were near

To whom he could intrust his wavering gaze,

Until it settled firm on Paradise.


To know if he was patient, part content,

Was dying as he thought, or different;

Was it a pleasant day to die,

And did the sunshine face his way?


What was his furthest mind, of home, or God,

Or what the distant say

At news that he ceased human nature

On such a day?


And wishes, had he any?

Just his sigh, accented,

Had been legible to me.

And was he confident until

Ill fluttered out in everlasting well?


And if he spoke, what name was best,

What first,

What one broke off with

At the drowsiest?


Was he afraid, or tranquil?

Might he know

How conscious consciousness could grow,

Till love that was, and love too blest to be,

Meet— and the junction be Eternity?

— Emily Dickinson


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