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Mendocino County Today: Monday, August 25, 2014

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SUNDAY MORNING’S EARTHQUAKE was not widely felt in Mendocino County, and not felt at all in the Anderson Valley. It jolted — more like rolled — people awake as far south as San Francisco. The 3:20am event did significant damage in the downtown Napa neighborhoods where it struck hardest and to which it seemed mostly confined.

photo credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
photo credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

IT CERTAINLY RATTLED San Francisco, the North Bay and the wine-centric Napa Valley as these pictures show.


For full coverage check out the Chronicle’s reporting:

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RECURRENT RUMORS of privately sponsored pot raids in the Woodman Creek area of Laytonville seem to be untrue, and probably absolutely untrue. The Willits News' ace new reporter, Adrian Baumann — the best journalist to appear in Mendocino County since Bruce McEwen came in from the cold five years ago — tracked down the rumors best he could, concluding that they lacked, as they say, the required specificity that would substantiate them. (Baumann's report appeared in The Willits News the week of August 15th)

BAUMANN got both the Sheriff's spokesman Captain Van Patten, and Paul Trouette of Lear, a private security company that patrols private parcels of outback land for their absentee owners, and some parcels with the owners present but anxious to keep their property free of trespass grows. Trouette said his outfit wasn't in the area.

BUT GREG VAN PATTEN, of the Sheriff's Department confirmed that the County's task force and County Probation, on July 23rd, “conducted open field eradications with a private helicopter company in the area of Woodman Creek after having received complaints of the creek being drained by illegal marijuana grows in the area…” The cops copped “2,630 plants” from 15 sites “out of compliance with 9.31…”

THE CONFUSION seems to have arisen over who exactly was in the helicopter. Lear people apparently were not; the Sheriff's Department people were directing the private pilot at the controls of a rented helicopter. There wasn't a gang of airborne vigilantes in Woodman Canyon that day.

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LAST WEDNESDAY as I drove through Ukiah delivering Boonville's beloved community newspaper, I pulled over opposite the Plowshare's driveway where a fight was in the first stages of two-on-one combat. All three guys were in their mid-30s and tweeker-lean. They were bouncing up and down and singing out the usual tired insults about mom and incest and the even more tired promises of assured mutual destruction. The victim went immediately to the ground on his back, a savvy survival strategy in the circumstances, and a savvy one generally because it's a lot harder to hit someone who's rolling around on the ground. The guy on the ground was obviously an experienced assault victim, kicking upwards at his two assailants as he nimbly writhed out of range of their inept punches. This went on for about three minutes before all three tired, and, with a final round of insults, the two attackers strode off up State Street looking triumphant, like they'd won something. The vic stood, dusted himself off, looked around and yelled out at no one in particular, “Punk bitch muthafuggas.”

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ADD TO THE LONG list of stuff we didn't know, the fact that Hops-Meister Farm at Clear Lake produces hops for lots of this area's many breweries, and seems to be a harbinger of the return of hops to this part of Northern California. Used to be hops were a big export product for Mendocino County, especially the Anderson Valley and, clearly, Hopland, where Native Americans were always much in demand as harvest crews. The Boonville Brewery now has some hops growing on its thriving premises at the junction of 128 and the Ukiah Road.

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RANDOM observations from a failing mind: Sunday's lead story in the SF Chron was called, “Questions raised about cops wearing cameras.” How about everyone in a public job wearing a camera? Imagine replaying videos of Mendocino County's superintendent of schools, Paul Tichinin, as he went about his work. It would be like watching that Warhol film called Empire. Remember it? Probably not, because Warhol insisted that it be shown in its eight-hour entirety, but it was a slow motion camera fixed all day on the Empire State Building. That was it. Nothing happened, just like in Tichinin's office where the phone never rings, there are no papers and certainly no books in evidence, and the only time Tichinin moves is to go out the door for a two-hour lunch then, an hour after the lunch, and a desktop nap, he drives back home in his edu-funded free car to his home in Fort Bragg. He's an extreme case — a guy paid $120,000-plus a year for simply occupying the job. But there are lots of public officials who get over not doing much, if anything at all.

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ONE WOULD THINK that anybody who has ever owned a dog would know that you don't want the beast sitting down at the table with you. Yes, I once owned a dog and became very fond of him, but I had no illusions about his personal hygiene. And his eating habits. Roscoe was confined to one room and the great outdoors. He never got anywhere near the kitchen or the meals. But here's the headline, “San Francisco Cafes' ban on canine clientele to vanish. Outdoor dining with dogs to become legal next year.”

WHY? I understand that the blind need dogs to guide them safely across the street. I'd even understand if the dog accompanied the blind person into the coffee shops of Boonville. What I don't get is the neo-anthropomorphism that has become so prevalent in this country, with millions of people insisting that their dogs be with them round-the-clock — in the car, at the doctor, on the bus, even in bed! I understand that America is totally batshit in many of its particulars, but this neurotic insistence on the human equivalence of animals seems excessive even for Wacky Land.

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ANOTHER odd piece from the Chron was headlined “Duboce Triangle getting scary.” A young man was indeed beaten to death at Duboce and Church the other night but that happened sometime during the very late night hours when much of the city is scary, indoors and out. But apart from the sad death of this kid, the scariness cited consisted of a needle exchange on a bike path, a street nut masturbating in a doorway, a street guy living in another doorway, and, of course, the usual accounts of personal functions carried out in public. The people complaining about this stuff thought the cops should do something about it. Like what? By the time a cop can get there all of the above has happened. If I walked up on someone urinating or practicing a solo act of love in my doorway, and after making sure it wasn't me, I'd take direct action of some kind. The guy living in the doorway? The people living upstairs hadn't called the cops, or even asked him to leave. These are the new realities of every day life. I'm surprised people complain, that they think police should respond to every unsightly visual.

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ON FRIDAY THE BOARD OF SUPES posted an amended agenda for their August 26 meeting adding three items under the heading “modifications to the agenda” which seems to be a great place to hide things the Supes don't want to advertise. The first new item is a concurrent resolution of the Board of Supes and the defunct Water Agency adopting the North Coast Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (NCIRWMP) for 2014 and declaring it exempt from CEQA. The plan includes funding for several drought related projects in Mendocino County, including $700k for a reservoir for the City of Fort Bragg on Summers Lane and $1 million for a recycled water project in Ukiah. The projects were approved when Supervisors Gjerde and McCowen convinced their colleagues from a seven-county area that Mendo needed the money (earmarked for drought related projects) more than their own home counties. The added agenda item amounts to a rubber stamp saying, “Yes, thanks, we'll take the money.”

RECONSIDERATION OF THE LITTLE RIVER AIRPORT LOGGING PLAN, approved by the Supes on a 3-2 vote at their last meeting, is the second modification to the agenda. Supervisor McCowen, who voted with the majority to go ahead with the logging plan, is listed as the sponsor of the item. (According to their rules, only Supervisors who voted in the majority on an item, can ask that the item be reheard.) The “summary of request” (which seems to have been translated from the Bulgarian) reads “reconsideration of the board's previous action approving the sale of timber at the Little River Airport to allow an opportunity for the county and interested conservation organizations to explore options for a conservation easement, or other method of limiting timber operations on the property consistent with FAA regulations. It is an [sic] anticipated that the commitment of one or more conservation organizations can be clarified within two weeks, which will allow logging to proceed this year, if acquisition of the timber rights, consistent with FAA regulations, is determined not to be in the interest of the conservation organizations or the County. If the motion to reconsider is approved by a majority vote of the Board, the original motion approving the sale of timber will be back before the Board at which time it can be modified, withdrawn, or approved as is.”

TRANSLATION: the last sentence (which says a successful motion to reconsider will put the original motion back before the Board) is the clearest. And the motion to reconsider (which only takes a majority vote) should be a slam dunk. McCowen put the item on the agenda and Hamburg and Gjerde are already on record in favor of a delay. (Gjerde only voted to log this year after Hamburg's motion to delay failed.) But the motion to reconsider will only put the original motion back on the table.

MCCOWEN, THE PRESUMED AUTHOR of the summary of agenda modification request, appears to be sending a clear signal to the tree-hugging community — if they want to prevent the County from logging the area they need to come up with a serious proposal. Quickly. The summary of request talks about clarifying “the commitment of one or more conservation organizations…within two weeks, which will allow logging to proceed this year” (if the enviro groups decide they don't want to acquire the property). Working out a deal with a local land trust to manage the property was brought up by Bill Heil at the last meeting but got no discussion. Now the Albion Nation and their ListServe shock troops appear to have two weeks to put up or shut up.

WHAT SEEMS CLEAR is that the County is not qualified to manage property for timber operations. The property was last logged in 1996. Later that same year the County spent the money to prepare a Non-industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) to guide future logging operations. In 2007 the County tried to log the property but abandoned the effort when timber prices collapsed. Since then the County has spent tens of thousands of dollars for foresters, biologists, consultants, and owl surveys and thousands more on staff time preparing reports for a timber harvest plan that will never be harvested. The previous staff report said the County had spent $43,000 in the last couple of years preparing the plan for harvest and only hoped to make $163,000 gross. Add in the cost of the original NTMP and all the surveys, reports, and staff time going back to 1996 and the County will be lucky to break even. Ever. Acquisition by a local land trust would seem to be in the best interests of all concerned.

THE THIRD NEW AGENDA ITEM is a closed session item: “existing litigation: Willits Environmental Center, Keep the Code et al. v. County of Mendocino.” Which is probably related to the lawsuit against taking almost 900,000 cubic yards of soil from the old mill site just north of Willits near the truck scales, instead of clearcutting Oil Well Hill (just north of Reynold's Highway on northbound Highway 101) and taking the dirt from there. The old mill site is closer to the bypass which would greatly reduce truck trips and green house gas emissions. The lawsuit amounts to a spoiler action by the bypass opponents which can only cause further delay and expense without any prospect of stopping the bypass. But last Wednesday, Judge Mayfield issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that prevents “the excavation and removal of 883,950 cubic yards of fill from the MFP site” and depositing the fill “on or near wetlands.”

THE ARROGANCE OF CALTRANS (trampling Native American archeological sites and ignoring laws and commitments for environmental protection and mitigation) seems to have infected the County and Mendocino Forest Products (MFP, aka Mendocino Redwoods), the owner of the mill site. The County previously issued an illegal permit for the same work and hastily withdrew it when challenged. This time, after the Board of Supes voted to give themselves “original jurisdiction” to, ahem, bypass the Planning Commission, the County went through the motions of properly approving the project, but still seems to have come up short in complying with all the CEQA mandated steps for addressing environmental impacts.

ODDLY, THE TRO allows for clearcutting seven acres of timber at the old mill site, something the Willits Environmental Center and Keep the Code said would lead to irreparable harm to the environment. But the alternative to taking the fill dirt from the old mill site, now stripped of trees, will be for Caltrans (which cuts trees and bulldozes hillsides for a living) to clearcut Oil Well Hill and take the trees from there. Only this time they will be forced to do so by an “environmental” lawsuit.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 24, 2014

Arnett, Britton, Cardenas, Carruthers, Flora
Arnett, Britton, Cardenas, Carruthers, Flora

NICHOLAS ARNETT, Arcata. Driving under the influence.

CHRISTINA BRITTON, Willits. Fighting, driving without license.


CHRISTOPHER CARRUTHERS, Scottsdale, Arizona. Assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm.

JEFFREY FLORA (age 19), Talmage. Rape (statutory), misdemeanor domestic violence.

McCarthy, Peters, Ruiz, Sanders, Strock, Suba
McCarthy, Peters, Ruiz, Sanders, Strock, Suba

ANTHONY MCCARTHY, Ukiah. Resisting arrest.

ARYLIS PETERS, Covelo. Battery, possession of a controlled substance, failure to appear.

ROLANDO RUIZ, Ukiah. False impersonation of another, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a device for smoking or injecting, probation revoked.

THOMAS SANDERS, Willits. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

ANTHONY STROCK, Oakland. Assault on a police officer.

KRISTOFF SUBA, Laytonville. DUI, failure to appear.

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I was deeply moved by Robin Williams death. Not because I'll miss him that much, though it was always fun to catch him in a movie, but because part of me identified with his sense of frustration with humanity. To me he wasn't so much just a comedian, a funny guy, as he was someone who could delicately expose the pathos of life, the pathos of being human. I believe it was his own personal sadness from the failing of mankind and his inability to really do anything about it that drove him to drink and drove him mad.

He understood so much about human weakness and fallacy and tried his best to prod our awareness using a smile or a laugh as a carrot.

Smart people are very good at rationalization. They can, using reason and logic, make bad seem good. We live in a world where smart people (???) are the leaders. This is probably because money has been so elevated as to be heavenly and smart people are very good at making money. Hence smart people have more power and influence. Yet just maybe these smart people aren't so smart and are destroying more than they are building and creating a future that is truly bleak.

Those of genius understand beyond any rationalization. They don't allow themselves that comfort. Robin Williams was a genius. And the only way we seem to understand his despair is that it was a personal affliction and illness.

Divine Madness of the genius is despair for the ills of all humanity and the impotence to do anything about it.

David Severn, Philo

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by Emily Hobelmann

I’ve sooo been in a summer haze. It’s still smoky around here. But the other day, it cleared a little. That’s when I spotted a prime handbill at Wonderland Nursery in Garb. Here’s what’s up:

Healing Harvest Farms down in Mendo is having its Grand Opening Farmers Market next Saturday, August 30th, at 2 p.m.

Organic outdoor medicinal cannabis is the star. The market also features fresh produce and food, a hash-making demo and live music by Guerrilla Takeover, Strawberry Smog, The Gypsy Thorns, Yukmouth plus Green R. Fieldz.

According to the handbill, a number of companies will be on hand, presenting “live drops.” Nicole Burton from Healing Harvest clarified this phrase for me in an email:

Live drops mean that the concentrate artists make a live appearance with their freshest, latest product. It’s lingo used by extract artists to create hype for their brand.”

Admission is limited to ages 18+ with a valid 215. A doctor will be on-site for 215 recommendations that day. Also, you have to be a member of the Healing Harvest Farms collective to attend — “Free admission with signup.”

You can find the flier on their Facebook page, plus pictures of giant weed plants. The farm is at 54895 Hwy. 101, 10 miles north of Laytonville.

photo courtesy Healing Harvest Farms
photo courtesy Healing Harvest Farms

Go, dabbers.

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And excitement is building in SoHum for the upcoming run of Pure Schmint’s “Resin From The Dead: A Comedy Extravaganza with the Fabulous Resinaires.”

The Redwood Times has some deets on what to expect at the show — Alderpoint vampires, Bigfoot hunters and retired dope farmers; pretty run-of-the-mill Humboldt stuff with a comedic spin.

The poster for the show features this Elvira-looking chick, leaning against a headstone in a cemetery. She holding a lit fattie. A zombie hand reaches up out of the grave at her feet. It’s holding a little urn with a cannabis flower coming out of the top. I spy a little weed leaf at the bottom of the zombie wrist.

Hilarious. You won’t find a comic revue like this anywhere else.

“Resin From The Dead” also features the SoHum Girls Band. Heart of the Redwood Hospice provides beer and wine, and the Garberville Theater provides the munchies. The show runs at the Garberville Theater on Aug. 28-20 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 31 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20, admission is free for kids under 12.

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Things are happening in Willow Creek. Last Wednesday, there was a community meeting of cannabis people at the Veterans Park. Local activists Thomas Edrington, Luke Brunner and Richard Marks were there, rallying the cannabis farmers in an informal setting, complete with some BBQ. These guys rep California Cannabis Voice Humboldt (CCVH), the political action committee.

CCV sent out a press release about the affair. Ryan Burns promptly shared the goods with LoCO readers. Read Burns’ commentary and the full press release here.

The meeting was well-attended, CCV Communications Coordinator Allison Edrington told me on Friday. She estimates that about 30-40 people turned out. Women were present. She says that water shortage was a big topic of discussion and that interest in cannabis tourism was expressed by some attendees too.

The CCVH crew is totally on a roll with the death of SB 1262, the maligned “poison Trojan Horse pill” bill. Now CCVH has its sights set on drafting a medical cannabis ordinance for Humboldt County by the end of a “stakeholders meeting” in October.

Marks spoke the other night in Willow Creek about the plan for the October meeting. According to the CCV press release, Marks gave the following deets:

“By the end of that event, a draft medical cannabis ordinance for Humboldt County will be drafted with input from many stakeholders, including representatives from environmental groups, the cannabis community, government agencies, medical and patient advocacy groups and the business community.”

Go, growers.

* * *

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has been busy too, busting out with a motley of bust press releases last week.

Deputies served a search warrant on Mahan Rd. down in SoHum on August 19th. The HCSO press release was short and to the point with a few pretty photos.

photo courtesy Lost Coast Outpost
photo courtesy Lost Coast Outpost

It includes the following info:

“When deputies arrived, they searched the property and located 1,077 growing marijuana plants ranging from 8 feet to 15 feet tall. They also located five adults who were all detained and identified.”

(Dude, fifteen-foot tall weed plants? Weed tourists would love to see that shit in real life, minus the law enforcement presence.)

The next day, Aug. 20, deputies went for a triple header. According to the PR about their action-packed day, deputies served a search warrant out by Bridgeville first thing in the morning. Two-thousand-plus plants at this spot and 340 pounds.

Then they served a search warrant on Tompkins Hill Rd. in Eureka. Deputies found cash, guns and paperwork indicating ownership of the Tompkins Hill Road Property and Highway 36 Property.

Then deputies went out to Ferndale to serve yet another search warrant. Two men were detained, one was arrested. They found greenhouses, some weed.

The photos were not so hot with this press release. They lack pizzaz.

But the press release for the bust on Aug. 21 out Honeydew is rich with photos and details of alleged eco-violations at the grow site. The lead photo on the LoCO post of the LEO dude in the garden and the other shot of the foot in the dust-laden road are totes compelling.

photo courtesy Lost Coast Outpost
photo courtesy Lost Coast Outpost

Law enforcement weed bust PR is fascinating to see in full-color LoCO-mode.

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Before you go off to enjoy your never-ending-harvest-summer day, I want to bring your attention to Willits News reporter Adrian Baumann. He’s hitting the weed beat down there, coming out with some interesting stories.

In his Aug. 15 story, Baumann debunks the hot “rumor” about private vigilantes raiding private grows down near Laytonville. Check that out, if you haven’t caught wind of that whole thing yet.

And in his Aug. 20 story, Baumann writes about getting a tour of an exemplary weed farm. CBS 5 from San Francisco got in on the tour. Baumann writes that a rep from New York Times was there earlier in the day too.

Emerald Growers Association Executive Director Hezekiah Allen led the farm tour. (Reads like EGA went through a change of leadership.) Allen is rocking a pink shirt. Some dudes just like pink shirts.

Check out Baumann’s best line:

“The owner of the farm also appears to have recently stepped out of the Ganges, with a long white beard, traditional Hindu clothing, and a tilaka, a red smudge of pigment centered between his eyebrows.”

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Northern California weed people and farmers defy stereotypes… So many facets to the cannabis community. So many colorful characters.

However you’re involved this next week, I hope you enjoy what you do.


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THE FOLLOWING is running on Craig's List. 'Corrupt' isn't easily applied to Thompson in the usual cash-for-votes sense, the Spiro Agnew sense of bags of cash for this or that favor the cash-less aren't going to get. In fact he's just another mainstream Democrat with a strong core of support from Big Wine, teacher's unions, lib-labs generally. Of course he's on board for spying on Americans and a blank check for the serial catastrophes underway in the Middle East. How many Democrats are opposed?

“We need your help to get rid of a corrupt Congressman:


  1. Jim Updegraff August 25, 2014

    People kiss their dogs, talk babytalk to their dogs, sleep with their dogs and at home feed them at the dining table. Just a lot of nut cases and I sure as hell do not to be in a restuarant where some mutt at the next table is sloppy up food and the owner is babytalking to the mutt about what a good doggie the mutt is.

  2. Rick Weddle August 25, 2014

    Williams as ‘canary?’ So, you’re saying the smart ones are checking out? Or our utmost genius is marked by a sensitivity to human weakness and fallacy…and inability to do anything about it…?
    Williams was a Great Healer whose innate grasp of funny did all who saw him a world of Good. Maybe in his world of artificially powered celebrity scorched earth he was too alone with that sense and the clouds of futility. It’s a sorry world thus pictured that drives the good ones gone.

    But doesn’t it rankle a little to think the smart ones are saying, ‘we’re smart enough to work techno-miracles, but not quite smart enough to survive it, and paying attention is too stressful, so hell with it…?’

    If this homo sapiens organism is found successful after all, it’ll be because we did better than this. And we have; otherwise, we wouldn’t have got this far to start with, and remained here in spite of ‘our’ very own efforts (‘unthinkable’ ones) to get extinct.

  3. Whyte Owen August 25, 2014

    On dogs: We’re just behind (or ahead of?) Europe, where they are welcome inside as well, and in the grocery markets. When, in 1980, I went to Brussels to interview for a position, my host took me to an outstanding tiny Vietnamese restaurant where the owner had to shoo his cat of the charger plate on the table to sit us down. The dinner was extraordinary. The issue with pets at the table is not hygiene, but their table manners which, of course, reflect the social values of their owners. Our dogs have been allowed in the dining room and kitchen, but begging is strictement interdite.

    One of the best things about life on the Mendonoma coast is that dogs are welcome on the trails and beaches.

  4. Jim Updegraff August 25, 2014

    Dogs are considered a delicacy in southeast asia and china. a suitable place for dogs in the restaurants is on a serving tray on the dining table.

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