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Mendocino County Today: Friday, August 29, 2014

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CORRECTION: Our report in the August 16, 2014 Mendocino County Today that a Mr. Kevin Bouthellier had been arrested for grand theft of construction equipment was incorrect. The original report was based on a misreading of a confusing Sheriff’s report for that day’s incidents which was in fact a report that Mr. Bouthellier had been the victim of the theft. Our apologies to Mr. Bouthellier for the error.

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Michael Katz, Tara Dragani
Michael Katz, Tara Dragani


(Tara Dragani was one of the tree-sitters who was arrested with Michael Katz during the Bypass construction.)

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TODAY'S IRRITANTS. Never mind the big stuff, major atrocities like Middle East jihads and Israel's ongoing slaughter of Palestinians; why is Joan Rivers heart attack headline news? Why was a 9-year-old girl anywhere near an Uzi let alone firing one? Ice Bucketing seemed lame the first time it happened at the end of football games, now they're in that special category of painfully unfunny, right up there with Jerry Lewis. Nine-year-olds with Uzis, Joan Rivers, ice buckets, drought, the Press Democrat — all of a piece and sure signs that these are indeed The Last Days.


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THE COMPLAINTS about police forces not being reflective of the ethnic compositions of the communities they police go back at least 50 years, with little change in the ethnic compositions of police forces. Any discussion of policing reminds me of the Lenny Bruce routine about The First Police Force with The First Businessman saying something like, “Here's a badge. Just go out there and keep people in line. I'd do it myself but I gotta do business with these assholes.”

FUNDAMENTALLY, that's what policing often comes down to — brute force. Someone is doing something he (inevitably he) isn't supposed to be doing and won't stop. You don't want to stop him because it's dangerous and you just put on a clean shirt. So you call a cop to do the stopping.

RIDING HERD is not only a hard job, it's often an impossible job, a job I, for one, wouldn't have the patience for. I mean really, a job dealing with drunks, depressing domestic disputes, bar fights, crazy people, and not to mention the several million armed maniacs loose in our crumbling land. It's surprising there aren't more police shootings.

SO, HOW GOOD are Mendocino County cops? Pretty good, I'd say. We very seldom get complaints about this or that one deploying unnecessary force, the most common complaint about cops in other areas, and we're in constant touch with the, ahem, less orderly segments of Mendocino County society. We'd hear about it if, say, a cop went off on someone he'd arrested.

I REMEMBER a guy complaining that he got beat up by staff in the Mendocino County Jail. I happened to know him, and I knew that he was combative in the extreme when he was drunk, so I went with the forces of law and order on that one.

SOME YEARS AGO, we looked into a complaint involving a since-deceased Mendocino County Sheriff's deputy. The guy doing the complaining had a long history of meth use and petty crime. He said the deputy took half of the large amount of cash he had on him at the time he was taken into custody. I was skeptical because I doubted the arrestee would have that kind of money, but another cop later told me that he was pretty sure the theft had occurred because the first cop was “dirty." There was no way of proving it one way or the other.

THEN there was the Coast episode of deputies tazing a large, naked woman who was running around in the street swinging her amulet and making a lot of noise. That one had some hippies yelling “Police brutality.” I doubt I'd have tried an open-field tackle myself, but something like that? Who knows? You'd have to have been there.

GIVEN THE MENDO context of an economy pegged to intoxicants, one of them illegal, and given the grim fact that the cops also now have to do mental health's heavy lifting, and given the large number of people on crazy-making tweek, and throw in gang punks in Fort Bragg, Willits and Ukiah — given all that, the cops are doing just fine. Most of us would be up on brutality charges every week if we had to deal with it.

MENDO POLICE DIVERSITY? Without doing a poll, not too diverse, with a need for more women and more bilingual cops.

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Labor Day 1970

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A READER WRITES: As the AVA mentioned the dearth of major California quakes in recent years, I thought you’d like to see just how rare they have been compared to the past, especially during the 1890s and early 1900s. This list is pretty scary.

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ON THURSDAY we received what Senior Deputy Clerk of the Board Tim Mitchell called a “Notice of Public Hearing” having to do with the Board of Supervisors upcoming budget hearings via email: “Dear Supervisors, Department Heads and Associated Press,” said Mr. Mitchell. “Please find attached, a Notice of Public Hearing regarding the 2014-2015 Final Budget of Mendocino County. Thank you. — Mendocino County Board of Supervisors & Executive Office staff. Phone: (707) 463-4441. Fax: (707) 463-5649

TO WHICH WE REPLIED: “Dear CEO/Staff, Ordinarily, notices of a public hearings are legal ads, with accompanying proof of publication, as our local school district and community services district routinely do. We are assuming that the Notice of Public Hearing you have sent is the same arrangement and we will publish it in our next edition, September 3, 2014, one time, for the usual nominal fee unless instructed otherwise. Formatted as a legal ad it comes out to two ad columns wide by 5 inches or 10 column inches; at $3.50 per column inch the one-time publication cost is $35. We will bill you and provide proof of publication immediately after publication. Thank you.”

MR. MITCHELL REPLIED: “Good Morning. Thank you for your response and I hope this message finds you doing well. The notice provided was for informational purposes only. There is no need to publish unless the AVA would like to advise its readers of the hearing. The official public notice has been published in the Ukiah Daily Journal. Take care, Tim; Tim Mitchell, Senior Deputy Clerk of the Board”

THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL of course isn't read beyond the Ukiah Valley and is owned by an outside media corporation which of course means local tax money winds up in Denver instead of Mendocino County. Like other government agencies, the County is required by the Brown Act to post the budget hearing notice as a legal ad. They seem to think that publishing it as a legal notice in the Ukiah Daily Journal meets the minimum legal requirement. The rest of the County’s legally adjudicated news outlets — including the AVA and at least two other locally-owned newspapers — are apparently supposed to publish the notice out of the goodness of their hearts, never mind that it costs only $35 to meet the minimum requirement with the AVA, and $180 with the Ukiah Daily Journal. For just $35 they could meet the legal requirement, buy local, save themselves $145 and send the “informational purposes only” copy to the Ukiah Daily Journal. They’d get just as much distribution for a fraction of the cost.

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SEPTEMBER 19, 1930 – JULY 30, 2014

Richard David ‘Dick’ Bristow, a member of the Anderson Valley community since retiring to the Philo area with his wife and partner in life, Barbara Jean Roberts Bristow, in the early 1990s, died in his home on July 30, 2014. He was 83.

Richard & Barbara Bristow
Richard & Barbara Bristow

A teacher at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill and resident of Walnut Creek for a quarter century, he continued his public and community service in retirement as a member of the Anderson Valley Volunteer Fire Department and as a public Board member for nonprofit North Coast Energy Services in Ukiah. While teaching high school, he also worked on Saturdays for many years as a National Traffic Safety Institute instructor.

Being a volunteer firefighter fulfilled Mr. Bristow’s desire to be part of the community and he took great joy at finding a second career in the Anderson Valley department. His service with the department started in May of 1993 and he retired at the end of 2008, the year he helped fight the series of lightning-caused fires in the area. After he retired from the department, he volunteered as a lookout atop Signal Ridge. According to a fellow volunteer and neighbor, Mr. Bristow was a good friend, always willing to help his little community up on the hill, and will be missed.

Born in San Diego on Sept. 19, 1930, he moved with his family to Sacramento in 1939 when his father, a former Army Air Corps pilot and longtime civilian aircraft maintenance manager for the US Air Force, was transferred with Rockwell Field, San Diego, personnel to the Sacramento Air Depot at McClellan Field prior to World War II. Young Mr. Bristow attended Sacramento schools, including Sacramento City College, earned a bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State College, and finally his General Secondary Credential for teaching from San Francisco State College in 1961.

Mr. Bristow met the love of his life, Barbara, when both attended college in Sacramento. They enjoyed working on the school newspaper and adventures with fellow students to Yosemite National Park, Putah Creek, and other fun places. Barbara would later claim it was her bright red MG TF sports car that Mr. Bristow desired most. In 1955, the couple followed their hearts and dreams, leaving Sacramento behind in a whirlwind move to the cultural mecca of San Francisco, where they were soon married by a Municipal Court Judge at City Hall on Nov. 19.

The couple enjoyed working and living in The City during the late 50s, especially the North Beach nightlife, as Mr. Bristow earned his teaching credential. Their first son, Miles, was born in San Francisco in 1959, and second, Christopher, in Walnut Creek in 1963 after the couple had moved there when Mr. Bristow accepted his first teaching job at College Park High School.

Barbara would focus on raising the boys, making the family’s home a tolerant shelter of love in the stormy 1960s and early 1970s world of cultural and political turmoil. The couple loved to talk politics, backed movements for peace and social justice, and generously supported family members in need and community and charity groups, while living modestly themselves. Their concern for mankind was perhaps only exceeded by their compassion for animals, with countless, dogs, cats, birds, and other pets part of the family.

Children raised and his career completed, the couple again picked up and left family and friends behind when they made the retirement move to rural Mendocino County in the early 1990s, trading a comfortable Walnut Creek residence for a cramped trailer during the lengthy construction of their Philo home. The homestead became a holiday gathering place for the extended family, with Easter egg hunts and birthday parties for grandchildren.

Mr. Bristow supported Barbara as she followed her spiritual lights and faced periodic health challenges, including her several-year decline and heartbreaking final surrender to Alzheimer’s disease on Dec. 12, 2011. Mr. Bristow looked back on their 56-year marriage proudly, but he was bewildered by the insidious disease that had taken his partner and he never recovered from the loss.

Mr. Bristow was a handyman and enjoyed countless projects, some finished, some not. The ventures included building sailing boats, maintaining vehicles, and constructing and finishing much of his dream retirement home in Philo. Visiting grandchildren enjoyed his guidance while crafting toys from scrap wood in his cluttered garage workshop.

Overcoming great personal challenges gave Mr. Bristow an eternal optimism, sympathy for the underdog, and the impulse to lend a helping hand. He was born with a cleft palate, but never shared much about the physical or emotional challenges. Stricken by acute appendicitis in his youth, he credited the then new wonder drug of penicillin for saving his life. Both he and Barbara survived a rollover crash of their MG sports car on Highway 1 in the late 1950s. During his retirement, two major surgeries would extend the life he cherished. In his final years he would come to welcome regular visits from care providers so he could stay in his home. He at first resisted, but later appreciated, the relief of home hospice care. However, his life’s ending, frustratingly, did not fit his familiar pattern of independence, survival, and recovery.

Mr. Bristow is survived by son, Miles, of Woodland, and daughter in-law, Kristi Kavanaugh Bristow, of La Vernia, Texas, and son and daughter in-law Christopher and JayLou, of Concord. He is also survived by grandchildren Courtnie, Bradford, David, and Daniel, and great-grandchildren Padraic and Eisley. He was predeceased by his father, Dee, mother, Edna, and sister, Sandee Garner.

He is remembered fondly by nieces and nephews, relatives of Barbara, neighbors and friends in the Anderson Valley community, and care providers. His loyal-to-the-end dog, Nellie, has been adopted by family members. A private, informal memorial service is planned. The family wishes to thank staff and volunteers of Phoenix Hospice and Hospice of Ukiah for their compassionate care and assistance.

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i will wade out

till my thighs are steeped in burning flowers

I will take the sun in my mouth

and leap into the ripe air


with closed eyes

to dash against darkness

in the sleeping curves of my body

Shall enter fingers of smooth mastery

with chasteness of sea-girls

Will i complete the mystery

of my flesh

I will rise

After a thousand years


And set my teeth in the silver of the moon

--ee cummings

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In some state and local courts it is still possible on occasion to get an almost fair trial if you can afford an attorney well enough connected to provide it. But even in non-federal courts the system is stacked against the defendant. Many prisons have been privatized, and privatized prisons require high incarceration rates in order to be profitable. The same holds for juvenile detention prisons. Not long ago two Pennsylvania judges were convicted for accepting payments from private detention prisons for each kid they sentenced.

Judges prefer plea bargains despite the fact that plea bargains amount to self-incrimination, because plea bargains dispense with time-consuming trials that cause backed-up and crowded court dockets. Trials also demand far more work on the part of a judge than accepting a plea bargain.

The fact of the matter is that in America today you are expected to convict yourself. Even your lawyer expects it. The torture is not physical; it is psychological. The system is severely biased against the defendant. Conviction by a jury brings a much heavier sentence than conviction by a deal that the defendant’s attorney negotiates with the prosecutor’s office. All the prosecutor wants is a conviction. Give him his conviction for his record as an effective prosecutor, and you get off lighter. (Paul Craig Roberts)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 28, 2014

Bolton, Davis, Diaz, Gaeta, Geroux
Bolton, Davis, Diaz, Gaeta, Geroux

JOHN BOLTON, Willits. Public intoxication of a controlled substance. (Frequent flyer.)

JEREMY DAVIS, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revoked.

JESSICA DIAZ, Redwood Valley. Contempt of court.

JUAN GAETA, Fort Bragg. Public intoxication of a controlled substance.

PAULA GEROUX, Willits. Marijuana cultivation, possession for sale of marijuana, possession of meth.

CHRISTINA HEALY, Albion. Robbery, burglary of a dwelling. (Photo not available.)

Johnson, McConnon, Millman, North, Nova
Johnson, McConnon, Millman, North, Nova

EDWARD JOHNSON, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

PATRICK MCCONNON, Lucerne. Drunk in public.

BRITTANY MILLMAN, Oakland. Driving without a license, failure to appear.

MICHAEL NORTH, Fort Bragg. Possession of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia, probation revoked.

WALTER NOVA, Hopland. DUI with priors, probation revoked.

Schatzinger, Sisneros, Valencia, Winelander, Zuritapaz
Schatzinger, Sisneros, Valencia, Winelander, Zuritapaz

MATTHEW SCHATZINGER, Willits. Failure to appear.

ANTHONY SISNEROS, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

JORGE VALENCIA, Redwood Valley. Marijuana cultivation, possession for sale of marijuana.

HARRY WINELANDER, Willits. DUI - drugs only, possession of meth.

MARCELINO ZURITAPAZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

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by Jonathan Middlebrook

THANKS, to Supervisor Carre Brown, CEO Carmel Angelo, Deputy CEO Kristi Dunham & their troupe of County notables who went errant from Fortress Low Gap to the Calpella/Redwood Valley fire station early last week. Their mission was worthwhile: Bring government to the citizens at an hour (5:30 p.m) when working but interested people might postpone dinner and attend to government. The caravan brought gifts: entirely useful tote bags, cookies, water & a Power Point presentation titled “Planning the Future for Mendocino County. . .” read to us by Ms. Angelo & Ms. Dunham.

MSSRS, MISSES, MRS: what’s the plural of “Ms.”? — Wikipedia article informative, enjoyable. I can’t go with “mss” since in my trade that means “manuscripts,” so I’ll use “Mses.” Heaven knows how to pronounce it, but can’t be worse, or more accurate, than “messers,” for the plural of my kind.

The Initial Haptics (“creating the feeling of something we’ve lost touch with”) of such hinterland meetings — there have been 5 of them around the county — are good. Firehouses, Veterans & Grange halls. Those are We-the-People places, where in the 19th century Walt Whitman’s civil authority doffed its hat to us. I haven’t registered how modern, female authority flatters the public. Possibly female authority does not flatter. In any case, give me a firehouse over the haunted vacuity of 501 Low Gap (so many ‘lettings-go’ of bureaucrats so ill-equipped for the private sector! Improbably, the 501 warren reverberates ‘running on empty!’) — WIWAB (“when I was,” etc. in New England) the blue collar vote organized itself in the firehouse, often to stymie elite largesse: One year, the Stockbridge Town Meeting voted down a grave-diggers’ pay raise (only two dead. Cremated). Ursula Niebuhr Alassed poor Yorick, to no avail. No pay raise. — But this is 2014, and Power Point gives off the dead-air scent of contemporary management idiom: “How do we Accomplish these goals with what is in the future?” — Goal 1 is “No growth/No industry”?!. (But we know what you mean.)

FIRST QUESTION is the big one: A resident asks, “Where are my neighbors?” (There were perhaps 5 actual residents attending, heavily outnumbered by the govt. cadre.) Locally or nationally, Citizen & -ness Frustration, attended by a sense of Done Deal, do not attend dinnertime meetings. (County Goal #4 is “Public disillusionment with government.”)

A MOMENT AGO we were at the Calpella/RV firehouse with Mses. Angelo, Dunham & Co., wondering how, in the County’s power-pointed words, to “Accomplish” the goal of “Public disillusionment with government.” Overall, that job’s a national one, requiring the synergy of President and Koch brothers and Mitch McConnell. Still, from my provincial point of view, I’d say our BoS has done a pretty good job on the local level. — That is, they’ve responded to the Grand Jury report on the Library.

First off, the BoS has made a chuckle of the County organizational chart, which displays our local separation of powers. On that chart, the CEO has charge of a dozen or so departments & branches, the County museum, etc., while the Supes distinctly have charge of the CEO and of a dozen specified entities, first of which is the Library and last of which is (ironically, given current blanditry) the Grand Jury itself. Don’t tell the Superior Court.

EVADING statutory responsibility in their response to the GJ, our BoS repeatedly quotes California law: “The county free library is under the general supervision of the board of supervisors, etc.” They then blandly hand that control to the CEO (despite above-noted separation of powers). How can they do that? Their answer (in my words) is nigh Presidential: “Because we can.”€” No law is ever obvious, but I’ll venture that Cal Code 19160 suggests this model for Libraries: Strong Librarian, serving at pleasure of BoS, fired by them if s/he does a bad job at Library development or can’t hold own in vicious turf wars of county govt.

UNDER OUR BoS our Interim Librarian (for whom I have increasing sympathy) has little or no control over his own budget. At the most recent Library Advisory Board meeting the IL said he had no input in creating the 2014-15 Library budget. “They [meaning CEO’s office] handed it to me,” he said. The IL also said, however, that he has weekly discussions with that costly & mysterious life coach I’ve mentioned before. I bet she’s still paid by the Library.

YET MY HEART leapt up when I beheld, on the cover sheet to our Supes’ response to the Grand Jury’s report on the Library: “We agree with the [Grand Jury] findings 1,11.… Unfortunately I’d (mis)remembered GJ finding #11 to say that the BoS should nationally search for & appoint a permanent Librarian. — Not so. GJ finding #11 is just that the position of permanent Librarian is vacant. Sly rhetoricians, our BoS! — Their Library debacle is neither a Wordsworth poem nor a Frank Capra movie. The BoS has had no change of heart (despite the recommendation of their Library Advisory Board). They will not risk open competition for the librarian position. Instead, they are greasing the slide for an inside job. They write: “The [BoS] … can, if it so decides, simply appoint a person to the position that it feels is best qualified, without conducting a recruitment.” — Citizen, that, in its own exasperated words, is your local government in action.

MILLION DOLLARS filched from Library funds? Both sides are reading the same seemingly oddball law: “The salary of the County Librarians shall be paid … out of the same fund as the salaries of other county officers are paid” (Section 19147, Education code). GJ says “same fund, etc.” means “the fund which pays, say, supervisors & CEO,” that is, the general fund. BoS says “same fund” means “Library’s dedicated funds” (Measure A & small percentage of real estate tax, which are not part of the general fund). — Lawyers’ delight! Parsing time!. Bill Clinton, pro bono work? To find out what “same fund” means will require (at best) a search of legislative debate (what discussion led to the provision?) and case law. About 10 hours work @ $350/hour, probably by Sacto specialized law firm. Our defensive-aggressive BoS/CEO can of course lawyer up (no bid contract) at taxpayer expense. GJ has no budget. I suppose Library Advisory Board could try to raise money (I’d contribute).— If only we had a BoS who were capable of saying, “Important question. We’ll hire a LOCAL law firm and instruct it to give us an impartial (not argumentative) opinion & abide by their advice.”

I’VE NO HEART for much more of this. I slightly know each of the supervisors. Likeable, interesting individuals. As a group, however, our BoS is ill-serving us in their handling of Library affairs & I worry that this relatively small matter of the Library may represent a larger pattern of shifting their responsibilities to an unelected CEO whose management needs to be overseen by an engaged BoS. We elect and pay them well, to do that work.

Jonathan Middlebrook, Redwood & Potter valleys

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PRESS DEMOCRAT HEADLINE, August 28, 2014: “Wineries To Tourists: We’re Open!”

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The Community Is Invited To Two September Dance Parties Hosted By Dj Sister Yasmin. Super Fiesta Divertida/Funky Dance Party:Saturday, September 6th at 7pm at 215 Main Street in downtown Point Arena. The tunes will be spinning at Point Arena's hippest, coolest hangout, 215 Main Street in Pt. Arena. DJ Sister Yasmin will get you moving with Cumbia, Salsa, Rhumba, Reggae, World Music, Soul, Funk, R&B and all types of wonderful music for dancing and enjoying. 215 Main serves a delicious bar menu, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages,in a warm and friendly atmosphere. This is a 21 and over event with no cover charge. More info. at 882-3215 and 884-4703.

September Dance Party: Friday, September 12th at 7pm at Bones Roadhouse in uptown Gualala Come early for a great meal before the Dance Party. Bones regular dinner menu is served all day until 10pm, beer and wine and delectable desserts. Bones Roadhouse is the South Coast's home of Blues and Brews and FUN, with a great ocean view, good vibes and friendly folks. Party and Dance to Blues, Jazz, New Orleans, Rock, Funk, R&B, Motown, Cumbia, Salsa, Rhumba, and other Latin Rhythms, and so much more! No cover charge. Information at 884-4703, 884-1188

DJ Sister Yasmin brings you Global Grooves & Funky Beats To make you move your Dancin' Feet! Shine up your Dancining Shoes and see you there!! Forget Your Troubles & Dance! — Bob Marley

One Comment

  1. David Gurney August 29, 2014

    “THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL of course isn’t read beyond the Ukiah Valley…the County is required by the Brown Act to post the budget hearing notice as a legal ad. They seem to think that publishing it as a legal notice in the Ukiah Daily Journal meets the minimum legal requirement.”

    They are NOT meeting Brown Act requirements to provide open public meetings. The Ukiah Daily Journal is not even sold anywhere that I know of here on the Coast. That means Pt. Arena, Albion, Mendocino, Fort Bragg, Westport, and other population centers west of Ukiah are not being informed at all of upcoming actions by the Board of Supervisors.

    The fact is, they like it that way. They prefer us not knowing what’s going on, either before or after their meetings. I went in to ask for the audio of Tuesday morning’s meeting, and was told by their engineer it would take two weeks to get that particular tape up on the website – when in reality it should be easy to provide anyone with an Mp3 recording on the spot, or email it to you that same day.

    When they start calling things “timed” items on their agenda, when timed apparently means that a few members of the public might actually show up, so therefore “we’re gonna have to time ’em” (at 3 lousy minutes)- why do you think these imperious jack-offs that we call Supervisors are completely out of touch with reality, and the public rarely attends their shenanigans that they call meetings.

    Someone needs to get on these folks to force them to comply with the law.


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