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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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SOME 300 FIREFIGHTERS continue to fight the stubborn fire still burning Monday afternoon between Redwood and Potter valleys. CalFire says it's half-contained and has burned nearly 450 acres, five homes, two fire trucks and a fire pick-up. The blaze was first reported about 4 p.m. Saturday.

MONDAY EVENING UPDATE (6pm, Sep 15): 403 acres ("decrease in acreage due to more accurate mapping"), 80% contained, 3 injuries. "Fire is burning in a mix of grass, brush, oak and pine trees  Firefighters are working in extreme conditions; high heat, low humidity, with the potential for erratic winds.  Firefighters continue to make great progress on strengthening control lines and mopping up hot spots around the fire perimeter.  The Fire Suppression Repair and Rehabilitation phase has begun.  Firefighting resources have started the demobilization process and are becoming available to support new incidents or return to their home units."

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TERRIBLE HEAD-ON COLLISION just before dawn Monday on 128 opposite the Anderson Valley Elementary School. One person medi-vacced outtahere, another hauled over the hill by AV Ambulance. Who and why await CHP report.

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TWO PROMINENT local wineries gone dry? Their wells, that is, and that's what we're hearing as all of us look skyward and do our individual rain dances.

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INCLUDED IN SUNDAY'S COUNTY FAIR PARADE, always a lively affair, was a small truck with a sign that said, “Mendocino County Supervisors.” The only Supervisor on the float was 5th District Supervisor Dan Hamburg, cuddled up against his girlfriend, former Point Arena mayor, Lauren Sinnott. I didn't see the effete little dog that these days accompanies the Supervisor even to public meetings, but the tiny beast may have been in the Supervisor's pocket.

TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE and maybe even a cruel aside here, but I can't resist: in my experience, and I'll concede major limitations, when an adult male not only falls in love with a small dog, but drives around with the yapping son of a beehive, it's a sure sign that full-on senility is only a woof-woof away. Given Supervisor Hamburg's performance in office, not to mention his florid history as cult and conspiracy nut, I think we can now safely say the Supervisor is certifiably 5150. Boys in the white coats? Courtesy telephone please.

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JUST SAYIN' but this young local guy — an employed local young guy who's supporting a child — seems to have been unnecessarily complicated by a State Parks Ranger. The employed young pop and a friend had rehabbed an old jeep that had long rusted at Bob Maki's garage in Philo. Finally getting it to run, and downing a few beers to get themselves running, the two shade tree mechanics took the thing out for a test drive, only to have it conk out on 128 not far from Hendy Woods. A Park Ranger spotted the two mechanics as they puzzled over their stalled project and pulled in. One beer drinker ran, our young guy stayed and was duly arrested for driving on a suspended license and DUI. Thing is, the young guy arrested hadn't been driving but he is on probation. Worse, he does tend to screw up often enough that law enforcement would regard him with extreme suspicion even if he was home asleep. For three long hours the Park Ranger and the young guy waited for CHP to arrive from Ukiah to take the young guy back to the County Jail in Ukiah, which seems to me a majorly waste of CHP and Park Ranger time, but there it is. We need nuanced law enforcement of the type Deputy Squires (and now Deputy Craig) provided and provide. Squires saved the County huge tax money by arresting only the people who needed to be arrested, not everyone he encountered who broke the law. If everyone around here was hauled off for law violations the population would be halved.

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OUR OPEN HOUSE here at your beloved community newspaper was a great success, thank you for asking. Quite a number of thrill seekers made the onerous climb up the hidden staircase, among them an interesting young man who did two tours in Iraq and a North County woman who has got to be among the most versatile persons in the County, and this is a County teeming with can-do people. This lady has done everything from truck driving to home construction. She brought us some homemade beer that was perfecto, apparently aware that we've always been partial to strong drink. Another lady brought us an early platter of cherry tomatoes and, as the day progressed, we began to suspect that we'd died and were looking in our own wake, such was the volume of food and drink. It was all so merry we had to waive the $2 full body hugs fee. Thank you all for coming, and we'll do it again next year, Fair time.

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BALO WINERY — Tim Mullins. The major rehab of the Live Oak Building — Tim Mullins. The big horse barn and pond going in at the Philo end of Anderson Valley Way — Tim Mullins. The guy is almost singlehandedly re-doing the Anderson Valley visual, and who the heck is he? The Great Gatsby?

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WE WROTE to Ukiah mayor Phil Baldwin with a new Courthouse que pasa: Hola, Phil: Can you explain how it is that the new County Courthouse no one wants is proceeding outside Ukiah processes? No planning commission, no city council? Ukiah paying for a traffic study?

PHIL, always a gent despite the tons of abuse he gets, took a while to reply, but he did: “Sorry for delay in response. The courthouse developer, State of CA, is exempt from our planning process and permit requirements. Traffic study will consider feasibility of connecting Clay St. to Leslie and Hospital Drive to that Clay extension. City does own land on Leslie and NCRA has additional land for RR Depot area private development. Circulation is and will be problem with build out at this site and others throughout City. And no, this traffic study will find no magic to resolve traffic back-ups, yet it needs to done in advance of the extensions. As you know, I've agreed that for less than half cost of new courthouse, the old one could have been renovated and made safe for all working and attending there. I also believe a fifteen minute jitney from old courthouse to new should work just fine to get DA's, public defenders, and others interested to trials on time. Phil”

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OVER THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS there have been a series of thefts of mail from rural mail boxes in the Ukiah, Redwood Valley, and Willits areas. Numerous victims have reported mail thefts to various jurisdictions including the US Postal Service, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, and the Ukiah Police Department.


Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies identified a possible suspect in these thefts as Kristalee Eriksen, a Redwood Valley resident. Deputies attempted to contact Erkisen several times without success. On January 29, 2014, shortly before noon, deputies received an anonymous report that Eriksen was at her home on East Road in Redwood Valley. Deputies responded to that location where they contacted and arrested Eriksen on several outstanding warrants. The warrants charged Eriksen with felony burglary as well as misdemeanor charges related to failure to pay a fine related to a battery charge. While at the location deputies also located 3 grams of methamphetamine with digital scales, drug paraphernalia, and a large bin full of opened and unopened mail that did not belong to Eriksen. At total of 47 potential mail theft victims were identified with 19 different addresses in Willits, Redwood Valley and Ukiah. Eriksen was also arrested for possession of stolen property, possession of methamphetamine for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail and is being held on $80,000.00 bail. The case is still being investigated as all of the possible mail theft victims have not been contacted. These types of thefts often involve attempts of identity theft to obtain or access credit or bank account information. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office encourages the public to be diligent and monitor their personal bank accounts, credit history, and credit card accounts as they may not know they were the victim of mail theft.

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EVER NOTICE how many "public" meetings are held during work hours? These things are convenient for the public servants who get paid to attend them, but the rest of us?

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Mendocino County Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Workforce Education & Training Program Meeting will be held on Thursday, September 18, 2014, from 3:00-4:00 at HHSA, 1120 S. Dora St, in Conference Room 1. Members of the public, consumers and family members, MHSA Stakeholders and community agencies are encouraged to attend to provide suggestions and ideas to increase the number of diverse, qualified individuals in the public mental health system workforce to remedy the shortage of qualified individuals to provide services to address severe mental illness and to expand the capacity of California’s incumbent public mental health workforce to meet California’s diverse and dynamic needs. Additionally, in developing the public mental health workforce, this meeting facilitates a robust statewide, regional, and local infrastructure. Meeting agendas are published at: For further information, contact: Robin Meloche, MHSA Coordinator at 707-472-2332.

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I am a plumber, 50 years in the trade, Vietnam veteran, college (no degree), 40 years living in Mendocino County; an LA transplant having set down deep roots in Little River/Mendocino County. I did not come to our rural county because of good roads and easy access to services.

I was drawn by the clean air and the can-do, self-sufficient population. I am now thrust into the world of mental health care and oversight, as a consumer myself and as a family member of a severely mentally ill adult.

Two years ago our County Board of Supervisors considered the adoption and implementation of State Law AB 1421, or Laura's Law. Our population here on the coast had just experienced an unnerving, catastrophic example of what the results of untreated mental illness can bring into our small community. We learned that death and fear are no joke. It hit home hard emotionally and financially, with devastating effects on family, friends, businesses, the hospital and the community in general.

At that time, due to funding concerns, the Board of Supervisors decided to seek alternatives to Laura's Law, and established a County Mental Health Court system (“the 11:00 Calendar”). Through the good efforts of Judge Ann Moorman, Supervisor John McCowen, Public Defender Linda Thompson, and many others involved, for the past ten months we have had a fully functioning Mental Health Court in the Ukiah Valley. The 11:00 Calendar has taken over supervision of 43 mental health patients who have committed low level crimes and misdemeanors and found themselves in jail. This eases our overburdened jail system, and more appropriately puts these clients into the court-guided hands of our mental health system. This is as it should be, and the County should be recognized for the efficacy of this good work.

Our work is not done. On May 7th of this year the County Mental Health Board, after hours of special meetings and personal research, voted 9-0 to advise the Board of Supervisors to fully implement Laura's Law. This measure is an effort to voluntarily and persistently engage the severely mentally ill who lack the understanding of their own need for treatment and medical intervention, possibly endangering themselves and others, before they become involved in the criminal justice system. The next step is for our Board of Supervisors to adopt Laura’s Law for Mendocino County.

Laura’s Law’s services now can be funded through the State Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). It is the intention of MHSA to serve and fund those underserved, not served and inappropriately served who are living in our communities. This also is the intention of Laura's Law.

We must maintain the progress our county has made, and continue to seek better and meaningful care for our neighbors suffering from the effects of severe mental illness. Through the mechanisms provided in Laura’s Law, a step in the right direction can be taken by our county, to join the over 14,000,000 individuals in our state already covered by AB 1421, as well as those living in the 45 other states where Assisted Outpatient Treatment has been implemented. Please encourage your Supervisor to vote YES to adopt AB 1421 in Mendocino County, and attend the meeting if possible, when this vital issue comes before the Board during the latter part of October, date and time to be announced later.

John G. Wetzler, Little River

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FLYNN CREEK CLEANUP — Join Anderson Valley Land Trust and Navarro River Resource Center for Coastal Cleanup Day on Flynn Creek. Saturday, September 20, 2014. 9AM-Noon. Please contact Trey at 707-895-3150 or for more information and to volunteer.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 15, 2014

Betts, Campos, Channel, Demattei, Fields, Goodnough, Grossman
Betts, Campos, Channel, Demattei, Fields, Goodnough, Grossman

KEVIN BETTS, Willits. Under influence of controlled substance.

GABRIEL CAMPOS, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

JESSICA CHANNEL, Ukiah. Burglary, under influence of controlled substance, harboring a felony suspect, conspiracy, probation revocation.

JULIAN DEMATTEI, Cloverdale. Pot cultivation/possession for sale, armed with firearm, probation revocation.

ANTHONY FIELDS, Fort Bragg. DUI, Evasion, probation revocation.

JOSHUA GOODNOUGH, Drunk in public, probation revocation.

MONICA GROSSMAN, Calpella. Probation revocation.

Hensley, Howie, Keys, Nauslar, Potter, Sanchez, Stroud
Hensley, Howie, Keys, Nauslar, Potter, Sanchez, Stroud

CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

MITCHELL HOWIE, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

JOSHUA KEYS, Ukiah. Burglary from a vehicle, under the influence of controlled substance, conspiracy.

ANDREW NAUSLAR, Ukiah. Resisting arrest.

CODY POTTER, Hopland. Sale of meth, failure to appear.

SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public, battery against peace officer, resisting arrest. (Frequent flyer.)

JAMES STROUD, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

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by James Kunstler

There are times when events are in charge, not personalities. The unseen forces that hold the affairs of nations and economies in equilibrium dissolve, particles fly out of the many centers, and things heat up toward criticality.

Glance in the rear-view mirror and say goodbye to the Era of Wishful Thinking. This was the time when the USA was inspired by its Master Wish: to be able to keep driving to Wal-Mart forever. Looked at closely, the contemporary idea of Utopia was always a shabby package. On one side, all the pointless driving. For most Americans it was nothing like the TV advertising fantasy of a lone luxury car plying a coastal highway in low, golden light. More like being stuck near the junction of I-55 and I-90 in Chicago at rush hour in July in an overheating Dodge Grand Caravan with three screaming ADD kids whose smart phone batteries just died — plus your fiercely over-filled bladder and no empty Snapple bottle to resort to.

On the other side, there’s the Wal-Mart part: the unbelievable cornucopia of insanely cheap plastic goodies, like, somewhere in the 1990s America became one giant loading dock for nearly free stuff. Wasn’t that fun?

Now, everybody has got the full rig, from the flatscreen to the salad shooter, but we’re tired of seeing Kim Kardashian’s booty, and nobody really liked salad, even when you could shoot the stuff into a bowl. The thrill is gone, and so is the paycheck that was your ticket to the orgy. It’s especially gloomy over in the food department, where the boxes of Lucky Charms are suddenly half the weight and twice the price. And that was going to be the family dinner! Must be Nature’s way of telling you it’s time for a new tattoo.

In this weird liminal time since the so-called Crash of 2008 leadership has depended on lies and subterfuges to prop up the illusion of resilience. One biggie is the shale oil revolution, kind of a national parlor trick to wow the multitudes for a long enough moment to convince them that their troubles with the national energy supply are over. Even people paid to think were hosed on this one. Wait until they discover that the shale oil producers have never made a buck producing shale oil, only on the sale of leases and real estate to “greater fools” and creaming off the froth of the complex junk financing deals behind their exertions. Expect that mirage to dissipate in the next 24 months, perhaps sooner if the price of oil keeps sinking toward the sub $90-a-barrel level, where there’s no economically rational reason to bother drilling and fracking.

The lies, frauds, and cons run between the axis of Wall Street and Washington had two fatal consequences with still-lagging effects. 1) They destroyed the capacity for markets to establish the real price of anything — rendering markets useless. 2) They disabled capital formation to the degree that we might not have the money to rebuild an economy to replace the “financialized” matrix of rackets that currently pretends to function. A lot of observers like myself have been waiting for the moment when the fog of pretense lifts and exposes all the broken machinery within. We may be so close now that you can smell it.

Change is in the air, literally, as we wake this still-summer morning with the thermometer so low you wish the furnace was prepped and ready to run. Much is in the air, too, where the news of events near and far provoke swirls of transformation in the disposition of people, nations, and affairs. Who would have guessed a few years ago how nervous Scotland would make the whole Western world? The sharpies at the Pentagon, and the White House, and the CIA may be waiting with indigestion and palpitations for the next ISIS decapitation video, but maybe you have to wonder instead which of five thousand shopping malls across this land will be visited by black-flagged desperados armed with automatic rifles and RPG’s.

Finally, there are the people themselves of this sclerotic polity: too dumb and distracted to help themselves, full of inchoate grievance and resentment, tending ever deeper into darkness. Welcome to the season of the witch in the Era of Bad Feeling. Somewhere “out there” there is a light of virtue waiting for us, but we are a long way from finding our way to it.


  1. debrakeipp September 16, 2014

    Ms. Erickson brings to mind Mr. Nobles. Remember him? He (Point Arena) didn’t want to go to trial for somethingorother and they say he burnt down the courthouse to lose the records. I wasn’t here and didn’t see it, nor am I aware of which courthouse, but the mighty AVA may be able to shed some light. Wonder if she was screwing with the courthouse, or if she was trying to steal mailed $$ through the mail. How’d she get in there anyway?

  2. Harvey Reading September 16, 2014

    “EVER NOTICE how many “public” meetings are held during work hours? These things are convenient for the public servants who get paid to attend them, but the rest of us?”

    Yes, it happens everywhere, has been for decades. The chambermaids and ag types don’t want to deal with us rabble. We might question their great wisdom.

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