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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Nov 6, 2014

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ELECTION NIGHT RESULTS went mostly as expected in Mendocino County with a few surprises. We won't really know the final, official results until weeks from now, but veteran poll watchers say that in this case the election night results are unlikely to change once the thousands of remaining ballots are finally counted.


“4th and Final Election Night Report” 1am 11/05/2014

(Pending certification and the counting of maybe 10,000 more votes)

for key Mendocino County Elections.

11,402 votes cast, 24.02% of registered voters.


Third District Supervisor:

(*=Leading/elected, pending certification)

Holly Madrigal: 1061/44.62%

*Tom Woodhouse: 1308/55.00%


Fort Bragg City Council (Top 3 win):

*Lindy Peters: 329/20.84%

*Michael Cimolino: 338/21.41%

Dave Turner (Incumbent): 286/18.11%

Heildi Kraut (Incumbent): 2274/17.35%

*Mark Iacuaniello: 318/20.14%


Ukiah City Council (Top 3 win):

Mark Hilliker: 470/12.85%

Christian Luiz: 141/3.85%

John Johns: 353/9.65%

*Jim O. Brown: 747/20.42%

Phil Baldwin (incumbent): 493/13.47%

Miranda Mott: 244/6.67%

*Maureen Mulheren: 582/15.91%

*Kevin Doble: 626/17.11%


Willits City Council: (Top 2 win)

*Larry Stranske (Incumbent): 284/41.28%

*Ron Orenstein (Incumbent): 212/30.81%

Robin Leler: 188/27.33%


Coast Hospital Board (Top 3 win):

*William Rohr: 1637/23.92%

*Peter Glusker: 1364/19.93%

*Kitty Bruning: 1526/22.30%

Michael Carroll: 1101/16.09%

John A. Kerman (incumbent): 1165/17.02%


Measure S (Sovereignty/Fracking ban)

Yes: 7302/67.18%

No: 3567/32.82%


County Superintendent of Schools:

Paul Joens-Poulten: 2254/32.41%

*Warren Galletti: 4804/65.46%

Kathy Wylie (write in): At least 2

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THERE WAS ONE CONSISTENT THEME in Tuesday’s (Preliminary) election results: Except for the Willits City Council, not one incumbent kept his/her seat. Whether it was the Coast Hospital Board, the Ukiah City Council or the Fort Bragg City Council. (And several incumbents had previously chosen not to re-run.) So we’ll have a good sized collection of political newbies come January: Tom Woodhouse, Jim Brown, Kevin Doble, Maureen Mulheren, Warrant Galletti, William Rohr, Peter Glusker, Kitty Bruning, Michael Cimolino, Lindy Peters (although he’s held elected office before), and Mark Iacuaniello.

WE’RE HOPEFUL about almost all the newly elected local officials — except one: Mark Iacuaniello who seems to have wormed his way into third place in the Fort Bragg City Council race, bumping incumbents Mayor Dave Turner, and Heidi Kraut out. We weren’t big fans of Turner or Kraut, but whatever their occasional lib-lab failings, they’re vastly superior to Iacuaniello who has neither the experience, intelligence or backbone for any official position. How Fort Bragg voters could possibly consider Iacuaniello to be a viable candidate, much less a city councilman, we’re at a loss to understand. We’ve said it before but it bears repeating now that it appears he’s been elected: His only apparent skill is two-faced ignorant treachery. If anyone has any remaining doubt of this assessment, please (re-) read our coverage of the trial when Point Arena Elementary School Principal Matt Murray sued him when he was Point Arena School Superintendant for “fraudulent inducement.”

His own under-oath testimony should be enough to make Fort Bragg and his fellow councilpersons tremble.

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ELECTION NIGHT COMPLAINTS are nothing new in Mendocino County and have only gotten worse the deeper we go into the accelerating trend of forced absentee voting. Not that many years ago every voter had an assigned election day polling place staffed by mostly senior citizens, mostly female, with mostly white hair. They took their duties seriously and performed them efficiently, conscientiously and with good humor. It was somehow reassuring to see their familiar faces at each election, sort of like visiting a distant aunt that always seemed glad to see you no matter how long it had been between visits.

FORMER ASSESSOR/CLERK/RECORDER MARSHA WHARFF started the movement to abolish the neighborhood polling place, thereby changing election day to election month and in the process delaying final results for up to three weeks after the close of voting. The current incumbent, Susan Ranochak, is following dutifully in her predecessor's footsteps. Ranochak, like Wharff before her, makes the questionable claim that mail-in voting somehow saves money. But a few election night poll workers have been replaced with a small army of people hired to process the mail in ballots, checking and re-checking signatures and sorting and re-sorting ballots (and in the process getting an advance look at how people are actually voting). This saves money? Wharf and Ranochak also make the wholly specious claim that forced absentee voting increases voter turnout. Except turn out has plunged dramatically since forced absentee voting began.

FORCED ABSENTEE VOTING also means that many thousands of ballots (all those mailed in the last few days or dropped off on election day at the elections office or the few remaining polling places) are not counted until weeks after the election. Only 11,402 votes were tallied on election night, a mere 24.02% of the 47,470 registered voters in the County. Which means that as many as 10,000 or more votes are sitting in the elections office waiting to be processed. Meanwhile, the candidates and the voters are left in limbo for up to three weeks. Except in the closest of races it is usually safe to assume that the election night tally (which is broadly representative of the total votes cast) will hold up, but there is a decided lack of certainty to the election when thousands of votes remain to be counted. We say bring back neighborhood polling places and the senior citizen poll workers who staffed them.

ASSISTANT REGISTRAR OF VOTERS for Mendocino County Katrina Bartolomie wrote Wednesday: “We were hoping to have a number for you of the ballots we have left to count this afternoon. Unfortunately we will not have a number until tomorrow. We will do a press release tomorrow as soon as we have a number. Thank you.”

Katrina Bartolomie, Assistant Registrar of Voters / Assistant Clerk Recorder
County of Mendocino, Clerk Recorder/Elections
501 Low Gap Road, Room 1020
Ukiah, CA 95482
(707) 234-6827 (new phone #)
(707) 463-4257 fax

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Typically as many as 40% or more of the votes remain to be counted in Mendocino County elections the day after election day. The remainder can take weeks. By contrast, Sonoma County reported a voter turnout of 45.2% and all 111,000 or so of their ballots were counted and posted on their website on Wednesday. If Mendo had at least 45% turnout (and they should have) then Mendo should have about 10,000 votes yet to count. We continue to be amazed that Sonoma County can count all 111,000 or so of its ballots the day after election day and report a voter turnout of 45.2%. But Mendo can only count about 11,000 or so ballots and report results based on only 24% of its nearly 48,000 registered voters, leaving us all to wonder how final the “final” results really are for who knows how long.

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WILLITS MAYOR HOLLY MADRIGAL was soundly defeated in her race for Third District Supervisor by political newcomer Tom Woodhouse, a Willits area realtor. Ms. Madrigal ran a spirited and well-financed campaign that suffered from being burdened by the twin albatrosses of MendoLib and CoastLib, a tag team prescription for failure in the mostly working class, common sense non-CoastLib, non-MendoLib Third District. Woodhouse was supported by incumbent Supervisor John Pinches who chose not to run for a fourth term. Woodhouse was also supported by Sheriff Tom Allman and DA David Eyster. Holly was supported by Congressman Jared Huffman, State Senator Noreen Evans and lame duck Assemblymember Wes Chesbro, a triple whammy of liberal irrelevance. (Ahem, yes, we are mindful that Ms. Madrigal was also endorsed by this paper for reasons we made clear, but we would be remiss if we did not point out the otherwise questionable political company she keeps.)

TOM WOODHOUSE, despite maintaining a disciplined silence on where he stood on any issue, took 55% of the votes counted on election night, outpacing Holly 1,308 votes to 1,061. Woodhouse benefited by having been in business locally for 30 years and participating in many community volunteer efforts, including in the schools and also cleaning up after homeless encampments and painting out graffiti, much like incumbent Ukiah area Supervisor John McCowen, who he will now join on the Board of Supervisors. Based on the results, Woodhouse doesn't seem to have suffered by being invisible on the issues. In contrast, Holly was tagged for flip-flopping on the bypass, failing to pass a balanced budget in the City of Willits for the last five years, and failing to settle the sewer treatment plant debacle with Brooktrails.

MADRIGAL HAS BEEN ELECTED three times to the Willits City Council but has now failed twice in her attempt to step up to supervisor. In Sonoma County, Obama administration carpet-bagger James Gore was elected Fourth District Supervisor over Windsor Town Council member Deb Fudge who has now failed in three consecutive attempts to be elected supervisor. Gore never voted in Sonoma County until he decided to run for the seat being vacated by Mike McGuire, who was elected State Senator against token Republican opposition. Healdsburg Mayor Jim Wood was elected to the Assembly, replacing career politician Wes Chesbro, who has been feeding at the public trough for nearly 40 years, shuffling from one Sacramento sinecure to another with nothing to show for it.

FUDGE, NOW IN HER FIFTH TERM on the Windsor Town Council, announced the day after the election that she would serve out the remaining two years of her current term and then retire from electoral politics. Fudge, formerly known by her given name, Deborah, was told by her election advisors to drop “Deborah” (which was perceived as sounding too soft) and go with the more hard hitting “Deb.” Candidate Madrigal, it can be presumed, got equally specious advice from the cadre of libs that she paid to act as campaign managers and consultants. As we have previously reported, Madrigal paid CoastLib honcho Steve Antler $2,560, Estelle Clifton $2,000 and Brian Varkevisser $800. Because, after running three campaigns for Willits City Council, and in her second run for Supervisor, Holly was apparently still trying to figure out how to act like a candidate. Time will tell if Ms. Madrigal chooses to continue in electoral politics or quietly bow out like “Deb”' Fudge.

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FORT BRAGG INCUMBENTS DAVE TURNER AND HEIDI KRAUT were turned out of office by a trio of challengers who claimed the open seats. Mayor Turner got 286 votes (18.11%) and Heidi Kraut (who was elected to replace Supervisor Dan Gjerde) polled 274 votes (17.35%). Michael "Q-Ball" Cimolino led all candidates with 338 votes (21.41%), local radio personality and former councilmember Lindy Peters got 329 votes (20.84%) and career educrat Mark Iacuaniello pulled down 318 votes (20.14%). The campaign was something of a referendum on long time City Manager Linda Ruffing kicked off by allegations that she mistreated and micromanaged popular former Police Chief Scott Mayberry (son of a former Fort Bragg police chief).

MAYBERRY WENT OUT ON MEDICAL LEAVE on July 2 and Ruffing quickly brought in an interim police chief. Ruffing was accused of personally taking the nameplate off Mayberry's office door, a clear signal that Mayberry was not welcome and would not be coming back. The controversy boiled over at a couple of City Council meetings packed with supporters of the Chief and the City Manager. On August 11, during one such contentious meeting, Mayberry emailed his resignation to a supporter who read it to the stunned crown during the meeting.

THE FORT BRAGG COUNCIL, long dominated by Coast Lib, was somewhat tempered by the presence of former GP Forester Jere Melo in the past. As long as Jere was on the job, conservatives seemed to be reassured that the Council would not go too far astray. But when Madeleine Melo, Jere's widow, was defeated by political newcomer Heidi Kraut in a low turnout special election to fill Jere's seat, suspicion began to creep in. And those suspicions centered on City Manager Ruffing who was accused of wielding the real power with the City Council functioning as a complacent rubber stamp. Peters and Cimolino were recruited to throw the bums out, with Madeleine Melo acting as campaign manager for Peters. In a move that may have backfired, Iacuaniello was recruited by Councilmember Scott Dietz, thinking he would join incumbents Turner and Kraut in making a clean sweep of the three seats up for election. As it turned out, it was the incumbents who were swept out of office.

WHEN THE CAMPAIGN started getting personal, Cimolino took to his facebook page to urge everyone to lay off the personal attacks and focus instead on working for change at the ballot box. But the negative attacks continued on both sides, with Cimolino and Peters having to defend themselves against the type of attacks that CoastLib is known for. Peters, who would be considered a centrist or liberal Democrat anywhere except coastal Mendocino County had to defend himself against charges that he favored offshore oil drilling and fracking. Not surprisingly, Cimolino and Peters were both endorsed by former Chief Mayberry and Cimolino was endorsed by Fort Bragg Police Lieutenant John Naulty who shot and killed the murderer of popular coast deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino last March, a shootout in which Chief Mayberry provided covering fire.

CIMOLINO'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER, Junice Gleason, paid for an ad on the eve of the election on behalf of “The Concerned Citizens for Fort Bragg” that lodged numerous complaints against the City Manager and the incumbents, prompting Turner, Kraut and Ruffing to take the unusual action of responding at the next City Council meeting during “Council Member Reports.” The Fort Bragg Advocate published lengthy statements from Turner and Ruffing in its final pre-election edition. Turner complained that the ad had “a lot of inaccuracy” but chose to address only two. He said it was not true that the Council demanded that outgoing employees sign “gag order” contracts to prevent them from criticizing the Council or City Manager. He also asserted that no current or former employee had ever complained to a City Councilmember about the City Manager. (And why would they?, knowing full well that the complaint would instantly be reported to the City Manager, who does have a reputation of offing malcontents.)

UNLIKE MANY LOCAL CAMPAIGNS, Cimolino, Peters, and even Iacuaniello enjoyed strong name recognition going in. But the real difference may have been that both Cimolino and Iacuaniello took the time to walk door to door, both in the downtown business sector and the residential neighborhoods. Turner, a local small business success story as proprietor of Flo-beds, and the heavily pregnant Kraut, who is about to give birth, relied on mailings and print ads. And because they did not walk (enough to make the difference in a relatively close race) City Manager Linda Ruffing may be packing her bags depending on the position of Iacuaniello, the likely swing vote on the Council.

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INCUMBENT UKIAH MAYOR PHIL BALDWIN, the only socialist in elective office between San Francisco and Arcata, was defeated in something of an election night surprise. Baldwin, who is completing his fourth term on the Council, was expected to win re-election in a race against seven other candidates for three open seats. Former Mendocino County Chief Probation Officer Jim Brown led the pack with 747 votes (20.42%), City Planning Commissioner Kevin Doble had 626 votes (17.11%), and local businesswoman Maureen “Mo” Mulheren, with 582 votes (15.91%) were the top three finishers. Baldwin placed fourth with 493 votes (13.47%) just ahead of retired Ukiah firefighter and current County Safety Officer Mark Hilliker with 470 votes (12.85%). Organic farmer and retired sign-maker John Johns with a surprising 353 votes (9.65%), newcomer Miranda Mott who works for Real Goods in Hopland with 244 votes (6.67%), and Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority Network Administrator Christian Luiz with 141 votes (3.85%) rounded out the pack.

BALDWIN SUFFERED BY ASSOCIATION with the liberal feebs that have dominated Ukiah politics of late. Mari Rodin jumped ship last year and incumbents Mary Anne Landis and Little Benj Thomas chose not to run for re-election this year, but a series of whacky decisions over the last several years has caused most Ukiahans to suspect that their elected leaders are seriously out of step with reality. We mean things like paying $23,000 of public money to an outtahere consultant to come up with the killer marketing slogan “Ukiah: Far Out, Nearby,” $30,000 to build a dining platform on City property for the exclusive use of their favorite downtown restaurant, and $43,000 to “landscape” the electrical substation on E. Gobbi St., which worked out to about $2,000 per bush that was actually planted. The Council also passed a resolution in favor of “zero waste,” but refused to allow city residents to recycle food waste by simply putting it in the yard waste container. Instead of the Ukiah food waste being turned into a valuable soil amendment to be used locally, the city ratepayers are charged for the cost of loading it on trucks to be buried at an outtahere landfill.

BROWN AND DOBLE soon attracted broad based community support, but Baldwin, with a strong contingent of loyal supporters, was expected to claim the third seat in a plurality election with so many candidates splitting the vote. Mulhern, the daughter of perennial losing candidate James ‘The Ever Pleasant Jim’ Mulhern, managed to pull an upset in her first foray into electoral politics. Her father lost at least two races for City Council and one for County Supervisor. Mulhern, who is 35 and runs a local insurance business, has been active in a number of community groups and actively appealed to younger people to get involved.

MULHERN AND MOTT, the darling of MendoLib, provided an interesting study in contrasts. Every candidate is allowed up to three words to describe themselves on the ballot, the one piece of paper every voter will see. Mulhern was listed as a “Local Business Owner,” while Mott's name was followed by the notation “no designation provided.” Mulhern often dressed like she was auditioning for a job as a cocktail waitress while Mott, a personable young woman of 27, adopted a more casual style. Mulhern managed to rattle off positions on a variety of issues, usually sounding like she knew what she was talking about. Mott relied heavily on liberal buzzwords like “sustainable.” When questioned on the issues her stock answer was “I'm still studying that.” And after a few more years of study she might be ready for prime time, if service on the Ukiah City Council can be considered prime time. (Although two city councilmen — Shoemaker and McCowen — leveraged their council positions into successful Supervisorial runs — if that can be considered a success.)

UKIAH CITY MANAGER JANE CHAMBERS may have been the biggest loser in the Ukiah City Elections. Chambers has long had the reputation of leading her complacent and seemingly clueless council around by the nose. The total number of times that Rodin, Landis or Thomas voted against the City Manager in their collective 20+ years in office can be tallied on the fingers of one hand. Chambers, who was hired at a flat $150,000, managed to inflate her pay to the neighborhood of $225,000 with numerous add-ons for “executive pay” (wasn't she hired to be an executive?), “performance bonuses” (for failing to balance the budget five years in a row?), and so on. At least a couple of the incoming councilmembers have been openly critical of Chambers’ history of mismanagement, leading to speculation that Chambers may soon be looking for a new job. (Maybe she and Fort Bragg City Manager Linda Ruffing can swap places?) After all, Ruffing's boyfriend, former Second District Supervisor Richard Shoemaker, lives in Ukiah.

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WILLITS CITY COUNCIL INCUMBENTS Larry Stranske with 284 votes (41.28%) and Ron Orenstein with 212 votes (30.81%) were returned to office over challenger and bypass opponent Robin Leler who garnered 188 votes (27.33%). As previously pointed out in this paper, the Willits candidates distinguished themselves by their almost total inability to state a coherent position on almost any issue. Asked how they could show leadership to repair the relationship with Brooktrails once the lawsuit settles, Stranske said six times “I don't know.” Orenstein said the elected officials needed to sit down and reach a settlement (something he said had not been attempted, although Mayor Madrigal is known to have done so, albeit not successfully). Leler, ignoring that Brooktrails is several miles uphill from Willits, said the Council needs to “start talking to all the people in this valley.”

IF THE WILLITS CITY COUNCIL vote was a referendum on the bypass (Stranske and Orenstein both support it, while Leler opposes it) it looks like a majority of the Willits voters would like to see the project completed. But Leler was so clearly out of her element on the issues (either saying she would defer all decisions to staff, or saying she was still learning) that the incumbents may simply have won by default. And with Mayor Madrigal losing her bid for Supervisor, the makeup of the Council will likely stay the same for the next two years. If bypass opponent Leler had been elected, she, along with Madrigal and holdover incumbent Madge Strong, could have caused any number of problems for Caltrans and the bypass contractors. As it stands, the bypass will continue to face the determined opposition of Save Our Little Lake Valley and North Coast Earth First! as they continue their delaying tactics that will delay the project and cost more money without affecting the final project in any appreciable way.

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OccupyMendocino Reports: Our story on fracking ban makes headlines!

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UKIAH, Nov. 5. — Jury Trial Result: A jury returned from its deliberations this afternoon with five guilty verdicts against Peter Alfred Richardson, age 60, of Ukiah, for criminal misconduct occurring on April 3, 2014. The jury's two felony verdicts were recorded against Richardson in the Mendocino County Superior Court for driving on a highway in the opposing lane while evading a peace officer and recklessly evading a peace officer in wanton disregard of the safety of others. Two guilty verdicts were recorded against Richardson for driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and driving a motor vehicle with .08 blood alcohol or greater. The jury also found true an allegation that the defendant's blood alcohol was at least .15 or greater. (The evidence showed that his blood alcohol was .27.) The jury also returned a guilty verdict against Richardson for resisting arrest after he exited his vehicle and tried to run away from the CHP officer. After the jury was released, a separate court trial was scheduled on whether Richardson had suffered three previous DUI convictions (2007, 2009, 2014), information that had been withheld from the jury. That court trial was cut short when Richardson admitted all three prior convictions, admissions that caused the jury's two DUI verdicts to then be formally characterized as felonies. On motion of the DA, the defendant's bail status was changed to no bail (so that the defendant would be held in-custody for purposes of public safety). The matter was then referred to the Adult Probation Department for a social study and sentencing recommendation. Formal sentencing will be pronounced on December 19, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. in Dept. B. The prosecutor who presented the People's evidence was District Attorney David Eyster. The investigating law enforcement agencies were the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Justice's forensic laboratory in Eureka. Judge John Behnke presided over the three day trial.

(District Attorney Press Release)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 5, 2014

Chester. Cilibrasi, Knapp
Chester. Cilibrasi, Knapp

TUCKER CHESTER, Fort Bragg. Burglary, saps/similar weapons, probation revocation.

TIMOTHY CILIBRASI, Elk. Possession of concentrated cannabis.

VERNON KNAPP, Willits. Drunk in public, misdemeanor hit & run. (Frequent flyer.)

Martinez, Naja, Sturges
Martinez, Naja, Sturges

LAZARO MARTINEZ, Ukiah. DUI (alcohol and drugs).

CARLOS NAJA, Clear Lake Oaks/Ukiah. DUI.

JAMES STURGES, Willits. Drunk in public.

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To the Editor:

Woodhouse won! Congratulations, Tom! You have restored my faith in the very basic principle that in politics, a promising outsider can beat a dismal insider. Tom's victory means something.

Holly Madrigal's base of support in her district? Growers. Plain and simple. Growers. Holly been selling grow supplies since forever. Sales associate at Sparetime Supply in Willits. Basically, it's been her only job since UC Santa Cruz. And her husband is probably a grower. After doing quite a bit of research, many observers have concluded her hubby doesn't seem to have a job.

Ms. Madrigal doesn't seem to know much besides marijuana. She is uninformed about drought and water issues, county finances, the funding status of the county pension system, the county's outsourcing of mental health and what a disaster that's been, the lack of economic development, flat to declining county tax revenues, the issue of the growing numbers of homeless people, the mismanaged state of county education starting with the farcical bond issue of the school district board in her own hometown of Willits, etc.

Ms. Madrigal mouths buzzwords like “sustainable” and “inclusive,” and “accountability” and “transparency,” but when the day is done, she has no real solutions to anything. She is an opportunist. She is a go-along-to-get-along-type. And, she panders. Life is a popularity contest for Ms. Madrigal.

Worst of all, Ms. Madrigal is ambitious. Make no mistake about it. Shamelessly ambitious. Madrigal wanted to win. Wanted to win so badly it hurt. Madrigal hired Steve Antler as “campaign consultant,” hired Estelle Clifton for “campaign consultant services,” and hired Brian Varkevisser as “campaign manager” — that's two long-time hacks from the local Democratic Party and one flunkie from John Schaeffer's wacky wing of the local Democratic Party.

Ms. Madrigal raised and spent $33.362, including $4,649 from her mom (April Tweedell). That's a lot of money. She had Facebook pages, websites, and Twitter accounts.

Speaking most loudly to her shameless ambition, Ms. Madrigal had endorsements from everyone — and I mean everyone. Congressman Jared Huffman, the Mendocino County Democratic Party, the Green Party of Mendocino County, the National Women's Political Caucus, SEIU Local 1021, the North Bay Labor Council, the Ukiah Daily Journal, the Anderson Valley Advertiser, and on and on and on. Endorsements from all the insiders. Everyone. And Ms. Madrigal still lost!


Ms. Madrigal lost by a whopping margin of 11%. Lost to an opponent who has never held pubic office, had never run for office, had no visibility in politics before this election, and who was beholden to no insider or contributor. A true outsider.

Why did Tom Woodhouse win?

Tom may have been an unknown, but unknown does not equate with mediocre. Tom is better than mediocre. He's smart, and he can be educated, and can grow into the job of Supervisor 3rd District.

Tom is honest. He has character. And character counts for something. Maybe more than a truckload of endorsements.

Tom is fiscally conservative and responsible, much like his predecessor, Johnny Pinches. He is solution-oriented, like Johnny Pinches. He is willing to take tough stand on tough issues, like Johnny Pinches, And he is not given to buzzwords and popularity contests, like Johnny Pinches.

Congratulations, Tom Woodhouse! Congratulations Mendocino County. You've got yourself a great new leader.

Name Withheld, Ukiah (I'm afraid of reprisals from Madrigal's people. They are a nasty lot.)

DEAR NAME WITHHELD: We hope you’re right about Woodhouse. (BTW, we don’t share your harsh opinion of Ms. Madrigal nor your fear of reprisals from “Madrigal’s people.” That sounds highly irrational.) But we still await a tough stand on a tough issue from Mr. Woodhouse. As far as we know Mr. Woodhouse ran away from “issues” as best he could during the campaign. Do you know of any issues he’s taken a strong stand on? Name one — we’ll need the issue AND the tough stand, please. —Mark Scaramella

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So we've all made the typical observations about the detrimental effects of modern technology on human socialization, development etc. Well, I just came back from some time in the woods away from society. Obviously human beings have rebelled against the complete separation that screen time really is and long for true human contact. The problem is that we've restructured our lives away from free social spaces and we're addicted to all the new technology. So what I see is people longing for human contact, interaction and socialization and so people are taking the most menial transaction and turning it into an extremely long and drawn blathering conversation (for others to stand by and take in may I add, an element of performance).

I had the misfortune of going to a Radio Shack to look for an item recently proclaimed extinct by all the common chain pharmacies: the hand held transistor radio. First was a lady of 60 or so who should have known better than to fall prey to the magic, blathering on and on about her password and the various failures of her phone to meet her various important expectations. (It was truly a study in mental health, or the lack thereof), Next in line was a girl of 20 who wanted the iPhone 5 and proceeded with an faq on the product and all its compatibilities and accessories and the quality of each and such and such additional pieces. Just as the conversation would crescendo, about to end, she would rapid fire spit out 20 more questions and the sales boy engaged her like a true hipster stoner just blathering on oblivious to the surroundings as if he were in a bicycle bar. After twenty minutes of that I just left.

At any point I could have yelled out “Transistor Radios?!?” But in my own sadistic pleasure I decided to see how far it would go and how many words I could extract from the experience. Well, here it is: Perhaps it is the starkness and simplicity of country life that makes me notice the oddness of how people carry on.

I do not fear that we as humans will fail to seek out the old forms of relating, what I fear is that our rediscovery will be tainted by the rewiring we have gone through and this is best demonstrated in the extremely odd behavior and disposition of the children of the late 20th and early 21st century. I've only been back a couple days and, man, I need a break from this shit already.

Nate Collins, Oakland

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AND REPUBLICANS? Simple. They won (again) because of their utter mastery at hurling empty propaganda, and their utter hatred of President Obama.

Let us emphasize this point fully and clear: Hate won. Ideas lost.

Don’t take my word for it. Republicans admit as much themselves. They widely acknowledge they forwarded not a single new idea, promised not a single fresh approach to governing. Far from it. In nearly every race in the country, Republicans ran on one campaign slogan and one slogan only: Obama is horrible.

And it worked. It worked shockingly well. As with every mid-term, turnout was abysmal, young (liberal) voters stayed away, and those who did turn out were the Republican’s most favorite chattel of all: older, fear-addled white conservatives who lack much in the way of critical thinking skills. Bingo!

Can you pity, for a moment, the poor Democratic Party? For the horribly ironic bind it finds itself in, over and over again?

See, the party’s most fatal flaw is also its most appealing trait: It lacks the murderous cruelty and savage bloodlust of the Republicans.

Whereas the GOP has zero qualms about flinging outright lies (birthers, science deniers, creationists, et al) to get what it wants, not to mention an ever-present air of racism, sexism and a dark mistrust/hatred of everyone from Muslims to the entire African continent, Dems have no such arsenal, and no skill to use it if they did.

Republicans will say and do anything to win, and are utterly ruthless about how they go about it; enacting a smart, fair policy agenda is almost nowhere on their priority list. Dems are the exact opposite: terrific agenda, lots of policy, but morally unwilling to play dirty, to murder their own grandmother in cold blood and blame it on the GOP, to make it go.

This is why there is no Democratic equivalent of Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, no endless drumbeat of hate speech pounding across the flyover states 24/7, no incessant wails of fear, racism, hatred of Other. Liberal ideology prohibits such harsh machinery. The Dems are the party of the smart, the city, the college-educated, the critical thinker. Nearly every major metropolis votes blue, and every significant college town, and scientist, and artist, and creative entrepreneur.

The general truism remains: The smarter, more compassionate and more attuned you get, the more liberal you become. The more fearful, suspicious and egocentric you get, the more conservative you become.

So then, consensus: Extremism and odium won; intelligence and compromise lost.

— Mike Morford

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Shamrock Ranch Area Control Burn Scheduled

Laytonville – Thursday, November 6 and Friday, November 7, 2014, starting at noon CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit will be conducting a vegetation management control burn on privately-owned land on the Shamrock Ranch in the northern portion of Mendocino County.

The prescribed burning conducted under this Vegetation Management Program (VMP) project will be done to meet a specific objective and conducted under specific climatic conditions to ensure control and minimize air quality and biological impacts. These conditions will mimic conditions under which natural wildfires occur to maximize the positive effects of fire on vegetation.

The primary goal of this prescribed burn is to reintroduce fire as a natural element of the ecosystem. A second goal is to improve wildlife habitat by inducing new shoots from sprouting species to increase forage production, with islands of unburned fuel left within burn units to provide shelter for small mammals. A third goal is to reduce overall fuel loading to decrease the chance of catastrophic wildfires in the future.

This project burn will be conducted under strictly controlled weather and fuel conditions.

(CalFire Press Release)

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PROP. 1 PASSES: The Power of Big Money Overcomes the Power of People

Goliath Wins Against David on Prop. 1

by Dan Bacher

Proposition 1, Governor Jerry Brown's $7.5 billion water bond, sailed to easy victory last night, as forecasted in a number of polls.

The election results show how the power of millions of dollars of corporate money in the corrupt oligarchy of California were able to defeat a how a grassroots movement of fishermen, environmentalists, Indian Tribes and family farmers opposed to Prop. 1.

The Hoopa Valley, Yurok, Winnemem Wintu and Concow Maidu Tribes, the defenders of California's rivers and oceans for thousands of years, strongly opposed Prop. 1. because of the threat the bond poses to water, salmon and their culture. (

Prop. 1 proponents, including a rogue's gallery of oil companies, corporate agribusiness tycoons, Big Tobacco, health insurance companies and greedy billionaires, dumped over $16.4 million into the campaign, while Prop. 1 opponents raised around $100,000 for the effort.

In a state and country where corporations have the same rights as people, the political game is rigged so that Goliath is usually able to defeat David.

Farming, Conservation, Environmental Groups: Prop. 1 Didn't Solve Our Water Crisis

Californians for Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition of environmental, water conservation, fishing, farming, Native American Tribes and community organizations, quickly responded to the passage of Prop. 1 by calling for a new focus on sustainable water policies and for the governor to abandon his proposed Delta Tunnels project to export water from the Sacramento River.

"When Californians wake up today following the election, the water challenges we face are still huge and pressing,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “Now that the debate over Prop. 1 is behind us; it is time to look at sustainable solutions to our water challenges. Whether you supported or opposed Prop 1, we all agree that it will do nothing to address our current drought. So we need to face the fact that the State has over allocated up to 5 times more water than is normally available in our rivers and streams.”

"Proposition 1 will not solve our water crisis,” says Adam Scow, California Director of Food & Water Watch. “Its proponents sold the water bond as a way to protect California from future drought, but Prop 1 fails to address the real problems, especially the State's poor management of our water resources. Governor Brown must balance California's overstretched water budget and reduce allocations to water-wasting super-farms in the desert. Food & Water Watch will continue to work with allies to ensure that Prop 1's voter-approved funds benefit the public interest, and do not promote corporate interests by building new dams and subsidizing excessive water transfers to unsustainable agribusiness operations.”

"Prop. 1 did not change any of these stubborn facts: the Delta has been overpumped for decades, and this cannot be sustained, and our salmon and other fisheries are on the verge of collapse,” said Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. “The one thing that must be done if we're going to stabilize the state's water policies: balance water rights claims to actual water supplies.”

"The governor is still wedded to his Bay Delta Conservation Plan/Delta Tunnels project, which the EPA has said would violate the Clean Water Act,” said Bob Wright, Senior Counsel of Friends of the River. “The Delta Tunnels project is fatally flawed, and the governor should abandon it and instead promote sustainable water solutions.”

"We urge the governor to shift his concentration from the doomed Delta Tunnels project to large scale recycling, conservation, storm water capture, ground water clean up projects, and other new drought technologies that will provide local jobs and reduce reliance on imported water supplies,” said Conner Everts, Executive Director, Southern California Watershed Alliance. “Sustainable water programs are needed to safeguard California from inevitable future droughts.”

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All Alone, No More

by Clancy Sigal

“Some day they’ll give a war and nobody will come.”
— Carl Sandburg

Military desertion is shameful and illegal. It also depends on who you’re deserting from and when.

Last week, the Austrians, who had voted overwhelmingly to join Nazi Germany, and whose women hysterically saluted Hitler’s triumphant entry into Vienna and whose men enthusiastically joined the Wehrmacht and SS killers, did the right thing. Its government officially opened a monument to thousands of Austrian men who DESERTED Hitler’s army during WW2.

The monument is out there in plain sight next to the President’s office.

It’s a massive three-level form in the shape of an “X” and two lines from a German poem, “All Alone.”

During the war the Nazis executed 15,000 military deserters, leaving them to hang from gallows at crossroads “pour encourager les autres.” In contrast, only 18 German deserters were shot in WW1. In 1941 Stalin issued Order 270 demanding all deserters be shot on the spot…and their families arrested; the Soviets executed 158,00 soldiers as cowards and traitors.

In Staffordshire, England there’s a “Shot At Dawn” memorial to the 306 WW1 British soldiers, most of them young and shellshocked, executed for desertion. Australia and the USA refused to kill its deserters, unlike the French who shot over 600. (See Kubrick and Kirk Douglas’s Paths of Glory.)

What makes Austria’s recent apology even more poignant is that for decades the country skated on a false reputation as a victim not a beneficiary of Hitler aggression. One of its former presidents, Kurt Waldheim, was accused of war crimes, against Jews and civilians, and lied his way out of it.

With less fanfare, today’s Germans also have “rehabilitated” its deserters, but so far I’ve found only one monument to them in Ulm on the Danube. Must be a lovely city since it also celebrates Sophie and Hans Scholl, the brave German schoolkids who had their heads chopped off for handing out anti-Hitler leaflets.

There are at least two or three former U.S. military deserters, as well as some former service people, who read this column.

It’s no secret, since it’s on my web site (, that during Vietnam I “aided and abetted” our deserters. It was one of the richest and most complicated experiences of my life.

What the Austrian apology has done is not only to make amends but to open a whole can of worms.

For example, in the USA, desertion has a long honorable/dishonorable tradition going back to the French Indian wars, 1776, 1812, 1848 (when whole units, like the Irish-born Los Patricios, went over to the Mexicans), huge number of runaways north and south in the Civil War, the Philippines campaign, and wars One and Two. Masses went over the hill in the “Good War” but only one poor schmuck, the 28th Division’s Eddie Slovik, terrified of the Hurtgen Forest bloodbath, was shot on Gen. Eisenhower’s order.

Vietnam was the high point of GI antiwar defiance taking the form of desertion and RITA – resistance inside the army. At one stage the equivalent of three full combat divisions plus supply units went AWOL. Whole colonies of U.S. deserters grew up in south Vietnam especially in Saigon’s Cholon district where the U.S. military dared enter only in tanks.

Today’s military is different. Long after 9/11 and war fever abated, you enlist in an all-volunteer force for career reasons, for an education or a fast track to legal citizenship. The Pentagon issues various desertion figures, adding up to about 40,000 desertions since Iraq/Afghanistan, mostly from within the USA; there’s only one recorded desertion in combat.

Since Vietnam, when GI resistance (fragging, doping, combat refusals) wrecked the Green Machine and probably did more than the domestic peace movement to end the war, the government has been at pains to defang the act of desertion.

The Pentagon insists that AWOLs are troubled kids who take off for personal reasons. It’s true in a lot of cases. Sometimes there’s a limit to how much chickenshit you’ll take especially if you hate your sergeant or just got a Dear John letter. The interesting thing is what happens to these “troubled” deserters AFTER they stepped over the 30-day line into criminal limbo and find themselves, often for the first time in their lives, responsible for their actions.

The mother of the U.S. ranger Pat Tillman, former linebacker of the Arizona Cardinals, said that her son was moving to an antiwar position when friendly fire killed him in Afghanistan. He was due to meet the war critic Noam Chomsky. What would have happened, say, if Tillman, after leaving the combat zone, decided not to fulfill his army contract and had gone to Canada as a principled deserter?

(Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives.)


  1. Lazarus November 6, 2014

    “Do you know of any issues he’s taken a strong stand on? Name one —we’ll need the issue AND the tough stand, please.) (— Mark Scaramella)”

    May I direct you the Mr. Woodhouse’s web pages, his literature and even FB pages. Marijuana, the bypass, mental health, safety, rural roads…come on man, you really think nobody’s paying attention? Have you ever called him or visited the office?…that’s what I thought.

  2. Bill Pilgrim November 6, 2014

    RE: Mike Morford.
    No, Mike, way off the mark. It’s not a matter of Repub. ruthlessness vs. Dem. intelligent meekness.
    The Democrats offered no coherent, unified message that they stand for the interests of the common people…their traditional platform.
    They are divided, feckless, craven, and have demonstrated by their actions (and inactions) that they genuflect before the altar of big business.
    A majority of their base now understands this…and stays away.

  3. Harvey Reading November 6, 2014

    Well, I like absentee, mail-in, early, or whatever name it’s called voting. Have been doing it since the mid 70s. Why waste gas, or time, driving to a polling place?

    When I moved to a small town in the Rocky Mt. region, where I could walk to the polling place, I did walk to the polling place, exactly once. Turned out that hey used those ballots that have ovals to fill in, with a black-ink pen. Then you put the ballot into a machine that looks a little like a copy machine.

    I had always voted with punch cards, until the lies of Florida in 2000 and the “hanging chad” bullshit, a total lie, ended punch card balloting, which had worked just fine for decades in CA. So, naturally, I was unfamiliar with how to properly insert the ballot into the machine. One of the election officials, not the grandmotherly (fatherly), avuncular, kindly image peddled above, instead a total thug, with a felony record, yet also a town councilman (until he finally got voted out earlier in the week, Tuesday I believe it was) grabbed my ballot from me, looked at it, and then put it into the machine … this is Wyoming, after all, land of the inbred welfare cowboy, where it’s always better to fight to settle differences, and where they recite the pledge at almost every public gathering.

    Anyway, that was the last time I voted in person, and I never intend to again, all the pseudolib crap about the “inherent” dangers of absentee voting notwithstanding. ANY voting method is susceptible to election fraud. Hell, all you have to do is have a pile of pre-voted ballots to run through the counting machine, or a program with a pre-set outcome for the touch-screen garbage, and, please save the garbage about them being secure. Any encryption can be cracked, if by no other means, by bribing the programmer.

  4. Mark Scaramella November 6, 2014

    Why yes, you may direct us to anything you like. But, funny, “Lazarus” doesn’t provide any specifics, quotes or links to back up his complaint.
    From Mr. Woodhouse’s campaign website:
    (Following some personal information and summary of helpful local activities Mr. Woodhouse engaged in…)
    “The county is facing tough issues involving natural resources, particularly water usage, marijuana and all the issues it raises, fire prevention and protection, the Brooktrails access safety challenges, and our failing county road system. These issues and others to come must be dealt with in a responsible, intelligent way, using common sense. The days of surpluses are over. With limited monies we must spend wisely not mortgage the future for the present. This may mean painful measures in the future, yet if we are not positive about the future we will become that self fulfilling prophecy of repeating the past, changing nothing means nothing changes…
    #1: These are not “issues.” These are topics, and hardly “tough” to list on a webpage.
    #2: Notice that nowhere in this rather ho-hum list is there anything remotely resembling “a tough stand.”
    Q: Does he support reinvigorating Supervisor Pinches’ Wente Lake proposal? Would he allocate money and time to it?
    Q: Does he have any problem with the county giving the multi-million dollar Mental Health contract to the company the Mental Health Director used to work for?
    Q: How much of a raise would he vote to give to Acting/Interim County Counsel Doug Losak?
    Q: Has he examined the Sheriff’s budget to see if there’s an under-run because of short staffing which could allow the Sheriff to restore the deputies’ 10% pay cut?
    Q: Does he oppose giving an extra $4 million a year to the pension system and instead spending it on “our failing county road system”?
    Q: How much Prop 172 money would he allocate to “fire prevention and protection”?

    Give us Mr. Woodhouse’s answers to these or similar questions, and we’ll stop talking about Woodhouse’s lack of tough stands on tough issues.

    • Lazarus November 6, 2014

      Not fall’n for that trap Sir, I suppose you want me to speak for POTUS too… if you want answers to those questions from the Supervisor Elect I suggest you call or visit him.
      He actually answers his phone, the number is a google away…So give a call.
      Thank you for your interest. Laz

  5. Hannah Bird November 6, 2014

    The waste management company is doing a pilot food waste curbside pick-up for the city of Ukiah.

  6. Mark Scaramella November 6, 2014

    It’s not a trap, Laz.
    If someone makes a claim about taking strong stands on tough issues or says a candidate has done so, they should be able to point to one, or two, or… But I give up. This is going nowhere.

    • Lazarus November 6, 2014

      All you got to do is call him, but of course you know that…you are right about one thing though.

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