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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

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OFFICER DARREN WILSON WILL NOT BE CHARGED in the killing of Michael Brown, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced Monday night. A grand jury decided Monday morning not to indict Wilson on counts ranging from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter. The grand jury reviewed evidence and heard witness testimony for three months after Brown, 18, was gunned down by Wilson on Aug. 8. McCulloch said he will release to the public evidence the grand jury reviewed to make its decision.

"We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions," Brown's family wrote in a statement. "While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change."

McCulloch said that Brown's blood was found on the squad car and he was shot after he turned toward Wilson. The officer's medical examination found "some swelling and redness to his face." Wilson's attorneys released a statement saying that "many people will want to second-guess the grand jury's decision," and said that their client "would like to thank those who have stood by his side."

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 24, 2014

Coffey, Fields, Gonzalez, Johnson
Coffey, Fields, Gonzalez, Johnson

ELLEN COFFEY, Seattle/Ukiah. Drunk in public.

ANTHONY FIELDS, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

LUIS GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Reckless evasion.


Maynard, Ornelas, Wagner
Maynard, Ornelas, Wagner

ANDREW MAYNARD, Willits. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

TASHA ORNELAS, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, possession of smoking/injection device. (Frequent flyer.)

TYLER WAGNER, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Drunk in public.

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Dear Editoria,

For the last few weeks I've been inspired by the diligence of your contributors who have ably explained the outrageous behavior of public officials (Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, County Counsel, Mental Health Department, et al; Cities of Ft. Bragg, Willits, and Ukiah electoral outcomes; multiple pigs at the trough of coveted tourism revenues; and of course the successful rejection of bad management at your Anderson Valley Health Clinic — Bravo/Brava!).

That we are not alone in challenging bad governance is one of the reasons why a group of us subscribed to the AVA, so that isolated members of the public here can share in the inspiration so generously forthcoming from the AVA staff, contributors, and participatory citizenry. It is equally gratifying to promulgate the excellent reportage of Mr. Parrish, whose recent expository journeys into California water plan history, Clear Lake environmental degradation, and ongoing neglect of environmental impacts to the communities in Lake County are nothing short of astounding.

Our local cause is furthered by the support of two Lake County publications — the Record-Bee (Leah Deanda's reports) and LakeCoMagazine (community news contributions), as well as a volunteer video producer (Maurice Taylor) whose publication of recorded public hearings have made possible public awareness and oversight of Lake County government misfeasance in the context of the Lake County “Local Agency Formation Commission” (LAFCo).

The contributors to the AVA not appearing to have much concern about the Mendocino County LAFCo (I just haven't noticed anything about it so far, but I'm a new fan), I don't know whether our battles would be of any interest to them. However, if anyone is looking for a short documentary of autocratic and bizarre official behavior, you could do worse than to watch the recording of our most recent LAFCo public hearing, which is posted on the Lake LAFCo News/Notes facebook page:

Please note that this is not an “official” work product of the Commission, its staff, or Commission member organizations. It is an “independent” service provided by The Essential Public Information Center, Upper Lake. The subject of our immediate challenge is to the County of Lake's delivery of services for protecting our watersheds, which we would like them to do.

Over the near-decade past, I watched and waited for our local agencies and our Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board to catch on to the successful programs delivered by the North Coast Regional Board in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Sonoma Counties, and the professional cooperation with local agencies implementing Clean Water Act permit requirements. The Mendocino County “Stormwater Management Program” (2nd Revised, Sept. 6, 2005 — is another great example of Mendocino's community collaboration, for which we are most grateful. Thank you again for showing us the way in this important arena of natural resource "conservation."

Betsy Cawn The Essential Public Information Center Upper Lake, CA

(P.S. — We're hoping the new state stormwater quality restrictions help in your challenge to Mendocino Redwood Company's egregious Timber Harvest Plans, and that your Water Quality Control Board does not cede its authority to CalFire or County tax assessors.)

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MARK SCARAMELLA RESPONDS: Indeed, we have followed our Mendocino County LAFCO, but without the hopeful note struck by Ms. Cawn. LAFCO, like all the other do-nothing “joint powers” organizations (i.e., made up of self-selected elected officials from other local government boards) required by state law such as MCOG (Mendocino Council of Governments), MSWMA (Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority) and (not exactly a joint powers, but equivalently useless) MCOE (the Mendocino County Office of Education) which do little more than waste time and money going through the motions and rubberstamping whatever bureaucratic paperwork their hired gun staff brings to them. For years our local LAFCO didn’t even crank out required Municipal Service Reviews (MSRs) for Mendo’s many special districts and nobody cared because MSRs are nothing more than a re-hash of what the District already has in place or what the district’s volunteer boards, for good or ill, tell them. LAFCO contributes nothing while draining fees from the districts. For decades, MCOG voted to give millions and millions of local transportation dollars back to CalTrans for the entirely unnecessary Willits bypass, letting local roads go to potholes, even though we know that an occasional MCOG board member privately objected, but not enough to vote against the majority, or even argue the point. MSWMA is run by a man who probably car-bombed his ex-wife and who leads his captive board around by their collective noses; the most egregious decision lately being the entirely unnecessary new Highway 20 transfer station east of Fort Bragg. And MCOE, as we have said many, many times, does absolutely nothing that can’t be done better and cheaper by local school districts which could go away and bring more money for classrooms. We wish you luck in whatever efforts you may make to get one of the Lake County counterparts to do something remotely resembling their lawful duty. But pardon us for our utter lack of faith in these wasteful, useless, unaccountable, and generally invisible agencies.

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I was completely unprepared for the Humboldt County Jail. It would make San Francisco's county jail seem an oasis of refined civilization. Bob and I shared a dark and dirty cell in a narrow corridor, packed with the dumbest, loudest, dirtiest, filthiest, most obnoxious redneck punks on the planet. It was as though anyone over 22 or with an IQ exceeding 2 digits was kept elsewhere. They spat through the bars, threw food all over the floors and walls, hurled their trays and utensils up and down the corridor after every meal, screamed, cursed, yelled, and rattled the cell doors, generally behaving like a tribe of rabid banshees. These punks would last about two seconds with the feds.

— Jake Rohrer, A Banquet of Consequences. [Mr. Rohrer is a former federal prisoner. He'd been hauled up to Eureka from Lompoc to be interviewed by a federal grand jury before the feds relocated it to San Francisco.]

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PABLO'S DEPARTURE for Boston wasn't unexpected. He was miffed at the first lowball Giant's offer earlier this year. The Giants are messing with team chemistry by letting him go, but put Duffy at third, I say. Not much power but a good defensive player and a pretty good singles hitter. And he's very fast.

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BRONWEN HANES of Boonville was back in court last Tuesday, the DA alleging she has violated her probation. Ms. Hanes was convicted last February of embezzling some $27,000 from the Anderson Valley PTA. Ms. Hanes' lawyer, Katherine Elliot of Ukiah, complained to Judge Richard Henderson that Ms. Hanes had indeed been paying the money back, and produced a sheaf of receipts for more than $7400 in restitution payments to the Valley's Parent Teacher Association

“THOSE RECEIPTS ARE FALSE, Judge,” declared Assistant DA Paul Sequiera. “Once again Ms. Hanes has thought she can outsmart everybody.”

MS. HANES was previously sentenced to a year in jail by an indignant Judge Ann Moorman who accused Hanes of not taking responsibility for her crime.

AT THE TIME of sentencing Judge Moorman said she was being uncharacteristically harsh because “You, Ms. Hanes have been given all the advantages.” (Ms. Hanes comes from the secure sectors of the middleclass.) Judge Moorman gave Ms. Hanes 90 days in the County Jail with the rest of the jail time to be served on weekends so she could take advantage of a job opportunity to repay the PTA.

BUT SEQUIERA contended that there was no job and that Hanes was not otherwise abiding by the conditions of her probation.

THE HEARING last week was presided over by Judge Henderson. Judgement postponed until December when Judge Moorman, the sentencing judge, will hear the matter. (Bruce McEwen)

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NOT MANY EMERGENCY CALLS in Anderson Valley lately. On Friday, a little after 3pm, someone reported a possible propane leak near Lemons Market in Philo. No leak. At 3am Saturday morning, an unconscious male was said to be conked out in front of the Calfire stalag, South Boonville. He'd apparently regained his footing because by the time our Anderson Valley rescue team arrived he was gone.

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STREAM PROTECTION or homeowner protection?

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A READER WRITES: “The Newspaper Guild (formerly the print journalists union, but now calling itself “primarily a media union”) has begun to place ads seeking “new owners” of some of their chain papers.


A small one appeared in a Bay Area News Group paper and a second larger one in a St. Paul chain paper. One would assume they’re hoping to keep the papers running to benefit members of their union. But is this the most effective way to do it? Wouldn’t a worker-financed buyout of individual papers be more promising? Or do they just want your random deep pockets risk taker to throw money at them?

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THE GALA — A Harvest Party With A Giant Chocolate Hash Fountain

by Emily Hobelmann

Last Friday night I hit up the 1st Annual Humboldt High Grade Harvest Gala at the Mateel Community Center in Redway. It was kind of fancy. I saw a limo at the entrance to the event (limos are rare in Redway), and when I entered the Chalice Palace VIP lounge I was presented with a longstem red rose, like Humboldt royalty.

The event was produced by Satori Movement and More Love Productions. It ran on Friday and Saturday from noon till late, and it came on the heels of the Mateel’s Hempfest. Friday was rainy and sort of cold, a good Humboldt night for a harvest party. The gist of the HHGH Gala from the Mateel’s website:

“…a premier gathering to celebrate the harvest season with two days of edutainment bringing top tier music, world renowned speakers, vendors and great vibes to the community.”

Edutainment, music, vendors, good vibes and weed, lots of weed. But the Gala wasn’t a cannabis competition, it was a weed party. Admission was $55 for a one-day pass, $100 for a two-day pass, $215 for a two-day “215 VIP” pass or an additional $115 to upgrade a one-day pass to VIP. VIP meant Chalice Palace access and a goodie bag.

The admission price made me skeptical, I thought it was high. But the event was well-attended, at least on Friday night. I got there just after six, in time for the second half of “The Current Dispensary Landscape and What Purchasers Want From Patients” panel in the edutainment tent.

The panel was composed of four men, including Kevin Jodrey from Garberville’s medical marijuana dispensary Wonderland Nursery. There was gender imbalance. A quick tally of the seated audience at this panel yielded a 13:6 ratio of men to women. Other panels featured women, just not this one.

The audience was engaged and asking thoughtful questions. The panelists discussed transportation tips, like how official-looking paperwork can go a long way in a law enforcement mixup when you’re carrying pounds. They discussed self-titration for dosing because cannabis is too illegal for science. They discussed a number of specific topics.

Other panel discussions covered staying organic, light deprivation techniques and soil building versus buying. Saturday’s panel topics included Emerald Triangle tourism, bookkeeping and accounting for growers and handling police encounters.

The VIP lounge, or Chalice Palace, was accessible to Gala attendees with proper wristband creds — important people and 215 recommendation holders that paid the premium. It was an exclusive tent guarded by security guards with roses. Inside, hay was strewn on the ground producing a cozy, barn-like effect.

There were two dab stations, couches, heat lamps, a wine table and various medical marijuana providers. CSI Humboldt (Cannabis Sinsemilla Investigations) provided me with a bit of medicinal Obama Kush (Mendocino Purple X Bubba Kush) and a bag of feminized Bubba’s Girl seeds (Girl Scout Cookies X Bubba Kush).


People dabbed Pineapple, OG, Blue Dream and Ghost OG x Sour Diesel by SoHum Concentrates. Edibles and bud samples were scattered about. But the crown jewel of the Chalice Palace was a monstrous gurgling fountain of chocolate mousse spiked with hash. The display had a strong chocolate aroma. People scooped the chocolate hash mousse into stemware or little paper cups and ate it. It was gnar.

The Mateel hall itself was crowded and steamy. Lots of people huddled outside on the back patio area too, avoiding the rain, smoking out. Beer was on sale upstairs and a fire burned outside in an artful metal trashcan. I met people from Lake County and the Bay Area, people from Arcata and Willow Creek. I saw lots of dreadlocks, patchwork and LRG hoodies, head scarves, flat-brimmed hats. It was a big party.

Friday’s music headliners in the hall included Alborosie, Ikronik, Jah9 (I liked her) and Bobby Hustle. Saturday’s entertainment was Dialated Peoples and A Plus, plus more. Many men. The Mateel’s food was bomb. Toph’s House in Benbow had an after party both nights. There was a lot going on.

I’d say the Gala was a great success, at least on Friday night. And it was a good Emerald Cup warm up.

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Whoa, thought it was a nightmare

Lo, it was so true

They told me, don't go walkin' slow

The Devil's on the loose

Better run through the jungle

Better run through the jungle

Better run through the jungle

Woa, don't look back to see

Thought I heard a rumblin'

Callin' to my name

Two hundred million guns are loaded

Satan cries, "Take aim"

Better run through the jungle

Better run through the jungle

Better run through the jungle

Woa, don't look back to see

Over on the mountain

Thunder magic spoke

"Let the people know my wisdom

Fill the land with smoke"

Better run through the jungle

Better run through the jungle

Better run through the jungle

Woa, don't look back to see

— John Fogerty

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Pianist Roy Bogas to perform with Ukiah Symphony

When Roy Bogas was just 4 years old, his parents recognized he was going to be playing the piano.


He was accepted as a scholarship student at the age of 5 under the tutelage of well-known teacher Hedwig Rosenthal, wife of Moriz Rosenthal, an important composer, pianist and student of Franz Liszt.

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The stated meeting of Eastern Star Chapter 111 was called to order by Worthy Matron, Mary Danchuk, in ante-room form. A limited amount of business was discussed, as, this evening had also been chosen by our worthy matron for 2015 as her installation night. Everyone wore beautiful and colorful dresses for this occasion. The colors for 2015 are to be blue and yellow. We were very favored at this meeting to have a surprise visit by the 2015 State of California Worthy Grand Matron, Martha Peters. She and her escort for 2015, Pat Caceres, had flown in to Sacramento and decided to come to the coast for visiting and were staying the night in Fort Bragg. As part of our installation ceremony, the WGM installed our new Worthy Matron, Oscar Ann Stedman. Quite an honor! The ceremony itself was prepared and presented by our 2014 Deputy Grand Matron, Linda Fuentes, and our 2014 Grand Esther, Gee Gee Querry. Both ladies are members of the Kingsley-Augusta Chapter in Ukiah. After, a delicious setting was arranged in the diningroom with soup, wraps, beverages, and a delightful cake to celebrate. A wonderful blue and white tea service was presented to the out-going worthy matron, Mary Danchuk, for her two years of service as worthy matron. A new roster of officers is now setup and will be communicated to the membership via newsletter. Happy Holidays!

— Mary Danchuk, WM, Order of Eastern Star Ocean View Chapter 111 Mendocino, CA Meeting monthly 3rd Tuesday, 6:30pm Dark October and December 10500 Lansing Street, Mendocino

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Crony Capitalism Out of Control

by Ralph Nader

Two recent news items about the voracious drug industry should call for a supine Congress to arouse itself and initiate investigations about the pay-or-die drug prices that are far too common.

The first item—a page one story in the New York Times—was about the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation, which fifteen years ago invested $150 million in the biotechnology company Vertex Pharmaceuticals to develop a drug for this serious lung disease.

On November 19, the Foundation reported a return of $3.3 billion from that investment. Kalydeco, the drug developed with that investment, is taken daily by CF patients (who can afford it) and is priced at $300,000 a year per patient. Who can pay that price?

The second news release came from the drug industry funded Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. The Center’s Joseph DiMasi asserts that the cost of developing a new prescription medicine is about $2.558 billion, significantly higher than the previous estimate of $802 million that the Center claimed in 2003.

The drug industry promoters use this ludicrous figure to justify sky-high drug prices for consumers. Unfortunately, the criticism of this inflated number does not receive adequate media attention.

Half of the DiMasi assertion is opportunity costs foregone if the drug company invested its money elsewhere. That cuts his estimate by almost half to $1.395 billion. This maneuver gives “inflation” a new meaning. According to economist James P. Love, founder of Knowledge Ecology International, DiMasi also conveniently ignores government subsidies such as so-called orphan drug tax credits, research grants from the National Institutes of Health and government support of the cost of clinical trials that qualify (see

Mr. Love adds that the drug companies spend “much more on marketing than they do on research and development.”

Rohit Malpani, Director of Policy and Analysis of Doctors Without Borders (which received the Nobel Prize in 1999), says that if you believe Tufts’ figures, whose alleged data analysis is largely secret, “you probably also believe the Earth is flat.”

Mr. Malpani cites GlaxoSmithKline’s CEO Andrew Witty himself who says that the figure of a billion dollars to develop a drug is a myth.

Malpani adds that “we know from past studies and the experience of non-profit drug developers that a new drug can be developed for just a fraction of the cost the Tufts report suggests. The cost of developing products is variable, but experience shows that new drugs can be developed for as little as $50 million, or up to $186 million if you take failure into account…not only do taxpayers pay for a very large percentage of industry R&D, but are in fact paying twice because they then get hit with high prices for the drugs themselves.”

Mr. Malpani was referring primarily to the U.S., where the drug companies show no gratitude for generous tax credits and taxpayer funded R&D (that they get mostly free.) Add the absence of price controls and you the consumer/patient pay the highest drug prices in the world.

Another largely ignored aspect of the industry’s R&D is how much of it is directed to products that match, rather than improve, health outcomes—so-called “me too” drugs that are profitable, but don’t benefit patients’ health.

Also, the consistently profitable drug industry has been continually unable to restrain its deceptive promotion of drugs and inadequate disclosure of side-effects. About 100,000 Americans die every year from adverse effects of pharmaceuticals. Tens of billions of consumer dollars are wasted on drugs that have side effects instead of drugs for the same ailments with lesser side-effects (see

During a visit in 2000 with military physicians and scientists at the Walter Reed Army Hospital, I asked how much they spent on R&D to develop their antimalarial drugs and other medicine. The answer: five to ten million dollars per drug, which included clinical testing plus the salaries of the researchers.

This “drug development entity” inside the Department of Defense arose because drug companies refused to invest in vaccine or therapeutic drugs for malaria—then the second leading cause for hospitalizing U.S. soldiers in Vietnam (the first being battlefield injuries). So the military brass decided to fill this void in-house, and with considerable success.

The problem with the stinginess of the coddled private pharmaceutical industry regarding vaccine development continues. Drug resistant tuberculosis and other infectious diseases rampant in developing countries continue to take millions of lives each year. The Ebola epidemic is a current lethal illustration of such neglect.

The survival of many millions of people is too important to be left to the drug companies. For a fraction of what the federal government is wasting on spreading and failing lawless wars abroad, it can expand from the Walter Reed Army Hospital example to become a humanitarian superpower that produces life-saving vaccines and medicines as if the plight of sick people mattered more than windfall profits for Big Pharma.

(Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.)

One Comment

  1. Betsy Cawn November 25, 2014

    LAFCos have enormous decision making power, nearly invisible to the paying public, and in both Mendocino and Lake Counties have produced little in the way of ensuring that appropriate services are rendered by means of rigorous analysis of their costs and return on investment.

    We are truly grateful for the volunteer boards of directors of such critical services as emergency response (fire protection districts), “county” water districts (independent and locally accountable), and our partial health care district — which covers about half the county. Their diligence and dedication close the gap between County agencies and our own self-funded entities with close control of spending and quality control.

    That LAFCo is a good friend of the County, and its various “enterprise agencies” responsible for county-wide general services, is well known. In Lake County, the Commission has done as little as possible to engage the paying public, and we assume that is true in your neck of the woods, as well.
    Even if Mendo LAFCo is a tool, like Lake’s, we are still inspired by your community’s willing and wise debunkers — and the AVA’s readers — and encourage everyone to scrutinize the all-but-secret and all-but-harmless powers of the local “agency formation” system.

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