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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Jan 22, 2015

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THE ILLUSION OF ACTION: Congressmen Mike Thompson and Thompson's political clone, Jared Huffman, are throwing a semi-public immigration discussion this Friday afternoon at the Steele Lane Community Center. Please note that the start-time is 3:30 when most people are at work. Also please note that the two solons have invited several self-alleged experts to help clarify things, meaning they all will talk, you will listen. And then after about 90 minutes they and you will go away, but with them saying that they have “eased fears,” whatever your fear on the subject happens to be. Thompson's and Huffman's fear is the disappearance of cheap, peasant labor for the wine industry they both represent more than they represent anybody else. “This is going to provide some clarity so folks understand what it is exactly that President Obama did,” Thompson told his stenographers at the Press Democrat. Note that we've been upgraded from “people” to the homier, more personal “folks.”

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MENDOCINO SUPES MOVES AHEAD WITH MARIJUANA COMMITTEE. McCowen & Woodhouse to explore the economic impact of legalization.

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SPORTS COMMENTATOR DAVE ZIRIN WRITES: Knocking out your partner, deflating some balls… It’s all just another cart on the rumbling, stumbling, and often bumbling NFL gravy train. It’s Roger Goodell’s world, a world where if you can get away with it, you do it, and by all means, you never do it on videotape. But forget for a moment the hot takes about Boston Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, his legacy, and how this event could dominate the next ten days as idle reporters in Glendale, Arizona now have something to feed the 24-7 news cycle. Forget as well that the Patriots would have beaten the Colts last Sunday if they had played with a rubber chicken wrapped in silver duct tape. At least some of the collective outrage, not to mention interest, about this speaks to our profound cynicism about formally trusted institutions of power in this country, and our continued, shockingly unshakable, relative absence of cynicism about sports. After years of hearing about doping scandals, dirty players, hypocritical commissioners, biased basketball refs, and games that seem to be staged only as background to sell the “war on terror brought to you by Budweiser,” people still want to believe that the play itself, if not pure, is still an honest endeavor in between the lines.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Jan 21, 2014

Beall, Bonson, Castaneda, Clawson
Beall, Bonson, Castaneda, Clawson

KYLE BEALL, Willits. Under influence of controlled substance.

TRAVIS BONSON, Willits. Battery of peace officer, parole violation.

EARL CASTANEDA, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

JASSEN CLAWSON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

N.Garcia, R.Garcia, Hoyer, Ireland
N.Garcia, R.Garcia, Hoyer, Ireland

NICOLAS GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Driving on suspended license, probation revocation.

RYAN GARCIA, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JACOB HOYER, Laytonville. Drunk in public.

CASEY IRELAND, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon other than firearm. (See separate press release.)

Miles, Stamper, Tamayo, Vazquez
Miles, Stamper, Tamayo, Vazquez

MONA MILES, Clearlake, Ukiah. Killing/maiming/abusing animals, burglary, under influence of controlled substance, driving under the influence, possession of meth.

MARY STAMPER, Laytonville. DUI, evasion.

JOSE TAMAYO, Fort Bragg. Assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury, criminal threats, participation in criminal street gang.

DONACIANO VAZQUEZ, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Possession of more than an ounce of pot.

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ARREST MADE in Tuesday Night Stabbing in Willits


Just after 8pm on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, Willits Police Department Officers were dispatched to Howard Memorial Hospital for a report of a stabbing victim receiving treatment. Upon arrival at the hospital, WPD Officers contacted the 47 year old male victim from Willits who was receiving treatment for a stab wound. While the stab wound was considered serious in nature, the victim is expected to survive his injury. The victim reported he had gotten into an argument with the suspect on Raymond Lane and during the argument the suspect stabbed the victim. The victim was able to escape and transported himself to Howard Hospital for treatment. The victim knew the suspect and named his attacker as Casey Ireland, a 21 year old Willits resident. WPD Officers drove to Raymond Lane where Ireland was located along with the stabbing instrument. Ireland was taken into custody without incident, for assault with a deadly weapon, and was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail. The investigation is ongoing at this time.

— WPD Sergeant M. McNelley

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January 12, 11:40am. Steve R Smalley, Boonville. Age 48, Arrest on Highway 101 north of Walker Road for possession and transportation of marijuana.

January 3, 2014, about 5pm. Patricia Plowright, 70 and her son Thomas Plowright, 47, both of San Jose (with property in Anderson Valley) were arrested on Highway 128 in Boonville for possession and transportation of marijuana.

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It was a fine show on Tuesday night. Obama’s State of the Union address was a masterful performance, and a comprehensive waste of time. Leaving aside everything I've said, there is the stone-cold fact that absolutely none of the progressive ideas President Obama proposed on Tuesday night have the vaguest chance of seeing daylight in this new GOP-dominated congress — which begs the question:

Why did he wait until now — when everything he proposed was demonstrably doomed before the words even passed his teeth — to uncork the kind of rhetoric so many of his voters have been waiting for? Was it to poke a stick in the eye of this new assemblage? Perhaps to lay some rhetorical groundwork for the 2016 presidential race? Or did he never mean any of it in the first place, and said it on Tuesday night secure in the fact that none of it would ever come to pass? As I said, it was a fine speech. Soaring at points, in fact. Now what do we do?

— William Rivers Pitt

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My name is Carol Bruce. I am writing you in regards to my son Richard Cole Geiger who just goes by Cole.

Richard Geiger
Richard Geiger

He was born December 16, 1986; grew up most of his life here in northern California, (Laytonville exactly) living off and on with one parent or the other. While he was still in high school and was getting ready to graduate the next month, he was in a serious atv accident on the rez here in Laytonville. He was helevac'd to Santa Rosa memorial with head trauma. His skull was crushed. It was very serious. He under went brain surgery. Nine hours later: a success. We are grateful he was able to function like normal and he wasn’t messed up like so many I have seen and heard of with the same kind of injury. But he does have some handicaps such as caffeine will get him all freaked out, he must stay out of the hot sun. Headaches, migraines, susceptible to seizures, even heart attack and strokes. Thinking out problems takes him awhile and not always choosing the right and simple answer. It takes him a bit longer to figure what would be easy for most folks. It’s just a little harder for my boy. He speaks normal seems normal looks normal, but he is yet a little bit mentally challenged. He never went back to doctors after his release from the hospital. He was there only a week.

In June of 2014 he was arrested out on Branscomb Road in Laytonville. He was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and in possession of 24 grams of meth. He spent 6 months in county an got 3 years probation and was supposed to do a 6 month rehab program. They released him from jail and he was supposed to go do that program when 2-3 months later he was arrested again at Harwood Park with yet another loaded weapon and a quarter gram of meth and he is now a felon. They are trying to send him to prison for 2 years out of all this.

Really now ain't this kind of harsh? I know of a Mexican family here in town that was busted in Ukiah with 60 pounds of meth. Yes you read right, 60 pounds of meth. Damn. They did no time, didn’t get deported, didn’t go to prison.

Where’s the justice, I ask, Your Honor! When this first started he had a spotless record. Why the harshness? It’s ok to have 60 pounds of meth? Have less than an ounce and go to prison? He had court today [Wednesday] that I missed because his public defender is too lame to return calls for his client. I wanted to tell the public defender of this situation with Cole’s medical records, that he is mentally challenged and does not deserve to go to prison. My son has a good record and is a good boy; they have him all wrong. Can you help or can my voice be heard? He can’t go to prison. It will ruin him, then there will be a point of no return. Where’s the true justice?

My name is Carol Bruce and I am the mother of Cole Geiger.

Thank you. 707-706-4696. Or 707-367-9101

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by Marshall Newman

One-Twenty-Eight. The highway. That $%&(@! road. However one refers to California State Highway 128, it is Anderson Valley’s main street and its main portal to the outside world.


Highway 128 is also — in some ways — a wonder. Anderson Valley’s isolation comes in part from the seriously rugged surrounding terrain; tall ridges, deeply cut and convoluted canyons, myriad streams and dense forest. Even today, access to the valley isn’t quick and isn’t relaxing. Like the road itself, the story of California State Highway 128 is a complicated one, with plenty of twists and turns.

Of course, there is more to Highway 128 than the approximately 55 miles from Cloverdale to Highway 1 at Navarro-by-the-Sea. In full, Highway 128 runs roughly northwest 130 miles, starting at Highway 505 near Winters, skirting the southern edge of Lake Berryessa, crossing the Vaca Range, running through the heart of Napa Valley and Alexander Valley, and FINALLY heading into Anderson Valley before reaching — almost - the Pacific Ocean. That the component pieces essentially meet end to end appears to be the only reason they collectively became Highway 128.

The Anderson brothers became the first non-native Americans to see the valley that now bears the family’s name in the early 1850s by tracking an elk northwest from Oat Valley near Cloverdale. The earliest settlers, some coming from the Russian River Valley, others coming from the Mendocino coast, likely reached Anderson Valley in ways similar to the Andersons; following game trails, watercourses and native Pomo paths.

A basic route — essentially a trail - into Anderson Valley from Cloverdale appears to have been established by 1859, when Alexander C. McDonald patented property at its highest elevation (1,220 feet) approximately eight miles northwest of Cloverdale. McDonald chose the location for what became McDonald Ranch well, as it was situated both at a logical stopping place on the primary route into Anderson Valley, and at a logical stopping place on the primary route — at the time - into the Ukiah Valley. It also encompassed some excellent grazing land. Here McDonald established Mountain House, with a rooming house, barns and pastures. After the trail was widened into a road to handle wagons, Mountain House — operated by McDonald and later by his son, Richard McDonald — served as a stage stop for decades and also served as an overnight stop for Anderson Valley ranchers herding their sheep to the railhead in Cloverdale. When I was a pre-teen in Anderson Valley circa 1960, long-time resident Leo Sanders spoke of doing the two-day trip with his father and sheep, with an overnight stay at Mountain House, in the late 1910s.

A crude road into Anderson Valley from the Pacific Coast to the northwest was built by valley settler John Gschwend in the late 1850s. The route ran along the top of Navarro Ridge before descending to the valley floor near Flynn Creek, just west of Wendling (later to become Navarro). It washed out during the winter of 1861-1862, but was rebuilt and served as the primary access to and from the coast for many years.

Whether one traveled to Anderson Valley from the southeast or the northwest back then, the trip wasn’t easy. Heavy winter rains closed the roads on a regular basis. Horses, livestock and thin, metal rimmed wagon wheels tore up dirt roadbeds and left a mess in their wake. As Cecil Gowan described the road at his family’s property near Philo around 1910 in the book Mendocino County Remembered, “You couldn’t walk in it for the mud in the wintertime and you couldn’t walk in it for the dust in the summertime.”

With the addition of gravel now and again, and some grading by the county, the main roads into and through Anderson Valley remained dirt until well after the advent of the automobile. The Navarro Ridge Road proved so problematic, the logging railroad from Albion to Wendling was utilized for several years around 1915 to haul automobiles - on flatcars usually used for logs - from the coast to the valley and vice versa.

In 1923, the state began work on a paved road to connect McDonald Ranch to the Shoreline Road (as it was then called) at Navarro-by-the-Sea. The reason for beginning at McDonald Ranch was simple; the presumably already-paved road from Cloverdale to McDonald Ranch and then on to Hopland remained part of what became Highway 101 (previously marked as Legislative Route Number [LRN] 1 and changed to Highway 1 in 1926) until 1934, when a replacement road connecting Cloverdale to Hopland by way of the Russian River was finished. The McDonald to the Sea (or simply McDonald) Highway was completed in 1927. With the exception of new construction from Flynn Creek Road to Navarro-by-the-Sea, it essentially followed the route valley folks had been using to and from Cloverdale for nearly 70 years.

When I was a child in Anderson Valley in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was rumored an easier, flatter route from Sonoma County had been proposed at one time, but that a powerful state legislator from Cloverdale has squashed construction and forced the Highway Department to upgrade the road from Cloverdale. I cannot find any evidence of the latter, but the former apparently was true. A route was considered that followed Dry Creek from Healdsburg to a spot near its headwaters approximately four miles northwest of Mountain House, where it would connect with the road to the valley already in use. It was never built, but planning had advanced to a point where the proposed route appeared on maps printed in the 1910s and 1920s.

The McDonald to the Sea Highway moniker did not last long; it was changed to Highway 28 in 1933. In 1952, an additional number was added to most California highways and Highway 28 became Highway 128. During this period and through the late 1950s, significant Highway 128 improvements were made, including several realignments, two of which allowed construction of new bridges over Indian and Anderson Creek, and the addition of turn-outs in various locations.

The only major change in Highway 128 through Anderson Valley since 1960 has been replacement of a significant portion of highway between Boonville and Philo around 1970 (I cannot recall the exact year). When the new, virtually straight section was completed, old Highway 128 became Anderson Valley Way. As a result, Farrer’s Corner, one of the valley’s more notorious spots for accidents, went from dangerous curve to slow turn, albeit one that still conjures up bad memories among older locals who remember its carnage.

In recent years, Caltrans has continued to work on Highway 128; replacing the Fish Rock Road junction to accommodate the new bridge, adding a few passing lanes, replacing culverts, fixing slides and roadbed slips, and repaving. In the last year or so, repaving has been ongoing, both between Mountain House and Boonville and between Boonville and Philo.

I am confident the drive will be smoother when the repaving is finally finished, but I am equally sure travel on Highway 128 from Cloverdale to the Pacific Ocean will remain a challenge. Those drivers who let their attention wander and those drivers who believe they can speed along well above the posted limit will sooner or later discover its unforgiving nature. In several ways, Highway 128 has protected Anderson Valley from the fate of similarly beautiful and bountiful landscapes, and for that locals should be grateful.

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SNCC's Lesson: ‘Power Yields Nothing Without Demand’

by Clancy Sigal

We tend to neuter our best history, like MLK Day.

Of all the various coalitions, organizations and individuals who fought to win civil rights laws, I’ve only heard John Lewis point to the crucial part the very young played. Without southern teenagers the Movement would have stalled.

Here’s an adapted, previous piece from the UK Guardian:

I wasn’t at Valley Forge or Gettysburg or at other historic American battlefields that we continue to venerate. But I was in Albany, southwest Georgia, in the explosive 60s when, led by religiously oriented, singing-and-shouting youngsters of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, an entire black community in Albany, hitherto subjugated and afraid, rallied to find its own collective voice in self-taught non-violent tactics that beat The Man who had (literally) beaten them for so long. Without the incendiary, uncompromising, “jail, no bail” militance of the SNCC volunteers I doubt if the battle for civil rights would have prevailed as rapidly or as — relatively — peacefully.

SNCC didn’t live very long — a few years at best before fatigue, stress, the FBI’s spy-and-disrupt CoIntelPro and Black Power swallowed it up. But not before it had accomplished its historic mission which went way beyond even black voter representation and desegregation of bus terminals and lunch counters. Under fire (of real bullets), it lived its dream. “Power yields nothing without demand!” was a favourite slogan. Unwilling to wait for a Promised Land, the young women and men, black and white soldiers of SNCC created their own transcendent personal relationships and, in a system of workshops, developed leaders “from the bottom” among pool hustlers and choir singers, delinquents and respectables. SNCC’s genius — which set it apart from more conventional civil rights groups like NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Core etc — was to have confidence in the capacities of previously uninvolved, fearful, formally uneducated black people.

Death — murder — lay around every corner. “If you’re not prepared to die here in Albany then you’re not facing reality,” a 19-year old SNCC girl told me. (A little later, just across the state line in Neshoba, Mississippi, three young Freedom Movement workers — James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, one black man and two whites — were murdered by local law enforcement in league with the Ku Klux Klan.) In the heat of battle — beatings, deliberate humiliation, terror, jail as a daily fact of life, legal defeats, disillusionment with celebrated “leaders” — a genuine redemptive community was created. The “beloved community” was a fact not a phrase.

I’d come to Albany in 1963, a lone white man toting a portable typewriter in a racially tense town. My luck held, because a previous visit by a sympathetic Guardian reporter, WJ Weatherby, had created such good feelings in the aroused and suspicious black community, that the positive energy he left in his wake automatically rubbed off onto me. “He’s English … feed the man!” was the welcome I got in the first black household I called on.

Although I was on assignment there was no question of standing aside from “the struggle.” This meant sharing a floor in a sharecropper’s shack to sleep on, cleaning toilet bowls and cooking meals when asked to, standing night guard at a firebomb-threatened home, riding rattletraps deep into the rural backwoods to hand out voter registration forms to people who had been prevented from voting for generations, keeping nervous watch out the car’s back window not knowing if the dark trees sheltered a KKK-style shotgun blast, doing all kinds of donkey work. Along the way we’d pass burned-out churches.

SNCC may not have invented the mass meeting and mass demonstration, but I’d never before seen them employed so dramatically and effectively. The mass meeting itself, often held in sweltering country churches, was an exercise in pure communal power. Sitting alongside semi-literate maids and farm labourers, children and grandmothers, singing the old prayer songs now adapted to the movement, you could hear the rhythm of the feet and clapping of hands and feel the positive energy bursting from the throats of people who were no longer waiting but affirming and demanding. In the name of Jesus, a new south was being born amid Albany’s cotton fields and pecan groves.

I always knew that I’d be moving on. Charles Sherrod, a young Baptist SNCC (later chaplain at Georgia state prison and husband of Shirley Sherrod state director of Rural Development), took me down to the Trailways bus station. Charlie shook my hand and looked me in the eye. “You should stay here and fight with us. But if you can’t, remember that we love you.”

I was stunned. I’d been expatriated in England so long I wasn’t used to open emotion so openly expressed. I’m not a spiritual person. But to this day I have carried with me that feeling, that sense of transformative, redemptive — and yes, angry — love.

In those inflamed days, of lynchings and bone-breaking beatings instigated by local white power structures, someone as conciliation-prone and slap-my-other-cheek as Barack Obama simply would have been trampled over by the thousands of impatient SNCC volunteers who demanded their “Freedom — now!”. For SNCC’s 50th anniversary in 2010 Obama sent his attorney general — while he found time out out of his busy schedule to descend on the troops in Afghanistan. A pity he couldn’t spare a few hours for the youngsters, now grey-haired, who were so responsible for making him our first black president. If he’d come to the anniversary conference he might have been taught the SNCC lesson that power yields nothing without demand and the guts to back it up.

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


  1. Harvey Reading January 22, 2015


    Bidness as usual … but still you vote for the scum.

  2. Harvey Reading January 22, 2015

    “COMMENT OF THE DAY … Now, what do we do?”

    Well, if the past is any indicator, vote for the democraps next time, in the never-ending Quixotic quest for change. That’s all that Obama’s words were meant for. He’s been lying from the beginning of his rise to national prominence, yet people voted for him, first for the cesspool of the senate and then for the throne, twice. A country that dumb is doomed.

  3. Bill Pilgrim January 22, 2015

    RE: Tam. vs. San Rafael, ’57. Batting 5th and had five ABs? Definitely a long game. 1 for 5? Not too bad for a pitcher…I guess.

    Re: The Skydiver. Do you think that could be Obama?

  4. Bruce Anderson January 22, 2015

    Not me, Harv. I vote for Ralphie.

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