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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Feb 8, 2015

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TWO MORE INCHES OF RAIN PREDICTED FOR SUNDAY. Which is no longer expected to push the Navarro over its banks on Sunday. According to the USGS Gauge the Navarro went above flood stage (“minor”) on Saturday morning, but we didn’t hear about any road closures for Highway 128, only Highway 1 and Highway 175.


CHP/UKIAH: Highway 1 at the Garcia Bridge is now open (as of 3:38pm on Feb 7, 2015). Also, Highway 175 at the Russian River Bridge is open (as of 3:30pm on Feb 7, 2015).


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Well I married me a wife, she's been trouble all my life

Run me out in the cold rain and snow

Rain and snow, run me out in the cold rain and snow


Well she's coming down the stairs, combin' back her yellow hair

And I ain't goin be treated this ol' way


Well she went up to her room where she sang her faithful tune

Well I'm goin where those chilly winds don`t blow

— Grateful Dead

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Home from hospital, bicyclist recounts being struck by car near Ukiah

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If these cyclists would stay home, sit on the sofa and watch television like I do this never would have happened. These liberals think if they ride a bike all over tarnation that they will live forever. I'm a senior citizen and I'm doing just fine. Every once in a while I walk to the living room from the family room, sit down and watch my artificial plant grow. That's enough exercise for me.

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PINOLEVILLE'S MEGA-GROW ON HOLD? Mendo's two top law enforcement officers seem to have delayed the Pinoleville tribe's announced plans to allow a Colorado-based marijuana corporation to establish an industrial-size grow on tribal land just north of Ukiah. Sheriff Allman says a productive meeting with tribal reps, as described in the Ukiah Daily Journal, seems to have convinced the tribe to put the brakes on the project.

DA DAVID EYSTER, via office spokesman Mike Geniella, said Eyster still hasn't received a response to his written request for detailed project information. Geniella said Eyster sent out a lengthy request for information by certified mail to FoxBarry, United Cannabis and the Pinoleville tribe. “He's (Eyster) giving them the appropriate amount of time,” Geniella said. “Supposedly FoxBarry is saying they're going to be meeting with local officials, but we haven't heard from them, nor have they scheduled anything. Eyster will not meet with them unless they provide answers to his detailed questions.”

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FROM AN ARTICLE IN THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS (Saving Alan Turing from His Friends, by Christian Caryl):

…The filmmakers see their hero above all as a martyr of a homophobic Establishment, and they are determined to lay emphasis on his victimhood. The Imitation Game ends with the following title: “After a year of government-mandated hormonal therapy, Alan Turing committed suicide in 1954.” This is in itself something of a distortion. Turing was convicted on homosexuality charges in 1952, and chose the “therapy” involving female hormones… as an alternative to jail time. It was barbarous treatment, and Turing complained that the pills gave him breasts. But the whole miserable episode ended in 1953 — a full year before his death, something not made clear to the filmgoer.

[B. Jack] Copeland, who has taken a fresh look at the record and spoken with many members of Turing's circle, disputes that the experience sent Turing into a downward spiral of depression. By the accounts of those who knew him, he bore the injustice with fortitude, then spent the next year enthusiastically pursuing projects. Copeland cites a number of close friends (and Turing's mother) who saw no evidence that he was depressed in the days before his death, and notes that the coroner who concluded that Turing had died by biting a cyanide-laced apple never examined the fruit. Copeland offers sound evidence that the death might have been accidental, the result of a self-rigged laboratory where Turing was conducting experiments with cyanide. He left no suicide letter…

In perhaps the most bitter irony of all, the filmmakers have managed to transform the real Turing, vivacious and forceful, into just the sort of mythological gay man, whiney and weak, that homophobes love to hate…

The real-life Turing would have sneered at his film counterpart's willingness to blab everything to some police inspector he's just met — a scandalous and improbable security breach that probably does more to dishonor Turing's memory than just about anything else in the movie, which invents the conversation as a cheap narrative device…

(See also The Imitation Game: inventing a new slander to insult Alan Turing, by Alex von Tunzelmann, cited by Caryl.)

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UKIAH'S CITY MANAGER Jane Chambers’ announced resignation almost certainly is a case of jumping before being pushed. Chambers is smart enough to know she no longer has a Council that will automatically do her bidding. She got a strong taste of that last month when the Council slam-dunked her proposal to hire a consultant for $15,000 to set goals. It is a pretty sure bet that the present Council would also have balked at paying $30,000 in public funds for a dining platform for their favorite restaurant; $23,000 for the “Far Out, Nearby” slogan heralding Ukiah's delights; $43,000 to plant a few bushes in front of the electrical substation on Gobbi, and other silliness while the streets crumble and the sewer and water bills shoot through the roof.

CHAMBERS' performance is open to question since she has been unable to balance the budget for six consecutive years. Under Chambers' leadership, Ukiah was milking the Redevelopment Agency for $1 million a year to pay admin salaries. When the state killed Redevelopment a couple of years ago, Chambers laid off police, firefighters and parks and rec workers and kept her bloated admin bureaucracy intact. Chambers also eliminated the local ambulance service, alienated the firefighters, engineered a giveaway deal with the local garbage company and became embroiled in a $27 million lawsuit with the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District. Her reign was characterized by a series of blunders, cheered on by a city council consisting of only a single competent person, Mr. Crane.

ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER SAGE SANGIACOMO might seem to have the inside track among internal candidates to replace Chambers since he has worked on major projects like Redevelopment and Costco. Sangiacomo is smart and personable, but in the minds of some may be too closely tied to the present City Manager. Mayor Crane, the only holdover from the Council that hired Chambers, has announced his intention to hold a meeting with the department heads being brought in one by one to meet with the Council. This could give the Council an opportunity to ask if any of them are interested in the City Manager position or if they support any of the other department heads. Ukiah Police Chief Chris Dewey's name has also been mentioned as a possible successor. Dewey is smart, seems to have the respect of his staff, and has done well with community outreach. He also serves at the will of the City Manager which may explain why his answers to the Council are always tentative and his words carefully chosen. Can he step out of Chambers' shadow if given the chance?

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LITERALISTS. Annie Proulx is probably best known for the movie version of her short story, Brokeback Mountain, about two gay cowboys who went up the hill and didn't feel much like coming back down. “I wish I'd never written the story,” Ms. Proulx has told the Paris Review. It's just been the cause of hassle and problems and irritation since the film came out. The problem is fans who didn't like the unhappy ending and regularly send her letters suggesting alternatives. “I think it's important to leave spaces in a story for readers to fill in from their own experience, but unfortunately the audience that Brokeback reached most strongly have powerful fantasy lives. And one of the reasons we keep the gates locked here is that a lot of men have decided that the story should have had a happy ending. They can't bear the way it ends. So they rewrite the story, including all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth after Jack is killed. And it just drives me wild. They can't understand that the story isn't about Jack and Ennis. It's about homophobia; it's about a social situation; it's about a place and particular mindset and morality.”

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The Unbearable Lightness of Superbowl Music

by David Yearsley

A late-imperial malaise hung in the air over Glendale, Arizona on SuperBowl Sunday. It could not be chased away by all the bright artificial lights that shone down on the lip-syncing roster of mediocre Obama court entertainers summoned to bring either solemnity or punch to the occasion. The starry skies of hope had disappeared above the gloom.

Coming six teeth-grinding years after Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008, the off-gassings of Sunday Night’s Democratic entertainers simply made the smog of boredom and melancholy that much more toxic to the musical ear and the body politic.

First up was John Legend, born as John Roger Stephens. He lives up to his stage name only in his legendary talent for setting new caloric lows in saccharine self-love: the unbearable liteness of his music makes you think he’ll float up from his piano like the Son of Flubber. The black Prada boots with which he pedaled his piano must have gold soles.

Legend kept his dismal reputation intact by sapping what little merit there ever was in Irving Berlin’s World War I anthem, “America the Beautiful,” long a staple of the SuperBowl pre-kickoff ritual. He sat at the piano oozing something resembling song, while obsequious harmonic bowings and scrapings of his bleached out gospelisms took the semi-rousing edges off the original.

If you can call what Legend does musical performance, it is the music-making of someone in the late stages of cryogenic therapy. This might explain the black quilted Dolce & Gabbana jacket that gave his appearance a wintery look.

The extreme-low energy of Legend’s own brand explains why he could never get a half-time bid, in contrast to the other leading Obama Court Composer, who did the 2011 Super Bowl. Mr. am’s “Yes You Can” served as the offertory hymn of Obama’s first presidential run. The milquetoast hip-hop celebrity parade (running from Scarlett Johansson to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) that joined Mr. am on the viral video was the political pendant to the breathy urgings of Legend’s “If You’re Out There,” a soporific campaign motet downloadable for free on the then-Illinois senator’s website and subsequently inflicted on the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Many who once harbored illusions that candidate Obama was a man of moral fiber and political vision now grant themselves the satisfaction of disillusionment in the carbon-rich twilight of his presidential tenure. My reeducation program for these millions is short and brutally effective: self-administer the excruciating four minutes of Legend’s 2008 paean to non-politics by clicking the below link. This is the medicine you deserve — a tepid gruel soaked in the soymilk back-up sonorities of the Agape Gospel Choir and spooned out gloopily by Legend himself. In saying nothing at all this song said everything about the Obama years that were to come.

It was fitting, then that Legend used his SuperBowl spot to usher in the Lame Duck years of Republican Congressional Majority: nothing could be lamer than Mr. Legend’s music.

After Legend was wheeled from the 50-yard line and back to his cooler, Idina Menzel mounted the podium for the national anthem. Like Legend, Menzel, has been getting out the vote for Obama since 2008, and has had her marquis appearance at court in the 2010 Broadway extravaganza at the White House.

Her brief at this year’s Super Bowl was to bomb the Star-Spangled Banner back into the Stone Age.

Mission Accomplished!

After the ponderous first-note and nightmarishly slow-motion descent down the arpeggio, it was clear Ms. Menzel was intent on breaking Metropolitan opera star Renée Fleming’s record for the longest anthem set last year at the Meadowlands. Backed by a military choir, Fleming laid siege to the national hymn in its bicentenary year of 2014, breaching the Maginot-line of two minutes for the first time in Super Bowl history. One yearned for Billy Joel’s brisk 90-second belt-out jobs in 1989 and 2007.

After making heavy weather of the opening, Menzel lurched more quickly up towards the highpoint of the first phrase in performative reference to the origins of the tune as a drinking song.

These inebriate weavings put into doubt her effort to outdistance the metrically reliable Fleming. But Menzel made good use of some comically distended appoggiaturas and a fierce stranglehold on the high notes to bust through the two-minute barrier.

In the end it was a close contest, but the photo finish showed that Broadway had beaten the Met by a single second. Minutes later in the bowels of the stadium the fallen national anthem was wrapped in the Star-Spangled Banner and then flown to Arlington National Cemetery for immediate burial. Like coffins returning from Obama’s foreign wars, no photos were published.

There is precedent for dispensing of the national anthem at the Super Bowl; Vicki Carr did only America the Beautiful in 1977. Expect the Star-Spangled Banner to be MIA from here on out, to be replaced by a newly-composed hymn from Mr. am or Mr. Legend — or both. This new intro to the most sacred of American rites will be secured by executive order as a bulwark against future Republican SuperBowl choristers such as Meatloaf and the Oakridge Boys, now waiting in the wings for Bush III to give them their long-overdue chance on the gridiron of song.

The only element of the tiresome pre-game ritual that had the right pacing was the coin toss, its spinning loop a paragon of aesthetic elegance, quickly efficient and unimpeachably decisive — and an instructive contrast to the musical waffling that preceded it.

The half-time spot went to sex symbol Katy Perry, another Obama functionary dispatched to distract the global millions of the president’s political impotence at home and abroad. In this effort she continued previous service that has included painting on a dress in the form of correctly filled-out Obama/Biden ballot and covering the president’s favorite song, Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” at a “grassroots” campaign event in Las Vegas in 2012.

Perry relishes form-fitting outfits and she donned a similarly tight number for her SuperBowl week press conference, a blue and orange confection with graphics of fully inflated footballs placed directly over her fully-pumped breasts. When fed a straight-line about DeflateGate by a “journalist” she leaned over the podium and offered a fuller view her décolletage and responded to his question by assuring the world that “nothing in my performance will be deflated.”

More importantly, however, Perry is the siren of the Affordable Care Act. Obama tweeted his thanks for her support of the Act when Perry did her hit single “Roar” at the 2013 MTV Music awards a few weeks before ObamaCare was due to be rolled out. Thus Perry entered the SuperBowl stadium for her show on a giant lion while singing that same song, the unofficial hymn to the signal domestic legislation of the Obama years.

After that mouse had roared, Perry’s “Dark Horse” joined the bestiary. Then it was time for her breakout single “I Kissed A Girl,” which I happily grappled with on back in 2008. In SuperBowls of yore the same-sex topic would have elicited howls of outrage from wide swaths of the Christian Right in whose choir stalls Perry herself once sung as the daughter of evangelical missionaries. Yet the only brimstone I could unearth about her bi-curious breakout came from Ken Ham (no relation to SuperBowl great Jack Ham of the Pittsburgh Steelers). The present Ham is the CEO of the Creation Museum, and he dismissed Perry’s song as “meaningless garbage,” before unleashing damnation on the Carnival Cruise SuperBowl ad that used a JFK speech suggesting that we all came from the sea.

When Perry started into a gutsy version of “I Kissed a Girl,” I was hoping for a cameo by Madonna, herself a grizzled SuperBowl veteran. That was what the immoral majority yearned for: some close harmony and still closer womanly embraces. But alas, it fell to yet another Obama foot soldier, Lenny Kravitz to deflate any lesbian eros from the occasion. In a breathtaking bit of wrong-headed overstatement, Kravitz was recently hailed by the President as “one of the great rock stars of all time.” Kravitz’s commando appearance in Sunday night was meant to redirect the girl’s kisses in a male direction. Kravitz strummed with onanistic fury at his unplugged guitar as Perry went down on her knees in front of his ersatz electronic manhood. There was no girl to kiss, only a stubbly third-rate rocker and his fretted phallus. This was a duet not a threesome. The current protocols of what counts as family entertainment at the SuperBowl remained unviolated. After reaching his quick climax, Kravitz slunk back to his luxury box to clean up.

Not sure whether I was appalled or just disappointed at this missed opportunity and obscene bit of hetero triangulation, my attention began to fade, the eyelids heavy from Pepsi sugar shock. I momentarily regained consciousness as Perry did her masterpiece, “Firework” and was lofted heavenward on her trapeze, like the Queen of the Desert Night. From the ramparts of the stadium the rockets glared redly, and half-asleep I dreamt I saw Obama torn to shreds by the Republican Furies and spread, like Orpheus, across the sky as a constellation.

I awoke with a start and the awful realization that the clock had only just started on the fourth quarter of Obama Time, and the fourth quarter is the longest one of all.

(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His recording of J. S. Bach’s organ trio sonatas is available from Musica Omnia. He can be reached at

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by Troy King

Will opening a homeless shelter in downtown Fort Bragg help the homeless population or address the problems associated with homelessness in Fort Bragg? The idea reminds me of a quote from an old movie called Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come." That certainly is what has happened in other cities. The more shelters they build, the more homeless there are that still do not fit into those shelters and just simply overflow on to the streets. As a police officer for more than a quarter decade, I have seen it with my own eyes.

I was born and raised in Fort Bragg. I went to high school here, graduated from College of the Redwoods and worked for Fort Bragg Police Department for several years back in the 80’s. As a police officer, I interacted with our homeless population more than a few times. Back then, most of them were locals. Most of them were harmless. There were always a few “homeless tourists” who would drift through town, usually in the summer when the weather more easily allowed sleeping outdoors. It wasn’t until I moved out of the area that I saw what a real homeless problem looks like.

In my new city you will find homeless people sleeping in outcroppings of bushes, under bridges and other “hidden places.” You will also find them sleeping out in the open on the sidewalks in downtown. When I say downtown, I mean right in front of City Hall, right in front of some of the busiest stores and office complexes. Sure, there are lots of rural areas for them to populate, but downtown has a particular draw: homeless shelters and related services. And so, local businesses now contract (for a fee in addition to their city, state and federal taxes) with a local entity called “Downtown Clean and Safe” to try to make downtown just that, clean and safe. Others get the job of cleaning up the area, hosing down sidewalks and business doorways to try to remove the stench of human urine and the like.

It seems when an area is developed as a magnet for the homeless population, it does just that: it becomes a magnet. Not only are local homeless people drawn to the area, but soon word travels outside the town’s borders that there is an area where you can get a free place to sleep and a free meal. Soon, homeless from around the country arrive. The shelters overflow, and now we end up with full shelters and even more people sleeping on the sidewalks. It probably sounds like I am exaggerating. I wish I was.

Some cities end up with large numbers of “street kids.” These bands of young people are a mix of largely out of town homeless who feel they should not have to abide by the “corrupt laws” of society. Many have traveled from other states after hearing about the plethora of services available. So they leave home, refuse to work and get by through begging for money, taking government handouts, and sometimes through criminal activity. They form their own gangs, create their own lingo and find ways to get money to buy things the government does not provide, such as alcohol, drugs and the like. Of course if you attract a group of people who have a higher than average drug use rate, you will also attract drug dealers to that area.

So we build homeless shelters out of good and pure intention to help the homeless and address homelessness in our area and what is the result? More homelessness, more crime, a less attractive business core, the need to spend more business money to make the area look and smell like there is not a homeless problem. But there is. And it keeps growing, and we keep building, and they keep coming. So we allocate a large parcel of property outside the downtown core. We call it “Dignity Village” and tell the homeless to make their homes there. And they do. They put up a tent city which fills to capacity and then more people come, and the shelters overflow, and the sidewalks again become their beds. Now we have more mouths to feed, more health care issues for our local hospitals to address (for free) and more crime to address. What I am describing is not scary fiction. It an unfortunate reality which I have seen play out before my own eyes.

I say all of this not to imply the homeless population is undeserving of help. Quite the contrary. We are not a civilized society if we do not care for those who are less fortunate and unable to care for themselves. Unfortunately, it is by trying to be civilized, kind and well-intended that we make the problem worse for the homeless and for our towns. We assume most homeless people are “less fortunate” or “unable to care for themselves” when that is not necessarily the case. We have developed a culture of entitlement and an entire subculture of opportunistic feeders who know how to play on the emotions of our good hearted citizens. They devour the scarce resources we cobble together, meant to help those who actually want to get off of the streets.

If we want to address the homeless problem, we shouldn’t make it easier to be homeless. We should address the reasons individuals are homeless. And the reasons truly are individual. Some are homeless out of choice. Let them chose to be homeless somewhere else. Buy them bus tickets back home and let their hometowns care for them if they want to. Don’t offer services for the homeless tourist. For some the reasons for their homelessness are related to mental illness. Develop strategies to get them assistance specific for their illness. For some the reasons are economic. Help them find jobs. Yes, give them an address to receive mail (such as a post office box) and a place to wash their cloths, etc. Maybe for those few a temporary home is needed. Look around the nation, however, at the places where the government allocated a specific area for those living off of government handouts. Are the businesses thriving around those areas? Is crime lower in those areas or higher? Would you want to live there or even invest money there?

Let’s do what is right. Let’s find ways to care for others. But let’s be thoughtful and deliberate in our efforts. We must learn from others who have gone before us and learn from their successes and failures. The last thing we want to do is spend valuable resources and personal effort to end up only making things worse for those we are trying to help. Building a homeless shelter in downtown Fort Bragg would be a mistake. It would degrade an already struggling downtown business core, create a drain on scarce resources, and draw more out of town homeless who will only compound the original problem.

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A Reply To Troy King

by Malcolm Macdonald

After reading Troy King's offering in the first AVA of February, this writer feels compelled to respond to some of the points of misconception raised by Mr. King. The opening line of Troy King's piece asks, “Will opening a homeless shelter in downtown Fort Bragg help the homeless population or address the problems associated with homelessness in Fort Bragg?”

There's nothing like a false premise in a thesis statement (or thesis question, in this case) to totally confuse the issue. One thing needs to be made absolutely clear: the proposed mental health services center at the Old Coast Hotel is not a homeless shelter. There are a number of Fort Bragg and Mendocino Coast residents who need to do a lot more research before they continue to imply and/or insinuate that the Coast Hotel site will be a homeless shelter. Five transitional housing units does not equal a homeless shelter. A site for mental health counseling services is not a homeless shelter. Is that remotely clear to anyone?!

Further along in his piece, Mr. King writes, “We should address the reasons individuals are homeless. And the reasons truly are individual.”

That statement is precisely correct. I can attest to that, having been raised the son of a psychiatric social worker, who as a teenager often ended up answering the home phone to any number of unique clients wanting assistance from my social worker parent.

Mr. King more or less immediately counters with, “Let them chose to be homeless somewhere else. Buy them bus tickets back home and let their hometowns care for them if they want to.”

The key misspelled, contradictory word in that is “chose [sic].” If the homeless are free to choose where to be homeless, guess what, they are not going to spend winters in Bismarck, North Dakota. The Mendocino Coast is a destination point for the homeless in the same way that it is for well-heeled tourists and home buyers. It is not “If you build it, they will come,” it is “If it's a great place to live darn near everyone will come.”

The run-them-out-of-our-town concept does not work. It did not work for segregationists, and quite frankly that's what the preponderance of the Fort Bragg arguments sound like: let's segregate the homeless. In addition to the not so subliminal bigotry, the not-in-our-towners would merely perpetuate a vicious cycle from one community to the next. Running the homeless out of Fort Bragg and/or the Mendocino Coast simply continues the burden on law enforcement to be those who perform the dirty little task of running the homeless out of town. Mr. King may have been absent from roll call when modern law enforcers decided that it is next to impossible for a community to arrest its way out of homeless problems.

This writer has been, and continues to be, critical of how Ortner Management Group and its subcontractor, Hospitality Center, dispense their privatized brand of mental health services to adults on the Mendocino Coast. However, they must at the least be given a chance to consolidate those mental health services in one site; if not the Old Coast Hotel then somewhere that is relatively centrally located in Fort Bragg. The site must be in Fort Bragg because Fort Bragg is the center for all services on the Coast, meaning everything from groceries to health care, everywhere from Rockport to Point Arena and Gualala.

The problem of homeless who trash businesses and residences in and near downtown Fort Bragg is the issue that should be focused on.

Nearly all, if not all, the homeless who continue to do drugs and trash downtown Fort Bragg will have nothing to do with the Coast Hotel mental health services site. Let me make this clear, these are separate issues. Mr. King's arguments are inherently contradictory. Stopping the Coast Hotel project will not help solve the homeless problem in Fort Bragg, it will only exacerbate it. The five occupants of the transitional housing units will be out on the streets to fend for themselves and possibly to be influenced by the less savory homeless. Without a centralized site, mental health services on the Mendocino Coast will continue to be fragmented; a person will have to travel to multiple sites for incoming access, to counseling, and the dispensing of medication.

So what is the solution for the problem homeless, the ones trashing downtown Fort Bragg. I'm going to repeat something from an earlier article about the Coast Hotel “controversy.” The homeless who do nothing except defecate and strew trash everywhere from Purity Market south to Starbucks and Safeway are mentally ill. Most are what health care professionals call "dual diagnosis" or having a "co-occuring disorder," meaning that they have a form of mental illness and an alcohol or other drug problem as well. The trash throwers rarely seek help for their diseases. Fifty years ago 95% of them would be in locked wards at the state hospital in Talmage. The bill for that was paid for by taxpayers. The taxpayers of Mendocino County have been paying Ortner Management Group approximately $8 million per year since they took over the privatization of adult mental health care services in July, 2013. Is there some sort of disconnect here? Ortner Management Group is responsible for the care of the troublesome, mentally ill homeless on the streets of Fort Bragg.

This is what folks like Mr. King and other Fort Bragg residents who are going berserk over the Old Coast Hotel site should be focussing on. Fort Bragg City Councilman Lindy Peters has advocated a citizens advisory board to provide oversight on the matter of the homeless who continually cause problems in downtown Fort Bragg. This board of citizens and city officials, from the city council to law enforcement, could provide could also oversee the privatized mental health care providers Ortner and Hospitality Center. Peters and Councilmember Scott Deitz head Fort Bragg's Public Safety Committee. This may very well be the place where something gets done to solve the problems of the truly troublesome homeless. The Public Safety Committee is scheduled to meet on the second Wednesday of each month at the Fort Bragg Police Department's Conference Room. Meetings usually begin at 3 p.m. Check the Fort Bragg City website to be sure. Entrance can be had through a side door near the east end of the FBPD parking lot.

One more time boys and girls, we have separate problems here. The consolidated mental health services site proposed for the Old Coast Hotel at 101 N. Franklin St. is not a homeless shelter. The real problem concerns the troublesome homeless (read chronic alcoholism and/or drug addiction) who are trashing businesses and residences in Fort Bragg. The city needs to fully recognize this and hold the privatized providers of adult mental health services accountable for the treatment of these individuals. Most should be in locked mental institutions under the psychiatric care that Ortner Management Group is required to provide our county's citizenry, homeless or otherwise.

For those who still don't get the distinctions here, besides a failing grade in Citizenship and Civics, you are assigned to enough deep reading to come back with the names of at least three people in charge at Ortner Management Group, plus the name of the provider for children's mental health services in this county, plus the age groups that make up childrens MH services. If you can't fit that much info in your head, well, then, to paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy, you might be the redneck who needs mental health services more than the most problematic homeless citizen.

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by Daniel Mintz

The jail population impacts of public safety realignment have been offset by the voter-approved Proposition 47 but Humboldt County officials aren’t sure that the new law will ultimately reduce inmate levels.

Realignment took effect in October 2011 and redirects non-serious, non-violent and non-sexual felony offenders to county jail and probation systems instead of state prisons and parole. Triggered by prison overcrowding, realignment also expands rehabilitation services and its goal is to reduce recidivism.

That process takes time, however, and the prison-to-jail shift initially resulted in near-capacity county jail inmate populations.

Last November, state voters approved another law that downplays incarceration and increases rehab services — Prop. 47. It defines drug, property theft and other offenses that once could be prosecuted as felonies as misdemeanors.

With that change comes reduced jail sentences and in recent months, the Humboldt County jail’s population has indeed dropped. But it may be a temporary effect.

Duane Christian, the Sheriff’s Office’s compliance officer, said that prior to Prop. 47, jail population averaged from 350 to 370 inmates, with maximum capacity being 417.

The population saw quick decreases following Prop. 47’s passage last November. The law went into effect immediately and allowed felony offenders who were in custody to petition for sentencing downgrades.

Christian said that in November, 55 Humboldt inmates went back to court to ask for sentencing changes. In December, it was 46 inmates and 26 in January. The first three days of February saw only one inmate request a change.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that all were released but a total of 128 people had their charges reduced,” said Christian. “I imagine that that a large portion of those people did get out.”

Christian said the most pronounced effect of Prop. 47 has been seen with the re-sentencings. Another phase is playing out now, as some of the people brought to jail for crimes that were once treated as felonies are cited and released rather than being incarcerated.

But misdemeanors can involve jail time. The basic difference with Prop. 47 is that maximum sentences have been driven down from three years to six months.

From mid-November on, Humboldt’s jail population has consistently been below 300 inmates. Aside from the re-sentencings, Christian was hesitant to attribute that to Prop. 47. He said population levels move in cycles and “we’re starting to see population creep back up.”

Bill Damiano, Humboldt County’s chief probation officer, also said there’s no demonstrable link between reduced jail population and Prop. 47.

Like realignment, Prop. 47 seeks to expand drug treatment and other services that help people stay out of trouble. With less state prison incarceration and prosecution of felonies, money saved is channeled into a state fund for rehab services.

That money won’t be available until late 2016 and Damiano forecasts that the funding will be “relatively small” for Humboldt County.

Damiano said that since Prop. 47’s approval, only five people who committed eligible offenses were diverted from prison.

That’s because of realignment’s emphasis on reducing prison populations. “After Oct. 1, 2011, everybody charged with a drug crime got mandatory supervision and not prison,” said Damiano. “Very few people are going to prison for Prop. 47-eligible offenses.”

Realignment also strives to keep lower-level offenders out of jail. The county’s realignment-funded pre-trial program allows low risk offenders to be assessed for jail alternatives such as electronic monitoring and supervision.

“If we’re putting low risk people in programs and not putting them in jail, we’re not disrupting the things that would likely keep them out of jail — things like jobs and stable housing,” Damiano said. “The science is clear — if you house a low risk offender in jail for as little as three days, you make it twice as likely for them to re-offend.”

Higher risk offenders also benefit from programs, though the percentages of success may seem modest. The county’s Employment and Training Division has run an on-the-job training and work experience program for realigned offenders since 2013, with 30 participants.

The program’s rate of “entered employment” is 27%.

“The percentage is not huge but these are state prisoners, they’re seasoned,” said Damiano. “The rate we have is remarkable.”

He added that some people who were “miserable failures on parole” are now giving programs like drug treatment a chance. And increasingly, so is society.

“With all the changes, it’s pretty clear that both the state and voters think incarcerating people isn’t the best solution,” said Damiano.

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2ND SUNDAY PANCAKE, Eggs and Bacon Breakfast at the AV Grange this Sunday, Feb 8, 8:30 - 11:00. It's great food and community.

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AV FOODSHED/GRANGE sponsors the 3rd Sunday Soup Potluck and Movie Night - Future of Hope is the film. The potluck is at the AV Grange at 6 pm, followed by the film. Please BYO Dish (your plate, bowl, utensils, cup, etc.) Also please bring enough soup for 6 and/or anything to go with - salad, bread, chips, crackers, dessert, etc. This is also a great opportunity to help us support the AV Food Bank. You can bring sealed pantry items and/or abundance from your garden for the food bank (3rd Tuesday is food bank day at the Methodist Church in Boonville).

Here is a blurb from the Future of Hope website:

"Over the past 20 years we have seen a growing realization that the current model for society and culture is unsustainable. We have been living beyond our means. FUTURE OF HOPE follows individuals that strive to change the world of consumerism, a system of credit and debt that the Icelandic economy was built upon for the past 10 years or more. Focusing on sustainable developments in organic farming, business, innovation, renewable energy and the environment, filled with positivity and emotion as we are taken on a story of struggle, determination and most importantly... hope."

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THE NOT-SO-SIMPLE LIVING FAIR Organizing Committee is in the planning process for the 6th annual NSSLF at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville. If you are interested in being involved, please email We especially need people with skills in advertising, volunteer coordinating, writing and networking. The dates for this year are July 24-26.

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It’s about all of us.

Archbishop Cordileone isn’t just “caring for the souls” of Catholics when he condemns masturbation, birth control, abortion and homosexual acts. Under Catholic doctrine these acts are “evil” even when performed by non-Catholics because they violate so-called “natural law,” binding on all humans. If the church had the power and the votes, birth control, abortions and homosexual acts would be illegal for all of us. We forget they were, in most states, right up through the 1960s, because of the church’s power at that time. So there’s much more at stake here than rules for Catholics only.

Richard Covert, San Francisco

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Feb 7, 2015

Alvarez, Alexander, Blunt, Brown
Alvarez, Alexander, Blunt, Brown

CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER, Lucerne/Ukiah. Drunk in public, violation of court order. (Frequent flyer.)

RUDOLFO ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

CHARLES BLUNT, Ukiah. Court order violation.

JUSTIN BROWN, Campbell/Ukiah. DUI.

Comstock, Hunt, Laseter, Litzin
Comstock, Hunt, Laseter, Litzin

DAVID COMSTOCK, Ukiah. Domestic assault.

CHRISTIAN HUNT, Ukiah. Domestic battery, possession of meth for sale, sale of meth, forge or alter vehicle registration, evasion, resisting arrest.

LYNDEN LASETER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

KEVIN LITZIN, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

Long, Madueno, Morris, Peredia
Long, Madueno, Morris, Peredia

BRYAN LONG, Willits. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

ABEL MADUENO, Delano/Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

DENA MORRIS, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

JOSE PEREDIA, Calpella. Fugitive from justice.

Pinola, Ponciano, Randall, Rodriguez
Pinola, Ponciano, Randall, Rodriguez

ANTHONY PINOLA, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

JANINE PONCIANO, Ukiah. Domestic assault.

MATTHEW RANDALL, Redwood Valley. Domestic assault, probation revocation.

JAIME RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia.

Scheurich, Stencil, Still, Wagner
Scheurich, Stencil, Still, Wagner

TONYA SCHEURICH, Fort Bragg. Elder-Dependent adult abuse, possession of device for smoking or injecting, probation revocation.

BRYAN STENCIL, Willits. Possession of tear gas, probation revocation.

AARON STILL, Willits. Under influence of controlled substance.

DONALD WAGNER, Willits/Transient. Failure to register.

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Memo of the Week


Good Afternoon!

Mendocino Forest Products and Humboldt Redwood Company are excited to offer an opportunity for higher level education to our communities’ graduating Senior students, through our Community Scholarship Program. This year, we are offering one scholarship each, Mendocino and Humboldt Counties: $1,000.00 per year, totaling $4,000.00, paid out over a maximum four year period of schooling, subject to proof of continued enrollment.

Attached please find the Scholarship Overview and the Application. The application allows for online completion, however it does not allow for online submission. Also, as in previous years, there is a section for Counselors to complete and verify GPA and SAT and/or ACT Scores (in addition to official transcripts). Please provide the highest combined score for the SAT/ACT.

Please note there are important dates to remember – all applications must be postmarked by February 20, 2015. We appreciate all your help in providing the materials to the students as appropriate and collecting/returning them timely. All completed applications may be mailed to: Mendocino Forest Products, Attn: Nicole Thomson, PO Box 390, Calpella, CA 95418.

Additionally, we would like to let you know that we have an internal scholarship opportunity for dependents of our employees. These applications are a separate process and applications are only available through our HR office. Please contact me if you have further questions regarding the differences between these two opportunities.

We look forward to reviewing our local youths’ accomplishments and goals in the upcoming weeks!

Should you have any questions, or concerns please contact me directly via email or phone.

Thank you and good luck to all applicants.

Note: If you received this email in error – please forward to appropriate individual.

Nicole Thomson
Mendocino Forest Products

PO Box 390
Calpella, CA 95418
(707) 485-6742 (p)
(707) 485-6873 (f)

PDF Attachments:


  1. Bill Pilgrim February 8, 2015

    RE: MFP Scholarships.
    $4000? ONE for each county?
    I’m overwhelmed by the generosity. Given today’s stratospheric college costs, even for public schools, that amount is like a few loose coppers picked-up off the sidewalk.
    A multi-million dollar corporation, whose ‘bidness is about extracting precious resources from the land and returning a paltry bit of the profits to the local community, should at the very least award some kids a full ride.
    Just another example of how “trickle down” has now become drip-drip-drip down.

  2. Mack the Knife February 8, 2015

    $1,000 oughta’ cover a book…

  3. humbilly February 9, 2015

    Even under the arch shyster Hurwitz, Pacific Lumber Co (predecessor of Humboldt Redwoods/Mendo) gave full scholarships to scores of young folks who wanted to attend 2 or 4 year colleges.
    What does this meager pittance say about the owners of this large timber corporation? Cheapskates and proud of it..almost Dickensian.

  4. Jim Updegraff February 9, 2015

    Thank you Mr Macdonald for bring some sanity to the Fort Bragg discussion.

  5. Lazarus February 9, 2015

    Folk are home but the lights at the AVA seem off?

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