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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Feb 21, 2015

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CONGRATULATIONS to Steve Eberhard, the excellent photo-journalist working under the auspices of The Willits News, for being awarded the James Madison Freedom of Information Award by the Society of Professional Journalists for his coverage of the ongoing Willits Bypass fiasco. Natch, CalTrans had Steve arrested for the crime of doing his job — covering the news.

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THIS OBSCURE ITEM was on last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors Consent Calendar:

“Agenda Title: Adoption of Resolution Approving the 2014-2015 Performance Contract Between the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and Mendocino County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) and Authorization of the HHSA Assistant Director of Health Services to Sign the Agreement on Behalf of the County…

"Summary Of Request: The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) administers the Mental Health Services Act, Project for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) and Community Mental Health Services Grant (MHBG) programs and oversees county provision of community mental health services provided with realignment funds. The County must meet certain conditions and requirements to receive funding for these programs and community mental health services. This Agreement, which is the County’s performance contract, as required by Welfare and Institutions Code (W&I) sections 5650(a), 5847, and Title 9, California Code of Regulations (CCR), section 3310, sets forth conditions and requirements that County must meet in order to receive this funding. This Agreement does not cover federal financial participation or State general funds as they relate to Medi-Cal services provided through the Mental Health Plan Contracts. County agrees to comply with all of the conditions and requirements. DHCS shall monitor this Agreement to ensure compliance with applicable Federal and State law and applicable regulations (W&I 5610 and 5651.)

”Recommended Action/Motion: Adopt Resolution approving the performance contract between the County of Mendocino and the California Department of Health Care Services, and authorize Chair to sign same, and further authorize the HHSA Assistant Director of Health Services to sign this agreement and any amendments that do not increase the maximum dollar amount on behalf of the County.”

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IN THE WAKE of the Board’s many hosannas to “transparency” at the prior board meeting and the individual Supervisors similarly proclaimed insistence that the County fully comply with the California Public Records Act, this kind of gibberish is essentially the opposite of “transparency,” because, although it is publicly posted, it throws in gratuitous references to an agency no one even knows exists (the California Department of Health Care Services) and adds the completely unclear: “Welfare and Institutions Code (W&I) sections 5650(a), 5847, and Title 9, California Code of Regulations (CCR), section 3310,” and “applicable Federal and State law and applicable regulations (W&I 5610 and 5651.)”

AS IF the Board or the public at large have any idea what any of this means.

THEN WE HAVE the reference to the suspiciously UN-named “HHSA Assistant Director of Health Services.”

THIS IS OBVIOUSLY an intentional attempt to cover something up.

THE RESOLUTION that the Board Chair is supposed to sign was attached to the Agenda Item if you anyone wanted to take the trouble to look for it:


Resolution Of The Mendocino County Board Of Supervisors Authorizing The Director Of The Behavioral Branch Of The Health And Human Services Agency To Sign As An Agent On Behalf Of The County Of Mendocino For The State Of California, Department Of Health Care Services; Contract Number 14-90329 (Performance Contract).

Whereas, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Mendocino (Board) has read the proposed agreement between the State of California, Department of Health Care Services and the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency; and

Whereas, the Board acknowledges the benefits and responsibilities to be shared by both parties to said agreement; and

Whereas, this agreement is a provision of community mental health services provided with realignment funds; and

Whereas, Mendocino County must meet certain conditions and requirements to receive funding for these programs and community mental health services;

Whereas, this agreement is the County’s performance contract, as required by Welfare and Institutions Code (W&I) sections 5650(a), 5847, and Title 9, California Code of Regulations (CCR), section 3310, sets forth conditions and requirements that Mendocino County must meet in order to receive this funding.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors does hereby authorize Tom Pinizzotto, Assistant Director of the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency, Health Services to sign and execute said agreement and any amendments thereto that do not increase the maximum total.”

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AT THIS POINT, after we’ve waded through all the muddy titles and codes and contract language and resolution boilerplate, we find that the “Assistant Director of the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency, Health Services” is none other than former Ortner Management Group executive Tom Pinizzotto, the same guy who made sure that his former employer, Ortner (of Marysville in Yuba County) got the multi-million dollar Mental Health (now renamed to “Behavioral Health”) contract with Mendocino County. Pinizzotto has now positioned himself to steer all of the Mental Health Services money to his former colleagues at Ortner while he “oversees” Ortner’s performance under their $7 million-plus annual contract with Mendocino County.

“REALIGNMENT FUNDS” — a meaningless term — is another NON-transparent phrase for the designated pot of money that the state used to manage back in the 1990s, but shifted (“realigned”) responsibility to the counties, in this case for Mental Health Services. Realignment funds cover about a quarter of the County’s Mental Health budget.

WE HAD HOPED that with the extreme lack of clarity and obvious attempt to hide what’s going on, at least one of the Supervisors would pull this item from the automatic approval of the consent calendar to at least have it explained. But none of them did. Last Tuesday’s Board meeting approved the entire Consent Calendar without a single item being pulled for discussion or vote.

SO WE ARE LEFT with the clear impression that Mr. Pinizzotto has pulled another fast one, sneaking through more funding authority for himself and his old pals and coworkers at Ortner, and no one in an official capacity at County HQ is even interested enough to ask about it. Are the Supervisors helping Pinizzotto cover up too?

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Just when things seemed to calm down in Fort Bragg regarding the City Manager, the City Council and the array of issues in front of them, Mendocino Sports Plus received this missive Thursday Night: 
"A group has been formed with the name Citizens for Fairness (CFF) and has agreed to collect a war chest of funds and execute a representation agreement with a well known Ukiah law firm that specializes in land use issues. 
The group CFF plans to proceed on two fronts, one is the legal venue and the other is a recall of three of the five City Council seats.
 On another issue expect to see some fireworks at the Planning Commission hearing tomorrow regarding the new school parking lots. The proposed establishment of all parking for the high school to be located on the North side of Chestnut is a violation of numerous agreements forged to allow the construction of the stadium. Perhaps the two issues will culminate in the City Council recall and the removal of the City Manager so that the people of the area can be fairly represented!"

MSP will, of course, be following up this "breaking" development and provide more deatils as we get them. There are a LOT of unhappy people and they don't like the city and some of its councilmembers ignoring their voices.

(Courtesy, Mendocino Sports Plus)

(ED NOTE: The recallers have hired the formidable Jared Carter Ukiah law firm to represent them.)

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Engaging with the Members and the Public

There are several ways that the board and staff of MCPB/KZYX can increase their engagement with the members and the public, all of which are being underutilized or not used at all.

The first is the Community Advisory Board. The CAB is required by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as a condition for receiving a grant from them, currently the largest source of funding for the station. The CAB must be independent, geographically diverse, and hold enough meetings to give the public a realistic opportunity to provide input on the station’s programming and operations.

Although some CAB members are very conscientious about their duties, the CAB itself has not met these minimum requirements. Its composition is limited; one member has the same address as a board member, which casts a doubt on both independence and geographical diversity. In the past two years, there has been only one meeting, and that one was telephonic, with many members shut out due to technical difficulties. And the survey that the CAB was permitted to include with the ballots in last year’s election was flawed; a person had to say they disliked the station’s current policies before being allowed to vote on preferences for change.

In spite of these limitations, the CAB submitted a formal recommendation to the board of directors and station management for a second way they could increase their engagement, by participating in a regular call-in show that focused on the station’s business, perhaps once per month. But after just one attempt, the recommendation has been ignored. With the demise of Doug McKenty’s Open Lines show, there is no longer an on-air vehicle for discussion of the organization’s policies and procedures. The station itself is being underused.

A third way to improve engagement is to institute a Programming Council. In 2009, the board adopted a policy for a Programming Advisory Council that consisted of the program director, programmer reps, and community reps that would help decide who and what gets on the air. That policy was never implemented, resulting in all decisions being made by one person, the program director, subject only to the general manager. A Programming Council that has the final say on programming would help the programming reflect the diverse interests of the listening community, not just those of one or two people. Even if those one or two have the best interests of the people in mind, their decisions will appear arbitrary and capricious if they do not engage.

A fourth way to improve engagement is via the internet, including the use of an email list. Our membership letters ask people to give us their email address so that they can be part of such a list. Online donors are required to provide one, a “mandatory field”. Yet there is still no way to send information to the members other that an expensive direct mailing. Many organizations, some much smaller than KZYX, use their email lists to send out periodic updates, perhaps quarterly, to keep their members and the public informed of recent happenings and upcoming events. Of course, members would need to be able to opt out. But choosing not to set up an email list for such communications – instant, widespread, and tree-free – is a waste of a resource.

There have been other suggestions floated for increased engagement: a call-in comment line for those who prefer voice communications; more frequent board meetings with greater public input; a newsletter, perhaps in conjunction with the membership email list. If the board makes a policy decision to improve the organization’s engagement with the members and the public, then it will be appropriate to direct management/staff to institute these specific changes. That is not micro-managing; it is fulfilling the duty of every director to give direction to the organization and monitor its performance. I firmly believe that the lack of engagement with the community has caused many of the problems being experienced by the station, and that increasing engagement must be part of any solution.

One other point. Increasing engagement does not only help the organization and the listening public. It helps those who engage. Remember those conscientious CAB members I mentioned? They were at the last board meeting, full of knowledge, wisdom, and dedication, ready to help the station fulfill its mission, to serve the people of Mendocino County with county-wide public media. We don’t just provide fulfillment for our own staff and programmers. We provide it for everyone involved, and for each and every one of our listeners. We are the stewards of the airwaves, and every moment is an opportunity to better the lives of our listeners. But if we don’t engage with the community, we will become what they fear, a small, insulated group that only promotes their own interests, not the peoples. And that will be the death of public radio in Mendocino County.

Dennis O’Brien, Ukiah

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FEEB ALERT! (Burble-Gurble Gush-Mush)

Supervisor Tom Woodhouse's Supervisor's Report, February 16, 2014.

Supervisor Tom Woodhouse: I have been to quite a few meetings. I can't even count them and, it's surprising to me, I'm starting to understand the language and enjoy looking at the new people and the code words but I don't even know what the initials of some of the groups stand for, like PAPU was a great meeting. What does that stand for? I'll know next time. I'll report next time what that stands for.

Supervisor John McCowen: Planning And Prevention Unit.

Woodhouse: Boy! Good! I am so impressed with all the hard-working people and also our employees who go to these meetings and the high-powered thinking and the very deeply good intentions that they have to really make a difference and they are all searching for their purpose and how to survey people and be more meaningful and accomplish more things. It's a common theme of all these groups and the other thing they talk about is the access to the supervisors and how important it is for them when they are so grateful when there are supervisors there that you forget over the years how much your attendance at these things means to the people. It really gives them a purpose. They feel like someone is listening to them and I appreciate hearing your detailed reports about it because it respects all that energy, all those people. If there's 12 people giving up an hour and half and the drive time and the planning and disrupting their day, they are doing it for a purpose and it really gives people hope that we can really do things. So a lot of the groups have seats that need to be filled and they are going to pester each of us because I know that it comes up here regularly and see if we can fill them up and I enjoy going and I appreciate your flexibility in letting me just pop in on things I'm not even on, but there is so much to learn and they are such wonderful people and the causes that they are talking about are so serious that each one you could just say, This is it, this is the group that's most important and you could spend months or years just working with them whether they are talking about children or mental health. They are just amazing people. So we have so much potential to accomplish things here that it's very exciting for me. One person asked me what I'd done before and she said, Well you've never been in government? You've been in private business? It must be really strange for you to come here and watch this process. And it really is. All these groups are exciting to me and learning it all is a real privilege. I'm very honored to be here. I will try to specifically tell you about what each of them are talking about but just the fact that they are there and they really need our participation deeply and they come up here and have such a short time for us to listen to them, that I appreciate that you all focus on them and pay attention. They deserve that respect for all the time they put into it. So thank you very much.

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Dear Editor,

The destructive mowing of the Headlands State Park in Mendocino is so sad to see. All the foliage is gone except a few small patches. No more habitat at all, no roses, no berries, no grasses, no small paths, no secret quiet spots, no lizards, snakes, mice; nothing interesting at all just stubble and skitched raw earth. Local residents weep, but there are few left in the town who care about such things. Just boutique stores and vacation rentals and a park that looks like a vacant lot. The Planning Dept. says they are “looking into it” but they can’t find a permit anywhere. Too little, too late. The long time residents remember a written agreement to leave the Headlands wild, but no one can find that either, yet. Now it will grow back into a tangled mess like the lot next to Schlafers.

This is not rehabilitation.

The mowing has cut and mulched all the foliage that protected the animals, and eliminated the source of seeds and nesting habitat for the spring migrations. This was done without the required permits for habitat removal, and without any plan for rehabilitation. Simply mowing invasive blackberries does not remove them, it only encourages them to branch out and grow more vigorously. This poorly-planned and heavy-handed approach is not in the best interests of the Park or the Town. You won’t see any tourists walking there for a good while, and many locals will be avoiding Main Street completely. There is no plan for removing the invasives or planting native plants, or protecting the Main Street gardens from the blasts of cold wind now coming off the bay. The town deserves an apology for this mis-management.

Rixanne Wehren

Coastal Committee chair

Sierra Club, Mendocino Group

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ALEX FARBER, volleyball player from Anderson Valley High School, has been named small school All Empire Volleyball Player Of The Year, a much grander distinction than all league as it includes all the schools from the area, not just small school athletes.

ANDERSON VALLEY'S Riley Lemons made the All Empire team as well, and the girl's coach Alyssa Schafer was named the All Empire small school Volleyball Coach Of The Year.

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The Boonville Winter Market will be in front of the Boonville Winter Market tomorrow, Sat Feb 21, rain or shine, 10-12:30. This week you will find:

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Petit Teton - kale, mustard, fennel, escarole, chard, peppers, parsley, sorrel and maybe lettuce, broccoli and cabbage, as well as our large selection of canned items and fresh krauts/kimchi

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WildeAcre Farm - sunchokes, yacon (similar to sunchoke, but not as knobby, more like jicama,) herbs, eggs, creme fraiche, honey vanilla yogurt, water kefir, sauerkraut, almond chia muffins and nutty chocolate hearts

And more - we never know who or what might show up

Come on down if you enjoy community and music (canned, unless someone shows up with an instrument :)

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The AV Bee Club will meet next Sat Feb 28 in Boonville for a hive dive (weather permitting) and meeting. Please reply to be put on the Bee List for more information.

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From Lisa Harrington:

Hi there,

Gunter and I are going to start some veggies and herbs again this year at the GunterHaven greenhouse. We’d like to know if anyone in the community has special requests on what to start, or favorites, or seeds that they would like us to start for them.We’re shooting for seed starting within the next 2 weeks, or by the beginning of March. Respond via email to or call us @ 707 895 2104. Happy Gardening!

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From Jon Rubenstein, one of our long-time Foodshed supporters:

From: Wendy Millet <>

Subject: Soil health workshop with Christine Jones at Paicines Ranch - March 4-6


Just wanted to let you know about a great conference coming up on soil health with Christine Jones from Australia.

There are scholarships available for young farmers so if you or someone you know is interested, please share this link -

If you want to read more -

This workshop is great for farmers, ranchers and land managers.

Thanks for sharing it with others.

Wendy Millet

Director, TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation

Pescadero, CA 94060

(m) 650-387-4803

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Feb 20, 2015

Adams, Bolton, Carrig, Chrisp
Adams, Bolton, Carrig, Chrisp

KELLI ADAMS, Boonville. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

JOHN BOLTON IV, Willits. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

WILLIAM BRACKET JR. Potter Valley. Battery. (Photo not available.)

SONO CARRIGG, Ukiah. Transient registration.

EMILIO CHRISP, Laytonville. Ex-felon with firearm, vehicle driver carrying concealed weapon, prohibited person with ammo.

Christiansen, Feagin, Hoaglin
Christiansen, Feagin, Hoaglin


RONALD FEAGIN, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a firearm.

GARRIE HOAGLIN, Covelo. Transient registration, parole violation.

Hopper, Litzin, J.Nieto, R.Nieto
Hopper, Litzin, J.Nieto, R.Nieto

CALVIN HOPPER JR., Lakeport. Petty theft with prior, possession of drug paraphernalia, contempt of court.

KEVIN LITZIN, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

JORGE NIETO Jr., Willits. Drunk in public, violation of community supervision.

RAMON NIETO JR., Willits. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

Price, Rackley, Ramos, Yeomans
Price, Rackley, Ramos, Yeomans

ANNETTE PRICE, Fort Bragg. Conspiracy, resisting arrest.

MICHAEL RACKLEY, San Jose/Calpella. Driving on suspended license, evasion.

CARLOS RAMOS, Hopland. Reckless driving.

DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

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IS BILL O’REILLY THE NEW BRIAN WILLIAMS? Mother Jones is reporting that Fox News' big wind is being accused of making false claims similar to the ones that have (at least temporarily) cost Williams his job as NBC Nightly News anchor. O’Reilly has told stories about reporting on the Falklands War and experiencing combat in 1982. But Mother Jones’s David Corn reports that O’Reilly’s stories don’t jibe with the facts from the war. Moreover, O’Reilly was working for CBS News at the time, but multiple network executives say their reporters never made it to the war zone. “Nobody from CBS got to the Falklands,” Bob Schieffer, CBS News’s lead correspondent on the Falklands War, told Mother Jones. “For us, you were a thousand miles from where the fighting was. So we had some great meals.” O’Reilly, true to form, told Politico that the Mother Jones report was a “piece of garbage.”

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I’ve always found porn fairly boring, and hadn’t paid much attention to it. Then a couple years ago, I found myself in Las Vegas, at The Cosmopolitan for a week or two working.

The Cosmopolitan, if you don’t know, is right on the Strip next to Bellagio. It caters to a young, highly-affluent scenester crowd. Vast Serengeti-like herds of 20-somethings from LA, or trying to seem like that. Young men covered in tattoos, wearing baseball caps on sideways, sneakers, jeans and t-shirts; but the ensemble costs in the mid-4-figures, rather than the $50 total when I wear nearly identical clothing (but with the ballcap on frontwards, unless I’m wearing a face shield or respirator).

It was the girls who stopped me short, however. They were all dressed like porn blowup dolls. Teetering around on gigantic spiked heels like something out of a KISS video, tiny little dresses, tattoos, garish makeup making their skin and hair look like plastic, and glassy eyes.

Porn is the fashion-setter in America today. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it before, but once I saw it I couldn’t un-see it, and it’s everywhere. I don’t move in such circles anymore, but I still can’t conceive of any of the women I’ve known, pursued, lusted after, been friends with; none of them would want to send out that message.

I have a 14 year-old daughter. She goes to a public high school, and while it’s Minneapolis and not LA or anyplace “stylish,” she is certainly aware of popular culture and fashion trends. As soon as I saw that apocalyptic bacchanal at the Cosmopolitan, I had a long conversation with her, web-surfing and looking at “fashionable” internet images with her. I asked her to describe them to me; to tell me what the people were trying to communicate about themselves and their attitudes and expectations, from themselves and from their world. My daughter was right on it, and even more incisive and despairing than I was. She described a whole generation of kids, male and female, pretty much trussing themselves up like Thanksgiving turkeys for the slaughter. And she had no sympathy.

I do have some sympathy, but mostly I’m really grateful that my kids see no attraction in that casual self-destruction, and do seem able and very willing (too willing, if you ask me) to get involved in real, emotional, sweaty relationships with actual human beings.

What a repulsive nightmare of self-debasement we offer our young people. As always, the hope lies with those who refuse to take us up on it.

And yeah, the “liberals” who think porn is about self-expression are as stupid as you’d expect them to be.

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The industrialist is having his aeroplane serviced.

The priest is wondering what he said in his sermon eight weeks ago

about tithes.

The generals are putting on civvies and looking like bank clerks.

Public officials are getting friendly.

The policeman points out the way to the man in the cloth cap.

The landlord comes to see whether the water supply is working.

The journalists write the word People with capital letters.

The singers sing at the opera for nothing.

Ships' captains check the food in the crew's galley,

Car owners get in beside their chauffeurs.

Doctors sue the insurance companies.

Scholars show their discoveries and hide their decorations.

Farmers deliver potatoes to the barracks.

The revolution has won its first battle:

That's what has happened.

— Bertolt Brecht

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Baseball games will be quicker-paced in 2015.

The game will use a clock, batters will be forced to keep one foot in the batter’s box and managers won’t trot onto the field for every replay challenge.

The news comes in just the second month of the Rob Manfred administration. He replaced commissioner Bud Selig in January.

“These changes represent a step forward in our efforts to streamline the pace of play,” Manfred said. “The most fundamental starting point for improving the pace of the average game involves getting into and out of breaks seamlessly. In addition, the batter’s box rule will help speed up a basic action of the game.”

Here are the specifics:

A timer on or near the outfield scoreboard (and a smaller one behind the plate, near the press box) will count down the seconds between innings. After the third out, the timer will show 2 minutes, 25 seconds for locally televised games and 2:45 for nationally televised games.

The breakdown:

PA announcer introduces batter, walkup music begins: 40 seconds.

Pitcher’s final warm-up pitch: 30 seconds (if he doesn’t get the traditional eight warmup pitches, too bad – extra time is allotted if the pitcher or batter finished the previous half inning on base or at the plate).

Batter’s walk-up music ends: 25 seconds.

Batter enters box or is encouraged to do so: 20 seconds.

Pitcher begins motion (once the batter is in the box and turns toward the pitcher): 20 seconds.

As for batters, one foot must remain in the box between pitches except for swings, foul balls, foul tips, brushback pitches, throwdowns to a base, wild pitches and passed balls.

Penalties for not obeying pace-of-game rules? Warnings. And fines. No fines until May, however. Penalties won’t include the umpire adding a strike to the count if the batter is too slow or a ball to the count if the pitcher is too slow.

The manager has to be quicker on replay requests, too, and this is good news. Common sense, actually. No longer can the manager mosey out to the umpire, make a 180-degree turn and wait for the thumb’s up or thumb’s down from his bench coach, who’s hearing from the team’s replay coordinator.

Now, managers must signal from the top step of the dugout that he’s considering a replay challenge. Managers can leave the dugout for a challenge only on an inning-ending call.

Other replay updates:

A runner leaving base early or touching a base on a tag play now is reviewable.

Also, a manager can retain his challenge even after a call is overturned.

The announcement came jointly from MLB and the players’ union, whose director, Tony Clark, said, “The players believe that enforcing the rules that currently exist regarding between-inning breaks and plate appearances is the best way to address the issue of pace of play. We’re confident that today’s announcements will have a positive impact on the pace of the game without jeopardizing the integrity of the competition.”

The umpires apparently are aboard. Umpire rep Brian Lam said, “These strides to hone the pace of game over time will improve the natural rhythm of baseball, and we applaud and support the Players Association and the Commissioner’s Office as we all move toward this goal.”

Last season’s games averaged 3 hours, 2 minutes. Back in 1981, games averaged 2:33.

(Courtesy, AP)

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The comedian's June 6 performance in Santa Rosa has been "indefinitely postponed," according to a press released by concert organizers dated Feb. 19. Meanwhile, his June 7 appearance at the Flint Center in Cupertino has been listed as canceled by promoter Ticketmaster.

The embattled comedian has canceled a number of shows in the past few months, as more than 20 women have made sexual misconduct allegations against him, going back to the late 1960s. Some, like former supermodel Beverly Johnson, have accused the comic legend of drugging them beforehand by slipping something into their drinks.

Cosby denies the claims and hasn't been charged with any crimes linked to the allegations.

The 77-year-old former star of "The Cosby Show" on NBC was slated to perform June 6 at Santa Rosa's Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. Organizers said in a statement that the decision was made "by mutual agreement" between "promoter John Low and Mr. Cosby."

"We regret any inconvenience created for patrons who have already purchased tickets," said Kyle Clausen, Director of Marketing and Patron Services for Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.

Ticket holders will automatically be issued refunds. Those who purchased via credit card with receive a refund to the card within 5-7 business days. Those who paid via check or cash will be mailed a refund check within 14 business days. For questions, call the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts ticket office at 707-546-3600.

(Courtesy, the San Jose Mercury-News)

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Red Badge of Courage: 37 Dems Publicly Break with Netanyahu's Tirade for War

A READER WRITES: Notice who's missing from the list of Dems who signed the letter and who plan to miss the speech.


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A READER WRITES: Seventeen year old Joe Bush got a high school assignment to make a video reproduction. He chose history as a theme and tucked it all into two minutes. Take pictures from the internet, add the track Mind Heist by Zack Hemsey (from the movie Interception) and then you get something like this. Don't blink your eyes for a second! THIS IS AMAZING... do not adjust your sound..

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The rise of identity politics in America was a tragic necessity. No one can deny the legitimacy or urgency of the need felt by women and minorities to have equality on their own terms, to reject the assumption that full participation in society required acceptance of the norms set by straight white males. Yet even as the public sphere grew more inclusive, the boundaries of permissible debate were narrowing. Critiques of concentrated power, imperial or plutocratic, became less common. Indeed, the preoccupation with racial and gender identity has hollowed out political language, the void filled by an apparently apolitical alternative — the neoliberal discourse of antiseptic intervention abroad and efficient productivity at home.

The hollowing out culminated in the Obama administration, which represents 'the triumph of identity as content', as Adolph Reed wrote last year in Harper's. According to Reed, Obama embodies race as 'an abstraction, a feel-good evocation severed from history and social relations.' And few on the left or center-left want to spoil those good feelings by making the sharp criticisms that Obama deserves. So we are reduced, in Reed's words, to 'a desiccated leftism' preoccupied with 'making up "Just So" stories about dispossession and exploitation recast in the evocative but politically sterile language of disparity and diversity.' The chief electoral alternative to the Republicans' free market fundamentalism and imperial grandiosity is the Democratic Party's mixture of technocratic slogans and gestures to identity-based interest groups (gay marriage, abortion rights, immigration reform), topped off by the Democrats' own version of imperial grandiosity.

The intellectual bankruptcy of the Democratic Party is nowhere more evident than in the looming presidential candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Assumptions of the inevitability of her candidacy tend to ignore policy matters, focusing instead on her gender and her twenty years as a Washington insider. Many usually thoughtful people can find nothing more substantial to say in her favor than it's 'her turn.' This points to the problem with identity politics: it suggests that this woman deserves the presidency because she has paid her dues, first by enduring public humiliation at the hands of her philandering husband, then by losing the 2008 primaries to the messianic Obama. However empty his promises proved to be, Americans can congratulate themselves on having elected a black man; now in the feel-good world of identity politics, it's time to elect a woman. Who else but Hillary Clinton.

— Jackson Lears

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The American Rhododendron Society Noyo Chapter presents The Rhodo Rooter Show with Kathy Van Veen Owner of Van Veen Nursery, Portland, Oregon and 2011 recipient of prestigious ARS Gold Medal Join the Noyo Chapter ARS for an informative presentation on propagating rhododendrons from cuttings. This has been the specialty of the Van Veen Nursery since Kathy's grandfather began the nursery in 1926. Kathy brings the accumulated knowledge of her ancestors and is said to be able to "root a pencil." Wednesday, February 25 at 7:00pm Fort Bragg Presbyterian Church 367 N Sanderson Free to the Public. More information: John Winding, 937-2140

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A Letter to United Airlines’ CEO Jeff Smisek

by Ralph Nader

The following letter was recently sent to Jeff Smisek, CEO of United Airlines. It describes a spreading practice where highly profitable airlines (with the notable exception of Southwest) put their loyal employees jobs up for auction to the lowest bidding outside vendors. This results in less experienced workers handling these jobs. Airline passengers see many of these workers on the tarmac.

Dear Mr. Smisek,

Two stories have come to public attention about your airline, which invites some serious introspection by you and your fellow executives who make millions of dollars a year.

The first appeared in the January 23, 2015 edition of the Wall Street Journaltitled, “Suddenly Flush Airlines Debate How to Use Cash.” The article posed the choices: for increased services for consumers and reduced fares; for investors to cut debt and buy back stock. There was no indication of a cash dividend increase. Then this paragraph: “United returned $320 million to shareholders last year through share repurchases, and it said Thursday it could accelerate its buybacks with extra cash flow.” Stock buybacks — really a poor use of productive capital — are favored by executive suites as a way to elevate executive compensation compared to cash dividends.

Now comes the second story that was not so widely publicized. Your subordinates have been instructed to outsource 2,000 union jobs under a vendor bidding process that you will throw against your loyal skilled workers to match, or else. Twenty-eight stations at airports are affected in this round. You hope to save $2.7 million out of the pay of long-time United Airlines workers (many who make $15 per hour and benefits) on the tarmac at dawn or dusk, and rain, snow or shine.

Do these two stories prod you to wonder what’s going on in your monetized mind that excludes common decency and elemental labor management relations? Do you think that vendors’ lower paid, inexperienced labor pool is not going to cause you problems down the road?

And does a merged airline (with Continental) planning more unproductive stock buybacks to pile on the $320 million in 2014 have any qualms squeezing 2,000 already hard-pressed workers with families out of $2.7 million (not to mention other similar plans, past and future), astonishingly at a time of record profits? Squeezing appears to be your corporate policy tool for your passengers as well — for example, squeezing their leg room, squeezing them by innumerable fees and penalties, and squeezing their time by delays on the phone in responding to their questions.

Why is it that a far tighter oligopoly of domestic airlines than before deregulation mimics each other’s race to the bottom in labor and consumer relations, instead of mimicking better practices by Southwest Airlines with a far more consistent record of profits and no layoffs? Does this perverse behavior also make you wonder?

Mr. Smisek, you’re pushing the envelopes in ways that reflect a power trip — that is if you can get away with it, you will. At this point I am reminded of the courteous UAL of the Sixties, Seventies and early Eighties with services and attentiveness, with a fine record of domestic maintenance standards. That history should provide you with some contemplation about the role of top management over the years.

Consider this advice: drop the risky outsourcing; treat your employees as Southwest does; and stop ratcheting up the fees for baggage, changes of reservations, etc. Unless, that is, you believe that customer backlash, investigations by media and lawmakers and lower job gratification are not anywhere on your horizon.

Your response is welcomed.


Ralph Nader

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

* * *


by Dan Bacher

The Winnemem Wintu Tribe, fishing groups and environmentalists have been fighting a federal plan to raise Shasta Dam for many years, since the 18-1/2 foot proposed dam raise would flood many of the Tribe's remaining sacred sites and further imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Sacramento River.

The Tribe held a war dance at Shasta Dam in September 2004 to oppose the dam raise - and conducted another war dance in September 2014 to oppose the dam expansion and the Brown Water Plan to drain the Delta.

The campaign by the Tribe and anglers to stop Shasta Dam from being raised received a boost when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently issued a revised draft report on the proposed enlargement of the dam revealing how the dam raise will indeed harm salmon populations.

The report, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, concluded that it cannot support any of the proposed action alternatives, including the preferred alternative presented by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency controls and operates the dam.

The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) issued a controversial draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on dam enlargement in 2013. "The project must be approved by Congress - and justified by both economic and environmental rationales," according to a joint statement from the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). Taxpayers would pay for two-thirds of the $1.1 billion project,

In an earlier cost/benefit analysis, BOR determined that payments by Central Valley Project water and power customers alone would provide minimal justification for the project economically. Consequently, 61% of the "economic justification"' now touted by the agency is a larger cold water pool behind the dam to "improve" Sacramento River salmon survival during critically dry years, the groups said.

In response, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) stated in its recent draft report that the project is not justifiable because it provides no net benefits to salmon, and will result in negative environmental impacts that cannot be mitigated.

"The limited benefit derived from dam enlargement and the preferred alternative CP4A during dry and critically dry years will likely be offset by river conditions downstream of RBPP (Red Bluff Pumping Plant) in the mainstem Sacramento and the Delta," the report stated. "The enlargement of Shasta Dam and the water management scenario described for CP4A will reduce the rearing capacity of the Sacramento River for juvenile salmonids by further altering the natural successional process of riparian forest habitat, and by reducing juvenile salmonid access to the high quality rearing habitat found in floodplains and bypasses because of reduced high water flow events."

Tom Stokely, water policy analyst for the California Water Impact Network, commented, “This report documents the Bureau of Reclamation’s own data that shows the project will not benefit salmon in the Sacramento River. We knew all along that the Bureau of Reclamation had a phony economic justification to enlarge Shasta Dam. Now we have another federal agency agreeing with us.”

Stokely said it is clear that any water that would result from the enlargement of the dam “is intended for the poisoned lands of the Westlands Water District south of the Delta.”

The USFWS report further stated that the Bureau of Reclamation would have considered several options that were removed early in the consideration process if salmon restoration had been a true priority.

Those actions include repairing the multi-million dollar Shasta Dam temperature control device; restoring the riparian corridor along the Sacramento River; operational changes to Shasta Dam to increase cold water storage and increase minimum flows; increasing water use efficiency in local canals; and considering conjunctive use of other existing and planned water storage facilities in the Central Valley.

“It’s instructive to note that all these actions would cost a fraction of dam enlargement,” said Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. “This isn’t just an environmental and fisheries issue. It’s about the squandering of taxpayer dollars. It’s about pork barrel politics, about public money flowing from the public coffers to the handful of corporate farmers in the San Joaquin Valley who control water in California.”

Responding to the report, Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu said, “While the US Fish and Wildlife biologists are on track, they offer no resolve as to a 'fix.'" She criticized the agencies for refusing to include the Tribe in efforts to restore wild salmon.

"So far the US Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA and BOR have not included the Winnemem Wintu Tribe in the solutions to address the wild Chinook," Sisk emphasized. "There are no studies, that I am aware of, that address the flooding of salmon spawning grounds, unless they have finally realized that the raise of Shasta Dam will flood the Sacramento River, McCloud River, and Squaw Creek. These are all possible rich spawning waters that will be flooded by the 18.5' raise."

"Perhaps the BOR is now being held accountable for more than the 'cold water pool' to help salmon," she said. "The Shasta Dam raise EIS cites no effort to provide a swimway passage for the wild winter run and all runs of Chinook, nor makes any effort to assist salmon in the mountain waters."

The Tribe has been trying for years to restore winter run Chinook to the McCloud River above Shasta Lake by reintroducing the original strain of winter Chinook that are now thriving in the Rakaira and other rivers in New Zealand, but the federal agencies have to date refused to back their efforts.

"There is no effort to work with the Indigenous Peoples of the McCloud River Watershed," said Sisk. "The BOR's plans for wild winter run Chinook fall desperately short of a real viable production of salmon."

Steve Martarano, USFWS spokesman, noted that the report "is in a draft format and its subject to revision. It's not a formal document.”

Jennings confirmed that the report is only a revised draft, and feared that it could be "steamrolled" by the Bureau and politicians controlled by corporate agribusiness.

“Given the political implications of the report, CSPA is very concerned that it may be rewritten by Obama Administration political appointees who support enlargement of Shasta Dam,” he said.

Jennings added that the Bureau of Reclamation’s "egregious dishonesty" in spinning the “benefits” of enlarging Shasta Dam also calls into question the economic justification for other new or enlarged dams planned for California, including Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat. Jennings said both these projects may be eligible for funding under Proposition 1, Governor Jerry Brown's water bond that the voters approved in November.

But Stokely emphasized, "the evidence is increasing that they’re economic and environmental boondoggles, and will provide little if any benefit in mitigating the state’s water crisis."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Revised Draft Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act Report on the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation can be found at

* * *


Only be identified with that which is

Prior to consciousness, knowing that the

Ether, (which is itself consciousness),

Guarantees the interconnectivity of all,

And therefore fear, which is just another

Dualistic trap anyway, has no basis. It's

Drama, and the audience left weeks ago.

Neurosis has no friends, and its sister

Little Miss Insanity really is broke, so

She panhandles outside of the night clubs

After midnight in downtown Oakland, while

A cool moon winks and the people that you

Really want to send off somewhere bug you

For spare dollars and cigarettes. At that

Moment, in nearby Berkeley, the doors are

Opening to allow the bhaktas to dance with

Lord Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani, at

The same instant that everything else is

Going down worldwide; all over the planet

Earth, or as the poet John Curl once said

To me: "Everything that can happen is

Occurring somewhere all the time!" So let

Us send postmodernism off with a shrug, a

Footnote in the history of existentialism.

And let us all identify with that which is

Prior to consciousness, free and ecstatic.

--Craig Louis Stehr, Berkeley, California


  1. Bill Pilgrim February 21, 2015

    re: new baseball rules. Finally some officials are awake in the league office! Bud Selig and his crew were so focused on cleaning up the drugs issue they missed the larger problem: baseball is turning young people off! Fewer kids are going to games and fewer are playing. A 3+ hour game with only occasional fast-paced action just doesn’t cut it with today’s staccato attention spans.
    I’ve been exasperated for years by having to watch batters step out of the box after every damn pitch! Take your practice swings and get your mind focused in the on-deck circle. That’s what it’s there for! (Sadly, the habit has even trickled down to Little League.)
    The next huge hurdles the league must confront are the soaring ticket prices. The (shrinking) middle class is being gouged out of the game.

  2. Harvey Reading February 21, 2015


    Where’s Lizzie Warren?

    • Bruce Anderson February 21, 2015

      Elizabeth Warren is a mainstream Democrat who’s right about the biggest issue of all — the domination of America’s economy by crooked bankers operating in collusion with their alleged regulators and people like Jamie Dimon. Warren, like Bernie Sanders, has zero chance of being nominated by the Democrats.

  3. Judy Valadao February 21, 2015

    Re: New group Citizens for Fairness. Someone is giving out information and the information they are passing along is not correct. The correct information will be passed along before long so stayed tuned to MSP

  4. Eugenia Herr February 22, 2015

    RE: Where’s the Huff– Here’s”the Huff” on John Boehner’s scrape and bow to Netanyahu. “I strongly object to Speaker Boehner’s unilateral invitation for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress on March 3rd.

    “The Speaker’s refusal to confer with President Obama or congressional Democrats on this matter is a clear breach of protocol. Moreover, the timing and context of the speech smacks of political opportunism: an attempt to undermine the President in the middle of delicate nuclear negotiations with Iran, while inappropriately projecting political support for Mr. Netanyahu in the middle of Israel’s election.

    “Our foreign policy should be above political stunts, and the longstanding relationship between the United States and Israel deserves more respectful and responsible behavior than what we have seen from those who so recklessly orchestrated this event.

    “I call upon Speaker Boehner and Ambassador Dermer to do the right thing and postpone this speech”

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