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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Mar 5, 2015

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SEVERAL FROST FANS assaulted the sleep of random Anderson Valley neighborhoods Wednesday morning, roaring to life about midnight and continuing a third day of their 2015 Spring offensive until well after sunrise.

A BOONVILLE VICTIM WRITES: “Sure you heard already. Woke me up at 12:30. What with all the UFO bs or not, I'm paying attention to noises, and it spins in a circle so the sound changes. So I got up and walked over to the road and tried to get the racket on my phone, and the phone tries NOT to pick up extraneous noise, so it didn't get a very good recording of it. Will try again when it happens so you can play it on the AVA website. The fans this morning also changed in speed. They are running them more slowly, then they'd pick up speed and sound like a Huey troop transport for a minute. By the time I got up to record it, it would change. So, they were fucking with speed last night and trying to reach a compromise, perhaps, by doing that. Nonetheless, I got the worst night's sleep last night of any night, because it went on from about midnight until I fell asleep finally at 5am with a dvd playing to drown out the sound. Don't know why it was any worse last night. It wasn't even the loudest we've heard!”

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by Howard Senzell

Larry Michel drained three 3-point shots in the final three minutes to rally Archbishop Hanna to an 83-76 victory over Anderson Valley in NCS Division 6 semifinal play Wednesday night in Sonoma.

Michel's first trey made it 73-73 and, after an Anderson Valley unsuccessful possession, he connected again to put his team up for good. His final 3-pointer provided insurance.

"I took him out of the game and wasn't planning on playing him in the fourth," coach Courtney Jackson said. "He kept begging me to get back in the game and I finally relented.

"I'm glad I did."

Michel, a 5-foot-10 senior, finished with 14 points. Armani Perry was the Hawks' top scorer with 18. Taray Cannon and Jhe'nearo Hemingway finished with 11 each.

Cannon made three free throws in the final minute to secure the victory.

Anderson Valley's Abraham Sanchez finished with 26 points, and he made six shots from behind the arc. Elvis Gaxiola had 15, one more than Erin Perez.

Panthers' coach Luis Espinoza could only shake his head when he reviewed free throw stats.

"We only made 13 of 23," he said. "That killed us."

The loss snapped a 14-game winning streak and Anderson Valley's record is now 19-9.

"We're hoping this wasn't our last game," Espinoza said. "This is the best team I've coached and I'd love to see them get a chance in next week's NorCals.

"I was told this is the furtherest [sic] an Anderson Valley team has gotten in NCS since 1980."

No. 3 seed Hanna (24-4) already is assured a spot in the NorCal playoffs, but first will play top-seeded St. Bernard (19-10) on Saturday night for an NCS championship.

(courtesy Press Democrat)

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On another topic, two events last week pointed out our dependence on oil and the problems that result when its flow begins to slow. On the one hand, the people who want the U.S. to become less oil-dependent can point to Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL bill. That slows down what I have considered for years to be a dumb idea that will hurt Americans by allowing Canada to ship its oil to China while passing through the U.S., exposing us to the risks while the Canadians benefit. Who knows, Obama might just disapprove the entire project, although I’m not very optimistic about that. On the other, the slowing down of the consumer economy resulted in the announcement of the closure of Northland Mall in Southfield, Michigan, one of the oldest, if not the oldest suburban shopping malls in the U.S. That has been a long time coming, as the mall has been in decline since 2001. That makes it no less a sad sign of our times, as shopping malls are closing all over the country.

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Interesting interview with Paul McCarthy (from 2013, on the Gualala Radio station, KGUA). He's from NaHamsha! obviously...

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MIKE THOMPSON BOYCOTTED Netanyahu's preposterous speech this morning, while Congressman Jared observed: “This is a prime minister who’s never seen a war he didn’t want our country to fight,” Huffman said, adding that our diplomats negotiating with Iran shouldn’t be put off-task by Netanyahu’s address.

THIS is the bravest thing Thompson has done in office, and The Huff's remark is not only historically true it's brilliantly put. Huff is looking pretty good lately.

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DANNY GARCIA, of Orick, told the Del Norte Triplicate, that he butchered the giant redwood because he was broke and needed the money. The butchered burl earned Garcia $1600 from a Orick carver's shop. “There’s a lot of them out there," Garcia said, "and I don’t feel it’s right what I did, but then again it’s not hurting the tree as much as they say it is. I think about it and it didn’t kill the tree, that tree ain’t dead.”


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The final two paragraphs of my small submission were dropped. Not a big deal but the whole schlemiel was predicated on the my having stumbled across the newly established 200 cfs minimum at the Navarro gauge for fishing on all Mendocino Coast streams. I am sure that most of your readers were not aware of that and some might find it interesting. I did and feel that information adds weight toward understanding the perilous water situation.

Since about noon on the 25th of February the Navarro River flow rate has dropped below 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the USGS gauging station located about 5 miles above the river's mouth. The California State Water Resources Control Board often limits or restricts water appropriation from the River when it drops below that 200 cfs level citing the low water impact on the fishery. Unfortunately there is no monitoring of water taken from the watershed beyond anecdotal and incidental reports from neighbors or hikers and fishermen stumbling upon pumps or piping. It is well known that the Anderson Valley wine community is eager for every drop it can get at this time to be used for frost protection and historically there has been a lot of fudging. Public outrage over the wine industry's alternative attempt to use extremely noisy frost fans has apparently pushed some vineyards back toward water usage. Recently the California Fish and Game Commission adopted (December 3, 2014) a regulation for Special Low Flow Conditions from October 1 through April 30 that closes all coastal streams in Mendocino (excluding the Gualala) to fishing when the Navarro gauge falls below the 200 cfs threshold. Using the Navarro as a County wide indicator this action is further evidence of the growing concern for fish survival, especially salmonid, during low water, drought conditions. A wise and responsible course of action for California wine policy would be to follow France's long established leadership in environmental regulation by not allowing any water use for frost protection and simply raising wine prices to cover product losses during the bad years. That this wouldn't work here is exacerbated by the exorbitant prices already charged by wine growers for even mediocre products.

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A FORT BRAGG READER COMMENTS: This is a hoot! The public speakers making positive comments about the mayor et al are presented, in summary, but the many critical comments from the public at the 2/23 meeting are not given in written summary, just the names of the speakers! (Mayors hit list?)"

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SPORTS NOTE: The A's Got Beaned

Can you blame Tim Kawakami for being obsequious? It's in the job description. The sportswriter is hired by the owner of the newspaper and is dependent on the owner of the professional teams he or she is covering for access, charter-plane flights, fine catering, etc.

Last year Billy Beane destroyed the best A's team we'd had in years — and which he had built — by trading away the best hitter, Yoenis Cespedes. It resulted in Donaldson and Reddick being pitched around, and destroyed the "mood in the clubhouse." Yoenis Cespedes was their buddy. If the A's had won the world series with him, great glory to the team (and Billy Beane).

If the A's won the series with John Lester — the pitcher Beane acquired for Cespedes — ALL glory to that genius, Billy Beane, who secured the necessary missing piece.


The Oakland Trib's headline March 1 — "Beane's vision keeps A's from dreaded 'thud'" — was the exact opposite of the truth. Beane caused a resounding thud. Few teams in baseball history have folded more dramatically than the 2014 A's from the day Beane traded away their power-hitting left-fielder.

Not only was "Beane's vision" spread across the top of the sports section, it was plugged above the banner on the Sunday front page.

(—Fred Gardner)

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A MAN HAS COME FORWARD claiming that he is the son of Wilt Chamberlain. "I am Wilt's secret," Aaron Levi, a biracial man raised by an adoptive family in Oregon, tells Sports Illustrated. Chamberlain, who proudly boasted of bedding more than 20,000 women, said there were no "little Wilties," but Levi believes Chamberlain had a one-night stand with a British woman in San Framcisco in 1964. Levi says he reached out to his biological mother who confirmed Chamberlain was his father.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 4, 2015

Baugher, Casarez, Dean, Hamff
Baugher, Casarez, Dean, Hamff

MICHAEL BAUGHER, Lucerne/Ukiah. Possession and under influence of controlled substance.


ROBERT DEAN, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.

DANIEL HAMFF, Willits. Drunk in public.

Jackson, Jimenez, Koski, Miller
Jackson, Jimenez, Koski, Miller

JENNIFER JACKSON, Ukiah. False report of a crime.

JOLENA JIMENEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

AARON KOSKI, Fort Bragg. Driving on suspended license, probation revocation.

CORT MILLER, Ukiah. Driving without a license, false ID, probation revocation.

Navab-Tehrani, Overbey, Riggert, Rodriguez
Navab-Tehrani, Overbey, Riggert, Rodriguez

ARIA NAVAB-TEHRANI, Ukiah. Pot possession for sale.

COREY OVERBEY, Jackson, Missouri/Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, driving without a license, fugitive from justice.

CHERYL RIGGERT, Willits. Pot possession for sale.

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Spaggiari, Vaughan, Wolter
Spaggiari, Vaughan, Wolter

DIEGO SPAGGIARI, Willits. Probation revocation.

BEAU VAUGHAN, Mount Shasta/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JEROME WOLTER, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Metal knuckles, possession of controlled substance.

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The Anderson Valley Senior Center is implementing a new program effective March 12, 2015. The Afternoon Club is designed to give valley seniors with physical and/or mental disabilities an opportunity to participate in a weekly socialization program AND provide their caregivers with some respite and the opportunity for the caregivers to get together for a support group meeting. The Afternoon Club Director will be welcoming and supporting participants every Thursday from 11am-4pm. Chair Yoga taught by Kathy MacDonald is offered from 11am-12pm for a fee of $5. A delicious meal is served at 12:00 with a suggested lunch donation of $6. Afternoon Club activities, such as sing-alongs, stretching and board games, group reminiscing and stories of local history will take place from 1-4pm for a fee of $20. The Anderson Valley Senior Center bus will be available for transportation to the Senior Center for both yoga and lunch. Those coming at 1:00 will need to arrange their own transportation. Effective April 1, 2015, the bus will be available for return transportation at 4pm. The bus fare is $1/trip. For Bus service call 489-1175. For further details please contact Sony Hatcher, the program director at 489-1367 or email Sony wants to thank our generous supporters, volunteers, participants and caregivers for making this possible. We can still use more musicians, talented readers, story tellers and friendly volunteers to join us when you can! —Sony Hatcher

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Dear Friend,

A quick update on what I’ve been working on in Congress:

Homeland Security: 

I’m pleased to report that yesterday the House voted to avert a self-inflicted shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security. We should have approved this bill in December, but it was delayed repeatedly because some members of Congress will do anything to defund President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration (which I support and believe are well within his constitutional authority).

At the end of the day, Speaker Boehner did the right thing by working across the aisle to pass a bipartisan, responsible bill that fully funds the Department of Homeland Security, prevents a shutdown, and keeps America safe. It took too long and involved too much partisan drama, but the end result was good for our country—and a lesson for how Speaker Boehner should approach other major issues facing this Congress.

Tax Reform: 

It’s tax season, and I wrote an op-ed in the Marin Independent Journal about the prospects for honest tax reform in the 114th Congress. Read the full piece below:

Marin Voice: More honesty needed in Congress tax debate

By Jared Huffman

It’s tax season, when Americans descend into the U.S. tax code and return bewildered and/or enraged.

Our tax code is riddled with loopholes. Some large corporations pay nothing. Others pay their full share. Oil companies get special perks unavailable to other industries. And the super-rich enjoy tax breaks unavailable to working families.

Our tax code is also failing to raise enough revenue to pay our nation’s bills — despite the lowest level of discretionary federal spending since at least 1962. Thanks to unfunded wars, ill-conceived tax cuts and a global recession, we haven’t seen a balanced budget since the Clinton administration. Our national debt is $18.1 trillion and growing.

We need a tax code that is understandable, fair, and fiscally responsible — one that “helps working Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy,” as President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address.

Unfortunately, the 114th Congress is off to a bad start on tax policy.

House Republicans who call themselves “deficit hawks” just passed two bills making permanent tax changes without addressing the $100 billion hit to the deficit. The debate defied conventional wisdom: Democrats proposed amendments to offset the deficit impact, while Republicans voted the amendments down and gave flowery speeches about how unfunded tax deductions for food banks were critical in the “fight against hunger,” an abrupt political pivot from recent GOP attempts to slash $40 billion from Food Stamps.

We saw the same partisan posturing last year. House Republicans singled out popular tax breaks that were expiring in 2015 and held votes to permanently extend them without any offset, ballooning the deficit by $800 billion. They spoke of needy constituencies that benefit from these tax breaks, ignoring previous GOP votes to slash vital programs for the same constituencies.

These orchestrated “gotcha” votes are a familiar game used for setting up attack ads in the next election (“Why did your congressman vote against charitable donations to fight hunger?”). Democrats do the same thing with clever “motions to recommit” to trap Republicans into uncomfortable votes.

These political games must end.

But there’s a broader, more sinister strategy here: Creating deficit pressure to drive harsh cuts in the social safety net. We see it in the Republican push to lift “sequester” budget constraints for defense spending. And in the House Rules change spearheaded by Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Chairman Ryan believes fiscal impacts of legislation should be evaluated by “dynamic scoring” that assumes tax cuts magically pay for themselves. “Dynamic scoring” is a farce; it applies to tax cuts but not to investments in infrastructure or education. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, like most credible economists, rejects it outright. So Chairman Ryan changed the rules to force CBO to use “dynamic scoring.” This lets House Republicans pretend that cutting taxes is always great for the economy and the budget, and investments in things like infrastructure and schools simply drain the budget without any economic benefits.

Last year, Chairman Ryan said: “if Washington is serious about helping families, then it needs to get serious about the national debt.” I agree. But inflating the deficit with unpaid-for tax policies and defense spending while cooking the books with “dynamic scoring” is not getting serious; it’s playing politics. America deserves better.

Like most Democrats, I support the charitable deduction and many other tax breaks. We should extend them, but let’s be honest about how we do that.

I won’t play into a cynical strategy to force harsh cuts that hurt the very families and institutions I want to help. If we’re truly serious about the national debt, let’s find a bipartisan way to fund these tax extenders—closing loopholes, new revenues, or cuts somewhere other than vital social services.

We can improve our tax code and get our fiscal house in order, but it’s going to require more honesty and less partisan theater than we’ve seen so far in this Congress.

Congressional Art Competition: 

Closer to home, I wanted to let you know that the 2015 Congressional Art Competition has begun! I invite young artists from up and down California’s North Coast to join their peers across the nation in an opportunity to showcase their art in the U.S. Capitol Building. 

Students must submit completed works to one of my district offices no later than Friday, April 10th, 2015. For more information, visit my website. Previous winners include Jee Young Bhan of Larkspur (2014), and Kalyn Peterson of San Anselmo (2013).

Please let your children, relatives, friends, or others know! Good luck!

If you would like to stay up to date on my work in Congress, please subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here, friending me on Facebook, or following me on Twitter at @RepHuffman. As always, you can contact me via email or you can call one of my offices.

With Best Regards,

Jared Huffman
, Member of Congress

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Remember when you ran away

And I got on my knees and begged you

Not to leave because I'd go berserk?


Well, you left me anyhow

And then the days got worse and worse

And now you see I've gone completely out of my mind


And, they're coming to take me away, ha-haaa

They're coming to take me away, ho ho, hee hee, ha haaa

To the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time

And I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats

And they're coming to take me away, ha haaa


You thought it was a joke and so you laughed

You laughed, when I had said

That losing you would make me flip my lid, right?

You know you laughed, I heard you laugh

You laughed, you laughed and laughed and then you left

But now you know I'm utterly mad


And, they're coming to take me away, ha haaa

They're coming to take me away, ho ho, hee hee, ha haaa

To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds

And basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes

And they're coming to take me away, ha haaa


I cooked your food, I cleaned your house

And this is how you pay me back

For all my kind unselfish loving deeds

Ha! Well you just wait

They'll find you yet and when they do

They'll put you in the ASPCA, you mangy mutt


And, they're coming to take me away, ha-haaaa...

— Jerry Samuels (Napoleon XIV)

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— Norma Watkins

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Intense Challenges to Wineries Erupt

by Shepherd Bliss

Sebastopol, California — Sonoma County’s premium wine industry in the San Francisco North Bay has become a magnet that attracts developers from around the country, across oceans, and nearby. They move heavy industrial operations into rural areas and expand them to become event centers and commercial bottling operations. Under the pretense that they are merely agriculture, rather than alcohol-producing factories, large wineries seek to avoid Environmental Impact Reports (EIR) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Such wineries over-use precious, limited resources—such as water, air, and land—which threatens the environment and the quality of life in our semi-rural region. The contiguous Napa, Lake, and Mendocino Counties have also recently experienced over-expansions of wineries and vineyards, as well as growing efforts by residents to reign them in. In Napa, large wineries are already trucking in water and trucking out wastewater.

Fortunately, many grape-growers and smaller wineries continue to follow regulations and not over-build. They are a credit to agricultural and rural communities. On the other hand, a prominent banker, Chinese developer, and two large Napa County wineries are opposite examples that have generated mounting concerns, especially from Sonoma County’s rural residents who feel invaded.

Retired Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill, of what has been the world’s largest bank, bought a winery and moved here part-time from New York City in 2012. He purchased a Sonoma State University (SSU) honorary doctorate by giving a $12 million dollar gift, with strings attached. Part of SSU’s elite Green Music Center was also re-named after him. This was the first time SSU gave an honorary degree in return for such financial benefits, rather than for academic achievement.

For $41 million dollars, a subsidiary of the Chinese developer Oceanwide Holding recently purchased the 186 acres of La Camapagna near Kenwood, off the nearby busy Highway 12. It includes the rights to develop a winery and luxury resort. This is one of the largest stretches of land on the Sonoma Valley floor that has not yet been “improved.” The citizens group Valley of the Moon Alliance stalled a previous development on this land by a 2004 lawsuit. Oceanwide Holding also plans to develop what would be the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco.

A member of Napa County’s Wagner wine family--owners of Caymus Vineyards, as well as the brands Mer Soleil, Belle Glos, and Conundrum--applied earlier this year to build the Dairyman Winery and Distillery on Highway 12. It would be on the high-speed greenbelt community separator between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. The application came to public attention when the Sebastopol City Council voted unanimously, 5-0, on Feb. 3 to recommend to the County’s Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD) that they reject it. Eighteen residents argued against the winery; the owner was the only person supporting the application owner.

Dairyman applied for 87,000 square feet of buildings to produce 500,000 cases of wine and 250,000 gallons of distilled spirits a year. They want to host more than an event a week, with up to 600 people, as late as 10 p.m. It would be one of Sonoma County’s biggest wineries.

“In late July, the Wagner family reached a $1 million legal settlement with the county of Napa (for) exceeding the permitted production capacity at Caymus’ Rutherford winery,” writes the Sept. 9, 2013, pro-wine industry North Bay Business Journal. They bottled 20 times more wine than permitted on site. This was the largest settlement ever paid by a Napa winery. Violating such rules worries many Sonoma residents concerned with what the Wagners might do here. How good of a neighbor is such a rule-breaker likely to be?

Winery industry “bad actors” negatively affect the public perception of wineries and vineyards in general. Many local wineries who try to do their business responsibly resent that they appear guilty by association with those who scoff at the laws. It represents an unfair business practice to ignore the laws that others go to great expense to follow.

The Wagners’ wine empire is metastasizing beyond Napa. They are spreading out to the Suisun Valley on the other side with their expansionist plans to the east in Solano County, according to a Feb. 28, 2015, Napa Valley Register article. When is enough enough for these behemoth winery event centers? How much land will they leave in Suisun for food farmers currently there? The Wagners seem to have grapes in at least half a dozen counties, which they truck to Sonoma and elsewhere.

Grape growers and the wine industry contribute valuable benefits to Sonoma County and the North Bay. Most critics appreciate a good glass of local wine, though few can afford the $300 wine bottles made by wine barons such as Paul Hobbs.

Hobbs also recently accepted a settlement of $100,000 with Sonoma County for violating its land-use regulations regarding planting vineyards at several rural sites. These violations included clear-cutting redwood forests without a permit in what used to be known as the natural “Redwood Empire,” rather than the commercial “Wine Country.” Other violations had to do with soil erosion. Such “alleged breaches carried the potential for millions of dollars in penalties,” according to the Jan. 31, 2015, daily Press Democrat.

Groups such as the Watertrough Children’s Alliance (WCA) and Apple Roots kept a close eye on Hobbs and reported violations to various regulatory offices. WCA still has Hobbs in court this month. Such barons apparently feel that they do not need to follow the rules that smaller wineries follow and that such settlements are merely costs of doing business.

Concerned citizens advocate “moderation” when it comes to proposals that are basically commercial and industrial, rather than agricultural, especially when they would be in rural rather than urban areas. The business model morphs from selling wine to selling a ticket to a high-priced event complete with merchandising and retail sales. This requires more traffic and worsens the quality of life for rural people, animals, plants, and the environment as a whole.

The new acclaimed documentary “The Russian River: All Rivers—The Value of an American Watershed” documents the damage that the wine industry does. On the March 4 popular KQED radio “Forum” program director William Sorensen said, “We need more sobriety” by the wine industry.

Winery To Replace The Commons

Owners of another premium Napa winery, Bouchaine, recently donated $500,000 to create The Wine Spectator Learning Center at SSU, which was named after a prominent wine industry publication. The center would be located where what for decades has been The Commons. How ironic--a Wine Center replacing the building where students, faculty, staff, and guests would gather to eat, study, socialize, invite family members, and attend meetings. Most students are even too young to legally drink wine, though many student residences on campus are named after grape varieties.

Such premium wineries take more than their fair share of our commons—water, air, and land. They treat these life-giving elements like commodities to be bought and sold, rather than to be shared as essential for human, animal, plant life, and nature itself.

Though estimates vary, it takes around 29 gallons of water to produce one glass of wine. Water is necessary for irrigation, cleaning floors, walls, barrels, grapes and bins, frost protection, and other necessary purposes to produce wine.

Most of the grapes for such large wineries need to be trucked in, processed in factories, and then trucked out as wine. Their greenhouse gas emissions worsen chaotic climate change and pollute the air, water, and land. The money goes mainly to the owners and investors, whereas nature suffers. The majority of the dollars leave our local economy, benefiting only a few.

California is in a four-year drought predicted to be long-lasting. Residents are asked by Gov. Jerry Brown and local government officials to conserve our limited common water. Meanwhile, the wine barons can use as much as they can buy, thus depriving the rest of us from equal access. Some rural residents report that their wells go dry when a winery moves in next door.

Sonoma County already has over 60,000 acres of grapes, but only slightly over 10,000 acres of food crops. Good growing land in Sonoma is now too expensive for most people to purchase. Mono-crops are dangerous. They are more vulnerable to pests. Wine is historically a boom and bust crop. Premium wines are still booming, but they are likely to bust. What then? Including diverse food crops and biodiversity in ones vineyards is part of the solution, as we head into uncertain times.

Unfortunately for we common people, the wealthy banker Sandy Weill, the Chinese developer, the Wagners, and the new Wine Center set a precedent. It is likely to draw more such elite wineries here, unless existing rules are enforced and more regulations made to protect the life-giving commons and the public’s equal access to these resources.

Resistance To Winery And Vineyard Over-Expansion Grows

Fortunately, some residents are studying and reporting about this trend. Preserve Rural Sonoma County (PRSC) is a new group that just emerged; it currently focuses on the Dairyman Winery. Members have already done extensive research and published commentaries and letters critical of such developments in the local daily, various weeklies, monthlies and online publications. They are fundraising, creating a website, contacting traffic, water, and legal experts to research and testify at public hearings and in court.

PRSC has met with residents in nearby Napa County concerned about similar issues, especially the expansion of wineries into event centers in rural areas, which compromise the eco-system and the quality of life. “A winery is a processing facility, not ag,” commented an activist from the Citizen’s Voice St. Helena group. “The winery rush is beginning to feel like a gold rush. Such large wineries are like an invasive species with their new business model,” she continued. “These people are developers in farmers overalls,” added Sonoma County grapegrower Bill Shortridge.

Coastal Hills Rural Preservation also recently contacted PRSC. They are challenging an application for an expansion by the Ft. Ross Winery on Meyer’s Grade Road above Jenner.

One recent accomplishment was when Sonoma County’s Planning Commission turned down, by a unanimous 5-0 vote, an application this year by celebrity chef Guy Fieri to establish a winery/restaurant in a rural area outside Santa Rosa. This was only the second time that a winery application was turned down in decades. A citizens’ group mobilized 150 people to appear at a public zoning hearing to testify against it.

In addition to groups organizing against the proliferation of wineries in the contiguous Sonoma and Napa counties, residents are also complaining in the nearby Lake County. A new 40-acre vineyard has stimulated residents to organize the Hidden Valley Watershed group. They have hired an attorney, who has written a letter to their Board of Supervisors.

“Major concerns with the development include its potential effects on Hidden Valley’s water quality and long-term quantity, as well as air quality,” according to a Feb. 23, 2015, article in the Lake County Record-Bee. “Some residents are also expressing grievances with how the county’s initial study of the project has written off these potential effects of the development as less than significant.”

“It could put at risk the welfare of a lot of people in terms of water availability, quality and air pollution and it’s really for the benefit of just a few people,” resident Will Tuttle said to the Lake County newspaper. “The county is just rubber stamping this. We have to look ahead to our future; corporations don’t always do that but the county should.”

Mendocino County, immediately north of Sonoma, is also experiencing the growth of its wine industry. Their AVA (Anderson Valley Advertiser) has been publishing well-researched articles for years by Will Parish about the wine industry in the North Bay.

A movement against the expansion of rural wineries grows throughout the North Bay. Residents demand that applications should include an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and conform to the rules of CEQA (California Environment Quality Act). Demands grow for moratoriums on all new wineries in Sonoma and Napa Counties, especially those seeking to be industrial, commercial event centers, located away from urban centers, compromising the quality of rural life and nature.

(Shepherd Bliss {} farms, teaches college, and has contributed to 24 books.)

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Mendocino County Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Forum for Children & Families, Youth & Transitional Age Youth, Adults & Older Adults

The Mendocino County Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Forum will be held on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, from Noon – 1:30 p.m. in Hopland. This meeting will take place at the Hopland Band of Pomo Indian’s Rancheria at 3000 Shanel Rd. Hopland. Members of the public, consumers and family members, MHSA Stakeholders and community agencies are encouraged to attend the meeting to provide suggestions, ideas and feedback on the Mental Health Services Act programs. Meeting agendas are published at: For further information, contact: Robin Meloche, MHSA Coordinator at 707-472-2332.

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Sid Garza-Hilman (Certified Nutritionist, Health Coach, and Author) will discuss the use of nutrition and lifestyle as cancer risk reduction tools. "Sid believes that the closer we move by degrees to our natural design in physical nutrition, movement, socializing, and what he calls 'mental nutrition' (journaling, meditation, mindfulness, creativity), the healthier and happier we will be in the modern world." Saturday, March 21, 2015 from 9:30 - 11:30 am Stanford Inn, Mendocino Offered free of charge. Space is limited. To REGISTER, contact the Cancer Resource Centers, 707-937-3833 (2015 Cancer Awareness and Prevention Campaign sponsored by the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County in collaboration with the Mendocino County health and Human Services Agency)

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March 22 benefit at Little River Inn

Mendocino Stories & Events will feature a Singer/songwriter Showcase in an acoustic concert at Little River Inn’s Abalone Room on Sunday, March 22. Sheila Fetzer and Teresa Tudury, two uniquely powerful performers, have pleased, teased and delighted local audiences several times in recent years. They will each perform a solo set starting at 7:30PM. Net proceeds to benefit Albion/Little River Fire Department. Sheila Fetzer grew up playing music inspired and influenced by Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Dylan and Neil Young. Sharing music to influence and connect people in a positive way is her focus. An absolute original with a deep sultry voice and a scathing comedic wit, Teresa Tudury is a consummate performer who pours out her original songs with power, passion, and disarming humor. Teresa's voice has been described as a cross between Bette Midler and Bonnie Raitt (LA Weekly) with vocal stylings that perfectly complement her bluesy guitar playing. Doors open at 7:00 PM with refreshments. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Little River Inn front desk or by phone 937-5942; Moore Used Books in Mendocino; and Music Merchant in Fort Bragg. For event info call 937-1732 or

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by Dan Bacher

As strange as it sounds, officials from the Westlands Water District, Kern County Water Agency and Metropolitan Water District should be profusely thanking Restore the Delta (RTD), fishermen, environmentalists and Tribal leaders for opposing Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the twin tunnels.

Why? Well, in responding to the Bureau of Reclamation's announcement Friday that it will curtail water deliveries to Central Valley Project water contractors both north and south of the Delta, Restore the Delta pointed out how the current drought exposes the "big folly" of the Governor's tunnels plan.

"It is lucky for the South of Delta agricultural Central Valley Project contractors (and Kern County Water Agency) that the tunnels were not already built," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. "If so, they would have had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars with no water supply."

"The tunnels would not have provided them with any appreciable additional water," she noted. "With multiple years of no, or very limited water supply, could those water takers afford to keep making their loan payments for the multi-billion dollar tunnels?"

"If the water contractors could not afford to make the payments, would the bond holders foreclose? Even so, the land would not be worth much without water. Plus, rate payers and property tax payers in the Metropolitan Water District and Santa Clara Valley Water District would be stuck with higher taxes and water rates for less water than ever before," she disclosed.

“The continuing drought shows the folly of the Governor’s tunnels," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "In the middle of a prolonged drought, the Governor blindly plans to solve our water scarcity by building massive tunnels, when our water supply is decreasing."

Restore the Delta ( pointed to findings of the administration’s own analysis showing the “through-Delta” alternative has the highest benefit-cost ratio of all the options. “The Brown Administration has failed to disclose that California families will pay thousands of dollars, yet receive no new water. It’s time to embrace a sustainable water solution that works in dry times as well as normal water years," she concluded.

Don Peracchi, President of the Westlands Water District, made no mention of the relentless efforts of Delta advocates to stop Jerry Brown's tunnel plan that would cost Westlands millions of dollars while delivering no new water during a drought. He did resort to the usual blaming of their predicament on Delta pumping restrictions aimed to protect Delta smelt and winter Chinook salmon. (

"Today is a very sad day for the people in California and all over the country who depend on food grown by farmers who receive water from the Central Valley Project," said Peracchi. "Today is a very sad day for the workers who will be without jobs because farmers have no water. And today is a very sad day for the environment, which will continue to decline because federal agencies trusted with protecting at-risk fish species are content to tie the hands of project operators whose mission is delivering water for human needs, while these same agencies do nothing to address the numerous factors that limit fish populations."

The Bureau of Reclamation on Friday released its preliminary data on the water allocations for Central Valley Project agricultural contractors. Snowpack and precipitation in the Sierra Nevada are historically low and the snow water content statewide stands at 19% of average for this time of year, according to David Murillo, Regional Director for the Bureau's Mid-Pacific Region.

"Without heavy precipitation over the next few months, NOAA forecasts extreme drought conditions continuing in both the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys," said Murillo.

"Unfortunately, many agricultural water contractors may face a second year of receiving no water from the project – an unprecedented situation," according to the Bureau. "In addition, reduced amounts of water are expected to be available from the CVP for urban uses, although Reclamation anticipates having adequate supplies to provide for unmet health and safety needs for these water users."

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On the other hand, the Department of Water Resources on Monday, March 2, raised the initial allocation for State Water Project deliveries from 15 to 20 percent.

"Few storms have graced California so far this winter, but those that did – in mid-December and early February – will allow the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to increase water deliveries to most customers of the State Water Project (SWP) by an additional 204,000 acre-feet (AF)," according to a DWR news release.

DRW noted that San Luis Reservoir, a joint Central Valley Project/SWP facility, holds 627,000 acre-feet more water now than it did at this time a year ago. "Water to meet the slight increase in allocation will not come from Lake Oroville in Northern California; DWR seeks to preserve storage in that keystone SWP reservoir to meet demands in late 2015 and next year, should it prove dry as well," DWR said.

"We’re grateful that close coordination among water and wildlife agencies in managing limited runoff this winter will afford State Water Project contractors a slight increase in their supplies,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “We’re confident that this water, delivered to local districts around the state, will help offset some economic harm of this extended drought." (

Meanwhile, Cowin and other Brown administration officials continue to promote the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the twin tunnels, an environmentally devastating project that would create no new water, but would cost the taxpayers and water contractors $67 billion. The project would hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, while imperiling the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.


  1. Neon Vincent March 5, 2015

    Thanks for reprinting what I wrote at Kunstler’s blog as the online comment of the day. Keep up the good work!

    • Jim Armstrong March 5, 2015

      The “online comment of the day” for once gets a much needed attribution.
      More, please.

  2. Randy Burke March 5, 2015

    Any chance you guys can install an “Odd Bodkins” section online?

  3. Bruce Anderson March 5, 2015

    The Kunstler blog draws a lot of smart people. Impossible to comment on most “dissident” blogs. We wish we drew more comment but the Mendo population tends overwhelmingly to timidity, self-regarding mantras like “speaking truth to power’ aside. The in-Mendo fear is pretty much versions of, What will the neighbors think?

    • Bill Pilgrim March 5, 2015

      Also known as: the Tyranny of PC.

  4. Harvey Reading March 5, 2015

    “It’s tax season, when Americans descend into the U.S. tax code and return bewildered and/or enraged.

    Bewildered? He must have concluded that “exceptional” USans are as dumb as I suspected.

    Filling out a tax form is simple, no matter how the “conservatives” (those who prefer to worship a nonexistent past, with Adam Smith as their lord and savior) try to make it seem otherwise, apparently in an attempt to get yet more common folks to patronize paid tax preparation outfits. I don’t know how many suckers I have observed paying “professionals” for preparing what they could have prepared themselves, often on a 1040EZ. Guess it’s kind of a status symbol to be able to tell folks that you’re paying to have your taxes done …

  5. Bruce Anderson March 5, 2015

    Neon Vincent is attribution?

    • Jim Armstrong March 6, 2015

      You know, as in “who wrote that?”
      If Mr. Vincent just decided to claim those words because they seemed available, then it wasn’t.
      Today, I wonder who is in despair for the world as he or she begins a worthy piece.

  6. Jim Updegraff March 5, 2015

    I certainly agree with Mr. Reading about filling out tax forms. For the average person there is absolutely no reason to go to tax preparation firms that advertise on TV.The forms for most folks should be a snap. Those persons with complex tax issues go to a Tax attorney for advice.

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