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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Apr 5, 2015

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The Anderson Valley Fire Department and AV ambulance, as well as CalStar 4 medevac helicopter were dispatched a little after 1pm Saturday to the Galbreath Wildlands Preserve (former sheep ranch) in Yorkville, at 16460 Highway 128 in response to a report of a 22-year old female hurt from a 10-foot fall near the waterfall on the property some four to six miles off of Highway 128.

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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THE FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL, three of them anyway, is going all out for conversion of the Old Coast Hotel, a fact made clear in this week's edition of the Fort Bragg Advocate. The paper contains an expensive pro-conversion display ad and a guest editorial by 5th District supervisor Hamburg and 2nd District supervisor John McCowen co-writing in favor of an important 4th District matter.

THE TWO UKIAH CARPETBAGGERS are not joined by the 4th District supervisor, Dan Gjerde. When I asked McCowen why no Gjerde on the pro-opinion piece by he and Hamburg, McCowen said if Gjerde had signed on the three of them would have constituted an illegal meeting in violation of the Brown Act.

SUCH SCRUPULOUSNESS! In a county where the laws allegedly guaranteeing the public's right to know are violated virtually every time a public board meets, the public's business is conducted mostly in private. As this deal clearly was.

WE ARE UNLIKELY to know who or on who's authority the City of Fort Bragg got together with Mr. Carine when Carine magically knocked a cool million off his asking price for the Old Coast Hotel as Fort Bragg's ineffable Mayor Turner or his surrogate exclaimed, "Why thank you, Mr. C. Your property in the center of town would make a perfect place for a homeless program."

THE MILLION DOLLAR come down was Carine's first known act of charity. More likely, as one Fort Bragg old timer put it to me, "Carine doesn't live here, isn't happy that he couldn't make a go of the place himself or sell it for the two million he wanted, so this is his middle finger to his old home town as he heads south down Highway One."

SUPERVISOR GJERDE undoubtedly wishes the matter of the Old Coast Hotel would just go away. If he were balls out for it like McCowen and Hamburg, Mayor Turner and Turner's two robo-votes on the present Council, I'm sure we would have heard. I daresay the sensible Gjerde thinks the whole show stinks, from its non-public origins to its hurry-up hustle through a rigged public process to this last minute blitz before Monday night's vote on the enabling funding grant.

A HALF-WAY HOUSE for a half-dozen rehabbed homeless people could just as well be located in one of the many three bedroom, two bath houses presently for sale in Fort Bragg. And if you're talking about true need, how about a place for beleaguered single mothers, to name one large group whose welfare is crucial to any society?

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IRONICALLY, this week's Fort Bragg Advocate also contains an interesting piece by Chris Calder on the rehab of another Fort Bragg landmark, the Golden West Saloon only a couple of blocks from the Old Coast Hotel. I say "ironically" because Old Coast and Golden West are architecturally and conceptually similar. Both are bars with rooms upstairs. Historically, both places catered to the single men who worked in the mill and in the woods. The young people who've invested themselves in the revival of the Golden West could have done the same thing with the Old Coast which, and Carine gets high marks here, Old Coast, because Carine had it perpetually for sale he also kept it maintained to a perfect turnkey pitch. But Carine would have wanted $2 mil from them to do it. Golden West, though, is looking to provide inexpensive housing for, say, the woodworking students drawn to Fort Bragg by the town's justly famed woodworking classes. The Golden West will remain true to its origins, Old Coast's original purpose will be lost forever.

THE OLD COAST SAGA serves nicely as an object lesson in how civic Mendocino County works, from the Supervisors and the local courts on down through local school boards. All of these bodies are dominated by soft liberals of the active Democratic Party type. And public employment in Mendocino County is a soft lib business top to bottom, hence McCowen and Hamburg weighing in on a halfway house an hour west from their homes in Ukiah. (McCowen lives in Ukiah, Hamburg just outside the city limits.)

BUT THEIR CONSTITUENCIES, like the state and national Democratic Party apparatuses, are heavy on public employees, and Mendocino County, given its small population, is even heavier on public employees than most counties. Here, public employees, and I include all the school districts, make up more than half of all employed people in the County.

ALMOST ALL the County's shot callers are Hillary-type Democrats — endless imperial wars against half the people in the world, tacit approval of oligarchy as a way of political life, race and class-based justice system, mandatory private health insurance in lieu of single payer, and on and on, and generally indistinguishable in practice from Republicans but doing fine themselves. (This is the Mendolib, Mayor Turner-Hamburg political archetype.)

WHENEVER an issue like homelessness comes along, Mendolib rides out on their neutered white horses to be noisily in favor of the "helping professions," i.e., them and their friends.

ONE WOULD THINK that a much more pressing issue for the supervisors would be the constant loss of Sheriff's deputies to much higher paying counties, to name one ongoing fact of local life that affects everyone here. The deputies who stay on, like all County employees, took a ten percent pay cut three years ago. The pay cut hasn't been restored while County bureaucrats hire old pals on personal services contracts and Mendolib's Fort Bragg branch makes an opaque deal to convert an historic building in its town center to a halfway house where an even more opaque mental health apparatus claims, with zero follow-up evidence ever that it can make broken people whole again!

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SUPERVISOR DAN HAMBURG sits on the County's Mental Health Board and Supervisor McCowen sits as Hamburg’s “alternate” as local government's reps. That board, incidentally, is dominated by self-interested "helping professionals" who constantly work to purge the board's independent-minded mental health advocates. That's another Mendolib hallmark: "No Dissent. Ever! We Are the Good and the True, and We have Spoken!"

McCOWEN AND HAMBURG WRITE: "…Mental illness can affect anyone, including our friends and family members. Many who suffer from mental illness also struggle with substance abuse. Not surprisingly, many also become homeless. Finding a location for any facility designed to help our most vulnerable citizens has become increasingly difficult. Many people will agree: ‘Yes, we need these facilities in our community, but not here.’ In fact, that happened to Hospitality House just last year. It is fair to ask, if not here, where, and if not now, when?”

WELL, THEN, can we please see the list of possible sites the so-called search committee looked at and rejected as "inappropriate" (Mendolib's fave all-purpose pejorative) before settling on the Old Coast Hotel?

CONTINUING with the drop-fall pomposity of “We commend the Fort Bragg City Council for having the courage to move forward with this critically needed project despite strong opposition and threats to remove them from office."

RECALL isn't exactly a full frontal machete attack but a perfectly understandable to a public body's high handedness as the public body defies majority community opinion, and what's so courageous about any of this?

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In looking over the Old Coast Hotel issue I feel there is a lot of misunderstanding concerning the Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg. It is a loosely and recently formed group. I found out there are several participants who have credentials in working with those who have mental and drug problems. Almost all I've met have relatives with these very problems. I know in my case I have one through marriage who destroyed his life with drug abuse and died prematurely, and my dad used to help with the down and out.

The issue is Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg do care. But through experience we know that the Old Coast Hotel is the wrong location. Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg certainly appreciates the generosity of the owners of the Old Coast Hotel to offer this location. The problem is the City of Fort Bragg put themselves in a bind by jumping ahead and not revealing to the public and business community the planned conversion by going through public hearings for input. The rapid negative reaction upon discovery and numerous petition signers show this.

They also overlooked their own zoning law which does not allow for such a facility in the business district as experience in other communities did not come out well. The required procedure before purchasing a business district property that will convert a historic hotel with restaurant and bar into a treatment facility for the mentally ill and those with drug problems requires a use permit with notification of property owners in the business district and adjacent home owners that includes public hearings.

By, as reported by witnesses in the recent court hearing, accusing the Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg and their numerous supporters of just being a nuisance and having no standing because they are not taxpayers is absolutely false. The city even filed a motion for sanctions against Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg, the very business owners and citizens of Fort Bragg! Can you imagine a city turning on its own citizens and struggling business district? This is disheartening. The fault lies with the city which got itself in this position by not going through proper procedures and notification, and it is no one else's fault. It is time to look for another location.

James Hooper, Fort Bragg

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Governor Jerry Brown's proposed 25% water-use reduction failed to mention that 80% of the water in California is used for agriculture, and only 20% is for residential and commercial use. Therefore, the overall savings is just 5% percent of all the water used in the state. Why are homes and commercial use carrying the entire burden? How is this possible? Why is agricultural water not mentioned? Why are they not held to the same restrictions?

David Weiss, San Francisco

ED NOTE: Short answer? The corporate farms of the Central Valley are hardwired to the Feinstein-Brown-Pelosi-Hillary wing of the Democratic Party.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Apr 4, 2015

Belden, Bettencourt, Burgess, Campos-Reyes
Belden, Bettencourt, Burgess, Campos-Reyes

JAMES BELDEN III, Ukiah. DUI-Drugs, fake ID, suspended license, resisting arrest, probation revocation.

CURTIS BETTENCOURT, Fort Bragg. Secret recording without other person’s consent.

GLORIA BURGESS, Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance for sale.

LATOYA CAMPOS-REYES, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

Cobb, Davis, Garcia-Barrera
Cobb, Davis, Garcia-Barrera

TERRY COBB, Redding/Ukiah. Car theft, possession of drug paraphernalia.

BAILEY DAVIS, Redding/Ukiah. Vehicle theft.

ARMANDO GARCIA-BARRERA, Ukiah. Court order violation.

Haymes, Jenkins, MacArthur, Mather
Haymes, Jenkins, MacArthur, Mather

TAYLOR HAYMES, Fort Bragg. Possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, probation revocation.

JAMES JENKINS, Ukiah. Court order violation, probation revocation.

CALEB MACARTHUR, Willits. Battery.

NICHOLE MATHER, Ukiah. Possession of drug paraphernalia, false ID, fugitive from justice, resisting arrest.

Maynard, McOsker, Mendoza, Sublet
Maynard, McOsker, Mendoza, Sublet

ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

REMO MCOSKER, Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance. (Frequent flyer.)

JUVENAL MENDOZA, Hopland. Probation revocation.


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by Linda Williams

Researchers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife published a study in March on the impacts of marijuana growing on several Eel River segments including the Little Lake Valley’s Outlet Creek.

Courtesy CDFW Marijuana Cultivation Sites located in the Outlet Creek watershed being studied by California Department of Fish and Wildlife scientists.


The researchers concluded pot growing has become so prolific in this region it is literally sucking the streams dry. The study found the quantity of unregistered water abuse was many times the registered water use in the areas studied.

Unlike regulated forms of agricultural, livestock, home and municipal diversions, the clandestine nature of Emerald Triangle marijuana cultivation means that growers have been free to drain the Eel River with few controls in place to prevent it.

Water hungry marijuana plants need maximum watering just as California’s Mediterranean climate enters its dry period and normal flows in area streams drop naturally.

By regulation, the Brooktrails and Willits water reservoirs, located on tributaries of Outlet Creek, can only store water for human use during the wet season, allowing all dry weather flows to pass through the dams to benefit the fish. For much of the last 10 years it appears these water releases have gone, instead, to support marijuana operations.

“The broad array of impacts from marijuana cultivation on aquatic and terrestrial wildlife in California has only recently been documented by law enforcement, wildlife agencies, and researchers,” according to the study. “These impacts include loss and fragmentation of sensitive habitats via illegal land clearing and logging; grading and burying of streams; delivery of sediment, nutrients, petroleum products, and pesticides into streams; surface water diversions for irrigation resulting in reduced flows and completely dewatered streams; and mortality of terrestrial wildlife by rodenticide ingestion.”

“Given the lack of precipitation during the growing season, marijuana cultivation generally requires a substantial amount of irrigation water. Consequently, Marijuana Cultivation Sites (MCS) are often situated on land with reliable year-round surface water sources to provide for irrigation throughout the hot, dry summer growing season Diverting springs and headwater streams are some of the most common means for MCSs to acquire irrigation water, though the authors have also documented the use of groundwater wells and importing water by truck.”

Much of the past regulatory efforts have been based on whether the marijuana on a property was legal or illegal, rather than whether the growers followed grading ordinances or had registered their water rights. If a “farm” does not apply for building permits, there is little chance the farm will be forced to comply with the appropriate building and grading standards. If they do not have a registered water right, they cannot be contacted by the state and be asked or ordered to cut back to save the fish during periods of drought.

While this study is much more comprehensive and better documented than prior “studies,” it reached the same conclusion as Willits student Brian Pearn did in his 2008 state award-winning science project. Pearn tried to uncover why Alder Creek, located in the Eel River watershed east of Willits, no longer flowed year ‘round. Pearn documented 21 illegal water diversions that left little water in the creek for fish or wildlife.

TWN looked in 2011 at the South Fork of the Eel River’s historical flow records and concluded that even in abundant water years, South Fork water flows now drop off more abruptly following the last rains than the historical norms and by September are at or below drought levels every year.

As stream flows drop, water temperatures in the rivers and streams climb--making salmonid survival unlikely. Stagnant flows in parts of the Eel River during summer months have become the new norm.

The study says, “diminished streamflow is likely to have lethal or sub-lethal effects on state-and federally-listed salmon and steelhead trout and to cause further decline of sensitive amphibian species.”

The study identified 441 marijuana cultivation sites in the Outlet Creek watershed from aerial photographs combined with field observations. Some sites had outdoor plantings, some greenhouses and many had both. Watershed photos were taken in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The researchers estimated the marijuana cultivation sites in the Outlet Creek watershed were growing 32,000 marijuana plants and requiring about 191,000 gallons per day of water.

Plantings were nearly evenly split between greenhouse and field plants. The water use was calculated to be about 6 gallons per day per plant using soaker hose and emitter line watering methods. No irrigation losses due to leaking hoses or fittings were included in the calculations.

Any Outlet Creek sites served by the city of Willits or Brooktrails water service were excluded.

The other three Eel River basins studied were Upper Redwood Creek, Salmon Creek, and Redwood Creek South, located in Humboldt County. The study reached similar conclusions for these watersheds.

Courtesy CDFW Marijuana Cultivation Sites located in the Salmon Creek, and Redwood Creek South watersheds in Humboldt County being studied by California Department of Fish and Wildlife scientists.


Upper Redwood Creek was the only basin where marijuana irrigation did not exceed the summer time flows. The Upper Redwood Creek MCS were concentrated in 79 parcels clustered in a small area and only diverted 23 percent of the low water flow in the creek.

“Impacts of Surface Water Diversions for Marijuana Cultivation on Aquatic Habitat in Four Northwestern California Watersheds” by Scott Bauer, Jennifer Olson, Adam Cockrill, Michael van Hattem, Linda Miller, Margaret Tauzer and Gordon Leppig may be viewed at

(Courtesy, the Willits News)

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I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.


And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.


I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

— William Butler Yeats

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by Daniel Mintz

A group that’s been working to alleviate homelessness and address community concerns about downtown Garberville loiterers is asking for volunteer support as it advances new proposals.

The Community Help In Living Locally (CHILL) group is proposing “the imminent establishment of a permanent camp for low and no income people” and a “respite center” to help travelling marijuana trimmers and other newcomers integrate into the Garberville community.

The latter proposal has been submitted to the county as a request for Measure Z funding, while volunteers are being sought for the “mini village,” dubbed Camp CHILL in a statement from the group.

CHILL member Kathy Epling said the group has been active for two to three years and sponsored last winter’s emergency shelters with help from local veterans and the county’s Board of Supervisors.

Though the group doesn’t have a management structure yet, it’s getting some positive responses, said Epling. “We are getting a lot of people interested and they’re quite supportive,” she continued. “I believe people understand that there is a need – we are in what is termed by the county as “shelter crisis.”

The group’s proposals are in formative stages but Epling said that CHILL meetings have included discussion on siting and funding.

For years, Garberville residents, visitors and downtown merchants have spoken out about the impacts of loitering travelers. A statement from CHILL member Paul Encimer said the group seeks to address the problems through “the use of nonviolent communication and nonviolent intervention.”

The Garberville/Redway Chamber of Commerce is “neutral” on CHILL’s campground proposal, said Chamber Director Cinnamon Paula.

“Our main concern is people on the street choosing to engage in bad behavior, it doesn’t have to do with one housing situation or another,” she continued. “Our reaction at this point is asking law enforcement to at least try to move people along who are sitting on the sidewalk, smoking pot and drinking alcohol.”

Situations like those have recently been dealt with by sheriff’s deputies, said Blake Lehman, a downtown Garberville business owner and member of the Southern Humboldt Joint Unified School District and chamber board.

Lehman believes stepped-up law enforcement is a more direct way to deal with the problems in downtown Garberville than opening a campground or welcome center.

“The ‘welcome with open arms’ approach is great but when you’re dealing with issues constantly, I think a little stronger approach is needed,” he said.

CHILL’s proposals will need a lot of support and organization to be realized, Lehman added, and he doubts that the group can muster it. “Talking about these things doesn’t do any good – action is what is needed and what I’ve seen so far from CHILL is a lot of talk,” he said.

Epling noted the group’s emergency shelters sponsorship and community outreach. “We’ve actually done quite a lot,” she said. “We do almost daily interventions and we also talk to the police, and we’ve done numerous training and information workshops.”

CHILL’s next meeting is April 8 and will be held at 2 p.m. at the Humboldt House Inn in Garberville.

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TREE OF LIFE MONTESSORI Charter School will be hosting their Annual Roots and Shoots Auction/Dinner on April 18th and I was hoping you could run the following PSA from April 11-18. "Tree of Life Montessori Charter School is holding their annual Roots and Shoots fundraiser on April 18, 2015 from 6:00-10:00pm at the Saturday Afternoon Club. There will be a dinner, silent and live auctions, and live music performed by Warehouse 21. Tickets are $30 each and are available at Tree of Life School. If you would like to purchase tickets or make a donation please contact Tree of Life School at 462-0913.


  1. Judy Valadao April 5, 2015

    “Many who suffer from mental illness also struggle with substance abuse. Not surprisingly, many also become homeless. Finding a location for any facility designed to help our most vulnerable citizens has become increasingly difficult. Many people will agree: ‘Yes, we need these facilities in our community, but not here.’ In fact, that happened to Hospitality House just last year. It is fair to ask, if not here, where, and if not now, when?”

    That statement was made in a letter written by McCOWEN AND HAMBURG. Sounds very nice when you read it BUT it proves that perhaps they have been misinformed or haven’t removed their rose colored glasses to see things for what they really are. Mr. McCowen and Mr. Hamburg, did you know that if a mentally ill person is using drugs or alcohol they are no longer a mental health issue but are instead a law enforcement issue? Mr. Mark Montgomery of Ortner Management made that statement at a Fort Bragg City Council meeting. Don’t feel bad about being misinformed, our City Council didn’t listen to that part either.

    • Rick Weddle April 5, 2015

      I know you’re not taking mental health notes from Hamburg and his pals…

      • Judy Valadao April 6, 2015

        Heavens no!!

  2. Lazarus April 5, 2015

    What bout spending some of that spoils of war money? Since the Government says when won these policeman of the world wars and can now leave, what bout spending some of the spoils to the victor on Vets, mentals and other down and outs. Or worse will it go to a new jet, ship, or some other military thingamajig?
    Or is the spoils thing one of the 3 great lies…?
    I personally fear the later…

    • Rick Weddle April 5, 2015

      re: spoils of war money…

      Yeah. Maybe you’re old enough to remember the notion widely entertained around the world near the ‘end’ of the ‘arms race’ that all the cash and other resources then being squandered on the ‘unthinkable’ could be repurposed for other more thinkable needs. This anticipated windfall (blessings of the Winds of Peace?) was expected to show up in Big Social and Economic and Political benefits, the poisoned and poisoning Nuclear sword morphing into lots of plowshares…the famous ‘Peace Dividend,’…remember? No sign of a nickel of it, so far. I wonder what happened to those trillions?

  3. Alice Chouteau April 5, 2015

    Thanks for providing an open forum to discuss the Old Coast Hotel project, The Fort Bragg Advocate clearly has sided with the City gov. and refuses to print letters of opposition.

    The next City Council meeting is April 13, City Hall, when a vote on funding purchase of the Hotel was due, but a recent press release from the City says the vote will be postponed until late April or early May, promising to ” provide as much notice as possible”. The real reason for this delayed vote in my opinion, is to prevent CCFB’s lawyer from obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order on the forgivable loan purchase, as no action–a final vote– will have been taken. It also gives the City more time to continue their PR blitz, which seems intended more to intimidate and silence opposition, especially local businesses, than to change anyone’s opinion.
    Hospitality House has launched a letter writing campaign, trying to inundate the Council with proof of public support, and we hope to counter that with as many letters and emails to stop this thing from being finalized. Please write, and try to attend upcoming Council meetings and speak out.
    BTW–Carine’s asking price for the Hotel was closer to,three million $, not two.

    Donations to support legal action against funding this project can be sent to:
    18601 North Highway 1, #134
    Fort Bragg, CA 95437

    Alice Chouteau

  4. james marmon April 5, 2015

    That’s another Mendolib hallmark: “No Dissent. Ever! We Are the Good and the True, and We have Spoken!”

    Groupthink exists.

  5. Harvey Reading April 5, 2015


    It amazes me how 30 million people can be controlled by such a small number of self-entitled welfare queens. You talk to common people, and they are just bustin’ with pride over the “farmers” who “grow their food”, even when most of California’s food comes from out of state. People actually buy all the welfare farmer and rancher propaganda. They lap it up and beg for more. And you wonder why I believe the species is a dead-end one … and stupid to boot.

  6. Judy Valadao April 5, 2015

    Nope, no mental health notes from Hamburg or his pals.

  7. Judy Valadao April 5, 2015

    “The democracy will cease to exist when you
    take away from those who are willing to work
    and give to those who would not.”

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