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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Apr 16, 2015

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Escareno (2014)
Escareno (2014)

On the eve of jury selection scheduled for this past Tuesday morning, Marcos Cattarino Escareno, age 22, of Manchester, instead plead guilty on Monday to a felony assault by force likely to inflict great bodily injury, and admitted that he had personally inflicted great bodily injury on the victim. As required by law, Escareno was referred to the adult probation department for a background study and sentencing recommendation prior to his formal sentencing on May 11, 2015 in the Fort Bragg division of the Mendocino County Superior Court.

Some may recognize the defendant’s name from past news coverage and realize that this defendant is the same once 14-year-old boy who was previously prosecuted as an adult and convicted in 2009 of voluntary manslaughter for the February 2007 killing of Enoch Cruz with a firearm. Sentenced in March 2010 to ten years in state prison, Escareno was instead housed at the California Youth Authority, a housing placement for which the defendant was not eligible because of his firearm use. Nevertheless, when the Youth Authority was shuttered by the passage of the Realignment laws in 2011, Escareno was returned to Mendocino County and tapped by the state juvenile authorities for early release back into the community. District Attorney David Eyster objected at that time, asserting that Escareno’s original placement at the Youth Authority was illegal, that the defendant still had significant prison time to serve, and that any remaining time should be served in an actual prison facility. Over the DA’s objections, on March 21, 2014 the local court ordered that Escareno’s abbreviated stay at the Youth Authority shall be deemed a fully-completed state prison sentence. Freed of the threat of prison, Escareno was ordered to report to the state parole authorities for supervision in the community.

Thereafter, on October 4, 2014, while Escareno was under parole supervision, Sheriff deputies were called to the Manchester area where a victim who had sustained major trauma to the head and upper body was located and interviewed. The man told the deputies he had been at a birthday party next to the Garcia River when he was attacked by two adult male subjects who had subsequently fled the scene. The man said he knew one of the men by name and further investigation confirmed that man to be Escareno.

By plea agreement, Escareno will be sentenced on May 11 to a suspended state prison sentence of six years. Escareno will be on the intensive supervision caseload of the adult probation department for the next 60 months with no early termination of that supervision allowed. Any finding during the next five years that the defendant has violated his probation will cause the six year state prison sentence to be imposed. The new conviction is also a Strike under California’s newly-revised Three Strikes law. If Escareno ever again perpetrates serious or violent criminal conduct, the DA has promised he will not falter in using the Three Strikes law to send Escareno away for life. This “one last chance” opportunity was discussed with last October’s victim and he expressed his approval of the resolution. The trial prosecutor who had prepared to take this case before a local jury and who negotiated the strict terms of the disposition is Deputy District Attorney Kevin Davenport, one of the DA’s two senior prosecutors assigned to Mr. Eyster’s Fort Bragg office.

(District Attorney Press Release)

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The Anderson Valley Wildflower Show celebrates its 80th year from 10 to 4 on Saturday April 25 and Sunday April 26 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville. It is produced by the Garden Section of the Anderson Valley Unity Club.

Hundreds of wildflowers, grasses and other plants will be gathered, identified, arranged by family on tables throughout the hall and labelled with the botanical and common names. The warm winter caused many flowers to bloom early, taking advantage of what groundwater was available in our drought. We are very interested to see what our gathering crews will find currently blooming.

The first show was created in the spring of 1926 by Blanche Brown, the local school teacher with her students and their families and friends. The Unity Club was first involved in 1928 and took full responsibility of the show in the late 1950s after a short hiatus.

If you have plants growing nearby that you would like to have identified, you are welcome to bring them in. Garden Section members and members of the California Native Plant Society will be on hand to help identify them.

There will be plants for sale, potted and grown locally, many of them native. We will also have botanicals from Herbal Energetics, Local harvested seaweed, and a table with books from the California Native Plant Society. Also new this year will be a table with a few wild edibles from our county. Our tea room will provide tasty lunches and snacks. A raffle of garden-related items will be held which helps to provide scholarships for local students.

Join us for this delightful and educational exhibit.

Robyn Harper

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County reaches agreement with Sheriff’s Top Brass (not the underpaid patrol deputies) and doesn’t even mention how big a raise they’re getting.

Mendocino County and the Mendocino County Law Enforcement Management Association (MCLEMA) announced today that they have reached a tentative agreement for a three year labor contract. Chair Carre Brown stated that "As chair of the Board of Supervisors, the Board is extremely happy that we have reached this agreement with MCLEMA, we value public safety and believe that this is a big step towards our commitment to investing in our most valued assets, the dedicated employees of the County of Mendocino." Kirk Mason, negotiator for MCLEMA, stated "MCLEMA is happy to announce that we have come to an agreement with the County of Mendocino on a three year labor agreement. MCLEMA wishes to thank the County Negotiating team for their upfront, professional negotiation style and the Board of Supervisors for their time and attention to this round of negotiations." The details of the tentative agreement will be posted online and made available with the publication of the April 21, 2015 Board of Supervisors agenda.

(Released by Carmel J. Angelo Chief Executive Officer.)

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CLOSE READERS will recall that the Fort Bragg City Council removed the Old Coast Hotel conversion from Monday's meeting agenda more than a week ago. It may or may not reappear on the agenda in a couple of weeks, but it seems to us that the Council, at least the 3-2 majority who think a halfway house in a beautiful old structure in the center of town is a good idea, may have postponed discussion to allow time to consider a more reasonable site.

“The New Hospitality Center's” Facebook page has had only one post since April 2nd and that was rather generic re: future training, but nothing about actually getting ready to move in to new quarters.

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A RECENT PUFFEROO in the Wall Street Journal declared, “Uncorking the Perfect Long Weekend in California’s Anderson Valley.” Long, short or lost, weekends in the Anderson Valley are a Can't Miss proposition.

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1899, McTeague, Frank Norris

1929, The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammet
1939, The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West

1946, Dark Passage, David Goodis
1953, The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
1958, The Subterraneans, Jack Kerouac

1966, The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon

1968, Myra Breckinridge, Gore Vidal
1969, Fat City, Leonard Gardner

1970, Play It As It Lays, Joan Didion

1974, Dog Soldiers, Robert Stone
1976, The Blue Hammer, Ross Macdonald
1978, Lying Low, Diane Johnson
1983, Famous All Over Town, Danny Santiago

1987, The Black Dahlia, James Ellroy

1990, Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley
1990, Vineland, Thomas Pynchon
1995, The Last Coyote, Michael Connelly
1997, Already Dead, Denis Johnson
2009, Nobody Move, Denis Johnson

— Bradley Haas

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It’s time for a woman in the White House. Unfortunately her name should be Elizabeth Warren. The only novelty about Hillary is her gender. The style may be slightly different, but the substance will be the same – banks and the military-industrial complex can breathe a sigh of relief if she takes the helm for what will prove to be 4 catastrophic years (and they will be catastrophic irrespective if the Dums or Repugs win the 1600 Pennsylvania booby prize). It’s the same ‘Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss’ mantra that the Who sang about 44 years ago.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 15, 2015

Anderson, Avilla, Dousa
Anderson, Avilla, Dousa

JAMES ANDERSON, Willits. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer)

JEREMY AVILLA, San Francisco/Ukiah. Vehicle theft, receipt of stolen property.

MICHAEL DOUSA, San Francisco/Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance, resisting arrest, probation revocation.

Miranda-Orozco, Paulson, Penn
Miranda-Orozco, Paulson, Penn

AUDIEL MIRANDA-OROZCO, Ukiah. DUI, assault on police officer, no license, probation revocation.

WILLIAM PAULSON, Ukiah. Honey oil extraction.

DOUGLAS PENN, Richmond/Ukiah. Grand theft, burglary, conspiracy, suspended license, probatioin revocation.

Ramirez, Richmond, Rocanella, Rojas
Ramirez, Richmond, Rocanella, Rojas


LARRY RICHMOND, Ukiah. Possession of drug proceeds.

FRANCIS ROCANELLA, Talmage. Drunk in public.

ALEJANDRO ROJAS, Concord/Ukiah. Burglary, grand theft, conspiracy, false ID.

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COLLEGE OF REDWOODS moves closer to Mendo College

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90-MINUTE INTERVIEW WITH NSA WHISTLEBLOWER, Tom Drake, just posted (KMEC Radio, Ukiah, CA)

Tom Drake: US Largest Surveillance State in History (KMEC Radio)

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Peter H Doyle
Chief, Audio Division April 15, 2015
Media Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554

The Honorable Patricia de Stacy Harrison
President and Chief Executive Officer
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
401 Ninth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004-2129

Re: Complaint Against Mendocino County Public Broadcasting

(KZYX 90.7FM Philo, CA; KZYZ 91.5FM Willits & Ukiah, CA; 88.1FM Fort Bragg, CA)

Dear Sir/Madam:

My name is Dennis O'Brien. I am a member of Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, aka KZYX&Z, a membership nonprofit corporation that holds the three full-power FM radio licenses referenced above. I am also a losing candidate in the recent election for its board of directors. This complaint concerns the conduct of that election and the improper use of station resources by the general manager to campaign against me, all of which was sanctioned by the sitting board of directors. There is also an addendum concerning the failed role of the Community Advisory Board.

Conduct of the Election

There are four areas of concern re the conduct of the election: the maintenance of membership rolls, the suppression of the voting membership, suppression of member communication, and the failure to provide ballots to all eligible memberships.

Maintenance of Membership Rolls

I renewed my membership on November 30, 2014. In January I received a letter dated January 12, 2015, from Mr. John Coate, who uses the title "General Manager/Executive Director”, asking me to renew my membership. For me to get this letter means that there is a failure to properly maintain the membership rolls. Since the deadline for becoming a member and being eligible to vote in the election was December 31, 2014, the membership rolls should have been fully updated. Failure to properly maintain the membership rolls invalidates any election that relies on them.

Suppression of the Voting Membership

Although the deadline of becoming a member is December 31 of each year, the membership list is not certified and sent to the vendor for mailing ballots until February 28, a full two months later. There is no need to exclude from voting those people who became members in January and February. Yet this is precisely when interest in the election is at its highest. Candidates must submit their applications and statements by January 31. Members and the general public become aware of who is running and what the issues are. But it is too late to join or renew and be eligible to vote. Conversely, prior to December 31, everyone is involved in holiday activities with family and friends, with little or no attention paid to the election.

MCPB/KZYX&Z should be required to stop suppressing participation in the voting process by allowing anyone who joins/renews by the date of certification of the rolls (i.e., the last day of February) to be eligible to vote in that year's election. Any earlier date is arbitrary and capricious and serves only one purpose, to suppress participation and voting by the membership and the listening public.

The timing of the direct mail renewal notice (mid-January) is further evidence of a deliberate intent to reduce the number of eligible voters. As is concealing the simple-living membership level of $25 per year. An entire class of potential members is disenfranchised by management's refusal to put this information in their outreach letter or on the website.

Suppression of Member Communication

The California Corporations Code requires a membership nonprofit corporation to provide access to its membership mailing list to any member for purposes related to the corporation, e.g., discussing candidates and issues in an upcoming election (California Corporations Code Section 6330). The corporation is permitted provide a reasonable alternative. I and others requested such access. However, the only alternative that we were provided was an expensive procedure involving a direct mailing using their vendor, at a cost exceeding $1800.

There is a far less expensive alternative available: the email list of current members. We believe that such a list exists, as member emails have been solicited for years in direct mailings. Also, anyone joining/renewing online must provide their email list as a mandatory field. Management has not used the list yet, but has spoken of doing so this summer with an online e-newsletter.

Although there are real concerns about letting any member use the list at any time, use of the list to alert members to alternative viewpoints during an election is the best alternative available to the type of communication required by state law.

Failure to Provide Ballots to Eligible Members

Even if members were sophisticated enough to join or renew by December 31, many did not receive ballots. I did not receive mine, and I heard from several others who had not received theirs. The election coordinator allowed me to sign an affidavit and receive a substitute ballot, but the procedure was cumbersome and did not work for all. In addition, there is no way to track who sent in their ballot, as there is not return address on the return envelopes. Using a separate smaller envelope to hold the actual ballot inside the return envelope would allow such tracking and confirm proper voting, but management will not adopt that procedure. At this time there is simply no way to track who has voted, or if someone has voted twice.

By failing to maintain the membership rolls, suppressing of the voting membership, suppressing member communications, and failing to provide ballots to all eligible memberships, the current board and management have raised doubts about the legitimacy of the organization's elections. These policies and procedures must be changed in order to restore the confidence of the members, the public, and those who regulate public radio.

Use of Station Resources by Management to Influence Election

On January 14, 2015, I received an email from a current programmer at KZYX&Z. The programmer forwarded an excerpt from an email that the General Manager had recently sent to the in-house programmers email list:

"... or Dennis O'Brien who now wants to be on the KZYX Board while being the treasurer of KMEC who has tried to badger us into paying KMEC for years so we would run our studio there. I have given him plenty of reasons why we don't want to do this, all of which are good enough reasons on their own, but nothing has deterred him from demonizing me for not getting with his suggestion that we help them pay their rent to their landlord, John McCowen."

The list was identified as [KZYX Prog]. I am told that the list reaches over 100 programmers and staff, or about 20% of the total votes cast in the election. In response, I submitted a confidential personnel complaint about the general manager's actions and asked the board to direct him to stop using the station's resources to campaign for or against any candidate.

In its response, the Board stated that the programmer list is not the property of KZYX but instead was a public forum. The board chose to publicize its response (though not my original complaint) on the website. The general manager even put it on the main page as part of his ongoing blog:

"KZYX Board Policy on the GM Participating in Board Elections

John Coate

Posted by John Coate on Monday, 09 March 2015 in Station Business

In February the Board determined that as GM I have a right to express my opinion about MCPB Board elections. Follow this link to the page with the policy. Or read it right here:

February 27, 2015

In a posting to the programmer listserv made in January, John Coate made a comment about a candidate’s run for the Board. This led to a complaint that John had demeaned the candidate, and had improperly used his position & station resources to influence an election.

Because the complaint related to Board election issues, we followed our policy for resolving complaints about Board elections, to arrive at the policy stated below.

The Election Coordinator, Stuart Campbell, spoke with all Board members and received their feedback. It is the Board's view that John has a First Amendment right to speak on such issues. His written job description that was attached to his 2008 Employment Agreement with MCPB requires him to “support the Board in its ongoing governance work, including recruitment, orientation, training, and evaluation activities.” Regarding the overall concept of paid staff being involved in Board development and recruitment, it is common practice in both other non-profits and public radio stations. Our outreach to others in community radio confirmed this. Accordingly, including this duty in his job description was in line with accepted practice.

John’s duty to help recruit Board members includes his right to express his views on which candidates will best serve the interests of KZYX. As for the content of what John said on the listserve regarding the particular candidate who filed the complaint, the Board thinks it was well within the boundaries of normal political speech, which enjoys broad First Amendment protection.

Further, John’s commenting on the programmer listserv is not a misuse of station resources. Staff and programmers who are signed up for the programmer listserv by virtue of their status as programmers have an absolute right to express their point of view in that forum; KZYX does not screen or censor the content. On the other hand, no employee or Board member may use the website, air waves, or MCPB public meetings for campaign purposes; John did not do that.

For all of these reasons, the Board decided that there would be no personnel action taken against John Coate for expressing his views on Board candidates.

At the Board meeting on February 2, 2015 in Ft. Bragg, Stuart Campbell reported the above. It will be reflected in the Minutes of the Board meeting. It will also be posted on the KZYX website.”

I respectfully disagree. "Recruitment, orientation, training, and evaluation activities" are at best confidential communications with the board, and cannot be an excuse for treetop propaganda. Although I support everyone's free speech rights, a general manager's use of an in-house email system that is owned by the organization to campaign against a declared candidate for a board seat delegitimizes any election and reinforces the public perception that the organization is run by a small group that is unresponsive to the membership and the public. If the general manager wishes to express himself, there are plenty of truly public forums to available, including a discussion list established by a former county supervisor (see KZYXTalk at

KZYX&Z's website and email systems are paid for from funds that include the grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It is improper to use such resources to influence an election for the board of directors. And it is improper for the board of directors to sanction such use, effectively taking sides in an ongoing campaign while institutionalizing an unfair advantage for those who support the general manager. All programmers hold their positions at the pleasure of the general manager, and several have been dismissed for disagreeing with him. For him to use the station's resources to tell such a large block of voters how to vote is so serious a violation that delegitimizes any election and discourages the public's participation in public radio.

I do not know the extent of the remedial powers available to the Federal Communications Commission and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But I request that you instruct MCPB/KZYX&Z to change its policies and procedures immediately so that 1) membership rolls are properly maintained; 2) all eligible members receive ballots, which can be tracked; 3) voting is not suppressed by an arbitrary registration deadline that is two months too early; 4) voting is not suppressed by concealing the "simple-living" membership option; and 5) board and staff are forbidden from using station resources to influence a board election.

Thank you very much for considering this complaint and request. Public radio will never achieve its potential so long as policies and procedures are in place that suppress public participation while sanctioning improper influence.

Sincerely, Dennis O'Brien, Ukiah

Addendum to Complaint: MCPB/KZYX&Z has also failed to meet the minimum requirements for a Community Advisory Board, a requirement for funding by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. One of the members of the current CAB has the same residence address as the current chair of the board of directors, thus failing to meet the requirements for independence and geographical diversity. In addition, the CAB has had only one public “meeting” the past two years, a telephone conference call over a year ago. Many people who registered for the call, including myself, were unable to participate. Those who were able to participate reported that the meeting consisted of presenting a report that the CAB had already prepared for the board of directors. That report was submitted to the directors without any of the changes or additions requested by the participants.

In spite of these limitations, the report acknowledged that there was a public perception that the board and management/staff were disengaged from the members and public, and recommended a monthly “News of the Station” program where the board and management/staff would be available to answer questions. After just one show, even that proposal has been ignored. Without an effective Community Advisory Board, there is no public oversight of the improper activity detailed in the main complaint.

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by Marco McClean

John Coate wrote: "KZYX is the public FM station I manage. There is a group of people - I call them a hate group because they defame me by lying in letters to the editor and in online talk groups - who tries every year to get elected onto our Board of Directors so they can fire me. They lose every year. This year they were much better organized and their public statements were even more hateful than usual. But they lost big."

Oh, Jesus, where to start?

The fact is, John Coate, you and your pet board of directors, like all KZYX managers and enabling boards before you, manage KZYX so very badly that if it hadn't been for its annual six-figure (!) government bailout KZYX would have collapsed into dust every year of its existence. You are that bad at what you do, and every year you personally, John, suck the equivalent of well over half of all membership money out of the system for yourself, even though the station badly needs that money to solve the ever increasing signal integrity problems and to move the main studio and office, the face of the station, someplace where there are people. It wouldn't need the money if it were cared for properly by a good manager paid fairly for hours actually worked. But it isn't; it has you, and you are not caring for it properly but rather sucking it dry.

I repeat, since you came to KZYX, John, you personally have sucked half a million dollars (!) out of the station, while the sound and reliability and reputation of the station have become a running joke. If you were worth the salary you're paid, KZYX would be shining in the sun, the Cadillac of radio stations, running like a top. It's not.

And you're a coward, as are every one of the boardmembers and David Steffen and Mary Aigner, for hiding from a regularly scheduled straight honest leisurely uncensored live back-and-forth conversation on the air about this and other glaring issues with the station, a conversation that should involve not only members but the general public who pay with their taxes whether they want to or not, and who should also get a vote but don't, speaking of the board elections, which as conducted are consistently a farce with a turnout and trust level worse than any banana republic's.

About your personal broadcast plea for money that makes an analogy of a restaurant serving food and then the customers can pay what they want later, so it's implied they should be ashamed to not pay... You have it backward and twisted but, okay, let's go with the restaurant idea. Tax funded Corporation for Public Food grants enough money to a private corporation, MCPB, to cover all overhead and meat and vegetables and supplies and equipment of this restaurant, so it can make and serve experimental and odd and provocative food that a commercial restaurant might have trouble making a profit on, and thereby educate the collective palate of the populace. But you and Mary and David, etc., shovel every membership dollar into your own pockets in return for telling the (unpaid) prep cooks and (unpaid) chefs and (unpaid) waiters what kind of food to put on the tables, restricting it to the kind of food you feel comfortable with. People wander in and eat what's there, and it's food, so why should they complain; and if anyone, knowing the story and wanting to improve the situation, does complain you lie to them that they have control of the restaurant because they're members and they vote for the board that employs you so they should shut up, and they should especially shut up about how the restaurant only needs money to continue because it's burdened by you. And then they don't shut up, because why should they, and you get all butt-hurt about it, but you're keeping all their money for yourself anyway. See, it's a little different from the way you put it.

And John Coate wrote: "Well if you have to tell certain people they can't be on the radio in the way they want, it can make them very angry. But that is part of the job. In some cases their response is to come after me personally instead of getting their own act together."

John, those of us who you and Mary and the board and so on trash every day for years by shutting us out of airtime, on a frequency that doesn't belong to you but to the public, have our acts together. I've been writing and publishing and working in theater and doing radio all my long adult life, and I've forgotten more about media in general and radio in particular than you will ever know.

Here's how to get your act together: Voluntarily give up the better part of what you and Mary and David are paid to sit on your thumbs, and instead spend it on fixing the STL signal path and on paying the people who are doing their shows: what the station is there for in the first place: quirky educational experimental non-commercial radio. And then leave them alone to do their work and their art without interference. Every one of them puts more time and energy into preparing for and doing their shows under your thumb than you put into maintaining the station in a state of staticky mediocrity, and you and Mary and David and the board deserve neither the power over others nor the personal income you guard like a pack of junkyard dogs.

Educational band FM radio was established by law to do things that the power structure and economics of commercial radio screen out. Yet the power structure at KZYX has always made airpeople as un-free to do those wonderful things as commercial stations do. You -- John Coate, the MCPB board and the few fatuous rich wino friends you embrace -- are the problem. Maybe the junkyard dog image isn't right. Maybe you're more like a dog in the manger. You know, like in Aesop's fable of the dog keeping the ox away from the straw. You don't have a use for radio yourself; you don't know what to do with it except to sit on it like a lump, and when anyone comes along who wants to use it for what it's for, you dick us around and drive us away just because, and then you exult about it, as though you'd done some brilliant rock-star thing. What is, after all, the purpose of you?

Marco McClean

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Hitched to Everything: The Amazing Manzanita and the Beautiful Buckeye

On Sunday, April 26th, from 2-4pm, the Mendocino County Museum will welcome author and naturalist Kate Marianchild who will give a free illustrated lecture on two of our most fascinating native plants: California buckeye and common manzanita. Basing her talk on John Muir’s famous saying, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe,” Kate will discuss manzanita’s intricate role in the oak woodland web of life, describing its relationships with silk moths, ants, pileated woodpeckers, bushtits, woodrats, bears, and other species. She’ll also describe this plant’s pollination strategy, its multiple adaptations to drought, and the evolutionary rationale behind its thin, red, peeling bark.

Kate will go on to discuss California buckeye whose over-the-top chemical defenses have very different effects on native insects and the non-native European honeybee. She’ll also talk about buckeye’s unusual adaptations to drought, the mystery surrounding its seed dispersal, and its relationships with echo blue butterflies, squirrels, and other species, including humans.

Kate Marianchild is the author of “Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants and Animals among California’s Oaks” (Heyday: July, 2014). Told with the engaging style of a storyteller and illustrated with 36 lovely watercolors by Ann Meyer Maglinte, this scientifically up-to-date book profiles 22 oak woodland plants and animals, including the eccentric acorn woodpecker, the dusky-footed woodrat, and the California newt.

Appealing to both investigative scientists and casual nature lovers, Secrets of the Oak Woodlands is Heyday’s top-selling 2014 release; it is already entering its third printing. Marianchild will be available to sign copies of her book, which can be purchased at the lecture for $19.50 (cash or check only). Light refreshments will be served.

For more information contact the Mendocino County Museum at 459-2736 or visit

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The AV Library will be having our book sale, Saturday, April 25th from 2-4 in the Home Arts building. We have a wide choice of books available. The books are $3 per bag, please bring your own bag. We also have a large choice of books for checkout. If you are not a member, you can join at $3 per family for the year. We look forward to seeing you. You can make a day of it, by visiting the Wild Flower show and the Goat Festival from 10-4. The Library will be closed Saturday May 2nd for the Beer Festival.

Thank you, Liz Dusenberry

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The California Coastal Commission has put off until June a decision on whether or not to allow the California Department of Parks and Recreation (the infamous "State Parks") to charge a fee of $8.00 for the privilege of accessing the Pacific Ocean at 14 beaches and coves along the Sonoma County coast.


If approved in Sonoma County, it's only a matter of time before the corrupt State Parks agency begins trying to charge for access at points up and down the Mendo Coast.

Please send your objections to this very bad idea to the Coastal Commission, at following email address:

Do it today. Thanks.

David Gurney, Fort Bragg

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by Dan Bacher

Hundreds of people attended an event honoring Zeke Grader, Executive Director of The Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations (PCFFA) and The Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR) on Friday, April 10, at the Bay Model in Sausalito.

A number of special guests spoke at the celebration, including Representative Jared Huffman. Congressman Mike Thompson and former Congressman and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave moving video tributes in recognition of Zeke’s many accomplishments, while members of his family told stories about Zeke’s adventures growing up in Fort Bragg, California.

Probably the most entertaining moment of the evening was when Linda Sheehan of the Earthlaw Center and her daughter, Maddie Sheehan, who is the Bingham Fellow at the Institute for Fisheries Resources, performed a humorous song about “Zeke, Our Hero,” to the accompaniment of a ukulele.

Zeke is so respected that people who were sometimes at odds with him, such as representatives of environmental NGOs who pushed through the privately funded Marine Life Protection (MLPA) Initiative, were there to honor him, as well as agency and water board officials that he has often clashed with. Charter boat skippers, recreational anglers and a who’s who of the fishing and environmental communities of California attended the event.

I have known Zeke for 30 years and admire him for his understanding of the big picture of fisheries and conservation in California and across the world. We both spoke together at an environmental forum in Oakland several years ago on the threats to fish, rivers and the ocean.

We worked closely together for the passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) of 1992, for the removal of Klamath River dams, against the peripheral tunnels, against the approval of genetically engineered salmon, against the privatization of the oceans, and most recently, in the campaign opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 1 water grab.

Zeke's organization also participated in the protests against the WTO meeting in Seattle in 1999, as well as the protests and forums at the WTO Agricultural Ministerial in Sacramento in June 2003.

Whenever I wanted to get a good quote for a story, I would call Zeke. One of his best quotes was in 2006 when the Bush administration was trying to close down the salmon season in a cynical move to allegedly “protect” the Klamath River.

Zeke famously pointed out that without efforts to address the root causes of the salmon fishery's decline, “Putting fish back into a river that's killing them makes as much sense as tossing virgins into a volcano."

I also called Zeke last year about his take on a bill sponsored by Senator Hannah Beth Jackson to protect a marine protected area, the Vandenberg State Marine Reserve, from oil drilling, due to loopholes in both the California Coastal Sanctuary Act and the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. Grader, who supported the bill, pointed out how the very need for the bill "highlights what a failure the MLPA Initiative was.”

“If these are true marine protected areas, they why are we allowing drilling and other insults to the ocean in them?” asked Grader. “The whole MLPA Initiative was a phony process that provided an opportunity for Big Green and government bureaucrats to write press releases claiming these were ‘protected areas’ when in reality the fishermen and Tribes got screwed. We should have bans on oil drilling in all of the marine protected areas."

Grader started as a youngster in the family seafood distribution and marketing business, the Grader Seafood Company in Fort Bragg, where in order to protect their resources, they began to think about sustainability in California - back in the 1950s. The salmon restoration effort toward sustainability started in California around 1956.

“If it wasn't for this early initiative, we might not have salmon in this state, because development pressures would have just destroyed the fish had there not been a consortium of commercial and sport fishermen,” commented Mary Jane Schramm, a spokesman for NOAA Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. “There weren’t many conservationists or fishery biologists around back then.”

Zeke Grader spoke at the event with usual great sense of humor. “My parents allowed me to be a free range child and they allowed me to pursue a free range career. My job was very easy and fun," he stated.

Zeke said he will be now breaking in his replacement as Executive Director, Tim Sloane.

“This has been an incredible run,” said Zeke.“This battle is not over year and we need to stay strong fighting.”

Congressman Mike Thompson commented in his video address, “As head of the PCFFA, he went to work defending fishing families. He was instrumental in the creation of the salmon stamp that has helped put back millions of salmon into the rivers and ocean.”

He also described Zeke’s incredible work ethic. “I could call him from Washington and Zeke would already be in his office at 5 am. If a fishing family in Eureka needed help, Zeke would get on the road at 2:00 am and come back to work in the office the same day,” said Thompson.

Zeke and members of fishing groups and Indian Tribes also accompanied Thompson to dump hundreds of dead, rotting salmon in front of the Secretary of Interior’s Office in Washington DC in September 2002 when the Bush regime killed over 80,000 salmon on the Klamath, according to Thompson.

“Zeke is an effective advocate for fishery families because he knows everything,” quipped Thompson. “Zeke, you put two lifetimes of work into one! Enjoy your well-earned retirement.”

Congressman Jared Huffman gave a history of Zeke’s accomplishments including stopping the expansion of offshore oil drilling the North Coast, the passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, and the lawsuit/settlement compelling the restoration of the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam. Zeke, a lawyer, was one of the original plaintiffs in the lawsuit when Huffman was a lawyer for NRDC.

Huffman focused on Zeke’s famous appearance on the Sean Hannity Show in 2009, when he crushed the shameless supporter of subsidized mega-farmers in a debate. (

Hannity wanted to interview an “environmental wacko,” but instead they got Zeke Grader, a defender of thousands of fishing industry jobs and the fish that they depend on, said Huffman. “Sean Hannity barely got a word in,” quipped Huffman, before he read part of the transcript of the show.

Zeke said, "Sean, I think what you have to realize is we're not just talking about the Delta smelt - we're also talking about salmon. These salmon are food - they provide jobs for people. You need to come up and provide some balance here. I want you come up to the North Coast, the place where I'm from, Fort Bragg, not one of your studios, Sean. You come up to Eureka and visit with the unemployed fishermen there and give this some balance. Because let me tell you - the Delta smelt did not cause the problem with those farmers." 

Huffman also pointed out how when Zeke was asked to sign on to a letter by environmental NGOs, he would ask them “if the letter is tough enough.”

“If wasn’t tough enough, he wouldn’t sign it,” said Huffman.

Mary Jane Schramm pointed out that few people know that in addition to advocating for healthy fishing practices and sustainable uses of fisheries habitat, Zeke championed legislation to protect Great White Sharks, as a means of keeping this important predator as a natural system of "checks and balances" for seal and sea lion populations, which compete with fishermen for salmon and other fish.

Zeke has also worked with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary to ensure that the local fishing community is valued as a Maritime Heritage resource, according to Schramm.

As somebody who has worked with Zeke for over 30 years on numerous issues, I salute him as a true modern day environmental hero with a no-nonsense attitude.

Zeke, a former Marine, has served as a relentless defender of fishing families not only in California but across the world, and developed a close working relationship with Indian Tribes and recreational anglers, as well as with environmentalists and human rights activists. I wish the best to Zeke and his family in his retirement!

The PCFFA, a federation of 25 different port and fishermen's marketing associations from San Diego to Alaska, is the largest trade association of commercial fishermen on the West Coast. Grader has been its executive director for over three decades and has been involved in the fishing industry his entire life.


  1. Jim Updegraff April 16, 2015

    For an outsider like me reading the continuing dialogue about KZYX radio is like reading Alice in Wonderland

  2. Harvey Reading April 16, 2015


    Lizzie sold out right away. What the country needs is a second party, one headed by someone like Huey Long.

  3. Harvey Reading April 16, 2015

    Glad to read that Zeke is still alive and kicking.

  4. Whyte Owen April 16, 2015

    As a native of Louisiana growing up in the shadow of Huey Long: be careful of what you wish for.

    • Harvey Reading April 17, 2015

      Were you poor or well-to-do? Maybe if you’d experienced LA politics prior to Long, or read about them, you’d be less inclined to go along with the myth perpetuated by the class that feared him: the wealthy (and corrupt). Long actually did things for the “little guy”, who had been neglected before. And, it was Long and the populists from the Midwest who pushed FDR, a wealthy man whose main goal was to preserve kaputalism, to the (slightly) left. So, I’ll take my chances with someone like Long any day, particularly in preference to the utter wealth-serving scum being served up by the democrapic wing of the corporate party. No way will I vote for a POS like Clinton.

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