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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Apr 23, 2015

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THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS voted 3-2 to reject a resolution brought forward by Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg “requesting” the timber corporados (principally MRC) to voluntarily suspend killing tan oaks by injecting them with herbicide and leaving the dead trees standing. The practice increases fire danger across many thousands of acres of forestland. “Hack and squirt” involves using a hatchet or machete to cut notches in the tree, then spraying herbicide into the open wound. Estimates are that a million or more non-commercial tree species, mostly tan oaks, are killed every year using the hack and squirt method. Over 20,000 acres have been “treated” in the last three years.

MENDOCINO REDWOOD COMPANY, the largest timberland owner in Mendocino County, also accounts for 80-90% of the hack and squirt activity, although other timber and timber management companies also resort to the practice. The hack and squirters claim they are trying to restore the once lush and commercially valuable redwoods that came back as tan oak after the clearcutting cut and run corporate cash-in of the 80s and 90s until the big timber corps (Mainly Louisiana-Pacific and Georgia-Pacific) bailed out of Mendo in the waning years of the last century. MRC says they have an 80 year plan to restore historic conditions, and that cutting the trees down manually would double their costs because they would need to be cut again before the conifers were big enough to out compete the hardwoods.

THE HEARING ON THE RESOLUTION was preceded by a long discussion of fire danger and unrelated issues such as shortages of volunteers and their perennial funding problems by local fire chiefs.

LAYTONVILLE Fire Chief Jim Little made the point that no matter how much fuel was in the forest, there would be no fire without a source of ignition. And in his experience, 90% of the ignition sources stemmed from illegal drug activity. Or more precisely, from the relative absence of common sense among dope growers. Little cited a pot grower who concealed his generator inside a straw bale igloo to muffle the sound. Although the focus is often on protecting the homeowner from forest fires, Little said it was usually the forest that was put at risk by careless homeowners.

BOARD OF SUPES CHAIR CARRE BROWN did a good job of keeping the fire safety issue separate from the main event, which was the resolution asking MRC to hold off doing any more hack and squirt until a study of the fire danger could be done, or for six months, whichever comes first. Hamburg, always hat in hand before money and power, made a strong pitch for the advisory resolution and cited a state code section which says timber operations are not a nuisance unless they endanger public health and safety. The message was that if MRC did not comply with a “voluntary” moratorium, the Supes could declare the practice a public nuisance. Hamburg then produced a resolution adopted by the Supes way back in 1994 that called for the State Board of Forestry to outlaw the practice of killing hardwoods with herbicides and leaving them to rot over time. The '94 reso passed unanimously with conservatives Jim Eddie and Frank McMichael joining Norman deVall, Seiji Sugawara and Liz Henry, demonstrating then that everyone agreed hack and squirt was bad for the forests, bad for people who live near them.

HAMBURG POINTED OUT that 20 years later nothing had been done about the issue and that his “request” of MRC that they play nice was reasonable compared to the strong resolution from '94. Chair Brown then allowed an open ended presentation by MRC Chief Forester Mike Jani followed by local Cal-Fire honcho Chris Rowney. The message from both was that a few million extra dead trees in the forest really didn't pose much of a fire hazard or a threat to public health and safety.

PUBLIC COMMENT, once the Supes got around to it, was dominated by people strongly in favor of putting an end to hack and squirt because of the increased fire danger from millions of standing dead trees. Most speakers stayed on task, but several went off on their own personal tangents, this being Mendo, after all. At first speakers tended to support Hamburg's resolution, but as the afternoon wore on an increasing number of speakers zeroed in on how weak the reso was and asked for stronger action. Speakers were split almost evenly between those who expressed concern about the threat of standing dead timber and those who were more concerned about how the trees died, condemning the use of herbicides and raising the specter of dead fish and birth defects.

THINGS WERE MOVING along with a minimum of hysteria until Beth Bosk, who had been filming the meeting, stepped out from behind her camera and took the podium saying she had two letters from residents of Albion Ridge Road she wanted to read.

A NOTE HERE: Beth Bosk is so well known for destroying public meetings that she's become a verb, as in “The meeting was Bosked,” meaning the meeting ended because everyone in the room either left or the room dissolved in chaos.

TUESDAY, Bosk, limbering up for the full-on shriek to come, took up her allotted three minutes to read the first letter into the record. When the Chair Carre Brown asked Bosk to wind it up Bosk insisted on reading the second letter, although no one was really listening at that point. After Bosk had gotten through the second letter, Brown again urged her to wrap up, but Bosk complained that she had not had her three minutes and began reading another document at the Supes. Brown kept her composure but also insisted that Beth's time was up and she needed to sit down. Bosk was equally insistent that she had not yet begun. Hamburg, sensing that Bosk was undercutting support for his wimpy reso, began pleading with her to sit down. After repeated admonitions from Hamburg to “Sit Down! Now!" Bosk finally yielded the floor, but the damage was done. Naomi Wagner, the archetype of “activist” as fascist, and an old hand at turning reality on its head, chastized the Supes for creating fear and loathing in the boardroom when it was Bosk who had Bosked the meeting.

IT WAS NEARING 7pm when the last of 50 or so public speakers concluded. Hamburg seemed ready to vote on a motion that was not yet on the floor. Once the status of the motion was clarified, Hamburg made the motion in support of his toothless reso which was quickly seconded by Supervisor Gjerde. Brown then called on Supervisor Woodhouse who mumbled something about government telling people what to do and that he could not support the resolution because it was interfering with private property rights. Supervisor McCowen seemed to agree that adding millions of dead trees to the landscape increased fire danger but cited variations in climate conditions and proximity to occupied dwellings to say he wasn't convinced it endangered public safety. Chair Brown did not state her position before the vote, but as Farm Bureau ex director for 20 years before being elected Supe, she didn't need to. And that was it. The meeting adjourned without an alternative motion or direction to staff.

IF THE RESOLUTION HAD PASSED, the county would have taken measures to conduct an independent fire danger analysis and request that timber companies stop hack-and-squirt practices for no more than six months. Fire officials from across the county also attended the Tuesday meeting to voice concerns over the potential fire hazard of leaving dead timber standing across thousands of acres over the county. According to Mendocino County Agricultural data, in 2014, 1,022 gallons of the chemical Imazapyr was administered over 6,800 acres of forest timberland, which was down from 1,560 gallons in 2013.

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An El Cerrito man who fell and died late Tuesday afternoon while climbing a Mendocino coast cliff had been abalone picking with a friend when they became trapped by the incoming tide and decided to scale the hillside to get out of the cove, a Mendocino County sheriff’s official said Wednesday.

Joel Falcon, 52, lost his footing, slipped and fell about 75 feet to the rocks below, Mendocino sheriff’s Capt. Greg Van Patten said.

The fall occurred at about 4:50 p.m., near a landmark called Hardy Rock, near the coastal community of Westport.

“The tide came in rapidly, trapping them,” Van Patten said. “They decided to wait it out ... until low tide. But they were wet and cold and decided to climb up the cliff.”

Falcon’s companion was a 40-year-old El Cerrito resident. At the time Falcon fell, the two were spread out on the cliff, with Falcon somewhere near the top and his friend about 15 feet from the bottom.

The companion called 911 and reached Cal Fire’s Howard Forest Station near Willits, where a firefighter gave him instructions over the phone on performing CPR, Cal Fire Capt. Jesse Torres said.

The man continued resuscitation efforts for a long period of time while emergency personnel attempted to get directions to his location.

But the men were out-of-towners and the caller had limited details on where they were. He knew they’d walked from their campground but he had difficulty describing exactly how to find them, Torres said.

Members of the Westport Volunteer Fire Department, assisted by Fort Bragg fire personnel, eventually found the pair and made their way down the cliff, only to find that the victim was deceased, Torres said.

A Coast Guard helicopter and Cal Fire helicopter were dispatched but then canceled when the man was declared dead. The body was recovered via rope rescue.

The two friends were camping at the Westport KOA campground. Tuesday they headed for a cove they were familiar with near Hardy Creek, Van Patten said.

They started at about 8 a.m. and until noon were picking and fishing, he said. Then the tide began to rise.

The initial plan was to wait for the water level to drop and they’d walk out, but as evening approached they were cold and wet and decided to climb, the captain said.

Three abalone divers died together on April 12, just after starting out in rough waters in Mendocino County’s Caspar Cove. Multiple rescues of abalone divers in distress also have occurred this season in the ocean off of Sonoma County’s coastline.

—Randi Rossmann & Mary Callahan (Courtesy The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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JUST ASKING, but is the downtown smoking ban sought by the City of Fort Bragg aimed at the venerable Tip Top Club, a wonderful bar in the center of town?


Hands off the Tip Top!

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Action will preserve the equivalent of 10% of Lake Mendocino’s current water supply storage

(Santa Rosa, CA) – On April 21, 2015 the Sonoma County Water Agency filed a Temporary Urgency Change Petition (Petition) with the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to temporarily lower Russian River flows starting May 1 through October 27, 2015. Dry spring conditions have worsened water supply storage levels in Lake Mendocino and existing state mandated in-stream flow requirements do not accurately reflect current hydrologic conditions within the Russian River watershed. Based on the Water Agency’s water rights permit, current hydrologic conditions would categorize water supply conditions as normal and therefore instream flows would remain set at 185 cubic feet per second through May 31. Beginning June 1, minimum instream flows would drop to 75 cfs based on the requirements of the Water Agency’s water rights permits.

If approved by the State Water Board, Russian River flows would be reduced to:

- Upper Russian River: From 185 cubic-feet-per-second (cfs) to 75 cfs from the confluence of the Russian River’s east and west forks to the river’s confluence with Dry Creek

- Lower Russian River: From 125 cfs to 85 cfs from the confluence with Dry Creek to the Pacific Ocean

- To improve efforts to optimally manage flows in the Russian River, the Water Agency requests that the minimum instream flow requirements be implemented on a 5-day running average of average daily stream flow measurements with instantaneous flows on the Upper Russian River being no less than 65 cfs and on the Lower Russian River being no less than 75cfs.

“Our region must continue to respond proactively to the ongoing drought and filing this petition is just one tool we have to preserve as much water supply in our reservoirs as possible,” said Water Agency Director Efren Carrillo. “Conditions on the river will be similar to those seen in 2013 which means flows will support recreational activities on the river. Business will be open as usual along the Russian River.”

Water Agency Director James Gore stated, “It is our goal to save as much as 6,300 acre-feet of water in Lake Mendocino with this Petition. That is approximately 10 percent of Lake Mendocino’s current total water supply storage and every drop of water saved today is more we have for future needs. The Petition reflects the dry conditions of our watershed and the Russian River water supply system. The suggested flows also support flow reductions required under the Russian River Biological Opinion to protect endangered and threatened species of fish in the Russian River.”In 2013 – 2014, the Water Agency implemented three Temporary Urgency Change Orders which resulted in more than 25,000 acre-feet of water being saved in Lake Mendocino – equivalent to the reservoirs’ total storage in winter of 2014.

To read the Petition, please go to:

Thank you,

Brad Sherwood, 
Principal Program Specialist
Community & Government Affairs,
Sonoma County Water Agency

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A MENDOCINO JURY returned from its deliberations Tuesday afternoon (4/21/15) with an acquittal of Alberto Ceja Ceja, 20, of Ukiah. Ceja had been charged with resisting or obstructing a peace office in the performance of his/her duties, charged as a misdemeanor. Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Maria Gershenovich.

(District Attorney Press Release)

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A MENDOCINO JURY returned from its deliberations Tuesday afternoon (4/21/15) with two guilty verdicts against William Thomas George, 44, of Willits. The jury found George guilty of false imprisonment, a felony, and domestic battery, a misdemeanor. After the jury was released, George was referred by Judge Behnke to the adult probation department for a background study and sentencing recommendation. The defendant was ordered back for formal sentencing on May 27th at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom B. Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Beth Norman.

(District Attorney Press Release)

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AV Health Center Board Secretary Heidi Knott reports that the long search is over:


“The Board of Directors of the Anderson Valley Health Center is pleased to announce that we have hired a new Executive Director. Chloé Ganz-Rugebrecht will begin work on or before July 1, 2015. Chloé has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from UCLA and is a Certified Professional Midwife. In the past she has worked with Planned Parenthood and has had extensive experience in Tanzania, Indonesia, and throughout the Caribbean. She managed HIV data and educational programs as field-coordinator in Haiti. Before the 2010 earthquake she was employed by the American Red Cross in Haiti where she was managing the malaria and community based health program. After the January 2010 earthquake, she remained in Haiti and collaborated with other health organizations in establishing health care delivery systems. At present she is serving as the American Red Cross Regional Program Management Delegate for the Caribbean Region, headquartered in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Chloé has 9 years of program management experience and 11 years experience with health systems data monitoring and evaluation, including methodology used for the evaluation of clinical care and community based programs. She has also successfully collaborated with multiple program teams, the US government and private foundations for grant application and administration. Chloé grew up on the Mendocino Coast and is familiar with the diversity found within the county and Anderson Valley. With her husband and two young children, she aims to make her home here and use her skills to benefit the AVHC. We welcome her and her family to Anderson Valley and look forward to her joining the AVHC team."

(Lead by Bill Sterling, the selection committee of Medical Director Mark Apfel, M.D., Eric Arbanovella, George Gaines, Maureen Hochberg, R.N., George Lee, M.D., Teresa Malfavon, Susan Smith, M.D., and board members Debbie Covey and Clay Eubank have been working since October to advertise the position, screen applicants, and arrange interviews. The new executive director has visited the center and met all directors and staff in the last weeks. Come to the next meeting of directors on Thursday, April 30 at 6:00, place not yet decided...will inform. — Cheers, G. Herr)

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Penn, Rojas
Penn, Rojas

ON APRIL 15, 2015 at approximately 1:50 A.M, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) office, located in the 2500 block of North State Street in Ukiah, California regarding a burglary alarm. When Deputies arrived at the location they observed a male adult run from the rear yard area of the PG&E office. Deputies chased after the male subject but lost him near the 2400 block of North State Street. As Deputies searched the area they located evidence at the PG&E yard that showed a burglary had been committed and a large amount of copper wire was being stolen. As Deputies continued their investigation at the PG&E office they observed a white Dodge pickup truck leaving the area where the crime occurred. Deputies followed the pickup truck and conducted an investigative stop in the 1700 block of North State Street. Deputies contacted the driver of the pickup truck, identified as Douglas Penn, 53, of Richmond. A records check through dispatched showed Penn's driver’s license status was suspended and he was on felony probation for burglary out of Marin County. Penn was arrested and detained for the suspended license and probation violations. The passenger in the pickup truck gave Deputies a false name and was later identified as being Alejandro Rojas, 40, of Concord. Deputies were told both suspects were transient from the Oakland area and they were just passing through the Ukiah area. As Deputies continued their investigation they located evidence inside the pickup truck and on both Penn (driver) and Rojas (passenger) linking them to the burglary at the PG&E office. Penn was arrested for burglary, grand theft, violation of probation, conspiracy to commit a felony and driving on a suspended license. Penn was booked into the Mendocino County Jail to be held on a No Bail status. Rojas was arrested for burglary, grand theft, conspiracy to commit a felony and giving a false name. Rojas was booked into the Mendocino County Jail to be held in lieu of $45,000 bail.

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AppleFarmThe Apple Farm, Philo

On Saturday, April 25th the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program features two private gardens open to the public in Boonville and Philo. Admission to each private garden is $7, benefitting the Garden Conservancy. Open Days are rain or shine, and no reservations are required. Call 1-888-842-2442, or visit for more information. Additional Open Days will take place on June 13 in Albion, Hopland, and Little River; and August 1 in Little River and Point Arena.

Included on the April 25th Open Day is Stoney Bottom Gardens (13400 Anderson Valley Way, Boonville), beautifully landscaped six-acre property is owned by Walt & Ginger Valen (Walt is formerly the Director of Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in San Francisco). The gardens, modeled on the English strolling garden, feature expansive lawns surrounded by garden rooms anchored by three large pavilions. Ornamental plantings include many rhododendrons and azaleas, thousands of bulbs, herbaceous and tree peonies; numerous ornamental tree species and cultivars, whimsical garden art, an extensive container vegetable garden, and an outdoor garden shop. Additionally, visitors can explore The Apple Farm (18501 Greenwood Road, Philo), an organic working farm that includes annual and perennial gardens, a hoop house, and spaces for weddings and entertaining. The farm hosts regular “stay and cook” weekends, runs a farm stand, and rents guest cottages for those who wish to unplug for a time.

The Garden Conservancy introduced the Open Days program in 1995 as a means of introducing the public to gardening, providing easy access to outstanding examples of design and horticultural practice, and proving that exceptional American gardens are still being created. The Open Days program is America’s only national private garden-visiting program, and is made possible by the work of hundreds of volunteers nationwide. For information, a complete schedule of Open Days, or to suggest gardens for inclusion in the program, visit the Garden Conservancy online at

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Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center Second Annual Hope Fest

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 22, 2015

Couthren, Cudgo, Duncan, James
Couthren, Cudgo, Duncan, James

STEVE COUTHREN, Willits. Parolve violation.

MACK CUDGO JR., Willits. Parole violation.

AUSTIN DUNCAN, Ukiah. Failure to register as transient, parole violation.

ROBERT JAMES, Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance, resisting arrest, probation revocation.

Koski, Madueno, Maxfield, McOsker
Koski, Madueno, Maxfield, McOsker

AARON KOSKI, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

JOSE MADUENO, Ukiah. Pot cultivation.

BRADLEY MAXFIELD, Willits. Battery of peace officer, resisting arrest.

JEREMIAH MCOSKER, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

McPherson, Munavu, Ornelas, Sherosick
McPherson, Munavu, Ornelas, Sherosick

DANIEL MCPHERSON, Laytonville. Parole violatioin.

JACINTA MUNAVU, Fort Bragg. DUI, child endangerment, suspended license.

TASHA ORNELAS, Drunk in public, probation revocation.

JACQUELINE SHEROSICK, Redwood Valley. Vehicle theft, failure to appear.

Silva, Wharton, Yanez
Silva, Wharton, Yanez

MANUEL SILVA, Willits. Parole violation.

GERI WHARTON, Ukiah. Domestic assault, assault with deadly weapon not a gun.

JESUS YANEZ, Salinas/Willits. Trespassing, parole violation.

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The cat went here and there

And the moon spun round like a top,

And the nearest kin of the moon,

The creeping cat, looked up.

Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,

For, wander and wail as he would,

The pure cold light in the sky

Troubled his animal blood.

Minnaloushe runs in the grass

Lifting his delicate feet.

Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?

When two close kindred meet,

What better than call a dance?

Maybe the moon may learn,

Tired of that courtly fashion,

A new dance turn.

Minnaloushe creeps through the grass

From moonlit place to place,

The sacred moon overhead

Has taken a new phase.

Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils

Will pass from change to change,

And that from round to crescent,

From crescent to round they range?

Minnaloushe creeps through the grass

Alone, important and wise,

And lifts to the changing moon

His changing eyes.

—William Butler Yeats

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To: Stuart Campbell & the KZYX Board of Directors

The KZYX website says there is a party for the MCPB Annual Membership in May but it says nothing about a business meeting. Will there be a business meeting prior to your party; and, what about the tabled item that John Sakowicz brought to the board in a previous meeting?

An Annual Membership Meeting is the best time and opportunity for you and the Board to provide a State of the Station Report to its members. This report could include the actual fund raising totals from on air drives; special event income; total renewed memberships, new memberships; underwriting updates; equipment purchases; etc. and informing the membership of new on-air programs, and those programs that have been discontinued over the last year.

It would also be the best opportunity for the standing committees, such as your Board Nominating/Development Committee, Fund Raising Committee, Personnel Committee, Programming Committee, etc. to inform the membership of all activity since the last Annual Membership Meeting.


Mary Massey


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DEFENDING THE WORST JOB IN AMERICA — and don’t you try to take it away from me

by C.W. Nevius

In 2014 the website CareerCast announced its list of the best and worst jobs in America. In the newsroom we were proud to say that “newspaper reporter” scored really high on one of the lists.

Hint: It wasn’t the best list. Reporter ranked 199th, the second-worst job, just ahead of lumberjack, which earned its 200th designation because of dwindling job prospects and the dangers of working with heavy machinery.

Second worst job in the country? That seemed ridiculous.

And sure enough, this year’s list makes a correction. Now newspaper reporter is the worst job.

Which, on one level, I get. They say it doesn’t pay enough. It doesn’t. They say the industry is having serious problems. It is. They say newspaper print subscriptions are plummeting. They are.

This is an old story. In fact, print reporter was listed as the worst job in 2013, so the next-to-last finish in 2014 was actually an improvement. And now — whoo hoo! — we’re back to No. 1.

I suppose this would be the time to say all the great things about the job that would make everyone want to be a reporter.

I can’t.

To be honest it kind of drives you crazy at times. Deadlines are real stressers. And, incredibly, editors sometimes take some of your best quips and snappy lines and change them. Readers disagree with you, sometimes loudly and insultingly. And worst of all, you have to keep coming up with those damn ideas, which are supposed to be fresh, original and edgy.

It is not an easy job. Far better, I guess, to move toward one of CareerCast’s best jobs. In 2014 the choice for best was mathematician. This year it is actuary, which to be honest, I wasn’t sure what that was. (“A business professional who deals with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty,” according to Wikipedia.)

So, CareerCast suggests, maybe I could do one of those jobs.

I’d rather eat a dirt sandwich.

Seriously, doing math all day long sounds like the worst, draconian punishment I could be sentenced to. As for analyzing financial risk, my general analysis goes like this: I can’t really afford this now, but I get paid pretty soon don’t I?

It is very likely that you wouldn’t like being a reporter. It’s a weird little skill set. You have to be able to write, but that’s just a small part of it. You have to be get people talking, sometimes when they are not inclined to. You have to be a self-starter, and a self-finisher. If you miss deadline too often you’re not going to last. It’s that simple.

Even the writing can be a pain. You know how you used to look at a blank page or computer screen when you had a school paper due, and couldn’t get started? Or you wrote a sentence, erased it, wrote another one and erased that one?

That happens a lot, even in the newsroom. There are times when I hate the writing.

But, as someone once said, “I love having writ.”

I’m sure actuaries have some wonderful, fist-pumping moments. But I bet it isn’t up there with breaking a story. Or writing something that’s picked up and noticed by people in the know, who recognize that you’ve identified a problem and are goaded into doing something about it. If someone comes up to you and says, “Hey, that was a good line about the xxx . . .” that’s a good feeling.

I sometimes wonder what some of us in the newsroom would do if we weren’t here. A lot of reporters go into public relations, and a lot of them are successful. But my guess is they have to smother a part of themselves.

Like the wise-ass part that listens to self-important big wigs and thinks, “What a load of horse manure,” and puts the guy on the spot with some tough questions. Or the part that has met and interviewed lots of well-known people and doesn’t get awe-struck or tongue-tied cause he’s been there and done that.

And while I am sure mathematicians have some hilarious times around the old blackboard, I’m going to guess that for snappy dialogue, great stories and generally clever, bright colleagues, it would be hard to beat the newsroom. Some people say reporters are cynical and irreverent. To which I say, what’s your point?

As for the general lack of money, I was thinking about this the other day. Maybe I should have gone into something more lucrative, I thought. Which led to a very specific memory.

Back when I was in my 20s, and knew everything there is to know in the world, I can remember lecturing a bunch of kids who had the misfortune to draw me as a summer camp counselor.

First, I would like to apology for being such a windbag, and second I clearly remember saying to them that all I wanted out of life was to find a job that was interesting and challenging and that I enjoyed. I wanted to do something that had a chance to make a difference in the world. And, if I could, it was always my dream to make a living writing.

So now, to say that when someone drives by in a Maserati that I am disappointed in my choice elicits one reaction — you incomprehensible hypocrite.

One more thing. We know that this is supposed to be a dying industry. Print is dead. But there’s something else. Here at the Chronicle, just to pick an example, we literally get millions of internet clicks on our stories every day. It isn’t that people aren’t interested in our product or our content. We just haven’t found a way to make it pay.

I think we can make that work, eventually. And if it happens after I leave the business, well, it’s been fun. I’ve had a lot of amazing experiences, a lot of laughs and made a living by writing.

And best of all, there’s been hardly any math.

(Courtesy, the San Francisco Chronicle)

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Bypass1Reconstruction at the Willits Bypass viaduct is nearing completion.

Bypass2Crews are anticipated to pour concrete the first week of May on the viaduct at the location of January's falsework collapse. Reconstruction included replacing two columns, cleaning up the end of the original concrete pour, and reconstructing the falsework and forms.

Bypass3Work has also been continuing on other sections of the viaduct, which is scheduled to be completed this September.

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by Dan Bacher

During the fall election, Governor Jerry Brown and advocates of Proposition 1, the state water bond, constantly claimed that the measure was “tunnels neutral.”

In photo opportunity after photo opportunity, Brown and Prop. 1 backers, including corporate environmental” NGOs, promised the people of California that water bond funds would not be used for the BDCP, potentially the most but for dealing with the drought.

Now, Restore the Delta (RTD) is charging that Brown is breaking his promise after Richard Stapler, the spokesman for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, admitted to Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle that they could use money from Proposition 1 to pay for “habitat mitigation” for construction and operation of the tunnels.

RTD Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said, “It is outrageous that the governor would break the promise he made to the people of California that their taxes would not be used to mitigate damage from the tunnels. Now he is signaling that bond monies will support mega-growers like Stewart Resnick, who plans to expand almond production by 50% over the next five years.”

“It's time for Governor Brown to drop the 19th century tunnels plan, and embrace water technologies that will serve the world we live in now, and our children will live in in the future,” she said.

According to the Chronicle, Stapler “acknowledged that the money could conceivably come from Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond that California passed last year.”

Here is a link to the San Francisco Chronicle story including this startling admission:

“The science has demonstrated that habitat without water for fisheries fails in the Delta. The tunnels project cannot restore the Delta because it takes the necessary water out of the Delta,” said Barrigan-Parrilla.

“California experiences dry or drought conditions 40% of the time historically, even before climate change. That means that in at least four out of ten years exporters will have astronomical fixed costs to pay for no water,” Barrigan-Parrilla concluded.

On Monday, a coalition of environmentalists blasted Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick and other corporate agribusiness interests for continuing to plant thousands of acres of new almond trees during the drought while Governor Jerry Brown is mandating that urban families slash water usage by 25 percent.

Barrigan-Parrilla said Stewart Resnick, the owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, uses as much water for his almonds as the amount of water 38 million Californians are now required to conserve.

“While farmers make their own decisions on what to plant, the public is paying the price for poor decisions made by greedy mega-growers, who plant permanent crops where there is no water,” Barrigan-Parrilla told reporters in a news conference about the “tunnels only” version of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that Governor Jerry Brown is now pushing. “That is not sustainable and the tunnels would subsidize unsustainable agriculture.”

For the complete details on the news conference, go to:

Proposition 1, California Governor Jerry Brown’s $7.5 billion water bond, sailed to easy victory on November 4, 2014. The election results show how the power of millions of dollars of corporate money in the corrupt oligarchy of California were able to defeat a a grassroots movement of fishermen, environmentalists, Indian Tribes and family farmers opposed to Prop. 1.

The Hoopa Valley, Yurok, Winnemem Wintu and Concow Maidu Tribes, the defenders of California’s rivers and oceans for thousands of years, strongly opposed Prop. 1. because of the threat the bond poses to water, salmon and their culture.

Caleen Sisk, chief and spiritual leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, said the water bond, peripheral tunnels, Shasta Dam raise and other water projects now being planned by the state and federal governments are in reality “one Big Project” that will destroy salmon, rivers and groundwater supplies.

It does not make sense that people are separating the water puzzle into individual pieces, such as: the raising of Shasta Dam, Proposition 1, the Delta tunnels, BDCP, Sites Reservoir, Temperance Flat, CALFED, Delta Vision, BDCP, OCAP, the Bay Delta, Trinity/Klamath Rivers, the Sacramento River, the San Joaquin River, and water rights,” said Chief Sisk. “It is all one BIG Project.”

She emphasized, “You have to look at the whole picture and everything in between from Shasta Dam to the Delta estuary. We need to ask what is affected by our actions and who is benefitting from them? These are not separate projects; they are all the same thing that the State is asking us to fund – California water being manipulated for the enrichment of some and the devastation of cultures, environments, and species all in the name of higher profits.”

Prop. 1 proponents, including a rogue’s gallery of oil companies, corporate agribusiness tycoons, Big Tobacco, health insurance companies and billionaires, dumped over $16.4 million into the campaign, while Prop. 1 opponents raised around $100,000 for the effort. Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaire “farmer” who has made millions off of reselling environmental water to the public, donated $150,000 to the Yes on Prop 1 campaign. (

One Comment

  1. Alice Chouteau April 23, 2015

    Another major source of summer fire ignition for towns with a large homeless population, like Fort Bragg, are the uncounted and often unknown homeless encampments now present along the Skunk train tracks, up the creeks and river, and on most rural roads. Dope growers have guards to protect a valued asset; homeless camps usually have a number of intoxicated individuals, incapable of safely managing a campfire.
    Alice Chouteau
    Fort Bragg

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