Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015

* * *

THE FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL APPROVED the proposal to give the County’s Social Services and privatized Mental Health group’s “forgiveable loan” to purchase Old Coast Hotel last (Monday) night after a lengthy public hearing.

AMONG THOSE SPEAKING was Coast attorney Rod Jones: “I am here as the lawyer for the Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg. I would like to bring three items to your attention. Before I do so I think it should be underscored what this project is about and what it's not about — already some of the rhetoric has started. It is not about whether our coastal community is going to care for the homeless or whether they should be accommodated. It's certainly not at all about whether MCHC (Hospitality Center) ought to have some new headquarters. I mean, having somebody come through an alleyway to get in is not a way to conduct business. That's not the issue. It's all about the site that's appropriate and whether it's two blocks or four blocks away from that location. That's the question. So it is about whether or not our desire to care for the less fortunate in our community has put our hearts before our heads in looking at this as a business proposition to see if it makes sense for taxpayer dollars. It is about whether or not this project has been improperly fast-tracked for some reason when there is no crisis or emergency. It is about whether or not this is more about office space than it is about housing. It is about whether this use of tax dollars is sensible in the long-term given the lockdown of between five and 20 years for the use of the building and what happens to the loan if it does go into default. Where does that leave the City? It is also about whether or not it fits the zoning code, whether it allows this facility at that location? So the three items I ask you to consider: what is exactly the need that is being addressed? As I looked at the documents in the file I could not determine the extent or significance of the homelessness problem in the city of Fort Bragg. I saw some statistics from the County, a report I could not get hold of from the county, and an inference from MCHC about how much of that problem is attributable to the city of Fort Bragg. If you are fixing a problem shouldn't you have to know exactly what that problem is? This forgivable loan arrangement says something about the vitality of MCHC being financially impaired in the future. Like any nonprofit, it is vulnerable. What then becomes of the Coast Hotel at that point? Why is there nothing that talks about the maintenance of the building other than than the fact that staff will monitor it over the next few years? But is there something in terms of a deferred maintenance budget before you as part of this loan package? Thirdly, does the zoning code really point you in a different direction? If you're talking about a mixed-use facility wouldn't that be more appropriate at another spot two or three or four blocks away from the central business district? I suggest to you that the zoning code so far has been twisted and contorted to try to make it fit this situation when it really does not fit, creating commercial institutions downstairs that are not necessarily needed to be run by a nonprofit. That does not seem to make much sense. I hope you rethink this project.

LONG-TIME COUNCIL CRITIC REX GRESSETT said: “I'm not going to read my statement. I was asked to tone it down a little bit. So I'm going to do that. I always feel when I'm talking to the City Council like like I am doing whoever I speak for a great disservice. I know how detested I am by the Council. I would like to express a couple of things. I believe that I am probably the only person in this room including Anna Shaw who can honestly say that I know every homeless person in Fort Bragg on a first name basis. These guys know about me. I have a ship down in the harbor and I live pretty rough. I know these people. The people, except for our one friend here, the homeless people are not represented at this meeting tonight. They are not here. The homeless people, to a man, every single one of them detests the institutionalization of their lives at the Hostility House as it is universally known. You can get kicked out of Hostility House for not wiping your feet. I know because through my affiliation with Foursquare Church, I have known people to get kicked out for having a pacemaker, for being pregnant, they are Dickensian in their cruelty. And they have a monopoly on the game. They are the only game in town. They are the only people to whom you can repair if you choose to go to services. They are bizarrely cruel. The people who spoke in favor of this institution — they feel pretty good about themselves if they just think that they are helping homeless people. But homeless people are helped by jobs and they are helped by prosperity. None of those people go to Hostility House except when they are driven to do it and if they do go there it is very likely that they will come out addicted to pharmaceutical drugs. They are given a streamlined ticket to dependency. What they will do if they do not do that is they will not get on their feet on their own which is the only way they can get on their feet. I spent 10 days at the Hostility House when I came to Fort Bragg and 10 days later I owned a ship, not that that's something everybody can do. But you have to fight your own battles. When you go to Hostility House and when you submit to institutionalization, you put your life on hold. You stop making progress. You are in a resting period. And that's appropriate to some degree. but just giving Anna Shaw all this extravagant building where they can walk around on hardwood floors — this is a trophy for Anna Shaw. I was amazed after Mr. Affinito sent a letter suggesting in concrete financial terms an alternative that really made sense. If you take this building which is an economic driver, a foremost property that will raise the level, the economic level, of that part of town -- if you take that and let that happen, then you will help the homeless people. If you institutionalize these people, if you give them to Anna Shaw as slaves, as people that you can make money off of, as people who are part of her real estate acquisition, if you let the poverty pimps, as we call them on the street, people who make money on misery and who want more of it — they are not against homelessness. They think homelessness gives them a reason for existence. What we need is to have a viable city. And the homeless people — I agree with compassion, we should have compassion and we should have trust in our institutions — we should trust in institutions we have to get them jobs and do the work that they need to do to get off the streets. Not to put them into an institution with one person in control that institution. Nobody else in town has anything to do with homeless people except for Anna Shaw. And she is making a fortune for her company doing it.”

BUT IT WAS OBVIOUSLY A FOREGONE CONCLUSION. Councilman Lindy Peters first moved to reject the loan money and authorize city manager to stop the project. But there was no second. After a pause, Mayor Dave Turner then moved to approve the forgivable loan document and after it was seconded, Councilmembers Scott Dietz and Doug Hammerstrom joined Turner in voting in favor and the Old Coast Hotel conversion to the new Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center was approved 3-1, Peters dissenting. Councilmember Michael Cimolino absent.

* * *

THE DATE of Denver Tuttle's event was incorrectly listed last week. The show is tonight (Wednesday). "VISIT THE CRYSTALLINE POINT, Facebook page and 'Like' us, 'Post' us, let us know you're attending, and 'Invite' others to help make this project kick-off event as successful as possible! Come on out April 29th! I will also present past works (paintings and drawings), there will be food and drinks...and, come enjoy an evening performance by the (incomparably entertaining!) Ukeholics and the Tiny Orchestra of Boonville, CA! This is going to be an amazing event! I want to thank the hard working folks on the team, those at Aquarelle, and all who are offering donated items. My name is Denver Tuttle and I approve this message."

DenverTuttleAd3

* * *

AVArtsAd3

* * *

THE FROST FAN INFO published by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association, ignores its own advice: "Locate wind machines as far as practical from neighboring homes within agricultural areas, but not closer than 300 feet unless best management practices are used; Contact neighbors living within 300 feet of a machine and explain how and why wind machines operate; Create a system whereby residents can receive daily e-mail notification of the frost forecast and thereby anticipate possible wind machine use; Maintain a 24-hour hotline or cellphone number to contact growers using specific machines." And so on, none of it in local practice.

ONE SUPPOSES that their blandly false propaganda assures the more delusional Winegrowers that their industry not only goes to great lengths to be good neighbors, but that they don't help themselves to our overdrawn and battered rivers and streams, and that they don't soak the Anderson Valley in pest and herbicides as they go. But don't anyone tell the wine and travel writers that a clear majority of Anderson Valley residents regard the industry as a whopping negative. They'd be terribly disillusioned.

* * *

THE CITY OF FORT BRAGG issued a chaste press release making it seem like their popular long-time police officer, John Naulty, had simply retired, although to the rest of us it looks like Naulty, denied the Chief's job he should have gotten, decided he'd rather not work for the ingrates currently running the town. The Naulty press release also describes Naulty as "....involved in subduing an Oregon gunman who killed Mendocino County sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino last year in Cleone."

"SUBDUING"? Fort Bragg can't even bring its terminally deceptive self to say that Naulty shot the rampaging lunatic to death, thus sparing Fort Bragg more mayhem from the guy?

NAULTY was one of four finalists for Fort Bragg Police Chief, but the job went to a double dipper from LA, a guy with a dubious history of sleeping with commies to spy on them for the LAPD's wacky yesteryear red squad. Fort Bragg's opaque leadership now has their own LA guy as Chief, having eased former Chief Mayberry over the hill to a job with the Mendocino County DA. Leave it to the libs to get the shiv deep into the back of Mayberry's logical successor who, by all rights and knowledge of the community, should have gotten the job.

* * *

THE ONGOING DROUGHT has again raised concern that Lake Mendocino and the upper Russian River it feeds is being depleted faster than is healthy. Since most of the water stored in the lake is owned by Sonoma County, Mendo is totally dependent on SoCo to regulate flows from the lake in a manner that doesn't harm the businesses along the river who depend on a dependable summer flow. SoCo has now magnanimously appealed to the State Water Board to reduce Lake Mendo outflows by the first of June. “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.”

* * *

COUNTY SOURCES CONFIRM that the large man seen conferring with Board of Supes Chair Carre Brown after the "bosking" of the hack and squirt meeting was Bill Woodruff, the County "Safety Officer" — usually assigned to assess such things as disabled access to buildings and cracked sidewalks for tripping hazards. It can be assumed that the Chair and Mr. Safety were discussing options for restoring order after Beth Bosk (a one woman wrecking crew of civil discourse) threw the meeting into chaos by refusing to yield the microphone after her time was up — way up.

BROWN HAD THREATENED to escort Bosk from the room. Any attempt to do so, either personally or in the form of Mr. Safety, would have plunged the meeting deeper into chaos. Bosk had already brought the crowd to a fever pitch with many urging her to sit down and others cheering her on. Any overt attempt to suppress Ms. Bosk would have touched off the nut brigade, resulting in a mini-riot and sit-in of the screaming meemie type. Supervisor Hamburg, fearful that support for his weak resolution was being sabotaged, accused Bosk of attempting to become the story and repeatedly urged her to sit down. Bosk, taken aback, finally yielded to Hamburg's insistent demands and returned to her seat.

BROWN HAS BEEN FAULTED for her conduct of the meeting with some citing her long standing ties to the timber industry and her alleged visceral dislike of hippies. But the odd structure of the meeting didn't help. Hamburg and his activist allies issued a "call to pack the hall" at 1:30 following a noon rally. During the rally, as a warm up to the disruption that followed, Bosk and crew repeatedly semi-blocked the entrance to the county admin building. In the process, they managed to alienate busy citizens trying to run county related errands on their lunch hour.

BUT THE FIRST ITEM after lunch was a discussion of fire safety sponsored by Hamburg and Woodhouse and featuring fire chiefs from around the county. Hamburg's weak reso, sponsored only by him, was the second item of business. The crowd was already restless when the Supes finally took public comment around 4:00 in the afternoon. And public comment, at least from some of the public, was borderline hysteria with people expressing emotional fears of chemical poisoning and increased fire risk. Only Hamburg and Woodhouse can say why they timed the fire safety discussion for 1:30 when the item of the day was increased fire danger from millions of standing dead trees. Or why the two issues were taken separately. Speculation is that Woodhouse was initially onboard for the reso and then backed out at the last minute, resulting in two separate items. Intentionally or not, the stage was set for Bosk.

* * *

FOUR LARGE COOKIES!

Dear AVA,

I am not sure who writes the "Valley People" of the AVA - However, I have to ask you one question — did you drink the Kool-Aid?

The DA I know is not the one as described in the AVA. Trust me, I would have brought four dozen gourmet chocolate chip cookies to him if I believed that was the secret in getting him to provide the service the DA should do for community members in his county.

After meeting with the previous Chief Investigator, Tim Kiely with absolute hands down spelled out, letters and taped violations from our local trustee members in the Point Arena School District which I was informed was on the DA's desk "sign off stack.”

Did he? No, he did not. I don't think he even took the time to look at the summary prepared for him because I forgot the cookies! Gosh, I wish I knew then that is all it took for him to do his job!

Say whatever you want — I have a very different opinion as to how District Attorney Eyster works no matter how smart he may seem to you.

Respectfully, Suzanne Rush, Manchester

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, April 27, 2015

Boiwes, Cole, Corcoran, Flora
Boiwes, Cole, Corcoran, Flora

KATHERINE BOWES, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

BRANDON COLE, San Lorenzo/Ukiah. Drunk in public.

THEO CORCORAN, Talmage. Petty theft, probation revocation.

SHARREEN FLORA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Hobbs, McGuire, Powell
Hobbs, McGuire, Powell

JOSHUA HOBBS, Ukiah. Pot cultivation and possession.

JUSTIN MCGUIRE, Willits. Under influence of controlled substance, probation revocation.

RASEAN POWELL, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

Sakane, Still, Woods
Sakane, Still, Woods

YUTA SAKANE, Ukiah. Failure to appear, resisting arrest.

AARON STILL, Willits. Unauthorized entry into dwelling, probation revocation.

BRYCE WOODS, Ukiah. DUI.

* * *

SHEPHERD BLISS WRITES:

Mike Benzinger is a true sustainability and water hero, as are other grape growers and farmers who dry farm. Grapes have been dry farmed for centuries, and irrigated only since the 1970s. One cannot live by wine alone, but one cannot live without water. Since it takes around 30 gallons of water to make one glass of wine and since most wine from the North Coast is sold outside this region, Big Wine is exporting our water, at our local expense.

It was hypocritical for Gov. Brown to call on Californians to conserve water on Earth Day at the Iron Horse Winery the day after Laurence Sterling of that winery published "Why We Don't Dry Farm Grapes." Their neighbor Donna Diehl nailed both Brown and Sterling with her "Time for Sustainable Ag" letter to the Press Democrat editor on 4/25. "Four of our neighbors have had to drill new wells since the first of the year," she reports. Big Wine can drill as much as 1000 feet into the ground for their big, expensive wells. Dan Berger's Press Democrat wine column on "Weaning Wine Off Water" was also helpful.

The Community Alliance with Family Farmers website (www.caff.org) reports that "dry farming techniques can improve grape and wine quality." They provide a list of farms and vineyards that dry farm; support them.

* * *

Following are my comments on the excellent NY Times article, with its link below. Over 300 people already have responded to that article in Monday's paper. Please consider responding. You can do so from your Facebook account, or in other ways.

In 2001 we were able to draw CBS-TVs 60 Minutes to cover our resistance to the wine industry plan to spray pesticides on our farms and homes, without our permission. Like that story, what is happening here on the North Coast with Big Wine is a national story. It is part of our work to shine a light on Big Wine and draw the media to cover our struggle, in my opinion, before it is too late and thirsty people do drastic things.

Here on California's North Coast our problem is Big Wine. We have had two four-county meetings to reign in Big Wine and will meet in Napa in early May. We wish these excellent NY Times writers would come up here and report on how Big Wine refuses to dry farm. We do have some wonderful grape growers and wine makers here, such as Frog's Leap Winery owner John Williams of Napa, who dry farms. Gov. Brown, on the other hand, recently spoke at the elite Iron Horse Vineyards the day after one of its owners wrote a commentary "Why We Don't Dry Farm Grapes" in our daily Press Democrat. Fortunately, the PD published a letter to the editor that nailed Gov. Brown & Mr. Sterling for their hypocrisy. When people are thirsty, they are inclined to do brave things. "Bigger battles are ahead" predicts a recent PD article.

Most Californians cannot afford expensive $300 bottles of wine, whereas all humans, mammals, and most life forms depend on water for survival. Big Wine is not a good neighbor willing to share common resources, like water, land, and air. Instead, they horde them and get away with it, given their substantial donations to politicians. (Shepherd Bliss)

Please forward this link to those who might be interested. The Press Democrat got it right in their April 26 article on dry farming when they concluded "Bigger battles are ahead." Thirsty people have been known to do brave things, in order to survive. I am currently writing an article with the working title "Big Wine Fails to Dry Farm During California's Drought," which I will soon be sending out to editors.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/04/27/us/drought-widens-economic-divide-for-californians.html?_r=0&referrer=

* * *

A FAIR COMPROMISE

Dear Supervisor Hamburg,

I am Roger Dingman a Gualala resident. On Tuesday, April 21st, there is an agenda item labeled "forest-related items". This is my comment on that item with regard to killed trees left standing.

Please understand that I am NOT representing the my fire department in this comment or any other organization or business.

Speaking from 24 years experience in the fire service I can tell you that standing dead trees in the concentrations I have witnessed is hazardous to firefighters and makes controlling wildfires very difficult. Their tops catch fire quite easily and will throw embers long distances with just a small breeze. Felling these trees in these numbers and concentrations is extremely dangerous. You never know about the condition of the trees next to you while you are cutting a hazard tree. Most of the time we have to let these stands burn and fight the fire elsewhere, usually a larger fire. From the perspective of a firefighter these dead stands are some of our worst nightmares.

Speaking from my extensive environmental education and experience environmental restoration I can say that these stands provide a lot of habitat for wild life. Bugs eat the trees, birds eat the bugs, deer graze on the new grasses coming up, and predators have good cover for hunting both in the dead stand and around the edges.

Between the two ends of this issue (cut all the killed trees/leave all the killed trees) there is a balance that can be attained. I suggest cut 90% of the stand down. Fell the trees across the slope so that the trees have a chance to retain any sediment that may release from the slope. If the stumps are left two to three feet tall, the branches cut from the high side and uphill side of the trunk, and the branches left intact on the downhill side of the trunk it will be far less likely roll down the slope after a fire has moved through. Also by using the above mentioned method trunks and branches cut to lay on the ground will begin to rot at a much faster rate thereby providing nutrients and initial cover to the newly planted seedlings at a faster rate as well.

Should fire come through these felled stands it would most likely be suppressed by Air Attack and not by ground crews because of the openness of the area and ease of retardant application. Entry into these areas, either standing or felled, either before or after the fire is not our first choice of suppression methods. By laying the trees across the slope any retardant will stay on the slope better and not run off the hillside as fast taking sediment with it. The random 10%, or so, of trees left standing will be habitat trees for the environmental side and a lot less trees for embers to catch in or drift from on the fire suppression side. If standing trees left behind are spaced in such a manner that no tree up hill can not reach the tree below it then fire service sawyers can cut hazard trees with a MUCH greater degree of safety.

I believe that this is a fair compromise to both sides of the issue. I understand that this method with incur additional costs to the timber industry but a balance needs to be achieved. One way to offset costs would be to let the Inmate Crews improve their sawyer skills by felling these trees at a greatly reduced price as compared to that of civilian crews. As a firefighter I know that the better their skills are the more secure I am when on the fire line.

Please enter this comment into the minutes of the meeting. I thank you for this opportunity to voice my opinion.

Roger Dingman, Captain, South Coast Fire. Environmentalist.

Gualala

* * *

A REAL NUISANCE

Editor,

I grew up in the woods near Irmulco, our 13-acre parcel split in half by the skunk line and hugged to the south by the Noyo River. This was where I spent every summer with my parents surrounded by pristine Redwoods. But as I grew, I watched the surrounding landscape transform as it changed hands from GP to LP to Mendocino Redwood Company. Trees came down quickly and as the woods disappeared so did the wildlife outside the occasional skunk family. It’s been a while since I’ve taken a stroll or drive through a property where MRC is still “stewarding” their forestlands and I must say, those times are seared into my memory. The sandy earth, nearly scarce leaf litter, scores of dead oaks as far as the eye can see, weak and dying Madrone, Manzanita and Rhododendrons left alone on the landscape with no moisture to speak of.

I am a fifth generation local and descendant of Andrew Haun, founder and owner the Andrew Haun and Son’s Lumber Company that was located at Mud River, near Branscomb in 1887. Every generation since has seen workers in the industry. The work is hard but has always been an honest way for locals to make a living. If done right logging can be a sustainable industry.

My friend and neighbor Hans Burkhardt taught me that when he gave me a copy of his paper, "Maximizing Forest Productivity” which is based on the principal that harvesting only 2% per year and basically going back to the old practice of Longterm Forest Management Strategy stating,

“A healthy forest economy must be sustainable, that is, able to be carried on in perpetuity; any forest economy which is not sustainable cannot last, and is, therefore, not healthy. The way to achieve sustainability and healthy economy is to live in balance with a regions ecology. If one respects, preserves and enhances a given are’s ecology, one creates an environment where people can live both in comfort and perpetuity.”

Hans had presented a version of this plan to MRC’s owner, Donald Fisher, who had asked for this presentation and said he would consider the plan, but instead he chose to continue the practice of short term forest management with heavy harvests combined with heavy use of Broad Leaf Herbicides in effect creating a lifeless Mars-like environment that now surrounds my land as well as from Westport stretching down along the Mendocino coast.

I feel bad that Hans was unable to sway this man and his company to more responsible ways of harvesting the forests. Hans succumbed to Prostate Cancer in 2004 and I feel moved in his absence to point out that we live in a different world now, with a different climate. I can grow tomatoes in my garden and Kale is no longer a biennial bolting late in year one. It’s hot. A mere mile inland from Fort Bragg, where I reside in my family home it’s dry and hot. I no longer get the summer fog blues because now I live in the sunbelt.

And now, thanks to companies like MRC, this dry hot atmosphere is home to 1 million of standing dead trees that by way of lightening strike, wayward match or campfire left burning could go up like a tinderbox and become the firestorm that only people who live in the Oakland Hills or Southern California have nightmares about. I never imagined that I would ever have to worry about forest fires here on the coast. We live in a rain forest where when the Redwoods get thirsty, they call in fog to drink. Unfortunately, it’s 2015 and our trees are too taxed to realize they need to drink. We’re all just sitting ducks in a powder keg.

I am asking you that you issue a nuisance order that would no longer allow intentional dead standing trees.

Thank You, Pauline Hess, Fort Bragg

* * *

MONEY WORRIES

by James Kunstler

The cynicism among the informed classes has never been so deep. Even the pompom boys in the cheerleading clubs like CNBC and The Wall Street Journal express wonderment at the levitation of stock indexes and bond values. They chatter about a “correction” of 20 percent being a healthful tonic that would clear away some dross and quickly usher in a new episode of “growth” — or growthiness, which, like truthiness, became an acceptable approximation of the real thing. The truth, as opposed to truthiness, is they no longer believe their own bullshit about growthiness.

The suppression of interest rates and pervasive accounting fraud has thundered through the financial system, and the deformities caused by it have emerged in currency war, currency instability, trade collapse, and political crisis. Years of central bank intervention have stolen the capital of the future to construct a Potemkin economy meant to conceal the sickening gyre of diminishing returns strangling business as usual.

Until it collapses by a great deal more than the wished-for mere 20 percent, more perversities will be piled onto the already existing burden. Is it not a wonder that professionalized interest groups like AARP have not screamed bloody murder over the suppression of interest rates which deprives its members of bank account and bond interest on savings? Instead AARP, like virtually every enterprise in America, has turned to racketeering. Don’t worry, they’ll be gone from the scene soon enough.

The next shoe to drop will be various forms of bail-ins and attempts to prevent bank account and money market holders from getting access to their cash. A withdrawal above $2,000 already can trigger a report to the IRS. The next step will be to put a simple ceiling on withdrawals. Will that trigger public ire? Who knows? Nothing yet has in the USA. The meme currently circulating is the fear that government would like to abolish cash altogether and put in a regime of all-electronic money. Being allergic to conspiracy ideas, I’m skeptical about this idea, but I really can’t dismiss it.

A cashless society would conceptually allow government much more leak-proof control of all citizen money transactions. Mainly it could funnel tax revenue into the treasury much more efficiently. It raises some obvious practical concerns, such as: would such a program lead to an enhanced  colossal skim of credit card company off-creaming?  And what about the percentage of poorer Americans who don’t have credit cards or bank accounts now, either because they don’t understand how it all works, or they’re forced to function in the “gray” economy for one reason or another (e.g. a drug felony rap). And what kind of as-yet-unknown perverse work-arounds would this new system provoke?

I put the question to a table of college-educated people last night and their response was surprising: utter complacency. They’re already used to paying for most things with plastic, they said, and their employer already withholds a big part of their regular paycheck for taxes, so what does it matter? They couldn’t grok the possibility that a cashless money system might easily deprive them of access to whatever reserves they have. Or perhaps, more specifically, the couldn’t imagine an economic or political emergency that might provoke such a situation.

They might find out sooner than they realize. As I suggest in the lede, apprehension is growing that some kind of “corrective” event is at hand on the financial scene. Even the supposedly salubrious 20 percent S & P drop could set off a chorus of margin calls that would make the trumpets of Jericho sound like a kazoo concert. What will Americans do if they can’t get their money out of the banks? The last time this happened, 1933, we were a hard-up but polite and highly-regimented society, and the automatic rifle was a novelty restricted to a relatively tiny army and Al Capone’s crew. Behind the financial jitters of the informed minority is the greater fear of social unrest.

(Kunstler’s new World Made By Hand novel is now available! (Kunstler skewers everything from kitsch to greed, prejudice, bloodshed, and brainwashing in this wily, funny, rip-roaring, and profoundly provocative page- turner, leaving no doubt that the prescriptive yet devilishly satiric A World Made by Hand series will continue.” — Booklist)

* * *

COAST ADULT LITERACY PROGRAM TUTOR TRAINING WORKSHOP

Saturday, May 9th 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM

On Saturday, May 9, the Coast Literacy Program for Adults will be offering a tutor training workshop. The 5 hour session will be held at the Community Room – Fort Bragg Library from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

This workshop will prepare volunteers to work as tutors in the free one-on-one tutoring program at the Fort Bragg Library through the Coast Literacy Program for Adults. This program helps adults in our community who want to improve their reading, speaking and writing skills. Because it is one-on-one, adults who are otherwise too embarrassed to be in a classroom situation can feel comfortable enough to tackle the learning they desire. Volunteers are trained to focus on the learner’s needs, whether it’s to help them get a driver’s license or simply enjoy a good book.

Tutors and learners meet at least once a week for a minimum of six months. Volunteers for this program are needed as learners are currently waiting for trained tutors. Please call Lorna Dennis at 964-5458 or Valkyrie Peters at 937-4637 to learn more about this exciting volunteer opportunity.

* * *

MAY 1ST BURN PERMITS REQUIRED

St. Helena – Commencing May 1st, 2015 the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) will require a burn permit for any outdoor open burning in State Responsibility Areas (SRA) in the following CAL FIRE Units:

Mendocino

San Mateo - Santa Cruz

Santa Clara - serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and areas west of I-5 in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties

Sonoma-Lake-Napa - serving Sonoma, Lake, Napa and portions of Solano, Yolo, and Colusa counties.

State Responsibility Areas are generally the unincorporated, rural, grass, brush and timber covered lands.

Individuals who conduct open burning must keep the fire size within the issued permit requirements, at all times. All open burning permit requirements include continual monitoring of the fire by an adult, a minimum clearance of at least 10 feet to bare mineral soil around the fire, adequate control resources (tools, water, etc.) and do not burn on a windy day. Failure to maintain control of an open fire will result in the permit being voided and the permit holder charged with the possibility of being responsible for fire suppression cost, civil damages and fines. Our debris burning safety video can be viewed at: http://www.fire.ca.gov/fire_protection/fire_protection_burnpermits.php https://www.youtube.com/v/_llJU5lJhmc

CAL FIRE burn permits are in addition to any air quality control district and local fire agency permits. CAL FIRE Chiefs remind local residents “Open burning requires local landowners, to do their due diligences to insure they are meeting all conditions set forth by authorizing agencies prior to conducting an open burn”.

For more information on burn permits or wildland fire safety, residents can contact their local CAL FIRE facility www.fire.ca.gov

(CalFire Press Release)

* * *

OBAMA, CORPORATE ‘FREE TRAITORS’ & YOU!

All Opposed, Say ‘No’

by Ralph Nader

The pro-big business President Barack Obama and his corporate allies are starting their campaign to manipulate and pressure Congress to ram through the “pull-down-on-America” Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade and foreign investment treaty between twelve nations (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam).

The first skirmish is a fast track bill to have Congress formally strip itself of its constitutional authority to regulate trade and surrender this historic responsibility to the White House and its corporate lobbies.

Lest you think the TPP is too commercially complex to bother about, think again. This mega-treaty is the latest corporate coup-d’état that sacrifices the American consumer, labor and environmental standards – inventively called “non-tariff trade barriers” – and much U.S. sovereignty to the supremacy of corporate commercial trade.

No single column can adequately describe this colossal betrayal – camouflaged by phrases like “free trade” and “win-win agreements.” For comprehensive analysis of the TPP you can go to Global Trade Watch (http://www.citizen.org/trade/).

Trade treaties, like NAFTA and GATT, which created the World Trade Organization (WTO), already have proven records of harming our country through huge job-exporting trade deficits, unemployment, freezing or jeopardizing our consumer and environmental rules, holding down regulations on giant banks and weakening labor protections.

How does the corporate state and its “free traitors” construct a transnational form of autocratic governance that bypasses the powers of our branches of government and accepts decisions that greatly affect American livelihoods issued by secret tribunals run by corporate lawyers-turned-judges? Well, first they establish autocratic procedures, such as fast track legislation that facilitate the creation of an absentee autocratic government, which betrays the American people by going far beyond reducing tariffs and quotas.

Imagine, when the TPP treaty finally gets negotiated with other nations in secret, the White House cynically classifies it as an “agreement” requiring a simple majority vote, not a treaty requiring two-thirds of the Congress for passage. Fast track legislation then limits debate on the TPP to a total of 20 hours in each chamber. Then, Congress lets the White House tie Congress’ hands by prohibiting any amendments and requesting just an up or down vote.

Meanwhile the campaign cash flows into the abdicating law-makers’ coffers from the likes of Boeing, General Electric, Pfizer, Citigroup, Exxon Mobil and other multinational corporations that show a lack loyalty to the United States (no corporate patriotism) due to their ties to communist and fascist regimes abroad who let them get away with horrible abuses and repression in the name of greater profits.

Many of these Pacific Rim countries, for example, have bad labor laws and practices, few, if any, consumer or environmental protections that can be enforced in courts of law and precious little freedom of speech.

A recent treaty with South Korea was pushed through Congress on false predictions of jobs and win-win solutions. In fact, the Korean agreement resulted in a ballooning of the trade deficit that the U.S. has with that country, costing an estimated nearly 60,000 American jobs.

The majority of these corporate-managed trade agreements come from the demands of global corporations. They exploit developing countries that have cheap labor and lax laws, unlike more developed countries, such as the U.S., that have greater protections for consumers, workers and the environment. Under this trade agreement, countries that seek better protections for their workers and consumers can be sued by corporations and other nations. Remarkably, better treatment, such as safer motor vehicles, is seen as an obstructive trade barrier against inferior imports.

For one example of many, under the WTO, the U.S. cannot keep out products made by brutal child labor abroad, even though U.S. law prohibits child labor in this country. This is how our sovereignty is shredded.

Under the WTO, the U.S. has lost 100 percent of the cases brought before the secret tribunals in Geneva, Switzerland against our public interest laws –like consumer and environmental protections. The TPP will produce similar autocratic outcomes.

Cong. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), former Texas Supreme Court Justice, told POLITICO: “I do not believe that Congress should relinquish its trade oversight authority. This really is a fast track — seeking to railroad the Trans-Pacific Partnership through while the United States Trade Representative (USTR) hides from Congress the most important details.”

Proponents of the TPP want to limit debate and prevent any amendments to this treaty that might deal with issues such as currency manipulation, child labor, bad workplace conditions, etc. by such countries as Mexico and Vietnam. What is enforceable, with penalties, are sanctions and lawsuits against our country (and others), which corporate power demands. U.S. taxpayers will ultimately pay that price.

This is why Senator Elizabeth Warren is opposing the TPP. She wrote in the Washington Post that the TPP, “would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court.”

For example, if a company doesn’t like our controls over cancer-causing chemicals, it could skip the U.S. courts and sue the U.S. before a secret tribunal that can hand down decisions, which can’t be challenged in U.S. courts. If it won before this secret kangaroo court, it could be given millions or hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, charged to you, the taxpayer. Again, the big business “free traitors” are shredding our sovereignty under the Constitution.

Scores of such cases already have been brought under the WTO. Senator Warren explained that “recent cases include a French company that sued Egypt because Egypt raised its minimum wage, a Swedish company that sued Germany because Germany decided to phase out nuclear power after Japan’s Fukushima disaster, and a Dutch company that sued the Czech Republic because the Czechs didn’t bail out a bank that the company partially owned… Philip Morris is trying to use ISDS to stop Uruguay from implementing new tobacco regulations intended to cut smoking rates.”

Senator Warren upset President Obama who, before a business audience (he wouldn’t talk TPP before a labor or consumer gathering), called Warren “wrong on the facts.” Really? Well why doesn’t he debate her, as Al Gore debated Ross Perot on NAFTA? She has read the fine print; I doubt whether he has read more than the corporate power tea leaves. He seems to have forgotten his severe criticism of NAFTA from when he ran for president in 2008.

Right now, President Obama probably has the Republican votes in the Senate, but not yet a majority of votes in the House. The vast majority of the Democrats are opposed to the TPP. Tea Party Republicans are reducing Speaker Boehner’s vote count among Republicans. Using history as an example, President Bill Clinton easily peeled off votes during his push for NAFTA. What we need now are a couple of million voters around America to put serious heat on their faltering members of the House and Senate – not that arduous of an effort – over the next few months. That is fewer Americans than watch big league games on television.

In addition, these civic-minded and active Americans would be backed by 75 percent of Americans who think that the TPP should be rejected or delayed, according to a bipartisan poll from the Wall Street Journal. People know what these “pull–down” trade agreements have done to them in their own communities.

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

* * *

UNFAIR TO NORTENOS

Editor,

My name is Mark Papillion. Enclosed is a letter that I would be extremely grateful if you would put in your paper. Please bear with me. I know it is kind of long but it is a deep subject. I apologize for my multiple spelling errors that I know it contains but I believe you will still like my story I have written. If you publish this article I would really appreciate it if you could send me an issue. PS. Keep the great work up; the paper is great and original!

* * *

My Daily Struggle

To whom it may concern:

Salutations! Let me convey my gratitude for everyone who has taken the time to listen to my people's day to day struggle that needless to say usually falls on deaf ears and blind eyes of the people who have the power to change it. I'm not writing for pity or empathy from the functional people in society nor should it be from those behind bars like me. More or less it is in hopes of bringing to light the reality of our circumstance for someone of importance to acknowledge and possibly change — a last ditch effort so to speak. I say last effort because we have numerous times exhausted the grievance process that this county jail provides to no avail.

Before I get into those details, let me explain the situation which I along with others find ourselves in. I am a 21-year-old male housed in the administrative segregation unit, what some refer to the hole. I like a handful of others am classified as a northern Hispanic because of our beliefs and whom I associate with. Let's touch on that for a brief moment without without divulging too much on the interlacing of its concepts. I guess it all comes down to the eyes of the beholder. To most we are a prison gang but to each other we are simply a family of individuals who help each other hand-in-hand through this everyday hardship of being behind walls and everything it entails. I'm not here to glorify my people or to argue or justify the purpose of our beliefs. That would take too long, not that I'm at a lack for time given my predicament. It extends from the bigger more important concept of this specific missive about the right to equality for people who reside in this establishment. Our given right to be housed in the general population unit like all other races.

Papillion
Papillion

Being a northern Hispanic in Mendocino County Jail automatically prevents us from our entitlement of the Fair Housing Act in accordance with Title 15 per this facility's handbook. Instead we get placed in the hole program which is only to be used as a disciplinary punishment according to the facilit'sy regulations where we conform to a program of limitation without actual just cause of placement. Our program consists of a one hour shower every 48 hours at any given time. Meaning, if staff is running showers at 2am and our number gets called, its either get up at two or three in the morning or miss a shower for the next two days. Talk about a rock and a hard place. We are limited to one pair of clothing, meaning one jumpsuit top and bottom and one under T-shirt, one pair of socks, boxers and one sheet. No sweaters, no extras! We are to wear these clothes for a 3-4 day period before laundry exchanges. We are at a loss for TV viewing, religious services, workgroups, rehab, mental health evaluations and independent study or any other form of education. We are on a strict commissary limitation of $20 a week for hygiene and food. If you go over that limit you don't receive anything that week. We are given one phone call one time a day for an hour and we have to split that between the three men in the cell. (Yes, three grown men crammed in a small cell). We are not even granted the privilege of being allowed to purchase phone cards to keep costs down for our families. Instead we have to rack up the bill with collect calls only. There is no recreational activities like at least a handball for the yard, only a pull-up bar and dips bar. Our shower groups are limited to only five people so we don't get much exposure to our own fellow segment members. While in our small timeframe of one hour out of our cell we are constantly being deprived of what little freedom of movement we usually have to move from shower to yard or in a room. Instead, at times we get locked in for any movement in the unit while our time continues.

Example: If we are working out in the yard and they decide to lock it for med-pass and we finish our work out and want to go into shower, we have to wait for med-pass to finish sometimes only leaving us with a two-minute shower! Vice versa, if we get stuck locked in in the shower, we don't get our time for air in the yard.

Keep in mind no other unit or segment besides southern Mexicans in his jail have to endure any of these unjust regulations. Not even the PC [protective custody] inmates who are housed in the same unit but live in a dormitory space in the corner of the unit who have to suffer the same losses excluding the one pair of clothing.

Let me not forget to mention that due to our housing status we are forced to live next to some individuals who naturally have serious mental instability issues. So we constantly are dealing with inmates who scream, yell profanity or racist slurs, and loud door banging. Let's just say these individuals are not in the habit of regular program either so most of this is going on in the middle of the night when it's light out.

I know what some may be thinking right now: "Oh, you don't like it — don't go to jail!"

Well, in most circumstances I would have to agree with that. I have never been a person to ask for pity or to not take responsibility for my own actions through life. Contrary to that I am a firm believer in the concept that a man's own actions cause his own adversities.

However, this isn't exactly that kind of circumstance. This is cruel and unusual punishment through no fault of self doing. Like I said before this unit is used for discipline and disciplining inmates who commit infractions in this facility. Yet, my people and I have been in administrative segregation from the moment of arrival in the past six years. They have unjustly housed my people back here yet we have not broken any of the establishment's policies or regulations. Even while being back here I cannot recall a time when a northern Hispanic has got a major write up or even a minor one for that matter. Still, day in and day out we suffer these every day difficulties for what reasoning I ask?

I will tell you what they tell us: "For the safety and security of the staff and inmates of this institution." First off, there has never been an incident where a staff member was intentionally harmed as a result of a northerner's action or unintentionally for that matter. It states inmates — well to that I say we are subject to just as much risk about safety and security as the next, yet we are portrayed as the aggressors and put in the hole while others get to walk mainline. I can't even count on two hands the number of times within the five months I've been in this jail that other races have come back to administrative segregation as a result of a fight or major rule violation and go right back to the general population after at most a two-week discipline period. Where is the fairness? The equality?

They say our race is a gang? Okay, then what about all the white and Indian gang members in the general population pushing and promoting jailhouse policies just the same. They state for the security of the institution — Well, let me say there has been no more than a handful of northern inmates at a time. The most being ten to possibly 15 for a few weeks. Then a handful is released and we are back to five or six. Now if this facility cannot house five or six or even at a high point 10 or 12 inmates safely while still conforming to the Title 15 then that really speaks poorly for the institution itself.

Simply put, they make excuses to keep us on lockdown and to make it more convenient for themselves. Talk about prejudice and bias! I say convenient because they have no real proof or facts that say we can't be integrated with other races peacefully. I believe this is the only institution that does this. I was transferred here from Sonoma County Jail where I came out every day with blacks, whites and other races without any issues. Yet I come here and get thrown in disciplinary lockdown for breaking no rules. Harsh!

As mentioned before about exhausting this facility's grievance process it goes as follows. Numerous northern individuals such as myself have filled out grievances as to why we are housed in lockdown and would like to be rightfully housed in general population like we are entitled to. Our response is the same: A No from every position of authority all the way up to Captain. We've even had grievances make it past captain into what's called a writ to Superior Court where we were given the roundabout answer of, They have the right to do so because of the facility's Penal Code housing in accordance to the safety and security of the institution. Talk about square one! This is the epitome of fairness and equality in our beautiful country.

Don't take my word wrong. I believe and support our country and what it strives for. But I also know that prejudice, bias, racism and inequality is a reality still to this day. You may label me what you will — criminal, convict, bad person, or whatever — but it doesn't affect me. Mainly because I know in truth I'm a good man with a great heart in a bad situation just waiting for my time to get out and go back to my regular life and loving family.

Nonetheless, not even a convict deserves to be punished for no legitimate reason. What it comes down to is this: we are all human and have our rights and entitlements whether on the streets or incarcerated. It's still our due. Labeling us as a prison gang doesn't change the fact that we are still people being treated unfairly because of our race and beliefs. Jail is the punishment for our crimes but this deprivation is just plain cruel.

I thank every single one of you for lending me your ear. It is truly and most sincerely appreciated. Hopefully some advocate or person with power and the courage to help this awful circumstance reads my to spoken word from my heart and steps forward. Otherwise, it is left as our burden to bear and our struggled to endure alone. Gracias!

Sincerely, a man not so different,

Mark Papillion, Ukiah

* * *

MENDOCINO COLLEGE RECORDING ARTS AND TECHNOLOGY CLUB PRESENTS

Artists in Residence, Quartet San Francisco, with special guest Alex De Grassi, in one performance May 7, 2015 at 8:00 PM, Center Theater, 1000 Hensley Creek Rd., Ukiah. General admission $25.00, advance $20.00, Seniors $18.00 and students $15.00. Tickets on sale at Mendocino Book Company, Dig Music, Mendocino College Bookstore and brown-papertickets.com.

The Artists will put on a Master Workshop at the theater May 7, from 12:30 to 2 PM, free/open to the public. The Workshop will demonstrate how to rearrange non-classical pieces in a classical manner. Quartet San Francisco brings an eclectic mix of world music to the stage, laying down jazz to tango, pop to funk, blues to bluegrass and classical to rhumba all in an impeccable style. Grammy nominees for each of their last three cds, the Quartet can be found playing in premier venues Yoshis Bay Area and Le Prisson Kougle, New York, when not on tour in China, Korea, Japan and Turkey.

Equally at home in a caravanserai, a concert hall, a blues club by the tracks, or a college pop festival the Quartet is led by composer/arranger and first violinist Jeremy Cohen. Mathew Szemola is second violin, Chad Kaitinger is on viola and guest cellist Adelle-Akiko Kearns completes the ensemble. Virtuoso finger style guitarist Alex De Grassi will join the action performing original compositions.

The Quartet and De Grassi will begin work on a new CD in the Mendocino College recording studio May 8.

5 Comments

  1. Eric Sunswheat April 28, 2015

    AVA ASSERTION: “Only Hamburg and Woodhouse can say why they timed the fire safety discussion for 1:30 when the item of the day was increased fire danger from millions of standing dead trees. Or why the two issues were taken separately.”

    RESPONSE: Above statement would seemingly place Brown serving as Chair, in violation for failing to follow Rule 14. Agenda Procedure. ADOPTED: January 6, 2015 (Resolution No. 15-008)

    “Prior to agenda publication the Chair and Chief Executive Officer/Clerk of the Board (or their designees) shall hold an agenda summary meeting to review the order and timing of agenda items.”

    http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/bos/pdf/2015_Rules_of_Procedure_-_FINAL.pdf

  2. Randy Burke April 28, 2015

    Mr. Dingman’s article is spot on. We as firefighters would take all the help we could get in a non conforming pre existing dangerous, flammable environment. Good Job Roger.

  3. BB Grace April 28, 2015

    Bravo REX GRESSETT!!

  4. Jim Updegraff April 28, 2015

    Lots of stuff; however, nothing about the el foldo of the Giants also, the A.s. Yesterday’s performance certainly made it clear Lincecum is a has been. My grandmother could throw a fastball with greater speed than Lincecum’s. Also, I am not impressed with Hudson. It will may be a long year for both teams.

  5. Judy Valadao April 28, 2015

    The truth about the Old Coast Hotel in Fort Bragg is this. It was a done deal deal back in November of 2014 before the public even knew about it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

-