Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Thursday, May 14, 2015

* * *

SCATTERED SHOWERS are predicted for Thursday around Mendocino County, with showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 11am. Cloudy, with a high near 62. Light and variable winds in the morning. Chance of precipitation Thursday is 60%. New rainfall amounts of perhaps a tenth of an inch or so, with higher amounts possible in thunderstorm squalls. Thursday night more isolated showers and thunderstorms possible before 8pm, then isolated showers between 8pm and 11pm. Chance of precipitation in the evening is 20%. Clearing afterward with another slight chance of light rain next Monday.

* * *

COAST HOSPITAL, FORT BRAGG, is considering signing a corporate deal that hires only doctors willing to work 24/7, 7-10 days in a row. This arrangement specifically excludes medicos who choose to work "only" 12 or 14 hours at a stretch. Not all that long ago, Coast Hospital, the only community-owned hospital left in Mendocino County, with a reform board of directors working hard to make sensible financial decisions, had the hospital in the black. Since, well, a serious reversal of fortunes.

* * *

SLO LEARNERS

Dear Editor:

On the May 13th Point Arena Board Meeting Agenda under 8.4 it states: Discussion with possible action consideration to approve the Board response to the Grand Jury Report (the Grand Jury Report is included in the Board packet and, the draft Board response will be distributed at the meeting as a hand out).

I happen to stop by the district today (thinking it was Thursday) and wanted to see a copy of the hand out which should, of course, been part of the Board Packet. A Board draft response to the Grand Jury falls under Brown Act Law 54954.2 which means the board should have had this 72 hours prior the the Board Meeting and would also mean this information available to the public 72 hours in advance, if the Board is to be transparent.

A "handout" does not have to be made public 72 hours prior to the meeting and can be presented at the Board Meeting under 54957.5. However, again, I do not believe that a Board draft response to the Grand Jury qualifies this to fall under this Brown Act Law.

Even prior to the response to the Mendocino County Grand Jury this Board is breaking Brown Act Laws!! If this Board had any type of integrity they all should resign immediately or the Superintendent of Mendocino County Office of Education should ask for their resignations!

Respectfully,

Suzanne L. Rush, Manchester

* * *

THANK YOU to all who have supported Loretta and W Dan during this very difficult and uncertain time. I wanted to let you know two things. First, we've reached and exceeded our goal of $10,000, and we did it in less than a week. THANK YOU and please continue to spread the word.

The other news is regarding Loretta. W Dan messaged me this morning that when he arrived at the hospital today she had her eyes open, looked up at him and then reached up to touch his face. Then she gave a thumbs up when asked. Our Loretta is coming back, slowly but surely.

Thank you all again and I will keep you informed of Loretta's progress.

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/kfp8/loretta-jean-houck-s-medical-expenses/updates/121578

* * *

ANDERSON VALLEY’S “ULTRA-PREMIUM” NEW VINEYARD OWNERS

TED W. HALL and Family are the new owners of Corby Vineyards, Philo.

Ted Hall is an entrepreneur and business leader with deep experience in agriculture, wine, specialty foods, food service, consumer products, and retailing. He is a frequent panelist and speaker on sustainable farming practices, especially on the science and economics of organic farming.

Mr. Hall is CEO and president of Long Meadow Ranch & Affiliates, an innovative group of family-owned companies producing ultra-premium wine, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed beef, and organic fruits and vegetables. The businesses have farming operations in northern California on more than 1500 acres in Napa, Marin, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties and include Long Meadow Ranch Winery in Rutherford, CA.

Long Meadow Ranch also operates a sustainable food, wine, and agricultural education destination located in St. Helena, CA, which is anchored by the distinctive farm-to-table restaurant, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch.
 
Hall serves as a director of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM), the leading kitchenware, specialty foods, and home furnishings retailer in the United States; and as a director of Basic American, Inc., a privately owned company, which is the world's leading producer of dehydrated potatoes, beans, and other specialty foods. He served as a director of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Inc. (NASD:PEET), the premier specialty coffee and tea company in the United States from 2007 to 2012.

VENTURE CAPITALIST KEVIN HARVEY owns Rhys Vineyards which has its main operation in Santa Cruz with another vineyard on a dangerously steep slope in Navarro. “Harvey was chairman of the board at MySQL, which sold to Sun for $1 billion in 2008. In 2007 he sold Tellme Networks to Microsoft, Zimbra to Yahoo and Ingenio to AT&T. Current investments include BOKU (mobile online payments), ccLoop (Software-as-a-Service), Metaweb Technologies (data storage) and oDesk (outsourcing). The cheapest bottle of Rhys wine goes for a mere $75.

ANOTHER VALLEY BOOZE MOGUL, fellow named Mullins who owns the Balo Winery, has placed a large new pump on depleted Indian Creek. He's not pumping from the once fish-flush blue-line stream, yet, but people living nearby, not wine people, are worried that he will, further diminishing a severely diminished resource.

* * *

AN OVERTURNED vehicle, with a number of bullet holes in it, was located near "10388-11607 Peachland Road," about five minutes east from Highway 128, Boonville. We're trying to find out more, but wonder if we spoke a little too soon about the blanding down of the Anderson Valley.

* * *

SANTA ROSA HOUSE FOR HOMELESS EMPTY FOLLOWING FATAL STABBING:

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/3925941-181/santa-rosa-house-for-homeless

* * *

IF THERE MUST BE A DEATH PENALTY...

by Jeff Costello

Much ado about the death penalty lately... Some places want to reinstate the firing squad, which is interesting if only because one or more of the gun wielders can deliberately miss the target if they choose. And apparently prisons are having a hard time getting the proper chemicals for lethal injection because the manufacturers probably see that use of their products to kill people is bad press. But blood lust is strong in our correctional system and recently, unqualified prison personnel have made up their own formulas with disastrous results.

George Carlin pointed out that the "pro-life" - or rather anti-abortion - crowd is almost without exception, pro-death penalty. The inherent contradiction leads me to suspect the influence of military propaganda, after all they need a constant supply of expendables, don't they? If they kill people in Afghanistan, they're heroes, but if they kill someone here, it's off to death row. But this is another issue.

Let me say up front that I am personally opposed to the practice of state-sponsored executions. But it occurs to me that there is (if there's going to be a death penalty, and I can't imagine states like Texas and Oklahoma, with their preponderance of right-wing Christians, not having it) an easy solution to the problem of how to end the life of a human being by means of injection.

People overdose on narcotics all the time. A few years ago, a good friend of mine did this in Reno, and no one knows if it was an accident or a choice he made. Narcotics are cheap in a world where Viagra is $30 per dose and pills for Hepatitis-C cost $1000.00 each. Enough morphine or fentanyl to kill a two-hundred pound man would probably cost less than twenty dollars from any of the big pharma companies. They might not want the press either, but we're speaking hypothetically here. And the only conceivable reason prisons don't use narcotics on death row is that it might not be an unpleasant enough experience for the one being killed. This is the height of sadism, as if it weren't bad enough to kill the guy, they have to make it painful. Oh well, it's not as though compassionate individuals are drawn to careers as prison guards, officials and executioners.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, May 13, 2015

Becker, Coffey, Creamer, Essig
Becker, Coffey, Creamer, Essig

PATRICK BECKER, San Francisco/Hopland. Pot cultivation and possession for sale.

CHRISTOPHER COFFEY, Clearlake/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

DARRELL CREAMER JR., Fort Bragg. Possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia, probation revocation.

TIMOTHY ESSIG, Almont/Hopland. Pot cultivation and possession for sale.

Fleck, Goldfeder, Heal, Mansfield
Fleck, Goldfeder, Heal, Mansfield

ADAM FLECK, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

ARTHUR GOLDFEDER, Oakland/Hopland. Pot cultivation and possession for sale.

JOHNNIE HEAL, Clearlake Oaks/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

GEORGE MANSFIELD SR., Ukiah. DUI.

J.Morris, L.Morris, Soderlind, Strasser
J.Morris, L.Morris, Soderlind, Strasser

JAMES MORRIS, Willits. Parole violation.

LINA MORRIS, Willits. Smuggling controlled substances or liquor into jail, resisting arrest, parole violation.

FREDRICK SODERLIND, Comptche. Pot cultivation and possession for sale, possession of money for illegal drug operations.

TERRON STRASSER, Molalla, Oregon/Ukiah. Fugitive from justice (felony-methamphetamine related).

* * *

THE BOXER

I am just a poor boy

Though my story's seldom told

I have squandered my resistance

For a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises

All lies and jest

Still, a man hears what he wants to hear

And disregards the rest

 

When I left my home and my family

I was no more than a boy

In the company of strangers

In the quiet of a railway station

Running scared

Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters

Where the ragged people go

Looking for the places

Only they would know

 

Asking only workman's wages

I come looking for a job

But I get no offers

Just a come-on from the whores

On Seventh Avenue

I do declare

There were times when I was so lonesome

I took some comfort there

 

Then I'm laying out my winter clothes

And wishing I was gone

Going home

Where the New York City winters

Aren't bleeding me

Leading me

Going home

 

In the clearing stands a boxer

And a fighter by his trade

And he carries the reminders

Of every glove that laid him down

And cut him till he cried out

In his anger and his shame

“I am leaving, I am leaving”

But the fighter still remains

— Paul Simon

* * *

SUDDENLY, BALTIMORE

Wonder Why?

by Ralph Nader

Suddenly, the mass media is writing about or televising the conditions in West Baltimore. Conditions that Washington Post columnist, Eugene Robinson, summarized as decades long “suffocating poverty, dysfunction and despair.”

Suddenly, reporters and camera teams are discovering Baltimore’s inner city—crumbling or abandoned housing; mass unemployment; too many merchants gouging the locals (the poor pay more); too many drug dealers; schools, roads and sidewalks in serious disrepair; debris everywhere; lack of municipal services (which are provided to the wealthier areas of the city); and, as always, grinding poverty and its many vicious circle consequences.

Suddenly, media highlights a report by Harvard economists putting Baltimore County last among the worst counties in the U.S. for economic mobility.

Suddenly, The Atlantic pays attention to the reporting by the Baltimore Sun of police brutality in Baltimore against people and communities of color. “A grandmother’s bones were broken. A pregnant woman was violently thrown to the ground. Millions of dollars were paid out to numerous victims of police brutality.”

Suddenly, the Washington Post reports that life expectancy in 15 Baltimore neighborhoods, including the one where the innocent, young Freddie Gray lived (slain by the police for making eye contact and running) is shorter than in North Korea! The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health gets press for concluding that Baltimore teens between 15 and 19 years old face poorer health conditions and a bleaker economic outlook than those in economically distressed cities in Nigeria, India, China and South Africa.

Suddenly, the aggressive arresting practices of the local police and their climate of constant fear are the subject of detailed media presentations. Interviews with grieving, frightened residents in the neighborhoods shock viewers who are unfamiliar with Baltimore. Suddenly, viewers and readers come to the realization that these people of color are all human beings who for too long have had their plight overlooked and ignored.

Baltimore is an example of the harsh conditions created by a combination of white flight and loss of economic opportunities due to a shift of manufacturing off our shores to those of other countries that will allow their citizens to work for a smattering of pennies (facilitated by trade agreements like NAFTA and the World Trade Organization). The gap between rich and poor, between visibility and invisibility, is one of the largest in the country—a recurrent tale of two cities in modern America.

Suddenly, we see major reporting on the thousands of lead-poisoned children in Baltimore. Ruth Ann Norton, executive director of the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, says “a child who was poisoned with lead [from lead-based paint] is seven times more likely to drop out of school and six times more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system.”

Our first black president laments the cycle of poverty, but calls protestors who destroyed property, not lives, “thugs.” This is the same president who has spent tens of billions of dollars illegally attacking communities with civilians (“collateral damage”) in foreign countries. Such monies could have rebuilt our devastated cities, promoted programs and employment to help those in need in these very cities, and enforced laws against the corrupt political officials, and commercial and street predators who profit from the powerless poor and exploit poverty programs.

West Baltimore received a visit from the new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, who said “we’re here to hold your hands and provide support,” without specifying resources beyond helping the city improve its police department.

Hundreds of pages in newspapers and hundreds of hours of television time were devoted to cover what the Reverend Donte L. Hickman Sr. called “the deterioration, dilapidation and disinvestment.”

And what brought the media attention? A couple hundred young men smashing windows and burning some stores, buildings and cars. Young men like Freddie Gray die often at the hands of some violent police in America’s inner cities without any subsequent media coverage or remedial action, but it took protests, civil unrest and fires to finally illuminate the interest of the nation’s media. How shameful! And how predictable will be the inevitable official inaction by the ruling classes once the embers dim, leaving the neighborhoods in despair.

When the poor neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. erupted in 1968, the great FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson said: “a riot is somebody talking. A riot is a man crying out: listen to me, mister. There’s something I’ve been trying to tell you, and you are not listening.”

If the plutocrats of America do not wake up to the daily, acidic results of excessive greed coupled with excessive concentration of power over the people, they will be fomenting what they abhor the most — cascading instability and disruption. In their parlance — that’s bad for business.

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

* * *

THE NEWBIES

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Board of Family Medicine Education for Mendocino County (FMEMC), thank you for conveying the energy and excitement that is growing around the development of a Family Medicine Residency Program here in Mendocino County. This program will enable our local medical leadership to work with UC Davis to train physicians in the specialty of Family Medicine, greatly enhancing our communities’ ability to recruit and retain primary care doctors for our rural region.

I want to clear up 3 pieces of information from recent articles.

The doctors that would come into the training program are not medical students. They will be medical school graduates (fully qualified physicians), who are here for post-graduate level specialty training as Family Medicine doctors. When they complete the Residency Program, they will be Board Certified Family Physicians.

Of the initial investment of $1.5 million that is needed to launch this program, FMEMC is working to raise $100,000 a year for the next 4 years to help with start-up costs. The other funds are coming from public and private partnerships from outside the county — including UCDavis, Partnership Health Plan and grants being written for state and federal government funding. UVMC has already been very generous in helping to launch the development of the proposed local Family Medicine Residency Program.

The Director of Graduate Medical Education for UVMC is Dr. Noemi (Mimi) Doohan (correcting spelling error).

Thank you again for your support.

Daphne Macneil, Ukiah

* * *

SNAP/CALFRESH SIGN-UP EVENT FOR LOCAL FARMERS’ MARKETS

SNAP authorization can help farmers grow their business, farmers’ markets increase their customer base, and low-income households gain greater access to fresh produce

SAN FRANCISCO, May 13, 2015 – On Thursday, May 14, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service— in partnership with MarketLink<http://www.marketlink.org/>, a program of the National Association of Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs—will host a CalFresh (federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program<http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap>, or SNAP) Farmers Retail Sign-up Day. Across the country, consumers are enjoying more opportunities to buy food directly from their local farmers. State and Federal agencies and local partners are working together to also increase CalFresh recipients’ access to farmers’ fresh products.

“Thanks to local farmers, we have an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods here in California,” said Jesus Mendoza, Jr., Western Regional Administrator for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. “We want to expand access to these foods, and their health benefits, to those participating in CalFresh.” Mr. Mendoza encourages individual farmers and farmers’ market managers who are not currently participating in the CalFresh Program to attend this special sign-up event. Farmers' markets, farm stands, and community-supported agriculture programs can be authorized for CalFresh.

The CalFresh Farmers Retail sign-up event will provide a one-stop-shop to help farmers and farmers’ market managers get authorized and receive advice for marketing their services to CalFresh households. Grants are also available for free wireless Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) equipment. Last year, CalFresh recipients received an average of $141 in benefits each month and spent more than $3.8 million dollars at California farmers’ markets. The ability to accept CalFresh benefits helps farmers increase their customer base and provide economic benefits for themselves and local communities. Currently in California, there are more than 460 individual farmers and farmers’ markets authorized to accept CalFresh. Farmers and farmers’ market managers who are interested in becoming an authorized CalFresh Retailer should bring the following items to the sign-up event:

  1. Picture ID (driver’s license or passport)
  2. Social Security Card (or other official document with your name and SSN)
  3. Copy of voided check for bank account you will use to deposit funds

WHEN: Thursday, May 14, 2015 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Mandela Marketplace 1350 7th Street Oakland, CA 94607

USDA Food and Nutrition Service works to improve childhood nutrition and empower families to make healthier food choices by expanding the availability of healthy food and offering tools to help in the process. This effort is supported when farmers and farmers’ markets accept SNAP. Farmers can sell a variety of eligible foods and beverages through SNAP, including fruits and vegetables; fish, meat, and poultry; dairy and eggs; breads, honey, and jams; and seeds and plants that produce food for households to eat.

SNAP-authorized farmers and farmers’ markets can also participate in the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)<http://www.fns.usda.gov/fmnp/wic-farmers-market-nutrition-program-fmnp> to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants and the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)<http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfmnp/senior-farmers-market-nutrition-program-sfmnp> to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods (fruits, vegetables, honey, and fresh-cut herbs) at farmers' markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs.

#

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD)or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).

* * *

MENDOCINO FILM FESTIVAL KICKOFF PARTY

Join us as we continue a tradition and kick off the Tenth Anniversary Mendocino Film Festival at our annual MacCallum House Dine Out tonight, May 13, from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Enjoy Executive Chef Alan Kantor's delicious signature dishes, as you make your Festival selections over appetizers, dinner, and specialty cocktails. Tickets will be available for purchase at the event, and the Mendocino Film Festival team will be on hand to answer questions. Get Them While You Can... Our box office opened on May 1 to record-breaking sales, and business has been brisk ever since. A Year in Champagne is officially sold out and The Age of Love is close to selling out, as are several other screenings, so we recommend that you stop by our Box Office, the Kickoff Party, or our website to reserve your place at the Tenth Anniversary Mendocino Film Festival.

For details go to: MendocinoFilmFestival.org

* * *

THE SMALL FARMERS ASSOCIATION is holding a meeting of all those interested in our electronic tracking system on Wednesday, May 20th, 7pm at the Willits Grange in Mendocino County. This is a meeting of farmers who are interested in our tracking system and to participate in the formal launching of our new program! We are excited to finally be gathering to talk about logistics and options. This meeting will be followed up with training by the Nubetrak folks a few weeks later. We look forward to working together to bring the Small Farmer into the future of our cottage industry. Hope to see all our farmers on May 20th at 7pm at the Willits Grange....291 School St, Willits, CA 95490. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Chambers was filled on May 5th with people wanting the County plant count increased. A total of over 200 letters have been gathered and submitted by our sister organizations. And many people spoke encouraging the board to raise the plant count. With all the people feeling the need to speak, there was only a few minutes left for Board deliberation. Supervisor Gjerde made a bold move and asked the committee to review the plant count increase with as many diverse people as possible. Supervisor Hamburg would like to see the neighboring regulations to make sure they are higher than Mendocino County's 25 plant limit. The Small Farmers Association is moving forward and following up with the Supervisors to make sure the plant count increase is what the Adhoc Committee on Economic Impacts of Legalization works on. We have been meeting and have a strategic plan being implemented as this email is being written. We need all grassroots people to organize. Stay tune for meeting places and locations where you can come and get involved to make the plant count increase a reality! We are so happy our sister organizations are supporting our efforts! Unity will make this happen folks! Don't forget to turn in your comments to the Water Board asap. The deadline is June 8, 2014. Information on the Regional Water Board’s draft Order and Mitigated Negative Declaration can be found at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/board_decisions/tentative_orders/. Over regulation is where this is heading without your comments, so please turn them in! Be safe and sustainable this season....follow our drought policy which you can find at www.smallfarmers.us!

See you on the farm,

Julia Carrera

Neutral 3rd Party Inspector

Representative, SFA

* * *

DC CAMPOUT

Stop The Fercus: What to Bring to DC

The time has come to start gearing up for Stop the #FERCus! Tomorrow we kick off with a special day of action at FERC's monthly open meeting, and then we'll commence with our actions from Thursday, May 21st through Friday, May 29th. Below you will find a list of items you should bring to DC. As most of you know, except for folks who have made special arrangements, we will be sleeping at St. Stephen's Church (1525 Newton St. NW), which is near the Columbia Heights Metro Station not too many stops from Union Station. Please be checking the evolving schedule of events for details about how the actions are shaping up. The schedule includes dates and locations for events and venues. Please bring the following items when you come to DC: sleeping bag (and sleeping pad, if desired) pillow, towel, changes of clothes, rain gear-umbrella...sturdy shoes, soap, shampoo, and personal toiletries, sunscreen lotion, sun gear-sunglasses, hat, water bottle, Photo ID, money for Metro train rides and other incidentals, mobile phone charger, back pack or shoulder bag, medications if appropriate, Notepaper/journal, (if risking arrest) $100 in case, that's what is needed as a "post and forfeit" (and you choose to do that). For those going to Cove Point on the 29th or 30th, please bring the following additional items: tent, bathing suit. I look forward to seeing all of you very soon. Please contact me by phone or e-mail with any questions or concerns. In the struggle,

Lee Stewart

Beyond Extreme Energy

www.BeyondExtremeEnergy.org

703-999-2634

* * *

WAY TO GO, MIKEY!

Senator Mike McGuire's Online Vacation Rental legislation approved in second Senate committee, heads to Senate floor Sacramento, CA - With a broad show of support, Senator Mike McGuire's Online Vacation Rental legislation, SB 593 was again approved Wednesday by a second Senate committee with a 4-2 vote from members of the Governance and Finance Committee. Last month, SB 593 was also approved with a unanimous vote in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. After approval today, Senator McGuire's critical legislation regulating Online Vacation Rental Businesses will now proceed to the Senate floor for a vote. The premise of SB 593 - the Thriving Communities and Sharing Economy Act - is simple. This bill reinforces local laws already on the books. Where vacation rentals are legal, the bill will assist local jurisdictions in their regulation and collection of tourist taxes. Where vacation rentals are illegal by local ordinance, the bill will prohibit online vacation rental businesses (OVRB's) from making a rental. "As with any business that starts up and finds success, there are challenges and I hope we can work together to tackle the issues associated with home sharing and the impacts countless California communities and neighborhoods have witnessed over the last several years as this industry has taken off. This business of home sharing has evolved from its roots of couch surfing - this is a multibillion-dollar business. Our bill is simple: All it does is make online vacation rental businesses follow local laws, just like the rest of us," Senator McGuire said.

SB 593 - the Thriving Communities and Sharing Economy Act - will empower local control by providing the data required to gather desperately needed funding for parks, road improvements, fire and police services and promote safe neighborhoods. "As cities and counties have witnessed, online vacation rental businesses are often about one-way sharing. They share all the benefits of a local community's services, but they often share none of the responsibilities. Local governments are left to shoulder the burden of enforcement and expense associated with this expanding industry," Senator McGuire said. Airbnb's efforts to try to resolve these issues on a city by city basis have not worked. Even after a deal had been struck, in San Francisco for example, there is no enforcement mechanism in place, which is why the San Francisco Planning Department reported that their newly adopted ordinance isn't working. In the case of the City of Malibu, the City Council even had to subpoena records from Airbnb, just to kick-start negotiations, which ultimately led to a settlement this week requiring Airbnb to directly collect the tourist tax on behalf of the residents sharing their homes. "While many vacation rental hosts are simply trying to pay their bills and follow the laws, there are exceptions in every industry. These exceptions are very costly to the communities we represent. We have seen, in many cities, management companies buying up hundreds of apartments or condos in what was a traditional neighborhood and renting them out as lodging units, leading to significant conflict due to congested streets, lack of parking and full time residents having to deal with a new hotel popping up in their neighborhood - not to mention the loss of affordable housing units for working families and seniors," Senator McGuire said.

SB 593 simply requires Online Vacation Rental Businesses to provide municipalities the same information that 431 cities and 56 counties currently require via their local tourist tax laws: address, number of room nights stayed by the tourist and the room rate. That's it. SB 593 has garnered broad support. California State Association of Counties Executive Director Matt Cate said, "The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) greatly appreciates Senator McGuire's leadership in making sure local communities have the ability to regulate on-line hosting platforms. In particular, we support the Senator's legislation to ensure cities and counties can collect transient occupancy taxes that fund critical services in our communities." Additional Information: Since the last hearing in Senate Transportation and Housing - which received an 8-0 vote in support, there has been a lot of discussion about the issue of privacy.

  1. Airbnb has already been providing the same non-personal information SB 593 would require in the State of New York, San Francisco, and Portland.
  2. The city of Portland already requires platforms to provide the address information and more to be given to the cities in order to uphold their ordinances.
  3. Airbnb has already stated in a letter to their hosts that they provide this information to the city of San Francisco. This bill seeks to provide the same information to the remaining cities in California that need the information in order to uphold their own ordinances.
  4. Within the terms of service for many platforms including HomeAway, VRBO, and Airbnb, the platforms state that at their discretion, the hosts authorize the platforms to provide information to local governments relating to the collection of Tourist Taxes or administrative proceedings. As a County Supervisor, Senator McGuire worked to create a system that actually increased the number of vacation rentals in his region. Testifying in support of SB 593 at Wednesday morning's Senate hearing were: West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath, Santa Monica City Councilmember Gleam Davis, Truckee Police Chief Adam McGill and Sonoma County small businesswoman Liza Graves. Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) represents Northern California's Second Senate District.

For more information or questions, please contact Kerrie Lindecker, Communications Coordinator, at 707-319-3654

* * *

THAT'S US!

ThatsUs

* * *

WILLITS GROUP SUES MENDO FOR INADEQUATE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW OF ASHPHALT PLANT

Please see the attached lawsuit against the County of Mendocino filed 4/24/15 by Attorney Rachael Doughty of Greenfire Law. The lawsuit seeks to require full CEQA review and possibly prevent a new asphalt plant installation on Outlet Creek, a sediment impaired tributary of the Eel River in Mendocino Co. The suit was funded and filed on behalf of a group of Mendocino county residents who have property bordering Outlet Creek, a sediment impaired tributary of the Eel River along highway 162, Covelo Road. We feel this is a newsworthy story and hope you will report on it. Please feel free to contact me and/or the attorney filing the lawsuit if additional information is needed, contact information for both are below;

BACKGROUND: On April 17th, during a regularly schedule BOS meeting, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors granted themselves "design approval" authority citing County code, and subsequently approved a use permit for Grist Creek Aggregates to install a new asphalt plant in the flood plain of Outlet Creek, on property currently owned by Grist Creek Aggregates and operated by them as an aggregate processing site. By taking this action, the Board of Supervisors bypassed CEQA and any requirements for a new EIR to assess impacts of this new use (new asphalt plant) on water, endangered species, air quality, traffic, noise, etc.

Local media attending the 3/17 BOS meeting including KMUD and KHUM have covered this issue prior to the filing of this lawsuit, and additional coverage is expected from The Willits News and hopefully the Ukiah Daily Journal.

The lawsuit contends that the Board of Supervisors overstepped their authority by their actions on 3/17. This petition seeks to require Mendocino County to comply with its own ordinances and state environmental law, including the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) in the evaluation of a project to allow a new asphalt production plant within the flood plain of Outlet Creek--one of the last remaining coho salmon-supporting watersheds in the main stem of the Wild and Scenic-designated Eel River. This facility is proposed at the property commonly known as 37342 Covelo Road, located approximately 2.5 miles east of Highway 101 extending along the north side of State Highway 162 between the highway and Outlet Creek in Mendocino County, California. The property is legally known as APN 036-190-26, Mendocino County, California.

The Property lies adjacent to and parallel to Outlet Creek. A second, smaller watercourse, Corral Creek, runs under the site through a pair of parallel running culverts that empty into Outlet Creek from the south. Outlet Creek is home to listed endangered and threatened species, including coho salmon and steelhead trout. It is designated “sediment impaired.” The entire Property is located within a 100-year flood plain.

The lawsuit purports that there has been noncompliance with the conditions of the 2002 Use Permit at the Property, which demonstrate the importance of thoroughly studying the Project’s impacts and requiring enforceable mitigation measures and updated and enforceable conditions of approval. The County’s failure to adopt Mitigation Measures, an enforceable Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program and conditions of approval for the Project – a new asphalt plant, was a prejudicial abuse of discretion. The County made no meaningful effort to comply with CEQA prior to adopting the Resolution and approving the Project. Instead, the County prepared a Notice of Exemption from CEQA, citing an inapplicable exemption or “ministerial” actions. The County’s decision authorizing “resumption of use” is discretionary and triggered compliance with CEQA. The Project will have at least the following environmental impacts: hazardous materials, air quality, aesthetics, noise, water quality, water supply, increased traffic, traffic safety impacts, impacts on groundwater, impacts on habitats for endangered species, and cumulative impacts with other projects planned or in existence in the Eel River watershed.

If needed, contact information for the attorney filing the lawsuit, Rachael Doughty, is below;

RACHEL S. DOUGHTY, SBN 255904

GREENFIRE LAW

1202 Oregon Street

Berkeley, CA 94702

Telephone: (828) 333-4703

Email: rdoughty@greenfirelaw.com

Attorney for Petitioner,

Friends of Outlet Creek

Glen Colwell

707-838-8292

707-836-6595 cell

* * *

(Transcript of Outlet Creek Lawsuit News Item on KZYX, April 29, 2015 by Sherry QuinnJ

In an effort to stop the project several residents and landowners who live near the proposed Outlet Creek and oppose the asphalt plant formed an unincorporated association called Friends of Outlet Creek. In a petition they filed in Mendocino County Superior Court on Friday, April 24, the group argues the Board of Supervisors' approval of the new plant on March 17 without any environmental review violates CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act. They say the project could harm the environment and their quality of life so they are asking for more analysis of the potential impacts. The petitioners cite several reasons which need more formal scrutiny. One is the project allows for sediment-laden materials to enter a floodplain that they argue could harm fish and other aquatic species during a flood. The group's spokesperson, Glenn Corwell, lives in the nearby neighborhood called Cherry Creek. "The concern is that there will be significantly increased amounts of emissions from an asphalt processing facility. They will use propane to heat asphalt and petroleum products so there will be emissions from this plant, there will be additional noise, there will be a lot of truck traffic on 162 and Highway 101, there's additional population density in the area now, and there's a newer plant that replaces the old one that is there. Unfortunately, because the Board of Supervisors gave themselves the authority to approve this deal without any further review, there is no appeal." Their only option now, he said, is this lawsuit. They were able to secure enough donations to file the lawsuit with the help of the Willits Environmental Center. The nonprofit has agreed to accept and manage the funds for the legal effort. The property, owned by Grist Creek Aggregates, is surrounded by rangeland and is located within a 100 year floodplain adjacent to Outlet Creek, one of the last remaining watersheds of the Eel River that sustains coho salmon. This is not the first time asphalt production has been approved here. A use permit was granted for a project in 2002 which expired in 2012. The petition states the board authorized the new project as a resumption of use, therefore it is exempt from CEQA. Earlier in April Mendocino County Supervisor Tom Woodhouse said that this is about the fourth time the county has used what is referred to as a fast track approval process since 2013. He added that the board unanimously made the decision to use it this time to improve the local economy and its infrastructure. "It was put together by the Supervisors to try to speed along projects that were of economic importance to the county that provide either jobs or materials or some economic driver to rebuild our county. We have a very flat economic income at this point and we really can't maintain the roads or the other things we want to in the County such as public safety and a wide range of things unless we have a growing economy." He also said the site will be environmentally regulated by local, state and federal agencies. The attorney for the Friends of Outlet Creek, Rachel Doughty, says the court will now look into the information the county had at the time of their decision, then she expects the county's response which could take up to a few months. In the meantime the project can legally move forward.

* * *

FULL TEXT OF LAWSUIT

Petition For Writ Of Mandate And Complaint For Declaratory And Injunctive Relief

Rachel S. Doughty, Sbn 255904

Greenfire Law

1202 Oregon Street

Berkeley, CA 94702

Telephone: (828) 333-4703

Email: rdoughty@greenfirelaw.com

Attorney for Petitioner,

Friends of Outlet Creek

SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA

COUNTY OF MENDOCINO

FRIENDS OF OUTLET CREEK, an

unincorporated association, Petitioner,

v.

County Of Mendocino, The Board Of Supervisors Of The County Of Mendocino, And Does 1 Through 10, Inclusive, Respondents,

Grist Creek Aggregates, Llc, Brian Hurt, And Roes 1 Through 10, inclusive, Real Parties in Interest.

CASE NO.

Verified Petition For Writ Of Mandate And Complaint For Declaratory And Injunctive

Relief California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

___________________________________ /

  1. Petitioner Friends of Outlet Creek (“Friends”) alleges:

Introduction

  1. This petition seeks to require Mendocino County to comply with its own ordinances and state environmental law, including the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) in the evaluation of a project to allow a new asphalt production plant within the flood plain of Outlet Creek--one of the last remaining coho salmon-supporting watersheds in the main stem of the Wild and Scenic-designated Eel River. This facility is proposed at the property commonly known as 37342 Covelo Road, located approximately 2.5 miles east of Highway 101 extending along the north side of State Highway 162 between the highway and Outlet Creek in Mendocino County, California. Petitioner is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges that this property is legally known as APN 036-190-26, Mendocino County, California (“Property”).

Parties

  1. Petitioner Friends of Outlet Creek (“Friends”) is an unincorporated association made up of residents and landowners living in the vicinity of the Property. Friends was formed and exists specifically for the purpose of protecting the environmental quality and beauty of Outlet Creek and its watershed for those who live in or frequently visit the area and for the wildlife that depend upon it, including endangered salmon. Petitioner’s members will be harmed in their enjoyment of their property and Outlet Creek for aesthetic, spiritual, recreational, and water quality by asphalt production and other activities allowed at the Property as a result of Mendocino Board of Supervisor’s Resolution No. 15-054 (the “Project”), which will be described in greater detail later in this writ. Friends submitted a letter in opposition to the Project, and its members appeared before Respondents in opposition to the Project.
  2. The County of Mendocino (“County”) is a political subdivision of the State of California.
  3. The Board of Supervisors (“Board”) is the governing body of the County of Mendocino and is authorized and required by law to hold public hearings and to determine the adequacy of the environmental review pursuant to CEQA and to take other actions with respect to the approval of development within its jurisdiction.
  4. Real Party in Interest, Brian Hurt, is identified on the application forms for the Project. Petitioner is informed and believes, and thereon alleges that Mr. Hurt has an interest in the Property that is the location where the Project will occur.
  5. Real Party in Interest, Grist Creek Aggregates, LLC, is identified as the owner of the land where the Project will occur, according to County records. Grist Creek Aggregates, LLC, is also listed as the Applicant on the Notice of Exemption for the Project.
  6. The true names and capacities of DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, and of ROES 1 through 10 are unknown to the Petitioner. Petitioner will amend this complaint to set forth the true names and capacities of said DOE entities and ROE real parties in interest as soon as the same have been ascertained. Petitioner is informed and believes, and thereon alleges that each of said DOE parties 1 through 10 have jurisdiction by law over one or more aspects of the Project and its approval, and that each of said ROE parties 1 through 10 claims an ownership interest in the Property which is the subject of this action, or an interest in its development or the actions of the Defendants challenged herein.

Venue

  1. The real property at issue is located in Mendocino County and this action challenges the actions of the Board, thus, the Mendocino County Superior Court is the proper venue for this matter.

Facts

Prior Zoning of the Property

  1. The Property lies adjacent to and parallel to Outlet Creek. A second, smaller watercourse, Corral Creek, runs under the site through a pair of parallel running culverts that empty into Outlet Creek from the south. Outlet Creek is home to listed endangered and threatened species, including coho salmon and steelhead trout. It is designated “sediment impaired.” The entire Property is located within a 100-year flood plain.
  2. On February 17, 1972, the Mendocino County Planning Commission approved Use Permit #U 5-72 allowing for the extraction of gravel from bars along Outlet Creek and the establishment of an aggregate processing plant including crushing and screening, hot plant and redi-mix batch plant.
  3. On September 17, 1981, a question arose over possible zoning conflicts with the operation of an industrial plant in the then existing U-R:S District (eventually zoned Rangeland [RL] under a then new General Plan). According to County staff the Mendocino County Counsel issued an opinion finding the use permit was consistent with the zoning, but would thereafter be considered a “non-conforming use” subject to use permit renewals under the authority of the Mendocino County Zoning Administrator.
  4. On May 27, 1982, Use Permit Renewal #UR 5-72/81 was approved allowing for a continued three years of gravel extraction, and twenty years for the aggregate processing plant operation.
  5. On August 1, 1985, Use Permit Renewal #UR 5-72/85 was approved to allow for the extraction of gravel to continue for an additional five year period. Application was made for a subsequent renewal in 1990 #UR 5-72/90, this application was later withdrawn. As a result, gravel extraction was discontinued in August 1990 and the Property was subsequently used solely as a processing plant.
  6. On June 13, 2002, the County approved by Use Permit Renewal #UR 5-72/2002 (“2002 Use Permit”), which involved both asphalt production and aggregate processing. The County adopted a Mitigated Negative Declaration (“2002 MND”) pursuant to CEQA and 27 conditions of approval for the 2002 use permit approvals. On June 13, 2002, Use Permit Renewal #UR 5-72/2002, with its 27 conditions “which must be met prior to use and/or occupancy and for the duration of this permit,” was approved by the Mendocino County Zoning Administrator to allow for the continued industrial use of the Property as an aggregate processing facility. As part of the 2002 approval process, the County “strongly encouraged” the applicant to seek a General Plan Amendment and rezoning to avoid issues stemming from potential zoning conflicts between the Rangeland zoning and the continued non-conforming use.
  7. Among the Conditions of the 2002 Use Permit were the following:
  8. Aggregate processing plant operations were limited to the months of April through October;
  9. The permittee was required to obtain and comply at all times with valid environmental permits (e.g., Permit to Operate from the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District, an Industrial Storm Water Permit from the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and any authorizations from the California Department of Fish and Game); and
  10. No material could be placed where it might pass into any stream “in quantities that would be deleterious to fish, wildlife or other beneficial uses.”
  11. Little or no processing or asphalt batch plant activity took place from 2002 to the present.
  12. On or before 2008, the owner of the Property ceased any asphalt processing and dismantled and removed all or substantially all of the asphalt equipment from the Property.
  13. On August 17, 2009, the Board certified an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) for the County’s 2009 General Plan Update, concluding that the requested land use change was consistent with the proposed General Plan. Allegedly, this was based on the Industrial classification better reflecting the existing uses of the site, which did not include production of asphalt. The EIR did not analyze the impacts of a new asphalt plant or this Project.
  14. The Board of Supervisors approved a rezone on May 11, 2010, which changed the zoning of the Property from Rangeland (RL) to General Industrial (I-2). The Property is also zoned Flood Plain (FP). On information and belief, this subjects the Property to the conditions of the Mendocino County Flood Plain Combing District. Mendocino County Code (“MCC”) Chapter 20.120.
  15. In 2011, the owner of the Property, Grist Creek Aggregates, applied for a Development Review Process of “a concrete batch plant and an asphalt batch plant. The County required Development Review in order to assess “potential environmental impacts resulting from the reestablishment of industrial uses at the site [. . . ] in order to satisfy requirements of [CEQA].” The County prepared a Mitigated Negative Declaration with 24 proposed conditions of approval to comply with CEQA. However, this application was withdrawn prior to the conclusion of the CEQA public review period.
  16. On June 13, 2012, the 2002 Use Permit expired.

Compliance with the 2002 Use Permit

  1. The Petitioner is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that there has been noncompliance with the conditions of the 2002 Use Permit at the Property, which demonstrate the importance of thoroughly studying the Project’s impacts and requiring enforceable mitigation measures and updated and enforceable conditions of approval. The County’s failure to adopt Mitigation Measures, an enforceable Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program and conditions of approval for the Project – a new asphalt plant, was a prejudicial abuse of discretion.

Current Project

  1. On Monday, March 2, 2015, Respondents mailed notice of a hearing to be held two weeks later on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 in the middle of the day. Authority cited by the Board for the expedited procedure was Ordinance 4320, Mendocino County Code (“MCC”) section 2.54.010, which allows the Board of Supervisors to bypass the Planning Commission and “reserve to itself the functions of the planning agency when time is of the essence with respect to any permit or approval” for specific listed projects types of particular importance to the County. Board jurisdiction does not remove any substantive environmental review and compliance obligations, including CEQA compliance.
  2. On March 17, 2015, the Board voted to take original jurisdiction over the Project.
  3. At the very same March 17, 2015 meeting, the Board made a discretionary determination, and adopted a resolution (“Resolution”) that the construction and operation of a new asphalt plant on the Property was a “resumption” of the non-existent asphalt plant use, by falsely claiming that a brand new asphalt batch plant or processing facility is a “resumption of use” under the expired 2002 Use Permit, alleging that the new asphalt plant is not a “substantial change” from the now dismantled and removed 2002 asphalt plant. In its discretion, the Board included within the Resolution a statement that the use of the Property is “subject to the conditions of approval of [the expired 2002 Use Permit] that remain applicable” to the Property as indicated in the County planning staff’s markup, which included check marks next to 12 of the 27 conditions of the 2002 Use Permit.
  4. Prior to adopting the Resolution, the Board held a hearing to decide if the asphalt plant was “new” or a “resumption” of use. During this hearing, County staff advised the Board that the 2002 MND was the “functional equivalent” of CEQA compliance for the new asphalt plant. During this hearing staff also testified that they did not take environmental concerns into consideration because of the 2002 MND for the demolished asphalt plant. Staff further testified that if the Board found that this was a “new” or “changed” use, staff would have to evaluate environmental concerns.
  5. The County made no meaningful effort to comply with CEQA prior to adopting the Resolution and approving the Project. Instead, the County prepared a Notice of Exemption from CEQA, citing an inapplicable exemption for “ministerial” actions.
  6. The County’s decision authorizing “resumption of use” is discretionary and triggered compliance with CEQA.
  7. The Project will have at least the following environmental impacts: hazardous materials, air quality, aesthetics, noise, water quality, water supply, increased traffic, traffic safety impacts, impacts on groundwater, impacts on habitats for endangered species, and cumulative impacts with other projects planned or in existence in the Eel River watershed.
  8. Approval of the Project is inconsistent with the Mendocino County 2009 General Plan and the Mendocino County Zoning Ordinance. For example, The Board made no findings regarding the noncompliance of the Resolution with the Flood Plain zoning of the Property, which requires, inter alia, that “[n]ew construction and substantial improvements of any structure” shall be elevated above the base flood elevation, and prohibits the “storage or processing of materials that . . . could be injurious to human, animal or plant life.” MCC §§ 20.120.020(A)(3)(a) and (B)(1). Petitioners allege, upon information and belief, the new asphalt plant will not comply with the Flood Plain Zoning Ordinance.
  9. On March 20, 2015, Mendocino County recorded a Notice of Exemption for the Project.
  10. This action has been brought within 35 days of the recording of the Notice of Exemption as required by Public Resources Code section 21167(d).
  11. On April 23, 2015, before the commencement of this action, Petitioner served written notice of the commencement of this action on Respondents in accordance with the requirements of Public Resources Code section 21167.5. A true and correct copy of this Notice and its Proof of Service are attached hereto as Exhibit A.
  12. On April 24, 2015, Petitioner notified the Attorney General of the State of California of the filing of this Petition and furnished her with a copy of the Petition in accordance with the requirements of Public Resources Code section 21167.7. A true and correct copy of this Notice and its Proof of Service are attached hereto as Exhibit B.
  13. The action of the Respondents in approving the Project, without any CEQA compliance is a prejudicial abuse of discretion because the Respondents failed to proceed in a manner required by law.
  14. Petitioner has exhausted all administrative remedies in that these determinations by the Respondents are final and no further administrative appeal procedures are provided by state or local law. Petitioner and other members of the public presented orally and/or in writing their specific objections to the decisions of the County of Mendocino at the public meetings and hearings.
  15. Petitioner does not have a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law because the Petitioner and its members and the public will be irreparably harmed by the ensuing environmental damage and by the Respondents' violations of CEQA and state planning and zoning laws.

First Cause Of Action

California Environmental Quality Act

  1. Petitioner incorporates by this reference paragraphs 1 through 38 as though they are fully set forth herein.
  2. The Project is not exempt from CEQA because it does not fall within the plain language of any Categorical Exemption.
  3. Respondents abused their discretion in approving the Project by failing to undertake any CEQA review.
  4. Alternatively, if the Project could be found to be exempt from CEQA, Respondents abused their discretion in approving the Project because there is no substantial evidence in the record that the Project is exempt from CEQA. The Project may cause a significant impact on the environment, including, but not limited to, use of hazardous materials, water quality impacts, air quality impacts, impacts to species listed as Endangered by the State of California or the United States, groundwater impacts, traffic impacts, traffic safety impacts, noise impacts, visual impacts, general and area plan inconsistency, and cumulative environmental impacts in the Eel River Watershed.
  5. The County failed to comply with CEQA because it did not analyze the impacts of the Project on the existing physical condition, including those features of the existing environment described above, and deprived the public, including Petitioner and Petitioner’s members, of an opportunity to meaningfully comment on the Project and its impacts on the existing environment.
  6. There is no substantial evidence supporting the County’s findings that constructing a new asphalt plant, where none currently exists, is exempt from CEQA. Additionally, there is substantial evidence supporting a fair argument of “unusual circumstances” that fall within the exception to Categorical Exemptions from CEQA and that will cause significant impacts to the environment.
  7. The finding that constructing and operating a new asphalt plant where none currently exists is a “modification” of an asphalt plant that stopped operating in the early 2000s, was dismantled, removed from the site, and for which the use permit has expired is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of the County’s discretion. The County abused its discretion by making fictional findings and using that fiction to evade CEQA compliance. 46. In each of the respects enumerated above, Respondents have violated their duties under CEQA, prejudicially abused their discretion, failed to proceed in a manner required by law, and have decided the matters complained of without the support of substantial evidence. Accordingly, the approval of the Project must be set aside.

Second Cause Of Action

The Project is Inconsistent with the General Plan

  1. Petitioner incorporates by this reference paragraphs 1 through 46 as though they were set forth in full herein.
  2. The County’s actions must be consistent with its General Plan. Anything else is an abuse of discretion.
  3. The County did not make any findings that the Project is consistent with the 2009 General Plan, and the Project violates many of General Plan Policies.
  4. There is no evidence that the County complied with several General Plan Policies. For example, General Plan Policy DE-62 requires compatibility with the surrounding area, environment and supporting infrastructure. There is no finding showing that the County considered this policy when acting on the Project. There is also no evidence that the Project complies with Policy DE-27, which requires clean technology. In fact, the Project purports to apply some (but not all) obsolete 2002 conditions of approval, when better, cleaner technology exists in order to comply with more stringent regulations that have come online since 2002.1 Similarly, General Plan Policy DE-68 requires a statement of energy, water, and waste stream requirements at the time of application, etc. The General Plan contains noise policies that require specific analysis and showings; there is no evidence the County took any of these actions. Similarly, the General Plan contains a number of policies to protect water, including protecting streams and riparian habitat. The Property is adjacent to Outlet Creek; however, there is no evidence that the County applied its own General Policies for water quality, water supply or water conservation. For air quality, General Plan Policy RM-37 prohibits private development from exceeding the emission standards set by the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District (“MCAQMD”). There is no evidence this analysis occurred or that the Project complies with MCAQMD’s standards. The County has similar policies for dust control, alternative fuel use, air toxins, climate change, energy resources, etc. There is no evidence the County applied any of these policies to the proposed Project.

Third Cause Of Action

Violation of Mendocino County Zoning Ordinance

  1. Petitioner incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 through 50 as though they were set forth in full herein.
  2. Ordinance 4293, MCC section 20.036.010 requires processing plants to be “temporary in nature and carried on in conjunction with, and only for the duration of a specific construction project. . .”, unless the processing is on land with a Mineral Processing Combining District (“MPCD”) and is subject to a use permit. The Project is not on land with an MPCD overlay, is not being processed subject to a use permit, and is not identified as being associated with any particular job or jobs. The County’s Project approval violates the County Code.
  3. MCC section 20.028.015 defines “General Industrial Uses”, in relevant part, as industrial plants primarily engaged in . . . processing . . . or fabrication of materials and products. Included are aggregate processing plants, such as crushing, screening, washing and mix plants. MCC section 20.100.005 et seq. regulate I-2 or Industrial land uses. MCC section 20.100.005(D) lists “Industrial Use Types” as a permitted use and subsection (F) states: “for further clarification, refer to Appendices A and B.” Appendix A contains a list of projects that do not require a use permit and normally do not require environmental review. However, if the proposed activity “will cause excessive noise, smoke, odors or traffic disruption or will produce hazardous fumes or chemicals, then the project will be subject to development review.” No mineral processing activities are listed on Appendix A. Appendix B lists “concrete ready mix” plants as requiring completion of an environmental checklist and Development Review.
  4. The Project permits activities in the Flood Plain Combing District that are prohibited by MCC Chapter 20.120. Specifically, it allows for the placement of sediment-laden materials and settlement ponds where, in time of flood, they could cause harm to fish and other aquatic species. It also allows for new construction or substantial improvements below the base flood elevation.
  5. Neither the staff memo for the March 17, 2015 hearing nor the Resolution show that the County complied with its own requirements – namely, the provisions of its Development Review Ordinance require that the County comply with CEQA and its Flood Plain Combining District restrictions on use.
  6. MCC Chapter 20.188 regulates Development Review. The purpose of this chapter is to expedite Development Review applications. However, §20.188.025(A) expressly requires the Department of Planning and Building to comply with CEQA in processing a development review application. Section 20.188.025(C) requires further review for new or changed uses. There is no evidence in the staff memo or Resolution that the County complied with CEQA. Additionally, since the asphalt plant stopped operating ten years ago and was physically removed a few years ago, it is a “new” use that requires CEQA compliance. The fact that the applicant proposes to utilize an old footprint (e.g., where equipment used to be, but was long since removed) is not relevant. There is simply no legally defensible way to claim that a project site that currently does not have an asphalt plant and that includes the installation of a new asphalt plant, is a “resumption” of use.
  7. There is no evidence of any kind, let alone substantial evidence, to support the findings in the County’s Resolution that this is a “resumed” operation or that the County followed the requirements of its own Zoning Ordinance.

Fourth Cause Of Action

Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

  1. Petitioner incorporates by reference paragraphs I through 58 as though they were set forth in full herein.
  2. Petitioner has exhausted its administrative remedies.
  3. Unless Petitioner is granted injunctive relief it and its members will suffer irreparable harm in that the implementation of the Project will cause permanent harm to Petitioner and will create adverse environmental impacts previously described in this Petition, to the detriment of Petitioner and its members.
  4. Petitioner lacks an adequate remedy at law because monetary damages cannot be ascertained and Petitioner and the members of Petitioner cannot be compensated for the environmental degradation caused by this Project.
  5. WHEREFORE, Petitioner pray as follows:
  6. As to all Causes of Action herein, that this Court grant the writ and enter judgment determining or declaring that the approval of Project by Respondents was illegal and therefore is null and void;
  7. As to the First Cause of Action herein, that this Court enter judgment determining or declaring that Respondents abused their discretion when they failed to comply with CEQ A and the County's actions must be set aside unless and until the County complies with CEQA;
  8. As to the Second Cause of Action, that this Court enter a judgment determining or declaring that the Project is not consistent with the County's General Plan, therefore, the County's actions are void and must be set aside;
  9. As to the Second and Third Causes of Action, that this Court enter a judgment determining or declaring that the County violated its own Zoning Ordinance, thus the County's actions are void and must be set aside;
  10. That Petitioner be awarded its costs of suit herein, including reasonable attorneys' fees; and
  11. For such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

Dated: Greenflre Law

By: Rachel S. Doughty

Attorney for Petitioner

Friends of Outlet Creek

* * *

MENDOCINO GETS GREENER WITH TWELVE NEW ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS

Thanks to a $498,040 California Energy Commission (CEC) grant awarded to Mendocino Land Trust at today’s CEC Business Meeting, a string of twelve new electric vehicle charging stations in Mendocino County will soon create the beginning of an electric byway. Mendocino Land Trust is working with California State Parks and the Mendocino Council of Governments to bring these electric vehicle charging stations to the public, in partnership with Visit Mendocino County, Mendocino County Air Quality Management District, the Renewable Energy Development Institute, and Adopt-A-Charger. Matching funds are provided by the Tarbell Family Foundation, Clipper Creek, Sustainable Solutions Partners and Harvest Market.

Every year, thousands of tourists hit the road in search of adventure in the sweeping landscapes of Mendocino County. Many drive for hundreds of miles in hope of reconnecting with the wild places of Northern California. Yet there is an obvious disconnect between being close to nature and the burning of fossil fuels to get there, which is why starting this summer the Mendocino Land Trust and its partners will spearhead an effort to build a series of twelve new electric vehicle charging stations in Mendocino County, ten of which are to be placed in State Parks.

California State Parks is responding to the increasing challenges of climate change with the installation of EV charging stations as part of their “Cool Parks” initiative. Facilitating the expansion and use of plug-in cars not only encourages their use by environmentally conscious visitors, but also allows the general public to see this futuristic technology in action.

The park units included in this initiative are: MacKerricher State Park, Hendy Woods State Park, Van Damme State Park, Russian Gulch State Park, Manchester State Park, Greenwood State Beach, Westport Union Landing State Beach, Mendocino Headlands State Park, Caspar Headlands State Beach, and Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park. In addition, charging stations to get to the coast will be placed at the Willits Skunk Train Depot and the Boonville Hotel.

“Our donors and supporters are saying what a great opportunity this grant represents for the local community and visitors to the Mendocino Coast,” says Doug Kern, Director of Watershed Restoration for the Mendocino Land Trust. “Not only are we part of the solution to climate change, we’re bringing in new economic development dollars to the area and increasing opportunities for further tourism on the Coast. It’s a huge, positive win for conservation in Mendocino County.”

"We at MCOG are very pleased to be a partner on this project. It supports both our Regional Transportation Plan and our Zero Emission Vehicle Regional Readiness Plan," said Janet Orth, Deputy Director at Mendocino Council of Governments. "I am meeting more EV drivers everywhere, looking for more places to plug in. Installing these new charging stations will encourage visitors and locals who wish to travel pollution-free to visit Mendocino County's beautiful State parks, also free of EV range anxiety in our wide open spaces."

“This is a fantastic program for visitors to charge their electric vehicles at remote and rugged State Park locations on California’s beautiful Mendocino Coast,” says Loren Rex, Mendocino Sector Superintendent. “We’re particularly happy to be partnering with the Mendocino Land Trust and MCOG to implement this cutting edge project and be part of the solution to climate change.”

The project is set to commence in June and will take about 1 year to complete. The future of Mendocino County will be even greener for guests and locals alike who can soon spend a day at the beach while charging their vehicles free of charge. Building the infrastructure to reduce fossil fuels is an important step in keeping our water and air free of pollutants.

For additional information, please contact Megan Smithyman at 707-962-0470. admin@mendocinolandtrust.org

* * *

SOLD OUT!

This just in! Apparently there is a dinner for the festival press on Thursday evening at Balo Winery (Philo). This would be an ideal place to leaflet with info about Saturday's activities so that the Press can cover our protest. Once again, we could minimally put leaflets on their cars, or if we had a few folks, we could hold picket signs outside the event. Contact me if you can help. Wendy

ps (Shhhh!) Saturday's activities will focus on the following events: Taste the world-class Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs of more than 50 producers from around California and savor perfectly paired foods designed to complement the exceptional Anderson Valley Pinot wines. Talk with the winemakers and listen to live music in the Grand Tasting tent set in the center of the beautiful vineyard at Goldeneye Winery in Philo. Bid on fantastic auction items at the silent auction held to benefit the Anderson Valley Health Center. Enjoy a delicious array of tasty small plates as we keep it local with stations that will include grilled lamb, artisan Penny Royal cheese, hand thrown pizzas, local cured salmon and more. Come join us as we celebrate Pinot Noir, an amazing contradiction in wine - something so delicate and subtle, yet powerful and mesmerizing. You will be captivated. Goldeneye Winery 9200 Hwy 128

Philo CA 95466
Date: Saturday, May 16, 2015
Time: 11:00am - 3:00pm
Price: $105.00 Sold Out!

Dinner with the Winemakers of Roederer Estate, Navarro Vineyards & Domaine Anderson

www.avwines.com/winemaker-dinner-with-roederer-navarro-vineyards-domaine-anderson/

*Date: Saturday, May 16 , 2015 Time: 6:30pm

3 Comments

  1. Lazarus May 14, 2015

    “WILLITS GROUP SUES MENDO FOR INADEQUATE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW OF ASHPHALT PLANT”

    Insert, the Reach Medical Helicopter deal, the soon to be Cherry Creek distillery deal, and of course the Willits bypass deal…
    The Willits area is rapidly becoming the no zone…and the cast of characters is always the same…aging hippies, enviro fanatics and of course the elitist “Not in my back yard”, cabal…pathetic…

  2. Bill Pilgrim May 14, 2015

    RE: SB 593 Once again, the filthy-stinkin-rich, whose avarice knows no bounds, have ruined what began as one simple way for Mom & Pop to collect some extra cash in order to stay out of poverty or keep their homes while on a fixed income amidst rising prices and property taxes.
    There ought to be a sliding scale in this bill, determined by the number of rental rooms in the structure, and how often they are rented.

  3. BB Grace May 14, 2015

    It’s only natural that green turns brown.

    “Suddenly” (good name for a new book Ralph), EV stations are chartered for Mendocino with no community debate. I wrote to Sue Haun of Strategies by Design, twice, and have received no response.

    Suddenly, friendly green (for now) back yard deals are given a free pass as if non profit organizations are immune to brown: greed and folly.

    The fact that the majority of EV stations are destined for State Parks that are unaffordable to many locals ($8.00 pass except for MacKerricher), the fact the supplier of the EV stations is unknown (is Mendocino getting dumped on with third rate unsellables), or who will do the installation (because no one in Mendocino needs training or jobs), or where the energy supply is coming from, or what kind of payment plan (is it free, is it credit, is it cash at the iron ranger, are they overnight or 5 minute stations, etc., etc.) are facts that go unasked and answered.

    EV technology rapidly changes the EV industry from batteries exchanges to batteries that charge in 5 minutes, leaving a wake of private to government sheannigans stirring controvesy globally in bankruptcies and lawsuits, what’s the incentive for locals to go EV? None.

    It’s as if many in Mendocino are played for fools, “Slap a sustainable green lable on any project and it gets a free pass.” When the project turns brown, as in unsustainable economically, suddenly there’s maintenance, suddenly there’s corruption, suddenly there’s public costs that were never brought up from green back yard deal annoucement, blooming protests, petitions and reams of letters to the editors.

    A simple wiki search on charging stations provides plenty of fuel for future letters to the editors.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charging_station

    I’ll give an EV incentive for locals: SMART car of SF three year lease is about $4,200.00 and comes with a $3,500.00 rebate.

    So what good are these EV stations going to be for locals? Booneville may get overnight visitors at the Booneville Hotel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

-