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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, May 23, 2015

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HUNTER SAGAIGA lived in Boonville for a few months during his teen years. A gifted athlete who dominated the County's summer basketball leagues, Sagaiga was the last kid one would expect to find on a maniacal rampage like the one described below.

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Three San Francisco teens arrested in connection with April homicide

by Molly Martinez

Police arrested three people early Wednesday in San Francisco on suspicion of homicide and other offenses for allegedly hitting and killing a woman during a police pursuit last month.

Robert Pelesauma, 19, Hunter Sagaiga, 19, and Faavesi Koka, 18, all San Francisco residents, were arrested on suspicion of homicide, conspiracy, evading police, possession of a stolen vehicle and multiple counts of robbery, police said.

Pelesauma, Sagaiga, Koka
Pelesauma, Sagaiga, Koka

The trio had committed several armed robberies leading up to April 10th, the day of the deadly chase.

According to police, they were fleeing officers shortly before 10pm after a robbery at Clay and Larkin streets when the accident happened.

The vehicle they were driving struck and killed 42-year-old Bridget Klecker at California and Kearny streets in the city’s Financial District, police said.

After hitting Klecker, they continued to flee, hitting another pedestrian near Union Square who suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

The stolen car the trio was driving was later found unoccupied on Treasure Island, police said.

The suspects were taken into custody Wednesday after the Police Department’s homicide detail served several search warrants in San Francisco, Hayward and Santa Rosa, police said.

(Courtesy, KRON4 TV, San Francisco.)

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1934 - 2015

JackAzevedoJack B. Azevedo was born on March 30, 1934, in Snelling, California. Jack passed away peacefully at the Veterans home in Yountville, California, on Monday, April 27, 2015. Jack was laid to rest at the Sacramento National Veterans Cemetery in Dixon, California, on April 30, 2015.

Jack grew up in the Central Valley and joined the U.S. Navy in Dec. 1952. He served until Nov. 1, 1956, as a flight radioman during the Korean War.

He soon married the love of his life and began raising a family while earning a degree in business from Woodbury College.

Many will remember Jack from his time of ownership of Jack's Country Market in Cleone. Jack spent many years raising rhododendrons and his collection of many varieties of lilies.

Jack is survived by his loving wife, Carol; son, Richard Azevedo; daughter, Dorre Clayton; son, Craig Azevedo; daughter, Dana McGarr; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Jack will be greatly missed by his loving family and friends.

Memorial donations may be made to our local Veterans of Foreign Wars

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THE REST OF THE STORY. In the elections of 1988, Jack Azevedo, of Cleone, was favored over liberal candidate for 4th District Supervisor, Liz Henry, a resident of Fort Bragg. Azevedo had first come to public attention when he led a protest flotilla out of Noyo Harbor to confront a giant Russian fish factory ship sucking up all the marine life just beyond the three-mile limit. The Russian vessel was clearly visible from Fort Bragg, outraging local fishermen and public opinion generally. Azevedo then ran for Supervisor and was endorsed by outgoing supervisor, John Cimolino. With the popular Cimolino's endorsement, Azevedo was favored over the relative newcomer, Henry. But the mighty AVA obtained from Liz Henry's daughter, Lisa, and published a bizarre enemy's list compiled by Azevedo, a roster of prominent Coast citizens annotated by Azevedo to indicate after each name the suspect's identity in Azevedo-think. Categories included Jew; Communist; Mason. The bizarre roster ended Azevedo's electability, although he still managed to pull a large number of votes.

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THERE'S NO REASON at all to post stories like this one the Press Democrat put up as its lede Friday night:

“Maryland Woman Found Dead Son In Swing — Responding officers went to remove the 3-year-old boy from the swing and give him first-aid, but it was instantly clear the child was dead.”

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This gothically sad event occurred on the other side of the country, and is the kind of reporting better suited to media specializing in the grotesque. The PD seems to grab the most shocking and macabre stuff they can find off the wire as, of course, the paper studiously ignores real stories on the Northcoast.

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by Judy Valadao

My name is Judy Valadao. I have lived in Fort Bragg for 51 years. I own my home here and raised my children here. I buried one of my children here. This is my home and I love Fort Bragg. I have no doubt that Dave Turner is a good Dad good Grandfather and good husband. Those are great qualities in any human but those qualities are not reasons for or against a recall. We all have our own reasons and in a democracy we have the right to express those reasons.

My reason for agreeing with the Recall Of Dave Turner is not because of how the Old Coast vote turned out but instead with how the vote came about. I realize there were probably no laws/rules broken with what went on behind the scenes of the Old Coast Hotel deal, but trust was certainly broken and once that is gone what is left?

The community of Fort Bragg wrote over 300 letters opposed to the Old Coast transfer and sent them to City Hall, a total of over 1675 signatures were gathered in opposition, about 51 of them from business people. Additionally, the community took the time to attend meeting after meeting. For what?

Two months prior to the public being informed about the purchase, it was a done deal. Two months prior to the first meeting on this issue it was a done deal. Two months prior to the public being notified Dave Turner gave "100% support" for the deal. Two months before the public was informed about the deal, Dave Turner attended meetings with Anna Shaw and her board to give "reasonable assurance" that the City would support the deal so the papers with Old Coast's owner, Mr. Carine, could be signed.

Yes, it is true the Council is voted in to represent the people, but in order to represent the people they must first listen to the people. Of course there will be votes that people aren’t happy about or disapprove of the outcome. Sometimes decisions that deal with the financial stability of the City aren’t popular but they have to be made in order to keep the City running smoothly.

The Old Coast Hotel was not one of those decisions. It had nothing to do with the financial stability of the City (except for whatever percentage of the grant the City got to pocket). Do the homeless in this City need office space or do they need a roof over their heads? Ask them and find out. A building with over 12,000 sq. ft. of space and over 8,000 of that being used for offices and (other necessities) while a little over 3000 sq. ft. is used for housing.

How many other projects were done deals before the public even knew what was going on? How many future projects will be handled in this manner?

A few angry people? I don't think so, and I'm sure those saying that know better also. Many disappointed people? Yes, the numbers are many. At the very least this recall has opened the eyes of many about what goes on behind closed doors and how decisions are made within the City. How many past decisions were made in this way and how many future decisions have all ready been made before the public is even aware of what is happening?

Just the fact that all this dealmaking is being brought out to the public is a huge win. After all it is the public that makes up this Community and lives with the decisions made by the Council.

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My name is Charles Brandenburg. I live on Glass Beach Drive in Fort Bragg.

I’m not from Fort Bragg but I’m of Fort Bragg, for the past 13 years. My wife Mary and I came to Fort Bragg to manage the Super 8 on Main Street originally and now I am proprietor of Didjeridoo Dreamtime Inn (Mendocino) and owner of Mendocino Peace Pipes (Fort Bragg). You’ve probably seen me in town or on our beaches; I’m the guy with two Corgis. I Love Fort Bragg/Mendocino. I Like Dave Turner and find him to be a good man. I have never been involved in local affairs and have pretty much appreciated what our city government has accomplished. I work out at our $27 million sales tax subsidized CV Starr Center, I walk My Corgis on our Multi-Million dollar “Noyo Harbor Park Path” (Glass Beach). I live in a great town.

I Support the recall of Dave Turner. My reasons are my reasons. Many other people have many other reasons. Some of these reasons are only important to the person whose reason it is, but many are important to lots of us and some are important reasons to all of us.

We all know what most of these reasons to recall Dave Turner are — reasons like causing a Great Local Police Chief to resign, Wasting $300k planning an unwanted merge alignment, funding a much needed but ridiculously located mental health outreach/homeless transitional housing program in a beloved historical downtown building against the wishes of 90% of the townspeople, Not hiring John Naulty (A Local Qualified Hero) as our Police Chief. Etc.

Most Important, Not respecting the wishes of the people who voted you in. So nothing personal Dave and I won’t take it personal if you resign.

Charles Brandenburg

In Fort Bragg

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Four Southern California men have been sentenced in Mendocino County Superior Court to state prison for their role in an Ukiah Valley home invasion last fall. One of the defendants admitted to forcibly raping an occupant at gunpoint.

Deputy District Attorney Shannon Cox said Jonathan Otero-Cruz of San Bernardino received the stiffest sentence — a 24-year prison term. Cox said Otero-Cruz, 25, at a March hearing had admitted sexually assaulting a 37-year-old female resident of a Redemeyer Road home. Otero-Cruz then entered guilty pleas to charges of forcible rape at gunpoint, forcible oral copulation at gunpoint, and two counts of residential robbery, according to the prosecutor.

Cox said Otero-Cruz was one of four men who were arrested in connection with the October 8, 2014 home invasion after the vehicle they were fleeing in was pulled over on Highway 101 near Geyserville in Sonoma County. Arresting officers found a collection of drugs and weapons, including about ten pounds of marijuana, a pair of brass knuckles, an assault rifle and a shotgun. They also retrieved a black ski mask and three black bandanas believed used in the Ukiah robbery.

In addition to the home invasion, Cox said Otero-Cruz and the other men also admitted to robbing a neighbor who by chance came to the door of the victims’ home while the rape and original robbery were in progress.

Otero-Cruz, Cabrera, Montoya, Nunez
Otero-Cruz, Cabrera, Montoya, Nunez

Cox said the three other defendants sentenced to state prison are Jose Israel Cabrera, 25, and Christopher Montoya, 29, both of San Bernardino, and Filomeno Espinoza Nunez, 38, of Compton. All four men were sentenced earlier this month.

Cabrera received a 16-year prison term after entering guilty pleas to two counts of residential robbery, and admitting a prior Strike conviction, said Cox. An admission to a Strike conviction mandates a prison sentence and limits credits the defendant may earn while in state prison.

Cox said Montoya, who had no prior criminal record, received an eight-year prison term after he entered guilty pleas to two counts of residential robbery.

Nunez, who stayed watch outside and never entered the house, received a seven-year prison sentence for his role in the robbery of the neighbor, said Cox.

(District Attorney Press Release)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 22, 2015

Anderson, Brigando, Dickinson
Anderson, Brigando, Dickinson

KEITH ANDERSON, Ukiah. County parole violation.


RYAN DICKINSON, Ukiah. DUI with priors.

Hackett, Hilgert, Jensen
Hackett, Hilgert, Jensen

AUSTIN HACKETT, Willits. Child endangerment.

JAY HILGERT, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

DANIEL JENSEN, McKinleyville/Ukiah. Pot cultivation, sale, transport, furnish.

Martinez, Myers, Russell
Martinez, Myers, Russell

REFUGIO MARTINEZ, Upper Lake/Calpella. Battery of peace officer, resisting arrest.

DONNA MYERS, Ukiah. No license, probation revocation.

TENAYA RUSSELL, Ukiah. Domestic assault.

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To the Editor:

I hope the Palace Hotel is returned soon to it’s original glory and beauty of long ago. It brings sad memories to me because my stepfather Patrick Goodwin, died in the Palace Hotel. He stayed there regularly when hauling stove wood from the northern part of the county to San Francisco, and he wanted to get an early start the next morning. I can’t forget the grief it caused my mother when she was notified of his death. Before she passed away, she used to get me to drive into town and park in front of the Palace Hotel as though she expected him to walk out any minute. It could be said the Palace Hotel just made Ukiah.

Maxine Eden, Ukiah

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by Katy Tahja

If someone handed you a map of California with the 58 counties outlined and a list of their names could you put the right name within the right boundary? I couldn’t and I’m a historian. I’d be scratching my head going “Just where is San Joaquin County?”

Recently I got curious about the evolution of California’s counties since I knew in the 1850’s we, as a state, started with 23 and that grew to 58. Back then many counties covered a huge extent of land due to sparse population. As the state grew in population politicians subdivided counties. Those 1850’s counties included Benicia Sacramento, Mount Diablo, Reading, Sutter Butte, Fremont and Oro.

In 1850 the Report on Committee of Counties was chaired by Mariano Vallejo. The committee heard from locals that Santa Cruz wanted its own county and they got it. County names were changed and Oro became Tuolumne, Solano for Benicia (Sacramento became its own county), Yolo for Fremont and Shasta for Reading. New counties were proposed including Yuba, Colusa, Trinity, Marin and Mendocino. Contra Costa was the new name for Mount Diablo County and Coloma became El Dorado County.

The California Legislature on February 18, 1850, in their fifteenth enactment of law, saw the establishment of 27 counties. Boundaries of Sonoma, Solano and Napa counties were indefinite due to a lack of surveys and population. All early counties had Spanish or Native American names with two exceptions. Butte is of French origin and the area was named by French Canadian fur trappers from the Hudson Bay Company who camped along the Sacramento River. Sutter County was named for John Sutter, an early settler.

Saints in the Catholic Church provided the names for seven counties. The prefix San or Santa indicates that. Trinity and Sacramento are names with religious significance. Mendocino’s name honors Antonio de Mendoza, viceroy of New Spain, who financed Juan Cabrillo’s exploration of the coast in the 1530’s. Research says Mendocino is supposedly the adjectival form of the family name.

Gold was signified in the name El Dorado and Contra Costa the “other side” from San Francisco across the bay. Mariposa recognizes butterflies in the area, Tulares were reeds growing locally, and Calaveras was for skulls in the area found by explorer Moraga. Fresno was named for ash trees, Alameda for cottonwoods, Madera meant timber and Del Norte was “of the north.” Native American place names that became counties included Marin, Napa, Inyo “Dwelling Place of the Great Spirit,” Solano, Shasta, Colusa and Stanislaus, a mission educated native who later became a renegade.

In 1855 Humboldt County was named after explorer Alexander Von Humboldt, who never saw the place, when it was split off from Trinity County. Other counties named after people include Glenn, named from wheat farmer Dr. Hugh Glenn and Lassen, named for trapper and frontiersman Peter Lassen. The last county, Imperial, was created in 1907 and named for the Imperial Land Company intent on reclaiming desert lands for agriculture.

There were puzzlers in county names. Siskiyou had several name derivations, none particularly interesting, and Tuolomne may mean “grove of poplars” but there is debate. There was no debate when Lake County was created in 1861. It had a big lake.

I am happy to say after 60+ years of wandering back roads and rockhounding adventures I have visited every county in California. My favorite place to visit is Inyo County because a person can travel from desert to alpine meadows and mountains all within its boundaries. Go up into the White Mountains on the east side of the Owens Valley and look west and the crest of the Sierra will fill your view. While we all love Mendocino County we can explore and appreciate its 57 neighbors from San Bernardino County, the biggest county in the USA with 20,000 square miles, to the smallest in California, Alpine County, with 1,100 folks

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THERE IS A VERY OBVIOUS and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging [against poverty and racism] in America. A few years ago, there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

— Martin Luther King

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by Shepherd Bliss

Northern California’s Sonoma County has been known historically as part of the natural Redwood Empire. Wine industry lobbyists re-branded it as the commercial “Wine Country.” Its economy has been so colonized by outside investors, who extract water and resources from the environment and export them, that re-branding would be appropriate. A more accurate description would be that Sonoma County is now part of the multi-national Wine Empire.

Locals and nature have been dominated by these outside investors; they reap the benefits, while the environment and the residents pay the costs. They have de-localized, industrialized, commercialized, urbanized and commodified a once diverse agrarian place and culture with their excessive wine production and tourism.

I am one of many military veterans who fled cities for the woods to recover within nature. I moved to the countryside of small town Sebastopol and worked that land into a productive food farm. For nearly two-dozen years, I have lived amidst an abundance of redwoods, oaks, wildflowers, other vegetation, much wildlife, apple trees, and delicious boysenberries. We must work to preserve those natural resources and our agrarian culture.

Many rural locals are alarmed by the transformation of our county into a globalized Wine Empire and have been expressing that in various ways in recent years. The world’s largest Big Wine corporations -- such as Constellation, Gallo, and Altria Group (formerly Philip Morris) -- have colonized Sonoma County. Investors from far away, many of whom have never even visited our lovely county, are the main owners. Locals and this land have become their cash cow, which they bleed and de-water.

Even investors from China have bought part of our county. Last year a subsidiary of the Chinese developer Oceanside Holdings paid $41 million for a permitted resort and winery in the iconic Valley of the Moon. Another large Chinese developer, Zhu Wenchen, then bought Tolay Springs. China’s middle class is growing, and they like California wine. Wine barons from here go to China to recruit investors and promote their brands.

In describing the excessive powers and undemocratic ways of the Wine Empire, also active in other nearby California North Coast counties, one activist from the threatened Lake County used terms such as “Wine Dictatorship” and “Wine Oligarchy.”

GoLocal is a productive group that works to reverse this trend by supporting local businesses, including family vineyards and wineries. Though they have hundreds of members, theirs is a classic David vs. Goliath story.


The Wine Empire’s chainsaws butcher redwoods, oaks, and other native trees, even without the required permits. This has been described as the “Whoops” strategy by long-term environmentalist Helen Shane.

Without permits, trees are toppled to make way for long, straight, rigid, regimented rows of stakes into the Earth’s heart. Big fences are constructed to keep everything except this mono-crop out. The wildlife that survived in that habitat for centuries either finds homes elsewhere or perishes.

“When found out,” Shane added, “the developers pay a penalty and go on their ways. It’s more lucrative and efficient for them not to undergo the permitting process. They just blast away and pay a penalty after the fact. They’ve found it less cumbersome and iffy than following laws and ordinances.”

The tightly-pruned world of grapes on stakes lacks wildness, demonstrates fear of nature, and an extractive sense of reducing bio-diversity to a mere commodity to be bought and sold. Some of Big Wine’s vineyards display carefully-managed flowers, but seldom the wildflowers that bloom widely at this time of year.

Wine grapes are a notorious boom and bust crop and will surely bust. Over 60,000 acres in Sonoma County are planted to wine grapes and only about 12,000 to food crops; this is a dangerous imbalance.

The new, large vineyards tend to be conventional, rather than organic. They spray herbicides and other pesticides. Those poisons drift a long way and land on people and other unintended life forms.

For example, Paul Hobbs’ recent 47-acre vineyard converted from an apple orchard exemplifies this industrializing trend. He located it next to the rural Apple Blossom School, Orchard View School, and Tree House Hollow pre-school, with children as young as two and three years old. Parents and neighbors objected, but unfortunately the Wine Empire rules.

The Watertrough Childrens Alliance (WCA) challenged “bad apple” Hobbs. They dogged him and observed him breaking rules. They turned him in and he was charged by the County with violations such as clear-cutting redwood forests without permits and soil erosion. The County issued a “stop work” order, which slowed Hobbs down. He was liable for millions of dollars in fines. The County settled for a mere $100,000. Its regulations are not enforced equally. The Wine Empire rules.

Hobbs was back spraying this February, though he signed a Memorandum of Understanding that he would not do so without informing the schools. A repeat offender, he did not inform them.

In the bio-diverse Redwood Empire, tall trees rule. In the mono-crop Wine Empire, two-footed wine barons rule.


All empires rise and fall, including the powerful Ottoman, British, and Soviet empires. Some fall with more grace than others. Many Wine Empire residents may be fed-up enough with its rulers to at least seek to down-size Big Wine, leaving the local grape growers and wine makers. Many work hard, make good wine, and deserve support for being organic, bio-dynamic, bio-diverse and employing sustainable farming practices, such as dry farming.

Nature could stop the Wine Empire, perhaps in the form of its punishing drought. After four relentless drought years and more expected, there are still 62 current applications for new or expanded vineyards and wineries in Sonoma County to add to the hundreds already here.

It takes around 30 gallons of water to make one glass of wine. That water will come from our common, limited water supply. Thirsty mammals and other animals suffer when a small elite of mainly outsiders benefit from what should belong equally to all of us.

The Wine Empire extracts our water, processes it in factories, and imports it as wine. Along the way, they damage oxygen-providing, life-giving trees that pull moisture out of the air to the ground, and reduce diverse scenic views. They pollute the air with their truck in/truck out operations. Huge tanker trucks bring in grapes from out of the county and sell it at premium prices as “bottled in Sonoma County.”

The Wine Empire is on a collision course with nature and Sonoma County’s rural residents. Even the pro-wine industry daily Press Democrat (PD) adds references to “an increasingly contentious battle over winery development in Sonoma County,” as a PD writer did in the first sentence of an April 28 article on “controversial winery applications.” That article later refers to a “pronounced backlash from rural residents.”

The writing is on the wall. For example, Napa County’s Wagner wine family applied to build the Dairyman Winery and Distillery on the fast-moving two-lane Highway 12 between small town Sebastopol and the county’s largest city, Santa Rosa. It came to the attention of the public on Feb. 3 at a Sebastopol City Council meeting. After 18 citizens spoke against it, with only the applicant favoring it, the Council voted 5-0 to recommend rejection to the County, in whose jurisdiction it is.


“Civil disobedience” is what Councilmember John Eder suggested could eventually stop this winery as an event center. Dairyman wants a huge facility that would host over one event a week with up to 600 guests and as late as 10 p.m. This would be in the Laguna de Santa Rosa wetlands, habitat for endangered species.

A group of citizens, Preserve Rural Sonoma County, promptly set up a Facebook page and website. In a few weeks that page had nearly 1000 “likes.” (

Though the Wagners wanted to avoid an expensive Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to see if the project conforms to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), after citizens’ pressure, they were required to do so. That would cost around $500,000 and take around a year. This apparently would raise their current expenses to over $5 million.

The Wine Empire is in damage control, though it still has much power. Like other wounded beasts, it can still do significant damage.

Meanwhile, we locals live here. We love what remains of our semi-rural Sonoma County. Many of us have dug in. We know our neighbors. We do not plan to leave. We support local grape growers and wine makers who locate themselves in appropriate places where their tasting rooms are not on narrow, rural roads, thus endangering the rest of us.

Wineries belong in urban areas and along the Highway 101 corridor, which are zoned for industry. They do not belong in areas zoned for natural resources, agriculture and rural residence, since they have become mainly event centers for weddings and entertainment, which are not ag. Grape growing is only a small part of what Big Wine does, most of which is not truly agriculture.

A new group with the tentative name Four County Network (4CN) has already had three regional meetings involving residents from the nearby North Coast counties of Napa, Lake, and Mendocino. It has another meeting scheduled for June.

“The loss of farm land and dairy land to vineyards, as well as the struggle to keep small, organic farms going is serious,” said a member of the new 4CN, which focuses on winery over-development. “The impacts of event centers in wineries would be staggering, especially to water and traffic on narrow, rural roads,” he added.

Regionally, Napa County seems the most advanced in reining in its large wine industry. The Wagner family that wants to locate the Dairyman Winery and Event Center near Sebastopol settled for $1 million with Napa County for bottling 20 times more bottles than it was permitted to do.

The president of the Napa Farm Bureau—a fourth generation farmer and grape grower—spoke out against the excesses of the wine industry, as have other former wine executives, at FCN’s May meeting.

As the smaller Napa Valley runs out of water and land, its wine barons want to move to the much larger Sonoma County and to nearby Lake and Mendocino County. They can grow their grapes there and bottle the wine in Napa or Sonoma, which increases their worth.

Long Live the Redwoods!

(Dr. Shepherd Bliss { teaches college, farms, and has contributed to 24 books.)

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Now, It's Santa Barbara

by Dan Bacher

State and federal government crews continue to monitor the clean up of a big oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara as the size of the disaster has expanded.

The spill from a ruptured pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline expanded overnight from 4 miles long to two slicks stretching 9 miles along the coast, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The pipeline carries crude oil from to Flores to Gaviota.

Preliminary reports indicated that the ruptured 24 inch pipeline in Goleta leaked an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil Tuesday. However, the pipeline company may have actually released as much as 105,000 gallons, with tens of thousands of gallons going into the ocean, according to the latest data from Plains All American.

A local first reported the spill coming from a leak in the pipeline at Refugio State Beach around noon on Tuesday, May 19. The Coast Guard dispatched members from the Marine Safety Detachment Santa Barbara and Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach upon initial notification, according to a statement from the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard crews stopped the leak by 3 p.m., according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrea Anderson. In addition to the Coast Guard, the California Office of Emergency Services, California Fish and Wildlife, county fire departments, and Exxon Mobil are currently on scene.

“Contractors are working to remove contained pockets of oil utilizing skimmers, vacuum trucks, absorbent pads, and absorbent boom,” the Coast Guard reported. “Additional cleanup actions are ongoing through the sandy beaches in the affected area. Approximately 3,000 feet of containment boom has been deployed.”

A fishing ban has been established by the Department of Fish and Wildlife until data reflects that the fish are safe to eat. The closure is initiated from one mile east to one mile west of Refugio State Beach and a distance of ½ mile off shore.

The Santa Barbara Health Department recommends that all residents avoid contact with areas where the oil spill is present. “Refugio Beach remains closed and is considered a Hazmat area and only personnel with Hazmat credentials are authorized be on the beach,” said Susan Klein-Rothschild, Public Information Officer for the Health Department.

For more information about the spill, go to:

The spill is located near the Campus Point State Marine Conservation Area, an alleged “marine protected area” created under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, as well as near the Refugio State Marine Conservation Area.

In one of the biggest environmental scandals in recent California history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, served as Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force that created the Campus Point State Marine Conservation Area and other so-called “marine protected areas.” She also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast from 2004 to 2012.

Reheis-Boyd leads the campaign to expand fracking and offshore oil drilling in California. The alleged “marine protected areas” created under the leadership of her and other corporate operatives on the MLPA Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil spills, oil drilling, pollution, corporate aquaculture, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

Oil industry says it “regrets” oil spill

Reheis-Boyd responded to the oil spill in a statement. She claimed, “As an industry, we are always concerned when accidents like this happen. WSPA members strive to prevent any amount of spillage and have numerous programs and procedures designed to prevent such occurrences. Once the incident is contained and thoroughly cleaned up, they will review the facts surrounding this incident and apply what they learn to prevent future accidents.”

“We are grateful for the quick response on the part of the Coast Guard, Plains All American, the Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response and other responders that appear to have quickly limited the size of the spill. And we appreciate the efforts of the local response agencies and volunteers who are working on cleanup efforts,” she said.

She noted that Plains All American, the owner of the pipeline, is a member of the Western States Petroleum Association.

In a statement, Plains All American said it “deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact. Our focus remains on ensuring the safety of all involved. No injuries have been reported at this time.”

Spill a “stark reminder” of risks posed by expanded oil drilling

As reports of the spill and the clean up efforts were emerging, representatives of environmental groups responded to the disaster.

Becca Claassen, Santa Barbara County Organizer of Food & Water Watch, said the Santa Barbara spill provides even more reason for the state of California to ban fracking.

“The oil spill near Refugio State Beach is a stark reminder of the dangerous risks expanded oil drilling poses to Santa Barbara County’s environment and its residents’ quality of life,” said Classen. “This incident is all the more reason to ban fracking both offshore and onshore to help prevent future spills and protect Santa Barbara’s beautiful beaches and coastal environment.”

In 2013, an Associated Press and Freedom of Information Act investigation revealed that oil companies had conducted fracking offshore fracking operations in Southern California waters, including the Santa Barbara Channel, over a 20-year period. The oil companies were fracking Southern California waters at the same time that Reheis-Boyd served as the Chair of the MLPA panel for the South Coast from 2009 to 2012.

“There it is!” said Joey Racano of the Ocean Outfall Group, after he heard about the oil spill. “This has been a site of ongoing fracking offshore for years with no public knowledge or review. Christine Reheis Boyd, Western States Petroleum Association President AND chair of the Blue Ribbon Panel on the MLPA, here are the results of your handiwork and deceit.”

Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director with the Center for Biological Diversity, released the following statement about the spill:

“Time and again we’ve seen oil foul our coasts, whether it’s Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico or Santa Barbara. Oil spills are part of the ugly cost of fossil fuel development, made even worse by aging domestic infrastructure. It doesn’t have to be this way and it shouldn’t. We need to start aggressively moving away from fuel sources that are devastating for wildlife, people and our climate. If we don’t, what we’re seeing in Santa Barbara will continue be the norm.”

Volunteers are being coordinated through

Senate Bill 788 closes offshore oil drilling loophole

The oil spill makes it even more urgent that the Legislature pass State Senator Mike McGuire’s California Coastal Protection Act of 2015 (Senate Bill 788), to address a glaring offshore oil drilling loophole in California law.

The California Coastal Sanctuary Act, passed in 1994, contains a loophole from the offshore extraction prohibition, Public Resources Code 6244, by allowing new oil leases if the “State Lands Commission determines that oil and gas deposits contained in tidelands are being drained by means of wells upon adjacent federal lands and leasing of the tidelands for oil or gas production is in the best interest of the State.”

SB 788 would eliminate this loophole by repealing PRC 6244 to ensure that the Coastal Sanctuary Act and Marine Life Protection Act are able to provide their intended protections for our coastal resources and prevent additional offshore oil extraction.

Yes, the Western States Petroleum Association President, the same oil lobbyist who oversaw the creation of fake “marine protected areas” in Southern California, and the oil companies are opposing SB 788.

Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento. He can be reached at: Dan Bacher

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Live with me, live with me


Lost in space

I heard you were lost in space

That's such a lonely place

For you to be


Out of control

Singin' with too much soul

I heard you got out on parole

Workin' for the queen


Gardening again, landscape again

Keepin' all the grounds around her clean

Workin' for the queen


Don't take out the magic pen

Don't draw on the infinity board

Your buildings, if they rise again

Would do much better on the ocean floor

They'll never feel the way they did before

They did before


Out on the ocean floor, out on the ocean floor

What could be stranger than the unknown danger

That lies on the ocean floor


Breakers crash on the beach

I count them like lambs in my sleep

They come at me steady

They know I'm not ready

They pound on my mattress door

Have they got a big one in store


Losing you

I heard I was losing you

That's not the only thing

That I got to lose

I got to lose

The deep sea blues

Look at these blues

The deep sea blues


Live with me, live with me

— Neil Young

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RICK WEDDLE WRITES: It's so tiresome to have to rehash lessons long learned. But here's another that circled around and sneaked up on me, yet again. This Rogue River got its name not from its wild and boisterous personality, but from the European 'settlers'' regard for the First Nations People they encountered here. Seems the locals were slow to appreciate the blessings of civilization so freely offered by the newcomers. Imagine the temerity of the 'indians' to be so grouchy about being elbowed away from their customary fishing zones, places of residence, and so on! The savages didn't even have a word for 'civilization,' and were downright inhospitable to the flood of undocumented aliens who spoke unintelligible tongues and dressed the Spanish, the French, and later, the Anglos called 'em rogues. Our history is so replete with instances of 'shoot first, ask questions later,' it's even become more like, 'shoot first, shoot later.' Yep, she's a great country, and gettin' greater by the minute.

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The California Highway Patrol (CHP) conducted a sobriety checkpoint on May 22, 2015, in the Ukiah Area of Mendocino County.

Sobriety checkpoints are staffed by California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officers, who are trained in the detection of alcohol and or drug impaired drivers. CHP Drug Recognition Experts, certified by the National Highway Traffic Administration, will be on-site to provide on the spot assessment of drivers suspected of drug use.

“Every year, members of our community are needlessly maimed and killed on our roads. Our goal is to ensure the safe passage of each and every motorist by targeting roads where there is a high frequency of drunk driving. A sobriety checkpoint is an effective tool for achieving this goal and is designed to augment existing patrol operations. By publicizing our efforts, we believe that we can deter motorists from drinking and driving,” said Captain Nellis.

Nellis emphasized, “Traffic volume permitting, all vehicles will be checked and drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and or drugs will be arrested. Our top priority is to promote traffic safety and educate the motorist of the dangers of driving under the influence.”

The checkpoint operated from 7pm-2am in the unincorporated area of Ukiah at North State Street south of Empire Drive. Funding for this project was provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). Any question please contact CHP Public Information Officer Kylar Adams at (707) 467-4040.

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We hope everyone is well and enjoying a lovely spring. We've included a couple of not-so-great pictures, one of the interior of the aquaponic greenhouse we built off the side of the big barn, and another of a piece (the space is too tight to photo all of it) of the 6000 gal fish tank inside a room in the big barn. Above the tank hangs a small tank for the baby fish.

The weather here has been cool and very windy for a week or so but is finally warming up enough to allow us to finish our summer plantings. For the first time this year, we sowed all our own starts and the greenhouse is overloaded. The tomatoes are in the ground as are the eggplant but there are a zillion peppers, cucumbers, okra and melons to go. The direct seeded crops - winter squash, garbanzos, bush beans, and pole beans will be next.

We're excited! We received a request from a fellow in California who wants to buy our baby boy yak, Oppai. That would save us from having to geld him (something we had no choice but to do) and save him from a loveless life. He's wanted to sire a herd so once he reaches maturity, around 2 yrs old, he'll be a busy fellow. If the "deal goes down" that means we've sold both 2014's babies this year. People are becoming aware of yaks, it seems, and probably by October there will be 2 more.

Have fun. — Nikki and Steve

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April 2015 Report


2” rain early in month. Some drizzles since. No frost.


Boonville market ok. Ft Bragg good. SF market mediocre.

On-farm sales excellent. Yorkville Market great.

Did last B’ville winter market at Goat Fest. First time for the event. Slow.

Aquaponics: Wind an issue for greenhouse cover. Luffing causing plastic to stretch. W looking into tougher covering. Goldfish so happy in big tank they spawned. W realized too late and most eggs eaten. Created special tank for eggs which hangs above big tank. Saw one baby fish in it! Continued reorganization of greenhouse area. Looks great: better yet, harvesting food from it.

Sent comments back re round two of land conservation easement agreement. Hike of land requested by AVLT.

Clémence and Nick visited one day - planted leeks, visited Yorkville Cellars, stayed for dinner - at end of March. Nick is part owner of Mario & John’s Tavern in Petaluma. He bought flat of Bloody Mary mix and syrups for mixed drinks they create. Seem to be a hit. Clemence here again week or so later before returning to Rheims & bought another couple of flats of mixers for the Tavern.

Finished planting onions.

About out of beef. LM saving 2 steer for slaughter in Sept. Pork continues to sell steadily.

Spent fun morning talking aquaponics and farming with writer and photographer from “California Bountiful”, a glossy mag produced by Farm Bureau, for article to appear Sept/Oct. Took lots of pics. Looking forward to seeing them/it.

Attended Williamson Act meeting in B’ville.

Attended Mendo Land Trust appreciation get together. Enjoyable.

Strawberries started ripening. Looks to be good crop.

No updates on canning regs. Seems either no one understands them or wants to.

Barn roof runoff at top of 501 has filled LM’s water tanks for cattle.

Foundation poured for worker (Juan) housing.

Tree map still not done.

Bought second batch of 20 chicks. One died. Decided against third batch. Have more than enough now. Goal is 100 hens. We get about 70 eggs a day & sell all.


Greenhouse overflowing with summer starts…tomato, eggplant, pepper, okra, melon, cucumber, basil. Look good.

Planted out red cabbage, Napa cabbage, fennel, choy, escarole.

Kit arrived for 10 day stay at end of month. Put to work immediately!

Kevin came for dinner, stayed over in PB, rose early, shot turkey, had breakfast, left. Great company.


In ground/producing —kale, broccoli, thyme, oregano, mint, cilantro, artichokes, parsley, escarole, bok choy, celery, radish, turnips, beets, chard, lettuce, asparagus, carrots.


In aquaponics/producing/experimenting — choy, mint, lettuce, chives, escarole, endive, broccoli, celery, watercress, strawberries, raspberry, marionberry, ginger, turmeric, lemon, peppers, tomatoes.

VAPS Produced

Total VAPs: 235

Salsa Verde, Tomatillo Jam, Tomato Sauce w/ Basil, Tomato Basil Soup, Pickled Asparagus, Strawberry Jam, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Strawberry Lavender Jam, Strawberry Vanilla Jam, Lard


Calendula, love in mist, rosemary, euryops, Empress tree, iris, mock orange (Philadelphius), roses, fennel, bachelor buttons, arugula, poppy,


Most trees finished flowering by end of month, except American persimmons and jujubes. Figs have great first set. Berries are flowering.


First group of 20 chicks are teenagers now and about to move from “chick box” to own coop. Then the babies will move to outdoor “chick box”. We need to “process” some of the oldest hens to make room for the young ones.


Seem to have great sets on most fruit trees old enough to bear. Have several pears with fireblight problems…a deadly bacterial infection if not operated on in time. Bees carry it from flower to flower but cool, damp weather starts it. There is no cure other than limb removal.

Workers: Cam, Wynne, Sarah, Cliff, Juan, Dave

Visitors, Kit, Alexis, Brian, Hazel.

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Please join Sanctuary Forest on Saturday, May 30 for the Birds of the Lost Coast Hike in the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Long-time birders Alan Ridley and Helen McKenna will introduce you to meadow, shore, and forest birds, and talk about their nesting and parenting habits. This is an easy trek through the eucalyptus groves and meadows of the Sinkyone coast, with one section of very steep uphill walking. Please meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Sanctuary Forest office, and bring binoculars, lunch and water. A four-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance would be helpful with carpooling. The hike is free of charge, though donations are gladly accepted and help us to offer this program year after year. Advance sign-ups are advised but not required. For questions or clarifications, visit or call 707-986-1087 ext. 1#. Hope to see you there!

Support from volunteers and local businesses have made this program possible for Sanctuary Forest. Local businesses that have made generous contributions are James Holland, MSW Counseling Services, J.Angus Publishing Group, Southern Humboldt Fitness, Sylvandale Gardens, The Security Store, Blue Star Gas, Caffe Dolce, Charlotte’s Perennial Gardens, Coffee Break, Mattole River Studios, Monica Coyne Artist Blacksmith, Randall Sand & Gravel, Whitethorn Construction, Ned Hardwood Construction, Pierson Building Center, Chautauqua Natural Foods, Dazey’s Supply, Madrone Realty, First Fig Gallery, Hohstadt’s Garden Center, Humboldt Bar & Grill, Roy Baker, O.D., Redwood Properties, Vella Wood Flooring, Wildberries Marketplace, Whitethorn Winery and Mattole Meadows

Sanctuary Forest is a land trust whose mission is to conserve the Mattole River watershed and surrounding areas for wildlife habitat and aesthetic, spiritual, and intrinsic values in cooperation with our diverse community.

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One Comment

  1. Alice Chouteau May 23, 2015

    Thanks to Judy and Charles for their excellent letters. Charles is right that there are many and varied reasons to recall Turner. I would like to know why Turner, when asked publicly at a City Council meeting why he hired a San Francisco law firm instead of a lawyer from the coast, or at least from the county, flippantly replied, “because she knocked my socks off.” I think the public deserves a real answer, since this firm is costing taxpayers a lot more and their main function thus far appears to be acting as the mayor’s pit bulls against the public that pays their fees.
    Then there is the blatant dishonesty by city gov. The emails recently published giving the details of the old Coast Hotel deal, revealing that Carine approached the city last fall, offering to reduce the exorbitant price of nearly 3 million $$$ to 900,00, as long it was appraised at the higher price to give him a whopping $2 million tax break, are contrary to the city’s deliberate misrepresentation of the deal, describing Carine as a heroic generous benefactor, and presenting the Hotel as an unsaleable white elephant is simply outrageous.
    So I support the recall, and have great hopes for the town’s future with a more responsive, honest city council.
    Alice Chouteau

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