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Mendocino County Today: Monday, May 25, 2015

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NAVARRO ALERT: A reader writes:

The USGS flow graph speaks volumes regarding the current state of the Navarro River. The precipitous drop in flow – down by half in one week – is huge. It appears someone or several someones are drawing off serious amounts of water.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?site_no=11468000

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HEY - THIS SOUNDS LIKE EASY MONEY

We saw the following post on the MCNlistserv: "The Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council will pay $1 per signature to place an initiative on this November’s ballot to create a Mendocino Cannabis Commission to advise the Board of Supervisors on future policy with regard to cannabis as it affects the economy, the environment, business, real estate, small farmers, etc. Contact: 937.238 Green Star Ag Solutions of Mendocino Brooke Horowitz Office 707.937.2382 Cell 707.239.4317 "

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportPlus.)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 24, 2015

Alford, K.Anderson, M.Anderson, Betts
Alford, K.Anderson, M.Anderson, Betts

DELBERT ALFORD, Ukiah. Parole violation.

KEITH ANDERSON, Ukiah. Shoplifting, county parole violation.

MARLENE ANDERSON, Willits. Domestic battery.

KEITH BETTS, Covelo. Assault on police officer, criminal threats of death or great bodily injury, saps or similar weapons, probation revocation.

Cape, Creamer, Cupples
Cape, Creamer, Cupples

CHERLYN CAPE, Willits. Vehicle theft.

DARRELL CREAMER, Fort Bragg. Trespassing.

ENOCH CUPPLES, Ukiah. Appropriation of lost property without trying to return it.

Davis, Edwardson, Gonzalez, Hanover
Davis, Edwardson, Gonzalez, Hanover

ERAINA DAVIS, Covelo. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

RONALD EDWARDSON, Valley Springs/Potter Valley. DUI.

FILIBERTO GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

THOMAS HANOVER JR., Ukiah. Brandishing, resisting arrest, probation revocation.

N.Khairzada, S.Khairzada, Luckain, Wissler
N.Khairzada, S.Khairzada, Luckain, Wissler

NASRIN KHAIRZADA, Laytonville. Pot possession for sale.

SAIR KHAIRZADA, Laytonville. Pot possession for sale.

RICARDO LUCKAIN, New York City/Ukiah. Burglary.

CLAUDIA WISSLER, Willits. DUI.

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THE BEAR LINCOLN CASE REVISITED

by Mark Scaramella

In the late afternoon of April 14, 1995, just over 20 years ago now, Arylis Peters shot and killed Gene Britton in the Covelo High School parking lot. Peters and Britton both had been drinking. Peters said Britton was reaching for his rifle in his pickup intending to shoot at him. Peters eventually pleaded out to second degree murder, then tried to withdraw his plea but the withdrawal request was denied and Peters was packed off to state prison where he remains.

According to Grand Jury records at the time, in March, the month prior to the April shooting death of Gene Britton, Byron Peters, was beaten up by Neil Britton and some of his friends. Neil was 23 years old and Byron was 17.

Byron's father, Leonard Peters, insisted his son go to the police. Three times the elder Peters set up appointments with Sheriffs deputies but those efforts were unsuccessful. The Peters said the deputies had stood them up each time.

Byron continued to be harassed by the older men until he fought back by shooting into the side of their truck while it was parked at a Covelo filling station. Deputies arrested Byron within hours.

The alleged non-response by the Sheriff’s Department to the Peters complaint, and the almost immediate arrest of Byron Peters for shooting into a Britton truck, led to confrontations between Byron's father, Leonard Peters, and Gene Britton, Neil Britton's father.

A full family feud between the Brittons and the Lincoln-Peters families had erupted.

Arylis Peters, soon encountered Gene Britton, in the parking lot of the Covelo High School. Both men were armed, but Peters proved faster on the draw, fatally shooting the elder Britton as Britton went for his gun. This afternoon shooting at the high school led to a police manhunt for Arylis Peters, and it was that search for Arylis Peters that led to the shooting deaths of Leonard Peters and Deputy Bob Davis later that April evening, and which would made Bear Lincoln a cause célèbre among liberals in Mendocino County and throughout the United States.

Arylis Peters, despondent over the death of his brother and in ill health, did not participate in his own defense, such as it was. In a modern day record for Mendocino County, Arylis Peters was sentenced to 25-to-life a mere seven weeks after being charged. Peters' lawyer, then-Public Defender Ron Brown, later a Superior Court judge (who died not long ago of cancer), never questioned his client’s state of mind nor did he raise the issue of self-defense even though it was known that Gene Britton also had a gun and was apparently reaching for it at the time he was shot.

Arylis Peters fired his lethal shot at Gene Britton from a car driven by Kathleen Lincoln. Her husband, Les Lincoln, was in the back seat. Neil Britton's statement to police said that Les Lincoln handed Arylis the rifle he used to shoot his father, Gene Britton. Les Lincoln had the charges against him dropped for lack of evidence, but his wife Kathleen received three years for being an accessory to the murder of Gene Britton.

Neil Britton was one of only two civilian witnesses called to testify in front of the Grand Jury against Bear Lincoln, the other being a mystery witness by the name of Robert Steitler.

* * *

As night fell on that April 14th , police descended on Covelo looking for Arylis Peters. There was a full moon often obscured by rain clouds.

Deputies Bob Davis, a Native American and former Navy Seal, and Dennis Miller, former resident deputy in Anderson Valley, dispatched themselves to the top of a ridge between Round Valley and the Little Valley home of Bear Lincoln and family lived.

The Sheriff’s Department had information that led them to believe that Arylis might be at the Little Valley home of Bear Lincoln, four miles west of the high school, over the shallow ridge from Round Valley proper, hence the tactical placement of deputies Miller and Davis on the ridge overlooking the Lincoln property.

Deputy Dennis Miller: “We were completely off the road, uh, the trail that goes along the ridge there. We were completely off the main road. Um, and it wasn't a road block it was just uh...uh, a surveillance point.”

The “surveillance point” was on top of a large berm in the bend of the road where Davis’s 4x4 patrol vehicle was parked out of the view of anyone coming up the road from Lincoln’s compound down in Little Valley.

Deputy Miller said that he and Davis had just arrived at the ridgetop and backed their car off the road when Davis alerted Miller that someone was coming up the road. It was about 10pm. Both deputies quickly got out of their patrol wagon and Davis, Miller said, shined a flashlight on a man walking up the road carrying a rifle. Davis shouted, "Sheriff's Department! Drop the gun."

Miller testified that Davis repeated the command three times. But the man shouldered a rifle and, Miller said, fired a shot in the direction of the deputies, and both deputies opened return fire with pistols. The man with the rifle went down and it was quiet.

From Bear Lincoln’s trial testimony:

What was the first thing, as you approached the summit, that you did hear?

Well, I heard Acorn. He said, “Oh, fuck.”

Then what happened?

"Then there was a barrage of gunfire, and bullets."

And how far behind him were you?

"About the same distance. 25 feet."

And when you say “a barrage of gunfire” what do you mean?

"A lot of bullets going off at the same time."

Could you see gunfire, that is any of kind light… I don’t know, any kind of fire from any muzzle?

"No. I didn’t see anything."

Had you heard any person emit any sound other than Acorn who said “Oh, fuck”?

"No."

Had Acorn shot? Did you see him shoot?

"No. He didn’t."

Did you shoot before Acorn fell?

"No."

How did he fall?

"He fell backwards."

How far from you did he fall?

"20 to 25 feet."

What did you do then?

"I chambered a round in my gun and I returned fire."

* * *

From their surveillance point, Deputies Miller and Davis had shot and killed Leonard Peters who was walking up the road a short distance in front of Bear Lincoln.

Miller said he then reached into the patrol vehicle and retrieved Bob Davis's fully automatic M-16 rifle. Peters was dead in the road in front of the deputies. Davis crawled around the back of their patrol vehicle to where Miller was crouched, saying he thought he was hit and that he thought there was another suspect behind them. Davis turned on his flashlight and was checking his “leg and abdomen” for wounds while Miller called for back-up and an ambulance, according to Miller’s statement.

Miller and Davis, apparently in fear that someone was to their rear, decided to cross the dirt road to seek cover on the downhill side of the roadbed just beyond where Peters lay dead. As they scurried past the body of Peters, Davis stopped to check Peters for vital signs. Miller stated that he then saw a movement followed by the flash of a gun blast.

“Davis fired one or two rounds at the same time I cut loose with about a six round burst on full automatic,” said Miller. “I stepped off the edge (of the dirt road) and I fell and I hit on my left side and I rolled and come straight up and flopped and went back to the berm of the road, and as I come back to the berm of the road, I saw Davis on his back against the … first he was against the wall and then he just went straight on his back.”

This version of events, however, would be contradicted as the case moved forward.

As it turns out, Lincoln was following some 20-30 feet behind Peters and he indeed did open fire with his semi-automatic, which he was carrying in the expectation that members of the Britton family were out to get either him or a member of his family because of the earlier shooting of Gene Britton by Arylis Peters. Lincoln and Peters assumed, apparently, that they'd been ambushed by the Brittons, not the police.

One of Bear Lincoln’s bullets in the first encounter had apparently hit Davis in the hand. Lincoln testified later that he hadn’t heard the cops identify themselves nor did he see them or their car. From the top of the berm, people walking up the road from the Lincoln place are not visible until they're almost at the top of the road where the police vehicle was parked off the road and mostly out of sight. The two parties were shooting at each other at almost point blank range, no more than 25 or 30 feet.

After the first encounter, Lincoln later testified, Lincoln ran down the hill to his right, as he faced up toward where the cops were firing down the hill at him, and hid in a dry creekbed.

Not having heard any more gunfire while down in the creekbed, he thought whoever it was might have left, so he made his way back up the road to check on his friend, Acorn Peters, who was lying dead in the road, although Lincoln didn’t know that at the time. As Bear Lincoln cautiously approached the part of the road from where he'd jumped over the bank at the initial exchange of fire, he was still carrying his Mini-14.

Meanwhile the two deputies thought they heard sounds in the brush, and that someone might be preparing to attack them from their rear. They decided to take cover in a clump of small oaks across the road from their wagon. Davis then apparently decided to check the fallen man again.

As Davis bent over the body, Miller said he saw motion down the road and fired a burst of full-automatic fire from his M-16 assault rifle at that movement. Almost simultaneously Miller fell over an embankment, rolled on his shoulder, and came back up. Davis had been shot in the head. Miller saw more movement down the road and fired another burst at that movement.

“There was an explosion of gunfire,” Lincoln testified. “The shooting started again. I was maybe 30-40 yards from Acorn’s body.”

Lincoln couldn’t see anything: “It was too dark.” He said he could see gunfire muzzle blasts, but no figures or people, and he heard no voices. He said the gunfire seemed to be coming from somewhere on the road this time because he could see the muzzle blasts. “It sounded like automatic weapons going off continuously,” Lincoln said. “There were bullets flying by me. I returned fire, but I didn’t have anything to aim at. But only one round went off. I kept pulling the trigger, but it just clicked.”

Deputy Bob Davis lay dead against the bank of the high side of the road, a fatal wound to the head and a superficial wound to the back of his hand. These were his only two wounds, according to the autopsy report.

At that time, no one knew who was in the vicinity or who was shooting at the cops or who shot first at whom. It was chaos and it was about to get a lot more chaotic.

In his first account of the incident, Deputy Dennis Miller said that Leonard Peters had fired at the deputies with his rifle after they had identified themselves as cops, and that they had killed him with their return fire.

But when Peters’ rifle was tested, it tested “clean.” It had not been fired. When Deputy Miller was informed of this finding he revised his version of events to say that Peters raised his gun as if to fire when the deputies shot and killed him. This change in Miller's testimony would become a key point in the case. Miller’s new version of events was that whoever was behind, further down the road behind Peters, had fired first.

It was never clearly established who shot first.

Miller insisted that whoever was behind Peters, which would have been Bear Lincoln, shot first and the deputies shot Peters in return fire. Lincoln’s defense team implied several times that Leonard Peters had been murdered by the police for simply raising his rifle in likely reaction to having a flashlight beamed at him, that he had not been warned that the flashlight belonged to the police. Everybody on that ridge that night had reason to think somebody else (or more) was out to shoot them.

It was also never clearly established who shot Davis or when — before he ran down the road towards the Lincoln’s cabin or later in the event. But given Miller’s testimony that he had fired two rounds of full-automatic fire from an M-16 assault rifle at “motion down the road” in the dark, it would be reasonable to presume that one of those bullets could have unintentionally hit and killed Davis.

But nobody in law enforcement wanted to believe that a deputy might have accidentally killed his own partner.

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Law enforcement descended on the scene en masse. So did emergency personnel. But no one was in charge. Civilians arriving on-scene, including the late DA Norm Vroman and former Supervisor John Pinches said that Sheriff Tuso was beside himself with grief and in no condition to manage the scene. Cops, fearing someone or someones were still armed and at large, were shooting at anything that moved. Round Valley residents later reported that they heard hundreds of gunshots from the area long into the night and into the next morning.

The “crime scene” had been trampled and driven over by dozens of people, mostly cops and other emergency responders by daybreak.

Nevertheless, three key pieces of evidence were soon found: Leonard Peters’ unfired rifle, Bear Lincoln’s hat, and blood drops, later proven to be Deputy Davis’s blood, were found leading from where the two men lay dead down the road to Bear Lincoln’s gate. Davis, a resident of Round Valley and familiar with the territory, had been shot in the hand during the very first exchange of fire that killed Peters and which prompted return fire from Lincoln. Davis had run down the hill toward Lincoln’s cabin in an attempt to catch up with the second figure that Deputy Miller testified they'd seen in the road after Peters was shot.

When law enforcement recognized Bear Lincoln’s hat near the scene, a highly inflammatory wanted notice was circulated and a multi-agency, house-to-house search commenced for anyone in Covelo who might know something about where Lincoln was.

Lincoln has never said how he managed to elude the large manhunt for him. But four months later he turned himself in at the law office of Tony Serra in San Francisco.

And so began what would become the biggest and longest trial in modern Mendocino County history where, after much heated controversy and legal maneuvering over almost two years, Lincoln was acquitted. According to post-verdict statements, the jury simply didn’t believe Deputy Miller’s version of events.

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IS JEREMY FREEMAN PROTECTING SOMEONE?

Dear Editor:

After Jeremy Jason Freeman had been sentenced, the Lincoln family was asked to write a statement about how this court decision has affected us individually.

Here is how I feel about the verdict:

Jeremy Freeman skipped the whole trial process and pleaded guilty for murdering Belle Rodriguez and he got 19-to-life.

I mean, come on! Why is he covering up for all of the others who were there?

Something more is going on here than meets the eye.

I mean nobody is gonna do 19-to-life to keep their friends' names in the clear.

Friends?! Yeah, right. Did they call him? Did they write? Did they show any kind of support while he was locked up? (Jeremy knows the answer to that one.)

His friends will let him rot in state prison as long as their names don't come up.

Would any one of them do the same for him if it came down to it? Hell no! But it is Jeremy's decision to keep their names out of the spotlight.

"Loyalty" is not the word for his choice. "Stupidity" would be a more accurate term. 19-to-life is the white man's justice. In state prison Jeremy will have to deal with Indian justice. What I hear is the "broz" in state prison don't take too kindly with Indians killing Indians.

What? We're supposed to be sad? (Those last words were borrowed from Jeremy's mother, Susan Britton as she was walking by my niece Rosy Azbill and her dad Lenny Azbill after Belle's murder. Does she feel sad now?

Jeremy's verdict is just the tip of the iceberg. The boat is sinking and hopefully he won't let himself be the only one going down with the ship.

Love you, Belle.

Eric Lincoln, a citizen for human justice and advocate for victims of a wrongful death.

Covelo

PS. A copy of this impact statement went to the District Attorney. He's the one who requested it.

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LESSONS FROM A LONG LIFE

To the Editor:

In the Navy during WWII my first girlfriend ran a Ben Franklin Dime store in the Watts area of Los Angeles. Any veteran my age will remember the warning by our shore patrol to only have liberty in groups. The zoot-suiters mugged me and took my shoes, my watch, my hat and my upper uniform. Again, in San Diego, the same thing, and they broke my collar bone. Still hurts to this day at 90 years of age. As a child in Chicago, each culture and race or nationality had our own neighborhood and church - all was peaceful. Then in 1948 after the war came television. The have-not people saw what the successful have-folks enjoyed. Today in 2015 the internet has aroused the have-nots again. The working have-folks versus the vast, more primitive cultures caught up in religions that promote violence. Evolution is a long ladder; my culture has evolved mental pursuits for justice. Down the ladder people more physical in behavior who like sports express a violent side when things go wrong at a game or on the street. They think the world owes them. The Romans enjoyed killing the Christians; the more blood the better. The human race has not changed. Parents, the child you created absorbs more in his brain in his first 6 years of life than he will the rest of his life - determining future behaviors. Day care, bought, is no substitute. Later college is just to fit in. He will be a follower or a leader. In the home you, his mother and father teach by example. Our young at puberty, filled with hormones, resist authority at home and on the street. Our police cannot physically fix what you had no time for. All the goodies in life come later; a reward for work. A free ride from government has no value. The human body, young or old is not strong so any physical fight in football or on the street the policeman or you will be hurt or die. I only finished High School, then the war. So through very humble jobs working 18 hours a day, I made it. I did not aim too high so I could reach the top; life is short. My choices were no smokes, no drinks, no drugs or gambling. Today’s pursuit of just “things” brings no happiness. You folks out there, each day say a kind hello to someone you do not even know. You will be truly richer.

Gene Hoggren, Redwood Valley

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MENDOCINO COUNTY HISTORY: The Willits News, May 7, 1926: Headline: "Mendocino wild man fights constable."

Story: "A.L. Triplett, a husky rancher of Mendocino, standing 6 feet, 6 inches in his soxes and weighing over 200 pounds, gave a fearful and exciting exhibition of his pounds, strength and agility last Friday night, which was the cause of a great deal of excitement while it lasted. Triplett had recently showed signs of being mentally unbalanced. Recently he gave a few exhibitions on his ranch near town, which he called a rodeo and which consisted of throwing and hogtying a wild steer and shooting off guns and pistols. Friday evening he drove into Evergreen Cemetery with his car and soon after was noticed gathering flowers and strewing them about and waving his arms and playing a harmonica. A lot of small children gathered about him to watch his antics and some older person became frightened and telephoned Constable Patton. Patton started for the cemetery and shortly after Dan Vaughn, local taxi driver, was asked to go over and get some of the children who were following the wild man about. Daniel, who is a deputy sheriff, slipped his six-gun into his pocket and started out. In the meantime Constable Patton, who is himself a husky specimen of humanity, had approached Triplett expecting to get him away from the cemetery without any trouble, when the latter in a spirit of playfulness, picked up the constable and threw him to the ground and was sitting on him when two local gunmen came to the assistance of the officer. Triplett surrendered to superior artillery, he was not armed, submitted to be handcuffed, was thrown into his own car and driven away. Enroute to town, however, he kicked off the top of the automobile and otherwise made things lively for his captors. He was taken to Ukiah Saturday to be examined for his sanity."

(Contributed by District Attorney David Eyster.)

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DARK FORCES IN FORT BRAGG?

Dear AVA,

If you all would ever get beyond your knee-jerk reactions w/re to Fort Bragg's politics, you might discover the elements behind the recall of the Mayor are much more sinister than you currently appreciate.

An indicator of your superficiality? The Mayor's name is Dave, not Ron, Turner, as published in your May 20, 2015 issue in your Off The Record column.

Roanne Withers — were she still among the living — would really give you all an earful about what's really going on up there. And, believe me, it has so very little to do with the Coast Hotel's disposition.

Can you guys wake up? Or have the intoxication of your self righteous sanctimony finally blinded you, preventing your reporters from looking behind the curtain?

There's a lot more going on behind the scenes in Fort Bragg's governance than you seem to be able to see. Smugness blinds you.

Roanne and Ron Gunther must be spinning in their graves because you are so far off base here.

I rely on your paper to report the news, not knee-jerk diatribes about the “establishment”; which in Fort Bragg's case is a study in honest good governance. What exactly is your gripe? What are the recalls?

I challenge you to move beyond your mere opinion into the realm of factual reporting about what's going on up there in Fort Bragg. It's bigger, deeper and darker than you currently are able to realize. It has to do with good old boys and the bad old times and land use and money and power that certain factions lost in the Clean Sweep campaign and now they — and others — want the power back. And these dark forces are relying on your preternatural anti-establishment bias to further their efforts to usurp a democratically elected government and install instead a Koch brothers inspired group of interests that would make Dominic Affinito proud.

Your paper is doing a grave disservice to investigative reporting in this matter and you should be ashamed.

From a very long time reader and supporter who buys your paper locally every Thursday and has for many, many years.

Print this if you must.

Lee Edmundson, Mendocino

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ED REPLY: If you wouldn't mind doling out a specific or two, we might have something to go on, Lee. Near as I can tell, you're saying that all that stands between us and the Koch Bros is Dave Turner? Please. As a faithful viewer of Mendocino TV, I attend all the Fort Bragg City Council meetings, and all the meetings of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. I think I'm as qualified as the next person to comment on them. I think recent decisions by the Turner majority on the Fort Bragg City Council are not defensible and, worse, were made out of the view of the public and, in the case of the Coast Hotel, were made by staff, not elected people, all occurring against what I see as the criminal back-drop of the Supervisors' massive gift of public funds to the Ortner Management Group of Yuba City in a deal so corrupt it's thrilling. OMG clearly sees both Mendocino County and Fort Bragg as easy pickings. Additionally, we have the Fort Bragg city manager hiring a personal friend and handing that friend a big raise along with a hoked-up job title. And we have the Turner majority presently trying to off-load a $5 million new trash transfer station, and the inevitable increased garbage rates to pay for it, on Coast people when a perfectly serviceable transfer operation exists at Pudding Creek. I know that Turner, like you, is an active Mendo Democrat which, to me, inevitably translates as a comfortable person who considers him or herself as not only infallible, but muy cool, while the rest of us look on and see nothing more than a lot of insider hustling and a breathtaking arrogance unrelated to any visible ability. PS. I know you and the rest of Mendo's white wine libs are gearing up for a return of Billary, but have any of you considered that the Clintons are merely the flip side of the Kochs?

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WHAT DO MENDO BUSINESSES WANT?

by Mark Scaramella

In April, the Employers Council of Mendocino County published their Fourth Annual Business Conditions Survey inviting "the business community" — 142 businesses to be precise — "to answer ten pre-prepared questions about business performance, hiring, hiring predictions, business climate and what can be done locally to support business and job creation.”

“For the first time during the four-year history of the survey, an overwhelming majority of business owners responded that local education could help support business and job creation. 78% said that creating new vocational education training opportunities in area high schools and community colleges is needed for supporting business and job creation. Seven in 10 business owners said that attention is needed to improve upon the quality of local education and local public schools. Poor education makes hiring capable workers a challenge.

“33% said they were not able to find workers and 28% said it took longer than anticipated to find and hire talent. Nine in 10 said that their business either improved profitably and/or sales stayed the same as the previous year. Almost half were optimistic that business activity in 2015 will be more profitable than 2014.

“When asked 'What can be done locally to support business and job creation?,' an overwhelming majority of business owners (78%) expressed the need for improving and simplifying the planning and permitting process.”

The Survey Results: "Improve and simplify planning and permitting processes (permit streamlining): 78% Create new vocational education training at high schools and community colleges: 78%. Reduce regulatory burden on business and industry: 72%. Improve upon the quality of education in local public schools: 70%. Address the issue of homelessness and transient populations: 67%. Recruit new businesses: 67% Support the promotion of Mendocino County (for tourism and our products): 66% Provide for public safety and law enforcement: 62%. Provide for fire protection and emergency medical services: 60%. Increase road maintenance efforts: 58%. Create water and sewer infrastructure for new housing and business growth: 45%. Offer government incentives to help business expand and grow: 43%. Expand upon public parks, trails, public open space and recreational opportunities: 33% Enforce state and federal mandated environmental regulations: 25%. Enforce local codes and regulations (code enforcement): 21%.”

* * *

THE MOST INTERESTING ASPECT of this rather lame list of boilerplate complaints is what’s not on it. Although the Employers’ Council seems to think that local schools aren’t doing enough to prepare kids for the wonderful world of work, they don’t say what exactly should be done. They make no recommendations, they never show up at school board meetings, don’t itemize the nature or extent of the shortfall (Hello mathematics! Hello clear writing!) Nor do they say which “vocations” need attention.

And any time a business organization mentions “regulatory burden” you have to have a list of regulations that comprise the alleged “burden” before anyone will take you seriously.

“Address the issue of homelessness and transient populations”? How? The only realistic method we know of — a county farm for habitual offenders — is off the table and the Employers Council is certainly not going to pay for it themselves.

THE BIGGEST SURPRISE is the absence of at least a pro forma tax complaint. Why? Because business taxes these days are so ridiculously low they don’t even rise to the level of a question on a survey designed by the tax haters themselves. (If the tax burden was on the questionnaire, you can be sure some of the usual no-tax yahoos would check it.) If taxes were anywhere near a reasonable level it's possible that some of the items the ECMC wants done could get done. But…

THERE’S ABSOLUTELY no point to these “surveys” if all they ask is for “employers” to check off the usual Fox News-inspired snivels with no specifics and no follow-up. But here they are publishing them as if they have some value.

* * *

A TRIBUTE TO A SANTA ROSAN: Even if bones buried 150 years have finally been found, a new tale is just beginning, The Press Democrat’s resident local historian Gaye LeBaron writes.

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/3970811-181/gaye-lebaron-finding-long-buried-bear

* * *

DEBRA KEIPP REPORTS: Michelline Green, Director of the Point Arena Senior Center recently discussed purchase of the Point Arena V.F.W. Hall by the City of Point Arena.

Facilities Manager for the County of Mendocino informed Michelline that the Senior Center could not buy the building because they are neither: a) a government entity, and/or, b) a veterans' organization.

Therefore, the City of Point Arena scooped the Senior Center on purchase of the V.F.W. Hall by making arrangements to purchase the building from the County for $1.00. The Senior Center in Point Arena used to be located at the Druid's Hall, which was essentially abandoned, for structural problems. Nothing ever gets condemned in Point Arena - leaving the Druid's Hall unusable.

The City of Point Arena has not always had a welcoming attitude toward the Senior Center as the service organization it is... also serving veterans. The Mayoral stance of former Mayor Dahlhoff was that she did not want the Seniors using the V.F.W. Hall. It wasn't until Dahlhoff resigned as Mayor that, under one of the next series of appointed Mayors in Point Arena, the Seniors were allowed to move into the Veteran's Hall to use the building for lunches Mondays and Wednesdays, after the Druid's Hall was proclaimed unfit for use. The V. F. W. Hall is used, as well, for many other uses: WIC program, Court, (all local governmental "programs"), Monument dedications, etc.

Supposedly, the designated "use" for the V.F.W. Hall is actually written into the deed at some level, describing that it cannot be used for the many other purposes for which it has been used over the years, such as dances, wedding receptions - private rentable uses for the space.

The question by many Seniors, Veterans, and the Senior Center staff arises: Will the City of Point Arena "let" the Seniors use the building once it is under the ownership of the City of Point Arena? Yes, says Green, however, use by the Seniors would have to be written into the deed's charter at the time of purchase by the City - designating use as a Senior Center Facility, for which the Senior Center would have to pay rent.

Phil Vince, the former City Manager of Point Arena resigned recently, saying that he had family issues trying to function from such a long distance from where his wife and kids live in the Moraga area. However, insiders say that he found out there was no money in the coffers in order to function as a City. The City, which relies heavily on the Arena Cove Pier as the only income for the City, has not collected any fines for inappropriate buildings and living in non-habitable buildings without appropriate permits within the City limits. If the Bity - err aaa City - simply provided enforcement within the City limits, they'd at least have that income... Point Arena - A City too small to function as a governmental body. It's bank account: empty.

* * *

MemorialDay

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"I TELL YOU WHAT'S THE DEAL, You treat your dog much better than a human being, better yet you turn and feed your dog a human meal, that's how I get to know this system is so unreal." — Pressure Busspipe (reggae singer)

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