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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Jun 6, 2015

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YESTERDAY, in Mendocino County Superior Court, the City of Fort Bragg presented its defense against a request for a preliminary injunction that was filed by a group opposing the City Council's decision to pass through State Community Development Block Grant funds to the Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center (MCHC) for the purchase of the Old Coast Hotel property. Judge Richard Henderson indicated at the outset of the hearing that he would not make a decision from the bench. He heard the petitioners' case and the response provided by the City, the State Attorney General's Office, and MCHC (who was granted the right to intervene in the underlying litigation). The judge did not grant the request for a preliminary injunction, but indicated that he would issue his ruling on the request for a preliminary injunction by June 23rd."

Old Coast Hotel
Old Coast Hotel

THE SAN FRANCISCO lawyer representing the City of Fort Bragg, Ms. Zutler, not only ran up another big bill on Fort Bragg for her time and travel to Ukiah for the hearing on Old Coast Hotel in front of Judge Henderson, she was ill-prepared, claiming not to have received documents that the other attorneys had received.


Hearing On Injunction In Old Coast Hotel Dispute

Judge Richard Henderson held a specially-scheduled 1.5 hour hearing in Ukiah Superior Court on Thursday afternoon to hear the motion for a preliminary injunction filed by the Concerned Citizens of Fort Bragg.

In its lawsuit, CCFB contends that zoning laws do not permit the Hospitality House program to establish itself within the Central Business District and that they must be located outside the City’s core business area. CCFB also has charged that the City has rushed the project with insufficient notice to the public, producing its environmental review only after already selecting the new location last December, thus skewing any objective analysis of alternative sites and failing to take into account the historical and cultural significance of the Old Coast Hotel.  CCFB has included a “taxpayer’s action” as part of the lawsuit, saying that the planned spending of $1.2 million in tax dollars is both unlawful and wasteful, requiring that it be enjoined.

Meanwhile, CCFB’s lawyer informed the judge that the state agency holding the funds is prepared to disburse them immediately when the City asks for the money.  The judge indicated he tentatively was considering dismissing the state Housing & Community Development agency because he could see no obligation on the state’s part to monitor the money once dispensed.  The City’s attorney said that its decision is protected by case law that allows a court to set aside decisions only when they are “arbitrary and capricious.”  CCFB countered that, while such a standard does exist, it goes on to say that decisions not based on “substantial evidence” may also be invalidated by courts and that is the what CCFB contends exists here.

Mendocino Coast Hospitality House retained Ukiah attorney Tom Brigham to represent it in court as an “intervenor,” meaning a party with a clear interest in the outcome of the suit.  MCHC also hired an appraiser from the Bay Area to compare the value of the OCH with similar structures there, resulting in a 300-page appraisal report indicating that the value of the OCH is higher than what it has been marketed at -- $2.9 million – and he set a price of $3.6 million.

Because of a backlog of cases attributable to Judge Henderson’s recent vacation, he asked that the parties allow him until June 23 to issue his decision.  Henderson said he wanted to take the matter under submission and again review the papers that were filed by all parties.

Meanwhile, the City gave approval to CCFB’s initiative so that signature can be gathered on a proposal to specifically disallow social service organizations like MCHC from operating within the Central Business District but allow them to be established everywhere else within the city limits.

THAT HALF-PAGE AD in this week's Advocate lists the names of people opposed to the recall of Fort Bragg mayor, Dave Turner.


To us here at the ava, it's like a visit to a blind acupuncturist — random pricks in painful places. We read the names out loud, gasping out despair as a virtual parade of nuts, crooks and middle-of-the-road extremists marched by. Of the names we recognized, every one, to us, was a recommendation FOR the recall election.

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EMANDEL FARM on the Eel River (, — “a place to unwind, breathe deeply and connect” — the Mendocino County Bar Association’s version of the Bohemian Grove, begins tonight. Throughout the weekend all our judges and lawyers will be disporting themselves with lewd and lascivious abandon in the seclusion of that notorious retreat on the South Fork at the end of Hearst Road.

The prospect of setting out on this weekend of debauchery could account for some the impatience shown in court Friday by the lawyers and judges as they proceeded to the judgment and sentencing in two high-profile cases. The first was Ina Selene Medina, the mother and co-defendant in the absolutely horrifying serial child molestation and torture case — a case that never went to trial. Medina and her husband are the Talmage Road couple that made such a sensation in the Ukiah Daily Journal and Press Democrat at the time of the arrest. The couple molested their own children for years before one of their daughters finally went to the authorities. Both papers have utterly ignored the story since, and neither was represented Friday in court.

The defense lawyer in this case, Lewis Finch of the Office of the Alternate Public Defender had slunk out of the courtroom just as the case was being called, and an all points bulletin was put out by the bailiffs to find him. The prosecutor offered to go help with the search – this often happens, and then when the first lost lawyer is found, the second is missing. So the judge ordered the prosecutor not to leave the courtroom and a hefty bailiff took up a blocking position in front of the door. After a long wait, Mr. Finch was found idling at Schat’s bakery across the street and brought into the courtroom practically at gunpoint.

Ms. Medina had pled to two counts (Count 22 and count 3) of 288 b 1, committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child using force, threats and duress. One of the victims came forward and addressed the court, apologizing for her inability to express how it feels to have your own mother participate in such a crime against you, but the apology was not necessary as this person, who is now a young woman, was actually most eloquent, concise and to the point, and even overcame emotional forces that overwhelmed the rest of us looking on. This reporter was too moved to take down all she said, except the last comment: “I don’t know what else to say; nothing will change anything, anyway.”

Then she hurried out with an escort from the DA’s Victim Witness Office. Judge Ann Moorman said to Assistant DA Paul Sequiera, “Tell her I find it remarkable that she has so matured and accommodated what happened to her in her life – she certainly has my respect. Not only was she victimized in the most horrendous way I’ve ever seen – and I see a lot – but she had the courage to step forward and prevent it from happening to others.”

For her own part, Ms. Medina said her daughter was right and that she was going to call it quits with the guy who she helped do this crime. After 31 years, she was going to throw him over. Judge Moorman smiled indulgently before advising Medina: “Don’t take any of those letters from him with you. Where you’re going they could cause some serious problems.” Apparently the judge didn’t buy Medina’s resolve to dump her cho-mo idol and was still exchanging love letters to him. The judge then very briskly sentenced Medina to five years in prison for count 22 and 15-to-life for count 3. Fines and fees were in excess of $7700. Medina was remanded directly into the custody of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This was a stipulated sentence so the judge was bound to the deal made by the lawyers. PS. According to my notes, Medina's plea was on May 22nd. Count 22 was the bait that prosecutor Paul Sequiera dangled. If she took the 15-to-life on count three, he'd let her take the mitigated sentence on count 22, which was particularly heinous, by all accounts. The reluctance to retaliate on her poor stupid old mother was a factor the victim had asked for. — Bruce McEwen

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DR. BRIAN MARCEL CABLE (former MD, actually) was sentenced to a term of three years summary probation, due partly to Proposition 47 (which requires certain felony sentences — non-serious, non-violent, non-sexual — to be served in County Jail), but mainly due to the former sawbones’ exemplary performance in getting himself off the scripts he’d gotten himself addicted to, Oxycodone, namely. Deputy DA Jon Hopkins made a rather reckless inference that letting this defendant off on a misdemeanor was due to his socio-economic standing as an MD, and that it sent a tainted message to the community.

Judge Ann Moorman took exception. “If the public,” the Judge said, “the community members you refer to, Mr. Hopkins, would come here to court occasionally, I think they would see that we, the people who work in these courtrooms, you and I and Mr. Faulder there, the defense attorney, we do not judge people by their station in life, despite what’s written in the newspapers.”

Deputy DA Hopkins persisted.

”This case cannot be adjudicated under Proposition 47. The defendant was taking 12 to 16 of these pills a day and while he maintains he didn’t take any while in surgery, he admitted he’d been in surgery on the day of his arrest. He was prescribing these drugs for his girlfriend and taking them himself; he prescribed them to a friend, a nurse, and addicted her; he was prescribing them for people who were not his patients and then picking them up for himself. We have to worry about and protect his orthopedic patients, even though it’s very laudable what he’s done to deal with his addiction."

During the past two years, Brian Cable has submitted himself to a very rigorous residential treatment program; far more than required by probation. If he ever hopes to practice medicine again, he also has to satisfy the Medical Board which requires some heavy lifting. This he has been doing, as everyone familiar with the case is well aware – everyone, that is, except the Ukiah Daily Journal which made such a sensation at the time of the arrest and then utterly lost interest, not even bothering to show up for sentencing.

Mr. Faulder, for the defense, had very little to do. Deputy DA Hopkins had, in essence, tried to make an example of Cable by denying him the benefits available to any street junkie through Prop 47, simply because he, Cable, was a medical professional, a doctor, as if the bar were higher for doctors (like they were better people or something...?)

Faulder pointed out some stats about the risk doctors and other medical professionals take by being exposed to these highly addictive pharmaceuticals, and the ease with which they can get them, whereas the rest of us cannot enjoy the same access. Anesthesiologists and surgeons are especially susceptible as such opiates are common in the operating theater.

Hopkins made another attempt to get the doctor crucified on the privileged case theory, but it’s not true. Your humble courtroom correspondent can attest to that. The judge gives anyone who is trying a fair chance. In fact, if Judge Moorman finds someone from her own socio-economic stratum showing reluctance to conform to the rule of law, she really and truly throws the book at ‘em. — Bruce McEwen

THE EDITOR HERE. Injustice these days doesn't necessarily lie with judges, but there's a huge diff in quality of representation. If you can pay for a lawyer, your chances in court are, to say the least, enhanced. The OJ case made this socio-economic point for all time, if it was news before.

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UKIAH, June 5. -- In an unexpected ruling entered over the objection of the District Attorney’s Office, a former Ukiah surgeon's no contest pleas to six felony counts of unlawfully prescribing controlled substances were all reduced this morning to misdemeanors by Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman.

Prior to the Court granting the defendant's reduction motion at today's sentencing hearing, Brian Marcel Cable, 49, of Redwood Valley, had been facing a possible sentence of up to six years in prison. However, after having conducted a background investigation ordered by the Court, the Mendocino County Adult Probation department had recommended a felony sentence of three years of supervised probation, with terms and conditions of that probation that would have included abstention from the use of alcohol, drug testing, no marijuana or narcotics, search and seizure, and 180 days in the county jail, with credit for one day served.

After all six of the felonies had been reduced to simple misdemeanors, the Court instead placed Cable on 36 months of informal probation, an unsupervised form of probation. The only terms of the informal probation are for Cable to obey all laws, do not commit the same or similar offense, and that Cable keep the court informed of his address. Some minor fines and fees were also ordered.

As background, Ukiah Valley Medical Center personnel uncovered Cable’s criminal misconduct in 2013 and reported same to the Ukiah Police Department. The UPD investigation that followed revealed that Cable had engaged in significant prescription drug fraud involving Hydrocodone, a pain medication. It was also discovered that Cable was writing out prescriptions for narcotics to people who were not under his care.

The Superior Court's actions today notwithstanding, Cable still faces administrative action by the California Medical Board against his license to practice medicine. It is believed that the Medical Board has not allowed Cable to practice medicine since his arrest in 2013, and that he also appropriately lost all hospital privileges at that time, along with being forced to surrender his prescription certificate to the DEA. (District Attorney Press Release)

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MR. JONATHAN OPET, a lawyer with the Office of the Public Defender’s Office, won a huge DUI case this week. The charges against Jedidiah Todd were driving under the influence of heroin, of all things. He was stopped for speeding on Highway 101 when CHP Officer Slates came up behind him around the Boonville Road Exit, having paced Todd at 82 mph. As Mr. Todd slowed down, he started to swerve, crossing first the lane dividing the broken white line, then the fog line.

As Officer Slates was talking to Todd, Todd's vehicle started to roll away.

“Stop the vehicle – stop the vehicle,” Slates roared.


Mr. Todd finally got his car in park as Slates danced out of the way to save his toes from Todd's wandering tires. This incident, combined with the speeding and swerving, convinced Slates that a field sobriety test was in order. These tests were unsatisfactory, but Todd was nevertheless arrested, taken to the hospital for a blood test where he glumly predicted that it would come back dirty – which it did. Moreover, Slates, having smelled marihoochie in Todd's car, did a quick search and found a junkie’s cooking spoon, coated with smack, spent hypodermic needles, and a syringe.

Unable to attend the defense portion of this trial due to some pressing personal matters, the reader will readily imagine the astounded look on my face when the jury found this guy not guilty! Yes, Mr. Opet conceded, he was at the time, a heroin addict. But at the time he was driving – even though he had the stuff in his system – was not high. Go figure.

Several defense lawyers have been kicking butt and taking kudos — in the form of acquittals — at the Public Defender’s office recently. Eric Rennert, for instance – a guy who takes on the really hard-core segment of Ukiah’s underworld, actually got a jury to hand him and his utterly-nutty client no less than three Not Guilty verdicts. These defense victories are exceedingly rare and I’ve been remiss – due to lack of modern digital devices, until recently – in reporting them. Mr. Rennert’s case involved the wicked witch of west, Jeanette Long, widely reputed to be UNCLE (UNder Cover Law Enforcement) Officer Peter Hoyle’s snitch informant.

It seems Ms. Long came to her neighbor to ask him to cash a check. (Uncle Pete pays, it seems, in legal leniency, not cash). The neighbor refused, but recommended a kid who barely spoke English — a Native American with certain challenges, as they say. Rennert showed in open court how Ms. Long had  purred and nuzzled the lad seductively until he agreed to go to the Bank Of America and cash a check she’d forged in her wealthy grandmother’s name.

The guy – who shall remain nameless (I can’t remember his name — I was covering a trial across the hall at the time) made a spectacle of himself on the stand, and at first I wondered why Rennert put him up there. But when the verdict came back I understood: He let the jury see that this guy was too ingenuous to be lying, and therefore, guilty.

Congratrs, Mssrs. Opet and Rennert!

Again, I apologize for my failure to cover this remarkable case more diligently.

Mr. Opet, by the way, is a former journalist -- a court reporter himself, from the Bay Area, and he introduced me to another journalist -- just before he was beckoned to hear his most-welcome verdict -- Valerie Kim of KZYX fame. I asked Ms. Kim if she was covering Mr. Opet's case and she said no, her talents would be required as a fund-raiser that week. — Bruce McEwen

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DA David Eyster says he never talked to or advised the Pinoleville tribe on allowed marijuana plant counts as the tribe implies in statements to the UDJ. Eyster’s spokesman Mike Geniella today disputes the notion, adding that in fact, the tribe and its backers have ignored communications from Eyster, including a January 2015 registered letter asking for information about their proposed marijuana growing operation. Geniella says the tribe may be citing an old internal memo sent around by former DA Meredith Lintott in 2009 telling her attorneys not to bother prosecuting grows under 200 plants

Mike Canales, spokesman for the tribe said Wednesday, “From the memo we received from the District Attorney, which is public record, we were under the impression that 200 plants, if they were covered and protected from view, would be permissible and that the District Attorney would not be interested in pursuing gardens that met the other important compliance guidelines, which we do.”

“People growing 200 plants are prosecuted nearly every day,” Eyster said of his own office policy.

Eyster’s registered letter, sent January 16, 2015 asks the tribe to provide the DA’s office with details of its arrangements with investors to grow marijuana, any plans it has for environmental impacts, security arrangements, water use, and interactions with local or non-local dispensaries.

The letter was sent by registered mail, Geniella said, because an earlier informal request to the tribe went unanswered.

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Dear Editor,

Regarding the Proposed Fort Bragg Transfer station controversy, MSWMA Manager Mike Sweeney can prove that his “facts” in the 5/28/15 Community Forum are accurate by posting the documents he refers to onto the MSWMA website.

We’d like to see

  1. the appraisal for the Russian Gulch State Parks Road 409 property,
  2. the appraisal for the Jackson Demonstration State Forest property,
  3. the appraisal and toxics reports for the Caspar landfill and transfer station,
  4. the 2012 appraisal on asset values and exchange values,
  5. a rehabilitation plan and funding for the old Caspar transfer station property,
  6. the botanical report for the proposed Caspar pygmy forest preserve,
  7. an MOU with State Parks that they will accept a conservation easement on the Casper TS land and the dollar value of that easement,
  8. a detailed report on the “huge savings” by transportation efficiency (with actual numbers, not included in the EIR),
  9. a report detailing why no environmentally less destructive alternative parcel was included in the EIR. Without these documents neither the public nor the Sierra Club can evaluate his claims.

Each of these questions were submitted in our comments to the Draft EIR, and we await the responses, due out this month. The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife has also submitted comments and questions about the categorization of the pygmy forest into subcategories.

Additionally, the distance from neighbors to the PERIMETER of very large parcels is not the same as the distance to a sited facility on the parcel. Both Leisure Time RV and the Regional Park have plenty of room for buffers within the parcels. Why bulldoze a new site?

Mr. Sweeney’s call-out of my name leading every one of his seven paragraphs tends to make this a personal backlash, but rest assured that many other people are also following this discussion.

Rixanne Wehren, Coastal Committee chair

Mary Walsh, chair, Sierra Club, Mendocino Group

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We saw this article in the Ukiah Daily Journal this morning. It was written by Adam Randall and posted @ 10:27 am:


"Family members of Daniel Cedar Saulsbury, a 39-year-old Fort Bragg man who died shortly after being subdued by multiple law enforcement officers by Tasers last November, have filed wrongful death claims against Mendocino County in excess of $10 million, according to the Board of Supervisors agenda for Tuesday.

The Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, which is handling the investigation into the death, is compiling a final report of the findings of the incident which is scheduled for release within the next two weeks, according to DA spokesman Mike Geniella.

Saulsbury’s mother, Janet, filed a $10 million claim against the county alleging the mistreatment of law enforcement led to her son’s death, along with emotional damage caused.

Eric Petersen, attorney for the Saulsbury family, also filed a subsequent claim on behalf of Stanley and Ronin Saulsbury seeking 'in excess of $500,000' in damages of alleged wrongful death.

Such claims against the county are typically rejected by the Board of Supervisors, and can eventually lead to further court proceedings. On Tuesday, the Saulsbury family’s claims are slated for such rejection on the Supervisors agenda.

Saulsbury was suspected of committing a robbery last November in Point Arena in the 200 block of Main Street which involved the theft of a diaper bag from a victim. A Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office news release stated that Saulsbury also threw rocks at the victim.

After the MCSO responded, the California Highway Patrol also arrived in the area and located Saulsbury near the scene of the incident. Saulsbury fled from the responding CHP officer on foot, and further resistance by Saulsbury led to the officer to request emergency assistance with MCSO deputies responding to the call, the Sheriff’s Office report stated.

The responding MCSO deputies arrived on the scene several minutes later and assisted in apprehending the still actively resisting Saulsbury on Mill Street in Point Arena, the MCSO report stated.

During the attempt to subdue Saulsbury, the Sheriff’s Office report stated the CHP officer, and two deputies, used their issued Taser weapons, and shortly after, Saulsbury showed signs of medical distress.

Emergency medical personnel were called to the scene where Saulsbury was pronounced dead.

Since the DA’s Office has assumed control of the investigation into Saulsbury’s death, there has been no further information released by the Sheriff’s Office, nor the CHP regarding the circumstances of the incident, which is typical procedure.

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus.)

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BACKGROUND: (from the Independent Coast Observer and AVA the week after Saulsbury’s death.)

Saulsbury’s Last Day

by David Torres

On Wednesday afternoon, the day before Thanksgiving, what began as a seemingly minor incident in downtown Point Arena turned deadly. At approximately 12pm the California Highway Patrol and Redwood Coast Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Suddith responded to a call of a man allegedly throwing rocks at an adult and a child and stealing a diaper bag in the 200 block of Main Street.

Daniel Cedar Saulsbury, 39, of Point Arena, led law enforcement officers on a foot chase and, after being tasered several times, died as paramedics struggled to revive him at the west end of Mill Street in Point Arena.

Saulsbury, who had been living with his mother in Fort Bragg, had been in the area for several days, said witnesses, and had been acting erratically at times. Saulsbury had a long history with drugs, alcohol and other run-ins with Mendocino County law enforcement.

One witness who asked not to be identified said she was playing pool with Saulsbury the night before and he seemed normal and happy. But on Wednesday she saw him walking east on Port Road, smiling but acting out of character.

Deb Parsons of Gualala said he was in the post office shortly before the police were called when Saulsbury hurried in and asked to "lock the door," saying people were after him. Saulsbury, then reentered the post office and repeated his plea to lock the door.

Parsons, who said she didn't know Saulsbury, thought perhaps it was a joke. “I didn't know what was happening,” she said.

Shortly after that, a CHP officer who was nearby responded to the call while Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies were en route. The CHP officer and later fire chief Mike Suddith followed Saulsbury around town when he failed to respond to demands.

One witness across the street from the Arena Theater who knew Saulsbury said Saulsbury climbed on top of a car and threw rocks at the CHP Officer. Saulsbury then entered the Arena Pharmacy parking lot where owner Chris Jorgensen saw the CHP officer with a taser gun in hand and a line going out of it into Saulsbury who was on the ground. According to Jorgensen, Saulsbury suddenly jumped up, seemingly unaffected, and began walking south down Main Street. According to radio scanner traffic, the CHP officer called for Code 3 backup.

A group of kids playing soccer on Mill Street saw Saulsbury walking toward them, rock in hand, with the CHP Officer walking 30 feet behind him with his gun drawn and pointed to the ground while Suddith followed in his vehicle.

According to several witnesses on Mill Street, Saulsbury was able to get behind the wheel of his pickup truck which was parked near the end of Mill Street. At that time three police officers approached Saulsbury and one banged his baton on the window and ordered him out of his truck. He was pulled out and placed facedown on the ground and handcuffed. The group of soccer kids said almost in unison that they had witnessed Saulsbury being tasered several times prior to being pulled onto the ground. The fire department and Medic 120 Coast life-support ambulance were staged close to the sea.

At one point Saulsbury, who continued to be combative, suddenly turned pale and unresponsive. CPR was administered for approximately 20 minutes said witnesses. According to a Mendocino County Sheriff's press release, Saulsbury died at the scene.

He was placed in the Medic 120 ambulance and taken to the Point Arena CalFire station where according to ambulance personnel he was airlifted by a Calstar helicopter and taken to a hospital.

Two crime scene areas were taped off in Point Arena, one on Mill Street where Saulsbury went down and one in the Arena Pharmacy parking lot.

Because this was an officer involved fatality, the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office is handling the investigation and will determine if there were any constitutional violations or use of excessive force in the incident said Terry Gross, attorney for the city of Point Arena.

According to Gross, Kevin Bailey (of the DA’s office) is the chief investigator on the case and he will be contacting witnesses obtained from the preliminary investigation. If people witnessed the incident and are not contacted by the DA's office by Monday, December 8 and have information they think is important to the case they should call the DA's office at 463-4211, Gross said.

Gross also said she reached out to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department and CHP who both indicated they will do their own internal investigations to determine if officers followed appropriate practices and procedures.

Saulsbury had a three-year-old son who was apparently in his custody although he had a history of spousal abuse in Mendocino County. His mother told deputies that he had been clean and sober for several years but feared he had met up with the wrong friends in Point Arena when she was told about his death.

Saulsbury, who attended Point Arena high school, had a history of trouble with Mendocino law enforcement dating back to 2006, 2007 and 2009 when he was arrested for DUI and possession of narcotics. In 2007 he was also arrested for reckless driving resulting in injury and an additional charge of contempt of court. While on felony probation for domestic violence in 2011 he was charged with inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, child endangerment and battery. In September of this year Saulsbury was arrested for assault, domestic violence, inflicting corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitants.

A 7pm candlelight vigil in downtown Point Arena brought friends together last Thursday.

(Courtesy/©Independent Coast Observer, Gualala, CA. (707) 884-3501 x 13. FAX (707) 884-1710. Subscribe on-line

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ODD THAT UKIAH'S OUTGOING city manager, Jane Chambers, would cite among her accomplishments a new County Courthouse. Rather than re-model the old County Courthouse, the judges want brand new courtrooms. For themselves. And nobody else. This edifice would be about a quarter mile east of the present County Courthouse and would hold only the judges and their courtrooms, leaving the old Courthouse semi-abandoned in the middle of a town struggling to maintain at least a semblance of coherence. The new Courthouse would harm, if not destroy a number of downtown Ukiah businesses. And it would be ugly, another glass-and-steel-and-concrete eyesore in a town already stuffed with eyesores. Rather than celebrate the new Courthouse, which literally everyone except the judges is opposed to, a reputable city manager would urge the Ukiah City Council to oppose it. Instead, it rumbles on outside all the usual planning processes. What their majesties want, their unopposed majesties get.

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MARCO McCLEAN'S idea to pay KZYX programmers is a bad idea. His idea to scale back management salaries is a good idea. The best idea of all, ahem, originated right here with Boonville's beloved community newspaper — disband Mendo Public Radio and re-assemble it along the organizational lines of KMUD, Southern Humboldt's genuinely public radio station. KMUD is directly beholden to the community it serves. KZYX exists to serve its management and its programmers.

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THIS YEAR'S DELINQUENT property tax rolls reveal some well-known Mendo personalities. In the North County, pot properties owned by the legendary Matt Graves and the less legendary but well-known Dana Wuerfel, both subjects of lengthy coverage in the ava, owe Mendocino County money. Graves is in for a mere $4 thou but Wuerfel is in arrears to the tune of about $60,000.

ANOTHER PROPERTY TAX DELINQUENT whose name will resonate with Point Arenans is Anthony Gaussoin. Gaussoin had big plans for the fog belt with himself running the place. He has since disappeared but he owes a hundred thousand on four Point Arena properties.

* * *

RE PABLO SANDOVAL'S poor performance in Boston

from an on-line commenter: "Baseball works just like dating. Everyone wants to find out their ex has gained weight and fallen apart without them."

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, June 5, 2015

Amador, Biord, Bray
Amador, Biord, Bray

DAVID AMADOR, Willits. Stolen vehicle, probation revocation.

CHRISTOPHER BIORD, Fort Bragg. Dumping in commercial quantities, refusing to leave, probation revocation (frequent flyer).

RICHARD BRAY, Redwood Valley. Possession of controlled substance receipt of stolen property, probation revocation.

Chdester, Guajardo, Hastings
Chdester, Guajardo, Hastings

MATTHEW CHIDESTER, Ukiah. Pot cultivation, possession for sale, armed with firearm.

LUIS GUAJARDO, Covelo. DUI, no license.

REX HASTINGS, Fort Bragg. Criminal threats of death or great bodily harm, probation revocation.

McGuire, Tummillo, Valenzuela
McGuire, Tummillo, Valenzuela

JUSTIN MCGUIRE, Ukiah. Possession of drug paraphernalia, probation revocation.

DINEH TUMMILLO, Ukiah. Petty theft, probation revocation.

LEONEL VALENZUELA II, Ukiah. Criminal threats of death or great bodily harm, probation revocation, vandalism, court order violation.

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* * *


There was a boy

A very strange, enchanted boy

They say he wandered very far

Very far, over land and sea


A little shy and sad of eye

But very wise was he


And then one day, a magic day

He passed my way, and while we spoke

Of many things, fools and kings

This he said to me


"The greatest thing you'll ever learn

Is just to love and be loved in return"

— George Aberle (eden ahbez)

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THE US PRESIDENTIAL RACE, impassioned almost to the point of hysteria, hardly represents healthy democratic impulses. Americans are encouraged to vote, but not to participate more meaningfully in the political arena. Essentially the election is yet another method of marginalizing the population. A huge propaganda campaign is mounted to get people to focus on these personalized quadrennial extravaganzas and to think, ‘That’s politics.’ But it isn’t. It’s only a small part of politics. The urgent task for those who want to shift policy in a progressive direction – often in close conformity to majority opinion – is to grow and become strong enough so that that they can’t be ignored by centers of power. Forces for change that have come up from the grass roots and shaken the society to its foundations include the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the women’s movement and others, cultivated by steady, dedicated work at all levels, every day, not just once every four years… election … choices… are secondary to serious political action. The main task is to create a genuinely responsive democratic culture, and that effort goes on before and after electoral extravaganzas, whatever their outcome.

— Noam Chomsky

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* * *


by Ellen Taylor

Buck Miner, Mattole’s ninety-year-old blind troubadour, celebrated the North Forks in a lyrical book, trailing a contemporary of his father, a salmon named Henrietta, as she returns up the river. Five miles from the Pacific, says Buck, instead of continuing up the mainstem, she would have turned into the North Fork, looking for the deep cold pools overhung with insect-dropping branches of her babyhood. In those days the river was so popular for fish that you could see the spray whipped up from their flashing tails for miles. And it wasn’t only salmon that appreciated the North Fork. The governor of California came here in 1907 for a wild fishing experience, as did Clark Gable and other movie stars hunting for a different glitter.

Henrietta’s modern descendants pay no attention to the North Fork, swimming on up the river (if there is enough water to get further). The delicate architecture of its steep slopes and banks was shattered by the exuberant and uncontrolled logging of the midcentury; the riparian shade trees an easy cut, big trees skidded down the tributaries. With rains, the legendary pools filled in with silt and debris.

When in 1986, MAXXAM seized Pacific Lumber, owner of 12,000 acres in the North Fork, it targeted what was left of Mattole’s large trees. The ugliness of MAXXAM’s reputation as a destroyer, however, had preceded it to Humboldt County and it met furious resistance. The people of the Mattole joined in the defense of Humboldt’s most precious natural resources which sustain all our livelihoods: the trees, the water, the wildlife. The Lost Coast League, founded in 1921 to create a game preserve in the Kings Peak area, indignantly organized demonstrations against the agencies who failed to protect these values. Its members sat in trees, blocked roads, got arrested. It sent representatives to Sacramento, brought lawsuits.

As in the rest of the county, we lost the timber wars. MAXXAM raked away some of the forest, made out big selling Headwaters, and scuttled Pacific Lumber in bankruptcy as planned.

With the memory of this bleakest period in the League’s long history, it is taking a more neighborly approach to the purchasers of what was left of the North Fork: Humboldt Redwoods Company who now owns the Mattole 12,000 acres. The majority shareholder is the Fisher family of San Francisco. They own Gap and Banana Republic, have enormous political power and are worth $8 billion.

The North Fork watershed is not redwood, but uniquely intact low-elevation, coastal, old growth Douglas-fir forest with rare wildlife populations. And it has other values. It adjoins Rockefeller Forest, the largest remaining stand of ancient redwoods, preserved in Humboldt Redwoods State Forest. This, is turn borders, Gilham Butte, and over to the King Range - a complex providing a wildlife corridor, stretching from the Eel River to the Mattole to the sea. Such passageways enhance species survival by enlarging the genetic pools.

Additionally, according to Jerry Franklin, professor of ecosystems analysis and famous as the father of old growth research, who gave a lecture in Arcata last August, Pacific coastal forests have “an extraordinary capacity to sequester carbon, exceeding that of any other on earth by a factor of 3 or 4, and capable of making a real difference globally when it comes to climate change”.

All of these characteristics, in the context of both California’s severe drought and the specter of climate change, should be inspiring to the Fisher family, especially Robert Fisher, who is co-chair of the Strategic Growth Council, cornerstone of Governor Brown’s effort to address climate change. The council was critical to the passage of legislation that mandates reduction by 2020 of the state’s carbon emission to 10% below 1990 levels.

With this in mind the Lost Coast League welcomes Robert Fisher to the neighborhood. It invites him to come and view the extensive restoration undertaken by Mattole residents over the last three decades, in which the public has invested millions of dollars and the Nature Conservancy has recently labeled the top priority watershed to recover coho. It appeals to him to join in restoring the North Forks of the Mattole, a paradise less than a century ago. In an age where our human habitat is threatened from so many directions, the public trust values that underpin life on this planet have merged with business interests. The corporate focus on short-term profit is dangerously outdated. The stock response of “this is a business, not a charity” no longer has any relevance.

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We will be holding classes again in the fall. In the meantime, join us for Redwood Valley Grange's first monthly film. There will be a discussion after, and refreshments. Be a part of this Grange's revival, and a very inspiring film about soil and life on the planet!

Bill Taylor

New Documentary from Deborah Koons Garcia, Director of ‘The Future of Food’ — Symphony of the Soil


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THE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING AGENDA for Thursday, June 18, 2015, is now available on the County website:


  1. John Sakowicz June 6, 2015

    The AVA writes: MARCO McCLEAN’S idea to pay KZYX programmers is a bad idea. His idea to scale back management salaries is a good idea. The best idea of all, ahem, originated right here with Boonville’s beloved community newspaper — disband Mendo Public Radio and re-assemble it along the organizational lines of KMUD, Southern Humboldt’s genuinely public radio station. KMUD is directly beholden to the community it serves. KZYX exists to serve its management and its programmers.”

    To which I say: Amen.

  2. David Gurney June 6, 2015

    KZYX has gotten it bass akwards from day one. Burn down the Philo hovel of hate, relocate the station to Ukiah or Fort Bragg, and get new call letters – KXYZ or the like.

  3. John Sakowicz June 6, 2015

    I have to agree with Mr. Gurney, too!

  4. malcolmlorne June 6, 2015

    For the past few months the AVA’s editorial comments on the Old Coast Hotel project and the Recall movement in Fort Bragg have been notably one-sided and often flawed, relying too often on opinion rather than fact. Perhaps the most egregious example appeared in the June 6, 2015, Mendocino County Today remarks that represented a quote from Wes Chesbro as being from the No Recall ad that was run in the June 4th edition of the Fort Bragg Advocate-News. It was not. There were no quotes from public officials in the actual ad. The AVA editorial remarks of June 6th also stated, “We read the names out loud [names in the Advocate ad], gasping out despair as a virtual parade of nuts, crooks and middle-of-the-road extremists marched by.” – Those “nuts, crooks, and middle-of-the-road extremists” included the entire Fort Bragg City Council and all five of that city’s planning commissioners, not to mention 4th District Supervisor Dan Gjerde. Several of these politicians have recently been extolled in editorial comments within the pages of the AVA, in particular the two newest members of the Fort Bragg City Council(Mike Cimolino, Lindy Peters) and Supervisor Gjerde. – Using grant money for the purchase of the Old Coast Hotel to place mental health services facilities and transitional housing in that building is a much more complicated issue than the recent editorial comments reflect. There are valid reasons to oppose or support the project. The subsequent recall movement and Mayor Turner’s reaction to it deserve more facts and less of the erroneous mudslinging exhibited in today’s ed. remarks. Malcolm Macdonald

  5. Judy Valadao June 7, 2015

    Malcolm, I’m wondering if you have written the same letter to the Advocate News in Fort Bragg regarding their one sided reporting?

  6. Mark Scaramella June 7, 2015

    I’ll weigh in on this.
    Apart from the opinions of the individuals involved, the Old Coast Hotel deal certainly looks like an inside job that had much more to do with economics (and the Carine family’s bottom line) than objective analysis, then it was presented to the public as the done-deal best choice even though there was no public process, no unbiased preliminary meetings, on what the alternatives were and why the Old Coast Hotel was picked. Then when it was picked, the defenders threw up the necessity for mental health “services” on the Coast as the reason for the inside job. We still have not seen the alternatives, how they were ranked and why they weren’t picked. The Old Coast Hotel may seem like a bargain for the project in a narrow sense, but to be surprised that there’s major push-back on and resentment about the way it was done is to strain credulity. The disconnects are easy to see. There are a number of other projects in Mendo’s strange history that smell just as bad. Staff comes up with the preferred choice for their own reasons, gets a very pliant board to commit to it too early before the public is heard, goes through the motions of hearings and process after the project is too far along to back out of, ignores any objections from the public, plays musical chairs on the Board at the next election, and staff continues to run the show. The job of a Board member is to insist that the public be involved early in the process — not whine about the irritated reaction they caused because they act like they know best. Certainly some matters and projects, such as infrastructure, personnel, organization, etc. can be handled internally. But if an elected official demonstrates contempt for the process by committing too soon and running interference for staff, they deserve to be removed. If this was an ordinary commercial project, advocates for the other side and their lawyer(s) would have demanded that Turner recuse himself from the Old Coast Hotel vote because the record shows he was prejudiced before the matter was heard.

    • Judy Valadao June 8, 2015

      Mark you certainly hit a bulls eye on this one. No wonder the community that attended those meetings starting in January weren’t heard, it was a done deal. After that first meeting I spoke with Turner on the phone and he said ‘I understand why the public feels this was shoved down their throats because it was. We should have had more meetings” So, what difference would that have made when he was 100% in support 2 months before the public was aware of it? “Reasonable assurance” was given so The Hospitality Center could move forward with an agreement with the Carine’s 2 months before the public was aware. Turner and Deitz were invited to these meetings, why wasn’t Hammerstrom? My opinion is because they know he follows like a puppy and would agree to whatever the Mayor said. Now, poor Hammerstrom is out and about being involved when he wasn’t needed before. Turner Tactics caused a lot of people to sit at meetings when the deal was all ready done. Turner Tactics proves that there may be more deals that happened in exactly this same manner in the past and perhaps there are future deals all ready decided. DONE DEAL DAVE can say the recall is only about the Old Coast Hotel vote. He can say that all he wants, he knows better.

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