Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Monday, Jun 22, 2015

* * *


Upper Lake, Calif. — The Sanhedrin fire is holding at approximately 25 acres and is estimated to be 80% contained. The fire, reported Friday night around 7:30pm, is burning on private land within the Mendocino National Forest south of Little Signal Peak and east of the Sanhedrin Wilderness on the Upper Lake Ranger District. The cause is under investigation. The fire is burning in heavy fuels, including dead and down trees, in an area burned in 2008. Smoke from the fire is visible along Highway 101 and to communities on the west side of the forest. Firefighters have made great progress towards containment and it is expected resources will start to be released from the incident on Monday. For more information, please contact the Mendocino National Forest at 530-934-3316 or visit:

* * *


SATURDAY, I parked in North Beach and set out on foot, intending to do a big circle, and a big circle I did. South on Stockton, up and over the Stockton Tunnel, a west oblique through Union Square to Powell, south on Powell to the cable car turnaround at Powell and Market where at least 50 uniformed cops were standing around not far from maybe 30 Code Pink demonstrators who took turns talking to each other on a scratchy sound system. "Gentrification is bad for the people of this city," a woman said to a smattering of applause. The sky is blue, I commented to no applause. Surely the cops hadn't turned out to monitor a small group of harmless lefties and, as it turned out, they hadn't. The cops were present because some truly dangerous people, including the mayors of American cities and Hillary Clinton, had to be kept safer than safe. Maybe they were going to do a full Secret Service photo op on a cable car.

AS PER THE PAST 50 YEARS, The City is under an all-out downtown construction blitz, and it's dirtier than ever, the traffic is nuts, there are unhoused drunks, multiple substance abusers, crazy people, and panhandlers everywhere, and everywhere there's the smell of urine mixed with the faint, traditional Frisco odor of untreated sewage. Half the people look like they're about to snap while the tourists look like they're asking themselves, “I paid to get into this?” I love the place, but it's going fast. Stopped in at the California Historical Society on Mission near where the exhibit is a wonderful look back at the 1915 Exposition, technically “The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition,” of which only the shell of the Palace of Fine Arts remains. But it's a remnant that still gives us an idea of what a marvelous event it was, and how paltry our mega-events are, by comparison, in these deteriorated days.

MISSION STREET doesn't present the people panoply that Market Street does, so I walked back up to Market then east to the Ferry Building where, at Acme Bread, you can get a great sandwich and an apple turnover for five bucks, then sit outside with a ringside seat for the passing parade. My lunch bag blew away and the woman next to me told her son, a kid of 8 or 9, to fetch it for me, apparently assuming I wasn't up to the task. The kid hopped to, and I thought to myself, “Here's a woman raising a kid right.” Being of the generation presently in death mode, born during or right after World War Two, all of us, without exception, were taught, on pain of mild violence if we didn't immediately grasp the lessons, that older men were addressed as Sir and Mister. Women were Miss or Mrs. or Ma'am. Looking back, I think it was the correct child-rearing strategy because it instilled a basic awareness, a sensitivity to other people. Looking around, I don't think basic manners are a parental priority anymore.

AT JACKSON AND COLUMBUS, three young guys were moving furniture. They'd paused to look at pictures on a gizmo and were laughing hard. I asked them if I could look, explaining that I was kind of a writer and interested in what made young people laugh. The kid with the device said, “Well, sir, no offense, but I don't think you'd like it.” I walked on. Of course he was correct. It was probably something stupid and vulgar, something I would have thought hilarious when I was their age, but something he wouldn't show his grandfather and certainly wouldn't show an old guy that looked older than his grandfather. The lad had been raised right.

* * *

POPPED in on the World Music Festival early Sunday afternoon and thought to myself, “Holy Moly! The world has ended and I missed the biggest story ever because I was up in my office!” Hey, this is Boonville, and the rasta scene is, well, startling in the Boonville context. (Don't tell the cops, but I'm pretty sure I smelled marijuana!)


Pleasant crowd, most of them, I assume, sedated by the love drug, exhortatory messages set to a single rhythm energetically booming off the stage, lots of half-clad, handsome women, universally grungy men, people selling rastafarian gear all over the Fairgrounds, and lots of good food. I kept an eye out for Sister Yasmin, pretty sure that I could outrun her if she attacked me with her lethal message of “peace, love and good vibrations.” Lots of children, which prompted “appropriateness” concerns in old grandpap who would not have permitted his children to attend, but the times have done changed on all us old grandpaps, and this one would rather laugh than cry.


* * *

THE CHARMER. The suave, ineffable James Perkins bowed out last week. Took his leave, as it were, from his lovely wife and beloved hometown of Ukiah. Went on a kind of sabbatical, you might say. He’ll be relaxing and reminiscing for approximately the next 16 years from his suite on Pelican Bay, Crescent City.


Mr. Perkin's prolonged respite was awarded him despite the best efforts of Public Defender Linda Thompson, togged out for Perkins' dispatch in L.L. Bean fly-fishing tweeds. Ordinarily, he would have gotten maybe eight years.

Ms. Thompson was disgusted with Deputy DA Shannon Cox. Ms. Cox wanted a strike offense for Perkins, therefore doubling his time. Perkins hadn't done that much bad, Thompson argued. All he did was beat a Mexican vineyard worker half his size nearly to death.

“Ha!” Thompson coughed in the kind of Tourette's explosions she often communicates in while the room waited for a translation. It turned out to be a Romero Motion to dismiss the strike, contending that the offense Perkins was convicted of didn’t rise to the strike level and it was only his race — black — that made it so.

America is a complicated place. Here we had a cross-dressing public defender arguing against a white female prosecutor that the black defendant hadn't really beaten the non-citizen Mexican immigrant as badly as he had. The cross-dressing public defender, natch, steadily suggested that her “client,” Mr. Perkins, was the victim of racism.

Speaking to the Three Strike law in regards to the Romero Motion, Judge John Behnke said, “What the Legislature intended was longer terms for felons who repeatedly commit serious and violent crimes. And in order to dismiss this strike I’d have to find that it was in the interest of justice. That would be very difficult to do. I would have to find where the defendant’s actions fell outside the three strike law by way of the Romero Motion. But I cannot and I will not do that.”

The “nickel prior” — which Thompson wanted thrown out along with the rest, would have to be doubled to 10 years, as well as the three years for the assault: a total of 16 years. Since it’s a strike, 85% will be served, mandatory.

The victim, Juan Gonzalez Ramirez — who nearly starved to death while his jaw was shattered in several places — rose to speak his piece with the help of ace court interpreter Tim Baird.

“I’ve written a letter to the court depicting what happened to me and how I feel… as well as what consequences this has had on my life. I still have pain and difficulties as a result, but I’m not here to ask for anything for myself, other than justice… Excuse me for my hesitation, and for my inability to speak…”

“I have read your letter,” Judge Behnke said, “and I will consider the things you said in it as well as what you’ve said just now.”

“I’m grateful for everyone who helped me, respected judge," Ramirez said, "and only ask that the person who did this to me, that he get the maximum sentence. Thank you.”

Thompson started right in on the need to give her client the mitigated term – “he’s really a nice guy,” she insisted.

Deputy DA Cox smiled indulgently at this and said, “Yes, he’s quite the charmer. He went down to probation and charmed all of them — he’s done it many times before, and he’s really good at turning on the radiant charm. But we all saw it was just a mask when the jury came back with the guilty verdict — then the mask slipped and we saw the real James Perkins.”

Judge Behnke nodded his head in recollection of Perkins going off at the bad news the jury brought back.

Cox resumed, “There are no mitigating factors in this case, your honor.”

Behnke said, “Yes, and I have a problem with defense’s argument that jealousy is a mitigating factor. Especially when the defendant says he didn’t do it. This was a brutal attack and the victim was vulnerable. It has resulted in a significant long-term injury, with pain and other complications two years later. So I’m going to be imposing the strike and the enhancements, Ms. Thompson.”

“My client puts me in a difficult position, saying he didn’t do it and then falling on his sword,” Thompson said.

“I’m going to sentence him, not you, counsel.”

“This should be a seven year term without the nickel prior, judge.”

“I appreciate your position, but I’m troubled with a couple of things. Mr. Perkins spent a lot of his youth incarcerated. Then he got out and committed a couple of heinous crimes. He went back to prison, he was paroled, and it seemed he was on a good trajectory. Then the anger came out again. The GPS plotting was pretty substantial evidence that he committed this crime even though he denies it. He was on the strictest form of parole and probation we are capable of, counsel, and you’re asking the court to consider that he’s not a threat to the community?”

Perkins is going to Pelican Bay. (— Bruce McEwen)

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, June 21, 2015

Arbogast, Bruce, Ceja-Lopez, Harrison
Arbogast, Bruce, Ceja-Lopez, Harrison



JOSE CEJA-LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, false ID.

DAVID HARRISON, Laytonville. Drunk in public.

Hayward, Jenkins, Kincaid, Martin
Hayward, Jenkins, Kincaid, Martin

JACK HAYWARD, Boonville. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

JAMES JENKINS, Ukiah. Court order violation. (Frequent flyer)

LANCE KINCAID, Park City, Utah/Ukiah. Possession of more than an ounce of pot.

JOSEPH MARTIN, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer)

Martinez, McCloud, Peinado
Martinez, McCloud, Peinado

NANCY MARTINEZ, Covelo. Fighting.

DONALD MCCLOUD, Ukiah. Receiving stolen property, no license, parole violation.

ESELLA PEINADO, Willits. Child endangerment.

Perez, Portlock, Schoonmaker
Perez, Portlock, Schoonmaker

RIGO PEREZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

CINDY PORTLOCK, Ukiah. Domestic assault.


Tuttle, Vantreese, Warren
Tuttle, Vantreese, Warren

LEONARD TUTTLE JR., Covelo. Fighting. (6’8” – 360 lbs)

WILLIAM VANTREESE, Ukiah. Burglary. (Frequent flyer)


* * *



Mendocino County was put on notice 40 years ago by the California Attorney General to consider alternatives to the County's lethal wildlife management program, yet in all these intervening years the County has done nothing to comply with this order. One year ago a coalition of wildlife protection organizations including Project Coyote, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Animal Legal Defense Fund informed the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) of their intention to sue the County for non-compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) which requires that the County complete an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that must include consideration of nonlethal wildlife management alternatives. Upon threat of this lawsuit, the County agreed to temporarily suspend its lethal program and to hear a presentation by the plaintiffs on nonlethal alternatives in exchange for dropping their lawsuit.

After this presentation to the Board took place on May 5, 2015, the County made no further attempt to engage with the plaintiffs over nonlethal methods, and at their June 16, 2015 meeting the Board decided unanimously to continue with its lethal program, claiming a CEQA exemption based on a negative declaration of environmental impacts. From this sequence of events, it appears clear that the County only agreed to hear the plaintiffs' presentation as a means of insulating its claim of a CEQA exemption and that they never had any real intention of considering nonlethal alternatives. In other words, the County bargained with the plaintiffs in less than good faith.

Rather than engage the plaintiffs in meaningful discussion of nonlethal alternatives, the County, at great expense to the taxpayers, hired an outside law firm to defend its claim of a CEQA exemption. Despite this outside counsel's demonstration of a complete lack of knowledge about how ecosystems function, the County BOS accepted their absurd legal contention that killing hundreds of wild animals a year has no environmental impacts.

The plaintiffs offered on many occasions to work with the County to develop a nonlethal program, but were spurned at every turn. If the County had only acted within reason and within the law, this whole protracted and expensive legal battle could have been averted and the people of Mendocino County would have been better served by a humane wildlife management program that benefits everyone. But because of the Board's bullheadedness, we are all paying a dear price, especially the wild animals that are now being mercilessly slaughtered.


Jon Spitz, Laytonville

* * *


* * *


* * *

EVERY WEEK, San Francisco's wittiest cop, Captain Simon Silverman of the Richmond Station, writes up the neighborhood's most interesting police calls. This week's include:

Stolen Vehicle, 06-12-2015 7:00PM, Anza & 23rd Ave — The victim met two women at a bar in the Mission District and brought them back to his place where they stayed the night. Later that day, the victim noticed that his new friends, his car keys and his BMW were gone. Captain’s Note: People don’t always exercise the best judgment in matters of the heart (and other organs). However, it’s always a good idea to be careful about bringing strangers home.

Arrest: Warrant For Drugs, 06-13-2015 5:07 AM, Turk & Parker — Officers detained two suspicious people who were reportedly prowling the area and pulling on the door handles of cars. They found suspect #1 at Turk and Parker and suspect #2 at Turk and Blake. Suspect #2 gave a fake name, but suspect #1 rather helpfully told the officers suspect #2’s real name. Using this information they found that suspect #2 had a warrant for drug possession. Captain’s Note to suspect #2: This is why one should never work with amateurs.

Arrest: Possession Of Stolen Property/Unlicensed Driver, 06-13-2015 6:44 PM, MLK & Bernice Rodgers Way (inside Golden Gate Park) — Officers saw a driver doing 50 MPH in a 25 MPH zone. They stopped him and found that he had no license. They could smell the odor of marijuana coming from inside of the car but neither the driver nor his passenger had a medical marijuana recommendation in their possession. A search of the car revealed a small amount of marijuana and a purse stolen from a car in Golden Gate Park a few hours earlier. Captain’s Note: I think the passenger said it best as quoted in the police report when she yelled at the driver, “You got me a felony now!” See also my note above about working with amateurs.

* * *


* * *


Thanks for the great coverage of County Mental Health. Tom Pinizzotto has been removed as Assistant Director of the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). Now he is only Director of Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Programs (down from the four upper management positions he held in 2014).

Doug Gherkin, former HHSA financial guy, is now Stacy Cryer’s Assistant Director of HHSA. He’s the good soldier who does whatever he’s told to the budgets and all things financial. Interesting that the Mental Health financial guy lost his job and Doug got promoted, though both are responsible for carrying out the financial mess their superiors created.

I was happy to see Supervisor McCowen ask the CEO for two new budget schedules — one with detail about “transfers in” and “transfers out”, and the other with detail by Department of all the “reserve funds” and how much is in them. He also asked for ending balances on the budgets. How about asking for beginning balances also?

I think Adam Brumm is no longer there because he did such a good job of summarizing the Mental Health financial data that the Mental Health Advisory Board (MHAB) needs, and Ortner does not want to provide. The County MHAB Annual Report is on their website and the “Financial Committee Report” is very detailed about the secrecy surrounding County Mental Health finances.

* * *



I’ve been able to use the AVA on occasion to clear up false claims and mention of “the eight acres on the ocean at the Big River, aka “The Boo,” and also Mendocino Bay Overlook. I advocated both in the 70s as owner. Now the current owner is “highly motivated.” Lights are out! Mr. McMillan did six years and I went off to study yoga, own a “yoga retreat” (88-95) and came back to Mendo to finish what I started.

The “Jewel of the Coast” is for sale (it’s available) and all of the improvements are finished which is 75% of any situation. The price is 25% at $4 (or $3) million and a bank mortgage available it would be possible to own it for $250,000 or $300,000. Why not develop a world-class friendly Prop 215 retreat? I need to bring attention to it ASAP. Old school marketing. An ad and a phone. Can I get there using the AVA?

Name Withheld, Little River

* * *


* * *


KMEC Radio presents a special edition show on "Pope Francis Connects Climate and Poverty in the Latest of Political Encyclicals". Our guests are Janet Redman and Blase Bonpane.

KMEC Radio broadcasts at 105.1 FM in Ukiah, California. Our studio is located at the Mendocino Environmental Center.

We also stream live from the web at

KMEC Radio archives its shows, and we also post many of them with video to Youtube. Our shows may also be distributed to the wide, wide outside of northern California via the Public Radio Exchange or Radio4All.

Please support KMEC Radio and the Mendocino Enviornmental center by becoming a member.

Janet Redman is the director of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies. She just wrote the piece "Five Key Things Pope Francis Says about Climate Change."

She said last week: “Pope Francis’ encyclical is particularly powerful because it’s addressed to everyone of any faith, as well as those who do not follow a faith tradition. He boldly challenges the entire human community to take an honest look at the foundations of our society that has created wealth for some at the expense of the planet. The Pope has drawn a significant connection between our individual responsibility to care for creation and for each other, and the way we build the global economy.

“Pope Francis is crystal clear -- the current development model, based on the intensive use of coal, oil, and even natural gas, has to go. In its place, we need renewable sources of energy and new modes of production and consumption that rein in global warming. Taxing carbon, divesting from fossil fuels, and ending public corporate welfare for polluters can help end the stranglehold dirty energy companies have on our governments, economies and societies.

"The Pope unapologetically calls on the global community to address how the chasm between rich and poor people -- and nations -- is linked to climate change. The encyclical names inequality itself as an impediment to solving a looming planetary and human rights crisis. In order to help remedy these imbalances, developed countries need to pay their ‘climate debt’ by supporting adaptation, community resilience, and clean, renewable energy alternatives in the global South that will help us all."

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush stated: "I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my pope." The program "Marketplace" on public radio began their broadcast Thursday morning with: "The pope: Mixing a strange new brew of religion and economics"

Blase Bonpane is Director of the Office of the Americas, Bonpane served as a Maryknoll priest in Guatemala and has written five books including Guerrillas of Peace: Liberation Theology and the Central American Revolution. He said today: "Pope Francis' Encyclical is very much in accord with previous Papal Documents. I was surprised to read in the Los Angeles Times (6/16/2015, William Yardley and Tom Kington) a statement claiming that Austin Ivereigh, author of The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope states that this would be the first encyclical, 'issued with the intention of influencing a political process.'

"Nothing could be farther from the truth.

"In the 19th Century Pope Leo XIII issued 'Rerum Novarum,' (Of Revolutionary Change), standing on the shoulders of The Communist Manifesto and in agreement with numerous points made by Karl Marx." It stated: "Some opportune remedy must be found quickly for the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class."

Bonpane added: "Forty years later Pope Pius XI issued 'Quadragesimo Anno' (In the 40th Year) celebrating the words of Leo XIII and demanding a living wage." That encyclical states: "The economic dictatorship which has recently displaced free competition can still less perform, since it is a headstrong power and a violent energy that, to benefit people, needs to be strongly curbed and wisely ruled. ... On the one hand,economic nationalism or even economic imperialism; on the other, a no less deadly and accursed internationalism of finance or international imperialism whose country is where profit is."

Said Bonpane: "The great Pope John XXIII who called for the Second Vatican Council in 1962 issued 'Pacem in Terris' (Peace on Earth) an encyclical demanding an end to the war system.

"As religious people began entering the Latin American Revolutions as rebels Pope Paul VI issued 'Populorum Progressio' (The Development of Peoples) making the point that violent revolutions should be avoided because of the endangerment of the innocent -- except in the case of long standing tyranny where the fundamental rights of the people are violated.

"And today with this new encyclical on the environment ['Laudato Si,' (Praise Be ... On Care for Our Common Home)] Pope Francis will reach more people than any previous Pope. Why? Because he has sanctified one of the elements of Liberation Theology, 'the preferential option for the poor.'

"He is stressing the impact of climate change primarily on the poor of the earth. This is in no way to claim that the Pope approves everything in the rapidly developing Theology of Liberation. Surely he would differ with many of us who think the days of sectarianism, dogmatism and imperial style orthodoxy are defunct.

"However, his enormous international popularity among believers and non-believers is such that climate change deniers will be an even greater minority.

"Global capitalism has ravaged nature and created a foul and immoral distribution of wealth.

"Unsustainable consumption is a dominant moral and ethical issue.

"Those who complain should read the letters of both of Pope Francis' predecessors, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI who wrote about industrial pollution destroying the environment.

"And all of this is said when the greatest danger to the environment is clearly and scientifically the military at peace. Beyond that it is undeniable that this small planet is absolutely unsustainable with the military at war.

"This is perhaps our last chance to choose life or death.

"This encyclical of Pope Francis has come at the proper time, it is an idea who time has come."

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *