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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, June 25, 2015

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IMPORTANT! HEALTH CENTER BOARD MEETS THURSDAY NIGHT, June 25, 6:00pm at the Senior Center/Vets Building in Boonville. — Discussion of the Budget for Next Year.

Also Note On Agenda: Kathy Cox's Performance Improvement Committee met, she will report on progress, they have committed to a developed plan by the end of 2015 [something the feds have been dinging us for]. Clay Eubank, head of the Governance Committee, will report on action and plans. Please note that per the April meeting, "Mitzi Wagner keeps the file of all policies and will be asked whether she can send them upon request out electronically. All policies should be available to the public with a good Table of Contents. Copies will be given to interested parties, but not posted on the website." The board met in April in closed session with Financial Director Judy Waterman and "legal council" Larry Garcia " on "billing issues", and have had two closed sessions since, with another planned for tomorrow night. No subject listed for that.

Draft May Minutes On Line At http://www.avhc.org/ [click on "about" at the far right, go down to meeting minutes and financials.]

Thanks To Heidi Knott-Gundling.

Preparing for tomorrow night, on the financials, note also Ric Bonner's Mortgage Economic Impact report of March of this year. What are the directors' plans to retire the debt? And look at the financial summary report, [unfortunately the latest posted in April, no reports to the public from the financial director since then?] focus on the "uncompensated care" item which shows about a million dollars cost, just about equalled by our grants and other income. What are directors' plans for getting a handle on uncompensated care? And what is their analysis of probability of continuation of Federal grants, given the present climate in Congress to cut health services spending?

Cheers,

Gene Herr, Philo

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HEAT & THUNDERSTORMS To Hit California the Rest of the Week: 25-30 Jun 2015

(California Office of Emergency Services – 24 Jun 2015)

Please refer to www.weather.gov for the latest information 24/7

The next major heat wave will impact much of northern California, including the Sierra, beginning 25 Jun and continue through 27 Jun 2015 (regions II-V) Warmer than normal temperatures will continue beyond Saturday.

The greatest heat impacts will be found in the Sacramento valley and lower foothills – from Woodland to Shasta Lake & across the EastBay Hills south of Interstate 580.

Increasing threat of dry thunderstorms/lightning across the Sierra 26-27 Jun 2015 (regions III-V) Dry thunderstorms/lightning and Strong outflow winds/increase fire danger.

Transition to wet thunderstorms across the Sierra 28-29 Jun 2015 (regions III-V) Wet thunderstorms increase risk of flash flooding & debris flows.

The summer monsoon is expected to begin across the southern California mountains and deserts beginning 27 Jun and continuing through at least 30 Jun 2015 (regions I and VI) Thunderstorms & Strong damaging winds/blowing dust.

Thunderstorms & possible flash flooding/debris flows.

3-Day High Temperature Forecast Valid Thu 25 – Sat 27 Jun 2015 with the Peak of prolonged heat event: June 26, 2015.

Some valley locations never fall below 75°F.

Likely impacts in the Sacramento Valley and lower foothills including Woodland to Shasta Lake and across the East Bay Hills south of Interstate 580.

OESmaps

Possible impacts across much of the remainder of northern California. (Does not include the immediate San Francisco Bay Area)

Scattered mainly mountain and desert thunderstorms with rainfall amounts generally less than half an inch. Local amounts in excess of 3 inches in heavier/most intense storms in far northern California and the length of the Sierra Nevadas down to Los Angeles and San Diego.

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CALFIRE SUSPENDS OUTDOOR RESIDENTIAL BURNING

Willits – As drought conditions continue to increase fire danger in the region, CAL FIRE has suspended all burn permits for outdoor open residential burning within the State Responsibility Area of Mendocino County. This suspension takes effect June 29, 2015 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris including branches and leaves.

CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit Chief Rowney explained, “Mendocino County fire history shows that suspending debris burning is an effective way of preventing wildfires that result from debris burn escapes. Although all fires cannot be prevented through a burning suspension, their numbers can be significantly reduced. This is particularly critical in our current situation.”

“With record-setting drought conditions we must take every step possible to prevent new wildfires from starting,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director. “One Less Spark, means One Less Wildfire.”

Similar to last year, CAL FIRE has already responded to significantly more wildfires than the average. CAL FIRE is asking residents to ensure that they are prepared for wildfires including maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of Defensible Space around every home.

Here are some tips to help prepare your home and property:

  • Clear all dead or dying vegetation 100 feet around all structures.
  • Landscape with fire resistant/drought tolerant plants
  • Find alternative ways to dispose of landscape debris like chipping or hauling it to a biomass energy facility

The department may issue restricted temporary burning permits if there is an essential reason due to public health, safety. Agriculture, land management, fire training, and other industrial-type burning may proceed if a CAL FIRE official inspects the burn site and issues a special permit.

Campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property that are otherwise permitted will be allowed if the campfire is maintained in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland.

For additional information on preparing for and preventing wildfires visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org.

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THURSDAY MORNING CHUCKLE

MSPimagines

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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JOHN FREMONT WRITES: The next community meeting dealing with issues important to you will be held on Tuesday, July 14 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall in Fort Bragg (Main and Laurel Streets). After hearing your concerns, discussion will focus on the proposed Transfer Station on Highway 20. Charla Thorbecke, whose family has lived across from the slated garbage site for more than 100 years will lead the discussion with the assistance of a hydrologist and botanist. One week later, on July 21, at Town Hall, the Joint Powers Authority will consider Mike Sweeney's garbage proposal. For more information, email John Fremont at john@cypresshouse.com We meet monthly on the second Tuesday of the month. Come help us shape the future of the Mendocino coast.

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EXPLORING POSSIBILITIES

by Susanne Norgard

The world is a big and exciting place to Daniel Angulo of Boonville, and he credits his college experience for making it so. That is why he is now on a mission to encourage other Anderson Valley youth to set their sights on college.

Daniel graduated from Anderson Valley High School in 2008 and was the recipient of the Community Foundation's Mendocino Agricultural Families' Scholarship, a four-year scholarship supported by local individuals and organizations involved in agriculture. Their investment paid off. Daniel used his college experience at CSU Sacramento to the fullest: while earning a Bachelor's degree in government, he also ran for student government and studied abroad in Spain. "College definitely changed my perspective," he told me. "I learned there was a lot more out there than I could imagine."

After working in Humboldt for a few years, Daniel returned to Anderson Valley as a Resource Specialist Assistant for grades K-6. "It feels really nice to be back," he told me. "No matter where I've been, there's nothing like home - the scenery, the people, the food."

In his job at the school, Daniel has first-hand knowledge of what the students need. "I am grateful for the support that helped me succeed: the AVID program which taught me how to take notes and study for tests, and the close connections I had with some of my teachers and my counselor. The Anderson Valley Education Foundation made it possible for me to go to an acting camp at Universal Studios. It all helped me."

Daniel's way of "giving back" is to mentor kids at the Anderson Valley Teen Center. He is organizing educational trips for high school juniors, taking them to university and college campuses and the surrounding cities. "I want to encourage them to pursue education. After these trips, students begin to understand that there are a lot of opportunities for those who have desire and discipline. They begin to see that it really is possible to go to a university."

In addition to the Community Foundation grant, the Teen Center organized numerous fundraisers to help pay for trips to UC Berkeley, UCLA and CSU Sacramento. The fundraisers make the trips possible and also introduce the kids to community service. Daniel uses the lessons he learned while traveling abroad to make each dollar the teens raise go as far as possible. "On our trips, we take public buses and often bring food from home. That way we have enough money to do other things, like visit museums or, when we were in LA, Universal Studios."

The next big trip - to New York and Washington DC — is slated for August, and the teens are busy with fundraising events. Daniel notes that they are energized. "When I was in high school a lot of my peers didn't have a lot of drive. These students are competitive. They want to be able to help their parents and make more than a minimum wage. They are highly motivated."

Naturally Daniel is already thinking about his next steps, which may include a teaching credential and a Masters Degree. And, of course, there is travel, with a summer trip planned to Thailand and Cambodia. But for now he is happy where he is. "I love being here and working with students. There is a lot more out there I want to do, but right now I'm enjoying what I do."

The Community Foundation grants and scholarships help support people who are giving back in meaningful ways. To find out more, visit www.communityfound.org.

Angulo&Friends
Daniel Angulo (upper left) with Anderson Valley teens and their families.

(Courtesy, the Community Foundation Newsletter)

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MCPC SIGNATURE DRIVE FAILS

MCPC cannabis commission initiative Won’t make fall ballot

by Jane Futcher

The Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council came up short of the 5,004 verified signatures it sought by June 22 to place the Mendocino Cannabis Commission 2015 initiative on the county’s fall ballot. The initiative would have created a commission to oversee and promote farmer-friendly cannabis policies and regulations.

According to the MCPC, the organization gathered 2,798 signatures, falling short of the 5,004 verified signatures needed to go before voters.

MCPC leaders said the commission would have smoothed the county’s transition from “an environment of prohibition to an environment of legalization.”

The failed initiative stated that the cannabis commission would be: “empowered to oversee and promulgate cannabis policy, standards, principles, regional heritage, appellations, regulations and enforcement mechanisms within the realm of agriculture as an industry and way of life; and to protect the rights of family farms by exempting them from tax and regulatory requirements; and to generally protect the rights of small farmers, qualified patients and caregivers and the ecosystem in Mendocino County.”

The commission’s 13 members were to be appointed by the supervisors from a list of nominees supplied by farmer stakeholder organizations, including the MCPC, the Emerald Growers Association and the Small Farmers Association.

The Board of Supervisors, which has the authority to create such a commission, offered no support for the MCPC initiative. Second District Supervisor John McCowen said the initiative gave the commission too much power.

“What it creates is not simply an advisory commission,” McCowen said. “The initiative itself sets into stone certain key provisions of the law. In addition, the initiative measure overall is vague and contradictory, and I do believe that it would lead to lawsuits. So instead of bringing clarity to marijuana law it would bring further confusion.”

Third District Supervisor Tom Woodhouse, who serves with McCowen on the county’s two-person ad hoc committee to study the economic impact of cannabis on Mendocino County, took no position on the proposal.

“Marijuana is not my number one concern,” Woodhouse said when asked for a comment. He added that “one of the big issues” is the environmental impacts of “huge grows” around the county,

“I really don’t care about people growing 25 plants,” Woodhouse said. “I don’t think they should be bothered. When you get up into the hundreds and thousands, it is really destructive. Totally out of control.”

The MCPC insisted the commission would have been advisory only.

“We’re not dictating how it’s going to be done,” said MCPC member Tim Blake before the signatures were tallied. “We’re asking them to come forward and help guide us, because when this goes legal in 2016, the counties are going to have a lot of leeway in how they do things. We want to stake our ground right now and be a model for this state and this country on how to do it. And the people that I’m with have done a remarkable job in crafting an initiative that speaks to all of those issues. It’s already there for the Board of Supervisors. All they have to do is give us a chance.”

To help make its case for the cannabis commission, MCPC invited two patients and a caregiver to speak at a press conference June 19 in Ukiah, before the signature gathering was completed.

A woman named Mary, who is caring for her husband with ALS — Lou Gehrig’s disease— said she could not give her full name because she has two high-CBD medical cannabis plants in her yard. She said the cannabis leaves she mixes in her husband’s daily green drinks appear to have slowed his decline.

“Our hope is it will go slow until we might actually find some cure for this. In the meantime, we have a life together,” she said, wiping away tears. “I am so pissed off at the Board of Supervisors for making these people jump through all these frigging hoops to form a commission that is only going to be making recommendations.”

A woman who identified herself as Candi said she broke both her hips in a car accident 30 years ago. Medical cannabis helped her pain so much she no longer needs the 45 doctor-prescribed pain pills she took each day.

“Now I have no pain at all,” Candi said. “I take zero pain medicine. When you are on 45 pills a day you can’t really function. I went from laying in bed to now I am able to work part time at a wellness center and share my story.”

Tim Blake said that 10 years ago cannabis oil helped him heal from a form of bone cancer that has ravaged his family, killing his mother at 52 and several aunts and uncles.

“I fought cancer and I still deal with it daily,” Blake said. “I use cannabis on a daily basis and it’s kept me alive. And it would have kept my mother and aunts and uncles alive if they’d had access to it.”

Blake praised the 2010 Mendocino Board of Supervisors for its “heroic effort” in establishing the county’s 9.31 program in 2010. The program issued permits to 99-plant farms that complied with strict county regulations and inspections. All other northern California counties were lined up to create similar programs, according to Blake, when the federal attorney general’s office “hammered” one of the farmers, Matthew Cohen, and threatened to arrest several county staff.

Blake said county officials were so “terrorized and threatened” by the actions of federal attorney that they are now afraid to lead on cannabis issues.

McCowen did not respond to that charge but said he regrets the demise of the 9.31 program.

“The federal attorney, by knocking down the program in effect made marijuana more illegal, more dangerous and more lucrative for the black marketers,” McCowen said. “The federal government has also made it clear that local jurisdictions are at risk unless whatever regulation they adopt fits into a more comprehensive state program.

Ironically, the initiative that is being proposed would further gut 9.31. To me it again would be another greater step backwards.”

(Jane Futcher is the host of “The Cannabis Hour,” every other Thursday at 9 a.m. on KZYX radio.)

Futcher
Candi, above photo, left, said medical cannabis allowed her stop taking 45 doctor-prescribed pain pills a day following a serious a car accident. Mary, right, says the cannabis leaves in her husband’s green drinks appear to have slowed the progression of his ALS. Both women spoke June 19 at an MCPC press conference in Ukiah.

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ON JUNE 24, 2015, at about 9:05am a 2005 Freightliner tractor-trailer with a flatbed loaded with about 240 90-pound bales of hay was southbound on North State Street in Ukiah being driven by Colton Grubb, 22, of Ukiah. As the tractor trailer entered the left turn pocket of North State Street prior to the on-ramp to Highway 101 the load on the trailer shifted. As the tractor-trailer turned left and began to enter the on-ramp the weight of the shifting hay bales caused the tractor-trailer to roll toward the right, destroying a traffic sign and blocking the on-ramp with the overturned vehicle and hay. The CHP, Sheriff’s office, Calfire and Caltrans responded. The on-ramp was closed for about 2.5 hours while the tractor-trailer was righted and the hay was removed from the ramp. Mr. Grubb was not injured.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 24, 2015

Ardenyi, Barlick, Baumann, Devito
Ardenyi, Barlick, Baumann, Devito

JASON ARDENYI, Ukiah. Receiving stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia, false ID, probation revocation.

MICHAEL BARLICK, Piercy. Pot cultivation, possession for sale, armed with firearm.

KEVIN BAUMANN, North Highland (CA), Ukiah. Possession of drugs while armed.

ROBERT DEVITO, Fort Bragg. Failure to pay, probation revocation.

Elliott, Logan, Marsh
Elliott, Logan, Marsh

JOHNATHAN ELLIOTT, Willits. Under influence of controlled substance.

STEPHEN LOGAN, Sacramento/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

HEATHER MARSH, Ukiah. Burglary.

Smith, Viltrakis, Vincent
Smith, Viltrakis, Vincent

JAMES SMITH, Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, sale.

JOSEPH VILTRAKIS, Hydesville/Willits. Resisting arrest.

DARREL VINCENT, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

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THE CONFEDERATE FLAG, the Washington Football Team, and the Owners Who Love Them

by Dave Zirin

It may be literally the least they could do, but it’s a victory for human decency that the Confederate flag will no longer be available at Walmart, Amazon, Sears, and eBay. Even though it is heartbreaking that it took the murder of nine people to get ghouls like Nikki Haley and Lindsay Graham as well as their corporate masters to see it as a public relations liability, it also raises a question. If the Confederate flag is too toxic to sell, then how can Amazon and Walmart continue to peddle the merchandise of a Washington football team that bears the name of a racial slur? How can they stock the blood-red profile of a Native American chieftain’s head adorned with feathers and a brand — no matter what revisionists argue — that celebrates their violent death?

I contacted Jackie Keeler, a Navajo/Yankton Dakota Sioux writer living in Portland and a founder of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, (EONM). Her words should be read and reread:

When I hear an spokesperson for eBay calling the Confederate flag, ‘a symbol of divisiveness and racism’ after announcing that they are banning the sale of it from their site I wonder why I can still search eBay and find over 100,000 Redskins items for sale. Studies and the APA [American Psychiatric Association] have repeatedly warned of the harm being pigeonholed and stereotyped does to Native youths' self esteem—and Native youth have the highest rates of suicide in the country, three and a half times that of their peers, but it happens where the rest of America does not look. Native men have the highest rates of police brutality and Native women the highest rates of murder and rape. These deaths are invisible to an America that does not weep for our dead. They cheer for the stereotype and paint themselves up in grotesque caricatures of us, but do they think about what cost we bear for that bit of fun? Is it worth it? I look forward to the day eBay and others like Walmart refuse to make a buck off of a bit of our soul.”

The Confederate flag, for those who believe it belongs not just in a museum but on fire, is a symbol not only of the Southern states or the Klan but of the great crime upon which this country was economically developed: the transatlantic slave trade. But that wasn’t the only crime. A prerequisite to the plantation economy was land acquisition and the near eradication of the indigenous population. Part of acknowledging our history as a settler nation built on slavery is acknowledging that an entire systemic apparatus has developed to keep down those upon whom Plymouth Rock landed. I contacted Suzan Shown Harjo, the Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee activist and president of the Morningstar Institute to ask for her thoughts. She said, “There is no disconnect between the white supremacy against African Americans seen in the rebel flag and that against Native Americans in the racist sports stereotypes. These symbols open deep wounds of ancestors massacred, skinned, and murdered just for being Indians. We hope some will gain awareness and courage, and will act on the racism within their reach.”

Harjo is right. There is especially “no disconnect” when we consider the person who named the Washington football team, its original owner George Preston Marshall. Marshall loved minstrelsy and was in the words of his contemporary, Washington Post sportswriter Shirley Povich, the NFL’s “leading bigot.” It is no coincidence that this owner of the last team to integrate in the NFL was also the person who named his team after a racial slur. It is no coincidence that this same owner, a man who insisted that Dixie be played at home games, was also a person who saw Native Americans as less than human.

It’s time for a change. But just as George Preston Marshall was a stubborn holdout against racial progress, the team today has another owner who is a proud dead-ender: Dan Snyder. The record of Dan Snyder defending this name and his various schemes to win public favor in Indian Country have produced one public relations debacle after another. Reasons for his pigheaded obstinacy on this issue have been subject of much curiosity. Given the incredible list of tribal councils, organizations, media outlets, politicians, and former players that have called upon him to change the name, people wonder why he clings to this the way Lindsay Graham and Nikki Haley clung to this flag before the horrors of last week. It doesn’t really matter why Snyder won’t change the name, but allow me to speculate. Having observed Dan Snyder for almost two decades, I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is not rooted in economics or Snyder’s privately nurtured bigotries.

When I first moved to Washington DC, the name was something rarely discussed. As this conversation began to surface in recent years, Snyder was so bellicose, so unable to even sit down with those who disagree with him that he has developed a small cult following among a subset of fans of the team. Dan Snyder is the least popular owner in sports, seen as an interfering bully who has stood over two decades of futility of a once proud franchise. He is also an awkward, sweaty, twitchy, hot mess when out in public. But because of his sneering defense of the name, Snyder finally has fans of his own. They chant, “Keep the Name” in bars while Snyder grins and pumps his fist. He has taken this objectively racist name — a dictionary defined slur — and turned it into the football version of the Confederate flag. But none of that matters to him because finally, Dan Snyder has fans of his own. Hope he enjoys it in the present. Like those who have wrapped themselves in the Confederate flag, the future will not be so kind.

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BirdBreast
(Photo by Annie Kalantarian)

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ACTIVISTS RALLY to block offshore oil drilling expansion in Santa Barbara

by Dan Bacher

As crews continue to clean Santa Barbara beaches from the 100,000-gallon oil spill that began when a corroded pipeline ruptured off Refugio State Beach on May 19, environmental and community groups are urging Governor Jerry Brown and state officials to stop increased offshore drilling that would depend on the same oil pipeline that burst last month.

While Governor Brown, other state officlals and the mainstream media continue to falsely portray California as a "green" state, the devastation of the oil spill shows the fragility of California's ocean waters - and exposes the failure of state and federal officials to stop a disaster like this, due to the capture of the state's regulatory apparatus by Big Oil.

Residents will hold a press conference and rally Wednesday, June 24, to demand that the State Lands Commission reject Venoco’s bid to expand offshore drilling in Santa Barbara, according to a news advisory from Californians Against Fracking.

More than 100 people with an inflatable pipeline, hazmat suits, a 20-foot tall mock oil derrick are expected to protest at the event at 2 pm at the Goleta Valley Community Center, Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave., Goleta, CA 93117. The State Lands Commission hearing starts at 3 pm at the same location.

Using a loophole in the state law that prohibits leasing state waters for oil and gas drilling, Venoco has asked the State Lands Commission to approve a lease swap that would allow the company to drill for more oil on 3,400 acres off the California coast. That oil would be transported through the Plains All American pipeline, the group said.

"Concerned residents of the Santa Barbara area say that any plan to pump more crude through the ruptured pipeline is flawed -- as is every stage of offshore drilling that risks oil spills and deepens our climate crisis," the advisory noted.

The rally is the latest in a series of resident-led actions following the May 19 rupture of the corroded Plains All American pipeline at Refugio State Beach that caused a massive oil spill that killed hundreds of birds and marine mammals and shut down beaches essential to the area’s daily life and economy, the group stated.

It is also the first of two key events this week. State Sens. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Das Williams are holding a public hearing on the oil spill June 26 in Santa Barbara.

The impact of the oil spill upon seabird, mammal, fish and the ecosystem has been devastating. According to BirdRescue.org, 414 animals have been collected as of June 22. The group has reported 57 live and 192 dead seabirds and 62 live and 103 dead mammals since the spill began. Twenty-six washed Brown Pelicans have been released as of June 21.

Unfortunately, in the reports from the Associated Press, other mainstream media and most of the "alternative" media you won't see one word about one of the most troubling and significant aspects of this oil spill - the fact that Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association and a lobbyist for Plains All American Pipeline and other oil companies, served as the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create the same "marine protected areas" that are now being fouled by crude oil.

Four "marine protected areas" created under her "leadership" - the Goleta Slough, Campus Point, Naples and Kashtayit State Marine Conservation Areas - are now imperiled by the oil spill that started at Refugio State Beach, devastating over 9 miles of the Santa Barbara County Coast.

That's right - the very same person who is lobbying for increased offshore drilling and fracking in California - and is serving as the lobbyist for Plains All American - is the exact same oil lobbyist who chaired the panel that created the "marine protected areas" that are now being fouled by the Santa Barbara Oil Spill! And while she served as the chair for the South Coast task force - and served on the panels for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast from 2004 to 2012 - oil companies were fracking like crazy off the California coast.

In 2013, an Associated Press and Freedom of Information Act investigation revealed that oil companies had conducted over 200 offshore fracking operations in Southern California waters, including the Santa Barbara Channel, over a 20-year period.

Why was Reheis-Boyd's chairing of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force a conflict of interest?

"Because, as President of the Western States Petroleum Association she had to have known that offshore fracking was already taking place, and she steered the MLPA process around that subject, making sure the oil companies wouldn’t be bothered by such things as ‘'No Take' in a State Marine Reserve," said Joey Racano, Director of the Ocean Outfall Group, in a comment on the OB Rag. (http://obrag.org/?p=95147#.VYmCjN3DyRo)

"Catherine Reheis-Boyd was President of the Western States Petroleum Association at the same time she was Chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Marine Protected Areas, and during the all-important ‘implementation’ process. That means she got to decide what would make it on to the agenda and what wouldn’t," he noted.

"Nobody is saying Marine Protected Areas aren’t a good thing or that they aren’t causing a return to health and abundance. What we are saying is that we can’t wait for some future process to get the oil out. Indeed, the entire MLPA was called a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ to do so," he emphasized.

The oil industry is the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in California. Reheis-Boyd's Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) set a new record for lobbying expenses in 2014 when it spent $8.9 million spent on lobbying, nearly double what it spent in the previous year. WSPA spent $4.67 million in 2013. (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2015/02/06/big-oil-group-spent-89-million-last-year-lobbing-jerry-brown-and-california-officials)

To read WHY the oil spill occurred - Big Oil's capture of the regulatory apparatus - read my groundbreaking investigative news piece at: http://www.calitics.com/diary/15750/lobbyist-for-oil-pipeline-company-oversaw-creation-of-fouled-marine-protected-areas

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HERITAGE OF HATRED

Editor

Ms. Lockyer's comments (Letters, January 15, SF Chronicle) re the Confederate flag are well meaning, but she only tells half the story. If she were to attend any white supremacy rally, here or abroad, she would see the Confederate flag displayed alongside the Swastika. The Swastika symbolizes hatred and Nazism. The Confederate flag also represents hatred to many Americans, black and white. The Aryan Nation and other hate groups are clear in their intent. Kill and hurt blacks in any way possible.

The blind spot in Ms. Lockyer's vision is the result of ignorance, sad to say. The Confederate flag is symbolic that the Civil War never really ended. It's a pitiful shame that we begin a new century with hatred still enslaving our hearts. The Confederate flag tells me that hate still lives in America.

Robert Ashley Martin

San Mateo

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Interesting that you should mention “walking down the street killing ants.” As a kindergartner I used to walk home from school and just as an exercise in “something to do” I would look for the big, fat black ants marching about not bothering me in the least, and I would step on them.

Then I noticed one I had not quite done in and he was wriggling about (writhing in pain?) and I knelt down and watched him.

Then I picked him up and looked at him squirming in my hand and I studied him closely. Then he became still. And I was so overcome with the emotion of what I had done that I started crying. I sat on the sidewalk holding that dead ant for a long time, sobbing away.

Then I dried my tears and walked on home being very careful to AVOID the ants as they marched here and there. I even started picking them up and looking at them. They never bit me or tried to hurt me. Looking for them and “holding” them became my new exercise for the walk home.

That is my first conscious memory of crying over death. But it changed me in a profound way.

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