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Mendocino County Today: Friday, June 26, 2015

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by Justine Fredericksen

Members of a local church were reeling Wednesday after someone broke into the building and stole many “priceless relics,” according to David Anderson, the pastor of St. Peter Eastern Catholic Church on Orr Street.

Anderson discovered the break-in about 5:30 a.m. June 24 as he prepared for that day’s services and called the Ukiah Police Department.

UPD Capt. Justin Wyatt said the thief, or thieves, entered the building through an open window and stole several items, many of which he described as invaluable.

Anderson described the items as including: The Tabernacle (Ark) containing the Blessed Sacrament (the body and blood of Christ), a large Gospel book, two chalice sets and other “priceless relics.”

Anderson also reported that many candles were lit during the break-in.

Wyatt said an attempt will likely be made to sell the items, and the UPD has notified local pawn shops in the area of the burglary.

He said there are currently no suspects, and anyone with information is asked to call the UPD at 463-6262.

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by Mark Scaramella

When the Board of Supervisors discussed new expenditures in next year’s County budget on Tuesday, June 16, Supervisor Dan Hamburg said that because County revenues have not fully recovered from the 2008 recession, he would only support programs that are in the pipeline or legally mandated: Laura's Law implementation, road maintenance increases, and information technology upgrades. He said he would not support the Stepping Up Initiative or the Public Safety Enhancement Grant application.

This prompted Supervisor McCowen to inquire about the "Stepping Up Initiative."

But first this item in the Board’s agenda packet:

“AGENDA TITLE: Adoption of a Resolution In Support of the Stepping Up National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People With Mental Illnesses In Jails and Encourage all County Officials, Employees and Residents to Participate in the Initiative

“SUMMARY OF REQUEST: Each year, there are an estimated two million people with serious mental illnesses admitted to jails across the nation. Almost three-quarters of these adults also have drug and alcohol use problems. Once incarcerated, individuals with mental illnesses tend to stay longer in jail and, upon release, are at a higher risk of returning to incarceration than those without these illnesses. Without change, large numbers of people with mental illnesses will continue to cycle through the criminal justice system, often resulting in tragic outcomes for these individuals and their families, missed opportunities for connections to treatment, inefficient use of funding, and a failure to improve public safety. The Stepping Up initiative recognizes the crucial role local and state officials play in supporting change; the National Association of Counties (NACo), the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, and the American Psychiatric Foundation (APF) are leading an unprecedented national initiative to help advance counties’ efforts to reduce the number of adults with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders in jails. To build on the foundation of innovative and evidence- based practices already being implemented across the country, and to bring these efforts to scale, NACo, the CSG Justice Center, and APF are working with partner organizations with expertise in the complex issues addressed by the initiative, including those representing sheriffs, jail administrators, judges, community corrections professionals and treatment providers, consumers, advocates, mental health and drug abuse service directors, and other stakeholders.”

The agenda packet also included a lengthy chunk of boilerplate resolution language with about a dozen “WHEREASes” taken directly and without change from the National Association of Counties on-line template.

We looked and looked for specifics of the “initiative” and the closest we got was this from Florida judge Steve Leifman: “Examples of effective problem-solving initiatives include crisis intervention teams that teach law enforcement officers to better recognize and respond to psychiatric emergencies in the community; jail diversion programs and mental health courts that utilize specialized dockets and provide judicial monitoring of treatment linkages and engagement; reentry programs that assist with linkages to treatment and support services upon completion of jail or prison sentences, and community corrections programs.”

In one form or other these programs are already in place in Mendocino County. But nobody knows anything about them nor whether they’re effective, of course. In fact, nobody knows much about any of the County’s mental health programs because Mental Health Director (and former Ortner exec) Tom Pinizzotto makes sure we only get very limited cherry-picked information and the Board never asks for meaningful reports. On the streets and at the County’s booking log, however, the public can certainly draw some (negative) conclusions about whatever they’re doing from what we see every day.

Judge Leifman proceeds to lay the helpo-therapeuto lingo on thick: “This is a community problem requiring a community solution. None of us created this crisis alone and none of us will solve it alone. By leveraging resources and working collaboratively across the justice system and the community, stakeholders can develop effective partnerships. In doing so, we can craft more equitable and sustainable policies and legislation that will help to minimize incarceration, reduce recidivism, improve public safety, and promote stronger, healthier communities.” (Our emphasis.)

Yes, that would be nice – but not if all we get is more of the usual buzzwords, clichés and bafflegab.

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) describes the program as: “The Stepping Up Initiative is a national effort to divert people with mental illness from jails and into treatment. The campaign brings together a powerful coalition of national organizations, including NAMI, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the National Association of Counties, the American Psychiatric Foundation and numerous law enforcement associations, mental health organizations, and substance abuse organizations. The initiative will challenge counties and local communities to work together to find solutions that work for the local community. The campaign will also support local leaders by providing examples of effective reforms and connecting them with other communities that are successfully reducing the number of people with mental illness in jails. (Our emphasis.)

“See more at:

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Supervisor McCowen wanted at least an idea of what Stepping Up involves: "What's the timeline for the Stepping Up the initiative?"

Health & Human Services Director Stacey Cryer seems to have learned a lot from Judge Leifman: “It's an initiative, a movement, it's a new way of thinking, it's stepping out of the box that we are in, it's coming together, it's collaborating, it's something that we have already started. We are bleeding to death in adult mental health. Adult mental health in this county has been an issue for years. It's poorly funded, not well understood, problematic in more ways than one, across the country. Adults are being put in jail who should not be put in jail because they are mentally ill and they are violating some part of the law and they end up incarcerated and they end up with felonies. It's got to stop. Everyone is saying nationally it's got to stop, we have to change. So instead of just asking for general fund to go into the adult mental health system we decided to do something little more proactive and we decided to do something that we are already working on. As public defender Thompson says we are meeting about 5150 [people arrested on mental health grounds: danger to self or others], about services in the jail; we are meeting about the way that people are picked up and the way they are delivered and how they are in the emergency room and how they end up in jail. So we are doing these things already. So instead of asking for general fund for adult mental health, we decided to be a little more proactive and try to do something a little different and support this initiative. This was talked about on the Capitol steps on May 7 in Sacramento. It was a very good conversation, and a lot of great speakers were there of course, and it felt like something we could wrap our arms around and move this county forward in a new way. So it's not really a program, so I can't give you a deadline, but it's something we are already talking about and we will continue to focus on. It's really putting our money where our mouth is, so to speak, on where we want to look and focus in mental health.”

McCowen: “The request refers to a pilot project, and so —”

I think what we were referring to in that document is that is about getting the collaboration started, getting the collaboration of groups together and supporting what we think could be some steps to move this forward.”

McCowen: “So then, what specifically is the funding going to? Is it to pay people to go to meetings and talk?”

Instead of just saying, “Yes,” Ms. Cryer replied: “I don't know if I can really answer that right now. It's a new initiative and we estimated $250,000 to go into this project, again to start the conversation and a group really — we don't have the money so we haven't talked about how it would be used. We would use it in different venues to move this item forward, to move this movement forward.” (Our emphasis.)

McCowen: “Is it possible that we would know more by final budget that we would have more of an idea?”

Cryer: “Absolutely.”

Supervisor Woodhouse then suggested that the Board not discuss each new item individually at this time.

Supervisor Carre Brown said she supported the Stepping Up initiative, adding that she expects staff to get together and define the programs. “It's a big initiative. It is going to be all across the nation and working together I think we can at least find some solutions for this problem that has been ongoing. That's where I'm coming from.”


Hamburg then backtracked: “I am not opposed to the Stepping Up and you should— I just want more detail. Perhaps I could support it if I understood it as well as you do or other board members do. But $250,000 is a fair sized chunk of change.”


McCowen: I do support the Stepping Up Initiative. It's very true we don't have a lot of detail here. The Stepping Up Initiative, we could tentatively allocate $250,000 with the understanding that we would get more detail prior to final budget. I do support allocating funds for this purpose. I could probably go forward with it today without qualification. But if delaying a final action on it to gain additional information builds a greater consensus I can support that too.”

Supervisor Dan Gjerde: “Maybe we could put a placeholder amount for the Stepping Up program, and I will just toss out a figure, $50,000 there to indicate the board wants to move forward with the program but then taking the other $100,000 in the draft proposed budget and placing that in whatever you call it, a second contingency fund, up to $250,000 making it $350,000. It would give the departments time to clarify what the additional expenses for this program would be, because as they generally described it as a better way of working with clients, in some respects it seems that that's what they should be doing anyway if there's a better way. But maybe there are some additional expenses that are not covered in today's system and they can explain that between now and the next budget workshop. So I would support it with the modification that it's $50,000 in this budget for the Stepping Up program and making the second contingency fund $350,000, rather than $250,000.

McCowen: “It wouldn't quite be a contingency fund but an unallocated fund balance from what — okay we have to have to allocate it?”

CEO Carmel Angelo: “You have to put it somewhere.”

Allan Flora, the County’s new young Deputy CEO, just transferred over from Lake County: “Generally something like that would just lie in the contingency fund. If you wanted to not have it in there, another simple solution I can think of right now would be to just leave it as available fund balance and not appropriating it anywhere, and that would result — if you look at page 28, the overall budget chart, you see, down at the very bottom where it says balanced budget, zero, essentially that would be revised to be $350,000 there and your board would come back at a later time and your board would choose to appropriate that.”

McCowen: “So we would simply designate it as unallocated fund balance?”

Flora: “Right.”

McCowen: “Would that be the appropriate title?”

Flora: “Fund balance available.”

McCowen: “Unallocated fund balance available.”

Carre Brown: “We're putting funding elsewhere that should really address our mental health needs in Mendocino County. I feel that $50,000 is a drop in the bucket to the overall problem that we face and I'm not willing to change anything from the regular budget unless the Stepping Up Initiative gets $150,000. Unless we get that for that particular program I'm willing to listen to other county supervisors depending on what they would like to do.”

McCowen finally moved to put $250,000 in unallocated reserve or whatever it’s called. Gjerde insisted that they get more information on Stepping Up before it's actually allocated.

Brown then encouraged her colleagues to read the information that is coming out on the Stepping Up Initiative. "It's very successful. You need to read that information. I'm kind of surprised you haven't because the whole initiative was explained in the last National Association of Counties newsletter as well as highlighting programs that have been quite successful.”

Again we looked for the programs that “have been quite successful,” and all we found was things that sound like what Mendo is either already doing or already should be doing:

“Convene/Draw on a team of county leaders and decision makers from multiple agencies committed to reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jails that do not pose a public safety risk.

“Obtain prevalence numbers and assess needs to better identify adults entering jails with mental illnesses and their recidivism risk, and use that baseline information to guide decision making. [Anything involving reporting of actual numbers will never happen with Pinizzotto as gatekeeper.] Although there is a high prevalence of substance use disorders in jails, this initiative initially focuses on people with mental illnesses and those with co-occurring substance use disorders.

“Measure treatment and service capacity to determine which policies, programs, and services are available to minimize contact or deeper involvement in the justice system for individuals with mental illnesses.

“Make a plan with measurable outcomes that draws on the assessment of the jail population and community capacity. (Again, nothing “measurable” will ever come out of Mr. Pinizzotto.)

“Implement research-based approaches that advance the plan and ensure that working groups or individuals with assignments feel supported, but also accountable, to the leadership team. (The recent Grand Jury report says the opposite is the case now. So if we can’t do it now, what makes anybody think it’ll happen with an extra $250k?)

“Track progress using data and information systems, and report on successes.

Mendo is allergic to tracking anything.

What’s that one mental health cliché that they failed to mention: “The definition of mental illness is when you keep doing same thing over and over while expecting different outcomes”?

Or as in this case, if you throw more money at the same people over and over with the same meaningless explanations expecting different outcomes…

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Ukiah City Manager $252,000 annually to manage a "city" of 16,000. (Former City Manager Jane Chambers: $160k (plus…)

Fort Bragg City Manager: $138,000 (2013)

Willits City Manager: $101,000 (2013)

Mendocino County CEO Carmel Angelo: $180,000 (2013)

Sheriff: $126,000. (2013)

Transportation Director: $118,000. (2013)

District Attorney: $126,000 (2013)

Auditor Controller: $114,000. (2013)

Planning and Building Director: $86,000. (2013)

Health & Human Services Director: $125,000. (2013)

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(By Comparison: Santa Rosa City Manager: $208,000.)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 25, 2015

Balactar, Fuller, Gaines
Balactar, Fuller, Gaines

SHAWN BALICTAR, Ukiah. Under influence of controlled substance, contempt of court.

SIERRA FULLER, Ukiah. Grand theft, probation revocation.

MISHELLE GAINES, Willits. Criminal threats of death or great bodily harm.

Guerrero, Hawkins, Leary
Guerrero, Hawkins, Leary

CHRIS GUERRERO, Willits. Probation revocation.

MISTY HAWKINS, Covelo. Drunk in public.

SARAH LEARY, Fort Bragg. Burglary.

McKee, North, Ordonez
McKee, North, Ordonez

MARIETTA MCKEE, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

NICHAEL NORTH, Fort Bragg. Resisting arrest.

FAUSTO ORDONEZ, Willits. Child endangerment, vandalism.

Reyes, Sanders, Scarioni, Serkes
Reyes, Sanders, Scarioni, Serkes

TOMAS REYES, Possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia, probation revocation.

THOMAS SANDERS, Willits. Possession of honey oil, trespassing, probation revocation.

ELVIS SCARIONI II, Manchester. Probation revocation.

BENJAMIN SERKES, St. Louis/Redwood Valley. Domestic battery/battery.

Shively, Tallman, Thompson, Worden
Shively, Tallman, Thompson, Worden

TYLER SHIVELY, Willits. Receiving stolen property.

WILLIAM TALLMAN, Mendocino. Failure to appear, resisting arrest.

KYLE THOMPSON, Fort Bragg. Possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia, driving on suspended license.

CHARLES WORDEN, Fort Bragg. Possession of controlled substance and smoking device, suspended license, evasion, impersonation of another, probation revocation.

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ART IN THE GARDENS Fast Approaching on Saturday, August 1

24th Annual event has added appeal for all

Art in the Gardens is rapidly approaching on Saturday, August 1 from 11am to 5pm. This family-friendly garden party has activities for everyone, from shopping for art (fine art in all media, edible art, and boutique products for home and body), demonstrations by Pacific Textile Arts members, toe-tapping music, and foods available for a delectable lunch.

New to this year’s event is the addition of a Beer Tasting option for craft beer enthusiasts. Enjoy fine Mendocino County wines, regional microbrews, and a palette of fresh foods from local vendors. The day-long juried art and food event benefits horticulture, conservation, and education projects at the Gardens.

We'll provide detailed information about our food, wine, and beer vendors in next month's e-Blast!

The Gardens gratefully acknowledges the following businesses for their generous sponsorship of this year’s event, through monetary and/or in-kind donations: North Coast Brewing Company, Rossi Building Materials, KOZT The Coast FM, FloBeds, Campbell Global, Suburban Propane, Little River Inn, Mendo-Lake Credit Union, Friends of the Gardens (FOG), Thanksgiving Coffee, Harbor Ice, and Mountain Fresh Spring Water.

Event Day Information
While the Gardens welcomes canine companions during normal business hours, guests are asked to leave their dogs home for Art in the Gardens (dogs will not be allowed into the venue). As a special fundraiser, regular admission passes will not be accepted nor discounts given for the event to Gardens members or their guests.

Art in the Gardens tickets are $20 advance or $25 at the door; kids under age 16 free. Wine or beer tasting adds $20 per person (over age 21). Tickets may be purchased online by clicking the link at or in person at Harvest Market and the Garden Store at MCBG in Fort Bragg or Out of This World in Mendocino.

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is a non-profit public garden located on 47 acres at 18220 North Highway 1, two miles south of Fort Bragg and six miles north of Mendocino. Please phone 707-964-4352 ext. 16 for more information or visit the website at

Gardens' members who are at the Supporter, Patron, and Benefactor levels receive complimentary tickets for Art in the Gardens; tickets will be mailed to these members prior to the event. This is a benefit of membership at these levels only.

Learn more about the categories of membership at all levels.

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Post-event: 40th Anniversary Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration

Bill Bradd and Judy Sperling attend

Thirty-Nine Poets In Mendocino

Lively numbers! The 40th Anniversary Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration, in its 10th Annual Revival, hosted 39 poets on Sunday, June 14, at the Hill House of Mendocino.

Poets reading were: Dan Essman, Joe Smith, Bill Baker, Riantee Rand, Peter Wells, Henri Bensussen, Chris Olander, Oasis, Harriet Gleeson, Jeanine Pfeiffer, Frieda Feen, Devreaux Baker, Theresa Whitehill, Darius Mozafarian, Robin Whitley, Patty Joslyn, Maureen Eppstein, David Partch, Kirk Lumpkin, Kate Dougherty, ruth weiss, Janet DeBar, Scott Croghan, Jay Frankston, Gordon Black, Marilyn Motherbear, Bill Bradd, Michael Riedell, Virginia Sharkey, Sharon Doubiago, Sam Edwards, Linda Noel, Harvey Waldman, Janferie Stone, Cristie Holliday, Rob Haughwout, Zida Borsich, Lily, and Janice Blue.

Here are their pics: Tap the pictures for the names.

There were two open readings, with a break to enjoy the town and the sea. The event included music by bassist Richard Cooper, with guitarist David Partch greeting arrivals in the lobby. Gordon Black was the producer.

Sharon Doubiago presented the earliest reading at the Mendocino Art Center 40 years ago. Bill Bradd worked for several days to lift a heavy log up a cliff from Portuguese Beach and drag it to the Art Center, where he drummed it with authority, lights off, next to a fire in the open stove. That pulse continues.

The poetry was recorded to be broadcast during coming months on Dan Roberts' RhythmRunningRiver, music and poetry, heard alternate Sundays 2:00 to 4:00 PM West Coast Time on public radio KZYX&Z, beginning July 5th. Listen on the Web at

Gordon Black


Photo: Jeanine Pfeiffer

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16th Annual Big River Walk And Paddle, Saturday, October 24th. Walk Begins 9:30 am at Big River State Park.

Presented by the Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County, this community event brings people together to celebrate and remember family members and friends who have faced cancer. The proceeds raised support CRC, the only organization in Mendocino County providing necessary support services free of charge to those with cancer. Your donation helps CRC carry out its vision that no one face cancer alone in Mendocino County. Participants may walk, run, or paddle. Individuals and teams are welcomed. Participants are encouraged to gather pledges to support CRC. Big River Walk and Paddle is a family-friendly event, for people of all ages! Adults $25 / Teens $10 / Children FREE Please register at For more information, give us a call at 937-3833.

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Good afternoon! Today I received the information regarding the Local Coastal Plan Update, which includes putting pay gates on Sonoma County Coast beaches. As the public tries to avoid the more traveled beaches that the State plans to install pay gates at they will likely move to currently less traveled locations and this could negatively impact Tribal environmental resources. The information below and attached came from the Sonoma County Surfriders. Although the issue differs for these folks they could be good allies. In particular Cea (pronounced Sea) is very knowledgeable and is trying to block these changes before the Public Review Draft is released and before gated beaches become the norm for Northern California. As you know Public Review Drafts are really too late to make changes needed. Please find information on the upcoming public workshops below and background information attached. The following two reports are background also: 2015 Staff Report Cea provided contacts for all departments involved in her email to me below. If any of you have received notices on this or plan to send letters, and/or request Tribal Consultation it would be useful to know. Please share what you send so others can use your letter(s) as templates It is important that North Coast Tribes become engaged in this issue. Please forward to THPO, Environmental Departments or others interested persons.

Thank you!

Sherri Norris
Executive Director
California Indian Environmental Alliance
526 Grand Ave.
Oakland, CA 94610
Ph: (510) 848-2043
Cell: (510) 334-4408
CIEA Website:

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TPP — SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS released this statement in response to Senate's vote to advance the fast-track trade bill:

Americans increasingly believe that their country isn’t serving its own citizens. They need look no further than a bipartisan vote of Congress that will transfer congressional power to the Executive Branch and, in turn, to a transnational Pacific Union and the global interests who will help write its rules. The same routine plays out over and again. We are told a massive bill must be passed, all the business lobbyists and leaders tell how grand it will be, but that it must be rushed through before the voters spoil the plan. As with Obamacare and the Gang of Eight, the politicians meet with the consultants to craft the talking points — not based on what the bill actually does, but what they hope people will believe it does. And when ordinary Americans who never asked for the plan, who don’t want the plan, who want no part of the plan, resist, they are scorned, mocked, and heaped with condescension. Washington broke arms and heads to get that 60th vote — not one to spare — to impose on the American people a plan which imperils their jobs, wages, and control over their own affairs. It is remarkable that so much energy has been expended on advancing the things Americans oppose, and preventing the things Americans want. For instance: thousands of loyal Americans have been laid off and forced to train the foreign workers brought in to fill their jobs — at Disney, at Southern California Edison, across the country. Does Washington rush to their defense? No, the politicians and the lobbyists rush to move legislation that would double or triple the very program responsible for replacing them. This ‘econometarian’ ideology holds that if a company can increase its bottom line - whether by insourcing foreign workers or outsourcing production - then it’s always a win, never a downside.

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by Norman Solomon

Last week CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling went to prison. If he were white, he probably wouldn’t be there.

Sterling was one of the CIA’s few African-American case officers, and he became the first to file a racial discrimination lawsuit against the agency. That happened shortly before the CIA fired him in late 2001. The official in Langley who did the firing face-to-face was John Brennan, now the CIA’s director and a close adviser to President Obama.

Five months ago, in court, prosecutors kept claiming that Sterling’s pursuit of the racial-bias lawsuit showed a key “motive” for providing classified information to journalist James Risen. The government’s case at the highly problematic trial <> was built entirely on circumstantial evidence. Lacking anything more, the prosecution hammered on ostensible motives, telling the jury that Sterling’s “anger,” “bitterness” and “selfishness” had caused him to reveal CIA secrets.

But the history of Sterling’s conflicts with the CIA <> has involved a pattern of top-down retaliation. Sterling became a problem for high-ranking officials, who surely did not like the bad publicity that his unprecedented lawsuit generated. And Sterling caused further hostility in high places when, in the spring of 2003, he went through channels to tell Senate Intelligence Committee staffers of his concerns about the CIA’s reckless Operation Merlin, which had given Iran some flawed design information for a nuclear weapons component.

Among the U.S. government’s advantages at the trial last winter was the fact that the jury did not include a single African-American. And it was drawn from a jury pool imbued with the CIA-friendly company town atmosphere <> of Northern Virginia.

Sterling’s long struggle against institutionalized racism <> is far from over. It continues as he pursues a legal appeal. He’s in a prison near Denver, nearly 900 miles from his home in the St. Louis area, making it very difficult for his wife Holly to visit.

Last week, as Sterling headed to Colorado, journalist Kevin Gosztola wrote an illuminating piece <> that indicated the federal Bureau of Prisons has engaged in retaliation by placing Sterling in a prison so far from home. Gosztola concluded: “There really is no accountability for BOP officials who inappropriately designate inmates for prisons far away from their families.”

With the government eager to isolate Jeffrey Sterling, it’s important for him to hear from people who wish him well. Before going to prison, Sterling could see many warmly supportive comments online, posted by contributors to the Sterling Family Fund <> and signers of the petition <> that urged the Justice Department to drop all charges against him. Now he can get postal mail at: Jeffrey Sterling, 38338-044, FCI Englewood, Federal Correctional Institution, 9595 West Quincy Ave., Littleton, CO 80123.

(Sterling can receive only letters and cards. “All incoming correspondence is reviewed,” the Sterling Family Fund notes. “It is important that all content is of an uplifting nature as any disparaging comments about the government, the trial or any peoples involved will have negative consequences for Jeffrey.”)

While it’s vital that Sterling hear from well-wishers, it’s also crucial that the public hear from him. “The Invisible Man: CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling <>,” released the day after he was sentenced in mid-May, made it possible for the public to hear his voice. The short documentary (which I produced for ExposeFacts) was directed by Oscar nominee Judith Ehrlich.

More recently, journalist Peter Maass did a fine job with an extensive article, “How Jeffrey Sterling Took on the CIA -- and Lost Everything <> .”

It should be unacceptable that racism helped the government to put Jeffrey Sterling in prison.

(Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts <>. Solomon is a co-founder of, which has encouraged donations to the Sterling Family Fund <>. Disclosure: After the guilty verdict five months ago, Solomon used his frequent-flyer miles to get plane tickets for Holly and Jeffrey Sterling so they would be able to go home to St. Louis.)

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Dear Editor:

The Palestinian Foreign Minister visited the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hand over files detailing alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza and settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The files were in an outline with no specific charges against named individuals. It was stressed it was not a referral for prosecution but merely supplying information to the ICC prosecutor. The prosecutor in a preliminary examination had found possible war crimes by both Israel and the State of Palestine in the Gaza War and the West Bank. By not making a referral the Palestinians were trying to avoid action by Congress to withhold money for projects in the West Bank. As for Israel they do not belong to the ICC and rejects its authority. There has been a couple of other issues that have come up. The French are moving forward with their own peace initiative to restart peace talks along with the help of the Arab states, the EU and the Security Council. One should not be surprised at the negative reaction of Netanyahu to the plan. In addition, Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian, has called on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to retract its recognition of Israel until Israel recognizes the State of Palestine. The recognition of Israel led to the signing of the Oslo Accords which was the foundation for security agreements between the PLO and Israel.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff



  1. BB Grace June 26, 2015

    Re: Stepping Around, Stepping Up into Mud

    U. N. World Health Organization’s Mental Health Action Plan 2013 – 2020 (2020 is a U. S. election year), heklps put Mendocino County in perspective

    Note all the simularities in language and concerns. Ask yourself, “Is WHO’s Mental health Action Plan the right plan for Mendocino? Or does Mendocino take on Mental Health services as it did GMO and medical marijuana?

  2. Nancy June 26, 2015

    The $250,000 requested for the Stepping Up program shows just how out of touch the County Department Heads are with the people they are supposed to serve. The criminalization of mental health is a national shame, but this initiative does not serve one person, improve one program or contribute in any meaningful way to improving conditions in the jail or treating the seriously mentally ill citizens of Mendocino County. A Stepping Up newsletter and toolkit are available for free online for anyone who wants to do more to address this problem, including the County’s department heads.

    This money is a windfall. Many County services are in serous disarray. Please, someone come up with a useful way to use this unanticipated money to actually make a change. Act quickly or the General Fund reserve will be $250,000 richer.

  3. Lazarus June 26, 2015

    I wonder if the Ukiah City Manager worked in “Bell”

  4. BB Grace June 26, 2015

    The Stepping Up Initiative urges county leaders to convene teams of agency decision makers and diverse stakeholders to develop a six-step action plan to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. By signing up for the initiative, you will receive notification about learning opportunities, peer-to-peer exchanges, expert guidance, a toolkit of resources, and other assistance to facilitate planning and implementation. For more information, download the project overview (PDF).

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