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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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Firefighters in Mendocino County filed a citizen initiative today to
address the danger posed by millions of trees killed and left standing in
the forest.

Albion Little River Chief Ted Williams explains: "This initiative
safeguards firefighters from unnecessary manufactured hazards and
residents from loss of critical infrastructure, including escape routes
and telecommunications lifelines. It effectively places people before
private industry profit, shifting damage losses from the citizens to the
corporations who stand to profit from radical forest management practices.
It's about industry accountability."

The timber industry in Mendocino County kills over one million
"undesirable" hardwood trees each year and leaves them standing dead in
the forest because they see it as the cheapest and easiest way to restore
the more profitable conifers.

Retired CAL FIRE Air Attack Captain Kirk Van Patten observes: "In ten
years of aerial wildland firefighting in Mendocino County, one of the most
profound and troubling observations I made was the timber management
practice of hack & squirt. This clearly has created a serious wildland
fire threat for the firefighters and citizens of Mendocino County."

Dead standing trees ignite easier and burn hotter and faster, endangering
everyone who lives near the dead zones. They also pose increased danger to
firefighters who are called upon to respond to such fires. A dead tree
burning is one of the most dangerous situations a firefighter can face,
and that hazard increases exponentially as the number of dead trees rises.

Mike Coltan, volunteer firefighter, states: "Mendocino County's rural
residents are at greater risk of catastrophic wildfire due to standing
dead timber intentionally left after hack & squirt, which greatly
increases wildfire flame height, rate of spread, and fire line intensity.
I am very concerned about community safety as well as the safety of my
fellow volunteer firefighters."

More than 200 residents and firefighters came before the Mendocino County
Board of Supervisors on April 21, 2015, requesting action on this
industrial practice. In spite of overwhelming public support, the
resolution failed by one vote.

James Sibbet, another volunteer firefighter, says: "The practice of
killing millions of trees over thousands of acres, compounded with leaving
the dead trees as a fuel load for fire, after years of drought, is a clear
case of human arrogance."

These four firefighters, along with Comptche resident Katy Tahja, are the
proponents of this initiative. Once enough signatures have been gathered,
this measure, which declares intentionally-killed-and-left-standing trees
a public nuisance, will be on the June 2016 primary ballot.

Ms Tahja concludes: "It would be much nicer to not have to worry about
having a standing dead forest in our backyards."

Supporters of this initiative hope to finally achieve what the Mendocino
County Board of Supervisors unanimously called for in a resolution twenty
years ago: "Call an immediate halt to any practice which leaves large
acreages of killed hardwoods standing but not downed."

(Press Release)

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A STRONG HIGH PRESSURE AREA is hovering over the western US and will hold for at least the next week.


Temperatures will be warming and Wednesday through Friday daytime temperatures will be 8 to 12 degrees above normal. Some areas in the north end of California’s central valley could break the 110° mark and the foothills and higher elevations will be near record levels. The southerly flow around the west side of the high pressure area will begin to pull sub tropical moisture northward raising the humidity. On Thursday isolated mountain thunderstorms could reach as far north as Plumas county on the east side and southern Trinity county on west side. Isolated afternoon and evening thunderstorms will continue over the higher elevations of Northern California through Monday.


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A STRONG RIDGE of high pressure will aid in providing some of the warmest temperatures of the Summer thus far along the West Coast. … Residents are urged to take precautions while working outside. (—

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ANYBODY OUT THERE RECOGNIZE THIS WOMAN? This photo is all over Navarro. Apparently she was trespassing at the Floodgate property presently being remodeled and seems to have taken items not belonging to her.


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The initiative To Prohibit Social Service Organizations in the Central Business District of Fort Bragg (a four block area) was found insufficient. This is what happened and what is happening: The total number of registered voters 3124 was not disclosed by the city until after the petition was submitted. The law allows them to do this and the number must come from the city. Proponents of the petition submitted it in less than 3 weeks so it could be put on the November ballot and NOT cost the city extra money for a Special Election. The total needed to get the initiative on the ballot was "no less than 10%" of the 3124 number. The county found 312 valid signatures. Fourth grade math rules say that 312 is 10% of 312.4 However, the city has discretion and The city of Fort Bragg decided to round up instead of down and found the petition insufficient due to the .4 — yes, four tenths of a signature that was missing. The papers were filed at city hall today to start the whole process over again along with the second $200 fee for filing. The proponents are not giving up. They have asked the city council to pass a resolution to put it on the ballot in November by August 7 so that it doesn't cost the city extra money to have a special election. And so the people of Fort Bragg can vote on the issue and be done with it. Signatures were invalid mainly because people forgot to re-register after they moved to a new address in town. There were enough registered voters, not enough with valid addresses.

I hope that clears this up.

Anne Marie Cesario (Fort Bragg, writing on MCN ListServe)

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WEASELLY GRAND JURY RESPONSE to complaints that Mendocino County's Children's Services employs uncredentialed, or under-credentialed people to handle abuse and neglect cases.


FCS (Mendocino County Family and Children’s Services) claims they filed a waiver request in January, but FCS does not indicate whether it was approved or not. What did the state say or do?

IT SHOULD be obvious that unless you have intelligent, conscientious people investigating these cases, dependent children can be harmed, even killed as in the awful Wilson Tubbs case in Fort Bragg.

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STRATEGIC PLANNING. The phrase always makes me laugh, especially in the Mendo context. The Ukiah City Council is retreating to their war room next week to plan strategically. They began planning strategically back in 2007, although for many years and strategies the plan remains to make Ukiah as unpleasant as possible. Natch, the 2007 Council, as zany a collection of screwballs as Ukiah could manage, couldn't strategically plan on their own so they brought in a consultant named Zuieback, who was either nuts or a performance artist developing a very subtle comedy routine with the 07 Council as unwitting cast members. We wrote at the time:


“The Ukiah City Council is going for $15,000 worth of consulting to ‘facilitate goal setting.’ The last time the Council went looking for outside advice, they came up with Ukiah-based consultant Steve Zuieback and his “process enneagram.” I can't remember how much they paid Zuieback for his enema, but the City Council that hired him was purged in the next election.”


WHERE WERE WE: O yes. Strategic planning. The goals in '07 were:

  • Maintain downtown historic place as a regional center of civic and economic activity
  • Planning valley-wide takes place based on sound planning principles
  • Develop a prioritize(d) plan for maintaining and improving public infrastructure
  • Council and staff work together to create a more responsive and effective workplace

YOU REALLY NEED to pay $15 grand to come up with the obvious? Seems so, especially when the money isn't coming straight out of your own pocket. The 2015 strategic plan will be a re-write of the above, but objective number one, "Maintain downtown historic place as a regional center of civic and economic activity," has been destroyed by the plans of our 9 judges to build themselves new courtrooms three long blocks south of the present County Courthouse, meaning not only a major abandonment of central Ukiah but a huge blow to its existing businesses that depend heavily on Courthouse traffic. It's highly unlikely that the Council will denounce the plans for the new Courthouse which, predictably, is proceeding without so much as a by your leave of local considerations.

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TUESDAY MORNING’S Santa Rosa Press Democrat lead website page left us confused.


Apparently, a rich couple from San Francisco has been forced to pay a little more for additional “studies” before they inflict their wine dreams and caviar wishes on Sonoma County. The photo accompanying the story shows a youngish man playing with his dog in front of a random vineyard. What conclusion are we supposed to draw from the juxtaposition? That the people in the PD’s photo department don’t read their own paper? That a dog will be doing the studies? That the wealthy savages proposing the new vineyard are the human equivalent of warm, fuzzy puppies?

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Meri Leahy
Meri Leahy

The Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office issued a felony warrant for the arrest of Meri Ellen Leahy, approx 43 years old, for residential burglary.

On or about April 26, 2015, Meri Leahy and accomplices went to a residence in Ukiah and stole personal property. Ms. Leahy may have fled the Ukiah area; sources suggest Ms. Leahy may be in the Compton or Folsom areas of California.

Please contact Deputy Massey at the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office with any information of Meri Leahy’s whereabouts at (707) 463-6328 or (707) 272-1773.

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THE SINGLE MOST REMARKABLE FACT about San Francisco history, it seems to me, isn't its nineteenth-century intolerance for Chinese immigrants, or its twenty-first century tolerance for nearly every nationality on the planet provided they had cash, brawn or bankable skills but rather its unrivaled ability to rise from its own ashes with more speed than anywhere else in the world. Call it the City of velocity. What happened in 1915, when the city destroyed a part of itself to rebuild and renew itself, transpired all over again in the 21st century, with vast accumulations of wealth on one side and vast poverty on the other that persuaded longtime residents to talk about the Dickensian world they saw at their feet. The metamorphosis of the old into the new took place faster than ever before, and while San Franciscans lamented the homelessness and the sense of despair they were also elated by the vitality of the City where human beings seemed to be more alive than anywhere else. — Jonah Raskin

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TWO LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS WERE INJURED Sunday while battling a blaze near Grass Valley, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reported. According to Cal Fire, a total of four firefighters, two from Cal Fire and two from the U.S. Forest Service, suffered burn injuries the evening of July 26 while fighting the Lowell Fire in Nevada County. The firefighters were airlifted to the U.C. Davis Burn Center in Sacramento for treatment. On Monday, Cal Fire reported that its firefighters, both of whom are part of the Mendocino Unit were released from the hospital and are expected to make a full recovery. One of the local firefighters has already been returned to full duty, and the second will spend the week recovering. A Cal Fire representative identified the two firefighters as Branden Campbell and Brian Gatton, though she did know which of them had been cleared to return to work. A Cal Fire release reported that the released firefighters “are in good spirits ... and had an opportunity to speak with their families. All three are ready to return to the firefight.” One of the U.S. Forest Service firefighters was also released, but the second “remains in the hospital with serious injuries.” Cal Fire is having one of its Serious Accident Review Teams review the incident. As of Monday morning, Cal Fire reported that the Lowell Fire had burned 1,500 acres in the You Bet area and was 20 percent contained. The cause is under investigation.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 28, 2015

Anguino, Crooks, Cruz
Anguino, Crooks, Cruz

LETICIA ANGUIANO, Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance, probation revocation.

KALLI CROOKS, Fort Bragg. Grand theft.

ROGER CRUZ, Coalinga/Ukiah. DUI.

Cruz, Halvorsen, Hevey
Cruz, Halvorsen, Hevey

CLEMENTE FLORES, Healdsburg/Ukiah. Pot cultivation, processing, possession for sale.

NICHOLAS HALVORSEN, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

JENNIFER HEVEY, Redwood Valley. DUI, driving on DUI-suspended license.

Morales-Carrillo, Pimentel, Stevens
Morales-Carrillo, Pimentel, Stevens

CARLOS MORALES-CARRILLO, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.

KATRINA PIMENTEL, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

MATTHEW STEVENS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

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An 'Open Letter To The Cowards Who Shot Me'

Open letter to the cowards who shot me in the eye with a paintball gun in Arcata on July 27th at 1:25am.

Allow me to illuminate how my night went after you made your mistake. First I screamed my tits off to make sure you knew something had gone terribly wrong. Then my traumatized girlfriend walked me home to our car. When we got to the hospital, I puked my guts out in the parking lot. The puke was from the nausea of a serious eye wound, and it's a running theme. They threw dye in my eye and did all these tests. I made all the hospital puns. Then the shock wore off, and I doubled over. This is where the puke returns, but I was out of food to puke. So I threw up stomach acid. All night.

I have to imagine that there's something in your life that causes you great pain for you to be interested in attacking strangers. Maybe you lack self control or maybe your job sucks or maybe you were just bored. However you rationalize it your actions were very wrong hearted.

Your attempt to exert your will on my life has failed. All you have succeeded in doing is making all the wonderful people in my life sick with disgust.

You can learn from this if you try. You can learn how to build up those around you. You can learn to be more focused on the moment, how to express yourself in healthy ways. I have to think that if you'd been more focused on your actions on July 27th, you wouldn't have shot me.

SeanLeydonYour thoughtless act could cost me dearly. I'm a photographer, and you may or may not have just given me lifelong cataracts/glaucoma. We just don't know yet. The EYE DOC said my iris has a tear and the reason it's hard for me to see is because there's blood between the iris and the TOP BIT of the eye. The major risk is the iris getting another tear within the next 5 days. I've an appointment for next Monday and now you know everything I do about the damage you caused.

Humboldt friends, please spam this post everywhere you can think of. They were driving an all-black SUV, looked like an Explorer. The paint gun had a shiny barrel that looked silver, and they were shooting green paint. The shooter was in a moving vehicle and hit me twice in about a second. They're clearly good at the game of paintball when they're not busy being complete jackasses. Humboldt is VERY small, maybe we can figure out who these foolish fiends were.

I'm coming out of a very profound personal funk, one that took me all year to figure out. I've been in the ER twice in the last 4 months. This is a just another speed bump in a year of healing. Although you've messed up my work and potentially my career, you can't stop me suckas!

PS you've also given me an excuse to wear sunglasses literally whenever I want for the rest of my life. That's actually super sweet of you. I wore them in the shower today, it was awesome.

PSS If you're some sweet family/friend and you'd like to show support PLEASE don't call/text/email me. I'm figuring out this trauma and the added stress of having to reply to a flood of sympathy is NOT what I need (iphone keyboards and a lack of depth perception is a lesson in autocorrect comedy). Comment here with love and thoughts. PM me if you expect a response. But if you really wanna make my day? Mail me any old sunglasses you don't wear anymore. Preferably big ones, I've a big head. Probably made it a good target.

With Much Love (even for the fools),

Sean Patrick Leydon


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“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.

I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.”

LoraxThat there will be a new Dr. Seuss book published today, though the author died in 1991, is an interesting story. Even more interesting: Dr. Seuss was evidently some kind of an environmentalist whose The Lorax, published in 1971, caused controversy in Mendocino County in 1989, when The Timber Wars were raging on the Northcoast of California.

From People Magazine in 1989: The trouble began the day Sammy Bailey came home from school last spring. The Laytonville, Calif., second grader had just finished reading The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, the sad tale of a fuzzy little creature who loses his forest home when the greedy Once-lers cut down all the Truffula trees. A troubled and thoughtful Sammy had taken the story's lesson to heart. "If you cut down a tree," he told his father, Bill Bailey, "then it's just like someone coming in and taking away your home."

Another parent might have been touched by his child's sensitivity; Bailey was not. The owner of a logging supplies mail-order business, he was incensed by what he saw as a flagrant attack on the livelihood of Laytonville, a tiny (pop. 1,096), single-industry lumber town 150 miles north of San Francisco. Rounding up support from other outraged parents, Bailey, 46, and his wife, Judith, 42, asked the local school board in September to remove The Lorax from the second-grade required-reading list. "Teachers...mock the timber industry, and some of our kids are being brainwashed," screamed Bailey's full-page ad in the local weekly. "We've got to stop this crap right now!"


From a Laytonville resident's newsletter at the time: In The Lorax, Dr. Seuss makes an outstanding case against greed and reckless environmental practices. If Bill Bailey thinks the good doctor is in error, let him present a better case. Show us the book, Mr. Bailey, that will put a good face on what your friends in the logging industry are doing to our land. Instead of bullying and braggadocio, show us through intelligent argument the truth and justice of your cause.

Outside of your place of business, Mr. Bailey, you fly a large American flag, but I maintain that every time you interfere with the free dissemination of ideas, you disgrace that flag. There is much wrong with the American system and the American way of life, but one thing we can be undeniably proud of is the right to read and say and think whatever we choose. When you deny that right to our children, you strike at the heart of what is best about this country.

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The only Dr. Seuss book I remember from my childhood is Bartholemew and the Oobleck, published in 1949, in which green gooey stuff rains from the sky. In retrospect this too reads like an environmental warning, though I only remember enjoying the whimsical story and the great illustrations:

(Rob Anderson, Courtesy, District 5 Diary)

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Concerning themselves with stupid sexual politics makes total sense when you consider the fact that there is no longer a difference between the corporate-centric Democratic party and those corporate-centric other guys. Without anything to really stand for, and having eshewed their progressive roots in favor of Wall Street money; trivial issues filled the Democratic vacuum.

Many disaffected could have rallied around a Democratic party which had grand ideals. Instead they are pushed to be tolerant of sexual outliers which is foolish since hard core progressive types have been tolerant of sexual minorities for better than forty years now. Those who are not tolerant are beyond hope and they will vote for Jeb no matter what they are told. The two big American political parties have become just two big box choices of generic sameness. Perhaps it would help if the fine print on the generic choices were made larger so we knew which war the Democrats would start to enrich their corporate friends and which war those other guys would start to enrich their corporate friends.

Then we could actually be choosing something.

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Russian Gulch Beach (Photo by Susie de Castro)
Russian Gulch Beach (Photo by Susie de Castro)


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CALIFORNIA'S BIGGEST "SECRET" — oil industry capture of the regulatory apparatus

Big Oil spent $266 million influencing CA politics from 2005-2014

by Dan Bacher

The biggest, most explosive story in California environmental politics is the capture of the regulatory apparatus by the regulated, but you wouldn’t know it if you rely on the mainstream media for your information.

While corporate agribusiness, the timber industry, insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and other corporate interests spend many millions of dollars every year on lobbying and campaigning in California, Big Oil is the largest, most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento.

No industry has done a better job of capturing the regulatory apparatus than Big Oil. The oil industry exerts inordinate influence over the regulators by using a small fraction of the billions of dollars in profits it makes every year to lobby state officials and fund political campaigns.

Big Oil spent an amazing $266 million influencing California politics from 2005 to 2014, according to an analysis of California Secretary of State data by, an online and social media public education and awareness campaign that highlights oil companies’ efforts to “mislead and confuse Californians.”

The industry spent $112 million of this money on lobbying and the other $154 million on political campaigns. (

2014 was the biggest year-ever for Big Oil spending on lobbying and campaigns. The oil industry spent a combined total of 38,653,186 for lobbying and campaigns in 2014. That is a 129 percent increase from the 2013 total of $16,915,226!

The top lobbyists in the oil industry during this 10-year-period were:

  • Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA): $50,111,867
  • Chevron: $23,442,629
  • BP: $6,788,261
  • Shell: $4,536,112
  • Occidental: $4,315,817

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), an oil industry trade association that every year tops the list of spenders among the state’s lobbying groups, spent a record $8.9 million on lobbying in 2014, nearly double what it spent in the previous year. WSPA spent $4.67 million in 2013. (

WSPA spent much of its lobbying money on stopping a fracking moratorium bill in the Legislature and trying to undermine California’s law to lower greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

The group also successfully opposed legislation by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson to protect the Vandenberg State Marine Reserve and the Tranquillon Ridge from offshore oil drilling plans. In a bizarre scenario that could only take place in the "green" state of California, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of WSPA and Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create questionable “marine protected areas” in Southern California, lobbied against marine protection in a "marine protected area" that she helped to create! (

But for all of the millions WSPA and the oil companies spend every year on lobbying, they dumped even more money, $154 million, into political campaigns during the ten-year-period.

The top campaign spenders in the oil industry from 2005 through 2014 were:

  • Chevron: $75,665,793
  • Aera Energy: $37,177,594
  • Occidental: $17,100,680
  • Valero: $6,472,155
  • ConocoPhilipps: $5,872,096

In 2014, Chevron alone spent $3 million (unsuccessfully) to elect their selected candidates to the Richmond City Council. The oil industry also dumped $7.6 million into defeating a measure calling for a fracking ban in Santa Barbara County and nearly $2 million into an unsuccessful campaign to defeat a measure banning fracking and other extreme oil extraction techniques in San Benito County during the November 2014 election.

The oil lobby is also one of the largest contributors to Jerry Brown's campaigns. While the Governor was cynically spouting off about "fighting climate change" at a Vatican symposium in Rome on July 21 and 22, his administration continues to promote the expansion of fracking in California. Governor Brown told the Vatican climate conference that one-third of the world's oil needs to stay in the ground, yet California remains the third largest oil-producing state in nation.

On September 20, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 4, a controversial piece of legislation that creates the infrastructure for the expansion of fracking in California. Before Brown signed the bill, he had received $2.49 million in financial donations over the previous several years from oil and natural gas interests, according to public records on file with the Secretary of State's Office and the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

"Of the total, $770,000 went to Brown's two Oakland charter schools — the Oakland School for the Arts and the Oakland Military Institute. The other $1.72 million went to his statewide political campaigns for attorney general and governor, along with his Proposition 30 ballot-measure campaign last year," wrote Robert Gammon in the East Bay Express on October 2, 2013. (

More recently, Big Oil's inordinate influence over Brown administration policies was exposed when Mark Nechodom, the controversial director of the California Department of Conservation, the agency that oversees the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), resigned on June 4. DOGGR is the agency charged with regulating the state's oil and gas industry.

Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 appointed Nechodom, who is considered very friendly to the oil industry, to the post in order to expedite permits for oil drilling in Kern County and elsewhere. In 2011, Brown fired two high-ranking state regulators from their posts, one of whom was replaced by Nechodom, because the oil industry believed they weren't approving their drilling permits fast enough! (

The agency has faced increasing scrutiny from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after permitting oil companies conducting steam injection and fracking operations to drill thousands of oilfield wastewater disposal wells into protected aquifers. The Committee to Protect Agricultural Water, a citizen organization comprised of Central Valley farmers and "individuals concerned about California's drinking water," filed a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) complaint in Federal Court on June 3, the day before Nechodom resigned.

The RICO Complaint claims that Governor Jerry Brown's office ordered the DOGGR to approve permits to inject contaminated water in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. (

Not only does Big Oil spend millions every year on lobbying and campaign contributions, but it funds "Astroturf" campaigns to eviscerate environmental laws. Leaked documents provided to Northwest Public Radio, Business Week, and other media outlets last year exposed a campaign by the Western States Petroleum Association to fund and coordinate a network of “Astroturf” groups to oppose environmental laws and local campaigns against fracking in California, Washington, and Oregon. This network was revealed in a PowerPoint presentation from a November 11, 2014 presentation to the Washington Research Council, given by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, WSPA president. (

Oil and chemical industry representatives also further exert their power and influence by serving on state and federal regulatory panels. In one of the most overt conflicts of interest in recent California history, WSPA President Reheis-Boyd served as the chair of the MLPA Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California, as previously noted. She also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast, and North Coast, in addition to sitting on a NOAA federal marine protected areas panel from 2003 to 2014.

It is no surprise that so-called "marine protected areas" created under the MLPA Initiative fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

Not only did these alleged "Yosemites of the Sea" fail to protect the ocean, but they violate the traditional fishing and gathering rights of the Yurok Tribe and other Indian Nations and are based on terminally flawed and incomplete science. (

However, the millions Chevron and other oil companies have spent on lobbying, campaign contributions, setting up “Astroturf” groups, and getting their representatives on state regulatory panels in order to promote the oil industry agenda are just chump change to Big Oil.

In spite of sliding oil prices, the big five oil companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell — made $16.4 billion in the last quarter of 2014 and $89.7 billion for the entire year, according to the Center for American Progress. In 2015 to date, Big Oil’s estimated profits are over $52 billion. (

For Big Oil, spending $266 million to shape California policy over the past 10 years is just part of the cost of "doing business." And as the oil industry faces increasing public opposition to fracking and Big Oil's attacks on environmental laws, you can expect the industry to continue increasing its spending on lobbying and campaigns.

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Saturday, August 8, 10am-4pm.

A unique opportunity to visit the lantern room and the beautifully restored operational Third Order Fresnel Lens. These tours are offered only eight days each year.

A modest fee, which supports the lighthouse maintenance fund, of $5 is appreciated. Children must be at least 42 inches tall to participate in the tours.

For additional information please call 707/937-6122.

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AG 101 CUSTOMER APPRECIATION Event August 7th from 6pm till the cows come home at our Mendo County Location: 6301 N State St Calpella, CA.

We will have FREE Ag 420 samples, Live Entertainment from the amazing:

Flynn Creek Circus: 8-8:30pm

Contortion, Hand to hand, Aerial silks/straps, 2 comedy numbers, Trapeze & Partner unicycle.

Soulevity: 8:30-10:30pm

Afrofunk Experience: 10:30PM - TILL THE COWS COME HOME

FREE Food catered by Master Chef Luca Rubino from 8pm-10pm

FREE Wine donated & poured by Frey Vineyards from 6pm-midnight.


Josh Bowers

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The 33rd Annual Round Valley Blackberry Festival will be held this year on August 22nd & 23rd at the festival grounds in downtown Covelo. Admission is free.

Mickey will be Master of Ceremonies and will kick off the festivities at 10am on Saturday. Sip a glass of Mendocino County wine while listening to the numerous local musical groups playing throughout the entire weekend. Enjoy a blackberry slush while strolling around the surrounding arbor which will be full of arts and craft vendors and community organizations. There will be a climbing wall for children of all ages. Saturday night, at 7pm, join the community for a fun square dance.

There will be a 5/10K run/walk on Sunday morning ( sponsored by the Friends of the Round Valley Library. Later in the day enjoy the motorcycle and antique car show featuring both local and out of town vehicles.

The festival runs from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday. Further festival or booth information can be found at


  1. james marmon July 29, 2015

    Regarding WEASLY GRAND JURY response:

    HHSA’s response to the Grand Jury is one of the most twisted documents I have ever read. So, I took a few minutes to sort things out and get rid of some the wool they are trying to pull over every ones eyes.

    F2. FCS ranks at the bottom for two of three State measures of job performance for FCS agencies.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. According to Safe Measures which refreshes at least weekly, Family and Children’s Services does not rank at the bottom of timely investigations of immediate and 10 day referrals.”

    Safe measures is not the official database. The grand jury based their findings on data collected from the Child Welfare Services California Management System (CWS/CMS) database, which is the official database.

    F3. One of the two measures where FCS meets or exceeds State averages is Case Worker periodic visits for children under their care. Unfortunately, this does not address the understaffing concerns of the areas where FCS does not even meet State averages.

    “I (we) disagree partially with this finding. HHSA agrees that FCS meets or exceeds State averages in Case Work periodic visits for children in their care. For more information regarding staffing see response to F35.”

    This response doesn’t make sense. F35 has to do with recruiting activities not staffing concerns.

    F4. A failure to meet required investigation deadlines is a symptom of understaffing. A failure to timely investigate referrals poses an increased risk to children.

    “I (we) disagree partially with this finding. Training is needed for staff on which critical documentation to prioritize getting entered into the database immediately when the first in-person contacts or attempted contacts have been made and then on-going monitoring to ensure the social workers are entering the initial attempts/contacts to adequately reflect real time performance on addressing child safety. However, it is agreed that if referrals are not responded to timely, there would be an increased risk to children.”

    This response avoids addressing the first part of the finding “that a failure to meet required investigation deadlines is a symptom of understaffing.” HHSA already admitted in F1, that a major problem with FCS is understaffing.

    F5. The statistical performance of County FCS, when compared to that of the other counties in the State, is an embarrassment to our community and should be an embarrassment to our County government.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. The statistical performance of Mendocino County in comparison to other counties is higher in some areas and lower in some areas. The County government nor the community should be embarrassed, we can be proud of what we have accomplished in a small rural county.”

    The grand jury findings were in relation to the statistical performance of Emergency Response only, in which they found FCS at the bottom of 2 out of 3 measures. Yes they should be embarrassed.

    F7. A significant number of FCS professional and supervisory staff do not meet State educational standards for their positions and are considered under-qualified by State standards.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. They are not under-qualified they meet current specifications for job classifications.”

    This response contradicts FCS’s admission that 8 out of 9 social worker supervisors do not have MSW degrees or equivalent education and experience for their positions. It doesn’t address the shortage of MSW’s in regards to professional line staff positions either. The grand jury did not mention anything about classifications, they spoke of positions only.

    F8. The failure of FCS in Mendocino County to conduct timely investigations is directly linked to the shortage of qualified staff.

    I (we) disagree partially with this finding. The documentation of timely investigations is primarily the issue. Social workers and supervisors do realize and comply with the standard that children must be seen and interviewed either immediately or within 10 days or attempt made to see the children in those time frames. However, they do not document their investigations as quickly as need due to the prioritization of job responsibilities like seeing a child in the home.

    This response also avoids answering the grand jury’s finding. HHSA already admitted in F1, that a major problem with FCS is understaffing.

    F9. The County’s use of inexperienced and under-qualified staff to conduct Emergency Response investigations places an additional burden on supervisors and increases the probability of children or staff coming to harm.

    “I (we) disagree partially with thes finding. Ideally it would be better to have a Social Worker IV’s and V’s who wold also need some training, but much less than social worker I’s Social Worker I’s are trainee level social workers and the best practice is that they would only be carrying a very small caseload. That being said, in order ot protect children, it is better to have Social Worker I’s handling investigations and working to protect children, than to leave the positions vacant in hopes of acquiring social workers with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree to fill the positions, as this would definitely place children at risk by not having anyone to investigate referrals.

    Again, they avoid answering the grand jury’s finding. They do not give a response to there being an additional burden on supervisors by allowing Social Worker I’s to handle Emergency Response investigations. They also fail to mention that Social Worker I’s are not allowed to conduct investigations by state standards.

    F13. FCS has almost one third less staff than the August 2014 Table of Organization shows.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. The August 28, 2014 Table of Organization reflects 108 permanent staff and 3 extra help staff for FCS. The June 5, 2015 Table of Organization reflects 112 permanent staff and 6 extra help.”

    The grand jury report was talking about Social Workers, not the entire FCS staff. If you look at the June 5, 2015 Table of Organization chart you will notice that there was a significant number of Social Workers scratched from it. HHSA also failed to state that they have recently hired 8 more Social Worker I’s since the grand jury investigation was completed in May.

    F14. This Table of Organization itself does not show any staff increases since 2008 to meet the increased work load experienced over the last six years.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. Due to the economic down turn from 2008-2011 FCS experienced a decrease in staffing. However, FCS began experiencing and increase for the years 2013, 2014, 2015.”

    This is not correct, the grand jury’s Figure 4 “Changes in staffing and loss of experience” shows that there was a mass exodus of Social Workers in 2013, after FCS reorganized. Furthermore, Figure 4 also shows that FCS hired only 24 social workers between 2008 and 2014. The same chart shows that 26 social workers departed during that same time frame.

    F15. Senior Management has known of the lack of staff for years. Failure to actively recruit exacerbates this problem. Recruiting is haphazard at best. Failure to address this problem has led to the current state of affairs.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. HHSA actively recruits for vacant positions in FCS vacant positions in FCS. HHSA also works collaboratively with Mendocino Human Resources regarding vacant positions.”

    HHSA completely ignores the finding that Senior Management has known of the lack of staff for years. They also fail to mention that there was a hiring freeze from 2008 to 2010. Furthermore, Mendocino County Human Resources does not recruit or hire social workers. Recruitment is done through Merit System Services and the hiring is conducted by HHSA’s Human Resources Department.

    F16. Current FCS professional staff are carrying nearly double the recommended Best Practices case loads for quality service to children

    “I (we) disagree partially with this finding, For continuing services, using the best practice standard of 17 to 20 cases, as of June 2015 only three of the FCS social workes have more than 20 cases, of those three, two have 21 cases and one has 25 cases. Caseload numbers in September 2014 and January 2015 show only one social worker had more than the best practice standard of 22 cases. However, we agree that most of the FCS Emergency Response social workers have over the best practice standard. This is due to a lack of staffing which results in referrals, although investigated, not being able to close in time due to not being entered into the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System database and thus remain open on the social workers caseload. We don not agree, however, that social workers are carrying nearly double the caseload.”

    If you take in account that Social Worker I’s are not supposed to be carrying an Emergency Response caseload at all, the other social workers are well over the best practice standard. Also if you take notice, HHSA makes referrence to Child Welfare Services/Case Management System database in this response, but disputes it in F2.

    F18. Management has responded to the loss of job experience by increasing Core training and the availability of training opportunities toward advanced degrees for staff.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. FCS complies with State mandates and State training requirements. FCS continues to encourage and support employees who wish to pursue additional educational opportunities.”

    I, for the life of me, don’t understand why HHSA disagreed with this finding. It was positive.

    F19. FCS is not in compliance with State-required educational standards for social workers handling child abuse/neglect cases.

    “I (we) disagree partially with this finding. It is correct that the County does not currently meet the required number of social workers with an MSW degree, but the County has followed State procedure by filing a waiver request on January 6, 2015, with the California Department of Social Services.”

    The response does not state whether or not CDSS granted HHSA a waiver, it just states that they requested one.

    F20. The County has been aware of its lack of compliance for years.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. See response F19. The county is in compliance with State requirements”.

    Again, it is not clear if CDSS has granted HHSA a waiver for 2015, and this response does not address the lack of compliance prior years.

    F21. As of December 31, 2014, HHS had failed to perform even the minimal reporting requirements of the State since 2007.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. There are a substantial amount of HHSA programs that have reporting requirements to the California Department of Social Services and it is not a true statement that HHSA has not met even the minimal reporting requirements.”

    HHSA completely responded to this finding out of context. The grand jury was not addressing all of HHSA in their report. They were addressing FCS only.

    F24. HHS is attempting to upgrade the educational levels of current FCS staff.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. It is not accurate that HHSA is attempting to upgrade education levels. HHSA consistently has provided training and educational opportunities in the following ways”
    • HHSA continues to provide monthly educational/training to staff to enhance knowledge of specific job responsibilities.
    • HHSA continues to coordinate on-going education and the State required CORE training program through UC Davis to social worker assistance, social workers and social worker supervisors.
    •HHSA continues to encourage and support staff who have a desire to pursue higher education.
    •HHSA continues to support Title IV-E programs through universities.
    •HHSA continues to offer employees and non-employees internships/field placement.
    •HHSA continues to provide internships and work experience opportunities for students pursuing the human services certificate through Mendocino College

    This is another response that HHSA completely misunderstood. It was a positive finding, why they disagreed to it is a mystery to me.

    F30. Benefit packages vary widely from county to county, and are very complex. The Grand Jury was not able to determine if differences in benefit packages were significant from county to county for counties of equivalent size.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. Benefit packages can be substantially different from county to county. The Agency does not have sufficient information to determine the Grand Jury finding and is unable to speak to what the Grand Jury determined or did not determine.

    HHSA missed this one too. This was a positive finding as well. I don’t know why they disagreed.

    F35. While there is a lack of recruiting activities, the increased emphasis on the educational qualifications in consideration of potential new hires by requiring MSWs was a decision based on the need to meet State mandated requirements.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. There is not a lack of recruiting activities. FCS has been active in running continuous recruitments for Social Worker I, III, and IV positions. Each classification has different educational and experience requirements.”

    The response completely ignored the finding that there was an increased emphasis on the educational qualifications in consideration of potential new hires by requiring MSWs was a decision based on the need to meet State mandated requirements.

    F37. Staff is reluctant to speak out on issues for fear of retaliation.

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. HHSA does not have sufficient information from the Grand Jury regarding this finding”

    They want names.

    F38. Lack of respectful communication was cited by more than one interviewee, and the Grand Jury was presented documented evidence

    “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. HHSA does not have sufficient information from the Grand Jury to make further statements on this finding.”

    Again, they want names.

    • BB Grace July 29, 2015

      Gee Marmon, if you think the HHSA response to the Grand Jury was twisted, you should have read the MHSA Componates Plan.

      HHSA responses remind me of the W. C. Feilds quote: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

      It seems the HSSA platform is, “Don’t worry about today, focus on tomorrow”, which is why there are no direct responses, rather, responses are twisted into pitches for the training, loan programs, HHSA plans to make for it’s future staff, as in, “We’ll pay your tuition and when you graduate, you work for us”. It’s a type of indentured slavery that promises HHSA a staff that would make Darth Vader blush.

      What I also find in the HHSA responses is word smithing, where key words are employed that have known affects on people, “sustainable”, for example, is an accepted word that “sounds good”, so good sounding words are inserted as baffles when addressing accusations or problems, and the future goal, such as the training, loan program, is inserted to twist the issue or subject into completion, as in, “There’s your answer, next topic”, resulting in, there is no answer just twists on promoting the plan. For a real example:

      F18. Management has responded to the loss of job experience by increasing Core training and the availability of training opportunities toward advanced degrees for staff.

      “I (we) disagree wholly with this finding. FCS complies with State mandates and State training requirements. FCS continues to encourage and support employees who wish to pursue additional educational opportunities.”

      See how HHSA is using the Grand Jury Report to promote their training agenda, to the point they dissagree as a knee jerk, and then confirm as if training opportunities are not educational opportunities?

      Meanwhile I’m still waiting to see if I can add Mendocino County names to this short list:

      Just a few eexamples on the link:

      -Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.

      -Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.

      -Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.

      -Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.

      -Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.

      -Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.

  2. Judy Valadao July 29, 2015

    I thought Fort Bragg only played word games, seems now they are into playing numbers games also.

  3. Eugenia Herr July 29, 2015

    Thank you for the wonderful photos by Elaine Kalantarian and Susie deCastro whose gem, of the the Russian Gulch Bridge (,
    brings back memories of when, in 1940 and I was seven, my dad took us to see the newly finished bridge. His work took him by car all over northern CA. and we would go with him often in summer. He was a bridge fan. I remember his detailed appreciation of this bridge, especially that it was “done right!” and “didn’t muck up the site”.

    Gene Herr

  4. Kathleen Gagnon July 29, 2015

    I just spoke with someone at the Pt. Cabrillo Lighthouse and the Lighthouse Lens tour is Saturday August 8th, not this Saturday.

    • AVA News Service Post author | July 29, 2015

      Thank you for letting us know!

  5. Harvey Reading July 29, 2015


    Just another meaningless term peddled by management schools and their students, most of whom haven’t the ability to manage themselves out of a wet paper bag.

    I remember in state service numerous political appointees, whose main skills lay in kissing butt coming back from those courses full of meaningless terms like that, and then imposing them on those they “managed”.

  6. Chuck Dunbar July 29, 2015

    Regarding the HHSA response to the recent Grand Jury report regarding Mendocino County CPS (I’m using the commonly used title for these services): As a former CPS supervisor who worked in the Fort Bragg CPS office for 18 years, I am saddened that the County’s response is in many ways so unresponsive, even lame. The Grand Jury report critically highlighted the very real problems of the current CPS leadership. The agency had a chance to make some much-needed changes here. It looks like they have decided to “circle the wagons” and protect leadership staff. Those of us who served on the CPS front lines over the last few years can only wonder how much real thought went into the HHSA response. I am reminded of the quotation: “Bureaucracy is the enemy of excellence.” Over the years I worked at CPS, management was often seen by front line staff as the weak link in the agency. (I will say I had the good fortune of working for several program managers, including A.J. Barrett and Deborah Moody, who were committed, knowledgeable and humane.) Current management at CPS, however, is, as the Grand Jury reported, committed to a command and control style of management. It’s truly “my way or the highway,” and if you voice much dissent, you are taking a big risk.

    This is a sad way to run a social service agency. This style might be effective in the military services, or perhaps even a police department, but it is not suited to working productively with social workers and other support staff. CPS work itself is hard and complex and takes its toll on staff. Management that is far from supportive, even punitive and unresponsive to legitimate feedback, just makes it all that much harder. There are many wonderfully dedicated staff at CPS. I have a lot of admiration for them and hope that things will change for the better at some

    Chuck Dunbar

  7. Jim Updegraff July 29, 2015

    Re: Jerry and the oil lobby. If you go back to his first term – he was a running dog for the oil lobby at that time and nothing has changed in this term. He spouts off a lot about climate change – it sounds good but it is his usual b——t.

  8. james marmon August 2, 2015

    “Badges, we don’t need no stinking badges.”

    HHSA Assistant Director Bryan Lowery does not believe that the State Educational Standards are important. He and most of the FCS program managers do not possess advanced degrees themselves and downplay those requirements every chance they get. Only 1 out of 9 supervisors are qualified by State Standards and only 24 percent of line staff have advanced degrees.

    Bryan Lowery only has an associates degree. I thought I would never stop laughing when I read the Ukiah Daily Journal’s introduction when he was promoted to Assistant Director. You would think that someone in that position would have credentials behind his name. Unless you count his being from the Ukiah area, and that his wife works at Raley’s as credentials, then he has none.

    It is common knowledge that Mendocino Family and Children’s Services do not respect master level social workers, they only hire them because they have to. The only exception to this standard is if you are a “home grown” master level social worker. They like them.

    They will not put up with a social worker transferring in from another county (like me) trying to tell them that they are doing something wrong, or have any ideas that would require change. They will quickly tell you, “that is not the way we do things here in Mendocino County.”

    FCS Deputy Director Jena Connor has the credentials and respect for the Social Work discipline. I am sure that CDSS has been in contact with her regarding the under-qualified staffing issues. It is apparent that Bryan Lowery, Stacy Cryer, and Carmel Angelo do not want that correspondence made public let alone to the Board of Supervisors.

    I apologize to anyone who thinks my fanning the flames is uncalled for, but it has to be done, real social workers are “change agents.”

  9. james marmon August 2, 2015

    Someone brought to my attention that last year Doug Losak ruled that department heads did not have to respond to the grand jury. Yes, but I also remember what District Attorney David Eyster told the Board of Supervisors.

    “Mr. Losak’s recent opinion that County department heads need not respond to grand jury reports is not only an affront to the grand jury system, it is contrary to law. See Penal Code 933. Section B.”

    Does anyone think Losak will challenge Eyster on this one?

    • james marmon August 3, 2015

      In July of 2013, both Stacy Cryer (HHSA Director) and Tom Pinizzotto (Mental Health Director) responded to a grand jury report titled “Cut
      backs in Mental Health Services Impacting Law Enforcement”. One as the agency head, and one as the department head. So, there is precedence set in Mendocino County.

      In 2014, County Counsel Doug Losak informed the Grand Jury that department heads are not required to respond to their response requests. Later that year in October, District Attorney David Eyster stated at a Board of Supervisors meeting that “Mr. Losak’s recent opinion that County department heads need not respond to grand jury reports is not only an affront to the grand jury system, it is contrary to law. See Penal Code 933. Section B.”

      So here in 2015, it appears that the Grand Jury’s response request from Family and Children’s Services, department head Jena Connor, is not being honored again by the County.

      It appears that we all need some clarification from the DA as to this issue.

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