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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Aug 8, 2015

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CALFIRE LIFTS MOST ROCKY FIRE EVACUATION ORDERS; Huge Lake County blaze stops growing, now 50% contained

CalFire Declaration: As of 10am Friday August 7 the following streets will be removed from the evacuation order. Paradise Canyon, New Long Valley Road, Old Long Valley Road, Salt Canyon, Indian Hill Road, Flaming Hills Lane, Red Rock Road, Red Rock Court, Round Mountain Road, Fern Way, Juniper Way, Holly Way, Golden Red Way, Shasta Road, Cougar Road, Jeep Trail, Smith Lane, Pueblo Trail, Quail Trail, Meadow Creek Road, Cache Creek Road, Wolf Creek Road, Spring Valley Road, Riverview Road, Rocky Ridge, Chalk Mountain Road, Cache Creek Winery, Elm Way, Dogwood, Cedar, Blue Berry, Acacia Way, Acacia Street, Doe Trail, Madrone Way, Peach Way, Quince Way, Redwood Way, Sequoia Way, Tamarack Way, Weeping Willow Way, Yucca Way, Coyote Way, Elk Way and Fox Way.

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CalFire’s August 7 Assessment: Overnight weather conditions brought clouds and plenty of lightning to the Bay area. Only a few sprinkles were observed around the fire and no lightning was detected within the vicinity of the fire perimeter. Firefighters continued to work aggressively to build control lines and sustain perimeter control. Barring further fire spread damage inspections are complete. … Hot and dry conditions with upslope winds at approximately 10 mph returned to the fire area Friday evening. The fire continues to creep and smolder along the perimeter. Access to the fire line continues to be challenging in some parts but firefighters are working aggressively to build control lines and sustain perimeter control. “Residents are urged to stay vigilant and adhere to any changes in evacuations and road closures”. Fire activity and direction can change at any time, be prepared and stay informed. With the elevated fire danger, we are asking everyone to use extreme caution, “Ready, Set, Go”. For more information on how to prepare for wildfires, go to www.readyforwildfire.org

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“FINAL UPDATE” (according to CalFire) on last week’s lightning fires on the Mendocino National Forest

The Mendocino National Forest is rapidly approaching containment on the final three fires from last weekend’s lightning and resources are starting to be released from the incidents. The Etsel Fire on the Covelo Ranger District is approximately 32 acres and 100 percent contained. It is located in the Yuki Wilderness. The Boardman Fire is approximately 95 acres and 40 percent contained. However, resources have made great progress on the fire. The Deer Fire, burning southeast of Lake Pillsbury, is approximately 100 acres and 80 percent contained. There continues to be a chance of thunderstorms this weekend. Firefighters will be watching for lightning fires which may result from the unsettled weather pattern. Forest visitors are asked to be aware of their surroundings and be prepared for changing conditions. This includes reporting visible smoke that could be from a wildfire. To report a fire, please call 911. As a reminder, the Mendocino National Forest is currently under fire restrictions. Visitors are asked to follow regulations and be careful with anything with a flame or that can throw a spark in the forest. For more information, please visit www.preventwildfireca.org/OneLessSpark/. For more information, please contact the Mendocino National Forest at 530-934-3316 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/mendocino. Updates are also available on Twitter @MendocinoNF.

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MONDAY'S 3PM CLOSED SESSION of the Fort Bragg City Council will evaluate the job performance of city manager Linda Ruffing and also review, with FB's exorbitantly compensated San Francisco attorney, a bogus federal suit filed by Sebastopol shakedown artist, attorney Jack Silver of the phony environmental non-profit called River Watch.

IN THIS PARTICULAR ABUSE of the legal system, Silver alleges polluted runoff from the Caspar transfer station. Based on the honest reports filed with Regional Water Quality by the entities he's suing, Silver says the County of Mendocino, Solid Wastes of Willits and the City of Fort Bragg have violated the Clean Water Act. Which, technically, they all may have done but not from neglect or willful disregard for clean water. Natch, Silver, who has sued every municipality on the Northcoast, often picking up a quick $25,000 and more simply because it's cheaper to settle with him than litigate, should have been suppressed years ago, but he's still at it. (Our former Congressman Mike Thompson once promised he’d fix the “Silver loophole” — never even begun, natch.)

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A READER WRITES RE RIVER WATCH'S LAWSUITS: It really is disgusting that this practice  is allowed to continue. As far as I know, Silver has never initiated a case based on his own research but simply trolls the files at the State Water Board and then files suit against already heavily regulated local agencies that are self-reporting both real and technical violations. If Silver was invested in the public interest, as he claims to be, he would be looking for violators that are not currently in the system. In that case he would be justified in going after them. Instead he prefers to shoot the proverbial fish in a barrel that are already in the regulatory pipeline. And of course his settlements do nothing for the environment, but merely put cash in his pocket to make him go away for an agreed upon period of time. People began complaining to Congressman Thompson about it years ago and have always gotten the usual rhetorical hand-wringing and the standard explanation that we can't fix it because we don't want the nasty Republicans to have an opening to attack the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, etcetera. The underlying problem is a lack of meaningful campaign finance reform which puts the congressional boys and girls in a position of non-stop pandering to the special interest groups that fund them. Therefore, there will be limited, if any, meaningful reform in dozens of public policy arenas where the discussion is dominated by special interest campaign cash. Our congressional reps will continue to give lip service to the public interest, but  their votes will almost always align with the special interest money.

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THE FOLLOWING APPEARED IN THE AVA IN 2011:

Cash & Carry Environmentalism
River Watch Sues Willits, Again

by Bruce Anderson

A one-man environmental group is suing Willits.

Again.

The one man is Jack Silver. His solo environmental group is called River Watch. River Watch looks pretty good on paper, with sub-groups and a bunch of Silver's friends functioning as his boards of directors. By suing or threatening to sue the municipalities of the NorthCoast for clean water work, the glib Sonoma County attorney has done quite well for himself, less well for the environment. He went after Willits years ago, emerging from that flurry of threats against the North County town with fat legal fees for himself, nothing for Willits that Willits wasn't already doing.

Silver is going after Willits again, this time over alleged contamination from an underground fuel tank dug up in 1999. The Occidental-based lawyer is suing under the federal Clean Water Act, alleging that the dug up tank is still polluting an aquifer.

The suit seeks the maximum penalty allowed by law — $37,500 per day for the past five years or some $68 million to get the site cleaner than clean. Those are big numbers, but Silver will take a relative pittance to drop his suit and go away.

And Willits will pay him to go away because Willits doesn't have the money to go to court to defend itself. Willits will have to settle because it can't afford to spend many thousands of public dollars defending itself in court.

In 2002, Silver threatened Willits with a multi-million dollar suit but settled for his fees of $40,000 and a $100 penalty. This is what Silver does. Threatens to sue for millions, settles for a fast forty or fifty thousand for himself. Silver has done so well suing small towns like Willits and big towns like Santa Rosa he now has a second attorney to help him keep up. His man, Jerry Bernhaut, has just met with Willits' representatives with the usual offer: You pay us up front and we won't sue you.

There are 37 open investigations for leaking underground storage tanks in Willits, but Bernhaut and River Watch claim, as reported in an excellent piece by Linda Williams of the Willits News, that “the really high contaminant levels and the proximity to Broaddus Creek attracted the attention of one of our members.”

How do Bernhaut and Jack Silver's paper enviro set-up, River Watch, know that? They haunt the offices of State Water Quality, pawing through the files for possible violations.

Is Willits deliberately ignoring the proximity of Broaddus Creek to possible contaminants? No. Willits has made extensive and conscientious efforts to clean up the site, efforts that are ongoing but, technically, a violation of the Clean Water laws exists.

And here come Hi Ho Silver and Bar The Door Bernhaut with just enough legal wiggle room to…..well, threaten Willits with a Clean Water lawsuit. Silver's done it before. He sees Willits as an easy mark, a fatted public calf he can milk every few years.

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LowInterest

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HAVING TUNED OUT popular culture 50 years ago, and I don't say this to pass myself off as some kind of pseudo-highbrow but as a simple statement of fact, I'd only caught a few minutes of Jon Stewart, and that was while I was looking for the ball game, the only reason I even turn on my television set. Ever. I'd heard about him, of course, from younger people, including my own children who were big fans. But I never went back for more, because… Well, I thought the discussion, full of knowing looks and the other camera-mugging you get from television comics, was mainstream NPR complete with an audience that howled at everything like it was the funniest thing they'd ever heard. The problem I had was a basic one that all the laughter at obvious absurdities and the absurd personalities leading us to the brink inspires only cynicism and, ultimately, the feeling that nothing can be done. Yeah, they're nuts and beyond awful but now what?

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VeryBerrySPEAKING OF COMEDIANS, I got one at the Cloverdale Starbucks drive-up window the other afternoon. Brandishing a gift card I got for my birthday, a jolly voice asked, “And what can I do for you this fine day, my good sir?” It's 105° and I'm sitting in a life-abbreviating cocoon of a strip mall and service stations with a view of the 101 off-ramp. All I want is out. But I play it straight: “I want a small, black coffee and, given the splendor of the day as you've described it, my friend, a medium-size Very Berry.” (The Very Berry is like watered-down koolade with a single, ragged blackberry that looks like it was excavated from the Russian tundra.) The speaker voice then asked, “Do you want the very, very, very Berry or just the Very Berry?" This was getting positively exciting. “Do you mean I can get three berries instead of one?” I was eager to see who was messing with me, so I said, “The works,” and drove up to the window where a kid with a red mohawk beamed out at me. I gave him my gift card and a fiver. “I hope you're the manager of this place, buddy. You've got the right attitude.” He said, "Enjoy your Very Berry."

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A READER CLARIFIES: The comments about a series of temporary placements likely fits with most foster kids, but that was not the case with this young man [Talen Barton]. He came to Mendocino County at the age of seven (not as a teenager) and spent ten years with the same family, until January 2013. After the incident with his then foster mom, he was taken in by the Norvell/Palmeri family.

ED NOTE: Early years in LA or wherever he was from originally?

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(Photo by Annie Kalantarian)
(Photo by Annie Kalantarian)

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ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Foster care is big money in Mendocino County and in my opinion has become a source for human trafficking where our children are being exploited for Federal and State funding. In July of 2015 the California State Auditor published a follow up report from a 2011 report on the use of foster care agencies and the unjustified amount of money that they charge.

“Although counties have reduced the placement of foster children with more expensive foster family agencies, Social Services has not fully implemented four recommendations related to such placements and counties continue to pay higher monthly rates to foster family agencies without adequately justifying the more expensive placements. … Social Services does not know how it determined that the 40% administrative fee paid to the foster family agencies was an appropriate amount for the agencies’ recruitment, training, and other administration. … Monthly payment rates for foster family agencies are more than $1,000 higher than the monthly cost of licensed foster family homes.
 … Social Service still does not require counties to document the treatment needs of children placed with foster family agencies, nor has it revised its regulations to make placing children in licensed foster homes a higher priority.”

http://www.bsa.ca.gov/pdfs/factsheets/2015-502.pdf

Currently the CDSS is in the process of implementing foster care reform which will address the Auditor’s findings and shift some of the dollars back to treating children in their own homes, or licensed foster homes of close friends and family.

http://www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/entres/pdf/CCR_LegislativeReport.pdf

As it stands, in Mendocino County, under-qualified social worker supervisors and social workers are too quick to place children with foster family agencies and group homes because they themselves lack the education and experience to safely monitor and keep children at lower levels of care. They take the easy way out, regardless of the damage that children experience by such practice.

And yes, I do agree with BB Grace about the use and abuse of “chemical restraints” on foster children in care.

I am curious to see how the foster care reform will work in Mendocino County where the child’s needs are assessed by Redwood Quality Management Group (RQMG) who is a Redwood Children’s Services (RCS) sister company and has hundreds of children placed in either their foster family or group homes. Talk about a conflict of interest.

Right now they are getting away with it because the State “does not require counties to document the treatment needs of the children placed with foster family agencies.”

Our local foster family agencies are currently raking in millions of dollars in what is referred to as “specialized care rates.” A big “cash cow.”

After the 2017 reform begins, counties will no longer be on the honor system, the State will be closely monitoring and auditing them.

— James Marmon

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LONGTIME AV RESIDENT KEVIN COUGHLIN PASSES

Kevin Coughlin (aka, John Kevin Coughlin), 76, died on July 24, 2015 at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Rosa. Kevin was born on October 20, 1938 in Davenport, Iowa to Dan and Simone Coughlin. He graduated from St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa in 1960, ordained in 1964, retired from the priesthood in 1980. He received his Ph.D. in theology and education in 1981 from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Kevin was a long time resident of Anderson Valley, residing in both Philo and Boonville. His lifelong partner Willis Culver predeceased him. Kevin’s ashes will be scattered by friends. Contact: allen@allenklein.com

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FORT BRAGG AS IS, BY REX GRESSETT

I remember with nostalgia the days when the city council meetings were unattended. If you were the only person at a meeting, or there with a few other people, you had opportunity to objectively weigh the reason for being there against the inevitable boredom and discouragement. You can damn bet the city council shares my nostalgia, but for different reasons. Those were the days.

The present news in Fort Bragg is that there is pretty good reason to think that Scott Dietz and Doug Hammerstrom will just not be running for city council in 2016. I guess public ridicule has been pretty trying for them. I am basing my guess that they will not run on the odd fact that they have decided not to certify the ballot initiative that the people of the city submitted to the city council.

This is the initiative that would put on the ballot the future of the Old Coast Hotel. The struggle for the Hotel has become a symbol of resistance to the political power structure that sets the agenda in the city of Fort Bragg. The Initiative would have had the future of the Hotel decided by voters at the ballot box. The promoters of the Initiative got more than the required number of signatures by 25%. But like the little surprises that one gets at DMV, or with any government system really, that same number of signers thought themselves to be registered to vote and because of some technicality or issue were not. The Initiative had exactly enough votes to be certified. Minus one quarter of a point. Don't ask me.

But in such a case a ballot initiative can be accepted by the city council anyway. As this one clearly should be. By California law it is a judgment call, their call. Lindy and Mike, the new councilmen who were elected on the wave of popular dissent last year, are desperately trying to talk their colleagues into just accepting the Initiative and sending it to the voters, as morally they should and ethically they must. But no, Scott and Doug decline to be ethical. It is within their power to deny the people the election they are demanding and have petitioned the government for, and they are denying it. No sweat, the people can insist and call a special election, which obviously they are going to do.

This ballot initiative is very popular even as the gutting of the hotel is very unpopular. So Scott and Doug are going to advocate on the losing side against an initiative that wins at a special election, and then run themselves a few months later for city council having first fudged on the election, then lost the initiative. All this in the cause of a special interest agenda that the people hate.

I think that the decision to commit this kind of political suicide is the act of martyrs preparing to hand off the torch to their selected replacement, Heidi Kraut. Who, you have to hand it to her, although a public mute on every issue, is deeply and blindly obedient to her superiors in the incumbency. A wise move for city hall but tough on poor Scott Dietz.

This ballot initiative is the latest effort in what has become a battle by the people of Fort Bragg to stop the destruction of a historic landmark. Like other battles in other cities, people here have stood up to save a historic building with whom they feel an emotional connection. All admit on both sides of the debate that the Old Coast Hotel is the most beautiful building in the central business area. At one point in history, the then-city council lent the owners of the hotel $190,000 to doll it up in a kind of oh-heck gesture of genuine understanding for it as an architectural gem. Them days are gone. Now the new guys have decided to gut it.

For the people of the city, besides just being beautiful, the Old Coast is a symbol of a more prosperous and self-sustaining Fort Bragg. It has an excellent light and airy bar, and the structure for a fine restaurant. The old building itself is a superb example the fine artisanship of the Italian immigrants to Fort Bragg who wrought in western carpentry a 19th century elegance and transplanted into the great western woods. The formal gardens were very beautiful. The fineness of these things expressed our civic independence, success and pride.

The new owners were given about a million dollars by the city to buy it. They put not one penny of their own money into it. Hey, no surprise there, of course they could not actually buy it themselves because they don't actually make or have money; they use our money to do their important work.

But once they got the money they were very dogged. They like this nice building. The city exploded in protests, but the professional dispensers of human kindness remained persistently inscrutable. They did have a few meetings with their own ilk, decrying the insensitivity and boorishness of our provincial city that does not understand the pressing need for their humanitarian kindness. But other than meeting with their own industry, throughout the controversy, lo this half year, they have not responded to the controversy. Having got their free money they retain their dignity. It is the only way when somebody gives you a million.

The city is not so quiescent. Having been the one to dump the million in this last deal as the latest payment on about four million so far to their pet agency, they have been animated to the point of acute distress that the people of the city might interrupt their plans. The basic unpopularity of a plan to destroy a fine thing, to make way for a very bad one, has kept things boiling at city hall. If the people prevail in protecting their city and its landmarks then the city management would have to account for a million dollars floated into a legal limbo, and would be left with a building that they thought they were giving away and cannot use. This likely outcome resulted in a lot of distress on the part of city management and the city council and their consultants and lawyers and advisers, in recent days. Publicly, city management has been calm but crazily inconsistent, putting into the city minutes contradictions and misrepresentations so outrageous as to have occasioned a grand jury complaint.

Of course the people know none of this. Except for the excellent AVA Fort Bragg has no Media. But behind the scenes hysteria has been evident. In downtown Fort Bragg volatile emails and high pressure meetings have been occurring. Sufficient pressure has been brought on Scott Dietz and Doug Hammerstrom to induce them to effectively throw their political careers out the window. You can bet the heat is up. However, for the incumbency this human sacrifice of deadwood on the city council will work great, and Heidi Kraut has already been selected to be elected for her comparative political virginity and unwavering obedience to the machine.

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IS THE KLAN INVADING HOPLAND?

HoplandKlan(Photo by Mike Williams)

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LEGALIZE IT!

by Nate Collins

There seems to be just enough drought, fires, busts and new anti-pot measures to keep the market rate for drug cannabis at a steady if not increasing price. The word on the street is that all of the venture capitalists that swarm from New York and the eastern seaboard to buy the 50 and 100 packs (in lbs.) of light deprived early harvest are all being turned away empty handed. I find this kind of gratifying when these are the very shysters that have expanded the illegal market across state lines and basically step in with bundles of cash at harvest time and dictate the prices with a heavy hand. Money talks bullshit walks seems to be the guiding principle in other profit oriented agriculture like grapes where buyers set the price. Meanwhile these "investors" are turning huge profits throughout the rest of the US where prohibition is still in full effect. It boggles my mind to imagine the weight being shipped out of Colorado at this time. Are they flying small planes from private landing strips like pot was being smuggled from Colombia in the 70's?!?

Can you even believe that marijuana used to be smuggled into the US from Colombia and Mexico? Every successive effort by law enforcement to eradicate marijuana over the years has led to greater sophistication by growers and distributors. The US and Mexican government sprayed paraquat on the ganja fields in Mexico in the late 70's and so people began their own personal marijuana botany experiments at home throughout the eighties, perhaps the governments greatest folly in the war on weed. The federal government with corporate backing flew in military style to bust peoples small shady gardens in the eighties and so people moved indoors to consume massive amounts of energy for production (100 lbs of coal for 1 lb of indoor weed) or further into the woods to disturb streams and wildlife. Busts on indoor gardens proliferated which created more greenhouse grows. Greenhouse grows created more diesel spills and fertilizer runoff. Greenhouse grows get busted which creates more guerilla grows and larger greenhouses further out of the way into more virgin land. Guerilla grows are quite obviously the most destructive and dangerous of all grows. Each of these successive developments has made the whole process more hidden, exploitative, capitalistic, militaristic, and environmentally destructive.

Essentially all of the best efforts of law enforcement have created a many headed Hydra. It is high time to bring marijuana production out of the dark, off of the mountain and the hell out of our national parks.

Not only would it be politically expedient to legalize marijuana nationwide in 2016, it would be good for law enforcement and frankly if Hillary Clinton or Jebcito Bush are elected president of the United States it will be necessary for the mental health of the entire nation to have full access to some strong drug cannabis.

*Hydra - the mythical 8 headed monster slain by Hercules.

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THE CANNABIS HOUR, Thursday, Aug. 13 at 9 a.m.

On Thursday, Aug. 13, at 9 a.m., host Jane Futcher will interview Noel Manners, Josh Artman and Julia Carrera of the Small Farmers Association. They'll talk about what they are doing here and in Sacarmento to protect small farmers, save water and promote sustainable farming methods. That's 9 a.m. Thursday, on The Cannabis Hour. You can find KZYX at 90.7 FM Philo; 91.5 FM Willits and Ukiah, and 88.1 FM Fort Bragg. To hear shows you miss, visit jukebox.kzyx.org <http://jukebox.kzyx.org/>.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY WATER AGENCY TO HOLD THE THIRD WORKSHOP ON THE SUSTAINABLE GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT ACT OF 2014 (SGMA)

On Thursday, August 13, 2015, the Mendocino County Water Agency will hold its third workshop regarding SGMA. The requirement to form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) for the Ukiah Valley Basin will be discussed. Topics include the timelines for enactment, authority and responsibility of a GSA, governance options and processes for developing a GSA.

“It is very important for everyone to stay engaged in this process within the Ukiah Valley, especially water managers, as it is the only groundwater basin presently in Mendocino County that falls under the mandate of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014” stated First District Supervisor Carre Brown, who also chairs the Mendocino County Water Agency Board of Directors.

The Mendocino County Water Agency SGMA workshop will be hosted by the City of Ukiah at the Ukiah Conference Center, 200 S. School St., in Ukiah. The discussion will begin at 5:30 p.m. Local agencies are encouraged to come prepared with direction from their respective boards on recommendations for the development of a GSA. This meeting will be open to the public. Stakeholders and all interested parties are encouraged to attend.

For more information, or to reserve a spot, please contact Sarah Dukett at the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 or duketts@co.mendocino.ca.us.

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FRANKLIN GRAHAM WRITES:

On Thursday, about 30 "Beyond the Deep Enders" (those who live in Rancho Navarro) attended an evening get-together organized by Kathy and Jerry Cox. What a fine time all had. But one of the best things about it was that no one seemed the least interested in viewing the food fight on FOX News. While a reported 24,000,000 Americans tuned in to watch moderator Megyn Kelly hog the limelight, along with The Donald, the "Beyond the Deep Enders enjoyed food and resfreshments, good company, and intelligent conversation. What did they miss? Well, with 10 wannabes on stage, trying to act presidential (and failing miserably at it, according to independent news outlets) global warming, guns, immigration, and the Keystone Pipeline were ignored. After all, what really matters are, in Huckabee's mind (he has one, even if it is limited) "illegals, prostitutes, and a manly military." Leave it to Trump to steal the show with misogynitic outbursts, nothing new or newsworthy there. So, all those millions of viewers got nothing useful out of two wasted hours listening to the shop-worn list of hateful opinions of the Republican "front runners." Having only read summaries of what went on (forgive me for not wasting time watching) it seems that Hillary got off lightly. After all, she is fence sitting as we speak on the matter of the Keystone Pipeline. Her husband, the man from Hope, is even reputed in some quarters of secretly being a bubba of “The Donald." One attendee of our soiree actually knows something about tar sands. Sure enough — and he should know — it is expensive, not needed, has to be heated to move down the pipeline, has toxic chemicals added to make it capable of passing through the pipe, is environmentally destructive, and may end up as export anyway. Has anyone given even a passing thought to what happens to all that contaminated sludge that is left over from the refining process? Not the Republicans and not Hillary. So much for "Fair and Balanced" news. Gone are the days when any hope of democratic governing was in part predicated on a neutral, intelligent watchdog called The Fourth Estate. As for we "Beyond the Deep Enders" we'll party on and try to ignore the fact that we live in a society determined to press the self-destruct button.

— From Beyond the Deep End

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FORT BRAGG DECLARES WATER EMERGENCY

(Funny how the city okays water guzzling projects, like the new Taco bell, yet imposes severe restrictions on residents…)

Agency: City Council
Meeting Date: August 10, 2015
Department: Public Works
Presented By: T. Varga

Title: Receive Report And Consider Adoption Of City Council Resolution Declaring A Stage 1 Water Emergency

Issue: Fort Bragg is experiencing the effects of a prolonged, four-year drought. Over the course of 2015, water supplies have been steadily declining. At this time, the City is experiencing difficulty maintaining an adequate buffer between its raw water supplies and daily water demands. The ability to replenish water in storage facilities to meet total daily water demand has dropped below normal operational practices. In addition to our local need to conserve, the State of California has mandated water conservation measures. A comprehensive revision to the City’s Water Conservation Ordinance (Chapter 14.06 of the Fort Bragg Municipal Code) is in progress. However, the need for a water emergency is pressing and the existing Municipal Code provisions are adequate to make this declaration.

Recommended Action: Adopt City Council resolution declaring Stage 1 Water Emergency

Alternative Action: Direct staff to modify the resolution prior to its adoption.

Analysis: The Fort Bragg Municipal Code authorizes the City to declare water emergencies when the flow of City’s three raw water sources has declined to the point that it is becoming difficult for the City yo maintain normal buffers between source flows and treated water productions as well as treated water storage and daily water demand. To maintain prudent buffer levels, it is necessary to declare a Stage 1 Water Emergency at this time. To optimize water conservation practices, certain supplementary requirements are included with the declaration. These measures are part of the updated Water Conservation Ordinance that is also being considered at tonight’s meeting. If the ordinance is introduced and adopted, it would become effective on September 23rd. The following specific conservation measures are necessary at this time.

A 20% water reduction goal is established for all users.

The application of potable water to outdoor landscaping during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited.

To promote water conservation, operators of hotels, motels and other lodging businesses shall provide guests with the option of choosing to not have towels and linens laundered daily. Such businesses shall prominently display notice of this option in each guest room using clear and easily understood language.

Flows in the Noyo River have declined more quickly than last year and are nearing 1.0 cubic feet per second (cfs). Combined flows from the Waterfall Gulch and Newman sources are providing approximately 378,000 gallons per day (gpd). Total flows from all City sources have dropped. Of great concern is the sudden increase in water usage during the month of July. Based on water production data, July 2014 water production of approximately 743,000 gpd increased to 906,000 gpd in July 2015. This is a year-over-year increase of 22%. This is also an increase of 23% from June 2015. The beginning of the summer season started well with water usage of close to 600,000 gpd for May and June 2015. This usage compared favorably with 2014 usage. Year over year water usage levels for the month of May held steady. For the month of June they dropped 15%.

The July increase is a big surprise. July water meter readings are being compiled as of the writing of this report. When it is available, the largest water users will be examined as well as any other unusual increases in water usage.

Beyond the water emergency requirements to implemented, City staff will continue to closely examine and monitor water usage at City facilities. Irrigation has been largely eliminated with the exception of small amounts being used for high visibility landscaped areas like the front lawn of the Guest House. Operation of the Noyo River pump is being managed to avoid salt water intrusion. Flush water from the Highway 20 tank is being re-directed to alternate uses whenever possible.

To maintain required, minimum levels of chlorine residuals per public water safety standards, the water in this tank needs to be turned over every week or two. The reuse of treated wastewater from the Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) is being pursued. This includes meeting permit requirements of State Water Quality Control Board Division of Public Health. Leak detection is being closely monitored. The Summers Lane Reservoir project continues to be on schedule. Clearing of the site and the timber harvest will occur this fall; construction is slated for 2016.

Filling of the reservoir is expected to occur over the winter of 2016/17. It is anticipated that the most challenging period for meeting water demand will extend from now through at least the middle of September. Climatological predictions are for an El Niño event to take place during the upcoming water year. It should be noted that for the north coast of California this typically results in a year of normal rainfall. Nevertheless, this would be a wonderful improvement from the recent dry winters. Once again, the Fort Bragg community is being asked to come together and see us through a difficult period of limited water availability.

Fiscal Impact: There are no direct fiscal impacts. However as water conservation efforts increase, water usage will decrease water revenues. Given the relatively short period of expected stringent water reductions, effects on water revenues for the FY 2015/16 budget should be nominal.

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UKIAH COURTHOUSE ANTICS

Courthouse1

The last thing denizens of downtown Ukiah expected to see Friday morning was a hurried landscaping project going on in front of the Mendocino County Courthouse. In August? During a four-year drought?

Courthouse2

But there they were, crews from a Western Tree Service trimming the historic magnolias out front, and then planting azaleas and rhododendrons in the bone-dry soil. Hastily installed drip irrigation lines were part of it. Courthouse workers peered out windows, wondering what the hell was going on. Passersby on the surrounding sidewalks stared in disbelief. The assumption is it was another state-funded “programmed” project — the ones that are simply put into a court admin computer somewhere and are auto-approved and auto-funded no matter how dumb — since the courthouse for now is operated by the state and not the county.

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AVA WRITER Steve Heilig showcases new "B&B" at Boonville Fairgrounds - affordable housing?

HeiligB&B

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 7, 2015

Amae, Basurto, Biord
Amae, Basurto, Biord

JONAH AMAE, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. DUI-drugs.

JOSEPHA BASURTO, Covelo. Contempt of court.

CHRISTOPHER BIORD, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, dirk-dagger, refusing to leave, failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

Britton, Cervantes, Hinton
Britton, Cervantes, Hinton

NICOLE BRITTON, Covelo. Failure to appear.

ERICA CERVANTES, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

HEIDI HINTON, Willits. Vehicle theft.

Ho, King, Knapp
Ho, King, Knapp

MARSHALL HO, Willits. Concealed weapon in vehicle, loaded firearm in public, shooting within 500 yards of structure.

WILLIAM KING, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

VERNON KNAPP SR., Fort Bragg. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

Mahaffey, Maresh, McIvor
Mahaffey, Maresh, McIvor

MICHAEL MAHAFFEY, Mendocino. Petty theft, resisting.

TRASH MARESH, Clearlake/Ukiah. Burglary from vehicle, ex-felon with firearm, suspended license, probation revocation.

AARON MCIVOR, Willits. DUI.

Nelson-Dean, Nicholson, Owings
Nelson-Dean, Nicholson, Owings

JOSHUA NELSON-DEAN, Ukiah. Parole violation.

SUNRAY NICHOLSON, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, vandalism.

JANICE OWINGS, Fort Bragg. Refusing to leave. (Frequent flyer.)

Salo, Tarrant, Taylor
Salo, Tarrant, Taylor

ERNEST SALO, Fort Bragg. Possession of controlled substance, sale of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia.

CYNTHIA TARRANT, Lakeport/Hopland. DUI-drugs.

TODD TAYLOR, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

* * *

Marshal Rothman, owner of 100 acres of property in Fairfax is open to the idea of allowing a small herd of 13-33 rescued semi-wild horses to reside upon his property, to rescue the horses and also provide for the community, an equine healing sanctuary, for spirit ceremonies, equine-human therapies and wild equine education and enjoyment for our community. The horses also, will provide a safer hilltop, through significantly reducing wildfire risk, as top grazers and also nourish the land to help reduce desertification. I am contacting you to inquire if there are any regulations or procedures, regarding wildlife or fencing that we might need to be aware of in order to best and respectfully proceed to create The Love Wild Horses Sanctuary in Fairfax on this property. Thank you very much for your time and consideration to help save the last of our Native Wild horses…

Marshal Rothman’s Property — Love Wild Horses Preserve — fencing. Do you guys think a herd of horses should be allowed in Fairfax? You just watch, next, these love wild horses folks are going to try to argue that the herd should be allowed in Fairfax because horses are native — see below. Animal rights groups are pressing a case in federal court maintaining that wild horses roamed the West about 1.5 million years ago and didn't disappear until as recently as 7,600 years ago. More important, they say, a growing stockpile of DNA evidence shows conclusively that today's horses are genetically linked to those ancient ancestors. People are crazy.

If this goes forward I'd like to propose a herd of wild camels. Camels were native to North America a million years ago and are more drought resistant than horses. They are also known to have healing properties if you perform the healing camel ceremony properly. So the only question that remains would be one hump or two.

* * *

TRUMP’S TRIUMPH: BILLIONAIRE BLOWHARD EXPOSES FAKE POLITICAL SYSTEM

Thursday night’s FOX News GOP Presidential Debate Extravaganza featured the most riveting two-minute political exchange ever heard on national television. During a brief colloquy between Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Fox moderator Brett Baier, the pugnacious casino magnate revealed the appalling truth about the American political system: that the big money guys like Trump own the whole crooked contraption lock, stock, and barrel, and that, the nation’s fake political leaders do whatever they’re told to do. Without question, it was most illuminating commentary to ever cross the airwaves. Here’s the entire exchange direct from the transcript:

FOX News Brett Baier (talking to Trump): Now, 15 years ago, you called yourself a liberal on healthcare. You were for a single-payer system, a Canadian-style system. Why were you for that then and why aren’t you for it now?

TRUMP: As far as single payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you’re talking about here. What I’d like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state. I have a big company with thousands and thousands of employees. And if I’m negotiating in New York or in New Jersey or in California, I have like one bidder. Nobody can bid. You know why? Because the insurance companies are making a fortune because they have control of the politicians, of course, with the exception of the politicians on this stage. [uneasy laughter] But they have total control of the politicians. They’re making a fortune. Get rid of the artificial lines and you will have… yourself great plans…

BAIER: Mr. Trump, it’s not just your past support for single-payer healthcare. You’ve also supported a host of other liberal policies…. You’ve also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, and Nancy Pelosi. You explained away those donations saying you did that to get business-related favors. And you said recently, quote, “When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.”

TRUMP: You’d better believe it.

BAIER: …they do?

TRUMP: If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I’ve given to, just so you understand, a lot of money. … I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that’s a broken system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you get from Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi?

TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding and she came to my wedding. You know why? She didn’t have a choice because I gave. I gave to a foundation that, frankly, that foundation is supposed to do good. I didn’t know her money would be used on private jets going all over the world. It was.

BAIER: Hold on…. We’re going to — we’re going to move on.” (Transcript: Read the Full Text of the Primetime Republican Debate, Time)

* * *

There it is, two glorious minutes of pure, unalloyed truth on national television. How often does that happen?

How often does a fatcat billionaire-insider appear on TV and announce that the whole system is a big-fat scam run by crooks and patsies?

(Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)

5 Comments

  1. james marmon August 8, 2015

    Family and Children’s Services poor performance rankings.

    HHSA claims that the California Child Welfare Indicators Project (CCWIP) statistical data extracted from CWS/CMS in which the Grand Jury based their findings on was skewed by late data entry by social workers, however, that is not correct.

    “All of the data on this website come from the University of California, Berkeley quarterly extracts from CWS/Management System. Those extracts are pulled approximately one month after each quarter ends, and the data are fully refreshed each quarter. Due to the time it takes to process, run, validate, and approve the data each quarter, data on the website and on the California CWS Outcomes System report are typically in the range of three to six months old.”

    http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/grandjury/pdf/14-15-HHSA_Family.pdf

    In their May 2015 report, the Grand Jury looked at the quarters from January 1, 2011, to September 30, 2014. Unless the social workers were months or even years behind in entering their data, the statistical findings used in the Grand Jury Report would not have been skewed.

    Therefore, it is true that Mendocino County Family and Children’s Services ranks at the bottom in comparison to other counties in the State in two out of three Emergency Response measures.

    • james marmon August 8, 2015

      I have 10 years experience at entering information in the CWS/CMS database.

      The real reason Mendocino County FCS ranks so low in Immediate and 10 day emergency response time is because they were operating under the assumption that an “attempted contact” relieved them of the response time requirement.

      Social Workers in reality may not have actually made their first face to face contact with their clients for several more days after an attempted contact.

      The CWS/CMS database indicated they were late contacts because they were really late contacts, not because they entered them late. You enter the date of the actual contact into the system, not the date that you are entering it.

      The system is refreshed every 90 days so any late data entry will be updated in the system every three months. The Grand Jury’s data was not skewed by late data entry. It was as real as it gets.

  2. james marmon August 8, 2015

    This is another reason that Mendocino County shouldn’t be using trainee social workers to investigate child abuse cases. It is dangerous out there.

    “A woman who was upset about losing custody of her daughter used a hunting rifle to fatally shoot a child-welfare agency worker who had handled her case, authorities said.”

    http://www.wcvb.com/news/vt-mom-who-lost-custody-of-child-kills-dcf-worker-officials-say/34604788?utm_source=Social&utm_medium=FBPAGE&utm_campaign=WCVB+Channel+5+Boston&Content+Type=Story

  3. BB Grace August 8, 2015

    “And yes, I do agree with BB Grace about the use and abuse of “chemical restraints” on foster children in care.”

    My issues concerning mental health services in Mendocino County are not specific to Foster Care, and beyond the abuse of psychotropic drug prescriptions for immoral reasons, such as constraint, as in controlling the consumer, rather than enabling the consumer self control.

    It’s criminal to prescribe psychotropic drugs and not educate and closely observe the consumer for adverse emotional and physical reactions. Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, obesity, kidney, liver, lung, colon damage, Stevens-Johnson syndrom are just a few side affects which the uninformed consumer will not connect the dots for themselves. Next thing, they are consuming multible medications to relieve side affects and complicating their problems.

    Maybe Foster care is one of the few areas, as if you say RQMG and MCS are “sisters”, where the consumer is getting team care? Team care used to be something psychiatrists did for their patients, pull a team together for the consumer, watch for physical side affects, and if physical problems developed, worked with the pharmacist to prescribe drugs that worked together.

    Mendocino County needs a mental health hospital, not a bigger jail, not more outpatient social services scattered around the county. The mental health population is larger than the population of Ukiah. If HHSA and contractors genuinely want to end stigma, they would find a way to build a hospital or take over old Howard Hospital and hire an adminstrative psychiatrist to direct behavioral health. Building a larger jail will not end stigma and is not the answer, rather it is proof that the mental health system under the direction and being operated by social worlers (no matter how high the degree) is not working.

    Social workers today are more likely to look to law and order to resolve issues with a mental health consumer than a doctor because Mendociono doesn’t have a psychiatrist for them to go to, and I belive this is because some social workers believe they can do just as good a job as a psychitrist, after all, they have plenty of protection to make mistakes, and it feels good to have law and order behind them rather than having to actually WORK under a doctor as a team.

  4. Jim Updegraff August 8, 2015

    Re: Starbucks – my experience in all parts of the U. S. and overseas almost always has been pleasant. Very friendly and will joke around with you.I don’t know how the company does it but the help seems to like their jobs and people.

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