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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Oct 31, 2015

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DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ENDS TONIGHT, along with some interesting weather heading our way. The National Weather Service forecast for the Redwood & Mendocino Coast:

Rain will spread across the region tonight. Rain will be heavy at times overnight into the early morning.

Building westerly swell today will cause building at NW California beaches. Breaker heights are expected to peak between 15 and 20 feet Sunday and Monday.

Convective showers will bring a slight chance of thunderstorms to the immediate coast Sunday night into early Monday. Small hail will be possible with any thunderstorm.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY TRIBES SUE CALTRANS For ‘Knowingly Destroying’ Historic Sites During Willits Bypass Construction

by Hank Sims

Two Native American entities from Mendocino County have filed suit against Caltrans in federal court today, citing what they call an “ongoing failure to properly identify and protect … ancestral, sacred, cultural, and archaeological sites” in the construction of the Willits Bypass.

They’re asking the court to halt all further work on the bypass until it is determined that the project is in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, and for damages to sites they allege have already been destroyed.

Full complaint here. Press release from the Law Offices of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy:

According to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco today, two Northern California Indian Tribes contend that Caltrans, as well as various federal agencies, have destroyed known archaeological sites and failed to properly protect historical sites during construction of the Willits Bypass. The action was filed by the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Round Valley Indian Tribes for violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. The Willits Bypass Project is a 6 mile long rerouting of Highway 101 through Little Lake Valley, near the city of Willits, in Mendocino County.

Phil Gregory of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, counsel for the Tribes, confirmed: “Caltrans must not be allowed to demolish historic properties, cultural resources, and sacred sites simply to build a highway bypass. Imagine Caltrans treating a church with such disrespect. This case challenges Caltrans’ ongoing failure to properly protect the Tribes’ ancestral sites in constructing the Bypass. Caltrans’ ground-disturbing activities are devastating ancestral Native American sacred and cultural sites.”

Former Congressman Pete McCloskey of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy stated: “It is outrageous for Caltrans to refuse to properly engage in government-to-government consultation with the Tribes over their ancestral lands. These historic properties include archaeological and ethnographic resources, as well as isolated human burials. Even though Caltrans has been constructing the Willits Bypass Project for over two years, Caltrans has yet to implement a process for identifying historic properties, cultural resources, and archaeological sites.”

Michael Hunter, Chairman of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, declared: “Our Tribal elders realized it is time to stand up to the aggressive and resistant manner Caltrans has treated the local Tribes. Caltrans refuses to protect our cultural heritage. On September 12, 2013, in the dead of night, Caltrans’s bulldozers destroyed one of our sacred sites in Little Lake Valley without tribal monitors notified or present. The National Advisory Council referenced the destruction of this ancient village as a ‘major violation of federal law.’ Yet Caltrans refuses to protect ancestral archaeological sites. We ask other Indian nations and concerned citizens to join in demanding Caltrans protect our heritage and that government-to-government consultations with Tribes be conducted meaningfully and respectfully.”

James Russ, President of the Round Valley Tribal Council, said: “There was a complete lack of Tribal consultation, as well as no planning or preparedness to address Tribal concerns, prior to starting construction of this Project. Since the beginning, Caltrans has known the Project area has a moderate to high potential for buried archaeological remains. Because Caltrans continues to proceed in bad faith, for example, isolating our Tribal monitors, we are practically forced to look to the Court to protect our religious, ancestral, and cultural properties that are being desecrated by the Willits Bypass. Our main objection is not the Bypass project in itself, but the reckless way that Caltrans conducts business with Tribes and Tribal communities. Our Tribe does not take lightly the disrespect to our sacred sites and our Tribal people.”

Prior to this action, the Tribes requested Caltrans issue a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to address the numerous historic sites that have been discovered in the Project area and the Mitigation parcels. Caltrans refused. The Tribes also contend Caltrans failed to exercise due diligence in its archaeological survey efforts for the Project, conducting only surface surveys in a wetlands area covered by grass. The Complaint asserts that, due to ongoing construction activities, sacred site identification occurs only after ground disturbing activities are completed. By way of relief, the Tribes request the Court immediately protect these areas, including by temporarily suspending construction activities on the Willits Bypass Project in order to address ongoing damage to sacred and cultural sites.

The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Round Valley Indian Tribes are represented by Joseph W. Cotchett, Philip L. Gregory, and Pete McCloskey of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, along with co-counsel Sharon Duggan.

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FROM FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCILMAN LINDY PETERS: Security issues if the City created a trail surrounding the city, also objecting to eminent domain takeover of property and ability to effectively patrol the trails to the south and east of the High School backing in to the Noyo River basin.

We nixed the idea of a trail around the City.

I have read several articles (Chico, Portland,etc.) saying how it encourages transient people to hang out and poses nightmares for police.

There is grant money for a feasibility study to construct new trails already on the table. The Council needs to decide how to best spend it. We gave direction to staff via the consultant study to make hooking-up Redwood Avenue with the Coastal Trail as the main priority.

Second would be a link from Noyo Beach up to the South Coastal Trail.

Also on the list is a trail on the southeast side of Noyo Bridge down to the South Harbor. I believe a well-maintained and well-traveled Public Trail would discourage the homeless from hiding out there.

Note: We put the kabosh on any trail up the Skunk Tracks and any trail back behind the High School. Not going to happen. We also would like to see the A&W Haul Road improved as a bike/pedestrian trail, but currently it is privately owned and would require consent of the ownership. This would then link to numerous mountain bike trails."

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The Circus Comes to Fort Bragg (Photo by Susie de Castro)

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To the editor:

Most people take it for granted that Willits water is not safe to drink, and perhaps not even to bathe in. Why is this?

I’d like to share what I’ve pieced together over the years and hope that others will fill in more of the water story.

In 1982 I moved to Pine Mountain. That was the same year our friends in town turned on the bath water and got a chemical brew toxic enough to cause burns. The water system was then privately owned. The owner lived in Redwood City, and he didn’t care much about anything but getting a return on his investment. He left a couple of young locals in charge of water treatment and one of them had goofed up, leaving a chemical spigot running overnight.

Last year, when I went door-to-door running for City Council, many people provided stories about that incident. Older residents related who had to be treated for “shower burns”, and who washed their trucks with Willits water, only to need a new paint job because of the blistering.

Harry Brown was the Mayor of Willits in the 1980’s. To this day he feels a personal responsibility for those who were harmed “on my watch”, as he puts it. Resources were pulled together to buy the water system from the absentee owner and to finance repairs to an aging and neglected system. Harry Brown is credited with pushing through construction of Centennial Reservoir and funding for the (then) new microflow treatment plant. He also put his accounting expertise to work organizing the Water Enterprise Fund to finance a plan of upgrades to cover the next thirty or so years. People heaved a sigh of relief, even though water bills doubled.

Harry Brown is now a published, nationally known expert on water quality and conducts seminars on the Safe Drinking Water Act. He still maintains contacts with Willits friends and is dismayed by how the water improvements he set in place have stalled since he left.

I moved down into town around 1994 and assumed the water was OK, even ignoring the evidence of seasonal muddy sediments and strange tastes. Then I found out how our water could be clean and sparkly. It’s called a jar test. A good water treatment operator takes several samples of water to test each morning. He/she adds different amounts of coagulants to each jar to find which best precipitates out sediments and odors. When he/she finds the right combination, they “ratio up” the recipe for the day’s water supply. Ask our Willits water operators about jar tests. When I checked a few years ago, I was dismayed to find that our water department did not have the equipment, or the supplies, or even the knowledge to do jar tests. And it seems nothing has been done since then to upgrade their expertise and training.

When I received last month’s letter about water quality violation, I phoned the number given for more information and talked with Steve Anderson, Chief Water Plant Operator for the City of Willits. The only testing he was aware of was the weekly test for chlorine levels. A jar test is such a simple protocol. We should be able to turn on the tap and expect pure water.

Perhaps this is the place to mention that J.C. England, our Interim Supervisor of Water and Sewage, is one of the young men who was responsible for water treatment back in 1982. These days he seems to be elusive and extremely resistant to any suggestion that we upgrade his or his staff’s skills and knowledge. At public forums on Willits water, he has been notably absent or else arrives late and disappears as soon as questions arise within his supposed area of expertise.

When our water was visibly polluted two years ago, due to algae blooms, the City Council was embarrassed to find the situation had been totally avoidable. The water department did not have the bluestone (copper sulfate) on hand to treat algae, and they had failed to monitor the water supply visually so they could catch and treat algae when the problem was still manageable. Since then, council members Stranske and Burton make it a point to ask the water department regularly if we have enough bluestone on hand for future use. We wish the solution were that simple. All treatment options, such as bluestone or chlorine come with their own problems.

There are many types of blue-green algae, some highly toxic. People don’t usually drink or swim in green water, but dogs do and they can die from it. Enter “dog killed by algae” in a computer search engine and it will return 391,000 results in 0.45 seconds, including recent cases along the Russian River and in Potter Valley. On the other hand, treatment with copper sulfate can be toxic to fish. It’s a fine dance, a complicated art.

We are constantly being reassured that the water boys are doing the best they can. For example, J.C. can be credited with the purchase and use of SolarBees - solar-powered pumps that float on the surface of the reservoir and help circulate cold water from the deeper layers up to the warmer surface layers where algae blooms. It was a good idea, with the intention of reducing the amount of toxic chemical needed to control algae. It didn’t work, probably because SolarBees are not designed to work on their own – they should be deployed as part of a comprehensive watershed management plan. So, we will not argue with the statement that our water department guys are doing the best they can, however there is so much we could be doing more intelligently. While staff seem able to follow simple formulas, they apparently lack the skills to manage a complex system.

Two years ago, when our water turned brown, Dr. Mills Matheson phoned the Public Health Department to ask what was going on. He was surprised when they asked him, “Didn’t you get the violation notice?” When increased organic matter (algae bloom) meets chlorine treatment, the result can be cancer-causing compounds called Disinfection By-Products (DBPs). Willits water had been over the limit for a class of DBPs known as haloacetic acid.

Dr. Matheson called in August. We had been in violation since May. Our Interim Supervisor of Water and Sewage had kept the violation secret. After the phone call, it could not be hidden any longer. Warning letters eventually came out in November, six months later.

Dr. Matheson has long been a lonely watchdog for healthy water. We first heard him at the Willits Water Forum, asking questions about arsenic levels in the water. Apparently the wells Willits planned to use for emergency water have extraordinarily high levels of this toxic element. City staff countered that the toxic water would be mixed with cleaner water to reduce arsenic to below legal limits. Dr. Matheson persisted; the legal limits are still higher than the limits recommended by nationally recognized health organizations.

Dr. Matheson has long been pushing for a state-of-the-art activated granular charcoal filter. He has been ignored and/or sidestepped with the financial argument (cost around $360,000). We’re not buying the cost argument. Water rates were raised five years ago to pay for improvements that really should have been completed 20 years ago. A charcoal filter should have been included with designs for the new water treatment facility. Instead $2 million (that we also do not have) has been directed to pursuit of an emergency ground water source. Others note possible abuse of the Water Enterprise Fund, with money diverted to pay administrative overhead. This is a subject also ripe for investigation.

After talking to the Public Health Department, Dr. Matheson had many more questions about DBPs and how to keep them under acceptable limits. Public health had prepared some materials for Dr. Matheson to review, but he was unable to travel to Santa Rosa, so we (Tom and I) went instead to educate ourselves about: 1) health standards for drinking water, 2) how information is collected, 3) the seriousness of the violations, and 4) what we can do about it.

We also wanted to verify if rumors about data being falsified to cover up toxic readings were true. Public health acknowledged that there had been a whistleblower about five years ago but could not legally say more than that.

We learned that:

1-Public Health monitors drinking water to make sure chlorine levels are high enough to prevent outbreaks of communicable diseases, and to make sure carcinogen levels from chlorine reactions with organic pollutants are low enough to be safe.

2-Readings of carcinogenic DBPs (disinfection byproducts) are taken by Willits Water Department staff, logged manually and forwarded to Public Health, where the readings are put into the computer (available to the public online) and averaged, over one month blocks, quarterly blocks, and one year blocks. Willits has been in violation of acceptable levels for trihalomethanes (80 ug/L) three out of the last four quarters, and thus for the entire year (85 ug/L or 87 ug/L, depending on which months you choose to average).

3-This doesn’t sound too serious. Staff will contend it isn’t that far out of compliance and that it’s only one incident. Consider this. The average temperature in Death Valley is only 77 degrees. There are many days over 120 degrees, and even as high as 130 degrees. Thus with Willits water – our average may not look so bad, but it includes many days over 100 ug/L and even readings as high as 109. These violations of publicly identified carcinogen levels are serious.

4-What can we do? Public Health said they could not mandate solutions, only point out violations. They also said Willits has had persistent difficulty controlling the organics in our water. Willits claimed they couldn’t control organics because our water source is a surface lake. Public Health, however, said they oversee around 17 water districts in northern California, and several of these have surface water supplies similar to ours. Public Health has repeatedly offered to introduce Willits Water Treatment staff to other districts that have found ways to manage the problem successfully, but Willits staff were not responsive.

Another source of aggravation is that many Willits water customers live outside the Willits city limits and cannot vote for changes to the way their water is managed or changes in who has oversight.

In summary, these are the actions that need to be taken immediately: 1) purchase and install a charcoal filter, 2) institute jar tests, 3) consult with Public Health and other districts on how to control organics, 4) audit the Water Enterprise Fund, 5) hire and/or train more knowledgeable staff, 6) establish more transparent oversight.

Long term, we would like to see the formation of a Little Lake Valley Water District, with a knowledgeable Board of Directors that is responsive to all water customers.

We have a wealth of resources to call on: Harry Brown for up-to-date training, Public Health for contacts with other districts, and Dr. Matheson for leads on health concerns. In addition, there is a lot of public confidence in Rodney Wilburn, Willits Public Works Director, and Robert Melluish, Brooktrails Superintendent of Water and Sewer, as well as others.

We can fix this.

Robin Leler & Tom Fristoe


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HACK AND SQUIRT — a response to Eric Sunswheat

Re: Dead tree initiative may be fatally flawed.

Eric? The poison that is being injected into the tan oaks kills those trees. Anything that sprouts up from those poisoned trees will contain a percentage of that poison in the spouted vegetation. Our wildlife have enough problems surviving without browsing on poisonous sprouts. Also, upon investigation of forested areas that have been poisoned, it has been discovered that these areas are virtual "dead zones". You dig into the soil around these poisoned trees and what do you find? NOTHING! No insects, no worms - no bird population. The poison that is used is killing off beneficial microorganisms that create healthy soil and a healthy habitat. These are now areas of dead, poisoned forest that wildlife instinctively abandons. If anyone has "overlooked" any part of this equation it's the part that sustains LIFE.

Laurie York, Fort Bragg

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ON THURSDAY, October 29, 2015 at about 5:50 PM the California Highway Patrol Ukiah dispatch center received a call of a deceased individual under a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle all on an unimproved dirt road on private property at 2400 Highway 253. The deceased individual, Percy Lybrand Starnes, a 77-year-old male, had been missing for several hours when his family and friends began looking for him. The male driver was driving on an unimproved embankment near the dirt road when for unknown reasons he allowed the four-wheel all-terrain vehicle to roll over onto its left side coming to rest on top of him causing fatal injuries. The man was not wearing a helmet during this collision. Alcohol or drugs are not considered a factor in this collision. The Highway Patrol is investigating this collision which is still under investigation.

— CHP Press Release

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FROM THE SUPERVISORS MEETING, October 26 regarding the State’s wonderful new medical marijuana regulatory scheme signed into law last month by Governor Brown:

Subject: Possible Action and Presentation by the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) on the 2015 State Legislative Medical Marijuana Regulatory Package (Sponsors: Supervisors McCowen and Woodhouse)

RCRC Representative Paul Smith, described “Key Aspects of Package” — (Part 2): Environmental Enforcement:

“We wish we could have done more in this arena, particularly on the revenue side. The package speaks to environmental enforcement in many ways. It also speaks to the availability to have a revenue stream to fund some of those environmental enforcement activities. They are all outlined in the bills. There is no specific code reference. You kind of have to look at 643 and particularly 8243 to find them. They are pervasive throughout those two bills. They speak at great length to the issue of environmental enforcement.

“The package creates two licensure exemption categories. To undertake a personal grow or a patient caregiver grow you do not need to obtain a state license. A personal grow exemption is not defined in this package. The patient caregiver exemption is. It is defined by existing patient caregiver rules under the health and safety code and also under the limitation that the caregiver can provide a grow for no more than five patients.

“While those folks are exempt from state licensure, the health and safety code gives local control the ability to apply restrictions to those that are exempt. This is highly controversial. It was a surprise that this section was retained in the package. We had advocated for very similar language in other aspects of various bills at various times and many of them were removed. This survived in the package. This is probably going to be re-examined by the legislature. There is the belief that it probably should not have been in the package even though we strongly advocated for it. As of January 1 when this statute takes effect this is the law for the State of California and we will deal with preserving this clause as best we can. But you should be aware that this will be under attack and there will be a lot of effort to remove this section of the package. As it stands today the legislature has given local governments the ability to regulate and restrain the activities of personal grows and caregiver grows. I don't believe this is an issue in Mendocino County, but in a number of our rural counties this is an important provision.”

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by Jane Futcher

The California Growers Association held a free community workshop Saturday, Oct. 24, to explain the complex web of permits, licenses and regulations in the state’s new Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month.

Although California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, when voters passed the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215), the Legislature had never written comprehensive laws to regulate medical cannabis legalization.

More than 100 packed Harwood Hall in Laytonville for “Navigating Cannabis Compliance,” led by Hezekiah Allen, CGA’s executive director. He talked about each of the 17-plus license types the new law creates, particularly cultivation categories that relate to the county’s many small medical cannabis farmers.

The law delineates 10 different cultivator licenses, based on size of farm and whether they are indoor, outdoor or mixed light (Types 1 to 3). Type 4 is the nursery license.

There are two types of manufacturing licenses; one that does not include volatile solvents (Type 6) and one that will be offered on a very limited basis does (Type 7).

A testing license, (Type 8) is a stand alone for labs. Testers cannot cultivate or manufacture.

One of two dispensary licenses (10A) permits no more than three retail sites. Distribution licenses (Type 11) allow distributors to test cannabis, manage sales and pay taxes.

Type 12 is a transporter license.

Allen urged the group to get familiar with the county’s zoning codes, which will provide guidance on what commercial activity is appropriate on their property.

The licenses are designed to prohibit a “verticle” supply chain in which a cultivator, tester, distributor or manufacturer can dominate all aspects of the industry. Allen said the CGA worked hard to protect small farmers, but he said that fairly soon a Type 5 cultivator’s license for large farms will be created, and that will have a profound effect on the small cannabis farmers if they haven’t banded together in cooperatives and branded their products.

Allen urged members to come up with a strategy for working with local government as partners in creating ordinances and permits quickly. “We need permits to apply for licenses,” Allen said. If county or city governments do not have their ordnances and regulations in place by March 1, 2016, the law says the state will be the default cannabis regulator in that county.

One of the best ways to get the county government moving and responsive to farmers’ needs is to talk about the tax revenues government will receive from permits, sales and licensing fees, according to Allen.

He urged farmers to be clear on their goals, get compliant with the new regulations and work on branding their products. “We already produce the best cannabis in the world,” he said, “but the world doesn’t know it.”

One audience member asked if the federal government will prosecute cultivators now that the state has created specific regulations.

“The feds haven't weighed in on this,” Allen said. “But the governor of California is taking the lead. He’s told the federal government to leave us alone. Now the state of California is on our side.”

The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2016, but the real crunch won’t come until Jan.1, 2018, when farmers must have their permits and licenses in place. Those in compliance and operating before 2016 will have their applications processed first, Allen said.

After a break, CGA members talked about forming farmer cooperatives, a specific legal entity under agricultural law that will now be available to cannabis farmers, with some restrictions. Although farmers’ coops can’t set prices, Allen said they can suggest prices and work with member farmers to increase the value of their product. Coops can also help build market connections, assist with branding and packaging, and showcase individual farmers.

He urged local farmers to create cooperatives or join existing ones so they can work together and have more business clout.

A representative from Humboldt Sungrowers Guild talked about her coop, which already sells plant medicine to dispensaries. She showed her coop’s well-designed and streamlined packaging and marketing materials. Will Porter of the emerging Emerald Grown cooperative talked about his group’s plans, and Tara Bluecloud described Mendocino Medicinals, a coop focused on high-CBD plants and medicine.

Several businesses interested in partnering with coops made presentations to the group: FlowKana and Meadow are both farm-to-customer distribution networks; Sacramento attorney Melissa Sanchez helps cannabis businesses comply with regulations, and Dragonfly Earth Medicine will give farmers who meet their green standards a “Pure” certification at no charge.

During a potluck dinner, the group planned to elect a steering committee to run the new Mendocino Chapter of the California Growers Association.

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SHERIFF’S BOOKING LOG LIST (No Mugshots for October 30, 2015)


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I hope this letter will clarify the membership of our school district’s Governing Board. While I am not a board member yet, I have been following the board since last year and believe this to be an accurate summary.

Three of the five board seats were up for election this year. Two of the incumbents holding those seats, Patti Wilson and Board President Martha Bradford, chose not to seek reelection.

Three people filed candidacy papers for this year’s board election: myself; Wynne Crisman, whose interview appeared in the AVA on June 10, 2015; and Richard Browning, the third incumbent whose seat was up for election. In accordance with county election law and the policies of the board, since the filing candidates exactly filled the available seats, we three candidates are to be appointed without a vote during the December 9, 2015, board meeting.

The two board members whose terms were not up for election were Erica Lemons and Stacey Soboleski. While Ms. Lemons remains on the board, Ms. Soboleski resigned from the board following the October 15, 2015, board meeting. As such, there is at present one vacant seat on the school board. As two years of Ms. Soboleski’s term remained at the time of her resignation, the board’s bylaws authorize the board to appoint a replacement to complete her term.

The board is currently accepting applications from community members who are interested in serving. To date, there has been little interest in filling this vacant seat, which is unsurprising given the lack of clear information about the vacancy. I would urge community members who wish to help supervise our schools to mail a letter of interest by November 9, 2015, to:

Anderson Valley Unified School District
P.O Box 457
Boonville, CA 95415

During the November 19, 2015, meeting, the board will publicly interview applicants, and one applicant will be chosen and appointed to the board during that meeting. I recommend community members interested in the health of the school district attend that meeting. Open session typically begins at 7 PM, and the meeting is typically held in the high school cafeteria. However, interested parties should confirm the location and meeting time once the meeting agenda is posted at our schools by November 16, 2015.

Finally, one of my early goals as an incoming board member is to increase the transparency of board operations by ensuring that board agendas, supporting information for those agendas, and the board’s bylaws themselves are posted online in a timely fashion. As a district parent, I have been repeatedly frustrated by the lack of clear and complete information available about the Governing Board, and a board that oversees a public institution cannot adequately function unless the public can oversee the board itself.


Eric Arbanovella


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BERNIE SANDERS Campaign Headquarters, Fort Bragg

(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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I don’t know how anyone can trust the statistical bullshit emanating from our government reporting agencies, or the legacy news organizations that report them. Yet the meme has remained firmly fixed in the popular imagination: the US economy has recovered! GDP grows 5 percent in Q3! Manufacturing renaissance! Energy independence! Cleanest shirt in the laundry basket! Best-looking house in a bad neighborhood…!

¡No hay problema!

This is simply the power of wishful thinking on display. No one — with the exception of a few “doomer” cranks — wants to believe that industrial civilization is in trouble deep. The staggering credulity this represents would be a fascinating case study in itself if there were not so many other things that demand our attention right now. Let’s just write this phenomenon off as the diminishing returns of career log-rolling in politics, finance, media, and academia. All the professional “thought-leaders” pitch in to support the “hologram” of eternal progress that issues their paychecks and bonuses. This culture of pervasive racketeering that we’ve engineered has made us obtuse. The particular brand of stupidity on display also points to another signal vanity of our time: the conviction that if you measure things enough, you can control them. —James Kunstler

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WILLOWS, Calif. - Beginning Sunday, November 1, Christmas tree permits will be available from the Mendocino National Forest for the 2015 holiday season. Permits are available for purchase in person or by mail from Mendocino National Forest offices, as well as at area vendors. Vendors are listed below with contact information for the Forest Service. Permits are $10 per tree at Forest Service offices. Customers are advised to call vendors to verify permit price and availability. The permits will be sold at Forest Service offices through Wednesday, December 23. Trees may be cut and removed any day of the week in authorized areas of the Mendocino National Forest. There is a limit of one permit per household, with each permit using a valid name and address. Up to four additional permits may be purchased for additional households, using separate names and addresses. Individuals must be 18 or older to purchase a permit. All Christmas tree permit sales are final, with no refunds. Permittees will receive a tree tag and Forest map. To purchase a permit by mail, send a printed name and mailing address for each permit purchased, a daytime telephone number, and a check or money order made out to "USDA Forest Service" for $10 for each permit to either the Willows, Stonyford, Upper Lake or Covelo offices with "Christmas Tree Permit" written on the outside of the envelope. Mail-in requests received after December 14 will not be filled. A form can be found online at

under "Christmas Tree Permits." If you are planning on cutting a Christmas tree for someone who isn't present, a Third Party Authorization must be in the possession of the cutter. This form is also available on the Forest website and should be completed prior to leaving for the forest. Permit holders should be aware that federal and state quarantines to prevent the spread of sudden oak death (SOD) are in effect for Lake and Mendocino Counties. Any Christmas tree cut in these counties can only be transported into other SOD quarantine counties, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Humboldt, Marin, San Francisco, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma. All Mendocino National Forest offices will be closed Thursday, November 26 in observance of Thanksgiving, Christmas tree permits can be purchased from the following Forest offices for $10.

Cutting a Christmas tree on the National Forest is a great holiday tradition for many families and also helps with hazardous fuels reduction by removing smaller trees from the Forest. Following are some tips to make your experience more enjoyable.

Plan your trip. Check the weather, bring plenty of warm clothes, water, emergency food, tire chains, shovel, a saw or axe to cut your tree, and a tarp and rope to bring it home. Make sure you have a full tank of gas when you leave and are prepared for changing conditions in the mountains! Also, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.

Keep vehicles on designated roads and be aware of changing weather and road conditions. Wet dirt roads can quickly turn to mud, making it possible to get stuck and causing damage to road, soil and water resources. If there are puddles in the road, mud flipping off the tires or you can see your ruts in the rearview mirror, consider pulling over and taking a hike to look for a tree, or turning around and finding a different area to cut your tree.

Cut your tree early in the season before favorite cutting areas can't be reached because of snow.

Make sure you are cutting a tree in approved areas on the Mendocino National Forest and not from other federal, state or private lands.

Cut the tree as close as possible to the ground and leave as little of a stump as possible.

Attach the permit on the tree where it will be easily visible with the tree packed or tied on your vehicle for transport home.

To help keep your tree fresh, cut at least one inch off the base when you get home and stand the tree in a container of water in a cool, shaded area, checking the water level daily. For more information, please contact the Mendocino National Forest or visit

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On Saturday, November 14th, 2:30-5:00 pm at the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting: DIY LARP Sword making.

Make light weight LARP Swords just like the ones made at North America’s largest gaming convention, GenCon. All supplies will be provided. Participants must be 10 years old and up. This event has limited space and participants must sign up in advance, call 707-463-4490.


On Sunday, December 13th, 2:00-5:00 pm at the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting: A Clothing Swap Party.

Bring clean, gently used items from your closet, put them out for others to try on and take, then look around for something you would like to take. It’s a fun way to refresh your wardrobe with new-to-you clothes. No used hats, scarves, socks or undergarments please. Questions, call 707-463-4490.

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The Pill that Specifically Targets Nausea Caused by the Clintons

by John Eskow

It sounds like the very definition of “wonder drug:” just drop this little lime-green pill, and suddenly you can watch Hillary Clinton on the news without throwing up. Imagine: no nausea–even when she’s droppin’ her g’s for Southern audiences until she sounds like Larry the Cable Guy; promisin’ to “obliterate” Iran while claimin’ to care about children; pretendin’ she’s a champion of wimmin even though she stood by her man, Tammy Wynette-style, when he gutted funds for poor, single mothers.

If clinical trials hold true for the general public, this miracle drug, called Hil-A-Leve, may prove to be the biggest boon to mankind since penicillin.

In its early stages, Clinton Nausea Syndrome is marked by lethargy, cynicism, and projectile vomiting upon watching debates. If unchecked, CNS leads to an ever-deepening ennui, the severe clawing of one’s own skin, and – an especially heartbreaking symptom, because it only worsens the disease – an irrational compulsion to watch MSNBC. (See: Matz, DeGrom, Syndegaard, et al, in The Journal of Neo-Liberal “Psycho” Pharmacology.)

Victims also report a very rare form of dementia in which only one’s moral principles are forgotten. In its later stages, for example, the patient may show marked confusion about the TPP Treaty, and babble utterly contradictory opinions about the Keystone Pipeline. The final stages of CNS are hideous to behold. Victims are known to roll on the floor, compulsively repeating the words “glass ceiling, glass ceiling,” while being unable to remember the simple phrase “Glass-Stegall.”

CNS costs America millions of dollars each year in lost revenue, ravaging not just human bodies but the body politic itself.

The chemistry of Hil-A-Leve is fascinating. It’s a vaccine, synthesized from the blood of those who are, for unknown reasons, completely immune to Clinton Nausea Syndrome: Wall Street bankers, military contractors, and Anderson Cooper.

But if a Clinton-specific wonder drug seems too good to be true – it is. Here’s the bad news: a single Hil-A-Leve pill currently retails for $750 – and Administration sources insist it will never be covered by Obamacare. So, to date, it’s only available to .01% percent of us. Still, its mere existence offers hope to the 3,000,000 potential victims in America alone, and billions more around the world – especially in Haiti, Venezuela, and the so-called “Arab countries.”

Caution: not yet proven effective against Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

(John Eskow is a writer and musician. He wrote or co-wrote the movies Air America, The Mask of Zorro, and Pink Cadillac, as well as the novel Smokestack Lightning. He is a contributor to Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence.. He can be reached at: Courtesy,

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FORT BRAGG, CA — October 30, 2015 — The wildly popular Festival of Lights is just around the corner. Each year the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens transforms into a winter wonderland of luminescent displays.

The lights make their triumphant return the weekend after Thanksgiving beginning Friday through Sunday, November 27, 28, and 29. This community event continues each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 5:00pm to 7:30pm through December 20. Adult tickets are $10 and children age 16 and under are free thanks to the funds raised by our spectacular annual benefit, the Festival of Lights Gala.

Join us at the Gardens for live music, food, drinks, and fun in the big tent each evening of the Festival. Have an affinity for calories? Our Holiday Sweets Café is filled with all kinds of goodies baked by Friends of the Gardens members. You can also get your face painted while sipping hot cocoa or cider. This year we have added a special surprise… Santa Claus is coming to town! He will be taking wish-lists on November 27, December 12, and 18. Candy canes are free as usual.

Outside the tent, an unbelievable show of glittering color draws you into the Gardens. Stroll the twinkling pathways through underwater ocean fantasies, shooting stars, and a fire-breathing dragon. This year’s new additions are sure to turn heads! Children of all ages can warm up by the campfire and roast a marshmallow or two.

The 2015 Festival Of Lights Gala is a special occasion offering a more intimate view of this glowing display. The grand event raises funds to allow all children age 16 and under free admission to the 2015 Festival of Lights.

This year’s Gala will be held Thursday, December 3 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Enjoy a merry evening including sumptuous hors d’oeuvres, a sizzling main course buffet, and sweet treats provided by local restaurants. Indulge in a selection of Mendocino County’s finest wines as you sway to the melodies of The Mendocino String Quartet. This year, guests of the Gala will also enjoy great surprises and prizes! Tickets are limited to this one-of-a-kind event so don’t delay.

Tickets Are Available at The Garden Store for each experience. For more information about the Gala or the Festival call, 707-964-4352 ext. 16.

About Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is a unique natural treasure located at 18220 North Highway 1, just two miles south of Fort Bragg and seven miles north of Mendocino. Our mission is to engage and enrich lives by displaying and conserving plants in harmony with our Northern California coastal ecosystems. This magnificent 47 acre site is one of the few public gardens located directly on the ocean’s shore. The unique environment on the Mendocino Coast makes the Gardens a wonder year-round; each changing season brings new flora and fauna. We welcome visitors and our local community to experience the rugged beauty of the Mendocino Coast mixed with the peaceful tranquility of our garden by the sea. For more information, visit

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Jerry Brown's Delta Death Tunnels

by Dan Bacher

The real life horror show of Governor Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels Plan keeps revealing its deadly surprises as the public comment period for the California Water Fix draws to a close on Friday, October 30.

Like an evil vampire that you just can't seem to kill, the Delta-destroying tunnels plan keeps coming back.

The voters overwhelmingly defeated the water-sucking and fish-exterminating vampire project, originally known as the Peripheral Canal, in November 1982.

However, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger resurrected the undead project from its electoral tomb starting 2007 under new, less scary-sounding names - the Delta Vision Plan and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan - and did everything he could push the plan through without allowing the voters to vote, including pressuring the Legislation to pass a water policy/water bond package in November 2009 that cleared the path to the construction of the peripheral canal.

Jerry Brown embraced the water-guzzling vampire project of Schwarzenegger's as his own "legacy" when he entered his third term as Governor in January 2015 - and in fact fast-tracked the project as the peripheral canal became the twin tunnels. However, after the scientists from Environmental Protection Agency, Delta Independent Science Board, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Academy of Sciences and every science panel examining the project issued scathing reports revealing how the tunnels could hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon and steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, the Brown and Obama administrations resurrected the conveyance plan as the "California Water Fix" - and stripped the "habitat restoration" component out of the plan to become the "Eco Restore" proposal.

In addition to hastening the extinction of Central Valley steelhead and salmon and other species, the killer project will imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

New horrors unveiled: Kern County Water Agency demands unlimited water without restrictions!

Every week its seems that new horrors about the Delta-killing nature of the tunnels plan are revealed - and that was the case yesterday when Restore the Delta (RTD) exposed a new document that unveils the true goals of the Kern County Water Agency - "unlimited water, on demand, with few environmental restrictions."

If that it isn't scary at a time when winter salmon, Delta smelt and longfin and other imperiled fish species are getting closer and closer to the dark abyss of extinction, I don't know what is!

"In their drafted public comments letter on the Recirculated EIR/S for the Delta Tunnels, the Kern County Water Agency (KWCA) reveals the true goals of agricultural water exporters -- unlimited water supplies, even if it violates federal Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts," according to a statement from RTD.

In the letter KWCA declares appreciation for this revised draft because they believe it is “an important” first step toward creating a workable solution for their agency. Yet, they still want more; otherwise, the project is not “economically feasible.”

The letter reveals their goals: greater deliveries for the State Water Project and allowing for "adaptive management" with limited adjustments to the water supply of the project, RTD stated.

"Their demands are clear: Proposition 1 money to be used for water purchases (never mind that Prop 1 claimed no such thing would happen); no limits on supply to the State Water Project or the Central Valley Project during spring months (regardless of Delta fishery needs or Federal ESA protections)," said RTD.

The letter concludes:

"Finally, in addition to revising the operational criteria, the Agency requests that the description of the alternatives in the RDEIR/SDEIS be revised to clarify that the spring outflow criteria will be satisfied in accordance with the following hierarchy:

  1. Available State and federal public funding will be used to purchase water necessary for spring outflow (e.g., through Proposition 1 funding).
  2. State and federal agencies will attempt to obtain additional water to satisfy the spring outflow criteria if it becomes available.
  3. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service will include spring outflow requirements in their permitting decisions on all issues related to water in the Delta watershed.
  4. All other available sources of water will be considered by the Real Time Operations and/or Adaptive Management Program teams prior to reducing SWP and Central Valley Project (CVP) exports.
  5. Water should be made available by the SWP and CVP only in amounts determined to be necessary by the Real Time Operations and/or Adaptive Management Program processes.
  6. No spring outflow contributions should be required from the SWP or CVP for the first 10 years of Project operations.”

Page 124 --

User Name: publicuser

Password: kcwa1234

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, slammed the KCWA for demanding a project that "defies both nature and the law."

"It also exposes the big lie that BDCP officials and Governor Brown’s office have used to mollify San Francisco Bay-Delta residents and fishing communities who depend on a healthy Delta ecosystem," she said. "Tunnel proponents like BDCP Director Jerry Meral, DWR Director Mark Cowin, Resources Secretary John Laird, Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham, and California Water Fix Director Karla Nemeth have stated on numerous occasions that the project would not increase the total water exports from the Delta, it would simply rebalance where the water is being drawn from and the timing of exports, in a way that protects the Delta."

She said the Kern County Water Association comment destroys that talking point and reveals what Dr. Jeff Michael from the University of the Pacific has pointed out repeatedly -- the project is not cost effective for farmers without guaranteed water supply.

"The KCWA wants all the water they can use, delivered on their schedule, even if it pushes protected species like the Central Valley Spring-run Chinook Salmon to extinction, or causes salt-water intrusion or toxic buildup in the Delta, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act," noted Barrigan-Parrilla.

“Californians were told the Delta Tunnels will meet the co-equal goals of the Delta Reform Act of 2009, to provide a more reliable water supply for California AND protect, restore, and enhance the Delta ecosystem,” she concluded. “Sadly, this letter confirms what we have always suspected: the Tunnels are simply a water grab by Big Ag in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. To get what they want, they are willing to sacrifice the San Francisco Bay-Delta, its residents, farmers, and endangered species.”

Take Action Against This Vampire Project NOW!

We don't want the zombie-like advocates of the Governor's tunnels plan to convert the Bay Delta Estuary into a fish and wildlife graveyard! That prospect is scarier than the Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Revenge of the Living Dead, Evil Dead, Phantasm, Pet Sematary, the Shining, the Descent or any classic horror movie.

If you haven't already, you should sign the Restore the Delta petition at

The petition letter outlines three objections to the Tunnels plan for officials based on 1) environmental, 2) public health, and 3) economic concerns. It also encourages investment in shovel-ready water projects that will bring jobs and sustainability to California.

If you have more time, I highly recommend writing a letter based your experience and expertise:

Also, on the final day of public comments for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on Governor Jerry Brown's proposed Delta Tunnels, a coalition of fishermen, environmentalists, residents, and elected officials will reveal why the Delta Tunnels (BDCP/WaterFix) would be an "ecological and economic disaster for California."

The press conference will take place on the North Side, of the State Capitol in Sacramento on Friday, October 30, 2015 at 11:00 am. Tunnels opponents are encouraged to attend.

Speakers include State Senator Cathleen Galgiani; Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman; Conner Everts, Environmental Water Coalition; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta; Bob Wright, Friends of the River; Tim Sloane, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations; Esperanza Vielma, Café Coop; and Ryan Camero, Delta Activist, 2015 Brower Youth Award Winner.

For more information, go to:

Finally, you must check out the great Rage Against the Tunnels music video, "Get Fracked," about the tunnels scheme:


  1. Lazarus October 31, 2015

    Water woos in Willits…you bet. I live there, I’ve been buying bottled water (5 gallon jugs) since the 80’s spill (wrong or too much chems got dumped…people were chemically burnt in the shower). I also double filter the stuff from the street…and I’m not a worrier by nature.
    On the other hand, least we got water…folks in the Willits have been very good at conserving, unlike other towns in the County. Bottom line is, “Good ole boys” been running things for along time in the Willits, probably time for the change.
    As always,

  2. Lazarus October 31, 2015

    Oh yea…the author of that Willits water letter, like she said, ran and lost for City Council last time out…sounds like she run’n again to me.
    As always,

  3. BB Grace October 31, 2015

    Off Topic: To Susie de Castro; Is it possible to make your AVA name a webpage link so people who appreciate your photography can contact you?

  4. Bill Pilgrim October 31, 2015

    RE: Kunstler. Bullshit statistics that falsely point to ‘recovery’ play an important role in keeping an increasingly hammered and agitated citizenry thinking that their desperation is their own fault…not that of a rigged, corrupt, crony capitalist system that must be radically changed forthwith if we are to live in any semblance of a sane society.

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