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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

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MICHELLE ROHR STUTSMAN is the owner of the 3.9 pound Yorkie with a glycemic issue pictured here, the question being why this tiny pooch was locked into a big cage at the Ukiah Animal Shelter? Will we know? a reader asks.


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THE FINANCES of the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service, a long-standing and crucial non-profit, are not usually discussed much. Or at all. But since the Ambulance Service has asked the Community Services District to consider a merger with the Boonville Fire Department, the Ambulance finances are getting a rare look-see. According to a summary from Ambulance Service Board member Philip Thomas the Ambulance revenues for the last three years are around $100k per year in bills for service, donations, memberships and fundraising. Expenses are about the same. But the Ambulance has about $360k in the bank, about half of which is earmarked for a replacement ambulance when the need arises, the other half is held in reserve. A merger of the Ambulance Service with the Community Services District would probably generate some administrative savings, although a combined budget after a merger has not yet been prepared.

THERE ARE a number of other factors involved in considering the fire-ambulance merger and they are being explored by an ad-hoc committee chaired at the moment by AV Fire Chief Andres Avila. For more information or to comment or attend the next exploratory meeting, call Chief Avila at 895-2020.

LOOMING OVER the fire-ambulance merger discussion is the County’s ongoing Exclusive Operating Area planning now reaching a critical point with the upcoming release of a Request For Proposals (RFP) for inland Mendo ambulance service. Many locals worry that a big international ambulance outfit will bid low to get the contract and then try to raise rates in the follow-on years once they’re established. (cf the mega-fraud of ObamaCare for details.) And the winning bidder might also overflow into Anderson Valley, either by subcontracting with the local ambulance service with specific terms of service or simply providing their own, neither of which sound very good. Hard to believe a mega-ambulance corp would staff a Boonville ambulance, but…

THE COUNTY is also considering putting emergency dispatch services out to bid: the fire and ambulance dispatch service now being provided by CalFire out of their Willits Grade headquarters. The local fire chiefs have unanimously voted to oppose outsourcing dispatch, arguing that whatever minor problems they have with dispatch can be fixed well short of dispatch privatization. But the County has, so far, taken the position that the chiefs' opposition is holding up the release of the EOA RFP. Things are in flux, however, and could change any day.

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ACCORDING TO A NEW SURVEY from the Pew Research Center, more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the US than have migrated here since 2009. The study shows the overall flow of Mexican immigration into the US is at its lowest since the 1990s. Additionally, Pew found the Mexican-born population in the US declined to 11.7 million in 2014, down from 12.8 million in 2007. A majority of those who’ve left the US since 2009 left on their own accord, and 61% of those who’ve returned to Mexico cited family reunification as their main reason. Only 14% said their departure was due to deportation. Many who left cited the recession and lack of jobs as a reason.

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HEADLINE in a recent Ukiah Daily Journal that had me fast asleep by the end of “tours.” “Assemblyman Jim Wood tours Ukiah High School.” In fact the mere mention of Wood, the other solon from Healdsburg, McGuire, and Huffman are, singularly, the human equivalent of chloroform. Together? Political death.

AN HONEST teacher might give the kids a real civics lesson in lieu of the tsunami of pure bullshit our nation's future gets thrown at them every school day. “Class, this is Jim Wood, a tax-paid wine gofer to Sacramento. He's here today to pretend he gives a shit about you and your sub-mediocre school. It's called a photo op. You girls keep an eye on the Assemblyman's hands. They tend to rove. Anyway, even if you hit him in the face with a sack full of his own bullshit he never stops smiling and his hair looks like it's been cemented to his head. On the off chance any of you ever wake up to understand who owns and runs this country you have zero chance of prospering in, this guy grinning at you here today, and all the elected people like him, is your blood enemy. On the lunch menu today we have catsup, grease nuggets, sugar water and, as a special treat, to recognize our multi-cultural heritage, a carrot from Guatemala.”

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(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Nov 23, 2015

Arnold, Campbell, Choate
Arnold, Campbell, Choate

MICHAEL ARNOLD, Covelo. Probation revocation.

WAYNE CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Petty theft, drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

ERNEST CHOATE, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

Davis, Franks, Guillory
Davis, Franks, Guillory

BRITTANY DAVIS, Ukiah. Robbery, conspiracy.

JEFFREY FRANKS, Potter Valley. Drunk in public.

MALCOM GUILLORY, Stockton/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, sale-transport-furnish pot.

Hensley, Knapp, Nelson
Hensley, Knapp, Nelson

CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

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

THERON NELSON, Fort Bragg. Court order violation.

Pierce, Shrigley, Washington
Pierce, Shrigley, Washington

LONNIE PIERCE, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

BRIAN SHRIGLEY, Willits. Pot possession for sale, sale-transport-furnish pot.


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The past ten days have also seen protests against free speech at snooty eastern elite Amherst College and a “white privilege retreat” at the University of Vermont for students “self-identifying as white” — why not “students of whiteness?” — with required reading on “The Invention of the White Race,” “White Privilege, Male Privilege in Race, Class, Gender,” “The Feminist Classroom,” and “The Abolition of Whiteness.” You might whiff a general drift in all this of antagonism against people of whiteness and men in particular. Hence it’s extra-specially unfortunate that the oafish and sadistic Donald Trump is so conspicuously out there representing that identity group. I suppose what that shows is that the process of boundary dissolution can really call out the demonic. The sad part is that white men of principle and reason are so beaten down that none dare oppose the forces of identity vengeance on the loose. — James Kunstler

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by Shepherd Bliss

(Sonoma County, Northern California)

Many good reasons exist, other than merely earning money, to be a food farmer, though getting paid is an important benefit. Working outside in nature is good for the body and soul. Nature is a helpful, abundant teacher that can aid humans to develop humility and understand our appropriate roles on this miraculous Earth, rather than damage the environment.

Seeing beautiful things--such as redwoods, oaks, and flying birds--can be pleasurable. I enjoy bringing freshly-picked berries up from the field to customers and watch them smile and start eagerly eating them.

Digging in the Earth, as I did as a boy, is a great joy. I also appreciate having my hands on plants and animals most days. My farm dog--a Catahoula leopard hound, whose job is to chase off predators, mainly deer and wild turkeys--also likes my hands and those of customers and visitors, on her silky, colorful coat. Winnie loves to play, and entices me to join her.

As a child on my Uncle Dale’s diverse Iowa farm, I learned how to farm. We stacked hay (itchy), milked cows (before dawn), and cared for chickens and pigs. Watching the chickens and piglets play was fun. Though we had plenty of corn — in the small state with the third largest ag economy in the U.S. — we did not over-plant it and thus create a mono-crop, as happens here in Sonoma County, Northern California, with wine grapes. They become alcohol, rather than food — big difference.

This was the late l940s, before electricity reached much of the rural Mid-West. Since we had no TV, nights often began with “Once upon a time, a long, long time ago,” and we were off into the magical, story-telling world. Life was good, back then in the middle of the last century.

Such childhood remembrances drew me to Sonoma County, whose rural character we work to preserve from the onslaught of various industrial, commercial, and urbanizing forces that threaten us with their sprawl into the countryside.

Farm memories from my childhood were so positive that when I finally grew up, in my forties, I reflected on when I was happiest in my life. It was while tending to plants and animals on my Uncle Dale’s farm. So in 1992 I left full-time college teaching and moved to Sonoma County, Northern California. I bought a small rural spread, and made it into a productive food farm, specializing in boysenberries.

Organic practices--such as much mulch, compost, leaves, no till, and manure as fertilizer—-guide me. I eventually built the soil up so much that I no longer need to fertilize and basically dry farm, except when it reaches over 90 degrees during harvest, when I lay down hoses.

Natural Redwood Empire Or Commerical Wine Country?

One of the first things I did was plant more trees, especially redwoods, which draw moisture down from the sky and provide habitat for the many beneficial insects, which can eat the few pests. I live in the natural Redwood Empire, rather than the commercial “wine country.”

Watching plants grow, over time, is a deep pleasure. It helps me grow. Seeing trees cut and replaced by regimented, metal stakes in the ground for the invasive wine grape mono-culture saddens me.

I joined the wonderful Sonoma County Farm Trails, which drew eager customers from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to my farm and those of my neighbors. I was soon able to sell all the berries I could grow, at $6 a pound. I began hosting farm tours for families and educational, community, environmental, and spiritual groups, thus teaching people outside in the open field and on the forest floor created by a redwood stand, rather than inside in a walled classroom.

I don’t need to go to a gym, since I work in the field most days. Food farming is intensely physical, unless one is merely the owner or manager, thus not really a grower.

Living on a farm, one grows more comfortable with decay and death, which feed life. One has to deal with grief often on a farm. I remember when my first chicken died, taken by a hawk. I blamed myself. It took a while to accept the living/decaying/dying/dead cycle.

Having good teachers as one enters a new profession is essential. I learned how to farm as an adult from two main sources. Scott and Helen Nearing initiated the back-to-the land movement in the early 20th century. Today we need what ecologist and forester Aldo Leopold describes as a “land ethics.” They wrote numerous books, including the classic Living the Good Life.

Scott lived to be 100-years-old, after building something like 35 stone structures and writing 40 books. I would hitch-hike to their Good Life Center during my decade at Harvard from Cambridge, Mass., and visit their blueberry farm in Blue Hill, Maine. That is partly why I now grow mainly berries. At 71-years-old, I plan to live to at least 100. Farmers used to have the highest life expectancy of any profession, which has changed since the onslaught of chemical farming.

Findhorn Foundation And Taize In France

Later I taught for a week at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland--famous for its intentional community and incredible gardens. Among the many books on Findhorn, one of the best is the old The Magic of Findhorn by Paul Hawken. Magic is good, and I feel it here at Kokopelli Farm, Sebastopol countryside, named after the flute player and wounded healer of the Southwestern Pueblo peoples.

For a while, I stayed at the Taize spiritual community in France. While there, I learned the long history of monks and nuns farming as part of their spiritual practice. They do so with prayerful attitudes.

“In crisis there is always the element of opportunity, a chance to do things better,” writes Jane Bender, president of the Center for Climate Change Protection board in the Nov. 23 edition of the North Bay Business Journal. “Today we face a full-scale environmental crisis,” she adds in her article “Helping Build the Sustainable Economy.” She writes about real sustainability, not what wine industry propaganda describes falsely as its alleged sustainability.

Food farming is not for everyone. It’s demanding, though also rewarding. It is hard to support a family by growing food, though it is possible. Many real farmers have off-farm jobs to help support families.

Given our current economy, it is more difficult, especially for young people with huge college debts, to buy or even rent land to become farmers. It is also more important as we face water and food scarcity. Once a food ag county, 96% of the veggies and fruits sold in Sonoma County now are imported from outside the county, according to GoLocal.

Groups such as the Farmers Guild and the Grange can help people of all ages learn how to farm food and develop a community of support. “We need to woo folks back to the land,” says Sebastopol Grange president Jerry Allen. “Many individuals and families are emotionally and spiritually ‘de-hydrated.’ When one works in nature in the soil and with animals, the blessedness of nature steeps into and nourishes us.”

(Dr. Shepherd Bliss {,} has contributed to two-dozen books. When KOWS-FM radio moves to Sebastopol this December, he will host the program “A Better World is Possible.”)

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Mendocino County Public Workshop Notice

(Fast Tracking of cell towers is just the beginning for wind farms?)

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For many years now, the cellular industry has expressed a strong desire for streamlining the permitting process to make it more practical to establish and maintain a wireless infrastructure in the County.

More recently, local broadband providers have also expressed concerns with the current permit process as well as application fees as a hindrance to operating a profitable small business and providing cheap broadband service to rural areas of our County. Staff is proposing to amend our Local Coastal Plan by modifying the Coastal Zoning Code to create a new permit process for certain wireless communication facility projects (e.g. cellular and broadband infrastructure projects). We are getting ready to release a draft ordinance amendment to this matter later this week and have scheduled a public workshop on Dec 3rd at 6:00 p.m. in Fort Bragg, See attached notice for details. I will send out the draft ordinance in a separate email later this week.

Separate but related note. You may be aware that the Board of Supervisors, on August 4th, 2015 approved modifications to the County Inland Zoning Code whereby certain WCF projects are no eligible to be approved through the Administrative Permit process rather than the Major Use Permit process. I've provided a link to Inland Zoning Code Chapter 20.236, the new Tower and Antenna section below. These regulations are now applicable to the Inland Area of the County but not our Coastal Zone. The Board of Supervisors has tasked our Department to work on bringing about similar changes to our Coastal Zoning Code.

Link to CH 20.236

Look forward to your comments and hope that folks can attend our workshop on December 3rd. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Thank you for all the help.

Dusty Duley, Planner

Mendocino County
Planning and Building Services
860 N. Bush St.
Ukiah, CA 95482
Phone: (707) 234-6650
FAX: (707) 463-5709
Web site:

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Notice Of Public Workshop To Modify The Permitting Process For Wireless Communciation Facilities In The Coastal Zone

Notice Is Hereby Given Of The Following:

Copies of the Draft Ordinance Amendment to Mendocino County Code, Division II of Title 20 – Coastal Zoning Code will be available for public review on Thursday, November 26, 2015, at the locations listed below and on the County of Mendocino Department of Planning and Building Services website at:

Mendocino Community Library
10591 William Street
Mendocino, California 95460

Fort Bragg-Mendocino Library
499 East Laurel Street
Fort Bragg, California 95437

Planning and Building Services Department Planning and Building Services Department

County of Mendocino County of Mendocino

860 North Bush Street 120 West Fir Street

Ukiah, California, 95482 Fort Bragg, California 95437

County of Mendocino Department of Planning and Building Services staff will conduct a public workshop on the Draft Ordinance Amendment to create an alternative permit process for certain wireless communication facility projects between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at the Fort Bragg Public Library, 499 East Laurel Street, Fort Bragg, California 95437.

Your comments regarding the Draft Ordinance Amendment are invited. Written comments may be sent to County Planner Dusty Duley at, or submitted to the Department of Planning and Building Services at either 860 North Bush Street, Ukiah, California, 95482, or 120 West Fir Street, Fort Bragg, California, 95437. Opportunity for public expression will be available at the workshop.

Additional information regarding the above noted item may be obtained by calling the Department of Planning and Building Services at 707-234-6650, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.

Your input is requested for this public workshop; however, official decisions will not be made during this meeting. The County Department Of Planning And Building Services will use information from the discussion to determine how to proceed with the project.

Steve Dunnicliff, Director of Planning & Building Services

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An excerpt in Salon from the new book by San Francisco's David Talbot:

Those resolute voices in American public life that continue to deny the existence of a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy argue that “someone would have talked.” This line of reasoning is often used by journalists who have made no effort themselves to closely inspect the growing body of evidence and have not undertaken any of their own investigative reporting. The argument betrays a touchingly naïve media bias — a belief that the American press establishment itself, that great slumbering watchdog, could be counted on to solve such a monumental crime, one that sprung from the very system of governance of which corporate media is an essential part. The official version of the Kennedy assassination — despite its myriad improbabilities, which have only grown more inconceivable with time — remains firmly embedded in the media consciousness, as unquestioned as the law of gravity.

In fact, many people have talked during the past half of a century — including some directly connected to the plot against Kennedy. But the media simply refused to listen. One of the most intriguing examples of someone talking occurred in 2003, when an old and ailing Howard Hunt began unburdening himself to his eldest son, Saint John.

“Saint,” as his father called him, was a loyal and loving son, who had suffered through the upheavals of the spy’s life, along with the rest of his family. Late one night in June 1972, at the family’s Witches Island home in suburban Maryland, Hunt had frantically woken up his eighteen-year-old son. “I need you to do exactly as I say, and not ask any questions!” said Hunt, who was in a sweaty and disheveled state that his son had never before witnessed. He ordered Saint John to fetch window cleaner, rags, and rubber gloves from the kitchen and to help him rub away fingerprints from a pile of espionage equipment, including cameras, microphones, and walkie-talkies. Later, Saint helped his father stuff the equipment into two suitcases, which they loaded into the trunk of his father’s Pontiac Firebird. Hunt and his son drove through the darkness to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, where the spook got out and tossed the suitcases into the murky water. On the way back home, Hunt told Saint that he had been doing some special work for the White House, and things had gone south.

It was the beginning of the Watergate drama, in which Howard Hunt played a starring role as the leader of the “White House plumbers,” the five burglars who were arrested while breaking into the Democratic Party’s national headquarters. All five of the men had a long history with Hunt, dating back to the earliest days of the underground war against Castro, and at least two — Frank Sturgis and Virgilio Gonzalez — were rumored to have played roles in the Kennedy assassination…

(Cited in the Salon excerpt: John Hunt in the Rolling Stone in 2007 and his book, Bond of Secrecy.)

(Courtesy, District5Diary)

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by Robin Sunbeam

The Charter Project of Mendocino County is a coalition of people striving to increase local sovereignty with a home rule charter. We want Mendocino to join the 14 other California counties that have established home rule charters under Article XI of the California Constitution.

The greatest advantage to a home rule charter is that provisions of the charter have the same force and effect as state law [Art. XI, §3(a)]. That means that whatever we write into the charter, once approved by the voters, will be like state law, but applicable only to our county.

We are all quite proud of Measure H, the 2004 measure, which banned GMO agriculture in Mendocino County. Mendocino was the first county in the Western Hemisphere to ban GMO crops. Measure H had a domino effect in which many other counties in the USA, and provinces and states around the world all followed suit and banned GMO agriculture. In response, ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) pressured states to prohibit counties from banning GMO agriculture.

“ALEC’s response to cities and counties acting as laboratories of democracy has traditionally been to crush it through ‘state preemption laws’ that prohibit local governments from raising the minimum wage, regulating GMO’s or building municipal broadband.”

Considering that Measure H is but a measure from a general law county, it could be overturned if the State of California followed ALEC’s lead and prohibited counties from prohibiting GMO crops. If the new charter stated that Mendocino agriculture must be GMO free, it would have the same force and effect as state law and could not be overturned by the State.

Becoming a charter county is a three-step process. After the correct number of signatures has been collected and validated, there will be two charter measures on the June 2016 ballot for the electorate to vote on. The first is: “Shall a charter commission be elected to propose a Mendocino County charter?” The second will be a list of (at least) 15 people who are running for charter commissioner. If a majority vote “yes” on the first question, then the 15 people with the most votes will be elected to the charter commission. They will draft a charter for the county. Once completed, the charter will then go on the ballot for the people to approve the proposed charter. Once approved by the voters and adopted by the California legislature, it then becomes equivalent to state law.

Other provisions that could be included in a home rule charter include protections for the water, air, soil and scenic beauty within the county. Instant Runoff Voting (aka Ranked Choice Voting) in which we could vote for our favorite candidate instead of the lesser of 2 evils. If your number 1 choice doesn’t win, then your vote would go to your number 2 choice. San Francisco uses IRV, which saves money on runoff elections. We could include anti-corruption laws that prohibit donors outside the County from contributing to local candidates. Also, several of our local measures can be reiterated in the charter, strengthening their impact.

A county charter will also strengthen the case to establish a county public bank and remove our public funds from Bank of America, a felon that is too big to fail, and has derivatives exposures on the world market 28X their total assets. Another worldwide economic downturn is inevitable, and the casino derivatives market is unregulated and has super-priority status over every other debt. Therefore, when the derivatives bubble bursts, our public funds will not be safe in BoA. The sooner we find another safe location for our county’s public funds, the better. The Democratic Central Committee of Mendocino County and the CADems have both endorsed a Mendocino County public bank. Hopefully, when established, it will be a democratically operated benefit corporation called the Public Bank of Mendocino County.

Vote ‘Yes’ on the charter question in June 2016!

Robin Sunbeam is a Ukiah resident.

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THE AV GRANGE: I realize that the Grange in its current status may seem unimportant to you, but I know that the 7 Mendocino Granges with 700 or more members may be interested in Mendocino. Further, the Grange was behind the populist movement and perhaps not capable of the same, the current changes in the National could lead us back that direction. Grange halls are being repopulated with back to lander, farmers and community oriented folks, who want real change and the Granges lobbying status could facilitate that. So the news that is on the web for internet folks only is that a 5 year fracas between Nationals aggressive and punitive Master(President) Ed Luttrel and popular progressive State Master Bob McFarland it some 165 stalwart granges may be coming to an end per a November Miracle. Luttrel has been upping the ante pulling the states charter, suing its officers, removing its 140 year old name and creating a threatening substitute that is threatening our Grange halls from operation. The miracle came following Octobers State convention where 165 of the original 185 granges or 10,000 members chose to stand united through January with hope of the Master being unseated at National. He was gone in the first round and replaced in the second by his objecting Executive board member, long time Granger Betsy Huber from Pennsylvania, the first woman National Master. Strangely as the Grange has always appreciated women as equals. Master Huber had lobbied for resolve in California and stopping the law suits. She may have been the then Executive officer, who told an attending local Laytonville Granger that she felt really badly about how National was treating California. It is clear a change is in the air. How Master Huber resolves this is important but it will not be punitive as the previous leader. Grangers can then get back to growing, doing important things like lobbying for labelled GMOs, stopping tainted fracking water injection into farmland aquifers, challenging Glyphosate which is so ubiquitous it is in Mothers milk, blood and urine, and baby formula and is causing gastric harm that could be responsible for the climbing autism rate and a plethora of mysterious allergic responses to common things. The AV Grange will sponsor the Holiday dinner with the AV Foodshed Dec 13th and as that is the same day as the local pancakes will take a break from stirring the dough and tossing the cakes. We will be screening Best of Enemies with the AV Foodshed in a free/donation showing at the First Friday Film and Social Nite Dec. 4th at 6 for food and 7 for film. The social is potluck snacks. See ads for all next week.

Greg Krouse

Master/President AV solar Grange #669
Master/President of the 1st Solar Grange
Anderson Valley Grange 669
707-895-3842 voicemail

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“An Hour of Code” for Kids, 7-10 years old, on Saturday, December 12th at 10:30 am

On Saturday, December 12 at 10:30 am, Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch, is celebrating National Computer Science Week by offering a one hour computer coding class for kids, ages 7-10.

We will be teaching “drag and drop” coding with Star Wars based lessons at Ukiah Library has a limited number of laptops available for this class. If your child can bring a laptop or tablet for personal use, that will be great.

Please arrive before 10:15 am. Class will start promptly at 10:30. First come, first serve for use of our computers and tablets. Preregistration is absolutely required.

Teen Advisory Board

On Friday December 11 at 3:30 p.m. the Mendocino County Library, Fort Bragg Branch is hosting the first Teen Advisory Board meeting.

Are you a teen who uses the library? If you're interested in having a say in the library's programming and services for teens, come join the Teen Advisory Board. We'll be hosting our first meeting on Friday the 11th, and teens ages twelve to nineteen are welcome to join us for snacks and discussion as we getting things started.

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Upcoming Events @ the Ukiah Library

Friday, December 4th


Get in the swing of the holiday season with local Bluegrass band Gibson Creek, while creating a votive candle gift and enjoying delicious treats from Schat’s Bakery.

The Friends of the Ukiah Library Book Sale will be open from 4:30- 7:45pm on Friday, Dec. 4th and from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm on Saturday, Dec. 5th.

Anime & Manga Teen Club -Wednesday, November 25th, 2-5pm

Join us in the Teen Room for anime & manga crafts and book chats! Meetings are held the last Wednesday of each month from 2-5pm.

Saturday, Dec. 5th 1pm

Start the holiday season by singing, laughing, and dancing with Nikola Clay at the Ukiah Library! This family-friendly event is fun for the whole family. Ages 5+. Graciously sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.

2 Days of Star Wars activities:

Friday, Dec. 11th - Make a Star Wars T-shirt (reserve your spot by calling 707-463-4490)

Saturday, Dec. 12th - Costume Contest, Chewbacca Noise Contest, crafts, and a movie!

For a full list of events, check out our ** Google Calendar


or follow us on ** Facebook


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Friday, November 6th, 2015 - 10 am-11:30 am

Community Foundation of Mendocino County

New Call in Number: 641-715-3341 Access code: 108 1131#

Call to Order 10:04


Dan Hamburg, Supervisor 5th District, BAMC Executive Committee, Christian Luiz, Network Administrator, Northern Circle Indian Housing, Ruth Valenzula, Field Representative, State Congressman Jim Wood, Roseanne Iberra, Field Representative, Congressman Huffman, Kerrie Lindecker, District Representative, Senator McGuire, Howard Egan, North Bay Association of Realtors, Mike Nicholls, NBNCBC Management Team Member, Sonoma, Jennifer Maples, Student Information Analyst, Willits Unified School District, Judy James, Director of Govt. Affairs, North Bay, Comcast, Maureen “Mo” Mulheren, Ukiah City Council Member, Trish Steel, BAMC Chair, Diann Simmons, BAMC Administrative Coordinator; Call-in: Dave Smith, Director of IT Services, MCOE , Sky Shorba, Information Systems Analyst, MCOE, Emory Upchurch, Computer Technician, MCOE, Jerry Hammond, Information Systems Analyst, MCOE, Lucia Giovannetti, Computer Technician, MCOE, Pat Howard, Computer Technician, MCOE, Don Harris, Technology Coordinator, Anderson Valley Unified School District, Heather Gurewitz, Field Representative, Congressman Huffman

Approval of the agenda - no additions

Special presentation by Judy James of Comcast - Internet Essentials program

Internet Essentials (IE) is a program which offers low-cost internet access to eligible families with children in the Ukiah, Willits, and Fort Bragg school districts – the Comcast service area.

IE has been in effect 4 years and offers low-cost internet service within their service area, for $9.95/month to all students and their families enrolled in schools with a 50% or higher number of students eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. (The price has never changed.) IE also offers low cost desktop computers or laptops for $149 and free internet training. A free Wi-Fi router has been added, to enable students with Chrome books from school to be able to connect at home.

Recent changes - the enrollment process has been streamlined by decreasing the lunch program number of students from 75% and now includes all students from those schools instead of only those that qualify for the lunch program. Also, families no longer need to get a letter from the school proving their child is enrolled. They only list their school district on the form. Speeds have increased 3 times and are now at 10 Mbps down.

So far, over 500,000 students (2 million people, including families) nationwide, have participated in the program. Judy wasn’t able to get information on how many are enrolled in Mendocino County because enrollees aren’t tracked by school districts.

Top areas of enrollment owe that success to active partnerships in those areas, with school districts and non-profits that encourage students and their families to enroll. Judy is seeking more partnerships in Mendocino County. She distributed color bilingual flyers to take back to the schools and will send more directly to new partners. Contact her at:

Comcast also started an IE senior citizen pilot program several months ago in San Francisco and Florida, for seniors who qualify for Lifeline (subsidized landline service). They receive the same benefits as the students. So far, several thousand have applied. It includes on-site computer training sessions in senior centers, senior housing, etc.

Dave asked if Comcast has any initiatives to push their service out into unserved areas of the county. Comcast is looking company-wide for new expansion to areas that fit their business model. An issue locally is that some students attend qualifying school districts but do not have Comcast (or sometimes any other service) at their homes.

Trish requested that Judy try to get a breakdown of enrolled students in all of our eligible school districts, as she was given that information several years ago.

Jennifer said that there are close to 1,000 families in the Willits School District and that she is not aware of information being sent home about IE. She took flyers with her to distribute.

BAMC will help get the word out and distribute flyers to the other school districts and non-profits. Rotary clubs are a good potential community partner and Howard will work on that, as a local member. Information and flyers will also go to after-school programs, the family resource centers and MCOE. Trish will post the flyer on the BAMC website. Christian said that Comcast has done a good job of providing service to several of the tribal housing developments. He will be the contact to get information to the families in those areas.

Low-income families already using Comcast services can discontinue their internet portion of the service for 90 days and then can sign-up for the IE program at a much lower rate. The speeds for IE are lower than the normal rates (10 Mbps vs 50 Mbps).

Howard mentioned the project that Sonoma County Office of Education is looking at - local Rotary clubs will pay for to provide cellular connections on the long-haul school buses, so students can do homework during the rides. It has potential for some of the routes in Mendocino and we will keep it in mind.

Report out from last BAMC Executive

Executive Committee meeting held on Oct. 29th

The Executive Committee is on the 4th revision of the goals, strategies and actions, to guide our work for the next 1 ••• year. It will be shared with the larger group when completed and approved.

Brian Churm, our Technology Chair, resigned due to a move out of state. The EC is looking into a replacement for technical advisor and a nomination was submitted.

We received an update from County Planning and Building on the revisions to the wireless ordinances. An inland amended ordinance has been approved and work is proceeding on a coastal amendment. County staff is planning a hearing in Fort Bragg, to present the draft and receive feedback. It is important to P&B to get early stakeholder’s feedback. Dan said that the planners expect an 8 month process, with it coming before the Board of Supervisors in August.

AT&T is accepting almost 2.5 million (out of 60 million for CA) of Connect America Funds (CAF) for use in Mendocino County. This is a federal program for the price cap carriers (or large incumbents) and the first time AT&T has participated. Rhuenette Alums, AT&T Area Manager of External Affairs, has asked BAMC for input on identifying priority areas for improved infrastructure. The FCC has a map of the eligible census blocks on their website, but it is nationwide and difficult to get details. Russ Ford, County Cartographer Planner, downloaded Mendocino County census blocks from the FCC website and produced a map of these eligible areas for our county. Trish is sharing it and getting input with community members, and has also obtained a map of bookmobile locations needing better connectivity, and will provide AT&T with input from the Alliance on which areas in our county we consider priority areas.

The FCC time line for spending the CAF funds is aggressive. County CEO Carmel Angelo has asked AT&T to make a presentation to the Board of Supervisors about their plan, but we haven’t heard anything more.

BAMC/NBNCBC News and updates since last meeting on 10/2:

OverSight Committee meeting - Oct. 16th

OverSight Committee members include 1 Supervisor from each county, including Dan Hamburg. Each county gave an update of their activities. A summary of the 1st Quarter Year 2 Report to CASF was given and a representative from Huffman’s Washington office gave an update about their activities around broadband;

Dan brought up the increased focus on broadband issues by our state and federal representatives, which he feels the NBNCBC fostered by raising awareness of the issues.

Assembly Bill 1262 passed to re-allocate funds, moving 5 million from the CASF loan program to the consortium program, NBNCBC will likely apply for additional money, by the end of December, to extend the consortium’s work beyond June 30, 2016.

Dan brought up an issue on the OverSight agenda that didn’t get discussed – the formation of a legal entity such as a JPA, Non-Profit, or LLC from the consortium counties to be able to take advantage of infrastructure opportunities.

At Dan’s request, Mike gave his comments from the OverSight meeting about the significant issue that the expected legalization of recreational cannabis will bring - the need the industry will have for broadband in remote areas for a range of activities. Senator McGuire has said that cannabis is a 42 billion dollar industry in California, (60% of the national cannabis industry) grown mainly in 5 northwest counties, larger than the rest of the state’s agriculture industry combined. The incumbent, AT&T, has only 96 fibers in their 101 corridor infrastructure (as was found out from the recent outage). The Smart Train has 432 fibers, for comparison. Dan mentioned an interesting article in the New York Magazine: “Willie Nelson’s Crusade to Stop Big Pot” – trying to keep the major corporations from dominating the industry. There is anticipation that the Board of Supervisors will pass an ordinance in line with the 3 bills passed by the state. The legalization in Colorado has led to the state collecting double the taxes on cannabis than it does on alcohol. This is an economic issue for Mendocino, no matter how a person feels about cannabis.

Benton headlines is a good resource for broadband news. An article on 11/6/15 talked about 4 types of communities for the future in broadband ( Ones that can attract google fiber 2. Larger cities with the scale and density to attract private investment 3. Smaller communities, but still with enough scale and density to attract private investment and 4. Rural communities where government must play a larger role. The point Trish took away from this article is that it is important for the smaller rural communities to have a broadband plan for their future if they don’t want to be left permanently behind in a Digital Divide

Assemblymember Wood, as Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Rural Digital Divide, held a hearing in Sacramento on October 27th that Trish and Mike attended;

Wood will be conducting a second hearing on December 15th which will be followed by a public meeting in the district, yet to be scheduled. We will send out the link for live streaming of this 2nd hearing when it is available.

Assemblymember Wood has also been asked to be a panelist at a conference hosted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, key advisor to the White House on technology and telecom policy matters. That conference will take place on November 17h in Mountain View (Trish and Mike are both planning to attend). Here is the link to the link to the federal register notice:

Verizon Sale to Frontier

Mendocino has 4 Verizon exchanges that would be impacted by a sale to Frontier, including Laytonville, Leggett, Piercy and Covelo, with 1,630 household connections. The CA Emerging Technology Fund removed its objections to the transfer after receiving a concession that the Lifeline program will be continued by Frontier, although they only included eastern counties in the MOU, not the coastal counties. The NBNCBC has sought answers from the CETF for some of these questions (why our county was not included in the MOU). The sale is moving forward, having received the FCC approval, but still waiting for the CPUC approval.

Lifeline Reform to include Broadband letter

The Alliance signed onto a letter from the Rural Broadband Policy Group to the FCC in support of expanding Lifeline eligibility to broadband. The letter can be viewed on our website under “Correspondence with Government Agencies.”

3rd AT&T/OES/BAMC (Oct. 20th) meeting

The third meeting with AT&T and the County was held with the outage as the focus. There was a lot of discussion to clarify processes during outages/emergencies.

Upcoming dates to watch for:

Nov. 19th - USDA/stakeholder meeting (10-12 am at the Community Foundation): Rocky Chenelle, the lead person in the state who works under the Washington DC office of Rural Utilities Service, will present information about their grant programs. The public is invited along with stakeholders. It’s an opportunity to ask questions.

November date TBA by Planning Commission - first public hearing on coastal zoning revisions for broadband projects, to be held in Fort Bragg.

December 15th - 2nd Digital Divide hearing in Sacramento (you can stream it)

We’ll send more information as we receive it.

County reports

Elected representatives

Heather for Huffman: On Nov. 12th Huffman will hold a technical discussion about broadband challenges. This is not a public hearing but people are invited to attend to listen. Huffman convened a stakeholders’ round table for the Natural Resource Subcommittee to discuss how to leverage big tracks of federal land for broadband deployment. He will also be introducing legislation to authorize a program under the Rural Electrification Act.

Kerrie for McGuire: McGuire is working on developing legislation for the next session that starts in January. He held a conference call on Oct. 15 that brought together Cal Office of Emergency Services, the CPUC and local supervisors from Humboldt, Mendocino and Sonoma and broadband associations to focus on the reporting of outages. Currently there is no mandated reporting by the providers. He wants to hold the providers accountable and require that they communicate what is happening. He is also working with PG&E to get information about their effective system, to see what could be used to craft something similar for data and 911 outages. The second call will be Nov. 23.

Access Sonoma Broadband Update - Mike Nicholls

ASB is working with a potential provider about moving forward for a CASF grant application for the Joy Road area, which has 350 households.

Outreach and future agenda items

Trish gave a telephone interview for an article in California Healthline, to counter the perception that all state health-care facilities are well served and made these points: (see the article at:

One of our hospitals and three clinics are very underserved. 2) Those that do have adequate service are in danger of losing service during an outage due to lack of redundancy. 3) Many rural residents are impacted in their health care because they aren’t able to do research on medical issues they are dealing with, or apply on-line for Covered California. 4) We have emergency services and public safety issues in our county, including high-tourism areas such as beaches, without mobile coverage.

The Atlantic, a monthly magazine recently published a story focused in Mendocino County and in which Trish is quoted. (see story at: The reporter was doing a report on broadband and the iCloud that focuses on the Manchester landing cable and the unserved area around it. “Where the Cloud Rises from the Sea: The cable that connects the U.S. to the global Internet runs right next to a small coastal town in California. Why do so few of its residents have broadband?”

January 8th - presentation by Rhuenette Alums of AT&T and Greg Glavich of the County OES

Meeting adjourned AT 11:38

IMPORTANT: December 4th meeting CANCELLED

Next meeting: January 8th, 2016


  1. Kathy Wylie November 24, 2015

    I received email that the December Broadband meeting is postponed until January

  2. Judy Valadao November 24, 2015

    I want to know about the little dog? Poor baby.

  3. John Fremont November 24, 2015

    C’mon, Susie. In the 70s you were in elementary school.

    • Harvey Reading November 25, 2015

      You got some proof? What she said seems very plausible. I’ve had more problems with “white” Eurotrash and “white” Ameritrash in my life than with Middle Easterners or any other ethnic groups on the planet.

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