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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Mar 14, 2015

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FIVE MILES NORTH OF WESTPORT Highway 1  is closed due to a rock slide. Caltrans expects this closure to end at 12:01pm Mar 15, 2016.

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HIGHWAY 1 AT THE GARCIA RIVER (mile marker  18.50) is closed due to flooding.  Unknown time of opening. (CHP Dispatch, 4:55 am, Monday)

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UPDATE [3:30 pm Monday]: 128 appears to be open.

OUT OF an apparent overabundance of caution, Caltrans closed Highway 128 near the Flynn Creek Road detour/intersection early Sunday evening, presumably thinking it might rain enough overnight to flood the Highway.

But the National Weather Service prediction for Sunday/Monday was: “Showers, mainly before 11pm. Low around 44. West northwest wind 6 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. Chance of precipitation 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.”


Since the rain on Sunday was light all day we don’t see much chance that the Navarro could jump up over 23 feet and on up to maybe 27 feet and flood overnight. Either way though, it’s likely to be re-opened early Monday before most Mendocino residents get up.

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And at 11:31 am Sunday Caltrans reported...

"ROUTE 1 JUST WEST OF LEGGETT IS CLOSED due to an active slide. This is at the same location we have reported on before that began in January, periodically closing part of one lane. However, this morning a large amount of mud, rocks, and trees came down, closing the entire road."


"The slide is large enough that Caltrans is evaluating the slide to determine if a contractor will be given an emergency contract to remove the debris. More details to follow."

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FOUR INDIANA RESIDENTS were pulled over by local law enforcement at the Redwood Drive-In in Boonville Saturday night because the pick-up’s plates popped up as associated with an outstanding warrant for meth sales out of Indiana. The driver, Joshua Stanley, 31, of Wawaka, Indiana, first tried to give deputies a false ID, which didn’t work because the deputies already had the info derived from license plate. After adding false ID to the charges, and finding the proper ID, deputies then noticed that Mr. Stanley didn’t have a valid driver’s license under his correct ID and that he had some meth in his pocket. Stanley was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County jail and is expected to be extradited back to Indiana on a felony meth warrant. Deputies speculated that Stanley and his three passengers — one of whom was a 16 year old pregnant girl — were in Mendo to make a drug connection with a Valley resident. A pile of welfare and infant medical services application paperwork for the County health department on Dora Street was also found in Stanley’s pickup. Stanley’s three fellow Hoosiers, ranging in age from the 16-year old to a 42 year old, were released in Boonville with a suggestion that they might want to return to Indiana.

Joshua Stanley
Joshua Stanley

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

I’ll start out with the usual blah blah stuff about how important it is to help those in need, but I’ll keep it short. There. Done.

Now I want to get to the part about helping those who aren’t particularly in need of help but are happy to take as many handouts as the idiots around Ukiah are willing to give them. Why are we all worrying about making sure freeloaders who have come to town to jump into the dope trade are sufficiently comfortable?

All these bums and criminals hanging around the Ukiah Co-op and at Alex Thomas Plaza, all the cruds shuffling back and forth along State Street and lounging about your neighborhood are here to trim weed, sell weed, transport weed, smoke weed and trade weed for methamphetamine. Any tax-free money they make (trimmers are now getting up to $20 an hour) goes into their smelly backpacks, with no money sent to IRS and no donations contemplated for Plowshares or the Food Bank.

These guests will not be writing checks to benefit the Buddy Eller House or the Ukiah Community Center. They will not be reimbursing the Mendocino County Social Services Department or the Public Defender.

They aren’t setting aside a certain amount each month to put into their savings so when they get home they can buy a house where they’ll raise their kids and their pit bulls. If you want to build a bunch of tiny houses for them to camp out in, that’s fine. If it gets cold outside hand over the coat you’re wearing, and your wife’s too. Your kid got a bicycle?

A special favorite of mine is more and costlier drug treatment services for people who have repeatedly demonstrated they don’t want them. The clean ’n’ sober life ain’t in their plans. What actually appeals to them is to fry their minds and break things while hurting other people, mostly their families. I love contributing to Drug Court and some crankster’s sixteenth rehab venture which he is undertaking only because it sure beats going to prison. Again.

Please remind me why we’re doing this.

We have a fat percentage of people determined to screw themselves up on various intoxicants so bad that they die. Unfortunately, even a worthy plan such as this doesn’t always succeed, and the drugsters sometime survive. When they do, the first thing you and I are required to pay for is their emergency room visit, followed by a few days in intensive care and then the county jail. Next a lawyer followed by more incarceration time and perhaps another stroll through rehab.

At some point we’ll hear “I need work skills, so gimme some job training.” The answer of course is that we already have a work skills program. It’s called high school, and you dropped out your sophomore year. Go back, get your diploma, and when you fail at your next clean and sober living situation we’ll see about a jobs program. Last I heard they had one at McDonald’s.

Instead Mister Dopey will hire on with one of those in-home health care outfits so he can provide tender assistance to bedridden elders by stealing all their prescription medications. He’s also willing to consider jewelry, electronic goods and cash. If there’s an arrest at some point he’d prefer a rehab facility, thank you. Plus it’s cold here in the jail; give him your coat.

The reality behind all the theatrics involving programs to help drug addicts, bums, neglected children and the jobless is that these agencies make a lot of money for the people in charge. The programs operate off free money from the government with little oversight as to what the heck they’re doing, and no regard for whether they produce positive outcomes.

The people who run the rehab and recovery angles are handsomely compensated. I’ve never met one who cared about helping those less fortunate half as much as they cared about helping themselves.

You’ve seen the classifieds in the Daily Journal urging you to open up your heart and your home to a foster kid. Do you think any of the phonies at the top of the foster home placement service pyramid have a single one of these semi-civilized kids in their own homes? Join me in laughter. Which leads us back to the parents of these abandoned kids: the jobless, drug-crippled, crime-inclined critters that our society has encouraged to thrive and multiply, profusely. And why shouldn’t they, at least from their own perverse viewpoint?

Think of it the way they do: We get free Section 8 housing, EBT (foodstamps) cards, free medical, free rehab, we’re Platinum Club members at Plowshares, there’s free school for our kids with free breakfasts and lunches thrown in, and a foster care system that raises our kids, whatever their names were.

Which means that right now we’re all alone with a jug of Raley’s vodka, a warm crackpipe, and soft candlelight to set the mood. Our brains may be fried, our souls may be shriveled, our bodies wracked with diseases and syndromes, but hey baby, our reproductive systems still work real good!

(Tom Hine has lived and worked in Ukiah for decades, and has been writing about the town under the TWK byline most of those years. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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A READER COMMENTS: "I agree with all of it, with one exception… I do not believe the problem transients are really coming to the county to work in the pot industry. Here on the coast there is a stable subculture of local folks who are known as reliable, trustworthy, and experienced at trimming, and all aspects of cultivation and harvesting. The marijuana industry supports a large but uncounted number of folks who can earn more trimming pot than they can at a minimum wage Taco Bell or Dollar Tree jobs, in much more pleasant surroundings, where they are valued and treated with respect. Transients may seek such jobs in the marijuana industry, but why hire a stranger when there are trustworthy locals available? I suspect these wannabe trimmers are really looking for any excuse to stay on the take without working at all."

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PURE GOSSIP. The Hopland Band of Pomo Indians has voted to disenroll 50 members of the Sandra Sigala family over embezzlement allegations. Ms. Sigala had been tribal chairwoman. Tribal affairs generally aren't discussed with palefaces, but if someone from the tribe can tell us about it we're interested.

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PURE GOSSIP DOS. Mary Aigner, recently departed program director at KZYX, is now a principal in the Love In It medical marijuana cooperative based in Albion. "Ol’ Mares," as she's affectionately known around the AVA for her sunny disposition, brings years of experience to her new position.

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FROM THE FORT BRAGG ADVOCATE of 19th March, 1919: "Leung Young Quoi, commonly known as 'Jim the Chinaman,' was found dead in his cabin on the De Haven beach Friday. Deceased is known to have been alive the previous Wednesday morning, but is believed to have died sometime during the day. In this brief period of two days Mr. Chapman found that rats had eaten all the flesh off of the man's hands and head, when he entered the dingy little cabin to take charge of the body. The little hovel was built of driftwood and was without windows, the ceiling being so low that a person had to stoop while moving about inside. Deceased was 80 years old and had resided on the beach for the last 17 years, going there from Noyo. Jim was well known and liked. He made a living by drying sea weed and abalones."

WE NOTE HERE how much more vivid and informative Coast journalism was in the first quarter of the 20th century than it is now in the first quarter of the 21st century.

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February, usually our big rain month, was a big disappointment instead, but March is determinedly making up for its inadequacy. Our valley at least, is being inundated with one storm after another and we're closing in on "normal" with 44 inches now. It's a joy to hear the Rancheria river roaring at night, rain pelting the roof, wind blowing branches, buckets and garden chairs around, frogs in chorus day and night leading to pregnant frogs in the broccoli rows, to see the yaks and the cow stuffing themselves to sated immovability, gangs of quail cleaning the "lawn" leading to the Pink Barn, to have the gutters overflowing, mud streaming across the driveway, a waterspout shooting from a drainage pipe across the road, the grasses growing by inches each day. Everything is green and blooming and it's gonna to be a helluva weed whacking year! — to go with a helluva election year.

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Becker, Brackett, Buschbacher, Montieth
Becker, Brackett, Buschbacher, Montieth

JOHNATHAN BECKER SR., Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

WILLIAM BRACKETT JR., Potter Valley. Battery, probation revocation.

ZACHARY BUSCHBACHER, Redwood Valley. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.

JACKIE MONTIETH, Fort Bragg. Refusal to leave, resisting, offenses while on bail.

G.Stanley, J.Stanley, Worley, Zaugg
G.Stanley, J.Stanley, Worley, Zaugg

GLENN STANLEY JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JOSHUA STANLEY, Wawaka, Indiana/Boonville. Possession of meth, no valid license, false ID.


TYLER ZAUGG, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

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by Steve Heilig

“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” — Thornton Wilder

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Early sunny morning, probably a school day; we are about 15 years old. You walk a few doors down and knock on my bedroom window, wearing just swim trunks, t-shirt, flip-flops, carrying swim fins. "C'mon, there's a good south swell and nobody's around and we can go get some waves." Well why not, I say, and join you with exact same attire and my fins. We walk a few blocks down towards the beach, me figuring we're just going to hit the nearby Coves, our semi-private paradise, but at the coast highway you stick out your thumb, heading south.

"We're going to Laguna" you say. Again, why not. It's only 4 miles down the road. Soon we get a ride (this perhaps after some passing Orange County redneck yells at us, "Go to Laguna, you beatniks!", thus giving us a joke slogan for years — Laguna Beach had recently had it's own sort of "summer of love" full of hippies, including the biggest LSD ring in American history, Timmy Leary, rock festivals, camels walking down the beach, Hare Krishnas, a radical bookshop, and much more, until a backlash came and most were harassed away out of right-wing "OC"). Our driver is heading even further south to Dana Point and we take a ride deep into South Laguna, as you say you know a good spot there.

And you indeed did; in a little cove, down some stairs, the waves were overhead, peeling off a little point with nobody else there. Your face lit up in that huge grin and you said "Yee-haw!" and into the warm water we were, trading waves for at least an hour. Bodysurfing is so pure; just fins to help one launch into a wave, and become one with it, flying down the face, diving under just as it breaks. Bliss. At some point you said, "Next stop?" and we got out, got our shirts and flipflops and walked up the stairs and headed north, checking stairways and coves along the way. By the time we got into Laguna proper we'd bodysurfed at least five spots, getting great rides at all. I seem to recall a spot named Hobo Cove and we laughed at that, calling ourselves surf hobos.

Heading into town on the highway, we stopped at Sound Spectrum, the hip record store (still there!) where our gang would buy bootleg live Stones or Tull or Traffic LPs for $2.99, just to say hi to the hippie owner, who always smelled faintly of pot. Then back down to the beach to Brooks Street, where there were surfers as always but plenty enough waves for us to get a few; then back up to Thalia street, where the hippie sandwich joint was (I think it still is). I realized I was quite hungry — no breakfast, even, and thirsty, but we had not a cent between us. But of course somehow, after you went up and schmoozed the cute blonde girl at the counter, soon we were sitting with two big avocado sandwiches and big glasses of much-needed water. You just shrugged and smiled.


Back down at the beach we hit Cleo Street for one wave each and then walked up the main beach, gulping more from the water fountain and strolling past downtown and the movie theater where we'd sometimes see the hot local band Honk at midnite, and up to more coves and cliffs, taking Cliff Drive where my mom would soon live after the divorce. We hit a couple more spots, one of them fairly gnarly as the wave broke right over a reef. At Crescent Bay we had to head up to get past the private gated Emerald Bay, walking on the highway until we were above El Morro, already probably my favorite spot and now breaking very nicely. We hopped the fence above the trailer park (now long gone) and scrambled down, cut back to the cliff, and were into the water, with only a couple other guys. That wave when it is big is a fast steep left and a good long ride, so very fun. Seals can pop in and out, enjoying a ride with you.

Some of the best memories of my life reside there, especially a few years later when I had a beautiful girlfriend with me. But this afternoon was plenty good enough, and we stayed out for a long time, catching wave after wave, until I felt like my arms and legs might fall off from fatigue and went in to lie on the sand in the hot sun.

We'd now been in the sun or water for at least eight hours and it was getting late in the afternoon, so when you came in we walked north on the sand, up to Scotchman's Cove, where of course you insisted we go in for at least one wave each. I already had a scar on my lower back from landing on the reef there once (still do) but this time it was just fine.

We walked further up, cutting up through Crystal Cove, where there once was a guard who carried a gun, where I delivered groceries and booze to Ozzie and Harriett Nelson, and which is now an expensive resort, to the highway. A bit further up was the Orange Inn, home of famed date shakes and more (now a mini-mall with Starbucks and expensive clothing boutiques). Again, we had no money at all, but you worked your magic and there we sat out front, sipping the delicious shakes and watching the sun sink over the horse stables (now a parking lot) towards the ocean. We were thoroughly sun-fried and coated in salt and exhausted, or at least I was, and had probably walked at least ten miles since morning as well.

Downing the end of your shake, you said, "I guess we have to hit the Coves now, surf the point and Right Rock," referring to our local spots, closest to home.

I looked at you like you were nuts and said, "Hell no, I'm beat, I'm going home and jumping in the pool and eating and passing out!" You laughed and nodded and we walked the last last half-mile to my house, jumped in the warm pool, and sat down to dry off in the still-warm dusk. I seem to recall somebody came out and saw us and said "Where you guys been all day?" and we just replied, "Bodysurfing!" It had never really occurred to me that it was a school day, or maybe my excuse was I really figured we were just going for an early morning hour or so (perhaps this was why our academic attendance was not so hot then; temptations were great and frequent and I recall Coach Blair sometimes driving up and down the Big Corona beach lot on south swell school days, looking for all the truants… "Don't look back!" we'd warn each other, and paddle a bit further out).

So Tom, in the week since you just failed to wake up there has been a huge outpouring of grief and love, so much so that you'd likely be embarrassed by it all. I'll never know now if you recalled that day — I only thought of it this week. But I do know, all these decades later, one thing — that day was one of the very best of my life, thanks to you. And that, as we split to go see if school had called and if we needed to explain anything, you flashed that big winning evil grin and said, "Same time tomorrow?"

Yours always, SH

(For Tomas Delorenzo, RIP.)

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by Bill Bradd

White’s Field, 1927 — Somebody must have been over to Willits last night, because the news spread: the circus is coming and they have an elephant in a van. I myself got to town as fast as I could. I go to town every day. Every noon I lock the farm gate and drive to town to eat lunch. There’s nobody but me at the house and I like the hot meal. I read the paper and eat lunch and drive back out to the farm. But today, though, I’m going in early, I’ll get some tea and toast with marmalade and watch for the arrival, the circus is coming to town.

Well it was a disappointment right out of the box. First of all they snuck in the back way and got to White’s field before any of us could think. Suddenly, from all over town, cars and trucks and school busses started up and headed out of town, all over to the White place. People sped in from all over and they filled out the back and parked on the old corn stalks.

The circus was humble enough: two trucks, four old station wagons. The large one could sleep at least six and a dog. And there were dogs. Probably trained ones, but dogs never the less, all little rat terriers, about 6 of them, and they flew about everywhere, digging holes immediately trying to catch gophers napping. I saw this was a good trick right off, and I thought maybe these guys are more than meets the eye. Maybe I won’t rush to judgment yet.

There is a guy who looks after the elephant, the elephant’s buddy, his good pal, an East Indian it seems. I found his look to be a bit discombobulating. Many rings and doodads, and a tattoo that stuck out from the top of his shirt. A sort of ridiculous man I thought. He ordered everybody to get back all the time even as we pressed forward, as is the wont of a “field side” gang. We can press forward with authority if we want to. And every last soul, standing in this cornfield, on this particular afternoon wanted the elephant parade to begin, so we pressed forward. Get back, the elephant man yells.

He is standing beside a small tin covered truck, more like a bread van, double back doors. We all start backing up, those up front step back and there is a general stepping back happening, all very ritual, old dances, done usually around funerals and award ceremonies. Finally there is room to breathe at the field.

Whites was literally a field, old corn stalks were crushed over by the local traffic today. Suddenly from inside the tin truck; the elephant made a roar. Everybody did the Yahoo Back Dance double time, about eighty people moved as one, a Japanese deal, sort of. A step back, an elegant duck walk then straightened to upright toes, in unison, together as one, we were capable of greatness, and the elephant got us off on the right foot.

The van itself was ordinary enough. No great lurid picture, no bad taste, in fact the circus seemed rather circumspect: there was nothing promising nostrums that would grow hair on a billiard ball, or cure the lovelorn from loving too much. These performers encamped in an orderly manner, non frenzy. Some mingled; all were dressed as city people are, meaning well dressed and if they were sleeping in the station wagons, they were sober and honest folks capable of putting on a circus that could not only electrify but edify. And they had an elephant.

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Addiction accelerator? Please. I've seen some cogent, scientifically based argument that heavy pot smoking at an early age causes developmental problems in kids. I'd have to see it. I can't speak to those particular studies. The implication has been that this is true for all kids, which I know to be false. Even the notion that it holds for most kids doesn't wash with me. I am not, and would not advocate the use of any psychoactive by minors, but in my limited experience, I've not seen kids harmed by marijuana smoking, ever, and I'm cruising in my '70's also. Some 30 years of my 72 were lived on the Mendocino Coast, where smoking was common, even among young ones. There was even a growing unease that those children were mysteriously Way Better Equipped in the Brains and Talent departments than their elders ('those insufferable, genius little brats...'), and there still seems to be some debate going on about it.

There's been a lot of mileage concerning addiction logged by people who've had no connection with the Problem whatever, except maybe reading about it. When someone with no real knowledge speaks as if they do know what they're talking about, and it turns out they don't, there goes their credibility. The prohibition against marijuana has long been fabricated and enforced by such 'experts.' It's been their own hoodoo portrayal of marijuana as 'devil weed' that has shown, and still shows their line to be a falsehood. If you think People are going to ignore such an untruth, especially impressionable kids, you (for one) have missed some very important things about the past 60 years or so; I call it The Gateway Lie: When a person of any age (50 years ago, here) discovers what a load of horseshit the whole Pot Prohibition deal has been, what a baldfaced lie for cash and prizes it's been the whole time, they might naturally and quickly think, '...if they were misrepresenting this weed so completely, what else are they wrong about?' This is no minor point. There are hundreds of thousands of people (People) in prison here, or worse, for it; there are billions of dollars and lives going up in smoke, year after year, in the fake 'war on drugs;' the Problem doubles back and overflows our very borders in floods of refugees from the 'business…'

Winehouse had personality 'problems' traced to 'teenage pot-poisoning?' Who says so, and how did they arrive at such a conclusion? Marijuana is an 'addiction accelerator’? Did you make this up? Are you serious? Look at the last sentence in the piece about the Amy film: “…Judy Garland…who died at age 47 — didn't have the addiction accelerator of marijuana at an early age that Amy Winehouse had.”

I suggest that Amy's own unparented upbringing had at least as adverse an effect on her life as her alcohol abuse, her misuse of other drugs, and was far and away worse for her than marijuana use. In fact, if you're in your 70's, you may recall that Judy Garland herself, along with her young leading man, Mickey Rooney, were 'raised' from young children in the Studios, by the Studios, for the Studios, and were kept handy and cooperative with customary doses of 'legal' pharmaceuticals all along. Ms. Garland's drug and alcohol problems have been traced directly back to her early days of stardom by others who've peeked behind the curtain, at some length.

Addiction accelerator? loud, rude noises!!

Rick Weddle


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MS REPLIES: Let me guess: You haven’t seen the movie, or read Patrick & Henry Cockburn’s book, or tried the high-potency 21st Century weed now on the market (not to mention the concentrated versions). Your straw-man observation that “The implication has been that this is true for all kids,” is incorrect. The evidence (not the “implication”) is that some kids are predisposed to pot-induced schizophrenia, and that somehow in those kids the pot triggers the condition, especially and moreso if the pot is today’s industrial strength stuff. My drug of choice is booze (of course I “drink responsibly” like adult stoners supposedly “toke responsibly”), but I don’t leap to the defense of booze every time somebody attributes something bad to it. In fact, pretty much everything the WCTU said about booze was correct: In excess, it’s bad. So is pot. We don’t want kids drinking or smoking pot while their brains are still developing. Go ahead: Blame the parents, blame her boyfriend, blame the music industry, etc. Of course that was all there. But let’s not split hairs about which is worse; let’s at least be honest about how bad pot is at an early age.

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by Dan Bacher

Westlands Water District, considered to be the “Darth Vader” of California water politics by leaders of fishing groups, Indian Tribes and environmental organizations, is in boiling hot water with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC on Thursday, March 10 charged Westlands, California’s largest agricultural water district, with “misleading investors about its financial condition as it issued a $77 million bond offering,” according to a statement from the Commission.

In addition to charging the district, the SEC also charged its general manager Thomas Birmingham and former assistant general manager Louie David Ciapponi with misleading investors about its financial condition.

“Birmingham jokingly referred to these transactions as ‘a little Enron accounting’ when describing them to the board of directors, which is comprised of Westlands customers,” the SEC reported.

Located on drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, the water district has been one of the biggest promoters of Governor Jerry Brown’s California Water Fix to build the Delta Tunnels until recently when they told FOX News in Los Angeles that they can no longer afford to pay for the project.

The project to build two giant tunnels to divert Sacramento River water under the Delta, designed to facilitate the export of water to Westlands and other corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking operations, could cost ratepayers and taxpayers up to $67 billion - and won't create one drop of new water, critics charge.

According to the SEC’s order instituting a settled administrative proceeding:

  • Westlands agreed in prior bond offerings to maintain a 1.25 debt service coverage ratio, which is a measure of an issuer’s ability to make future bond payments.
  • Westlands learned in 2010 that drought conditions and reduced water supply would prevent the water district from generating enough revenue to maintain a 1.25 ratio.
  • In order to meet the 1.25 ratio without raising rates on water customers, Westlands used extraordinary accounting transactions that reclassified funds from reserve accounts to record additional revenue.
  • When Westlands issued the $77 million bond offering in 2012, it represented to investors that it met or exceeded the 1.25 ratio for each of the prior five years.
  • Not only did Westlands fail to disclose that wouldn’t have been possible without the extraordinary 2010 accounting transactions, but also omitted separate accounting adjustments made in 2012 that would have negatively affected the ratio had they been done in 2010.
  • Had the 2010 reclassifications and the effect of the 2012 adjustments been disclosed, Westlands’ coverage ratio for 2010 would have been only 0.11 instead of the 1.25 reported to investors.
  • Birmingham and Ciapponi improperly certified the accuracy of the bond offering documents.

The SEC said Westlands agreed to pay $125,000 to settle the charges, making it only the second municipal issuer to pay a financial penalty in an SEC enforcement action.

Birmingham agreed to pay a penalty of $50,000 and Ciapponi agreed to pay a penalty of $20,000 to settle the charges against them.

“The undisclosed accounting transactions, which a manager referred to as ‘a little Enron accounting,’ benefited customers but left investors in the dark about Westlands Water District’s true financial condition,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC Enforcement Division. “Issuers must be truthful with investors and we will seek to deter such misconduct through sanctions, including penalties against municipal issuers in appropriate circumstances.”

The SEC’s order finds that Westlands, Birmingham and Ciapponi violated Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933 and must cease and desist from future violations.

You can read the SEC decision here:

In response to the SEC action, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said, “Westlands Water District has been fined for doing Enron-style accounting on the sale of water bonds in 2012. Portions of those bonds were used to finance planning of the Delta tunnels project.”

“Westlands leadership, however, recently told Fox News in Los Angeles that they can no longer afford to pay for the Delta tunnels project. Clearly, they are no longer in a position to sell bonds for paper water -- because the Delta tunnels will not provide any new water to water exporters,” she said.

She said the vote on Tuesday, March 8 by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California to purchase Delta islands in order to have a staging site for construction of the Delta Tunnels “indicates that water exporters are so desperate to push the project through that they will continue to push it forward even without a viable funding plan.”

“The question now is if Southern California and Santa Clara Valley ratepayers are willing to pay not only their share for dry tunnels, but for Westlands growers as well,” Barrigan-Parrilla concluded.

Tom Stokely of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) noted that the SEC action “reminded me of a transcript from a Westlands board meeting where Birmingham, in response to a question, said the district would declare bankruptcy and default on bonds for BDCP, the predecessor to the California Fix, if necessary, and the landowners would not be held financially responsible.”

The transcript from the Westlands Water District Board meeting of January 15, 2014, states:

Q: If the District goes broke, will the bondholders not come back [and go after the Westlands landowners?].

A: The security on the bonds is the [Westlands] district’s revenue, not the landowner’s land. In a worst case, we file for bankruptcy. That’s what the District could do. The landowners’ land is not security.

You can read the transcript of the meeting here:

Stokely said that it is clear from the SEC action, as well as from the Westlands board meeting transcript, that "anybody who would buy bonds through Westlands for the Delta Tunnels or anything else is taking a huge risk.”

“The federal government has appoved a court settlement that would forgive Westlands $375 million in interest-free debt they owe the federal government for their share in the construction of the Central Valley Project facilities that deliver their water. It’s clear that urban ratepayers of California would have to pick up Westlands’ tab for the Delta Tunnels,” said Stokely.

“Westlands contribution to the Delta Tunnels project is 40 percent, according to the California Water Fix,” explained Stokely. “At 40%, how much debt can MWD and the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) reasonably take on? The tunnels are going to deliver water for everyone south of the Delta, so water will still be physically delivered, but MWD and SCVWD rate payers and property tax payers will take on even more of the bill.”

Westlands is well-known for its attacks on state and federal laws protecting fish and the environment. The water district sued the federal government over the past several summers in unsuccessful attempts to stop supplemental releases from Trinity Reservoir to prevent a massive fish kill on the lower Klamath River, prompting protests by members of the Hoopa Valley, Yurok, Karuk, Winnemen Wintu and other Tribes in 2013 and 2014 against Westlands’ litigation.

“Central Valley water users have made untold billions of dollars at the expense of Trinity River salmon and communities," said Danielle Vigil-Masten, then the Chairwowman of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, before a protest organized by the Tribe in Fresno in August 2013. “The greed and aggression represented by this lawsuit and the hypocrisy of the plaintiff’s exploitation of environmental protection laws both stuns and saddens us." ( )

In response to the settlement, Fitch Ratings, one of the three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSRO) designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1975, placed a "negative ratings watch" on $193.6 million in Westlands Water District debt and $28 billion in bonds issued by the San Luis and Delta Mendota Authority, according to the New York Times.

( )

A call to the Westlands Public Affairs Office regarding a comment on the SEC decision has not been returned.

* * *


As long as I’m one of those with the skills and social connections to keep my head above water, I think the world’s fine. There’s no reason for me to see a bigger picture. Like this one: Half of Americans make less than $30K per year and cannot raise a few hundred dollars for a car repair. Or: Food prices and child hunger are through the roof. Or: Both political parties seem discredited and dysfunctional.
 Or: The entire Middle East has turned into a war zone and we’re at the verge of direct military confrontation with Russia, courtesy of a Saudi/Iranian war.

My credit rating is 839, I have $20K in cash savings and more than a quarter million in stocks, and I make 6-figures. No reason to think America is anything other than a land of limitless prosperity. Just ignore the fact that I’m lucky and turn a blind eye to most people’s predicament.

* * *


* * *


MAKERS: Women Who Make America

Wednesdays in March @ 7pm:

March 9th, March 16th, March 23rd, March 30th

Join us in acknowledging Women’s History Month at the Ukiah Library with the award-winning PBS series: MAKERS: Women Who Make America.

MAKERS: Women Who Make America tells the remarkable story of the most sweeping social revolution in American history, as women have asserted their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy. It’s a revolution that has unfolded in public and private, in courts and Congress, in the boardroom and the bedroom, changing not only what the world expects from women, but what women expect from themselves. MAKERS brings this story to life with priceless archival treasures and poignant, often funny interviews with those who led the fight, those who opposed it, and those first generations to benefit from its success. Trailblazing women like Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey share their memories, as do countless women who challenged the status quo in industries from coal-mining to medicine. MAKERS captures with music, humor, and the voices of the women who lived through these turbulent times the dizzying joy, aching frustration and ultimate triumph of a movement that turned America upside-down.

* * *

Lunch Bunch, a Cook Book Club on Friday March 18th at 12 noon.

The Lunch Bunch Cook Book Club meets the third Friday of every month at noon at Ukiah Library.

The Lunch Bunch is an opportunity for local cooks to try new recipes and share the results with a congenial group. First time attendees should borrow a library cook book, find a new recipe, and create a delicious new dish to share. Any changes or substitutions in the recipe must be noted and shared.

For more information, call 463-4490. The Lunch Bunch Cook Book Club is supported by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.

* * *

The Martian by Andy Weir

for Wines & Spines Book Club

March 23rd 6:30 pm

Enoteca Wine Bar, 106 W. Church St.

Adults 21 & over are invited to join our monthly book club Wines & Spines for a reading of The Martian by Andy Weir. This book discussion will take place in conjunction with our exhibition of Explore Space, Our Solar System and Beyond.

Explore Space, Our Solar System and Beyond, a traveling exhibition for libraries, is part of the STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net) led by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute. Exhibit partners include the American Library Association, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and Afterschool Alliance. Explore Earth is supported through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library and the Library’s Explore Space: Our Solar System and Beyond grant.

Studies show reading for pleasure reduces anxiety & increases our capacity for compassion. For a list of our ongoing book club selections & more information – please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or

* * *

A Movie and High Tea Party in Honor of Downton Abbey

Saturday, March 26th – Starting at 2:00 PM

Enjoy tea parties and dressing up? Join us at the Ukiah Library Saturday, March 26th for a movie viewing of Gosford Park and an honorary tea party for the ending of BBC’s Downton Abbey. This event is for adults as Gosford Park is rated R.

For questions, please contact Roseanne at (707) 463-4490 or Sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.

* * *

Cesar Chavez Day, Thursday, March 31st from 3 PM to 5 PM

On Thursday, March 31st from 3 pm to 5 pm, the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting a Cesar Chavez Day Party.

There will be activities including: stories, poems and music celebrating Cesar Chavez, a short film and crafts and coloring pages in honor of Cesar Chavez. This event is free of charge and open to people of all ages.

This event is sponsored by the Ukiah Library, the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library, First 5 Mendocino and the AmeriCorps.

* * *

STEM Saturdays for Kids, Ages 9-13

The Ukiah Public Library is hosting a series of free technology-themed workshops for children ages 9-13 each Saturday in April, from 10:00-11:30 am. Luke Robinson and his cohort of high school engineers, Misha Zaied, Garret Hatch, Morgan McMilin, and Desmond Turner, will be leading the classes.

Activities will include making squishy circuits with conductive dough, creating electronic cards, fabricating a drawing robot, coding, and more. Participation does not depend on previous experience, so all kids ages 9-13 are welcome to experiment with the projects. Each class is a stand-alone: students may attend one, some or all Saturdays.

Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Space each week is limited, and registration is required; please call (707) 463-4490 to sign up.

These classes are sponsored by The Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library and are offered in conjuction with the STAR_Net Explore Space exhibit at Ukiah Library.

Explore Space, Our Solar System and Beyond, a traveling exhibition for libraries, is part of the STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net) led by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute. Exhibit partners include the American Library Association, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and Afterschool Alliance. Explore Earth is supported through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library and the Library’s Explore Space: Our Solar System and Beyond grant.

* * *

April Fools First Friday Art Walk, Friday, April 1st from 5 pm to 7:30 pm

On Friday, April 1st from 5 pm to 7:30 pm, the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is celebrating April Fools First Friday Art Walk in style.

There will be an art display by students from the River Oak Charter School, crafting of silly glasses, delicious treats by Marinos Pizza and Ravioli and a book sale by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library on Friday from 5 pm to 7:30 pm.

The book sale will continue on Saturday, April 2nd from 10 am to 3:30 pm.

This event is free of charge and open to people of all ages. The First Friday Art Walks are sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.

* * *

Let’s Talk Pie, Saturday, April 2nd from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

On Saturday, April 2nd from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm, the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting Let’s Talk Pie.

In honor of Pi Day, Warren Massie will be discussing the history of pie throughout the world. There will also be a live demonstration of crust making and afterwards, tasting some delicious pie courtesy of Warren Massie.

This event is free of charge and open to people of all ages. Let’s Talk Pie is sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.

* * *

  • Book Spine Poetry (teens), Wednesday, April 6th 2-5pm
  • Poetry Magnets (teens), Wednesday, April 13th 2-5 pm
  • Making Found Poems (teens), Wednesday, April 20th 2-5pm
  • Chapbook Workshop (Adults & Teens): Saturday, April 30th 2-4 pm

National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives.

The goals of National Poetry Month are to:

  • highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
  • encourage the reading of poems
  • assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms
  • increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
  • encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and
  • encourage support for poets and poetry.

Book Spine Poetry – Teens will create visual poems by stacking books so that their spines are visible & construct poems.

Poetry Magnets – We’ll make our own magnetic poetry kits to take home.

Registration is required – please call 467-6434 or email to sign up!

* * *

Preview of the Space Science Institute exhibit:

Explore Space: Our Solar System and Beyond

On Friday, April 8th from 4-7 pm, Ukiah Library is hosting a Family Preview for Explore Space: Our Solar System and Beyond. Eduardo Alatorre and Lynn Zimmerman will be with us to answer questions about the exhibit in Spanish and English.

The exhibit includes large display panels, a touchscreen computer kiosk containing space-related games for children and adults, and educational manipulatives. Library staff members have planned additional activities for children. Refreshments will be served.

Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch, is the only California library of the 14 libraries nationwide who were awarded the American Library Association STAR-Net’s “Explore Space” grant. Materials for this grant were developed by National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute.

The “Explore Space” exhibit will be at Ukiah Library from April 8th through June 3rd. Additional events at the Library include an adults only Grand Opening on Friday, April 15th;teen events, screenings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Martian, five STEM classes for elementary school students, PBS documentaries, and lectures by local and nationally known astronomers.

* * *

Our complete calendar of Space events will be available online and in the Library on Friday, March 18th.

Explore Space, Our Solar System and Beyond, a traveling exhibition for libraries, is part of the STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net) led by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute. Exhibit partners include the American Library Association, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and Afterschool Alliance. Explore Earth is supported through a grant from the National Science Foundation.


  1. Jim Updegraff March 14, 2016

    Mr. Hine aka Mr. Kramer speaks to the truth.

    Mr. Widdle speaks with a forked tongue.

    • Lazarus March 14, 2016

      “The Remcoids, and the Willits nit wit merchants”. A classic from the past by TWK, 1980 circa….
      As always,

  2. LouisBedrock March 14, 2016

    The caged bird sings   
    with a fearful trill   
    of things unknown   
    but longed for still   
    and his tune is heard   
    on the distant hill   
    for the caged bird   
    sings of freedom.

    Bad Poetry (With much thanks to Lawrence Perrine):

    (Bad poems)…are found in great numbers in the scrapbooks of old ladies and appear in anthologies entitled POEMS OF INSPIRATION, POEMS OF COURAGE, or HEARTTHROBS.

    While there are many varieties of bad poetry, among the verse or doggerel most commonly mislabeled as poetry are poems that are sentimental, didactic, and rhetorical. Maya Angelou’s trash frequently combine all three characteristics.

    Sentimental poetry is tearjerking poetry: it is aimed at stimulating the emotions rather than communicating experience freshly and honestly. It oversimplifies and is unfaithful to the full complexity of human experience. (See sample above.)

    Rhetorical poetry uses language that is more glittering and high flown than its substance warrants. It is oratorical, over-elegant, and artificially eloquent. It is superficial and trite. (See sample above.) (See all of Angelou’s “poetry”.)

    Didactic poetry has as its primary purpose to teach or preach. (See all of Angelou’s “poetry”). Didactic poetry is recognizable by the flatness of its diction, the poverty of its imagery and figurative language, and its emphasis on moral platitudes. (See all of Angelou’s “poetry”.)

    The following poem is not by Maya Angelou; it’s by Edna Saint Vincent Millay. It’s not a great poem, but it’s a good one. Notice her use of simple language, concrete images, and understatement. Notice how the last lines hit you in the stomach:

    Listen, children:
    Your father is dead.
    From his old coats
    I’ll make you little jackets;
    I’ll make you little trousers
    From his old pants.
    There’ll be in his pockets
    Things he used to put there,
    Keys and pennies
    Covered with tobacco;
    Dan shall have the pennies
    To save in his bank;
    Anne shall have the keys
    To make a pretty noise with.
    Life must go on,
    And the dead be forgotten;
    Life must go on,
    Though good men die;
    Anne, eat your breakfast;
    Dan, take your medicine;
    Life must go on;
    I forget just why.

  3. Bill Pilgrim March 14, 2016

    re: On Line Comment of the Day. “Complacency is the root of all evil in the world.” – Bodhisatva Maitreya

  4. Bruce McEwen March 14, 2016

    Here’s a revision of the sonnet I wrote last night for the up-coming poetry festival out in Mendocino.

    Orange Rhymes

    O the poets out in Mendo,
    Doth eschew the lowly rhyme,

    They prefer post-modern free-verse,
    To the old-fashioned and sublime.

    Nor yet will they suffer dactyl feet
    Or any other metered time

    To tame the stream of passions
    Gushing from their minds.

    They’re all about creativity,
    The rare illusive kinds,

    Any kind of form is but a chain
    That hurts the feelings it binds.

    & quaint old forms like sonnets,
    Are as useless as orange rinds.

    B. McEwen

  5. Jim Armstrong March 14, 2016

    “An over-abundance of caution” sounds like a good thing in CalTrans and the NWS.
    Abundance is good, caution is good, but the “over” has brought the forecasts perilously close to crying wolf in the last three storms.
    For the paid media, hyping the weather, like hyping election foofah, is their bread and butter: “Tune in at 7 for the latest.”

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