Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Sep. 16, 2017

by AVA News Service, September 16, 2017

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FORT BRAGG NOTES: If It’s Broke Don’t Fix It

by Rex Gressett

The City Council meeting Monday night played to a modestly packed hall. A lot of folks seemed to be there for private reasons. Those who labor in the vineyards of public policy clustered in their little factions as the Council shuffled in. From the printed agenda it looked like the hot rocks everyone was talking about were too hot for the council. How long, we wondered, was it possible for the City Council to keep its collective head buried in the sand? Pretty long, as it turned out. They have not yet emerged. They think it’s nice and cool under all that sand.

The bone deep community reverberations of the Aug. 23 Planning Commission meeting were still rumbling through the community. No one on the council thought it was necessary or useful to sprinkle that fire with gasoline and Linda Ruffing’s agenda did not require it.

The sudden intrusion into our city affairs of Marin attorney Robert Epstein, ace temp lawyer, and his tactless and questionable intervention in what we naively thought was our town government was still pushing engagements on social media and being expertly dissected over local coffee. The Epstein managed to bail out Hostility House with just a little help from our Development Director by arranging for a nice little slap on the hand instead of pulling the use permit, which might have been where the Planning Commission was heading. Without breaking a sweat, The Epstein demonstrated exactly who was in charge of Fort Bragg: Him. As we waited for the meeting to start there was muttered speculation on what the council would have to say, others doubted they would say anything.

Meanwhile the instantly filed, bare-knuckled citizens appeal of the Planning Commission whitewash to the City Council was reposing peacefully on the desk of the Development Director. She was thinking it over. Out in the community, distrust and grim amusement over Hostility House’s get out of jail free card had been crawling all over the web ever since The Epstein condescended to save us from ourselves. The Council would have to wait until Development Director Marie Jones finished parsing the appeal, or maybe she just thought it politic to wait for things to settle down a bit. Ms. Jones told me that the head-on challenge by activist citizens to The Epstein’s power grab might make it across her desk in time for the next meeting.

In the wake of the deflowered Planning Commission meeting the city of Fort Bragg picked itself up and dusted itself off. Besides the frontal assault of the appeal, little facts behind The Epstein’s appointment started leaking out. At the Mayor Lindy Peters’ Monday morning open meeting Peters seemed determined to talk about other things. He did not entirely get to do that. Epstein, the Mayor reluctantly told me, was hired by the City Council in one of the many closed sessions that they have been having lately. Closed sessions of the now rudderless City Council are outnumbering open meetings three to one. I told him I had heard that The Epstein was hired through Samantha Zuttler’s office as a kind of combined last hurrah (Zutler is leaving with soon to be ex City Manager Linda Ruffing) and upward thrusting middle finger from a City Attorney who has never been sympathetic to the city and has never tried to hide it. If hiring the hotshot Marin attorney was Sam Zutler’s recommendation, Mayor Peters preferred not to be aware of it. Our mayor was a little vague about how exactly it had happened. Somehow the City Council had received word of The Epstein’s specialty in manhandling awkward situations beyond the scope and past the ability of untrained city councils to handle.

When I asked the Mayor if he thought that the Planning Commission had been railroaded he looked at me in that pained manner to which I have become accustomed and that I have come to understand as Peters doing some fast thinking.

In self defense Peters digressed making it clear to me what I already knew: that the City Council itself had been the ones who originally hoisted the banner of defiance and brought Hostility House before the Planning Commission. That complaint started with us, he gravely informed me.

Ok Mayor, then if the City Council was the driving force of the complaint and simultaneously responsible for squashing the Planning Commission authority to react to it — what gives?

Chalk it up to political theater. For a ploy of such double dealing in constancy to succeed the conspirators must be very certain that the people of the city will not catch on. Sailing both with and against the wind is not generally a strategy for progress but it might be the strategy of the Mayor. Winning friends on all sides of all questions is what we have come to expect from our friendly mayor. This time it seems a little less benign than usual. Pushing the complaint was good for some folks and took intense heat off the council. Putting a wrench into the works of the Planning Commission who were to rule on the complaint was good for others, fewer certainly but perhaps folks with a tad more juice.

The Epstein came to us to save the bacon of Hostility House. By his good offices the complaint against the chaotic shelter and preeminent Fort Bragg drug enabling hub was reduced to nothing. Now we find that The Epstein was The Tool of the same City Council that was behind the complaint. What it all means is: they don’t expect you to find that out.

Mr. Epstein was representing the Planning Commission and he would not be able to represent both the Planning Commission and the city council should this drag on and the city hired him as city attorney. Didn’t he submit an application for the job? If hired, they would do as they did for the Planning Commssion and bring in additional counsel. It’s not a big deal. Handing 40 pages of report to commissioners just before a meeting and giving them 10 minutes to go over them before voting is a big deal. It’s too bad that the entire Commission didn’t have enough respect for each other to decide to put off a vote until everyone felt that they had a grasp of the changes. That meeting was one of many where a hot-button issue was delayed for some time and then a hurry-up and vote demand was made. I’d like to see the scheduling by department heads improved so things are no longer brought forward for a vote at the last minute.

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LOGGER JOSE FLORES was killed Sept. 8 near Camp 19 east of Fort Bragg when a yarder cable that a crew was using to haul logs up a steep hillside stopped suddenly.

Jose Antonio Arenas Flores, 31, of Fort Bragg died when he lost his grip on the cable and fell into a pile of logging debris, according to Mendocino County Sheriff’s Lt. Shannon Barney.

The incident happened in Jackson Demonstration State Forest northwest of McGuire’s Pond in steep terrain, according to Barney. A choker-setting crew was finishing work for the day down a steep slope from the landing from which they would leave the job.

Rather than walk up the slope, Barney said, the crew caught a ride on the yarder cable, normally used to haul logs to the landing. Two of the men fell, Barney said, and when the operator started to lower the cable to pick them up, the cable jerked and Flores fell as well, sustaining fatal injuries.

Arenas Flores was a native of Leon in the state of Guanajuato in Mexico. A Go-Fund-Me page (search jose-arenas-flores-funeral) has been set up to help the Arenas Flores family with funeral expenses.

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2017 COUNTY FAIR PHOTOS from opening night Friday.

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The true manner that Alex wanted to be described in his eulogy is quite difficult in short words. However, let this be addressed to all of his family and friends. Alex lived his life in a somewhat wild independent manner speeding down the fast lane. He was loving, witty, imaginative and adventurous. He was bold, confident, and a bit on the Lords of Flatbush / American Graffiti character. He loved his music all through his life; he had music blaring from his race car speakers on the Ukiah Race Track. He was determined to be a high achiever that is evident by his successful businesses in Ukiah, California, along with other accomplishments. He loved his family to the limit, as well as his truly good friends. In thought of Alex, do not hold back a tear nor hold back any smile. Alex was undoubtedly unique, his heart lifted to the moon and his character burned as hot as the sun. Again, if you knew him, you loved him and he will be missed. Alex lived hard, worked hard and partied hard. He was quite popular and acquired friends easily. He voiced his opinions without fear as strong as the lion and roared loud as the bear. Those that lived in his circle all through the years, knew it was somewhat off the relative norm. However, be it good or bad, it remained strong through thick and thin. Alex was born March 19, 1956 into to the Tsarnas family. He spent most of his life in Ukiah area, he joined the United States Navy after the graduation of high school. He was honorably discharged and worked for the start of his notable accomplishments. He was hospitalized in Veterans Hospital with his biggest challenge that he courageously fought with both up and down status for fourteen months. On Sept 2, 2017 Alex passed away. The service is Saturday at 1:30. at the Ukiah Elks Lodge, 1200 Hastings Rd

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I'm kinda upset this morning. Walked into the Boonville Fair and first thing I see is Corn Dogs and Hot Dogs. How would you like People Dogs? I could go for Cat Burgers, truth to tell. Gets down to it, we're all pretty tribal.”

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After a lengthy bidding and evaluation process Mendo is discontinuing their years-long contract with California Forensic Medical Group (CFMG) and switching to a company called “Naphcare,” based in Birmingham, Alabama. Before deciding on Naphcare County officials visited a jail in Reno where Naphcare currently provides medical services. The anonymous panel of county evaluators unanimously scored Naphcare’s bid higher that CFMG and their bid was almost $420k less than CFMG’s while, according to the evaluators, the “quality of care” was indistinguishable from CMFG.

In addition, according to a memo summarizing the decision penned by Sheriff Allman and CEO Carmel Angelo:

“On August 16, 2017, the evaluation review panel met to complete the scoring process. The panel was briefed on the County’s findings and [consulting nurse] Rebecca Craig’s report from the site visit at Washoe County [Reno]. The evaluation review committee was also briefed about a meeting that was held on August 4, 2017, between [Jail Commander] Captain Pearce and an employee from the investment firm that currently owns CFMG. It was revealed during this meeting that the investment firm’s business model appears to be based upon them acquiring companies, rehabilitating them and selling them for a profit. The investment firm’s typical timeframe for a potential sale is within approximately five years. This practice is a concern to the County given CFMG has been owned by this investment firm for approximately five years leaving the future ownership of CFMG unclear during a possible future contract term.”

The Allman-Angelo report concludes:

“After a considerable amount of time, due diligence, thought and discussion, it is the unanimous consensus of the review panel, the MCSO and the Executive Office that the Board of Supervisors direct staff to negotiation [sic] a contract with NaphCare.”

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TUESDAY’S BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AGENDA includes item 5(i), reconsideration of the dispatch and exclusive operating area for ambulance services.

Discussion and Possible Reconsideration of the Board of Supervisors Approval on August 15, 2017, of Updated Timelines Regarding Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Requests for Proposals for Exclusive Operating Area Services and EMS and Fire Dispatch Services. Sponsor: Supervisor Gjerde.

Recommended Action:

1) Reconsider Board of Supervisors approval on August 15, 2017, of updated timeline regarding Emergency Medical Services (EMS) requests for proposals (RFP) for Exclusive Operating Area Services and EMS and Fire Dispatch Services; and upon successful reconsideration, consider 2) Approve a timeline for requests for proposals for Emergency Medical Services; upon completion of the EMS RFP process, staff will work with the EMS providers, local fire departments and CalFire to return to the Board of Supervisors with a Memorandum of Understanding between the agencies to ensure the best possible process for the respective agencies to resolve operational issues.

WE UNDERSTAND that this time local emergency services officials have been properly notified of this significant decision and will be on hand in much greater numbers than were present on August 15. Supervisor Gjerde has said he prefers that the County exclude emergency dispatch services from the RFP process/timeline.

ALSO on the Tuesday agenda is an attempt to set up a series of unwieldy pot reg people made up of pro, con, and officialdom in attempt to fine tune the County’s already ridiculously pot regs and develop new ones as the state regs kick in.

For example, there’s an “overlay committee,” which is supposed to work on local zoning in selected neighborhoods where locals can decide on whether they want to be pot-friendly or pot-hostile. Here’s the list of questions that the “overlay” committee plans to address:


There’s also a “buildling requirements committee,” which seems even more ill-fated since building requirements are already locked in the state building code. Nevertheless they want to talk about:


THERE ARE SIMILAR GROUPS being set up for Track & Trace, State Licensing, and State Requirements. For starters.

IF YOU’RE naïve enough to think that this process will go anywhere, then you’ve probably already paid thousands of dollars for an as-yet unapproved pot cultivation permit.

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UKIAH, Friday, Sept. 15. — In lightning fast negotiations leading to a quick resolution (he was arrested last Friday), defendant David John Richard, age 52, of Ukiah, entered a plea of guilty this morning to having continuously sexually abused a child under the age of 14 years, a felony. That crime requires that a defendant, having recurring access to a child, commit at least three or more acts of substantial sexual conduct with the victim over a period of three or more months. In this case, the time period was over 18 months and there were at least five and up to ten or more separate acts of substantial sexual conduct perpetrated by the defendant. At the time of the acts, the victim was 7 and 8 years of age.

Defendant Richard accepted the District Attorney's limited-time offer of a stipulated state prison sentence of 16 years, for which any good time/work time credits he may be eligible to earn will be limited to 15 percent of the 16 years. He will also be required to register with law enforcement as a sex offender for the remainder of his life once released on parole many years down the road. After accepting the defendant's guilty plea, the Court ordered him held on a no bail hold at the county jail.


The attorneys who reviewed the police reports, filed formal charges, and handled the fast-moving court proceedings were District Attorney David Eyster and Deputy District Attorney Beth Norman. The investigating law enforcement agency was the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, with special thanks to Detective Luis Espinoza. The judge who accepted today's plea and will be sentencing the defendant on October 13th at 9 o'clock in the morning is Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke.

The matter was referred today to the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department for the preparation of a background study and sentencing report, a document used by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation during its intake and inmate classification process.

(District Attorney Press Release)

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I'D WRITTEN: Years ago, kayaking up Big River, I paddled past a house boat structure hidden in a side channel that resembled a Chinese junk. I was told the guy who lived in it worked as in Mendocino restaurant. It resembled this vessel:

Anybody share my vague recall?

AN ALBION READER responds: "Eric is the name of the person who had a houseboat on Big River. He worked/works in Mendocino. He is very conscious of the Eco system. He drew pictures of birds and whatever he saw on the river. He still lives in the area."

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Dear Dan Hamburg,

You are my supervisor. I am, in supervisor McCowen’s words, a former “scofflaw” in the short-term rental “game.” In the spirit of repentance I have paid my Temporary Occupancy Taxes and applied for a business license with my fee wavered because I am an Army veteran of our grand crusade in South East Asia. Sadly, my application for a business license has been rejected, because the county has informed me that I must also obtain a Use Permit due to the fact that I live on a shared road. Mr. Hamburg, according to Supervisor McCowen, the reason for requiring a use permit for short-term rentals is to preserve existing housing stock and protect the public’s health and safety. Supervisor Hamburg, the first premise is flawed, false and unproven minus any or all hard data. The second premises unjust and punitive. When it comes to public safety use permits are not required for cannabis capitalists that conduct their business along shared roads, a situation that as you well know over the years has resulted in gunfire, death and grave public harm. Why do I need a use permit for people to enjoy a peaceful sleep on my property while a cannabis capitalist does not? Mr. Hamburg, I would appreciate a cogent answer.


Michael Koepf


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On 09-12-2017 at 1:41 PM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to assist the Little Lake Fire Department who were responding to a reported explosion at a location in the 500 block of Cropley Lane in Willits. Upon arrival Deputies and Fire personnel located an approximately 30,000 square foot industrial metal sided building that did not appear to be on fire. Upon closer examination the building had a large hole in the roof which was cause by an unknown projectile being expelled through it during a witnessed explosion inside of the building. Deputies and Fire personnel entered into the building attempting to locate any potential injured person(s) and found none. During this activity, Deputies noticed the building contained a highly sophisticated marijuana extraction lab. Deputies also noticed the presence of several greenhouses on the property which contained several hundred growing marijuana plants. Initial scene investigations showed a cannabis growing permit had been issued by the Mendocino County Agriculture Department in connection with the property. Due to the presence of the marijuana extraction lab, the Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force was contacted. Agents responded to the location and assumed investigative control into the incident. No arrests have been made thus far in connection with the incident and investigations are on-going by Task Force Agents. Anyone wishing to provide information in regards to this incident can call the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line at 707-234-2100.

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WILLOWS, Calif.; Sept. 15, 2017 – For Immediate Release – Around 200 personnel are working and supporting wildland fire operations on the Mendocino National Forest including crews, engines, water tenders, helicopters, dispatchers and support staff. The largest incidents are the Skeleton fire and the Slides fire, located on the Upper Lake Ranger District. There are two small fires in the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness.

The Slides fire is four miles west of Lake Pillsbury. It is about 50 acres and 40 percent contained. Approximately 110 personnel are assigned including four crews, three engines and one water tender. Steep terrain and burning material rolling downhill is hampering suppression efforts. The incident is being managed under a full suppression strategy to prevent fire from spreading into private property and structures.

The Skeleton fire is about 200 acres and 50 percent contained. The fire is four miles east of Lake Pillsbury. Crews are reinforcing firelines and mopping up this incident. Approximately 70 resources are on scene including two crews, five engines, four water tenders and one dozer. The fire is being managed under a full suppression strategy.

The two fires in the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness are Penny and Pan. A report of a third fire has not been confirmed. Smokejumpers have contained the Penny fire at less than an acre and the Pan fire is less than one-half acre with minimal activity. The fires are in the northwestern part of the wilderness and in monitor status.

The forecast shows mild but dry conditions for the next two days, temperatures from the high 70s to low 80s, and clear skies becoming partly cloudy by Saturday.

Closure And Travel Advisory: There is a closure order in effect for the Skeleton fire to provide for firefighter and public safety. Forest Order No. 08-17-27 closes a portion of the M3 Road from its junction with the M10 Road and then north 14 1/2 miles to the Lower Nye Campground and includes the campground. The campground is being used by firefighters and equipment. Visitors are advised to use the Elk Mountain road to Upper Lake to access the Lake Pillsbury recreation area during the fire activity due to emergency traffic on County Road 301.

The fire information line is 530-640-1168.

Punky Moore, Public Affairs Officer, Forest Service

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"Master of the Art" Mark Puthuff

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 15, 2017

Bergman, Cochran, Fuentes

THOMAS BERGMAN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

CHRISTOPHER COCHRAN, Willits. Domestic abuse.

LLUAN FUENTES, Ukiah. County parole violation.

Hensley, Mayfield, Melendez

CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

LARRY MAYFIELD, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

LAURA MELENDEZ, Talmage. Under influences, trespassing with taking, carrying away earth, soil, stone from any lot without consent of owner.

Myers, Stanton, White

JOSEPH MYERS, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

KELLY STANTON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

STEVEN WHITE, Ukiah. Under influence, failure to appear.

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Present! A Mendo County Citizens' Roll-Call to Action

Boonville parade Sunday 11am from the High School to the Fairgrounds. We could march with our signs as groups. Who wants to carpool? It sounds fun.

Ann Rennacker

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The date of the parade is Sunday, September 17.

Please share with your lists.

We are reaching out to various groups from around the county of Left to Center political persuasion to be present and march together in the Mendocino County Fair Parade. We hope you will attend, as well as promote this event among your friends and activist groups. The idea is to put as many people, causes and concerns in the parade, (not necessarily trying to umbrella everyone's concerns as being in solidarity on all issues.) Individuals and groups are encouraged to come out with signs and information to voice their agendas. The only overarching goal is to make a strong showing of what progressive activism looks like, in our county. We have the Boonville Gypsy Wagon Art-car as a centerpiece (and as transport for some of our elderly). Gather at AV High School on Mountain View Rd. at the Parade staging area around 11 am. Give yourself time to park and do some walking. Boonville is a small lovely town. We will March from The High School to the Fairgrounds starting at Noon! Join in any where along the line as well! We can do this! Meet your community and enjoy the best part of being American, Solidarity! Join a diverse group of Folks. Our Greatest Strength is in Unity. If you have photo documentation of past marches in the county, please post to our fb event page in advance of the event.


Jenny Burnstad

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GEORGE HOLLISTER WRITES: This is a good science based article on the problem of star fish wasting disease. The disease has influenced the reduced presence of ocean algae, including kelp, which in turn influences the health of the local abalone fishery. No mention of "Climate Change", thank God.

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“TRUMP IS THE FIRST PRESIDENT to have served in no public capacity before ascending to his perch. But more telling, Trump is also the first president to have publicly affirmed that his daughter is a ‘piece of ass.’ The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape (‘When you’re a star, they let you do it’), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House. But that is the point of white supremacy — to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification. Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible. But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.”

— Ta-Nehesi Coates

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THE DAY AFTER MY VISIT to Middleton I fell into conversation with a Dutchman named Cornelis de Jong in the bar of the Crown Hotel in Southwold. He had been to Suffolk on a number of occasions and was now thinking of buying one of the vast properties, often running to more than a thousand hectares, that are regularly offered by estate agents hereabouts. De Jong told me that he had grown up on a sugar plantation near Surabaya and later, after studying at the Wageningen Agricultural College, continued in the family tradition in a somewhat straitened fashion as a sugar-beet farmer in the Deventer area. If he was now planning to transfer his interests to England, it was primarily for economic reasons, said de Jong. Single estates of the size regularly appearing on the East Anglian market never came up for sale in Holland, and manor houses of the kind that were practically thrown in for nothing with the land here were not to be found at home, either. In their heyday, said de Jong, the Dutch invested chiefly in cities, while the English put their money into country estates. That evening in the bar, we talked until last orders were called, about the rise and decline of the two nations and about the curiously close relationship that existed, until well into the twentieth century, between the history of sugar and the history of art. For long periods of time there was little scope for an ostentatious display of accumulated wealth, and consequently the enormous profits that accrued to the few families who grew and traded in sugar cane were largely lavished on the building, furnishing and maintenance of magnificent country residences and stately town houses. It was Cornelis de Jong who drew my attention to the fact that many important museums, such as the Mauritshuis in The Hague or the Tate Gallery in London, were originally endowed by the sugar dynasties or were in some other way connected to the sugar trade. The capital amassed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through various forms of slave economy is still in circulation, said de Jong, and still bearing interest, increasing many times over and continually burgeoning anew. One of the most tried and tested ways of legitimizing this kind of money has always been patronage of the arts, the purchase and exhibiting of paintings and sculptures, a practice which today, said de Jong, was leading to a relentless escalation of prices paid at major auctions. Within a few years, the hundred million mark for half a square yard of painted canvas will have been passed. At times it seems to me, said de Jong, as if all works of art were coated with a sugar glaze or indeed made completely of sugar, like the model of the battle of Esztergom created by a confectioner to the Viennese court, which Empress Maria Theresia, so it is said, devoured in one of her recurrent bouts of melancholy.

— W.G. Sebald, 1995; from "The Rings of Saturn"

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Walk or paddle for cancer this October at the18h annual Big River Walk and Paddle for Cancer!

We are celebrating our 22th Anniversary at the Cancer Resource Centers and will be commemorating that milestone at our annual Big River Walk and Paddle for Cancer on Saturday, October 21thth! The Big River Walk for Cancer is the primary coastal fundraiser for CRC. This community event brings people together to celebrate and remember family members and friends who have faced cancer.

The proceeds raised support CRC, the only direct service organization of it’s kind in Mendocino County. We providing necessary support services free of charge to those with cancer. Your donation helps CRC carry out its vision that no one face cancer alone in Mendocino County.

Participants may walk, run, or paddle. Individuals and teams are welcomed. Participants are encouraged to gather pledges to support CRC. Big River Walk and Paddle is a family-friendly event, for people of all ages!

Adults $25 / Teens $10 / Children FREE!

Please register at

For more information, give us a call at 937-3833.

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by Jerry Cox

The Catholic football community in northern California was divided between St. Mary's Galloping Gaels of Moraga, a Christian Brothers college in the East Bay, and the Broncos of the Jesuit-operated Santa Clara University in the West Bay. At the time the Gaels were coached by Edward “Slip” Madigan, a product of Notre Dame and protégé of Knute Rockne. It was inevitable that this unreconstructed extrovert, master publicist, and entrepreneurial wizard became an early hero for me.

When Slip arrived in 1921 at the faded five-story “Brickpile” on Broadway in the heart of Oakland, as St. Mary’s was called, the college department numbered seventy-one, but during his overhaul of the football program it grew to 700 undergraduates and in 1928 moved to a lush new campus in suburban Moraga. In the year before his arrival, the Gaels had lost to U.C. in Berkeley 127 to 0, the Golden Bears scoring eighteen touchdowns, holding the visitors to 16 yards of total offense, and forcing St. Mary’s to cancel the rest of the season. But this humiliation was to be no more than a Pyrrhic victory -- the next year Slip fielded his inaugural team, which beat Cal 21 to 0. The word spread that a new, though unlikely, powerhouse had begun to emerge in the Bay Area. In time, when local sports writers invoked the names of the great coaches of the past like Rockne and Amos Alonzo Stagg, they began to refer to Madigan in the same breath as a genius of defensive combat. Shortly that assessmet could not be disputed: in 1929 the Gaels allowed only three touchdowns all season.

Under Slip’s leadership St. Mary’s Gaels appealed greatly to Irish Catholics and soon guaranteed full stadiums in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Los Angeles – at its peak the team drew a season’s total of 500,000 paid attendance. One year Madigan designed new uniforms for the season’s opener at Kezar. Though the college’s colors were red and blue, the fans howled in laughter as Slip’s players emerged from the tunnel in red satin pants and Kelly-green “tear-away” jerseys emblazoned with a golden Irish harp, a combination never seen before on a gridiron! A thrilling football game was only part of the spectacle that St. Mary’s staged every Saturday. Today the college has a “Sports Band,” a group of casually dressed volunteers who play at social events and games in the stands, but Madigan’s games featured a smartly drilled official “Marching Band,” dressed in red and blue uniforms and wearing gleaming steel helmets shaped like the ones our “doughboys” were issued in World War I. These parading silver-tipped Gaels wowed crowds everywhere with their music and maneuvers and challenged even Ohio State University for claiming to be “The Best Damn Band in the Land.”

Though invited to play teams in the Pacific Coast Conference like Cal, USC and UCLA, the college quickly developed an intense rivalry with Santa Clara that became an annual sports fest in the Bay Area labeled “The Little Big Game,” considered a diminutive version of the traditional “Big Game” between Stanford and Cal, diminutive perhaps but no less entertaining and thrilling. This gave birth to the “Catholic Subway Alumni Society” in Oakland in which hundreds of Gael boosters rode the trains across the bay bridge into San Francisco during the 1930s, and I was one of them. Our efforts seldom went unrewarded – the Gaels dominated the duel that played out in Kezar Stadium annually until another Rockne protégé, Slip’s former teammate, and a football legend in the making took over the Broncos – Lawrence “Buck” Shaw.

This trans-bay commute was a prelude to Slip’s ability to generate loyal boosters in the Bay Area; he was also prepared to go national. His first task was to beat a powerhouse in the East. This required not only the development of an outstanding team but also the inconvenience of a cross-country train trip that jeopardized normal preparation. His target was Fordham University, home of the “Battering Rams” that were undefeated and untied. This East-West rivalry began in 1930 with a meeting at the Polo Grounds in New York. Before the game, I was one of the many boosters who were amazed at reading the unfamiliar Polish-Lituanian names for the Fordham starting lineup: Pieculewicz (fullback), Weiniwski (left guard), Miskinis (right tackle), and Elcewitcz (right end) with Szeszkowski and Zaleski as backups -- names that would be a nightmare for any play-by-play announcer in California. When the Gaels went on to upset the Rams 20-12, a team considered the best ever to wear Fordham’s maroon colors, Madigan created a tsunami of support for the “little” college in Moraga that had shocked the East, and I was hooked too. Again the coach had proved his mastery of defense, mighty Fordham scoring all its points in the first half but being held to nothing in the second. He also displayed his talent for showmanship. His “Galloping Gaels” came home not only with a victory but also with a goat alleged to be Fordham’s mascot named “Rameses IV” and a couple of new nicknames like the “Marauding Moragans” and “Madigan’s Mad Men.”

At that moment I became an obsessive fan, and I wasn’t alone. Among its admirers St. Mary’s counted Babe Ruth, Errol Flynn, Ginger Rogers, Al Smith, and JFK’s father Joe, who sat on the team’s bench several times. Even Will Rogers in Hollywood caught the fever, saying, “We have a team out here called St. Mary’s (which sounds effeminate), but they haven’t lost a game since the gold rush.” And, to sweeten the pot, my cousin Frank Coakley was chairman of the Board of Regents, and the renowned Brother Leo Meehan was teaching English literature there. But no team is invincible, even Madigan’s, and I had to learn to cope with disappointments to come. When I was nine, before the Gaels left to play Fordham again in 1934, the Catholic schools in the Bay Area were admitted free to a St. Mary's-Nevada game, a routine matchup in which the Gaels were expected to win easily. What an unforgettable upset! I can still see that football spinning over the goal post for a field goal that awarded the lowly Wolfpack a 9 to 7 upset victory. Slip was never a sore loser, but at first I was inconsolable because my Gaels had allowed Nevada steal a national championship from them.

One of the best-kept secrets for his success is that a number of his players had majored in Physical Education that prepared them for careers as athletic directors and coaches. Today this field has morphed into such courses as Kinesiology, Recreation Management, Structural Biomechanics, Exercise Physiology, and related specialties. In Slip’s time his young men formed an active network of recruiters that fed promising youngsters to his program at St. Mary’s. I was headed in that direction with the goal to become a “triple threat” excelling in passing, running, and punting. I would have attended St. Mary's High School in Berkeley, which had a decent football program that led to Moraga, and I believed I had a chance to succeed under Coach Madigan. My creative imagination had me even imitating announcer Dave Scofield, the “Voice of Kezar,” on the stadium’s public-address system, describing “the overpowering Jerry Cox” weaving untouched through a porous ribbon of clueless defenders all the way to “pay dirt.”

But I was never destined to play under Madigan. With attendance slipping during a miserable season in 1939, the Gaels were scheduled to travel east to face another Fordham eleven who were determined to even the score. To build up a discouraged rooting section at the Polo Grounds, Slip chartered a Pullman train called the “Gael Express” to go from Oakland to New York, and the return trip was routed with a stops in Atlanta, New Orleans, Mexico City, Cuernavaca and Los Angeles, probably the only itinerary in history that covered 10,000 miles and promised not only a football game but also a bull fight. Unfortunately this detour south of the Rio Grande opened a bigger flood of controversy than a dismal defeat in New York. The college’s governing board questioned how visiting historic landmarks, eating in cramped dining cars, resting in rattling sleepers, stopping briefly at scattered hotels, and producing disturbing reports in the Oakland Tribune for 22 days had prepared the team for the last game of the season. Conceding that the Gaels had suffered eight straight losses including a shutout at the Polo Grounds, Slip argued that his traveling Gaels had trounced Loyola in the Coliseum 40 to 7 before returning home. This response was not sufficient to dissuade the board from firing him before his contract expired. To add additional perspective on the Gael Express, a similar excursion had been planned in the same year after Cal’s post-season game with Georgia Tech in Atlanta, but at the last minute the Yellow Jackets accepted an invitation to the Orange Bowl, which canceled the game with U.C. and its tour and may have saved the head coach’s job.

While Slip Madigan’s bright star was steadily flaming out, I searched my heart again. To allow those fantasies of gridiron glory to go unchecked would have dimmed my sights on another dream -- the Catholic priesthood.

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by Ralph Nader

The monster of economic waste—over $7 trillion of dictated stock buybacks since 2003 by the self-enriching CEOs of large corporations—started with a little noticed change in 1982 by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under President Ronald Reagan. That was when SEC Chairman John Shad, a former Wall Street CEO, redefined unlawful ‘stock manipulation’ to exclude stock buybacks.

Then after Clinton pushed through congress a $1 million cap on CEO pay that could be deductible, CEO compensation consultants wanted much of CEO pay to reflect the price of the company’s stock. The stock buyback mania was unleashed. Its core was not to benefit shareholders (other than perhaps hedge fund speculators) by improving the earnings per share ratio. Its real motivation was to increase CEO pay no matter how badly such burning out of shareholder dollars hurt the company, its workers and the overall pace of economic growth. In a massive conflict of interest between greedy top corporate executives and their own company, CEO-driven stock buybacks extract capital from corporations instead of contributing capital for corporate needs, as the capitalist theory would dictate.

Yes, due to the malicious, toady SEC “business judgement” rule, CEOs can take trillions of dollars away from productive pursuits without even having to ask the companies’ owners—the shareholders—for approval.

What could competent management have done with this treasure trove of shareholder money which came originally from consumer purchases? They could have invested more in research and development, in productive plant and equipment, in raising worker pay (and thereby consumer demand), in shoring up shaky pension fund reserves, or increasing dividends to shareholders.

The leading expert on this subject—economics professor William Lazonick of the University of Massachusetts—wrote a widely read article in 2013 in the Harvard Business Review titled “Profits Without Prosperity” documenting the intricate ways CEOs use buybacks to escalate their pay up to 300 to 500 times (averaging over $10,000 an hour plus lavish benefits) the average pay of their workers. This compared to only 30 times the average pay gap in 1978. This has led to increasing inequality and stagnant middle class wages.

To make matters worse, companies with excessive stock buybacks experience a declining market value. A study by Professor Robert Ayres and Executive Fellow Michael Olenick at INSEAD (September 2017) provided data about IBM, which since 2005 has spent $125 billion on buybacks while laying off large numbers of workers and investing only $69.9 billion in R&D. IBM is widely viewed as a declining company that has lost out to more nimble competitors in Silicon Valley.

The authors also cite General Electric, which in the same period spent $114.6 billion on its own stock only to see its stock price steadily decline in a bull market. In a review of 64 companies, including major retailers such as JC Penny and Macy’s, these firms spent more dollars in stock buybacks “than their businesses are currently worth in market value”!

On the other hand, Ayes and Olenick analyzed 269 companies that “repurchased stock valued at 2 percent or less of their current market value (including Facebook, Xcel Energy, Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon). They were strong market performers. The scholars concluded that “Buybacks are a way of disinvesting – we call it ‘committing corporate suicide’—in a way that rewards the “activists” (e.g. Hedge Funds) and executives, but hurts employees and pensioners.”

Presently, hordes of corporate lobbyists are descending on Washington to demand deregulation and tax cuts. Why, you ask them? In order to conserve corporate money for investing in economic growth, they assert. Really?! Why, then, are they turning around and wasting far more money on stock buybacks, which produce no tangible value? The answer is clear: uncontrolled executive greed!

By now you may be asking, why don’t the corporate bosses simply give more dividends to shareholders instead of buybacks, since a steady high dividend yield usually protects the price of the shares? Because these executives have far more of their compensation package in manipulated stock options and incentive payments than they own in stock.

Walmart in recent years has bought back over $50 billion of its shares – a move benefitting the Walton family’s wealth – while saying it could not afford to increase the meagre pay for over one million of their workers in the US. Last year the company bought back $8.3 billion of their stock which could have given their hard-pressed employees, many of whom are on welfare, a several thousand dollar raise.

The corporate giants are also demanding that Congress allow the repatriation of about $2.5 trillion stashed abroad without paying more than 5% tax. They say the money would be used to grow the economy and create jobs. Last time CEOs promised this result in 2004, Congress approved, and then was double-crossed. The companies spent the bulk on stock buybacks, their own pay raises and some dividend increases.

There are more shenanigans. With low interest rates that are deductible, companies actually borrow money to finance their stock buybacks. If the stock market tanks, these companies will have a self-created debt load to handle. A former Citigroup executive, Richard Parsons, has expressed worry about a “massively manipulated” stock market which “scares the crap” out of him.

Banks that pay you near zero interest on your savings announced on June 28, 2017 the biggest single buyback in history – a $92.8 billion extraction. Drug companies who say their sky-high drug prices are needed to fund R&D. But between 2006 and 2017, 18 drug company CEOs spent a combined staggering $516 billion on buybacks and dividends – more than their inflated claims of spending for R&D.

Mr. Olenick says “When managers can’t create value in the business other than buying their own stock, it seems like it’s time for a management change.”

Who’s going to do that? Shareholders stripped of inside power to control the company they own? No way. It will take Congressional hearings, a robust media focus, and the political clout of large pension and mutual funds to get the reforms under way.

When I asked Robert Monks, an author and longtime expert on corporate governance, about his reaction to CEOs heavy with stock buybacks, he replied that the management was either unimaginative, incompetent or avaricious – or all of these.

Essentially burning trillions of dollars for the hyper enrichment of a handful of radical corporate state supremacists wasn’t what classical capitalism was supposed to be about.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!

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Eunuchs in the Manchu Imperial Court saved their manhood in jars. Last I heard Bradley/Chelsea Manning is still wearing his. That makes him a man in a dress. I wish the politically correct and intimidated would quit using feminine pronouns in reference to him, at least until the surgery.

As for Harvard moving their once proud university beyond farce and into carnival freak show, I’m sure Manning has all the qualifications needed to teach there.

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Burning Man 2017 #8

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NEW RESERVATIONS SERVICE offered by MTA for our Dial-A-Ride coach bus. While Dial-A-Ride isn't offered in Boonville, this service might be useful for Boonville residents who don't have cars but do need to get to appointments in Ukiah. Dial-A-Ride offers curb-to-curb service. If someone is going to the Ukiah hospital, for instance, they could take the daily MTA bus to Ukiah and call 24 hours to 2 weeks in advance to schedule the Dial-A-Ride <> to pick them up at a specific stop and take them to their destination and then back again to catch the return bus. Dial-A-Ride is equipped to transport handicapped riders, and this service upgrade could help that group be more independently mobile. Call if you have questions. Best wishes, Suzanne

Suzanne Pletcher,, (707) 489-1325

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Mendocino Transit Authority Offers Service Upgrades for Dial-A-Ride Customers

New Direct Connection to Santa Rosa SMART Train Terminal Also Added

When Kathryn Brooks’ eyesight worsened last year, her son asked the retired special needs teacher to stop driving. So in December she hung up the car keys for good and started using the Dial-A-Ride on-demand bus service offered by Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA).

“I’ve been retired for four years but I find I can’t stay away from little kids,” said Brooks. “I’m working continually now at Frank Zeek School, subbing five days a week. I call ahead to Dial-A-Ride and they set me up for the whole week.”

Under a new service rolled out in mid-August, MTA customers who reserve a Dial-A-Ride bus up to two weeks in advance and at minimum 24 hours in advance are guaranteed a scheduled ride.

In Brooks’ case, a Dial-A-Ride bus picks her up at Brookside Retirement Community at 7:10 a.m. each morning, drops her off at Frank Zeek school, then returns to pick her up at 11:45 a.m. for the return trip back home, five days a week.

“The drivers really are wonderful, I’m very happy,” said Brooks. “I’m adjusting to not driving and my son is relieved that I’m adjusting. I’m making it work and Dial-A-Ride is helping me make it work.”

The backbone of MTA’s new service is RouteMatch software for bus transit companies. The software provides computer-aided dispatching that matches buses to customer reservations for service and streamlines routing. Drivers are equipped with dashboard-mounted tablets that provide GPS-enabled route stops and changes. Brooks said that, under the new service, she noticed the drivers don’t have to talk to MTA dispatch nearly as much as before.

“Customers still can call the same day that they want to take a Dial-A-Ride bus, but wait times will vary as they have in the past,” said Carla Meyer, MTA’s general manager. “The upgraded service is perfect for those who need to be on time for doctor appointments, work and scheduled meetings.”

The upgrade was supported and approved by members of the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) and MTA’s board of directors, who cited operational efficiency as a major benefit. RouteMatch helps MTA save mileage and gas on Dial-A-Ride bus routes.

The upgrade also boosts the productivity of Dial-A-Ride drivers. Ridership on Dial-A-Ride is increasing and in June, the latest month tallied, reached 1,761 riders, MTA reported.

Dial-A-Ride is an on-demand, curb-to-curb jitney bus service that is offered Monday through Saturday to the general public in Ukiah and Fort Bragg. Each Dial-A-Ride bus is equipped to transport people with disabilities, and senior rates are available for those age 62 years or older.

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MTA Now Stops At The Santa Rosa SMART Train Terminal

MTA added a new stop on its Route 65 and 95 buses to Santa Rosa so that passengers can catch the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART train) south to cities along the Highway 101 corridor, including downtown Petaluma and the Marin Civic Center. The SMART train terminal where MTA stops is a mile east of the Charles M. Schultz Sonoma County Airport on Airport Boulevard in Santa Rosa.

Currently, the connection offers MTA riders a travel route as far south as SMART train’s southern terminus in San Rafael, and SMART train’s planners said it can save an hour of travel time during periods of traffic congestion on highway 101. SMART train announced it will provide train service within the next year to the Larkspur ferry terminal for passenger trips to San Francisco and AT&T stadium.

“MTA appreciates feedback and suggestions from our customers for improved bus service throughout our service area,” said Meyer.

To comment, visit the MTA Facebook page, RideMTA. Or call MTA at (707) 462-1422.

Mendocino Transit Authority provides safe, environmentally responsible, low-cost and reliable public bus service throughout Mendocino County and south to Santa Rosa. For more information, visit

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IF KAEPERNICK IS NOT WELCOME in the NFL, Then the NFL Isn't Welcome in My Home

by Michael Moore

When the NFL kicked off it’s season on Sunday, I was on stage at the Belasco Theatre performing my one-man show.

As I shared with my audience, I’m not watching any NFL games this year. I’m done.

I’ve decided to boycott the NFL this year because 32 NFL teams have colluded to blacklist one player: Colin Kaepernick.

Last year, Kaepernick decided to take a stand against the oppression and state violence against black Americans that still plagues this country. He did it in a quiet, dignified and nonviolent way - by taking a knee during the national anthem. If not for that action, Colin Kaepernick would be on an NFL roster right now.

There are 32 NFL teams. 3 quarterbacks per team. That’s 96 quarterbacks on NFL rosters.

Kaepernick led his team to the Super Bowl in 2012-13. He threw for 300 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 62 yards and another touchdown.

He’s 29 years old. He is in the prime of his career.

There are NOT 96 better quarterbacks in the world than Colin Kaepernick. There are NOT 64 better quarterbacks than Kaepernick. There are not even 32 quarterbacks better than Kaepernick.

NFL teams are signing quarterbacks with no NFL track records. They’re signing mediocre has-beens who’ve had little success in the league.

Whenever an NFL team has to sign a player, they have every right to look into the pros and cons of what that player brings to the table. Will there be distractions? Will they cause trouble in the locker room? Will they represent the team in an honorable way?

When a player has a history of bad sportsmanship, domestic violence or other crimes, NFL teams have a right to weigh that when deciding if they want to sign him. And they nearly ALWAYS come to the conclusion that those players are fine - they’re worth the controversy. They’re worth the distraction and the bad PR.

But when a talented young quarterback, who's been a model citizen and model teammate; who's put up good numbers and who's taken his team to the Super Bowl, decided to take a political stand in a quiet, dignified and nonviolent way - the NFL says NO! That’s too much trouble! We need to shut him down!

There are about 1,700 players in the NFL. About 70 percent of them are black.

Blacklisting Kaepernick is as much about the owners as it is about Colin. The message is a loud and clear:

"Obey us. Get in line. Don’t rock the boat. Keep bashing your heads in, collecting your paychecks and shutting your mouths. We run this league. We run this country."

And it's a message to any American who dares to speak out in their workplace about an injustice that they see: shut up. Keep it to yourself. It's not worth it. Your career will be over.

I want no part in this anymore. I love the Lions. I love the Packers. I used to enjoy lazy Sundays watching NFL RedZone and SportsCenter. But not this year. If Kaepernick is not welcome in the NFL, then the NFL isn’t welcome in my home.

On Sunday I asked my audience to join with me in a protest against those who would shut down a brave citizen who spoke out against the madness that permeates our country right now. They did. Here are the photos. If you think this is just about football, please think again.


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Pot Is Literally A 'State Of Emergency' Now In Siskiyou County

by Alayna Shulman

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey turned down the $1 million a pair of pot-growers allegedly used to try bribing him recently.

But it did help him prove a point.

“Last week, I was supposed to get a bag of cash with $84,000. Are they doing that because they just want enough marijuana to meet their recreational or medicinal needs? No,” Lopey said. “I don’t think so.”

That's part of the argument Lopey made in urging the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors last week to adopt what may be a first-of-its-kind declaration saying illegal marijuana grows — not the usual flood, fire or earthquake — are causing a “state of emergency” in the county.

They agreed, passing the declaration 5-0.

While such declarations are routine for natural disasters because they open avenues for recovery aid and money, it’s a move that may be unprecedented for local jurisdictions when it comes to drugs. Lopey and several other people interviewed by the Record Searchlight said they weren’t familiar with any other jurisdictions that have adopted emergency declarations to solve the illegal-drug problems in their areas.

As the declaration would for natural disasters, Lopey hopes it will pave the way for state or federal aid to fight illegal grows in the cash-strapped county — whether that means money to hire more deputies or outside help from other agencies.

"I’m not really in a position to come to the board and say, 'Hey, can I have two or three million more dollars,'" Lopey said.

The move also comes as Lopey has already faced particularly dramatic incidents related to pot. Along with the attempted bribery, Hmong growers and would-be voters unsuccessfully sued him and the county last September, in part over their enforcement of pot laws.

While President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency about opioids, Lopey said that wasn’t his inspiration.

It’s the “social justice and certainly the environmental implications” that had Lopey already considering an emergency declaration. He cites the toxic chemicals used to keep pests out of illicit grows and other dangerous conditions — including the carbon-monoxide deaths of three people sleeping in trailers at grow sites — as "quality of life" issues gone too far.

Lopey is careful to point out he supports a person's right to legally use the plant, but he doesn’t believe the county will ever recover if illegal grows get any more of a foothold. There are "a lot of fast balls coming at us," like methamphetamine and heroin, but Lopey said illegal pot is the one that's really gotten out of control lately.

Besides the unanimous vote from the board, he’s supported by Roseville Republican state Sen. Ted Gaines, who sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown after Lopey's team took him on a helicopter ride to see illicit grows in the county.

He also got support from some residents who said they're fed up with the changes that pot has brought to their neighborhoods.

But the proposal didn’t come without familiar challengers — namely, some of the county’s Hmong residents, who said at the board’s meeting the resolution would fuel ethnic tensions in the largely white county.

“I don’t feel like this is right,” said Mouying Lee, leader of a local Hmong group. “I just feel like it’s targeting the Hmong people … the Hmong are so proud to be here.”

Lopey’s plan also got criticism from marijuana-legalization advocates, who noted the county’s already-tough stance on legal grows is ironically fueling its need for an emergency declaration by encouraging the black market.

“Prohibition is the opposite of control,” said Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, a group that aims to legalize the plant. “There are no Mexican wine cartels growing grapes in the nation’s parks right now.”

Along with challengers, the move may come with innate challenges. A Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman said his agency would be unlikely to help in such a case. In part, that’s because a marijuana crisis doesn’t have a potential endpoint, unlike, say, a wildfire.

“We’re not sure how that would apply to illegal marijuana grows in Siskiyou County,” said spokesman David Passey.

But Lopey said he’s more focused on other agencies, anyway.

State emergency officials were less certain how much aid they could provide, though Lopey said an official there told him he's "confident that we could."

“We have received their state of emergency and will work with Siskiyou County to better understand their situation,” California Office of Emergency Services spokesman Brad Alexander wrote. “Once we have a better understanding of their situation, we can determine if there’s appropriate state and/or federal assistance available.”

The California National Guard already has a presence in the county to help with drug grows, but not in the way you might envision. Capt. William Martin said the guard serves in “strictly a support role,” mainly offering training.

“We don’t want to cross those lines where military members are active in policing,” he said. “We want to leave that to the civilian experts.”

The existing guard troops in Siskiyou also destroy infrastructure at illegal grows to deter the planters from coming back, said Sgt. Brianne Roudebush with the California guard’s Counterdrug Task Force.

“There are a lot of grows up there,” she said.

Logistics aside, Angell also said the resolution's potential to conflate all marijuana with danger in local minds is risky.

“The one thing that does worry me is if … they don’t get the nuance, and they just look at this and say, ‘Marijuana bad, end of story,’” he said. “You can think marijuana is the worst thing in the world. I just need you to realize that prohibition increases the worst possible harms associated with it.”

But Lopey cited the alleged bribe attempt as proof that illegal growers are trying to thrive in Siskiyou.

“There’s a big market back East,” he said. “To say that we’re going to produce only the amount of cannabis in California, in our counties, in our cities to meet the (local need) … is absolutely ludicrous and preposterous.”

(Redding Record Searchlight)

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Is the world going to end on September 23? Biblical prophecy of the 'Rapture' predicts the apocalypse will occur on that exact date

September 23 is set to mark the beginning of the apocalypse, according to several conspiracy theorists and Christian doom-mongers who believe in the 'Revelation 12 Sign' prophecy.

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"Reading the Waves" unites local poets with iconic artwork

by Roberta Werdinger

On Friday, Sept. 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., the Grace Hudson Museum will present "Reading the Waves," a poetry event in which six local poets read work directly from or related to the Museum's current exhibit, California's Wild Edge: The Coast in Poetry, Prints, and History, a display of woodblock prints of the California coast by noted Marin County artist Tom Killion alongside the poetry of Gary Snyder and others. The poets reading on Sept. 22--Dan Barth, Armand Brint, Christopher Douthit, Mary Norbert Körte, Linda Noel, and Theresa Whitehill--represent an impressive cross-section of inland Mendocino County literary talent and include four former Ukiah Poets Laureate. The event is free with Museum admission.

With its splendid scenery, innovative spirit, and proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area, which was instrumental in spawning the poetry of the Beat Generation beginning in the 1950s, Mendocino County boasts a rich poetic culture. In addition to the coast, Ukiah and Willits both have close-knit and flourishing poetry communities. That is an important element for poets, who often find their work being marginalized. Instead, poetry can be a vital resource in times of crisis when people are searching for beauty and a meaning deeper than the latest Twitter feed. As Ukiah native Chris Douthit, who currently serves as Ukiah High's librarian, puts it: "In times like these, we need the truth-telling of poetry more than ever--to call out injustice and to help us focus on the beauty of the moment."

That beauty is everywhere evident for these poets, some of whom live right in town while Mary Norbert Körte, a Beat Generation poet who's been producing superb nature-centered poetry for five decades now, lives in a remote homestead deep in the redwoods outside Willits. Armand Brint, a Ukiah resident for nearly 30 years and its first Poet Laureate, comments, "You can hardly write poetry here without being influenced by the natural environment. It's such an immediate and strong presence in the county." Letterpress printer and another former Laureate, Theresa Whitehill, agrees. "We've grown our poetics up with the landscape," she says. "To live in a rural county, you interact more with the land than you do with people."

"A big part of the poet's job is to speak for the natural world," agrees Dan Barth. Also a former Laureate, Barth made his way here from Louisville, Kentucky over 30 years ago, influenced by the writing of fellow Kentuckian Wendell Berry (author of The Unsettling of America, among other classic books) as well as Californian Gary Snyder. Snyder's writings of the 1970s, including the Pulitzer-winning Turtle Island, helped spawn an ecology movement that added depth and credence to the back-to-the-land movement that spurred many young people to settle in the area. (Snyder, who still lives and works in the Sierra Foothills, coauthored with Tom Killion a book called California's Wild Edge which spawned the Museum's current exhibit.) Körte, a former nun who left her religious order to write poetry and pursue political activism, then relocated from the Bay Area to live in and protect the redwoods, describes life in the woods this way:

she was secretly pleased water ran so high

       it made her gasp & wow

pleased to walk into closed arms of trees

pleased to watch slow gathering of roots

pleased to think she might understand

speech of rain never-ending suss inside her soul

Brint, author of three books of poetry and a just-published manual on writing poetry, Bringing Poems to Life, sees the poetry of nature as including the everyday lives of human beings. In "Watershed Defined," he describes, in simple yet luminous lines, how "deer peruse rose gardens/inside the white noise/of Saturday night stock car races" amid "the communal sound of rain."

Douthit, who feels lucky to walk to work while he observes the daily activities of humans and animals, comments, "The rural character of Ukiah and Mendocino County generally is a gift to poets or anyone else who is in love with observation and reflection." Linda Noel, former Ukiah Poet Laureate and a member of the Koyungkowi tribe, the Konkow (northern Sierra/Sacramento Valley area) echoes that. While preparing for the reading, she says, "the two words that come to mind over and over are beauty and bounty. The majestical scenes presented by nature and the grand vastness contrasted by the intricate and tiny details that make up the whole... can offer perspective beyond the mundane." She explains that, for Native peoples, nature is a source of bounty both literal and metaphysical. Natives on the coast harvested (and, under more limited circumstances, still harvest) fish, seaweed and abalone, using the latter as jewelry. Noel also appreciates how the natural world provides bounty in the form of "a wealth of topics, subjects, and observations in which to draw from to enhance creativity." Of a salmon going upstream to spawn she writes: "This acorn-time/names his journey/calls him back/to beginnings."

California's Wild Edge: The Coast in Poetry, Prints, and History is on exhibit until October 8. The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah. The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. General admission is $4; $10 per family; $3 for students and seniors; free to all on the first Friday of the month; and always free to members. For more information please go to or call (707) 467-2836.

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MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio:

This Friday night and every Friday night, 9pm to about 4am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, including midnight to 3am. 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And also there and anywhere else via or

A lot of great stuff line up. Also— trying out some new equipment that I only just got going right, so there may be funny glitches and fails, where you hear me swear sharply in French and Chinese in my weird fake Scottish/Yiddish accent and exclaim about the unfairness of the world, and I know you like that. The funny swears and the squeals of bad capacitors and hot tubes.

Oh, right, I'm live from Juanita's tonight, not at the storefront in Fort Bragg, in case you were planning on dropping by. Make that next week.

Marco McClean


27 Responses to Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Sep. 16, 2017

  1. Judy Reply

    September 16, 2017 at 6:53 am

    The Epstein explains that he is there to “represent” the City and Commission. He also says he is there to “advise” the City and decision makers. I didn’t hear anyone say he was there to run the meeting and take over the entire meeting. Rex raises a lot of good questions but I believe everyone including the Commission (at least 2 of them) members of the public and some members of the Council were broadsided by Mr. Epstein’s takeover of the meeting. Will it happen again when the appeal is heard on Oct. 3rd? I don’t believe it will. We have elected people on the Council to represent those who live in Fort Bragg and those are the people who should be in charge of the meeting. Mr. Epstein (by his own words) is there to advise. If he tries to take over the way he did with the Commissioners I would hope that someone, preferably The Mayor, will speak up.

  2. BB Grace Reply

    September 16, 2017 at 7:08 am

    re Moore standing (what happened to “taking a knee”?) W/ Kaep

    AKA Millionaires standing with millionaires.

    • Harvey Reading Reply

      September 16, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Taking it where?

      • BB Grace Reply

        September 16, 2017 at 11:38 am

        According to MM, Mr. Reading:

        “Last year, Kaepernick decided to take a stand against the oppression and state violence against black Americans that still plagues this country. He did it in a quiet, dignified and nonviolent way – by taking a knee during the national anthem. If not for that action, Colin Kaepernick would be on an NFL roster right now.”

        I don’t agree w/ MM, Mr. Reading. Kaep mixed career with politics misplaced for MSM (obnoxiously loud), undignified (unprofessional, because he’s not being paid for his politics), and nothing peaceful about football. Kaep can afford to lose his ball career as he’s “earned” more than everyone in Fort Bragg combined. How much did he contribute to Harvey or Irma victims? Nada.

        How about he and MM become real leaders and give their houses and cars to deserving homeless and play ball and make political bait films for free? The irony of millionaire capitalists posing as communists being given a free ride in MSM doesn’t escape me. I’m a little surprised it escaped you.

        • George Hollister Reply

          September 16, 2017 at 12:28 pm

          Michael Moore is right, Kaepernick has political baggage, but if he were a better than average quarterback, he would have a job. Look at Michael Vick. Is there anything politically worse than fighting dogs? Kaep’s problem is he is below average. That means he is backup material, relegated to holding a clip board. Kaep is an inaccurate passer, gets flustered, does not appear to read defenses well, and resorts to running too often. Running is his only notable attribute. So why would anyone sign him? If Kaepernick is serious about his career, which is in question by many at this point, go to the Canadian League. Many apparently washed up US quarterbacks have gone to Canada and reinvented themselves.

          • BB Grace Reply

            September 16, 2017 at 12:59 pm

            You agree w/MM that: “There are NOT 96 better quarterbacks in the world than Colin Kaepernick. There are NOT 64 better quarterbacks than Kaepernick. There are not even 32 quarterbacks better than Kaepernick.”?

            Maybe the NFL millionaires go to Canada for the healthcare?

            • james marmon Reply

              September 16, 2017 at 3:05 pm

              Where Does Colin Kaepernick Rank Among Current NFL QBs?

              According to Bleacher Report, Kaepernick is ranked 26th among current quarterbacks, better than a handful of starters. If he wasn’t a socialist/communist/anarchist, he would be playing.


            • Bruce Anderson Reply

              September 16, 2017 at 3:31 pm

              Every current NFL player who had commented on the Kaep Affair, has named at least a half-dozen starting quarterbacks not as good as Kaep. He had great years under a great coach, flamed out under bad ones. Obviously, though, he’s a great athlete, and just as obviously he’s being screwed.

            • George Hollister Reply

              September 16, 2017 at 3:49 pm

              I have been watching the 49ers for a while, and have never seen where Kaepernick ranks anywhere near the top 2/3s of NFL quarterbacks. He can not pass. There have been a few games where he has done OK passing, a very few. So the bottom 1/3 of quarterbacks is the tier that will never get a team anywhere, and that is where Kaep is. He will only be signed as a starter, or play as a starter because there is no other choice. But there are lots of quarterbacks out there, of Kaepernick’s ability, who are not playing. If Michael Vick’s offense had been not standing up for the flag, instead of fighting dogs, he would have played. Michael Vick is(was) good. Kaepernick is not. Yes, he can run, and he is strong. A consistent criticism of Kaepernick is he can not pass the ball to anyone beyond his first choice in the progression, and then when he does pass, he misses.

              MM, obviously, does not watch much football. And he certainly has not spent much time watching the Niners. I suspect his declaration to stop watching the NFL is not going to result in a change of his personal long time weekend plans.

        • Harvey Reading Reply

          September 17, 2017 at 9:47 am

          You didn’t answer my question, BB, and you used a lot of words to say nothing.

          • BB Grace Reply

            September 17, 2017 at 9:57 am


  3. sohumlily Reply

    September 16, 2017 at 7:31 am

    The rednecks here in Siskiyou make Humboldt/Mendo rednecks look sophisticated…

  4. Cindy Richards Reply

    September 16, 2017 at 8:03 am

    A stipulated 16 year sentence?! That f-Ing pig David John Richard only gets 16 years, or a little over 14 with ‘good behavior’ in prison for sexually violating a 7 year old child?! I know nothing about him or this case but how can 16 years even have been considered for a plea deal? That’s the best the DAs could do with a man so quick to plead guilty? They put people away for life on less violent crimes. The child has to live the rest of their life trying to deal with what this disgusting animal has done to them while he is locked up for a little over 14 years, separated from the mean guys who might kill him, and then free to find his next victim. There are no words to explain the anger, disgust and disappointment of our judicial system.

    • sohumlily Reply

      September 16, 2017 at 8:10 am

      What’s really disgusting is how many are out there who never get caught.

    • Bruce Anderson Reply

      September 16, 2017 at 9:05 am

      This is the same guy who, as a Ukiah cop, got caught mugging drunk Mexican farmworkers. Naturally, he returns to Mendocino County where you are whatever you say you are and history starts all over again every day and becomes manager of two downtown restaurants. Then he’s revealed as a cho-mo, his own daughter, apparently. Even by the standards of amnesiac Mendo, this guy is an extreme case.

  5. Bill Pilgrim Reply

    September 16, 2017 at 9:22 am

    re: September 23.

    When the rapture takes place… may I have your new car?
    And are you leaving your house to a deserving homeless couple?

    • LouisBedrock Reply

      September 16, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      When you, Harvey, Bruce Anderson, and the Jewish atheist LGBT community are being consumed in flames, I’ll look down upon you and regret that you didn’t take the warning seriously.

      I look forward to talking face to face with Jesus about cursing fig trees and driving pigs off of cliffs.

  6. Alice Chouteau Reply

    September 16, 2017 at 9:29 am

    I agree. The CC needs to end the turner legacy of empowering hired help to make decisions, run meetings, and act like they are elected official which they are not, all on the taxpayers’ dime. How can the Epstein respresent a non-profit when he is on city payroll?
    The CC can change the ways city gov is run here,in a General Law city, by a simple vote, to change from one model, the strong city manager option, to that of strong CC/weak manager.. The staff should be hired to help the CC, not to run them, and make decisions that affect the future devlopment of Fort Bragg. lindy needs to drop the turner legacy now, as he was elected to do so.

  7. Harvey Reading Reply

    September 16, 2017 at 9:49 am


    The dumbest thing I’ve read so far today.

    • Bill Pilgrim Reply

      September 16, 2017 at 11:54 am

      Couldn’t agree more. Let’s not talk about the war crimes she/he revealed. Let’s not talk about the nefarious CIA programs to assassinate or delegitimize foreign government officials who resist becoming satraps of US “Full Spectrum Dominance.”
      Classic calumny of the messenger to distract from serious consideration of the message.

    • LouisBedrock Reply

      September 16, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      Strongly agree.

  8. Jim Updegraff Reply

    September 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Now you get a drivers licenses that may read Male, Female and Binary.

  9. LouisBedrock Reply

    September 16, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Ta-Nehesi Coates writes drivel.
    He writes drivel about politics.
    He writes drivel about race.

    “But on this crisp October night, everything felt inevitable and grand. There was a slight wind. It had been in the 80s for much of that week. Now, as the sun set, the season remembered its name. Women shivered in their cocktail dresses. Gentlemen chivalrously handed over their suit coats. But when Naomi Campbell strolled past the security pen in a sleeveless number, she seemed as invulnerable as ever. …

    The ties between the Obama White House and the hip-hop community are genuine. The Obamas are social with Beyoncé and Jay-Z. They hosted Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean at a state dinner, and last year invited Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes, and Ludacris, among others, to discuss criminal-justice reform and other initiatives.”

    (ATLANTIC, January/February 2017)

    Doesn’t that make you feel warm and cozy? So what if he gave us a lousy corporate health care plan, backed charter schools, overthrew governments in Libya and Honduras, kept going two declared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, two undeclared wars in Pakistan and Somalia, and added three more wars in Libya, Syria, and Yemen? Hell, he hangs out with Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Naomi Campbell.

    I think Coates is popular because his first name is Ta-Nehesi. If his name were Robert Coates or James Coates, no one would read the asshole.

    Ta-Nahesi is Swahili for drivel.

    • sohumlily Reply

      September 16, 2017 at 4:22 pm


      • LouisBedrock Reply

        September 16, 2017 at 4:27 pm

        Thank you, SHL.
        However, you’re still going up in flames with Bill, Harvey, Bruce Anderson, and the Jewish atheist LGBT community when the Rapture hits on September 23.

        • sohumlily Reply

          September 16, 2017 at 4:44 pm


          I’d better clean the bathroom…

  10. Thomas Allman Reply

    September 16, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Hey-I don’t like corn dogs. You have Obama and I eating our corn dogs but I agree with Little Dog on this! And if you are going to photo shop me with a corn dog, at least put mustard on it. :-)

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