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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017

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Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting

Supervisor Dan Hamburg: One of the concerns I have is that this infrastructure is going to be rebuilt. And it certainly could be rebuilt in ways which would be somewhat safer. We all know that PG&E and the other investor owned utilities are not have not been real active in undergrounding utilities. These fires apparently could be the biggest financial disaster for PG&E since San Bruno. In the last week I think their stock value has decreased by $5 billion. Both the CPUC and CalFire at apparently launched investigations into what caused these fires and to what extent they were caused by trees falling on lines and poles and so on. I don't know if this is something this Board wants to look at legislatively. I know there are a lot of people who feel that the last amount of transmission lines should be underground. They are in many, many countries, countries that I have visited. You don't see power lines coming right to residences and going right to houses. It's just not allowed. PG&E — maybe they will get through this unscathed, as far as liability. I know they have been great partners and nobody wants to criticize anybody but running electrical transmission lines right up to people's houses is not safe. I think we have seen it in the last week.

Supervisor Dan Gjerde: I think that's an excellent point. I think we should ask staff to investigate. I asked a contractor recently how much it would cost to run a power line from a telephone pole right in front of your house 40 feet to your house? He estimated it would be $3500-$4000 in part because of the fees that you have to pay PG&E who has the engineer who has to sign off on it. Maybe this is something beyond our pay scale. Maybe the state regulates PG&E. Perhaps the fee structure is so out of whack for that service that it needs to be reconfigured statewide.

Supervisor John McCowen: Typically that expense is the expense of the homeowner or developer.

Hamburg: But should it be? PG&E, Southern California Edison, San Diego, the three big investor owned utilities in the state are hugely profitable companies and they don't do some of these things because nobody makes them do it. But you have a situation like this and you see people lives being destroyed by what I think has a lot to do with infrastructure that is not very up to date.

CEO Carmel Angelo: It costs a lot of money to underground.

Hamburg: It needs to be done for the safety of human beings. Talk to Howard Deshield about how difficult it is —

McCowen: It's only taken us 25 years to get where we are.

Hamburg: —how long it took Gualala…

McCowen: That's what I'm talking about.

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Last Updated: October 19, 2017, 7:51 am

Acres Burned: 36,523 acres

Containment: 85% contained

Condition: Fire perimeter is holding, crews are improving direct and indirect containment lines, mopping up, as Fire Suppression Repair is underway. Please be aware of emergency equipment and personnel working in the area. Use caution when driving in and around these areas. As residents repopulate fire effected areas it is important to be aware of overhead tree hazards. Five years of drought, insect damage, and recent fire damage have increasingly weakened trees and their branches.

10/19/17 AM - See the latest Incident Update for current information on this fire.

Mendocino County Fire Information

Phone Numbers: (707) 467-6428 (Fire Information Line)

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PG&E STOCK PLUNGES on concern its power lines may have started California wildfires

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The U.S. Forest Service expects population growth in wildfire-prone areas to continue. It estimates that there are approximately 45 million homes in the so-called "Wildland-Urban Interface"—the technical term for those in particularly vulnerable areas—and that the number will rise another 40 percent by 2030.

But of course, it's not just California, or even the west. It's happening all over the world. As of this writing, 40 people have died in savage wildfires currently ravaging Spain and Portugal, the flames fanned by Hurricane Ophelia and made far worse by extremely dry summer conditions wrought, in large part, of climate change. Meanwhile, more than 1,200 people died and 41 million were displaced by the worst flooding in years in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, the annual monsoons far more deadly than in times past. And you thought Houston was horrifying.

The question gets louder by the season: How are we to adjust to what, by all accounts, appears to be a convulsed, fast-dying world? And can we possibly do it quickly enough?

More specifically, should millions of people really be building houses in wildfire-prone areas? On the flood-prone coasts? In feral hurricane zones? If not there, where should we build? Cities are crammed and traffic is a bitch and once the Yellowstone Supervolcano Earthquake Swarm really kicks into gear, it's all moot anyway.

Where to find respite, calm, a slice of peace amidst the human firestorm? Did you know 10 of California's worst wildfires have all occurred in the last 30 years? Did you know the worst, as they say, is yet to come? Personally, I've been aching for a slice of land up in the Napa/Healdsburg region, upon which to build a little modern getaway cabin, for what feels like years, saving and searching, planning and devising (I'm not, as they say, swimming in tech bro money). The wine country fires throw the dream right back at me, tragedy-tinged and deeply wary. Are you sure?

But it's not really a question of money – at least, not for most of those affected. Of course the wine country will rebuild. The majority of those who lost homes and businesses in the Napa area, particularly the wealthier wine companies, have robust insurance policies and plenty of cash to fall back on (not true, of course, of the countless immigrant laborers and hospitality workers of the area – their fate, like most lower-income labor anywhere in the world, is far more uncertain).

(SF Chronicle)

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It has been said that we may soon have a shortage of contractors and, if so, it may be difficult for homeowners to weed out the good from the bad. The best way is to seek referrals from satisfied friends and neighbors, but also know that there are specific legal requirements for these contracts.

Beware of anyone asking for significant down payments; requiring more than $1,000 is forbidden by law until work starts or materials are delivered. Homeowners are also entitled to a written contract with very specific information that has to be signed by all parties before any work begins. The contract must include a notice that gives the homeowner a full seven days to cancel.

Overall, there is no substitute for researching the contractor; there are good ones who don’t know these rules and bad ones who do. More information on contractors and the rules governing them can be found on the Contractors State License Board’s website,, or by searching California Business & Professions Code Section 759.

Brian Purtill


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by Paul Payne & Mary Callahan

A Santa Rosa couple on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against PG&E, claiming the utility company is responsible for the wildfire that destroyed their Coffey Park home and thousands of others in Sonoma County.

Wayne and Jennifer Harvell allege in the suit filed in San Francisco County Superior Court that PG&E failed to maintain and repair high-voltage power lines, which they say came into contact with drought-dry vegetation, starting the Tubbs fire and several others still burning in Wine Country.

The theory is one of many being examined by investigators searching for the cause of the fires, which started Oct. 8 amid extremely high winds across the region. It is far too early to know what sparked them, said Todd Derum, Cal Fire division chief for Sonoma County.

“We have a team investigating all the fires. They have not concluded their investigations,” Derum said. “We’re looking at all possibilities. There are a whole lot of things to look at.”

A PG&E spokesman, Donald Cutler, did not address specific allegations in the Harvell suit. He said the utility is focused on supporting firefighting efforts and restoring power and gas service as quickly as possible.

“We aren’t going to speculate about any of the causes of the fires and will cooperate with the reviews by any relevant regulator or agency,” Cutler said in an email.

The Tubbs fire spread under extreme wind from Calistoga to Santa Rosa, crossing Highway 101 and into the Harvells’ neighborhood, leveling their home of more than 30 years and destroying more than 2,900 others across the city.

Among other things, the Harvells allege PG&E was negligent for not de-energizing the lines under dangerous conditions. They seek unspecified monetary damages to pay for a new house and to compensate them for loss of “quiet enjoyment of property.”

A lawyer for the Harvells, Bill Robins of Santa Monica, said he believes the suit is the first against the utility stemming from the so-called Wine Country fires. He said hundreds of additional victims were expected to come forward and bring individual suits.

The CalFire investigation will address the possible role of its equipment in sparking the fire, PG&E told investors Friday in a report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Since the fire, PG&E has reported seven incidents of damage to its equipment, such as downed power lines and broken poles. It did not say whether they may have caused or contributed to the fire.

The utility reported it has $800 million in liability insurance for potential losses. It said its financial condition could be “materially affected” if the insurance is insufficient. Damages in Sonoma County alone have been pegged at $3 billion so far.

Last year, a Cal Fire investigation found PG&E was responsible for the 2015 Butte fire, which destroyed 549 homes and killed two people. The fire was sparked by a tree that fell into a power line near the Amador County community of Jackson. The California Public Utilities Commission fined PG&E $8.3 million for the fire, and the utility could be held liable for more than $1 billion in claims damages.

In 2015, regulators fined PG&E $1.6 billion for the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion, which killed eight people.

Burlingame attorney Frank Pitre, a partner with Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, played a lead role in prosecuting civil cases against PG&E arising out of the 2015 Butte fire and the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion, among others. He said he’s been receiving inquiries about the recent fires almost since Day One and is coordinating with three other firms experienced in this type of litigation to collect and organize relevant information, as well as mapping reports of blown transformers and arcing power lines from the point at which the fires started shortly after 9 p.m.

“They just go on and on and on until early in the morning,” Pitre said.

It’s too early to say what caused the fires, he said, but “I have a strong suspicion that there is going to be PG&E involvement in some of the fire,” he said.

Attorneys from outside the area are flocking to Santa Rosa in anticipation of high demand for legal representation, Pitre said.

Andrew Bradt, associate professor of law at Cal Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, said any degree of negligence on the part of PG&E in the current fires would trigger “a tidal wave” of civil cases, both state cases and federal suits on behalf of out-of-state plaintiffs who suffered damage or loss in the North Bay.

He said he considered it “risky” for Robins to start litigation with so much still uncertain, particularly when PG&E already is obligated to preserve all evidence if it so much as anticipates the possibility of litigation. And in this case, he added, the company “certainly should anticipate” that potential.

“This litigation is at its earliest stages, and if PG&E is a plausible defendant, it’s going to be a battle royale,” Bradt said.

The Harvells, like hundreds of others across Santa Rosa, were awakened early Oct. 9 by the smell of smoke and ran outside. Their Mocha Lane neighbors said the fire was burning on the other side of the freeway in Fountaingrove, so they grabbed their pets and a few belongings and drove to Sebastopol to escape what they feared would be heavy smoke only.

Little did they know the fire would shortly jump Highway 101, flattening their neighborhood.

In addition to losing the house where she raised her two sons, Jennifer Harvell lost her wedding dress and engagement ring.

“We never in a million years thought it would jump the highway,” she said.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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1: It was only through a fault and by an error

That I heard the cry I ever shall remember.

The fire sent and cast its burning ember

On another fated city of our land.

Ref: `Fire! Fire!` I heard the cry

From every breeze that passes by.

All the world was one sad cry of `Pity!`

Strong men in anguish prayed,

Calling loud to Heaven for aid,

While the fire in ruin was laying

Fair Baltimore, the beautiful city.

2: Amid an awful struggle of commotion,

The wind blew a gale from the ocean

Brave firemen struggled with devotion,

But their efforts all proved in vain.

(Charlie Poole)

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by David Baker

The fires still burning across Wine Country could pose an existential threat to California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

PG&E's stock price is down 17 percent since Oct. 11, when state fire officials said they would investigate whether PG&E’s power lines, blown by fierce winds, played a role in sparking the fires.

One analyst estimated the company could face liabilities topping $12 billion if investigators blame PG&E. Indeed, what appears to be the first lawsuit faulting PG&E for the fires was filed Tuesday by a Santa Rosa couple who lost their home. The company had just begun to put the deadly 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion — which led to a $1.6 billion fine from state regulators and a criminal conviction — behind it.

State Sen. Jerry Hill, who has pushed to reform PG&E ever since the San Bruno blast, warned that he will try to break up the utility if its negligence caused the fires. The fires have displaced tens of thousands of people, killed at least 41 and incinerated entire neighborhoods of Santa Rosa.

“If we find that in this particular case — and we don’t know the cause yet — then frankly I don’t think PG&E should do business in California anymore,” said Hill, D-San Mateo. “They’ve crossed the line too many times. They need to be dissolved in some way, split.”

The utility’s CEO, Geisha Williams, said in an interview Tuesday that she can’t spend time thinking about that scenario. The utility has 4,300 people restoring electricity and natural gas service across the North Bay, where more than a third of a million customers lost power in the past 10 days. Forty-four PG&E employees or retirees lost their homes to the flames.

“I am so focused on responding right now to the outages, restoring power and gas, helping Cal Fire, helping our community rebuild — it’s too early to focus on that,” Williams said.

The fires, she said, also point to a larger threat — a warming world.

Williams noted the hurricanes, fueled by warm oceans, that crippled Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico this year, as well as the long drought in California that was followed by powerful rains and vegetation growth. Usually foggy San Francisco hit 106 degrees in September, a record.

“When you think about all these things together, you have to ask yourself what are the right climate strategies we need?” Williams said. “It’s not, ‘Oh, we need to trim more trees.’”

Yet California’s top utility regulator warned Tuesday that while the state has periodically toughened safety standards for power lines and utility poles to prevent wildfires, those changes come at a price.

Placing power lines underground, for example, is expensive, and while it may be safer from windstorms, damage is harder to spot. Broken poles and dangling lines are at least visible.

“The big challenge at the end of this is, how much safety are we willing to pay for?” said Michael Picker, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates PG&E.

Williams said the utility will not conduct its own investigation into the cause of the fires, leaving that primarily to officials with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

The utilities commission’s safety division will conduct its own review and has already asked PG&E to catalog and preserve damaged poles and equipment. The safety division also wants any PG&E emails or memos concerning tree-trimming operations.

“The reality is no one knows what caused the fires yet, and we’re providing our full support to all the reviews that are occurring,” Williams said.

By Monday afternoon, PG&E had identified 1,500 seriously damaged poles and replaced 800 of them.

“It’s very, very early days, and it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg,” Williams said. “What we don’t know is, did our equipment start the fire, or did the fire damage the equipment?”

The utilities commission has also asked telecommunications companies — which sometimes maintain their own wires and poles, and may install equipment on poles owned by electrical utilities — to save materials damaged in the fires.

Telecom hardware, Picker said, can place hundreds of extra pounds on a pole and catch the wind like a sail. A huge 2007 fire in Malibu started when winds knocked over three poles weighted down with such equipment. The commission is trying to create a statewide database of all utility poles and attached gear.

In recent years, Williams said, PG&E has ramped up the amount it spends inspecting, pruning and sometimes removing trees that run alongside its power lines, as well as checking the condition of its utility poles. Utilities are required to keep tree branches at least 4 feet from most power lines.

The company expects to spend nearly $450 million this year on vegetation management around its lines, a figure that includes about $208 million in emergency spending needed because of the drought. Last year, vegetation management spending stood at $430 million, while in 2014, it was $200 million, Williams said.

“I’m confident that those programs are working as designed,” she said.

PG&E’s tree-trimming has not always worked in the past. The 2015 Butte Fire in Amador and Calaveras counties, which killed two people, started after a spindly pine tree leaned into a PG&E power line. Contractors working for PG&E had recently removed two other nearby trees that had kept the pine from leaning toward the line.

Picker said that the commission reviews the utilities’ spending on tree trimming and pole inspections and occasionally does spot checks.

“We sometimes catch them with failures, but again, it’s 4.2 million poles, and we have 18 staff,” he said.

(SF Chronicle)

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I can't do the acrobatic stuff that the deadbeat cat can do, but I've got a few moves that aren't bad: I can catch a frisbie, I can stand up on my hind legs, roll over on command, wear a party hat. So natch Skrag pops up to laugh, "That's it? Pathetic. And you need one of them to do any of it!"

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March 1, 1941 - September 26, 2017

George Lee died suddenly on September 26, 2017, at his home in Yorkville, California. He was a man of vision, passion and compassion, who dedicated his life to healing and helping people everywhere – especially women and children. His passing leaves a deep sadness in his family and friends. Indeed, there are hundreds he touched who are grieving. But through his tireless efforts, many thousands have lived healthier, happier and more secure lives. He truly left the world a better place.

Born on March 1, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York, to George Francis Lee and Winifred Rita Jones, George was the oldest of four brothers and a sister. His family moved to North Chatham, New York, when he was twelve. There, his father passed away, and he met Katherine (Kit) Temple, with whom he would share the rest of his life.

George was the star quarterback of his high school team, captain of the baseball team, and was declared Most Valuable Player at St. John's Academy, graduating with honors and receiving a Regent's Scholarship from the State of New York. In 1959, George entered the Mater Christi Seminary in Albany, New York, then graduated from the Albany Medical College of Union University in Albany, New York, with honors in 1968. He was awarded the Best Bedside Manner, for which he was known throughout his career. He also served as a Captain in U.S. Army Medical Reserves for six years and received an honorable discharge.

George married Kit on August 24, 1963. They welcomed their three children, daughters Barbara and Kelly, and son Douglas, while George was a medical student and resident. In 1969, the family moved to California, where George completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California San Francisco. Remarkably, after a year in private practice he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center. He held this position for nearly 25 years, and served as Vice Chief of Staff, and Director of the Women's Health Center. George was Associate Clinical Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCSF, and was a Visiting Professor in Guangdong Provence, in the People's Republic of China.

George was driven to improve medical care for women and children. He created the Family Birth Place at PPMC. In 1991, he realized his dream to establish a leading medical center that ultimately included the merger of the four oldest San Francisco hospitals into the California Pacific Medical Center. George held key leadership positions at CPMC, as well as numerous appointments with Colleges, Associations, and Organizations, and with Sutter Health. He helped Congress draft the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).

George envisioned and established a cooperative self-insurance model for physicians in San Francisco, and promoted a more patient-centered approach to resolve poor care outcomes. It became a model for the state and nation. He served on the CPMC Board of Directors and on the Board of Trustees of the CPMC Foundation, as well as 38 years as the Financial Director on the Board of Pan-Med, Ltd., and over 40 years as President and CEO of the Physician's Reimbursement Fund, Inc.

George was a trusted and compassionate physician, a thoughtful teacher, a visionary leader, and highly respected colleague and mentor.

In 1977, George and Kit began building the Old Chatham Ranch in Yorkville, California. It was the home of their hearts and it came to glow with the love they poured into it, becoming the center of the family's life and an anchor for the Yorkville community. He established the Mendocino Wine Growers, Inc. and served on the Board of Directors. He also served on committees for the Anderson Valley School Board, and the Anderson Valley Health Center.

George leaves behind a large family, and many dear friends. The family is grateful for the kindness and support everyone has extended. We invite all who cared for or were touched by George to join us to honor him on November 11, 2017. More complete details of George's life and accomplishments, and details of the event to celebrate him are provided at George would urge all of us to hold our loved ones close, and lift our gaze to look for a way to make this a better, kinder and more loving world.

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The AVA’s webmaster found it: “I think I cracked the code on finding the CEO Reports… They appear to be hidden under the rubric: Community/News Releases"


PESTICIDE USE ENFORCEMENT 101 for Cannabis Cultivators — A new item has been added and is ready to view! Please visit the link below to view the content on our site.

Which again, isn’t there. We have no idea where it is. We have asked the County’s “webmaster” to fix this. But we’re not optimistic.

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AT THE END of July of this year, an Elk Grove man, missing since Sunday, July 9, was found dead in his silver 2000 Ford Mustang near mile marker 4 on Highway 128, not far from Highway One. He was found in the trunk of his car, and there were no apparent signs of foul play. The dead man was subsequently identified as 76-year-old James Blanton, an African-American with family and friends in Elk Grove. An autopsy did not reveal cause of death, but the Sheriff's Department said the death did not seem suspicious. A Fort Bragg woman, who'd stopped near the dead man’s car "discovered" Blanton’s remains and called the Sheriff. How she discovered the old man is not known since he was locked in the trunk of his vehicle. Of course the odor of a decomposing corpse would have aroused suspicion even if it were not visible. Blanton's car had been parked off 128 near Highway One for at least two weeks; the CHP had left a ticket on the windshield. Anderson Valley people are still wondering at the circumstances of the man's death.

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Vote By Mail (absentee) Ballots were mailed out to voters on October 10, 2017 and will be available upon request in the County Clerk's Office, for the CONSOLIDATED DISTRICT ELECTION to be conducted on NOVEMBER 7, 2017, according to Susan M. Ranochak, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder. The County Clerk's Office is located in Room 1020 of the County Administration Building located at 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah. If voters who normally vote by mail have not received their vote by mail ballot by Monday, October 23, 2017, please call our office to arrange to receive a replacement ballot.

Susan M. Ranochak would like to remind voters that the last day applications may be received for a Vote By Mail (Absentee) Ballot is 5 p.m. on October 31, 2017. If for any reason a voter will be unable to appear at their polling place and vote on Election Day, November 7, 2017, they may apply for and vote a Vote By Mail Ballot.

We normally begin getting voted ballots back the week after we have mailed them out, we process these ballots on a daily basis. We get our office mail approximately at 11 am on Mondays and 10 am Tuesdays – Fridays. The public is invited to observe this process; normally the last week of October through November 10 will be the highest volume for our office receiving voted ballots.

Below is a list of the Mendocino County Polling Places that will be open from 7 am – 8 pm on Election Day, Tuesday, November 7, 2017

(Click to enlarge)

or additional information please contact the County Clerk’s Office by calling 707 234-6819.

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OVERHEARD IN UKIAH: "My personal choice of execution involves some rope, a quart of bacon grease, and six hungry chihuahuas."

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People who lost their jobs or had their work hours substantially reduced because of the North Bay fires and are not eligible for regular state unemployment benefits can now apply for unemployment benefits under a federal program for disaster victims.

This includes people who are self-employed, don’t have enough work history to get regular state benefits or have exhausted unemployments for any state, according to the Employment Development Department.

To qualify for the federal program, called Disaster Unemployment Assistance, a person also must be unable to work as a direct result of the fires and be able and available for other work unless injured in the disaster.

The program is available for people in Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

Benefits are available for lost income starting this week. They can go up to $450 for 26 weeks, the same limit as for state unemployment benefits.

To qualify, victims must apply by Nov. 16 and file all required paperwork within 21 days of their application.

How much individuals receive depends on their work history. “We look for proof that you were working, self-employed or were scheduled to work, and then you lost that job because of the fires,” EDD spokeswoman Loree Levy said.

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“Legal Advisement”—

My name is Bret Bengston. I am writing this letter to give people the opportunity to aid in the evolution of consciousness, the goal of which is to achieve levels of enlightenment necessary to allow our species to continue to exist in this and other dimensions and realities in this universe.

Through a lifetime of emotional struggles it seemed I had finally managed to perfect the art of living somewhat successfully in this society. I had two young children, rented a three-bedroom house and through my art managed to "bobble by" financially. Approximately a year ago marks the time in which the destruction of my life became irreversible. My partner suffered medical hospitalization resulting in a personality change and possibly brain damage. In brief: we lost our home, our property was repeatedly ransacked and robbed, and our children went to the care of our parents while we struggled to regain balance. We have yet to do so. Through our mental symptoms and drugs we have remained homeless and destitute.

I am currently in custody at the Mendocino County Jail. The last four times I was released I lasted about 30 days, seven days, eight days and now five days, spending from two days to 70 days incarcerated in between. Each time I am released I find myself completely immersed in the insidiously shady world of the less fortunate parts of our community as I tried to rebuild my life. I have been walking a tightrope circus act between gangsters, drug dealers, cops, dirty cops, angels, devils, demons and gods. Personally, I am very radical in my belief system and the core of that belief system is personal liberty along lines that those liberties do not victimize others. Keep that in mind.

I do not believe in incarceration, punishment or violence, however, I do believe in forcing unacceptable victimizing behavior to change.

Through my unrelenting efforts my intellect and spiritual consciousness through so-called "psychosis" and drug use I have attained levels of awareness I never considered possible. Seemingly impossible I have psychically become able to "see" "goods," and "evils," and their creations and their causes in the world. The people around me who have witnessed these unfoldings can only tell you that no matter how "crazy" it sounds, the evidence only supports the things I see and say.

I am using caution with the larger things I can see because of the ramifications of them but I am maturing to the point that I know that they are not only my responsibility, but ours collectively. The scale of these insights range from grandiose to nearly insignificant as well as their remedies and causes, also inconsistently relevant. But believe me, the functions I am referring to effect an enormous ways the amount of joy or suffering in life and death in this world.

Please do not fret in fear for I have been safeguarded thus far and the entities or forces supporting me are inherently safeguarded themselves. I am only a threat to ignorance and stagnation. Like minds could only love me. I am the proof of all of these things and proof abounds around me. I do not seek help in my observations or conclusions. However, I am but a fresh sprout of consciousness in this universe and I crave support and love. I want you to know that I will never give up in my efforts to change and enlighten the world.

If you want to help I will share with you what I can. Come visit me or contact me if you seek help, want to know more, or wish to support or help me. Call the jail for visitor information for how to send support, or contact me on facebook, messenger, or Instagram @BretBengston or write me at Bret Bengston, 951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah 95482. Please share this letter if you wish. I extend my love to all consciousness. I invite any who wish to come to me for any reason they please. I do not think I could let you down.


Bret Bengston


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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 18, 2017

Caster, Contreras, Elder

EVAN CASTER, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

RICARDO CONTRERAS, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.

PEDER ELDER, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

Flora, Garcia, Guevara

SHARREEN FLORA, Ukiah. County parole violation.

ROBINSON GARCIA, Fort Bragg. Willful cruelty to child with possible injury or death.

JOSHUA GUEVARA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

Hoisington, Long, Martin

ANTHONY HOISINGTON, Ukiah. Community Supervision violation.

LINDA LONG, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

WILLIAM MARTIN, Sacramento/Ukiah. Counterfeiting, controlled substance, false compartment, paraphernalia, syringe/hypo needle, parole violation.

Munoz, Ordonez-Restrepo, Ortiz-Cuesta

MARCO MUNOZ, Ukiah. DUI causing bodily injury.

FAUSTO ORDONEZ-RESTREPO, Willits. Probation revocation.

MATEO ORTIZ-CUESTA, Mendocino. Domestic abuse. Domestic abuse.

Parrish, Seigler, Smith

DONAVAN PARRISH, Ukiah. Disoderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation.

CHRISTINE SEIGLER, Ukiah. Disoderly conduct-alcohol.

JENNIFER SMITH, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

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THE ONLY SURPRISE concerning the exposure of Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein as a serial abuser of women is that anybody could possibly be surprised. We are after all talking about a town, industry and culture which not only produces monsters it goes out of its way to cultivate and worship them. — John Wight

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The automobile is simply too seductive. It is the CHIEF:

  1. Aesthetic possession (art)
  2. Mode of entropy creation (Energy)
  3. stimulating activity (mental)
  4. Status symbol (prestige)
  5. Prosthetic device (wheelchair, essentially)
  6. Economic driver (roads, service stations parts labor etc.)

Everything is sacrificed for it. Everything. It takes your money, divides and destroys your civic life, and sucks everything into its maw, the atmosphere, the web of life, the environment.

The properties of Lead and its toxicity were well known but they put it in gasoline anyway. MTBE, similarly.

Its made people weak in body and mind

Can anyone seriously argue against any of these points?

* * *

I HAVE FOUR SUGGESTIONS that Hollywood (and our greater society) should act on immediately:

  1. Put all abusers on notice NOW: You know who you are, and scores of your employees, past and present, know who you are. You need to step down before they bring you down. There is nowhere left to hide. Your years of attacking and intimidating women are over. You have only two options: 1) Resign now, or 2) face an army of women and men who are going to take you out of power. You have seen this week what has happened to the most powerful, most well-known executive in Hollywood. You're next. Turn yourself in, or go far, far away to a place where you can no longer harm more women.
  2. To those abusers who ignore the above warning and choose to stay in power because you think that this is all going to die down and blow over -- and that you are going to get to continue to get away with your behavior -- let me explain to you in clearer language how this is all going to end for you:

Every one of your employees is now a documentary filmmaker. Thanks to the invention of the smartphone that has a built-in camera and voice recorder, every single one of your workers now carries in their pocket the ability to secretly record or film you and your harassment. And they will. They will post your crimes. You will be exposed, publicly shamed and hopefully removed. Avoid this cruel end by resigning now.

  1. To the men who do treat women as equals and behave toward them with respect and dignity: This is your moment! Confront the abusive men at work. When you see something, you must say something. No more ignoring and turning away when you see women being harassed and intimidated in the workplace. This is on us. MEN, step forward, NOW!
  2. The boards of directors of the Hollywood studios -- and all across corporate America -- must declare gender parity the new priority. Fifty-percent of all boards must be female. Hiring multiple female executives is the mandate. Of the top 100 grossing films each year, an average of only TWO are directed by women! All studios must commit to greenlighting more films by women (and, needless to say, by African Americans and other neglected groups).

These are short term actions that can happen now. But I want to point out that there is also a fundamental fix that MUST occur in the long run if there is ever to be any real change. We must reform our broken economic system and transform it into one that is equitable and democratic, one where the gap between rich and poor is eliminated so that no longer do a few wealthy men hold the power.

We need to create a new economy where women and men have the same opportunities and are paid the same, an economy that no longer condemns generations to poverty and where their only option is to serve at the pleasure and the whim of the rich. We need businesses and workplaces that are owned and operated by their employees in a country where democracy is not just a word we mouth but an actual way of living -- at work, at school, in our neighborhoods and in our daily lives. A democratic economy is a must if we are ever going to be able to deny white men their major weapon of abuse -- the fear of financial insecurity -- that they have used against women for eons. This is our mission for the long haul, the big picture that must be addressed and changed. We must ALL commit to doing this. I believe our collective conscience will ultimately settle for nothing less, and the result will be a better world.

— Michael Moore

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Saturday, Oct. 28. No cost to enter the contest! 50% off admission to the Pumpkin Night Party (see details below) if you enter by Oct 25! To Enter The Contest:

1. Complete an entry form online at or fill one out at the Garden's gift shop

2. Carve or design a spooky or spectacular pumpkin(s)

3. Deliver your pumpkin creation(s) to the Gardens between 12:00PM and 3:00PM on Saturday, October 28 and retrieve your discount voucher(s) for the Pumpkin Night Party.

4. Get dressed up in your Halloween best and join us for the Pumpkin Night party after 5:30PM on Saturday, October 28 for some spooky games, haunting music, and fall treats.

Admission is $10 for adults; FREE for children ages 16 and under. Winners will be announced at 7:00PM (do not need to be present to win) as well as on the Gardens' website, Facebook, and Instagram page. Entry forms are available at The Garden Store and online at Prizes will be awarded in four categories: Adult (age 18 and up) Teen (ages 13-17) Kid (ages 7-12) Kid (ages 6 and under)

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Kick-Off Party: Friday, Oct. 27th 5-7pm

Come Write In: Saturdays 12-5

During the month of November, the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting programs for teens and adults for National Novel Writing Month.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a nonprofit event that encourages kids, teens & and adults to tackle the challenge of writing a novel in November. Launched in 1999, NaNoWriMo inspires its 300,000+ participants with pep talks, a huge and supportive online community, and a host of web-based writing tools.

Get a head start & join us at the Ukiah Branch Library to kick-off NaNoWriMo on Friday, Oct. 27th from 5-7 pm. Get motivated with plot buddies, brainstorming, creative prompts and word sprint challenges along with door prizes.

Every Saturday in November from 12-5, come write in to our meeting space to write, reflect, engage with other writers in the community, and enjoy FREE COFFEE to stir your creative juices.

If you are interested in the program or want to find out more about NaNoWriMo, please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or

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featuring Iris Jamahl Dunkle!

(Open Mic follows)

Saturday, October 21st 3 pm

Join us for a reading with Iris Jamahl Dunkle, Sonoma County’s Poet Laureate! Open mic follows. Teens & adults are invited to share poems in any form or style.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle is the 2016-2017 Poet Laureate of Sonoma County, CA. Her second poetry collection, There’s a Ghost in this Machine of Air, is about the untold history of Sonoma County, CA, and was published in November 2015 by Word Tech Editions. Her third collection, Interrupted Geographies, will be published by Trio House Press in 2017. Her debut poetry collection, Gold Passage, was selected by Ross Gay to win the 2012 Trio Award and was published by Trio House Press in 2013. Her chapbooks Inheritance and The Flying Trolley were published by Finishing Line Press in 2010 and 2013. Her poetry, essays and creative non-fiction have been published widely in numerous publications including Fence, Calyx, Catamaran, Poet’s Market 2013, JMWW. and Chicago Quarterly Review. Of note, her poem “How to Cope in a New Landscape” was a finalist for the The New Guard’s Knightville Poetry Contest and her poem “The Trick of Sound” was a finalist for the Yalobusha Review’s Yellowood Poetry Prize. Her essay, “Yellow Dahlias” was nominated for a pushcart prize. She is currently writing a new biography of Jack London’s wife, Charmian Kittredge London. Dunkle teaches writing and literature at Napa Valley College and is on the staff of the Napa Valley Writers conference. She received her B.A. from the George Washington University, her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University, and her Ph.D. in American Literature from Case Western Reserve University. She currently resides with her family in Northern California.

Light refreshments will be served. For more information – please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or

A feminist epic by Diane di Prima, LOBA is a visionary epic quest for the reintegration of the feminine, hailed by many as the great female counterpart to Allen Ginsberg's Howl when the first half appeared in 1978. Loba, "she-wolf" in Spanish explores the wilderness at the heart of experience, through the archetype of the wolf goddess, elemental symbol of complete self-acceptance.

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by Manuel Vicent (translated by Louis S. Bedrock)

Dawn brought a radiant sun on that June 28 of 1914 in Baden Baden, according to Stefan Zweig. It was the day before the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul and many middle class Austrians, happy and optimistic, had decided to spend the holiday at that spa which appeared to have been raised only for pleasure of the spirit.

An orchestra of strings and brass played a waltz underneath the perfumed lime trees of the park. Some revelers gambled at the roulette tables of the casino and others, with sun hats or white hats, followed by children decked out in bright colored clothing, crossed the small cast iron bridges that connected the gardens on either side of the River Oos.

In the middle of this perfect harmony, all of a sudden the orchestra stopped playing. Some music listeners surrounded a police officer who at that moment was staring at a nearby notice board that announced the news that the Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and his wife had been assassinated in Sarajevo by Gravilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist who was fighting for the independence of his country against Austria.

No one attached much importance to that event and so the waltz sounded again, beginning with the same beat that had been interrupted—and the happy bourgeoisie continued showing off their exquisite manners from their easy chairs.

No one could explain how war broke out, but suddenly, that mirror of evanescent happiness broke into pieces and a few weeks later those courteous and peaceful people of Baden Baden were drunk with blood. It was impossible to maintain a sensible conversation with old friends who had become blind patriots, unionists, or fanatical advocates for independence.

—Whoever is not capable of hating is not capable of truly loving —said some people.

That war, which nobody wanted, produced a ghastly carnage that left millions dead.

Sarajevo: The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne and his wife. Illustration by Achille Beltrame (Getty Images)

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A Brief History of Washington D.C.'s Olive Branch Catholic Worker House

Just sitting here in my room in San Francisco, remembering the five times I was at Washington D.C.'s Olive Branch Catholic Worker House at 11th & M Streets in the Shaw neighborhood, beginning in June of 1991. Initially, the district's Catholic Worker group moved out to a more comfortable location, and then claimed that they had succeeded mightily by turning over the house to the homeless whom they had taken in, thus doubling in size the Washington D.C. Catholic Worker group, housing formerly homeless individuals, and pulling off a small miracle essentially.  Reality is that the group did in fact move to a more comfortable house in a higher income neighborhood. Otherwise, the Olive Branch Catholic Worker House was a crack house! The previously homeless residents never joined with the Catholic Worker volunteers who showed up to volunteer at Zacchaeus Kitchen, and who were initially unaware of the crazy situation in the house. If that weren't bad enough, an assortment of feminists moved in, taking advantage of the rent free living situation, and none of them gave a shit about anything spiritual at all, and they did no service work. The ensuing chaos from their aggravating anti-social behavior, (supposedly appropriate to uplift downtrodden women everywhere) made the house rat population look friendly. At war with the crackheads, the punk bitches moved out and the rats stayed.  And then something actually worthwhile happened around April 16, 2000. For three days thousands shut down Washington D.C. in protest of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund policies. We had the Midnight Special Law Collective in the front room downstairs. We had a media center set up two blocks away in Blagden Alley in an artist collective studio. We housed an endless stream of direct action oriented radical environmentalists and the black bloc. We shut down Washington D.C. for three days and informed the whole world about the global situation of materialism's insanity. Finally, the Olive Branch Catholic Worker House was important. I guess Jesus just woke up!!  Later, the house was used by anarchists to challenge Washington D.C. city government insofar as the mistreatment of the homeless population was concerned. Eventually, the Metropolitan Police Department raided the house, tossed everyone out onto the sidewalk, boarded up the front door, and pressured the owner into selling the building. Currently, the building is divided up into condominiums. Jesus moved out. We don't know where He went

Craig Louis Stehr

San Francisco




  1. Jim Armstrong October 19, 2017

    I wonder why five of the eight confirmed fatalities from the Redwood/Potter Valleys fire are still unidentified or at least publicly so.

    • james marmon October 19, 2017

      The headline says 5 have been identified but I count all 8.

      Kai Logan Shepherd
      Steve Bruce Stelter
      Janet Kay Constanzo
      Jane Gardiner
      Elizabeth Charlene Foster
      Margaret Stephenson
      Roy Howard Bowman
      Irma Elsie Bowman

      “Mendocino County Sheriff’s officials have identified five of the eight people who died in the fire that burned through Redwood and Coyote valleys east of Willits, destroying more than 300 homes and forcing thousands of residents to flee.”

      • Jim Armstrong October 19, 2017

        Thanks James.

  2. George Hollister October 19, 2017

    “Elk Grove man, missing since Sunday, July 9, was found dead in his silver 2000 Ford Mustang near mile marker 4 on Highway 128”

    I know no comment was made on the apparent SO press release, because no comment is necessary. But I am one who makes comments, even when it is clear no comment is necessary.

    For those of us in Mendocino County who do not routinely lock ourselves into the trunk of our car, we are left wondering about the possibilities for those who do. Yes, it is possible, that the old man from Elk Grove locked himself into his car trunk because he felt he needed a nap. Maybe he felt safe there. And it is possible that he felt comfortable doing this, and knew how to easily get out when he awakened. In this case he didn’t. The SO did not elaborate, and probably, as policy, is not going to. But speaking for those in Mendocino County who would never consider locking ourselves in a car trunk, and don’t know anyone who does, this situation does not seem right.

    • Harvey Reading October 19, 2017

      This is one of those odd occasions when I share your viewpoint, George.

      • Harvey Reading October 19, 2017

        In fact, though I have on a few occasions locked myself out of my car entirely, I have never had the slightest inclination to climb into my trunk, let alone climb in and lower the lid. I await further details on this incident…

        Maybe the guy was reaching for something near the front of the trunk and fell into the trunk cavity, just as the trunk lid support spring, or “gas-shock support” failed, causing the lid to fall rapidly, and to lock, thus trapping the fellow. Strange things happen to old men. Take it on faith from me regarding the last assertion. Or, ask some other old fart.

    • Betsy Cawn October 20, 2017

      I too cannot fathom the determination made by the Sheriff’s Office that there is nothing “suspicious” about Mr. Blanton’s final disposition in the locked trunk of his car, “old fart” mishaps notwithstanding.

  3. Jim Updegraff October 19, 2017

    RE: contractors – where are the subcontractors and laborers going to come from and where will they live? It is hardly a secret many of the laborers in CA are undocumented (a contractor friend of mine who has a large contracting business told me 70% of his laborers are undocumented.)

    • Jeff Costello October 19, 2017

      It’s near impossible to see a roofing crew that isn’t Hispanic and probably undocumented.

  4. Jim Updegraff October 19, 2017

    New report on obesity: 40% of adults and 20% of young people are obese!!! Clearly we are going to have a health crisis in the not distant future.

    • Jeff Costello October 19, 2017

      It’s already a crisis when 300 pounders block the whole aisle in a supermarket. And many of them are too fat to walk and have to use wheelchairs. It shouldn’t be necessary to describe the food they’re buying.

      • Marco McClean October 19, 2017

        It may not be necessary but it’s considered polite, the sort of thing one should just do without needing one’s elbow nudged. Hmpf.

        It’s not too late.

  5. BB Grace October 19, 2017

    I don’t want to live on the grid anymore. I want the right to be free from the grid.

    • james marmon October 20, 2017

      Let’s buy a piece of property together, how much money do you have?

      • Harvey Reading October 20, 2017

        You two should just have your phone(land and radio)service, water/sewer service, electrical service, etc, turned off and then quit whining. Oh, don’t forget to toss any computers you have, or at least cancel any Internet provider service you have. Plus, close all bank accounts and cancel any credit cards. Then, you’ll be set…for a life of ignorance. Enjoy.

        • Harvey Reading October 20, 2017

          Oh, and if you have any late-model motor vehicles, get rid of them. Many have built-in tracking systems that connect you with … the grid. Paranoid idiots!

  6. Harvey Reading October 20, 2017

    Did he fall into the trunk before or after taking them?

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