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Mendocino County Today: Friday, Oct. 20, 2017

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Mendocino Lake Complex - Coroner's Office Release #2


  • Kai Logan Shepherd (14 year-old male from Redwood Valley, CA)
  • Roy Howard Bowman (87 year-old male from Redwood Valley, CA)
  • Irma Elsie Bowman (88 year-old female from Redwood Valley, CA)
  • Steve Bruce Stelter (56 year-old male from Redwood Valley, CA)
  • Janet Kay Costanzo (71 year-old female from Redwood Valley, CA)
  • Jane Gardiner (83 year-old female from Redwood Valley, CA)
  • Elizabeth Charlene Foster (64 year-old female from Redwood Valley, CA)
  • Margaret Stephenson (86 year-old female from Redwood Valley, CA)
  • (Sheriff/Coroner Press Release)

On 10-13-2017 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Division was able to identify three of the eight persons located thus far who died during the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire which started during the early morning hours of 10-09-2017.

The first three fatalities identified were:

  1. Kai Logan Shepherd (14 year-old male from Redwood Valley, CA) was found near his family residence in the 11300 block of West Road in Redwood Valley. It appears he was attempting to evacuate the area on foot when he was overtaken by the fire.
  2. Roy Howard Bowman (87 year-old male from Redwood Valley, CA) was found in the burnt remains of his residence in the 4000 block of Fisher Lake Drive in Redwood Valley. The residence was completely destroyed by the fire.
  3. Irma Elsie Bowman (88 year-old female from Redwood Valley, CA) was found in the burnt remains of her residence in the 4000 block of FisherLake Drive in Redwood Valley. The residence was completely destroyed by the fire.

(Roy Howard Bowman and Irma Elsie Bowman were a married couple.)

On 10-19-2017 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Division was able to identity the remaining five persons who died during the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire which started during the early morning hours of 10-09-2017.

The identifications were made from dental records with the assistance of Doctor (Dentist) Jim Wood who is the District 2 California State Assembly-member.

The identifications made were as follows:

  1. Steve Bruce Stelter (56 year-old male from Redwood Valley, CA) was found near a vehicle outside his residence in the 11300 block of West Road in Redwood Valley. It appeared he was preparing the vehicle to be used to evacuate the area when he was overtaken by the fire. The residence was completely destroyed by the fire.
  2. Janet Kay Costanzo (71 year-old female from Redwood Valley, CA) was found in the burnt remains of the residence she shared with her boyfriend, Steve Bruce Stelter, in the 11300 block of West Road in Redwood Valley. The residence was completely destroyed by the fire.
  3. Jane Gardiner (83 year-old female from Redwood Valley, CA) was found in the burnt remains of her residence she shared with her caregiver, Elizabeth Charlene Foster, in the 12500 block of Tomki Road in Redwood Valley. The residence was completely destroyed by the fire.
  4. Elizabeth Charlene Foster (64 year-old female from Redwood Valley, CA) was found in the burnt remains of the residence she shared with Jane Gardiner in the 12500 block of Tomki Road in Redwood Valley. The residence was completely destroyed by the fire.

Jane Gardiner and Elizabeth Charlene Foster had telephoned Gardiner's step-son on 10-09-2017 at approximately 0130 hours. During the telephone conversation the step-son was told there was fire all around the residence and the pair were awaiting evacuation by the fire department.

  1. Margaret Stephenson (86 year-old female from Redwood Valley, CA) was found in the burnt remains of her residence in the 12800 block of Tomki Road in Redwood Valley. It appeared she was evacuating through the residence's garage when she was overtaken by the fire. The residence was completely destroyed by the fire.

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by Edward Dick

(Author’s intro: My wife and I and our son were the only civilians on Tomki Road during the period of "mandatory evacuation." This is our story from my perspective. We still have no phone service. Although AT&T has given us a cell phone, there is no cell service in our canyon. We have no internet service. This comes to you from the Ukiah library. I served five years as Licensed Local Pastor with the Methodist Church in Philo.)

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A neighbor was rapping on our door knocker while my wife and I slept Sunday night. Philo, our eight month old Westy pup, too slept, assuming that the raucous activity would not interrupt our dreams. “Ed, you’d better get out here!” I got a bathrobe and opened the door. “Look over there!” I could see the night sky glowing red at the mountain rim horizon to the southeast, and also to the south. It was 1:30 am. “You got to get out of here, the fire is just over the ridge!” We’ve lived in this house now five years; I had spent ten years building it from standing timber, my wife with advancing Alzheimer’s, our adult son living 1000 feet to the south in the cabin in which he grew up — we were loathe to leave. We walked to our son’s cabin. He was up. And we shared what news we had, mostly from the community radio station. We all knew that we were in a mandatory evacuation area, and that our son said that he was not leaving. We told him we would take the back road to Willits — with seven stream crossings.

We were told that many cars were lining the road at the top—the two wheels drive vehicles, unable to traverse the “road.” We loaded our Subaru Outback with our “one carload” survival/save items, turned our goats loose, left our aged “Woofie,” and took Philo. We drove over the top, passing 20 to 50 cars parked along the one lane dirt road. We saw one woman sitting in her car, and we asked if she would like a ride to Willits. She did not, and told us of many who had left their cars and had gotten into the back of four wheel drive pickups to evacuate.

We drove comfortably through the water holes, over and around the boulders of the non-maintained stream crossings, past a CHP car parked at the base of Tomki Road five miles east of Willits on the Hearst Road. We waved, and he did too.

We drove on into Willits to the evacuation center announced on the radio next to the police station. At the evacuation center there was coffee brewing, but not yet brewed, hot water for tea, and tables around which 50 to 75 people sat or stood, many experiencing shock. I brought in the food and fruit juice we had packed, and my guitar.

We stayed in the evacuation center for about six hours with no idea if our home had survived. During this time, many additional people arrived, including the 20 or so Monks from the Abhayaguiry Buddhist Monastery to the north of our home. Three generations of a family winery less than two miles south of us were there, and we heard that the winery, the office, and many surrounding residences had all burned, but that maybe the main residence had not. A trailer from Red Cross arrived about dawn, and supplies, cots, and blankets were being unloaded.

Our son, remaining on the mountain, and the irreplaceable home I had built, including historical Spanish Civil War posters, and a piano on which I had learned to play during our five years there, drew us to decide to return home, and face what came, on the ground.

This region was under mandatory evacuation which caused us concerns regarding the CHP Officer we had passed by on our way out. Coming from the unexpected direction, he was caught unawares, and as we drove past him, I waved, and he waved back. Upon our arrival home in the morning daylight, we could see where the fire lines were advancing on the opposite side of our canyon from the East, and could see the glow to the South, with the fire almost not moving.

We were told that 40 mile per hour winds, and more, had rushed up Tomki Road giving people only minutes to abandon their homes. But the winds never came up much beyond the winery that burned. As we have discussed this matter since, there are seldom sustained winds in the bottom of this canyon, mostly only up on the ridges. So the firestorm that had taken so many of our neighbors’ homes, and several lives, was basically over by the time we had awoke, and a gentle, slowly moving fire without control, continued to burn during the following week during which our neighbors were all gone under “mandatory evacuation.”

On this first day “back,” we were visited by Sheriff’s Deputies who told us that we must leave, that the fire was advancing over both ridges (from the Potter Valley fire on our East, and the Redwood Valley fire, from our South, and West). We had been in continuing discussion with our son, who was adamant about staying, and occasional discussions with fire technicians regarding defensible space, and we were issued a poster stapled to our fence indicating our presence, the availability of 2500 gallons of water, and “100 feet of defensible space.” This poster pretty much determined that our residence would survive, absent the arrival of heavy winds which would force the fire into the forest’s over-story, and create a firestorm which would not be survivable for anything.

We were visited twice more by representatives of the Sheriff’s department who told us we had to leave, that we would otherwise be killed, and that I was “selfish,” requiring their time to deal with us, the effect of which was that other’s homes would burn, and deaths would come which would be on my head.

I confirmed that I was being selfish, that God had been good to me, that I thought I had been good to God, and that I was OK with meeting my maker. A friend from Church who was with the Sheriff’s Deputy asked if he could speak to Ina, my wife, and I said, Of course, and he tried to convince her to return to Ukiah and stay the night in their home. Ina affirmed that she could not leave.

Having decided we would be staying, we began preparations to fight the fire, always slowly advancing, and to sustain our home absent electricity or any means of communicating with the outside world. Our water line over the mountain had not yet been burned by the fire, so we began filling garbage cans and five gallon buckets and placing them on all sides of our home and barn. Having built the home with some idea of defending it from a forest fire, it was fairly defensible, but the barn, sided in old dry wood, would be a bigger problem, particularly if the fire from the east came aggressively. I hosed down the sides of the barn, as long as the water supply remained. A fire technician suggested I cut some additional trees from the mountain along the west side of our home, and I began that process.

Through Tuesday, there were few firefighters available, just the local department, and then a crew from Anderson Valley, 75 minutes away, showed up.

A huge fire had been and was raging through Santa Rosa, a sizable city 75 miles to the South, and it was to there that available units were deployed at that time.

On Tuesday we got a fire crew of inmates from Chamberlin Creek who continued the work I had begun, moving the forest line an additional 15 feet from my home. I got a generator operating to save our freezer and refrigerator, using only extension cords, so that firefighting persons would not be jeopardized by an unexpected alive electrical system. We had about eight gallons of gasoline, so I monitored the temperature in the freezer closely, and ran the generator only part of the time.

I had been sleeping one to two hours at a time, watching the fire advance, going and consulting with our son, cooking us meals, talking with the increasing number of firefighting technicians. Our dog Philo was never more than three feet from me. Regarding the fear of a firestorm, one technician said: “If you see us all driving out of here, take a hint.”

We had the car ready to drive at a moment’s notice.

Tuesday evening I saw a great redness to our South, and I went to investigate. Walking about a quarter mile to our South, I saw T. & K.’s house ablaze up the mountainside. Walking up their driveway, I could see the joists in the wall still burning. A bookseller, T. had thousands of books that added to the inferno.

I could see the slow-moving ground fire continuing toward our home to the North.

I walked up the next property’s long driveway where fire moved on beyond T. & K.’s. I had a shovel in my hands and I knew that I could possibly defend H.’s home, not yet burning, but being approached from a fire that seemed to wrap itself around the west side of his home. But Ina was at our home, and I could not stay and defend that home.

Across the street from our son’s home was a local engine with crew waiting, and I told them what I had seen. The driver said “I’m not taking this unit up that drive.” The drive was six feet wide, 15 or 20% slope, about 1,000 yards long, and no turnaround for a vehicle the size of a firetruck.

Our son was working with a firefighter directing the fire and completing a burn off on the mountain across the creek from his cabin. I consulted with him, shared our love, and went home to Ina. Sleeping for a half hour to an hour at a time, as the fire clearly was getting closer, I saw the burst of red that was H.’s home going up, and awaited the blaze.

At about 3:30 am Wednesday morning, the fire came gently down to our home, burning along the ground, but not getting into the over-story much. I was concerned about a tanoak that had come down a year ago, which I had cut up for its firewood, but much of the smaller limbs were there and dry.

The Chamberlin Creek Inmate crew had pulled some of it out the previous day, and it did not flame so much that the over story would ignite. The breeze was gentle, and often seemed to be blowing back into the fire. I thanked God for its gentleness and contemplated those who had lost so much, and my own attachments. Standing beside me watching the fire was a firefighter from Anderson Valley.

The next days brought a host of firefighters from throughout the West. Contracting fire crews from Oregon, Arizona, Utah, and Fire Department crews from all over California, the always present CalFire crews, US Forest Service, supervised inmate crews from several additional facilities around Northern California, and heavy equipment contractors brought bulldozers on semi flatbeds that occupied the open meadow to our North.

During the days, helicopters, and planes, including large jets brought and dropped water and retardant, as the slow but stubborn fire continued to burn into, and around, the Monastery to our North East.

Because of that determined fight to save the main facilities of the monastery and the homes on the east side of the canyon, the mountain to our east never fully burned, which meant that our barn was not in significant jeopardy. Also, as the resources continued to be deployed (there were several thousand firefighters in our several square miles), the heavy work of putting in fire lines with bent shovels called “Rhinos” and other tools, shovels, mattocks, fire hoes, et al., meant that my contribution was keeping an eye on the burned areas around our home, and our neighbor’s.

Fire encroached my next neighbor’s home several times, and my seeing it and alarming a close by fire crew stopped it before it could reach the combustible cabin. The fire crews could not see everything always.

After the fire had burned past our house, we had gentle days with full night’s sleep, with myriad opportunities to show and express our appreciation for all the personnel coming our way. Half a dozen women worked in the crews, particularly CalFire, and we expressed our special appreciation to a woman Captain. We have dozens of signatures of firefighters, including inmates, in our home’s guestbook.

Only just before the mandatory evacuation was lifted for our area, did I venture to the burned area one and a half to three and a half miles south of us.

The devastation was incredible. It looked like a scene from war. Chimneys, sheet metal appliances, burned out vehicles were all that remained for long stretches. Occasionally a house would have survived, usually because of non-burnable landscaping. Black and white tree stems spoke of a once-forest. The place I had driven past for 30 years was un-recognizable.

Because my wife and my son and I remained in the area with a mandatory evacuation, we could not return if we left. We therefore spent the week incommunicado. Phones were out. We had discontinued our satellite internet service a month earlier, which could have kept us and our families connected since we had a generator. Cell towers were burned, but in our canyon, there has never been much cell service.

Late in the week, I saw a fire technician using a handheld device and asked him if I could call a family member. This then was the first word our family had that we were there, our house was secure, and we were safe. Fire crews carried our gasoline can into town, and brought us gas for our generator. We had enough eggs and milk to last the week. Our garden continued to produce fresh tomatoes, squash, and collards, so with our freezer, we ate well all week.

Midweek drinking water was given us which was great, as our water was reduced to the garbage cans we had filled before the water lines along the mountain were burned. Today, Thursday, the third day since mandatory evacuation was lifted, we put in a new water line on the mountain, and things are nearly back to normal. Phone service has not yet been restored, but we got a cell, and can make calls when we drive out off of Tomki.

The Sheriff’s Deputy said that I was selfish for staying. My friend’s house would not be here if we had not, my son’s surely would not be. Ina and I were able to care for each other with relatively little stress. We had a great deal of control over the immediate circumstances of our life, and we were not traumatized.

I was selfish. I would advise that people prepare for the potential for wildfire, and then consider carefully, the circumstances under which they might consider defying mandatory evacuation. There are aspects to functioning as a community which our society does not, in its pseudo-connectedness through facebucks, allow itself to look at, let alone see. Certainly mandatory evacuation is required in some circumstances. I don’t know that our civil authorities have a sophisticated understanding of just what those circumstances are.

As our Nation continues to blindly pursue war to obtain freedom from terror, the occasion of hearing the declaration that the Emperor Has No Clothes is pitifyingly rare. Consider.

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I read today that the fire sprinkler topic is under the direction of the Community Development committee. It was on the agenda for 9/27/16, which was cancelled. The next meeting of this committee focused on the mural competition, and the following meeting was about the Bee Friendly City idea.

I urge you to stop ignoring this extremely important matter, and deal with it where it belongs, with the CC and perhaps the Public Safety Committee, so it can be seriously addressed. What is the point of painting murals on structures without sprinkler systems? Bees won't fare too well either, if FB suffers the same fate as Santa Rosa. Nor will the FB public. The town cannot prosper without a solution to this issue. Perhaps the grant-writing staff can focus on finding grants to help cover installation costs.

Most of the commercial property now for sale and there are many many listings, is run down and needs expensive renovation, and adding the burden of sprinkler systems on buyers, is discouraging folks from investing here.

Please do not use the onset of the rainy season as excuse to ignore this crucial public safety concern. With global warming, the threat of more serious fires in California will only increase.

Alice & Douglas Chouteau

Fort Bragg

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Unnamed Special Interests Slide Past Public Scrutiny Like Greased Pigs

by Rex Gressett

Last Monday came on an off week for the Fort Bragg City Council, instead they scheduled two special public meetings. The first at 5:00 the second following at 6:00. Both were choreographed by local impresario Lindy Peters also the Mayor. The Mayor is really blossoming as a performer. As a Mayor not so much. Both productions were happy events staged for the benefit of prospective voters. The town is still scratching its collective head. The City Council played their assigned roles flawlessly with convincing sincerity and very few comments indeed. The script was by Development Director Marie Jones .

In the first act, at 5:00 Phil the headhunter got to meet the city of Fort Bragg. He is tasked with the herculean impossibility of replacing the Ruffing. Good luck.

In the second more important 6:00 o’clock act a unknown handful of local businesses known to the City Council but whose names have been kept from the public got another green light in a move that blows past the long stated intentions of the people of the city of the region and permits the division of the greatest undeveloped property on the California coast to allow small private industrial parcels. It was a move that might well seal the fate of the mill site. They called the Marie Jones survey a workshop but practically speaking all it did was ratify the proposed Local Coastal Amendment. The Coastal Commission paid our Development Department 150 thousand dollars to finance a sense of popular vision . The Development Department is using the money the way they think best.

As many as 5 local business owners certainly including North Coast Brewery are in negotiation with GP and simultaneously in discussion with the City Council. The other four enterprises eyeing the mill site are known to the City Council the Development Department and the Planning Commission. None of these estimable public agencies feel that they need to disclose this sensitive information to the public. That there are four businesses looking at the mill and that they are in negotiations with GP and in conversation with the city council is not exactly secrete, they are just not making a big deal and they are not being explicit.

A few months ago the City Council under Linda Ruffing's direction dumped the old Specific Plan and adopted in its stead the Local Coastal Amendment (to the Coastal Development Code) . This form of city zoning was intended for wholly different circumstances than a giant gem of coastline but it’s adoption made the GP millsite accessible to small local businesses with minimal further discussion The council made that momentous alteration in direction very quietly. The subsequent survey and public workshop under the pretense of community brainstorming effectively ratified what the council had already committed themselves to do in the LCA. At the workshop the new deal was displayed in elaborate colored maps. Suggestions for different versions were solicited. It was public participation expertly canned and delivered.

The Monday night special meeting could be a critical nail in the mill site "vision" coffin. The businesses that will subdivide the site will pay for their own electric and sewer connections. The city can forget about the hassle of providing services to anybody else. All in all its the cheapest and certainly easiest way. Dreamers have speculated that development on the mill site might pay for the development of Fort Bragg water infrastructure expansion or perhaps defray sewer modernization costs. 900 participants endorsed the premises of the LCA in Marie Jones Trojan survey. Under that scenario investment in broad local infrastructure would not happen.

The council and in the city administration are counting on it that you will just be thrilled to see them at long last doing something.

It is novel.

The City Council has taken a dark step but they are congratulating themselves on proactive management. Steam rolling the peasants is thought not to high a price to pay for breaking a 20 year deadlock. They think the glory of an industrial park will secure their posterity. An industrial park is pretty much the diametrical opposite of what almost twenty years of public input about the mill site had suggested but you have to admit, it is something.

There have been many visions for the Mill site put forth with passion by the people of the region over the last 17 years. There are three distinct historical periods of public input. No one has officially ever considered any of it. The public visions are diverse but often very elegant. At bottom what everyone really wants is public space and for the value and importance of public space to be protected. They all wanted a focused intelligent attention to the kind of excellent design that one finds in the best public places. Many people have said in many meetings that we wanted to be international in our emotive response to this stunning place. The people of the city have been kept away from this land for the towns whole history. The trail gives us access to the ocean but it is grudging and incomplete. The trail faces the ocean but it turns its back on a toxic waste dump.

People over the years have made it clear that they want space, they want indoor and outdoor architectures, gardens, animals, trees perhaps interwoven with public and broadly creative enterprises. We wont get it all, but we should not get crumbs. They intend to sell it off piecemeal to their buddies, I don’t know what will be left. It will sure fall short of being in any sense visionary.

The special meeting Monday was held so that the people of Fort Bragg would feel included while they were being robbed.

The council went through the motions and pretended grandly that the survey was significant. The precipitous approval of the development directors survey underlined a determination by a majority of the council, to jettison grand visionary thinking and do what any low capital, small rural town would do with an empty field. That this particular field is vast and misted by thundering waves of raw Pacific Ocean is being shrugged off.

Monday nights meeting was also a reassertion by authority that the decapitation of the political machine that ran Fort Bragg like a private dogsled is not going to mean much. Linda is out but mayor Lindy thinks that the dogsled itself looks to be in fine and usable condition. The meeting got the job done. We are finally moving on the mill site. Unfortunately disastrously.

What the council knows but isn’t saying is that if this hacking up and selling off is successful, it will take pressure off GP to clean up the remaining toxic pollution. Diffusing ownership might get GP out of very costly limelight. The City Council has found it easier to assist GP since fighting them is so expensive and complicated. Strange bedfellows indeed. The Fort Bragg City Council and GP are both pushing for what amounts to a combination industrial park permanent toxic waste dump. Down at the foot of the bed are five local Fort Bragg businesses, that don’t think that open space and community vision are going to ultimately mean much compared to ready cash. The City Council knows that the sell off will be less than universally popular so they are hiding it in plane sight and running it through the city process as efficiently obscurely and obliquely as possible. If the meeting seemed disjointed chaotic and irrational to you….it was exactly what they wanted

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The long and sometimes torturous local legal story of Kelisha Sheree Alvarez, age 28, a well-known, aggressive transient in and around Ukiah, came to an abrupt end today in Department B of the Mendocino County Superior Court. Defendant Alvarez was sentenced to state prison for 44 months for having violated the terms of her two grants of felony probation. Because of the nature of the convictions leading to the prison commitment, the defendant will be limited in the credits she can attempt to earn in prison to just 15% of the overall sentence, or just over six months.

Beginning in 2009, defendant Alvarez has amassed a criminal record of 10 misdemeanor convictions and, in 2016 and 2017, two felony convictions. In 2016, her first felony conviction was for felony vandalism. However, the most serious felony conviction — the defendant's second — occurred in early 2017. While released from custody on the vandalism case, the defendant perpetrated a strong arm robbery against a homeless woman. The woman identified the defendant as the thief and the property stolen by force and fear was later recovered from Alvarez.


Not counting the violations that resulted in Thursday’s prison commitment, defendant Alvarez has regularly appeared in the Mendocino County courts over the years for having violated her various grants of probation. In all of her misdemeanor cases combined, the defendant has been found in violation of probationary terms by the courts at least thirty-one (31) separate times. As noted by District Attorney David Eyster, "There is no question that the courts have shown extreme patience in a long-term effort to work with the defendant, perhaps to a fault. Alvarez has never made any real effort to comply, so today's decision was the right decision."

The prosecutor who appeared at today's sentencing hearing was Deputy District Attorney Beth Norman. The sentencing judge was Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman.

(District Attorney Press Release)

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CORRECTION: We said recently that County Ag Commissioner Diane Curry had not submitted a written report on pot permit processing. But buried deep in last Tuesday’s agenda package was a series of pot permit charts including this summary chart.

(click to enlarge)

The chart prompted the follow discussion about some of the categories:

Supervisor Dan Gjerde: Could you just clarify, in each category of permit from outdoor to nursery. It shows issued, denied, withdrew, approved, pending. I'm not sure what the difference is between issued and approved. There must be a distinction there.

Commissioner Curry: Issued is actually the permit was issued. Approved is when -- because we have two departments working together, so when Planning and Building approves an applicant to move forward with the Ag department, then there's also our approvals, whether we've done the pre-site inspection and whether all of the documents that we need have also been submitted, so that's kind of the approved and then moving forward once you've been approved we will send out letters to you saying that you've been approved and you can make contact with us and come in and pick up your permit.

Gjerde: So under mixed, there are four issued but zero approved.

Curry: Where are we? Ok 1.b. permits. Four issued and — yeah.

Gjerde: Four issued?

Curry: Well like I said, the approved process is the process that was put into place when we had applicants who came into Planning and Building first. So we use a system to -- they have their approvals and we have our approvals.

Supervisors John McCowen: Then the line here, approved — approved by whom? By Ag?

Curry: It could be both. It could be both.

McCowen: Well, it's a little confusing.

Curry: Okay. Yeah. That's --

McCowen: You're saying that 31 and been approved, 23 have been issued, so does that mean there are 8 applicants that have been approved and they just have to walk in and pick up their permit?

Curry: Correct. Okay. We don't put issued until they actually have their permit in hand.

McCowen: So then approved would imply that they have received all necessary approvals from Ag and Planning?

Curry: Yes.

McCowen: Thank you.

* * *

And now, given the recent devastating fires in Redwood and Potter Valley they probably need to add one more category to the Year-To-Date summary: “Burned down.”

The full report: 10-17-17 Canna Numbers All Months

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WAVES up to 20 feet will pound the coast Thursday night through Friday, spurring the National Weather Service to issue a high surf advisory with the warning, "Do not turn your back to the ocean." The largest waves will arrive between lulls about about every 30 minutes, which could drag the unwary out to sea. "It's really easy to get caught off guard," says Drew Peterson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Bay Area office. In between these massive sneaker waves, breakers between 13 to 18 feet will crash onto beaches. People are also advised to beware of strong rip currents.

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FRONTIERS OF FREE ENTERPRISE, and especially good news for hempsters: Mark Sprinkle sends along a photo spread of a spiffy red Miata sports car whose body is crafted from hemp and fueled by marijuana-based bio-fuel.

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CONGRESSMAN HUFFMAN got LaMigra (ICE) to publicly announce they would not swoop down on shelters to carry off undocumented displaced persons. Several hundred Mexican immigrants had been avoiding the shelters and emergency aid stations for fear of arrest and deportation. Huffman told the Supervisors that getting the black jumpsuits to back off "wasn't easy."

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SILICON VALLEY has somehow managed to get itself a world wide rep as both liberal and world-saving innovative. Case in point — Tesla currently laying off several hundred workers for talking union. Tesla denies it, of course, but people close to the company say the layoffs closely correspond to pro-union employees.

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READING ABOUT PG&E’S financial woes in the wake of the recent huge fires at least partly caused by or contributed to by PG&E’s hubris, monopoly, pennypinching, huge size, failures, semi-ownership of the PUC, silly advertising/self-promotion, etc. (pick one or more) — caused me to recall my late Aunt Dorothy, Card-Carrying Member of the Greatest Generation. Aunt Dorothy’s husband Ward died in his early 60s leaving her a widow for the rest of her life. Uncle Ward, also a CCMGG, had bought into a common mid-20th Century financial notion that the best stock to own was utility stock. “Everybody needs gas and electric,” Ward liked to say as if it was some kind of unique insight. Most utility companies in the 50s and 60s paid significant dividends, so utility stock not only increased in value but provided a nice bump in your income stream, particularly after you retired and the stock had increased in value, increasing your dividend, usually a cut above whatever interest earnings a savings account would yield.

WHENEVER we visited our widowed Aunt Dorothy, one of the first things she’d bring up was how well PG&E was doing. Her retirement income consisted entirely of PG&E stock dividends and a modest Social Security check. She watched the mammoth power company as avidly as their execs did.

When PG&E’s stock dropped, her dividends dropped; when it went up, her dividends went up. There were tens of thousands of retirees like Aunt Dorothy whose retirements were, to varying degrees, dependent on the fortunes of the power monopoly.

NO DOUBT PG&E made money off the investments of those retirees — that’s why most utilities are called “investor owned utilities” — not that the “owners” have any say in how PG&E is run.

MOST READERS have probably forgotten by now about the big hit PG&E stock took in the early 2000s in the wake of the disclosures about how they — in conjunction with some shady public employees — fabricated an electrical generation crisis by turning off a few generators to make customers nervous and convince politicians to deficit finance (at high interest) more power generation capacity that turned out to be unnecessary.

AFTER THAT FIASCO, and then the San Bruno explosion, the luster is off of utility stocks for retirees, particularly PG&E, as mutual funds and what’s left of pensions largely replaced them. But there are still a lot of retirees left holding on to tenuous PG&E stock and, if they’re anything like Aunt Dorothy, they’re getting real, real nervous reading the PG&E news these days.

(Mark Scaramella)

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TWO AWFUL EPISODES involving local men are still working their way through the justice system, Ukiah branch. One involves the highly decorated veteran of the Iraq War, Jesse Slotte. Slotte, now 31, was so badly wounded in Iraq his doctors were taking bets on his chances for survival. He underwent many months of numerous surgeries and many more months of rehabilitation. The soldier's post-recovery life has been tumultuous, to say the least, although he has managed to establish a water delivery service that is doing well.

SGT. SLOTTE will appear in Superior Court at 1:30 on Tuesday, November 7th to answer to a particularly violent domestic incident on East Road in Potter Valley, at the end of May this year.

THE ALLEGATION READS: Deputies learned Jessie Slotte and an adult female had previously been married and had children in common. Both Slotte and the adult female were in a vehicle together with a three year old male child and a five month old female infant child. The adult female was driving the vehicle down the road when she and Slotte became engaged in an argument. The argument escalated and Slotte reached down and pushed on the vehicle’s accelerator pedal while he grabbed the steering wheel with his other hand. This caused the adult female to lose temporary control of the vehicle. Slotte also brandished a pocket knife and held it at the adult female’s neck and threatened to kill her. The adult female stopped the vehicle and attempted to get the children out of the vehicle when Slotte attacked her by pushing her to the ground and kicking her once on the left side of her torso. The adult female got up and was attempting to retrieve the children when Slotte started driving away in the vehicle while the adult female was partially in the vehicle. This caused the adult female’s feet to be dragged on the ground several feet while striking some road side mailboxes before Slotte stopped the vehicle. The adult female managed to get one of the children out of the vehicle before Slotte drove off at a high rate of speed. The incident occurred about 7:30pm. Slotte was located in the City of Lakeport by Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies and was subsequently arrested for the listed violations. Slotte was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000.00 bail, which is low bail for the events described.

* * *

RICKY OWENS of Boonville, 49, has been arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment after a six-year-old child almost drowned in a Ukiah hotel swimming pool. Owens told police investigators he was teaching a 6-year-old relative how to swim last Monday night (December 5th, 2016) when the boy became unconscious. Witnesses at the Fairfield Inn & Suites pool near Highway 101 in Ukiah said Owens had not been negligent, but a hotel video allegedly shows Owens plunging the boy's head under the water until the child went limp.

THE BOY was pulled from the pool to be resuscitated, then flown to Oakland Children’s Hospital for further treatment and observation. He was released from the hospital the following Wednesday and is expected to make a full recovery.

OWENS was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on suspicion of felony endangering a child or causing or permitting a child to suffer physical pain, mental suffering or injury, police said. Bail was set at $50,000.

I’VE KNOWN Ricky Owens all his life, and I can say that there is not a malicious bone in his body. This episode is totally out of character for him. The statement by Sgt. Cedric Crook of the Ukiah Police Department to Justine Frederiksen of the Ukiah Daily Journal does in fact indicate that Owens did not deliberately harm the six-year-old: “We just want to rule out the possibility that there was any neglect involved, or whether the incident could have been prevented.” A video of the episode, however, shows the child in distress that Owens seems oblivious to.

THAT BOY is one of five children belonging to a young, very young, overwhelmed mother. She and her children live in a small trailer on the Owens’ compound near the Boonville transfer station in the hills west of Boonville. All her children have since been removed from her custody.

OWENS, 49, has been charged with felony child endangerment. His jury trial begins Monday, December 4th at 9am in the County Courthouse, Ukiah. The event is a total aberration on Owens' part. He has no memory of it. A highly skilled tree worker, Owens enjoys a local reputation for industriousness. We hope the DA won't seek state prison time if Owens is found guilty.

* * *

LITTLE DOG SAYS: As always, I was on duty, just doing my job when Skrag strolls past and says, "Some of us have looks, some of us look like you." I didn't get his meaning at first, and he was already gone, but the nerve, especially coming from a cat with a color scheme that looks like the contents of a vacuum bag!

* * *


by Michelle Hutchins, Superintendent

The Governing Board of Anderson Valley Unified School District made the following decisions Wednesday night:

Consent Agenda included approval of:

Minutes and Warrants from last month.

Agreement Between Redwood Quality Management and AVUSD

Agreement Between Mendo-Lake Community College and AVUSD

Agreement Between TineyEye and AVUSD

Agreement Between Cal State Teach and AVUSD to Provide Student Teacher Placement to University Students.

Agreement Between Cal State Teach and AVUSD For the Employment of University Students Who Have an Intern Credential.

Board Policies:

AR 4212.5 Personnel Criminal Records Check

AR 4218 Personnel Dismissal/suspension/Disciplinary Action

Approved Resolution #2018-003 Sufficiency of Instructional Materials.

Approved the following SELPA Policies:

SELPA Procedures Manual

Procedural Safeguards

Procedural ChecklistI

EP Meeting Agenda

State Performance Plan Indicators policies and Procedures

Postponed decision on installing an Outdoor Covered Physical Education Structure at AVES.

Created a facility committee at AVES to address the need to spend developer fees.

Approved applying to PG&E for the Energy Saving Lighting Project.

–Michelle Hutchins
Superintendent AVUSD
(707) 895-3774

* * *


MendocinoSportsPlus saw this post on the “Willits Fan Page Community” Facebook page Thursday morning:

Counterfeit Alert! This man passed a fake $100 bill in my store on Tuesday. Does anyone recognize him?

He selected a $20 item and I gave him nearly $80 in change. The bill passed my 2 testing methods; the counterfeit detecting pen and the bill counter. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if he honestly wasn't aware and assuming he comes back to pay the $100 he owes, but otherwise I'll be left to assume that he's a criminal and a thief who intentionally stole from our locally owned mom-and-pop store.

A police report will be filed.

Our security cameras captured the entire event, including his car and license plate.

If anyone knows this guy, please tell me who he is and how to contact him, and/or tell him that he's only got a brief window of opportunity to settle his debt with us before he becomes the subject of a very serious criminal investigation by law enforcement.

—feeling angry at Willits Garden Supply

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, October 19, 2017

Briggs, Byrne, DeWolf

MARTIN BRIGGS, Willits. Mandatory supervision sentencing.

PATRICK BYRNE, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

HEATHER DEWOLF, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

Flinton, Hoff, Kutch

SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

BENJAMIN HOFF, Ukiah. County parole violation.

MARTHA KUTCH, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

Lewis, Riley, Valentine

EVAN LEWIS, Corona/Ukiah. Failure to register as arsonist, probation revocation.

DYAN RILEY, Mendocino. Protective order violation, resisting, probation revocation.

RONALD VALENTINE JR., Ukiah. Trespassing. (Frequent flyer.)

* * *

PLEASE BE OUR “GUEST” [for a price] at “A Taste of Anderson Valley"

(Wine Tasting in San Francisco)

We are writing to let you know of an upcoming special event – and an opportunity for you to help victims of the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire.

The event is Taste of Anderson Valley, a special public wine tasting on Thursday, November 9, 2017 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Golden Gate Club on The Presidio, 135 Fischer Loop in San Francisco. It is being presented by the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association and co-sponsored by Visit Mendocino County.

Tickets are $75 online at A flyer about the event can be downloaded HERE.

As an incentive for our invited guests, AVWA has created a promo code acknowledging our shared efforts to help victims of this week's fires: vmc60.

By entering the promo code vmc60 the ticket price will be reduced from $75 to $60.

We strongly encourage you to consider taking part in this terrific event – and supporting relief efforts for our friends and neighbors.

Thank you for your consideration,

Alan Humason
Executive Director
Visit Mendocino County

* * *


JANE FUTCHER WRITES: How has the devastating Redwood Complex Fire impacted Mendocino cannabis farmers and their crops? I'll talk with farmer Ashey Oldham (top) who lost her home but not her greenhouse in the fire.

Also, Hezekiah Allen of the California Growers Association and Redwood Valley social worker and cannabis policy expert Amanda Reiman (bottom, L/R) — on this special Farm and Garden edition of The Cannabis Hour. That's Monday, October 23 at 1 p.m., right here on KZYX.

* * *



My wife and I slept through the entire night of the disaster until we were awakened by a neighbor at 7am while fires were raging all around us. We had no warning and could easily have been among those who died in their sleep.

Our society relies too much on technology, which has a habit of letting us down at the worst possible time. Too many people have died in this disaster because they had no warning.

It’s time to install an old-fashioned air-raid-type siren system that can alert thousands of people, especially those who have no nearby neighbors. Many communities subject to possible tsunamis have such systems. Our fire danger and earthquake danger will not get better.

A sheriff’s deputy knocking on doors is the least effective way to warn large numbers of people of danger.

This isn’t a time to find blame; it’s a time to learn lessons and do better next time.

Al Stumpf

Santa Rosa

* * *


I have little doubt that Harvey Weinstein is a total cad but it pisses me off to see all these beautiful Hollywood women complain about “sexual objectification.” Who are they kidding? They LIVE to be sexually objectified. They just don’t want any losers (poor and ugly) showing undue interest.

Here is an experiment for you: observe any woman on your block climbing behind the wheel of her car in the morning. See if the last thing she does before backing out of the driveway is to flip down the sun visor and check her look in the mirror. She will, and you may be assured that the last thing she does before exiting her car at her destination is to flip down the sun visor and check her look in the mirror AGAIN. This is near universal female behavior; men (i.e., heterosexual men) do not do this. The old saying is true, “For women, beauty is their wealth, and for men, wealth is their beauty.”

My mother-in-law continued this behavior when she was 91 and very demented. Her mind was gone but she never failed to check her appearance in the mirror.

* * *


MendocinoSportsPlus Notes:

Fort Bragg Homeless Shelter Seeks Donations On Fire Victims Page - Huh?

The "reason" for this 1,525 member Facebook page is: "This group is a resource for those affected by the #MendocinoLakeComplex fire and other fires, and those who want to help in Mendocino County."

Could someone tell me how, in the wide, wide world of sports, the Hospitality House in Fort Bragg fits this description ? Jeesh. Fort Bragg is an hour & 15 minutes WEST of the fires.

* * *

DO YOU KNOW what you become when you [move your children about keeping them busy, rather than remain in and come to know a particular spot]? You become a god-killer, you sprinkle the poison gas of your vulgar novelty-hunting on the heads of all those little gods that are children’s best guardian angels. And you atrophy for life their power of imaginative play; you murder their power of vegetative contemplation…

— J. C. Powys

* * *


by Peter Fimrite

The Tubbs Fire that raged through Santa Rosa last week unleashed a series of fiery tornadoes powerful enough to flip cars, yank trees out of the ground and rip homes apart, fire scientists said Wednesday.

Gusts of up to 78 mph were recorded at the weather stations after the fires broke out Oct. 8, but the extraordinary damage documented during postmortem evaluations indicated that much more powerful forces were at play.

“We had trees ripped out of the ground, cars turned over, garage doors ripped off their hinges and wrapped around trees in the front yards,” said Scott Upton, the northern region chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and an expert on fire behavior. “It was no different than a hurricane, really, but instead of rain we had a fire event. I’ve been in this business 30 years and it’s the worst I’ve seen.”

Upton said fire whirls, also known as fire tornadoes, probably happened in all the North Bay fires, but the most destructive evidence was found in Santa Rosa neighborhoods flattened by the Tubbs Fire, which has killed at least 22 people and burned 36,432 acres. Recovery teams are still searching for remains in the rubble.

The homes destroyed in the city’s Fountaingrove and Coffey Park neighborhoods burned in rapid succession. As flames driven by powerful winds slammed into the neighborhoods, the heat rose up, pulling the wind with it and creating a kind of vortex of air that circled around at hurricane-force speeds.

“Think about the massive release of heat in a fire like that, and then the wind gets obstructed by homes and you get the eddying,” Upton said. “The hot air mixes with cooler air, and that’s when it will start to turn, creating a fire whirl.”

The whirling winds blew fire sideways into homes in Santa Rosa, peeled off roofs, and even lifted and turned vehicles. Survivors recounted running out of their homes into the equivalent of a blast furnace, with embers flying everywhere amid a terrible gale.

“They can be incredibly powerful if you add more heat or wind or fuel, like in this fire,” he said.

(Click to enlarge)

Upton compared the situation to Lake County’s Rocky Fire in August 2015, when superheated flames, fueled by dry brush, sent huge clouds of smoke as far as 35,000 feet into the atmosphere, where they actually formed ice caps, pushing out wind in every direction.

In the Tubbs Fire, superheated air also lifted off the ground and created wind, but that’s where the similarities end.

Upton said fire tornadoes normally occur in open spaces, kind of like the way dust devils form on farmland and fields. He said the the 2003 Cedar Fire, which burned 280,000 acres, destroyed 2,232 homes and killed 15 people in San Diego County, is the closest comparison.

Just like the Wine Country blazes, the Cedar Fire spread rapidly as a result of Santa Ana winds and fire tornadoes. The 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, which killed 25 people and destroyed 3,500 houses, also created its own weather — a firestorm.

Fire whirls can be extremely violent. They have been known to lift all-terrain vehicles off the ground. In 1926, a fire whirl in San Luis Obispo lifted an entire home into the air and carried it across a field before dropping it. Two people were killed.

The phenomenon can’t happen without strong winds and dry fuel, which have been in abundance throughout Northern California.

The night the fires started on Oct. 8, the winds were a steady 40 mph, pushing flames east to west through a valley in the hills along Petrified Forest and Mark West Springs roads, feeding it like oxygen nourishes a torch, and driving it into the flatland neighborhoods.

“Just like water flows from higher to lower elevation, winds flow down a pressure gradient as they go from high pressure to low pressure,” said Max Moritz, a wildfire specialist with the UC Cooperative Extension. “When they get concentrated, like through a mountain pass, they will speed up, like a river going through a narrow channel.”

Moritz said powerful winds also drove the Hanley Fire, which burned almost the exact same area in 1964.

That fire, which ignited when a hunter discarded a cigarette, burned 83,000 acres over a week and leveled 84 homes, 24 summer cabins and countless farm buildings; included was the historic Tubbs Mansion. Nobody was killed in the fire, which was finally halted on the north perimeter of Santa Rosa, but those who fought it were traumatized.

“This is the craziest fire I’ve ever seen,” Grant King, the chief of the Guerneville Fire Department, told The Chronicle at the time. “The wind just hangs back, then fire comes in a rush with the wind, and you’re dead.”

The wind-driven Tubbs Fire shot out of the same canyon into Fountaingrove and Coffey Park.

“It was a very different kind of fire that happened Sunday night,” said Ken Pimlott, the director of Cal Fire. “The fire was almost horizontal. When it hit those homes it was like a blowtorch. With all those fires burning, it generated so much heat that it created its own circular patterns.”

Upton said the Atlas Fire, which blasted through Napa Valley homes and wineries, threw embers way out in front, causing spot fires, and also occasionally formed fire whirls, but it didn’t display as much wind power as the Tubbs Fire did.

“I've seen fires melt cars and literally reduce them to little more than metal and aluminum pooled on the ground,” he said, but he hadn’t seen destruction like he saw last week. “To flip a car over has to be some significant winds.”

* * *


by Dan Bacher

Local activists have been engaged in a uphill battle for over two decades to restore the once thriving Chinook salmon and steelhead runs on the tree-lined Guadalupe River, located on Santa Clara County Water District land as it flows right by the water district’s office in San Jose.

But the Board of Directors of the agency made a decision on Tuesday that could doom the salmon and steelhead populations in that small river, the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries and the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary.

In a 7 to 0 vote, the board adopted a resolution expressing “conditional support” for the continued planning and participation in Governor Governor Jerry Brown’s controversial California WaterFix project. Like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti last week, they expressed support for a single tunnel, rather than the twin tunnels proposed in the California WaterFix.

Specifically, the resolution authorizes the District’s CEO “to continue participating in California WaterFix planning discussions to further further define the project, and to develop agreements to secure the conditions needed for the district’s support.”

In voting to participate in the project, Board Chair John Varela said they “took a course of action that we believe will help Santa Clara County thrive.”

“The California WaterFix will reduce risks to water supplies from failing levees and rising seas, while improving water flow in the south Delta to protect fish,” he said. “Because fully 40 percent of the water used in Santa Clara County comes to us through the aging infrastructure of the Delta, our life, environment and economy depend on the condition and reliability of the Delta infrastructure.”

Varela said the board’s support for California WaterFix is contingent upon certain conditions. “Our existing imported water supplies, from both the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project must be sustained and protected at a reasonable cost per acre-foot,” he said.

The board adopted seven principles to guide the water district’s participation in the project. You can review the conditions written by directors Keegan, Kremen, and Estremera here.

Varela also discussed the pressure that Governor Brown and Resources Secretary John Laird exerted on the district to back the tunnels. In a private meeting, Laird said he was “open to the idea of single tunnels versus twin tunnels,” noted Varela.

He recalled a call from his “new BFF,” the Governor, on the evening before the vote. “The Governor called me at 6:3O pm at home and asked, ‘What are you going to do?’”said Varela.

The board made their decision after hearing from the Department of Water Resources Director and from 35 members of the public, including 25 opponents of the project and 10 supporters of the project.

Before voting, Board Member Barbara Keegan said her approval of the resolution was based on her belief that the agency was “open to negotiation, but not to a blank checkbook” on proceeding forward with the WaterFix.

As a reporter covering the meeting, I found the discussion of what the board actually voted on very confusing, with both the Sacramento Bee and Mercury News reporters claiming that the board had rejected the California WaterFix — and Governor Jerry Brown and Natural Resources Secretary John Laird claiming the opposite.

Governor Brown praised the “unanimous vote by the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors to support WaterFix, California's effort to modernize the state's water infrastructure.”

“The Board’s vote today is a major step forward for California WaterFix and ensures that Santa Clara will have the water it desperately needs,” said Brown in a statement.

Likewise, Secretary Laird, said, “We commend Santa Clara Valley Water District’s board members for taking action today to stabilize their water supply for generations to come. Their 7-0 vote adds to the momentum we’ve seen in the last two weeks as local agencies around the state have seen the value of WaterFix and formally voted to participate in the project.”

Delta Tunnels opponents said the confusion over what exactly the board voted on at the meeting demonstrated the chaos that the project is in now in.

"These contradictory views of Santa Clara Valley's vote reveal the deep disarray that this project is in,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “Governor Brown wants to sell the vote as a win. Yet, Santa Clara's support, just like the Kern County Water Agency vote of 48.5 percent to pass a motion of support, is for something other than California WaterFix. So many conditions have been placed on the terms of support (including description of a scaled back project) that it feels like a bait and switch is being set in place for a new project.”

"The truth is that Metropolitan Water District voted to fund 26 percent of WaterFix, Kern County came up short with approval of 6.5 percent funding at $1 billion, and now SCVWD has voted for about 4 percent support at $600 million. That suggests that total State Water Project funding for the project (with other small contributing agencies on board) is shy of 40 percent. In other words, Governor Brown doesn't even have half the contributions for WaterFix bond sales lined up to move forward. Is this because 40 percent is enough for one tunnel—a project that has not been set to paper?” she asked.

After the vote, Conner Everts, the executive director of the Southern California Watershed Alliance and facilitator of the Environmental Water Caucus, quipped, “Their vote was like approving a housing project for 10,000 homes and then voting to reduce the project to 5,000 homes.”

”This is the third meeting that I have been to in a week where water agency boards made their decisions on the merits of real concerns of the Public, but on politics,” he added.

He also said found insulting how some of the Delta Tunnels proponents brought up the Human Right to Water Bill, a bill that he had spent considerable effort on to pass through the legislature, when the project would do nothing to bring safe drinking water to low income communities around the state.

The board approved the resolution in spite of evidence provided by experts exposing the project’s flaws. Deirdre Des Jardins of California Water Research, who conducted an independent review of the science and engineering behind this project, told the board there have been “gross misrepresentations” about this project that should have give the District pause in supporting it.

First, she contested the claim by tunnels advocates that the project will ensure the resilience of the SWP and CVP diversions in the event of a major earthquake in the Delta,

“As I informed the Board last week, an internal analysis by DWR showed that the tunnel joints could leak in an earthquake,” she stated. “This fact was never disclosed to the public or to the Boards voting on the project. As I explained last week, the issue has still not been adequately addressed.” (

Second, Des Jardins challenged the claim that the project will “protect against sea level rise.”

”I testified on the sea level rise in the WaterFix hearing conduced by the State Water Resources Board and also cross-examined DWR's engineers,” she stated. “It came out that the project facilities are only being designed for 18 inches of change in water levels. The assumption was based on an extremely simplistic equation that DWR's engineers acknowledged was in error. They have promised to reconsider sea level rise in the next revision.”

Third, she contested Brown administration claims that the project will “protect” critically endangered Delta smelt.

”There are currently no proposed operations to protect Delta Smelt,” said Des Jardins. “The operations to protect Delta Smelt will be determined in the future by the Trump administration.”

”This is failure not only in project engineering, but also in project planning. The goals of the project need to be clear and the engineering and proposed operations need to address those goals. There needs to be an adequate financing plan,” she concluded.

However, Varela, apparently pressured by his “new BFF,” Jerry Brown, and other board members voted to approve their conditional participation in the California WaterFix in spite of evidence provided by Des Jardines and many others at the meeting, including numerous ratepayers who will end up subsidizing corporate agribusiness by paying higher water rates.

As I walked past the dark, slowly flowing water of the Guadalupe River on the way back to my car from the meeting at district headquarters, I reflected upon how the board had just shown their contempt for salmon and steelhead on this stream and the many rivers and creeks that flow into the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary.

I also reflected upon how the board had just shown contempt for their own ratepayers, who will inevitably end up subsidizing agribusiness tycoons like Stewart and Lynda Resnick of the Wonderful Company, who make many millions of dollars growing pistachios and almonds for export in Kern County, by paying higher water rates for the construction of the tunnels.

And I reflected on the contempt the board had just shown for the Winnemem Wintu and other California Indian Tribes, for whom the salmon had been integral part of their culture and livelihood for many thousands of years before Shasta Dam was built.

”The Winnemem Wintu Tribe has lived on the banks of the McCloud River for thousands of years and our culture is centered on protection and careful, sustainable use of its salmon,” said Caleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe near Mt. Shasta, after joining environmental and fishing groups in a lawsuit this August against the Department of Water Resources’ approval of the California Water Fix. “Our salmon were stolen from us when Shasta Dam was built in 1944. “

”Since that dark time, we have worked tirelessly to restore this vital salmon run through construction of a fishway around Shasta Dam connecting the Sacramento River to its upper tributaries including the McCloud River. The Twin Tunnels and its companion proposal to raise Shasta Dam by 18 feet would push the remaining salmon runs toward extinction and inundate our ancestral and sacred homeland along the McCloud River,” Chief Sisk concluded.

In an article in Water Deeply, scientist Jonathan Rosenfield of the Bay Institute says the state’s own evidence shows that the Delta Tunnels project will harm Chinook salmon and other fish species, since it will increase water exports from the Delta.

“Despite years of assuring Californians that the new $17 billion tunnels would protect the San Francisco Bay estuary and would not increase the total volume of water exported from this ecosystem, the state’s own documents – including the Biological Assessment and Draft Environmental Impact Report/Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (RDEIR/SDEIS) – show the opposite,” said Rosenfield.

To view the article, go here:

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is the only California water district that contracts for water deliveries from both the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP). The district receives 25,000 acre-feet of water from the CVP and 15,000 acre-feet of water from the SWP. About 40 percent of the District’s supplies are currently imported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.

The Board’s “Seven Principles” 

The seven principles the board adopted Tuesday to guide the water district’s participation in the project are: 

Santa Clara County needs are the primary drivers in all our decisions involving the WaterFix project.

We will not allow Silicon Valley values and priorities to be placed at a disadvantage relative to Central Valley Agriculture or Southern California.

We are advocating for a flexible approach that addresses Silicon Valley stakeholder and community input.

As water is a human right, we must make investments to make sure our water supply meets future needs at a cost affordable by everyone.

Equity and costs are important.

Any final arrangement must provide flexibility to acquire supplemental water by taking advantage of future wet years to ensure residents have a reliable water supply, no matter what extreme weather the changing climate brings.

Keep negotiating for the best deal for Santa Clara County.

* * *


To the Editor,

Sheriff Tom Allman’s latest tax increase request, Measure B, states in the Voter Information Pamphlet “Everyone agrees that people suffering from mental illness or drug addiction need treatment”. This may be true, but forcing individuals to enter treatment against their will and cooperation and confining these individuals in a locked facility is an entirely different matter. Given Mendocino County’s poor track record in delivering this specialized care and the County’s past failures in operating a Psychiatric Health Facility, sober consideration by the voting public is required.

The Sheriff has stated publicly many times that he sees individuals with mental illness as “the #1 one public safety concern in the County”. Following the devastating Redwood Complex Fire and the tragic loss of life from this historical event, reasonable people can disagree with this statement. The challenges of climate change and preparing and equipping our local first-responders to confront these ominous threats to our environment and personal safety, feels significantly more urgent.

The history of mental health services within the County, particularly the management of inpatient locked facilities, is a history of conflict, turf wars between agencies and the people who manage these individual departments. The lack of communication and coordination between these departments has also been a prevalent and disappointing reality. These observations have been well documented in numerous Grand Jury reports over the last 20 plus years. The last Psychiatric Health Facility ( the infamous PHF or “Puff Unit” ) closed in November of 2000, as a result of the County’s failure to provide the required medical staff for the unit. Lawsuits or the threat of them hastened the collapse. This failure of Mendocino County to attract and retain credentialed mental health professionals is an existing and on-going obstacle that has not been solved. The most current Grand Jury report confirms this ongoing crisis of qualified new-hires within the Health and Human Services Agency, which for the last several years, has resorted to requesting waivers from state-mandated staffing levels and credential requirements.

Building a new, tax-payer funded $30 million dollar Psychiatric Health Facility will not change the reality of inadequate mental health professionals willing to work in Mendocino County. Buildings don’t heal people. Trained, qualified professional practitioners are what is needed. The County already spends tens of millions of dollars as part of the annual County Mental Health Budget on programs with titles such as Adult System Care, Medication Support Services, Wellness and Recovery Center, Assisted Outpatient Treatment, Mental Health Child and Family Services, Family Wraparound, New Beginnings Campus, Crisis Intervention, and on and on….

In November 2016, Dr. Marvin Trotter, one of the most respected physicians in Mendocino County, testified before the Board of Supervisors that the solution to mental health disorders is not more 5150 admissions, but professional outpatient therapy, medication, effective case management and housing. Locking people up who are experiencing acute psychiatric crisis is by definition, a failure of the system. Constructing a new building for the confinement of these individuals will be a monument to this failure.

What will produce real change is greater accountability and performance within the existing mental health programs. A Mental Health Czar needs to be appointed by the Board of Supervisors to mandate and enforce this change. Tax payers must demand this before another $38 million dollars in needless taxes are taken away from our local economy, giving the average hard working, productive citizen nothing in return. Vote NO on Measure B.

David Roderick


* * *


2017 - Tubbs Fire - approximately 36,432 acres in Sonoma and Napa Counties. 92% contained as of Oct. 19.

2017 - Nuns Fire - approximately 54 thousand acres- 34,398 in Sonoma County and 20,025 in Napa county. 80% contained as of Oct. 19.

2017 - Atlas Fire - approximately 51,624 acres in Napa and Sonoma Counties. 85% contained as of Oct. 19.

2017 - Redwood Fire - approximately 36,523 acres in Mendocino County. 85% contained as of Oct. 19.

2017 - Pocket Fire - approximately 14,225 acres in Sonoma County. 63% contained as of Oct. 19.

2017 - Sulphur Fire - approximately 2,207 acres in Lake County. 96% contained as of Oct. 19.

(TOTAL North Bay fires as of Oct. 18. - 195,434 acres)

2015 - Valley Fire - burnt 76,067 acres in Lake County. A total of 1,955 structures were destroyed.

2012 - North Pass Fire - approximately 41,983 acres in Mendocino County.

2004 - Rumsey Fire - 39,138 acres in Napa and Yolo counties.

1996 - Fork Fire - the largest fire on record, burned through approximately 83,057 acres in Lake County. Much of the devastation was focused in the Mendocino National Forest.

1981 - Atlas Peak Fire - approximately 23 thousand acres in Napa County.

1981 - Cow Mountain Fire - approximately 25,534 acres in Lake and Mendocino counties.

1964 - Hanly Fire - approximately 52,700 acres in Sonoma and Napa Counties. 84 homes, 24 summer cabins and countless farm buildings destroyed including the historic Tubbs Mansion.

1964 - Nunns Canyon - approximately 7,000 acres in Sonoma County.


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Help the Symphony of the Redwoods Continue to Bring Excellent Performances to the Mendocino Coast

In downtown Fort Bragg, on the first Friday of every month, locally-owned downtown businesses encourage the sustainability of art and culture in our community. On Friday, November 3, show your support for classical music on the Mendocino coast while enjoying authentic Mayan-infused dishes when Mayan Fusion, on 418 N. Main Street in Fort Bragg, will donate 10% of the evening’s proceeds to the Symphony of the Redwoods.

Only one-quarter of the Symphony’s essential expenditures are covered by ticket revenues, while the remaining three-quarters of symphony expenses rely on sponsorships, fundraising, program advertising, and your generous donations. Your financial contributions help reserve our venues, book innovative soloists, purchase instruments, access a wide range of classical pieces, and much more.

If you are unable to attend, it is simple to become a patron of the Symphony of the Redwoods at any time. There are several giving levels available, as well as options to contribute towards individual causes, like the annual Children’s Concert. The popular Twelve Nights Out raffle fundraiser is returning this performance season, which gives ticket buyers the chance to win 12 dinners at 12 local restaurants. Only 100 tickets can be sold, priced at $100 each. Visit or contact Alex Pierangeli, our executive director, at 707.964.0898 and, for more information.

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In 2012, an Occupy Anti-Foreclosure Committee demonstrated in front of the Mendocino County Assessor's Office as part of a statewide effort to apply pressure for investigations of mortgage fraud. We filled out request forms for Susan Ranochak, who looked into only one request, verifying that the Mendocino County Occupiers' mortgage had an unrecorded transfer to Deutche Bank.

We later learned of MERS®, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. MERS allows participating banks to buy and sell the mortgages/loans bypassing the County Recorder, nor pay transfer taxes, robbing funds from county services like fire departments, schools, sanitation, recreation, and many more.

MERS helped Wall Street to quickly bundle mortgages together into securitized packages (MBS) Mortgage backed Securities) avoiding the requirements of traditional recording processes, saving MERS member banks more than $2 Billion nationwide. See Bankruptcy Judge Robert Grossman's ruling, Feb.2011, and analysis in: judge-rules-mers-cannot-transfer-mortgages.

The Homeowners Bill of Rights was passed in California in 2013 to protect homeowners from fraudulent practices by Wall Street Banks. However, some key clauses were set to expire in 5 years. Protections, for example on the requirement for accuracy, will end Jan.1, 2018 unless renewed by the CA Legislature.

At a recent Town Hall meeting in Fort Bragg, Sen. Mike McGuire remained noncommittal to questions from Robin Sunbeam and myself regarding HBOR's expiration. He needs to hear from his constituents.

We encourage everyone to write, call, email or visit their Sacramento legislators: Senator Mike McGuire, State Capitol, 1303 10th St., Rm 5064, Sacramento, CA 95814, and Assemblyman Jim Wood, State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0002, and urge them to permanently extend the HBOR protections due to expire Jan. 1, 2018 (HBOR. SB 900/AB 278).

Wall Street Banks will no doubt resume their fraudulent practices after Jan.1, 2018, in spite of the $25 billion in fines from the historic 2012 National Mortgage Settlement, and $Billions more in fines from 21 more settlements ever since. So far, 20+ banks have been fined ending with $2.5 Billion from Credit Suisse in Dec. 2016. None of the banks or financial industry officials responsible for the fraudulent seizures of people's homes went to jail. This means they have no incentive to stop their fraudulent practices. In fact, their large donations to our Legislators election campaigns guarantee that those officials do nothing to extend the protections of HBOR.

C.J. Holmes, an independent real estate broker, advised homeowners of mortgages under threat of fraudulent foreclosure to write to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, with complaints every two weeks, delaying foreclosure while the OCC considers their case. The OCC advises customers of national banks how to make a complaint re fraudulent bank activities. It also ensures equal and fair treatment to national bank customers; a fundamental part of OCC's mission is to oversee the national banks.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 400 7th Street, SW Washington, D.C. 20219, (202) 649-6800 *email:


Agnes Woolsey with Robin Sunbeam and Ed Oberweiser of Occupy Mendocino



  1. Eric Sunswheat October 20, 2017

    Acidic body pH, often from over consumption of sugar, has been linked to proliferation of cancer, which is now being further understood by the scientific community, who will not satisfied until there is a definite answer to all mechanisms involved. Citation: Google News

    In the acidic pH brain, at least three of the most popular mental health disorders run rampant. Whether the causation is nutrition disorder or excessive brain activity, is a question which will feed funded researchers for many years to come. Citation: Scientific American.

    Mendocino County Measure B, Mental Health facilities construction promoted by the Sheriff, in a very real sense, continues a coverup of jail inmate mismanagement as detailed in lawsuit proceedings, and failed corrective rehabilitation justice.

    Measure B also represents an abdication of the Sheriff’s idealism to establish a County Farm, to provide the nutritional density produce for mental health.

  2. Harvey Reading October 20, 2017


    Utter, misogynous bullsh*t.

    • james marmon October 20, 2017

      You go girl!

      • Harvey Reading October 20, 2017

        Written like a true Working Class wepubican, and Trump lover!

  3. Alice Chouteau October 20, 2017

    Thanks Rex, for an insightful report…yes, FB city gov, with a new mayor and council we had such hopes for, is still doing their usual mundane job of shutting out the public, and
    catering to the worst kind of planning. They failed to attract the fantasy dot-com biz, and now pin their hopes on the NC Brewery, so instead of a mill town, we will become a brewery town. The problem with breweries is that they are about the worst kind of project for a town lacking a viable water supply, and the wastewater from breweries is copious.
    Can you list the other four biz destined for a piece of the pie?

  4. BB Grace October 20, 2017

    re: The old saying is true, “For women, beauty is their wealth, and for men, wealth is their beauty.”

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A good friend will tell you when you have spinach on your teeth; when lacking a good friend, the mirror suffices.

    I find great beauty in good health. Seniors who have taken care of themselves are really beautiful.

    As for wealth, good health is the best wealth.

  5. Flannagan October 20, 2017

    @ comment of the day… I don’t flip down my mirror. But I do think it is totally creepy that you watch women in their cars so closely. Then you go on to draw some conclusion about a woman’s value being their looks. That flawed perception, along with watching women in their cars… tells everyone more about you than it does about women.

    My 12 year old daughter also would like me to add that she doesn’t use the mirror in the car and she is really glad you are not her father or her teacher.

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