Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017

* * *


SAR Enterprises President Bob Ridino got back to reporter Marilyn Davin on Tuesday after deadline to say that “he has scheduled a community meeting for residents (which they told me they have requested several times with no response) on Wednesday, December 20, at 6pm in the park's community center. He just emailed the announcement to me, attached, including his note to me. I told him it was too late to include any comments from him in the story I've already submitted. He did leave me a voicemail yesterday evening but I was tied up with something else and did not speak with him until this morning. It sounds as if he gave a lecture of sorts on responding to reporters to brother Sam. Anyway, if residents finally get a meeting out of him the story has done some good in that regard.”

* * *

From: Bob Ridino <>

Date: Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 11:16 AM

Subject: LMME Meeting Notice


Thank you for the conversation we had this morning (both its content and tone). Again, my apology for any confusion related to your connecting with me directly and any unpleasant experiences you may have had during your outreach to me and/or my staff.

Attached is the meeting notice I mentioned to you. If you are available to attend the meeting, I believe that would go a long way toward you (and the public as a whole) getting accurate information related to the topic at hand. I acknowledge the sensitivity that a notice of increasing occupancy costs brings to any resident or homeowner.

I have followed up with both Sam and Jesse as to the points we generally discussed this morning and reinforced the need for us to keep honest communications open with everyone related to all aspects of life at Lake Mendocino Estates. This includes honest and timely responses to your newspaper, so that misinformation to the public may possibly be avoided.

* * *

December 5, 2017

Dear Resident:

For the past several weeks, Management has received various resident inquiries and requests for meetings to discuss the newly proposed rental agreement, rent structure, and park rules. While some, if not the majority, of these requests have already been fulfilled directly by on-site park management, an additional formal meeting has been scheduled per resident request subject to the Mobile Residency Law.

The meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 7:00 PM in the evening. Light refreshments and appetizers will be served to all that attend.


Robert Ridino

530 Lake Mendocino Drive, Ukiah, CA 95482
(707) 468-5421

* * *


Huge Southern California wildfires burn homes, close freeways as thousands evacuated

by Steve Rubenstein, Sophie Haigney, Jill Tucker and Peter Fimrite

VENTURA, Ventura County — Ferocious Santa Ana winds blew flames across bone-dry grasslands and into neighborhoods, leveling at least 150 structures in and around this city and forcing tens of thousands to flee, while ensuring that the state’s worst fire season on record would push well into the holidays.

The Thomas Fire, which broke out around 6:30 p.m. Monday in the foothills near Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula and remained out of control on Tuesday afternoon, swept west and devoured rows of homes, two apartment buildings, a private psychiatric hospital and at least 50,000 acres of land.

The worst of four fires blazing in Southern California, it prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in Ventura County as Bay Area fire departments sent reinforcements south.

“The prospects for containment are not good,” said Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen at a news conference. “Really, Mother Nature is going to decide.”

As neighborhoods turned into scenes of vast ruin and freeways closed down, California got a frightening replay of the October infernos in Wine Country that killed 44 people, destroyed 8,900 structures and, like the Thomas fire, were driven by nighttime windstorms that blasted flames from more rugged areas into communities built along the edge of the wildland.

By Tuesday morning, the Thomas Fire had burned into Ventura, a city of more than 105,000 residents located about 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles on Highway 101. Vista del Mar Hospital, a private psychiatric facility, burned to the ground after its residents and workers were evacuated, as did the pair of apartment complexes.

More than 1,000 firefighters worked through the night protecting buildings including City Hall, where the flames reached the parking lot, destroyed a couple of cars and left an adjacent hillside blackened and smoldering.

“It seemed like a lava flow coming down toward the city,” said Vince Tovey, an electrical inspector for Ventura.

A firefighter was injured when he was struck by a vehicle amid the response to the blaze, said the Ventura County Fire Department. Some 27,000 people were under mandatory evacuation in Ventura, Santa Paula and Ojai, and at least 7,000 more homes were evacuated between Santa Paula and Ventura, a distance of more than 12 miles, officials said. Hundreds of thousands of people lost power.

In issuing his emergency proclamation to secure state and federal disaster resources, Brown cited the destruction, the threats to critical infrastructure and the high winds.

“This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we’ll continue to attack it with all we’ve got,” Brown said. “It’s critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so.”

Evacuee Lorie Denis, 56, stared at the devastation late Tuesday morning as firefighters poured water on the blackened hull of the Harbor View Apartments in the foothills above downtown Ventura.

She had been awakened by a neighbor’s phone call and had time to grab a few possessions from a safe — among them her late husband’s wedding ring and watch — as well as her dog, Carson. She tried to save her neighbor’s two cats, but could find only one before a neighbor screamed for her to leave.

“I thought we were done,” she said. “It was raining fire.”

Judy Terry, 69, was getting ready for bed Monday night when she got an alert as well as a phone call from her landlord telling her to leave. She got dressed, grabbed her dog, Sweetie, and corralled neighbors into her car for a drive through heavy smoke to the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

“All I had time to do was get up, get dressed and leave and help others,” said Terry, who with more than 600 others spent the night on a Red Cross cot in what is normally a livestock center, with her Maltese-poodle mix pup by her side.

As the fire crept near Ventura’s downtown, the wind howled and pieces of palm trees and tumbleweeds blew through the streets as thick brown smoke blanketed the region. Many people wore masks as they walked through the area.

Burning as well was the Creek Fire in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, which started at 3:42 a.m. Tuesday in the Angeles National Forest and spread to more than 11,000 acres. At least 30 homes in Sylmar and Lakeview Terrace were destroyed, thousands of others were evacuated, and two firefighters were injured.

The Little Mountain Fire broke out about 12:28 p.m. Tuesday on a hill behind a strip mall south of California State University San Bernardino, and spread to 30 acres by the early afternoon. The fire injured two people, one critically, and forced closure of northbound Interstate 215, said Eric Sherwin, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

A fourth fire, the Rye Fire erupted just before 10 a.m. Tuesday about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, shutting down Interstate 5 in both directions near Santa Clarita. The fire broke out in the Rye Canyon Loop and grew to 5,000 acres by Tuesday afternoon. It was 5 percent contained, while the other fires had no containment.

Each of the fires were pushed by dry Santa Ana winds, with gusts up to 60 mph. The winds, which originate inland, are similar to the Diablo winds that fueled the wildfires in Northern California. Fire officials said the weather was making it difficult for aircraft and helicopters to fight the blazes.

“This is mirroring the Tubbs Fire we had to deal with in Northern California,” said Scott McLean, a deputy chief for the state’s Cal Fire agency. “We’re dealing with extreme wind conditions and weather that is extremely dry and (difficult) topography. This is not flat land and some areas are inaccessible to get equipment to.”

The Santa Ana winds, which typically occur in the fall, could last as long as 10 days, forecasters said.

“They’ve died down slightly, but they’re going to increase again (Tuesday) evening, so it’s kind of like a seesaw,” McLean said. “This just shows us that there is no fire season anymore. It’s December. We have fires all year round now.”

Firefighters in Southern California are used to clusters of wind-driven fires in the fall. In October 2003, Santa Ana winds fed the ruinous Cedar Fire in San Diego County, which consumed 2,820 structures, and the Old Fire, in San Bernardino County, which wiped out 1,003 buildings.

But fires spread by extreme offshore gusts are rare this time of year — even in Southern California, which is typically warmer and drier during the winter than the rest of the state. Cal Fire anticipated the danger, maintaining staffing on 148 engines and keeping reserve firefighters on duty.

“We continue to see more and more extreme fires and extreme weather events,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, the Cal Fire director. “The challenges of our changing climate are real. Historically, winter was a time we could regroup, but spending the holiday season on the fire lines is likely to become more the norm.”

Ventura County has been exceedingly dry in recent months. The area has received 0.13 inches of rain since July 1, said the National Weather Service.

“We had rains last winter that caused all the brush and everything to grow, and throughout the summer they dried out,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Joey Marron. “Now with these winds, any little spark is fuel.”

A San Francisco Fire Department strike team of 22 firefighters rushed to the Thomas Fire on five engines Tuesday. Fire crews from Alameda County, Oakland, Fremont, Hayward and Palo Alto were also being sent.

The winds continued to blow Tuesday as Tovey, the city of Ventura electrical inspector, patrolled the perimeter of the Thomas Fire in his city vehicle, turning back residents trying to reach their homes.

“One of the downsides living in California,” he said of the wildfire danger. “There aren’t many, but this is one of them,”

(SF Chronicle)

* * *

AFTER BREEZING THROUGH Tuesday’s consent calendar auto-approving the generous auto allowance for a couple of Anne Molgaard’s female management buddies and the two extra hours of paid home inventory leave for all County employees without a peep of curiousity or objection, the Board also retroactively approved a doubling of the Air Quality District’s outside legal fees from $50k to $100k without explanation (other than “it was unanticipated”) and giving another $70k to Redwood Quality Management Company for items already in their contract without explanation, the Board approved the conversion of an Agricultural Commissioner’s office position into a County Pot Czar. Then the Supes rambled pointlessly at length about what was agendized as just the appointment process for members of the “Measure B Committee” (i.e., the Mental Health Facilities Oversight Committee). Instead the Supes discussed details like needs assessments, and agendas, and minutes and videos and “bylaws,” and staffing and budgeting and a bunch of other things that the Committee can handle on their own just fine.

AS AN INDICATOR of how irrelevant the Board has become in recent months, we offer the following verbatim excerpts, first a remark by First District Supervisor Carre Brown and then a reaction from Supervisor/Board Chair John McCowen:

Brown: I have a comment that doesn't really have to do with the recovery but, Can we stop calling it the Masonite site? [Laughs.] It's been long gone for a very long time. I propose we call it the Rafa’s Place or Mr. Liberty's industrial site. [Laughs.] And that might put a big smile on Ross's [Liberty’s] face.

McCowen: Well I think the official owner is Friends of Liberty LLC. Maybe Mr. Dunnicliff can confirm that. Does that sound right?

Steve Dunnicliff (Deputy CEO): That's correct.

Brown: But anyway. Masonite came here the same year I was born so that was a long time ago but they haven't been here for at least 15 years now, so —

McCowen: Well and I think it could be noted too that Mr. Liberty has made his property available as a staging area.

Brown: Yes, yes.

McCowen: Without expecting or asking for any kind of compensation, just to help with the recovery efforts.

Brown: Right.

* * *

McCowen, who seems to have fallen deeply in love with CEO Carmel Angelo: Many of you know that our CEO Carmel Angelo recently received an Award of Excellence, I believe it was, from the California State Association of County Executives.

Angelo: Distinguished Service Award, Chairman McCowen, thank you.

McCowen: And all of the above would apply. And this was in recognition of her leadership prior to the fire disaster occurring. Her response to the fire emergency and the recovery effort exemplifies why she is deserving of the award. I wanted to mention one more thing, there was also a meeting Friday in Sacramento convened by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, the California State Association of Counties, it was for executives, elected officials and department heads of nine counties affected by the fire emergencies we had this year. There were 15 state agencies and federal agencies present. There were presentations on housing, debris, watershed protection, economic recovery — pretty much every issue you would expect to be associated with this. It was the first in a number of meetings. Mendocino County was well represented not only by CEO Angelo and several members of the board of supervisors, but also our recovery director [Tammy Moss Chandler] and several department heads and key staff. [Why did they all need to go on the taxpayer’s dime? Just for the recognition? McCowen didn’t say.] Then CEO Angelo, a comment on your award for that meeting. Let me tell you that Carmel Angelo is well-known by the people in Sacramento that we need to be dealing with to get things done.

[Supervisor Brown giggles.]

[Applause bursts out in the Board Chambers.]

[More laughing.]

Angelo: Well, thank you. It is an honor and a privilege to work for Mendocino County and as well it is a privilege for me to be able to come in every day and not only do the work of the CEO, but the disaster and it couldn't have been without this board, and all the dedication of this board, and really the hard, hard work of the staff for this board to know and the public to know that we never had to direct staff to do anything, they showed up and they did it and they worked 15- 20 hour days without any directive. They did it because they have heart. So thank you very much.

* * *

LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Am I a phallocrat? I resent the question, Skrag. No, Mr. Only Show Up For Meals Deadbeat, I am a liberal and a feminist. You?”

* * *


by Mitch Clogg

There are things my mind does, in its relentless pursuit of inefficiency and procrastination, shouldn't happen to a dog, but one thing it's good for is it slows down and stays steady in the middle of an emergency, and it was this mind that said, in a quantum second, “This doesn't look good.”

I knew I was in motion — fast motion, and I was not in control of anything. In hindsight it seemed dark, though the sun had not actually set. Could be my eyes were squeezed shut. But then when things come unstuck from normal and hurtle around, and you're one of them, maybe it's best to protect your eyes, keep them scrinched up. I was in deep forest, too.

Another split quantum and I knew I was in a car. I can't say now if I had any sense of brake, steering wheel or anything else specific, just a bumptious whizzing — possibly spinning — that was way too fast for any peaceful outcome, and a wry sense of chagrin (yes, you can do all this in practically zero time; ever read about the universe's first quantum? It happened in less time than this) — anyway a wry sense of chagrin: “This might be It.”

I say “wry” because my life has furnished more such moments than I can recall, moments when I could have died, some of them along with other people. This one felt like a real contender, and I wasn't even doing anything risky, except blanking out. That's the only thing that fits in here, on this tumbling Tilt-A-Whirl.

So there's a blank place, just as, when I was able to look for them, there were blank streaks on the road where there would have been skid tracks if I'd had the brakes on: blank space, then all of the above, then a tremendous loud crash. “I thought so,” I quantumed.

Then it was quiet.

I'm alive. That's a start. No pain to speak of, but that doesn't mean much. Shock dulls pain to the vanishing point sometimes. I might be in shock.

Okay, let's get things together: car, crash, conscious. Not great, but it could be worse. Something funny: where's up & down? Could I be...? Yep, I'm upside down. Shit.

Now this: I'm hanging upside down in my seat belt, in a wrecked car on a snakey winding road in the dark. It wasn't really dark, but the fading light from above the high treetops and the window-holes for the car all flattened fooled me, and here I hang, in the dark.

The tension on the seat belt made the little parts of the buckle tight on each other, and the button didn't want to push. My concern was rising because if I was motionless in the middle of a road in the dark, I could get dead easily and maybe other people, too. Not good, as my president might tweet. I sucked my stomach in about a mile, pushed the button and fell on the sunroof, oof. The windows had broken on both sides of the front seat, leaving puddles of cubed safety glass on the road (so, yes, I am on the road). The windshield was a mess but mostly intact, folded like origami. The side windows were flattened, but still big enough for me to wriggle through, pulling myself forward with my forearms on the pavement, the glass-covered pavement. Too bad.

It's not dark, with my head outside the car. Sure enough, another car is coming from the west. I'm not fully delivered yet. I hope he sees me. This twilight time is, visibility-wise, the worst, but he's pulling over. As his door opens, two hundred feet away, my rebirth completes itself. I pull my feet free from the car and, in sections like a transformer in the movies, expecting a sharp pain from somewhere, stand erect. The emergence from the narrowed window truly felt like being born. I should get a slap on the butt. My satisfaction at getting free of the wreck merges with awareness of how this out-sliding must look to the person approaching.

Could nothing be busted? Not even sprained? The other driver is a man, also gray, bearded. What was he driving? A little pickup truck, I think. He has turned his flashers on. My broken headlights still shine — right on the road directly in front of them, in the direction of the trees, not the traffic, uselessly.

“Yeah. I think I'm all right.” Tricked you again, Reaper. It's probably been no more than a minute — maybe not that much — since I first woke to this topsy-turvy world from wherever I was.

I'd had a heart monitor taped to my chest two hours ago at the VA clinic in Ukiah. My blood pressure is like a jumping bean, high, low; absurdly high, absurdly low. My pulse is slow, and I do lots of strenuous stuff, work and exercise, with nary a chest twinge, nary a moment short of breath. Doesn't add up, hence the monitor, reading the rhythm. Be interesting to see what reading they get from this.

If I asked the other driver his name, I don't remember it. He was not eager to get caught up in all this, but he stayed. He took the west and I the east, waving at oncoming cars to slow down, watch out, go around the wreck. There's enough room for that. Nobody hurt. Nothing to see, thanks. He told one of them to call 911 soon as they have a signal. “They'll be here soon,” he said to me.

Blood was dripping off my right arm and hand from the puddles of glass. My son was a skateboarder. The sometimes-spectacular abrasions to his arms and legs he called, dismissively, “road rash.” My road rash was bleeding. I didn't feel like dabbing at it because there were slivers of glass in it. Also I had the dim sense that, as an accident victim I should have some badge of victimism, even a trivial one, so I let it drip. The shirt I was wearing is coincidentally the color of dried blood. It was a tidy shirt, and I had creased pants and leather shoes, a seeing-the-doctor ensemble. I was a well-turned-out victim.

Now I can look at the car. It's Ellie's. She spotted it online when Nick Wilson put it up for sale. Nick is a person who cares for his cars, keeps them working right. This Jetta would win no beauty contest, but everything worked — even now, stricken, broken and upside-down, everything still worked. She bought it triumphantly, put a fine set of new tires on and has enjoyed it since, a little more than a year.

Shit. Shit! It's totaled. Whatever just happened, there's no panel on this car's body that isn't deformed, to say the least, and all the parts that are supposed to absorb abuse, to bend and break so the passengers don't, did: both airbags deployed, seat belt did its thing, God knows the roll bar did. The frame and engine compartment all buckled in ways calculated to spare me the violence, and Volkswagen, I once read, uses “virgin” steel — that is, steel straight from a steel mill, not recycled from other wrecked cars. What I read said the structure of new steel is tougher than reused. At any rate, the car's destroyed and I'm not.

At longer reflection, I think Volkswagen may have saved my life just now, while I was totaling my girlfriend's car.

The other traffic is scarce, but they're beginning to stack up anyway. I have a little penlight; the other guy has a flash. We urge the pausers to move on. They slide by me, eyes peeled for casualties. A detached body part would be a jackpot. All they see is this old guy, one arm bleeding. That's all.

As a reporter once, I heard on my car radio, as I was driving home, of a gunfight, right where I was at the moment, injured taken to a hospital I was passing, so I parked and went in, expecting the usual blockade from first responders and police. No obstacle. Empty emergency-room corridor, except for sounds, off, of commotion. Next to me, on a gurney, a man is covered, face, body, everything, except his left arm has slipped off his chest and dangles straight down in that loose way that living bodies cannot attain to. Sleeve rolled up. That's a very virile arm, big hard muscles on it, a flowing rivulet of blood puddling under the gurney. Arm looks like it ought to have a lot more miles in it. I was too chicken to risk getting caught lifting the sheet. Turned out it was a sheriff under it, a dead sheriff, fatally perforated in a private dispute. I and the sheriff were alone because the living people were in the “accident room,” as Emergency was often called then —”Ax.” They were trying to save the other disputant. Don't know if they did. It was a long time ago. I didn't call it in because mine was an evening paper, and the morning papers would be all over it. Nobody had invented a cell phone yet, much less a smart one. My calmly trickling arm is attached to a living body, thank you veddy much.

The Comptche Volunteer Fire Department arrives, lights flashing. I appreciate the flashing lights without thinking about it, as a child might. They mean to help, somebody to keep other cars from ploughing into things in that grim serial way. Aron comes over to check me out. He's up-to-the-minute in grubby, well-used fireman clothes, soiled yellow with bright reflecting tape. Aron is a nice-looking young fellow with a fun, wolfish grin. “I think I'm okay.” He fixes me up with the EMT lady, who will invite me into her truck and look me over for damage, I a 79-year-old man, she a woman maybe twenty, right out of a TV series.

She patiently squeezes arms, legs, ribs, strokes my head. “Little cut on top here.” In another era, my head might have been there on the road. So thorough was the planning for Ellie's Jetta (I swear I'm not on their payroll), all I have from a high-speed rollover is this little cut on my scalp with only a couple little slivers of glass in it, hardly bleeding at all.

It's only later I realize the close-up-and-personal attention I get from EMTs and the CHP who will arrive momentarily have the purpose of checking me for injury or signs of concussion or maybe that sharp little tang of alcohol that even a single drink produces when you get a whiff of the drinker's breath. I don't realize it at the time, just enjoying the camaraderie and competence of these guys.

I had a cup of McDonald's coffee in Ukiah ninety minutes ago. I haven't had any kind of medicine today. No “substance” had anything to do with this mess. I imagine it changes the climate slightly, no trace of disapproval, only sympathy and concern, people nice enough to make you want to share a round of drinks, drink everybody's health. I'm not too bonked to not notice this oddness, this peculiar jubilation. It's because I'm standing, and Ellie's car is upside down and — several have made this an urgent question — nobody's in it.

The fire chief, Larry [Tunzi], introduces himself, another pleasant, smiling guy (what's with these Comptche responders?). He asks if I want them to order an ambulance and take me back to Ukiah. Hell no!” No thanks. Just a tow truck, please.”

Then the truck, mighty Ben driving (he's a big boy).

The CHP's Officer Covington had me walk around the Jetta with him, trying to piece together what happened (and, I bet, getting within the radius of my whisky-breath — if I had whisky-breath, which I don't. I can see his report: twilight, road surface damp from recent rain, visibility unrestricted, no other car. I felt — at least I imagined I felt — a certain protective impulse from the Comptche people. They were more comfortable with me in the EMT truck. I seemed to be okay, but you never know. They hustled me back in it, leaving Covington, also a fit, handsome young man in the utility clothes you see as often as regular uniforms these days, as puzzled as I am over how this scene got set, exactly. All these people are from Central Casting.

There are other responders whose names I didn't get. Thanks to them, too. Somebody dug in the debris inside the car and found my new glasses, intact.

And so it went, rolling my VW, Ellie's VW. Ben brought me home. Triple-A, thank goodness. Now to shock Ellie. There was no phone signal at the crash site. I asked several people to call and tell her I'd be a little late. They said they would, but nobody did. When I told her what happened, her color went gray. She could see me as a dripping arm, a calm severed head. Ellie's imagination is vivid. She has found death, mortality and all the things in that arena to be equal parts fascinating and horrifying. She knows, better than I and probably better that the responders, many of the myriad options Fate had to choose from for me Monday night.

* * *


On 12-02-2017 at approximately 6:00 A.M., Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported domestic violence incident at a residence located in the 1800 block of Clover Drive in Willits.  Upon their arrival, Deputies discovered a 36-year-old male was involved in an argument with his girlfriend, Mary Franz, 36, of Willits.

During the argument, Franz reportedly grabbed the male by the neck and punched him in the face multiple times. The male was found to have visible injuries on his neck.  During the investigation, Deputies advised and placed Franz under arrest for Felony Domestic Violence Battery.  Franz was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

* * *


On 11-30-2017 at approximately 10:00 P.M., a Deputy from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was patrolling the area of the Sherwood Valley Casino located at 100 Kawi Place in Willits.  While patrolling the area, the Deputy contacted a subject standing near the entrance of the parking lot. The subject was identified as Dakota Quayle, 28, of Upper Lake, and was found to be on probation in Lake County for charges of possession of a controlled substance and recent use of a controlled substance.

During the investigation, the Deputy noticed that Quayle was exhibiting signs and symptoms of recently using a controlled substance. After an evaluation, the Deputy determined Quayle was currently under the influence of a controlled substance [11550(a) HS] and she was placed under arrest.  During a search of Quayle's person and property incident to arrest, the Deputy located drug paraphernalia, tear gas (pepper spray), and a usable amount of a controlled substance. From further examining the tear gas weapon, the Deputy noticed that part of the label had been removed where the serial number would be located.  Quayle was additionally charged with Unlawful Possession of a Tear Gas Weapon, Possession of Altered/Changed Tear Gas Weapon, Possession of Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  Quayle was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

* * *


that in turn protects the historic Albion River Bridge,

as well as the Albion Campground and Marina.

by Annemarie Weibel

Frank Demling, Caltrans Project Manager, indicated that "we are leaning towards placing woven jute matting where the ice plant was removed and then placing the ice plant that had been removed on top of the jute matting. We believe there is little risk of the berm destabilizing let alone any storm surge eroding and passing through the berm. In the unlikely event the section of the berm excavated were to begin to erode and pose a threat to the structure, Caltrans would respond with emergency repairs.”

Albion Bridge Stewards (ABS) have been concerned about the potential for erosion of the unpermitted 20-25 feet wide, 35-40 feet long and 5 feet deep trench in the berm and overlying dune sand, stabilized for many years by a dense mat of ice plant, by wave run-up and wave spray from the northwesterly swells and the high tides projected for the time between November 29 and December 6. The Caltrans consultant on October 31 not only removed the stabilizing plants from the top of the berm/dune, but also from its seaward face, where work associated with the trenching produced a new scarp, which has already eroded further landward. ABS members have asked the Coastal Commission to allow Caltrans to take immediate action to protect the berm and dune against a blow-out by potential super-elevated water in order to protect the dune/berm that in turn protects the historic Albion River Bridge, as well as the Albion Campground and Marina.

The ABS member’s concern arose from the prediction in late November by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists that a long period of northwesterly swells would spread across the coastal waters of northwest California through the evening of December 6. These swells could produce hazardous seas from 15 to 20 feet at 15 to 20 seconds, along with offshore wave heights from 20-24 feet for west-northwest facing beaches. At the same time, NOAA’s National Buoy Data Center was forecasting waves out of the Southwest of up to 9 feet, with SE winds at 10-15 knots (11-16 mph) for last week for the area between Point Arena and Cape Mendocino. The local swells off Albion Cove would be less severe, maybe between 5-7 feet. ABS members have been concerned that the 16 predicted higher high tides in the area during December that range between 6.5 feet and 7.35 feet (NOAA data, above mean lower low water) may result in accelerated erosion of the Caltrans scarp and the trench excavated immediately behind it, with potential overtopping of the berm and a blowout of the lose trench material, which Caltrans even through December 3 has neither compacted, nor replanted with deep rooted native vegetation. ABS members have been photo documenting the continuing eroding conditions in the Caltrans work area, and informing the Coastal Commission about the latest changes.

More high tides are predicated for the month of January. ABS members are concerned knowing that the first lumber mill was flooded and destroyed, knowing about the floods of 1984/85 and the recent flooding in 2015.

ABS members believe that "placing woven jute matting where the ice plant was removed and then placing the ice plant that had been removed on top of the jute matting" would not work as first the area needs to be back filled, compacted, and replanted with other vegetation. To use jute netting would not last. To place the ice plant that had been removed on top of the jute matting would not work as it would only disperse and spread. By now most of the ice plant is dead. Anything on top of the netting would be washed away. An environmental consultant hired by an Albion resident recommended: that Caltrans immediately place sandbags, held in place by rebar driven into the Flat sands, on the dune/berm face, to at least 15-20 feet upcoast and downcast from the trench, and on top of the trenched area and 10 feet to the North, East and South; that Caltrans and/or ABS members monitor high tides and storm surge episodes; that sand bags should be of material that can decompose (not plastic); that Caltrans should bring in sand imported from outside the coastal zone to fill the bags; that secured jute netting may be placed behind the sand bags in front of the face of the berm and dune, and below the sand bags on top of the trench.

Annemarie Weibel, Albion

Albion Bridge Stewards

PS. On 10-31 the on-call archeology consultant, Pacific Legacy, entered the Albion Campground and drove to the Phase ll site to begin their archaeological investigation. This entry took place without providing the required 72 hours’ notice to the campground manager and without the necessary Coastal Development Permit (CDP). Daryl Sherfey, the campground manager, instructed the consultant to leave the premises and contacted Frank Demling, Caltrans Project Manager, to discuss the incident. He contacted the consultant to discuss the entry and determined that they did not read the court order and were under the impression that a CDP had already been granted. This was a miscommunication and regardless of where the breakdown in communication occurred, Frank Demling determined that he is the person directly responsible.

* * *


The swearing in of the Honorable Carly Dolan will take place at 4:00 Thursday afternoon in Department E at the County Courthouse. Dolan's last day as Assistant Public Defender was last Friday.

(Bruce McEwen)

* * *


To the Editor:

I am an employee of Mendocino Coast District Hospital. I have chosen to work at MCDH because it is the best opportunity I have to contribute to the health and wellbeing of my follow citizens in this community that I love so much.

I am amazed, and frankly appalled, that a small number of people in this community are attempting to create such an aura of negativity surrounding MCDH. It is even more appalling that one of these people happens to be a member of the MCDH Board of Directors. It is ironic and insulting that some of these people wage their attacks under the banner of being “Friends of the Hospital.” What’s that old cliché? “With ‘friends’ like these…?”

What is the rationale behind this campaign of negativity? There is absolutely nothing constructive about it. Does MCDH have problems that need to be fixed? Of course we do. Name one organization that doesn’t! I’ve been in the workforce for over 40 years, and I’ve yet to see one. I can guarantee you one thing though: organizational issues have never been solved from a platform of negativity and blame.

The people I work with day in and day out are among the most caring and dedicated people I have ever known. Their commitment to the health and safety of our patients is inspiring, and they maintain that dedication and commitment in the face of these hurtful attacks from members of the very community they serve.

One of the issues brought up by the attackers is that of low employee morale. Personally, in the year that I have worked at MCDH, I have seen an increase in morale. But, do you want to know what sticks a knife in the heart of employee morale? The thought that the community we strive so hard to serve, the community that we care about so deeply, thinks we are unworthy of their support.

I challenge my fellow citizens to remember that the negativity you may be hearing comes from a very small number of people, who apparently have their own personal agenda to pursue. As is so often the case, a small but very vocal minority can successfully manipulate things to make themselves sound like a majority. They are not. Please don’t allow their misdirected personal agenda to become your agenda.

MCDH is vital to the health and welfare of the Mendocino Coast. Imagine for a moment what it would be like to have to drive to Willits at 2:00 a.m. on a rainy winter night if your child was sick or injured. MCDH is also vital to the economy of this region. It employs and does business with local companies that employ your neighbors, your friends and your family members.

We are your hospital, and you are our community. We need each other to be the best we can be. I am happy to be a member of this community, and I am proud to be an employee of Mendocino Coast District Hospital.

Lore McLaren

Fort Bragg

* * *

"Try the other eye, senator."

* * *



As I read the results of high school football playoff games, one thing really stands out. Marin Catholic and Cardinal Newman were in the finals. Middleton lost to St Patrick-St Vincent. Three of those four are private schools.

Mater Dei of Santa Ana is ranked first in California, and storied De La Salle is No. 5. De La Salle had an incredibly long winning streak and became the subject of a movie by beating up on public schools whose players they had recruited.

It’s ridiculous to have schools that can recruit and provide scholarships play against regular public schools. Private schools need to have their own leagues where their highly financed programs can compete against one another.

Ken Good

Gig Harbor, Washington

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, December 5, 2017

Emge, Garland, Grinsell


WAYNE GARLAND, Willits. Protective order violation, probation revocation.

MANDY GRINSELL, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

Heitz, Hernandez, Holm

SARA HEITZ, Fort Bragg. DUI.

MELISSA HERNANDEZ, Lathrop/Ukiah. Forge/alter vehicle registration.

ELIZABETH HOLM, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, domestic battery, criminal threats, probation revocation.

King, Moreno, Stanton

ELIZABETH KING, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.

LOUIS MORENO, Stockton/Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, transportation of controlled substance, paraphernalia, suspended license.

KELLY STANTON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, loitering, resisting, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

* * *


[1] There will be no second American Revolution because the majority of the people are dependent on the Federal government in one way or another, as are most businesses. We are no longer a nation of independent, self-reliant farmers and craftsmen as we were in 1776. Most of the people today live in cities, and are dependent in every way on reliable electricity, water, food, transportation, and communications. Most of them simply could not survive a civil war, even if they were desirable of starting one, which they are not. 
My biggest fear is that we will descend into a pit of guerilla warfare and terrorism that will condemn millions to death, go on forever, effectively end both freedom and the Republic, and accomplish nothing at all worthwhile.

[2] It also requires a citizenry that are fed up enough with the status quo to lay down their lives to change it. 
So long as the lights are on and there is cheap beer in the fridge and Cheese Doodles on the shelf and 200 channels of sports and soft porn on the 70″ flat screen, the will be no revolution or uprising.

* * *

IT’S COMICAL watching Trump and Co. make up absurd excuses why lying to the FBI isn’t a crime. Spoiler: It is a crime. This is why if FBI comes knocking at your door and says “Can we ask you some questions?”, the answer should always be “no.” Because then they can’t catch you in a lie, inadvertent or otherwise. (In Flynn’s case, I will go out on a limb and opine that he a lying, greedy weasel who got trapped by his own lies.)

Flynn had little choice when the FBI came calling. Talk to us or you and your son go to prison for a long time, they said. Flynn’s agreement says he can be prosecuted for other crimes if found to be insufficiently helpful. He has said he will testify against Trump, his kids, and White House admin. Now why would FBI agree to prosecute Flynn on a relatively minor charge contingent on him informing, if they thought he and Trumpsters had committed no crimes?

Yet that’s just what Trump is saying. Flynn committed no crime yet lied about it. And that Trump tweet where he stupidly admitted to obstruction of justice wasn’t a tweet from him, someone else wrote it, so he is absolved. Rubbish. The White House a while back said Trump tweets are official. No lawyer, even a Trump lawyer, would write something that incriminating about a client. Nor would they use “pled” rather that “pleaded.” I see that Kellyanne, bless her heart, is babbling about Dowd writing it then sending it to their “director of social media.” Yet Trump has not actually addressed the contents of the tweet directly.

This is like watching Nixon in his final days. All manner of foolish excuses, red herrings, and evasions that wouldn’t fool an eight year old.

Their kingdom is crumbling.

— Bob Morris

* * *


January 5-7- Tickets Now on Sale

On January 5 - 7, 2018, the 26th Annual Professional Pianist Concert will commence once again with three concerts featuring 10 different pianists at the Mendocino College Center theatre in Ukiah. Performers this year are Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy deWitt, Frankie J, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart, Charlie Seltzer and Sam Ocampo. The music ranges from classical to jazz, boogie-woogie to Cuban, Broadway to ragtime.....each performance will be different!

The series features seven pianists on stage each evening in a living room environment throughout the event trading stories and songs with two pianos on stage to accommodate impromptu collaborations. This popular event is an annual sellout because of the diversity, quality of a multitude of styles of music and humor that takes place throughout the evening. A special art show benefitting Redwood Complex fire survivors by Spencer Brewer and Esther Siegel will also be on display at the Mendocino College Art Gallery throughout the weekend…not to be missed!

Friday, January 5th at 7:00pm will feature Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy DeWitt, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart and Charlie Seltzer. Saturday, January 6th’s 7:00pm performance will feature Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy DeWitt, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall and Sam Ocampo. Sunday afternoon’s 2:00pm performance will feature Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Tom Ganoung, Frankie J, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart and Charlie Seltzer. No two concerts will be the same, so if you love piano and piano music, enjoy more than one performance.

Tickets are now on sale at, Mendocino Book Co. and dig Music! in Ukiah, Mazahar in Willits and Watershed Books in Lakeport. Tickets are $15 general admission and $25 "I ‘Wanna’ See the Hands" limited seating. For more information call 707-472-7640.

The concert benefits the Mendocino College Recording Arts & Technology Program, Allegro Scholarship Program, Mendocino County Youth Project and Ukiah Community Concerts. Sponsors are Sparetime Supply, Ken Fowler Auto, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Mendocino College Recording Arts, Willits Furniture Center, Waterman Plants, K-WINE/MAX, KOZT-The Coast and KZYX/Z. There will be autographed CD's by the artists for sale in lobby. Refreshments will be provided by Ukiah Community Concert Association.

* * *


by Manuel Vicent

illustration by Fernando Vicente

translated by Louis S. Bedrock

The spoiled child caused a scene because his mother, who was entertaining guests, did not come upstairs to give him a goodnight kiss.

The sickly adolescent, fussing and complaining, uncomfortable with his tie which is as wide as his Alsatian nurse's hat, plays with the daughters of the gilded bourgeois in the gardens of the Champs Elysees. He falls hopelessly in love with one of them, Marie de Bérnardaky, the daughter of a Russian aristocratic, but her beauty immobilizes him.

The affected courtly student of the Liceo Condorcet is wrought by a compulsive neurosis because some of his fellow students, with whom he’s also fallen in love, do not return the affection that he is willing to give them. Among them, the most handsome—and the most indifferent, is Daniel Halévy, who has to put up with innumerable sorrowful letters filled with love and resentment.

Other companions form a part of this gallery of frustrated desires: Jacques Bizet, Reynaldo Hahn, Lucien Daudet, and Charles Hass—all of whom he attempts to lure, through flattery, into the world of ambiguous pleasures where beauty if free from any moral burden. A disregard for his requests, with grudging admiration for inventiveness in trying to fulfill them, was the response of his friends, although at least one may have been led by hand to the darkness of the gardens of the Tulerias and later, to earn his doctorate degree, to the all-male brothels of Place de Clichy.

Marcel Proust was a wan youth, with the feverish eyes of a Hindu, black hair parted along a line in the middle, a mustache drawn above delicate lips, who attended the university with polished boots, white gloves, a fitted frock coat, a silver tie, and a wild lily in his buttonhole.

He studied law but was actually just a butterfly collector who dreamt of being welcomed in the salons of Paris opened by countesses of the Faubourg of Saint Germain where Zola reigned supreme among other frocked figureheads.

Humbling himself before a decaying aristocracy—flattering the fops of the world and entertaining them with witty remarks and wasting his talent kissing the hands of princesses, was an exercise that allowed him to live with the creatures that would later become fictional characters. Robert de Montesquiou, Madam Straus, the Count and Countess Greffulhe, Antoine Bibesco, the servants Celeste and Oldilón Albaret, the mechanic Agostinelli, the Princess of Polignac, the Countess of Chevigné were partially or completely transformed into Charles Swann, into Odette of Crecy, into Robert de Saint-Loup, into the Baron of Charlus, into the Dukes of Guermantes, and into Madam Verdunn, archetypes of a saga, who fluttered through a world about to vanish.

These people took Proust for an affected chronicler of the parties of high society. He had published an autobiographical novel, Jean Santeuil, which was not highly acclaimed, and which he had written while he was struggling with asthma; and while he was trying to conceal his double life as a secret visitor to male brothels; a nocturnal hunter in the mountains.

In the parlors of the aristocracy he was taken for ne’er do well social climber and seeker of favors through shameless flattery; for this reason he was the object of jokes which Marcel endured in exchange for a complicit smile from the lips of some princess or from some charming young man inclined toward the unspeakable vice.

However, Proust was spinning his golden cocoon like a caterpillar until, finally, he became the most evanescent chrysalis in the history of literature: And all because of a magdalene.

The cup of chamomile tea steamed beneath his nose and this fully mature man dunked a magdalene in it and it dissolved into crumbs in the teaspoon. He raised the spoon to his lips and nothing happened the first time. Nor the second. But the third time, those crumbs produced a strange effect. The flavor of the magdalene opened a space in his subconscious where the essence of time was submerged. Suddenly, the flavor of the magdalene carried him back in time to another distant magdalene that his aunt Leontie had given him in Combray, and from that perfume, spaces of his old house began to open up with voices, faces, furniture, and passageways—an entire time that had been lost in his memory.

All at once, he remembered the scene in which his mother refused him a goodnight kiss, the conversations in the garden, the mid-afternoon walks when after leaving the house, they decided to go by the path where Lord and Lady Swann had their mansion, or the one passed by the Marquis and Marchioness of Germantes.

The steam from the chamomile also carried him to the Champs Elysees and now that blond girl who had enchanted him , Maria de Bernardasky, transformed into Gilberte Swann.

Time was the same as that sensation which took possession of him at times between sleep and wakefulness during which, while coming to consciousness, one is not completely awake and, for a moment, is unaware whether he’s in the city or the country, and confuses his own existence with the objects that surround him.

From this state of drowsiness, emerged the region of Balbec, his vacations in Normandy with his grandmother and the maid, Françoise at the Grand Hotel of Cabourg, and his excursions to Deauville, Trouville, and the country houses of friends from Paris.

At the Grand Hotel were those girls in bloom who played with Marcel en the meadow. They were named Albertine, Adrée, Gisele, and Rosemunde. They were blond with golden cheeks, and eyes of the sea; they moved their elastic bodies underneath colorful parasols and would break out into laughter while the brass band played on the promenade.

Perhaps Albertine Simonet with her flirtations of approximation and detachment was but an image of Daniel Hálevy, so handsome and so elusive, and the other girls were also Proust’s masculine companions at the school of Liceo with whom he sought to share furtive love affairs without success. Art is born from frustration.

Marcel Proust was born in 1871. After a neurotic and dissipated life, he abandoned the world at the age of 37 and locked himself up in a room lined with cork and the door always closed and humidified with aromatic essences to alleviate his asthma. He stayed in his bed dressed in a coat and three scarves and wearing mittens, and like a caterpillar, he began to spin his golden cocoon for a decade, upon thousands of sheets of paper in which an entire epoch is seen disappearing down the drain.

Those personages of the aristocracy, those golden girls and golden boys, were now at his mercy. Using them, he constructed a world of fantasy and vice, of fascinating parties and murky souls. But critics took a long time to understand that the first volume of Remembrance of Things Past was not merely one more frivolous chronicle of the salons, but rather a perfidious creation in which memory and melancholy are able to reduce all the days of one’s existence to a single entity.

The first book was rejected by Andre Gide, consultant of the publishing house of Gallimard, who was never able to sufficiently express his regret.

Later, Proust was awarded the Prix Goncourt, one of the most important literary prizes in France. However, up to the moment of his death, he battled with the editor because of his neurotic obsession to extract the ultimate silk thread from the entrails of his creatures before the editing was finished.

In the end, this was his legacy: those petulant creatures of the high society of Paris—shallow, mediocre, and insubstantial, who surrounded the life of the writer, have become paradigms of a fascinating world that fills our spirits with beauty when we recall it—and is only beautiful because it has vanished.

* * *


by Dan Bacher

On the morning of November 30, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) and Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) held a town hall in Walnut Grove that examined the financial feasibility of the Delta Tunnels and discussed related issues, including the recent report by the State Auditor Elaine Howle's Office that documented the project's major cost over-runs and mismanagement.

Over 200 people, including family farmers, fishermen, business owners, and local residents, showed up at the Jean Harvie Community Center to hear the speakers and show their opposition to the California WaterFix, a project that could cost a total of anywhere from $18 billion to over $68 billion.

After Mike Tilden and Jordan Wright of the State Auditor's Office discussed their report on how the cost of tunnels planning skyrocketed from $13 million to $280 million, Assemblyman Frazier said, "All I can say, honestly, is thank God for the state auditor’s office."

The State Auditor's report concluded that the planning phase of the project experienced “significant cost increases and schedule delays because of the scale and increased complexity of the project."

The audit also pointed out that although DWR used a “robust selection process” to select its first program manager, the URS Corporation, it later used “other methods” to select a replacement program manager, the Hallmark Group, breaking state contracting law. The Hallmark Group was chosen in a “sweetheart deal” made at the request of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a key proponent of the Delta Tunnels.

“Hallmark did not have on staff an individual with the required license,” stated Wright. “They didn’t have a licensed architect, engineer, or general contractor. Similarly, DWR was not able to provide us any evidence that they had followed a competitive process and evaluated Hallmark’s competence and qualifications to provide those services.”

The legislators delivered scathing assessments of the Delta Tunnels project during the hearing.

“The WaterFix is one of the largest, most costly public works project ever proposed in California,” Frazier said. "The recent state audit cited cost over-runs that are out of control. The audit also found the Department of Water Resources failed to complete a basic cost-benefit analysis and has mismanaged the project.”

"I'm a general contractor, and I've never started a project when you don't know the costs of the project," Senator Bill Dodd emphasized, in response to a presentation by Cindy Messer, Deputy Director of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) responding to the audit.

"There is a possibility of the project not going forward if it doesn't measure up. If it doesn't measure up, you don't have a plan B. If it doesn't measure up, the state has just spent a whole lot of money accomplishing nothing,” said Dodd.

Senator Steve Glazer also expressed frustration that the Legislature cannot approve or weigh in on this project. Messer responded that she could not speak on behalf of the Jerry Brown administration.

The room was packed with Delta residents and many lined up to speak during the public comment period. In an amazing show of solidarity, every person who testified voiced their strong opposition to the controversial project.

The only two people who showed support for the project at the hearing were Messer and another DWR staffer. Responding to criticism by the legislators that they hadn't developed a financial or cost-benefit analysis for the project, Messer said they weren't able to conduct the analysis without knowing which water districts are willing to fund the project.

Messer said that was "the critical piece of the puzzle that we need to complete the two analyses, financial and economic."

She also said that "as somebody who once worked as an environmental scientist, this project can have benefits for the ecosystem,” in response to the plethora of scientific reports and lawsuits that say the construction of the Delta Tunnels would in fact harm Sacramento River winter and winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species.

Dr. Jeffrey Michael, executive director of the Center for Business & Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, gave a well-received power point presentation on the Center’s recent report, “Benefit-Cost Analysis of the proposed California WaterFix." He revealed how the costs of the project would greatly outweigh the benefits.

“The conclusion of the benefit-cost analysis, we hear about how terrible the status quo is, but when you get benefit cost ratios of 23 cents to 39 cents on the dollar, what that’s telling you is that your solution is worse than the status quo. Your solution is more costly than the costs of the problem,” said Michael.

Michael also addressed the "one tunnel" proposal that Santa Clara Valley Water Districts and other agencies appear to prefer. Michael said he didn't see how "one tunnel is the solution. There are a lot of alternatives out there" to consider.

After Michael spoke and the legislators answered him a number of questions, the public comment period began.

Responding to Messer's comment that the Delta Tunnels would provide "benefits" for the ecosystem, Tim Neuharth of Steamboat Acres Farms on the North Delta said, "DWR says this is all about restoring the ecosystem of the Delta. How do you justify taking more water out of the Delta to 'improve' the ecosystem?"

Cynthia Lau, who works with Restore the Delta, made a statement on behalf of Tim Stroshane and Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, who were busy that morning filing testimony with the State Water Resources Control Board opposing the approval of permit to change of points of diversion to construct the Delta Tunnels. The statement read:

"Mr. Stroshane wrote the initial letter to Senator Wolk and Assemblymember Eggman requesting the audit for CA WaterFix. Ms. Barrigan-Parrilla worked on a number of the PRA requests and research that uncovered problems with expenditures for the project. They are grateful that the Delta Caucus is holding this hearing today, but also want to urge its members to use their legislative power to insist that CA WaterFix produces a peer-reviewed financial plan for the project that explicitly shows which contractors will pay what share for the project.

In addition, we urge this body and the entire legislature to insist that CA WaterFix produces a peer-reviewed cost benefit analysis showing the economic value of freshwater to the Delta, the San Francisco Bay, and California's coastal economies. The key financial documents must be completed before the state embarks on billions of dollars of new debt.

Ms. Barrigan-Parrilla also asked that I read this direct statement to you: 'When Restore the Delta was founded, I took on this work out of love for the physical environment and for the people of the region - both rural and urban communities. Eleven years later, I have great fear that this project will harm economically working people throughout California, who will end up paying the bill, but who will not share in the economic benefits of the project, and who will be outright harmed by higher water bills without a secure water supply. The legislature has the power to ensure that California builds an environmentally and economically sustainable water future, and to reign in this boondoggle project. Please act thoughtfully and boldly. Thank you."

What will come of the hearing?

Both Frazier and Dodd say they are considering introducing legislation in 2018 that would require the state government to publicly disclose the details of major cost overruns and changes in public works projects like the California WaterFix.

Frazier indicated that he will hold future hearings on the Delta Tunnels as needed. "We will do this again until we get consensus from our agencies," he concluded before adjourning the hearing.

To view the video of the town hall, go to:

Delta Coalition Submits Testimony for Water Board Hearings on Tunnels

Also on November 30, Earthjustice, representing Restore the Delta, submitted detailed testimony from a coalition environmental, recreational, tribal and public trust advocates for Part 2 of State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) hearings on the Delta Tunnels (California WaterFix), slated to begin January 18, 2018, reported a news release from RTD.

"The SWRCB’s hearings will focus on whether the California Department of Water Resources’ and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s requested permits for new water intakes on the Sacramento River are in the public interest. These intakes would feed the tunnels and divert essential freshwater flows south, further damaging the water quality, ecosystems, and residents that rely on a healthy Delta," according to Restore the Delta.

This coalition of Delta advocates includes Executive Director of Restore the Delta=Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Government Affairs representative for the Winnemem Wintu Tribe Gary Mulcahy, Delta fisherman and hunter Roger Mammon, and water rights author and Policy Analyst for Restore the Delta Tim Stroshane.

In their opening statement, Restore the Delta notes that the construction and operation of the proposed dual tunnels through the Delta would:

1) Constitute an unreasonable method of diversion of water;

2) Eliminate suitable habitat for endangered species like the giant garter snake and various native fish species;

3) Increase toxic selenium contamination in SF Bay-Delta waterways;

4) Fail to follow the law requiring that beneficiaries of the water diverted by the tunnels project pay the full costs of the project;

5) Fail to serve the public interest in terms of environmental benefits and of the economic interests of Californians;

6) Degrade water quality for Delta water users and Northern California tribes.

In addition, the project proposal does not:

7) Provide a financial plan or a cost-benefit analysis for proper public review despite the project’s estimated 17-billion-dollar cost;

8) Protect southern California environmental justice communities receiving imported water supplies through Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) from substantial increases in domestic water bills;

9) Allow for transparent public oversight of the project, due to the proposed creation of multiple Joint Power Authorities whose decisions would be shielded from public review.

* * *


To the Editor

Jerry Philbrick as finally done it. He has lifted the lid from racism, bigotry, xenophobia, and intolerance and let them fly around in his head.

Absent any insight, any intelligence, any tolerance, any love in any of his utterances he is perfect tool for the alt-right.

He will welcome fascism into his home with open arms, and then wonder where his freedom went. He will openly carry a gun in case someone disagrees with him and shoot them in the name of law and order.

If he were the only one who thinks as he thinks it would be laughable. But there are millions.

They have been unleashed by his hero in the White House and they will welcome martial law and then wonder where their freedom went.

It is sad that we have come down so far on the path to fascism. It will come, as someone said, with the flag draped around the cross.

Lee Simon

Round Hill Farm, Virginia

* * *

* * *


David Barsamian speaks in Mendocino this Friday about his new Noam Chomsky book

GLOBAL DISCONTENTS is a compelling new set of interviews with Noam Chomsky, who identifies the “dry kindling” of discontent around the world that could soon catch fire. In wide-ranging interviews with David Barsamian, his longtime interlocutor, Noam Chomsky asks us to consider “the world we are leaving to our grandchildren”: one imperiled by the escalation of climate change and the growing threat of nuclear war. If the current system is incapable of dealing with these crises, he argues, it’s up to us to radically change it. These ten interviews examine the latest developments around the globe: the devastation of Syria, the reach of state surveillance, growing anger over economic inequality, the place of religion in American political culture, and the bitterly contested 2016 U.S. presidential election. In accompanying personal reflections, Chomsky describes his own intellectual journey and the development of his uncompromising stance as America’s premier dissident intellectual.

* * *

Hello Friends:

I’m working with David Barsamian on his book tour in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties and hoping lots of folks come to his talks around the county. He and Noam Chomsky co-authored his recently released book, Global Discontents; Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy. Below is more about the book.  David Barsamian created and produces Alternative Radio, which is in it’s 32nd year of broadcast. He is a compelling, articulate speaker. I’d really appreciate it if you pass along David’s tour information to interested folks.

Best to you, Lynda, 895-3243,

Thursday 7th; Laytonville; KPFN LP radio station, 10:30

Willits, Library, 2 - 4 pm

Ukiah, Mendocino BookCompany, 6-8 pm

Friday the 8th; Mendocino, Gallery Book Store 6:30

Contact: Christie Olson Day,

— Tom Wodetzki

* * *


by Penny Skillman

A week before Thanksgiving at the Fort Walton Florida airport I was met by my sister-in-law Robin, a retired public health nurse who now sits on the board of a local homeless organization. The Crestview organization is a necessarily modest affair due to the recent cut off of a state grant. Instead of multipurpose homeless centers like the ones in San Francisco, here there’s one small brick building with a kitchen, conference room, clothes washer, and a living room with two couches. And a “Thank you Jesus” sign out on the lawn. Clients are loaned bicycles (with locks) to go to job interviews. Donations of clothes and shoes and food, and rides by volunteers to get clients I.D.s and medical attention are the basics. The focus is on temporary feeding and reentry into the workforce, with a realistic understanding that some clients want temp jobs or part-time. Much more focused and personal than our giant cyclical S.F. drying-out machine. One of the first things Robin and I do is to take a client in her sixties to a few job interviews. Patty lives in a tent in a treed area in town and hasn’t worked officially for a number of years. But she’s upbeat facing uphill. We’re in a semi-rural part of Florida. Some real pinchers refer to it as South L.A. – meaning “Southern Alabama.” I like to call it the Redneck Riviera in recognition of its beautiful white sand beaches and churchiness, and my marinating teenage years after my family moved here from New York State.

In junior and senior years of high school in Crestview I had a job in the downtown Greyhound bus station. It was a huge building with a horseshoe-shaped counter in the center. In back was a small room with a window through which I served orders to black travelers in a separate waiting room On the white side was the kitchen in which I cooked grits and poached eggs in large pots, occasionally made chicken and dumplings and okra, and grilled burgers. The hamburgers were customarily served with mustard, mayo, and ketchup – in times past in rural Florida commercial meat was scarce, without refrigeration it spoiled. Squirrels, raccoons, and wild turkeys were hunted, but store bought meat required cold storage that was unavailable. Slathering the yellow, white, and red on a burger could cover up a lot of unlucky tastes.

I worked a part-time night shift and there was a rhythm to the influx of customers, determined by bus arrivals. In pre-dawn weekend hours I regularly served the crew from the Roundhouse, a whorehouse up by the Alabama border. The same four women would arrive, slightly unkempt, overweight, boisterous and oddly childlike, always accompanied by the same fat man who sometimes had one or two male companions with him. He did the ordering, behaving like an indulgent daddy – it was rumored he was the uncle of one of the girls. They were fussy, and my boss helped me serve them. She’d bring out platters of buttered white toast with gobs of golden butter on ice for the grits, while I carried a bowl of Cream of Wheat heaped with white sugar for one of the women. They got metal utensils. My boss brought them everything they wanted, including real cream in small pitchers – something we didn’t serve the bus customers. One of the girls always wore a buckskin-fringed jacket, a white Stetson, and was twitchy. Once she found her eggs too soft, the coffee watery, and she emptied grits, eggs, ham and all onto the table. I cleaned it up, and my boss told me to cook her a new breakfast, no charge. The Roundhouse crew traveled in a big RV through Alabama and northern Florida, according to my boss. She said the man with the women carried a pistol in the satchel he always put on the chair next to him. An aura of the criminal permeated the entire town, danger lurking under the surface; it felt to me like the Wild West. It wasn’t uncommon for corpses to be found in the Panhandle woods. Later on, I’d look at detective magazines at a newsstand and find stories based in that area. But as far as I was concerned back then the whorehouse crew were some of the nicer folks in town. The tips were generous, and nothing they did was ever seriously distracting, whereas the Ku Klux Klan had twice burnt crosses, one time across from the high school, and I’d gone home to cry more than once after hostile “Yankee” remarks were directed at me in class. My blouses would be drenched with underarm sweat, my concentration in class shattered. I felt as if I’d transferred to a foreign hostile country. Before Florida, I hadn’t any concept of what the Ku Klux Klan was, never thought about the Civil War, “Rebels,” or “Yankees” as pejoratives or for that matter had any concepts concerning Southern U.S.A. versus Northern. Now I wonder if that’s how it is with all civil wars – the victors don’t obsess over it in any way as the losers are inclined to do. Is it a perseverance of that particular bitterness of family disputes added to geographical memory that a civil war engenders? In Crestview High I was hit full force with a sense of “otherness,” and a puzzling enmity. Crestview festered on many levels then. Yet in public, social interactions demanded surface treacle. After a purchase of gas, say, the common parting was, “Y’all hurry on back now.”

Whenever I returned, I’d remember things, even though nearby Eglin Air Force base had turned the area into a new, cosmopolitan mix. Things like when whites walked down the sidewalk blacks had to step into the gutter; that had arrested me as much as the raccoon penis bones high school boys hung from the rearview mirrors in their cars. There were also the howls of hunting dogs, sounds of gabbling guinea hens that sat up in the trees, the layers of watermelon rinds buried in slushy mud in large pig sties in front yards. The holes in the roofs of some wooden houses, and the general ramshackle poverty; the fact that some classmates had false teeth, the yards were full of old car hulks and some classmates were married by senior year. Chewing tobacco spit into tin cans. How very long distances by car would be referred to by a carried passenger as “just over yonder.” Maybe it was all the result of the overworked natural resources in this part of Florida.

In the early 1900s this area was a big supplier of turpentine. Pine forests were in abundance, and convicts were used to do the work – hot, hard, dirty labor, done by men who lived in camps in the forests and worked for nothing. The pines were scarred, cups attached to the trees to collect the resin which was distilled to make pitch, used as ship caulking in wooden boats and on ship rigging to make it weather-resistant. When steel ships came along and the age of synthetic chemicals, the turpentine industry disappeared. It seemed, like those successive waves of real estate booms in Florida, one more way Northerners exploited the state’s irresistible resources. Reason enough for resentments. But none of that economic history was available to me in my high school years. I was educated only in that white noise pop-culture teenage slavishness common in America. As the end of the fifties segued into the sixties we lavished our crimped intellects on loving Elvis, becoming hound-dogs for the lindy and the beehive hair melt, saddle shoes, romance praxis and car culture.

I once explained to someone that Florida is a special version of America. With its white sand beaches and summer vacation atmosphere, Florida makes the most of its aquatic temperament. You can if you want visit 12 shipwrecks from Pensacola to Port St. Joe down south. When driving down to Tampa a year ago we passed the Weekee Wicki Aquarium, where road signs invited us to swim with the dolphins. Numerous other highway signs appealed for stops for Stuckee’s pecan praline, seafood, used cars, true southern fried chicken. When someone along our way stole my sis-in-law’s credit card number – they notified her of two unsuccessfully attempted charges for electronics when she attempted to charge our motel rooms — it seemed matter of course — it’s a Florida kind of thang. Scam artists abound, fantastic events seem like everyday happenings. Some years ago a man sleeping in his own bed was sucked irretrievably into a sinkhole in some town along the Gulf. I’ve read of two instances of women being pulled into the water by alligators while on shore merely looking. You can wrestle an alligator yourself or watch someone else do it, tour a waterway ecosystem in or outside of the python-polluted Everglades, ride on a river boat, encounter strange snakes, epiphytic Spanish Moss tinseling trees, and beetles that appear extraterrestrial with their bug eyes and crablike legs on their large torsos. And the hurricanes – they plagued the Spanish back in the centuries of attempted conquest in the 1500s along the southern parts of the U.S., where they’d gain a foothold, build a settlement of modest means only to have it disappeared by nature’s whims overnight. Nothing is a certainty on Florida shores, especially in these days of climate change. Maybe ultimately only Disneyland Orlando will prevail. Illusion has a long shelf-life. And it’s omnipresent. On a walk along the road at Bill and Robin’s I was about to pick up what I thought was the top left-hand corner of the black rubber edging of a truck windshield, when, bending down, at the last moment I saw tiny eyes and a slight iridescent green tint confirming it was a flat black snake.

“A common type,” Robin says.

“Not in San Francisco.”

Maybe it’s the nature of the Florida light, almost hallucinatory in its infiltration of the senses. Until sunset, when it produces a vast luscious restful melon pink and violet palette that even a postcard can’t cut down to size.

I tanned a little, and watched some anthropologically fascinating TV on the wide Sony. In San Francisco I never would’ve seen days-worth of dyed blonde women in crowds praising a child molester candidate for the U.S. Senate. They maintained he was their candidate because he would always “spread the knowledge of God,” code for being anti-abortion, for the death penalty, against blacks and anti-Muslim. Strange values of the natives. The ads said his Democrat rival was “soft on crime,” even though said candidate Doug Jones was the one who prosecuted successfully the case against the church bombers who killed four young black girls in the sixties – maybe it was because of that they opposed him. He “believes” in abortion. Allegedly Roy Moore had one of the young girls accusing him excused from her Trigonometry class to ask her for a date; he cruised the Gadsen mall on his off hours hunting his prey. I’d guess that any woman in Gadsen who lived there at the time knew of his predatory ways. Alabama is a very special population of Americans. Pedophilia, OK, just as long as you agree to infantilize women when it comes to their medical decisions. And love Jesus. But I’m a low brow gossipy type and I loved the news shows there. An entire week of prodigious and nuanced permutations of inter-sexual misconduct in the entertainment industries. Deep native customs. But, we asked, what about the law offices, medical institutions, the bakery industries, marine biology, and the plumbers?

Good vacation all around.

Copyright©2017 Penny Skillman

* * *


Humboldt State University President Lisa Rossbacher announced today that HSU would continue fielding its intercollegiate football team, thanks to an outpouring of support from alumni and community donors.

President Rossbacher said she was impressed by the passionate group of boosters who led a recent fund drive. They convinced her they could bring in the resources needed to help continue the football program.

“This is a good day for our football team, and a good day for Humboldt State,” President Rossbacher said. “We’re proud of our athletics program and our football team, and I’m so thankful for those who have stepped up to provide the financial resources to continue all our sports.”

The announcement was made today in front of a crowd of student-athletes, coaches, and invited guests including prominent boosters. President Rossbacher was joined by Jim Redd, who helped lead the booster fund drive along with Ceva Courtemanche, Head Coach Rob Smith, and Interim Athletic Director Duncan Robins.

“I’m overwhelmed by what this community was able to do, in such a short period of time,” said Jim Redd, who promised to support the process of collecting donations. “We worked hard, because it was something we cared about. We did this for the student-athletes, and for the University, and the community. It means that the long and proud tradition of Lumberjack football will continue.”

The future of football, which is the University’s most expensive athletics program, had been in question due to financial challenges. The Athletics Department is struggling to balance its budget, and the University as a whole is working to address an ongoing structural deficit.

The booster group led a fund drive to find additional resources for athletics, including football, and has committed to providing at least $500,000 for each of the next five years. Maintaining that high level of donor support will be a challenge, but it’s one that boosters are sure they can meet. The University’s plan is to collect funds through January to support the upcoming fall football season and other sports in the upcoming academic year. That will provide plenty of time for budget planning by HSU.

Those who made offers of support during the fund drive may fulfill their commitments online at or by check (checks payable to "HSU Athletics” designated to Support Your Jacks on the memo line and mailed to: Gift* Processing Center*, SBS 285, Humboldt State University, 1 Harpst Street, Arcata CA 95521)

More: Fact Sheet: Continuation of HSU’s Football Program

* * *

* * *


At its meeting Monday, the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) approved the 2018 Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP), programming $3,024,000 for transportation projects over the next five-year cycle.

The recent enactment of Senate Bill 1, increasing transportation taxes to fund a backlog of deferred maintenance throughout California, made it possible to fund these projects. Without it, MCOG officials had expected to see a shortfall of RTIP funds until at least 2022. The State’s fund estimate included $3 million of new programming capacity for MCOG as a result of SB1. Statewide revenue projections are an estimated $5.4 billion a year. An influx of new jobs has already started.

Cities and counties will receive increased Local Streets & Roads gas tax revenue directly from the State, to supplement existing maintenance budgets. Three cities in Mendocino County will get an additional reward for taxing themselves with voter-approved transportation sales taxes for the past 15 years. The Active Transportation Program (ATP), which funds bicycle, pedestrian and trails projects through competitive grants, is also augmented.

"The number one complaint that I hear is poor road conditions," commented 3rd District Supervisor and MCOG board member Georgeanne Croskey. "I think it’s important for people to see that the money has to come from somewhere, and right now that money is going to be here because of SB1. If that law is repealed, the chances of getting our roads fixed will dramatically plummet. I want to help them, but we haven’t had the money to help them. With SB1 hopefully we will."

SB1 created four new programs and supplemented four existing programs. Mendocino County gets immediate economic benefits from five of these: the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), Local Streets & Roads, Local Partnership Program, Caltrans state highway maintenance (a.k.a. SHOPP), and planning grants.

MCOG learned this week of its successful grant proposal for a $179,000 Caltrans planning grant to develop a countywide pedestrian facilities inventory and feasibility study to fill infrastructure gaps. This will create a list of local prioritized projects, positioned and ready to compete in future cycles of the State’s ATP grants. The ATP combines hundreds of millions in state and federal funding programs for what is now called “active transportation.”

Three of the cities in Mendocino County have enacted voter-approved sales taxes dedicated to transportation, joining a coalition of 20 “self-help” counties. This qualifies them for State matching funds through the Local Partnership Program. Fort Bragg, Willits and Point Arena each will receive $100,000 per year, far more than previous levels. MCOG staff worked hard on guidelines committees to ensure that rural agencies that taxed themselves were rewarded. The Cities intend to use these funds to improve street and road conditions through repaving and maintenance work.

Projects that made MCOG’s regional program list, subject to approval by the California Transportation Commission, are:

  • North State Street improvements in Ukiah - environmental phase at $132,000
  • US-101 Intersection/Interchange improvements in Ukiah Valley - design phase at $468,000
  • South Main Street pedestrian improvements in Fort Bragg - environmental, design and construction at $1,485,000
  • Gualala Downtown Streetscape - design phase at $575,000
  • Sherwood Road Geometric Upgrade in Willits - construction at $100, 000
  • Willits Bypass Main Street Relinquishment - through construction at $98,000
  • MCOG Planning, Programming & Monitoring at $298,000.

“In addition to all of these benefits, we will be watching for improvements coming from the new Trade Corridor Enhancement Program over the long term,” reported MCOG Executive Director Phil Dow. “Access to Mendocino County highways will improve through proposed work to be funded in adjacent counties that have projects ready for construction and eligible for this new SB1 program.”

For more information on SB1 transportation investments, visit

* * *

Photo by Susie de Castro

* * *


Greetings Gardeners and others interested in the County Fair and Apple Show here's the Fair Boosters Report for November 2017. Having recently attended the annual Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show board meeting and election, it seems like the perfect opportunity to share the information with the community, and also include some ideas and plans for next year’s fair. We will try and send a monthly update throughout the year, with more information and ideas.

Fair Director Jim Brown reported that there was an overall increase in participation and attendance in the fair this year, with exhibits down but exhibitors up. We count that as a positive indicator that more people are participating in the floriculture, fine arts, home arts, livestock, wool and junior entries. It was another wonderful fair. The weather cooperated, sheepdog trials were a hit as usual, a rough year for our apple growers but they pulled through admirably, the parade was much livelier and varied than in the recent past. GOOD GOING PARADERS! Start cogitating on possibilities for next year.

It's not too early to start thinking now about the sewing, art or canned, bake goods and produce you could enter in the fair next September!

This is the first year that folks could make entries online which makes it much easier for some people in this digital world.

The Fair Boosters are looking to increase the interactive activities offered at the fair, such as the parade or the audience vote for the gardens, and welcome any ideas you might have. Some things we've tossed around are, a fair-wide scavenger hunt, and an exhibit that doesn't require prior sign-ups called “The one that got away” or “Freaky fruits”, you know that monster zucchini or the tomato with eyes and a nose and mouth. There are proposed changes in the premium book to make it more user-friendly, including adding some fruits or vegetables that are popular now and eliminating others which aren't, and adding nuts to the mix.

The bottom line is you! The Fair Board and the Fair Boosters would love ways to make the fair even better than it is. A big part of this is participation. Please give us feedback on ways to make it easier and more enjoyable to be part of the fair.

Email Donna Pierson-Pugh with comments or suggestions.

—The Fair Boosters



  1. mr. wendal December 6, 2017


    “South Main Street pedestrian improvements in Fort Bragg – environmental, design and construction at $1,485,000”

    Wow. They must be unaware of the deploable state of many of the alleys in the city that are used as streets by the (mostly low income) residents who live in second units on those alleys.

    Who wants to walk down south main street breathing in the exhaust of the heavy traffic whizzing by when south franklin can be traversed? And it’s hard to carry on a conversation while walking down south main street with all of the traffic noise. This project looks to be yet another in the long line of “the money is available so let’s spend it” unnecessary projects that are not improving “active transportation” (who came up with that term?) for fort bragg residents. The $1,485,000 they’re spending has come from our pockets. Please spend it more wisely. How about “pedestrian improvements” like better sidewalk transitions at both street and alleyway intersections for those with mobility issues? I’d like to see the city council members try to get around town in a wheelchair or walker. Or grab one of our many frail elderly residents and walk around town with them to see where improvements need to happen. I see that money is still being spent on new things while what we already have is being neglected.

  2. james marmon December 6, 2017

    Fox News just reported that 6 female Democrat Senators are now asking Al Franken to step down. For years I’ve known that the Democrat Party was no longer and in “reality” had become the Feminist Party. That’s why I joined up with the Trump Party and helped him with his “hostile takeover” of the Republican Party.

    God bless our President.

  3. james marmon December 6, 2017

    I once interned under one of the therapist who had been involved in McMartin case where social workers investigation techniques planted false memories of sexual abuse in children. Today’s “Me Too” movement causes me concern for the same reason.

    How the daycare child abuse hysteria of the 1980s became a witch hunt

    “We Believe the Children.”

    “A false memory is the psychological phenomenon where a person recalls something that did not happen. False memory is often considered in legal cases regarding childhood sexual abuse. … The syndrome takes effect because the person believes the influential memory to be true.”

  4. Jim Updegraff December 6, 2017

    Bob Morris speaks my mind

    “God bless our President”. surely that comment is some kind of sick joke by Marmon.

    • Jeff Costello December 6, 2017

      The problem is, they are serious. Not a sick joke, a cruel one. Philbrick, Grace, and all those evangelical crackpots and fakers who say Trump was elected “to carry out God’s plan.” Skeeter Davis sang “Don’t they know it’s the end of the world.” Maybe they like it.

  5. Craig Stehr December 6, 2017

    “The foolish follow after vanity while the wise guard earnestness as their great treasure.” ~Swami Sivananda

  6. Cindy Richards December 6, 2017

    Her YEAR at MCDH? Ms. Mclaren why don’t you come talk to me when you’ve been here for more than 11 years. And after you’ve been harassed, threatened and ridiculed by your boss, his boss and the very board you voted for. Talk to me when you’re one of more than 6 women this was done to. Better yet, talk to me about employee morale after you brought your concerns forward along with 6 other women and the board shows unwavering loyalty to abusers, joins in on the harassment and then instead of holding the CFO accountable, let him resign. I’ve been in the workforce for 30 years and agree that there are issues everywhere. Thank goodness I, unlike you, will no longer sit back and allow such disgusting issues to be swept under the rug.

  7. Jim Updegraff December 6, 2017

    El Trumpo the village Idiot’s action today on Jerusalem to pander to the U.S. pro-Israel crowd will have very serious reaction in the middle East.

  8. Jim Updegraff December 6, 2017

    Iran has spoke out in a very unpleasant way.

  9. Harvey Reading December 6, 2017


    Exactly. They dig their own graves, happily fall into them, then try to drag the rest of us down with them. Philbert’s kind has always walked among us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *