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Mendocino County Today: Friday, Dec. 22, 2017

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JUST IN: A HOSTAGE EPISODE last night at the Sunrise Inn across the street from Ukiah Safeway has resulted in a least one woman dead.

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THE ANDERSON VALLEY mourns the loss of Sandy Pronosolino of Signal Ridge, Philo. Mrs. Pronsolino died suddenly of a heart attack at her home. Condolences to husband Guy Pronsolino and the Pronsolino family.

Sandra Kaye Pronsolino was born in Ukiah, CA June 28, 1958. She entered Heavens' gates on December 18, 2017 at her home in Philo, CA. Sandy grew up and lived in Calpella until she met and married her husband Guy Pronsolino, May 15, 1982. They then settled in Anderson Valley where Sandy had become a well-known member of the community. Sandy loved the outdoors. On any occasion you could find her in her garden, camping, hunting, hiking, mushrooming, and just enjoying the life around her. The love that she had for her family was deep. Ask her, and she would say her greatest accomplishments were her marriage of 35 years to her husband, her two children, and her precious grandchildren. Sandy loved to cook and can. She could light up a room with her presence and be that bright light on someone's darkest day. One of her greatest accomplishments was accepting the MAME (Marketing and Merchandising Excellence) Award on behalf of Taylor Roberts during her career with them. She was currently working as a Senior Park Aide for the State Parks of California. She enjoyed her summers helping families make memories, which to her was the most important part of life. Sandy is survived by her husband Guy Pronsolino. Son, Russell Pronsolino and Katie Sullivan. Daughter and son in-law, Marchella and Bob Norris. Grandchildren, Robert, Shawnee and Hunter Norris. Father Buhl Hoover. Brother, Randy and Nancy Hoover. Sister in-law, Janice Pronsolino. Brother in-law, Ron and Jennifer Pronsolino. Also survived by a large, loving extended family and friends. She is preceded in death by her mother Lorraine Hoover and her father and mother in-law Guido and Betty Pronsolino. A viewing will be held at Eversole Mortuary, Wednesday, December 27 from 4pm-8pm. Services will be held on Thursday, December 28 at 11am at Eversole Mortuary with a reception to follow at Barra of Mendocino in Redwood Valley. "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass it's about learning to dance in the rain."

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HIGH PRESSURE will bring dry weather, warming daytime temperatures, and chilly nighttime temperatures the next few days. A weak frontal boundary will bring a slight chance for rain to northwest California on Sunday and possibly Monday. (National Weather Service)

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Memorandum Of Citizen Concern

TO: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, Mendocino County Museum Advisory Board, Mendocino County Heritage Network, Other concerned parties and the public at large

FROM: County Museum contract archivists Russell & Sylvia Bartley

DATE: 1 December 2017

What is the issue?

The Mendocino County Museum (MCM) was created by the Mendocino County Historical Society (MCHS) over a several-year period in the 1960s and early 1970s, then donated to Mendocino County by formal agreement with the County Board of Supervisors (BOS) for the permanent preservation of the County’s historical heritage. During the first two decades of the Museum’s existence it developed a remarkable collection of historical artifacts and documentary records, created exemplary exhibits, and offered the public a creative and enlightening series of typically well-attended programs. The County Museum is a public trust, to which the BOS committed County Government by formally accepting ownership on terms stipulated by MCHS, most importantly that henceforth the County would provide appropriate Museum staffing and would maintain its physical plant. The one term of donation that would become, and remains, an administrative issue is that the Museum was to be a department of County Government, which had salary implications for MCM directors who simultaneously wore two directorial hats. This became a critical problem in the late 1990s when, seeking administrative economies, the BOS brought in an outside consulting firm to review County Government’s organizational chart and operations and in that firm’s final report it was suggested that the Museum’s small staff did not warrant departmental status.

There typically being little institutional memory in government bureaucracies, in this instance with regard to the specific terms of transfer to the County, the BOS began to discuss folding MCM into the County Library or some other department of County Government, at which point the Museum’s then serving director, contemplating a significant salary reduction, left the Museum for a senior position in another County department. The most logical and experienced person to replace the departed MCM director and who actually did serve briefly as interim director, was the Museum’s curator of collections, Rebecca Snetselaar. (She was the person primarily responsible for and most familiar with the Museum’s growing collections, so much so that more than a dozen years since her departure we and others still consult with her about unclear aspects of collections development and administration.) Snetselaar was eliminated, however, from serious consideration in favor of a wine promoter with no professional qualifications for the job but favored by the County Executive Administrator (now CEO) and some members of the BOS with a view to linking the Museum to the local wine economy as a potential revenue source.

The result was public outrage, especially among members of the Mendocino County Heritage Network, a mutual support organization of County museums and historical interpretive sites established in 1986 by MCM director Mark Rawitsch. So blatant was the violation of the public trust on the part of County Government and so strong the resulting public protest that the BOS was forced to conduct a proper search for a professionally qualified director. An appropriately experienced candidate was found in Wisconsin, an offer was made and accepted, then unexpectedly turned down when the candidate’s spouse refused to relocate to Willits. At that point, MCM founding director Herb Pruett agreed to come out of retirement to serve as interim director, then subsequently to serve again as the Museum’s full-time director.

When Pruett retired from that position in 2007, longtime County employee Alison Glassey was assigned from the County Executive’s Office to serve as interim MCM director, then chose and was allowed to continue as full-time director. In contrast to other senior County employees, Glassey had a genuine interest in and concern for the Museum’s future. What she lacked for the job was any museum administrative experience but, unlike other County administrators, she made a serious effort to learn and over the course of her directorship made notable contributions to the Museum’s legacy. By way of example, we cite the permanent Woven World’s exhibit on the regional Native American experience and the very popular Museum Road Show. The administrative issues that ostensibly led to her recent removal from the Museum’s directorship plunge us once again into County Government’s all too familiar mismanagement of this invaluable public trust. That is the overriding issue confronting all who care about the preservation of our County heritage and the vital role of the County Museum in assuring that preservation.

Who are the Bartleys? Why might it be prudent to hear them out?

Sylvia Bartley is a third-generation Mendocino County resident, her paternal grandparents having emigrated from Finland to the Fort Bragg area in the 1890s. She was educated at Reed College, San Francisco State (B.A.) and the University of Wisconsin (M.A.), taught in the Fort Bragg school district and at the Mendocino Coast campus of College of the Redwoods, and has a long-standing interest in local history. She is a founding member of the Fort Bragg-Mendocino Coast Historical Society (FB-MCHS) and director of the Society’s archives. Together with her husband Russell, she has also served on the Board of Directors of the County Historical Society. Russell Bartley is a retired history professor from the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee campus), where in addition to his Hispanic world specialization he taught both undergraduate and graduate-level courses in historical research methods. He completed his doctoral studies at Stanford University, which included extensive familiarization with manuscript collections and archival practices. Russell has been a legal resident of Mendocino County since the early 1980s and a full-time resident since his retirement in 1996. Like Sylvia, he has an abiding interest in local history and especially in the critical relationship between life at the local level and historical developments in the larger world beyond. He, too, is a founding member of the FB-MCHS and serves as a Society archivist.

Two of our primary concerns are (1) deepening the public’s interest in and appreciation of local history, and (2) preservation of the often elusive and vulnerable historical record. To that end, in 1991 we incorporated a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity called Noyo Hill House (NHH) to serve as a local historical records safety net. Our boilerplate statement of purpose was and remains: “The preservation of perishable historical source materials and the promotion of public interest in history.” Over the course of NHH’s now 26-year history we have identified and facilitated the permanent placement of numerous important collections of Mendocino County-related historical records, including Union Lumber Company records donated to FB-MCHS by Georgia-Pacific Corp., little-known McCarthy-era political materials documenting Communist Party activities in the County, and several collections now placed at the County Museum, among them: the political papers of former four-term County Supervisor Norman de Vall; the fi les and library of the Fort Bragg-based citizens’ activist group People for a Nuclear Free Future; the Nelson Brothers Collection, documenting the life stories of two politically active Mendocino Coast Finns, one of whom emigrated from Fort Bragg to Soviet Russia in 1922, fathered two sons, fell victim to the Stalinist purges, then one of whose grandsons and great-grandson (also namesake) emigrated back to Fort Bragg in 1997; and the field notes, maps and related documentation of Samuel Gilbert Clark (1896-1944), the first geologist to conduct extensive field work in Mendocino County.

In pursuit of NHH public outreach objectives we began in the latter 1990s to collaborate on a volunteer basis with the County Museum, initially during the directorship of Dan Taylor, then under the direction of collections curator Snetselaar. Sylvia focused on processing photographic collections (identifying and coding images), while Russell concentrated on the curation of manuscript holdings. When Pruett reassumed directorship, he quickly appreciated the need to get administrative control of the Museum’s archival holdings and worked out a contractual arrangement with us to address that need. We began that challenging task by physically concentrating archival operations in an enclosed suite of rooms within the unfinished storage structure that had been added to the original Museum building at the beginning of the new millennium. While not fully climate controlled, what has now become the Museum’s archival suite was insulated, had heating and air conditioning, and could be locked for necessary security. What Pruett envisioned and remains an ultimate objective of Museum operations was to create a substantial partitioned area within the new addition, duly climate controlled, exclusively for the long-term storage of the Museum’s archival collections. His thought was to transfer all artifact and archival holdings into the new addition, then rehabilitate the old storage area for additional exhibit space.

Pruett personally retrieved a large quantity of library shelving donated to MCM by the Livermore Public Library and drove it back to Willits, where we reassembled it in the archival suite and an adjacent area of the outer storage area. We then began to relocate key but incompletely processed documentary collections from both the old storage space and the second-floor curatorial work area onto the new shelving in the archival suite. We also began to develop a strategy for making accessible some 90 cartons of unorganized County records dating from the early 20th century into the 1980s.

And we accessioned two significant collections procured by Director Pruett: (1) a substantial body of Redwood Empire Association records; and (2) the personal and family records of prominent County resident William Lincoln Bittenbender, which at Pruett’s request we retrieved from the deceased’s Ukiah residence.

When Herb Pruett retired in 2007, funding for our MCM archival work ended and would not be renewed for another six years, when Alison Glassey brought us back to pick up where we had left off. Before completing our final contract period under Pruett and at his request, we produced an extensively illustrated booklet that described the Museum’s archival holdings and explained the administrative requirements for their conservation, further development and utilization by Museum staff, County employees and other interested researchers: Mendocino County Museum, Willits, California. Archival Holdings and Historical Research Collections Development, Description and Administrative Requirements (April 2007).

“The Mendocino County Museum is a cultural asset of inestimable value to all of us who live in this part of the State,” we observed. “The size and scope of its archival holdings, together with its extensive reference collections, rich artifact holdings, exceptional physical plant and advantageous location all combine to make the Museum a cultural institution of potentially major significance,” while recent development of its archival and reference collections “now afford it the possibility of becoming a full-service regional historical repository and research center on a par with comparably sized institutions across the country.” In that capacity, we noted, the Museum would be able to play “a highly visible networking role among numerous public, private and academic historical bodies throughout northwestern California,” which in turn would “further enhance its stature among heritage specialists, as well as the general public, and in so doing project an attractive cultural image of Mendocino County throughout the wider region.”

Unfortunately, we concluded, in light of budgetary constraints “some in County government would cut allocations for Museum operations in pursuit of what seem to us to be false economies. Those budgetary reductions have already so hobbled MCM that for several years now it has been unable to function properly.” In our view, we concluded, “County government ought not view MCM as simply another piece on the game board of administrative monopoly, rather should see the Museum as the asset it is, endorse its purposes and objectives, then set about creatively in concert with Museum staff, the Museum’s Advisory Board and members of the County’s diverse historical community to devise the ways and means of achieving those ends.” Sadly, that has not happened and in 2017 we still have a County Executive Officer and one or two BOS members who do not believe that this now 45-year-old County institution should remain a County responsibility.

When County government brought in Alison Glassey to replace Herb Pruett rather than conduct a proper search for an experienced public historian to serve as Museum director, they made yet another bureaucratic move on their administrative monopoly board. Fortunately for the Museum, Glassey understood the issues we and Pruett had raised in our 2007 MCM-published booklet and took steps to address them. In March 2014 she brought us back on contractual terms that made it possible for us to continue the archival work we had initiated during Pruett’s directorship. That June she extended our contracts for the following fiscal year and did so again in 2015.

In the spring of 2016 it was discovered that the Museum had a serious black mold infestation requiring immediate attention and in the operational disruption occasioned by that remediation (the Museum was closed to the public throughout the summer and early fall) Glassey neglected to renew our contracts within the established administrative time frame, all the while continuing to pay us and reassuring us that she would get the contracts renewed as soon as she could take a little time away from the disruptions of remediation. The County Executive’s Office was not sympathetic to her explanation for the breach of established procedure but finally did authorize retroactive renewal of our contracts, albeit with the strange caveat that because of the amount of those contracts ($15,000 each), the next time around they would have to be “put out for bid” —a requirement not raised previously and which, we argued, was impractical given the nature of the archival tasks to be performed.

In a memo to director Glassey about our role as contract archivists we pointed out that by then we had been working to remedy the Museum’s archival problems for several years and were de facto the only available professionals with the requisite skill set to complete the job as it needs to be done. The key components of that skill set, we noted, are: (1) knowledge of and practical experience with archival practices; (2) familiarity with the County Museum’s archival holdings; (3) knowledge of the Museum’s institutional history; and (4) knowledge of County and regional history. Now there is the additional problem that, having already introduced transitional changes into the preexisting order of the Museum’s archival holdings, we are as a practical matter the only individuals sufficiently familiar with those changes to complete and integrate them into a properly reorganized archival management system. This is especially true for the inactive and historical County Government records housed at the Museum, many of which can no longer be located by referring to the original storage carton inventory prepared by the County.

We further pointed out that the work we have contracted to do at the County Museum differs from plumbing, painting or paving contracts in that it is not a short-term job that can be completed in days, weeks or months. The curatorial aspect of archival administration, like other facets of museum operations, is of course ongoing and at some point will have to be taken over by a full-time qualified staff person responsible for archival holdings. Our task has been and remains to get those holdings into a physical and organizational state where they can be effectively administered by anyone with the appropriate professional experience. We have made significant progress toward that end, we observed, but a great deal remains to be accomplished: major collections yet to be evaluated, organized and inventoried; physical development and utilization of archival storage space; determination of collecting priorities and the formalization of administrative policy and procedures. Realistically, we anticipated that on our current (and for us only feasible) part-time basis we would require another 2-3 years to accomplish those tasks, after which—health permitting—we would be available for consulting as needed.

Apparently persuaded by our reasoning, on 22 June of this year the County Executive’s Office granted us a two-year contract, renewable for a third, to continue our archival work. On that same date they notified MCM director Glassey that they were placing her on administrative leave for alleged mishandling of Museum finances, then over the following weeks imposed a gag order on the increasingly demoralized staff while assigning day-to-day oversight of Museum operations to County Librarian Karen Horner. Nothing was communicated to us and we continued our normal work routine until Thursday afternoon, 10 August, when as Sylvia was performing archival tasks on her computer it suddenly froze up. When she contacted County IT to report the problem, she was instructed to call Deputy CEO Janelle Rau, who informed her that our contracts had been suspended, curtly adding that, as contractors, “we had no right to be using County equipment,” as though it were somehow possible to administer the archival collections without access to the Museum’s computer system. Sylvia further explained that we were then assisting a local researcher who was working on a book about local Pomos, to which Rau responded dismissively that that was just too bad and for the time being that individual would have to cease her research at the Museum. She then informed Sylvia that we were to turn in our keys and until further notice would only be allowed access to the public areas of the Museum. Another week would pass before we received written notification of our contract suspension. Rau’s haughty attitude that day typified County Executive Office dealings with the Museum. In our specific case, neither the CEO nor anyone from her office has taken the trouble to visit the archives while we’ve been present or otherwise meet with us to learn something about the administrative issues posed by this aspect of Museum operations. That, we conclude, is because County administrators do not conceive of the Museum as anything more than a Disneyesque entertainment attraction, much less as a public trust of inestimable educational value.

How to salvage our County Museum? Can it be salvaged?

When Herb Pruett was replaced in 2008 by Alison Glassey rather than a professionally experienced museum director, the Mendocino County Heritage Network expressed immediate alarm in a public statement addressed to the BOS under the heading: OUR COUNTY MUSEUM ON LIFE SUPPORT. It read as follows:

“The Mendocino County Museum on East Commercial Street in Willits is in dire straits as a consequence of long-standing neglect by our elected County representatives and their appointed public servants in the County Executive Office. In the name of budgetary belt tightening over the past decade, the Supervisors have progressively eliminated the Museum’s professional staff to the point where, after the last round of budget cuts, it is left to function with an interim director (fortunately, one with invaluable public administrative experience and a sound understanding of the Museum’s real needs), a receptionist, and whatever volunteers can be found to perform stopgap tasks. There is currently no one on the County Museum’s staff with professional museum training and the Museum has not had a curator of collections now for the past seven years. The present CEO, Carmel Angelo, has even gone so far as to propose that the Mendocino County Museum simply be boarded up and its remaining staff laid off.

“As the principal representatives of the County’s historical preservation and heritage community, we of the Mendocino County Heritage Network wish to alert local residents to the serious threat now faced by the County Museum. It is important for all of us to understand that this is not a matter of legitimate economies necessitated by the larger financial crisis, as the Museum is one of the County’s smallest departments and reductions in its former annual budget of approximately $300,000 contribute virtually nothing to alleviating shortfalls in the County’s multimillion dollar budget. The objective fact is that, even in these difficult economic times, the County can afford this priceless cultural institution.

“It is equally important to understand that the County Museum is not a luxury, rather a public trust as essential to the well-being of our local citizenry as law enforcement, public health, and social services. The Museum is the conservator of our collective memory, the repository of our historical records, and the interpreter of our shared heritage. It was created many years ago by concerned citizens who recognized the importance of remembering and learning from the past. Through the Mendocino County Historical Society they planned, funded and built the Museum, then gifted it to the County, which accepted the Museum as a public trust to be preserved and sustained in perpetuity out of the County treasury. It was a solemn commitment by County Government to the citizenry, yet one which in recent years has not been kept.

“Without competent professional staff, the County Museum cannot continue to function. It is not enough to keep the lights on and the doors open. Artifacts and archival holdings require ongoing care, as do exhibits, which also must be updated, supplemented and explained to the visiting public. In addition to the County’s ethical and legal obligations to the donors of family heirlooms, artifacts, photographic collections and historical records, by failing to provide for the proper care of these fragile holdings our County Government increasingly risks law suit and deaccessioning expenses far in excess of purported savings from the recent budget cuts. More seriously, these irreplaceable pieces of our collective heritage are in danger of being lost (as was the priceless Elsie Allen Pomo basket collection already several years ago) through the failure of our elected officials to exercise responsibly their public trust. We urge County residents to visit the Mendocino County Museum, to familiarize themselves with this extraordinary public asset and, above all, to call or write the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to demand that they preserve the Museum as the public trust it has always been.”

That statement was endorsed by eighteen MCHN member organizations and, in a gesture of support, also by the Lake County Historical Society.

Now eight years later we can detect no lessening of County government’s unenlightened rigidity in its handling of Museum oversight. CEO Carmel Angelo assures concerned parties that she is going to put the County Museum on a sound footing but lacks all appreciation of what is required to accomplish that long overdue task and in fact has given no indication that her long-standing negative view of the Museum as a County-run entity has in any substantive way changed. Objectively, the only way to achieve sound operational management of the Museum is to staff it with a professionally experienced director, a curator of collections, a curator of exhibits and programs, and a curator-archivist, all to be overseen by a Museum Advisory Board that reports directly to the BOS. The Mendocino County Museum remains the sole, non-transferable, responsibility of our County Supervisors.

As for our own contribution to this difficult process of institutional recovery, if our currently suspended contracts are reinstated and we are allowed to complete the essential archival work on which we have been engaged over the past several years, then it will be possible to get this critical aspect of Museum operations to a point where an experienced curator-archivist can be brought in from outside the County to effectively and responsibly take over from us. If not, then no one else possesses the necessary familiarity with the Museum’s current archival collections to get this all-important job done.

Contact information: Russell & Sylvia Bartley P. O. Box 219 Fort Bragg, CA 95437-0219 E-mail:

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I THINK Russ and Sylvia Bartley make a strong case for them continuing their work at the County Museum. (See the accompanying posting called "Mendocino County Museum: A Threatened Public Trust.") Their dismissal seems to be short-sighted, especially given that the County has simply abandoned systematic collecting, archiving and maintenance of the Museum's existing collections. The Bartley's were dismissed along with interim director Alison Glassey, whose fiscal sleight-of-hand annoyed the County CEO's office, but truth to tell it has been the Bartley's diligence that has made the Museum the valuable resource it is. In lieu of a fully qualified museum director, they should be kept on rather than making them pay the price for their association with the dread Glassey. Without skilled, experienced archivists like the Bartleys regularly on-site, history, already a dubious proposition here in Amnesia County, comes to a halt.

SHORT-CHANGING the County Museum as the County's tax-paid leadership awards itself huge raises on the childlike (and false) basis that Sonoma County supervisors and higher-ups make a lot more money than Mendo's, is especially annoying, not to say a selfish promotion of themselves to first place in County priorities. The recent raises, by themselves, are more than enough to adequately fund the County Museum. Sonoma County is a lot more to manage than Mendo. Comparisons to it are misleading, not that SoCo's civil apparatus seems any more effective than Mendo's. The leadership, at all levels of government, is defective, seems from here, and won't look very good from the historical perspective but, so long as SoCo is the invoked standard by our grasping supervisors and their bureaucrats, it should be pointed out that SoCo fully supports its museum, recognizing that it's an assumed county responsibility to record what has gone before.

PINCHES to the rescue? We keep hearing rumbles from deep in the Eel River Canyon that the North County cowboy plans to run again for the Third District seat. So far, only a Willits school teacher, John Haschak, and pioneer Laytonville pot farmer, Pam Elizondo, a recreational candidate for forty years, have announced for the Third District seat. We understand that Fifth District supervisor Hamburg is shuffling off for some function with Sonoma County Clean Power whose drums Hamburg has been beating for a couple of years now. We also understand that Carre Brown is retiring while John Sakowicz has announced he will vie for her First District seat. Potter Valley's noble sons of the soil will certainly drum up a candidate as committed to virtually free water from the Potter Valley Diversion as Carre has been all these years; whichever candidate gets the popular Brown's nod is likely to become the next First District supervisor. Without Brown's anointment, poor old Sako is DOA. We keep hearing that Ross Liberty, formerly Ross Head, inland business guy known for reviving the old Masonite premises north of Ukiah may run for the Fifth District seat vacated by Chauncey, er, Hamburg. Liberty, unindicted car bomber Mike Sweeney, and Supervisor John McCowen teamed up to write the winning anti-pot backlash text contained in Measure B, which undid the late Richard "The One True Green" Johnson's Measure G. Measure G was aimed at making marijuana farms a "low law enforcement priority." Both measures passed; both reflected the shifting opinions of County voters who at first seemed to view pot pharming as relatively harmless then, as farms proliferated, gathered behind the antidote written by the three Ukiah caballeros, Sweeney, McCowen and Liberty. The late Johnson,  ironically, was more committed to booze, having once been arrested for riding his bike under the influence. Ted Williams, the impressive young family man from Albion best known as chief architect of Measure V, the successful County-wide initiative to curb use of herbicides on timber holdings, is officially running for the 5th District seat.


Measure V was the bold measure which declared hack&squirted standing dead trees to be a public nuisance. At last check, Mendocino Redwoods subsequently claimed that since timber growing and harvesting is “agriculture,” they are exempt from nuisance declarations under the state’s “Right to Farm” ordinance. So far, the County has not taken any further action to dispute that specious claim.

AND WE WROTE OF MEASURE B AT THE TIME (in 2008) when a reader demanded, "Where does the AVA stand on Measure B?”

Thank you. I thought you’d never ask.) We’ve adopted an extremely childish position, which is that we loathe Measure B’s writers — Mike Sweeney and John McCowen only slightly more intensely than the contempt we feel for Measure B’s opponents, except for Pebbles Trippet of whom we’re very fond and who we respect because she not only makes her case well she does it without putting out the giant squid-like death vibes of people like Lynda McClure and Richard Johnson. Pebs is a fun person! An up person! She’s even promised to turn me on! Which is an offer I haven’t had since the spring of 1967, not that I haven’t toked a bazooka or two in my time, I simply prefer a couple of cans of liquid Bud every now and then to the soporific daze I get from marijuana, all the while conceding, though, that I occasionally wonder whatever happened to that fabulous mescaline that was around briefly in the summer of Ô68, and where did those little white cross speed pills disappear to? They sure came in handy when there was serious work to do. The AVA is opposed to Measure B, which is to say that we agree, and said so way back to Measure G, that setting the locally legal limit at 25 and 2 would bring the serious crooks into the County in droves. Which has happened. The backlash was inevitable, but even if Measure B passes, and thanks to its opponents it certainly will, nothing will change. The dope horse has been out of the barn for many years, and all the cowboys in the world can’t corral him.

THERE ARE major probs with Measure B, beginning with its statement in a mailer we just received from them which also contains a virtual Who’s Who of the County’s least desirable playmates, titled, “Commercial Marijuana on the Ballot.” No it isn’t. The issue is how many plants can the thousands of County people who smoke marijuana plausibly possess without fearing prosecution? Are they smoking 25 and selling 2 or smoking some and selling the rest, or smoking all of it, or are they collecting lots of phony Prop 215 cards from behind which they’re making tons of tax-free cash selling pot to whoever has the bogus card and the money to buy it? Are armed crooks associated with the dope industry, for 30 years now Mendocino County’s dominant ag product, running wild every summer?

SWEENEY AND McCOWEN’S FLIER goes on to say, “Measure B is an ordinance before the voters June 3 to stop abuses by commercial marijuana growers who cause a public nuisance, endanger public safety, or trash the environment.” It won’t do that. Passage of Measure B will reduce availability because it will scare mom and pop growers out of the business, thus driving prices further upwards, thus acting as greater incentive for the gun boys to put in even larger gardens to cash in on the higher prices scarcity always brings.

ONE OF THE likely effects of Measure B’s now inevitable passage in June or November (November is a runoff) will be to greatly increase asset forfeitures. Remember them? Most asset forfeiture money goes to law enforcement. Several Deputy DA’s are known to be anticipating, with unconcealed glee, a big increase in asset forfeiture if the marijuana possession limits are reduced to six plants and half a pound of dried bud, the state minimums. Since it requires upwards of $5,000 to get an attorney to deal with pot arrests and asset forfeiture, and more money to try to get at least some assets returned if there’s no conviction, most new arrests which involve the seizure of property or cash worth upwards of $5,000 will never get returned to the original owner even if charges are dropped or if the grower is acquitted. And there’s doubt about it being returned even if the acquitted pot grower has well over $5,000 and an attorney and pursues the asset return aggressively. Not to mention the long time periods involved during which the assets are tied up in law enforcement’s hands.

MEASURE B advocates say what they don’t like about pot growers and pot growing includes pot growing in school zones, neighborhood stench/nuisance, large commercial grows (with accompanying stream diversions, pesticides, diesel fuel spills, hazardous waste, fire hazards, wildlife poisonings, trash dumping, etc.), residential fire hazards, home invasions, guns, dogs, and crime magnetism, speeding vehicles driven by growers, trimmers and buyers, and “abuses by commercial marijuana growers.” Trouble is, all of this stuff is already illegal and is not addressed by Measure B, except indirectly, perhaps. Measure B proponents think that if the mellow welcome mat is trimmed back, then the small-time growers might think twice before coming to Mendoland. But we’re afraid that most of the problems the Measure B people mention will continue pretty much as is after it passes, which it will, so we’ll be able to see how much good it does. In fact, in the likely event that Measure B raises the price of local bud, there’s a good chance some of the pot growing problems the B people cite will actually increase.

Some people support Measure B because they don't like stoners making money with pot while they have to work a regular job.

It will also clog the courts with small pot cases. Because even the state limits are not really limits since "patients" can grow as much as they want with a doctor's recommendation.

Critics say pot doctors sell pot prescriptions to perfectly healthy stoners.

Pot still costs around $3,000 per pound. Measure G may have attracted some pot growers, but $3,000 a pound in a county with a depressed economy with low paying jobs (not counting government jobs) is an even bigger attraction.

Neighboring counties Humobldt and Sonoma with bigger plant and possession limits are not proposing a return to state limits, and they have fewer seizures per year than Mendocino County. Lake County, which does have a higher number of seizures than Mendo, uses the state limits.

Will Measure B Work?

by Mark Scaramella (June 2008)


To hear the Measure B backers talk, simply reverting to State standards for medical marijuana will put an end to "commercial marijuana," and stop the associated stream diversions, pesticides, diesel fuel spills, hazardous waste dumping, fire hazards, wildlife poisonings, trash dumpings, home invasions, guns, pit bulls, speeding vehicles, and crime magnetism. It will also put a stop to the annual arrival of street people looking for trimming and/or cheap bud.

These claims are obviously political hype, just like the stoner hype associated with pot as cure-all for every conceivable ailment from cancer to hang-nails to depression to pot addition to chronic membership in the Democratic Party.

Commercial marijuana growing is already illegal as are all the problems the Measure B people rightly attribute to big commercial grows.

Remember, Measure G wasn't a law when it passed, it was a silly advisory measure which law enforcement and the Board of Supervisors could do with as they saw fit. When it was proposed, both then-Sheriff Craver and then-District Attorney Vroman, although widely viewed as more or less pot friendly, were against it because they rightly thought it would attract stoners from far and wide.

Since Measure G passed the cops have always insisted that commercial marijuana production would remain the same priority it always was.

As long as you can get $3,000 or more per pound, small-scale pot restrictions are not going to have much effect.The problem with that argument is that lots of people who work regular jobs in the depressed economy of Mendocino County don't make enough to pay the bills. I know one young guy who works hard every day for low pay who recently had to pay $1200 just to have his infant daughter's ear infection attended to. Of course the $1200 was pot money — and who would begrudge him that? Who knows how much of a hit many small Mendo businesses will take if Measure B reduces the discretionary funds available to Mendolanders who use pot as an income supplement? Who knows how many small-time homeowners will have an even harder time making mortgage payments without the pot money they make from their "medical" gardens?

There's no direct correlation between a county's growing and possession restrictions and overall pot activity.

Whichever way the vote goes, though, Measure B has certainly been good for the political careers of its backers.

* * *


by Jim Shields

I got together with John Pinches this week and we had a nice chat. I’ll share the political talk with you.

By the way, for any new readers out there, I’ll disclose the Shields and Pinches families have been friends for about 30 years now. John’s dad, Sully, recently deceased, lived next to me out in the country. John’s brother and sister-in-law, Jimmy and Rhonda, live across the street from my daughter and son-in-law. And his sister, June Sizemore, is another long-time friend and much-loved member of the family.

Anyway, what I told John was that since, in my opinion, he was born to be a county supervisor, and given his experience as a long-time former supervisor, he needed to make the move and announce he was running for the open Third District Supe slot in the 2018 election.

The Third District position is open because the current incumbent, Georgeanne Croskey, appointed last spring by Gov. Jerry Brown, announced shortly after the appointment, that she would be leaving the county at the end of 2018.

Croskey replaced Tom Woodhouse who resigned from the BOS due to health problems in late 2016.

In effect, Woodhouse’s resignation coupled with Croskey’s lame duck status had rendered Third District residents without any meaningful representation for several years.

Pinches agreed that these circumstances “basically left the district with nobody representing them.”

“I see the supervisors have just voted themselves a big raise. The county has a $300 million (discretionary) budget. Do you think the District receives $60 million a year?” he asked rhetorically. He was referring to each of the five districts being apportioned approximately equal amounts of the county’s annual funding.  Of course, the Third District doesn’t receive anything close to that allocation.

Instead of prioritizing salary increases, he argued the Board should be focusing on more pressing matters such as the county’s failing road system and the ongoing unsettled, confusing situation surrounding the county’s cannabis ordinance approved this past May.

“Why aren’t they enforcing that ordinance? There’s so much more marijuana out there than there’s ever been before,” he said. “It’s like you’ve been saying, the main people hurt by no enforcement are the small growers.”

Back in the early 1990s in his first stint on the Board of Supervisors, Pinches was one of the first public officials in the state calling for the legalization and taxation of pot. That stand drew a lot fire from all quarters, including law enforcement and fellow elected officials. He called the old system of criminalizing marijuana cultivation, “the greatest governmental price support system” ever created because one of its consequences was driving up the price of black market ganja.

Due to his many years on the BOS, Pinches knows the county budget process inside-out and backwards-forwards. He was not popular with a lot of department heads, because he could quickly sniff out any and all budgetary boondoggles. Probably the most memorable incident was when Budge Campbell headed up the county’s Dept. of Transportation.

Campbell ran DOT for years and for a lot of years he had hidden away in his budget a so-called contingency fund that the BOS was not aware of. Pinches did some rooting around in Campbell’s budget and found this account that had several million dollars in it. This was at a time when the county was literally on the verge of bankruptcy and needed every spare dollar available. Once the fund was made public during budget hearings, the fight was on. Campbell argued he needed the fund as an operating hedge for unspecified emergencies. Pinches argued the county was in dire straits and the money should be used for road projects in all five supervisor districts. He won the fight and a short time later Campbell retired.

So once again, the county is at a crossroads with numerous issues that must be addressed.

At the top of the list are fixing the ever-deteriorating road and bridge system, a marijuana ordinance that so far is being ignored by over 90% of cultivators, and a two-decades long neglected mental health system that voters were forced to at least partially bail out with a half-cent sales tax due to county incompetence.

Pinches is well aware of these problems and realizes it will take some time to solve them.

Anyway, the punch line is he has decided to run for Third District Supervisor.

And I think that’s pretty good news for everybody.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

* * *

WE RECEIVED the following note from Mendocino County's famous hill bandit, Trevor Jackson. Trev, as he's known around the AVA, was recently packed off to the state pen for a prolonged time-out:


Thank you for sending me a copy of the ava. I am hoping you will forward it to my new address at SQSP, San Quentin, Ca 94974. PS. I have a story to tell about our local law and DA David Eyster, and so I was hoping to get a typewriter and spell check. Would you be interested in printing what I have to say? Gauranteed!! Trevor Jackson, aka Brush Pimp.

We're all ears, Trev.

* * *


Re Article ‘Odd Couple’

Sheryl Smith, in a ‘Black Widow’ move, acting in collusion with her apparent love accomplice, ex mayor Douglas Burkey, were found guilty of Grand Theft property fraud against Smith’s ex-companion, Aron Laventer, and arrested and remanded to jail for one year, three years probation, and obligated to pay $93,000 in restitution to the victims. Some five years ago, after first learning of the fraud, and then being reported missing at the Thanksgiving holiday period, Search & Rescue teams found Mr. Laventer deceased in a creek bed ravine in a remote part of his property. The Sherriff’s office never determined a cause of death.

Burkey, Smith (2016)

It was found later that Smith and Burkey had filed a fraudulent lien against Mr. Laventer’s property, under which they proceeded to callously demand money from Mr Laventer’s children immediately following his death. They then attempted to rush the property into fraudulent foreclosure in a sheriff’s sale, to take place at the sheriff’s office with little notice to speak of. The family was able to procure legal defense at great cost and stop the sheriff’s sale within 12 hours of its being held. During sentencing the judge referred to the case as a well planned, deviously contrived, and callous crime. Sadly, Mr Laventer’s suspicious cause of death was never determined at the time, and the family willl never know if the fraud to steal Mr Laventer’s property in Timber Cove, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, was somehow linked to his untimely death. Also, sadly, Mr. Laventer’s family had to sell the property in order to pay legal fees to stop the foreclosure sale and to prove the fraud under a civil action, after which the Sonoma County Detectives and DA’s office thankfully picked up the case for criminal prosecution. This was a heinous crime, no doubt.

(A Neighbor)

* * *


Cannabis Use in Vehicles (SB 65, Hill) — This law prohibits smoking or ingesting marijuana or marijuana products while driving or riding as a passenger (emphasis added) in a vehicle. The DMV will assign negligent operator point counts for this violation. In addition to the California Driver Handbook, the DMV also will revise the Motorcycle Handbook and the DMV’s website to include information relating to marijuana violations.

(DMV Press Release)

* * *


Lake County District Attorney won’t prosecute landowners blamed for destructive Valley fire

Lake County District Attorney Don Anderson has decided not to prosecute the owners of a home where faulty hot tub wiring was pinpointed by state investigators as the cause of the deadly Valley fire that ravaged southern Lake County two years ago.

Anderson said he did not file felony charges against co-owners John Pinch and Parker Mills because he could not prove they acted recklessly in connection with the wildland blaze that erupted in September 2015, killing at least four people and destroying nearly 1,300 homes.

* * *

LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I see Skrag up in tree with a cellphone and a pumpkin in the background and ask him what he's doing. ‘My Christmas card picture,’ he says. I tell him pumpkins are for Thanksgiving. ‘Bite me,’ he says, and there you are — arrogance and stupidity in one feline package.”

* * *


Announcing my candidacy for 1st District Supervisor

On Monday, December 18, I watched with horror as the Mendocino Board of Supervisors gave themselves and the Country CEO “raises nearly as large as the average Mendocino County wage worker earns in a year without so much as a Grand Jury or citizen’s panel fig leaf justifying the money.” (quote from the Anderson alley Advertiser’s blog, “Mendocino County Today”, December 21)

Therefore, today, I announce my candidacy for the 1st District, now represented by Carre Brown, and I will make it a key plank of my platform to claw back the raises the Board of Supervisors and County CEO gave themselves on Monday.

It’s outrageous that county leadership give themselves raises, purportedly for a job well done, when poverty is so widespread, persistent, and severe in Mendocino County. Nearly one out of every two county residents qualify for Food Stamps. And nearly one third of county residents qualify for Medi-Cal.

How do I know? I asked. I asked the eligibility workers at the County Department of Social Services. I’ve interviewed them on my show at KZYX years ago.

Add to those poverty statistics the people subsisting on Social Security and VA disability checks in the county every month, and you get poverty statistics that make Mendocino County the “Appalachia of the West”.

Another thing.

Also add to those statistics, the number of unnecessary and overpaid county and city workers…yes, many government workers.

When government becomes a “jobs program” — we only really need law enforcement, teachers, and public works; we have too much regulation and bureaucracy —  something is very wrong. And when government salaries are as disproportionate as they are here in the county to the low wages of the average private-sector worker, something is very wrong.

Our leadership is failing us.

Poverty here in Mendocino County is appalling.

Our leadership can’t even give our Mendocino County’s small-scale, legacy cannabis farmers, who are simply trying to support their families, a competitive framework to protect them from the large-scale commercial and industrial growers that are coming…and they are coming.

Cannabis has been become an industry — big business — and we can’t even protect our own.

We need to protect our own.

We also need a county bank so local cannabis farmers can legally transact banking business.

— John Sakowicz

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, December 21, 2017

(Unavailable due to “Internal Error” at Sheriff’s booking site.)

* * *


(click to enlarge)

From the northeast shore Boysen Reservoir, looking west, 12/20/17, around 2:30 in the afternoon. (photo by Harvey Reading)

* * *


The price of a rare tulip bulb on the futures market in Amsterdam in January 1637 was equal to ten times the annual wage for a skilled crafts worker. A single bulb was reportedly exchanged for 1,000 pounds of cheese at the height of tulip mania. The market collapsed precipitously starting in February 1637, bottoming out in May 1637.

According to economist Brian Dowd, “By the height of the tulip and bulb craze in 1637, everyone.. rich and poor, aristocrats and plebes, even children had joined the party. Much of the trading was being done in bar rooms where alcohol was obviously involved…bulbs could change hands upwards of 10 times in one day. Prices skyrocketed… in 1637, increasing 1,100% in a month.”

Bit coin, the original crypto-currency, was valued at $.08 in July 2010; $8100 on November 20, 2017, and $17,900 on Dec. 15 2017. The sky is apparently the limit.

The danger of course, is not just that at some point, the bigger fools, the last purchasers of bit coin and the long term holders (“hodlers” in crypto-speak) will lose some or all of their money. That would be regrettable. But like straight forward pump and dump market manipulations of a stock some will win while others lose.

— Roy Morrison

* * *


For Islam, the Chinese and the Russians, the West must look weak and in its last days, a plum to be picked at the chosen time, ripe for exploitation and conquest.

Women Defense Ministers, homosexuals infesting the Church and other important institutions, large hostile populations inside its borders, what’s to stop Muslim militia, the Russian Army or Chinese hordes from devouring Europe like locusts thru Biblical wheat and pushing right thru to Normandy?

(Yes, yes, there’s the Dutch army, fully unionized, hair down to their asses, stoned out of their gourds and 1/3 young ladies and drag queens)

* * *


* * *

THERE’S A BUILT-IN WEIRDNESS to possessing a sexuality, whatever your gender. It reminds us that we’re animals; it’s bendable into perverse configurations, which is maybe what we also like about it. We’re afflicted with bizarre, amoral dreams on a nightly basis. Our fantasy lives don’t always comport with our ideas about who we should be. We go to work and have to pretend we don’t have genitals under our clothes, and that our coworkers don’t either. Maybe this is more of a problem for biological men, given their physiology, which externalizes desires more blatantly; women are afforded more secrets. But women can be weirdos and sadists too: the worst fictions about us are that our natures are pacific and oppression has made us nobler people. Online feminism is itself a playground of bullying and viperishness, most of it under the banner of rectitude.

— Laura Kipnis

* * *

* * *



About the annoyed diner at the fancy restaurant offended by the rustic dress of another patron. O the self-absorbed, self-important tribulations of the self-indulgent, the puritanical petite bourgeois intolerance of the absence of social constraints on the very rich and the very poor. Yes, life and the world is full of inconsiderate selfish people, we included. If the annoyed diner is an unbeliever, not saved by faith in Christ, the life he is now living will be the best he will ever have. In Hell he will wish he could be back in a restaurant full of rude patrons, enjoying through the providence of God good food, the health to eat it, fine clothes, a wife, a life. If the annoyed diner is a Christian, saved unto eternal life with God through repentance, faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, the life he is now living will be the worst he will ever have. In the midst of temporary afflictions, compassion ought to move us off our sanctimonious rear ends to warn the annoying and not-so annoying folks of the judgment of God to come, but condemnation of their sins, their eternal punishment in hell, God's salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

John Kennaugh

San Francisco

* * *

SIX HOUSE DEMOCRATS urge Secretary Zinke to recover $84.8 million illegally spent on Delta Tunnels

by Dan Bacher

Washington, D.C. - On December 15, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and five other House Democrats sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke urging the federal government to recover $84.8 million in taxpayer funds that were misused to benefit a select few wealthy San Joaquin Valley agricultural water districts participating in the controversial Delta Tunnels planning process.

In September, the Inspector General for DOI issued a 42-page audit detailing the misuse of the money and the recommendations made to Reclamation to avoid similar misspending from taking place in the future. “The Bureau of Reclamation was not transparent in its financial participation in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan,“ the title of the audit summed up.

Governor Brown and members of his administration have continually said that taxpayers will not pay for the construction of the tunnels, but the conclusions reached in the federal audit reveal that federal taxpayers have indeed already paid over $84.8 million to subsidize the widely-unpopular project.

The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) had approved these payments for the planning costs of the California WaterFix, formerly called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), but did not disclose them to Congress, as required by law, nor to other Central Valley Project water users, stakeholders, and the public

Huffman’s letter, cosigned by Northern California Representatives Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton), Anna G. Eshoo (D-Atherton), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), Mike Thompson (D-Saint Helena) and Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento), requests Secretary Zinke to recover the missing funds and “to shed more light on the scheme,” including whether similar undisclosed subsidies were provided to any other parties, or if the water districts that benefitted from this arrangement might still be reimbursed by taxpayers.

“These decisions by the Interior Department, dating back to 2007, appear to violate multiple laws and policies, including the state law requirement that the beneficiaries of a Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta conveyance facility must pay for ‘costs of the environmental review, planning, design, construction, and mitigation’ of any new facility,” the Representatives wrote.

“We look forward to hearing how you intend to correct this situation, and to ensure that future work by your Department is conducted in a transparent manner that does not undermine the law and the Congressional appropriations process,” the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers requested Secretary Zinke to reply to the following questions by January 31, 2018:

“How do you intend to ensure that the Bureau of Reclamation recoups the tens of millions of dollars that improperly subsidized water contractors’ participation in the WaterFix project? This is not a congressionally authorized project, and the Bureau of Reclamation has repeatedly conceded that it cannot fund or participate in its construction. We believe these undisclosed subsidies to this select group of water contractors amount to an invisible tax on other Central Valley Project contractors and taxpayers, none of whom should be on the hook for these project expenses.

Does the $84.8 million identified in the Inspector General’s report represent the total amount spent on this project through this method?

Of the $84.8 million identified in the report, how much of the funding did the Bureau of Reclamation credit toward water contractors’ existing CVP obligations, including capital costs and operation and maintenance, or toward costs included in the Firebaughsettlement? Crucially, how do you intend to ensure that these CVP contractors do not get reimbursed by taxpayers for planning costs that were subsidized by taxpayers in the first place?

Was this same funding mechanism used in, or is it still being used in, any other Interior Department planning processes?

What changes have you made at the Department in response to the Inspector General’s recommendations, which included significant new procedures and controls so that federal funding could not be inappropriately recategorized as ‘nonreimbursable’ without cause?”  

The Representatives also wrote, “The revelations in this alarming report, which identifies numerous apparent violations of law and policy, contradict the Interior Department’s prior claims regarding the level of federal support for the project. We believe that the Department must recapture the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars that were misspent.”

To date, nobody involved in the Delta Tunnels illegal funding scheme has been reprimanded, fired or held accountable — nor have any measures been taken to recover the money ripped off from the taxpayers to support the unpopular California WaterFix.

The Delta Tunnels plan, renamed the California WaterFix in 2015, features two massive 35-mile-long tunnels under the Delta to export Sacramento River water to the Westlands Water District, Stewart and Lynda Resnick's agribusiness operations in Kern County and other big growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The tunnels would also provide water for Southern California water agencies and for fracking and other extreme oil extraction operations in Kern County.

The IG investigation resulted from a complaint the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed on the behalf of a Reclamation employee on February 19, 2016. The complaint detailed  how a funding agreement with the California Department of Water Resources was “illegally siphoning off funds that are supposed to benefit fish and wildlife to a project that will principally benefit irrigators” under the California WaterFix. More information:

Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu, commented on Facebook about how the same federal government that misused $84.8 million of taxpayers’ money for the Delta Tunnels has failed to find the money to restore wild winter run Chinook to the McCloud River above Lake Shasta.

“Where are the funds for the Wild Chinook return and swim-way study?” Chief Sisk asked. “This is about salmon, not more water to Westlands and Resnicks! We are desperately fund raising to return our wild winter run Chinook from New Zealand to the McCloud River while money is spent by the very agencies hoarding all the water and charging outrageous water prices!”

The Inspector General’s audit is not the only example of financial misspending that has plagued the California WaterFix planning process. On October 5, State Auditor Elaine Howle released an audit on the WaterFix revealing extensive mismanagement by the Department of Water Resources, including the violation of state contracting laws, spending millions of dollars over anticipated costs, and failure to complete either an economic or financial analysis.

Not only does the Delta Tunnels proposal not make any economic or financial sense, but the project, at its core, is based on the unscientific and untenable premise that diverting more water from a river and estuary will somehow magically restore that river or estuary.

I have challenged numerous Brown administration officials in my writings and testimony at meetings to give me one single example in U.S. or world history where a project designed to divert water from a river system or estuary has resulted in the restoration of that river system or estuary. Not one Delta Tunnels proponent has been able to answer that question.

The construction of the Delta Tunnels would likely result in the extinction of winter and spring Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and green sturgeon, as well as imperiling the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

For more information, go to:

* * *


by Dan Bacher

Signatories of the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty, members of Idle No More SF Bay and others will be caroling in front of the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento from 7:00 p.m to 8:30 p.m. today, December 21, 2017 in an effort to shed the light on Governor Jerry Brown’s actual environmental policies.

“The Christmas carols will be modified to reflect the wishes of those singing regarding clean air, water, soil and a safe climate future without enabling carbon trading,” according to a news release from Idle No More SF Bay. “Speakers will include members of the organizing groups as well as others working for a clean and safe environment.  Carolers are encouraged to bring musical instruments and especially bells.”

“Governor Jerry Brown has been confronted at many events over the last four years by citizens dismayed his climate policy which includes Cap and Trade.  Additionally, AB398, a bill passed this year and written with input from the fossil fuel industry, allows polluters to continue to harm California communities while tying the hands of local regulatory agencies such as the Air Quality Management Districts from passing emission refinery rules,” the group said.

Residents living near oil refineries and facilities that mit green house gasses suffer from the toxins that are making their communities sick and which have higher numbers of people with cancers and auto-immune diseases.  These communities are commonly referred to as “sacrifice zones” and are in areas where the majority of residents are people of color and the working poor.

Daniel Ilario of Idle No More SF Bay was one of the many youth who confronted Governor Brown at an event during the United Nations Climate Talks COP 23 in Bonn, Germany last month when activists shouted “keep it in the ground” in relation to fossil fuels and Governor Brown, who looked directly at Mr. Ilario, said, “Let’s put you in the ground.”

Mr. Ilario will be one of the speakers at the caroling event. “The mainstream media portrays Governor Jerry Brown as a climate hero,” he commented.

“We stand together to shine light on his true climate legacy: poisoned aquifers, fracked lands, sacrifice zones near refineries, and a cap and trade bill that allows the fossil fuel sector to expand. We envision a future with true climate leaders who stand up to the oil and gas industry instead of taking millions in campaign contributions,” said Ilario.

You can read my interview with Ilario here:

Cap and Trade, also know as “carbon trading” and “pollution trading,”  is also an issue for Indigenous peoples around the world that have struggled to remain in their traditional forest territories and are at risk of being evicted as has happened with other Indigenous communities in Africa under the REDD program, according to the group. Signers of the Indigenous Women of the Americas Treaty include women from the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador and Peru, as well as the Arctic.

“Under Brown’s governance our aquifers were contaminated by fracked water, the largest methane leak in the United States which occurred in Aliso Canyon, and the proposed Delta Tunnels which would deplete the existence of our salmon and risk our ecosystem,” said Isabella Zizi, the youngest member of Idle No More SF Bay and a signatory on the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty, “Governor Jerry Brown, you are the one putting us in the ground and this is not what climate leaders do.  We want more sustainable jobs and most importantly to get big oil out of the picture.”

Idle No More SF Bay was begun by a group of Indigenous grandmothers in the Bay Area in 2013.  All of them are signatories on the Indigenous Women’s Treaty.

“As grandmother Treaty signers we work for a sustainable, beautiful future for all the generations to come.  We envision a world with clean air, water, soil, and safe jobs.” says Alison Ehara-Brown of the Mohawk Nation, “We want a world where false solutions like REDD and Cap and Trade will be unimaginable.”

While Jerry Brown receives largely fawning coverage in the mainstream and “alternative” media touting his supposedly “green” credentials, he is an enthusiastic promoter of many environmentally destructive policies, including fracking by Big Oil and Big Gas, oil industry-backed carbon trading, pollution of groundwater supplies with oil wastewater and the construction of the salmon-killing Delta Tunnels.

On February 6 of this year, twelve public interest groups, led by Consumer Watchdog and Food & Water Watch, unveiled a comprehensive "report card" on Jerry Brown Administration’s environmental record showing he falls short in six out of seven key areas, including oil drilling, fossil fuel generated electricity, toxic emissions, the California Environmental Quality Act, coastal protection and water.

The report calls for a moratorium on the building of natural gas powered electricity plants, given what they described as “the glut of electric capacity,” and calls for an outside audit of the state’s energy needs. The groups showed how California can improve its environmental protections to meet standards set in other states. The document also urged Brown to abandon his Delta Tunnels project and to make water conservation a priority.

Read the report “How Green Is Jerry Brown?” at:

In spite of California’s mage as the nation’s “green leader” that is carefully cultivated by state officials and the mainstream media, it is in fact the third biggest oil producing state in the country and Big Oil is the largest corporate lobby, dominating the Governor’s Office, the Legislature and the regulatory agencies. Jerry Brown has received over $9.8 million from oil and gas companies and utilities since he ran for his third term as governor in 2010.

Even worse, the “Danger Next Door” report released by the Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling - Los Angeles (STAND-L.A.) coalition on December 13 revealed that oil companies in the nation’s so-called “greenest state”  have used more than 98 million pounds — or 49,000 tons - of chemicals known to cause serious health problems in Los Angeles County since 2013.

David Braun of Californians Against Fracking and the Rootskeeper pointed out, “I think it's notable that 20 million pounds of hydrochloric acid and 10 million pounds of hydrofluoric acid were used in Los Angeles County in a 3 year period in oil extraction operations.” Information:…

Contact: Pennie Opal Plant (510) 390-0386, Paul Ehara (510) 932-4095

* * *

Caroling for a Clean California

Who: Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty, Idle No More SF Bay and the public

What: Caroling at the Governors Mansion in Sacramento

When: Thursday, December 21, 2017 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Where: The Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento

Photo and Video Opportunity: Banners and art

Background: Signatories of the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty, members of Idle No More SF Bay and others will be caroling in front of the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento from 7:00 p.m to 8:30 p.m. on December 21, 2017.  The Christmas carols will be modified to reflect the wishes of those singing regarding clean air, water, soil and a safe climate future without enabling carbon trading.   Speakers will include members of the organizing groups as well as others working for a clean and safe environment.  Carolers are encouraged to bring musical instruments and especially bells.

Governor Jerry Brown has been confronted at many events over the last four years by citizens dismayed by his climate policy which includes Cap and Trade.  Additionally, AB398, a bill passed this year and written with input from the fossil fuel industry, allows polluters to continue to harm California communities while tying the hands of local regulatory agencies such as the Air Quality Management Districts from passing emission refinery rules.  Residents living near oil refineries and facilities which emit green house gasses suffer from the toxins that are making their communities sick and which have higher numbers of people with cancers and auto-immune diseases.  These communities are commonly referred to as “sacrifice zones” and are in areas where the majority of residents are people of color and the working poor.

Daniel Ilario of Idle No More SF Bay was one of the many youth who confronted Governor Brown at an event during the United Nations Climate Talks COP 23 in Bonn, Germany last month when activists shouted “keep it in the ground” in relation to fossil fuels and Governor Brown, who looked directly at Mr. Ilario, said, “Let’s put you in the ground.”   Mr. Ilario will be one of the speakers at the caroling event and comments, ”The mainstream media portrays Governor Jerry Brown as a climate hero. We stand together to shine light on his true climate legacy: poisoned aquifers, fracked lands, sacrifice zones near refineries, and a cap and trade bill that allows the fossil fuel sector to expand. We envision a future with true climate leaders who stand up to the oil and gas industry instead of taking millions in campaign contributions.”

Cap and Trade is also an issue for Indigenous peoples around the world which have struggled to remain in their traditional forest territories and are at risk of being evicted as has happened with other Indigenous communities in Africa under the REDD program.  Signers of the Indigenous Women of the Americas Treaty include women from the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador and Peru, as well as the Arctic.

“Under Brown’s governance our aquifers were contaminated by fracked water, the largest methane leak in the United States which occurred in Aliso Canyon, and the proposed Delta Tunnels which would deplete the existence of our salmon and risk our ecosystem.” says Isabella Zizi, the youngest member of Idle No More SF Bay and a signatory on the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty, “Governor Jerry Brown, you are the one putting us in the ground and this is not what climate leaders do.  We want more sustainable jobs and most importantly to get big oil out of the picture.”

Idle No More SF Bay was begun by a group of Indigenous grandmothers in the Bay Area in 2013.  All of them are signatories on the Indigenous Women’s Treaty.  “As grandmother Treaty signers we work for a sustainable, beautiful future for all the generations to come.  We envision a world with clean air, water, soil, and safe jobs.” says Alison Ehara-Brown of the Mohawk Nation, “We want a world where false solutions like REDD and Cap and Trade will be unimaginable.”

* * *

“Remember, wait until after Christmas to steal their Social Security and Medicare.”

* * *


by Juan Cole

The Republican Party did not just overhaul the tax code and they did not cut “your” taxes.  They engineered a coup against the middle and working classes and they threw enormous amounts of public money to private billionaires and multi-millionaires.

Americans do not understand this sort of con game because mostly they don't understand social class.  They often don't even believe in the latter.  But really, not all households in the US are equal.  Some have more income than others.  Some have more power than others.  And as with the Trumps, that wealth and power can be passed on to the next generation.

We're not all middle class.  That would make a mockery of the word “middle,” which implies that there are lower and upper classes.  Some of us are working class, some are middle class, some are upper middle class, and some are rich.  Policies that help the rich by cutting their taxes do not help the working and middle classes.  They actively harm the latter by making less money available for government services and by devaluing the dollar.

The Republican Party mainly represents the rich.  It also reaches out to rural people and claims to help them, but it is all lies.  It mainly represents the rich.

Alabama routinely votes Republican.  Alabama is one of the poorest states in the country.  The Republicans aren't actually doing anything for Alabama, except maybe making them feel good about themselves by buttering them up, or indulging them in their weird idea that fundamentalist Christianity should dictate social policy to 320 million Americans, who do not share those values.

The rich in the United States use American highways, and American wifi, and depend on the FBI to keep them from getting kidnapped.  But they don't want to pay for those things.  They want you to pay for them even though they use them much more.  I get angry when I see those trucks on the highway with the sign that they payed $9277 in tolls and fees last year to be on the highway. Trucks are the ones that tear up the highways and force us to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild.  Their fees and tolls don¹t come close to paying for the damage they do.  So the costs are offloaded.

Onto us?

Onto us.

There are about 126 million households in the United States. 1% of them would be 1.26 million households. That is about the size of the city of Los Angeles. There are one hundred groups of 1.26 million households in the US, i.e., 100 Los Angeleses worth of households.  Those one hundred groups are not equal in wealth.  The bottom 100th of American households doesn¹t have a pot to pee in.

The Republican Party slavishly serves the top 1.26 million households. That’s who they report to.  That's who sent them to Congress, through their campaign donations.  They don¹t care about you and they did not just now do you any favors.

The wealthiest 1% owns  about 38% of the privately held wealth in the United States. In the 1950s, the top 1% only owned about 25% of the privately held wealth.  A Republican was in the White House, Dwight Eisenhower.  He was not a left wing guy.  But he worried about corporations combining with government officials to become way more powerful.  The last time wealth inequality was this high was just before the Great Depression.  Think about that.

Americans' wealth amounts to about $88 trillion. If you divided up all the privately held wealth equally, every household in the US would be worth $698,000.  That is, they'd all have their own home plus substantial investments.

But needless to say, the wealth isn't divided up equally. The top 10% of households, 12.6 million households own 76%  of the privately held wealth.  That is, 10 of our notional 100 Los Angeleses own three-fourths of the wealth.

So just to be clear, of our 100 Los Angeleses worth of households, 90 of them own only  24% of the wealth.

So how did the top 1% go from having 25% of the privately held wealth to having 38%?

In some large part, it was tax policy.  In the Eisenhower administration the top marginal tax rate was 91%, and the highest bracket of earners paid 90% in income tax.  Progressive income tax was intended to keep the society from getting too out of kilter and to prevent wealth from becoming concentrated in a few hands.

There is no evidence, zero, that these tax policies hurt economic growth or hampered job creation.

Eisenhower's tax policy was repealed over time, especially by Ronald Reagan. Reagan pulled the familiar scam of promising that tax cuts would pay for themselves by encouraging entrepreneurs to invest and to hire.

Instead, the government deficit ballooned (that's what happens if you cut taxes but leave spending programs in place) .

And not only were all boats not lifted by Reagan's rising tide, most of them were sunk.  The average wage of an average worker is not higher now than it was in 1970.

The economy has grown enormously since 1970.  So if workers did not get a share in the newly created wealth, who has it?

The 1%?

The 1%.

Think about tax policy as a snowblower aimed at a single point.  Snow builds up at the point where the snowblower is facing.  If you keep aiming at that point as you clean the snow, you'll get an enormous hill of snow.  There will be no snow to speak of on the driveway.  There will just be an artificial mountain.

So that is what the Republican Congress just did.  They revved up the snowblower and they pointed it at a small mountain of already-accumulated snow, so that they will make the mountain larger. This tax bill won’t create jobs, won’t spur investment, and won't bring companies back home.  It will make the 1.26 million households even more fabulously wealthy than they already are, and ensure that the rest of us get poorer.

When you cut taxes, you are cutting government services.  There will be less money for the things the government does — education, funding science, dealing with national health crises, road building, dealing with interstate crime, etc.

And the super-wealthy who bought the politicians and made them pass this law?  They just got way richer and have every reason to be jubilant.

(Informed Comment/

* * *


…As we all know, the official OMB/Treasury estimate of future economic growth is 2.9 percent, which means the trust fund will be flush with cash far into the future. This means everyone can stand down and leave Social Security alone. In fact, it’s doing so well that Congress might want to think about raising benefits.

Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

* * *


When columnists and commentators discuss the national debt in trillions of dollars, I suffer something like vertigo, but deeper and more intense.

A trillion is one followed by twelve zeros; it is a thousand billion; it is a million-million; it is ten to the twelfth power.

Light, which travels at 186,282 miles per second, covers 5.878 trillion miles in a year. Thus, light takes 2.04 months to travel a trillion miles.

The closest star to our solar system is Proxima Centauri.

It is 4.3 light years or 25.275 trillion miles away.

When Apollo 11 lifted men to the surface of the moon in 1969, I was exhilarated. I was 24 years old and confident that in my lifetime men would tread on the surface of Mars and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

Perhaps, I hoped, science and technology might even bridge the unimaginable chasm between the Earth and Proxima Centauri.

However, it is our criminal rentier class and our criminal government that has reached interstellar numbers: Not by bridging the chasm, but by creating one. The current national debt is greater than $20 trillion. (The public debt is $14.3 trillion, and intra-governmental debt is $5.9 trillion.)


$20 trillion.

Jesus Effen Christ.

And Trump’s budget will make it worse.

20 trillion miles are almost enough to get to Proxima Centauri.

At the speed of light, that’s a little more than three years.

Louis Bedrock

Roselle, New Jersey

* * *

NEAR THE END OF 2014 Kim Kardashian set out to “break the internet.” She posed naked for pictures. This went great, getting 1% of entire internet activity on the day she did it. Now the worry is that such expressions of democracy will be gone when we lose net neutrality.

Net neutrality is a funny phrase. There certainly was net neutrality when leftist websites were blacklisted from Google. And when Amazon’s Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post. Not to mention that all the content we receive come from six large companies who own just about all the media we consume. It is odd to see people who solely consume corporate outlets such as MSNBC bemoaning the loss of net neutrality.

What may be more troubling than the loss of a supposedly free internet is that so many of us were fooled already. Even in a neutral setting so many of us preferred to consume the very same websites that will now be able to pay for advantages on the internet.

— Nick Pemberton

* * *

What’s better than patrolling the streets of Eureka on a sunny December afternoon? Patrolling the streets while spreading holiday cheer!

An anonymous local citizen donated $5,000 worth of $100 MasterCard gift cards for EPD officers to hand out while on patrol throughout the week. We’ve met some wonderful people so far and the smiles are priceless!

(Eureka Police Department)



  1. John Sakowicz December 22, 2017

    Alison Glassey’s appointment to Mendocino County Museum Director years ago was a political favor to buy her silence. As a former County Deputy CEO, Glassey knew where the bodies were buried. Her annual base salary of $72,113 was hush money.

    With overtime and benefits, Glassey’s total compensation was %122,654…not bad for running the museum into the ground.


    Glassey had no experience whatsoever as a museum administrator, educator, conservator or curator. She was simply a political hack who had a lifetime membership in that exclusive club known as a “career county executive”.

    Alison Glassey is the poster child for what’s wrong with Mendocino County government.

  2. Harvey Reading December 22, 2017


    It wasn’t so many months in the past that psuedolib fake nooze was trumpeting OMB’s supposed finding that Social Security was going broke by 2020. Anyone who disagreed was quickly shouted down on pseudolib web sites. Just one more reason, I don’t listen to mainstream “liberals”, conservatives, or their nooze.

    I can’t wait to see the result of the Mueller “investigation”. My suspicion continues to be that it’s gonna blow up in the faces of both wings of the wealth party, as well as Mueller’s. Hopefully the result will be that both Trump and Clinton will be out of the running, and permanently, in 2020 and that “both” parties will collapse beyond recovery.

    Re: Sakowicz

    Going after rank-and-file workers won’t work as an election strategy. If a Mendocino County resident of whatever the district in which he is running, I wouldn’t vote for him. What he should be promoting is raising wages in the private sector, not targeting public employees. Most public employees get paid less for their work than those in similar jobs in the private sector. Then again, if you want an even more half-assed government than you already appear to have…


    Gee, Juan, I’da never guessed. And we’ve been losing that war since the end of the second war of the world.


    Gimme a break.

    And finally, who the hell is Kim whatshername? And for what reasons should I care?

    • james marmon December 22, 2017

      Yeah, I question Mr. Sakowicz attitude towards county workers myself. He was buddy buddy with Ross Liberty a couple of years back and snitched me off to his good friend about my reporting that Factory Pipe was laying off 30 employees. As it turned out, it was only 15. Nonetheless, Liberty contacted me and challenged me to a duel, called me all kinds of names. I told him to “f…off, you f…ing union buster”

      Effort to disband Mendocino County union draws fire

      “A Ukiah businessman has launched an effort to disband the union representing a majority of Mendocino County employees, igniting allegations of attempted union busting.”

      James Marmon MSW
      Former SEIU 1021 President
      Mendocino Chapter

  3. Randy Burke December 22, 2017

    If only Pinches could run for district 5 to fill and revamp the effects of the past vacuum this district has had to experience. Go John, and Happy New Year!

  4. John Sakowicz December 22, 2017

    Re. Harvey Reading’s post: I absolutely do not want to cut County workers who are rank-and-file. I want to cut management- and executive-level pay raises, like the head honchos below who just got raises last week…


    1. For Elected Officials:

    Treasurer goes from $103,692 to $127,171

    Assessor-Clerk Recorder goes from $108,888 to $127,171

    Auditor goes from $120,048 to $133,530

    Mendocino Supervisors go from $61,200 to $85,500

    2. For Non-Elected Department Heads:

    The Human Resources Director goes from $103,542 to $127,171

    The Planning and Building Director goes from $103,542 to $127,171

    Health and Human Services Agency Director goes from $$125,237 to $135,450

    3. I don’t have a problem with either the Sheriff or District Attorney getting a raise.

    4. Incidentally, the base salary for Mendocino County Superior Court Judges is presently over $200,000

    • Harvey Reading December 22, 2017

      “Also add to those statistics, the number of unnecessary and overpaid county and city workers…yes, many government workers.”

      Since the comment to which I am responding says something quite different from the quote just above that appeared in your announcement article, I have no idea what to believe. Of course it doesn’t matter, since I am not a resident of California.

  5. PAMB December 22, 2017

    Maybe so, but ms smith has been out if jail for days now having returned to Pt.Arena. Where’s Doug?

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