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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, March 1, 2018

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by Eamonn Willmott

We are all shocked and saddened at the loss of our great friend Doug. I can honestly say I never met another man like him in my entire life. In all the years of our friendship which included working together, being business partners together, gambling with and very much against each other, we never once fell out. I cannot remember a cross word from him to me. How utterly remarkable, and what a testament to what a man he was, unbelievably kind and considerate.

Even beyond the gambling, which was pretty constant with us, by far the over-riding memory is laughter. From our very first meeting, to the last emails sent, our relationship was built on happiness and humour. Impossible to beat that. Our first encounter somewhat set the tone, we were both working for a pretty dodgy UK publishing company, he a slightly down on his luck millionaire, me a young thrusting trying to be advertising salesman. I needed to go and extend my holiday Visa (yes, not technically legal) and even though I didn’t know Doug I asked if I could borrow his coat - as I “didn’t want to look like I was working”. Some might have taken offence to such a request, but of course Doug absolutely loved it. He insisted on messing up my hair, scuffing my shoes, and in every way returning the compliment. Somehow from that first slightly odd encounter we became unbelievably close and inseparable. I was new to California and he was happy to show me the ropes, and lead me, very willingly, astray. This included nightly visits to bars with pool tables and weekends at the track. What wonderful days and nights.

I never met anyone that could sell advertising space like Doug, I’m genuinely not sure anyone was in the same game as him. It really was absolute showbiz, he had this miraculous ability to deliver a line that no matter how the receptionist, the client, anyone, responded to it they would be funny. It was so brilliant that I didn’t fully understand the genius of what he was doing until many, many years later. Sadly impossible to describe and equally so to replicate, he managed to bring - even to the horrendous world of telephone sales - incredible laughter and happiness. That is without question a miracle.

As an Englishman abroad desperate to make a mark of some sort I will look across the office in awe as Doug would be calling down the telephone “… rush into his office and shout ‘a salesman is calling, a salesman is calling’”. Utter madness of course, and yet it worked, week after week, month after month. Truly impossible to duplicate or copy.

Our days at the racetrack were glory days of happiness, failure, and joy. Doug would usually turn up at Golden Gate Fields in a three-piece suit, utterly magnificent. We were in many ways the odd couple but we were always treated well by the racing aficionados. We had one massive advantage over our colleagues in that we never expected to win and as Doug famously once said “I really need to break even today”. Should we walk away with any cash between us it wouldn’t be impossible for us to stop at a poker club on the way home, again impossible to really describe the joy activities for a young man living in the New World.

One of my favourite and most clear memories is Doug and I being on the wait list at a particularly average poker club in Oakland. It was all rushed and very busy and Doug was being ushered quite aggressively by the manager into his seat where his cards had already been dealt (five card draw). Doug sat down picked up his cards and let out an incredibly loud scream. The manager who was already agitated, went bananas, and started asking him to leave. Doug looked up at him with that wonderfully bemused look he could conjure and with a flourish turned over his cards for everyone to see; Aces over 7’s. Of course the table roared their approval - they had all been saved from a terrible beating, and the manager had to retreat grumbling to himself. Again it’s easy to imagine how the table would have absolutely loved and adored such eccentricity.

High amongst my memories of Doug are our wonderful trips to Maui to see his brother Azby and his lovely wife. What golden days, joyful, no phones, no messages, bliss. I remember on our first trip Azby picked it up and took us to a beach right next to the airport and myself and Doug ran into the surf like delirious schoolboys. The water being ridiculously warm, I just remember us laughing. And laughing. I think there is a chance that Azby would have been looking on thinking “Christ this kid is a real moron”. Incredible hospitality, tales of the great plane robbery, golf, swimming, the lilo (as we call it in the UK, an air bed in the US I think, a complete chapter in itself …)

Long before it was considered in vogue to be ‘unconditional’, and nonjudgmental, Doug was pretty unique in not needing to be offering feedback on other people’s lives. I can remember two instances when he offered me feedback, the first was walking the streets of San Francisco during a particularly awful fashion stage for me, I was wearing those multi-coloured weightlifter trousers (it was the 1980s) and a multicoloured quilt jacket. Horrendous. We were walking along a crowded street chatting away and then out of nowhere Doug shouted very loudly “NO ONE, no matter how wealthy or talented, can dress like that”. It was loud enough to draw a crowd, and after my initial shock I could obviously do no more than join him in uproarious laughter. I never wore the two offending items, together, again.

The other time was when we were having a drink together after work on a Friday night and I’d ordered another glass of wine and he said to me quite gently “Eamonn you know that you don’t get any more charming or any funnier when you drink”. It was unusual enough for him to say something like that that I took the matter under advisement (30 years later I still don’t drink).

I was lucky enough to meet his two incredible sons Garth and Zach when they were still kids. The friendship they showed me immediately was remarkable and I have felt a deep connection with them ever since. I remember Doug saying to me after Zach had turned 18 “you know that’s a big relief to me, I’ve fretted and worried about them both everyday since they were born, I guess now they are 18 I can relax a bit and think I’ve got them this far”.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Alice, she remained ridiculously nice to me long after it became clear who was leading who astray with myself and Doug. There was never any doubt that she always loved him ferociously.

Anyone who has had the misfortune to be involved in a failing business will know the stress and strain involved, it’s incredibly easy in such circumstances to fall out with one’s business partners. Doug and I once published an Architectural diary that inspired one of the great lines of all time from Doug to a client when he was asked by a competitor of one of the previous years advertisers how many copies the advertiser was going to buy this year (they didn’t like to be outdone by the other company). Disastrously the other company had cut their previous order from 2000 copies to 12. Doug answered truthfully “XYZ are going to ordering between three and 5000 copies”. I was in the office at the time and very nearly coughed up a lung with laughter. Doug was waving at me furiously to stop laughing so I didn’t set him off, but I actually ended up on the carpet. What balls, what a legend.

The final nail in that ventures coffin was a lighting company whose light fitting was cropped by the printer in error, cropped as in NOT in the picture. Doug went into battle proclaiming it “a magnificent piece of reverse advertising …” that one didn’t get through, but again left me in awe and absolute stitches.

So many memories, of such an exceptional man. He was a brother in arms, a man who could be trusted without question, talented, generous, hilarious, kind, and always the most amazing company.

What a man.

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Judy Valadao)

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A READER wants to know if Calfire is still charging that controversial “Fire Prevention Fee” parcel tax that was implemented a few years ago (which never actually went to “fire prevention” because the Governor reduced Calfire’s general FUND budget by an amount equal to the collected “fees”).


According to “Effective July 1, 2017, Assembly Bill 398 (Chapter 135) Suspends the Fire Prevention Fee Commencing with the 2017-18 Fiscal Year.” [July 2017-June 2018]

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The Mendocino County Air Quality Management District (“Air District”), The County of Mendocino, owners/operators Grist Creek Aggregates LLC, Mercer-Fraser Company, and neighbors group Friends of Outlet Creek (FOOC) have resolved litigation pertaining to the adequacy of CEQA environmental review and alleged noncompliant operation of Mercer- Fraser’s asphalt plant at Grist Creek’s Longvale facility located at 37342 Covelo Road, Willits. The Air Quality Management District received more than 175 complaints regarding emissions from the facility between September and November 2015. Investigations resulted in violations against the facility for alleged noncompliance and public nuisance. In 2016, after diligent but unsuccessful negotiations to reduce emissions and settle these alleged violations, the District did not renew the Permit to Operate issued to Grist Creek Aggregates for the asphalt plant. Mercer-Fraser Company subsequently removed the unpermitted asphalt plant from the Longvale facility. We are pleased to report that the parties reached a mediated settlement agreement to resolve their outstanding disputes in a manner that allows them to forego the ongoing expense of further legal proceedings. The final agreement has been executed, and the parties can move on with confidence in future environmental review. Under the agreement, the Mercer-Fraser Company has agreed to pay $60,000 in penalties for violations of District regulations and state law.

(Mendocino Air Quality District Press Release)

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Kelly Overton Named Cannabis Program Manager For The County Of Mendocino

(Overton, from his Wikipedia page, while on an animal rights trek)

The Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer is pleased to announce the hiring of Kelly Overton as the County’s Cannabis Program Manager. Mr. Overton has previously worked as a process improvement and disaster management consultant with numerous nonprofits and municipalities. Mr. Overton holds a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, a Master of Public Health from Tulane University’s School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, a Bachelor of Arts from University of Massachusetts/Boston and a Graduate Certificate in Conservation Biology from Columbia University’s Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability.

In July 2017, the Board of Supervisors directed the Chief Executive Officer to create the Cannabis Management Unit and Cannabis Manager Position to enhance the County’s program. The Cannabis Program Manager will coordinate with departments to better implement the county’s policies, streamline process to effectively implement the Cannabis Program, develop a sustainable framework to institutionalize the program into County government and establish a County infrastructure that evolves with changes in the developing cannabis market. All components of the County’s cannabis program will report to the Cannabis Manager.

Commenting on his new position, Mr. Overton stated “I’m excited to join the County team and look forward to working with staff and stakeholders to make Mendocino’s Cannabis Program thrive. Mendocino County should and will become a blue print for how legal cannabis can be a positive force both economically and socially. My immediate goals are streamlining the permit application process and working to further establish cannabis as an economic driver in the county.”

Carmel Angelo, Chief Executive Officer, stated “I’m excited to welcome Kelly to our team. His experience and diverse background in transforming and improving systems will benefit the Cannabis Program. His enthusiasm and collaborative attitude will bring energy and stability to our program. Kelly will be an integral part of the success of this program and we are looking forward to his leadership and vision around cannabis in Mendocino County.”

For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.

WE LOOKED MR. OVERTON UP ON-LINE because the above press release doesn’t indicate his prior employment. What we found was this short Wikipedia entry:

AT FIRST we though we had the wrong Kelly Overton, but no, that’s him, because the Education section of the Wikipedia entry matches the press release. It’s clear that Mendo has hired a relatively noteworthy animal rights activist, author and political artist as their new Pot Czar. It’s not clear what qualified Mr. Overton for Mendo’s high-profile marijuana management position since he has no management or marijuana experience. (PS. We noticed former Interim Ag Commissioner Diane Curry in the audience at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting during the pot tax collection discussion. Apparently her experience with the pot program and agriculture wasn’t enough to overcome the disfavor she has come to be viewed in by the Board of Supervisors so she was declined the opportunity to be Mendo’s Pot Czar in the aftermath of the hiring of the new Ag Commissioner from Modoc County.)

According to an article Mr. Overton wrote for back in 2008 at the time he described himself as “Executive Director of People Protecting Animals & Their Habitats" Email:

In his book run-down his picture looks more animal-oriented than pot-oriented.

SO: No employment history, no pot experience, no management experience — he’s just the guy to take over Mendo’s ridiculously complicated Pot Program. Presumably his first task will be to try to provide Supervisor McCowen with a satisfactory explanation of why so few pre-site inspections have been done. (CEO Angelo promised McCowen that pot-related things would improve soon after the Pot Czar was hired.) Surely such improvements will kick in right away, right after Mr. Overton learns about pot regulation and Mendo’s unique pot situation and gets acquainted with the hundreds (thousands?) of growers and their lawyers; and the existing team of regulators and cops and state regs and track and trace and the neighborhoods trying to exclude pot and — EASY-PEAZY! WELCOME ABOARD, MR. OVERTON!

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ONE OF THE PROVISIONS of Mendo’s Pot Tax policy is a minimum tax per year. On Tuesday, County Tax Collector Schari Schapmire ran down a series of questions that have come up about the minimum tax and if it applies when for one reason or another a grower doesn’t grow or sell his crop.

Schapmire asked: What if a grower takes a year off?

Supervisor John McCowen replied that as long as they have a statement to that effect on file, no minimum tax, but no statement? — Yes, a minimum tax applies.

What about crop failure?

Supervisor Hamburg asked, How do we prove that? Not resolved. (Although later someone suggested the fabled Track & Trace program would include that somehow? Or maybe they need some kind of crop notice to the Ag Department.)

What if a grower’s pot is eradicated by law enforcement?

Not resolved. Not discussed.

What about indirect crop loss from the Redwood Complex fire such as ash or fire retardant damage?

Not resolved.

And should the “gross receipts” (not net profit like most other businesses) that the tax is based on include the value of property which has been traded in lieu of cash payment?

Answer: Value of property is to be counted, but how do you establish that value? Nobody knows.

At this point Supervisor McCowen declared that he thinks the minimum tax applies in all cases of permitted grows because, McCowen said, Mendo already has “the rock bottom” tax compared to other jurisdicitons, “Whatever we do to make concessions to this particular industry, it’s never enough,” said a clearly irritated McCowen. But then he calmed down a bit and suggested that no minimum tax be charged for 2017; it will start in 2018. Everyone agreed.

Tax Collector Schapmire replied that in that case, they can deal with the remaining minimum tax questions later. McCowen generously added that he was in favor of waiving the minimum tax for total crop loss.

WITH THE DROP IN WHOLESALE POT PRICES in recent years combined with the high cost of set up plus annual fees (before taxes even come into consideration), it’s clear that permitted growers will be under some pressure to apply, ahem, creative accounting to their tax filings. Combine that with the always looming (untaxed) black market which might siphon off part of any given crop at a higher price and you can see that there are a lot more issues to deal with in the pot tax world than simply what happens when crops fail or are pulled up by cops.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I was getting my rain gear ready for the big storm when Skrag saunters up and says, ‘If you had any brains, short round, you wouldn't need all that stuff. Look at us cats. We're built-in prepared, rain or shine’."

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Friends - Here are links for each candidate interview; please share and help promote the April 18 live on-line forum I will host with all the candidates. All these interviews are owned by Terry Vaughn of MendocinoTV. Contact him if you want to use parts of the recordings, otherwise share the links! Thanks - Skip Taube

Alan Rodier:

Arthur Juhl:

Ted Williams:

Chris Skyhawk:

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Not really… The General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz is on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays, as I’m sure you are aware at this point. Tomorrow is the first Thursday of the month so we shall return with more brain exercises next week, Thursday, March 8th, at 7pm prompt (and again on March 22nd). Hope to see you there.

Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master.

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These are great questions. I’m typing the answers here as a comment, but feel free to juxtapose with those of the other candidates. Perhaps grill all of the 5th district candidates at the Anderson Valley debate? The date is not set. It’s being planned by Barbara Goodell and will be streamed by

  1. Do you think the County’s mental health money is being effectively spent? (around $28 million at last estimate)

In general, I’m not enthusiastic about outsourcing core government responsibilities. There are circumstances where private industry can outperform public agencies. SpaceX is a great example. These circumstances are where innovation and execution offer a financial reward. This paradigm does not encompass a responsibility like the administration of mental health services. Outsourcing removes transparency and is a sign of capitulation of competency. If we can’t pull off government locally, how can we expect anything on a state or federal level? There’s some basis in that we haven’t done a great job at a lot of things, but I’d rather we improve our competency than privatize the operation. I expect well defined metrics with regular reporting to gauge success over time. I don’t mean hiring another high priced consultant. If a school anywhere in the county calls with a concern, what’s the follow-through? If we have an addict on the south coast looking to come clean, is the assistance effective? I have a rebuttable presumption that the money is not being spent as effectively as it could and that a secondary motivation is avoidance of our pension situation. Convince me otherwise.

  1. If you had monarchical authority, what would you do to created genuinely low cost housing?

Affordable housing in Mendocino County is bordering on crisis and if it were easy to solve, the current supervisors would have already done it. The Housing Element of the General Plan (by law) has a goal of ensuring shelter for all residents. We’re failing. We have a jail that attempts to rehabilitate, teaching trades to inmates, but when they get out, where will they find affordable housing so they don’t return to their old ways? Many of the usual approaches will not work here. We don’t have economies of scale. We don’t have or want new large subdivisions where we could require an allocation of affordable units. I would attempt to encourage infrastructure development combined with focused zoning changes, because affordable units are more feasible where there is water, sewer and appropriate parcels. Simultaneously, an effort to promote a resident-friendly path towards accessory dwelling units for long term rentals could help aging residents with needed cashflow while increasing affordable housing units and it wouldn’t drastically impact the character of our neighborhoods. I’d like to see each community drive its own destiny, which raises the issues of general plan update and inspiring greater citizen participation. A lot of people are jaded about their ability to work with government. We need to turn that around.

  1. What is your opinion of the recent moratorium on vacation home rentals?

I see it as a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that has been brewing for years. I track firefighters leaving our department roster. The number one reason is housing. It’s a huge loss when we’ve invested years in training a firefighter. I’m always hopeful that they’ll join another department so the investment isn’t lost. The vacation rental model offers greater returns, but it’s at the cost of community. (Further loss is the TOT, which leaves the source community and doesn’t offset expenses incurred by visitors who tend to be responsible for a disproportion number of water rescues, cliff rescues, traffic collisions on hw128, etcetera.) Many of us want to live in residential neighborhoods where we wave to faces we recognize. At the same time, I see people I grew up with offering extra space to visitors. This cash flow allows families to remain active in the community. They give and we need them. I see parents vacationing space otherwise utilized part time when their kids return from college on break and this helps with the tuition. I don’t believe in an outright ban, but I’m against outside investors buying our residential dwellings purely for profit. I believe each community should have an opportunity to reflect its wishes in a local plan. My preference is for limited vacation rentals, architected to protect the people who live here.

  1. Your opinion of the locally proposed changes to Class K.

I spoke about it at the BoS meeting today. There are a lot of pressing issues throughout the county. Affordable housing, lack of broadband, faltering local economy, roads, a jail with rain catchment on the inside, implementation of Measure B funds, a hospital on the brink of insolvency and the list goes on. Class K wasn’t even on the public radar until our supervisors decide to “enhance” it with additional regulations. What problem are we trying to solve? We heard from staff that the spirit of the ordinance is not abused. We don’t see public safety issues arising from owner-builder development. We don’t have records of these structure falling over. As best I can tell, Hamburg excluded (because I believe his interest in tuning K is genuine), it’s effectively an industry attack on the rural resident. It should be dropped altogether. Let’s talk about it after the roads are fixed.

  1. What do you think of the current marijuana regulation program?

Local producers face great competition because of prop 64 legalization. Only 3% of this county is flat. With all the trees, this was a place to hide marijuana. Our high energy rates don’t create a competitive environment for indoor. Our hillsides aren’t as economically feasible as flat fertile farmland elsewhere. The last thing these cottage industry growers need is excess regulatory hurdles. Seeing the number of denied permits qualifies our attempt as a failure. Let’s fix it.

  1. Do you agree with CEO Angelo’s decision to separate Mendocino County from Coastal Valley EMS?

I’ve had my own minor gripes with Coastal Valleys EMS over the years, but their performance on the Redwood Complex fires is a poor excuse to part ways. The Local Emergency Medical Services Agency role is one of setting protocol, policies, certifying paramedics and EMTs — essentially desk work. I wouldn’t have expected them to be on the ground at the fire, especially considering the concurrent Santa Rosa blaze. Look at the big picture. Sonoma county pays in $1.2MM. We add $90k to be part of their LEMSA. Duplicating the effort up here will cost far more than the $90k.

  1. What is your opinion of the leadership provided by CEO Angelo’s “Leadership Team”?

County employees generally work hard, take pride and even meet on their own time to discuss building leadership skills and propelling professional development. However, we tend to be a training ground, because wages are comparatively low. CHP has the revolving door too, especially on the coast. By the time an officer learns the area, a transfer is ready. Local experience is an important ingredient for leadership and a significant human capital expense when lost. Another candidate fielded this question at a recent event by saying he’d increase pay. That’s a good idea, but let’s talk about where we’ll source those funds. What can we give up in order to achieve success for a reduced scope?

  1. How many Board meetings have you attended in the last year? Watched any on YouTube?

I watch via the video stream, because it allows me to multitask. I try to give my available time to the fire department, because I believe every able body should volunteer in some manner.

  1. Do you agree with the Board’s recent decision to raise their pay to $84,000 plus benefits? Should the three retiring supervisors have voted on the raise?

I would not have raised the idea or voted for it. It’s not an issue I’m campaigning on, though. We want competency on the board, not the status quo. It remains to be seen, but if pay attracts strong candidates in the years to come, it could be a win for the county. When I joined the fire department, there was an annual stipend. Nobody gets rich responding to fire calls, but this somewhat helped offset fuel and other out of pocket expenses. Initially, I was eager to reject it, until an elder explained why it’s better to give back in a less prideful way to avoid pressuring the remaining members. I’m not in the race for the money, but I do want the position to attract talent in the coming years.

  1. Do you think the County needs to spend some $50,000 to hire an outside consultant for a needs assessment before proceeding with Measure B’s mental health facilities program?

I’m against using high priced consultants, especially in the case of telling us what we already know. Do it in-house or partner with a university.

  1. What specific benefits do the children of Mendocino County derive from the First 5 program? Would you support spending most of the annual $1 million on childcare vouchers instead of on Ukiah staffers?

Isn’t this a question for the FIRST 5 Mendocino Commissioners? I’m trying to stick to issues of county authority.

  1. Who would you appoint to the Planning Commission?

Someone fair and balanced, who cares as much about this county as I do. Someone who understands the original intent of the Williamson Act and can administer planning policy without bias.

  1. What is the single biggest environmental problem faced by the County?

Climate change. This drought might be a new way of life.

  1. Do you support the current level of water diversion from the Eel River to mostly irrigate vineyards in Potter Valley?

I support fairness and data driven decision making. I’m not anti-business — I want business to thrive in Mendocino County, especially in ways that will trickle down to the workers — but sustainability of residents and the environment must be factored in. We can do better at collecting and distributing data. We need to remove assumptions and bias from the process. In some cases, there are likely more water rights than water.

  1. Do you think the County’s recently organized Ground Water Sustainability Committee is dominated by wine-grape interests?

Not necessarily, White and Brown are just two of six. Are there more ties? As water diminishes, we might need to consider dry farming at new developments and limiting projects on significant slopes. See Napa.

  1. What is the first project or program you would look into if elected?

Broadband, because it impacts us in so many ways and is addressable. If I’m allowed two first projects, adoption of policies to support emergency services throughout the county needs to happen now. I believe there is low hanging fruit here. We ask volunteers — our neighbors — to provide much of the 911 response. It’s time the county take an active role in supporting the volunteers. Some of my ideas include a rotating trainer (to improve skill, reduce burden), shared mechanic services (to keep apparatus in service and take some financial burden off special districts), volume purchasing (the buying power of special districts is limited), perhaps shared bookkeeping services. We have to start somewhere.

  1. Do you have any proposals for dealing with the colossal deficit in the pension obligations fund?

Our public employees performed their end of the bargain and it’s our job to follow through. That said, immediately we need to honest and transparent about how deep we’ve dug. Next, stop digging. No part of sticking the next generation with poor infrastructure and debt is attractive. I’ve suggested we ask each community to define our county priorities so that if we can’t accomplish everything, the supervisors have clear marching orders about what the citizens want completed. Anytime a candidate suggests spending money, ask what he or she will cut to balance the budget.

  1. Would you support the creation of an integrated, county wide disaster alert system?

Yes, but I want the BoS and perhaps the Sheriff to closely track and own the implementation. I don’t trust our ability to outsource it. Having a background in embedded systems and communications, I could help author the specification.

  1. Would you be willing to be on a radio call-in show every six months and respond to callers’ comments and questions?

How about rotating town meetings with a different location every month plus a weekly call-in (or rotation if other supervisors wish to take slots). I want to pull the public into the process. Historically, candidates commit to public engagement during the campaign, but then fall short while in office. I should be recalled if I can’t follow through. It’s a basic job requirement.

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Roberto Bartolo is WANTED!

$280,000 Bail

  • Pc 29800(A)(1) Possession Of Firearm By Felon
  • Pc 667.5(B) S/A Prison Prior X4
  • Pc 30605(A) Possession Of Assault Weapon
  • Pc 1320(B) FTA On Felony Or Agree
  • Pc 30305(A)(1) Person Prohibited From Owning Firearm
  • Pc 1320(B) Fta On Felony Or Agree
  • Hs 11360(A)(2) Transport/Give Marijuana Over 18 Grams
  • Hs 11359(B) Possess Marijuana For Sale Over 18 Grams
  • Pc 148(A)(1) Resisting Arrest
  • Vc 12500(A) Unlicensed
  • Pc 1320(A) FTA On Misd Or Agree
  • Pc 1320.5 FTA On Felony Charge While On Bail X2
  • Pc 12022 Comm While On Released

Age: 28 years old

Weight: 180 lbs

Heights: 5' 10"

Eyes: Brown

Hair: Black

Last known town/city: Santa Rosa, CA

If you recognize this individual or have information which could lead to their arrest, please contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at (707) 463-4086

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NEARLY 6,000 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in 2017, according to a guy who claims to have evaluated the stats. He thinks the increase in accidents to people on foot are caused by the distractions of smartphones and marijuana. Richard Retting, the director of safety for Sam Schwartz Consulting and author of the report, whoever he and Sam Schwartz are, put it this way: “People outside cars are dying at levels we haven’t seen in 25 years.”

WHO THIS GUY IS and what his interest in the subject is, we don't know. But he's getting big media play. Why are more people dying outside cars than a few years ago? Well, our investigator says, in the seven states that legalized pot for recreational purposes, as well as the District of Columbia, pedestrian deaths spiked 16.4 percent in the first half of 2017, while deaths fell elsewhere. “We’re not making a definitive link here and saying this is an ‘aha’ moment,’ but it’s a source of concern and we think greater attention needs to be paid to this issue,” Retting said. But Rebecca Lindland, a Kelley Blue Book auto analyst, said pedestrians distracted by smartphones could be to blame. “At some point in time people both behind the wheel and walking in the street have to take responsibility for their behavior and put down the phone,” she said.

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“How about I read you the one about the king who turns everything he touches into smelly garbage?”

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"FEEL THE BERN – TWICE OVER! Now Sanders’ son is running for Congress and he has the same ultra-left policies as his dad."

THIS HEADLINE is a tiny example of how far to the idiot right the political conversation, now a total dialogue of the deaf, has been shoved by the One Percent. Bernie is a liberal reformer, not an anti-capitalist revolutionary. He's a modestly well-to-do property owner who, like lots of us, understands that the un-regulated capitalism we have going here will bring us all to a bad end.

"ULTRA LEFT" has no meaning, and never did, except to the rightwing demagogues to whom it seems to conjure a transgender Bolshevik committed to gun confiscation and the destruction of golf courses. Revolutionaries determined to violently dispossess the owning classes applies to almost no one in this country at this time, and certainly doesn't apply to Bernie and Bernie Jr. Roosevelt's New Deal was way to the left of Bernie. It was aimed at making life a little easier for working people, which it did. Republicans have been trying to unravel the few programs Roosevelt established that were helpful to the mass of Americans.

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I DON'T want to embarrass people I see every day and like on a personal level, but driving around the County peddling my papers I run into lots of MAGAs, Trumpers, working in minimum wage jobs. A young Boonville woman's car is festooned with slogans devised by cynical people who privately laugh at her as one of the millions of saps who vote and otherwise politically support a class of rich people who privately hate and fear ordinary people. It should be remembered that lots of Trumpers said Bernie was their second choice. Why? Both addressed the economic squeeze felt by working people, although Trump had no intention of doing anything but ensure that the rich got richer, which he has now done with his "tax reform."

I KNOW, I KNOW. We don't have social classes in this country. The political interests of the rich are the same as grocery store clerks. But the grocery clerks in, say, France or Scotland, have a political party that represents them, parties that have won grocery clerks a few social protections.

AMERICA'S working people don't have a political party any more, and they're daily misled by a media bombardment that has magically convinced them that their enemies, Trump, Bezos et al are their friends. And that's where we are in this country — two parties funded by the same small percentage of very wealthy people whose first allegiance is to the people who fund them. (In Mendo, for example, our Congressman, a typical Democrat, is funded by the wine industry, wealthy professional people, liberal trust funders, and lifestyle liberals generally. He does not represent anybody whose annual income is less than $50,000, and he certainly doesn't represent anyone who makes less than thirty. The under 50 thou income earners are, by far, the majority of Mendo people.) I don't see the Democrats changing for the better any time soon.


Amazon reports $5.6billion in US profits last year but paid NOTHING in federal income taxes - as it projects $789million windfall due to Trump's corporate tax law

The online retail giant's latest financial statement suggests that various tax credits and tax breaks for executive stock options are the reason behind the company paying zero tax in 2017.

TRUMP'S TAX REFORMS? Har de har, suckahs. Here you go. More for Bezos less and less for you. I mean seriously, isn't it time all you under $40,000 thou a year people, if that, woke up, and at least barked back at the Democrats?

* * *


Meet Saturday, March 3 at 3:45 in Denny's parking lot

This is a counter-demonstration to a "Friends of the NRA" meeting on March 3. This local NRA group is not a political arm of the national NRA. The NRA dinner starts at 5pm. If you buy a big ticket you have a chance to win a gun (it was said). This is the annual fundraiser. The protest will start at 4pm. There is a call to show up and ask responsible gun owners to move away from the NRA. Check for a Facebook page called "responsible gun owner for gun control". It calls for licenses and insurance requirements. At the counter demonstration, we need to be careful not to be too broad in the gun control debate. Stick to opposing the NRA's agenda. And the good news today from the New York Times: Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the U.S.'s largest sports retailers, will stop selling assault-style rifles and require gun buyers to be 21.

* * *


* * *

IT'S UP TO US (Betsy Cawn)

Civic Participation — with apologies to AVA readers, the link included in this commentary should have been the previous day’s offering, for engaging Mendocino County residents in your local boards, committees, and commissions:

Neither Mendocino nor Lake County administrations make the job of resident/citizen much easier by providing more than a list of their “official” advisory bodies, but Mendocino does a slightly better job of displaying the limited information on the website. And at least the Mendocino County administration admits the responsibility for compliance (however minimal) with the Maddy Act, on their webpage.

And since it really is up to the “public” to scrutinize these quasi-legislative, quasi-jurisdictional “advisory” bodies, which influence the direction and flow of public service funding that support local communities, the absence of involvement and attention allows the system to operate “unsupervised,” as it were. Don’t expect the assigned County Supervisor to admit their knowledge or interest in a given committee’s results — much of the time they are not even present.

At least the Anderson Valley Advertiser makes space for all the participants in local civic processes to comment freely and openly about the governance issues, which is a level of political comity not available in the County of Lake. All readers who share this benefit — and contribute to the collective oversight of public health and safety services — are appreciated over here on this side of the Cow.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Feb. 28, 2018

Bateman, Flint, Martin

MICHELLE BATEMAN, Elsprante/Ukiah. Controlled substance.

BRYAN FLINT, Little River/Ukiah. Community supervision violation.

NATHEN MARTIN, Willits. Controlled substance, failure to pay, failure to appear, probation revocation.

Parker, Ramos, Veals

JACOB PARKER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, suspended license, failure to appear.

JOEL RAMOS, Hopland, Receiving stolen property, controlled substance, commuity supervision violation.

SHERRY VEALS, Clearlake/Ukiah. Controlled substance, controlled substance for sale, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

* * *


From the office of Rep. Jared Huffman:

Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) released the following statement after joining as a cosponsor of Articles of Impeachment, introduced by Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice:

“Every member of the House of Representatives pledges to support and defend the Constitution of the United States when we are sworn into office. That carries with it the responsibility to provide checks and balances on executive power, and in exceptional circumstances, to impeach a President who has violated the law or abused power to the serious detriment of our country.”

“I’m cosponsoring Rep. Cohen’s articles of impeachment because they focus on the most serious and egregious examples of President Trump’s impeachable actions – his obstruction of justice, his unprecedented conflicts of interest, his unwillingness or inability to credibly and forthrightly address Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and his recklessness with matters of national security. President Trump has shown contempt for the institutions and safeguards that are essential to the rule of law and the proper functioning of our democracy.  That is precisely the situation that the rare remedy of impeachment was intended to address.”

This resolution sets forth five articles of impeachment on the following: Trump’s obstruction of justice, foreign emoluments, domestic emoluments, undermining the independence of the judiciary, and undermining freedom of the press.

You can read a summary of the articles of impeachment here.

* * *



The Egyptians built the Great Pyramid 4,500 years ago. The pyramid is 756 feet long on each side, 481 feet high and made with 2.3 million stones weighing nearly 3 tons each. They built it without iron tools. It only took them 20 years.

Here in Healdsburg, we have the 100-foot roundabout project. It has been putting restaurants and merchants into debt for two years. Oh, for the good old days, when Khufu was pharaoh, engineers were competent, construction crews worked hard, and government got things done.

Mark Swendsen


* * *


No military in the world uses the AR-15. It’s a .223 caliber semi-auto rifle, no different in function from many others that would be identified by most as a simple hunting rifle except that it looks like something the military woulds use.

The vast majority of gun deaths are by pistol, and are suicides. I would be in favor of additional checks/restrictions on high capacity magazines, but the way the AR-15 operates really is no different than many hunting rifles – it just looks like something from a video game or hollywood movie so these idiot jagoffs use it because they think it looks cool.

Functionally it’s nothing special.

Having fired one, I don’t see them as being a huge improvement over a good lever or bolt action center fire, and those have been around for a loooong time.

There is one advantage. The spring dampening of the recoil and the semi-auto function allows for a rapid re-acquisition of the target to be fired upon. That’s somewhat uncanny when coupled with a laser dot sight. As a friend of mine said, it’s just a bit too easy to be “sporting”.

* * *


SACRAMENTO (CN) – A federal judge on Monday halted California’s plan to require Monsanto to place warning labels on its Roundup products, saying scientists haven’t shown a clear connection between glyphosate and cancer.

* * *


This week we got a special episode. We go full-length in conversation with sports broadcaster and former Georgetown basketball captain Monica McNutt about the recent scandals plaguing the NCAA, sexual harassment inside the Dallas Mavericks organization, the movie Black Panther, and the trials faced by black women in sports journalism. It's a hell of a conversation that you don't want to miss!

(Dave Zirin)

* * *

CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATS vote to oppose bills penalizing boycotts of Israel, endorse bill to protect Palestinian children from arrest and torture,-Arab-American,-and-Veterans-Caucuses-of-the-California-Democratic-Party-California-Democrats-Vote-to-Oppose-Bills-Penalizing-Boycotts-of-Israel,-Endorse-Bill-to-Protect-Palestinian-Children-from-Arrest-and-Torture-(February-28,-2018)

* * *


by Dan Bacher

Proponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels project continue their campaign to build the new two phase version of the California WaterFix, despite the fact that the project makes no scientific, financial or economic sense, according to critics.

In the latest effort by Brown to fast-track the planning of the process before he leaves office, General Manager Jeff Kightlinger and Assistant General Manager Roger Patterson on February 27 revealed that the Governor, the State Water Contractors, and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) have been engaging in discussions to forge ahead with the first tunnel of the new two phase CA WaterFix project. They are doing this “while keeping quiet about specifics of a potential second tunnel,” according to an analysis from Restore the Delta (RTD).

”In addition to contributing to half of the State Water Project share of the tunnel project, MWD is considering the creation of a separate joint-powers authority (JPA) to pay for the Central Valley Project share of the tunnel, providing it can achieve favorable contractual guarantees from the state to control water deliveries and repayment terms for the project,” stated RTD.

The disclosures were made at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) Bay-Delta Committee meeting in Los Angeles, attended by representatives of Food and Water Watch, LA Waterkeeper, the Sierra Club, ratepayer advocates and consumer advocates.

During a question and answer period, Kightlinger said that Santa Clara Valley Water District staff is presenting an option to the Santa Clara Valley Board to consider co-financing an $11 billion single tunnel as part of the phased-in project, noted RTD.

Kightlinger also explained that Westlands Water District has indicated interest in purchasing wheeled water (water that is moved and resold from project to project) from a project financed by MWD. Kightlinger also noted that Governor Brown wants decisions made by MWD and other key players within a two-week period, said RTD.

MWD board members expressed deep reservations about Kightlinger’s goal of a board action vote taking place this April before the supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is completed, and before the State Water Resources Control Board rules whether or not to approve the petitions by the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation to change the points of diversion, critical permits that are required to construct the project.

“You don’t dive into a creek until you know whether you’re on rocks or not, and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” Larry Dick, a board member representing Orange County, told the Board today.

Delta Tunnels opponents were appalled by the latest move by MWD to fast-track the construction of California WaterFix project.

“It is deeply concerning that Metropolitan Water District is considering taking over the majority cost share of the project,” said Brenna Norton of Food and Water Watch after the meeting.  “MWD would be taking over the agricultural share of project on the backs of the ratepayers.”

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta (RTD), noted, “There is so much to unpack for the public from what was revealed today at MWD’s Bay-Delta Committee meeting.”

“On the surface, it is clear that the California Department of Water Resources is moving forward with a two tunnels application for the change in the point of diversion to secure a State Water Project right for MWD, who will become the financier and operator of the project,” said Barrigan Parrilla. “California’s water management is being gamed to give the majority of power over watershed management throughout the state to Metropolitan Water District. The state is abdicating its responsibility to manage water for all people in California as a public trust resource.”

Restore the Delta’s tweets of the meeting can be viewed here.

Video and handouts from the meeting can be found here.

Whether one or two Delta Tunnels are constructed, the results will be the same: higher water rates for people who can't afford them, no new water and the destruction of the West Coast's largest estuary. The California WaterFix is undoubtedly a lose-lose proposal.

In other Delta Tunnels news, Courthouse News Service reported that California cities, counties, water agencies and fishing and environmental groups sued the state of California late Tuesday, alleging that state regulators “have been secretly plotting and discussing a contentious $16 bill water project. To read the full article, go to:

In other MWD news, documents acquired by RTD from a recent public records act request to MWD confirm that the newly appointed California Department of Water Resources Director (DWR) Karla Nemeth was a MWD employee from 2009 to 2014, earning over $900,000 in total compensation.

During her MWD tenure, she was contracted to work for Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) planning under the CalFed program, and then by the California Department of Water Resources,. All PRA documents sent by MWD to Restore the Delta can be read here.

In December 2016, I broke the story of the staff shake up at MWD that culminated in the recent appointment of Nemeth, the fourth director appointed in a year. At the time, internal emails, confirmed by a DWR spokesperson, revealed that Mark Cowin, then Director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), and Carl Torgersen, the DWR Chief Deputy Director, would retire from their positions at the embattled agency at the end of 2016.

The chaos within the DWR leadership began months before the Oroville Dam spillway fiasco:…



  1. michael turner March 1, 2018

    OK let’s do the math: 6000 pedestrian deaths.

    “Well, our investigator says, in the seven states that legalized pot for recreational purposes, as well as the District of Columbia, pedestrian deaths spiked 16.4 percent in the first half of 2017, while deaths fell elsewhere”

    So in the first half of the year we have an estimated 3000 deaths.

    But they don’t say how many deaths occurred in those 7 states so we have to estimate. We have 50 states, so 7/50th of 3000 is 420. And an increased 16% of that is 70. I know the math is fuzzy and last operation backwards but you get the idea, 3000 is a small number and it gets much smaller.

    The “spike” represents approximately 70 deaths. That’s how you manufacture headlines folks.

  2. George Hollister March 1, 2018

    “He’s(Bernie Jr.) a modestly well-to-do property owner who, like lots of us, understands that the un-regulated capitalism we have going here will bring us all to a bad end.”

    This is one of those fantasies like Chem-trails, and the gov-corp vaccination conspiracy. Where is this “un-regualated capitalism”? I keep looking for it. My dog, who is pretty smart, can’t find it either. The nearest example of un-regulated capitalism, that I know of, is the black market cannabis industry. That industry does not appear to be bringing us to a bad end. Or is it?

  3. BB Grace March 1, 2018

    What?! re: “I KNOW, I KNOW. We don’t have social classes in this country”

    “Many Americans believe in a simple three-class model that includes the “rich”, the “middle class”, and the “poor”.” Wiki

    re: Levi Sanders

    “In his opening statement to reporters, the younger Sanders touched on his dad’s signature issues: Medicare For All, tuition-free college and income inequality.”

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    “”ULTRA LEFT” has no meaning, and never did, except to the rightwing demagogues to whom it seems to conjure a transgender Bolshevik committed to gun confiscation and the destruction of golf courses. Revolutionaries determined to violently dispossess the owning classes applies to almost no one in this country at this time, and certainly doesn’t apply to Bernie and Bernie Jr. Roosevelt’s New Deal was way to the left of Bernie. It was aimed at making life a little easier for working people, which it did.”

    The idea “Ultra left” conjures the idea of ANTIFA anti-USA, anti-white American, anti-US Constitution and Bill of Rights (Natural rights), anti-nationalism, and pro-UN, Pro-identity politics, pro consensus AKA communist constitution (Legal rule of law), pro-globalism (one world communist government). The communist revolutionaries have more blood on their hands than any political group. WE do not see them as liberals because they are not interested in liberty, except for SELFISH sex, drugs and IDing people for sacrifice, exclusion, robbery.

    The Ultra left is also viewed as anti establishment on the left, just as the ultra right is anti-establishment on the right.

    Trump represents anti-establishment of the right, which some see as a huge basket of deplorables, as it represents a very diverse population that share an idea with Trump, “The establishment is not working for the people because it has democratically sacrificed natural rights for legal rights and UN Agendas”.

    “In October 2006, Liberal Reformers launched a manifesto called “Give a libertarian soul to the centre-right”

    Past Prime Minister UK David Cameron claimed to be a liberal reformer, aka Neocon, aka a globalist, which is what Bernie is, and “W” was, and all the GOP nominees but Rand Paul, and all the DNC nominees, and China, Islam are major globalist players. Israel is not. Why so many of us who are not religious support Israel, we think globalism ultimately retains the global corporations, which prefer labor from communist countries and Islam because these people don’t know what freedom is. They do not have freedom of speech to begin. Those supporting Trump support Trump as long as Trump gets the US back to natural rights and dumps the globalists UN Agendas.

    I don’t agree that the rich get richer. What makes life rich? If you think it’s money, you’ll never be rich even if a $B lottery ticket blew into your face on an empty street in a ghost town. That $B would split so fast, if not landing you in prison or dead just because of it.

    President Trump is donating his presidential salary and he’s made contributions to states that suffered tragedy (not California or the territory of Puerto Rico, but then either did HRC, Feinstein, Pelosi, Huffman for that matter); What’s Bezos or Bill Gates going to do with their refunds? I can think of plenty of things to encourage them to spend their tax refunds on instead of damning them because they have what you think represents “rich”.

    • George Hollister March 1, 2018

      “I don’t agree that the rich get richer. What makes life rich? If you think it’s money, you’ll never be rich even if a $B lottery ticket blew into your face on an empty street in a ghost town. That $B would split so fast, if not landing you in prison or dead just because of it.”

      The irony is the left decries “capitalism”, yet defines everything in life in terms of it. Every social solution is solved with capital. Every definition of success or failure is defined by capital. Every definition of happiness is defined by capital. Every definition of equality is defined by capital. Etc, etc.

      Message to the Left, money is not everything. Money is no more than a tool. A useful tool, but also a corrupting tool. Money will not, in itself, make you happy. Money will not provide the blessing of parenting for your children. Money does not define your meaningful relations with others in your community. Money can not fix social dysfunction, and in fact” free money”is a major cause of it.

  4. Judy March 1, 2018

    I am very sorry to hear of Doug’s passing. I will always remember him for his contagious laugh and willingness to give his opinion on any subject.
    Alice and family are in my thoughts and I’m always here if you should need anything. Doug will be missed by the many who knew him.

  5. Jeff Costello March 1, 2018

    adjective, richer, richest.
    having wealth or great possessions; abundantly supplied with resources, means, or funds; wealthy.

    “Rich” is also used to describe food of high quality and often high caloric content. But Trump and Buffet reputedly prefer junk food of high caloric content but low quality. How people eat can tell much about them. Under the money and fame, these men are low quality characters of bad taste.

    • George Hollister March 1, 2018

      Better to separate the terms rich, from monied. Regardless of what the dictionary says, there is a difference.

    • BB Grace March 1, 2018

      adj. rich·er, rich·est
      1. Having great material wealth: He was so rich he didn’t have to work.

      a. Having great worth or value: a rich harvest.

      b. Made of or containing valuable materials: rich cabinetry.

      c. Magnificent; sumptuous: a rich banquet.

      3. Abundant or productive, as:
      a. Having an abundant supply: Meat is rich in protein.

      b. Abounding in natural resources: a rich region.

      c. Having many nutrients for plant growth; fertile: rich land.

      d. Very productive and therefore financially profitable: rich seams of coal.

      a. Containing a large amount of choice ingredients, such as butter, sugar, or eggs, and therefore unusually heavy or sweet: a rich dessert.

      b. Strong in aroma or flavor: a rich coffee.

      c. Containing a large proportion of fuel to air: a rich gas mixture.

      a. Pleasantly full and mellow: a rich tenor voice.

      b. Warm and strong in color: a rich brown velvet.

      a. Highly varied: a museum showcasing a rich assortment of artworks.

      b. Highly developed or complex: rich musical harmonies.

      7. Informal Highly amusing, often for being absurd or preposterous.

      n. (used with a pl. verb)
      Wealthy people considered as a group. Often used with the: taxes paid by the very rich.

      I’d appreciate an example of a rich person of money and fame who are not of low quality or bad taste Mr. Costello. George Soros? Roger Waters? Michael Moore? Willy Wonka?

  6. Jim Updegraff March 1, 2018

    On Line comment of the day: Some of the gun crazies get their gonads off shooting Bambi. For them their guns have phallic symbolism.

  7. james marmon March 1, 2018

    I find it interesting how the AVA is blaming Trump for the conditions in Mendocino County 13 months into his presidency. Just yesterday California ranked last, 50th, in the Country for quality of life by fairing poorly in the natural and social environment categories. Like Trump is the one who caused all this, not 8 years of Communist Governor Jerry Brown’s leadership.

    I also find it interesting that the AVA is now setting Moral Standards for the rest of us to abide by. Anybody with an I.Q. over 70 knows that Morality is relevant, not universal. I prefer ethics over morality.

    “Ethics and morals relate to “right” and “wrong” conduct. While they are sometimes used interchangeably, they are different: ethics refer to rules provided by an external source, e.g., codes of conduct in workplaces or principles in religions. Morals refer to an individual’s own principles regarding right and wrong.”

    Constitution? We don’t need no stinking Constitution.

    • james marmon March 1, 2018

      In both my bachelor and master programs at Sac State all my courses centered around laws and ethics, not morals. The National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics was pumped into my brain.

      I learned to make my decisions based on laws and ethics, not what would make me feel good, unlike most so called child welfare workers who were not exposed to the Code of Ethics.

      A lot of times I made decisions that made me feel sick to my stomach, but I always used my brain not my gut.

      Taking guns away from law abiding citizens may make those on higher moral ground feel good, but that’s about it. The move would not be ethical because of the possible unintended consequences.

      • james marmon March 1, 2018

        Like my 7 year old granddaughter tells my daughter, “Mom, don’t feel, think”. I always tell her “I don’t feel, I think.”

        Emotions lead to irrational thoughts and unintended consequences.

  8. james marmon March 1, 2018

    Another homeless services center being planned for Ukiah.

    I see they want to convert the old “Plowshares: Peace and Freedom Center” into a daycare center for homeless folks. Unless Camille Schraeder is somehow involved I doubt it will get approval. She is planning a homeless daycare center just a half block away on South State Street.

    Another feel good project. The AVA should support it, it will make them feel better, screw the neighborhood. Anyone who opposes it will be labeled “mean” or better yet, a “right wing Trump supporter.”

  9. chuck dunbar March 1, 2018

    BB Grace: “I’d appreciate an example of a rich person of money and fame who (is) not of low quality or bad taste…”

    How about Bill and Melinda Gates.

  10. chuck dunbar March 1, 2018

    THE GREAT DOUGLAS M. CHOUTEAU,by Eamonn Willmott:
    The last line, “What a man,” says it all. Thanks for this fine remembrance.

  11. George Hollister March 1, 2018

    Congratulations, it is 6:48 PM PST, and there is not a single example of name calling in the comments section of the AVA. Maybe peace is possible after all. Well at least for one day, anyway. Pretty amazing, really.

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