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Mendocino County Today: Monday, March 12, 2018

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INCREASING GUSTY SOUTHERLY WINDS today will be accompanied by moderate rain later this evening and persist through Tuesday morning. The remainder of the week will feature periods of rain and mountain snow. (National Weather Service)

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JUST IN: Sheriff Allman will name Sgt Matt Kendall as Under-Sheriff today in place of Randy Johnson who has retired after 30 years of service. Kendall is a native of Covelo whose family roots go deep in Mendocino County. The Kendalls were among the very first settlers in the Anderson Valley; Boonville was first called Kendall City after the Kendalls who subsequently made their home on the South Coast. Under-Sheriff Kendall is the married father of a daughter and makes his home in the Ukiah Valley. His father is retired CalFire, the present employer of both his brothers.

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by Eric Enriquez

“Jim, You are one of the men that I most admire. You are a fellow Christian and we will always have that in common. I probably waited too long to bring this deal to you. I only brought it to you because I believe it is one of the last remaining GOOD Indian gaming deals left in California.”

— Email dated 8/26/2008 from John Tang to Jim Winner

Who are these fellows and what is this last GOOD deal?

The late Jim Winner, was the man who made a fortune as the inventor of The Club (auto-theft prevention device.) He settled a claim from another alleged inventor for a reported $10.5 million but that just goes to show how much money was in that thing. He passed away in 2010 when his SUV crossed the center line and collided head-on with a vehicle containing two other very old men.

John Tang is the CEO of the Buena Vista Rancheria Band of Me-Wuk Indians. Chief among his questionable achievements is the tribe’s as-yet-unbuilt Amador County Casino. He is also a former development partner of the Pinoleville Pomo Nation. It is in this capacity that he finds himself one of many defendants in an “Unlimited Civil Action – Over $25,000” recently filed in Superior Court of the State of California, County of Mendocino.

The Plaintiff is JW (as in James Winner) Gaming Development, LLC. The bulk of the other defendants, I am thrilled to announce, is comprised of the Tribal Council of Pinoleville Pomo Nation, Michael Canales, and a few employees of the tribe.

All information not previously known to me is gathered from the filed documents of JW Gaming, LLC v The Whole Entire Crooked Bunch at Pinoleville (not the actual name).

The complaint is six-fold. The first two claims are the classic “Breach of Contract” and “Fraud & Deceit.” The next four are what one may consider top-shelf as they are “RICO Conduct/Control/Income/& Conspiracy.”

Yes, the village idiots on Pinoleville Drive finally angered someone with enough money to bring them down. Back in 2010, I opined in these very pages of the AVA that RICO Charges were absolutely provable against not only these tribal officials, but also a few at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. We’ll leave that for another, happier day and focus on a brief summary of the current action.


The defendants, as listed, can be tricky to comprehend. Simply, Leona Williams has rebuilt a hijacked tribe and stacked that nation’s government with her close family members. Over the course of the last 15 years or so, they have formed various entities for the purpose of accepting and spending millions of dollars.

They have the expected amount of grant-funded programs, which should get the tribe blacklisted by the EPA, HUD and other key funding entities once these charges are easily proven. They attempted to operate a marijuana grow which was handily deleted by local officials.

Additionally, they have undertaken to participate in off-Reservation development projects with generally abominable outcomes. They ruined the historic Hopland Inn. They failed to operate a sushi spot/nightclub north of Ukiah.

Most, if not all, of these activities were spearheaded by their non-Native business partner Michael Canales. Canales is a developer from Escondido who appeared directly after the Bureau of Indian Affairs helped Leona to disenroll most local members of the tribe (including yours truly) and to ratify a new and impossibly non-democratic constitution.

In the current filing, multiple entities are named, including: Pinoleville Pomo Nation; Pinoleville Gaming Commission; Pinoleville Business Board; and Pinoleville Economic Development, LLC.

For the sake of clarity, these are all some combination of: Tribal Chairperson Leona Williams, her daughter Vice-Chairperson Angela James, and the other stooge council-members, her grandchildren Tribal Secretary Cassandra Steele and Treasurer Jason Edward Running Bear Steele.

Oh, did I forget Tribal Administrator Lenora Steele? So hard to keep track of this family. It seems the only way to not be an important member of the council or administrative team is to be a male relative like Robert James or ‘ABC,’ who already basically has permanent residence on the Mendocino County Booking pages.

Leona has a sister, Nancy. She ran against Leona for the Chair position some years back and lost her seat at the table for good it appears. It’s no surprise that Nancy’s not taking a beating here as the first name in the documents is that of Attorney Gregory Narvaez, Nancy’s son.

Yes, even this litigation is a family affair.

Breach of Contract – As I understand it, the fundamental Breach has to do with the failure to meet the commitments to JW Gaming, LLC. JWG was promised that they would be participating in the development of a casino for the relatively paltry amount of $5 million. As Jim Winner passed away years ago, it has been on his lieutenants and the widow Winner to essentially be lied to and tricked for the past eight years. The funds have not resulted in any casino. There is no apparent pathway for the tribe to repay the investment short of plundering future programs and projects.

Fraud & Deceit – This is where it gets interesting. One of the early requirements of JWG, prior to ponying up the $5 million, was evidence that Michael Canales had also invested $5 million into the deal. It appears that Team Pinoleville mobilized its fiscal team, no strangers to funny business, and faked the evidence of such an investment.

An audit of the numbers backing up that fraudulent statement (Sham 2008 Canales Note) will prove that the accounting is largely fictional. It will be no surprise to learn that Pinoleville’s accountant Michelle Campbell’s previous employment landed her on multi-year probation for fiscal shenanigans at Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians.

RICO Conduct – The Principal Fraudsters (Williams, James, Tang, Michael Canales as well as his daughter, Melissa) “conducted an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity that did cause injury to" JW Gaming. The enterprise is, essentially, an association formed by the Principal Fraudsters and multiple Financial Fixers (a Fresno CPA Firm, additional tribal council and staffers, more relatives of Michael Canales) to “convert the resources of third parties (like the Company) and the resources of the tribe to their personal benefit while using the tribal governmental umbrella to shield the proceeds of their enterprise from detection by state and federal taxing authorities.”

RICO Control – In theory, all tribal encumbrances and commitments are made by the Chair in the name of the General Membership. In practice, the constitution of the tribe limits greatly the ability of members to oversee these efforts. What you’ve got is a mother-daughter team with a rubber stamp of their own creation (literally as the remaining council members are mostly their own progeny) being led by the nose down ridiculous path after path, driven by greed and without transparency.

Gaming Commissions are required by tribes attempting to form compacts with the States in order to form casinos. Vice-Chair Angela James heads the Pinoleville Gaming Commission. This has, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Angela is also the ‘Tax Member’ (sort of the primary agent) for Pinoleville Economic Development, LLC. She denies any knowledge of this LLC in a deposition, although her signature is filed with the Secretary of State in the LLC’s Operating Agreement. Duh!

Actually, Angela’s deposition is the most lively part of the reading. She’s the definition of a hostile deponent. She’s obviously lying and rude while she’s doing it. I had forgotten how much I can’t stand these people.

In any event, that’s the basic structure of the Racketeering Control.

RICO Income – Would you be shocked to learn that the tribe has paid Angela’s personal home rent to the tune of nearly $200,000 over the years? It appears that her fiancée is also a tribal consultant. Well, this is strange, he also chairs the Ukiah Unified School District’s Title VII Parent Committee. There’s a very nice letter of support signed by him and written on UUSD stationery for Pinoleville’s recent Department of Education proposal. Somebody forgot to explain ‘arm’s length’ to these folks.

The RICO Income portion of the filing is also referred to as the Tribal Looting Scheme. I like the sound of that. Leona and her daughter are the signatories on many of the various banking accounts and instruments utilized in this looting scheme. Oops!

RICO Conspiracy – Wire fraud – check! Bank fraud – check! All of these fraudsters and fixers did OBVIOUSLY conspire to defraud at least JW Gaming. Checks have been cut in all of their names and signed by Leona and Angela.

The big laugh was that they refer to a Canales payment as a “Success Fee.” Are you kidding? All that he succeeded in doing was helping Tang to get JW Gaming on the hook which has resulted in this cluster-f.

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t going to enjoy this. These people have caused much harm to people dear to me. These people are the reason that I, my mother, and my daughters have no tribal standing. I hope that they do find themselves on the hook for $21,000,000.

The current tribal members have no justification to be upset after watching this happen for the last 15 years. They can, as my grandmother used to say, “Go jump in the lake.”

I hope that they aren’t able to play the poor Indian card. As a matter of fact, I feel that it is very important to make an example of these women. They are more greedy than they are stupid and that is saying a lot.

Maybe if JW Gaming’s leadership have the hearts of Christians, they can take some of their (likely uncollectible) judgment and help us to hire the attorneys that we need to sue the Bureau of Indian Affairs for rolling out the red carpet of corruption for these activities and participants.

This is a deal that I wouldn’t have offered to my worst enemy.

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Contested Races:

FIFTH DISTRICT SUPERVISOR: Alan Rodier, Arthur E. Juhl, Chris Skyhawk, David Roderick, Ted Williams

THIRD DISTRICT SUPERVISOR: John Pinches, Cyndee Logan, Susy Barsotti, Tony Tucker, John Haschak, Pamela Elizondo, Shawna Jeavons

ASSESSOR-CLERK RECORDER: Katrina Bartolomie, Jeanette S. Kroppmann, Dirk J. Larson

COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS: Bryan Barrett, Michelle Hutchins


MEASURE C - MENDOCINO COAST HEALTH CARE DISTRICT - "To continue essential healthcare at our local hospital by attracting and retaining high quality doctors/nurses, maintaining local emergency room, obstetric, surgical, ambulance and related 911 services, and making critical repairs and upgrades to medical equipment/facilities, shall Mendocino Coast Health Care District levy an annual special tax of $144 per parcel for 12 years, raising approximately $1,700,000 annually, with independent taxpayer oversight, no funds for administrators' salaries/pensions, and all funds dedicated to local healthcare facilities and services?" Shall the Measure Be Adopted: YES or NO

MEASURE D - FORT BRAGG RURAL FIRE PROTECTION DISTRTICT - "Shall the Fort Bragg Rural Fire Protection District, by Ordinance, (1) Repeal the existing special tax of $18.75 per unit, (2) Replacing it with a special tax not to exceed $25.00 per unit, this special tax shall be used to maintain and improve fire protection, suppression activities, prevention and to acquire and maintain equipment or apparatus and to increase our medical and rescue services?" YES or NO

MEASURE E - COAST LIFE SUPPORT DISTRICT - "Shall the measure renewing for four years the Coast Life Support District's previously adopted appropriations limit to allow the use of all proceeds of taxes for ambulance and urgent care services be adopted?" YES or NO

MEASURE F - SOUTHERN HUMBOLDT HEALTH CARE DISTRICT - "Shall the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District renew its current $125/year parcel tax for ten years without any rate increase or added cost to residents, providing approximately $1.5 million annually to benefit the local community by maintaining access to emergengy medical care, support hospital and medical services, and attract and retain qualified doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare professionals, with annual independent audits to assure proper use of funds?" YES or NO

MEASURE G - COUNTY OF MENDOCINO TOT - "Shall Mendocino County Code Chapter 5.20 be amended to authorize collection of a Transient Occupancy Tax on short-term visitor accommodations of 30 days or less in private campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks, estimated to raise $1,000,000 annually?" YES or NO

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COUPLA ELECTION SURPRISES: Popular Hopland firefighter, Dave Roderick, is a last minute entry into the 5th District Supervisor's race, and Kathy Wylie has apparently dropped out of the race for Superintendent of the Mendocino County Schools (although she still has until March 14 to file).

Ms. Wylie's departure, if it is a departure, leaves two candidates for the top job at MCOE — Boonville school chief, Michelle Hutchins and Bryan Barrett of Ukiah Unified, architect of the raucous "niggardly" controversy some years ago. (Barrett thought the word was a foul ethnic insult.) Of course weak language skills have never disqualified past superintendents, but Barrett is uniquely unsuited to becoming Mendocino County's "lead educator."

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Everyone's on my case for sleeping in this morning. ‘You're a ten percenter for sure, Little Dog,’ one guy said. ‘Ten percent never have any idea what's happening.’ But I'm a dog. How am I supposed to know the clocks go up an hour?”

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by Pebbles Trippet

Cannabis regulation in Mendocino County is not going well and things just got worse. Since marijuana cultivation is regulated as an agricultural crop under the Food and Agriculture Department, it is a key post. Former Modoc County Ag Commissioner, Joe Moreo, retired after 25 years in that position, was hired two weeks ago by Mendocino Supervisors to lead the local regulatory program through the local Ag Department.

Joe lasted one week. No one is talking about why he resigned. Local papers aren't covering it. Supervisor McCowen responded with something vague about them having different ideas about the nature of the job. A resignation of this significance at this juncture in marijuana legalization should be news. A newly hired veteran Yolo County Ag Commissioner for 25 years — suddenly quits.

Here is what we know. After being hired to oversee the county's cannabis regulatory program under the Ag Dept, Joe Moreo was introduced at a BOS subcommittee meeting with a Planning and Building official on hand to deal with questions from the Board. The story goes that Joe corrected the local official regarding particulars in running the program. The tension developed into an open dispute as to who had authority in the chain of command and who was the subordinate.

Joe is reputed to have said he had authority over the regulatory program, which prompted the official to claim that Joe was subordinate to the county's "main contact." Apparently the Supervisors took the side of the planning and building rep, who they said was especially familiar with rules and regs in the department.

"Joe wanted to run the show on the legalization aspect, but found out someone else was going to be the main contact," is one person's take on the conflict. When it became clear that Joe was not going to be allowed to run his own program, he quit!

Relinquishing authority as Mendocino County Ag Commissioner is not what he had in mind after 25 years as Modoc County Ag Commissioner, where his authority was not in doubt. When Carmel Angelo first contacted him about the job, he thought it would be a step up, not a step down in authority. But a mere week in county office showed him he would not be allowed to be the "main contact" in his own program.

This is especially unfortunate since Joe Moreo is known to have savored his new job, having for years harbored the dream of regulating a cannabis cultivation program under legalization guidelines. His heart was in it. Imagine that!

All the more reason it would seem important to have control over his regulatory process. But the County's "main contact"/bureaucrat in the chain of command apparently superseded the authority of the Ag Commissioner as a matter of policy. In the regulatory process for cultivation, he becomes subordinate under someone else's authority, even though he's the one doing the regulating. Isn't this backwards?

The County should be applauding a responsible Ag Commissioner who wants to build a workable program with authority over his own cannabis regulations, in concert with, not subordinate to, the county planning and building agent on call.

Given Joe Moreo's 25 year experience in regulating agriculture and the Supervisors total lack of any, it makes sense to give the Ag Commissioner the authority and leeway needed to make the program work and blossom. Instead Mendo's chain of command policy reduced the Commissioner's authority arbitrarily and without cause. So Joe resigned rather than be reduced!

Such dedicated public servants don't come along every day, and when they do, it is unseemly to turn them away. A wise regulatory system would involve knowledgeable farmers and the public in decision making as well as enlightened public officials whose platforms are underused. Mendocino County is turning off the cream of the crop with overly controlling outdated protocols that harm our community and the county. We continue to lack a cohesive forward-looking cannabis program because we are being held back by our own Supervisors. This has to change.

It's really about us. We need to raise more of a fuss. Or they'll say it didn't happen.

ED NOTE: The AVA not only announced his resignation, we described the circumstances as we knew of them at the time, although the particulars of whatever dispute he had with Planning and Building is interesting.

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Judy Valadao)

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Well, they certainly had a great effort to get this far - and gave #2 seed Redding Christian a heckuva game, but despite a dogged effort, the Lady Warriors came to a close Saturday night with a 50-37 loss.

Unofficially, Matlea Taylor led the Lady Warriors in scoring a game-high 13 points. Akeela James had 11 points, Athena North 10 and Melissa Adkisson added 4 points in the second half.

For Redding Christian, their leading scorer Livi Lindsey scored 11 points (she averaged 21.3 coming into the game) as did teammate Sammie Wunner. Jaycee Provenence scored 10 points and Lisa Manning 8 points (including a “trey” & field goal in the 4th period).


LAYTONVILLE 06 12 06 13 = 37

REDINGCHST 11 14 09 16 = 50

PHOTO--Posted by Joe Smith to the "Laytonville Sports" Facebook page - thank you, Joe & Angelina.

(Courtesy MendocinoSportsPlus)

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"…A couple weeks ago I was walking along West Church Street, heading downtown, and I saw a guy with one hand on his shopping cart and the other in his pants as he fumbled around trying not to wet himself. Then he leaned forward and a big sidewalk puddle formed at his feet. But he didn’t lean forward quite far enough.

A lady who runs a shop on School Street, hurrying to a recycle bin while carrying an armload of cardboard, had a stream of warm urine splattered on her shoes and pant legs. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

Do the nice people running these programs ever contemplate filthy, disgusting stuff like this? Do the nice people realize the money they make from “helping” the poor has unintended consequences? Do the nice people care? Give me some examples.

Who is looking out for the citizens who live, work, pay taxes and simply want a safe, pleasant town to raise their families? Who’s looking out for people who want to walk around without being frightened by strangers who might be criminals or mentally ill or both (or neither)?

The city should demand that any new whiz-bang program designed to address a real or imaginary social need must also address how it will affect local citizens, and how it will mitigate those impacts. Think of it as an Environmental Impact Report on quality of life and neighborhood safety.

Ukiah residents should come first in the equation, not last.

Next, An Expert

Robert Marbut, a nationally known expert on homelessness, will address local concerns March 15 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

I doubt he’ll be spouting slogans or handing out participation awards to nonprofits.

Marbut isn’t just another “lend-me-your-watch-and-I’ll-tell-you-what-time-it-is” consultant; he’s been on the homeless beat for decades going back to his years working in the Bush II White House as an advisor on the subject.

I’m rarely in favor of local government hiring consultants to tell us what to do, but it’s clear the people running the programs that have gotten us into our present mess either don’t know what they’re doing, or else they’ve been lying to us."

(Ukiah Daily Journal, 3/11/18)

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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Greetings AVA:

I read with interest your recent item about Charles Hensley and it reminded me about something I've wanted to do for a long time. That is, get out there and talk to some of these people, tell their stories. When they're noticed at all it’s as statistics or booking numbers. I thought it might be a nice change if someone reminded the general public that they are actually human beings. I have in mind a series, as lengthy or limited as needed or wanted. I would spend some time with these guys, maybe even track down families and loved ones and talk about what and when they were, what went wrong, what now? Etc. I would personally be intrigued by something like that. I don't know if you agree that the readership would be interested, but let me know if you think there's any meat in on this bone. It could be a project for when I hit the bricks in a few weeks.

Also, glad to read that we do finally agree on something: that being Paul Beatty’s, “The Sellout.” Brilliant and hilarious piece of work.

Flynn Washburne


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"THE MENDOCINO COUNTY SHERIFF'S Office will be conducting large-scale Search and Rescue operations in the Covelo/Round Valley/Dos Rios area. We will have large numbers of searchers on or about public roadways, with search dogs (both on and off leash). We ask the public to use extra precautions when encountering teams. Thank you."

There were reports of locals searching Saturday as well as the Mendocino County Search & Rescue being in the Covelo area.

Redheaded Blackbelt, also posted this:…/close-to-75-searchers-including-natio…/

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Hello AVA,

I hope all is going well with you and everyone. My world has taken a spin for the worse. First off, both my cases in Mendo got denied. I can't believe the injustice system. It is so wrong. But you know better than anyone just how dirty they really are. I am going to file an appeal on both of them but what a joke. Right now I am at Wasco State prison reception center waiting to go to federal court in Bakersfield. I don't like this reception center at all. It is dark, cold, lonely. I go to court tomorrow for a settlement conference. They are playing games. They offered me three grand on the phone about two months ago and all I want is for the court to review my 1998 writ of habeas corpus with the exhibits and overturn my conviction. I know they won't and I know they will cover Beth Norman’s ass all the way.

The tape was altered, that's proven. Judge Luther had a relationship with Maryann Gump. His house cleaning lady. Do you know if Luther's wife ever worked on the bookmobile for the county library? I was told that by George and a hell of a lot more.

Anyway, I was told about another case, James Allard in 1994 or 95. He also accused Beth Norman of altering some evidence. So she is known for it. Also, David Nelson just did so little about what he knew. Hell, he got a judgeship and retirement out of it. Yes, I am pissed. Can you blame me? They must keep me locked up or I will expose a hell of a lot more.

Well, I thought I would let you know where I am in case I come up missing. Take care and keep fanning the flames. Mark Sprinkle PS. have you heard from Richard McCormick? Do you remember a paralegal named David Valley? You wouldn't have an address on him? Lake County maybe? How about Laurie Fullmer? She goes by another last name. I was returned to Chino. They did not even take me to court. I filed another case in Ukiah, SCUK CRCR 28123. You need to look at it. I wish Carl Shapiro was around.

Okay, it is good. I will get this off to you. I will send Lorrian’s other last names when I get my property. They lost my legal work when I went to Bakersfield.

I am back in Chino, a new building. P.O. Box 368-A-2, 107-L.

Court was a flop as I never got to a courtroom. The case I told you to go look at, SCUK CRCR 28123, in re Sprinkle, is something a friend of mine and I have been working on. It will mess up the way a parole board does lifer cases.

How I wish Mr. Shapiro was alive because I think it is the kind of case he would truly enjoy. If, if, if. Too many ifs.

I took a box of legal work out with me and these bastards conveniently lost it. I'm so damn tired of all of this. Come on, is not 21 years and the loss of everything enough even if I didn't touch the no go zone? Come on, this wrong won't end.

I don't know if you can locate David Valley but I am sure he would help me some ways. I know he was in prison in 2016 with a drug case out of Lake County I believe.

For Laurie Fullmer, Chris's sister, I will keep looking for her other last names. She is willing to help. I tried to write McCormick but it returned. I sure hope I am not crossing the line. If I am I am sorry. I just know I can't give up as this is one place I sure don't want to die in.

I know an old boy by the name of Bob Stephens. He spent time with me and as of March 1, 2018 he should have gotten off of parole. He may stop by the AVA one day and say hello to you and Mark. I think you will like the old fart. Not many left in the world like your kind. Well, I had better leave you alone. Keep fanning the flames.

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It was pretty clear from the state legislative hearing in Ukiah March 1 that marijuana growers are not happy. Finally being able to grow pot legally isn’t everything they hoped. I suspect a lot of them hoped it would be just as it always was – profitable and easy – just without the threat of going to jail or losing your crop to the police.

Turns out paying taxes and complying with regulations is expensive and complicated.

And while we don’t have too much sympathy for people who made tax-free thousands for decades when it comes to taxes, we agree that the layers upon layers of regulations may have gone overboard.

Again, however, maybe the growers only have themselves to blame. Had they been proactive in policing their own during the years when we were seeing shocking environmental devastation from greedy growers all over our county, perhaps the environmental crackdown in the form of strict water and waste regulations would not have been necessary.

This is a brand new industry and one that clearly expects to grow and flourish. The state rightly wants to make sure it’s done right from the start so we are not going back later and finding out that water sources are being drained or polluted and natural habitats are being destroyed. (One grower suggested the regulations are an attempt to make marijuana growers clean up the mess left by the timber industry 30 years ago. We’re not buying that one. It has also been suggested that the state’s regulations are aimed at getting marijuana growers out of the hills. That may be.)

We applaud Sen. Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Jim Woods for making the effort to have this hearing to see where the state may have over-reached or where the growers and suppliers have solid ideas for improvements. One area where we agree completely with the industry is the need for some kind of banking system. It is not a good idea to keep forcing an industry with this much money involved to be dealing solely in cash. The expense to the industry of armored vehicles and other security measures around cash is an unfair burden and one the state needs to figure out.

It may be that some regulations will be drawn back as the industry settles in for the long haul and the number of actual growers and distributors shakes out. The people who are serious about their business will survive and those who just wanted to make a quick legal buck, will likely not.

That’s OK with us.

K.C. Meadows. (Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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RECOMMENDED READING AT LOST COAST OUTPOST: "Our Doomed Railroad: Deadly Bluffs, Blunderous Engineering, and the Avaricious Founder of Rio Dell, A Train Catastrophe Foretold" by Josh Buck.

EXCERPT: When rains start trickling down and under the “itchy old crust” of the Scotia Bluffs, the earth can suddenly take the notion that it intends to move, sometimes in rather unbelievable proportions. This very type of disaster occurred on the morning of Nov. 24, 1945.

The inhabitants of Scotia felt the earth shake and they heard a thunderous roar as a massive landslide descended upon the right-of-way from 308 feet above the NWP tracks. It buried 550 feet of the railroad 48 feet deep under dirt, trees and massive stumps. It was noted that the slide was so massive that it nearly “dammed the Eel River.” Initial estimates suggested that the damage would take 30 days to repair, but the NWP and its contractors were able to reopen the railroad in only ten days.

Scotia Bluff (Click to enlarge)

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EARLY MORNING ETIQUETTE: Every morning for three years I’ve passed the same man in the street near my house. I put his age as anywhere from 50 to 70. Fit people can be deceptive, can’t they? He refuses to acknowledge my greetings. He doesn’t respond to anybody’s greetings, so it’s just not me he’s ignoring. (I could understand his silent hostility if he knew me, but we’re strangers.) Quizzing a couple of other early morning people they confirm he ignores them, too and, by extension, ignores the unstated rules of basic civility. So? Why should he acknowledge any of us? It’s an anonymous suburb, a quiet stretch of streets where, especially early in the morning, the only signs of life are a few people walking effete dogs — small, white fluffy things mostly — and a few of us obsessive-compulsive 7am on the nose exercise types, mostly women. It’s not some kind of ambulatory meet and greet, I remind myself, but everyone else, despite the early hour, is friendly. We unfailingly flash each other phony smiles and mumbled greetings. Then there’s this Rumplestiltskin-looking guy, an intense, wiry, totally accoutered little man togged out in the latest outdoor exercise gear — head to foot lycra, water bottle, commando watch, and one of those heart monitors affixed high on one arm. And ear pods. In the afternoon, he mounts an expensive mountain bike with the same gear plus a bulging back pack, undoubtedly stuffed with emergency rations. Hell, you never know when you might be stranded in San Anselmo. With all this stuff he could manage a hundred mile hike in mid-summer Death Valley. Of course in Marin, and everywhere else in the Bay Area, there are thousands of people similarly equipped, but I’ve studied this one guy because I see him almost every day, and in all the many mornings we’ve passed each other he has steadfastly refused to return my merry, neighborly “Good morning.” A couple of months ago, on a frosty dawn as the sun came up, the stealthy little solitary, this dogged enemy of standard American bonhomie, literally brushed past me on a narrow stretch of sidewalk, startling me. Or sparing me my tiresome new day reveries, more likely. “Hi,” I yelled at his back. The guy can move, and he moves in a furious crab-like scuttle, periodically breaking into side straddle leaps like he’s jumping over a small stream, all the while looking straight ahead. Gradually, he began to seriously annoy me, and fascinate me, too. I admit I’ve stalked him a couple of times. I wanted to see where he lived, how weird or how normal his habitat might be. But he’s too fast for me, nevermind the legal implications of deliberately following a stranger might be. At first, I assumed he couldn’t hear me through his pods. I asked around. “Oh yeah,” a pod person assured me, “he can hear you. Ear pods don’t blot out all the sound.” I found myself thinking about break-through strategies, some way to bust through the rude barrier. I couldn’t just grab him. “Hi, my name is Raskalnikov. I see you out here all the time and just wanted to introduce myself. And you are, sir?” Not a good idea. He probably had some kind of weapon on him given his level of preparedness. So, I decided to call him by a different name every morning until I hit the right one and/or he in some way responded. Of course I understood the mathematical odds against stumbling upon his patrynomic, and given his commitment to avoiding all human contact even if I got it right he might just grind on, ignoring the intrusion. But I’d settle for any acknowledgement, from a violent shout of “Leave me alone” to the slightest twitch in my direction. I decided I’d start out with ‘Larry.” He was just coming down the hill as I was going up. “Hiya, Larry. Great to see you out here this morning.” Nothing. He plunged on. Next morning, “Hi, Lar. Good day for it, huh?” Not even a hint of acknowledgement. And on it has gone for two months now. “Harry, how are ya?” “Looking good, Bill.” “Kick it on in, Bob.” You’d think after fifty mornings of this the guy would react one way or the other. Nope, nothing. A week ago a lady walking her little Muffy said to me, “I don’t think he wants to be bothered. I see what you’re doing but it won’t work.” I said, “What you don’t see is what it’s doing to me.” Thing is, no matter what route I take, there he is. And never so much as a glance in my direction! Yes, it has occurred to me that maybe Rumple is stalking me, testing me as to how far I’ll go to get a ‘Good morning’ out of him. I’ll keep you posted.

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Subject: "Mendocino County LAFCo board discusses proposed fire district updates"

Dear Mr. Driscoll [reporter, Ukiah Daily Journal]

In your report published by the Ukiah Daily Journal on March 8, the headline and your first paragraph refer to the LAFCo “board” — whereas the proper language is the “commission” (which has no separate “board”).

In addition, the report states that the commission discussed “drafts” which were “adopted on April 4, 2016.” Once adopted, the reports are no longer considered “drafts.” What is not known from your report is why the adopted report was presented to the commission at “its board meeting on Monday.” Did the districts request that LAFCo reconsider their Spheres of Influence, or did the Executive Director (either at the direction of the commission or independently, as is common practice) initiate the review by the commission?

Why were the “islands” of unserved areas not addressed in the April 4, 2016 report? If LAFCo is now attempting to amend its 2016 report, were the recommendations contained in a “draft” of the adopted Municipal Service Review and Sphere of Influence report but not adopted?

Is the “draft” you refer to a proposed update to the report adopted on April 4, 2016? Were the fire districts participants in the creation of the “draft” and what were their recommendations?

Please note that the use of a term like “joint powers authority” can refer to either a “joint powers authority agreement” or a “joint powers authority” (subject to Government Code Section 6500, et sequentia), which creates a separate governing body — and what did the fire districts respond to that suggestion?

We appreciate your reportage of the proposed LAFCo budget, but wonder what level of service the Mendocino LAFCo describes to justify the expense? How many MSRs and SOIs have been completed by the Mendocino County LAFCo since the 2008 deadline for completion of all MSRs (SOIs can be done separately, depending on the MSR findings; if no SOI exists, then the MSR should address that inclusive of its findings)?

Thank you for providing clarification of the matters under consideration by the Local Agency Formation Commission in Mendocino County. The fire protection districts are critical to sustainability of locally self-funded public services, and the public needs as much education about the reasons for LAFCo actions as you can possibly provide.

Betsy Cawn
The Essential Public Information Center
Upper Lake, CA

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 11, 2018

Bennett, Garcia, Joaquin

JOSHUA BENNETT, Fort Bragg. Community supervision violation, resisting.

CARLOS GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

LAWRENCE JOAQUIN, Covelo. First degree burglary, probation revocation.

Lopes, Magdaleno-Kent, Maiava

ANTHONY LOPES SR., Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

WESLEY MAGDALENO-KENT, Ukiah. DUI, license suspended for DUI.

CHESHIRE MAIAVA, Fort Bragg. Concealed dirk or dagger, possession of burglary tools, false ID, community supervision violation.

McCloud, McLeod, Merino-Cortes

DONALD MCCLOUD, Hopland. Parole violation, resisting.

AILEEN MCLEOD, Santa Rosa/Redwood Valley. DUI, concealed weapon in vehicle, large capacity magazine, paraphernalia.

AQUILINO MERINO-CORTES, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, under influence.

Mork, Ott, Perry

JOSEPH MORK, Ukiah. Burglary, burglary tools, conspiracy, resisting, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

LORNA OTT, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license, smuggling controlled substances or liquor into jail.

MICHAEL PERRY, Ukiah. Battery.

Potter, Ramirez, Steel

NOEL POTTER, Willits. Burglary, harboring a wanted felon, burglary tools, controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

MANUEL RAMIREZ, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

MATTHEW STEEL, Concord/Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.

Tolentino, Travis, Wilson

MARIO TOLENTINO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

MICHAEL TRAVIS, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

JOHN WILSON II, Willits. DUI, evasion, unlawful to operate vehicle, suspended license, evasion, probation revocation.

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American sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan were exposed to radiation from Fukushima. Many are sick. Some have died. Why can’t they get justice?

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I’ve worked in jail mental wards. One with 2000 inmates, round the clock armies of psych staffs, deputies, and doctors with access to jail cells and all the special equip you might need to deal with the mentally ill. Hundreds of eyes on to make sure they take their meds and they’re not harming themselves or others. Millions of dollars and incredible effort by super capable staff, and it still doesn’t work well at all. It’s a fantasy to think you’ll fix the estimated 20,000 or so mentally ill people on the streets of Orange County alone. If you build more facilities, where will you put them? No one wants them anywhere close and I can’t blame them. Where will you get the money when California is currently letting thousands of criminals out of prisons because they can’t afford them? Orange County is currently trying to move all the homeless into hotels with 30 day vouchers. What hotels would be crazy enough to take them in? Imagine what these places will look like in a month. I’ve seen people smash their heads through walls, flush full blankets to stop up the plumbing, and tear stainless steel plumbing fixtures off block walls. And, what will happen when the 30 days are up?

This is a no win situation. The mentally ill have been moving to California for half a century at least. Liberal gov’t policies and good weather are a magnet. The L.A. area averages one cop on the street for every 10 to 30 thousand people. The thin blue line is REALLY thin out here. The next financial crisis and real estate market crash might just sink us into oblivion.

We are completely overcrowded here, and our testosterone levels are dropping. We don’t have the will or money or places or psychiatrists, and soon we won’t have the balls, to do anything about this.

* * *


When the Fukushima-Daiichi, Japan nuclear disaster began on March 11, 2011, evacuations were not immediate and some were hampered by the destructive after-effects of the Tsunami and earthquake that precipitated the nuclear crisis.

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Over the last year I have read and heard a number of comments about the need to get President Trump a dog. I am asking with all my heart that no one subjects one of our most beloved pets to a person who is so cold and inhumane.

One reads and hears how self-involved and cold-hearted Trump is. Dogs help our veterans, disabled, elderly, those with illnesses, blind and people who just love these wonderful creatures. Subjecting a sweet dog to Trump or his family would be cruel. It’s too late for Trump.

Linda Milgate

Santa Cruz

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Perhaps it’s not so surprising that the Democratic establishment hasn’t learned the lessons of its failure. In an economy hollowed out by the Great Recession, legacy Democrats lurch, occasionally, in a populist direction before retreating to where they are most comfortable: doing favors for the rich in exchange for campaign donations.

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* * *


Over the past three weeks, the impassioned voices and steadfast demands of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have resounded across social media and through the halls of the large suburban high school where I teach visual arts.

* * *


by John Updike

And another regrettable thing about death

is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,

which took a whole life to develop and market —

the quips, the witticisms, the slant

adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest

the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched

in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,

their tears confused with their diamond earrings,

their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,

their response and your performance twinned.

The jokes over the phone. The memories packed

in the rapid-access file. The whole act.

Who will do it again? That's it: no one;

imitators and descendants aren't the same.



  1. Marco McClean March 12, 2018


    In /Breakfast of Champions/, by Kurt Vonnegut:

    Now that Trout lived in Cohoes, the only person he called by name was a red-headed Cockney midget, Durling Heath. He worked in a shoe repair shop. Heath had an executive-type nameplate on his workbench, in case anybody wished to address him by name. The nameplate looked like this: DURLING HEATH.

    Trout would drop into the shop from time to time, and say such things as, “Who’s gonna win the World Series this year, Durling?” and “You have any idea what all the sirens were blowing about last night, Durling?” and, “You’re looking good today, Durling — where’d you get that shirt?” And so on.

    Trout wondered now if his friendship with Heath was over. The last time Trout had been in the shoe repair place, saying this and that to Durling, the midget had unexpectedly screamed at him.

    This is what he had screamed in his Cockney accent: “Stop bloody /hounding/ me!”

  2. james marmon March 12, 2018


    “Joe is reputed to have said he had authority over the regulatory program, which prompted the official to claim that Joe was subordinate to the county’s “main contact.”

    From what I know about the situation is that most of what Pebbles wrote is correct but there was another meeting between Angelo and Joe Moreo after that, that is when he resigned, or as rumors have it, she canned him. One of the issues was regarding the use of Agriculture Inspectors (5 of them newly hired) for duties outside of their purview which would be in conflict with them achieving hours and supervision needed for their licensing and certificate requirements and delay the opportunity for promotion to higher classification, the other was Joe not being able to run his own department and the new marijuana program.

    Cannabis program manager appointed for Mendocino County

    “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. Post Date: 02/28/2018 11:58 AM”

    As for the new entry levels AG Inspector’s requirements for their licensing:

    “Requires one (1) of the following licenses issued by CDFA within 12 months of hire: Pesticide Regulation, Investigation and Environmental Monitoring, Integrated Pest Management, Commodity Regulation, Measurement Verification, Pest Prevention and Plant Regulations, Weight Verification, or Transaction and Product Verification.”

    Building and Planning duties do not get them where they need to be, but Angelo covers herself by deceiving the new entry level Ag Inspectors, and they thought they were going to be Ag Inspectors, LOL.

    Agricultural Measurement Standards Specialist I

    The Position

    “The current vacancy is in Ukiah. The list developed from this recruitment will be used for a limited period to fill open and promotional, regular full-time, and part-time positions in a variety of departments, service areas, and locations throughout the County, should they occur. Positions in this classification may perform duties associated with the Mendocino Medical Cannabis Cultivation Compliance program. Effective July 1, 2018 this classification will receive a 3% pay increase.”

  3. Lazarus March 12, 2018

    “ED NOTE: The AVA not only announced his resignation, we described the circumstances as we knew of them at the time, although the particulars of whatever dispute he had with Planning and Building is interesting.”

    I was talking to someone who seemed to be in the know, he claimed the new guy, was fired…
    As always,

  4. james marmon March 12, 2018

    I see that the homeless expert Robert Marbut will be giving his presentation tomorrow to the BOS. Must see T.V. Pretty busy calendar, I hope he gets more that 5 or 10 minutes.

  5. Eric Sunswheat March 12, 2018

    RE: …new whiz bang program.

    Austin startup ICON unveiled a new method of mass producing small homes with a massive 3D printer in a process that the company says takes just 12 to 24 hours. At the annual film and innovation festival known as SXSW, the company showed off how it could construct a 650-square-foot house out of cement in one day.
    Using an industrial sized Vulcan printer, ICON says it can currently build their single-story home for $10,000 but is working to drop that cost to just $4,000.

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