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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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MENDOCINO-TV CLIP: Hospital Board President Confesses June Budget Deficit Was Contrived To Pass The Parcel Tax

Steve Lund, President of the MCDH Board of Directors made a surprising statement after the Board of Directors voted to place a parcel tax measure on the June ballot.

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THE GUN SHOW at the Ukiah Fairgrounds this past weekend was well attended with a steady stream of walk-through visitors, as the admission fee of $10 was probably all anybody could afford, considering the jumped-up prices on a bunch of battered old sporting arms, some over-priced fowling pieces and trap guns, a few surplus military rifles from by-gone wars and the occasional antique musket or horse pistol.

It was this latter area the old duffers gravitated to, a walk past the nostalgia-misted past of one’s glory days in uniform – except there were no old M-14s or M-16s at the show.

The closest things to Viet Nam War era weapons was the high-tech area to the far right of the display tables where the modern assault rifles were set up and a few deadly serious young guys were hanging around oogling the latest in barrel shrouds and rail kits for AR-15s along with all the other accessories and attachments for your Terminator type firepower, which even for a former gun editor like myself, the nomenclature was far and away too complex and esoteric to grasp just what advantage any of it provided, other than looking way cool, at least it must seem so to a mind trained in cool from infancy by the complications and fascinations of Transformer illustrated dramas, rather than the Loony Tune cartoons my generation watched as kids.

Lots of gew-gaws were available to go with the technical firepower, too, such as a confusing array of tactical vests and holsters in the latest nylon and plastic buckle arrangements, all of which I often see on some of the younger Fish & Wildlife Wardens, Forest Rangers, and BLM gunslingers – all of whom performed their duties unarmed back in my day.

I saw absolutely nothing I wanted to buy – especially at the prices they were asking – and nobody else bought anything while I was there, except one old guy who took home a New Army .44 knock-off replica of the old Civil War revolvers invented by Colonel Colt.

(Bruce McEwen)

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SKRAG SAYS, “Ever see a cat wearing a wrist watch? I can't believe these people and their one hour forward, one hour back. And Little Dog getting into it? Just proves my point — dogs are dumber than cats, much dumber.”

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The Anderson Valley 27th annual Variety Show was a smashing success, and we want to thank each and every one of the people who participated in making it happen. First and foremost, we had an excellent, enthusiastic audience, without whom the show would not have been the same. We want to extend a big thank you to our wonderful community for their continued support.

It really takes a village to pull this thing off, from the rental and initial set up of the Grange Hall, we thank Wendy Kurski, David Norfleet and Eric (the Eggman). Thank you to Morgan and Laura Baynam for help with parking.

Thanks to the Teen Center for providing us with yummy food for the tailgate party on Friday, and for Jay Newcomer for his delicious BBQ dinner on Saturday.

Thank you to Seasha Robb, Patrick Dilley, Shira, Zoe, David, and Michael Butler for their festive, friendly, and effective help with ticketing. We know that this is not an easy task!

Thank you to Taunia Green, the Raffle Queen, for her enthusiastic and always well dressed self and crew: Joshua Tree Spirit, Sierra Peters, Arline Bloom, Sunny Pettijohn, and Miriam Martinez.

Thank you to Cozette Ellis for the creative poster art, and to Gail Meyer for the always fantastic interior stage decorations.

Thank you to the concessions and popcorn folks: Mary O'Brien, Judy Nelson, Judy Basehore, Renee Wilson, Donna and Jeff Pierson-Pugh. We need those treats to keep us going all night!

Thank you to our house manager crew for keeping us safe and well taken care of: Andy Jones, Roy Laird, Erick Jonas, Derek Roseboom, and Brandon Wagner.

Thank you to Mark Weaver for his videography skills. The 2018 AV Grange Variety Show videos will be available on their YouTube channel in a couple of weeks!

Someone wanted to thank me, Robyn Spector McCallister, for writing these promotional pieces and wrangling the Green Room and the Variety Show act participants.

Thanks to the lighting crew, Eric Frege and Jimmy On-the-Spot. Thanks to the backstage crew, Joansey DeWolff, Mark Pitner, Cob, Justin Laqua, and Katie Williams. Thanks to the sound crew, Dave Martin, John McCallister, Michael O'Brien, Evah DeWitt, and Jade Paget-Seekins. Most of you have been here for many Variety Shows and have been actively keeping the dream alive. We know it couldn't happen without you, and we depend on your many hours of hard work, we know it couldn't happen without you all!

Thanks to the Pit Band: Lynn Archambault, Kevin Burke, Dennis Hudson, Greg Krause, and Jennifer Schmitt, for creating the soundtrack: the lively music and hilarious and timely sound effects.

Archambault at right (Click to enlarge)

Many thanks to our amazing M.C's, Captain Rainbow and Angela DeWitt, you somehow embody class, grace, and humor all at once, and are the face and voice of this amazing collective endeavor.

And finally, thank you to everyone involved in the hilarious opening act that set the stage for such a fantastic show: Katie Williams, Joshua Tree Spirit, Misha Vega, Marcus Armando Magdaleno, Cob, Doug Read, J.D. (Justin) Laqua, Julianne Maidrand, and Denver Tuttle.

Let's do it all again next year!

Robyn Spector McCallister Boonville

(Photos by Debra Eloise)

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ANDERSON VALLEY WILL WALK. Maya Kehl writes: “I am a senior at Anderson Valley High School. On Wednesday, March 14, students will be doing a walkout in protest of school shootings. It will start at 10:00 and last 17 minutes to honor the 17 victims who lost their lives in the recent Parkland shooting in Florida…”

WEDNESDAY’S 17-minutes of solidarity at Boonville HS will coincide with a national walkout of high school students.

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IN ELK: From the purple pastel little vil due west of Philo, please note that "there will be a candidates' night for 5th District Supervisor at the Greenwood Community Center, Elk, on Wednesday, March 14 - from 6-8 pm. Come and bring your questions. For those who can't make it, Mendocino TV will broadcast the event. For more info: 877-1800."

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IN PHILO: Barbara Goodell writes: “If you want to meet the Mendocino County candidates Anderson Valley will have to vote for in the June 5th election, come to the AV Grange on Monday, April 9th at 7:00 p.m. There are now five candidates for 5th District Supervisor: Arthur Juhl, David Roderick, Alan Rodier, Chris Skyhawk, and Ted Williams. The final date to apply for County Superintendent of Schools and Assessor/Recorder/Elections is Wednesday, March 14.”

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SHERIFF ALLMAN has named Sgt Matt Kendall as Under-Sheriff 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 who makes his home in the Ukiah Valley. His father is retired CalFire, the present employer of both his brothers. We think Kendall is an excellent choice. He’s a personable young guy whose visits we always look forward to. Name a profession with more interesting stories.

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COMPTCHE ARTIST PATTY SHANAHAN exhibits her Plein Air Paintings of Mendocino County at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville in March and April. Opening reception for the Artist is set for St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17 from 3-5pm.

Readers may recall that Ms. Shanahan lost her Comptche home in a fire last January. Her studio survived. Ms. Shanahan is not only a fine artist but the focus of her 30-plus year career is primarily based in Mendocino County.

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A VAN LOAD of exuberant young people from Blackbird Farm appeared at last Thursday night’s Quiz at Lauren’s Restaurant, too many to make up a single team to trivially pursue so they divided themselves into two teams, “Probably A Cult” and “Definitely A Cult,” laugh out loud references to speculation from some locals that the ridgetop summer camp is one.

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FOR CULT-LIKE BEHAVIOR, take a look at the current management of Mendocino County Kinda Semi Public Radio. Or maybe I’m the only one getting that particular vibe, but try, just try, getting basic info out of the Philo bunker, where the putative new boss, Jeffrey Parker, is out when he’s in, in when he’s out, and the whole show is dominated by an EST fellow called Stuart Campbell.

Bob Bushansky: “THIS! Ladies and Gentlemen, is what’s WRONG! with Mendocino County!”

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How things work in the good ole USA.

Back in 2014 Mendocino County passed Ordinance No. 4325 prohibiting Plastic Carryout Bags.

Having recently noticed that most if not all grocery stores were again using plastic carryout bags, I looked into what was going on. The clerks all said that they were “recyclable” but as it turns out recyclable has nothing to do with it. The loophole is a semblance of “Reuseable”.

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Mendocino Ordinance Chapter 9.41:

Sec. 9.41.010 - Findings.

(A) The use of all single-use shopping bags (plastic, paper, biodegradable) has severe environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, litter, harm to wildlife, water consumption and solid waste generation. …

(D) Billions of single-use plastic bags are used annually in California but only a small percentage are recycled.

(H) Of all single-use bags, single-use plastic bags have the greatest litter impacts.

(K) There are alternatives to single-use carryout bags which are readily available.

Sec. 9.41.030 - Carryout Bag Regulations.

  1. PlasticSingle-Use Carryout Bags are prohibited.

Sec. 9.41.020 - Definitions.

"Reusable Carryout Bag" means a bag with handles that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse, does not contain lead, cadmium, or any other heavy metal in toxic amounts as established by the United States Pharmacopeia Convention (USP), and …. . (is) Made of durable plastic that is at least two and one-quarter (2.25) mils thick and is specifically designed for multiple reuse, meaning manufactured to carry a minimum of twenty-two (22) pounds for at least one hundred twenty-five (125) times over a distance of at least one-hundred seventy-five (175) feet.

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Stores are required to charge a minimum of $.10 per plastic bag the same as for a paper bag. A mil is 0.001 of an inch (one thousandth). Single use grocery bags are between one half to one mil. At 2.25 mils the new bags are still pretty thin and unlikely to be used up to 125 times. From my limited observation at Safeway and Raley’s, those who bring home the bacon in these new bags haven’t been taking them back to the store for reuse even when they must pay a whopping $0.10 for each. I’m quite certain the environment is not jumping for joy.

David Severn


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The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the following agencies for assisting in the search for Khadijah Britton Monday in the Covelo/Round Valley area: Lake County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Sonoma County Search & Rescue, Marin County Search and Rescue, Friends of Napa Search and Rescue, Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit (BAMRU), Mendocino County Search and Rescue, California National Guard, Caltrans District 1, CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit Wilderness Finders Search Dog Teams ("WOOF") and Cal OES.

Even though we were unsuccessful in finding Ms. Britton we would like to thank the 96 search and rescue volunteers and the 27 agency staff members who responded to assist in this search effort. We are still asking the public to call the Mendocino County Dispatch Center at (707) 463- 4086 or the tip line (707) 234-2100 if they have any information at all about this case.

(Sheriff’s Press Release)

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HIGHWAY 20 LOOKING WEST (“Island of Trees in the Fog”)

(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Judy Valadao)

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My name is William VanNoy. I am the Former Assistant Chief Financial Officer at Healdsburg District Hospital and had the misfortune of working with Mr. Parigi (Interim CFO) and Ms. Schmid (CEO). I want to share my letter I submitted the Northern Sonoma County District Hospital Board of Directors before resigning. This will give you a real accurate picture of what Mendocino Coast has just allowed in their front door. I can assure you Parigi and Schmid have a history of raping financially struggling hospitals of their money then leaving them to repair the destruction in their wake. See below:


I have made the choice to leave Healdsburg District Hospital for several reasons that I think you should be aware of but first it is necessary to understand what kind of leader and what type of person I am. I am and have always been a professional with the highest level of integrity and a sound ethical base. When I make a mistake I own it and am not afraid to let others know that I am not perfect. I treat staff, managers and senior leadership as people “first” and afford them the common respect and kindness that should go along with that. I am a motivator, a mentor, a collaborator and a team member.

The reason I wanted you to understand what kind of person and leader I am is because it will help you understand my choice to leave Healdsburg District Hospital after only 4 months time.

Reason #1: You all are being misled regarding the $1.5M Medicare “take-back.” In early December 2014 Vivian, Executive Assistant, e-mailed me about our fiscal intermediary’s, Noridian, attempt to contact both John Parigi, Interim CFO, and Nancy Schmid, CEO about an interim cost report and asked if I would follow-up…so I did. I called Noridian and the representative informed me that they had tried to get ahold of John and Nancy since July 2014 regarding the interim cost report and the deadline for submission was 12/31/2014.

I immediately notified Mr. Parigi and Chad Klewer, McGladrey, of my conversation with Noridian. Both told me not to worry about it that it was due to John’s request for an interim cost report but it was no longer necessary. I told them that perhaps they should at least give Noridian a call and let them know rather than ignoring their calls. My suggestion fell on deaf ears.

Either the first or second week of January 2015 we received notification from Noridian that they were assessing a $1.5M pay back along with reducing future reimbursements 10%. John, Chad and I scheduled a call with Noridian shortly after. The Noridian representative told us that the $1.5M pay back and 10% reimbursement reduction was due to the fact that we failed to submit the 2014 Interim Cost Report as requested. John and Chad both informed the Noridian representative that they no longer needed the Interim Cost Report they requested to which the Noridian representative quickly responded that the Interim Cost Report they were referring to was the Interim Cost Report Noridian asked for. The Noridian representative informed us that periodically requesting Interim Cost Reports is part of Noridian’s process.

Had John, Chad and even Nancy responded to Noridian’s e-mail or even bothered to return their call this would have been avoided. If John and Chad had checked my call with Noridian out we could have gotten the Interim Cost Report out before 12/31/2014.

This is Mr. Parigi’s and Nancy’s fault…nobody else’s. It greatly disturbs me to listen to John and Nancy blame Noridian for “coming after them” or put the blame on others when I know the truth and I know this was avoidable.

Mr. Parigi continues to tell the F & B Committee and the Board that once the 2014 Cost Report is complete that we are going to get all of the $1.5M back. We may get a good portion of that money back, but we will not get the 10% reduction we’ve realized since which could add up to hundreds of thousands of missed revenue.

Reason #2: John Parigi and Nancy Schmid are placing all of the blame for the troubles we’ve had regarding the 2013 audit on McGladrey. Although they do shoulder some of the blame for not sending the most qualified accountants I believe the vast majority of the frustrations sit with Mr. Parigi.

I came on board November 17, 2014. Since coming on board I have seen McGladrey auditors constantly come to Mr. Parigi for answers to their questions only to be told he was “too busy” and for them to come back later. The District even brought John Steging, consultant, on to help get information that ended up being either incomplete or wrong. I know because I had to re-accomplish much of his work. John would constantly talk about how unqualified the accountants were and berate them to me when they left…which was extremely unprofessional in my opinion.

At some point McGladrey brought Christy Dimson, auditor, in to assist with the audit because of the timing issue with our insurance. Christy was a more senior auditor and certainly had more experience. From the day Christy came on board Mr. Parigi began behaving inappropriately. He would ask her personal questions that had nothing to do with the audit at hand. He asked about her husband, her marriage and other person questions completely unrelated to the audit. I could tell that Christy was becoming uncomfortable as well. One morning John actually came in and told me that he thought Christy “liked” me to which I immediately responded, “I’m married and love my wife. I would never even consider going outside my marriage”.

I reported this to Kristina Holloway, CHRO, the week of March 16th. I’m not sure if my report went anywhere.

Reason #3: Mr Parigi is constantly on the phone conducting personal business and charging the hospital for it. I hear him talking to vacation planners for a cruise; business associates about his next consulting “gig”, investment broker about his portfolio…etc. This District is paying Mr. Parigi a whole lot of money and I assume it’s not for those purposes.

Since coming on-board here Mr. Parigi has basically turned over all of his tasks to me to include: putting the monthly financials together, insuring all financial reporting is complete and submitted, supervising the Finance department (which should be mine because I am the Controller), managing cash flow and others. This has left John time to conduct other business to be sure, but it has also left him to “lolly gag”, in my opinion. A lot of the work I’m currently doing I’ve had to learn on my own because either processes were not shared or I’ve had to develop on the fly.

I also despise rumors and gossip, but all I hear from John is how incompetent people here are or things he may know about their personal lives…again inappropriate. My first week here I was asked to dinner with John, Nancy, Pam McFarland and the Lab Manager (I forget her name). All I heard was how this hospital needed them and how employees are lazy and incompetent. Inappropriate for senior leadership for sure.

Final Reason: I was offered the Asst. CFO/Controller position with the understanding that I would be the “lead” candidate for the CFO position in 3 – 6 months. I left a good position with Modoc Medical Center in Alturas, CA as CFO because I had the chance to work at a higher level Critical Access Hospital as a CFO. Over the last month John informed me that he told Nancy that in his opinion I was not ready to take over the CFO position. The fact of the matter is that John didn’t have another consulting “gig” lined up and he and his partner’s plan to acquire hospitals in Texas fell through so he needed a steady long-term income… Hello Healdsburg!

Since Nancy and John are personal friends outside of business my guess is that Nancy did John a favor and extended his contract so he would have steady income. I also find it a bit odd that an RFP never occurred for the consultant. Nancy merely slotted John and his team in.

I cannot wait a year to “maybe” become the CFO here at Healdsburg. It would be a career-killer for a 5-year CFO.

In closing I hope you all take this to heart. The consultants served their purpose, but should have been gone by now. Mr. Parigi is poisonous. He is going to get the hospital in trouble either by sexually harassing an employee, failing to submit another required report or by acting inappropriately. He can’t help it. It’s who he is. He’s shared stories with me where he’s been accused of many of the things I’m warning the board about now.

I leave with mixed emotions. On one-hand I know I could have made a HUGE difference in employee morale, financial performance and overall organizational excellence and I feel like I’m leaving unfinished business. On the other hand I know my opportunity is out there waiting for me and whatever organization lands me is going to get the most talented, ethical CFO who can not only take them to the next level, but also help drive that success.

William VanNoy, Healdsburg

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by Rex Gressett

In little Fort Bragg, there is no more committed, very often effective community activist than George Reinhardt. Good old George. Mr. Reinhardt is the founder and leading light of NHDG (Noyo Headlands Design Group), the best-funded advocacy organization in the city. It’s a pretty low bar, NHDG is the only permanent citizen coalition in Fort Bragg. Actually NHDG is not a coalition, it is a three-member group with one concern, the GP mill site. George Reinhardt routinely attends community council meetings where he speaks persuasively with gentlemanly kindliness. His research is in depth, his information is often extraordinary and his brochures are in color. In terms of practical council policy, he kicks ass. This is to say that the City Council listens to Mr. Reinhardt with an attentiveness and focus that no one else gets. The City Council does not just listen, they react to his policy proposals with almost violent alacrity.

Recently Georgia Pacific company, in their grim corporate quest to reduce the mill site property to an empty vacant lot devoid of life, got the bright idea that they would eradicate the small demonstration woodlands, directly across Highway 1 from Starbucks and Safeway. I don’t know how George found out about the plot to destroy the only trees on the mill site. (I would like to know.) But when he got wind of the gratuitous slaughter of trees, Mr. Reinhardt swooped through the next city council meeting distributing a single page color Xerox sheet advocating the protection of this tiny swath of forest.

The City Council, the otherwise almost totally dysfunctional Planning Commission, and the Fort Bragg Development Department jumped to it with mind-boggling speed and efficacy. The area was zoned open space before you could say tree. In a sense, it was a slip since it revealed how fast and efficiently the city could zone for protection and public access. They did it quietly taking pains not to boast of this unusual demonstration of common sense.

It is no wonder they did not do any horn tooting. When George saved the trees it sort of implied to anyone who was watching carefully that our city leaders could have been a bit more productive than we have come to expect. They could have zoned the whole show open space 17 years ago. It would have taken two weeks. Open space and public access were what almost everyone really wanted.

Instead, we got 17 years of Marie Jones Development Department’s screwy on again/off again zoning extravaganzas. Ms. Jones has spent a cushy career crafting a succession of meticulously explicit development plans just in case some crazed loose cannon real estate developer will take an immensely long shot and start building houses designed down to the doorknobs by a small town development department. She knows nobody cares, but the woman just has to zone things. We are on the second multi-decade exercise in futility right now: the Local Coastal Amendment.

George Reinhardt has supported every proposed city planning proposal since the time of Noah, with reservations and suggestions he has been content. He sees this as the way of sanity. Maybe he’s right. I had the crazy idea they worked for us.

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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On Sunday, March 11, 2018 at approximately 12:01 A.M., a Deputy with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was on uniformed patrol in the area of Highway 162 and Highway 101 in Willits. The Deputy observed a vehicle pass his location and conducted a traffic-enforcement stop in the area of MM 0.5 on Highway 162. The Deputy contacted the driver of the vehicle, who was identified as Juan Berumen-Villanueva, 29, of Covelo.


During his contact with Berumen, the Deputy conducted a wants and warrants check at which time he was informed that Berumen-Villanueva had a no bail warrant out of Alameda County for possession of a controlled substance. The Deputy observed that Berumen-Villanueva was exhibiting symptoms of being under the influence of a controlled substance. The Deputy administered numerous field tests and determined that Berumen-Villanueva had recently used a controlled substance. The Deputy advised and placed Berumen-Villanueva under arrest and conducted a search of the subject. The Deputy located a loaded handgun in Berumen-Villanueva's waistband. The deputy was further advised by dispatch that Berumen was a prohibited person and not legally allowed to possess firearms. Berumen-Villanueva was then placed under arrest for Prohibited Person in Possession of a Firearm, Recent Use of a Controlled Substance - Firearm Possession, Prohibited Person in Possession of Ammunition, and Prohibited Person Carrying a Loaded Firearm. Berumen-Villanueva was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail on a no-bail status due to his active arrest warrant issued in Alameda County.

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First I share this from Miguel de Cervantes who said, “Drink moderately, for drunkenness neither keeps a secret, nor observes a promise.” Next we have an old proverb that I’ve always found quite satisfying. “There are more old drunkards than old doctors.” And of course it is not unexpected that Lord Byron should have observed, “Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication.” (Byron died at the age of 36.) For the religious types amongst you, don’t worry if you feel that a little drinking on St Pat’s would be frowned upon, after all in the Bible we have in 1 Timothy, 5:23, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thane other infirmities.” And let’s finish with this from the Roman philosopher Seneca, who wisely observed, “Drunkenness is nothing else but a voluntary madness.” See you in the loony bin soon. Ha! Ha! Ha!

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(Tales from Covelo)

by Zeek Hopkins

The air was alive with the sound of insect wings. Bumble bees and wild honey bees flew among the flowers collecting nectar and pollinating as they buzzed along. A bumble bee was on the bright magenta colored Shooting star at my feed, industriously working around the flower to get at the nectar and pollinating as she wiggled. A carpet of white Scouler’s Popcorn flowers covered the small clearing like a blanket of snow. This was home, my home in the wilderness. No traffic to be heard, seen or smelled here. Only the sounds of the birds calling to each other, the insects clicking and buzzing and wind in the trees. The mountain sides were covered with a patch work of varying shades of green. Crisp clean mountain air to breath and a bright clear blue sky to match no other.

A light puff of warm, flower scented spring air swept over me as I stood in the west side of the small clearing. It was surrounded by Manzanita, Mesquite, Black Oaks and here and there a Doug Fir, and a lone Madrone tree on the far side.

Song birds were chirping and tweeting in the bushes and trees. I squinted against the bright light from the rising sun trying to make out which trees they were in.

The unmistakable smell of nectar laden Manzanita blossoms was thick in the air around me. I breathed deeply of the fresh, sweet scented air. Like lilacs, the smell was one you could taste. My mouth watered at the thought of the sweet blossoms. I searched the edges of the clearing looking for the light pink or white colored urn shaped clusters of blossoms. Just to the right I could see a six foot tall Manzanita bush loaded with flowers. I strode towards the bush leaving a crooked green path in the sea of white behind me. I reached my hand out to pluck a cluster near me just as a honey bee flew to the cluster; she was closely followed by a bumble bee. I reached for another cluster. Again bees came before I could pluck the succulent blossoms. I grabbed a hold of the branch and shook it till the bees were air born and snatched a pale pink cluster of flowers. I examined it for small aphid like bugs, and then popped the whole thing in my mouth. The sweetness mixed with the puckery stems brought my mouth to life.

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State Senator Mike McGuire Drafting Legislation to Dissolve North Coast Railroad Authority, Form ‘Great Redwood Trail Agency’ to Manage Humboldt, Mendocino Assets

by Hank Sims

Sen. McGuire’s office sends us the following statement:

“It’s still very early in the legislative process. We are currently working with a significant number of stakeholders, including interested residents, from every corner of the north coast on a long term solution to the beleaguered 300 mile long rail right-of-way,” McGuire said.

“Our overall goal is to create a world class trail system for the entire length of the line, which would be a destination for locals and outdoor enthusiasts from across the planet. The trail would be a significant economic driver for our region and traverse through some of America’s most scenic landscapes, connecting folks with ancient redwoods, state parks and local trails.

“We are also developing language for a potential freight study, and we want to ensure the continuation of freight and excursion trains where they are currently running.”

State Senator Mike McGuire’s office is drafting legislation that would completely dissolve the North Coast Railroad Authority, the state agency that has run the mostly moribund railroad line between Humboldt County and the Bay Area for nearly 30 years.

In its place, McGuire’s draft legislation would create a new state body — the “Great Redwood Trail Agency” — to manage railroad assets between here and Willits. The agency would be charged with railbanking the line and eventually building a multiuse trail on the right-of-way.

McGuire’s draft legislation comes at a time when the North Coast Railroad Authority is facing intense scrutiny from state oversight agencies. In December of last year, the California Transportation Commission called on the state legislature to form a special commission to hash out the future of the authority, whose operating budget comes almost entirely from the sale and lease of publicly owned real estate assets. No trains have run north of Sonoma County for the last 20 years.

In addition, the authority has gone rogue in the last year. Despite being an agency of the state, it has asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn a state Supreme Court decision that held it to state environmental law. The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to decide whether it will hear the petition.

Different drafts of the McGuire bill that would abolish the NCRA are currently circulating among interested parties and policy-makers. They are intended to fill out and amend McGuire’s Senate Bill 1029, which at the moment simply calls for adding access for trails along the 300-mile length of the railroad.

But draft amendments to this legislation, two versions of which were obtained by the Outpost over the weekend, are much more dramatic.

In each of them, McGuire calls for the complete dissolution of the North Coast Railroad before April 1, 2019. At that time, the railroad north of Willits would be temporarily transferred to Caltrans for two years, during which time the “Great Redwood Trail Agency” would be formed.

It appears that McGuire envisions a seven-person board of directors to run this agency, with two members appointed by the governor, one by the state Senate, one by the Assembly, one each from the counties of Humboldt and Mendocino, and a seventh member appointed by an agency yet to be determined.

The two drafts that the Outpost has seen differ only in what to do with the southern half of the line, where some trains are currently operating. In one version, those assets are handed to the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit board of directors, which runs commuter trains along much of the same track. In the other, they’re given over to some as-yet-undetermined agency.

In both drafts, the Great Redwood Trail Agency would be given the option of choosing to maintain rail infrastructure on the far northern end of the line, perhaps to lease to excursion operators or short-line freight operations. But it would not be part of the agency’s core mission.

McGuire’s chief of staff, Jason Liles, could not immediately be reached for comment, but an email to certain stakeholders in the project indicated that the office is serious about moving the conversation toward dissolution.

“The [sic] are still in draft form and need a lot more detail - but they create the structure for the next steps that we will be pursuing in the coming weeks,” Liles wrote.

Hank Seemann, Humboldt County’s deputy director of public works and the point person for the county’s various trail projects, told the Outpost this morning that he hadn’t yet had time to review McGuire’s draft legislation. When it was outlined for him, he said that it was too early to know how it might affect the county’s current top trail priority — the completion of the Humboldt Bay Trail between Eureka and Arcata.

Further down the road, though, the changes McGuire proposes could be expanding the regional trail system, Seemann said. It would likely make it much easier to take the trails down to King Salmon, College of the Redwoods — even down to Fortuna and beyond.

“Thinking about the future, it certainly could be a game-changer for expanding the Humboldt Bay Trail.” he said.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 12, 2018

Berumen-Villanueva, Brandes, Fields, Hammon

JUAN BERUMEN-VILLANUEVA, Covelo. Under influence in possession of weapon, felon/addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, convicted felon with firearm, narcotics possession for sale.

KELLY BRANDES, Mendocino. Vandalism.

ANTHONY FIELDS, Fort Bragg. Shoplifting, trespassing, criminal threats, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

SEAN HAMMON, Talmage. DUI with priors, fourth conviction in ten years, parole violation. ["Mendo’s Slap On The Wrist For A Dangerous Man"]

Hardaway, Johnson, Lucas, Martin

GARY HARDAWAY, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

TRAVIS JOHNSON, Potter Valley. Possession of toluene for inhalation, addicted driving a vehicle, probation revocation.

MICHAEL LUCAS, Ukiah. Parole violation.

GLEN MARTIN, Little River. DUI-alcohol&drugs.

Orozco, Williams, Young

ELIZABETH OROZCO, Ukiah. DUI, hit&run with property damage, willful cruelty to child with possible injury or death.

DANNY WILLIAMS, Willits. Under influence, probation revocation.

ROBERT YOUNG, Potter Valley. Domestic abuse.

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by James Kunstler

Sunday night was Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s turn through the CBS 60-Minutes wringer of censure with a visibly frustrated inquisitor Lesley Stahl trying to hector her into self-incrimination. The sad truth about American schools is that they’re a mirror for the painful collapse of the society they supposedly serve — a process ongoing for decades before Ms. DeVos came on the scene.

The expectation that some uber-regent can or ought to fix public education is bound to disappoint a news media searching for saviors. The further we leave the 20th century behind, the more anomalous its organizing principles look, especially the idea of preparing masses of young people for mass, regimented work at the giant corporate scale.

There’s a big divergence underway between the promises of schooling and the kind of future that the 21st century is actually presenting — of no plausible careers or vocations besides providing “therapy” and policing for the discontented masses stewing in anomie and compensatory pleasure-seeking, with all its nasty side effects. In the meantime, we’re stuck with wildly expensive, out-of-scale, giant centralized schools where the worst tendencies of human status competition are amplified by smart phones and social media to all but eclipse classroom learning.

Education in the years to come is destined to become more of a privilege than a right, and it will probably depend more on how much an individual young person really desires an education than just compelling masses of uninterested or indisposed kids to show up everyday for an elaborate and rather poorly supervised form of day-care. But it’s difficult to let go of old habits and obsolete arrangements, especially when we’ve spent countless billions of dollars on them.

I call the future a World Made By Hand because it is going to be entirely unlike the sci-fi robotic fantasy that currently preoccupies the thought-leaders in this culture. A lot of what will be required in this time-to-come will be physical labor and small-scale skilled work in traditional crafts. There never were that many job openings for astronauts, not even in the 1960s, but in the decades ahead there will be none — notwithstanding Elon Musk’s wish to colonize Mars.

Even if you believe that the current model of education must be defended and “fixed,” two issues stood out in Ms. DeVos’s interrogation. One was the question of behavior in the classroom. The Dept of Education under Mr. Obama put out a directive to reduce suspensions of black and Hispanic students because they were being punished at a greater rate than whites and Asians and it looked bad.

Lesley Stahl tried to put over this idea as if it were just a matter of racial animus.

“…let’s say there’s a disruption in the classroom,” she said, “and a bunch of white kids are disruptive and they get punished, you know, go see the principal, but the black kids are, you know, they call in the cops. I mean, that’s the issue: who and how the kids who disrupt are being punished.”

I doubt that it happens that way. Rather, it’s probably the case that there is more disruption among the black student demographic, and probably more violent disruption. The reasons may range from bad parenting (especially absent fathers), inability of students to express themselves (and subsequent frustration) due to poor language skills that are not corrected in school, and the victim narrative that emanates from the universities and distorts culture everywhere else. But to actually state that would be branded as “racist,” so the authorities have to dissemble acrobatically to evade the truth, and in the end it’s learning that suffers.

The other issue was the Obama-era directive (“guidance,” they call it) that sexual misconduct be prosecuted more aggressively by colleges and universities. That led to an era of campus kangaroo courts in which due process of law was cast aside in favor of medieval-style star chambers where the accused had no right to a lawyer, or cross-examination of their accusers, and other established legal protections. Apparently, the producers of 60-Minutes thought that was a good idea, and that Betsy DeVos should not attempt to change it.

Of course, school shootings are the most shocking symptom that something has gone terribly wrong in the system we’ve set up for occupying children and teens. It will be very hard to do anything about that without turning the buildings into something like medium security prisons. We’ve already managed to design them to look like that, but now we’re seriously talking about turning teachers into armed guards. And I’m sure we’ll be spending additional billions to fortify the entrances with metal detectors and officers to mind them. That will only shove the school districts a little closer to bankruptcy.

I felt a little sorry for Ms. DeVos. She seems to understand, at least, that the trend is taking us away from the system we currently know to some uncharted territory of social organization.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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* * *

SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, Betsy DeVos appeared on 60 Minutes last night. The cadaverous interviewer, Leslie Stahl, peppered DeVos with the kind of questions typical of a wealthy liberal whose kids attended expensive private schools where race was and is not an issue because everyone is white, including the few black and brown kids. DeVos comes out of the charter school movement. Conservatives like her because she, like them, want to get at that huge pot of public ed funding. Charter schools, if you came in late, cater to ambitious parents who want their well-behaved funding units out of increasingly violent and ineffective public schools where they get essentially private instruction funded by the public schools. Here in the bucolic Anderson Valley, a charter school tycoon runs a controversial program up in the hills that buses in urban teenagers to experience their cell phones in a rustic setting. This guy has made literal millions out of the charter school "movement." The clueless DeVos seems the perfect person to preside over the final collapse of public education, which now annually "graduates" millions of young people totally unequipped to defend themselves against the chaos rising around them.

DEVOS'S appearance on the same television bill as Oprah, inspired lots of on-line comment, much of it versions of this:

The best schools in the World cannot make up for shitty parents, kids who don’t know how to work, and for kids that have no realistic goals or any idea on how to achieve them. I taught high school for a few years and often had students talk to me about their backup plans for failing. They were planning to become sports stars!

“I’m going to the NHL”

“Have you been scouted yet.”

“No, but that doesn’t mean anything.”

“Actually, most NHLers are scouted and tracked by age 13. Maybe we should get the assignment done…just in case.”

I have had students tell me they were going to be MLB pitchers, be in movies, or any variety of celebrity occupations. I used to have one student in a remedial math program who informed me he was going to make $250,000/yr on Youtube as a presenter, (whatever the hell that is!!?). Honest story. He spent his entire day playing games on his phone. A few years later I noticed he had a native band-subsidized job at a local grocery store retrieving carts from the parking lot. I assume he was fired for the same laziness he displayed at school because I haven’t seen him around for quite awhile.

I started teaching just as computers started to arrive on scene in the ’90s. I quit during the smartphone rise. (17 years later) I noticed that as electronics improved; smaller, faster, more powerful, cheaper, the student work ethic declined in direct correlation. The dumbing down was visible. Kids became lazier, more distracted, and actually dumber. I banned the phones in every class I taught and even that became a battle with both students and PARENTS!!!! (Admin was supportive, though).

My daughter teaches music for a living and my son is an industrial electrician. They have never been out of work and own their own homes. They are both in their thirties. What I am most proud of is their work ethic. They are workers, and work hard.

I just finished reading ‘Hillbilly Elegy’, by JD Vance. I wanted to understand who voted for Trump and why? As a Canadian, when I watch the Trump rallies on tv and see how patently crazy they are full of outright lies, bombast, and self-aggrandizement, I am curious who the over-weight red hat wearing cheerleaders are? After reading the book I have decided that they are people who have lost all hope in everything else, and are desperately seeking a saviour who will fix everything for them (at no effort on their part, of course). MAGA, because right now it is failing in every way.

Good luck.

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(Click to enlarge)

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Mental health is populated with frauds (psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, etc.) that have proven over and over that they are clueless. A great percentage of the “mentally ill” would clear up very quickly if just given the proper medical attention, 3 square meals and nutritional supplementation, a warm dry bed, and a safe, clean and quiet space in which to exist… and eventually some contribution to society.

* * *


The cheer of the crowd, the thrill and pageantry. There is nothing like High School Sports and Ukiah High is no exception. In addition to their studies, Athletes spend countless hours practicing their sport. High School sports instill a sense of teamwork, cooperation and comradery in our youth. In order to play, students must maintain their grades and be good citizens. That is a lot of responsibility.

All of these good things come at a cost. With the average football equipment price ranges from $775.00 to $2,1745.00, it is expensive to put the team together, and keep them safe. Other sports can be just as cost prohibitive. Ukiah High youth participate in Basketball, Baseball, Cheer, Cross Country, Track and Field, Softball, Tennis, Water Polo, Swimming, Wrestling, Soccer, Football, Volleyball, and Golf. Each one of these sports has their own equipment costs.

Ukiah High Athletic Boosters is an organization that was created by parents and other community members. They help raise the money to buy the uniforms and equipment that athletes at Ukiah High School teams need. They do this because the California Interscholastic Federation mandates the uniforms that must be worn to compete. However, the schools do not have the funds to buy the uniforms and by California law it is illegal to ask the athletes and their families to pay for the uniforms. If they do not have the proper uniforms and equipment, they cannot compete.

Stephanie Dunken is President of Ukiah High Athletic Boosters. In a recent Facebook post, Dunken stated what is involved. “We need at least 40K a year to buy the uniforms for the teams. With the current amount of fundraising in Ukiah due to the fires and other schools we are in desperate need of donations and also to sell tickets to the fundraiser.” Dunken went on to explain, “Have you ever had an athlete? Been an athlete? Enjoyed watching an athletic event? Think keeping the kids busy and healthy is a benefit? Our March 24th fundraiser is one you should support! Tickets are $50 a piece or a VIP table of 8 with extra benefits for $500. Your ticket includes a delicious dinner catered by Schat’s Bakeries and Cafe, music and dancing with Waylon and the Wild Cats.”

Several local businesses have been recognized for their donations. Brandy- JV Volleyball parent donated handmade lap quilt representing the purple and gold. Wow Smiles donated a $6000 value set of braces. Alliance Auto Service donated a $500 gift certificate. Pardini Appliance and Mattress donated a Microwave. Ukiah Speedway donated two season passes for the 2018 season. Deborah White donated 2 SF Giants Tickets. More items are being collected daily.

Tickets can be purchased at Slam Dunk Pizza, UHS Student Activities office, call Sharon Pomilia at 489-3068 or email us at Tickets can be delivered. If you would like to donate Stephanie Dunken can be reached at 707-367-1743.

Without the support of this dedicated group of volunteers and the community, the youth of Ukiah High would not have an extensive sports program. Support the Ukiah High Sports Boosters Dinner and Auction Saturday March 24th at Redwood Empire Fairgrounds. There will be a No-Host bar, followed by dinner catered by Schat's from 6:30-7:30. Live auction begins at 8:00. Dancing with music with Waylon and the Wildcats It’s a good time for all and a great time for youth sports!

Information: Stephanie Dunken 707-367-1743

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The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010). Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012).

* * *


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.

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* * *

CORPORATIONS that own the press look at news as a revenue stream. The news division competes against other revenue streams. If news does not produce comparable profits, its managers are replaced and its content is altered and distorted to draw in more viewers. Journalism is irrelevant. The disease of celebrity and greed, which warps and deforms the personality of Trump, warps and deforms celebrities in the media. They share Trump’s most distasteful characteristics. The consequences are ominous. An ignored, impoverished and frustrated underclass will turn to increasingly bizarre politicians and more outlandish con artists and purveyors of hate. Trump is only the beginning. The grotesque mutations to come, ones that will make Trump look reasonable, are being spawned in newsrooms across the country.

— Chris Hedges

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On Friday, March 16th, the International Wildlife Film Festival will offer an evening of films that take a closer look at some of the unique behavioral and physical adaptations that help animals survive the challenges of their environment. Festival screenings takes place at the Ukiah Civic Center, 300 Seminary Avenue. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. with snacks and Kim Monroe’s mellow bluesy rock music. Films will begin at 7:00.

The feature film, “Returning Kingfisher” (50 min.), takes place along the Scheldt-Rhine Canal in Northern Europe, providing passage for 70,000 cargo ships yearly. So successful is the kingfisher that even now it inhabits creeks bordering the busiest canal in the world. Ultra high-speed cameras and special underground film techniques that are located right in their nest burrows have resulted in a unique film that shows how the kingfisher conquers the challenges of such an unusual environment.

“Microsculpture” (6 min.) documents a groundbreaking project by the British photographer Levon Biss that presents insect specimens from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History like never before. These images reveal an unexpected, often breathtaking, beauty and make visible the many intricate adaptations that insects make to their form–what entomologists call their microsculpture.

“Chrome” (12 min.) takes viewers to a remote North American steelhead river known for its incredible scenic beauty and plentiful fishing. It also examines the looming threat that climate change and ocean acidification pose to our steelhead and salmon.

“A Leap of Frog” (5 min.) is a captivating short film showing the unique physical abilities of frogs captured in slow motion.

Proceeds from the film festival will benefit the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project. The RVOEP is a special program of the Ukiah Unified School District that provides outdoor environmental education programs to over 2,000 students each year on a 45-acre woodland in Redwood Valley.

Tickets are available at Mendocino Book Company or at the door for a $10 suggested donation for adults and $5 for children. Films are appropriate for older children.

For more information about the RVOEP and a full schedule of films and music, visit the RVOEP website at For further inquiries contact Maureen Taylor, RVOEP Education Coordinator, at 707-489-0227.

* * *

I THINK THE OUTRAGE at Russian interference is a lot of crocodile tears. It’s not a good thing. It’s not good to intervene in the elections of other countries. But it’s not something that’s ever going to go away. It’s something the United States does relentlessly. And I would pull back a little and ask ourselves, “Do we really think that Russia shaped the outcome of this election? Did Russia tell us how to vote? Did Russia pour money into opposition groups or political groups, the way we do in other parts of the world? Democracy is under siege in this country. But when you make the list of who are the threats to democracy, Russia is about number 25 on the list. Higher on the list: U.S. Supreme Court, Democratic Party, Republican Party, Congress. All the institutions inside the United States, that are eating away at our democratic core, are doing much more to undermine the freedoms that we take for granted than any foreign intervention.

— Stephen Kinzer, author of "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq", speaking on Democracy Now!



  1. George Hollister March 13, 2018

    Regarding Kunstler on education:

    A lack of parenting is at the heart of the failure of our education system. Parents are responsible for the education of children, not schools. Schools do the work and provide the group structure, but parents provide the support and the necessary oversight.

    Parenting is more than potty training, and an increasing number of people with offspring fail to grasp this. Money will not fix this problem, but can make it worse when money is substituted for parenting as our welfare system does. It does not matter what the race is either. Parenting is the greatest blessing a person can receive, and the greatest blessing that can be given.

  2. james marmon March 13, 2018


    Boy! that was some smoke John McCowan and Angelo just blew up everyone’s you know what. The nearly 3/4 of a million retroactive dollars added to the 2016-17 ASO contract is supposedly for services that “for profit” RQMC Schraeder provided that wasn’t in the original contract, above and beyond the call of duty. We’ll just have to take everyone’s word for it because we will never see the real numbers’s, will we? Especially when “for-profit” RQMC is only an Administrative Organization (Shell Company) and provides no actually services themselves. “Non-Profit RCS Schraeder is the main service provider for “for-profit” RQMC Schraeder and they usually bill Medi-Cal for anything they do.

    Where’s the money Camille?

    James Marmon MSW

    • mr. wendal March 13, 2018

      The continuous retroactive payments have to stop. The board of supervisors has been drinking the kool-aid. Next up is the Marbut presentation.

  3. Bill Pilgrim March 13, 2018

    RE: Ukiah Gun Show.

    Yo, Bruce.
    How many brown or black guys did you see there?

    Just wonderin’.

  4. Jim Updegraff March 13, 2018

    Tillerson out, Pompeo in – Gina Haspel (the CIA lady in charge of torture) in as head of the CIA. It has been a busy day for El Trumpo the Village Idiot. The stupidity of the tub of lard we have has President reaches a new low.

  5. Jeff Costello March 13, 2018

    RE Gun Show: Not only were they all white, but all wearing THE HAT. They used to be baseball caps.

  6. mr. wendal March 13, 2018

    re: Hospital Deficit

    Board chair Steve Lund said “This makes it clear. And we adopted a budget in June, July 1st, through this year, knowing that we were gonna have a deficit. We did that as a board and we knew it. And we did it in order to make the point that we were going to go forward and try to consider, I’m not gonna say try, to consider other ways of filling the gap that we have before we start making decisions about reducing programs and services.”

    They want to fill their gap by collecting a tax from property owners. The parcel tax funds are a small part of what the hospital needs to survive. It will NOT save the hospital. The money won’t be available until after taxes are collected and in the meantime the hospital will still be in dire straits. There is no board discussion about what to do. Here’s just one suggestion: shrink the inpatient area. The hospital is wasting money on maintenance and utilities (i.e. heating!) large unused, empty wings.

    The parcel tax will not save the hospital. The CEO knows that, the CFO knows that, and the board members know that. The public needs to know that, too. Here are some questions to ask yourself and others before voting on the parcel tax:

    1. What is the total of the hospital’s budget deficit?

    2. How much will the parcel tax bring in annually and by what percentage will that reduce the budget deficit?

    3. What are the cuts the board will make to remain open since the parcel tax money will not erase the deficit?

    4. The board members state that we don’t pay a parcel tax for the hospital district. They don’t mention the property tax assessment (it’s not a “parcel” tax since it’s based on your property’s value) that we do pay. Are you aware that you have been paying property tax, for over 15 years on a bond measure for the hospital? Do you know the amount of that bond, how much the hospital has collected for it in property tax and for how long you will be paying on that bond?

    5. Over 90% of state hospitals meet current seismic safety requirements. Mendocino Coast District hospital does not meet the state-mandated standards and has not begun planning the work. If new building construction or retrofit is not completed by 2030, the hospital must close its doors. How will the hospital pay for construction that must occur to to meet the seismic safety standards and remain open?

  7. james marmon March 13, 2018

    Marbut said some nice things about Non-Profit RCS but didn’t say anything about For-Profit RQMC. Most likely he’s as confused as the rest of us.

    Where’s the money Camille?

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