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Mendocino County Today: Friday, May 25, 2018

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by Rex Gressett

Fort Bragg has a lot to talk about, but across our town, discussion was muted, dark. In coffee houses and on street benches, locals were shaking their heads and discounting the evidence of their perceptions.

Last Monday night’s City Council Meeting had wafted through the motions without ever quite touching reality. The Council endorsed Measure C, the parcel tax for our badly managed hospital, expressing unqualified support for the institution. As Malcolm Macdonald has observed, councilman Will Lee, a hospital employee, declined to recuse himself, muttering incantations of explanation out of hitherto unknown regulations.

Then the Council approved the plodding, wasteful Visit Fort Bragg expenditure without thinking about that. Mayor Lindy had suddenly disappeared and without him, even in the gloom, it was easy to observe that practical efficiency had made a giant leap forward.

Mike Cimolino told the people of the City that he was not going to run again. He did it quietly, almost as an aside. The Council didn’t bat an eye. I guess they knew it was coming. Cimolino made the announcement without receiving in return any of the strokes and congratulations that are absolutely mandatory in local government and always effusive. The silence over Cimolino’s announcement was unreal. Mike deserves appreciation and acknowledgment for his years of service, for sure.

But the big takeaway from the meeting was the general perplexity and citywide confusion over Jacob Patterson's one-man assault on democracy.

At first glance, there seemed to be about half the number of folks in the audience that Fort Bragg has become accustomed to at its government meetings. As things got rolling it became clear that virtually everyone who had shown up either worked for or had once worked for the hospital. This was the big night for loyalists to pitch the parcel tax and collect their rubber stamp from the Council, Patterson be damned. The proposed parcel assessment, if passed, would raise roughly a million for our beloved but faded little hospital. Hospital employees and associated boosters were present in mass, marching one by one to the podium to simulate spontaneous support. Sheriff Allman had driven over, as he told us by way of explanation, because hospitals in the abstract are a matter of public safety.

As soon as the Council gave the hospital boosters a thumbs up and moved on to other business almost everyone left. It was scary.

City council meetings as we have come to know them in recent years are usually a packed hall of divergent interests with standing room only. What was left Monday night after the exodus was an empty room and a tiny knot of villains slouching in their folding chairs, keeping a conspicuously low profile in supportive proximity to the now infamous lawyer Patterson. None of them but Cal Winslow said anything. Cal Winslow lectured Fort Bragg in muddled logic on the racism they don't know they have.  Winslow seemed less like a fighter for racial equality than conspirator plotting for personal political advantage.

Monday night Fort Bragg Town Hall was filled not with debate, or advocacy but with a miasma of community disgust for an attack on civic democracy that everyone knows is very wrong and that no one can fight, thanks to state legislation intended to beat back real racism in urban areas but applied locally by Jacob Patterson, an unemployed young lawyer, and posturing libs like Winslow, to end general elections in the little City of Fort Bragg for neighborhood districts via the California Voting Rights Act.

History tells us that the loss of liberty and the destruction of freedom comes silently, always without much fanfare. In sinister creeping increments the precious rights of freedom slip away. It is the rule in human politics that the maneuvers of power mongers seeking greater power are made as quietly as possible. When people push back it is contentious and noisy.

Mr. Patterson was prim and silent in the midst of his groupies, making no statements or arguments, declining eye contact but looking snappy in the suit that he has now acquired. One hardly recognized him without his flip-flops.

He has taken over a sizeable percentage of our city administration’s energy and time. The ad hoc Committee or the City Manager are meeting with him every time I walk into city hall. For everyone in and out of government, contempt for his amoral and narcissistic civic extortion is growing daily. The more people think about the loss of general elections and a City Council composed not of the best that we can find, but with otherwise unelectable hitchhikers riding the pretense of racism, conversation dies. The tiny clique of manipulators that are suing Fort Bragg could never in a million years be elected in a general election. Normally, the drooling tiny tyrants of political correctness would be a minor feature at a City Council meeting. Now they are front and center.

There was speculation that the flagship Committee for Participatory Voting was a figment of Jacob Patterson's imagination since not one of them has had the courage to come forward. But maybe they exist after all. Rumors were flying over the weekend on Social Media that Scott Menzies was enlisted in the occult committee. Numerous emails to Mr. Menzies failed to elicit a simple NO I am not.

Monday last, Citywide astonishment and disgust apparently kept almost everyone at home. I wonder about next week.

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PUBLIC COMMENT preceding Monday night’s City Council meeting:

[1] Cal Winslow:

My name is Cal Winslow. I live in Fort Bragg. I would like to refer back to the last meeting. I arrived late from out of town and was not able to comment. As we all know, California is highly segregated. We vie with Texas to be the most segregated state in the country when it comes to Latinos. This has been most apparent in the south and in those cities, but it is increasingly true in the north and in the suburbs and now in our towns. California is segregated by housing, education, employment and governance. In our town, Fort Bragg, there are virtually no Latinos in government, on the City Council, school board, hospital board, etc. So this is why we now have laws to correct this. I have to assume that this is why Jacob Patterson has raised these here. We don't have to live lives segregated from one another. But it is not sufficient to simply say this. There are, we have to admit, people who like it as it is and people who are racist. There are many others who are not and who don't. It is not just a matter of individual preference however. We discovered in the 1960s what we called then de facto segregation, that is, de facto segregation and racism in fact, if not in law. And that it had to be challenged as much as anything else. Because whether we like it or not that is the way our society has become structurally, economically, socially and institutionally. I believe that Jacob Patterson's letter offers us an opportunity, a real opportunity, to change things here in Fort Bragg. I think that in making some changes we can make the town more democratic, more open, and I think the smaller districts will get us to the grassroots, get us to people who are not involved, campaigning will be less expensive, the results will be more representative, no one group will be allowed to dominate the whole town. And I think we will be happier and healthier for it. Studies in UCLA and elsewhere however tell us that one big problem is that we have come as a people to accept segregation as normal. Or as somehow natural. Just the way things are. But I don't think that is the case. It's simply not true. It's simply not natural and hardly normal and we should not accept it as such. We can change it and now in this case simply by abiding by a California state law. And finally just a footnote, I am not in any way attempting to speak, or pretending to speak for the Latino population in Fort Bragg or anywhere else. Anglos here are very sensitive to this. Rather, I speak simply for myself, a citizen who abhors racism which we have seen plenty of lately and it has no place in equality and democracy.

[2] Rex Gressett

My name is Rex Gressett. I had not intended to speak but I would like to address those remarks. Pulling the race card and accusing the population of the city of Fort Bragg of racism is beneath contempt. I've never seen a city in which racism was less apparent than in Fort Bragg. Marriage, our churches, our job situations have all combined to make us a unified city. I have never experienced racism, never seen anybody be racist against any member of the Hispanic community. But there are people who are willing to play the race card in order to make a profit on a bad law which threatens the entire state of California. 88 cities have been blasted by the California Voters Rights Act. Some of them fought it, everybody lost. It's a gold mine for lawyers and it is a despicable resort to racism in order to undermine the fair processes of a fair and free democracy — that is what we are looking down the barrel of. I have no doubt that the California Voters Rights Act will inflict this redistricting on us. In each of the five districts that we are going to have there won't be any of them that have a Hispanic majority. They will use the California Voters Rights Act to enrich Jacob Patterson and take the precious right of free democracy away from the people of Fort Bragg. The craven interests who are willing to throw racism in our face need to know that the people of Fort Bragg are not racists, that we are intermarried with the Hispanic community, that we respect the Hispanic community, they are the most prosperous element of our community and resorting to this kind of below the belt race card — words fail me. I have not prepared these remarks. I did not intend to speak. I will be writing about it. But I think the people of Fort Bragg need to hold their heads up high and make it clear to the racial dividers, the race baiters, that we are not a racist city, that we are a people united together and that we respect the Hispanic community. No Hispanic member of the community has ever run for the City Council, all of us would welcome it. But to take our fair and free and democratic processes and trash them, destroy them, to have neighborhood representatives who don't represent the population as a whole at all — that takes something very precious away from our community. The vast majority of the people in this city know that we are losing something of great value, something precious to our democracy. And the people who do it are beneath contempt.

Winslow, Gressett

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Editor/For your consideration:

Mendocino Coast District Hospital serves a population which is mostly Medicare, Medicaid or uninsured. Privately insured patients are rare. Reimbursement rates are set by the feds and cannot be changed to reflect actual cost of services provided. The hospital has to stay staffed regardless of how many beds are filled. This is why rural hospitals are closing. They’re not being paid according to cost and they have no power to be so paid. It’s not due to improper management!

Hospital billing is a nightmare. Knowing how to run a successful business does not equate with knowing how to create a financially successful hospital. Our taxes and Medicare payments should be paying for our community hospital. They are not. If we want a hospital we have to pay for it.

The Board of Directors chooses the CEO and CFO. We elect the Board. This hospital keeps hiring, then firing. I have watched what looks to me to be good CEOs being fired and it seems that has to do with our process as a community. Maybe it gives us something to do, someplace to put our anger at a life or a world that isn’t going according to plan. I don’t know. What I do understand is that this small hospital has miraculously survived thus far. This must be, at least in part, due to the efforts and intelligence of staff, CEOs and CFOs.

So if we choose not to pay, consider this: you or your loved one needs treatment — an accident, a medical emergency has arisen. We have no hospital. The condition can be stabilized before transport, then your person is ambulanced — to where? Treatment may be available in Willits or Ukiah. A bed will not be, because they are nearly always full of locals. So, for a bed you must go to Napa, Santa Rosa, Marin or San Francisco, depending on where there is an open bed (the search for this bed may take considerable staff time resulting in a long wait for the patient). Will family and friends stop by to visit? Will family be able to afford meals and accommodations in the area? Perhaps you have a procedure done and are sent home (not unusual for MCDH to receive patients back from other hospitals to stabilize for a couple of days before being sent home). Now your family gets to do post operative care at home, becoming your personal medical team, cleaning wounds, hoping meds are correct. Should there be a second emergency because things at home haven’t gone as hoped, it’s back into car or ambulance or perhaps helicopter and the situation continues.

I have lived on the Coast for 40 years. I have been to the ER many times for small problems and for very large ones. I have always been treated with respect and care. When I had to wait for treatment it was because others were in greater need. I am sure that mistakes have been made at MCDH over the years, that things have been misperceived or overlooked. We are human beings, after all and humans do err. Please do not believe that staff in large hospitals do not err. Of course they do. I don’t know the percentages, but I know that outcomes are not always the hoped for ones. Some errors in big teaching hospitals end in death or disability. Wherever and whenever this occurs it’s tragic. I doubt, however, that it happens more often at MCDH. It’s just that here we’re a small community and when an error is made, we all hear about it.

Please, my friends and neighbors, get as involved as you feel called to or as conscience speaks to you to be involved, but please vote for Measure C. For these reasons and all the varied reasons others have voiced, we must keep our hospital.


Susan McNeil

Fort Bragg

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My top five priorities for action on the Board of Supervisors are Housing, Roads, Water, Reduce Administration in all areas and Reduce Consultants. The road fund did not use $6 million last year, more projects need to be completed and the road administration needs to be held accountable. These things I believe would help fix the roads in Mendocino County.

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Five critical issues are:

  1. Providing new sustainable jobs for a changing economy. Career and technical education, broadband and finding opportunities for more affordable housing will help our economy.
  2. Budgetary sense. When the Board of Supervisors give themselves an almost 40% raise while the County workers are not seeing anything near that all while the County is deficit spending, there is a real lack of respect for the taxpayers’ dollars. Each dollar the County spends should be used appropriately, effectively, and fairly.
  3. Pass common sense cannabis regulations that will actually benefit all in the community as well as enhance our economy. We need to streamline the rules and fees so that the small farmers are not kept in the black market but rather brought into compliance.
  4. Upgrade our disaster plans, including early warning and safe evacuation routes, and create a second access for Brooktrails that will be critical in case of emergencies.
  5. Be proactive in working to resolve the housing crisis.

SB 1, the gas tax, will bring in much needed money for road maintenance. Mendocino County has been grossly underfunding road maintenance as the Pavement Condition Index for our county roads ranks at or near the bottom of all the California counties. This affects the quality of our lives. The funds received from SB 1 need to be focused on improving the over 1,000 miles of county roads that we oversee.

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by Marvin Schenck

Have you ever looked at a work of art or a finely crafted piece of jewelry and wondered how the artist made that? Now is your chance to ask such questions and explore the back stories of some of Mendocino County’s best artists.

Throughout the Memorial Day weekend, May 26, 27 and 28, Anderson Valley artists swing wide the doors of their studios to welcome the public into their creative spaces for the 16th Annual Anderson Valley Open Studios art tour.

This is a unique opportunity to not only see the environment in which the art is made, but also to speak directly with the artists about their creative process.

This year’s Open Studios showcases the work of 16 artists working in a variety of artistic media, including: ceramics, jewelry, photography, textiles, abstract and representational painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, assemblage, sculpture, mixed media and architecture. A few artists are exhibiting in the studios of others as their own spaces are too isolated.

Rebecca Johnson painting

Ten studios stretching from Boonville to Navarro will be open and free to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A tour map at and signs along Highway 128 will guide the way.

The artists paticipating this year are located in the Boonville, Philo and Navarro areas. In downtown Boonville, Judy Nelson (glass bead jewelry) and Charlie Hochberg (landscape photography) will be showing with Steve Wood at his architecture studio.

On Anderson Valley Way in Boonville, Kate McEwen (photography and poetry) will be showing with Antoinette von Grone (paintings of animals, people, nature and whimsey) at Antoinette’s studio. Also on Anderson Valley Way is the studio of Saoirse Byrnne (scarfs, wraps and other textile works).

In Philo, all the action fans out from the intersection of Clark Road, Holmes Ranch Road and Hwy. 128. A turn onto Clark Road quickly brings you to the historic Barn Studio of Colleen and Marvin Schenck (jewelry, collage, landscape painting and printmaking). Across the highway, Holmes Ranch Road will carry the visitor to amazing vistas of the valley while providing three unique studios.

First, among the redwoods, is Jan Wax and Chris Bing with their well-known porcelain and stoneware pottery. Then, a bit uphill, is the secluded studio of Deanna Thomas (plein air painting). Finally, after driving to the ridge, is the Beat Gallery, the home and studio of Michael Wilson and Susan Spencer (painting and assemblage). Nadia Berrigan (photographs) is also showing with them.

Heading toward Navarro, on Hwy. 128 again, look for Rebecca Johnson’s big western barn filled with contemporary sculpture and painting.

A little farther on the highway, Doug Johnson’s Pepperwood Pottery is marked by a large colorful ceramic mural. Finally, high on a ridge in Rancho Navarro, is the studio of Rachel Lahn featuring mixed media sculptural paintings and encaustic works.

Deanna Thomas painting

For the artists, opening their studios is an opportunity to visit with friends and visitors, get feedback on new creations, and perhaps sell some work. It also allows them to share the beauty of a special location that imprints itself into their artwork in many inspirational ways.

Open Studios is a great way to feature the artists’ creativity and showcase the studio spaces they have lovingly developed to foster the creation of art.

The early years of art tour efforts prompted the formation of the Anderson Valley Art Guild to organize Open Studios. The Guild also has presented group exhibits in Anderson Valley, Ukiah, Mendocino and Fort Bragg.

Such efforts allow the multimedia artists to share their passion for art and craft with the wider public. But, the Anderson Valley Open Studios event offers the rare opportunity to be part of the artists’ creative process while enjoying the scenic drive along Hwy. 128.

Travelers have enjoyed the adventure of meeting numerous artists, experiencing multiple studios, and adding that special new artwork to their own collection.

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Dear Steve (last name not included),

I didn't support Hillary either (though Roderick did!)

Roderick is the only candidate who will stand up to the Sheriff (he publicly opposed the Measure B boondoggle) and is the person who pried fire funding (Prop 172) out of the county (again over the Sheriff's objections).

He runs a successful business and thinks like an entrepreneur, something that will serve the county well. I looked at 3 potential supervisors and picked the one I thought would do the best job.

Huffman's endorsement of Skyhawk made me think of his endorsement of Clinton (when Mendocino County was overwhelmingly for Sanders).

Williams is smart but unapproachable. Roderick has smarts and personality. He won't kowtow to anyone but neither will be attempt to blow the place up.

So what did you think about my bucking the Mendocino Town establishment on setbacks for cannabis dispensaries? Lee already nailed me on that one!

Even though you don't want me as a friend any more I will aways remember and cherish your kind hospitality.

Dan Hamburg, Supervisor, District 5, Mendocino


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ED NOTE: "Williams is smart but unapproachable"? Knowing Hamburg, lo these many years, I would suppose candidate Williams didn't kneel at the unclothed emporer's throne, Hamburg's vanity being larger than Mendocino County itself. Williams would certainly raise the collective IQ of our Supervisors by quantum factors, but to say he's unapproachable is simply untrue. To us here at the mighty ava, what's most encouraging about this 5th District election is that only one candidate of the five remains captive in The Garden of Idiocy, that oppressive nexus of Old Hippie and reactionary Democratic Party that has dominated the 5th since Ted Galletti.

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Here are a few of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurses from MCDH at a recent staff meeting. ICU Nurses treat patients who are chronically ill or at risk for serious illnesses. They have a tough job looking after patients who have experienced invasive surgery, accidents, trauma, organ failure and more. Please join us in thanking them for the extremely important work they perform for our community, and the high-level of skilled care they bring to our team.

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Hundreds of books on Mayan civilization, travel, local history and more. Fundraiser. West Porch of Kelley House Museum, access off Main Street Mendocino, 10a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 937-5854 for more info.

(Katy Tahja)

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RE: "YOU’RE AN OLD TIMER IF YOU… Went to a concert or dinner at the Music Box in Mendocino."

Lots of untold, or buried history there. Don Fry was the owner of the Music Box. He was part of the gay scene on the Coast, for what it was, pre-hippy. How many remember, Israeli Folk Dancing on the Coast? That was Don Fry, too. Another gay guy was Ted Watkins, someone who did many people’s taxes, and got many people in trouble with the IRS. Ted built, and operated the Pine Ridge Lodge, later to become Toad Hall. There are lots of Ted Watkins stories, and they are all true. For a period, Don Fry worked at the Pine Beach Lodge as a musician. Don passed about 15 years ago, living in Ukiah, and spending time at Burger King where he was a fixture. It was in his obituary. Go figure. (George Hollister)

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Letter to the Editor,

I have been an inmate at the Mendocino County Jail on and off since April 26, 2018 — all but one full day in C-Tank. To say the very least this jail has been extremely overpopulated! So much so that this facility has been unable to clothe, properly feed or provide inmates with very good medical treatment.


My first visit I wasn't even given a pair of socks. Upon returning to the jail I had bruises and was bleeding at the ankles just from a trip to the county courthouse. The menu is only to laugh at: one hot meal in the middle of the day. I've lost 11 pounds, from 133 to 122. The correctional staff is disrespectful and has absolutely no ambition. After requesting protective custody due to death threats and bodily injury from other inmates, I was placed in holding for over 35 hours without even a toothbrush after asking for one! Then I was placed on lockdown for an additional 24 hours. That's confined to one cell without a shower for over nearly three days. I have had to wait twelve and a half hours for an asthma breathing treatment ($11 per dose) while my $100 inhalers sit in my property. This is unacceptable behavior and treatment. The Geneva Convention does not allow this for prisoners of war, for Christ's sake. This bleeping facility should be held accountable for their lack of care for the inmates. Also they should be ashamed of themselves for their incompetence, both correctional and medical staff.

Pissed off,

James Bray


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(Not Everyone Loves Love-In-It)

Former KZYX Program Director and current manager of “Love In It Cooperative” in Mendocino, told the board of Supervisors last Tuesday that complaints that have been lodged about their pot dispensary are “an overreach.”


Aigner: Love In It has been operating in the village of Mendocino for seven and a half years. We have been a very responsible and responsive member of the business community. I know that there are some people in town who are opposed to our relocation to a new facility. We are a little bit between a rock and a hard place. We are doing everything we can to be fully compliant with both the County ordinance and the State ordinance. Quite honestly we need a different facility. Our building was purchased with the intent for us to relocate on Main Street. Since that building closed even though we were given the go-ahead that it was meeting the zoning code setback, it turns out we are 200 feet too close to the Baptist Church that is opposite the post office. Our hours of operation and hours of service overlap by exactly one half hour on a Sunday morning. In the time we have been in operation we have had no problems with our neighbors; we have had no issues with us in relation to be a cannabis dispensary. I have seen a copy of the petition that has been circulating in Mendocino opposing our relocation. It doesn't really say much on that. I should note that it's a bit of an overreach to say that 95% of the businesses and residents in town are opposed to our relocation. In fact some of the people who are listed as being in opposition are not in opposition. Others are because it is a small business community choosing to stay out of it. I could list other businesses, many of whom have not weighed in on it one way or the other. So I just wanted to state that that is a bit of an overreach. One of the things that is being alleged is that we will be having on site cannabis consumption at our facility. We do not do that now at our current facility. We have no intention of doing that. And we would not do that in our proposed facility. Also as far as the petition — and I have submitted one as well — I think requiring or asking employees to sign a petition in front of their employer could be construed as asking them to sign under duress. So I think that needs to be considered. It is not the fault of Love In It and that the Mendocino has a sizable homeless population and that should we relocate in Mendocino that homeless population would follow us to our new facility on Main Street. There are issues with homelessness and vagrancy in Mendocino going back a couple of decades and we work very hard to keep that under wraps and do due diligence on our part because of the nature of our business.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Guy writes in to ask, ‘What exactly is Little Dog's job?’ What an insult! I guard this place — from what I don't know — but I guard it around the clock. I sleep with one eye open! I work my paws to the nub — to the nub I tell you! And people still have to ask?”

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The Boonville Farmers' Market will take place Saturday from 9:30-12:00 in the Boonville Hotel parking lot.

From our Vendors...

Petit Teton will be at market this Saturday with meats...pork, beef, squab...and some veggies...artichokes, dandelion greens, escarole, beet greens, celery, fava beans, spring onions...and starts...leeks, asian eggplant, globe eggplant...and canned goods...soups, jams, kraut, pickles, etc.

The Yorkville Olive Ranch will be at the Boonville Market on Saturday with the 375 ml and 750 ml bottles of both the 2016 and 2017 Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tuscan Field Blend and the 375 ml bottles of Meyer Infused Tuscan Olive Oil, 2017. Buying Extra Virgin Olive Oil in bulk, a gallon or more, is the way to really save. You will need to provide your own container, preferably dark glass or stainless steel. Call 894-0530 to be sure someone will be at the ranch to serve you.

Local Organic Strawberries for Sale — Delicious strawberries from The Bucket Ranch are now in season and available for pick-up at multiple retailers in Anderson Valley! Grown organically and picked when they are fully ripe, these strawberries are amazing! They are for sale by the basket at many local retailers: AV Market, Boont Berry, Lemon's, Pennyroyal, Seebass. Full flats are also available for $30. It's about 10 pounds of berries in 12 pint baskets. Seebass has teamed up with The Bucket Ranch to serve as a distribution point for their amazing, fresh, local, organic strawberry flats on Fridays in the tasting room across from the Boonville Hotel from 11-7! You'd be surprised how quickly a 10 pound flat will go! $30 for the full flat, or $5 a basket. Get 'em for the weekend! Cash or check to Signal Ridge only. First come, first served, but locals wishing to order a flat should communicate with Kendra beforehand to arrange it so she knows how many to leave there for pick-up. Kendra can be reached via e-mail at:; via cell phone at: (707) 845-3851

She also posts on the Valley Hub group on Facebook, where she can be reached via messages or comments.

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Happenings at the Buckhorn

The Buckhorn Pub will be open in downtown Boonville for Brunch on Saturday, Sunday and Monday this Memorial Day Weekend.

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(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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Abalone divers and other ocean enthusiasts have scheduled a two-day blitz to clear purple urchins from a spot on the Sonoma Coast in hopes of saving the kelp forest and the reviving abalone that depend on it.

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Just Had An Encounter With Infamous ‘Need A Motel Room’ Woman

MSP was doing a little work in the Safeway parking lot @ 3:10 pm when a nicely dressed, “well-coiffed” middle-aged woman approached the car saying, “I need a little help sir. If I don’t get money for a motel room I’ll have to stay on the street.”

Having heard about this scam she’s been pulling for weeks here in Fort Bragg, I said, “And if I don’t have money on me you want me to go inside to the ATM machine to get you money right? Don’t you work this con with a guy too?”

She looked stunned.

“The whole coast knows about your scam,” I said. “You better concentrate on tourists not locals. Everyone is on to you.”

She said, “God bless you” pivoted and then was off looking for her next victim.

She was a nice enough person though…

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Ukiah, May 24 — Defendant Nicholas Blake, age 40, of Willits, was sentenced this morning in Mendocino County Superior Court to 16 years in state prison.


Blake had previously entered guilty pleas to two separate felony counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14 years. One count involved a female who was sexually abused by the defendant when she was between the ages of 11 and 13. The second count involved the that victim's sister who was also sexually abused by the defendant while she was between ages of 12 and 13.

The two victims’ mother addressed the sentencing judge Thursday and provided an impact statement. One of the survivors also prepared a thoughtful impact statement but had the District Attorney read it for her in open court.

Because these crimes are characterized as violent in the Penal Code, the credits the defendant will be eligible to earn while in state prison are limited to no more than 15%. Upon release, the defendant will be required to register with law enforcement for the rest of his life as a sex offender.

District Attorney Dave Eyster was the prosecutor in the case. The investigating law enforcement agencies were the Willits Police Department and the District Attorney's own investigators.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Cindee Mayfield sentenced Blake to state prison.

(District Attorney Press Release)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 24, 2018

Arnold, Belden, Downey, Frame

SHANNON ARNOLD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

JAMES BELDEN III, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ANTONE DOWNEY, Covelo. Assaut with firearm.

BRANDON FRAME, Kelseyville/Ukiah. Parole violation.

Killion, Kimball, King

CODY KILLION, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JOEL KIMBALL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

NICHOLE KING, Ukiah. Parole violation.

Leard, Miles, Morales-Saldana

STEVEN LEARD JR., Ukiah. Community Supervision violation.

JAMES MILES, Ukiah. Second degree robbery, probation revocation.

NATHAN MORALES-SALDANA, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Peters, Pineda, Spring

BYRON PETERS, Covelo. Felon/addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, county parole violation.

LUIS PINEDA, Fort Bragg. Burglary tools.

ERIC SPRING, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

Tolan, Valador, Veals

FABIAN TOLAN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

MONIQUE VALADOR, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

SHEERY VEALS, Clearlake/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

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by Jonah Raskin

“He’s wasn’t a nice guy,” Gerd Stern said on a Saturday afternoon at the Sonoma Valley Museum in Sonoma, California, where Jack London once lived, farmed and wrote fiction and non-fiction. Stern was talking about Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg, whom he first met in 1949 inside the New York State Psychiatric Institute where they were both inmates. Carl Solomon, the anti-hero in Ginsberg’s 1956 poem Howl, was also there.

“We were a trio,” Stern said. “We were mischievous but we weren’t crazy.” Solomon — who had returned from Paris — introduced Stern and Ginsberg to the works of Louis-Ferdinand Celine and Jean Genet, whom neither had read, and whose names they didn’t even recognize. Celine and Genet both became Beat Generation literary heroes.

Long ago, Ginsberg accused Stern of something he never did, but that made him notorious. Ginsberg insisted that Stern threw away a 16,000-word letter that Neal Cassady wrote to Jack Kerouac in 1950 and that Kerouac claimed was a great work of literature the equal of anything by Mark Twain, Theodore Dreiser, Herman Melville and Thomas Wolfe.

“It wasn’t pleasant to be perjured by Allen,” Stern said. ”I wouldn’t throw away someone’s work. I value creativity in all its forms.”

He added, “Jack was a terrible alcoholic and Neal was a raving con man.”

Neal’s letter was in the files at Golden Goose Press, a defunct San Francisco publishing house. Stern felt vindicated, but by then Ginsberg was dead and couldn’t apologize.

When Ginsberg first introduced himself to Stern at the Psychiatric Institute, Stern told him, “I’ll call you Al.” Ginsberg replied, “No one calls me Al!” They got off on the wrong foot right from the start.

At 90, Gerd Stern — a pre-Beat and a post-Beat — remembers every café and dive he knew and nearly everyone he ever met: Henry Miller, Harry Smith, Timothy Leary, Philip Lamantia, Nancy Peters, Jaime de Angulo and the African American surrealist poet Bob Kaufman who took a vow of silence to protest the war in Vietnam.

“Leary was the most boring speaker I ever heard,” Stern said. “Kaufman was a good poet, but he burned me once for an ounce of grass. I even helped Lamantia kick his heroin habit in Woodstock, New York, but he went back it.”

These days, Stern divides most of his time between New York and New Jersey. He still writes and publishes his poetry. His unruly white beard gives him the appearance of a sage. He also sounds like one.

“I keep doing what I think I can’t do,” he said. “It’s harder now than in 1936 when it was easy to predict the future.”

Stern came to the U.S. from Germany aboard the SS Washington as a refugee from Hitler.

“We escaped from something,” he said. He added, “I became an American. Paranoia was a driving force.”

Later, in San Francisco, Stern befriended a World War II veteran named Larry Ferling who would become Lawrence Ferlinghetti, opened a bookstore called City Lights and published a book of his own poetry called The Coney Island of the Mind.

“I lived on a barge in Sausalito,” Stern said. “I went to Kenneth Rexroth’s living room where he had a kind of salon, and I took a poetry workshop from him, the only writing workshop I ever did take.” He added, “Rexroth was from Chicago, which was a whole different trip.”

If Stern needed help remembering old friends and acquaintances, Larry Kennan’s photographs on the museum wall might have helped. In one photo, Neal Cassady peers in a mirror and shaves. In another Michael McClure, Bob Dylan and Ginsberg lean against a wall at the back of City Lights Bookstore.

Poet, biographer and memoirist Neeli Cherkorski — who was born Nelson Cherry and who has lived in San Francisco since 1975 — shared the stage with Stern.

“I feel like we’re two Talmudic scholars in ancient Babylon,” Cherkorski said.

Cherkorski wore jeans, suspenders and a T-shirt that read “Elegy for My Beat Generation,” which is the title of his latest book of poems.

“I’m 73,” Cherkorski said. “I’m doing the same thing now that I did when I was 12: writing poetry.”

Stern’s old friend Stewart Brand — best known for The Whole Earth Catalogue — sat in the front row and asked about bi-coastal and mono-coastal writers.

“San Francisco accepted me in ways that New York never did,” Stern said. “The New Yorkers who came here were live-wires. The San Francisco people were laid back, but that was another time.”

* * *

WHEN THINGS FALL APART: A Graduation Message for a Dark Age

Those coming of age today will face some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered by young people.

* * *

JOIN USA Meditation to Help the World. Join us to experience a simple form of meditation that helps the planet and builds a stronger connection with your own spiritual nature. Transmission Meditation is a non-denominational group meditation that does not conflict with other meditations or spiritual practices, but can actually enhance them. Transmission Meditation is a potent form of world service that anyone, even those with busy lives, can easily do. It can be a mode of service for life, if one so chooses. Do you want to help the world and strengthen the connection to your Higher Self? Transmission Meditation is the simplest way to do both. Friday, May 25, 7:00 PM, at the MCSL Gathering Place in the Fort Bragg Company Store, Main & Redwood Streets. Admission is free. For more information: 707-964-4506 or 707-895-3134

* * *


(Photo by Susie de Castro)

* * *


by Roberto Lozano

Within its deep infinity I saw ingathered,

and bound by love in one volume,

the scattered leaves of all the universe.

The universal form of this complex whole

I think that I saw, because as I say this

I feel my joy increasing.

– Dante, Paradiso

The universal attack towards the obliteration of the sacred is almost complete. I write these words closing the second decade of the Twenty First Century, at the end of the summer of 2017 in Big Valley, Lake County, California, U.S.A. The forces of the profane are unchecked, (speculative capital, the political theatre of the absurd worldwide). With the few exceptions of the nation-states that refuse to comply or submit to the dictates of empire (Syria, Russia, Venezuela, to name a few), the intellectual capacity of the literati has been reduced to games of sophistic filigree, in vacuous strides of intellectual gymnastics invested in the forensic examination of the innocuous. The intellectual of the West is the final victim of this onslaught of the profane to obliterate the last vestige of compassion, of grace detectable, circumscribed to the agreed upon limits of a discourse that tries to hide instead of elucidating. And we are supposed to thrive, to lead a normal life in this almost total orphanhood from Reality.

The forces of nature demonstrate more intelligence than the arrogant miscreants of our profane zeitgeist. Even the practice of religion, in most instances, is deprived of the sacred. It is an exercise in futility where the doors have been shut to keep Spirit out, and in the middle of that dark confusion, the faithful ones pray to God to keep them insane, alienated from the most sacred obligation that as human beings we have: To Love Our Mother. And we go about killing, ripping off, lying, amassing enormous fortunes, falsifying the truth, only because we refuse to understand and accept that we are here to serve, not to plunder. The Earth is about to explode into innumerable acts of violence, totally natural to Her (fires, hurricanes, droughts, famine). The Divine Dimension to which we are driven by our madness as an irrational animal is the one of Destruction, personified in Hindu scripture by the Goddess Kali or by the Aztec Mother of the Gods, Coatlicue.

We go on pretending. We live life ignoring the ultimate issues of transcendental imperative. War is normal; poverty is normal; racism is normal; political schizophrenia is normal. To talk about these issues with a questioning mind is taboo. We are not supposed to question the idolatry of notions such as country, flag, religion. People are willing to kill for a flag, for a symbol, and remain oblivious of the desecration committed against the nation to which that symbol makes reference. And that silence, that enormous agreed upon lie is killing us, it is asphyxiating us, drowning us because we have become so accustomed to pretend. We have adapted to the profane existence that the masters of the world have trained us to adopt. Even science provides us with the circumference of our obligated intellectual gymnastics. We are allowed to feel awe, to make pilgrimages to observe our two primordial celestial bodies providing entertainment for our adoring minds, to feel ecstatic for a moment (thank you NASA). The feeling of AWE in this ecliptic stance is mediated and sanctified by the religion of Science, Big Science, as Laurie Anderson calls it.

We feel sad about the destruction of a city by a hurricane, but remain oblivious about the destruction of whole countries by the forces of greed and megalomania. We live protected, inoculated against the possible intrusion of reality in our lives, by a media and a science that kowtows to the owners of the planet, the small gods that populate the spheres of our mythological creation. We have sport stars, movie stars, political stars, entertainers. We are, by every possible means, Living The Dream.

This enormous brain wash is the norm; this gargantuan, monumental, control of the masses is the norm. You cannot point to its fallaciousness, unless you are willing to be driven out of the sphere of normal intellectual discourse. You become a fringe person, a lunatic, overwhelmed with the knowledge of what is really going on and the concomitant weight of the ignorance of the manipulated individual.

For almost a year to date, the mass media have turned up the notch of disinformation, has made no apologies for surrendering their great power on the altar of mendacity. Even online heroes like “The Intercept” publish intentional lies (against Assange, against the people of Syria). Their weapons lie dormant, sedated by the lubricity of comfort and patronage. “The killers in high places say their prayers out loud.” (Anthem, Leonard Cohen.) The atrocious gods hide their ignominy with the facade of greatness that a sycophantic media bestows upon them. The crimes of people like Bush, Blair, Reagan, both Clintons, Albright, Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Netanyahu, Victoria Nuland, Soros, to name a few of the present-day war criminals, remain buried in the asphyxiating silence of a totally corrupt media. They orchestrate what you are supposed to believe, what you are supposed to do, who you are to blame for your unhappiness, while they hide behind their mask like the Wizard of Oz. “I want to know who the men in the shadows are, I want somebody asking them why, they can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are, but they’re never the ones to fight or to die.” (Lives in the Balance, Jackson Browne.)

Some attempts at diagnosing are floating around the external orbits of the prevalent zeitgeist. But the main chasm that prevents the seismic realignment of the forces of positive change is the one between political discourse and transcendental reality. They are not supposed to talk to each other, they are not supposed to touch, not supposed to share the truth. The people that separately inhabit either sphere are very polarized, incapable of sending a spark that can ignite the whole pile of garbage that passes for reality. I hope that one day our politics will be completely liberating, both in the material as well as in the spiritual sense. A politics where our most intimate dreams as a species can become a reality, fructify with the splendor of beauty.

* * *


An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."

He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket.

The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn back into a beautiful princess and stay with you for one week."

The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.

The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want."

Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess and that I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog — now that's cool."

* * *


A single glass at night could mean a peaceful, uninterrupted nights sleep.

New Wine for Seniors, I kid you not.....

Clare Valley vintners in South Australia, which primarily produces Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Grigio wines, have developed a new hybrid grape that acts as an anti-diuretic.

It is expected to reduce the number of trips older people have to make to the bathroom during the night.

The new wine will be marketed as Pino Mor

I Heard It Through The Grapevine!!

* * *


The 13th Annual Mendocino Film Festival, June 1-3, will screen 55 films from 18 countries, including documentaries, shorts, animated films, California premieres, a children’s program, and many Sundance selections in multiple venues on the ruggedly picturesque Mendocino Coast of northern California.

press release

* * *



I received my mail-in ballot the other day. I looked it over and saw the platoon of individuals running for governor (27) and the 32 going for U.S. senator. I perused the voter guide, mailers and the daily bombardment of TV and radio ads. I can only believe that there are so many people running for governor because the major front-runners are so repugnant.

I also believe that Sen. Kamala Harris is just another self-serving politician who only endorses people she feels can help her down the road, so I vowed not to vote for anyone who received her endorsement. They are just a continuation of the same old tax-and-spend policies and tripe that Jerry Brown and his boys have been foisting upon us for years.

I never ask someone to join me in voting for this person or that person. I do ask people — Democrats, Republicans, independents, Greens, etc. — to do their homework and vote for the people who will do us right and not just give us lip service while they are picking our pockets. We are failing with the current crop of politicians.

Anthony Morgan


* * *


Gualala to Host Free Classes to Prevent Harmful Falls in Older Adults

Gualala, CA — Falls are the #1 reason that Sonoma County older adults and seniors go to the emergency room. Yet, by improving balance, flexibility and strength, making changes to make home safer and learning how to protect yourself, falls can be prevented. Gualala-area residents can learn all this and more an eight-class series, A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns about Falls. It's right in town on Tuesday and Thursday, June 5-28, 1-3 p.m., at the Bill Platt Training Center, CLSD, 38901 Ocean Dr., Gualala. Trained coaches teach gentle exercises, give tips on how to rid your home of falling hazards and lead discussions to suggest other safety strategies. Reserve your spot for the four-week series with Micheline Kirby, (707) 412-3176, ext. 104. For more information about this nationally acclaimed fall prevention program, visit:

* * *

MORE THAN A DOZEN TIMES I have pointed out here that almost all rampage killers, all over the world, have one thing in common – the use of mind-altering drugs. I am not trying to exonerate them. On the contrary. But I am trying to prevent these things happening in future by being much tougher on illegal drugs, and much more cautious with legal prescriptions. Sometimes it is cannabis. Sometimes it is steroids. Sometimes it is prescription ‘antidepressants’ – themselves a scandal waiting to be exposed and understood. But it’s always there. I look and I find it. Any number of American and European school and campus massacres, the Charlie Hebdo murders, the Japanese care home knife killings, the Nice truck massacre, Anders Breivik, the Lee Rigby murder, the Westminster van killer. These and many more we know for certain. In many other cases we don’t know only because the authorities have never bothered to find out. And the anti-American BBC snobs who think America’s problems arise solely from legal gun ownership close their minds to this obvious fact: the USA has always had legal guns, but these massacres are new. What else is new? Mass use of mind-altering drugs, legal and illegal, that’s what’s new. And it’s always present in these massacres…”

— Peter Hitchens

* * *


My former high school here in suburban Los Angeles (which I attended in the late 1970s) underwent partial reconstruction this past year. Three one-story buildings which contained hallways and which were separated by pleasant gardens and sitting areas were razed and replaced with three 2-story brick structures that resemble CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). The stairwells which face the front of the campus are enclosed in tall, silver metal cages. Everything is crammed together. The front of the school looks like a factory. The students walk around like robot-children, wearing the same backpacks and staring at their cell phones once they hit the street. Tick tick tick. Will it be an Asian teen who snaps, or will it be a white kid? Not that that really matters. The student population is now 80% Chinese 2nd generation, so the odds are it will be an Asian teenager. The atmosphere seems totally gross (1979 lingo).



  1. Judy May 25, 2018

    Does Cal Winslow really live in Fort Bragg?

  2. Betsy Cawn May 25, 2018

    Thank you, Roberto.

  3. George Hollister May 25, 2018

    Cal Winslow: “And I think we will be happier and healthier for it. Studies in UCLA and elsewhere however tell us that one big problem is that we have come as a people to accept segregation as normal. Or as somehow natural. Just the way things are. But I don’t think that is the case. It’s simply not true. It’s simply not natural and hardly normal and we should not accept it as such. We can change it and now in this case simply by abiding by a California state law. And finally just a footnote, I am not in any way attempting to speak, or pretending to speak for the Latino population in Fort Bragg or anywhere else. Anglos here are very sensitive to this. Rather, I speak simply for myself, a citizen who abhors racism which we have seen plenty of lately and it has no place in equality and democracy.”

    New immigrants have always been segregated in America and in Mendocino County, too. People feel comfortable with people who speak their language, eat their food, and go to their church. Mendocino used to be a Portuguese town. Fort Bragg an Italian one. Comptche was for Finns. School is where assimilation begins. School children speak a common language, play sports, and date. My suggestion to those who wish to impose themselves on immigrant communities. Don’t do it. Just require a common language and common expectations for personal responsibility.

    Racism? It’s a two way street. So the best thing to do is forget about it. The Portuguese, Italians, and Finns all intermarried and no one now even knows the difference. The Mexicans are doing the same.

  4. David Jensen May 25, 2018

    Rex is correct in his response to Cal’s allegations, except for one detail. Sometime in the past decade (2004?) a young Hispanic plumber from Fort Bragg did run for City Council and was elected. Unfortunately I cannot remember his name.

    • Judy May 25, 2018


      Then lost in 2006 after an incident:

      Fort Bragg Advocate-News
      FORTBRAGG – Fort Bragg City
      Councilman Brian Baltierra has been charged
      with alleged violation of a domestic violence
      court order and petty theft according to District
      Attorney Norm Vroman.
      On Aug. 24, according to a Sheriff’s Office
      dispatch, a subject, thought to be Baltierra, had
      jumped out of a county vehicle near Highway
      20 and Benson Lane and was picked up by a motorist.
      On Aug. 29, Sheriff’s deputies responded to
      a call at the Cleone Grocery and Campground
      reporting that a suspect, listed as Baltierra by the Sheriff’s Office log, had allegedly stolen a cell phone. Vroman said that Baltierra would be sent a courtesy letter to appear in court on a certain date. Should Baltierra fail to appear, a bench warrant would be issued for his arrest.
      At the time of the Aug. 24 incident, officials including Fort Bragg City Manager Linda Ruffing and Interim Fort Bragg Police Chief Steven Willis said they could not comment due to medically-related details. Baltierra told the newspaper that he had no knowledge of any incident that day and claimed he had gone to work as usual.

      • David Jensen May 26, 2018

        Sadly true, but the point is that, hidden personality flaws notwithstanding, the citizens elected a young Hispanic male to help run their city. Doesn’t sound like systemic racial prejudice to me.

  5. Arthur Juhl May 25, 2018

    I certainly agree with candidate Pinches, as accountibilty does not exist with the present BOS! And he is aware of the budget. If we are elected the public sure would see some great changes in the county.
    I spoke at a meeting in Manchester and one lady told me maybe we do not want change! My reply was if you do not change the county will really go broke, there would be a horrible homeless situation and the bad criminals would run the county, as the county could not afford to house the criminals.
    Our Sheriff does a great job with the limited funds he has, and taking on Measure B is no picnic. We do not agree on a few items but I will back him 100%. We have to find a solution to help the unfortunate folks that have mental issues. Our jails are full of folks that need help. Measures B, is a beginning situation not a end by any means! So when I hear that the support for our Sheriff is going down, I raise Hell and tell folks you can not find a better dedicated man. He really does know and speaks from his heart.
    Arthur E. Juhl candidate for the 5th district Supervisor

  6. Alice Chouteau May 25, 2018

    Thanks for speaking up on the riaxlissue, Rex. I have always been impressed on the lack of racial predudice here. The only bias I witness, non racial, was the FB folks rancor at the hippies, decades ago. Dopes frowing seemed the great unifier…

  7. BB Grace May 25, 2018

    Why didn’t the County Assessor- Recorder in charge of elections notify District Four Supervisor of any potential grounds for a law suit and the Forth District Supervisor inform Fort Bragg City Council if the law needed to be changed?

  8. Brian Wood May 25, 2018

    “But I am trying to prevent these things happening in future by being much tougher on illegal drugs, and much more cautious with legal prescriptions. Sometimes it is cannabis. Sometimes it is steroids. Sometimes it is prescription ‘antidepressants’”

    Maybe, maybe not. Could be broccoli, candy bars, or anything else everybody partakes in, too. Remember, correlation is not causation.

  9. John Sakowicz May 25, 2018

    Has anyone’s checked to see if Mary Aigner’s cannabis grow operation at Hungry Hollow in Philo is legal?

    Did she get her permits? Is she compliant with the complex, confusing, and expensive county ordinances with which other growers must comply?

    Maybe it’s time to send another drone flying over her property.

    Yeah, maybe it’s time.

    Mary Aigner has owned the property for many years with her boy friend, Hugh Freeman.

    • Eric Sunswheat May 25, 2018

      Reality check point. Sako on patrol.

  10. james marmon May 25, 2018

    Yesterday when I reported that the MHSA Reversion Plan public hearing meeting had not been held, I might have made a mistake as it now appears that it was held on May 16, 2018 in Willits. I was also wrong about it not being on the County Website, I found it, the link I posted yesterday was incorrect.

    Please accept my apology, however, with that being said, I do question why the public hearing was held on May 16, 2018, just 14 days after it was publicly noticed. The Mendocino County MHSA Reversion Plan, due July 1, 2018, was posted for review by the public on the county website beginning on May 2, 2018, and public comment was open until June 1, 2018, 30 days later. How can you have the public hearing before the 30-day public comment period has expired?

    James Marmon MSW

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