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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, June 7, 2018

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MSP has been listening to scanner traffic that started before 7:00 am about a man holed up with a gun on Ornbaun Road (off Mountain View Road) in Boonville and @ 7:07 am, the scanner said, "Shots fired but it was not by the CHP." The scanner said there was a "negotiator on scene."

A medical response was dispatched to "stage" at the Boonville Airport @ 7:13 am for what was described as a possible "violent patient." They will be creating a "command post" there.

MSP heard from a viewer who said she heard earlier over the scanner that multiple units were responding to the location for "a man reloading his gun."

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UPDATE: The Anderson Valley awoke Thursday morning to the unhappy news that Ruben Thommason Jr., owner of the Anderson Valley Market in central Boonville, and a long-time resident, had suffered an emotional breakdown during which he alarmed neighbors by firing a random gunshot outside his Ornbaun Road, Boonville, residence. Police and emergency services personnel responded in large numbers, along with a mental health negotiator who convinced Thommason to be taken peacefully into custody by 8:30am. Classes at nearby Anderson Valley High School were cancelled for the day, as rumors inflated the incident out of all proportion to its reality of a man still grieving the recent loss of his wife of many years, Beryl Thomasson. Ruben and Beryl Thomasson were the second generation of Thomassons to own the pivotal Anderson Valley Market, and both served the Valley community as ambulance and fire volunteers and in many other volunteer capacities. As one old friend of the Thomassons put it, "Give Ruben an ankle bracelet, take his guns away and send him home. He's a great guy, and he's one of us."

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CORRECTION: An item last night confused Kevin Kelley (ey), head of juvenile probation, with Kevin Kelly (no ey), the Ukiah and frequent court psychologist.

This is the corrected para:

At the 2017-18 budget review in June of last year (2017) acting Chief Probation Officer Kevin Kelley’s $2.3 million Juvenile Hall budget was rubberstampted by Angelo and the Board, even though they knew that budgeting $450 per day per delinquent was more than triple the cost incurred per delinquent of neighboring counties. (And that doesn’t even mention an overrun of $400k over the already depleted budget that somehow wasn’t noticed until March.

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REMEMBER that Juvenile Hall is part of the Probation Department, which is paid for by the County but is lately flagrantly mis-managed by the Courts.

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MENDO’S NEW Chief Probation Officer, a fairly young guy named Izen Locatelli, told the Supervisors Wednesday that there were only two options for Mendo’s suddenly too expensive Juvenile Hall: Close it and send the “kids” to Sonoma County, or keep it open at a minimum of $2.2 million, which Locatelli insisted couldn’t be cut. (‘Suddenly’ because there’s no reporting from County bureaucracies; these big deficits are always a big surprise, and of course no one is responsible.)

A PARADE of judges and lawyers and Juvenile Justice Commissioners told the Board, in essence: Don’t close the hall; bad idea for this or that or the other reason. Nobody disputed that the Hall should stay open if possible. But not one of them had even the slightest idea how to reduce the number of beds or cut back staff. They all seemed to think that the Board is just there to pay the bill for the Hall, whatever the cost.

FOR THEIR PART the Supervisors had very little to offer, saying version after version of “money doesn’t grow on trees,” and “gosh this is tough.”

ALTHOUGH several Supes uttered laughable phrases like “eloquence” (Hamburg) and “CEO Angelo deserves credit for bringing this forward” (McCowen), not one person asked how the situation got this bad before anyone noticed it, nor why there weren’t more options, nor why the Juvenile Justice Commission didn’t present any ideas, nor why the DA had not been consulted, nor why the County School Superintendents (who offered to present a new Juvenile Hall model to the Board two weeks ago) were not consulted.

BY THE END of the discussion, the Board, wringing their hands at the cruel fates visited upon them by unsympathetic gods, did what they always do — punted. They formed an ad hoc committee of two supervisors (Gjerde and Croskey) to like, uh, well, meet some time and report back. Maybe work with the courts to try to figure out what to do. Take money from another department? Find new funding sources? But they didn’t direct that the result contain a downsized version of the Hall along with assessments of the types of “juveniles” aka entry-level criminals, they’re holding there.

PS. No date was set to solve the million dollar shortfall. For now, they’re just going to continue leaking money. After all, it’s for the good of “the kids.”

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MendocinoSportsPlus is on the road, but we learned the California Coastal Commission (meeting in Chula Vista, CA today) ruled AGAINST the City of Fort Bragg by denying a permit to tear down what many feel is an “historic” Dry Shed #4 on the Noyo Headlands. It is the last standing structure at the former Georgia Pacific mill site. Fort Bragg resident Gabriel Moroni appealed the city approval of the decision to grant a permit to tear down the massive wooden structure to the Coastal Commission. They have some logic in that appeal so the structure is safe — for now. The denial of the destruction permit is a big win for resident Gabriel Moroni as well as Mayor Lindy Peters and Councilor Dave Turner who fought tooth & nail to preserve the structure.

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ON JUNE 11, 2018 the Fort Bragg City Council will discuss Mill Site Reuse Plan: Land Use Regulations and Development Standards. For further detail, click here and scroll to item 7B.

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A $1.5 Million water tank, funded by a federal grant, has been in the works for almost six months. The 1.5 million gallon tank is the City’s third such tank. Bringing the new tank online allows the City to bring the older tanks offline for routine cleaning and maintenance. The tank’s capacity is roughly the equivalent of two and a half days of water use by the City during peak summer/early fall season.

The new tank will be completed within the next 30 days. All design and construction work was done locally. This project is part of the City’s ongoing efforts to reinforce and update City infrastructure and take steps to protect the City’s water supply by providing additional storage capacity.

Below are some great pictures showing the progress of the construction of the new tank. As you can see in the pictures, the construction process was a little different. Once the foundation is complete, the tank is constructed from the top down. The roof is constructed first, and then the top-most section is added. Instead of building upward, the roof and top section are jacked up so that the next section down can be constructed and so forth. This way, each section is constructed at ground level, where it is much easier to work on and doesn’t require ladders or lifts to reach.

(Fort Bragg City Manager Tabatha Miller)

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Next Weekend Saturday & Sunday! Time to step up and make sure you don't miss this First Ever #CleanandSobertMusicFest. Tickets for each day only $25 advance or $30 at the door. We are counting on all our clean and sober friends (& friends of friends) out there to bring it to Boonville and prove it: We Are Not A Glum Lot!!!

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I am not a fan of the person in the White House, but he did do something right by ordering the flags at half staff for the murders in Texas. Flags were down at WalMart, McDonald’s, county building on Low Gap, the library. Let’s see — what is missing? That’s right, the county courthouse I do not believe I have ever seen that flag lowered when appropriate. That is inexcusable!

I would also like to know which of the supervisors voted in favor of the mess at the corner of Kuki Rd and State Street. It has always been dangerous, but when that mess is finished and 18 wheelers regularly start trying to make that turn, it is going to be the intersection from Hell. Part of the reason is that Low Gap is so crowded that people cut over to Kuki Lane to get onto State Street. In the meantime, people are trying to get off Lover’s Lane onto State Street. I live on Carrigan Lane. One day last week, it took me nearly 10 full minutes to get onto State Street from leaving home. I had to call and cancel an appointment I had in Santa Rosa.

I have decided that this mess, in conjunction with that at the south end of town is part of a contest Ukiah is in to have the most screwed up traffic patterns in the state of California for a town its size.

We’re winning.

Karen Seydel


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Hosted by Healthy Mendocino and the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Friday June 15, 12:00-1:30 pm, at the Community Foundation, 204 S. Oak, Ukiah.

  • What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?
  • Would I create one on my property?
  • Could I help the housing crunch?
  • House a friend or a family member?
  • In my house, garage or separate?
  • My house is too big, would this help pay expenses?
  • How would I do it?
  • What are the rules?
  • Is this a good idea for property values?

Please join us to hear our panel of experts answer these questions and more.


Megan Barber Allende, CEO
Neil DiBernardo, Administrative Manager
Michelle Rich, Senior Program Officer
Holly Madrigal, Program Officer


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Here come the brides, and grooms, Anderson Valley receives mention as a wine country wedding site.

(photo by Kristen Lynne Photography)

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Friends of the Eel River (FOER) has filed suit against the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors for failing to adequately protect our native fish and waters from the impacts of cannabis cultivation. In early May, Supervisors approved a Cannabis Cultivation Land Use Ordinance that would allow 3,500 cultivation sites to be permitted without the careful analysis necessary to insure those operations will not have significant impacts on Humboldt County’s watersheds and wildlife. Adverse watershed impacts associated with marijuana cultivation include increased sediment from roads, stream crossings, and grading activities; dewatering salmon-bearing streams; and introduction of toxic pesticides and fertilizers.

Friends of the Eel River’s Conservation Director Scott Greacen said: “The impacts of Humboldt’s cannabis industry are driving salmon and steelhead extinct in our watersheds. The County has gone ahead with permitting even more operations without doing the work needed to understand, much less minimize, those impacts.”

The County’s ordinance is environmentally and economically unsustainable. As of May 30th, the State of California has already issued 3,664 cultivation licenses statewide, which could produce more than three times the projected total state demand for weed. The 770 licenses Humboldt County has already issued under its 2015 medical cultivation ordinance can alone supply half of estimated statewide demand. So Humboldt County’s proposed “cap” of 3,500 permits could produce twice as much cannabis as the entire state of California is likely to consume. With actual legal sales well behind initial projections, and prices for cannabis continuing to drop, the mismatch between the new legal market’s demand and the old black market’s massive overproduction keeps growing. Humboldt County’s preferred solution to the enormous black market marijuana industry it has allowed to take root is to give permits to as many operators as it can convince to take them – an approach that tries to wish away the economic and ecological limits the legal industry must face.

“With marijuana legalization, Humboldt County has a real chance to build a sustainable cannabis industry. Instead, the Supervisors have moved to prop up yet another boom and bust industry. As was the case with the old-growth logging industry a generation ago, the boom times of the Emerald Triangle’s weed industry are over, and the bust is upon us. If we are to break the cycle, we must not only minimize the industry’s ecological footprint but also plan for a future that embraces diversified, sustainable economic development instead of short-term gain,” said FOER Executive Director Stephanie Tidwell.

The lawsuit was filed in California Superior Court on June 6, 2018.

(Click to enlarge)

Multiple greenhouses of marijuana on a graded flat from an incident in July 2017 where the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant. Numerous environmental violations were found.

—Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Yeah, I voted. I always vote. Who did I vote for? That's between me and my maker, but I'll give you a hint: I vote the opposite of these people, but don't tell them that or they'll put me on short rations.”

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THE ONLY local surprise, for us anyway, is candidate Roderick's failure to make the cut. We thought it would be him vs. Ted Williams in the runoff for 5th District Supervisor, but Roderick ran a distant third and we have two candidates from the Albion Nation in the runoff. Check that: Williams now lives in Mendocino, but only a psychic lateral move politically considered.

WE THOUGHT the wine and grape people would join the 5th District's more conservative voters in a solid bloc for Roderick, but given the numbers the Right didn't turn out, at least not in the Fifth District, confirming our theory that Mendo County's conservatives are more bluster than action. A mere 18% of the vote went to Roderick, and he had everyone from the recumbent incumbent Hamburg, formerly a liberal of at least the rhetorical type but always a Me First!er, to Trumpers like Bonnie and Jared Carter, and Ukiah's favorite free enterpriser, Ross Liberty. The conservatives seem to have given up on seriously contesting the 5th. Beyond rhetorical support for Roderick and a few bucks they didn't get out the vote for their candidate.

COASTLIB, and you've got to hand it to them, not only pays close attention to local politics, they act locally to get their people into office and installed at the levers of all the County's non-profits. Their umbrella organization is the Mendocino County Democratic Party. The Republican Party trots out Stan Anderson for ceremonial purposes but is otherwise invisible and, as an active political presence, uh, on the disabled list.

NOT THAT WILLIAMS is necessarily a liberal of the lock-step type, but Skyhawk, known around the AVA as "Hamburg Lite," is. A lock-stepper, that is. Hamburg has never fought out of the fleaweight division, and never represented a way forward from business as usual, which in this county is gross, relentless opportunism behind smiley-faced liberal facades. But get in the way of the self-interest of these people and you'll quickly find out how liberal they are. (Think of that bobcat you accidentally trapped in your Have-A-Heart.) You can be sure Mendo's bureaucrats will be pulling for Skyhawk on the safe assumption he is unlikely to disturb them. Williams is more a wildcard. He might go rogue, might even try to make things work a little better.

A RUN-OFF between Skyhawk and Williams will be terribly boring, but perhaps amusing as the Warm Fuzzies stump for Williams and the Fuzzy Warms shake their chakras for The Hawk. Both candidates derive from the same political parents, so to speak.

UP IN THE wild northeast of Mendocino County, the 3rd District, Cowboy Johnny Pinches has emerged from the emergency medical wards to rally his unique constituency of rednecks, bush hippies, seriously estranged combat vets, miscellaneous outlaws, and old fashioned liberals to roar into a run-off with John Haschak, a Willits teacher whose wife doesn't hesitate to do his talking for him. Here she is on our comment line this morning:

"It’s true Haschak is not a career politician so he did have to buy a lot of signs (didn’t have any from previous campaigns laying around). Also, the mailers were pricey for sure, but we had to tell the people what he’s about and once we did they were conviced to vote for him. People are especially impressed by the fact that he is the only candidate who has pledged to not take the almost 40% raise the BOS recently voted themselves. He feels It’s not okay to give yourself a huge raise when the workers haven’t received anything near that and the county is deficit spending. Please ask your candidate if they’re going to take this raise. Haschak is a fighter and he will fight for the people of our county. Look at his record and his life’s work and you will see that he is truly a man of the people. So yes, money was spent and people were informed about Haschak. Going against a three time supervisor and with 8 people in the race it seemed necessary to spend some money and allow people an informed vote."

(THE HASCHAKS AT HOME: "Haschak, on your feet!" Yes, ma'am. "Don't take this from Pinches, Haschak!" Yes, ma'am. "Speak up, Haschak!" Yes, ma'am. "Louder, Haschak, louder!" Yes, ma'am....)

Janice & John Haschak

PINCHES VS HASCHAK will be close, and we must say we admire Haschak's stand on the Supe's entirely undeserved raise they granted themselves, going to elaborate lengths to justify their pay grab by dubious references to "the law." But Pinches has always had an entirely local focus, and he's a guy who not only knows the County Budget, he walks around with it, probably kisses it good night. Best of all, he's a truly independent voice with an eternal eye out for indefensible spending and practices.

MEASURE C, the bump in property taxes to support Coast Hospital, lost by less than a hundred votes than the two-thirds needed, the result of years of mis-management at the top. A few too many voters took the attitude that passage of an increase in the district's property tax would only encourage more of the same.

AT THE STATE LEVEL, the run-off for Governor will pit a sociopath (Newsom) against a psychopath (Cox). Should be one for the pathology textbooks.

KEVIN de LEON is a defensible choice against the ancient Republicrat, Feinstein, at least among Democrats who still think their party represents the public good.

THE INTERCHANGEABLE CIPHERS — Huffman, Wood, McGuire — were all certified as career officeholders and staunch defenders of the money that installed them — grapes and wine.

JUDGE PERSKY, the recalled judge? The Stanford rapist certainly deserved a term in state prison, but the judge merely followed the lightweight charges filed in the case by the DA. He didn't deserve to be recalled.

MICHELLE HUTCHINS not only survived a torrent of unearned abuse, she defeated it and one of its chief propagandists, Bryan Barrett, for Superintendent of Mendocino County Schools.

IN ROUGH MATHEMATICAL TERMS, for Bryan Barrett to even get back to approximate parity with Hutchins in the final vote count, he’d have to win the remaining 9,000 to 10,000 votes to be counted by about 600 votes more than Hutchins to make up the deficit. In 2014 there were about 18,000 votes cast countywide in the November election, and about 17,000 in the Primary. With about 8,000 votes counted so far, that would mean that Barrett would need to win about 53% of the remaining 9,000 or 10,000 compared to the 46% he’s received so far. Not likely.

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Re: Measure C Failed

Commenter 1:

Measure C, the $144 parcel tax to support the Mendocino Coast District Hospital, failed to get the 66.67% it needed to pass. Out of 12,522 voters in the District, only 2,854, or 22.8% actually voted. The count now stands at 1,720 (63.3%) For and 998 (36.7%) Against. Too big a gap to be filled by late absentee ballots.

This means that the Hospital District Board will have some very ugly choices to make this month, as they prepare their 2018-2019 budget. My hope is that they prepare a solvency budget with the necessary cuts — OB - Labor and Delivery will no doubt be one — AND refile for another try at a parcel tax in November.

The Yes on Measure C Campaign made a strategic decision not to run a negative campaign threatening cuts. Perhaps if coastal residents really understand what will be lost, they will be motivated to actually vote to save critical services.

The other lesson of this campaign concerns the outsized influence of the few trolls — we all know who they are — who continued to publicly denigrate the hospital, its administration and delivery of care in an effort to scuttle Measure C. We need to find ways to address the false and misleading narratives the trolls are promoting, as well as the concerns of disempowered people who are vulnerable to being lured in by the trolls' negativity.

Rough road ahead, I am afraid.

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 Commenter 2:

I think some people had some very valid concerns about hospital management of finances, including those who were opposed to Measure C and some who voted for it. It isn’t fair to call them trolls, when what they want is accountability of the board and administrators.

I also don’t agree that it wasn’t a negative campaign. I was constantly hearing proponents saying thing like, the hospital will close if you don’t vote for the tax, property values will go down and people will move away, jobs will be lost, and local businesses will suffer. To me that is using scare tactics, when educating people about why the money is needed, what will be done with it, what is the strategic plan for the future, how will the problems with the board and adminstrators be addressed, etc is what is really needed. There were a few who talked about these issues but most of what I heard was “you have to vote for it or we’ll lose the hospital.”

Of course, people should get involved, go to board meetings if possible, make their voices heard, and educate themselves about the issues. But just throwing money at the problem won’t make it go away.

I hope that if the hospital tries again for November, the campaigners will try to address people’s concerns and drop the scare tactics. Hold some community forums addressing the issues or even debates so people can get more engaged. For years, the Alliance for Democracy coast chapter held monthly Town Hall forums on issues of local and national interest on First Fridays when a lot of folks were downtown. Why not organize something like that to address the hospital issues and how they can best be solved going forward.

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Commenter 3:

I would personally hold off on saying it it passed or failed for awhile and making lots of statements and analysis. There are a lot of votes not yet counted. In fact, I would predict that for the District 5 Supervisor election there are at least 50% of the votes to still be counted. And perhaps more votes than that. And while the District 5 and the measure C Districts are not the same - Mendocino, Little River, Albion, and Elk are in both the Measure C area and the District 5 area and many of those votes have not been counted.

Note: District 5 had a 45% voter turnout last year when only Measure B (the mental health tax) was on the ballot. District 5 had a 74% turnout for the presidential election. So it makes no sense the voter turnout for this election would be only 22% as it currently stands. I suspect there will be minimally another 2000 votes to be counted. If 10% of those votes are from Mendocino, Little River, Albion, and Elk - There may be enough votes to push it over the 66.6y% required for passage.

Remember that in the last three elections, measures and candidates that thought they had won later found they lost and visa-versa.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 6, 2018

Agapito-Bispi, Arnold, Cartwright

PERDO AGAPITO-BISPI, Hopland. Controlled substance, under influence, probation revocation.

SHANNON ARNOLD, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer)

BRUCE CARTWRIGHT JR., Willits. Leaded cane or similar, controlled substance, paraphernalia.

Craddock, Duman, Eslinger

CRYSTALL CRADDOCK, Ukiah. Trespassing, false ID.

ROCKY DUMAN, Ukiah. Parole violation.

TRACY ESLINGER, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Hudgens, Lambert, Lopes

TERESA HUDGENS, Willits. Obstruction of justice.

WILLIE LAMBERT, Willits. Petty theft, paraphernalia, conspiracy.

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

Lopez-Fernandez, Martin, Maynard


BRYAN MARTIN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer)

Mendoza, Milberger, Wood

MIGUEL MENDOZA, Ukiah. Aggravated assault (with intent to commit mayhem, rape, sodomy, oral copulation, etc.), smuggling controlled substances or liquor into jail, controlled substance.

STEPHANIE MILBERGER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

DUSTIN WOOD, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

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by Anne Fashauer

Who can be your agent in a real estate transaction? The short answer is: any licensed California real estate agent. This topic came up a week or so ago when I was showing some properties to a potential buyer. She had brought a friend along and the friend said “I thought you had to use the agent with the listing”. This is a common misconception.

In California a real estate agent can be the agent for the seller and/or the buyer. In some cases the agent for the seller ends up showing the property to a buyer and writes the contract; this is called “dual agency.” Some states don’t allow dual agents but California does. Sometimes a buyer is looking online at properties and calls an agent to see a specific property. After seeing it, the buyer decides the property isn’t a good fit but the agent is – and now the buyer has her own agent.

As a real estate broker, it is in my interest to represent both sides of a transaction; I get to take the whole commission. It can also benefit both parties; there is only one person going back and forth and that person often knows the answers the other party needs. Some people want to feel that the agent is on “their” side and so they find their own agent. Sometimes it just happens that way, as described above.

The misconception often shows up after an agent has shown a buyer a property. A few days later the agent finds out that the buyer is now in escrow on another property and didn’t use him for the transaction. This at first feels personal, but usually it is because the buyer just goes with the agent with the listing, not out of anything else. It happens to all agents; but it’s not about us, it’s about you and making sure you have the best representation available.

So remember, you can choose any agent you want in your real estate transaction. Choose someone with knowledge about the area you are purchasing in, someone who cares about you and your needs and someone you are comfortable working with.

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“I’m sorry, but we believe in tradition — marriage should exclusively be about bringing a brief moment of calm between two warring kingdoms.”

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I remember back in the late 70’s and early 80’s I got into reading all the “new age” stuff, including the writings of Edgar Cayce, who had came to minor fame with his hypnotic trance “readings” earlier in the century. He turned out to be wrong about the west coast disaster scenarios he predicted unfolding in the 80’s (other than St. Helens), but I never doubted that he was still correct in the longer term, although most now would simply say that’s common sense due to our exponential advances in computerized prognostication capabilities. At any rate, building urban megacities with increasingly integrated and fragile infrastructure systems in such zones would have seemed to be foolhardy to even the simplest of minds back in Cayce’s days, which is apparently why our self-appointed masters of the universe don’t get it; but greed and arrogance rules the world these days, so go figure.

One final thing, Cayce also predicted major quakes along the New Madrid fault, which runs approximately along the confluence of the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers. There’s been some minor activity there too in recent years, but nothing of significant note just yet. Such an event would certainly ring up some significant economic disruption were it to occur, since contrary to popular belief, Mississippi barge traffic is still a significant source of commerce and wealth to those in the area and beyond.

The last major quake on the New Madrid was in 1812, when St Louis was still a small French village. That quake rolled across Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tenessee, and the aftershocks lasted for months. Naturalist John James Audabon, who was traveling through the area at the time, reported that the ground just kept rolling. If a similar quake happened now, St Louis as it is at this time, with its predominately brick homes and buildings, would be nearly leveled, and there would likely be quakes along the Wabash fault, which connects to the New Madrid fault and extends to the Chicago area.

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HERE'S A SNAP OF LESTER, my wild hippy boyfriend way back in the day.

When we weren't running naked through the woods, we were taking road trips and dropping acid. You can see Lester's pretty high already, and we had hours to go 'til dawn. Laissez les bontemps rouler!

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Plastic Waste Can Fix Our Roads

We’ve seen the birth of futuristic solar roads and even a return to retro gravel roads, but now there’s a new player on the street: recycled plastic. British engineer Toby McCartney has devised an innovative process to replace much of the crude oil-based asphalt in pavement with tiny pellets of plastic created from recyclable bottles. The result is a street that’s 60 percent stronger than traditional roadways, 10 times longer-lasting, and a heck of a lot better for the environment, claims McCartney’s company MacRebur.

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It was a somber moment. It was a horrifying year. And, in many ways, the country has yet to recover.

by Mike Barnicle

It was Friday, June 8, 1968, and a blistering late spring heat smothered the streets surrounding St. Patrick’s Cathedral that morning a half century ago. Huge crowds of mourners stood on the sidewalks, silent, sweating, many of them crying or praying as the Requiem Mass for Robert Kennedy was ending. A long caravan of buses lined 51st Street to take nearly 700 of those attending the Mass to Penn Station. There, a 21 car funeral train waited to carry them along with the family and the casket of the second Kennedy brother to be assassinated in less than five years to a plot at Arlington National Cemetery, 20 feet from his older brother’s grave.

A long-time Kennedy advance man, Jim King from Massachusetts, pushed me on to one of the buses where I sat next to Ken O’Donnell, another Massachusetts native who was a top White House assistant to John F. Kennedy. I was a young guy, a nobody from nowhere. I got an invitation to Mass and the train only because I had done volunteer work in a couple different states during Robert Kennedy’s 85-day presidential campaign in the traumatic spring of 1968.

That year was a calendar that bled. The wounds came on a daily basis. Martin Luther King had been killed in Memphis, cities burned and by Tuesday June 5th when Bob Kennedy was shot in a kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles more than 6000 American soldiers and Marines had already died in Vietnam in a war that was carving a wound in the American soul that has not yet fully healed all these years later.

People moved slowly and silently aboard the train as I took my seat, probably twelve to 15 cars behind engine, next to the window. Many of them were still stunned by the week’s events and emotionally drained by the Catholic service filled with splendor and sadness, by Ted Kennedy’s eulogy and Andy William’s rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as the casket was carried from the cathedral to the hearse on Fifth Avenue.

Then the train started through the long tunnel beneath the Hudson River and soon darkness gave way to a brilliant light as it emerged into a blazing sun that covered the teeming neighborhoods of Newark, New Jersey. Suddenly, as it crossed a trestle above a river there was a fireboat with several firefighters standing on deck, still as sentries, saluting the train and the cargo it carried.

That was just the start of an epic 225 mile rail journey that remains fresh in my mind some 50 years later.

Those who stood on station platforms in Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore and outside Union Station in Washington, D.C., wore the faces and uniforms of America, 1968. Many appeared to have heavy hearts and carried heavy burdens. They wore tee shirts, work shirts, short sleeved white shirts and ties, summer dresses, nurses uniforms, school teachers in skirts, Army uniforms, Marine Corps uniforms.

They were white and black and brown. They saluted, prayed, stood still and silent, wept, saluted, held a hand over their heart or just followed the slowly moving cars of the train with eyes that seemed just a bit apprehensive or even a bit frightened by what had happened and what might be happening to the land around them.

As I recall, it was somewhere between Philadelphia and Wilmington when Ethel Kennedy, a widow now, came through each car. Her oldest son Joe was with her. And they stopped to say something and shake the hand of all on board, to thank them for attending the funeral, for supporting her husband, his father. Young Joe’s handshake was firm and his eyes had the look his dad had, that of someone who experienced and was now familiar with loss.

Thinking about it now, thinking of Robert Kennedy, his campaign, those who voted for him and those who did not, those who stood all along the mournful route — and those who did not — I cannot help but think of the similarities between people he touched, people who listened to him, heard him and felt a ripple of hope during a spring when our country was divided, angry and resentful of government and the despair and deepening division today.

They had all hoped to find a piece of the American Dream and now the train with the dead senator’s casket clearly visible in the last slow rolling car seemed like one more fragment of the shattered hopes of that dream; a dream slowly being dismantled, crushed even, by the horrible reality of another assassination and a daily death toll arriving from halfway around the world. On the very day Robert Kennedy was pronounced dead in Los Angeles, June 6, 1968, 106 American soldiers and Marines were killed in Vietnam.

1968 was a gruesomely violent year. By June, 6,222 Americans had died in Vietnam, a war nobody knew how to stop and nobody knew how to win. By the end of that year, the combat death toll was 18,866. Families of the dead, shattered forever. Culture of the country, completely altered. Politics, ineffective then and now.

It was time in America’s life that seems now like distant skywriting, erased by the wind of decades past. And it was also another war fought largely by the young many from families living paycheck to paycheck, where college was a dream and a good job meant having the luck of holding a union ticket, getting on the fire or police department, landing on an assembly line or at a steel plant.

The draft was an unrelenting admissions board. And it reached out across the land. It touched young men everywhere Robert Kennedy traveled. In Los Angeles, where he died on June 6th, it took L/Cpl Felix Flores, a 21-year-old resident of that city who died with the 4th Marines at Con Thien on the same day, June 6, 1968.

In New York where his funeral Mass was celebrated, the family of Jose Sanchez, a 19-year-old rifleman also with the 4th Marines was being told their son was killed on June 6. In Newark as the train slowly rolled past a city still reeling from riots, friends of Pfc. Lonnie Shepard Jr., 26th Marines, found out that he too had been killed on June 6 in Vietnam.

Philadelphia, where the crowd was ten deep on the platform, was home to Pfc. Walter Seawright, 26th Marines and 18 forever on June 6 in Con Thien. Wilmington, Delaware: Jacob Woldin, Sgt., First Air Cavalry, 21 years old, KIA June 6, 1968. Next stop Baltimore: Sgt. John Kenneth Brazier, 4th Marines, 23 years old, dead on June 6, 1968. And the train kept rolling.

This was America then. And this is America now.

Those who seem to suffer the most, often sacrifice the most. Those who seem to serve and protect the country in great numbers, often find that they are among the first to be put at risk when the economy collapses, a factory closes, an industry moves across the country or overseas.

America in 1968? America in 2018? Same as it ever was.

Robert Kennedy was far from perfect. But as that train pulled itself toward Washington and Arlington National Cemetery, as the sun slowly faded and darkness arrived at Union Station, it had passed by thousands of Americans who stood out of respect for a man who offered something scarce, even rare, in the politics of that day and this day too: Hope.

The only anger, the only edge in Robert Kennedy’s voice in that long-gone spring campaign was when he spoke about an inequity that afflicted Americans of every color, every religious belief and every political persuasion. He did that daily. And it was genuine and authentic.

The buses took us through the night from Union Station, past the Senate Office buildings, the Justice Department, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Across Memorial Bridge to Arlington and the slope where his brother was buried.

Springsteen’s song, ‘Land of Hope and Dreams’, has always reminded me of that endless day and that sad, slow train with its crushed hopes and dreams deferred as it made its way to another tragic burial. I can still see the people along the route, fathers holding up small children to witness the event, kids in Little League uniforms, nuns in habits, ethnic faces, tears and flags, salutes and songs.

It was a long time ago. Fifty years. Half a century.

God Bless Robert Kennedy for what he gave us, all too briefly.

And God Bless America, for all that we still need, hope and pray for.

* * *

* * *


Returning to Washington, D.C. on Sunday June 10th

Warmest spiritual greetings, Please know that I am returning to Washington, D.C. on Sunday to continue the fight for righteousness. Will take Amtrak from NYC and arrive early afternoon. I need a place to go to upon arrival. Please let the activist network know that I am returning, and need housing, which I am able to pay for. Thank you very much.

Craig Louis Stehr



  1. Craig Stehr June 7, 2018

    CRAIG UPDATE: Please know that I will be returning to Washington, D.C. on Amtrak express Sunday, and have booked into a travel hostel on 11th & N Sts. NW for two weeks. Am in contact with the Peace Vigil in front of the White House, plus the J20 defendants. The inside news is that frontline peace & justice and radical environmental direct actions will be increased now that J20 defendants are mostly facing only misdemeanor charges or have had charges dismissed due to the prosecution’s violation of the Brady act by withholding evidence which they were required to share with the defense teams. Therefore, radical activists will not be holding back any further, (as they are presently, so as not to risk getting possible new felony charges added upon existing felony charges). In Washington, D.C. nomadic action groups are forming, which I was advised of last night via email. As always, the revolution will definitely be televised! Stay tuned.

  2. mr. wendal June 7, 2018


    I agree with commenter #3. .

    The GO bond property tax Measure I (heavily promoted as money to be used for a hospital seismic retrofit but hasn’t been used for that purpose) was passed by voters in November 2000. It was a presidential election and 9360 people cast a vote on that measure, passing it. We’re still paying for that and where is the money going?

    The last time the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District tried to pass a parcel tax it was Measure R in June 2005. It was the only thing on the ballot and it brought out 5235 voters. They said the hospital would close if it failed. It failed 13 years ago.

    Unless more of the population is not bothering to vote, with only 2718 ballots counted from voting on Measure C so far, there should be enough ballots yet to be counted that the outcome of the parcel tax measure could change.

    Who will run for the hospital board seat to replace Dr. Campos and who will run to fill the vacant seats in November?

  3. Arthur Juhl June 7, 2018

    I want to congratulate my fellow candidates as the voters choice. I got a call from my friend in Canada and he asked me why Chris changed his name,what is he hiding? I told him Chris works with children and has to be certified. In our Rotary group we give dictionarys to children and we are required to have our backgrounds checked and have fingerprints taken. I think my friend as a French Canadian was upset as he is extremely proud to be French. He told me that Chris’s father’s name was Latteau, that I guess being French!
    I hope that the new supervisor will take action with the budget and accountability of the county workers.
    As I saw in the article today the BOS relies on information from the overworked CEO without substantial facts. I surely hope there will be changes in the future.
    I will now reactivate my Real Estate and Insurance business and will still support the Sheriff on Measure B. Although I still believe in a satellite program rather than a large institution.
    Arthur E. Juhl

    • George Hollister June 7, 2018

      Looks to me like things will get a lot worse, and the AVA will have much to write about. 22% voter turn out? Unbelievable. That means 78% either don’t care, or don’t believe it matters. It is the way it is.

      • james marmon June 7, 2018

        Dangers of Marijuana: Long-Term Effects on the Brain and Body

        “Marijuana is one of the most popular drugs on the market today, and it may have the impression of being a harmless, fun substance; but it is still a drug that changes what goes on in the mind, sometimes with significant consequences. The long-term effects on the brain and body make marijuana a dangerous drug to a lot of people, leading to negative outcomes that don’t show until years later.”

        James Marmon MSW
        Former Substance Abuse Counselor
        Mendocino Juvenile Drug Court.

        • Eric Sunswheat June 7, 2018

          Problem is of masking chronic nutrients deficiency while experiencing chronic pain and or lack of emotional intimacy, coupled with inadequate physical exercise.

          Combustion habitual inhalation methodology, may exacerbate causal initiating factors triggering initial substance use, with mind bending long term study results expected, in the referenced study.

          Non combustion use of herbal medicinals, through vaping inhalation, injestion, and suppository application, suggests much more beneficial long term effects.

          Such a postulate may be achieved with balanced nutrient loading and hormonal appreciation, as a prevention strategy to avoid the fork in the road, that leads to the spiral vice of chronic drug, and sugar alcohol related cancer abuse, which feeds law enforcement judicial tyranny and the patient fiscal health termination industry.

          – unattributed source. May 07, 2018

          • George Hollister June 7, 2018

            All I said was a bunch of people did not vote, things will get worse for county government, and there will be more to write about for the AVA.

  4. Alice Chouteau June 7, 2018

    Building new water storage tanks for municipal water here ignores the basic problem of taking too much from the Noyo watershed. Is the tank to catch and hold rainwater?

  5. Eric Sunswheat June 7, 2018

    Miller saw many areas cut their plastic recycling programs for the cheaper (now) solution of landfills, and noticed the astounding number of brownfield sites that were simply being abandoned. Miller’s idea: Why not use plastic waste as an aggregate in concrete and create a more sensible product. By mixing together ground-up plastic with cement and soil reclaimed from the brownfields, Miller was able to create a material just as strong as conventional concrete. (2009)

  6. Bill Pilgrim June 7, 2018

    RE: Primary Results. Perusing the percentages on the county website, I was amazed and disappointed by the high vote count for the “ancient Republicrat” Feinstein.
    It’s truly deflating to hear so many citizens talk about the need for change, then mark their ballots for ‘more of the same’ incumbents time after time.
    “Coast Libs?” Nah. Time for a new moniker, for the “liberal class” has truly failed the people.

  7. George Hollister June 7, 2018

    I agree withCommenter 3. Too close to call, wait for the votes to be counted. That said, there are realities the MCDH Board needs to accept, and not try to change.

    Most people I know go to other places for non-emergency medical procedures. Many retirees have Kaiser. Regardless of who you are, if there is a medical emergency, you likely will end up at the MCDH. Peter Barg had some good advice in his letter opposing the parcel tax.

    The MCDH Board needs to focus on District needs, and do the best it can in meeting those needs. A full service hospital does not appear to be needed. It means changing, maybe forming a partnership with another hospital, or with multiple hospitals. Difficult? Yes, but to stay the course guarantees chronic dysfunction, and periodic bankruptcy.

    Regarding Commenter 1: Neither Malcom Macdonald or Peter Barg are trolls. Unfortunately the debate has gotten down to name calling, where meaningful debates usually die.

  8. Jim Updegraff June 7, 2018

    The fat slob we have for President flunked his knowledge of the War of 1812. Trudeau had objected to his assertion that Canada was not supportive of our Security needs. Trump responded “well, your people burned down the White House.” He didn’t know it was the British that burned down the White House and it was during the War of 1812.

    ps: the Brits burned it down after our troops has attacked Toronto.

    • james marmon June 7, 2018

      Mr. Updegraff, always looking for technicalities, so much hate can’t be good.

      “In terms of the specifics of Trump’s contention, it does not appear that Canadians were literally involved in the capture of Washington. But Canadians did fight in the war, they fought on the British side, and Canada-related issues were very central to the conflict. The nation of Canada, however, did not exist at the time, and it was decades before the US gave up on the idea of conquering Canadian territory and incorporating it.”

      • james marmon June 7, 2018

        The Burning of Washington

        The Burning of Washington was a British invasion of Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, during the War of 1812. On August 24, 1814, after defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, a British force led by Major General Robert Ross burned down buildings including the White House (known as the Presidential Mansion), and the Capitol, as well as other facilities of the U.S. government. The attack was in part a retaliation for the recent American destruction of Port Dover in Upper Canada. Throughout the history of the United States, the United Kingdom is the only country to have ever captured Washington, D.C.; the Burning of Washington also marks the only time since the American Revolutionary War that a foreign power has captured and occupied the United States

  9. Bill Harper June 7, 2018

    I did not vote for the Hospital tax because their radio spot stated the insurance companies don’t pay all the costs their clients incurred.

    The patient made a bad choice, the immoral insurance company took their profits (40 %) first, the hospital signed on to the ponzi scheme and now I am supposed to make up the difference.

    What next? We pay for under insured hash oil makers for their rebuild after the fires?

    We pay the body shop to help someone who didn’t
    have collision on their own car?

    Yes, the system is broken. Bailing wire and duct tape should be used on the corporate execs and their toady politicians not to keep the system plundering along.

    You can’t stop slavery by helping the plantation buy another one.

    Bill Harper

  10. Jim Armstrong June 7, 2018

    I am wondering if that FBI agent who went drinking and dancing with a loaded pistol (round in the chamber) stuck in his belt with the safety off and then picked it up by the trigger shooting a bystander is one of the guys we can go to prison for lying to.

  11. Janice Haschak June 7, 2018

    In response to election notes on the third district, I would like to confess that my husband cannot compete with Mr. Pinches in one regard. He does not kiss the county budget good night.

  12. Janice Haschak June 7, 2018

    And you can get that camera out of our living room!

  13. james marmon June 7, 2018

    George Hollister is right, the BoS don’t care where or how “other people’s money” is being spent in Mendocino County. Local taxes like Measure B (the Allman Tax) will be used to replace any misuse or exorbitant spending of federal or state funding that is currently taking place. I don’t know why anyone in the right mind would support this way of thinking without some accountability of the status quo.

    Where’s the money Camille?

    “Its the economy stupid”

    James Marmon MSW

  14. George Hollister June 7, 2018

    I like John Pinches, and Janice Haschak, too. They both have a sense of humor.

  15. Janice Haschak June 7, 2018

    But seriously folks, isn’t there just a touch of irony, or would it be hypocrisy, in attributing the following to Pinches, “Best of all, he’s a truly independent voice with an eternal eye out for indefensible spending and practices.” Really? Have you forgotten or not heard that Pinches, when asked if he would take the 39% raise the BOS voted themselves responded, “Why yes I would, and you can bet I’d be worth every nickle of it!” Even in that folksy retort we can see he’s not the candidate with the “eye out for indefensible spending and practices.” Money talks, and in this case it talks volumes. How about those county workers? How about any worker who doesn’t have the ability to award themselves a 39% increase? Do you suppose they too feel they are worth, “every nickle of it!”? Ask John Pinches if he is a man of the people and then ask him how he justifies taking the indefensible 39% pay raise.

    • George Hollister June 7, 2018

      Janice from a broader perspective, county workers along with all government workers are the most monied group in this county. They also have the best pensions. Used to be pot growers had this position, without the pensions. Lately, people in the trades have been making a run, and good for them. No pensions for most of them, either. So, I know of cases where government workers need to be paid more, but as a whole, they are top shelf in the money department, at least in this county. You won’t find many/any of them in one of John’s trailer parks.

      • Lazarus June 7, 2018

        What you mean by trailer parks, and which John…?
        As always,

      • james marmon June 7, 2018

        I hate to disagree with you George but it’s the educators, teachers, like John Haschak’s base, who are the most monied in the County, not county workers. New County employees have very little benefits and no chance to build for a decent retirement under the County’s New Hire Tier, those days are gone because the pyramid scam has been exposed. Most new County employees are from Lake County and could never afford to even live in one of Pinches’ trailer parks due to the high cost of living over there.


        • George Hollister June 8, 2018

          Touche. I guess I need to update my narrative.

          • james marmon June 8, 2018

            Most Mendocino residents who could work for the County chose to commute to Sonoma County where there is better wages and benefits, leaving plenty of county job opportunities for Lake County folks. Check out the traffic on Hwy 20 from Upperlake to Ukiah Monday thru Friday during rush hours.

  16. Janice Haschak June 7, 2018

    and absolutely nothing to do with Pinches taking the raise.

  17. Ria Shoo October 25, 2018

    Side Effects of Smoking Marijuana
    “Most types of cannabis are mild, however, strong cannabis (e.g. skunk or purple haze) or too much usage can have stronger effects such as hallucination while some people also report increased anxiety and paranoia. Although it doesn’t augment risk-taking behavior like alcohol does, weed does impair mental functions such as memory, attention, and performance, which makes driving or operating heavy machinery risky.” – Jeffrey Buckley

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