- Thomasson Case
- Thompson Retires
- Cozette Scholarship
- FB Future
- Ed Notes
- Doggie Wrap
- Cannabis Manifesto
- Little Dog
- Sad Story
- Quiz Night
- Branscomb Drowning
- Yesterday's Catch
- Valedictorian Censoring
- Trade Policies
- Predatory Gambling
- Musical Sculptures
- Pedestrian Workshop
- Real Economy
- Cal 3
- County Vacancies
- Operation Claudia
- God Imaging
RUBEN THOMASSON was in court Wednesday morning for an entry of plea on charges of attempted murder on a police officer, having been arrested over the weekend in an armed standoff with deputies from the sheriff’s office and firing at least two shots in the direction of the officers. Public Defender Linda Thompson had taken the case when Mr. Thomasson was arraigned on Monday, but assigned it to Deputy Public Defender Eric Rennert, as her (Thompson’s) last day on the job is tomorrow, June 14th. There was some delay in transporting Mr. Thomasson as he was confined to a wheelchair, and when his case was finally called Mr. Rennert said that his office was declaring a doubt as to his client’s mental competency, and the matter was put over for a few weeks pending a psychological examination. Mr. Thomasson’s wife Beryl Thomasson died recently and the incident over the weekend occurred when Thomasson claimed to have seen ghosts at his home on Ornbaun Road in Boonville. Mr. Thomasson’s two adult children, Jennifer and James Thomasson, were both present. They said they intended to contact the Department of Veteran’s Affairs local liaison officer Will Van Zant, to find suitable treatment and placement for their father. (Bruce McEwen)
THOMPSON RETIRES, ADAMS TURNS REALITY ON ITS HEAD
Anthony Adams, Assistant Public Defender, at Board of Supervisors meeting, June 5, 2018
“I'm here today to talk not only on behalf of the Union that I represent, the Mendocino County Public Attorneys Association, but also to advocate on behalf of the criminal justice system in general and specifically the Public Defender's Office. As the Board well knows the County has been making good-faith inroads to try to bring our agency up to a place where we can maintain and retain our folks. As each of you has heard many times it is extraordinarily difficult to find qualified individuals to come and do the work that we do at the level we do. And that matters from a fiscal standpoint as much as when we can't do the work we are forced to give that work to some outside agency who invariably will cost the county extraordinary sums of money by comparison. It doesn't seem that way at first blush because you are not paying pensions, you're not paying ongoing obligations, but the long-term ramifications of those decisions have fiscal consequences the likes of which are impossible to quantify until you see them in reality. The reality is that when you make substantial cuts to the Public Defender's Office by way of shifting the burden for increased salaries for the people in our office that do the work of a public defender, what you do is you put the entire agency in a position where it is untenable. We are about to lose Ms. Thompson. As all of you know she is entering retirement. And when she does that she is going to be going out of our county and taking with it an INSANE amount of institutional knowledge and experience the likes of which we cannot easily replace by a longshot. What does it mean in real terms? When we face capital crimes, when we have serious felonies that require her kind of expertise, that may no longer exist, and then they are going to go somewhere. That somewhere will likely be the Alternate’s office. And when the Alternate no longer exists or is diminished it would have to go to a conflict. This trickle-down effect has a deleterious consequence on all of us. It makes our jobs more difficult. It provides less accountability. It has a sustained impact, a ripple effect, on the totality of the criminal justice system, the very system that you lauded when we had our opportunity to come before the Board to be recognized for the drug awareness and the drug courts. That is a function of the work we do. When you awarded our District Attorney with a salary increase you spoke at great length about the value of the criminal justice system and its contribution in our community. None of those things stop being true when it comes to our office. We need your support. Let me be abundantly clear. Budgets are just like checkbooks, if you want to know where a person's priorities are, look where they spend their money. I would like to ask you and encourage you to consider the fact that when you make the Public Defender as part of the budget the single largest hit as a percentage you indicate to us that the Public Defender's Office is not a priority. I ask you to reconsider.”
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TODAY’S THE DAY, Thursday, June 14th, that Public defender Linda Thompson steps down. As the readership knows, the Mighty AVA will not miss her, and since her significant other owns a tract of land larger than our County Seat, and her pension package, though modest by the standards of other County Dignitaries, she probably doesn’t need our blessing for her retirement to be complete and satisfying. So, who’s next? Ms. Thompson herself had hoped to put Assistant Public Defender Christiane Hipps, a recent hire — and why didn't she promote one of her stalwarts! — in place as an Interim Public Defender, but the fiscally astute Board of Supervisors saw through this ploy of Thompson’s to further feather her own nest, and put the nix on Hipps. Therefore the job is currently up for bid on line and to my limited knowledge only one local lawyer has taken a shot at it, and that would be Douglas Rhoades of the Office of the Alternate Public Defender. And just in case any one should wonder, no matter how idly, what someone who sort of knows what's going on at the courthouse, speaking obliquely of myself, let me say this would be my choice. Here's why it should be Mr. Rhoades: He is competent, he is able, he is resourceful, he is diligent, he is outgoing, he is experienced, he is committed, he has both a sense of perspective and a sense of humor, he is local and has the respect of the judges (openly), and many of our local law enforcement officers (if I’m not mistaken), and (drudgingly) the district attorney – besides all that he looks like Donald Sutherland. My best recollection of his work was when he won a case against a particularly devious Deputy DA who has since moved on, thank Jah, Mad Dog Madow, over some heavy drug runners who used a kid to unconsciously be their "mule" — Mr. Rhoades got this kid acquitted and the jurors actually stood in line and shook both the defendant's hand and Mr. Rhoades' — it was one of the finest episodes of lawyering this reporter has ever seen. For the curious, other cases Mr. Rhoades has handled are lodged in the archive. (Bruce McEwen)
AVARTS SCHOLARSHIP AWARDED TO COZETTE ELLIS
On behalf of Anderson Valley Arts (AVArts), AVArts President Paula Gray awarded a $5,000 Arts Scholarships for Graduating Seniors to Anderson Valley Junior & Senior High School senior Cozette Ellis on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at the high school Senior Awards Night ceremony.
Ms. Ellis, daughter of Melinda and Jeff Ellis of Boonville, will be attending the University of California, Davis in the fall and focusing her studies in graphic design and art. AVArts wishes Ms. Ellis a year ahead full of discovery and continued creativity and inspiration as she furthers her education.
AVArts is a 501(c)3 non-profit made up of volunteer members dedicated to supporting and promoting the arts in Anderson Valley since 1999. We generate our funding primarily through volunteer events and depend on community participation and support. AVArts provides scholarship support to graduating students pursuing further education in the visual, performing, literary and multimedia arts and also to students in 3rd to 12th grade to attend arts-related classes, workshops and events. AVArts also supports bringing diverse, quality supplemental arts programs to Anderson Valley schools that would otherwise not be possible. The scholarships and arts in the schools programs are made possible by the generous support of local artists, educators and supporters of the arts in Anderson Valley and beyond. AVArts welcomes donations, ideas and involvement from the community. For more information about AVArts and its programs see www.av-arts.org.
Anderson Valley Arts Members: Karen Altaras, Peggy Dart, Paula Gray, Dennis Hudson, Glynnis Jones, Lauren Keating, Xenia King, Cathleen Micheaels, Terry Ryder and Jody Williams
MARIE JONES 3, FORT BRAGG 0
by Rex Gressett
Highway one north to Fort Bragg was maxed out Monday at 8:00am in one interminable line of hell-bent traffic while peaceful fog rolled over the city. The commuter stream, heavy pickups predominating, whipped past the turnaround without mercy. The combatants were charging the week.
Down at City Hall factions were in hurried realignment. Mayor Lindy Peters was back, resiliently limping into the limelight after his knee surgery. Over the weekend social media was gaping and wowing over Peters' rogue intervention with the Coastal Commission. The mayor had bucked a Council majority and thrown the Fort Bragg Development Director under the city bus, aggressively undercutting Jones in an ex parte (completely unofficial) mayoral intervention by backing Gabriel Quinn Maroney's last-ditch appeal to save Fort Bragg’s largest building, dry shed #4 on the old Georgia-Pacific mill site.
Out in the electorate factions of opposition to the Development Director’s one-girl agenda were popping like corn. The mill ponds, the Hare Creek big box, and the dry shed demolition project had burst like bombs lobbed by one powerful city official. The Mayor’s Monday morning meeting would be streaming into a city roiled with stunning revelations and fierce contention. The Council was meeting at 6:00 that evening. On a foggy Monday morning, the future of Fort Bragg was up for grabs.
All winter the political narrative has been sliding sidewise at an accelerating pace as alarming disclosure of behind the scenes Development Department manipulation followed alarming disclosures of Development Department manipulation. Marie Jones was conducting the orchestra, while the city council obediently played second fiddle. Of course, no one was rude enough to notice.
For public consumption, the Fort Bragg City Council has been concentrating fixedly on the new City Manager’s instant success story. It is a real story. Briefly told, it comes down to the new professional competence they were fortunate to have acquired in City Manager Tabatha Miller. She balanced the budget for the first time in a decade, put her shoulder to the gaping Calpers (California Personnel Pension Fund) hole in city finance. She is making the Council look good, but the good news was not as loud as the thin ice cracking under the GP mill site and Hare Creek Mall related public distress.
Last week the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) had released their long-anticipated whitewash of the mill site toxicity, hard selling crudely flawed reassurances as they backed out the door, announcing formally the secret deal everybody (who reads the AVA anyway) already knew about. GP was out, the dam was in. The fences were going up and the Council had no expressed opinion.
In a succession of meetings Marie Jones characterized as private (“Do I interfere in what you do in your house?”) with the stakeholder agencies directly or peripherally concerned with the mill site, Marie had personally sanctified and signed on to the GP proposal to let the dioxins, PCBs, arsenic, and lead lay peacefully in the mud. For safety's sake, they were politely asking GP to rebuild the dam in order to “contain” the toxins. GP would limit their further efforts to erecting the fence that would keep the mill site wetlands safe for humans otherwise occupied with their enjoyment of the coastal trail.
Our Development Director had negotiated the walk-out on the cleanup in cold blood all by her lonesome, without consulting or even informing the City Council. It was or would have been all perfectly orderly, but leaks kept springing. “We have lots of meetings,” Ms. Jones breezily informed the Mayor when after being grilled uncomfortably by the public at his Monday meeting, he fetched her personally to inquire of her the truth of leaked hard evidence. You can’t blame the agencies.
Throughout the months of process, DTSC was transparent even accommodating to the press as they waltzed Marie through the process and gravely established a permanent toxic dump.
Ms. Jones, on the other hand, said nothing to nobody on principle. There were no reports to the Council because she didn’t think, and said she didn’t think, they deserved to know. The deal was not their business. Negotiating a toxic wasteland in the middle of town was well within her personal authority.
True the disconnect in information release had been an ongoing embarrassment (mainly for the Mayor) but now that it was over and the deal was settled, the shirts and the shills were practicing their poker face and bracing for controlled community wrath.
To hear DTSC tell it, the fences are just for good measure. The ponds are going to be off-limits but safe in their way. Any way you slice it, Development Director Marie Jones deserves sole responsibility for the new permanent toxic dump.
In round two, just last week the Coastal Commission had dumbfounded everybody by repudiating their own sold out staff and the Development Director in upholding, for the moment, Gabriel Maroney’s formal appeal to halt the demolition of the 70,000 square-foot dry shed #4. In the high and far-off time, Marie Jones had spent quite a bundle of city cash, planning, and designing, hiring architects and conducting elaborate public meetings complete with posty notes to create an industrial arts center in the city’s largest building. Either the ancient structure had undergone a precipitous deterioration or Ms. Jones had sharpened her scrutiny. But somehow in her expert Development Director’s opinion, the big dry shed was now subject to immediate collapse. She made the point to the City’s planning commission at excruciating length, and to the City Council somewhat more succinctly. Smiling happily in her trademark superior condescension, she ran the ball for GP’s demolition permit like OJ used to run a football.
For her next trick, Marie Jones has prepared an extensive EIR (Environmental Impact Report) on the acceptability of bringing us a big box supermarket and situating it at the entrance to our town on one of our most beloved and idyllic public meadows. The problem is acute and intractable. The Hare Creek meadows are zoned for commercial development. Hanging on to one of the city's most beloved and valuable open spaces would require leadership and initiative. It could be done, but Marie Jones doesn't do that. The City Council doesn't. Understanding that a big box is inevitable takes a little getting used to for most people and the process has dragged on for years as public protests and outrage have generated immense friction and sturdy resistance.
Good thing we have Marie Jones to explain the facts of life. She has mocked the city's preoccupation with irreplaceable open space and done everything she can to get those bulldozers moving. The wildly one-sided EIR is the coup de grace. When they tear up Hare Creek meadow you can lay that also to the account of a Development Department that doesn't care and doesn't have to.
When the City Council convened Monday night they spent a happy hour mulling over an improbable and weirdly conceived desalination plant. The plan is to take salt water not from the ocean but from a presently unusable well. It would not permit growth. It would only marginally affect our existing supply of water and it would cost $5 million bucks, adding substantially to your water bill. This charming lead balloon ducks every issue pertaining to rational desalination. Extensive Council deliberations determined that they would think about it some more. Then they got down to business.
Marie Jones took the stage and presented to the council the next little step in her grand strategy for the mill site. In her LCP (Local Coastal Plan) light industrial, tract housing and mixed-use zoning are described in her usual color maps and elaborate formulations. She was seeking direction on minutia. The City Council sat through it in a kind of stupor having long ago thrown in the towel on the most magnificent oceanfront space in the world.
The people of the city have been screaming for open space and creative application on the mill site for twenty years. The City Council doesn't recall that. Marie Jones is more practical. Her development plans are just what you would expect in any development scheme anywhere in California. In Marie Jones’ expert opinion the mill site is just one more vacant lot.
George Reinhardt the most involved person in the city on mill site issues walked out in disgust just ahead of her presentation. Where are you off to?, I asked, this is your issue. It doesn't matter, he told me, the council isn't listening; this has to be stopped at the grassroots.
Maybe that’s true of the Development Director.
UKIAH POLICE CHIEF Chris Dewey is retiring to take a non-cop civilian job with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department. The popular lawman will manage recruiting and hiring for the Sheriff, which has been difficult for years in Mendocino County because as soon as a young recruit gets a little experience he or she tends to move on to a department offering better pay. I was surprised to learn recently that our county's lawmen aren't included in the county's comprehensive health care coverage, which probably accounts for a lot of older cops retiring from jobs that don't include health coverage to take second or third jobs that do.
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ASSUMING the next Board of Supervisors consists of incumbents John McCowen, Dan Gjerde, Carre Brown, plus Ted Williams, and either Haschak or Pinches, there might be a 3-2 majority for simply tossing the County's cockamamie pot licensing scheme and starting over along the lines suggested by Oaky Joe Munson (below), a veteran Northcoast grower.
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DITTO FOR MENTAL HEALTH, which is even more unlikely to happen since most of that annual nearly $30 million comes from the federal government, and one has to wonder if anyone at the federal level ever looks in on Mendocino County to ask, "Hey! What in the way of mental health services is Mendo providing for all that money?"
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TRUMP. We were discussing the national leadership today when a visitor said, "It looks like he's trying to dismantle the whole Western Alliance." I don't think so, and what's to defend there if you aren't a big biz tycoon? If Trump was even a jv fascist intellectual of some kind he might have some grand White Man scheme in mind, but it seems clear he just gets up every morning and wings it, and the people around him are as scattered as he is when it comes to coherent world views. Overall, though, we agreed that there was an obvious shortfall of inspirational leaders out there. From here they all look like one vast School Board.
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THOSE HYENA PACKS of reporters bull rushing famous people are all graduates of journalism schools, most of them anyway. Why any normal person would want to shout dumb questions at celebs… Well, degrading your journalo-self like this probably pays pretty well. If the money's right, people will do just about anything.
MENDOCINO SPORTS PLUS’S ‘FOLLOWING ORDERS’ DEPARTMENT
CANNABIS MANIFESTO: DO IT RIGHT THIS TIME
by Oaky Joe Munson
To the hopelessly out of touch culture war and corporate puppets pretending to be public servants acting for the common good:
Despite your claims to the contrary, to any objective observer your fake legalization hyper-regulatory regime has been designed from the beginning to destroy the present cannabis culture and local economies and replace them with a centrally controlled racket. This is succeeding as an "industrial action," but only for your masters.
In every other respect it is a dismal failure. It is a fancy house built on moral quicksand. The less than 1% participation rate in your cannabis regime has revealed your ruthless hypocrisy for all to see. You have a well-deserved rebellion on your hands, however disorganized, atomized, and inept it may be.
Stop the distractions of conceding tiny trim-tab adjustments to your scheme and squabbling with Kool-Aid drinking activists over crumbs and start over from scratch. This time ask the community what is workable instead of arbitrarily telling us how it's going to be and then pretending to listen to us three minutes at a time after the fact.
Simplify simplify simplify — what ever you manage to come up with, keep it simple.
Cannabis must be treated equally to other all other agricultural products and included in Right to Farm and the annual crop report. Arbitrarily re-defining cannabis as an "Ag commodity" instead of an "ag product" is blatant control fraud sophistry and benefits only the racketeers. Cannabis should receive the same regulatory treatment as all other crops.
Place cannabis under the protection of the Ag commissioner and the Farm Bureau, grandfather existing operators, and have the Ag Credit Union provide funding for small family farmers and makers.
Recognize that almost all "cannabis crime" is a direct consequence of its prohibition and that much otherwise unrelated violent crime would decrease if cannabis were more widely used (as would opioid addiction). Less than 1% of the violent crime in the County and even involves cannabis, so get real about what is really driving crime around here.
Recognize that almost all the moral and cultural "crimes" involving cannabis are now committed by "code enforcement" and other government "authorities" because of culture war dissonances and general ignorance, incompetence, cupidity, conflicts of interest, and cynical political opportunism.
Never forget that victimless crimes are not crimes at all but personal expression of self responsible choice. "Civil disobedience" is a moral obligation in the face of bureau terrorism that damages personal lives and community integrity.
Stop lying about "transparency" and eliminate closed door secret agreement between those "authorities" and the biggest industry players and hysterical neighborhood groups whining and lying to get the "nanny state" to protect them against their own projections. There really are genuine threats to your way of life, folks, and cannabis ain’t one of them.
Serve the overall common good instead of your corporate masters and the "good ol’ boys" who have run this state and county for generations.
Stop damaging the local economy by extracting exorbitant monies from small and large farmers and makers and shipping that money off to too big to jail banks in New York and their owners. Only the very largest and subsidized entities are sufficiently cash flow positive to be able to handle this regulatory overburden.
Recognize you have deceived yourself about the overhyped "riches" and the growth prospects of an almost saturated cannabis marketplace. The only substantial new users are conservative seniors and the compliance bound. Everyone else has already had plentiful fair access one way or another.
Recognize that the "new" source of revenue will not make amends for the sins of the past nor atone for the new sins you are generating.
Stop hiding your culture war hypocrisy behind the "reasonableness" of having every aspect of cannabis handling controlled as though it were an immoral and criminal enterprise instead of benign health and sanity therapy.
Recognize that almost all of the regulatory restrictions and overkill "protections" on cannabis are not necessary and are based on politicized science, reefer hokum "fake facts," indoctrination, ignorance driven beliefs and bizarre claims.
Recognize that the invasive government control-everything approach involving every featherbedding alphabet soup agency known to man (and inventing new ones) is only going to elicit more civil disobedience and guaranteed thriving gray and black markets.
The CDF, ADA, CEQA, EPA, FDA, DEA, CFG, EHS, PRMD, WMA, CCR, BCC, DPH, BPC, DFA, MCSB, CDFA, CDTFA, OSHA and other engagements are all mostly destructive interference with an already healthy, working and profoundly benign "industry."
Recognize that extorting the cannabis industry will not rescue your pensions. The unfunded pension shortfall is a core structural challenge that will not be fixed with duct tape and chewing gum.
Stop placing "cannabis revenues" into the general fund and dedicate them to real community services that include supporting the family players in the cannabis industry. If you can't get 60% of the electorate to support your tax proposals that should tell you something. Listen.
Stop submitting to Drug War monomania and return self determination to property owners. End arbitrary zoning restrictions and work with cultivators and makers.
Stop trying to atomize an integral process of growing, processing, making, marketing, delivering, and selling by requiring separate licenses for every stage involved. That destroys the natural efficiencies of vertical integration for small families and large players alike.
Recognize that almost all environmental damage from cannabis is a direct consequence of its prohibition and not a result of any native inclination of the community involved which care deeply about healthy ecosystems (despite its distraction by hydroponics).
Mandate biodynamic cultivation. This will reduce environmental impact, eliminate almost all environmental harm, and lower the costs for all involved — growers, regulators and enforcers.
Stop driving cannabis cultivation indoors (and out of sight) where all costs are much higher and the quality of produce lower. If you want to eliminate agricultural odors, start with the months-long manure smells and toxic spray.
Stop forbidding the indigent and medically needy the unique benefits of cannabis by outlawing the native generosity and kindness of the cannabis community sharing its bounty without charge.
Stop pretending that Prop 64 or any legislative act will "sunset" Prop 215 which requires an explicit vote of the electorate, not sneaky fine print on page ’lebenty-seven and dodgy self-serving "interpretations" trying to take away our established right to cannabis.
End your simpleminded failure to recognize that cannabis is not by any sensible definition a "drug." In the complex real-world it is a food, a healing and integrating therapy, an inspiring psychedelic (subject to set and setting), a personal and cultural adaptogen, a sacrament, and even a medicine.
Work with Sacramento to end the unstable and unconstitutional (no "equal protection of the law") crazy quilt of different county and city policies about cannabis.
And here is another reminder for you to: "simplify."
If any state regulated enterprise is to have any integrity at all it will work for the benefit of the entire community. Okay Joe says: "do some good — for a change."
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Pretty sure Skrag's girlfriend is pregnant, but when I asked him, he rolled over and said, ‘Gentlemen don't discuss private matters.’ Him? A gentleman? I've heard everything now.”
HELLO. My name is Christine Bias and I am Shawn Bias’s mom. I found the article written about my son Shawn Bias and wish I could report that we have had a better outcome from our sad story.
He is now wondering the streets of Ukiah because his father and I just have to use tough love and hope for the best. It’s so sad that drugs are everywhere in the world and sadly Shawn has become severely addicted to smoking meth. We have been in what seems a whirlwind and at times it seems all hope is lost. I have begged for help from all services but unfortunately I seem to get the same results there are just no funds and if Shawn does not want to change we can do everything in our power but he has to be the one to make that change for his life. I worry each and every day that I will never see my son again. I have to say as a parent there is no greater pain than to lose your once healthy normal Child into a deep black hole and not being able to reach them. I feel cruel because I have to be tough and stand my grounds and not be an enabler because that’s an easy role to take as a partner. I lose my mind and snap at him and then I break down emotionally because what if my anger is the last words I speak to him. It’s just so tough when I look at his pictures from high school where he has that amazing smile and he was so full of life. My son has fallen so deep into his addiction that that is all that matters to him in life. He looks so sad, he’s dirty and wears random clothes that he finds. I don’t even recognize my own son at times. I often think just when can we wake up from this horrible nightmare.
QUIZ TIME! Tonight, Thursday, June 14th, is the second Thursday of the month and so, as is our want, we shall be once again be posing general knowledge and trivia questions at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville. I hope to see you there.
Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master
On 06-11-2018 at approximately 8:18 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were notified of a missing person last seen at 3000 Branscomb Road in Laytonville. The location was a 600 acre rural property that is maintained as a private campground and event center, known as Mendocino Magic. Upon arrival at the location, Deputies were informed that on 06-09-2018 Joshua Piszczek, 35, of Laytonville was on the property and had gone missing. It was reported Piszczek had been attending an organized music festival event at the campground. On the afternoon of 06-09-2018 Piszczek went swimming in the lake at the campground and was last seen by his girlfriend sitting on a dock moored to the shore of the lake. After a short time, the girlfriend looked back and Piszczek was gone. The girlfriend, along with several other event goers searched the area for Piszczek thinking he might have left the lakeside on foot. After 2 days, and Piszczek not returning, the Sheriff's Office was contacted. Deputies searched the area of the lake on foot during nighttime hours after receiving the report, however the area is steep with rugged terrain with lots of tree and brush coverage. On 06-12-2018 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team was sent to the location. An Incident Command Post was established and searchers began searching, with special focus on the lake. The Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Team had one diver in the lake. The Sheriff's Office requested Cal Fire assistance by having Copter 101 from the CAL FIRE Howard Forest Helitack Base assist by searching from the air as the lake had water clarity of about 10 feet in depth. Additionally members of the Little Lake Fire Department Water Rescue Team and Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue responded to assist with inflatable boats and Kayaks on the lake. Having no luck finding Piszczek, mutual aid was requested from the California Office of Emergency Services and plans were set in place for additional searching on 06-13-2018 to include surface and sub surface searching of the lake. On 06-13-2017 as resources were arriving and checking into the Incident Command Post for their search assignments, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy arrived at the lake at approximately 7:18 P.M. and observed what he thought was human remains floating in the lake, near where the missing person was last seen. The remains were removed and identified as being the missing person, Joshua Piszczek. No foul play is suspected at this point, however an autopsy is pending. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to the thank the following agencies for their response and assistance:
CAL FIRE, Little Fire Department, Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue, California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, Sonoma County Search and Rescue, Marin County Search and Rescue, Contra Costa County Search and Rescue, San Mateo County Search and Rescue, Bay Area Mountain Search and Rescue (BAMRU), Napa County Search and Rescue, Solano County Search and Rescue, California Explorer Search and Rescue (CAL-ESAR)
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 13, 2018
LUCIA BARAJAS, Calpella. Under influence, probation revocation.
SHANNON BARDEN, Willits. Burning land of another without permission, mandatory supervision sentencing.
DONALD GIBNEY, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
EDWARD JOHNSON, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, controlled substance for sale. (Frequent flyer.)
VIRGINIA LANE, Chico/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
TATE MADSON, Willits. Failure to appear.
NICOLAS MATA, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
RYAN MCALLISTER, Albion. Domestic abuse, criminal threats.
APOLINAR MURILLO, Ukiah. DUI.
MICHAEL PELKEY, Calpella. Under influence, trespassing, failure to appear, probation revocation.
JESSE RODGERS, Ukiah. Ukiah. Parole violation.
DANIEL TAYLOR, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, criminal threats.
The decision to cut off the microphone of the valedictorian at Petaluma High School’s graduation ceremony was in bleak contrast to any message a reputable academic institution should send.
If the school was concerned that their young and bright valedictorian might say something with which it disagreed, it should have settled the matter with her beforehand. If, after approving her speech, the school had concerns that she might go off-script, she should still have been allowed to have her say. Then, in the academic tradition of debate, rebuttal and civil discourse, the principal could have stated the school’s position.
The audience, most of whom were probably unaware of any back story causing this puzzling action, would have shrugged and moved on. As it was, this unexplained censorship caused shock and anger, with many minutes of boos and cries of, “Let her speak!” It was a disturbing and rather appalling disruption in what should have been a joyful ceremony.
If the principal’s clumsy mishandling of the situation was sanctioned by the school board, the board members should be embarrassed. It came off as an egregious form of public bullying and has given Petaluma High, its principal and the board a black eye far worse than any they might have received from letting the young woman speak.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Trump’s ranting about ‘unfair’ trade is so much bullshit. The fact is that it wasn’t ‘foreigners stealing our jobs’ – it was US corporations fleeing high wages, taxes & collateral costs of doing the core manufacturing work in the US that got everyone to this state of affairs.
The ‘trade imbalances’ appear to be wealth going to another country, but as likely as not, those profits are being booked by US corporations that are domiciled offshore – viz, Google, Apple etc. who all sit on mountains of cash that they do not wish to expose to the US IRS.
Then Trump goes and does things that ‘look great’ to his ignorant base, without bothering to understand the consequences & collateral damage. For example tariffs on imported solar panels making them so expensive that demand drops precipitously & thousands of people working in the installation & maintenance businesses associated with a sweet, clean renewable energy are out of work, while there’s been no huge return of the ‘coal jobs’.
PREDATORY GAMBLING IN THE USA
by Russell Mokhiber
Les Bernal is working on a ranking of the states with the worst predatory gambling problems.
He hasn’t completed it yet. But he gave us a sneak preview. Bernal is the national director of the public interest group Stop Predatory Gambling.
If he were to call it right now, which would be the five worst states?
Oregon, West Virginia, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania.
What about Nevada?
“We don’t debate Nevada,” Bernal told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. “If you were going to have one place to gamble, have it be Nevada. I always exclude Nevada.”
What are the best five?
Utah, Hawaii, Alaska, Nebraska – with New Hampshire and Vermont tied for the number five slot.
“It’s hard to do a ranking,” Bernal said. “Oregon has one tribal casino. But the Oregon lottery has video gambling machines. Technically they don’t have many casinos in Oregon. But Oregon is as bad as any state in the country in terms of harming the public.”
“West Virginia is there as one of the worst. Oregon is right there. It’s not a uniform thing.”
“Our goal is to have a ranking of the biggest predatory gambling states in the country. And factor in the different forms of gambling they have.”
How would you describe the politics behind the movement to stop predatory gambling?
“We are one of the most politically diverse movements in the United States. We have people from all political stripes who work together. You would be hard pressed to find a more diverse network of citizens involved with this.”
Is your group opposed to all gambling?
“We are opposed to the role of government in actively promoting and sanctioning commercialized gambling to citizens.”
Isn’t that all gambling?
“If you and I went bowling or were playing golf and we had a friendly wager on the game, that is technically gambling. I’m not talking about prohibiting that. We are talking about gambling for profit.”
You would prohibit gambling for profit?
“We would prohibit running a gambling ring for profit, yes we would.”
If you prohibited gambling for profit, you are prohibiting 99% of the gambling in the United States, right?
“Running it as a business.”
Isn’t that 99% of gambling in the United States?
“No. There are all sorts of social gambling where people have Friday night poker gamers, office Super Bowl pools.”
What percentage of all gambling in the United States is gambling for profit?
“In 2016, the American people lost $117 billion to government sanctioned gambling.”
How much did they lose in other gambling?
“The numbers on illegal gambling don’t compare.”
The legalized gambling piece is $117 billion in 2016.
“That’s what they lost. What they wagered is close to $200 billion.”
And illegal gambling is much less?
“Well, if you and I are in a Friday night poker game, that’s gambling.”
How about bookies?
“Those guys are doing it for profit. That’s called illegal commercial gambling.”
How big is that market?
“The American Gaming Association made up a number of $150 billion on illegal sports gambling.”
Give us your argument against government sanctioned gambling.
“The American people lost $117 billion to government sanctioned gambling in 2016. At the same time one out of two citizens in this country own zero net assets – no stocks, no property, no bonds.”
“Here you have an enormous number of people who lack assets to grow into the middle class. And the public voice of government is targeting that same constituency to play games that are rigged against them.”
“We start with this moral belief that all men and women deserve a fair opportunity to have the best life possible for themselves and their family. That’s why we show up every day to compete on this.”
“You have citizens losing $117 billion a year. And meanwhile, half the citizens don’t have any assets at all. The public voice of government to most citizens today no matter where you live is gambling.”
“We see a lottery class of citizens. You don’t have a chance to improve your life. You are stuck with a lack of mobility out of poverty. And your best hope is to try and play a rigged game to make some cash to pay your rent every month.”
“At the same time, government is advertising these games relentlessly to citizens. We spend more than $1 billion a year advertising gambling to the American people on lotteries alone. That pales in comparison to any other form of government advertising.”
“When I was a kid growing up I used to see advertisements with John Wayne saying – invest in your country – buy US Savings Bonds. The idea behind that was to encourage citizens to build assets. Everyone points back to the 1950s where there was a growing middle class and a chance for people to climb out of poverty.”
“We had a high savings rate. People were building assets. That was an understated part of keeping people in the middle class. We talk a lot about wages, but wages are only one part of the equation. You also have to encourage people to build assets.”
“We come off the great depression during World War II. And the public voice of government then was – we have to put people to work. Imagine government encouraging people back then to go out and spend their money on lottery tickets to raise the money for the war. Instead they encouraged the citizens to go out and buys savings bonds, to invest in your country, invest in your neighbor. It created this strong sense of a common good. It was stronger then than it is today.”
Of the $117 billion that the American people lost, how much of that came from poor people?
“Without question, a large portion is coming from the poor. David Just and his team at Cornell have done the best research on that. And it consistently shows that the people who are participating come from the least favored sections of our society. And they are playing out of financial desperation. It’s a Hail Mary investment strategy.”
“Two-thirds of the public doesn’t gamble at all. You have one third of the public participating in this government sanctioned gambling. The messaging that is targeting those folks is – this is a chance to change your life. They sell scratch tickets that say – money for life. This is going to be your answer to get ahead in society.”
“The average person sees the lottery as Powerball and Megamillions. But the truth is that those two games represent only a small portion of lottery revenues. Where lotteries make most of their cash are on what are called scratch tickets. Scratch tickets are the number one money maker, unless you are a state like Oregon that has these electronic gambling machines, which are the most lucrative of all.”
“Scratch tickets are these high frequency games where you play many times a day at higher and higher wagered amounts.”
What impact does gambling have on the poor?
“Government sanctioned gambling goes to the heart of many issues that the poor face. It’s a big factor in the lack of mobility out of poverty. By encouraging people to gamble on these rigged games, instead of being able to build a savings account, they are spending on these rigged games at the street corner on a daily basis.”
“What are the key elements of mobility out of poverty? Family structure. If you can keep a family unit together, you have a better shot of getting out of poverty than if you don’t. Two of the biggest factors shown to disrupt family structure are infidelity and financial problems.”
“Here you have a government program that directly attacks the family structure and the family structure is the key to pulling people out of poverty. Government sanctioned gambling is designed to get citizens to lose their cash as frequently as possible at higher wagered amounts. It directly intersects with rising inequality. We define it as a lack of opportunity.”
(Courtesy, CounterPunch.org) [For the complete q/a format Interview with Les Bernal, see 32 Corporate Crime Reporter 24(11), June 7, 2018, print edition only.]
THE WILLITS CENTER FOR THE ARTS PRESENTS THE SOUND OF ART.
On June 30th, 2018, a premiere exhibition of Mendocino County instrument makers and musical sculptures will be unveiled at the Willits Center for the Arts. This uniquely Mendocino show will feature the fantastical musical sculptures of Spencer Brewer and highly skilled professional instrument makers from around Mendocino County. Many people in Mendocino County do not realize that world-class instruments are being made locally by a variety of master craftsmen who are recognized and sought-after masters of their crafts. This exhibition showcases the local wealth of talent our rural county has to offer and not to be missed!
Featured instrument maker artists include Monte Levenson’s Shakuhachie-traditional Japanese flutes, Michael Hubbert’s bagpipes & hurdy-gurdys, luthier David Dart’s old-world creations, Rick Micheletti’s & Greg Byers world class guitars and Bruce Potter’s unique fingerstyle guitars. Recently deceased Ralph Waldman’s unfinished string instruments will give people an indication of how these tools of music are actually are made and instruments by Bruce Potter and others will show a variety of skills in making musical instruments.
Composer, pianist and sculpture artist Spencer Brewer creates quirky and fantastical musical pieces of art out of re-purposed, or ‘found art’ materials; from the whimsical and humorous to the extraordinary. Creating compositions from vintage and rare objects, he inspires viewers with a sense of delight, surprise and often times awe. His creations are made in his and his wife Esther Siegel’s studio, the “Barn of Curiosities, Oddities and Light” which is a wonderland of eccentric ephemera and mechanical obscura.
The Sound of Art is a first of its kind show in Mendocino County and will host a grand opening with the artists present on Saturday, June 30th at 6 P.M. first for members. The public is then invited to attend this instrumental wonderland at 7 P.M. The show runs through Sunday, July 29th.
Willits Center for the Arts is located at 71 East Commercial St. (Next to the Noyo Theater) in Willits, CA. 707-459-1726
For more information about the show please contact:
Gary Martin, Curator, Willits Center for the Arts
SIDEWALKS, HOW TO
Sidewalks & Paths Workshop 6/19
From: City of Point Arena <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Point Arena Workshop to Focus on Needs & Priorities of Pedestrians
What are the next steps for improving walking on the South Coast?
Join us for an evening of presentations, community input, and free food!
Tuesday, June 19
5:30- 8:00 PM
Point Arena City Hall
451 School Street
This is the first of three County-wide workshops to evaluate the needs, priorities, and feasibility of improving pedestrian facilities in the region, and provide options and recommendations leading to the eventual construction of new and infill pedestrian facilities. Participants will hear about the path to improved walking conditions, including techniques and funding to improve sidewalks, paths and crossings. Input will be sought on community priorities from the Point Arena Community Action Plan as well as new priorities for the South Coast. Refreshments will be provided by Trinks Catering in Gualala. The public is also invited to participate in an online survey to help determine pedestrian needs and priorities in the region. Results of the survey will be shared with MCOG and local agency staff, planners and engineers to help illuminate the most important issues in the region. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete. Take the online survey of pedestrian needs at www.mendopedestrian.org (http://www.mendopedestrian.org/)
The Mendocino Council of Governments has secured funding for a comprehensive regional study to improve sidewalks, paths, and safe crossings in Mendocino County. The Mendocino County Pedestrian Needs Assessment and Engineered Feasibility Study – or Mendo Pedestrian project – will evaluate the needs, priorities, and feasibility of improving pedestrian facilities in the region, and provide options and recommendations leading to the eventual construction of new and infill pedestrian facilities. The Mendo Pedestrian project is funded by Caltrans through the Rural Planning Assistance and Sustainable Communities Transportation Planning Grant funds. Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) is administering the project and providing matching funds. The project is conducted in coordination with the Cities of Fort Bragg, Point Arena, Ukiah, and Willits, and the County of Mendocino. For updates, future workshop dates, and more information about the Mendo Pedestrian project, visit www.MendoPedestrian.org.
THE REAL ECONOMIC NUMBERS: 21.5 Percent Unemployment, 10 Percent Inflation And Negative Economic Growth
As you are about to see, if honest numbers were being used all of our major economic numbers would be absolutely terrible. Of course we can hope for a major economic turnaround for America under Donald Trump, but we certainly are not there yet. Economist John Williams of shadowstats.com has been tracking what our key economic numbers would look like if honest numbers were being used for many years, and he has gained a sterling reputation for being accurate. And according to him, it looks like the U.S. economy has been in a recession and/or depression for a very long time.
PLAN TO DIVIDE CALIFORNIA INTO THREE STATES will be put to voters in November after billionaire's petition gains more than 400,000 signatures
A plan to divide California into three separate states will be put to voters in November’s mid-term elections after securing enough signatures to be put on the ballot.
The proposal is the brainchild of billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper, 59, who made his fortune as an early investor in Skype and Hotmail, and launched a campaign called ‘Cal 3’.
It has now received more than 402,468 valid signatures, passing the threshold required by state law, CNN reported.
Under the proposal, the central state of California would consist of the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Benito.
The southern state would comprise Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, and Mono.
Northern California would include 40 counties from Santa Cruz to the Oregon border, including San Francisco and Sacramento, the state’s current capital.
But even if the plan is approved at the ballot box, Congress would still have the final say on whether it can go ahead.
California's economy overtaken that of the United Kingdom to become the world's fifth largest, according to new federal data released last month.
The Golden State's gross domestic product rose by $127 billion from 2016 to 2017, surpassing $2.7 trillion, driven by strong productivity.
Draper has said that partitioning California would allow regional communities to make better and more sensible decisions on pressing issues such as schools, taxes and deteriorating infrastructure.
The plan for partitioning California would be parallel to other states that have been partitioned, including the Dakotas, the Carolinas, and the Virginias.
Earlier this year, as the number of signatures on the petition began to grow he said: ‘This is an unprecedented show of support on behalf of every corner of California to create three state governments that emphasize representation, responsiveness, reliability and regional identity.'
He added ‘the citizens of the whole state would be better served by three smaller state governments while preserving the historical boundaries of the various counties, cities and towns.’
This isn’t the first time that Draper has put forward a ballot initiative in favor of breaking up California.
In 2013, he launched Six Californias, a plan that would divide up the Golden State into six states.
The question was never put on the ballot because it failed to gain enough signatures.
Earlier this year, Robert Preston and Tom Reed put forward their own proposal calling for splitting California into two because the state had become ‘ungovernable’ because of high taxes.
The proposal would see California shrunk down to its coastal areas between Los Angeles and Sonoma Counties.
A new state, ‘New California,’ would encompass the rural areas.
Preston and Reed called for a 'free and Independent State' with 'full power to establish and maintain law and order, to promote general prosperity.'
MAKE NEW FRIENDS!
Boards and Commissions Vacancies
The list of vacancies, due to term expirations and/or resignations, for County Boards and Commissions has been updated. A list of all new and existing vacancies is available on the County Website at:
The attached document contains a list of the vacancies that are new.
Please contact the Clerk of the Board office at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and Executive Office, 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1010 (707) 463-4441
“Then you just hit ‘tweet,’ and the whole world goes crazy.”
At six am on Monday, June 18th a convoy from Humboldt and Del Norte Counties will embark on a six hour drive south to San Francisco Immigration Court to demand the return of their undocumented friend and neighbor Claudia Portillo, Arcata mother of four.
During a routine check-in appointment in November 2017, Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents unexpectedly detained Ms. Portillo and imprisoned her 555 miles away from her four daughters in the privately owned Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility in Bakersfield.
Just 33 years old, Ms. Portillo was born in El Salvador but has lived in the United States from age seven. Her four U.S. daughters, four rescued dogs, mother, two sisters, nieces, and brother await her return to Arcata, where she has lived for the past four years.
“My sister has been stuck in detention for seven months. She has missed her daughters’ birthdays and graduations waiting for a bond hearing.” Explained Ms. Portillo’s sister Jenny Ventura. “That hearing was just scheduled for 1 pm on Monday, June 18th in San Francisco. We have to make it count.”
As soon as the news filtered out on Tuesday, June 12, community volunteer Billy Cook launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for Ms. Portillo’s bond.
Care for Ms. Portillo’s four daughters has fallen to family members. After seeing her mother for the first time in months via video call from detention, her eleven year old daughter Eliada Bernal Portillo sighed, “I just want my mom back, she made everyone laugh and we haven’t been happy without her.”
“We hope seeing Claudia’s neighbors and family drive 279 miles to San Francisco on a work day to plead for her return will help Judge O’Brien agree this is an easy ‘yes’,” explained Pastor Bethany Nass Cseh of Arcata United Methodist Church and Catalyst Church in Arcata.
Two convoys from Humboldt County will depart promptly at 6:30 am Monday, June 18th from in front of both the Arcata and Eureka locations of Los Bagels, a popular local bakery and cafe and donor of food for the journey. They will gather with clergy and allies at the San Francisco Immigration Court house at 12 noon that day, before filing into Ms. Portillo’s 1 pm hearing.
Judge Patrick S. O’Brien, who will hear Ms. Portillo’s bond plea, is one of only 334 immigration judges nationwide struggling to overcome an average backlog of 1,849 cases per judge. A 2017 article uncovered that only 15 percent of people in detentionare represented by an attorney in San Francisco’s immigration courts.
“Claudia is a strong, vital part of our community and is enduring something unthinkable for most of us… waiting in detention for more than 7 months! This is wrong! Claudia is not a criminal. She is a lovely human being who deserves better than this.” urged Mckinleyville, CA resident and True North Organizing Network Leader Lisa Enge.
Among the community groups mobilizing for Claudia Portillo’s return are True North Organizing Network, Arcata United Methodist Church, Catalyst Church, Humboldt Move to Amend, Centro Del Pueblo, among others.
THE FACE OF GOD
"Many people believed that God looked more like themselves, a phenomenon that researchers describe as ‘egocentricity.’ For instance, people who rated themselves as looking more attractive chose more attractive images to represent God. African Americans thought of God as darker-skinned, and white Americans thought of God as light-skinned. People also chose images of God that more closely matched their own age."