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Mendocino County Today: Monday, July 23, 2018

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AS OF SUNDAY EVENING, the “Carder Fire” near Kelseyville in Lake County was being contained by fire crews with Calfire declaring it 80% contained at 57 acres, smaller than the 90 acre Peach Fire in Boonville a couple of weeks ago.

THE SIMILAR SIZE Heart fire west of Redwood Valley off Highway 101 was also nearly contained, declared 90% contained at 65 acres as of Saturday night.

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At a meeting earlier this month the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors rejected the annual report of the Mendocino County Library Advisory Board, saying it was too negative about the county’s decision to combine the library into a new department called the Cultural Services Agency.

The new Cultural Services Agency takes the county library system and puts it together with the county museum in Willits and the countywide parks department.

The thinking as far as we can tell, is that one overall director for these three agencies will save money.

We’re sure the county has some other reasons officially, like having one person at the top will improve the services among them all, but we’re pretty sure that’s not how it works. The best way to handle all three departments is to have solid, qualified people at the helm of each.

When county museum director Alison Glassey finally retired, the county no doubt thought, “Well, now we can avoid hiring a new museum director.”

We understand why the library folks are nervous. The library, after a successful fund raising campaign has really turned around and come to be thought of as a well-run and energetic organization. The Ukiah library is now a community center with great and interesting programs for people of all ages.

To combine this effort with two other county departments – and already the library director has been tasked with being part-time museum director – is bound to cause worry among the people who see the library and its funding being drained for the purposes of propping up other departments.

We understand the desire to have efficient government and to reduce costs.

Perhaps if the county had a well-run and energetic museum, and a well run and energetic parks program, people wouldn’t worry that those programs were being boosted on the backs of the library’s success.

Combining such ‘cultural resources’ makes some sense, but not if two of the three really need a lot of work.

The county may think that taking the library director, who has a vibrant library system to her credit, and pointing her to the museum, will result in a rejuvenated museum. But that’s probably not the case. The museum needs a great deal of help. It is indeed one of our county’s most important cultural resources and the county should be putting a good deal of effort into making it a legitimate storehouse of our county’s history as well as a successful tourist attraction. Neither is the case right now.

As for our county parks, while minimally maintained, they certainly don’t seem to be the cultural gathering places one would expect.

All of this is, of course, beside the point since the county has created the Cultural Services Agency and is moving forward.

What the county needs to do, however, is make absolutely sure that not a penny of library money is spent on the museum or the parks, and that the museum gets the kind of attention it deserves. The county has allowed the museum and all of its myriad historical artifacts to be left to deteriorate.

If the CSA does anything, it should be to prove that our county’s history – like its libraries – deserve the best care and attention we can provide.

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

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Art by Matt Beard of Eureka

(For more of Beard’s artwork, or to order his book, visit his website:

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by Jim Shields

It’s never a good idea for elected officials to pick a fight with an advisory board they created for the specific purpose of giving them advice.

It’s considered good public policy to encourage citizens to participate in the governing process and volunteer their time and share their expertise to assist the decision-makers in making their decisions.

It’s considered bad public policy when elected officials go out of their way to insult and vilify the very folks they appointed to serve as an advisory conduit to them.

Case in point is the Board of Supervisors’ and their Library Advisory Board (LAB).

Let me nutshell this issue for you.

Since March the Supes have been planning to incorporate three separate departments/programs — the Library, Museum, and County Parks — into a proposed new department, the Cultural Services Agency (CSA).

The proposal was opposed by the LAB and all six of the county’s “Friends of the Public Library” groups that are spread throughout the county.

The Supes claimed that the move would result in unspecified cost savings and increased efficiencies. In fact, at the March meeting when the subject was discussed, it was revealed that neither the Supes nor their staff had prepared even a basic cost-benefit analysis of the proposed consolidation plan.

One speaker, a business consultant, addressed the Board informing them that they were not dealing with a legitimate proposal but rather a “back-of-the-napkin sketch” that was devoid of “data, analysis, and projections.” In other words, there was no there to there.

Board Chairman Dan Hamburg agreed with the speaker’s characterization of the proposal lacking specificity. In fact, Hamburg issued “direction to staff” motion approved by the Board to bring back a re-jiggered proposal that would include “data, analysis, and projections.”

Kind of amazing that county officials would take under consideration a proposal of this import that lacked even the bare essentials that would allow for full and completed deliberation.

It was even more amazing that the order to staff to prepare a full analysis of the proposal was never carried out. Instead, the consolidation proposal was rolled into June budget deliberations where the BOS unanimously approved the creation of the new Cultural Services Agency.

Needless to say, the LAB and Friends of the Public Library groups were not pleased with what they interpreted as an “end around” feint by the BOS to establish the new agency.

It all came to a head at the July 10 BOS meeting where LAB chairman Marc Komer presented his board’s annual report to the Supes.

The nine-page report covered mainly routine items relative to the county library system. However, the report also revisited the LAB’s objections to the consolidate agency, stating,

“The LAB believes the proposed Cultural Services Agency will harm the Library for the following reasons:

  1. Jeopardize future library funding.
  2. Reduce the director and admin staff to part-time with diminished focus on library services and programs.
  3. Loss of control of the library budget and library reserve fund through the potential for co-mingling and improper use of dedicated library funds.
  4. Prop up the Museum and Parks at the Library’s expense.
  5. Less effective administration and loss of services.

“We advise the Board of Supervisors to reject the proposed Cultural Services Agency.”

The Supervisors were so miffed at Komer and the Library Advisory Board’s effrontery in resurrecting the new agency consolidation issue that they took the unprecedented action of “rejecting” the LAB report. Long-standing protocol for these types of reports is for the BOS to vote to “accept” the report as an official public document. Such action does not connote or imply that the Board either agrees or disagrees with the content of the report. It just recognizes that the report was issued by the LAB and received by the BOS.

Basically the Supes’ rejection action questions the integrity of its own advisory board and, of course, was a mean-spirited insult to the LAB, as well as the various Friends of the Public Library groups.

This action by the BOS continues their established pattern around this library issue where they ignore, discount, disregard, and in some instances, denigrate the service of dedicated citizen-volunteers who are critical to improving the local governing process. And the governing process in this county is in need of a whole lot of improvement.

I know quite a few of the folks who are active in these library groups. They are well respected in their communities, and are people whom others pay attention and listen to.

On this library issue, the Supes have already lost whatever good will they may have had out in the communities and neighborhoods of this county. And with the good will, the trust also is lost.

The Supes handling of the library issue is what you call a Pyrrhic victory.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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A EUROPEAN COMPANY called FlixBus will get you from San Francisco to Los Angeles for only $9.99. That's what their ads say. The 'Hound gets you from Frisco to LA for about twenty bucks. You're beginning to be an old timer if you remember going from Boonville to the City by a daily Greyhound running between Fort Bragg and San Francisco, an important service that ended around '75 as I recall. The 'Hound was replaced for a while by two brothers from Lebanon, the country, who ran a daily 12 passenger van between Fort Bragg and the City. Their van service lasted about a year before folding under pressure from the heavily subsidized MTA out of Ukiah. You can get to SF and back by MTA but it will take you a while.

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RE THE OPENING of CostCo in Ukiah from Ukiah's mayor, Kevin Doble to the UDJ: “It’s almost like it puts Ukiah on the map. Just the sheer market area of Costco would bring people to our town that ordinarily wouldn’t come here, and I think that’s always good for a city, when you’re in an area where you can be somewhat remote or isolated. I think it will be a really good thing for our community.”

COSTCO'S manager said he expected some 5,000 shoppers on weekends and 2,500 daily bulk buyers, while the anarchic City of Ukiah anticipates $2 million in annual sales taxes, hence the Big Box-ification of America as small towns everywhere grab the sales taxes generated by the Boxes to fund exorbitant pay for their city manager and ancillary staff at the expense of their civic souls.

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WE WERE ARGUING the other day about the lamest local governing body, excluding school boards which, and not to be too harsh about it, are universally lame. (Mark Twain thought similarly about school boards, so we're in good company.) The Ukiah City Council, with Steve Scalmanini all by himself dragging it bottomward, has been weak for years, so weak it has filled seats by appointment, hence Scalmanini. If Ukiah gave a hoot Council seats would be contested. Fort Bragg and Willits seem to function as they should with capable people occupying Council seats who appoint capable city managers. For instance, the new city manager in Fort Bragg, Tabatha Miller, is a large improvement over the authoritarian former city manager, Linda Ruffing, who alienated much of Fort Bragg by installing an LA double dipper as police chief over John Naulty, a local hero who had stopped a rampaging Oregon tweaker who had murdered the popular Coast deputy Sheriff, Ricky Del Fiorentino. Ruffing also steered the destructive conversion of the Old Coast Hotel into yet another project of purely alleged benefit to the homeless. Point Arena's council functions as an adjunct to perennial local public agency hustler, Richard Shoemaker, who milks Mendocino County's smallest incorporated town for $50,000 a year "part-time" and has installed an old friend, Paul Andersen, as "assistant" city manager to succeed him. The County's Board of Supervisors has at least a theoretical shot at returning to a semblance of effective functioning when two new supervisors are seated the first of the year. As is they simply sign off on whatever's put in front of their uncomprehending pusses by CEO Carmel Angelo.

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LONG GRAIN FARMER Doug Mosul's retirement may, if he can't find someone to replace him, be a fairly major blow to our area's small farm movement. Given our precarious supply networks, the more foods that can be produced and marketed locally the more food-secure we are. Up through the turn of the twentieth century, Mendo pretty much fed itself.

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ONE BENEFIT of old age is the return to the books of one's youth, memories of which are mostly lost somewhere in the recesses of time. I'm re-reading Graham Greene's "The Power and the Glory," a book that made a strong impression on me in my callow youth. In callower old age about all I could recall was the "whiskey priest" being pursued through an anti-clerical state of Mexico during a period when Catholicism was outlawed unto death for its practitioners. The book is a lot stronger than I remembered it, but then fictional strength against today's frivolous din can be startling.

"The priest stood not far from his own portrait on the wall and waited. Once he glanced quickly and nervously up at the old crumpled newspaper cutting and thought, It's not very like me now. What an unbearable creature he must have been in those days — and yet in those days he had been comparatively innocent. That was another mystery: it sometimes seemed to him that venial sins — impatience, an unimportant lie, pride, a neglected opportunity — cut you off from grace more completely than the worst sins of all. Then, in his innocence, he had felt no love for anyone; now in his corruption he had learnt…"

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A LONG TIME READER wants more "left" in the AVA's depleted pages. How many more ways can you say Trump is bad? How many more ways can you say Trump is president because the Democratic Party is corrupt, that the whole show is tottering, perhaps in the direction of fascism but more likely in the direction of a kind of disruptive, low intensity chaos, an intensification of what we have now. Americans aren't disciplined enough to pull off fascism, and name a general who could get away with declaring martial law and mandatory maga hats. Myself, I don't find very many political writers interesting. Like most lefties, I miss my old friend Alexander Cockburn. There isn't anyone of his ability around now. The only lib-left writer I look forward to reading is Matt Taibbi, more a liberal than doctrinaire leftist, and the Brit, John Lanchester, also not a leftist in the usual sense. I think the detailed reports we get on aspects of real life in this small paper about this small place are far more interesting than political screeds, and from those reports from this small place we learn the true state of the nation.

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DON'T TELL the Appropriate Police, but we have a Gringo-Mex softball team on the Southcoast called the Rednexicans, another largely Native American nine called the Savages, and a presumably all-male squad called the Ball Busters.

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KINDA SHOCKED the other day when my wife told me that one of her mahjong club members had dropped out because the group "was too liberal." The entire group is nonplussed because they're all mahjong all the time. Politics never even comes up. If the political polarization has reached the mahjong level, well…

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A LARGE CROWD assembled at Aquarelle in the center of booming Friday night Boonville, Mendocino County's most happening community, to make merry to the lively tunes of our local band, BoonFire. Nice sound, from what I could hear down the street at the ava bunker. Call me old school, but it was also nice to see the young 'uns making an effort to look good, with young women in summer frocks, young men eluding the usual slacker-slobism that seems so prevalent. And all of it outdoors, enlivening all Boonville.

ALL THE RESTAURANTS were packed Friday night and we gotta bunch. The next night, busy again, with the largest crowd at the Apple Hall for a quinceanera

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Skrag has the nerve to ask me, ‘C'mon, LD, give me the contact info for the babes who were here yesterday.’ As if I'd unleash this degenerate on respectable young ladies, or even disreputable ones!”

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DANDY ALLEGRA, a Fresno paramedic and daughter of Philo resident David Severn, passes along this item about a stolen cellphone:

Fun little, kinda long story — my cell phone was stolen off my patio table last Monday night. I ran in to help Dahl with something, was gone just a moment. Super sucky. But I went to AT&T and my insurance covered a replacement. It was shipped and delivered (with a signature!) to my apartment when I was not home. Stolen, again. So I recontacted AT&T who approved a second replacement, and had it shipped to work. Finally got the phone! But.... couldn’t activate it because my iTunes was locked for security reasons and can only be unlocked by entering a code sent to — my inactivated new phone!! Went to the AT&T store, they said sorry that’s an Apple problem. Called Apple who said, Oh sure, we can help, our next available appointment is August 3rd. Great. Go to a different AT&T store to just buy some little flip phone to at least have something to make phone calls on. While there, the woman helping me said, Um, no, let me try something else. Made a call, activated my phone without iTunes! Got the security access, bam, fully functioning phone with all my contacts, apps and photos! Phew. THEN! I got home from work and ran into a neighbor a few doors down. She had the original replacement! Said she saw the delivery guy trying to leave it but didn’t want it stolen so she signed for it. She hadn’t seen me yet since my work schedule is kinda funky. What?!? Awesome! Oh, but I’m not done! I go to bed feeling like at least SOMEBODY has my back. And around midnight, hear someone knocking at my door. It’s midnight. I ignore it, no good can come of whatever THAT is. But they persist. Even knock on my bedroom window! So I arm myself with a broom, 911 ready to dial. With my fiercest attitude I crack the door to see what the eff? A young man holds out a phone. My original phone! The one that was stolen almost a week ago! He said a neighbor told a neighbor that my phone was stolen; he heard some kid bragging about swiping a phone, confronted the kid — who handed it over! And that he had been trying to return it all week but (my funky work schedule) hadn’t been able to. No damage, no jailbreak, no reset. Just dead battery. WHAAAAAT?!?  All week long I was frustrated beyond belief at my awful luck, questioning my life and feeling like I was being beaten around ever corner, just to find out only one little kid with a smug, loose lipped attitude was at fault. Now I have THREE phones! Lol. I will of course return what I can on Monday. Faith restored. I’m grateful.

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by Tara Duggan

Usually, the first weekend of April is when abalone divers pack up their wetsuits and fins and head off to campsites along the Sonoma and Mendocino coast. However, this year’s recreational abalone season is closed due to a population on the brink of collapse, so the diving community has rechanneled its efforts in a seemingly mad scheme to save the abalone, involving underwater vacuums, hookahs and purple sea urchins.

The urchins are an overpopulated species that has laid waste to the struggling kelp forests that abalone and other marine wildlife need for food. In response, fans of recreational abalone diving are paying professional divers to literally vacuum up the spiny creatures — which have little commercial value — from the sea floor with a fiberglass pipe that empties into a big net.

Diving associations, along with marine conservation and education organizations like the Noyo Center for Marine Science in Fort Bragg and Get Inspired in Southern California, have raised $80,000 to fund a California Department of Fish and Wildlife project to remove purple sea urchins from select areas of the Northern California coast.

“There’s no way we could get rid of them all,” said Joshua Russo, a diving instructor and president of the Watermen’s Alliance, a diving and spearfishing association. “We’re not trying to. We’re trying to get rid of them at specific locations to allow the kelp to grow back.”

California Department of Fish and Wildlife scientists have been planning this urchin removal experiment since 2016 in response to the dearth of bull kelp. The kelp forest supports not just abalone but also red sea urchin (which is fished commercially and often seen on restaurant menus), smaller fish and invertebrates that provide food for larger fish, like salmon. One of the big causes of decline in the kelp forest was the 2014-15 El Niño, which raised ocean temperatures and discouraged new growth. The Northern California kelp forest shrank by 93 percent between 2008 and 2014, according to aerial surveys conducted by the department, which has not seen much improvement since.

“I don’t expect to see a recovery in kelp until we see a decline in purple urchin,” said Cynthia Catton, an environmental scientist with the department’s marine region, based at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory. She estimates the invertebrate’s population at 60 to 100 times its normal size. “We’ve been learning a lot in the last couple years about how much effort it’s going to take to control the purple urchin.”

The purple urchin has few natural predators. The sea star that normally eats them died off from disease suddenly in 2013, the North Coast sea otter population hasn’t recovered, and humans prefer the meatier red urchin. And, unlike abalone, purple sea urchins reproduce well even under starvation conditions.

“They’re really hardy, and there isn’t much to them — they’re just a big calcified ball of water and spines,” Catton said. “They out-compete everything else for food that they munch on. If there’s absolutely no food out there, they can get nutrients from the water.”

The purple urchin infestation has had economic as well as ecological ramifications. Recreational abalone diving normally brings an estimated $44 million annually in tourism into North Coast towns, according to a department analysis. The Northern California commercial red sea urchin fishery, which was worth $3.6 million in 2013, dropped to $566,169 in 2016.

“This is a nightmare,” said retired commercial urchin diver Jon Holcomb, 72, of Fort Bragg, who said he never witnessed such bad kelp conditions in his 37-year career. One of a handful of professional divers taking part in the urchin removal program, Holcomb created the urchin-sucking device they’re using based on an airlift, a tool used to clear sand and other small objects from the ocean floor. Rather than scuba gear, the divers use hookahs attached to small fishing boats for breathing and then dive down with the airlift. After scraping the urchins off the rocks, they suck the animals through the pipe and into a waiting net.

Each diver can clear around 1,500 square feet a day of urchin barrens, the vast areas of the sea floor that have been stripped of vegetation by the purple-spined creatures.

By having Holcomb and company remove urchin barrens from specific areas, starting with Caspar Cove near the town of Mendocino, Catton wants to see if they can create a few kelp “oases.” Bull kelp is an annual plant that depends on spores released by the previous year’s kelp to grow. The hope is that a few small thriving kelp forests could create enough spores to encourage growth elsewhere on the coast.

“We don’t know how many of those there will be, or how far the spores will travel,” she said.

The larger goal, Catton said, is to create a market for the purple urchins, which currently are not meaty enough to sell as seafood.

Gowan Batist of Fortunate Farm in Caspar, who already augments her soil with spent brewing grains from North Coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg, is advising the project organizers on how they could use sea urchins as a soil amendment. The shells offer a slow release of calcium, and just have to be thoroughly rinsed of salt water before being added to compost.

However, they will need to find a lot of farmers to use up all of the urchins they collect and to cover the substantial cost of collecting them. Meanwhile, the collected dead urchins sit on the dock, at Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg, where staff and volunteers from the Noyo Center for Marine Science assess the catch.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Russo and the Watermen’s Alliance are planning a gathering at Ocean Cove on the Sonoma coast, a popular camping spot for Bay Area abalone divers. Instead of abalone this year, they’ll be diving for purple sea urchins. Russo sees it as a last-chance solution.

“The kelp is the bottom of the ecosystem,” he said. If the urchins “get rid of all the kelp, there’ll be no crabbing, there’ll be no salmon, there’ll be no nothing.”

(SF Chronicle)

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To the Editor:

Against the better counsel of my dedicated Guillon Inc. Company employees, I feel compelled to respond to persons who propagate, via newspaper, incorrect information or express unfounded allegations which are levied against my companies and the real estate industry in general. Hence, my personal comments are offered below to Don Crawford.

In a letter to the editor he mentioned that “Vineyard Crossing development, along with the current market frenzy provides nothing less than an engorged feeding ground for his (Dick Selzer’s) industry (real estate).” He states “recognize it’s self-aggrandizement” on Mr. Selzer’s part, and, “It’s all about the money.”

As we learned in 8th grade history and only reinforced with high school economics class, America is a capitalistic society. It is that system that built the greatest nation the world has ever known, with the basic premise that competition and free markets breed cost efficiencies resulting in price competitiveness (affordability) thus benefitting the consumer.

Today, we have individuals who no longer believe in a capitalistic society and would have us believe socialism is the answer to all social issues, housing included. Yes, it is “about the capital” (money), that is the point…the American dream. Capitalism is based on cost effective competition, who can best utilize money, material, labor, land and ingenuity to create the best product at the best price. What is missing from the above equation is government regulations, codes and yes, nimbyism and the subsequent impact on cost to deliver product at an affordable cost in the absence of cost benefit analysis…i.e., building homes working folks can afford in light of government inefficiencies.

His letter goes on to reference a housing summit (held April 12), in which community leaders (hospital, school and junior college, major employers etc.) attended and expressed concern about the ability to provide housing for their employees and students. He stated: “the developer assured the audience that some who might want to purchase one of his new products but couldn’t quite meet the financial requirements could be assisted with special arrangements by HIS (Crawford’s emphasis) finance department…”

I am personally offended by Mr. Crawford’s apparent bias. Guillon Inc. Companies, Savings Bank of Mendocino, along with the Community Development Commission are working on a unique approach to helping working families with one of the biggest impediments to home ownership, down payments. Please be advised our company receives no remuneration whatsoever from this program, it only costs us money. Perhaps Mr. Crawford, as a concerned citizen and evidently smarter than our company and Mendocino Bank, can “invest” some of “his own” money and come up with a better way to assist home buyers, or create more affordable housing. He can have his own “infomercial,” he could then become a productive producer of housing employing “his own money” rather than simply being a pontificator of nonsense absent any investment. He may now hopefully get back in his chair.

Regarding the conversion of agricultural land Crawford said: “poor stewardship and an ulterior motive by the owner.”

Here, he is incredibly wrong. First, the land is owned by the Dolans, one of the premier stewards of the agricultural land, who have continually demonstrated the desire to preserve, enhance agriculture and the natural environment. Further, the Dolans too recognize the housing shortage that is crippling the Ukiah Valley, hence why we are proposing the project.

I recommend that you read the studies and analysis done by professional consultants and folks in the business of farming, who are the most knowledgeable people in the room. They are available at the County.

Finally, Crawford’s letter states “there are answers and there will be necessary compromises and sacrifices to get there; let’s just remember to be sparing with the enthusiasm for every ‘savior’ who comes along.”

No one has asked to be the savior of anything, not from Guillon Inc. Companies. What we have asked is for the community to have an honest conversation about the need for market rate housing, which is undeniably lacking in Ukiah Valley. Making the developer the bad guy is an old worn out ploy I obviously take great exception to. You see, Mr. Crawford, it takes great amounts of money and risk to bring housing to the market place at an affordable cost as explained above and evidently missed by you. If projects are not produced in Ukiah at an affordable rate we cannot sell our products, we lose a lot of “money.”

As we are both City College of San Francisco alumni, I would be willing to have a beer with Mr. Crawford at Crush and have a sensible conversation about capital stacking, supply and demand, Ukiah political climate, Governmental regulations and Guillon Inc companies. After such a meeting, hopefully he will be able to then express his opinions with a certain level of knowledge he presently apparently lacks. Any other interested party would be welcomed to join us.

Douglas Guillon, President, Guillon Inc. Companies


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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 22, 2018

Espinosa, Gibney, Guevara

ASHLEY ESPINOSA, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

TYLER GIBNEY, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

JOSHUA GUEVARA, Talmage. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

Marfil, Pacheco, Robinson

MARIA MARFIL, Ukiah. Stolen vehicle, paraphernalia, mail theft, probation revocation.

MATEO PACHECO, Ukiah. Stolen vehicle, smuggling drugs or alcohol into jail.

ANTARRRA COOL ROBINSON, Woodland/Ukiah. Domestic abuse, resisting.

Ruiz-Betanzos, Slentz, Smith


SEQUOIA SLENTZ, Point Arena. Burglary, firearm theft, elder abuse.

(THE WRONG) ADAM SMITH, Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Free market fraud, grand theft, conspiracy.

Smith, Vandermei, Zambrano-Ceja

(THE CORRECT) ADAM SMITH, San Martin/Redwood Valley. DUI.

JOE VANDERMEI, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.


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My perception is that your paper is out of balance. Not withstanding the need to report on local politics, you print far too many letters and articles about crime and criminals. You have far too few articles about national issues, especially when these days the nation is going fascist in a hurry.

You continually print letters from Jerry Philbrick, who is not only part of the solution, but is a big part of the problem. He is living proof that right wing propaganda works. Devoid of any critical thought, devoid of any respect for the rule of law, the Constitution, or truth itself, his point of view is pathetic; yet you print his rants every week. The question, then, is whether or not there is any possible way to get Philbrick to change his views. I think not. He is a lost soul in a nation rapidly losing its soul.

How about printing some articles by people on the left like you used to?

Lee Simon, from Virginia

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I see where 17 people are dead on a lake in Missouri. What are the liberals going to do now? Protest against boats for killing all those people? I wouldn't doubt it.

San Francisco has stooped even lower was already as low as a snake’s belly. They are letting noncitizens and felons and illegal aliens vote. Amazing. The filthiest city in the world, the highest rentals, the highest taxes, and the most ungrateful sickening leadership — all because of Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown. How can the people allow this to happen? Sickening.

Now Jerry Moonbeam Brown has released 17 felon criminals into the public in the sanctuary area to meet up with their buddies. Right out in our society. People convicted of rape and you name it.

Things are happening in California that make me and a lot of other people sick. If we get another Democrat to lead this state the bleep will hit the fan. For a fact. How do these people get away with degrading our president, the Constitution, law enforcement, and anything that's good? Yet they claim they can vote and that they are citizens. They are not. They are illegal aliens. When you criticize the president openly like some of them do that's perjury or treason or whatever you want to call it. Okay, not perjury.

I was right when I said President Trump would win and that he would change things for the better. I will be right again when the conservative people rise up and crush those liberal idiots. I'll be very happy when that happens.

You non-Trumpers can kiss my butt. Better straighten out.

God bless Donald Trump

Jerry Philbrick


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A panel of state lawmakers begins work this week debating liability laws governing wildfires. ‘There’s a lot at stake for a lot of people,’ says Assemblyman Jim Wood, with North Bay fire damages estimated at $10 billion.

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From my vantage point, President Donald Trump is excelling in his duties. He recently opened lines of communication with Russia via a sit-down session with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

Democrats and some GOP rinos seem disturbed that he didn’t issue ultimatums to Putin to stop meddling in our elections. Selected Democrats favor subpoenaing the interpreter to get testimony as to what was said in the closed meeting between Putin and Trump. Of course, contrary to radical progressive opinions, it is not necessary or desirable to disclose all matters of state to the voters.

I am OK with a soaring economy and emphasis on border security to include retention of the Immigration and Customers Enforcement agency. Peace through strength is a sound political policy favoring the well-being of all Americans.

It is my hope that the elite media that make it a habit to spin anti-Trump propaganda on a 24/7 basis cease and desist with their unprecedented anti-American obsession with presidential character assassination.

My recommendation is for voters to forget globalization, climate change and George Soros open-border-society radicalization and purchase a copy of Jeanine Pirro’s book titled, “Liars, Leakers, and Liberals.”

Do this before midterm elections; then cast your vote.

Robert D. Shoptaw

Fort Bragg

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I have been filing my own tax returns since I was 17 in 1971. Whenever I had questions or concerns I called the IRS directly and spoke to human beings who were always the most helpful, courteous people I have ever dealt with in government. I suppose I always feared the IRS so much that I made it a point to not declare something or not include some deduction that I was allowed to take. They have always mailed me back with amended returns and checks for the difference. Being part of the government myself, I understand that it is almost totally corrupt and useless, but my experiences with the Internal Revenue Service have been an absolute exception to this fact. For what it is worth.

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(Click to enlarge)

(For more of Beard’s artwork, or to order his book, visit his website:

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Fun Home opens July 26th!

Gloriana Musical Theatre is honored to present the Mendocino coast audience with the Tony Award-winning musical, FUN HOME with music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. Running July 26 — August 12, FUN HOME tells an enthralling and complex coming of age story from the pages of Bechdel's tragicomic memoir, woven together with Tesori's beautiful, remarkable score. With stage and vocal direction by Jenni Windsor, and musical direction by Jack Leung, FUN HOME is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes. After her father dies unexpectedly, lesbian graphic novelist Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. When memories of her 1970s childhood in a funeral home merge with her burgeoning college love life they help her discover she had more in common with her father than she ever knew. Running at Eagles Hall from July 26 through August 12 with performances at 7:30 p.m on Thursday-Saturday and Sunday matinees beginning at 3 p.m. Admission is $22 for the general public, $20 for Seniors and $12 for youth (17 and under). Fun Home is recommended for ages 13 and up. Tickets may be purchased online at, at Harvest Market (starting Monday) in Fort Bragg or at the door of Eagles Hall Theatre prior to each performance. Be sure to join us for our Gala performance! On Sunday, July 29th following the performance celebrate with the cast and crew and enjoy iconic 70's dishes, a champagne toast and more! Tickets are $30 for general, $28 for Seniors and $15 for youth (17 and under). For more information, visit


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A tourist talks about visiting San Francisco

As Mayor Breed contemplates opening up drug injection sites in the city, she should also contemplate this letter to the editor in last week's SF Chronicle:

A visitor’s critique of San Francisco’s dirty streets

My wife and I have experienced San Francisco the past few days; we both work in downtown Chicago. We will have spent three days south of San Francisco along the coastline and four days at a “historic hotel.” Our hotel attracts multitudes of foreign tourists. I have to believe that if the city by the bay does not address the homelessness and open drug use that word will spread to avoid San Francisco.

Less than two blocks from the hotel’s main entrance we have seen people using needles in public to inject drugs. We’ve seen needles discarded on the sidewalk. We’ve seen users slumping on racks, staggering along sidewalks, seeking cigarettes, etc.

One homeless man told his homeless companion within two feet of me that he was not going to go purchase two packs of heroin; instead, he was seeking “one pack of heroin and one pack of meth.” Glass pipes and foil are being used openly, but users are not smoking cannabis. Youth in the subway openly use drugs beyond pot. These problems are not limited to Market Street.

Chicago has its problems dealing with homelessness, and thus I am quite familiar with the sights and smells. However, your city’s downtown area has a homeless problem on steroids compared to Chicago.

While waiting to ride a cable car, a person approached the Italian family directly in front of me with hopes to extract money by offering his jumbled advice. The daughter, who was approximately 10 years old, fought back tears during the exchange. I have heard that one convention recently withdrew from your city.

Chicago is also a major city that presently experiences deplorable conditions, albeit different ones. Chicago’s south and west sides are shooting galleries between gangs. Chicago’s finances are some of the worst in the nation, and the state of Illinois has the nation’s worst credit rating. Illinois citizens are leaving the state in droves.

I digress.

I read about proposed legislation called “Our City, Our Home” that will tax about 650 companies with a tiny tax to help the city address the major problems of homelessness and drug use. I strongly encourage your city to pass this legislation.

Your downtown streets and sidewalks are filthy with litter. Do you sweep your streets? Do you even attempt to eliminate the prevalent urine odor? These are clearly symptoms of a greater problem. If San Francisco does not pass “Our City, Our Home,” your problems will exacerbate while tourism dollars decrease and more lives publicly waste away.

I know I will blog negatively about downtown San Francisco, vowing never to return, and I have to believe that foreign and domestic tourists will spread their observations upon leaving Ban Francisco.

Mark Erickson

Skokie, Illinois

(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)

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I understand the term left is used loosely here, but we really need to stop referring to Democrats and liberals as the left. It has always been historically and ideologically inaccurate. And it helps obstruct the formation of a true left, which I suppose is one of the reasons why mainstream media perpetuates it so much.

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Terrified by Progressive Enthusiasm Sweeping the Nation, Corporate Democrats Have Begun Planning a 'Counterrevolution'

So where is Congressman Huffman in all this?



  1. Eric Sunswheat July 23, 2018

    Re: This action by the BOS continues their established pattern around this library issue where they ignore, discount, disregard, and in some instances, denigrate the service of dedicated citizen-volunteers who are critical to improving the local governing process.

    —> Mendo Supes Suck! These new Trumpers serve the 1%, and are focused on their future personal County retirement benefits, destined to eating up the property tax budget as the planet floods. Mortgage the jail to China!

  2. Arthur Juhl July 23, 2018

    Eric, I have to agree with you! Why didn’the BOS look at a financial statement about the Library and Museum before voting on the so called cultural center? Now any funds that will come into the library will go into the pocket of “general funds”.
    And who do you think controls it?
    I hope that Mr. Williams and the 3rd district elect know how to read financial statements, then maybe the county can stay afloat.
    Arthur E. Juhl

  3. George Dorner July 23, 2018

    According to this very paper, Measure A library funds have already been expended illegally for non-library use. The new agency is designed as a cover for future raids on the library funds.

    • Mark Scaramella July 23, 2018

      I think Mr. Dorner is referring to the now years-old Grand Jury report (also reported here) which correctly denounced the County for misspending some library funds. The current Board insists that that problem was corrected and can’t happen again because it was indeed illegal. The Library people still cite it as a potential problem, although it’s not likely to re-occur under current circumstances. Their worry that CEO Angelo might use some library funds to balance her budget is a better argument, although there doesn’t seem to be much money at stake on that point. The Supes seem incapable of oversight of their CEO however, so her financial manipulations should be closely watched by the Library people and the Grand Jury once the CSA is installed. We’d love to hear them say, “We told you so.” But the Library People (and the Grand Jury for that matter) would have more credibility with us if they focused on the CEO’s unaccountability and the failure of the County and the Board to undertake transparent budgeting and reporting overall. This in turn would give the Library people and the public in general more confidence in any future alleged cost-savings measures.

  4. John Robert July 23, 2018

    I would say Matt Beard needs to spend much more time watching waves break along a shore line before he tries to paint them.

    • Harvey Reading July 25, 2018

      If you want a depiction that is closer to reality, take a snapshot. Art is more than duplication. It also includes the impressions made by the scene on the artist. Ms. Valadao does a fantastic job of combining both duplication and impression in many of her seascape photographs.

  5. Harvey Reading July 23, 2018

    Re: “COSTCO’S manager said he expected some 5,000 shoppers…”

    Go Costco. Too bad for the uppity small business whiners.

    • Harvey Reading July 23, 2018

      About 95 percent of small businesses fail in the first three years. Those that survive become essentially monopolies in their local areas. That’s how kaputalism works.

      The local paper here used to brag in print about how its founders bought, or ran out of business, all its competition. Its tiny empire is now the sole printed nooze source in the county. There’s a little on line outfit, but it mostly presents fluff pieces or paid advertising posing as “community interest” stories.

      I’ve dealt with enough small-business types in my lifetime to have any sympathy for their cries of woe.

      • Harvey Reading July 23, 2018


        Great story, well told.

      • Harvey Reading July 23, 2018


        Hogwash. Typical kaputalist propaganda. The writer apparently does not even know the difference between being great and being powerful and thuggish. Enough said.

  6. james marmon July 23, 2018


    I agree, we need more hyperbolic reaction from our left leaning media sources like the AVA, it strengthens our President’s base by pushing more rational moderate democrats and independents to the right of center where the world belongs. Actions have consequences, keep up the good work lefties.

    “People don’t just get upset. They contribute to their upsetness.”

    -Albert Ellis

    • james marmon July 23, 2018

      We already have a new catastrophe this morning, POTUS is pulling Clapper, Brennan, and Coney’s security clearances, it is a new end of the world as we know it. Liberal media is blowing up as I write. This definitely puts our country in grave danger, lol. How will they continue to leak classified information if this happens? CNN is freaking out, Clapper and Brennan now work for them as Correspondents.

  7. George Hollister July 23, 2018


    “I read about proposed legislation called “Our City, Our Home” that will tax about 650 companies with a tiny tax to help the city address the major problems of homelessness and drug use. I strongly encourage your city to pass this legislation.”

    Mark Erickson from Skokie, Illinois is likely unaware that SF already spends $270 million on homelessness annually. The AVA says $300 million. To the casual observer, like me, money is not an issue here. Policy is. SF likes homelessness, and drug use, and is willing to pay, with other people’s money, to support, and grow the institution.

  8. Malcolm Macdonald July 23, 2018

    Though Jerry Philbrick has done many good things in his life so far, these continual written rants make me wonder if he is hurting in some physical way. I know Jerry would never have spoken such language aloud to my mother or father, even though he was well aware of their liberal politics.
    As much as I disagree with many of Jerry’s arguments, there are kernels of truth in there, too. However, expressing oneself in vulgarities almost always alienates both conservatives and liberals far more than it convinces either.

  9. Harvey Reading July 23, 2018


    So now you’re making threats, are ya? Typical behavior for supporters of the orange-crowned toad. I’m shaking in my sandals tuff guy.

    • Harvey Reading July 23, 2018


      More hogwash, comparable to Phibrick’s. Straight from any of the major nooze media, apparently.

  10. Stephen Rosenthal July 23, 2018

    Re AVA content: The AVA is the only news source I rely on. I have no use for television, MSM, or Internet propaganda – that crap does not affect Steve’s World. As Harvey Reading commented a few weeks ago, “happier for it.” I subscribe to and read the AVA because it offers in-depth coverage of local issues that do directly affect me, along with a sprinkling of national and international topics of import. It’s the only news source that dares to expose the corruption and utter incompetence of the local yokels feeding at the public trough. I vote No for ANY tax or bond issue regardless of its intent because I’m quite certain it will not be used appropriately for its stated purpose (Exhibit A: County Library Measure A; Exhibit B: 2016 Ukiah Measures Y & Z – Road Improvement Sales Tax). Grand Jury exposés of A, Y & Z have been poo-pooed, ignored and even insultingly condemned by County and local elected and appointed officials. How long before County Measure B follows suit? I suppose some will consider me insular and a hopeless cynic and to a certain extent that is true, but I’m no Jerry Philbrick. To quote a Bob Dylan song, “I used to care, but things have changed.”

  11. Bruce McEwen July 23, 2018

    I never read Philbrick’s posts, and even just glancing through the one today (having seen so much noise about it on the comment page) I find it hard to see how anyone can take seriously someone who doesn’t know the meaning of commonplace words like perjury, and imagines that we still live under laws like the edicts of Henry viii, the last fellow to make it treason to criticize a king.

    If this is as deep as the discussion is going to get, I think I’ll leave it to you guys and go back to the courthouse where at least they know what perjury means.

    • Eric Sunswheat July 24, 2018

      B. McEwen, What you are going back to, may be peer jury or peer judge. Jig was up a long time ago with the AVA backhand, better writers know, who may be now on life support. What we get is after the fact flabbergast moaning as news. Also, check out that Guillon guy, saying somewhat that capital was at root of American success. Ha! Was it raw material monetization from the earth resources, and the renewing harvests from cyclical growth. Do good agriculturalists, are one thing but the question is if there, is how renewable sustainability potential is lost with housing as pavement. Special interest could smooth ruffled feathers for the property class, interspersed with distractions from the joker.

  12. james marmon July 23, 2018

    Lake County is finally going into the homeless mentally ill business, could hurt Mendocino County’s Point in Time Count. We’ll take our homeless mentally ill back now Camille, if you don’t mind. It appears that Lake County will use our unspent Mental Health Service Act dollars to help make it happen. Money which would have had to be returned to the State if not spent.

    County of Lake to pursue homeless grant opportunity

    “Funding for No Place Like Home comes from the California Department of Housing and Community Development and is to provide permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness along with mental health and/or substance use disorders.

    Lake County Behavioral Health Services already has funds available to initiate a permanent supportive housing project in the County.

    “We are prepared to strategically utilize approximately $965,000 in Mental Health Services Act housing monies, along with a recently established $500,000 housing reserve account to be approved by the Board of Supervisors this fiscal year,” said Lake County Behavioral Health Services Administrator Todd Metcalf. “The timing couldn’t be better for these funds to leverage additional future housing dollars slated to be coming soon to Lake County, in particular, the No Place Like Home grant.””

    • Betsy Cawn July 24, 2018

      Lake County’s Adventist Hospital (in the City of Clearlake) embarked on an ambitious program a couple of years ago that Adventist Health Corporation is funding — for five cities across the country — to deploy the successful strategies created by multiple crisis care agencies in the City of Camden, New Jersey. Modeled on the “Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers” (, the City of Clearlake’s emergency responders — police, ambulance, emergency room doctors — along with county mental health, social services, public health and safety agencies involved in the Adventist-led “Project Restoration,” conducted their second annual “Innovation Summit” in June of this year.

      Participants in the first summit (February 3, 2017) determined that the most important issues to address were/are “mental health” and “housing.” Housing availability for disabled/low income populations — exacerbated by the wildfire disasters of 2015 and 2016 — is supposed to be the focus of the County’s General Plan “Housing Element,” which was two years overdue when the Valley Fire occurred. 48% of that disaster’s “survivors” were renters, whose sudden dislocation into the surrounding communities revealed the dire need for ordinary affordable dwelling accommodations.

      The County whipped up a “quick fix” Housing Element update in 2016, which the State accepted in spite of the fact that it did recognize the loss of housing “stock” as a result of the devastating 2015 firestorms. No corrective action has since been taken to provide the requisite post-disaster “update” of the Housing Element (nor the state’s also-mandated “update” of the General Plan’s Safety Element — needed to comply with the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requirements for managed emergency response services, still “iffy” according to the 2017-2018 Lake County Grand Jury Report on the new-and-improved County-driven Emergency Operations Plan), taking into account the housing losses incurred as well in 2016’s Clayton Fire, which further displaced some of the Valley Fire survivors who had found replacement dwellings in the town of Lower Lake.

      Laudable efforts undertaken by the “Project Restoration” coalition — serving the City’s worst-case (i.e., “high utilizer”) local inhabitants with multiple impairments and limited employment capacities — targeted those individuals whose expensive demands for medical treatment by high-cost medical responders are the bane of the emergency service institutions. “No Place Like Home” programs serving the extreme needs of “severely mentally ill” clientele funded by restricted federal and state (public) monies — if and when actual housing is provided — will not make much of a dent in the overall long-standing deficit of our county’s “housing” availability.

      It doesn’t seem to matter how many agonized individuals are hauled up out of the gutter (when they are willing to submit to the minimal demands for emotional self-discipline and behavioral compliance inherent in a variety of “recovery” programs) because more homeless/helpless/hopeless people are economically excluded, due to no fault of their own, with each new disaster.

      Meanwhile, no accountability has been provided to understand how many newly homeless persons were served by the agency that continually receives disaster-fired charitable donations and that currently provides “case management” for Valley/Clayton/Sulphur Fire survivors (long-term recovery plan development is supposed to be the product, short-term cash outlays seems to be the extent of the services) is your friend and mine, North Coast Opportunities. NCO, of course, is one of the key partners in the “collaboration” that is the “Project Restoration” initiator — Adventist Hospital’s “Hope Rising” program (

      All the right organizations are teamed up to provide “care” for the duly diagnosed and therapeutically treated, socially redeemable, civically subservient, and repentant violators of society’s unreachable standards to which they must forever aspire — in lieu of which multiple layers of paid officiators offer “hope.” The business of eradicating human blight is indeed lucrative for its desk jockeys, but at the expense of underpaid frontline service providers — Fire Protection District EMTs and Paramedics and those mental health crisis interventionists.

      Just like Mendocino County’s mainline crisis managers, our law enforcement and general welfare agencies long ago determined that a cost-effective mitigation for increasingly troubled residents would be a pre-ER mental health treatment center, which Adventist Hospital also offered to provide (in partnership with appropriate government agencies), but the conceptual proposal failed for lack of real County support. Better to tuck those sadsacks away in little cubicles with mental health minders and out of view, I guess. Forget “prevention” — which is one of the most important needs allegedly funded by the Mental Health Services Act — that would indeed be bad for business.

      • james marmon July 24, 2018

        Mendo’s Mental Health Service Act 3 year reversion plan for Innovation and Prevention is a big joke, I hear that the State is laughing at it too and not approving it. Mendo may need to overhaul their plan and pay back some money. I believe the money has already been spent because a couple of months ago the County made retroactive payments for these unapproved programs to the Schraeders for work they said they did that was not in the original contract.

  13. james marmon July 23, 2018

    Susie you’re so liberal you make me laugh, you just like the sound of the words “Cultural Center” and don’t try to deny it. You like it because you think its different, or what you think is progressive.

    “Cultural liberalism is a liberal view of society that stresses the freedom of individuals from cultural norms and in the words of Thoreau is often expressed as the right to “march to the beat of a different drummer””

    James Marmon MSW

  14. MarshallNewman July 23, 2018

    Jerry Philbrick. To paraphrase a better writer, “Full of sound and fury and lies and name-calling, signifying nothing.”

  15. Jim Updegraff July 25, 2018

    A’s do it again – were down against Texas 10-2 at end of six innings. – A’s put their hitting hats on and came back to win the game in the 10th inning 13 – 10.

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