SOLLV Demands Independent Investigation of Bypass Collapse

The area where the viaduct collapsed, taken on Feb. 8th (after the recent storm).

The area where the viaduct collapsed, taken on Feb. 8th (after the recent storm).

To: State and Federal Agencies and Officials

Re: Comments by SOLLV on the 1/22/15 Collapse of the Willits Bypass Viaduct

We are stunned by the collapse of a section of the Willits Bypass viaduct, and we join with everyone in the community in sending prayers to the injured workers.

We are very concerned that a full, independent investigation needs to take place to determine what caused this collapse and to assure the safety of the construction of the entire project. So far, there is little information, and it appears the only investigation is being done by OSHA and by Caltrans itself. While OSHA addresses worker safety, we believe it is equally important to have independent analysis of the structural integrity of the rest of the viaduct, to assess the ability of the piers to withstand flooding, viscous soil, and earthquakes and to test the strength of the reinforcing steel used. These questions require clear answers before construction continues. Continue reading

Will Parrish Restitution Amount Set At $9,460.45

WillcutieUkiah-based journalist Will Parrish will pay $9,460.45 in restitution for his 11-and-a-half-day occupation of a “wick drain stitcher” in the Willits Bypass construction zone last June and July, Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John A. Behnke ruled last week. Behnke released an eight-page restitution order on Dec. 22nd that spells out his rationale for this decision.

Behnke’s calculation is based on the rental cost of the wick drain stitcher Parrish occupied, for which CalTrans contractor Flatiron Construction paid a little over $2,000 per day. Although Parrish occupied the wick stitcher for more than 11 days, the court determined that only four and-a-half work days were lost due to the occupation. For example, construction was rained out during some days of Parrish’s occupation.

This figure is less than 10 percent of what CalTrans attorney Derek Wong asked for in a restitution hearing at the Ukiah Courthouse on Oct 10th. Remarkably, CalTrans has submitted four separate restitution claims against Parrish since September 2013. The original total was $490,002. By the time the restitution claim finally made it into the courtroom, CalTrans had revised the figure down to approximately $108,000.

Continue reading

Coyote Valley Reiterates Request For Government-to-Government Consultation With Army Corps

coyote-valley-tribeThis Tuesday, Nov. 18th, the American Indian Movement, Pomo people, Save Our Little Lake Valley, and other groups will rally at the US Army Corps of Engineers Northern California division office in San Francisco. See our most recent posts for more info.

On Nov. 6th, Coyote Valley Band Chairman Michael Hunter issued a letter to the Army Corps reiterating the request for government-to-government consultation.  Click here to read the letter.  Click here to read Coyote Valley’s initial request for government-to-government consultations with the Army Corps, to which the Army Corps has not yet responded.

Demonstrate For Pomo Sites, Willits Wetlands in San Francisco on Nov. 18!

Join AIM elders, Pomo Indian People & Earth Defenders for a Demonstration in S.F. Nov. 18 to Protest Desecration of Ancient Pomo Indian Sites!

Pomo Indian, AIM, Environmental Action at Caltrans construction site Sept. 23. Click here for video.

On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Native American Tribal members, including direct descendants of the Pomo peoples who once populated the Little Lake Valley (Mendocino Co.), where Caltrans is currently building an oversized freeway bypass, will join environmental groups and AIM elders to protest the desecration of archaeological sites and destruction of wetlands.

The protest will be at the San Francisco office of the Army Corps of Engineers, 1455 Market St. at noon.

Live in Willits? To join the carpool, contact Judi Berdis at seven oh seven four59-4444  or e-mail her at berdis[at] Continue reading

Mendocino Activists Ellen and David Drell to Receive EPIC’s 2014 Sempervirens Award

David and Ellen Drell (center) above the Eel River, in the Snow Mountain Wilderness.

David and Ellen Drell (center) above the Eel River, in the Snow Mountain Wilderness.

Courtesy of EPIC:

Ellen and David Drell, founding directors of the Willits Environmental Center, will receive the 2014 Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement of Environmental Activism Award at EPIC’s 37th Annual Fall Celebration Friday evening, November 7th. Perhaps best known for their efforts opposing Caltrans’ Willits Bypass, the Drells are lifelong forest protectors and wilderness advocates who successfully campaigned to add more than 140,000 acres of forest into the Federal Wilderness System. Continue reading

Gather Oct. 10th – Will Parrish’s Restitution Hearing

WillcutieAfter all this time, CalTrans still insists on seeking criminal restitution fees from Will Parrish for his occupation of the “wick drain stitcher” in Little Lake Valley, which occurred in the early summer of 2013! After countless delays, the restitution hearing is scheduled for Friday, October 10th at 9:30 a.m. at Mendocino County Courtroom “B” in Ukiah.

CalTrans seeks $154,733 in restitution fees from Will, down from their original claim of $490,002. This is in spite of the fact that Will already settled the criminal charges related to his non-violent action in Jan. 2014, with the Mendocino County DA agreeing to two misdemeanors, which become infractions on Will’s record in Jan. 2016, and 100 hours of community service (which Will has already completed).

Your presence at the hearing helps make a powerful statement. This case provides a measuring stick for the validity of CalTrans’ utterly absurd claims that protesters caused $12 million in taxpayer burden by delaying the project in 2013.  Let’s stand behind someone who has stood up for all of us! Let’s put CalTrans’ greed on trial!

- Live in Willits? Carpool by meeting at Bountiful Gardens in Evergreen Shopping Plaza at 8:30
– Restitution Hearing at 9:30
– Rally at noon on the courthouse steps

Click on the Continue Reading link for an overview and updates on Will’s case. Continue reading