Call to Pack the Hall – Tues., 5/5 at 1:30!


MRC land treated by "Hack and Squirt" -- photo by James Sibbett

MRC land treated by “Hack and Squirt” — photo by James Sibbett

It’s time to follow up on what we started at the last Board of Supervisors meeting! Your presence and comments are needed again this Tues, May 5 at Council Chambers on Low Gap Rd. in Ukiah. The Supervisors will be voting on two herbicide-related issues:

·       A discussion and possible adoption of a resolution opposing Caltrans’ use of pesticides [includes herbicides] in Little Lake Valley on Bypass mitigation lands

·       A discussion and possible direction approving and funding a group to study the matter of dead trees intentionally left standing on commercial timberlands.

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Tooth Found at Archeological Survey Site in the Willits Bypass Construction Zone

For immediate release

Willits, CA— On Wednesday April 22, at an archaeological excavation in the Northern Interchange of Caltrans Willits Bypass, a tooth was discovered that the Caltrans contract archaeologist initially identified as human and Native American. Caltrans is building an over-sized highway bypass across ancestral Pomo lands and through scarce wetlands. Despite a request by the Coyote Valley tribal monitor to stop work, Caltrans’ archeologist continued work in the area until tribal representatives arrived the following day. With work still in progress on Thursday morning, Coyote Valley Tribal Representative Priscilla Hunter and Tribal Historian Eddie Knight insisted on a halt to excavation.

“Enough is enough”, said Hunter to the Caltrans archeologists assembled on the site, citing legally required procedures to “leave the artifact in place, stop work, call the coroner and wait for further identification”. On Friday, Caltrans lead in-house archeologist for the project communicated to the Tribes that the tooth had been determined by the coroner to be animal, not human. Phil Frisbee, Caltrans’ public relation agent, stated to the press that the tooth was not human; however, the Sheriff’s Department went on record on April 24 that the nature of the tooth had yet to be determined and was going to be sent to a laboratory in Chico or a forensic ondontologist or forensic anthropologist to make the official determination.

Not trusting Caltrans to have properly handled the tooth, Coyote Valley has requested from Caltrans documentation of the chain of custody of the tooth.

Forty-four previously unknown cultural sites and more than 1,000 artifacts have been discovered since Bypass construction in the valley began in January 2013. Tribal officials from Coyote Valley have documented blatant violations of the National Historic Preservation Act by Caltrans and repeated failures to stop work and consult when artifacts are found, in a pattern Hunter called “gross and willful negligence”.

Artifacts in Little Lake Valley are so plentiful that it has been described by the State Office of Historic Preservation as an Archeological District, yet Caltrans’ surveys prior to Environmental Impact Statement approval for the project, documented only one site, thought to be the ancient village of Yami.

Call to Pack the Hall — April 21st at 1 p.m.

Please come to the Noon Rally and Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tues. April 21 at 1:00 pm on Low Gap Rd. in Ukiah to demand a halt to the dangerous forest practice of Hack’n’Squirt that increases fire danger and poses a threat to public health and safety and the environment on which it depends.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has set aside 90 minutes at their next meeting, Tuesday, April 21, to discuss the fire danger that results from the timber industry practice of “hack’n’squirt, intentionally adding over a million new standing dead hardwood trees in our forests every year. Although the County cannot regulate the use of the herbicides that cause the problem (that’s the State’s domain), it can regulate fire danger in the name of public health and safety. We have been assured there will be ample time for comment. Continue reading

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.

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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.