Morning News, Monday, November 5th
The public's ability to learn who's behind the mysterious $11 million contribution in favor of Prop 32 and against Prop 30 before the election may be up to the California Supreme Court.
California's 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled Friday that an Arizona group can continue to withhold documents while it appeals a lower court ruling, .The decision makes it increasingly unlikely that voters will know the source of the money before Election Day.
The state's political watchdog agency had argued in its emergency petition that the information officials are seeking is only relevant before Tuesday's election.
Late Friday, Calif Atty Gen Kamala Harris' office filed a motion asking the California Supreme Court to take up the case immediately and intervene so voters could know the source of the donation before Election Day.
It was unclear when the court might respond.
CalTrans can begin removing vegetation along the proposed route of the Willits bypass after a federal judge Thursday night denied a request from environmental groups for a preliminary injunction prohibiting such work.
Caltrans has awarded a construction contract that could result in cutting of mature oak forests and clearing of riparian vegetation along critical salmon streams as early as this month. Caltrans has indicated it will only proceed with “topping” trees and clearing vegetation in the near future.
As far as filling wetlands and excavating the roadway, Caltrans claims these activities will not occur until 2013. In the meantime, the court will hear the merits of the entire case.
The Mendocino Office of Education has contracted with an independent third party "to look at the structure of the debt service" of the $19 million in school bonds that the Willits Unified School District has sold so far, said interim Superintendent Debbie Pearson.
This follows the revelation last week by Linda Williams of TWN that the county was completely unprepared for a $5 Million balloon payment due in twenty months, causing school taxes to quadruple.
It's possible that the review might be finished by next week's school board meeting, on Wednesday, November 7.
THE unbudgeted-for balloon payment plus a scheduled 60 percent increase in regular debt service payments, plus a $53.9 million drop in the total assessed value of properties inside the Willits school district boundaries has created "a state of crisis" in the school district's finances, said Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools Paul Tichinin.
The school board meetings are held at the Willits High School cafeteria, with public sessions starting at 4:30 p.m.
The annual Lake County Burn Ban for 2012 will be lifted on Monday, Nov. 5. The lifting of the burn ban coincides with Cal Fire declaring an end to fire hazard season.
Only clean dry vegetation that was grown on the property may be burned. Residential burn permits require a one-acre or larger lot, a burn location that is located at least 100 feet from all neighbors, and a burn location at least 30 feet from any structure.
–The Mendocino National Forest is once again entering prescribed burning season. The public may notice smoke in various parts of the forest during the next few months as part of the continued commitment to protect communities and natural resources from wildfires.
Visitors are encouraged to contact the Forest at 530-934-3316 before their visit to see where prescribed burns are planned for the day
Prescribed fires are used to clear the forest floor of small fuels and brush without burning or killing large trees.