Monday, 15 July 2024


BARTLETT SPRINGS – A collision involving a motorcycle and a pickup truck on the way to Bartlett Springs sent a Clearlake teen to the hospital Sunday night with major injuries.

The California Highway Patrol incident logs reported that the crash occurred six to seven miles up Bartlett Springs Road at 6:20 p.m.

Battalion Chief Ken Petz of Northshore Fire Protection District's Upper Lake station reported Sunday that Northshore firefighters were the first on the scene at the crash.

The CHP logs reported that the motorcyclist was a 15-year-old male from Clearlake.

Petz said the teen suffered a compound fracture and was transported by REACH helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment.

No information was available on the pickup driver.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


LAKE COUNTY – After several relatively quiet days, local emergency personnel were on the run Friday as they responded to several major vehicle collisions that occurred around the county.

California Highway Patrol Officer Josh Dye said the day started off when a delivery truck driver traveling southbound on Highway 29 north of Highway 53 went off the road and collided with a Pacific Gas & Electric pole at 6:20 a.m.

Dye said the driver was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. The CHP incident log noted the driver had major injuries.

The delivery truck, still at the scene mid-morning, was sheered almost in half lengthwise.

The collision knocked down the power lines, said Dye. PG&E spent the morning repairing the lines and installing a new pole, which made it necessary to close the northbound lane for four hours.

Traffic at 10:30 a.m. was backed up for several miles while Caltrans and CHP helped direct traffic to move around the repair area.

Another accident involving a pear truck and a car occurred at 11:18 a.m., said Dye,which blocked both lanes of Highway 29 and Highway 281 at Kit's Corner.

Dye said the collision involved David Williams, 45, of Sacramento who was driving a Peterbilt pear truck southbound on Highway 29 and Sabina Gotuacd, 46, of Daly City, driving a Toyota Corolla.

Gotuacd was stopped at Highway 281 to turn southbound onto Highway 29. Dye said she pulled out directly in front of the truck driven by Williams, who veered to avoid hitting her but couldn't avoid a collision.

The right front passenger in Gotuacd's car, a female juvenile, was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital as a precautionary measure, said Dye.

He added that officers at the scene said Williams' quick thinking prevented the collision from being much worse.

Another collision was reported on Elk Mountain Road in Upper Lake at 1:03 p.m., but Dye said all the parties involved had left the scene by the time CHP officers arrived.

From there officers responded at 1:26 p.m. to a two-vehicle collision on Highway 20 west of Clearlake Oaks, said Dye.

On the way to that crash, CHP Officer Carl Thompson was involved in a three-car collision, said Dye.

Jack Barnes, 53, of Windsor was driving a 2006 BMW westbound and saw Thompson approaching, so he yielded onto the right shoulder, said Dye.

Jodi Gorden, 21, of Red Bluff was driving behind Barnes in a 1994 Ford Escort, and didn't immediately see Barnes yield, said Dye. Gorden locked up her brakes and swerved to the left to avoid the BMW, but collided with left rear of Barnes' car and glanced off further to the left.

Thompson, who was preparing to pass the vehicles at the time, saw the crash and came to a near stop before the left side of his patrol vehicle was hit by Gorden at a low speed, according to Dye's report.

No one was injured and the vehicles were moved off to the right road shoulder to keep traffic moving, Dye added.

Officer Craig Van Housen, who also was headed to the Clearlake Oaks collision, continued on as Thompson dealt with his crash, said Dye.

Arriving at the accident scene, Van Housen found two vehicles blocking the road lanes with no injuries, Dye reported. Involved were Mary Johnson, 65, of Sacramento who was driving a 1998 Dodge Van and Timothy Rice, 20, of Marysville driving a 1997 Honda Civic.

Dye said the collision was minor and no one was transported to the hospital.

Then, just after 5 p.m., another collision occurred on eastbound Highway 20 at Pyle Road in Nice.

The CHP reported no injuries in that crash, which involved a gray truck versus a light blue sedan. Officials were still cleaning up at the scene after 6 p.m.

Just after 7 p.m., a vehicle was reported on fire on westbound Highway 20 at Walker Ridge Road near the Lake/Colusa County lines. The CHP reported the driver was trying to extinguish the fire, which started under the car and worked up to under the hood.

After 10 p.m. there were two other reports of collisions without injuries, one involving a single vehicle on Point Lakeview near Jago Bay, and another in an unspecified area of Lake County. No additional information was available on either incident.

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LAKEPORT – The Soper-Reese Community Theater renovation project continues to move forward, but it still needs the community's financial support to meet an important fundraising goal.

The volunteers who are guiding the theater's renaissance are currently gearing up for a major upcoming fundraiser, the second annual Concert Under the Stars on Sept. 8 at Jim Fetzer's Ceago Vinegarden in Nice.

On Monday evening, a small reception was held in the theater lobby, which included a tour of the renovations, for local wineries who are supporting the theater effort. They were able to see improvements including the theater's new heating, ventilation and sprinkler systems.

Donna Peterson, a member of the Soper-Reese Fundraising Committee, said they have open houses for the public about every six weeks or so and invite them in to see the theater's progress.

Peterson, a lifelong Lake County resident, said she is impressed that so many newcomers to the ocunty have such passion about this theater, a place where so many locals went on their first dates many, many years ago.

John Ross, chairman of the Renovation Committee, helped give the tour Monday.

“I was a member of the Clear Lake Performing Arts and we needed a theater – that’s how I got involved,” he said.

Ross and a dedicated cadre of volunteers got the stalled project back off the ground and are beginning to see some progress.

Moving forward has been a matter of putting one step in front of the other, said Ross. But in a short time the group has made remarkable progress.

Construction is taking place in two phases, Ross said. When it's completed, the theater will seat about 380 people.

In addition to theater productions, Ross said they also will show movies that you wouldn't see in local theaters at the Soper-Reese in a digital format.

Mike Adams, a member of the theater's building committee, said the special places in the county – the gazebo in Lakeport, the streetlights in Kelseyville and Lakeport, and now the theater project – build upon one another.

Jim Fetzer of Ceago and Rick Gunier, marketing director of Shannon Ridge Winery, visited the theater to see the work on Monday.

Wineries including Brassfield Estates, Six Sigma, Ceago, Langtry Estate & Vineyards and Shannon Ridge are banding together to help get the theater open, said Ross.

“We need this theater in the community,” said Fetzer.

Gunier agreed. “It's a good project for our entire community.”

Fetzer has supported the effort through hosting the annual fundraiser. “Last year’s event was spectacular and we believe this year’s will be even better,” he said.

Ross said they have high hopes for the fundraiser, which will help them overcome their next big hurdle, which is meeting a challenge to the community from Jim Soper, who has been a major contributor to the effort over the years.

Nina Marino, chair of the theater's fundraising committee, explained the challenge: If the theater's supporters can raise $300,000 from the community, he will donate another $200,000 to the effort. Right now, the group is at the $214,000 mark.

Ross called the community's support to far “impressive,” and also reported that the county gave the theater a $30,000 grant. “That's quite a vote of confidence.”

But they still need those extra funds in order to pay for the theater renovation's second phase.

Ross and Marino both believe the Sept. 8 event at Ceago will get them close to their goal.

Tickets for the event are $100 per person. The evening will feature a gourmet dinner and plenty of great wines from Ceago, Brassfield, Six Sigma, Langtry and Shannon Ridge; and a piano concert under the stars.

And don't forget the music. There will be performances by a string quartet, a harpist and a brass ensemble, as well as offerings of Bolivian and Peruvian music on instruments including flutes, panpipes and guitar.

The event also will feature a silent auction with some special prizes, including lunch with Jim Fetzer at Ceago.

Fetzer credits Ross' leadership with gaining community support for the theater project.

“We’re working it together and we’re having so much fun,” he said.

Tickets are going quickly; to buy yours call Nina Marino, Soper-Reese Fundraising Committee chair, 279-4082.

E-mail Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


ANDERSON SPRINGS – A 3.1 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Anderson Springs area Sunday morning.

The quake occurred at approximately 9 a.m. Sunday, according to the US Geological Survey.

The epicenter was located three miles west of Anderson Springs, four miles east southeast of The Geysers and five miles south southwest of Cobb. The US Geological Survey was recorded at the depth of 1 mile.

Within a minute that quake was followed by a smaller, 1.6-magnitude quake within roughly the same area, according to US Geological Survey reports.

Three other smaller quakes also took place during the morning near Cobb and The Geysers, the US Geological Survey reported.

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The Thursday night collision with a tree split Antoine Ellis' 1987 Camaro in half. Photo by Lakeport Fire Protection District.

LAKEPORT – Authorities have arrested a Lakeport man for a number of charges after he crashed his car Thursday evening.

California Highway Patrol Officer Josh Dye reported Friday that Antoine James Ellis, 39, crashed his 1987 Camaro at 6:54 p.m. Thursday on Soda Bay Road west of Stone Drive.

Dye said Ellis was intoxicated and driving eastbound on Soda Bay Road at a high rate of speed when the crash occurred.

Due to Ellis' high level of intoxication, he lost control of the car, which ran off the road and into an orchard, where it collided with a tree, Dye reported.

The impact of the collision, Dye added, split the Camaro in half.

Ellis was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries, which were later found to be minor, said Dye.

CHP Officers Coddington and Wind to Santa Rosa, where they arrested Ellis on a felony parole violation and two misdemeanor charges of DUI and driving on a license that was suspended or revoked for reckless driving.

Ellis was booked into the Lake County Jail, where he remains on a no-bail hold for the parole violation.

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SOUTH LAKE COUNTY – An extensive, multicounty investigation is under way into the shooting deaths of three elk and one deer that occurred Saturday.

State Department of Fish and Game Warden Lynette Shimek told Lake County News that three bull tule elk – one massive bull, another large bull and one spike – as well as a doe deer were found shot at about 7 a.m. Saturday.

Hunters in the area witnessed the killings, said Shimek. Each of the animals were found approximately 50 yards apart on private property on the northeast side of Cache Creek.

Shimek said a total of five Fish and Game Wardens – including she and Loren Freeman from Lake County and several others from other areas – were at the site all day Saturday, along with four Lake County Sheriff's deputies, California Highway Patrol officers and the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office Henry 1 helicopter.

Cal Fire also responded, helping recover the bodies of the animals, said Shimek.

“They assisted Fish and Game in processing all of the meat so that none of it would go to waste,” she said, adding that the meat has been donated to charity.

In the case of the tule elk, Shimek said they belong to a protected herd. While there is hunting for the herd, only two tags are issued each year for a hunt in October.

Shimek said that, despite these recent killings, this year's hunt likely will continue. An incredible effort goes into organizing the annual tag drawings, she said, with thousands of people putting in for the hunting permits.

No arrests have been made so far, said Shimek, with the investigation expected to continue over the next several weeks.

“We have several suspects that are going to be questioned in the case,” she said.

Shimek expressed her gratitude to the agencies that assisted Fish and Game in responding to the site of Saturday's poaching and conducting the initial investigation.

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Lakeport Police and Lake County Sheriff's deputies chased the suspects to Ackley Road Saturday. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


UPDATE: This story has been corrected to reflect that no high-speed chase occurred and that the original report did not involve two women beating up a male subject. The caliber of the weapon found also has been corrected; a .380 not a .38 was found, and one subject's age has been corrected. Lake County News regrets the errors. A followup story also has been posted: "Followup: Deputies make arrests for firearm violations."


LAKEPORT – Two people were arrested Saturday afternoon near Lakeport on weapons charges.

About 3:30 p.m. authorities responded to a call about a fight that involved a gray Isuzu.

By the time authorities arrived on scene, the vehicle was gone, but shortly thereafter the vehicle was spotted traveling down Highway 29.

Lakeport Police and Lake County Sheriff's deputies followed the Isuzu to the 3400 block of Ackley road in Lakeport, about three-quarters of a mile south of Highway 175/Hopland Grade. Six law enforcement vehicles from both Lakeport Police and LCSO were on scene, with two female subjects handcuffed and placed in separate vehicles.

The male subject was placed in another car, also handcuffed. He had sustained a head injury that required medical attention, and local medics from Lakeport Fire Protection District responded to the scene to attend to him, placing a large bandage around his head.

Sgt. Jim Beland of LCSO said they had not yet determined how the man had been injured, or exactly what kind of injury he received.

Deputies and Lakeport Police searched the suspects' vehicle, removing several items including ammunition, a metal box and an aluminum baseball bat. They found at least one .380 caliber semiautomatic in the vehicle.

The sheriff's office arrest logs showed Saturday that the male subject, Jose Luis Valadez, 29, of Lakeport was arrested on felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle with a prior felony conviction and carrying a loaded firearm in public. He remained in jail Saturday night on $20,000 bail.

Arrested on the same charges as Valadez was Teresa Yepez Garcia, 48, of Lakeport, who also remained in the Lake County Jail on $20,000 bail Saturday night.

It was not clear Saturday if a third suspect had been arrested in the case.

E-mail Harold LaBonte at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Police and deputies searched the suspects' car for weapons. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



A deputy takes Jose Valadez from the scene. Photo by Harold LaBonte.

LOWER LAKE – An early morning fire Friday came close to Lower Lake's Ployez Winery, but firefighters contained the blaze before it did any damage.

Winemaker Gerald Ployez, who lives at the winery with wife, Shirley, said the power went off in his home early Friday and alarms were triggered.

When he went to turn off the alarms, he said he saw the fire out the window, and Shirley quickly called 911.

Capt. Redhawk Pallesen of Cal Fire said that the fire was reported at 1:07 a.m.

Cal fire sent three engines, one dozer, two hand crews of 17 firefighters each and one battalion chief, said Pallesen.

Also responding was South Lake County Fire Protection District, he added.

Gerald Ployez said at one point that the fire was only 50 feet from the winery building.

“That was pretty close,” he said.

However, he and his wife weren't forced to evacuate as firefighters got control of the fire.

Pallesen said that all told, the fire burned about three acres of land,

Firefighters were still at the winery cleaning up the fire site until about 4 a.m., Ployez said.

The cause of the fire, said Palleson, appeared to be a bird that flew into a power line.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


This is the second article in a two-part examination of a recent state decisions regarding the county's voting machines. The first article, “Secretary of State: County's voting machines require additional security,” was published Tuesday.

LAKE COUNTY – On Aug. 3, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen decided to decertify and recertify – with additional security measures – the Hart InterCivic eSlate electronic voting machines used by Lake County and several other counties.

As Lake County News reported Tuesday, Bowen's decision requires Lake County Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley to work with Hart InterCivic in order to create a plan to address the security concerns Bowen said her review found.

State Chief Deputy Secretary of State Evan Goldberg told Lake County News that the review looked at electronic voting machines and optical scan systems.

State law requires Secretary of State Debra Bowen to review voting systems, and she may do so at any time, said Goldberg.

So, why review the systems when they already had been certified previously by the federal government and previous secretaries of state?

“They were put through a review process but the review process never included security,” said Goldberg – either on the state or federal levels.

Bowen initially wanted to include eight voting systems in the review, but those machines not being used in the 2008 election were allowed to opt out, and the time frame and resources available also limited the study's scope.

“That's why it wound up there were only three systems that were reviewed,” he said.

Bowen's effort included a team of researchers – called the “Red Team” – from the University of California, Davis. A 14-page overview report from the team's principle investigator, Matt Bishop, stated that the team's specific goal was to identify and document how the systems might be vulnerable to tampering or error that could result in critical election data being altered.

The team considered several questions, said Bishop, including what the systems are required to do, who might threaten the systems, the environment in which the systems are used. They did not, however, evaluate the likelihood of any attack being feasible, but only described the conditions a hacker would need to be successful.

The team was split into two teams, one of which – led by Robert P. Abbott and based at the Secretary of State's Sacramento office looked at the Hart eSlate system, which Lake County uses, and the Diebold system.

The team found that the eSlate's mobile ballot box could be altered during an election, and that post-election safeguards to prevent data from a tampered mobile ballot box from being counted “can be easily bypassed.”

Lake County Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley last year purchased 50 Hart InterCivic eSlate voting machines, one for each of Lake County's polling places.

Fridley said the mobile ballot box is secured in a judge's booth controller unit by a serial-numbered, tamper-proof lock. The number is recorded when it's issued and is confirmed when it's returned to the Elections Office. Elections Office staff removes the lock when the votes are downloaded to be counted during the official canvass.

They also found they could remotely capture the audio from a voting session on an eSlate with audio enabled, which would violate the voter's privacy, the report stated. In addition, the machines could be forced to accept multiple bar codes which could lead to erroneous vote totals.

Fridley said she has e-mailed Hart and they are looking into the concerns about capturing audio.

Regarding the eSlate machines, Goldberg explained, “The Hart System was deemed to be less vulnerable to certain kinds of attacks than the Diebold or Sequoia system.”

Counties like Lake that use the Hart machines must meet several conditions to guarantee security, and must submit a plan to the state within 45 days of Bowen's decision.

Of the state's 58 counties, 37 have only one voting machine per polling location, as in Lake County's case, said Goldberg. It's the 21 other counties, some of which have multiple machines per polling place, that will face the most change.

Elections official concerned about study

Steve Weir, president of the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials, told Lake County News that he's a healthy skeptic of electronic voting machines and that he welcomed a tough review of them.

But Weir said he was concerned with how Bowen conducted the review, beginning on March 22, when she gave county elections officials only six days to respond to the draft standards she proposed to use for the process.

Normally, according to state administrative code, such information needs to be in print for a month; Weir said that rule can be waived but only in extraordinary circumstances.

Goldberg responded that there is no legal requirement for the secretary to provide county elections officials a comment period, but that she did so anyway, although it was very short due to her “desire to get the review started as rapidly as possible.”

And, Goldberg added, Bowen didn't release her final criteria until May 9, which was because she had given elections officials more time to respond.

“She wanted to make the review process as open and transparent as possible,” said Goldberg. “I think she wishes the period could have been longer, and act it did turn out to be longer.”

Weir said Bowen again gave officials only days to respond when her initial reports on the review were released late in July. He said she released them on the afternoon of Friday, July 27, when hearings were scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday, July 30. On Aug. 3 she released her final decision, when he said actually had until Aug. 6 to do so under his interpretation of election code.

Three things about Bowen's study bother Weir. First, he said, she should have stated definitively that the machines included no “malicious code” and hadn't actually been tampered with in a real-world voting situation. Bowen could have settled that debate but didn't, said Weir.

Weir said he liked the idea of having the machines put through a tough test. “I like the idea of seeing my system tested against standards, and I mean really tested,” adding that he has a “healthy skepticism” of the voting machine vendors.

But his second issue with the process is that he said Bowen didn't have a protocol in place for the tests to penetrate the systems' defenses, which the National Institute of Standards and Testing had suggested was necessary.

He said the machines' defenses weren't tested, which he said was “patently unfair.”

His third concern is for the accessibility issue. By saying the machines had problems but were good enough to serve the disabled only “sent a terrible signal to the accessibility community” that they're separate and not really equal.

The need for voting accessibility, and Florida's voting issues during the 2000 election “landed us where we are today,” said Weir about electronic voting.

In the end, he said he believes Bowen simply ran out of time, with the California primary's deadline being moved up four months to February 2008.

At some point in the future, Bowen wants to review all systems, said Goldberg, although there's no time frame set up to do so at this point.

States including Ohio, Kentucky and New Jersey are now beginning similar voting machine reviews, said Goldberg. New Mexico and Florida already have banned the machines due to security concerns.

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KELSEYVILLE – It's official: The US Department of Labor's suit against the owners of Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa is settled.

As Lake County News first reported in May, the suit reached a tentative settlement May 15.

Court documents from that May settlement conference also indicated that the sale of Konocti Harbor to Page Mill Properties of Palo Alto is under way.

Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the US District Court of the Northern District of California signed the final 27-page consent order in the case on Friday, which the Department of Labor filed against Local 38 of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Journeymen, whose Convalescent Trust Fund, Lakeside Haven, has owned Konocti Harbor since 1959.

“Workers’ retirement dreams, health and other benefits were jeopardized by the gross mismanagement of their benefit plans,” said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. “This legal action puts the benefit plans under new, independent management and restores at least $3.5 million to the pension plan.”

A call to attorney James P. Baker, who represented Local 38 in the suit, was not returned Friday afternoon.

Citing the need to protect union workers, Chao filed the suit in November 2004 against Local 38.

The suit alleged that Local 38's current and former trustees violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in managing retirement, health, scholarship, apprenticeship, and vacation and holiday funds that cover more than 2,000 people who are employed throughout Northern California, the Department of Labor reported.

The Department of Labor Local 38's trustees of diverting more than $36 million from the funds to renovate and operate Konocti Harbor.

A statement issued Friday by Chao's office specifically named trustees Lawrence J. Mazzola Sr., Local 38's business manager and financial secretary-treasurer; his son, Lawrence Mazzola Jr.; William B. Fazande; Larry Lee; James R. Shugrue; Vohon J. Kazarian; Tom Irvine; Robert E. Buckley; Robert Buckley Jr.; Art Rud; Ron Fahy; Robert Nurisso; former plan administrator Frank Sullivan; and Local 38.

Chao's Friday statement alleged that the suit's defendants “maintained inadequate financial controls, violated plan documents, engaged in self-dealing, and imprudently spent millions to build and maintain facilities at Konocti despite the resort’s continuing financial losses.”

In addition, Chao said that those dealings caused Local 38 to profit from the interest on a $6 million loan.

The settlement appoints independent fiduciaries to manage the pension funds, replaces all but two trustees Mazzola Jr. and Buckley Jr., who are required to attend training on ERISA fiduciary responsibilities – and permanently bars the replaced trustees and the former plan administrator from serving as fiduciaries or service providers for pension plans.

Hamilton's order includes the provisions that professional investment managers will now oversee Local 38's pension funds, and that an investment monitor will be responsible for supervising all pension plan assets.

The court also appoints WhiteStar Advisors LLC as a second fiduciary to oversee the management and operation of Konocti Harbor, as well as its sale to Page Mill Properties, which now is under way.

In a previous interview with Lake County News, Baker said he could not comment on the specifics of the sales because it is protected by a confidentiality agreement.

Court documents say Konocti Harbor's sale is estimated to fetch $25 million.

The court has ordered that the first $4 million in sale proceeds go to Local 38 to repay a loan it made to the Convalescent Trust Fund in 2000; the next $6 million will go to Local 38's Pension Trust Fund; Local 28 and the Pension Trust Fund will share equally any additional sale proceeds.

In addition, Local 38's fiduciary liability insurer must pay the Local 38 Pension Trust Fund more than $2.9 million, and pay the union's civil penalty of $583,333 to the United States Treasury.

The San Francisco Regional Office of the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration investigated the case, the Department of Labor reported.

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This is the first of a two-part look at the candidates for District 1 Supervisor.

SOUTH LAKE COUNTY Even though it's about seven months until the final cutoff date to file to run for District 1 Supervisor, the opening up of Ed Robey's seat has already attracted an impressive field of potential candidates.

The candidates so far include those with extensive public and community service experience, knowledge of local governments and familiarity with campaigns.

The four candidates who have confirmed with Lake County News their plans to run are Voris Brumfield, former District 1 Supervisor and currently the county's code enforcement manager; Don Dornbush, who ran against Robey in 2004; Susanne La Faver, who has been active in the community, including working on South Lake Fire's Measure B parcel tax and is the holder of an master's degree in public administration; and Robert “Bobby” MacIntyre, a South Lake County Fire Protection District board member and firefighter for the City of Santa Rosa.

Other names that have come up as possible candidates are attorney Robert Riggs of the law firm Katzoff and Riggs; Jim Comstock, president of the Middletown Unified School District board and owner of a local insurance company; Scott Fergusson, owner of Middletown's Fergusson Cutlery.

Riggs told Lake County News that although it's been suggested to him that he should run, he has made no commitment to do so. Multiple calls to both Comstock and Fergusson were not returned.

Lake County Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley said the first step for the candidates will be to file a form 501. “They have to file that before they accept contributions or spend any money for candidacy.”

Once that's complete, there isn't much else they can do until Dec. 28, when the period for filing petitions in lieu of filing fees opens, said Fridley.

Candidates also can pay a filing fee and collect signatures, said Fridley.

The fee is 1 percent of the salary of the office being sought. The supervisors currently earn $4,807.46 per month, according to county Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Cox. That works out to $57,689.52 annually, so the fee would be about $576.

The official nomination period for office seekers is Feb. 11 through March 7, 2008, said Fridley. If the incumbent doesn't file, and in this case Robey has said he will not, the nomination period will be extended to March 12.

Of the field of candidates thus far, three live in Hidden Valley Lake, which has been a decisive voter base in past elections and is likely to be a major factor in the 2008 supervisorial race as well.

All but one – Dornbush – said they decided to run after hearing Robey was retiring. Dornbush, who gave Robey a challenging 2004 campaign, said he had intended to run again regardless.

Meet the candidates

Voris Brumfield, 59, Middletown: Code Enforcement Manager, former supervisor

Brumfield, who came to Lake County in 1975, is no stranger to local politics. She served on the Middletown School Board from 1979 - 1984, and was a founder of the Anderson Springs Community Services District. She represented District 1 Supervisor from 1984 through 1992. She left the board, she said, for two and a half years to care for her ailing mother in Texas.

Brumfield holds a bachelor's degree in theater from the University of Denver, and has taught theater and dance at Yuba College's main campus and its satellite campus in Clearlake, and has been active with in local repertory theater and with the Lake County Arts Council. She assisted in writing the script for Middletown's Renaissance Pageant, wrote and presented a one-woman show based on the life of Alberta Williams King, Martin Luther King Jr.'s mother.

She has been active in community service programs and fund raising for non-profits, along with recent completion of the Lake county Sheriff's Office Citizens Academy.

When she recently became aware that Robey wasn't seeking reelection, Brumfield said she decided to run.

The reason: "I feel it's important that District 1 be represented by someone who has a clear voice and care for the community," she said, "as well as a willingness to listen and work effectively with others".

Major issues she sees for the south county are protection of our natural resources, growth and evolution of the area's communities. South County, she said, has evolved into a bedroom community for Sonoma County.

Seeing that the south county has sufficient services – including water – is another concern, she said.

A key to the south county's future, she explained, will be a final area plan, a new General Plan and an update zoning ordinance to address growth and services.

For just over a year Brumfield has been the county's Code Enforcement Division manager. That job, she said, has shown her the entire county in a new way, and highlighted which communities need extra help. She said she'll take that knowledge with her back to the board.

Her other work experience with the county includes time in the Public Services, Social Services and Marketing departments. She also has a total of seven years' experience as administrator for two nonprofit organization.

Brumfield hasn't filed her Form 501 yet, she said. She said she plans to focus on her job with Code Enforcement – a job she would have to leave due to a conflict if she were elected – before she begins to organize her campaign in earnest after Labor Day.

Susanne La Faver, 58, Hidden Valley Lake: teacher, business consultant


La Faver told Lake County News that she has already taken out the paperwork necessary to begin the process of running for supervisor. Fridley confirmed the La Faver submitted her Form 501 on Aug. 9.

She's also doing a lot of “homework” which includes reading through county documents, such as a copy of the county budget, to familiarize herself with how the county works, and attending a lot of meetings.

La Faver and her husband, Lyle, came to Lake County six years ago because they wanted to live in a place where they could contribute, she said.

“I really love it here,” she added.

In 2002 she worked on the campaign for the Measure B for parcel tax to fund South Lake Fire Protection District. Recently, Lyle was appointed to the Local Area Formation Commission, in addition to his service on the Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District's water board.

She currently serves on the South Lake Fire Safe Council, the Lake County Volunteer Disaster Awareness and Response Team and the Hidden Valley Lake Safety and Security Committee.

Susanne La Faver holds a master's degree in public administration, with emphasis in administrative organization and management, from Golden Gate University, and a bachelor's degree in journalism, with distinction, with emphasis in public relations from San Diego State University.

She has taught management classes at Yuba College and consulted with small businesses around Lake County through the business development programs offered by Community Development Services. She's now teaching in Golden Gate University's online graduate business program.

She said she spent almost 25 years in the corporate world,with work that involved regulatory, legislative and community issues.

La Faver handled water, air quality and hazardous material issues for Pacific Gas and Electric Co.; groundwater and land use issues for Tri Valley Growers; established an issues management program for Kaiser Permanente and arranged a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. to announce emergency room legislation; and helped build business relationships with suppliers in Asia and Latin America for Levi Strauss & Co.

La Faver said her degree and experience helps her understand how government works and how public agencies function.

“I want to continue managing growth in a positive way, protecting our natural resources, especially water, and maintain a fiscally sound local government,” La Faver said.

La Faver's parents live in Sacramento, and her son and daughter-in-law reside in San Francisco.

Tomorrow, meet Don Dornbush and Bobby MacIntyre and learn about their reasons for running for District 1 Supervisor.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

LAKEPORT – Local elections officials are still trying to sort out the possible impacts of the California Secretary of State's decision to decertify some electronic voting systems used across the state.

“I know it affects us, but I don't know everything that affects us just yet,” said Lake County Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley.

Fridley said that Secretary of State Debra Bowen's Aug. 3 decision included Hart InterCivic's eSlate voting system, which Lake County uses.

Bowen withdrew approval for the Hart InterCivic system, then reissued a conditional approval, which will require additional security measures, according to Bowen's office.

The InterCivic system “will be required to comply with increased security and post-election auditing procedures,” a statement from Bowen's office explained.

Besides Lake, counties using eSlate include Humboldt, Orange, Madera, San Mateo, Sonoma and Yolo, according to the Secretary of State's office.

Bowen's office reported that direct recording electronic voting systems manufactured by Diebold and Sequoia also were decertified.

In the case of the InkaVote Plus system by Election Systems and Software, the company didn't submit information that would allow its system to be reviewed, according to the Secretary of State's office. That system was decertified and the company has since submitted the requested documents.

County purchases machines to meet federal law

The federal Help America Vote Act required counties to purchase the voting machines in an effort to comply with disability access requirements, said Fridley. The act requires at least one such machine at each polling place.

In accordance with that, in 2006 the county purchased 50 eSlate machines, one for each county polling place, at a cost of $567,910.67, said Fridley. That figure didn't include additional necessary equipment, such as a laptop computer.

Proposition 41 funds – in the amount of $321,390.02 – helped the county pay for the eSlate system, said Fridley. She is asking for reimbursement for the remainder of the costs from the Help America Vote Act, a lengthy and difficult process, she added.

She said she chose the eSlate system because she believed it was the most user-friendly.

Fridley said the electronic voting system was used for the first time in the June 2006 election.

In the system's most recent use in November, 53 votes were cast countywide using eSlate, said Fridley, out of 19,575 total votes cast. Fridley said out of 20 polling place sites, 11 machines were used and 9 weren't; not all of the machines were utilized in the November election.

Most of Lake County's votes were cast by absentee ballot, 10,316 to be exact, said Fridley.

With so many people switching to absentee voting, why the need for voting machines?

Fridley said not all states have allowed permanent absentee voting as California has.

System has paper backups

Lake County has a blended voting system, said Fridley, which includes not just the eSlate but the paper-based optical scan Mark-A-Vote, used since 1983.

Only Sonoma, Madera and Lake counties have that “blended system,” where the votes that are cast on the eSlates are actually duplicated on the Mark-A-Vote ballots, said Fridley.

Money had been available for Lake County to go to a completely electronic system, but Fridley said, “I'm glad we didn't,” in light of these recent problems and because of the fact that, if the county had needed to completely upgrade due to decertification, money might have been available for that effort.

Lake County uses a complicated auditing processing of checking eSlate paper receipts against the system's audit trail, Fridley said. A two-person auditing board then creates a Mark-A-Vote paper ballot record which is counted and tallied along with the official ballots. The backup will be the paper receipt off the eSlate along with the records from the mobile ballot box.

Some counties have an entirely electronic system, including audits and optical scans. “We do have issues but not as many as those counties that have the total package,” said Fridley.

Fridley said her office is working with Hart to come up with a plan to meet Bowen's requirements for security and auditing. She said many of the security requirements have been in place since the eSlates were used in June 2006.

An Aug. 4 statement from Hart InterCivic said Bowen's assessment was not a realistic risk assessment.

“Putting isolated technology in the hands of computer experts in order to engage in unrestricted, calculated, advanced and malicious attacks is highly improbably in a real-world election,” the Texas company's statement read.

Hart InterCivic said it will work to meet Bowen's requirements, and that it is continuing to improve the security and technology of its machines, which are used in thousands of jurisdictions across 11 states.

Fridley said she spoke with Hart representatives on Aug. 9, and said a working group composed of representatives from counties and cities that use the machines will meet to discuss the security procedures that Bowen is requiring.

Lake and Madera will actually be represented by an elections official from Sonoma County, said Fridley, because those three counties use the same blended voting system and have the same concerns.

Fridley said she doesn't foresee having to buy new machines. “As long as we meet the security issues we shouldn't have a problem.”

In June, Bowen announced she was forming a Post-Election Audit Standards Working Group to review security and reliability of the state's voting systems, and decide if post-election audit standards needed to be strengthened.

At the same time, Bowen launched a “top-to-bottom review” of voting systems currently certified for use in California elections, according to her office.

Bowen didn't specifically look at blended systems like Lake's, said Fridley.

Fridley also voiced her concern that the systems were tested in a lab, not a real-world scenario, and that Bowen's criteria for the review “was pretty broad and not very specific.”

Tomorrow, the state chief deputy secretary of state discusses the reasons the review was necessary; the president of the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials explains his concerns about the review protocols.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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