Off The Record

by AVA News Service, March 16, 2011

TO READ THE MENDO listserves one might think a radioactive cloud was already half way from Japan to Albion and Greenfield Ranch. It's probably that same hysterical demographic, the Y2K people, who have already bought up all the iodine in the County, the idea being that if you dose yourself ahead of time your thyroid will survive whatever gift the nuclear industry might bestow on us. As for the nuke-soaked cloud headed for Albion, a reader comments, "I thought the government was already targeting Albion with chemtrails because people there Know Too Much, now this too?"

THE AVA'S OWN Bruce Patterson will be discussing his new book, Turned Round in my Boots, this Friday night, March 18th, at Cheshire Books in Fort Bragg, 6:00pm. Refreshments and finger food. Call Christine at 964-5918 if you need to know any more.

BESS S. SANDERSON. Remember Bess? She and her mister were popped last year when the cops watched them take delivery of a FedEx package containing $80,000 in cash. It was soon known that the Sandersons, a very young couple with two toddler children, were renting a $3 million ocean view home in Mendocino and drawing an array of welfare benefits while they shipped dope to the marijuana-parched East Coast in return for timely packages of FedEx-ed fortunes. Mr. Sanderson, a Phi Beta Kappa student from the state university, Stonybrook, New York, was packed off to the County Jail while Mrs. Sanderson was sent home to the $3 million ocean view house to watch the kids. She was soon arrested when the kids were found unattended at 10pm in her car while mom was down the street knocking back the evening chill at Dick's Place. The Sandersons were soon sorted out in our always indulgent courts: Phi Beta did a few leisurely months in the County Jail as mom, vouched for by a Coast church group, again went home to the kids on the condition that she not associate with Phi Beta. The helping professionals at the Ukiah Courthouse seemed to think it was him dragging her down. But love conquers all, including court orders, and here's Mrs. Sanderson again under arrest for felony violation of parole for being "caught in the presence of her husband." She'll be in Ten Mile Court on March 23rd to explain why she just can't resist the guy.

QIONG WANG, the perpetual poacher arrested twice in two weeks for the same offense, has pleaded guilty "to felony conspiracy to commit a crime, misdemeanor taking abalone commercially, and having an over-limit of abalone," 151 abalone from Mendocino County alone. The court has let Mr. Wang slide on a poaching bust in Sonoma County on the condition he plead guilty up here, which he has now done. He'll be in Ten Mile Court on April 18th for sentencing.

MARSHALL P. SAYEGH, South Coast internet impresario, has been arraigned in Ten Mile Court on charges related to his ongoing beef with Mrs. Sayegh. Meanwhile, the Sayeghs' internet business, Esplanade, has disappeared as a bunch of Coasties complain to the police that Sayegh has defrauded them. They paid in advance for internet services not received. Mr. S has pleaded not guilty to the allegations that he has been ungentlemanly to Mrs. S and is taking his case to a Ten Mile jury on April 19th.

MAN BEATER OF THE WEEK. ladies and gentlemen Miss Nuvia Luna, 22, 5'5" 180. Sweet face and enigmatic smile aside, Nuvia, at 180, certainly has the heft to hook her guy pretty good. Whether she did or not probably can't be known, but the kid doesn't exactly look like she's suffering any remorse.

THE BEST SOURCE of information on the economy, ours and the rest of the world's, is Doug Henwood's Left Business Observer, on-line and at 242 Greene Ave #1C, Brooklyn, NY 11238. Henwood can also be heard Saturdays 10am on KPFA, Berkeley, where he's just about the last lucid left voice on the station. LBO can also be found on-line.

A RECENT LBO at least tries to beat back some of the inflammatory nonsense that Mexicans are bad for the American economy, and also provides a readable analysis of why food prices are rising so fast. All this and a handy reminder of what exactly Marx and Engels had in mind when they wrote the Communist Manifesto and how the same program, applied to US, would at last bring us a true liberation:

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive income tax.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. (To be applied these days to Americans who hide their money in offshore accounts.)

5. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state. (The more delusional bloggers aside, we pretty much already have the former, and it takes a government to make the trains run.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. (Now more than ever. Corporate land is depleting the soil and making unhealthy fatties out of us as they go.)

8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. (Even the bums would have to put their idle shoulders to the wheel of the potato patch.)

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country. (Less concrete, more trees, more space for everyone.)

10. Free education for all children in public schools. (We've got that although the political right would like to get rid of it, too.)

DON'T EXPECT the Democrats to roll this platform out in time for the next elections, but then and now it's the correct recipe.

KMEC 105.1 FM in the Ukiah Valley is holding it's 1st ever pledge drive starting Saturday March 19th and ending Saturday March 26th. We'll kick off the week of fun-raising with a day of Programming for Peace on the heels of the 8th anniversary of the Iraq War. We'll end the week's festivities with 2 local events, Cindy Sheehan speaking on Peace and Non-Partisan Politics Friday March 25th at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse, 6pm-9pm-community dinner 6pm-7pm, discussion 7:30pm-9pm, $10-$20 sliding scale, FREE 25 years and under. Then, we officially end our week of fun-raising with a party, Saturday March 26th at the Ukiah Brewing Company with our friends Rootstock playing live, 9:30pm-12:30am, $10 suggested donation. For more information call (707) 468-1660. www.kmecradio.org

TSUNAMI NOTES: A Fort Bragg boat owner writes:  "I got a call from the harbor at 4 a.m. with the tsunami warning.  I went right down to the harbor.  Lots of boats left to go out to sea, which is the smartest thing to do, but having been through several false alarms I chose to stay on my boat in the slip. The first surge came about 7:30 and it wasn't much, neither was the second surge. Everyone thought that it was over but I stuck around.  Then came the third and fourth surges.  The water just kept coming, covered the dock and then planks started flying in all directions.  Luckily, I had my engine running, so I cut the dock lines and was somehow able to maneuver out through all the floating debris, including boats that had broken loose, and move further up the marina.  My boat sustained mostly cosmetic damage.  The end of B dock is gone and about half of C dock.  Someone videoed the whole thing and I guess it's been shown on MCCET (channel 3) a few times, but I haven't seen it...."

IT WAS THE WEEKEND before the Arab uprisings, six weeks before Mother Nature swallowed Japan. On Clement food prices for staples like coconut milk and rice had just about doubled over the past six months and gasoline was more expensive every week. More things than usual seemed to be flying apart. But I was wondering if Pablo Sandoval really had lost forty pounds, so I headed out for the ballpark where the Giants were throwing an open house to assess Pablo's bulk for myself. In anticipation of extraordinary Saturday morning demand by Giant's fans, Muni of course was running fewer and shorter trains, meaning most of the city would have to take a bus downtown and then walk a mile or so to the festivities. On the normally uneventful 1 California, an attractive, nicely dressed Chinese woman of about forty moons handed me her business card, which identified her as an accountant and an acupuncturist. "Call me," she said in immigrant English, "I do your taxes." And puncture my last illusions for free? When attractive women strike up conversations with you on the bus, and the young ones smile at you on the sidewalks, you are officially harmless, that from then on it will be walking sticks and dentu-cream until the Neptune Society's final furnace renders you to the contents of a small brown takeout box in exchange for a swipe of your descendant's Visa card. Intimations of mortality aside, it was a nice day for an open house at the ballpark. Frisco is mostly nice days, cool but sunny, and even in the foggy summer months there's always warm weather in the neighborhoods to the east. The ballpark mob stretched half way to the Ferry Building, and soon I was walking past a very long line, one of the longest lines I've ever seen. "What's this for," I asked a young couple. "Autographs," the young man replied. "Whose autographs?" I wondered, assuming they'd be after Lincecum or Buster Posey, like most fans. "We don't care. Anybody's," the young man laughed. Reminding myself not to be judgmental because I, too, was on a pointless quest, I plodded on towards Willie Mays at the main gate where I joined a relatively short line which, in a half hour or so, would funnel us rabble into the park. A contemporary togged out in the full Giant regalia, declared, "I saw Dave Righetti pitch in the World Series," he said. "Oh yeah?" I replied, "I saw Dave Righetti's father, Leo, play shortstop at Seals Stadium." Inside, there were more autograph lines, and when Pablo was introduced to a huge approving roar we could all see that he was definitely slimmer. Pablo said he was "Berry berry hoppy" to all the questions he was asked, and so was I because at 280 Pablo had definitely been having probs picking up ground balls at third. Reassured, I left the world champs to their autograph books and headed north up Third Street past mysterious businesses called Coalesce and Gallery 16 and Urban Digital Color, marveling at the diversity of free enterprise but thinking of the superior relevance of Mendocino County and how I wouldn't trade any of this gizmo-based nebulousness for Doug Mosel and Boonville's small farm movement. Popping in at the California Historical Society, consistently more interesting than the trend-o-groove-o displays a block away at SF MOMA, one of the glass exhibit cases contained AB 3317 proposed in 1911: "If you are an illegal possessor or user of narcotics, or a prostitute, pimp, panhandler or sexual pervert and are here for illegal purposes, please leave," which would exclude just about everyone in San Francisco's present population from ever eating out. I walked on north to North Beach to see how the ava was doing at City Lights. It was either sold out or hadn't arrived, and it was on to Washington Square and then back to Chinatown for a three dollar lunch of Mongolian beef on Jackson, then through the Stockton Tunnel where, at all times of the day or night for fifty years now there's at least one person yelling or honking his horn to test his echo. I walked around Union Square looking at the greatest show on earth. Finally, I took the 14 up Mission to 18th and Mission, hoping to get the 33 that goes up 18th, over the hill, finally coming to rest on the lower slopes of Pacific Heights. At 18th and Mission I waited. And waited. A very old and very tiny and very bent-over gnome-like man shuffled up in very tiny tired steps. It seemed to take him an hour to traverse maybe thirty feet. "Can I stand next to you, chief? It's dangerous out here," he said. I was flattered that he thought I represented sanctuary in the urban jungle. "What happened to that place out at the beach where they had the laughing lady?" he wanted to know. "I used to go there. I was born in Sinaloa. I jumped the fence and came here. I live here for years already." An old timer myself, this kind of free association never throws me. Playland is long gone, I said, but Laughing Sal, or at least one version of her, is down at Fisherman's Wharf. She's still laughing, I said. "That's good," the old man said, and now he had two assurances, my harmless bulk and Laughing Sal. "I live on Dolores with my girl friend," he said. Girl friend? I felt like shaking his hand. "I come down to Mission to buy my bread from the Chinaman," he explained, pointing at the four loaves of Wonder Wheat he was carrying. "The Chinaman makes good bread. Every Saturday I come here. I'm going home now. It gets dark and I get robbed." The 33 finally rolled up. It was jammed because it had been nearly an hour since the last one. The driver let the lift down for the old guy, as much younger people, no respecters of age or anything else probably, streamed around him and onto the bus. At Dolores we had to yell at the driver to let the old guy off, a debarkation that took several minutes and elicited exasperated audible sighs from several passengers. At Castro, the driver suddenly announced, "This is as far as I'm going. Everyone off." Which made no sense, and was totally unanticipated by the 60 or so riders who'd already waited 45 minutes or longer to get on the bus, hoping at last to get up and over the hill to the Haight-Ashbury and points north. A man yelled, "You coulda told us that when we got on." Yes, the driver could have, and probably would have on any other public transportation here or abroad, but he worked for Muni. I looked back down 18th. I could see all the way to Oakland. Not another 33 in sight. Up and over the hill on foot, but I finally caught one at Frederick, and in ten minutes I was getting off at Arguello and Stanyan, six blocks to home, secure in the glorious knowledge that Pablo was down to a svelte 240 and the Muni hadn't changed in the fifty years I'd been riding it.

IN 1944 AND '45, we obliterated 23 of 25 of Japan's largest cities with high explosives and napalm, the other two famously by A-Bombs. By 1960, the Japanese economy was among the most successful in the world. If a disciplined, industrious people like the Japanese can rebound so quickly after being knocked out like they were by World War Two, which their lunatic rightwing inspired, I wonder how well our undisciplined, cheeto-dependent, rightwing-duped population is likely to do in comparably catastrophic conditions? Just askin'.

One Response to Off The Record

  1. Charles Becker Reply

    March 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Brilliant writing, thanks. If it’s Friday afternoon and you’re at the foot of Hyde St, stop by the Maritime Museum (where I serve as one of the more animated displays) and I’ll be pleased to share some waterfront history with you.

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