Off The Record

by AVA News Service, May 25, 2011

CRAWDAD NELSON WROTE last Friday: “I will take what you don't need if you're going to the rapture. Just leave things by the door. Food and drink should be properly wrapped.” The old boy who'd predicted the apocalypse said he was "flabbergasted" it hadn't happened as He and he alone had scheduled it. Is a downscale term like 'flabbergasted' really the word you want in the context of ultimate events? Rev Camping now says the world will end on October 21st, and wouldn't you just know it will all come down during Game 7 of the World Series just as Cody Ross comes up with the bases loaded?

IF THE REV deployed his unhappy predictions as a metaphor for the more specific disasters upon US he might be on to something useful. It seems clear that our country is shrinking, at least in terms of the previous chief assumption of more stuff for more people forever. That's over. The economy is not coming back, sanctioned criminals are running things at the federal level, fuel and food are more and more expensive. Big things are in motion, none of them portending any good at all for most of us. Maybe that's what the Rev senses without any other way than a mis-reading of the Old Testament to make it fit his limited understanding.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Blue Valentine, a perfectly acted, perfectly harrowing love story, a sort of Annie Hall for grown-ups and, I would say, perhaps of great instructive value to teenage girls.

RECOMMENDED READING: The story in the May 23rd issue of Sports Illustrated called "What the Tornado Took," a gripping account by Lars Anderson about how several student-athletes at the University of Alabama survived late April's devastating twister, one kid waking up across the street from his house, grateful to be waking up at all while his girl friend died. I've never read anything quite like it, and what with this week's destruction of Joplin by a mega-tornado, timely.

THE FORCES of law and order are gearing up big time for pot raids, especially on the numerous grows in the Mendocino National Forest. Locally, though, lots of small-time growers are still sitting on crops from last season with local prices down to an all-time low of $800 a pound if buyers can be found. Why can't the little guy growers unload their dope? NorCal market glut. But if you have Midwest or East Coast connections you can still make money in the dope business, as evidenced last week when the Ukiah police seized $100,000 cash and 20 pounds of Mendo Mellow at the Comfort Inn. The police say passersby could smell the dope and called them to investigate. Inside the odiferous motel room the Ukiah PD found Timothy Truman Curtis, 34, of Covelo; Kevin Jones, 26, of Chicago; Ryan Schroeder, 26, of Wisconsin, and Jacob Lee Malmin, 24, of Minnesota were discovered, the latter trio apparently hoping to consummate the buy from Covelo's Tim Curtis. They even had the cash, and one would have thought that Tim could have arranged a less olefactorily-provocative venue to do business out of.

IN BRIEF, recent conversation with Supervisor Pinches the modest North County solon mentioned that at last the County of Mendocino is moving out of Dominic Affinito's social service's building in Fort Bragg. Affinito charged the County a month for a barely functional structure that cost him maybe $2 mil to build. Affinito threw the barn-like building up in a big hurry because he undoubtedly knew his gal, Patti Campbell, then sitting as 4th District supervisor, would see to it that her colleagues went for it. And went for it they did, with the notable exception of Pinches who steadily pointed out that for the money that Affinito would be charging the County could build its own building in Fort Bragg. Affinito, adding interesting of better than 3 percent a year, was collecting $26,000 a month in rent from us suckers when the one-way rip-off finally ended just this month.

SUPERVISOR PINCHES also passed along this grim statistic: Mendocino County is now suffering an average of a foreclosure a day, a figure that means untold heartache for hundreds of people and huge hit in annual loss of property taxes for Mendocino County. "All this media talk about a recovery," Pinches said, "well, I just don't see it happening."

MR. DAVID BALASSI, 22, of Fort Bragg goes to jury trial on Wednesday the 27th of July charged with two felonies — assault with a deadly weapon, and battery with two hate crime enhancements. These charges arise out of an episode that occurred Fort Bragg late one night in Fort Bragg as the bars closed. As described in these pages, Mr. Balassi apparently sucker-punched a diminutive Mexican named Juan Balam-Chi, allegedly declaring that he did it because he hated Mexicans.

SORRY TO SEE Mr. and Mrs. Brian Stratton retiring down the road to Fort Bragg after many years at Village Spirits, Mendocino, a highly valued outlet for this newspaper. Both Strattons were unfailingly gracious and absolutely staunch in defense of free speech. We'll miss them.

SPEAKING OF AVA VENUES, the great liberals at Corners of the Mouth, Mendocino, have always refused to carry the paper, out of high principle of course, because everything low people do is always described by them as highly principled. The Corners fascisti would never argue with me about it because they're too cowardly, too certain of their righteousness for argument. And the bone dumb prevalent among these pretentious doofi are always irony-deficient. I know if I ever had a chance to go face to face with them I'd have to decode, line by line, what was meant by this, what was meant by that. It still surprises me how many readers of the righteous type just don't get it. But a strong streak of violent fascism could always be found among the local hippies, more of it, in my experience, than I ever found among local Republicans. Way back, a very nice man called to tell me he was sorry The Corners "collective" had banned the AVA, that he'd argued for inclusion but had been out-voted by tofu jackboots. Being banned at places like Corners and KZYX is for me kind of like receiving an honorary degree. If these fools approved of the paper, I'd have to give it up because I'd know I'd gone totally wrong.

A READER ASKS: "How come you're always taking pot shots at liberals? Aren't you a liberal? No, the editor sniffed, I'm not a liberal. How dare you? I'm a person of the left, a person who thinks it all pretty much comes down to economics, a question of who has what, with the great task being to take the what from the major haves to run the whole show in the true interests of all of us, those true interests being lifetime guarantees for everyone of food, shelter, work, medical care, education, effective mass transportation, affordable ball game tickets, and decent in-home for grams and gramps. "But," cry The Libs waving their videos of the Gandhi movie, "wouldn't that mean a violent revolution?" Gratifying as it would be to put Donald Trump and other undesirables up against a wall, the basics of life could easily be accomplished simply by returning to the 95 percent tax on the big incomes we saw in this country up through the Truman years. That won't happen any time soon because we're represented by people who are funded by the super-rich, as are all major media all the way down to the truly pathetic Santa Rosa Press Democrat with their EJ Dionnes and David Brookses. What we're left with are The Libs. They claim to represent the good and the true, but they don't. They're major obstacles to the fundamental changes we need. The Libs focus on gender, sex, race and, in San Francisco, even foreskin issues, because that way they can avoid talking money. Unfortunately for US, there isn't a left in America because the political right has shoved the discussion so far over to the advantage of the rich they serve that a minority of financially secure, neener-neener, highly irritating, NPR-type people — Democrats — have somehow become the 'left' when they're barely liberals in any traditional sense of the term. Think this analysis is off? This country has just been criminally looted and what does the lead lib, Obama, do? He appoints the crooks who did the looting to "save" the system while his Justice Department goes after Lance Armstrong, a bicycle racer, and Barry Bonds, a baseball player.

WHICH ISN'T TO SAY that the gentlemanly Harry Bistrin wasn't a good guy. He was. A Democrat from a time when Democrats stood for something, Harry always seemed to believe they still stood for something, a nice man trapped in a local nexus of unprincipled hacks and The Women Who Love Them. Harry was always pleasant, even after I'd described him as the Willy Loman of the party, and even after a few of us, marching under the frayed banner of Peace and Freedom, knocked Doug Bosco off his Congressional perch and put a major scare into Dan Hauser, Arcata's faithful big biz gofer until an even more faithful one in Wes Chesbro came along. Harry went all the way back to FDR and the Northcoast's last real people's congressman, Clem Miller. Among today's grisly crew of middle of the road extremists — maybe a hundred strong from Crescent City to Santa Rosa — Lee Edmundson of Mendocino alone has the potential in all-round savoir faire to succeed Harry as the benign face of Northcoast lib lab-ism. Of course Lee's a native of Alabama where manners still count for something, Harry Bistrin from a time when they did.

MAN BEATER OF THE WEEK: Lucille Almon, 52, Ukiah. Clearly a woman who has suffered, Ms. Almon should not, in middle passage, have to endure arrest, jail, court appearances, and anger management lectures from passive-aggressive, county-paid "therapists" simply for defending herself from the undoubted provocations of her insignificant significant other. Innocent by reason of life, your honor!

DA DAVID EYSTER WRITES: “I was in Sacramento last week to testify in support of the bill to allow local DAs the discretion to prosecute illegal cultivation as either a misdemeanor or felony. The Republican analysis states, ‘This bill will result in major state savings.’ Nevertheless, the Assembly Republicans are being urged to vote against this bill. Do you still wonder why we are in the financial mess we are?”

ENDING CORPORATE PERSONHOOD status for America's corporations is certainly an uphill struggle here in the world's lead oligarchy, but it should be done, and good on the local people like Tom Wodetzki who are rolling that particular rock up a very steep hill. "The End-Corporate-Personhood folk have decided to enter a float in Mendocino's 4th of July parade, and we invite you to join us as we plan this fun event. It will be both a celebration of our success in getting the Fort Bragg City Council to pass our resolution in favor of an amendment to the US Constitution banning 'corporate personhood,' and also a way to further our educational efforts about this issue and the need to end corporate rule."

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