Off The Record

by AVA News Service, June 29, 2011

THE SUPES haven't signed off on it yet but the County and the Service Employees International Local 1021 representing the majority of County employees have reached agreement, an agreement pegged to four 9-hour workdays.

COUNTY LIBRARY HOURS have been substantially cut back by the Board of Supervisors. A 1/8-cent sales tax measure specifically for library funding will go on the November ballot. Prediction: It won't pass. The chiseling of supervisors Smith and Colfax has made County voters wary of anything coming from the Supervisors, dooming local tax measures for the next few years. That and, sad to say, the onset of Gizmo-ism means that a very large majority of Mendo people no longer have any use for public libraries.

ACE REPORTER WILL PARRISH will be keynote speaker at the “Mendopendence” Conference at the Mendocino Recreation Center, 998 School Street, Mendocino, this Friday, July 1 at 7pm. His subject will be “What Is Local Sovereignty?” Info at mendopendence.com

JEFF COSTELLO WRITES: “Please tell Joe Don Mooney that the Motown recording studio was called “Hitsville USA,” not ‘Hicksville,’ a term that would more properly apply to Hopland.”

MAN BEATERS of the week. Would you believe that Ms. Jennifer Jackson, 18, five feet tall and 100 pounds inflicted corporal injury on anyone let alone a male anyone? But a male-type individual actually called the cops on this wisp of a sweet-faced lass. Case dismissed.

NEXT! Introducing Ms. Ashley Smith of Laytonville. Ashley's got the heft and the look of a lady who wouldn't need a whole lot of aggravation to put some pop in her punch, but look who she was duking it out with. We seldom get a look at the male half of these domestic slugfests, but Jeff French also got himself arrested along with Ashley. We can safely assume that the arresting officer, Matt Kendall, found himself in one of these shrieking situations where he was forced to take both parties into custody. And what was the beef that propelled these two lovebirds to fisticuffs, the last bag of Cheetos?

THE 4TH OF JULY probably ought to be a National Day of Lamentation for what might have been in a land now totally in the hands of financial criminals while the free and the brave hunker down behind locked gates, night lights, and guard dogs, a population that looks fierce as heck with head-to-toe tats and chemically enhanced gym muscles but has never been politically wimpier. On second thought, maybe we should re-affiliate with the Brits. They at least still know how to do education and entertainment.

A UKIAH WOMAN called to tell us that a prostitution business had set up shop in a semi-industrial area in North Ukiah. “They're charging $500. Can you believe that?” No, I can't. The only guy in Ukiah who has $500 is Charlie Mannon of the Savings Bank, and he wouldn't seem to be a commercial sex kind of guy. Nevertheless, I called Captain Smallcomb of the Sheriff's Department to ask him if he'd heard of any inland red light ops. “Nope,” Smallcomb said, “but I'll check with my guys who work that area.”

FRESH MEAT! A young man named Dave Brooksher has been selected as the new press release reader at KZYX. Station management, speaking as if they know, said Brooksher was the only “qualified” candidate for their one-person newsroom. Christina Aanestad, the capable young woman summarily fired almost two years ago by KZYX's passo-aggresso boss, John Coate, saw her re-application to resume her work at the station just as summarily rejected. Aanestad's original sin? They were probably many in the unseeing eyes of Coate and Crew, but she did once ask Congressman Thompson a question the cringing Coate regarded as not objective, and Christina was outta there. Coate had hired an overt lunatic named Paul Hanson who nuzzlebummed his way through government press releases for a couple of years before he flamed spectacularly out, raving that “Oregon bull dykes” were again tormenting him over a lottery fraud he'd once committed. The new guy, Brooksher, according to the AVA's designated KZYX monitor, The Major, “has a decent voice and seems like he can at least read a press release.”  Keep your lips puckered, kid, and remember to always wear your kevlar backwards and you may survive the experience.

THE NUT of the KZYX prob is the one that came with its dubious founding two decades ago by a nut called Sean Donovan. Donovan, a Boonville Republican, present whereabouts unknown (at least to us), set things up so the mostly tax-supported station would always be controlled not by the public that foots a big part of the bill but by people like him which, of course, down through the two decades of the station's turbulent existence, has worked out as Donovan intended. Donovan handpicked his first KZYX board and they and their manager descendents have handpicked boards ever since, cementing themselves in place in perpetuity. And the “community” paid Donovan more than thirty grand for setting the thing up!

WE ONCE caught a KZYX crew in the act of fixing an election for Nambo over Pambo! The desperation of local libs to hang on to their teensy sinecures can be very funny, but there's nothing funny about their work product, a work product of such unrelenting mediocrity you'd think even they might occasionally be given pause. I've lived here forty years but I don't recognize a single name on the current KZYX board of directors, not that they're any different in practice from previous boards of people whose names I did recognize. What they all have in common is a knee-knocking terror at the slightest criticism of local institutions and public personalities, hence the press release approach to news programming and the numbing fear they all live in perpetual fear of... What Will The Neighbors Think?

KMUD out of Garberville, by way of contrast, arose out of community meetings, originally as a way of monitoring live dope raids on Southern Humboldt County. It's structured in a way that gives the community it serves real control of the enterprise. Which isn't to say it is anything like daring when it comes to discussions of community issues, but put alongside KZYX the Garberville station is absolutely thrilling.

A FEW WEEKS ago I enjoyed an e-mail exchange with Coate, an hilariously dim fellow in ways only the dim and pretentious can be amusing, and a fellow who can be depended upon to rise to the bait. He e-mailed a denunciation of some slighting remarks I'd made about the station. I e-mailed him back to ask, “Is this for publication?”

“No,” Coate replied, “of course not,” as he slathered on more insults.

“In it goes,” I said.

“You are truly despicable,” Coate wrote in another deluge of tedious abuse notable only for its utter lack of wit.

AT THE TIME I thought my fun with Coate was too childishly boring to pass along, but I've decided to share it with you, my fellow infantiles, as an example of what? The deadly humorlessness of these people, their dangerous literalness, the fear you smell coming off them, how bone dumb they are. When we get fascism in this country it will look and sound like KZYX — 23 hours of tunes, an hour of government propaganda.

A FRIEND WRITES of his day at the San Francisco Ballpark last Saturday: “As we were drifting out of the park, if one can drift when trapped in a mob and being hauled roughly toward the gates, both feet off the ground at times, the I Left My Heart in San Francisco song came over the loudspeakers, and I wondered if it was used as crowd control — you know, a quiet, calm, nostalgic and familiar song to soothe the inebriated masses and make it far less likely that those of differing team preference would resort to shouting and shoving one another. Probably not, but I'll bet it works that way. We've been to AT&T a few times, too. Parking? Forty dollars U.S. Beer? Don't ask. The volume of commerce going on in and around the park was like some middle eastern bazaar — black guys with makeshift stalls hawing cheap orange t-shirts on the street, lots and lots of folks trying to buy or sell or trade tickets, and several hundred legit concession stands inside the facility. It's truly like a mall in there.”

HERE'S HOW to experience the ballpark: First off you never, ever pay for parking anywhere near the place, and you never ever give the phone monopoly even the imaginary satisfaction of calling the ballpark by their name. What you do is drive out to the beach and catch the N-Judah for a $2 ride downtown. The N drops you at Willie Mays right at the ballpark's front door, or you can get off a block before at Orlando Cepeda if you're sitting on the left field side of the stadium. Coming back on the N is sardine time until you get to the Embarcadero stop. But you're only in the post-game transit mosh for a few minutes because most of the ballpark people get off to catch eastbound BART. The N will get you back at your car at the beach in 45 minutes, easy. I either ride my bike to and from or I catch the N. And I always bring my own food. It's a sin to pay $7.50 for garlic fries and pay even more for a rubbery mystery meat hot dog or burger, and I never down so much as a single eight dollar beer because it's wise to have your wits fully about you in any mob these days, foreign or domestic. At the end of the game rather than doing a slo-mo meat sandwich shuffle all the way out of the park and into the street, you remain seated. First, and assuming the Giants won because he doesn't sing when they lose, you listen to Tony sing about how he left his heart on the cable car, and then you watch the thousands of seagulls circle overhead preparatory to their mass Hitchcockian swoop on the post-game negative food value remnants. At the appearance of the gulls, you wait another fifteen minutes, by which time the place is pretty much empty except for those tweeker-looking guys running up and down the aisles collecting plastic Giants cups. That's when you make your way to the dank of the overflowed urinals from which you can then saunter on out of the park unencumbered by your fellow fans. I often buy a ticket from a scalper guy on Third Street at the McDonald's parking lot with whom I've established a free enterprise relationship. San Francisco's a small city, so small you see the same people around and run into people you know. I've known this guy for years now. He'll sell me a ticket for the top of the stadium, my preferred spot, for fifteen bucks when they're going for forty. He'd charge you at least fifty, but if you're not put off by appearances, these guys, presumed legal histories aside, are cool. (The Mitt Romney-looking characters are the ones who scare me.) If this particular scalper sold my newspaper we'd have twice the circulation. My wife has become a big fan, but she doesn't like to go to the ballpark, especially at night. She watches on TV. Before, she was Niners only. She said baseball was too slow, too boring, like her husband of fifty years, not that she'd say so. But now, although still preferring football, she knows who's who at a glance, and always groans when Rowand comes up, which I tell her is very unfair because Rowand's a good ballplayer, and a true fan never goes negative on the home team. She says she doesn't like the look of Rowand's stance. My mother used to say she didn't like Nixon “because of his jowels.” I hyperventilate at the mere mention of Wes Chesbro. Think of it: 280 million people deciding matters this way! We were at the ballpark for Friday night's game, a good one the Giants won 4-3 in typically dramatic fashion. My wife sat through Tony Bennett again leaving his heart in Frisco but she refused to wait for the seagulls, so we shuffled out with the crowd, borne along on a river of beery flesh. My correspondent is correct about the post-game crowd. It can get quite wild out there. It was wild Friday night, with the wildest-behaving people being young drunk women, one of whom was taking her clothes off at Third and Brannan as her “friends” chanted “Go! Go! Go!” The dudes, dressed like small boys in billboards, were running into each other to get closer. The cops are clustered around the park, a fact known to the people predisposed to anarchy who know they're free to do whatever they want in the murk of the side streets. One night, footing it up Third after a game, I saw a guy jump out of his car with a gun, which he brandished at some adversary visible only to him, but which put me to high-stepping outta there at a speed I didn't know I was capable of. I was surprised that most people just stood there looking for whatever would happen next, like a bullet in the kisser, I guess. Night time Frisco can be surreal, please excuse the cliché, more surreal with the years, what with the size of the average citizen seeming to have tripled with millions more stuffed into creative costume changes. They all come out at night looking for whatever people have always looked for in the dark — sex, trouble and Friday night baseball.

GO, NORM! Norman Solomon is running for Congress out of the Marin County area. We know him mostly as a writer on politics and, as a friend describes him, “A man who is continually surprised that The New York Times lies.” A genuinely nice guy, Solomon says he will stand for “guaranteed health care, full employment, green sustainability, full funding for public education, fundamental changes in federal spending priorities and an end to perennial war.” Better yet, and unlike so many candidates for the same good things, Norm's got some money behind him. If he's elected to succeed Lynn Woolsey, the only progressive officeholder on the Northcoast, maybe Mendoland will be roused to finally boot the Thompson-Chesbro stranglehold on the rest of NorCal.

OUR SUPERVISORS and CEO Carmel Angelo are always telling us that Mendocino County is so broke they've got to whack the Sheriff's budget and gouge County workers to work more on fewer days. So how come the County is still funding the County's so-called Wellness program, an enterprise replete with crucial advice like, “Nurture your inner diva! We can help you connect with a vocal coach specializing in show tunes or r&b'? Or “Whether your date loves rock climbing or fine dining, we'll help you find the ideal destination”? CEO Angelo is on the record as saying, “This wonderful benefit will cost you nothing, but will add great value to your daily living.” And, of course, the County still funds the ongoing boondoggle known as the Promotional Alliance to the tune of $300,000. This thing is an ongoing gift of public funds to the privately owned wine and tour industry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *