Off the Record 8/12/2009

by AVA News Service, August 12, 2009

CHIEF DEPUTY District Attorney Jill Ravitch, pronounced Ravvvvvvitch! with teeth bared through the v's, Mendo’s most experienced trial attorney, came to us from Sonoma County where she had SoCo's criminal scumdogs quivering in their paws. Ravitch told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat last week that she intends to run against Sonoma County DA Steven Passalacqua next year, having narrowly lost to Passalacqua in 2006 when, it seems, her ferocity frightened even her supporters, and Mr. P was able to flab past Ravitch by pretending to be a Nicer Person. Ravitch has said that she came to Mendocino County to “improve my management skills,” and what better place to do that than in a chaotic County Courthouse like ours? The run for SoCo DA is expected to be both expensive — perhaps eating up as much as $200k in phony baloney advertising and mailers — and time consuming. Ravitch lives in Sebastopol from where she presently commutes to Ukiah, a daily jaunt of almost 140 round trip miles every work day. A male colleague of Ravitch's complained months ago that Ravitch and other top Mendo DA staffers, all females in what the boys say is a man-hostile office, got to commute back and forth from her West Sonoma County home at publicly funded County cars. The fellow who made the complaint was subsequently eased out of the office. Or resigned. In any case, he hasn't been seen since. Can Ravvvvvitch! run for office in Sonoma County while doing justice to her day job here in SteppingStone County? We'll see. We guess. Maybe.

OUR DA'S OFFICE does seem to be a kind of transient center these days, what with Ravitch's frantic political commutes and a recent hire who's at the center of a front page Bay Area sex scandal. A sex scandal has to be something extra special to make it onto the front page of The San Francisco Chronicle where only the most bizarre copulations get the headlines. This particular Chron front-pager has to do with the kinked-out Republicans staffing the Contra Costa DA's office. It seems that one slow morning as Contra Costa sex crimes prosecutor Michael Gressett awaited a verdict in a molestation trial he'd just completed, he invited a fellow prosecutor to his Martinez home for what Gressett has since described as “a nooner.” The “nooner” involved a gun, an ice pick and ice cubes, to what purpose and in what order is not known, but weeks after the event the female party to the lunch hour hijinks filed rape charges. Prosecutor Kink said ice cubes and ice picks were consensual but was nevertheless fired while Prosecutor Ms. Kink was not rehired. Ms. Kink soon found a job with Mendocino County. Where else? But she may be disappointed to learn that only the Republicans of the tiny village of Westport are as exciting as they are in Contra Costa County.

A READER WRITES: “Someone’s daughter died at the Humboldt Reggae Rising this year. According to a Sheriff’s Department Press Release, a 21-year-old woman who had been attending the Reggae Rising music festival last weekend was found dead early Monday morning. Sheriff’s Lt. Rusty Noe said Molly Donovan, of South Lake Tahoe, was found dead shortly after midnight Monday morning in her camp, which was located near the festival and just across the Mendocino County line. Noe said the festival's medical team was first called to the scene who quickly determined that Donovan was dead; they called the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. Noe said Donovan's cause of death hasn't been determined, and likely won't be known for some weeks, pending toxicology test results. It sounds like underage binge drinking, an indictment of the whole event. I am so happy I did not go for if I did I would be feeling that I participated in the collective inebriated ritual sacrifice of someone’s daughter.....”

THE FOLLOWING anonymous and unconfirmed accounts are from the Boonville Reggae Festival message board: “EmpressoftheWes” says: “She wasn't even in her tent. She was laying outside the dome by herself. No one helped her. I was asleep in my tent right by the dome. She died right near where I was sleeping. The sad part is right before my friend and I left and found out about the girl that died, we stole a huge bouquet of beautiful flowers from the dome that were used for decoration. Now I kinda feel like it was a memorial. It was truly a disturbing way to end the weekend. The ambulance left in no hurry, which to us was a pretty sure sign that she didn't make it. The woman we heard about it from said that she saw them administer CPR and after whatever was in her throat she choked on came out, she didn't even take a breath. So sad. It's so important to have a good crew that looks out for you. I'm really sad that her friends or anyone with her didn't help her. I was with a crew of 13 people and anytime one person disappeared for even a second we made sure to find them. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a good crew at Reggae Rising, it is such a rager fest that it can be very dangerous. I know people do a lot of drugs, and it is so easy to OD. I wonder how often people die at reggae. I'm sure it has happened before. I just probably didn't hear about it. My heart goes out to that girl’s family. I will keep her in my thoughts, and do my best to take care of anyone I see at any festival in hopes to help others not make the same mistake, not that it was necessarily a mistake; the scariest part about it is that it could happen to anyone. It could happen to me, it could happen to you. Sorry to say that it happened to anyone at all.”

JUANLOVE has a different take: “…I was there when things stated to unfold Monday morning. First of all it wasn’t just Christafari's dome, it was a collective of various people, sound systems and organizations, including myself. The girl apparently had laid down in someone else’s tent at about 10am, long after the music in the dome was over with. Whoever’s tent she was in had got up about a half hour after she laid down and was apparently ok. Some time after that her friends went to check on her and she wasn’t breathing. She was pronounced dead soon after. May the higher powers rest her soul on behalf of the entire dome crew! This is a very unfortunate thing that just happened to occur next to the dome. According to med and security staff this sort of thing happens every year at Reggae, unfortunately. My bredrin already gets a lot of guff for whatever reasons and doesn’t need anyone’s death being associated with him. So I ask please not to spread rumors or tell stories about what you may or may not have heard. What I wrote above came directly from the authorities. ”

TALKING with some young people the other day, upwardly mobile young people, I, a person so familiar with the wolf at the door I adopted him four decades ago and moved him in, said I'd been lucky, as had most people my age as we rode a seemingly endless wave of prosperity that saw even enemies of the state receiving unsolicited credit cards in the mail, that we'd never known the economic terror our parents and their parents had known, but now that the mass delusion of more stuff for more people forever is coming to an end, Obama will soon have to go on national television, perhaps even pre-empting the ball games and Dancing With The Stars, to deliver The Bad News. Which is that there will be no recovery. Ever. That people really ought to be reading up on backyard poultry and front yard vegetable gardens, that young people who look forward to lives of pointless accumulation and effortless ease should now be regarded as insane. “You're way too negative,” one of the young persons said. “The system will bounce back.” I said the system had no bounce left, that it was flat broke even before it was robbed, now it's broke and robbed, that the better capitalists have always known that unless the great beast of free enterprise was strictly regulated the wolves would eat it all, and now they have, and soon our currency will be worthless, and the real game of Survivor will begin.

AND AFFINITO is likely to be in the winner's circle, Dominic Affinito that is, now in his middle 70s but showing no signs of diminished capacity for, well, for doing his thing, which is whatever he wants to do. The former Fort Bragg developer by way of Stockton and Sacramento, has made his presence known in Lake County, and made it known in his inimitable way.

IN THE LITTLE lakeside town of Lucerne sits a small but community-crucial clubhouse. Before its elderly owners passed on they'd deeded the clubhouse property to the County of Lake, stipulating that it be used in perpetuity as it had always been used, which is as a gathering place for veteran's organizations and other community groups. Enter Affinito. Affinto had purchased the derelict property on the east side of the club house. He intends to develop the site as an upscale transient stop, perhaps similar to his one-story-too-tall NorthCliff Motel in Fort Bragg he litigated into being. The County of Lake told Affinito he'd need more parking spaces for his project on the east side of the old club house. Affinito told the County of Lake he'd need the old club house property for that parking lot. But if the County of Lake used the club house property for anything but the charitable purposes its owners had deathbed-designated it to be used for, the club house property would revert to the owner's descendants. The County of Lake doubled, then tripled rents on the club house property to those charitable groups until no community group could afford to use it, and Guess Who is now in full possession?

SPEAKING of bankruptcy (and megalomania, Kendall-Jackson, owner of several vineyards in Mendocino County, a bunch of them clustered in the Anderson Valley, is headed up by Jess Jackson, a former tort lawyer whose suspiciously speedy fortune is widely assumed to be based on his wine savvy, but has always seemed from here more rooted in the hot air art of real estate kiting. Jackson may be crashing. He's announced a bunch of layoffs and huge cutbacks in its charitable giving, beginning with no more annual gifts of a hundred grand for the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, the Highway 101 show biz complex just north of Santa Rosa that began life three decades ago as a crooked church but now features appearances by Joan Baez. You know there's trouble in Kendall-Jackson Land when K-J's public relations person says of the company's end to charitable giving, “This is not a reflection on the strength of the company. It's a reflection of a new strategic marketing vision.”

AS MENDOCINO COUNTY'S tourist-based economy also does a header from the doldrums into the tanks, EcoMotion, which “will serve double duty as a stimulus for the Mendocino County economy and a way to unify county efforts for conscious change,” announces a “free, day-long street fair and music festival” in Fort Bragg for Saturday, October 10th. Who and what EcoMotion is isn't clear but stay tuned, or tune them in directly at 415 935-7249

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