Off the Record 11/11/2009

by AVA News Service, November 11, 2009

KC MEADOWS EDITORIALIZED recently that “Although school administrators are no doubt clammed up behind the excuse of ‘pending litigation,’ we are waiting for county schools Superintendent Paul Tichinin and the dufus co-signers of a letter accusing a local teacher of racism for using the word niggardly in a memo, to publicly apologize now…”

THEY WON’T APOLOGIZE, of course, and the money for their lawyers, a good hunk of which is already set aside as an annual retainer, will come out of tax money supposedly earmarked for the education of Mendocino County’s children. The County's educational brain trust shouldn't be consulting their free lawyers on one because the injured party, a Ukiah teacher named Dennis Boaz, is suing Tichinin in small claims court where plaintiff and defendant are supposed to square off without lawyers. But you can be sure the lawyers have already put in a lot of time on this one to spare Tichinin further embarrassment. I would think they're trying to persuade Boaz to drop his claim, trying hard to make it all disappear. But all this maneuvering should be paid by Tichinin out of his own ample pocket. Then again, Tichinin's probably too niggardly to do the right thing.

EVERY SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR in Mendocino County signed Tichinin’s niggardly letter except the black woman the letter was intended to defend; she’s apparently the only school administrator in the County who knows what the word means.

SO FAR as we’re aware, the school boards and faculties of Mendocino County are unconcerned that the men and women they pay so handsomely to run our schools have been revealed as a collection of overpaid ignoramuses, not that anybody at this newspaper is surprised. Bullies, too. The school bureaucrats were perfectly willing to publicly accuse Boaz of racism for having deployed the word in a letter about union negotiations, but not so much as a hint of apology from them when they were revealed as total boobs, and I mean boobs as a synonym for dummies, not as a sexist reference to female breasts, and I intend dummies as a synonym for stupid people not the hearing impaired who, if they also couldn't talk, were once called the “deaf and dumb,” dumb meaning mute not stupid.

SPEAKING OF OUR COUNTY’S educators, Mark Iacuaniello, superintendent of the Point Arena schools, and naturally — nay instinctively! — among the niggardly letter’s endorsers, has announced he will retire at the end of this school year. Unsurprisingly, Iacuaniello thinks it’s a good idea for the Point Arena School Board to hire a private firm to find his successor, probably in the interest of, as is always the claim in Mendocino County, “ensuring excellence.”

BUT POINT ARENA has at least one heads-up school trustee. Jim Wilder promptly denounced the proposal to hire a firm of outside edu-headhunters for Point Arena. “I’ll be damned if we’re going to hire some namby-pamby, milquetoast group that doesn’t know this community. I don’t want to hire a bunch of idiots to do it for us.”

BRANDT STICKEL has resigned as chair of the Mendocino Art Center’s board of directors. An attorney, Stickel fired off at least one threatening letter to a critic of recent developments at the Center, threatening the critic with, of all things, a defamation action for statements not even remotely defamatory. Stickel has since turned tail outtathere, outta his blustery, failed chairmanship, leaving the remaining trustees to sort through the wreckage he did so much to create.

OUR CONGRESSMAN Mike Thompson was one of the 220 Congressional Dems to support the health care reform bill that narrowly passed the House Saturday. It was narrow, of course, because 39 Democrats—along with every House Republican, save one, from New Orleans—opposed it. Most were from Southern districts and conservative areas that went for McCain in last year's election; on the flip side, there was Kucinich, arguing the bill would simply strengthen a “predatory” system. Twenty-four of the Dems who voted against the legislation were, like Congressman Mike, part of that agonizingly powerful Blue Dog bloc — the business-friendly centrists who've come out swinging against both a single payer system and a strong public health care option. (Not surprisingly, Blue Dogs have been showered with health care industry cash — and Thompson's been among their most well-compensated, according to the Center for Responsive Politics; since he came to DC in 1998, he's earned $1.3 million in campaign contributions.) Though Thompson had supported a public option, that support seemed timid at best. When yours truly wrote him a letter earlier this year pleading that he back such a plan, his response was as compelling as a bar of soap. “A major focus of this legislation is to ensure that the uninsured and underinsured will have access to quality, affordable health insurance,” he wrote. “This is achieved by creating a national insurance exchange where individuals can compare different plans and purchase insurance.” Not a word about “government-run.” Not a word about how a mandate is only fair if citizens aren't subsidizing private companies. So his vote Saturday was — to me, anyway — a shock. But I'm one of those government takeover kind of guys, so I can only hope the Glenn Beck-types are right, and Congressman Mike just supported a stalking horse for socialized health care. (Tim Stelloh)

DEBORAH SCHLOSSER was eastbound with 162 pounds of bud near Salt Lake City in January of this year when she was arrested. Mrs. Schlosser’s Ukiah-raised cargo was apparently intended as a re-supply for the perennially pot-starved stoners of Minneapolis. Mrs. Schlosser is the wife of Bert Schlosser of Mendocino County’s Alternate Public Defender’s Office. She has pleaded guilty to third-degree felony possession and will be sentenced on December 11th.

SUPERVISOR DAVID COLFAX is now saying he “may or may not” run for re-election. The dyspeptic 5th District supervisor is winding up his third term in office. Colfax told Tiffany Revelle of the Ukiah Daily Journal he “still needs more information about the three candidates who have announced their intentions to run for the 5th District seat before he decides whether he will support one of them” if he doesn’t run again. Translation: “I can’t run for a fourth term on my record because I’ve only accomplished one thing — a big raise for myself — and because I said in public the other day that the job is “crappy” and doesn’t pay enough.” The “job” pays $68,000 a year very generous plus perks, roughly three times more than the average private sector Mendo employee, twice that of the average American worker.

PREDICTION: Colfax will retire. He shot himself in both feet with his “crappy job” tirade, managing to hit each of his big toes with both his feet in his mouth when he opened fire. Lots of 5th District libs who'd supported Colfax are likely to vote for Jim Mastin for 5th District supervisor. Mastin is the former mayor of Ukiah and a Democrat loyal to the yellow dog politics of MikeBinahBro, the party's present leadership on the Northcoast and the country's present leadership in Washington.

DAN HAMBURG, also a candidate for 5th District supervisor, and a former Congressman for this area, is now registered Green. As an apostate Democrat, look for the MikeBinahBro Democrats, among them Colfax, to oppose Hamburg. They'll support their fellow middle of the road extremist, Mastin, a guy who puts the lab in lib-lab.

SO FAR, HAMBURG is the only candidate who has identified the two crucial issues facing the board of supervisors: water and the County’s hemorrhaging budget, but we haven’t heard yet from candidate Wendy Roberts of Mendocino. Mrs. Roberts was a member of the grand jury that tried to indict Colfax and 4th District supervisor Kendall Smith for chiseling on their travel reimbursements, an indictment that collapsed when the DA chose not to pursue the nickelnosing pair. Mrs. Roberts, whatever else she might represent, and we understand she’s developer-friendly and looked upon favorably by the politically-retro Farm Bureau, will have the advantage of her gender in the 5th District where there’s a large vote for the female candidate no matter who she is. (If the Manson Girls were running against Abe Lincoln the Manson Girls would get the nod.) Hamburg’s got the 5th District’s toker vote sewed up, and he'll be supported by most readers of this paper because he's (1) not a Democrat and (2) he's good on the issues.

IN OTHER ELECTION news, Caren Callahan, a Ukiah-based tax and estates attorney, has announced she will run for the Superior Court seat being vacated by Leonard LaCasse. LaCasse, 62, is retiring (if you can call going on the part-time but just as lucrative traveling circuit “retirement”). Callahan said she's pretty sure two other Ukiah attorneys will also file for the seat but declined to name them. Callahan's experience is mainly civil law, not criminal. LaCasse’s caseload has been mainly civil.

AMY GOODMAN will speak this Sunday at noon at Cotton Auditorium, Fort Bragg. Proceeds to KZYX. Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 for seniors.

THESE ALMOST SUBLIMINAL BLIPS we get from the cops or the DA's office are seldom followed up on, but they can be plenty sorrowful and often are. A recent one said the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office is investigating a possible suicide October 23 at the Mendocino County Jail, meaning someone from the DA's office, probably an investigator, had gone out to the jail to either look at the guy hanging off his cot with a strip of blanket around his dead neck or had read the jail's account of how the man had hanged himself. Hanging is the usual jail path to self-obliteration because it's the handiest. The press release blip said the man's identity couldn't be released because nobody who knew him could be found. It was known he was from Long Beach, or at least that's where he said he was from. He'd been arrested “on suspicion of disorderly conduct October 19 by Willits police.” Suspicion of disorderly conduct? In Willits? Was he about to break into song? Hug the mayor? Pole vault the Willits Arch? No, probably drunk enough to be bothering merchants or passersby.

THE ONLY PERSON booked on October 19 or 20 from Long Beach for disorderly conduct was Peter Maurice Beck, 31. Bail was set at $5,000. Jason Long of the Willits Police made the arrest. The rest of the story? A young man from Long Beach, not in serious trouble, gets arrested in Willits and kills himself in the Mendocino County Jail. Which isn't the rest of the story, but it's all we're going to know unless someone who knew him and cared enough about him tells us.

LOTS OF COUNTY OFFICES are up for election next year. Filing deadline for all of them is March 12: Clerk Recorder Susan Ranochak; Auditor Meredith Ford; DA Meredith Lintott; Sheriff Tom Allman; Superintendent of Schools Niggardly Tichinin; 3rd District Supervisor John Pinches; 5th District Supervisor David Colfax; and Superior Court Judges Leonard LaCasse, David Nelson and Cindee Mayfield.

LAST WEEK Congressman Mike Thompson announced that he'd secured $5.7 million to “clean up and restore public lands that have been damaged by illegal marijuana grows.” Thompson said more than 100,000 sites in California, thanks to his federal largesse, can now be cleaned up and restored for the $57 (!) per site Thompson got to get 'er done.

ACCORDING to the Chron’s excellent fishing writer, Brian Hoffman, “This should be the peak of the salmon fall run on the Sacramento River, with Battle Creek and its hatchery being perhaps the most important area of return. But Scott Hammelberg of the Coleman National Fish Hatchery didn’t have the numbers. He was reluctant to even speculate on rough numbers. Best we could do was get him to choose a word in comparing this year’s run to last year’s, which was downright terrible, if not frightening. He chose two words: ‘Even fewer.’”

ANOTHER REDUNDANT CHAPTER of Mendocino County's never ending mystery was written two weeks ago, this one in Ukiah. The book is called Why Is The Dope Money Always In Plain View When The Cops Come? At the Ukiah home of James Bauschelt, 56 there was the dope, there was the cash. When the cops arrived, they discovered Bauschelt and five helpers busily trimming pot. “Further investigation revealed approximately two hundred pounds of processed marijuana along with $62,000 in cash.” The cops, quickly deducing that the marijuana and the cash were related, just as quickly concluded that the two hundred pounds of bud and 62 grand in cash seemed to indicate that Mr. Bauschelt was engaged in “illegally growing and processing marijuana for sales.” The ongoing mystery? Why do so many people in the dope business have so much cash lying around. Bail for Mr. Bauschelt was set at a mere $25,000.

THE FURIES are unleashed daily. Tim Lincecum, the Giants ace pitcher, gets stopped for speeding at Hazel Dell, Washington. His Mercedes smells like pot, and by golly Lincecum fesses right up. “And here's the pot itself, officer.” As sports fans know, Lincecum is a little guy who maintains a retro-stoner look, circa 1975, complete with unfashionably long hair that flows to un-jock lengths down his back. If you didn't know he was a famous ballplayer, just saw him on the street, you'd think, “There's a toker right there.” It's not like drugs are unknown in sports world, they're integral to it. We all remember that Dock Ellis pitched a no hitter on LSD, which seems to me improbable beyond all improbability, but he did. Ellis said when he saw three hitters at the plate he simply pitched to the middle one, a take off on the old joke by Babe Ruth that when he was playing drunk he swung at the ball in the center of the three coming at him. A huge fan favorite, Lincecum is smart and funny, witty even, which sets him apart in sports world. Little kids in droves show up at the ballpark in their Lincecum jerseys with their hair growing as long as Mom will allow. Judging from the response of Giants fans to Lincecum's pot bust — “We love him even more now” to “Maybe he should get a High Young to go with his Cy Young” nobody cares if he smokes pot. Except for an 88-year-old grandmother who said she was so disappointed in Lincecum that she wouldn't be going out to the ballpark with the kids again, that he should take his inescapable role model responsibilities much more seriously. When I was a kid I read every thing I could find on Babe Ruth, who sometimes played drunk, often played with serious hangovers and was known to enjoy late nights with women he wasn't married to. The rounders I knew as a child seemed to be nicer people, more human, more understanding than, say, the school teachers and other authority figures I encountered. Role models? If a kid has to look outside his family for role models he's already on a tough road, but holding up celebrities and athletes for kids to emulate is sad, pathetic even, and Lincecum is better than most although he might explain to little kids that dope at an early age is a very bad thing to get into. Here's a sampling of Bay Area opinion on the Lincecum bust:

• “Least surprising pot bust ever.”

• “State lines are notorious speed traps. Guess TL will know that now. What I want to know is how do you drive Hwy 5 and not get high?”

• “The smells of burned and unburned weed are quite different, and easy to tell apart (even to Partnership for a Drug Free America types like some of you commenters, and especially to trained cops). There is no indication whatsoever that he was ‘tokin',’ actually quite the opposite. He had to get from point A to point B. He had to bring his weed and pipe, they weren't gonna get there by themselves. (Timmy: put it in the trunk next time or just buy some more when you get to Seattle, brah.) The speeding is just laughable. 74 on I-5 in a Mercedes? He must have felt like he was jogging. What a non-story all around. Do not apologize, Tim!”

• “The funniest thing about this is that my friends and I had nicknamed Lincecum “The Stoner’ for the past two years while we've been rooting for him. He just always looked kind of stoned when he'd go out there and take the mound, but it didn't seem to affect his performance. Now he's officially ‘The Stoner’.”

• “How come the story doesn't mention the fact that Zito was in the backseat packing another bowl? You know that's where he got it. Gooooooooooo Giants! Another playoff-less, world series championship-less season awaits you.”

• “No wonder Lincecum's best pitch is the High Heat.”

• “It's tragic the way drugs have stunted his career.”

• “Weed is a performance enhancing drug, for some of us lucky types who don't vegetate while stoned. I can ride my bike better and faster and wreck less cause I'm in the zone. And when peddling up a big climb, the question is not ‘do my lungs hurt more?,’ but rather, ‘who gives a dern about this hill?’ Perhaps Lincecum CAN pitch best whilst he is baked!”

• “You’d smoke too if your win total depended on guys like Renteria, Rowand, Wynn, Garko and Ishikawa! Oh well, there goes the picture on the Wheaties box!”

• “‘It was determined he was not impaired. He was cited and released at the scene…’ Love it. Did the cops put on a catcher outfit, and ask him to throw it right down the middle? Ha ha. Those cops now have a priceless autograph.”

• “So what? How many San Franciscans, and Bay Area folk DON’T get busted. Everyone engages every so often, even if you don't, who cares? And speeding? C’mon, kid. 74? That’s not even his slowest curve ball. Pick it up a notch.”

• “Unless you have never smoked some weed, then just shut the eff up. And if you never have, I don't want to know you or hear from you. Timmeh just got a lot more real to all us Giants fans!”

• “I'd have to get high too if I had to play for the Giants. I guess he has to smoke dope to cope. Lemme guess: when he gets high it makes him concentrate more and makes him become a better pitcher. Wow what genius!”

• “Maybe the Giants hitters should smoke a bowl or two.”

• “Hey Tim! Light it up at home, in private! Didn't you learn anything from Michael Phelps?! Regarding this affecting his contract negotiations, Uh, nope not this guy and not in SF!”

• “There is an old formula that says ‘If A equals B and B equals C than A equals C.’ If Tim is one of, if not the best, pitchers in baseball and he smokes some pot, than give some to the whole darned team. Maybe a World Series will be the result.”

• “Well, as far as I'm concerned…. We should… there should be… um… What were we talking about again????”

• “Oh no, a baseball player with drugs! Amazing. I am shocked, not a major leaguer. (Insert sarcastic facial expression here)”

• “Rather than rat out his dealer, I hope he had the presence of mind to say, ‘I bought it off a guy in Golden Gate Park.’ That's what every conscientious grass smoker did when I was a kid.”

• “See, it's just like what they used to tell us kids: Smoke pot and you'll never amount to anything in life.”

• “A budding superstar!”

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