Off The Record

by AVA News Service, October 2, 2013

MICHAEL MONTGOMERY, 21, of Lodi, was arrested for the stabbing death of Fort Bragg's Jonathan Denver, 24, an hour and a half after last Wednesday night's Giants-Dodgers game. Montgomery's father said his son told him he stabbed Denver in self-defense. Montgomery was soon released from jail following SF DA George Gascon’s declaration that no independent witnesses to the murder of Denver have come forward but Denver's senseless death is still under investigation.

DENVER, an apprentice plumber at North Coast Plumbing and Heating in Fort Bragg, was with his father, older half-brother Robert Preece, and two other persons when they encountered Montgomery and his friends near Third and Harrison, a few blocks from the ballpark. Insults were exchanged based on the Giants-Dodger's baseball rivalry, and in an ensuing mêlée Denver was stabbed to death. Montgomery and friends told police they were on their way to a rave when the insults were exchanged. Wednesday night raves are rare in the city, and it is not known why Montgomery would have been carrying a knife to one.

AS IT HAPPENS, DENVER and his half-brother, Robert Preece Jr., were arrested for drunk-in-public at Boonville's County Fair three weeks ago; Denver picked up another arrest the next day in Fort Bragg for drunk driving.

ROBERT PREECE appeared at AT&T Park Sunday afternoon to deliver an emotional appeal for witnesses to his son's death to come forward. Preece, a security supervisor for the Dodgers who lives in Alhambra, was present Wednesday night when his son was stabbed. Preece told the assembled media Sunday, “I believe that someone may have videotaped the incident and can help us discover the truth. Today, I'm making a plea to the public asking that anyone who may have witnessed the incident to come forward,” Preece said.

HUGE TURNOUT last Friday afternoon at the Fort Bragg Senior Center in support of the Center's director, Charles Bush, fired summarily two weeks earlier. At Friday's pro-Bush board meeting, one spectator said “The Center's cafeteria was packed so tightly you could not fit one more sardine into the can.” Bush was quickly un-fired. The four women who'd engineered the dismissal did not attend the meeting and have resigned, as have two other trustees. The vengeful quartet's reasons for trying to fire Bush remain unstated. It seems now they had no reason other than vague objections to Bush's management style. One of the putchists, for instance, was heard to say she didn't like Bush's "messy desk." Messy desk or not, Bush has not only managed to steer the Center back from the brink of bankruptcy, he is highly regarded by the Seniors he serves, as Friday's mass turnout on his behalf established.

AS THEN, AS NOW: “Our abundant society is at present simply deficient in many of the most elementary objective opportunities and worth-while goals that could make growing up possible… It is lacking in honest public speech, and people are not taken seriously. It is lacking in the opportunity to be useful. It thwarts aptitude and creates stupidity. It corrupts ingenuous patriotism. It corrupts the fine arts. It shackles science. It dampens animal ardor… It has no Honor. It has no Community.” — Paul Goodman, Growing Up Absurd, 1960

BACK-TO-BACK flawed stories from the Press Democrat last Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday, Glenda Anderson reported from Ukiah that SEIU's one-day County employee strike was a great success. Glenda's source? An SEIU spokesperson. Guess what the spokesperson said?

THE STRIKE was the brainchild of SEIU's Bay Area-based “organizers.” It was not a success because it not only failed to clearly state the issues, it cost participating County workers a day's pay. The primary issue is, Does the County have the money to restore the 10% pay cut all County workers agreed to when the County was broker than it is now. The union claims the County has the money but doesn't say why or how a percentage of the County's budget surplus of some $9 million (much of which is projected, not in the bank) can be given to County employees. A small portion can probably be granted to partially undo the voluntary pay cut, but to get to that amount SEIU has to bargain intelligently and responsibly which, so far, they haven't done.

THE COUNTY responded to the one-day walkout in a press release signed by County CEO, Carmel Angelo: "Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021 conducted a self-described 'unfair labor practices' strike on Tuesday, September 24, 2013. The County is disappointed that SEIU chose to strike rather than continue working through the legal bargaining process. The County believes the strike on Tuesday was an illegal economic strike, and therefore filed an unfair labor practice charge against SEIU on Thursday, September 19 upon learning of the intended strike. The California Public Employment Relations Board is responsible for adjudicating this matter. Under the law, workers have the right to join in a strike action, or to not join a strike action. The County is very supportive of those employees who chose to come to work, facing intimidation and bullying tactics for daring to 'cross the picket lines.'”

“THE BOARD regrets that negotiations toward an extension of the County’s contract with SEIU have proven to be problematic,” stated Board Chairman Dan Hamburg. “The Board remains united, however, in its determination to protect and preserve the fiscal health of the County in highly uncertain economic circumstances.”

GOOD FOR HAMBURG. He's taken exactly the right stance. This board of supervisors has inherited years of irresponsible fiscal management that left the County teetering on the edge of bankruptcy which, if it happened, would cost pensioners their pensions, many workers their jobs. SEIU has not only not negotiated in good faith, they haven't even bothered to learn the facts of the County's true financial position. And another, and undoubtedly worse, financial crisis is coming; the County needs its modest reserve of an estimated $9 million, which, by the way, is more projected than real, to meet its basic obligations when the larger economy again drifts up on the rocks.

LOOKED AT from an uninvolved perspective, we'd say the County could safely give employees 3-5% raises without jeopardizing its hard-won fiscal stability, fleeting as it may turn out to be. But the County's basic income from sales taxes, bed taxes, property taxes, plus miscellaneous fees, remains down.

WEDNESDAY, under the front page headline, “North Coast vintners, growers bullish on future,” and featuring a large color photograph of four Mexican women doing the work, Cathy Bussewitz's PD piece began, “North Coast wineries and grape growers are optimistic following a strong harvest and an improving economy…”

BY ALL MEASURES the economy is not improving. The story goes on to contradict its rosy assumptions… “Rising production costs are a serious concern for US wine industry executives, said Smiley, who released the results of an annual survey of vintners and growers at the conference. A slow economic recovery, water availability and consolidation of retailers and distributors are other major concerns, he said…”

“RISING PRODUCTION COSTS” is code for labor shortages as the immigrant Mexican workforce ages and young people don't replace their parents and grandparents in the fields. “Water availability” is a casual reference to the wine industry's blithe assumption that they're entitled to the rivers and streams of the Northcoast, an assumption they share with marijuana growers.

THE MOVIE COMPANY that inconvenienced Mendoland for a couple of weeks back in April making a moronic epic called Need For Speed, will be in the theaters on March 14th, at which time you can critique it for yourselves if you want to pay ten bucks to watch car crashes and explosions in a Mendocino County setting.

THE COUNTY had pre-approved Need For Speed's permits without a hearing back in April. Location manager Mandi Dillon promised, “It is not intended to glorify speeding and the characters will have real-life consequences.” It glorifies speeding and because it's a movie its characters of course have no real-life consequences.

THE MOVIE is a feature-length commercial for the Ford Company, especially its Mustang automobiles. From the trailer we can see it's a kind of big screen video game heavy of car chases and explosions, in other words, it's aimed at ten-year-old boys.

AT THE APRIL meeting with Ms. Dillon, Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg told his constituents, “Mendocino County has a reputation of being against everything, so we have to show our interest in the dollars that will come into local motels and restaurants. Business is drying up. The public should not interfere.”

HAMBURG went on to repeat Show Biz's inflated claim that the movie would bring some $3-$5 million into Mendocino County. The production crew brought their own caterer and mobile staff housing which was plunked down on the Boonville Fairgrounds. Hamburg then declared at a Board of Supes meeting that the County was going to do an independent assessment of how much money the film actually brought in. That assessment was never forthcoming.

ALSO AT THAT APRIL pre-filming confab, the County's "Film Office coordinator," Debra DeGraw, said she was working on getting a mention of Mendocino County in the film credits. Although locals may recognize some of areas where the filmic mayhem occurs, the trailer and press releases make no mention of scenic Mendo.

MORAL: Before Mendo rolls over for another Hollywood epic, the County should issue no permits unless the production company agrees to at least eat in local restaurants and stay in local inns. If “Need For Speed” had been filmed in San Francisco you can bet they’d have had to pay a nifty permit fee. Not in Mendo. Here, all you have to do is say you're making a movie and the Supervisors sing, "Whoopee!"

IN CONVERSATION WEDNESDAY with Supervisor John Pinches, the Supervisor emphasized that he hoped the County “would get serious about truancy.” Pinches said that in the North County school attendance is down, alarmingly down, with some 30% of enrolled K-12 students annually failing to appear in their classrooms. The 3rd District supervisor wants law enforcement to fund a couple of truant officers. He says he's talked to County Superintendent Paul Tichinin about the truancy problem, and hopes the Sheriff and the DA might share Asset Forfeiture Funds to hire full-time people to not only locate truants but to crack down on parents who permit their children to stay home from school. “If we can get all these kids back in school, there should also be money available through the schools to fight truancy.”

STATEWIDE, truancy is running at about 25% — one out of four public school students, K-12, aren't showing up for classes.

CYBER-INQUIRY: "Why are there so many mentally ill people on the streets? To those not familiar with the State of California's mental health system I suggest you spend some time talking with Psych Techs and Nurses who work in the system. You will get your eyes opened. EVERY day people who are a danger to others are released because of the way the LPS Act and other laws are written. None of these laws has been seriously addressed since they were passed (many in the mid/late 1960s). The nature of modern mental illness has dramatically changed since then. Besides many of these laws were written with the best of intentions, but not with reality in mind; once passed they don't or didn't address real life issues. For example, someone may come in with a serious mental illness (borderline personality, paranoia, schizoid, etc, etc.) and in a floridly psychotic state. This person may be sentenced to long-term care, so what happens? The doctors prescribe a drug cocktail that works, maybe even makes this person capable of living an almost normal life. So what happens then? The patient starts tapering off the meds until he ‘decompensates’ and ‘nuts up’ again. Or he is released back into society with no close follow up and, since many of these meds have side effects the patient doesn't like he stops taking them, and BAM! he's back in the hospital again. A vicious circle that the Legislators need to address.”

JEFF COSTELLO WRITES: “Re McEwen's piece: Ritalin is technically not amphetamine. It's been confused with speed (archaic term) ever since it appeared. The current big pharma amphetamine of choice is Adderall, a combo of two varieties, probably because dextroamphetamine is not easily water soluble, making it more difficult to crush the pills and inject the powder. Speed freak old timers know that the Abbott product Desoxyn, a pill-shaped plastic matrix filled with liquid methamphetamine hydrochloride, can be soaked in water to provide injectable liquid. These days, smoking crank (ala crack cocaine) is the preferred method among the new breed of, umm, shall we say ‘rural’ meth users. As to the issue of giving central nervous stimulants to children whose behavior is not within someone's perceived norm, this is nothing but creepy and frightening in the ‘Brave New World’ or ‘1984’ sense. And then there's Prozac and the many related drugs. The question becomes, who is behind all this chemical behavior modification and why?”

LOS ANGELES SCHOOL DISTRICT'S cockamamie scheme to give all its students iPads has already backfired. The LA Times reports that within a week after getting the Apple tablets, some 300 students have hacked their free gizmos so they could surf the net, access social media and so on, bypassing the device's alleged educational benefits. The iPads for all cost the LA schools a cool billion.

CORRECTION: Tim Stoen is not retiring from Ten Mile Court although his successor, Kevin Davenport, has been hired to assist Stoen prosecute cases at the Fort Bragg court. It's fair to say that Stoen is still on the mound in the 9th inning but Davenport is loosening up in the bullpen.

MENDO DA David Eyster has announced that the Rite Aid Corporation has been ordered to pay more than $12.3 million to settle a civil lawsuit alleging that some 600 California Rite Aid stores unlawfully handled and disposed of hazardous materials. There are four Rite Aid stores in Mendocino County. The judgment marks the culmination of a joint environmental protection lawsuit filed in September 2013 in Stockton originally by the district attorneys of Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Riverside counties. Thereafter, two city attorneys and 52 California district attorneys — including Mendocino County’s District Attorney - joined the civil action on behalf of their cities and counties, respectively. San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda L. Lofthus has ordered the Rite Aid Corporation to pay $12,324,000 as part of the settlement of this civil environmental prosecution. The case when local environmental health agencies acting independently in different counties during the fall of 2009 found that Rite Aid transported hazardous waste, disposing of it in local landfills. The hazardous products allegedly discarded included pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols, automotive products and solvents, pharmaceutical and bio hazardous wastes and other toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials. Rite Aid will pay $8,000 in civil penalties to the Mendocino County’s Environmental Health Division and a matching $8,000 in civil penalties to the District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney’s funds are earmarked for use in the enforcement of consumer protection laws.

THE HAZARDS OF SAGGING. “On September 22nd at about 12:45pm Ukiah Police responded to a fight in the 800 block of South Oak Street. The arriving officer encountered 32-year old Christopher Ray Poe, who ran from the officer. Poe soon tripped over his pants which had fallen to his ankles, then turned and threatened the officer with his fists raised. Poe advanced towards the officer, who deployed a Taser, and was able to take Poe into custody. Poe remained combative and threatening, and spit at an officer, striking the officer. Poe was eventually transported to the County Jail and booked for resisting arrest, battery on a peace officer, and violating post release supervision.”

ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies, assisted by the Cannabis Eradication and Reclamation Team (CERT), eradicated a large marijuana cultivation site on Barnum Timber Property, Garberville area. Deputies located and eradicated 9,056 growing marijuana plants ranging in height from 4’ to 6’. Deputies found rodenticides, fertilizers and environmental damage caused by clearing of brush and timber, along with a stream diversion. The HumCo Sheriff put the value of the confiscated weed at $21 million.

WE BRING IT UP because the Southern Humboldt-Northern Mendocino County area has become home to hundreds of these large-scale marijuana grows, most of them the work of people from outside the area. "They've drained every creek from Laytonville to Fortuna," a Spy Rock friend complained to us. "And they do more damage to the land than the timber companies ever did."

WE DIDN'T KNOW until a couple of weeks ago that the AVA maintains a facebook page, but the following comments and inquiries appear there: "I've been hearing about the possible sale of Hawthorne Timber Co's lands in Mendo County to Mendocino Redwood Co. Is this true? Has it already sold? I figured if anyone knew it would be you guys. Thanks." (Laura) Answer: Nope, Hawthorne or Hawthorne-Campbell as it is sometimes called, is independent of Mendocino Redwood Company. We asked a local timber guy, and here's what he said: "I have not heard anything definitive about MRC purchasing Campbell-Hawthorn. MRC apparently has looked the property over. So has Redwood Empire. Campbell has had a foot out the door almost from the time they got here. My read on it is, they failed to appreciate the cost of regulation in California. The land they purchased from GP is next to none as far as productivity goes. Looking at that only, what they paid was probably reasonable. Some of the land they have jettisoned to the Parks and to the Conservation Fund, are exceptional. Though the Usal piece, in my opinion, was good riddance."

PAUL ANDERSEN: "I see Jared Huffman is off on a junket to Israel, no doubt being indoctrinated with all sorts of anti-Palestinian propaganda." Do American officials ever hear any other kind? Do Americans generally understand that the Palestinians suffer an oppression every bit as intense as that suffered by South Africans before SA's liberation? Answer: Nope and Nope.

RUDY KNOOP is a Covelo guy who first argued with us about the Vietnam spitting myth some twenty years ago. Ol' Rudy has also popped up on facebook still stuck on the same subject. He says we described him as "overly credulous." We'll take the opportunity of Rood's re-appearance to expand overly credulous to include mono-maniacal and Rip Van Winkle-ish. Rudy writes: "One of my fondest memories is of being ridiculed (rather gently) by you in the AVA, which made me feel like I was really getting some traction in my new and much loved home here in Mendoland. You called me 'the overly-credulous Knoop' (no reporter wants to be called that) after I reported that two vets I had interviewed for that venerable southern Lake County newspaper-of-record - the Clearlake Observer-American - said they had been spat at when they returned from VietNam. A snarky website whose name I have forgotten took up the issue recently and insulted large numbers of vets by saying they are all lying about this as you have also contended. Are you still as sure about this as you have said in the past? I am asking because a young friend of mine in the Nashville area, who takes care of his VietNam-veteran father, got into a war of words with the website and asked me to contact you again about this disputed footnote to the history of our times. I didn't write you then because I had nothing new to say, but now I do. You have argued that it never happened because no police logs have been found to prove it did. That's ridiculous, Bruce! My friend (the father) was a hell of a soldier and spent 22 months in combat. He saw some of the worst things I have ever heard about during his tours of duty. It is impossible to imagine a guy like this calling the cops because someone spat on him at the airport; I would think the options would have been to ignore the fool or attack him, but why attack a fool after being in a brutal war for 2 years? You are home now - miraculously - why lower yourself by fighting an idiot you might even wind up killing by mistake? Have you seen Kevin Rafferty's film, "Harvard Beats Yale 29 - 29?" I am hoping you would trust Tommy Lee Jones and his team-mates on the Harvard team, who were all looking prosperous, relatively sane, intelligent, and well over 40 when the interview sequences of the film were shot, to tell the truth about their one war veteran team-mate, who was the old man of the Harvard backfield at age 24 when the game was played? Sorry I didn't write down his name when I watched the film, but Bruce, this gentleman seems to be a sane and thoughtful person; no doubt he's an attorney or some other kind of "professional" now, who says unequivocally he was met with hostility and was spat on when he returned from Nam. So what do you say Bruce? One more lying ex-soldier? Is it possible the ex-marine Korea veteran in you is simply growling at the younger fellows because that's what old dogs usually do - they growl at the young dogs? I say give the VietNam vets a break; sometimes it might help a little bit just to listen to their stories and say nothing. Or say “I hear you dude. That was pretty fuckin' rude, the whole damn thing, and we're all just glad you survived to tell your tale.” (Sincerely, Rudy Knoop, Covelo.)

YES, I SAW the film, and a fine documentary it was, too. Sorry you missed the point about the guy who said he'd been spat upon. He was the butt of the film, Rudy, because, as some of us learned as we watched it, he lied about that and everything else, too.

AND AGAIN, as a service to rational-minded readers, if not to unswervable mytho-maniacs like Mr. Knoop, here's the straight scoop on this particular fantasy by Jerry Lembcke who wrote a book about it: "Stories about spat-upon Vietnam veterans are like mercury: Smash one and six more appear. It's hard to say where they come from. For a book I wrote in 1998 I looked back to the time when the spit was supposedly flying, the late 1960s and early 1970s. I found nothing. No news reports or even claims that someone was being spat on. What I did find is that around 1980, scores of Vietnam-generation men were saying they were greeted by spitters when they came home from Vietnam. There is an element of urban legend in the stories in that their point of origin in time and place is obscure, and, yet, they have very similar details. The story told by the man who spat on Jane Fonda at a book signing in Kansas City recently is typical. Michael Smith said he came back through Los Angeles airport where ''people were lined up to spit on us." Like many stories of the spat-upon veteran genre, Smith's lacks credulity. GIs landed at military airbases, not civilian airports, and protesters could not have gotten onto the bases and anywhere near deplaning troops. There may have been exceptions, of course, but in those cases how would protesters have known in advance that a plane was being diverted to a civilian site? And even then, returnees would have been immediately bused to nearby military installations and processed for reassignment or discharge. The exaggerations in Smith's story are characteristic of those told by others. ''Most Vietnam veterans were spat on when we came back," he said. That's not true. A 1971 Harris poll conducted for the Veterans Administration found over 90 percent of Vietnam veterans reporting a friendly homecoming. Far from spitting on veterans, the antiwar movement welcomed them into its ranks and thousands of veterans joined the opposition to the war. The persistence of spat-upon Vietnam veteran stories suggests that they continue to fill a need in American culture. The image of spat-upon veterans is the icon through which many people remember the loss of the war, the centerpiece of a betrayal narrative that understands the war to have been lost because of treason on the home front. Jane Fonda's noisiest detractors insist she should have been prosecuted for giving aid and comfort to the enemy, in conformity with the law of the land. But the psychological dimensions of the betrayal mentality are far more interesting than the legal. Betrayal is about fear, and the specter of self-betrayal is the hardest to dispel. The likelihood that the real danger to America lurks not outside but inside the gates is unsettling. The possibility that it was failure of masculinity itself, the meltdown of the core component of warrior culture, that cost the nation its victory in Vietnam has haunted us ever since. Many tellers of the spitting tales identify the culprits as girls, a curious quality to the stories that gives away their gendered subtext. Moreover, the spitting images that emerged a decade after the troops had come home from Vietnam are similar enough to the legends of defeated German soldiers defiled by women upon their return from World War I, and the rejection from women felt by French soldiers when they returned from their lost war in Indochina, to suggest something universal and troubling at work in their making. One can reject the presence of a collective subconscious in the projection of those anxieties, as many scholars would, but there is little comfort in the prospect that memories of group spit-ins, like Smith has, are just fantasies conjured in the imaginations of aging veterans. Remembering the war in Vietnam through the images of betrayal is dangerous because it rekindles the hope that wars like it, in countries where we are not welcomed, can be won. It disparages the reputation of those who opposed that war and intimidates a new generation of activists now finding the courage to resist Vietnam-type ventures in the 21st century. Today, on the 30th anniversary of the end of the war in Vietnam, new stories of spat-upon veterans appear faster than they can be challenged. Debunking them one by one is unlikely to slow their proliferation but, by contesting them where and when we can, we engage the historical record in a way that helps all of us remember that, in the end, soldiers and veterans joined with civilians to stop a war that should have never been fought. (Jerry Lembcke is a professor of sociology at Holy Cross College, and the author of The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam.)

LAURA LEVY asks on the facebook page we didn't know we had, "I grew up in Mendocino and went to high school with Brian Tyrrell. Brian was killed and found in or near Montgomery Woods in the late 1980's. I see your paper covers a lot of cold cases but I can't find any information on Brian's case. I don't believe it was ever solved. The case doesn't appear on the Mendocino County Sheriff website and isn't ever referenced. Do you have any information about the case? Thanks, Laura."

WE WERE STEERED to Detective Andy Whiteacre of the MCSO, who told us, "Tyrell is not listed as a missing person. It appears this is a cold case homicide. I don't have any other information. I will have to pull the file and look at the case. We are extremely busy with active cases at the moment but I will get to it as soon as I can."

A MINOR MIRACLE has occurred: "Just thought you'd like to know that the 9/25 AVA was delivered by the USPS to my humble abode here in lovely Berkeley, CA 94705 TODAY 9/26! And that in general, though it's never before arrived on a Thursday, it's almost always here by Friday or Saturday these days." Ditto for a subscriber in Burlingame. SF readers, at least one of them, says he's received his paper on Saturday two weeks in a row. For some time now, deliveries beyond Mendocino County have been haphazard, to put it mildly, so haphazard that some long-time subscribers gave up on us. And we gave up complaining to the Post Office since, as doctors might say at an accident scene, the Post Office was "non-responsive."

I'VE GOT IT! I know how to make the America's Cup an interesting event, an event for real boats and real sailors, not these water-borne Lego constructs the billionaires get all excited about. Open the race to all kinds of sailboats of whatever design, and run the race from Alcatraz out to the Farallones and back, and do it every day for five days. Everyone would be interested. The thing just won by Larry Ellison drew a crowd at race headquarters on the Embarcadero the police estimated at a mere 2,500 which is roughly the number of baseball fans who linger after a Giants ball game to get a glimpse of their heroes. The America's Cup is not an interesting event, and it's certainly not an aesthetically pleasing event in the tradition of white sails on a beautiful blue bay. What we got were black-sailed, corporate-logoed erector sets “racing” a very short distance on days and at times it wasn't too windy for these things. Say what you will about the ruling class of yesteryear, they understood spectacle, and while we're revamping this thing, make it a rule that the owners of the boats have to be part of the crew, and the crews have to be citizens of the country whose boat they're sailing. Ellison's alleged triumph, his crew, only included a couple of US.

STUFF YOU PROBABLY ALREADY KNOW: A marijuana legalization initiative will appear on the mid-term 2014 California ballot. The California Cannabis, Hemp and Health has collected the necessary 500,000+ signatures to qualify. The bill would specifically allow both the growing and possession of marijuana, direct the legislature to establish a regulatory, taxation and licensing structure for the retail sale of cannabis, legalize industrial hemp production and prohibit state officials from enforcing federal law (which explicitly states that pot is illegal) over state law. California voters rejected a marijuana legalization bill in 2010 by a margin of nearly 700,000 votes; the backers of the current initiative hope that successful efforts mounted in Colorado and Washington have pushed public opinion far enough in their direction to overcome any opposition.

BAD NEWS FOR ANTHROMORPHS, and bad news for Elk. New studies say dolphins aren't any smarter than chickens, that their whistling isn't language. There's a dolphin-worshipping group in Elk, of course, but there are also a few people in Elk dumber than chickens.

WHO SAYS there is no advantage to Jim Eddie being chairman of the Golden Gate Bridge District's board of directors. The whole Bridge director crew is coming to Ukiah on October 4, next Friday on the toll payer’s dime. Why? To prove, I guess, that you can get here without swimming the channel between Frisco and Marin. I can hear it now. "Say, Jim, thanks for the invitation, but where the hell are we?…"

LAST WEEK PETER RICHARDSON settled his pot case on lenient terms. He'd argued that he needed lottsa dope he juiced to beat back his prostate cancer, an argument that didn't get far but the totality of the Richardson situation prompted the DA to go light on the dude. Richardson is a well-known inland contractor whose Rainbow Construction Company built several Ukiah-area public structures. Richardson, in his latest interface with the law, agreed to do 90 days on home detention, his probation on a prior pot conviction was reinstated, pay the Ukiah Police Department a fine of $10,750, and the felony charges were dropped.

BUT IT SEEMS Pete didn't want to stay home. Last Sunday he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and for violating his probation. He was booked into the County Jail on $30,000 bail.

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