Off The Record

by AVA News Service, November 14, 2013

IT'S THE THIRD anniversary of Susan Keegan's murder. Her husband, Dr. Peter Keegan, says his wife of 30 years died, drunk and stoned, in a bathroom fall. That's possible, one has to suppose, but Mrs. Keegan's death certificate says “Homicide” not “Accidental.” Mrs. Keegan's death certificate says “Homicide” because, obviously, the only other person home at the time, her husband, bludgeoned her to death.

SO WHY HASN'T Dr. Keegan been arrested? Because, if you are a wealthy, well-connected person with the means to hire an ace defense attorney like Keith Faulder, you can get away with murder in Mendocino County. If Joe Tweek's wife was found dead in Mr. Tweek's bathroom under circumstances identical to those of Mrs. Keegan, he'd have been Inmate Tweek two years ago.

DA EYSTER persuaded the supervisors to hire a special prosecutor, Paul Sequeira, to take on the tough cases. But these tough guys between them haven't taken on a tough case yet, not one. There's no excuse for not prosecuting Dr. Peter Keegan for the murder of Susan Keegan. None.

OF COURSE there's plenty of prosecutor time to pursue Will Parrish, and any other Willits Bypass protesters who wander into the DA's skewed viewshed.

CALTRANS claims that Will Parrish, all by himself, has cost the Willits Bypass project $500,000. DA Eyster seems to think the claim is reasonable, and is vowing to repeat-prosecute Parrish until he gets a conviction. How exactly the half-mil figure was arrived at remains a mystery, but it seems to come from press release claims by Caltrans' Eureka-based media man, Phil Frisbie, meaning it was plucked from mid-air or the darker regions of Frisbie's anatomy.

EYSTER'S prosecution of the AVA's ace environmental reporter is complicated by statements from Bypass contractors that they simply worked around Parrish and other Bypass protests, that did other stuff while the CHP's over-large contingent of highly paid traffic cops plucked occasional anthromorphs out of their tree sits and pried Parrish off a piece of equipment he'd locked himself to. The CHP has spent a lot of money on 50 cops standing around all summer cracking hippie jokes. The whole show was kicked off while Bypass lawsuits were pending and Caltrans was ignoring existing law. We look forward to seeing Eyster's witness list. Frisbie on the stand? That should be a real hoot.

NOT LONG AGO, a Little Hoover Commission study concluded that Caltrans was the most administratively top-heavy organization in California government, which is quite a statement considering that the state payroll is rife with people whose contribution to the public good is, to say the least, opaque.

BIG ORANGE'S gratuitous violation of registered archeological sites in the Bypass construction zone even roused Congressman Huffman to write a letter of “concern” to CalTrans’ boss Malcolm Dougherty.

THE NATIONAL CONGRESS of American Indians went further; they want to suspend federal funds for the Bypass.

IN REPLY, the ineffable Frisbie told Linda Williams of the Willits News, “We are focused on identifying and correcting any organizational inefficiencies contributing to the inadvertent impact to the cultural site. CalTrans will be presenting its findings to the Sherwood Valley Rancheria in a meeting in early December. CalTrans has met with tribal leadership twice since mid September to address concerns and to see what is possible to make things right.”

PARRISH’S TRIAL has been put over until January 27th because attorneys have not reviewed what Parrish's attorney, Omar Figueroa, describes as “voluminous” California Highway Patrol and Caltrans documents related to Parrish’s several arrests at the Willits Bypass. The trial had been scheduled to start next week, on November 12th. “Earthworm” and “Feather” had a hearing on Tuesday, November 12th on infractions for their first of two lock-downs.

SEVERAL READERS have asked about Flynn Washburne, the talented writer from Mendocino County who is currently a resident of the state pen at Tehachapi. Flynn pulled a few armed-with-a-toy-gun robberies, one at the Bank of America in Ukiah, another we know of at a bookstore in Fort Bragg, the first armed robbery of a bookstore in Mendocino County history, maybe American history. But we knew then that Flynn was a literary guy. He was writing his autobiography for us when he suddenly wasn't. Lots of things can happen in prison, few of them good. Way back Dannie Martin, another talented prison writer, so annoyed the authorities they gave him “bus therapy,” meaning they put him on an unending prison bus tour of America chained and shackled. I believe that practice has been ended, but some of us need reminding that for all the hype about being the most advanced country in the world, America is also the most primitive country in the world. We hope Flynn is well and will soon resume writing.

SUPERVISOR JOHN PINCHES couldn't get any of his four colleagues to join him on ad hoc committee to examine the County's water exportation question, the long and the short of which is that Sonoma County sells Mendocino County water for millions of dollars but Mendocino County gets a giant mud puddle at Lake Mendocino most summers. (See Mark Scaramella’s full report in this week’s edition.) All Pinches wants is a few bucks for Mendocino County out of an historically skewed deal that goes back to the 1950s. That deal gave Sonoma County almost all the water stored behind Coyote Dam at Lake Mendocino. (SoCo put up most of the money to build the dam.) The deal was later amended to say that if Sonoma County sold any of Mendo's scant allocation, Mendo would be compensated.

NEVER HAPPENED. Sonoma County's water agency, at huge profit, has sold Mendo water downstream to Marin and its own customers for years; Mendocino County hasn't gotten a dime out of it.

PRELIMINARILY, it's clear that the inland supervisors don't want to disturb the inland morass of water districts, all of them in seeming competition for a resource they know is seriously overdrawn and, of course, dependent on a precarious early 20th century diversion at Potter Valley where a hand dug, mile long tunnel, supported by ancient redwood beams, carries water from the Eel River through Potter Valley (where that community's noble sons of the soil have enjoyed free water for more than a hundred years) to Lake Mendocino where it's stored for Sonoma County. Some of the water, of course, supplies the Russian River which, before 1950s Lake Mendocino, was dry above Healdsburg during the summer months.

THIS PRECARIOUS water delivery “system” has fueled suburban growth from Ukiah to Sausalito, but it leaves so little for Mendo that Redwood Valley, for instance, is maxed out, and the water districts up and down the Russian River from Redwood Valley to Hopland jealously guard their present allocations. As does the huge influx of wine grape growers. The wine people have put another large demand on the Russian River's overdrawn waters. At some point, all of these people are going to want more but, given the givens of present arrangements, there is not more to get.

PINCHES is really up against an entrenched, mutually jealous, water apparatus that works for its shortsighted beneficiaries but is not viable over the long haul. Or viable only until the next big earthquake takes out the diversion tunnel at Potter Valley.

HEADLINE in Friday's Press Democrat read “In need of rain, lots of it.” The “story” was accompanied by a photo of a drained, mudflat called Lake Mendocino. The story should be called, “In Need of a Sensible and Fair Water Policy for the Northcoast” but the only elected person talking water and sensible in the same context is John Pinches of Mendocino County. Pinches points out that while Lake Mendo is empty, nearby Lake Sonoma is nearly full and most of Lake Sonoma’s water fell to the earth in Mendocino County. All answers flow (sic) from this fact of Northcoast life.

COLORADO VOTERS have approved a 25% tax on newly legal recreational marijuana to fund school construction. Opponents argued the tax rate would benefit black market sales. Meanwhile, residents of Portland, Maine, declared victory on a measure to legalize possession of recreational amounts of marijuana. Mendo and the rest of California remain in a kind of limbo, with the DEA taking off just enough of the annual pot crop to keep prices attractive to ever more growers.

SAN FRANCISCO VOTERS wisely voted down a millionaire's waterfront condo project, correctly seeing it as a stalking horse for a basketball pavilion the Warriors want to build on the water near the Giants ballpark. Frisco's voters also narrowly passed a measure aimed at keeping the bums out of Golden Gate Park at night and passed another initiative prohibiting sex in massage parlors. There are several thousand street people roaming the city at any one time, many of them drink and drug addicted, a good portion of them, crazy. Simultaneously, fake liberals, a lot of them employed to “defend the poor,” obstruct sensible strategies to do something about the conversion of large swathes of San Francisco to free range for people unwilling and/or unable to help themselves. Last week's election was accompanied by demonstrations of people who think bums should be able to live in the park. The measure saying No narrowly passed. It's not enforceable anyway. Nor is the No Sex in massage parlors, although the sex groovies argued against what they see as Frisco's creeping puritanism. Everyone else, thanks to some reality-based investigations of massage parlors, sees the parlors for what they are — latter day slave rings that bring in indebted Asian women for forced work as prostitutes. Every election everywhere simply enforces the national entropy. Nothing is done about anything, from the high finance crimes committed against all of us to the assaults on the botany of Golden Gate Park. (End the so-called free concerts, too, I say. They do as much damage to the park in one weekend as the bums do in a year.) Mr. Lenin! Vladimir? White courtesy telephone, please.

LONG-TIME POINT ARENA school reform advocate, Susan Rush, was once again turned down for the Arena School Board by south coast voters, garnering about 10% (sixth) of the vote in an election that saw an incumbent, Leslie Bates, and three other people with school connections — Bob Shimon, Vikki Robinson and Cindy Cione — take the four seats that were up for election. Incumbent Angela Marquez came in fifth, losing her seat. “Once again, I did not make the grade to be put on the board,” said Rush, “but Vikki Robinson did. I am happy because she and I are similar thinkers and I think she will be great.”

ON THE AFTERNOON of Wednesday, November 6, a woman walking her dog near Hopland found the remains of Casimir Janusz who had apparently committed suicide by shooting himself

CASIMIR GEORGE JANUSZ, 36, of Hopland had been sought for questioning in the death of his five-month-old son. Janusz had brought the unconscious infant nearly a month ago to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center's emergency ward where the baby was pronounced dead. The distraught Janusz fled south to family property in Hopland where he has now been found dead.

MENDO DA David Eyster has announced the hiring of a former deputy district attorney and two new prosecutors to fill existing staff vacancies. Eyster also promoted a veteran staff member to serve as the supervising DA investigator. Eyster said the new hires and promotion are needed because budgetary constraints at the county level are keeping the office from hiring additional staff to meet current caseload demands. “We need these positions filled just to keep pace,” said Eyster. Returning to the office is former prosecutor Kevin Davenport, who has been practicing law in Portland, Oregon, since 2006. Davenport previously worked for the office during the administration of former DA Norman Vroman. Eyster said Davenport has joined Deputy DA Tim Stoen in the Fort Bragg office on the Mendocino Coast. The two new deputy district attorneys are Jessica Abramson, a Sonoma County native, and Jeffrey Boyd, a former Riverside County resident. Eyster said Abramson and Boyd are both assigned to the office’s misdemeanor trial team. Before coming to Mendocino County to work as a prosecutor, Abramson was a supervising law clerk for the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office. New prosecutor Boyd worked as a volunteer attorney in the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office before accepting employment with the Mendocino DA’s office. Prior to that, Boyd was in the private practice of law for firms in Riverside and San Diego. The DA investigator promoted is Kevin Bailey, a veteran law enforcement investigator and top aide to Chief Investigator Tim Kiely.

SECRETARY FRACKER VISITS PA. Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior Sally Jewell, a supporter of fracking as is the Obama Administration that employs her, appeared in Point Arena last week to view the Stornetta Public Lands. She later attended a public hearing where hundreds of residents showed up, mostly to voice support for adding the lands to the protected area. The Obama administration is determining whether to add the 1,600-acre tract to the California Coastal National Monument. The coastal monument presently consists of small rock islands and reefs off California's coast. The Stornetta Public Lands would be the first land-based addition to the monument, and add 10 miles to the California Coastal Trail.

THE DAY of the Kennedy Assassination, I was a temporary English teacher at San Luis Obispo Junior High School. After high school, I'd done a tour in the Marines, picked up college classes at City College when I got out, then went to school at Cal Poly for two years on a baseball-basketball arrangement that gave me room, board and a job in the college library stacking books, meaning I could hide out the whole shift and read. I wasn't good enough to play basketball at the college level, but I could still play baseball although I'd stopped working on my game in my last year of high school. Cal Poly then being a technical school, and me not being interested in technology, I took all the liberal arts classes they had and transferred to SF State where, I was informed by letter, I graduated a few months later with a degree in English and history. My younger brother and I had previously gotten involved with the Congress On Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) and had been soldiers in the city's first civil rights demonstrations at the Palace Hotel, Mel's Drive-In, and auto row on Van Ness, which would have been circa 1961 — '62. I remember hitchhiking up 101 from San Luis to take part in the demos. A cousin of ours was also involved as was my girlfriend at the time. I also played baseball on weekends, basketball on playgrounds around the city, worked minimum wage jobs and spent the rest of the time reading and arguing, both pastimes now considered passe if not positively outre. Through the 1960s we rented apartments for $75 a month (or less) in the Haight before the hippies, in the Castro before the gays, in the Mission before it was heavily Latin. Inspired by beatnik lit, I often hitchhiked up and down the Big Sur coast. On one trip a friend and I were picked up by the head monk at New Camaldoli where an order of monks, Benedictines, was building a retreat. The monks had taken vows of silence. Only the head guy talked while the monks spent their days in prayer and contemplation. Masses were chanted. My pal and I stayed there for a couple of weeks toting lumber and delivering meals to the monks' cabins, or cells as they called them. I had no money, my life's unvarying theme, and after the Benedictine interlude I hitched on down to San Luis where I got the teaching job at the junior high through the unemployment office. I replaced a woman on the edge of retirement who'd cracked up in one of her classes. When the fire department broke down the door she was dancing naked on her desk and swigging from a bottle of whiskey. That episode always translated to me as the time the times began a changin'. I had no competition for the job, so the principal hired me, telling me, in so many words, that his primary concern was order, that what I did inside the classroom was up to me. In other words, “Keep the little bastards from roaming the halls.” The little bastards were supposedly arranged according to ability, with a theoretical dumbbell class who were in reality delinquents and delinquent-symps but not stupid; there were three or four classes of middle ability, and one class of alleged (mostly by their doting parents) smart kids. I told stories and conducted group discussions about whatever was in the news, and we got on with a minimum of mutual rancor. Kennedy was shot about three weeks after I got the job. The principal announced the Kennedy shooting over the intercom, telling everyone to go home “and pray for the President.” I shared an old house on Islay Street with some jock friends who were still staggering towards their degrees in P.E. (Kinesiology was the bane of jock academia.) We watched the shocking live feeds of the events in Dallas. A couple of us were watching the day Oswald was shot in the basement of the Dallas Police Station, which is where I departed forever from official versions of the event. Another friend of mine got a visit from the FBI because someone had reported him for saying of the assassination, “Who gives a shit?” I was opposed to Vietnam from the day the war started. I was still in the Marine Reserves and was vaguely worried about getting called back up. I was also, by age twenty, a staunch anti-imperialist from my associations with the communists and radlibs I met through Frisco's civil rights agitation, those affiliations and the great journalism breaking out everywhere, San Francisco especially. Now that everyone is a liberal — then, nobody was — The City seems almost unrecognizable, and intellectually so blanded down that rural Mendocino County is more interesting, a lot more interesting.

HAMBURG FLIP-OUT RECONSIDERED. Due to the days-long lag-time between Board of Supervisors meetings and the posting of the videos of the meetings, we only just now had a chance to review the Mendocino Town Plan meeting in Mendocino where, some said, Supervisor Dan Hamburg, went off unfairly on the Planning and Building staff and his fellow Supes. Hamburg's beef? The Planning Department back in 2006 should have implemented the Special Resource Conservation Area (SCRA) designation for the Town of Mendocino, a designation which would allow town residents to appeal local planning decisions to the Coastal Commission. The Supes of 2006 had told staff to do it, but staff hadn't done it. October 2013, Hamburg had the documents showing that the SCRA was supposed to have been a done deal. After the meeting, Hamburg’s critics said he was outtaline for complaining about the SCRA foul-up in 2006 because the current planning staff who weren't involved back in 2006.

BUT APART FROM THE PROS & CONS of the SCRA designation, Hamburg had a point; we think he was justifiably upset that clear direction back in 2006 from the Board wasn’t complied with. “What does this mean if we make a decision today,” Hamburg legitimately asked, “and nothing is done?” After Hamburg’s complaint other Board members softened the blow by pointing out that maybe the direction wasn’t so clear, and the current staff wasn’t responsible for any oversight by the 2006 vintage planning staff, and the whole hothouse-tinged dispute, such as it was, seemed to have smoothed out. CEO Carmel Angelo assured Hamburg that whatever direction today’s Board gives staff would be implemented. But Hamburg had a right to complain about the ball being dropped and to demand that staff follow directions.

THIS WEEK IS THE 96TH anniversary of the Russian Revolution. If Minor's drawing confuses you, let me help with this explanation: It means that the revolutionaries were funded by capitalists who hoped to get lucrative concessions from Lenin's new government. Lenin himself had a couple of wealthy padrones. The revolution, by the way, was carried off without the insurgents firing a shot.

THE DEAD DUMPSTER DIVER found at the Solid Waste Systems transfer station at South Ukiah has been identified as David Escobedo, 47, of Ukiah. A worker found Escobedo's body on Halloween morning at the company's Ukiah yard. He is believed to fallen 40 feet from a garbage heap on to a loading platform. A garbage truck driver found Escobedo's body. The dead man's car was parked nearby.

REPUBLICANS TO MEET IN WILLITS. The Mendocino County Republican Central Committee will meet Saturday, November 16, 2013, 10am-noon at Lumberjacks Restaurant, 1700 S. Main Street, Willits, CA 95490. The agenda is the usual one — How to stop Hillary. For further information contact: Stan Anderson, 707-321-2592.

RUTH KOZUSYN, 84, of Willits, is one tough old bird. Back in March of 2011, when she was a mere child of 81, Ms. K was mugged in the parking lot of Willits' Evergreen Shopping Center. In that one “a man with a hooded sweatshirt grabbed her purse by the strap and yanked it off her shoulder, knocking her to the ground. Ms. Kozusyn received a minor cut and scrape to her elbow from the fall but did not require hospitalization.” The scumdog who attacked Ms. K was a state pen parolee named Mullen from Lakeport. He was caught when he was photographed using Ms. K's stolen credit cards.

MS. K apparently now lives with her son Kevin Jay Kozusyn, 57. She still drives, however, and last week the old lady drove sonny boy to the Ukiah WalMart. Why he isn't driving her and doing the shopping is not known, but it seems Ms. K, in a now familiar American role reversal, is her son's caretaker.

SO THERE THEY ARE, mother and son, in the great expanse of the WalMart parking lot. It's 4:25 in the afternoon when the Ukiah Police receive a report that a man, soon identified as Kevin Kozusyn, has yanked a handful of his mother's hair so hard the old lady had let out a piercing shriek, so piercing that it alarmed passersby.

DUTIFUL SON duly explained to the police that he was angry because Mom had been inside WalMart for four hours. It didn't seem to have occurred to the lad that if he'd gone inside to help Mom her in-store time might have been accelerated.

KOZUSYN was arrested and booked on charges of elder abuse. Mom presumably drove home to Willits. Let's hope she drove home along.

A STORY in the current New Yorker called “Anti-Semite and Jew” tells us that resurgent Hungarian fascists operate a website out of Healdsburg. KURUC.INFO features a column called Gypsycrime and another column called Jewcrime. Jewcrime is “accompanied by a caricature of a hook-nosed man, his face spread onto a lampshade” which “sneered at the 'myth' of Auschwitz.” A man named Bela Varga operates the website. He's a wine guy who, until recently, owned a boutique spice and wine shop in Healdsburg: “A Hungarian winemaker living in California has been identified by a Hungarian whistleblower website as the owner of the far-right news site kuruc.info, according to atlatszo.hu on Tuesday. “Bela Varga, a resident of Healdsburg, California, is the real owner of kuruc.info,” the article said. Since it went online in 2006, kuruc.info has been using Domains by Proxy, an internet company providing anonymous domain services to hide data on its ownership. In July, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban had asked US Congressmen to “assist in terminating the anti-Semitic provocations in Hungary supported from the United States,” in response to a letter in which the Congressmen complained to Orban about anti-Semitism in Hungary. Orban was referring to the fact that kuruc.info is operated from a US server. Hungarian authorities had asked US assistance in 2008 to take legal steps against kuruc.info, but citing US laws, the authorities had refused to disclose personal data on the website’s owners. Budapest Police told MTI it would provide details on the case later.”

“MY JOB was to lie very gently to these trusting, sleepy, easily wounded students, over and over again, by saying in all sorts of different ways that their poems were interesting and powerful and sharply etched and nicely turned and worth giving collective thought to. Which they were unfortunately not.” — Nicholson Baker, The Anthologist

RECOMMENDED VIEWING only for people who will enjoy two hours of unrelieved, and unrelievedly graphic, beatings, lynchings, rapes, and murders which, as most of us already know, was slavery in America. 12 Years A Slave is based on the autobiography of Solomon Northrup, a free man kidnapped in upstate New York and literally sold down the river to the slave markets of New Orleans, winding up the property of a psychotic plantation owner who bears a striking physical and psychological resemblance to Mike Sweeney of Mendocino Solid Waste Management.

The mention of Sweeney in the context of a reel short movie review may seem gratuitous, but I couldn't help but be struck by the likeness of our Ukiah homeboy and the plantation psycho as I sat through this very odd film with its stilted dialogue — like a class in English language diction — and departures into caricature. At one point, for instance, the enslaved Northrup, on an errand for his owner, encounters a group of Indians, Seminoles presumably, and pauses to listen to their music. Northrup's first owner is a liberal, relatively speaking of course, but the kind of guy Mendolib will relate to. The nice slave owner doesn't really want to separate a slave woman from her children or sell Northrup to Sweeney but, natch, the system is the system and business is business. There's another scene where mourners belt out a graveside lament so perfectly I assumed they were professional singers, which they probably are. The acting is very good, but overall I wouldn't recommend it except for 14 and 15-year-olds as an antidote to the Color Purple pap they otherwise get in the public schools about the first 400 years of American history.

CANDACE GITTINS, 69, of Fort Bragg was driving east Tuesday on I-80 in Nevada, 38 miles west of Elko, when she swerved into a construction zone, killing two road workers and injuring two others. Neither Mrs. Gittens nor her husband, Dallas Gittins, 75, were injured. Charges may be pending. 

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