Off the Record
by AVA News Service, January 27, 2010
Jameson Jackson Then & Now
LOCALS ARE NOT HAPPY that Jameson Jackson is out of jail, and less happythat Jackson's back in Mendocino County. He was 15 on February 24th of 2001 when he and Chris Coleman, also 15, walked into the little convenience store in Brooktrails (west of Willits) and shot Joan LeFeat to death as she begged for her life. Coleman functioned as Mrs. LeFeat's executioner, Jackson provided the gun. Testimony revealed that Jackson made no effort to dissuade Coleman from shooting Mrs. LeFeat. The killers fled with cigarettes and a few dollars from the till. They were soon caught. Jackson was prosecuted as a juvenile, Coleman as an adult. Jackson was recently paroled to Riverside County after 8 years in the California Youth Authority. His parole was supposed to keep him in Riverside County, but he's been living in Willits and commuting to Riverside County to see his parole officer. Jackson will now, presumably, be returned to prison. Coleman got 25 adult years in prison where he remains. The murder shocked and disgusted everyone who knew Mrs. LeFeat, a long-time resident of Comptche before she moved inland to Willits.
GOOD FOR COUNTY CEO Carmel Angelo for not allowing Dr. Marvin Trotter to straight up lie about why Trotter has been relieved as Mendocino County's Public Health Officer. Trotter claims he was pushed, Angelo said he jumped before she could push him. “We used to have an open, egalitarian organization that worked for the best interests and the health of this community,” Trotter told Mike A'Dair of the Willits News. “We called it the Department of Public Health, or just Public Health, and everybody in the county knew it as Public Health. You tell me why we can't even call it Public Health anymore. Now it's something else, the division of community health, or something like that.” Trotter said Angelo “wanted to replace five doctors with one doctor,” and the 12-year man said, “I was forbidden to do my show on KZYX. I was forbidden to talk to supervisors. I was forbidden to go to the statewide public health officers meeting. She wanted our department to be a 'seen but not heard' agency. It's become a top-down, autocratic organization. She didn't want me here and it's not my day job. I'm just facilitating her desire to do this.” Trotter also claimed he was also being martyred because he'd said the Masonite property north of Ukiah had not been properly evaluated for toxic hazard.
MS. ANGELO fired back, pointing out that she obviously didn't have the authority over Trotter's appearances on the radio. But. “Marvin wanted to do the show as the county's public health officer and he wanted us to pay for him to do the show. I said no. The reason I said no was because we wanted Marvin to work full-time for us. That is to say, his contract was for 16 hours a week, and we wanted his 16 hours to go not to doing the show and not to preparing for the show. We wanted those 16 hours to go toward pursuing those public health initiatives we hired him to do.” Angelo said Trotter talked to the supervisors whenever he wanted. “I would have liked for Marvin to work through the chain of command. That way he would have gone to Stacy [Crier, director of the Community Health Services branch], then to me, then to the CEO and then to the board. This would have been more so we would all be appraised of what was happening than for any other reason. But Marvin certainly communicated with supervisors when he wanted to.” Angelo told The Willits News that “the Health and Human Services Agency policy is that employees can communicate with supervisors, but they have to do it on their own time and with their own equipment. What Marvin was asked to do was no different than anyone else.” Angelo said she was surprised when she heard Trotter was leaving. “I was preparing to renew his contract when I heard the news. There was no intent on my part at the time he was not going to be the county's public health officer. He has made some efforts in the community. There will be a lot of people who will miss him.”
A WRONGFUL DEATH suit against the Trotters, both of whom MDs, is still working its way through courts. That suit was filed against Trotter and his wife, Dr. Mary Newkirk, and their son, Evan Trotter, by Vicki Nelson, the mother of 16-year-old, Keith McCallum. The Nelson suit alleges hat a Fentanyl patch was sold to McCallum by Evan Trotter who, in turn, had taken it from an unsecured supply maintained at his parent's home in Redwood Valley. “During the evening of September 12, 2003, Keith McCallum applied the Fentanyl patch given to him by Evan Trotter. The following morning, Keith's mother (Vicki Nelson) discovered him lying in his bedroom, lifeless. The cause of Keith McCallum's death was acute cardiac failure due to Fentanyl toxicity,” the lawsuit states. The Trotters, being MDs, were obviously aware of the drug's danger, but they failed to ensure the security of the potentially fatal patches, according to the suit. Other potent drugs were also left unsecure in the Trotter household as well, the suit alleges. Evan Trotter was ordered to enroll in a drug-rehab program as a juvenile and was placed on two years probation when it was determined that he was responsible for transporting and selling the fentanyl patch to McCallum. Young Trotter was soon seen in Redwood Valley as neighbors of the Trotters wondered why he wasn’t still enrolled in the court-ordered drug treatment outside Mendocino County. It was discovered that Mendo’s then-Chief Probation Officer, Bob McAllister (now retired), a friend of the Trotter family, had quietly re-assigned young Trotter to Redwood Valley as a favor to the Trotters. Redwood Valley residents, familiar with Evan Trotter’s drug deals, considered him a threat to other Redwood Valley teenagers. The Nelson lawsuit claims Dr. Trotter regularly wrote prescriptions for the fentanyl patches for use by his elderly mother in Texas, and that Trotter maintained careless access to the drugs he kept at his home. The suit also claims that Trotter became aware of missing fentanyl patches from the home supply in 2003, several weeks before McCallum's death, but that neither Dr. Trotter nor his wife reported the missing drugs to authorities. The lawsuit further alleges the Trotters “knew that their son, Evan, was a drug user and suspected previously that he had purloined fentanyl from the family home and/or vehicles.”
TROTTER went from being a guy apparently very casual about drugs to full support for Measure B, which tightened local pot regs, tightened them in theory anyway, but outdid himself in anti-pot fervor with a completely unfounded public surmise that a 23-year-old man who'd died of meningitis at his home in Sonoma County after attending the 2008 Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in Boonville might have gotten meningitis from a communal marijuana cigarette at the Boonville event. Every other doctor quoted in subsequent stories on the death of the young man, a young man whose name has still not been released, said Trotter was full of it, that no one could say with any certainty how the deceased contracted meningitis.
ASSUMING there's still some moisture on Ayn Rand's pubes, something left to be said about the worst fiction writer in the history of English lit, the only two Randians I've known have been about as far from Randian supermen as it's possible to get. One was Milly Perkins' brother. Milly Perkins, I think, is the actress best known for having played Ann Frank. Bozo Perkins, Milly's brother, whose real name was Jim, worked at Safeway. I met him when I rented a room with a shared kitchen in an old Victorian on Scott near Hayes. My housemates included a German baker who always worked this one comment into the conversation: “I vant to get out of dis crazy country.” There was also a fellow named Henry Cohen who said he'd fought with the Castro Cubans at the Bay of Pigs. “The trouble with you, kid,” Cohen would say to me, “is that you're not educated.” By which he explained that I wasn't a Marxist-Leninist like him. I said every time I tried to read any of that stuff I fell asleep. When Perkins enumerated my educational deficiencies he said I could put myself right by reading Ayn Rand. The most interesting guy in the building, which is now a very fancy bed and breakfast without so much as a hint of its life as a $40 a week tenement, was a young drunk who threw himself down the stairs every night at precisely 8 o'clock. The first time I saw Mr. Stairs, as we called him, hurl himself from the grungy top floor kitchen to the first landing, I was quite alarmed. I hustled out of my room where he was un-crumpling himself halfway down the curved stairwell. Even with the curve that spared him another 15 feet of free fall, the plunge was a good 20 feet down. “Are you all right?” Mr. Stairs just looked at me, got to his feet and went into his room. Perkins, the Randian, appeared. “Do it again, you bastard!” he yelled at Mr. Stairs retreating back. I once invited my girl friend over for a communal dinner, but as soon as she saw the kitchen she said, “This is too depressing. I have to leave.” Just as she reached the front door, Stairs did his 8pm self-toss. “God!” she exclaimed as she left, forever, as that romance turned out. I was quickly oppressed by Mr. Stairs myself. It was his creepy punctuality that got to me. A guy throwing himself down the stairs every night at exactly the same time? I'd start looking at the clock about 7 in anticipation, and right at eight here he'd come, head over loose-limbed heels, no faking the pure heedlessness of his plummet. But Mr. Stairs always picked himself up and walked away. Mr. Perkins, the objectivist, was totally contemptuous of mental illness. He took the hard view of everything, the dog-eat-dog perspective, although at Safeway, in the two years I knew him, he never moved up from bag boy. I used to tell him that a true Randian superman would, at a minimum, be in charge of the vegetable bins by age 22. “What kind of superman are you, Perkins?” I'll bet if you surveyed the Randian community you'd find wall-to-wall cranks and fantasists, the raw material for fascist movements, the angry people who walk around just seething, people like Al Blue who gets off the single most perverse comment I think I've ever read in this week's letter column. Blue says instead of sending money to Haiti, send it to Peg Whitman, the Bozette Republican running for Governor.
REEL SHORT MOVIE REVIEWS: The Golden Door, an Italian film, recreates the Ellis Island immigrant experience circa 1900 so faithfully it’s as if a documentary film crew had followed the new Americans from Sicily to Ellis Island. Introduced by Martin Scorcese, Scorcese says the movie is so faithful to the facts that it took him back to the stories his grandparents told of leaving the old world for the new. The Golden Door is the best movie I’ve seen in years. The Best of Youth, another Italian film, gets raves, but I found it a little too charm-heavy, the characters way too handsome, the writing way too cutesy and soap-opera-ish on its way to all that charm. When one suicidal guy leaps over his balcony I hoped it would create a chain reaction and the movie would be over sooner than later. Denmark is a place I’ve always associated with Hamlet, little cookies with jelly splotches in the middle of them, and tidy people washing down their sidewalks. But Pusher is a Danish movie about Danish tough guys, drug tough guys, who beat each other up and rip off Swedes while muttering about Norwegians. It’s very well acted, but the sub-title translations are in tin-eared, pseudo-American tough guy idiom. I’m sure Scandinavian tough guys watch all our gangster movies and listen to our ganga banga rob yo granny and her momma too music, but I’d have preferred a literal translation from Danish to Danish-English. It would have made the mayhem much more interesting to hear the Danes talk in Dane as they hit each other over the head with pool cues. Crazy Heart is a chick flick set to cowboy music. It’s pretty good, though, because Jeff Bridges is always good. In this one Bridges is a broken down country western singer who stops drinking to almost get the girl. Overall, though, and as the astute readers of this fine publication certainly know, movies aren’t what they were. For example, try watching the original The Taking of Pelham 123 and the recent re-make. The original is a well-acted, witty little gem, the re-make simply moronic, as is most of what’s out there these days. Except for The Hurt Locker. It's really reelly good.
FROM A LONG anonymous essay in Monday's mail: “…The Albion Ridge, which once provided the shock troops for the direct action environmental movement, and where an insta-mob could be assembled in minutes, has now become quiescent. The Mendocino Redwood Company is able to take the last big trees and bleed erosion into Salmon Creek and the Albion Nation with impunity. The focus of the once fabled 'Albion Nation,' which now has more dreadlocked young men driving SUVs per capita than anyplace on earth, has shifted entirely to marijuana cultivation and processing. A generation of youth have never graduated high school, never participated in any environmental cause, engage in environmentally destructive and un-sustainable practices in pursuit of maximum black market cash and aspire only to make and sell enough pot to vacation in some tropical paradise for two months each winter and flaunt their toys the rest of the year, mocking the few of us who still work honest jobs.”
I DON'T KEEP up with the Albion demographic, but so long as dope sells for anywhere between $2,500 and $5,000 a pound, otherwise under and unemployed people of all kinds will be drawn to the business. Rasta-Dudes are hardly the only people engaged in outlaw ag. The Albion comment, by the way, was included in a long, unsigned essay called “Mumia Shot The Cop, Peltier Is Guilty And Beth Bosk Is Crazy — Why the left is irrelevant in America.” The best book, and the only honest book I know of on the Mumia case, is called Killing Time by David Lindorff. The best work on the Peltier case is In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, by Peter Matthiessen. There's substantial doubt about Peltier's guilt, and no doubt at all that his trials have been cruel farces before a judge who shouldn't be a judge. Mumia is a kind of icon for people who think it's ok to shoot cops, doubly ok if you're black and have a nice radio voice, just like the nuts on the right secretly rejoiced when King was murdered and go to bed at night hoping someone will pick off Obama. The left has its screwballs, the right has a lot more screwballs, many of them with national audiences — Michael Savage, Hannity, Limbaugh, and the rest of them. The left has zero national figures and please, you fool, don't say, “Well, golly, how about E.J. Dionne?” You seldom hear from the left because the owners of the media are naturally more attuned to the fascisti of the Hannity type. You've got to seek out the left, and it isn't hiding either. I've never thought of Beth Bosk as either crazy or a leftist; she's more in the old beatnik tradition, I'd say, but she can be awfully thin-skinned for a public person. She called me Monday to complain that John Sakowicz, the KZYX money commentator, was vilifying her on the AVA's website's comment line. I tried to point out that the internet is available for any old body to say any old thing behind pseudonyms, and that she should ignore it. Anyone who's even slightly in the public eye gets pummeled in cyber-space and even in antiquated print, but I don't know of any oft-pummeled person, me among them, losing any sleep over random libels. Shake it off, kiddo. Of course, there are two guys I'd murder if I ever caught them alone, but the one time I staked out an enemy's house in Little River I ran out of beer before he came home. And I forgot to bring my shotgun shells. But I slept like a sinker log back in Boonville. Ms. Bosk has pounded Sako like an abalone at a fish fry; she seems surprised Sako would counter-attack. She insisted that the on-line criticisms of her by Sako and his defenders, one of whom seems to be Mrs. Sako, were not only harming Ms. Bosk in the world outside Ecotopia, most of the insults aimed at her had undoubtedly been written by Sako himself under numerous fake names. Ms. Bosk. Please. Some sophistication is in order here. The entire cyber-enterprise constitutes a global deluge of libel and misinformation, so thoroughly unreliable no sensible person believes anything but what he or she needs to believe. Complaining about it is a waste of time.
DASHIELL HAMMETT invented noir, or private eye, fiction at 891 Post, San Francisco, in a Murphy Bed studio apartment overlooking Post and Hyde. He wrote The Maltese Falcon at 891. There’s a plaque out front of the aged, four floor building commemorating that illustrious fact. San Francisco is pretty good about acknowledging its cultural history in a kind of tourist-oriented way, if a little heavy on the better known artists and, these days, way too heavy on the antiseptic, preciously politically correct art of the McSweeney type. There’re still interesting writers around, but you’ve got to search them out, got to get past the milk monitors of Valencia Street. How about some plaques for that pivotal beatnik Kenneth Rexroth who lived on Wisconsin Street on Potrero Hill and at 187 8th Avenue where he entertained Dylan Thomas and Kerouac and Howlsberg, among others. There’s no plaque at 187 or at Rexroth’s place on Wisconsin, but one wishes that all the old buildings kept their histories in the their lobbies, stories of the all the lives lived in them. Hammett’s apartment on Post is being restored right down to period furniture and the wallpaper. The day I was there there was an abandoned wheelchair in the tiny closet left by the pre-restoration tenant. The wheel chair belongs fits with the fixed-income building, vaguely owned but managed by ghouls out of a fancy office in the financial district. The structure is one of several thousand from pre-War Frisco, home hives to the unvisited, the kind of place where people drink themselves to death and their bodies aren’t found for a month. The restoration process is, of course, labor intensive, meaning Mexicans are doing the work, doing it meticulously, and kept on doing it as we crowded in on a recent Friday afternoon. San Francisco was mostly peeled-paint drab before the border fell and the Mexicans arrived to do the makeover, care for the kids and the gardens, ignite the coffee shop and restaurant life and, farther north, plant vineyards for all the new rich people. Hammett’s granddaughter is donating an alarm clock to the restoration of his old Murphy Bed apartment at Post and Hyde, and they’ve even found a photo of Hammett standing in his livingroom, the livingroom he created by pushing the Murphy Bed back into the wall where he then sat down to write The Maltese Falcon. Looking west the neighborhood looks pretty much like it looked when Hammett lived there, which was roughly 1926 to 1929. The buildings may look the same along Post Street but the demographic is now positively thrilling in this odd city where the numbers of people employed to do good almost outnumber the people to whom good is to be done, many of them crazy, many more swimming at the bottom of the bottle or so far gone into hard chemicals the chemicals are their lives. Fifty years ago they’d all be cared for in lock-up facilities. Now, they’re on the street, and in San Francisco if an officeholder so much as hints at compulsion, as in mandatory treatment, the pirates of the non-profits come running, yelling about civil rights for people unable or unwilling to care for themselves, as if allowing people to kill themselves in public is humane public policy. Hammett would have to double-lock his doors these days.
REPRESENTATIVES of several “Death Metal” bands held a news conference in New York this afternoon, to protest their exclusion from yesterday's internationally televised live “Hope for Haiti Now” concert. Stabb, frontman of the group SkulBowlPac, said “I can speak for all of us, in that we are seriously pissed at this discrimination. Most of us have old ladies and kids, just like everyone else. We wanted to help raise money for the Haitians, but these limp wristed PC Hollywood pansies banned us outright, without even having the balls to say why to our faces. What a bunch of fags!” When asked by a reporter if it were not self-evident to the bands, that their music and theatrical style might be misunderstood or offensive to the survivors of last week's earthquake, Maggotface, drummer for the group Mass Grave, said, “No fuckin' way, dude! Death and suffering are what we're all about! They should have put us on top of the bill, instead of being fags who don't get it that we're all just miserable worms crawling around on this slimy rock! There ain't no meaning to life, dude! It's all a pointless fuckin' waste, and we're the only people tellin' the truth about this fucked up world! People croak by the millions all the time, dude, and you're gonna die soon too and fuckin' worms will eat your brain and it all don't mean nuthin'! So we're bringin' reality to the scene, and if you don't get that, you're just a dumbass fucked up worm who don't know shit!” A representative of the chain store Hot Topic, which markets lifestyle accessories to the young Goth and Vampire subcultures, added that the store had intended to donate 10% of their net profits for the day to Haitian relief, but because much of their clientele had stayed home in protest, the company had rescinded its offer. “We figured that was like, $15,000 nationally that we could have raised, but they didn't want our money. I bet the Haitians could have used it.” Other bands represented at the news conference were Annihilate, the Bone Crushers, Corpse Jelly, Gods of Death, Kill Crazy, Mortal Wound, Sons of Azrael, Dirge, Necrologic, Fatal Fire, Puke Planet, the Mudhumpers, Vaticide, Hell's Holocaust, and Jagganath. Stabb, of SkulBowlPac, finished the conference by saying “We're serious dudes, dude, we're not gonna take this layin' down, know what I'm sayin'? We're gonna charter a plane and take our show to Haiti, dude! We're gonna rock their world!” As of this date, there has been no official response from Hope for Haiti Now or the Haitian government.
SISTER YASMIN, Yaz The Inevitable, reminds us that she and five other South Coast liberals will be out in front of the Gualala Post Office on Saturday, February 6th buttonholing passersby to convince them of the efficacy of Single Payer Health Insurance. Later in the day at the Think Visual Gallery in Point Arena the same six liberals, reinforced by a dozen stoners, will gather to celebrate Bob Marley's birthday as a benefit for the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund.
MS. DEVON JONES of the Mendocino County Farm Bureau says she's “very disappointed” after attending a water-for-frost protection workshop in Sacramento last week where water board bureaucrats had the brass-balled nerve to declare that they wanted enough water in the Russian River so fish could co-exist with grapes. Ms. Jones went immediately into panic mode. “The harm to the economy here and in Sonoma County from tourism to wine-industry jobs, has been a major concern if wine grape crops go without frost protection. It would be a very large loss. In this economy, the last thing we need is another blow. … We see frost protection as reasonable. For them to declare it unreasonable is very far fetched.” They didn't say that Jonesy. They said it is unreasonable if there’s no flow monitoring in place to make sure fish are not harmed.
IN THE DELUGE of nonsense in the wake of last week's State Supreme court’s “Kelly” ruling saying that the government can’t impose numerical limits on marijuana cultivation or possession under Proposition 215 without a another vote of the people there were exactly two that made sense. One was from Supervisor John Pinches: “Whether you love marijuana or you hate marijuana, we cannot continue in the direction we're going with it because we're on a tight budget; we're taking money away from our schools, roads and our higher education to prosecute and incarcerate marijuana growers.”
THE OTHER sensible statement was from Ukiah defense attorney Kitty Elliott: “I see this all [after the Kelly ruling on January 21] still going through the courts. We have the Sheriff sort-of regulating. But most of this stuff still ends up the courts. There needs to be something done by this community so that somebody can come to me as a defense attorney and I can intelligently tell them how to comply with the law so that they don't have to hire me to defend them in a court of law. So far, that has not been true. That's a big step that we need to take. I have defended many people with very good medical claims that have been dragged through the court for, as far as I can see, no good reason. That's something that we need to accomplish. It's not easy, but we need to accomplish that. A lot of it is up to the District Attorney. There has to be some kind of document that is readable to the general public. Most of the people growing medical marijuana are not the people who are out building houses. They are not experts. They need to be able to read the law, understand the law, not have to go to an attorney to explain the law to them. It's important. This Kelly decision is moving us in that direction, but we have to do that intelligently. We have to figure out a way to handle this so that we don't spend the kind of money we're spending in this county prosecuting these cases.”
KELLY SCHMELLY. The pot wars are waged in Mendocino County as a for-profit business regardless of anything the state courts say. Mendocino County has raked in more than a million dollars in asset forfeitures in each of the past several years. So long as the feds say marijuana is illegal, the cops will arrest who they want to arrest and it'll be sorted out in court, more or less, with the cash and cash-value items seized during arrests mostly remaining with the police and the DA. San Francisco has meter maids to collect scarce public cash, Mendocino has pot raids as revenue source. You have a pot card or you don't have a pot card. In Mendocino County you'll be telling it to the judge no matter what.
A 54-1 VOTE on Monday in the Assembly allows the Pinoleville Pomo Nation to operate a casino with up to 900 slot machines through 2030. The tribe has agreed to give the state 15 percent of the money it wins from players at the casino. The pact was approved earlier by the state Senate. Democratic Assemblyman Joe Coto of San Jose says the compact will help the tribe fight high unemployment, poor housing conditions and poverty. The 250-member tribe owns about 100 acres on the northern edge of Ukiah.