Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016
by AVA News Service, September 21, 2016
MENTAL HEALTH MEETING at the Fort Bragg Library tonight (Thursday, Sept. 22) at 6pm presented by Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gierde. "You will have a chance to hear from key staff with Mendocino County's Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Department and Redwood Quality Management and to answer your questions about mental health services available on the coast, now and in the future. Mendocino County has a new team providing Mental Health services. Please join me in welcoming them to Fort Bragg. Learn what services are here today, and what services to expect in the future.” — Dan Gjerde
TWO FIRES, visible from many areas of the Ukiah Valley floor, burned a little more than three acres before being extinguished in the early afternoon Wednesday. Both blazes began just above (west) of the Hillside Health Center. The first began a little after 11am. As firefighters fought that one, another fire broke out below them, which, in certain conditions, might trap firefighters in a kind of flaming pincers. A man described as a “transient” was arrested near the site of the second fire. He has not yet been identified.
MRC HIRES CHARLEY MANNON’S ATTACK DOG To Bully The County And A Coast Volunteer Fire Department.
MRC attorney Stephen Johnson, who works out of the Mannon, King seraglio, Ukiah, told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that the Board was legally obligated to consider MRC’s objection to being taxed about $9k for a fire fee imposed by the Albion Little River Fire Department. MRC, it seems, expected the Supes to simply refund the $9,000. When the Supes put the rejection of their outrageously petty claim that would harm a volunteer fire department on Tuesday’s consent calendar, MRC’s thuggish owners hired this Johnson character to pursue the claim in person — even though it will obviously cost MRC much more than $9k in legal fees.
MRC, if you came in late, has killed millions of non-commercial trees on thousands of acres by chemical injection of the poison imazapyr. The dead trees greatly enhance forest fires, and the chemicals they’re injected with are certainly not good for the lungs of the firefighters who have to battle the blazes enhanced by thousands of acres of dead trees. The Albion-Little River Volunteer Fire Department took the lead in attempting to stem the fire hazard by declaring MRC’s dead trees a public nuisance via the successful June initiative known as Measure V.
PAYING a connected Ukiah law firm to shakedown a local volunteer fire department is low even for MRC and their billionaire owners, the Fisher family in San Francisco. (Charlie Mannon is majority owner of the Savings Bank of Mendocino, and all you people out there who do business with Mannon’s bank might want to think about taking your business to a more community-minded institution, such as a credit union. Former Mendo superior court judge James King is Mannon’s law partner.)
ATTORNEY JOHNSON also made sure to point out to the Supes that if MRC wins (and they might well win on the technical legal point) and gets the $9k back the County will have to reimburse Mannon, King & Johnson their legal fees.
COUNTY COUNSEL Kit Elliott said she’d been in contact with Mr. Johnson and he had had plenty of opportunity but had not provided her with the applicable legal citations he seemed to be referring to, and if he had them she’d be happy to look at them. Elliott also said that the case had already been in preliminary discussion through the courts and that the County was in the awkward position of dealing with a tax question that was initiated by a third-party, the Albion-Little River Fire Protection District — and which coincidentally is the same Fire Department that initiated Measure V, the anti-hack&squirt initiative vehemently opposed by MRC, which wasted upwards of $200k on their unsuccessful slick mailer campaign to defeat it.
BOARD CHAIR DAN GJERDE said that MRC’s beef, such as it may be, was with the Albion-Little River Fire Department which initiated the tax, adding that MRC was “unnecessarily dragging the County into a dispute MRC had with the Albion-Little River Volunteer Fire Department because we are an easier target,” emphasizing the word “volunteer,” and glancing skeptically at Mr. Johnson.
“On the other hand, we are the ones that collect the tax,” said Supervisor John McCowen, neatly bending over for both a mammoth timber company and an unscrupulous lawyer.
“As mandated,” Gjerde replied, correctly implying that MRC was only pushing the issue to punish the Albion Little River Fire Department — a department MRC expects to come to their “mutual aid” when a fire breaks out — for having the gall to propose Measure V. MRC knows the County is legally mandated to get involved. Besides, the volunteer fire department would garner more sympathy than the County would as the issue drags through the MRC-funded legal mud. This way, the County can engage in more needless legal haggling and Mannon and King can incur more legal fees to potentially recover.
“If it’s an illegal tax…” added McCowen, ever the oh-so-proper bureaucrat, falling into MRC’s petty trap.
THE BILLIONAIRE FISHER FAMILY that owns MRC not only spent over $200k to oppose an initiative they say doesn’t apply to them, but is clearly spending more than $9k on Mannon’s $500 an hour lawyers just to retaliate against Albion-Little River and in the process push the County into the very “protracted and costly litigation” they say could be avoided if the County simply gave them the paltry $9k.
REMEMBER, MRC now says that Measure V doesn’t even apply to them under the State’s Right To Farm nuisance exemption for agricultural operations (which include timber harvesting).
THROWING THEIR BILLIONAIRE WEIGHT AROUND like this will not exactly improve MRC’s already bad pubic image, and Supervisor McCowen should stop acting as if MRC’s legal case is anything but a transparent attempt to bully the County and punish the Albion-Little River volunteers for trying to reduce the substantial fire hazard MRC continues to present.
THE ESSENTIAL Facebook newspaper, MendocinoSportsPlus reports that Hospitality House, which gets a lot of public funding, plans a coffee house for the Old Coast Hotel, thus placing it in advantaged competition with non-subsidized coffee houses in downtown Fort Bragg.
LOOKS LIKE HOSPITALITY HOUSE TO OPEN “OLD COAST CAFÉ” TO COMPETE WITH DOWNTOWN MERCHANTS. A MSP viewer sent along the above photo he clicked this morning at the Old Coast Hotel.
FOUR MEN HELD HOSTAGE in NorCal Pot Pharm, forced to work the pot garden. Authorities say the men fled the secluded, rural camp in July after overhearing they would be murdered after the harvest.
by Kristin Bender
Two women have been arrested on charges of holding four brothers captive at an illegal marijuana farm in Northern California and forcing them to work there for six months, police said Wednesday.
The men ran away in July from the secluded pot growing operation in the small Sierra Nevada mountain range town of West Point after overhearing they would be killed after the harvest, said Calaveras County Sheriff's Capt. Jim Macedo.
At least one of the men, identified as brothers in a sheriff's department statement, was also threatened by another man at the camp who had a gun and a knife and is being sought by authorities.
"There were some males that would come and go along with the females and we are actively seeking those males," Macedo said.
The arrested women, Guadalupe Sierra Arellano, 43, and Medarda Urbieta, 44, were charged with human trafficking, kidnapping, battery with serious bodily injury, terrorist threats, and drug charges. They were detained by federal immigration officials and their lawyers declined comment Wednesday.
Macedo said the victims, who were not identified, had bruises and black eyes after they escaped the marijuana farm and made it to a nearby home to ask for help. They were treated for their injuries and have recovered, he said.
Police found more than 23,000 marijuana plants on the sprawling, forested compound and said it was worth up to $60 million. They also seized guns and $10,000 in cash.
"We've seen an increase in violence, theft and greed related to marijuana trafficking and this appears to be an organized, violent group," Macedo said.
Two of the men were hired in February as day laborers by a woman from Modesto, who said she had work for them at a home in Calaveras County, he said. After the two arrived at the marijuana growing operation, they were threatened by people with weapons and forced to stay there.
Nine days later, one of the women at the pot farm went back to Modesto and got in touch with relatives of the men, threatening to kill family members if they contacted authorities, police said. She offered to bring the two other brothers to see their two brothers at the farm, and they were held captive and put to work, the statement said.
The men worked the marijuana operation on several acres of land up a winding road with armed men standing guard over a house where the women lived. The men themselves slept in squalid and ramshackle conditions in a hut-like structure, Macedo said.
The Union Democrat reported (http://bit.ly/2dhSaht) Wednesday that the two women were taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement services after an arrest on Sept. 14. They are due to make a court appearance on Nov. 7.
(The Associated Press)
SUPES SAY "NO" ON AF. Despite pleas from a dozen or so pot growers, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 to strongly endorse a "No" vote on Measure AF, the so-called Heritage Initiative. Supervisor Woodhouse was absent without explanation for the third meeting in a row. Supervisor Hamburg recused himself due to a conflict of interest which he has said is based on his daughter’s marijuana growing business.
THE POT GROWERS denied that Measure AF was written by and for the marijuana growers. They claimed it was the result of a collaborative process involving county staff and officials. Supervisor McCowen shot that down, saying it was the draft county ordinance, now under review, that was the result of a collaborative process, not Measure AF.
SUPERVISOR HAMBURG, speaking as a member of the public, urged the Supervisors to stay out of it. But Supervisor Gjerde said the rest of the Board had spent a lot of time on the County's draft ordinance and at least some people would want to know what they thought of Measure AF and why. McCowen agreed. Supervisor Brown suggested taking a break over the lunch hour so McCowen could draft a list of reasons to oppose AF.
WHEN THE SUPES came back, they quickly passed the following motion opposing AF. The next item on the agenda was fine tuning the Supes draft cultivation ordinance which underlined point #1 on the list of reasons to defeat AF: It is not needed because the Supes are adopting their own ordinance.
Agenda Item No. 6B – Discussion and Possible Action Regarding A Request from the “No On Measure AF Committee” that the Board of Supervisors Endorse A “No” Vote on Measure AF, Also Known As the “Heritage Act”
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors endorses a “No” vote on Measure AF (also known as the Mendocino Heritage Act) for the following reasons:
- Measure AF is not needed because the County, subject to the public review process, is already drafting comprehensive regulations that provide all state approved cannabis license types while balancing the needs of our local communities, the natural environment and our local economy.
- If Measure AF passes there will be no public review process to identify or mitigate significant environmental impacts.
- Measure AF reduces or eliminates setbacks from neighbors that have been in place since 2010.
- Measure AF eliminates the requirement for “wildlife exclusionary fencing” and eliminates all fencing requirements unless the garden is visible from the public right of way.
- Measure AF makes up to an acre of cannabis cultivation a principle permitted use in almost every zoning district.
- Measure AF allows thousands of new cannabis cultivators on new cultivation sites.
MENDOCINO COUNTY WEEKEND GETAWAY
UNHAPPY WITH MALCOLM
David Gurney: Wanna-be gonzo Granny Malcolm Macdonald is at it again. Wearing his self-promoting “Outlaw Ford” T-shirt to the EIR scoping meeting, and calling it a “show,” this puffed up version of Truman Capote can’t seem to decide whether he’s he’s covering the news, or the next chapter of one of his unread novels.
First of all, let’s correct a few obvious factual errors and inaccuracies in his reporting. It wasn’t “Lindy Peters and Mike Cimolino… present throughout the two and a half hour meeting.” The other council member (through less than the full two+ hours) was Doug Hammerstrom, not Cimolino. Mr. Macdonald’s description of the project is directly plagiarized from the staff report, and inaccurate – the hill referred to is not “man-made.” Florentina Craciun is not an “environmental planner.” She’s an EIR consultant, who’s job it is, with Michael Baker International, to get EIR’s approved for their clients, in this case the City of Fort Bragg. Jones didn’t “nearly shout” into the microphone – she shouted. Macdonald writes regarding Gressett that he’s “directly accused Jones and City Manager Linda Ruffing of being in cahoots with developers, yet he has to the best of this writer’s knowledge never offered up any specific evidence to back up this claim.” The “best of this writer’s knowledge”? Not convincing, since Macdonald is unable recognize obvious facts staring him clearly in the face. How about doing a little very basic research? Readers deserve more than a weak disclaimer, followed by personal attacks. Jones and Ruffing are directly promoting this project.
Did Jones “appear to beckon” the officer to arrest Gressett for making public comments, or did she beckon him? Inquiring minds want to know, but in fact it was City Manager Linda Ruffing who gave the nod for the officer to silence Mr. Gressett during his public comment period. Granny Malcolm further asserts: “to a lesser degree the confrontational, not-able-to-take-yes-for-an-answer, style of David Gurney detracted from the tempered remarks of people like oceanographer Leslie Kashiwada” – but does’t back this snarky remark with any facts. Much less did Macdonald bother to listen to anything said during the three or four times I went up to the microphone.
All in all, readership deserves better than Malcolm Macdonald’s half-baked, inaccurate reporting.
* * *
Alice Chouteau: I agreee, MM should be replaced. His sneering condescension re the Fort Bragg public taints his writing. He is basically a supporter of the Turner regime.
Jones has promoted the mall project, and was paid for it, her MND last time around was flawed and biased. Letters from Ruffing to CDFW when that agency protested the impact the mall’s water needs were arrogant and offensive.
I believe at a recent meeting, the Mayor tried to have Judy Valadao removed by a cop when she refused to stand down until he answered her questions about the Giving Garden grant funds. Which he has refused to discuss. . I hope she can verify this, and give us the date. I find the police presence at council meetings heavy-handed and inappropriate, as they seem to be there as pitbulla for city gov and ataff, not for public safety. And taxpayers foot the bill, for FBPD, Ruffing, Jones, et al.
* * *
David Gurney: I agree with the heavy-handed conduct of meetings by the City of FB. It’s always suspect when any agency feels the need for police presence to protect their questionable practices and procedures. This is the second time in a month that the Ruffing/Turney regime has brought in police to illegally defend them. The first was when (ironically) Macdonald tried to bring up a point of order and others objected, when Mayor Dave brazenly skipped over a public comment period that was clearly printed on their Agenda. Ruffing, Hammerstrom and Turner continue to bizarrely defend their outrageously corrupt practice of putting the Consent Calendar at the end of City Council meetings, so that Ruffing can slip through important items with little or no public oversight. These bums need to be ejected from city government.
PROP 55: "Help Our Children Thrive." Gee, guess who's backing this one? Answer, The edu-bloc and Big Lib, and right there is a major temptation to vote no. They're always for the kids, right? Why, right this minute out at the Mendocino County Office of Education superintendent Warren Galletti, $125,000 a year plus fringes, is pacing the lush carpeting of his office, darn near distraught with worry, "How the heck can I do more for the kids?"
THE EDU-BLOC has said for years, "Give us more money and boy o boy o will your kids learn more better." Of course the public ed apparatus votes as a bloc for Big Lib, hence their mutual support for maintaining a tiny tax on incomes over a quarter mil annually. And the money raised will go straight to the classroom, just like the lottery money went straight to the classroom. Clamp a clothespin over your nose and vote Yes.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 21, 2016
Adams, Bailey, Bettega, Bruce
MARANDA ADAMS, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.
JERRY BAILEY, Willits. Failure to appear.
JEANIE BETTEGA, Covelo. Petty theft, probation revocation.
JESSICA BRUCE, Willits. Probation revocation.
Duran, Freeman, Leloup, Swopes
FERNANDO DURAN, Willits. Probation revocation.
MICHAEL FREEMAN, Covelo. Burglary, vandalism, probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER LELOUP, Willits. Petty theft.
ROCHELLE SWOPES, Mendocino. Probation revocation.
WHEN YOU SEE THE GUIDES on the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming, they’re all out of central casting. Beard, bill cap, buff around the neck, dog in the bow. Oh my God, it’s so predictable. That’s what magazines like ‘Outside’ are promoting. Everyone doing this “outdoor lifestyle” thing. It’s the death of the outdoors.
— Yvon Chouinard
THE COMPLETE R.W. EMERSON QUOTATION, re: Travel being a fool's paradise...
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
There are occasions where intellect is of no value other than entertainment. Those of us who excelled at physics realize that the laws of our world govern all things and all actions and while they may from time to time be ignored, in the end the laws hold true. Look around you at the planet on which we live, there is a system that exists that is everywhere and rules all things. Entities start out as tiny little object like seeds and embryos and then grow. They continue to grow until are mature. They live or exist until they reach their maximum span then they fall over and die. This is why there are no three mile tall trees or no 200 year old men. Everything has its lifespan including all of the works of man and the systems and things he “creates”. The system of “endless growth” as our wise host always points out may have gone on for quite a long time and has even dragged it’s rotting carcass down the road for far longer than many of us have been able to believe, but in the end, well it will find it’s end and die. It is not gloom nor is it doom, it is just the way that physics works.
In the olden days when men were men and led from the front, a change of course could have been made and the end would have been averted. Good men, wise men can make such choices and changes. Unfortunately those who lead us today are slackers and cowards who hide in the back or under the surface and direct their mindless minions in whatever direction it is that will buy them more time at the top. This inevitably leads to collapse, usually from without as well as from within. There is only one solution to the dilemma which America faces today and that is collapse. It is natural, it will be cathartic, and the longer things go on until it happens the more devastating it will be. What, do you want to live forever?
WATERMELONS COME FULL CIRCLE
by Spec MacQuayde
High pressure lingers over the Ohio valley, finally, after the most humid summer I can recall. Mildew and insects thrived. The yellow chanterelle mushroom harvest, known mostly to hippies who have experienced the West Coast, continued from late June through August. Mosquitoes nearly the size of toy, remote control helicopters droned in our ears at the Farmhouse, which lacks screens on the windows.
A plague of black moths darkened our ceilings while we jammed, staying up all night, snoozing in hammocks in the heat of the day when the only pestering winged creatures were the corn flies that we dubbed "sweat bees" mistakenly, they told us, possibly unleashed upon this terrain by the soldier-like formations of GMO corn that dominate the entire Mississippi watershed.
Some of the early seedless watermelons wound up with white, rind-like globs that formed like baseball-sized tumors and fouled up the otherwise red flesh, on account of all the rain. However the flavor and consistency improved as the atmosphere dried out, and one Friday afternoon recently we were just preparing to harvest melons when the Cooper twins, Stacy and Tracy, showed up at the farm.
We had attended high school together back in the late 1980's. We'd also planted watermelons in the spring of 1987, my first professional hoeing experience.
"You're already in my farming memoir, 101 Ways to Use a Hoe," I told them as we cut a seedless moon and stars melon. In a fit of bravado I pulled a bottle of high-end vodka out of the kitchen cabinet. "Nothing beats the combination of vodka and watermelon."
Even 25 years later, Stacy and Tracy are nearly indistinguishable. They both speak with the same high-pitched lilt. "My sister is the total opposite of me," they both say. We reunited at HoeFest 2016, and I guess on this particular Friday they came out to the farm to get Stacy's ukulele tuned.
Somehow I convinced them that we should load watermelons in their truck, rather than mine, for the Saturday market up in Seymour. I didn't know whether it was Stacy or Tracy's truck. Neither of them are married, though it turns out Tracy has been living with a surgeon the last eight years, and their relationship has grown cold. I sat in the front seat between them as Tracy drove to our other farm and hippies rode in the back. The day's atmosphere was muggy like a steam room, and all I wore was some ragged camouflaged shorts. Our knees, elbows, and shoulders brushed bare skin on either side like they did on that April evening back in 1987 in their dad's 1970 Ford F150 truck with the three on the tree tranny.
We'd been working all day for Uncle Huck. Back then people still direct-seeded watermelons in the sand around here. Huck, who was 21, and his buddy, Johnny Johnson, who was a high school senior with a full-ride baseball scholarship to Purdue, had picked me up in the morning. I was only a freshman, a catcher on the JV team, so Johnny was my hero. Rumor had it that he'd sent a home run over the left field fence and up on top of the gymnasium roof. Using hoes, he and Huck walked ahead of us, following marks in the sand scratched by a cultivating implement, chopping a slight concavity every eight feet or so. The Cooper twins followed them, losing their T-shirts in the sun and sporting those nylon '80's shorts with bikinis for tops, nail bags strapped around their waists. They dropped 3 to 5 purple-coated Crimson Sweet seeds in each depression. Another kid from up the road followed along with me, using hoes to cover up the seeds. All day we did two rows at once, and the Cooper twins flirted with Johnny and Huck.
I'd never had so much fun. Late in the afternoon we got into the beer cooler. I decided right then I was gonna be a watermelon farmer. After we got paid our $3/hour cash, the Cooper twins offered to give me a ride home. They had taxed some beer from Huck. On the way we stopped by the river and kicked it for a minute. Their voices hypnotized me like they do now. Like they almost sing, or sang. They asked if I'd ever kissed a girl. I was only 14, pretty green, awkward. They gave me some lessons. We got to know each other. Their mom had run off from their dad for a black dude up in Indy when they were 10. All the racist rednecks, which constituted Verona high school called Stacy and Tracy "Nigger Lovers" because their mom was with a black dude. So they were raised in the country by their dad. They'd ridden horses all their life, tomboys. They took me home to my parents' place on the Lake Road.
In addition to $3/hour, Huck had gifted me with a sandwich baggie full of Crimson Sweet watermelon seeds, and that night I worked the little acre field out back my parents' 3 acre Eden inspired by the writer/farmer, Gene Logsdon. I planted maybe a quarter of it to watermelons on Easter Sunday, imagining that the Cooper twins were out there with me in their bikinis. Of course I was an eighth-grader with no wheels and could barely even fantasize that those girls would show up if I'd had the means to call them, not so easy in the days before smart phones. That night I dreamed that they had followed me out to the field, but I had to take a leak. It felt funny. I woke up and realized what had occurred, and didn't want my mom or sister to discover the soiled tidy-whities, so I sprinted out to the melon field before dawn and startled a couple coyotes, using a hoe to bury the evidence.
I didn't see the Cooper twins again for 25 years, except for high school and the county fair, but they showed up for HoeFest this summer. I guess we had reconnected there. Now, in the watermelon field, they drank beer while Calico Jack, Dave, and I tossed the fat fruit, loading the truck. When we had to pull around the field, they let me drive it, one of those newer Chevy rigs with a cab like a Cadillac that seats at least 6.
"What am I gonna do with all these watermelons?" asked Tracy, who actually owned the truck.
"Well we're going to the farmers' market in Seymour tomorrow."
"I can't go with you! My boyfriend will be across Tipton, in the hospital!"
"Oh, God what am I getting into? Hanging out with all you hippies!"
At first I thought maybe Stacy and Tracy would both be staying, but that didn't turn out to be the case. Clearly Tracy had to stick around, on account of the truckload of watermelons, so Stacy peaced out on us after we hit the tavern in Verona.
"She always tries to steal every guy from me," said Tracy on the way to the farmers' market in the morning. Rain steadily fell from eight until noon. Still, we hawked off a few melons, maybe half the truckload. That night I was supposed to play a gig at the Porthole Inn up in Brown County, on the shores of Lake Lemon. Calico Jack and Quate were going to jam along on mandolin and guitar. Also this divorced ex-Lutheran farm woman and her lovely 18 year-old daughter were riding to the show, so Stacy--I mean Tracy drove us and all our instruments up through Nashville to the venue.
We barely arrived in time to set up, but nobody cared. Nobody knew who the fuck we were, except the waitresses, Tracy, the ex-Lutheran lady, and her lovely 18 year-old blonde daughter, who all sat in a booth and shared a pizza. The owner of the Porthole Inn purchases boxes of vegetables from our farm, has a dining area, and the place is open to minors. They make pizza from scratch, but I couldn't ingest any of what was on the table because the peppers and onions and sausage were all changing colors and drifting like boats in San Francisco Bay, circa 1968.
"I'll have some pizza tomorrow," I told Tracy. "That shit is moving too much."
Calico Jack had to run sound all night. The pizza was mobilizing for him, too, he confided. He introduced our act on stage, and I played a few songs solo because they featured too many lyrics or else their chord progressions were too complicated for run of the mill stoners to jam along to if they hadn't already memorized them, especially in a bar where the pizza undulated and French fries wiggled like night crawlers after a June rain.
The crowd is mixed at the Porthole, with redneck patrons and fishermen who have sat around those tables for decades, though the place was recently purchased by a dreadlocked buddy of mine whose band is called "Zion Crossroads." So you get rednecks, hippies, and a few bikers. Calico and Quate jammed on the more repetitive chord progressions, and after us the main acts played, a guy named Coot Crabtree and Brandon Lee, a red-headed dreadlocked motherfucker who did a version of "Ruby" that would bring tears to your eyes.
At closing time the pizza and fries still refused to shut up and sit still, so we asked for a to-go box. They paid us a hundred bucks and said it was time to leave. We loaded our gear and a case of beer in the back of Tracy's truck, on top of the lingering watermelons. She navigated to Nashville where we stopped at a gas station because everyone needed cigarettes.
I don't smoke. I was also barefoot and shirtless, living in fear of the unruly pizza, so while they were in the store I sauntered out and tossed a green beer can into the receptacle next to the pumps, just trying to be conscientious about open containers in Tracy's truck, to be respectful. Normally I would just have chucked it in the back and recycled later.
A cop fresh out of cop school approached me. "Did you just throw an open container in the trash?"
"So you were drinking that beer in the cab of the truck, then."
"Absolutely." I wanted to tell him that the pizza and fries were safely immobilized in closed containers.
Gradually the whole group emerged from the gas station, and I inserted the nozzle after removing the gas cap. There was Quate with his black dreadlocks, Calico Jack the pirate with a red beard, the ex-Lutheran lady drunk and limping from a bad knee, her lovely daughter, and Tracy.
Another cop pulled up. He was fresh outta cop school, too.
"I smell marijuana," they said.
I glanced at Calico Jack who was clearly ingesting the last of the five joints we'd pre-emptively rolled for the night. "Hey, you're spot on. Us hippies already smoked all our weed, though, and we ain't got paraphernalia."
"We're gonna search the truck."
They stretched plastic gloves like condoms up to their elbows. In the side door they discovered a pair of fencing pliers.
"What are these?"
"Fencing pliers," said Tracy. "My dad has eleven horses."
We bullshat for an unquantifiable eternity. They opened the pizza box.
"Be careful," warned Calico Jack. "That pizza is out of control. We're trying to keep a lid on it!"
Reluctantly they let us go. Back at the Farmhouse the bugs wouldn't leave us alone. We barely slept. In the morning Tracy had to get back home to the surgeon. "I don't know about you, Spec. Cops, drunks, bugs, sand in the bed. Not my usual challenges."
The pizza calmed down by noon, and I had a few slices. I spent the heat of the day in a hammock under the hickories and hard maples, staring up at the branches, musing.
Recommended by a friend who years ago, was head of the U of Hawaii Press. He shares this:
“I want to suggest that you consider a side visit to the Big Island. Down side is that they may not have a bus system, but maybe they do by now. Two areas of interest: Pahoa, outside Hilo, where there is a holistic retreat/spa that is more counter culture than most and the beaches are black sand. There is a hotel/hostel in Hilo you might find appropriate, called Wild Ginger. You would also want to visit Volcano (village at the summit near Halemahumahu caldera; very interesting hikes--we especially liked Pu'uhuluhulu, but maybe that was just because it was so much fun to say (and I remember mooning a tourist helicopter that buzzed us on the trail.) If you get over to the Kona side: I used to stay at a little family-run (local Japanese) hotel at Captain Cook called the Manago (about 1,000 feet elevation, used to look out over papaya plantations but now it looks out over suburbia; stay in old section of hotel.) The Big Island is/was much less populated/visited (except at Kailua-Kona), and we always felt much more of a spiritual vibe there.”