Off the Record (April 12, 2017)

by AVA News Service, April 12, 2017

ACCORDING TO Mendo Animal Shelter honcho Rich Molinari, the visiting vets from UC Davis were impressed by the County’s Shelter operations,  formal findings to be revealed “at a later date.” The Boonville Spay Neuter clinic, subsidized in part by AV Animal Rescue for feral cats, saw 117 cats spayed or neutered. 80 female cats were “in oestrus” (ready to be impregnanted). All the cats also got rabies vaccinations. The mini-clinic was very successful, said Molinari, saving shelter money and making animals healthier. In the first three months of 2017 134 dogs and 38 cats were adopted. 133 were transfered to rescue partners. 133 returned to owners, The live release rate for that period was 86%. Supervisor John McCowen volunteered that he had been by the Shelter and was impressed by improvements and cleanliness. Recent complaints have been addressed and resolved promptly. Supervisor Carre Brown added, “You’re doing a great job. To which Molinari modestly replied that the staff gets the credit.

COMMENTING on Derek Hoyle’s report of Jeff Wright’s arrest for protesting the reduction in open hours of the lobby of the Fort Bragg Post Office, a reader complained that we didn’t get “the other side” of the story, the side of the story from Postmistress Sisco. We’d like to get the other side of the story and rather resent people who whine about the other side without telling us what it is but, the editor murmured with a martyred sigh, it all comes with the biz.

WRIGHT’S beef began when he and other nocturnal post office visitors found the doors locked to prevent bums from sleeping and, on occasion, defecating in the lobby. Ms. Sisco wasn’t the only person offended and understandably began securing the premises at night. Wright, a man not entirely committed to reason, threw such a tantrum that Ms. Sisco called Fort Bragg’s finest on him. So far, though, public opinion is running in favor of Wright’s complaint, but not his delivery of it.

(1) I live in Fort Bragg but have my PO Box in Mendocino because I loathe going to the Fort Bragg Post Office so much. Going in there is nothing but a bad time, even for the simplest of tasks. I would rather drive the ten or so miles than have to deal with the Fort Bragg Post Office.

(2) As a Former Braggart I am following this story, waiting for updates as the story continues.

(3) Unbelievable! Thank you Derek for your reporting. Have shared it to my Facebook page.

(4) I stopped getting my mail here, a large inconvenience due to this post offices attitude. Public servants who don’t want to serve should get other jobs.

(5) I, too, have a PO box in Ft. Bragg. It IS an inconvenience to say the least to have the lobby hours unfairly and drastically reduced. SOMEONE should be given the task of locking the one and only lobby door at sunset and unlocking it at sunrise. I’ll do it. I live about 4 blocks away. It would serve the community. No harm to the post office proper could happen if I have that key. That way it won’t be another burden for the very unhappy and unpleasant Post Mistress. It would be a win/win for all. It’s a shame that whoever the people are feel the need to use the lobby as a toilet, but I’m a paying citizen who is being punished for their bad behavior. Assigning someone the task of locking/unlocking the door seems a simple, easy solution. Strongly consider this please. You, Ms. Post Mistress are making the community unhappy.

(6) Actually, she is very rude and condescending! (With her co-workers following suit!) We started making the drive elsewhere!

(7) They have always been fine to me. Nice folks.

(8) How about Ft. Bragg P.O. users who can, taking up a collection to hire, a responsible person, who needs a job, to watch & keep their P.O.B. area clean? … Would one of you Ft. Bragg residents with a car do the neighborly thing and drive Mr. Wright to another post office to get his mail?

MENDOCINO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING, April 4, 2017. Subject: Enforcement of the County’s New Cannabis Ordinance. Chris Brennan at the podium:

"My name is Chris Brennan. I'm a rancher from Laytonville. Everything I say here is my personal opinion. I want to thank you for not making this Humboldt County. I live five miles from Humboldt County and they are committing ecological and social suicide up there. It's a mess. Thank you for our quality of life and trying to protect our environment. All an ordinance is is a piece of paper. We had a good ordinance last year with 9.31. There was a certain part of it that was being administered by the sheriff for the 99-ers [growers with up to 99 plants] which there are 42 people there. As Supervisor McCowen and County Counsel know, we had a situation that went way back to July on the Adanac Ranch which was not compliant. The Undersheriff would not deal with it. He was actually rude to me. That's my opinion. If we are going to have enforcement, it has to deal reasonably with people — citizens who are not growers — and it has to be dealt with right away, not rudely. This Adanac thing went on literally for months and months and months. It was a simple issue. And then I had to find out about the Undersheriff actually admitting that it was outside compliance from the AVA newspaper in February. So that is incompetence. There was another issue — I can't get into details because I have filed a complaint with the Sheriff's Department under 832.5 — of basically corruption, a protection racket that our Undersheriff ran. I can prove this and I have credible witnesses. My first complaint to the Sheriff's Department — even their own rules said that they are supposed to interview me, get my evidence, talk to my witnesses — they did not do it. It went to Bailey, the DA's investigator, and it went nowhere. So I have amended my complaint today with deYoung who is the Sheriff's standards manager and refiled my complaint. This allegation is serious. I have no respect for a man who did not do his job last year."

Supervisor John McCowen: "You know, we are here discussing—" (On those rare occasions reality breaks out during a meeting of the supervisors, they become apprehensive.)

Brennan: "Without enforcement, without an administrator, what do we have? We only have a piece of paper. I am asking you to follow my complaint with the District Attorney. Hopefully it will be done right. A lot of the 99-ers went through all the hoops, paid all the money, and those people are not the problem. But there are some people who abuse the system. Under the Cole amendment, under state law, under 9.31, it wasn't Randy’s Law, it was those laws. But it became Randy's law and the system does not work. So hopefully this year the Ag Commissioner will do a good job. I think she will. Thank you."

BRENNAN'S remarks are of course irrefutable and beg the question: If the 9.31 rules were waived for the Adanac wine cooler tycoon, Mr. Bewley, and Brennan's legitimate complaints that Bewley-Adanac was getting special consideration to grandfather in non-existent grows in anticipation of large-scale Adanac/Bewley grows, Brennan's characterization of this situation as "corrupt" and a "protection racket" are the only way to describe what has happened. Brennan's accusations should be fully investigated by the DA's office and the results made public, and if verified, the grow should be removed. Public officials can't just brush him off for saying publicly what a lot of people, growers included, are saying privately. All the people who jumped through all the 9.31 hoops aren't happy that Adanac/Bewley magically gets grandfathered in.

AND HERE'S the rub, Mendo style: Brennan is being slandered as a nut by the persons involved here as they attempt to isolate him. “Criticize us? Why he must be crazy!” Brennan, who may be slightly obsessive but isn’t nuts, is publicly taking on powerful forces — Big Dope and Big Dope's apparent influence with the Sheriff's Department. Which isn't even to mention Brennan's own outlaw neighborhood where, unfortunately, ultra-vi is common. The Mendo rub is the casual brush off accorded any legitimate complaint, which is why, historically considered, so many bad things have happened, and continue to happen, in this county.

IF THE 9.31 laws were conveniently ignored to the deep pockets advantage of Bewley/Adanac, the new rules, to which hours and hours of public time have been and are being devoted, are quite likely to be enforced like the old rules — pay your fees you get a free pass. Don't pay you get raided. And the whole show continues to be basically unregulated as it’s always been.

AND BRENNAN'S absolutely right about the danger of Mendo, especially the North County where he lives, becoming the appallingly destructive Green Rush we see in Humboldt County. A huge ranch like Bewley's Adanac broken into a bunch of grows will be environmentally and socially disastrous.

STILL NO WORD from the Governor's appointment's office on who will succeed Tom Woodhouse as Third District supervisor. We understand the Gov has done a second round of interviews with the most likelies. Last we heard the applicants were former Supervisor John Pinches; former Willits Mayor Holly Madrigal, who lost to Woodhouse; Clay Romero, who also lost to Woodhouse; Willits environmental activist Ellen Drell; Willits school board member (and veterinarian) Georgeanne Croskey; and Willits schoolteacher John Haschek.

RELIABLE SOURCES report that Dr. Peter Keegan, the one and only suspect in the murder of his wife of thirty years, Susan Keegan, is dying of bone cancer. The new Mrs. Keegan, Libby Crawford Keegan, is telling friends she's worried that she hasn't been married to the doctor long enough to collect his social security death benefits, which is a rather mercenary way to assess (assay?) the loss of a loved one. But the previous Mrs. Keegan's sudden death was also believed to have occurred out of mercenary considerations. Odd that he didn't know, but Dr. Keegan went berserkers in the couple's counselor's office when he learned that in California the wife gets half of the couple's assets in a divorce. The new Mrs. Keegan is rumored to be medicated for a bi-polar disorder and, of course, functions as a therapist with the Mendocino County Youth Project.  The marriage counselor cum attorney, Norm Rosen, rather than volunteer the information about Keegan’s violent outbursts, had them successfully subpoened by DA Eyster. Rosen had offered weasel claim that his counselor records were protected. They aren’t.

AT LAST, MAYOR TURNER'S summer adventure. Fort Bragg’s former mayor’s name is redacted but the incident was basically a theft, not a late night invasion as first thought. Why Turner was so coy about describing it is not known, but probably because he could. Interested Fort Braggers can read the details here in this Sheriff’s Report: http://theava.com/archives/67452#8

FROM THE JOURNALO FRONT. A reader comments: "The Press Democrat has closed all comments on their editorials and articles unless the reader subscribes. Of course, this reduces their reader base which reduces revenue from their plethora of on-line adds. One bad move after the other, the PD is slowly going away."

THE PAPER'S MANAGEMENT EXPLAINS: "After much consideration, we have decided to make some changes in how we handle comments on PressDemocrat.com. To provide a better user experience for our valued online community, we will now require a subscriber login to both read and post comments to stories on the website, beginning today. We value open and honest dialogue, but the proliferation of hate speech, anonymous trolling and personal attacks have created a commenting environment that is not conducive to respectful thought exchange and sharing of viewpoints. Rather than eliminating comments entirely, we have made this feature a benefit for our subscribers…" Etc.

FOR ONCE I almost sympathize, but came to my senses at, "We value open and honest dialogue…" The Press Democrat, ever since it was bought out by the New York Times, then the Bosco Gang, can hardly be said to "value open and honest dialogue," as any regular reader will attest.

I UNDERSTAND THE PD’S PROB though. There are millions of unhappy people out there whose anger is apparently partially assuaged by writing foul, and typically anonymous, comments on newspaper comment lines. But the nut messages can easily be edited out, which is what we do at the mighty ava's on-line comment section.

TOTE UP THE STAFF at the Press Democrat, compare it to the daily work product, and you come away wondering what the hell they all do all day. The papers of yesteryear had reporters filing at least one story every print day.

COMMENT LINES on lots of papers, especially the Press Democrat, are often much more interesting than the day's "professional" journalism. In my direct experience with the PD, the writers are ok in a kinda dull-normal-ish way (cf Glenda Anderson, Pete Golis, to name two) but the editors are a gang of cringing wimps, hence the paper's slavish daily work output. Incompetent, management-oriented editors, wedded to reactionary owners, and there it is, my fellow Americans, today's journalism, most of.

LEAP INTO SPRING ADOPTION EVENT AT the Ukiah Shelter, April 11-15. All spayed and/or neutered dogs will have their adoption fees lowered to $50 ($25 license fee required for Mendocino County residents.) Check out the shelter's website to find your new best buddy: www.mendoanimalshelter.com

IT'S OFFICIAL: While months of rain have filled reservoirs and turned mountainsides a brilliant green, only Friday did Governor Jerry Brown declare an official end to the California drought.

The move, which is mostly ceremonial yet a welcome reminder of how dramatically weather conditions have changed, does away with an emergency declaration that three years ago ushered in a period of unprecedented water rationing across the state. Most of California’s strict conservation rules have already been lifted since the worst days of the drought, and fewer people still shorten their showers or refrain from flushing. The governor’s repeal of the emergency order Friday morning ensures many remaining regulations will be dropped.

Still, Brown warned in a public statement that just because the weather is wetter doesn’t mean water should be wasted. Verily, verily, Gov.

FOOTBALL IS FINISHED at Mendo College. The long anticipated coooooo deee graaaahhhhh was administered last week to the troubled pigskin program by the College's slo-mo trustees, who have at last voted unanimously to permanently bench it.

WHO DONE IT? A reader writes: “Someone come into Redway Liquors last week and bought up every issue of the Mar 29 AVA (the only SoHum outlet). I perused my copy but can find no local issue or name that would warrant suppressing the news. Many or a few of us are wondering, and wishing they could have their AVA! Any idea?”

ED NOTE: Hmmm. Happens occasionally at this or that venue but, as you say, usually because someone wants to stop circulation for whatever reason. We also sell the paper up the road in Arcata if the truly desperate can't find it at Redway. We'll send a few more along with next Wednesday’s dispatch.

IT WAS AN HOUR-LONG CALL whose point, the man said several times, several ways, was that there was no help for the self-destructive woman he was in love with. “I know you know that, I know everyone knows that now, but still….”

He proceeded to tell me his story, breaking down several times, a story we’ve all heard many times, the now old story about someone self-destructing. If there’s a family anywhere in the country untouched by drugs or alcohol, that’s a rare family indeed, and this was one more. The caller commenced the usual story, unusual only in its specifics of persons and places, of one woman’s disintegration and his partial disintegration because of it. A woman whose behavior estranged her family and segued on into arrests, hospitalizations, sympathetic but powerless therapists, suicidal drinking.

I had no reason to disbelieve the caller, but there were things he said that made me want to hear from her. “But she’s gone again,” he said, “and I have no idea where.”

He said he could look out his window at the exact spot he met her as she walked alone in a night rain. “I stopped to offer her a ride, and long story short I told her she could stay at my place until she figured out what she wanted to do. I wasn’t hitting on her. I just felt sorry for her. She’s twenty years younger than me, and some people wonder about that. I know some people thought I was taking advantage of her, trading a place to stay for sex. I wasn’t. I fell in love with her.” He said she’d been married to “a millionaire” but her drinking and, as the therapists characterize psycho-meltdowns, her “disintegration” blew up the marriage.

And so commenced the Fort Bragg man’s years of martyrdom to a woman who drank so heavily that at one point, when her liver began to bleed out, she had to be medically detoxed at the Adventist Hospital in Ukiah, an eight-day process that saved her life. “They were all wonderful to her,” the man said. “In all her trouble in Mendocino County everyone, except one Fort Bragg cop, has been wonderful to her. She needs permanent help but there isn’t any.” (That cop seemed to assess their cohabitation as some kind of psychotic mutual dependence, the solution to which was hauling the female half over the hill to the County Jail.)

The Fort Bragg police were often at the couple’s door. Drinking heavily, the woman would go off, screaming, breaking stuff. The neighbors would call the cops, and she’d be arrested and he would be looking for a new rental.

Not the first quicksand relationship, certainly. But this fool for love (in the better sense) says he’s gone broke trying to save her, and from the despair he radiates, he’s doomed, too. But he’s still unwilling to de-couple himself. Most people would have bailed early on as, from what he said, this woman’s intact family did years ago when they threw up their hands and wrote her off, if it’s ever that simple.

The man’s affection, from what he said, was seldom returned while he fed and sheltered her, took care of her, worried about her. She once accused him of raping her, charges that DA Eyster took one look at and tossed, but it cost him three days in jail with a dangerous charge.

I looked up her mug shots. She doesn’t appear as prematurely ravaged as most of the female frequent fliers her age. In fact, she looks pretty good considering the way she often lives, pinballing between her Fort Bragg benefactor and homeless camps in Eureka, Chico, and the Bay Area where, as an attractive female, she’s undoubtedly more than welcome among the legions of unhoused males roaming the state. Doesn’t have to be stated that homelessness is no place for an unhinged mother of two teenage daughters.

Used to be that persons unable or unwilling to care for themselves were immediately confined to mental hospitals. Governor Reagan, with the usual bi-partisan complicity of liberals, took down that logical solution to “the homeless problem.” And the voters of Mendocino County narrowly voted down Sheriff Allman’s sensible 2016 proposal for an in-County psychiatric facility.

I called the Fort Bragg Police Department today, Saturday. I asked if the peripatetic outpatient had been reported as a missing person. Brusquely informed, “I can’t release that information” by the dispatcher, as if a simple Yes or No was stratospherically beyond her pay grade.

There’s no way a happy ending is even a remote possibility in this one, but the less bad news is that the missing woman was arrested for drunk in public at the very end of last week and booked into the County Jail. Her parents, we're told, are on their way to Mendocino to rescue her. Again.

A READER COMMENTS on how the HumCo pot permit process works (and how it will work in Mendo, too): “It’s awesome, I'm buying more land! I'll run by the undeveloped department and pick up a few more affidavits. Grow one or two crops before the permit gets processed. When the workaholics get around to processing the permit, I'll just jump to another couple properties, and restart. All of this has to stay in the black market. Without a permit you can't operate in the legal market. Thank you Humboldt County. Please open up the permitting again, I'd hate to have to go back to growing in the tree tops on Forest Service land.”

EEL RIVER DIVERSION BACK AGAIN FOR 2017

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/6841074-181/fate-of-flows-in-russian

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/6866643-181/109-year-old-potter-valley-project-the

THE POTTER VALLEY DIVERSION flows on into Lake Mendocino whose waters are mostly owned by Sonoma County who, in turn, sells much of the accumulated liquid stash.

OVER THE LAST quarter century, with the rise of vineyards from Potter Valley to Healdsburg dependent on the diverted Eel, it is unlikely we'll ever see an end to it, as our elected reps at all levels of government are owned by the wine industry.

IT'S A LARGE IRONY that a tiny power project built at the turn of the twentieth century to electrify Ukiah, with Chinese labor hand-digging the mile-long tunnel that sends a goodly portion of the Eel into the otherwise summer-dry Russian River has become the golden straw for thousands of people downstream.

FORMER SUPERVISOR John Pinches rightly agitated for years that Mendocino County should at least negotiate a new water contract with Sonoma County to get Mendo's fair share of the millions that SoCo enjoys from the water stored at Lake Mendocino. Nobody wanted to hear it.

KOVNER'S stories in the PD slide by the fact of unnaturally cheap water for Potter Valley's noble sons of the soil for a hundred years now; they're always good for quotes promoting the status quo. Ditto for all the vineyard owners downstream with their freebie straws in the Russian River. This entire mob of welfare "ranchers" is overdue to be compelled to pay fair market price for their diverted Eel River water.

ANYBODY who has never seen the diversion close-up and the cockamamie "fish ladder" that allegedly lifts fish past the machinery will get a big laugh at these visuals. Any fish that climbs the ladder, and you can wait all day to see one, probably comes out the other end a duck.

THIS RATHER STARTLING on-line comment made us paupers here at the AVA green with envy:

"Accidentally attached to a check from the Mendocino Coast Hospital (ambulance maintenance) was an invoice FROM the Advocate News to the hospital for $6100+ for ADVERTISING!!!!! Yes, folks, our local hospital pays a crap-ton of money to advertise in our local paper. No amount of advertising will convince me to go here unless it is my only way to get to Willits, Ukiah— wherever. Just found that little "oops" interesting. I left the invoice on the counter at the PO."

JEEZ, no wonder Coast Hospital is broke, and bet you’re surprised the beloved Advocate/Beacon commands that kinda money. But the chain-owned papers are still quite profitable, and those profits fly out of the county to the distant holding company/hedge fund that now owns the Ukiah Daily Journal, what's left of The Willits News and the Beacon/Advocate. It was probably twenty years ago that the three papers together were sending some $600,000 outtahere annually, and they’re probably still fairly lucrative or the mothership, which has already sold their offices out from under them, would have shuttered them.

SPEAKING of bad manners, a man frustrated with FB's non-response to the broken down tweaker van parked in front of his house happened to run into several Fort Bragg officials, including city manager Linda Ruffing and city attorney Zutler the other day as they emerged from a restaurant. The frustrated citizen erupted into a screaming tirade, giving diners still inside the restaurant quite a show, as he screamed insults at his local government. Ruffing and Zutler took the brunt of it until the gallant Lindy Peters, Fort Bragg's practiced nut whisperer, talked the guy down.

A READER says it was a lot worse than bad manners: “It doesn’t take a van parked in front of the bad mannered man’s house to set him off. He has been seen many times going into a screaming tirade, stomping his feet and slamming doors even at public meetings. He’s a comical little character that stepped way over the line this time. After throwing one of his tizzy fits he usually calls anyone who will listen to make sure they hear about his great deed. Of course by the time he makes the calls the story has grown and is even more exciting in his eyes. Liking or not liking Linda Ruffing or Zutler has nothing to do with this. What he did was wrong and shouldn’t have to be tolerated by anyone. He needs a padded cell until he snaps back into reality.”

THE FOLLOWING is an excerpt from our book Mendocino Noir published in 2009. The original story was published in December 2005. Please read carefully. Tell me if you see anything resembling a libel of a woman called Clarissa Frey:

"The night he was arrested, Aaron [Channel] remembers sitting at Denny’s at about 2 a.m. with Jennifer Wolchik and Clarissa Frey when officer Karen Harris of the Fort Bragg Police Department arrived to talk to Miss Frey about a pending legal matter involving the young woman. The officer, noticing Aaron sitting at the counter, asked, ‘Aren't you Aaron Channel?’

" ‘I greeted her amicably,’ Aaron recalled in a letter to his new wife, Galina Trefil, ‘but I noticed she seemed pretty tense, but I thought it was just due to her having a hard night. I didn't think it had anything to do with me’."

A few minutes later, Aaron remembers in his letter to Galina, "Three rows of two detectives each, all very large and with hands resting menacingly on their firearms told me to come with them. I said that it was very late and I'd had a long day, and I'd rather not go with them because I was tired. I suggested they try to contact me in the morning."

(There are no other references to Ms. Frey anywhere in the story or elsewhere.)

Ms. Frey called from Alaska on Thursday to complain that:

1. I "didn't ask her permission to use her name."

2. Demanded to know "What court document did you get that from?"

3. Shrieked "That is NOT what happened. AT ALL."

4. Also demanded to know, "Why did you publish that as if I'm some kind of criminal?"

5. Said emphatically, "I am NOT happy."

6. Ended the call with, "I will be contacting a lawyer if you do not respond satisfactorily to this request."

WE ALL HEAR constantly about how the schools are teaching "critical thinking skills." Maybe our educators ought to take a step backwards and just teach thinking.

THIS CLARISSA FREY screwball is reacting to the briefest mention of her as directly quoted from a letter written by Aaron Channel in a ten-year-old story.

VERSIONS of this happen all the time to all media, large and small. And these people vote! Small wonder we are where we are as a country.

MY FIRST ASSIGNMENT was as an aircraft maintenance officer in the US Air Force. It was 1969. My civilian peers were all off being hippies when I arrived at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. I was as maintenance analysis officer for the 3380th Aircraft Maintenance Division of the 3380th Maintenance & Supply (M&S) Group. Got that? It took me a month to make the distinction without thinking.

It was supposed to be a sort of a training assignment. I was in charge of a small staff of maintenance technicians and civilian analysts who kept track of aircraft maintenance and budgets and made daily, weekly, and monthly reports on trends, problem areas, record keeping, tracking and monitoring of corrective action. If the planes weren’t flying right, or malfunctions were popping up, we had to notice it and see that the planes flew safely.

After a couple of months in that job, my boss, Chief of Maintenance Lt. Col. James M. Slaughter, was impressed enough with my performance that he wanted me to brief local higher-ups such as M&S Group Commander Colonel Charles B. Lingamfelter and his boss, Base Commander, Major General Thomas Madden.

Step one involved setting up the presentation with Colonel Lingamfelter. I spent a day creating a series of easel-sized charts and bullet points and graphs and notes. This was going to be my first official briefing, my big chance to knock ‘em dead.

Colonel Lingamfelter came down to the training room in the second floor of Hanger 3, known to most aircraft mechanics as "The Puzzle Palace" because it contained the aircraft maintenance management organization which sometimes issued strange, confusing, contradictory or time-consuming orders without any explanation or rationale.

Colonel Slaughter and I went over the presentation in advance that morning. I was shaped up and ready!

Colonel Lingamfelter arrived in the small-ish room about 10. Colonel Lingamfelter had been in the Air Force for a long time and was known to his associates as ROAD — retired on active duty. He was close to retirement and didn't really care much about what went on in his organization. The balding “bird colonel” sat down in the front row of the folding chairs in the training room not more than five feet from my easel. I launched into my presentation, trying to sound and look as professional as possible.

Within a matter of minutes, Colonel Lingamfelter had nodded off to sleep and was audibly snoring.

Colonel Slaughter, himself a grizzled old graying redhead former pilot with a very ruddy complexion, was sitting beside Colonel Lingamfelter and gave him a sharp elbow in the ribs to wake him up.

Colonel Lingamfelter popped awake, blinked a few times and tried to pay attention to my admittedly dull maintenance presentation. (Pilots didn’t care about maintenance much — unless something didn’t work right.) But within another few minutes, he was back to sleep.

Colonel Slaughter elbowed him again. He popped back up again. But not for long.

The next time he fell asleep, I quietly shrugged at Colonel Slaughter, wondering whether I should continue.

Colonel Slaughter responded by silently mouthing the words, “Wrap it up.”

He elbowed Colonel Lingamfelter once again, and I quickly said, "Any questions?"

There were no questions, of course. Even if the Colonel had stayed awake, the entire exercise was just a feeble attempt to introduce me to the Colonel so that when my first glowing (all of them were glowing) Officer Effectiveness Report came to him later he would sign it without further ado, and my budding Air Force career, such as it was, would continue upward.

I WAS REMINDED of this experience Tuesday as we watched via youtube Deputy Transportation Director Chamise Cubbison give a presentation to the Board of Supervisors about the status of the administration of some very technical Transportation Department road repair programs which would put even normal wide-awake people to sleep, much less Colonel Lingamfelter.

Meeting after meeting, the board and the public must suffer through these tedious, time-consuming exercises which could be much more easily handled with a simple one or two page summary report without any meeting time wasted just to give a little exposure to an up-and-coming staffer and to try to convince the public that our business is in good hands. — Mark Scaramella

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK:

(1) Koyaanisqatsi. Definition: ko.yaa.nis.katsi (from the Hopi language), n. 1. crazy life. 2. life in turmoil. 3. life disintegrating. 4. life out of balance. 5. a state of life that calls for another way of living. Translation of the Hopi Prophecies Sung in the film: Koyaanisqatsi

“If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster.”

“Near the Day of Purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky.”

“A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky which could burn the land and boil the oceans.”

(2) CHARLES BUKOWSKI related his bus trip across America. A whore set up shop in the back seat. All the other men on the bus paid for her services except him. He didn’t judge them since he went to whores all the time. Maybe he just didn’t like her or the Spartan accommodations. Or maybe it was the fact that a “community” had been created, one with her as the Queen. At rest stops, surrounded by her followers, he could hear her asking “Who does he think he is?” Bukowski didn’t like pressure like this and would automatically resist. Beyond that, he knew the utter smallness of it all and was repulsed. Not the act itself nor the business aspect, but to make it some kind of loyalty issue when they’re all never going to see each other again in a couple of days. As he often said, “Humanity, you never had it.”

Social psychologists have found that after twenty minutes or so, a room full of people will begin to form factions.

(3) I WAS WATCHING TUCKER CARLSON’S SHOW on Fox last night. It is the only one I watch. Tucker, for those who don’t know, has been decidedly anti-war and has been going toe-to-toe nightly with the hysterical democrats shaking in their boots over bogeyman Putin. Tucker was in the midst of skewering a guest over this no evidence gas attack thing when Fox broke for a war update, and Tucker was gone for the night. I doubt if it was coincidental. Fox couldn’t have Tucker questioning the mission at the same time all the networks, especially Fox, were promoting it. So, unless all the talk shows are cancelled for round-the-clock war coverage, I’m wondering if Tucker will be on at 9 tonight. Even though he topped the ratings, Phil Donohue was abruptly fired when he refused to toe the war line at MSNBC in the run up to W’s Shock & Awe. Same thing in 2012 (or was it 2008?) when Judge Napolitano was cancelled by FBN for opposing war and favoring Ron Paul. Face it, we live in a corporate totalitarian dystopia and there is no free press except on the Internet – and that is in grave danger. If Tucker does come back on, I look for him to be muzzled, like a Stepford wife on Soma.

(4) OFF TOPIC ON A SATURDAY NIGHT. Recently I have been reading and researching the great antique/reproduction/bespoke picture frame shops of New York City. Many of these businesses were Jewish owned and started from the ground up, on basically nothing but determination, grit and a lot of accumulated knowledge and study. And of course, the occasional buying trip to Europe when the budget would allow.

When times were good, say the fifties, a frame shop owner might walk a couple of blocks with a Renoir, Van Gogh, or Picasso under their arm to drop off to a restorer.

When times were bad, museums would basically discard highly carved period frames in favor of frames that ‘didn’t compete’ with a painting. (Alas, many of Picasso’s cubist works were framed in heavily carved/gilt 17th century Spanish frames, chosen by Picasso himself.) When times were good again, frames previously discarded for next to nothing in the sixties, might be worth fifty thousand or more in nineties.

Most of these businesses stayed family owned and all of them adapted with the times.

Outstanding artisans/craftsmen and extraordinarily hard working and forward thinking business people who cultivated repeat customer loyalty via extreme competence and expertise.

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