Mendocino County Today: Friday, May 12, 2017

by AVA News Service, May 12, 2017

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PHILO-GREENWOOD REVOLTS!

Anica Williams and Larry Breshears lead the charge to fix the pot holes. Sign this petition for overdue repairs to the deteriorated Philo Greenwood and Cameron Roads:

Philo Greenwood and Cameron Road Repairs Petition (1)

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"OUT OF THIS WORLD." The name of this year's AV student art show can be taken many ways, but I'd hoped to encourage the thought that we all come from the same place, from Planet Earth - like the clay used for our sculpted bears; the paper and paints we used in making portraits of explorers; and even the flour used in making our paper mache' birds and fish. With this in mind, I invite you all to come to Lauren's Restaurant to enjoy the artwork from Anderson Valley Elementary School's student classes of 2016-2017. This year we will have an art opening on Saturday, May 20th, from 4 to 5 p.m. at Lauren's, with the space generously provided again by the restaurant. Many thanks to Pippa Thomas for her help in organizing this event, and to Natalie for her patience with the four-day installation. Thanks also go to Dr. Riddick for providing snacks. There will also be another opening at the restaurant on Tuesday, May 16, for Raul Malfavon and Ramon Alvarez, two seniors at AV High School, whose senior projects are included in this year's student show. Please come and celebrate these fine young artists with me. PS. Thanks to Marvin Schenk for his painterly eye.

Yours,

Mr. Chris Bing, Philo

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* * *

BOONVILLE BIG BAND IN BOONVILLE JUNE 3

The Swingin' Boonville Big Band is playing at Lauren's in Boonville on Saturday, June 3, 2017. Dinner is served from 5-9 PM; the band plays from 9—11 PM. Dance floor bigger than one would expect; tables are moved around after dinner. Tickets $5, all proceeds benefit the A.V. Adult Education Department. Friendly door dragon. Beer/wine bar open late.

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I KNOW a guy who sleeps in his truck where he works. Showers there, too, which means he never gets away from his job. He had an apartment in Ukiah he that shared with two other guys, but lost it when they took jobs out of the area, and he was unable to pay the rent of $2200 a month by himself out of take home pay of about $30,000 a year. This man is single, doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs. I suspect most of what he earns he sends to his family in the old country. He is quite skilled and quite willing to trade work and pay a modest rent for a place to stay. "A place to stay." Quite a world we have going here where "a place to stay" is not assumed by many thousands of people.

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ON ANDERSON VALLEY WAY here in Boonville there are five houses I know of that have been vacant for years, four of which are pictured below. The one concealed by bushes was, at one time, quite nice, upscale for the times, complete with a swimming pool. It belonged to the Gerber family of baby food fame. The Gerbers stayed there when they visited here and also maintained a large apple orchard adjoining the home. The apple trees were bulldozed into big pile and burned, the orchard going from edibles to intoxicants in less than a year.

THE OTHER THREE houses are functional but slowly succumbing to mushroom status. Why all four aren't made available to people who need housing, especially families, is something of a local mystery, but probably boils down to, "No Mexicans." Seems a sin, though, not to provide shelter to decent, hardworking people who need it and is a sin to some people.

 

 

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FROM THE LOCAL MEDIA excitement over the appointment of Georgeann Croskey you'd think they paid attention to the Supervisors. They don't. No one does except, cough-cough, us here at Boonville's beloved weekly. We watch them gavel-to-gavel, and a most dispiritng experience it is, mostly. The average number of people looking in on the Supes when they go live a couple of Tuesdays a month is 7, which is also about the average number of persons sitting in the audience at the meetings, most of them paid to be there as they wait for their turn at the input mike (i.e., local media: a dozen mice whispering to themselves).

IT'S TYPICAL Mendo that a person with no history of local engagement gets the appointment, a person who has no opinions about local politics, has never attended a meeting — a literal blank slate.

THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, aka anonymous young persons, made the pick based on whatever — a Tarot toss? — because Mendo, viewed from Sacramento, can't be trusted to govern itself.

HAPPENS everywhere in the county at all levels of government, from school boards to supervisor, with people unknown or known only to a few other strangers already in place, wind up making decisions that affect the lives of all of us.

CYNICISM aside, the selection of Mrs. Croskey, based on her bona fides, seems to be a good one.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I'm pretty sure the people here were talking just loud enough today to bum me out as they discussed dog-eating. One guy went on-line to look up a picture of a dog roasting on a spit! I gotta be the most disrespected canine in the county!”

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AN ANDERSON VALLEY PODCAST!

Some Noise, with Some Relevant weblinks.

by Najib Aminy

http://www.thisissomenoise.com/ep-16

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 11, 2017

Blackesley, Dorton, Fields

THERESA BLACKESLEY, Clearlake Oaks/Willits. Interfering with police communications.

CURTISHA DORTON, San Pablo/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

ANTHONY FIELDS, Chico/Ukiah. Community Supervision violation.

Galindo, Hawkins, Hoaglen

THOMAS GALINDO, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

CANDICE HAWKINS, Covelo. Vehicle theft, controlled substance, paraphernalia.

ANGELA HOAGLEN, Lakeport/Ukiah. Petty theft, suspended license.

Housley, Hurst, Jones

WILLIAM HOUSLEY, Boonville. DUI, vandalism, probation revocation.

JAKE HURST, Fort Bragg. Rickless driving, possession of hashish, evasion.

AMY JONES, Willits. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.

Lucas, O'Connor, Roofner

MONROE LUCAS, Laytonville. Battery, protective order violation.

VIRGINIA O’CONNOR, Willits. Failure to appear.

JACQUELYN ROOFNER, Fairfield/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Sanders, Stansberry, Vega

RHONDA SANDERS, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.

CODY STANSBERRY, Willits. Lewd-lascivious with child under 14, contact with intent to commit lewd act with minor.

VEGA JORGE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI.

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COMEY'S "FAREWELL LETTER"

To all:

I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.

I have said to you before that, in times of turbulence, the American people should see the FBI as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence. What makes leaving the FBI hard is the nature and quality of its people, who together make it that rock for America.

It is very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing. My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution. If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer.

Working with you has been one of the great joys of my life. Thank you for that gift.

Jim Comey

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EXHIBIT FRIDAYS

From: Courage Arts Action, Mendocino Courage Campaign

What: Friday Open Exhibit Hours: Signs of the Times: Artists Respond to the Election

Where: Ukiah Depot, 309 E. Perkins St.

When: May 12 and 19, 1:30 — 4:30 p.m.

Information: (707) 462-1731

“Signs of the Times: Artists Respond to the Election” at the Ukiah Depot will be open to the public from 1:30 to 4:30 on Friday afternoons, May 12 and May 19. The month-long exhibit features signs from recent regional marches and work created since November by local artists, including students. For other viewing times by appointment, contact the Arts Council of Mendocino County at 463-2727.

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A READER ASKS, "So you think SFMOMA is bad? Check this winner from the Big Apple:

The Hugo Boss Prize 2016: Anicka Yi, Life Is Cheap

https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/the-hugo-boss-prize-2016

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Up in Vancouver BC (locally known as Hongcouver), a biker lad by the name of Robert Pickton murdered over 50 diseased whores and got rid of them by dumping the bodies into his pig pen. He picked them up on the Eastside, used the skanks for his various boys scout activities, and then into the porcine food chain. He butchered and sold the pigs locally…..the buyers remarked on the high quality of Pickton pork. Just one more reason to be a vegetarian…..animal eaters deserve the cancer and heart disease that results from being a top-of-the-food-chain carnivore in a polluted, poisoned world.

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THE COSMIC JOKER SURE KNOWS HIS BEAUTY

UGC 1810: Wildly Interacting Galaxy from Hubble

https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap170510.html

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MARCO MCCLEAN WRITES:

Re: Avocados. When I go to buy salad parts I always look at the avocados. Once in a great while all these conditions are met and I buy one:

  1. The sign is not spelled with an apostrophe before the s. I don’t mind at all if there’s a b instead of the v or an i instead of the first o. Ownership apostrophes where not called for are a spike driven between the eyes.
  2. The avocado is perfect and ready to eat. You tell this by hefting it in the hand, giving a very faint and gentle squeeze and feeling no give but an indication of desire to give soon, and by flicking the stem nub out with your thumbnail. The dot underneath should be avocado green, not black or brown. “If it’s brown, cast it down.”
  3. It must be on a ridiculous sale.

A few years ago, and then not and never again, Costco sold in the cheese section flat plastic bags of fresh avocado meat from which all air had been excluded. These could be put in the fridge at home, corner cut and squeezed out like toothpaste on a salad or a sandwich or whatever, rolled up, put away, brought out again later, over and over. The bags were much cheaper by the pound than actual avocados in the grocery store, and they lasted for months in the freezer and, thawed, were still perfect and wonderful. Maybe they had some kind of scientific preservative in them; I don’t know or care. But that’s the delivery system you want, in the way of avocados. That’s the way avocado should be sold.

Re: Bruce Anderson's comment on Windspirit Aum’s name. Windspirit was one of the children at the Albion Whale School when I worked there in the 1980s. A solid, stable, just, fair and good little person. The parents of the kids there did an amazing job of raising calm, thoughtful kids. And I liked all their names. They weren’t all hippie names, but I remember Raincrow, and Crystal, and Valentine, and Belle, and Ithaca-Finds-the-Feather (all one word), and Herman and Joey, and Galit, and so on. I lost track of Ithaca-Finds-the-Feather, but she’s probably working at the United Nations resolving disputes between regions, or directing a water district, or standing, hands on hips, on the corner of a skyscraper roof by now, scanning the city with her super senses for someone in distress, to come down on his or her attacker like the calm, thoughtful vengeance of god, or goddess, rather.

Isn’t that a great name? Ithaca-Finds-the-Feather. That’s the avocado flat-pack of names.

[MS NOTES: Another Findsthefeather made it into a Sheriff’s Press Release back in 2008. We assume they’re related. http://theava.com/archives/42669#2]

PS. REGARDING AUTO DETAILING: “Does anyone know how to contact NokNok?”

Memo Of The Air: Good Night Radio. (Was Noknok Contact)

You might approach them and say, "NokNok." When they say, "Who's there?"  there are literally a jillion things you can say, but I like, "Ammonia."  They'll say, "Ammonia who?" and you can say, "Ammonia little girl. Let  me in." Then you've got your foot in the door, so to speak, and you can  proceed about getting your auto detailed.

In other news, I'll be doing my KNYO (and, later at night, KMEC also)  show from Fort Bragg this time, so if you want to show off your musical  ability or talk about your project or rag on your insensitive and unjust  former employer behind the louse's back, or whatever, stop by 325 N.  Franklin (next to the Tip Top bar) any time after 9pm and before about  4am this Friday night (May 12), waltz in like you own the place, say  hello to Jerry if he's present, head for the lighted room at the back,  get my attention away from whatever it looks like I'm doing, and you're  on. You don't have to call first or arrange things or say NokNok or  anything like that. I never feel interrupted.

I always have more than enough material to read aloud the whole time by  myself, so most of the time only one or two people call or come in, but  sometimes a bunch of people come, and this might be one of those times.  Award-winning filmmaker Richard Something left a long message on Bob's  answering machine, and Kate who does ItHappenedAtPurity.com expressed  interest, and etc., so if you show up, whoever you are, and there are  people ahead of you doing their thing, relax on the hygienic beige couch  or pace or bang on the piano or rehearse your pet trick or do whatever  feels right and I'll get to you as soon as I can politely shovel out the  act you're following. I've heard that sincerity is key, and that if you  can fake /that/ then you've got it made, and politeness feels funny, but  I'm working on the sincerity thing. Maybe it's like shoes that stretch  to fit. We'll see.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio. Every Friday night 9pm to about 4am  107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, including midnight to 3am 105.1fm KMEC-LP  Ukiah. Or http://knyo.org and click on Listen Live. Or http://TuneIn.com  and search for KNYO-LP.

Marco McClean

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INTRODUCTION TO TRANSMISSION MEDITATION

Join us to experience a simple form of meditation that helps the planet and builds a stronger connection with your own spiritual nature. Transmission Meditation is a non-denominational group meditation that does not conflict with other meditations or spiritual practices, but can actually enhance them. Transmission Meditation is a potent form of world service that anyone, even those with busy lives, can easily do. It can be a mode of service for life, if you so choose. Do you want to help the world and strengthen the connection to your Higher Self? Transmission Meditation is the simplest way to do both.

FRIDAY, MAY 12, 7:00 PM, at the Center for Spiritual Living Gathering Place, Fort Bragg Company Store, Main & Redwood Streets, Fort Bragg, Information: 964-4506

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FORT BRAGG NOTES

by Rex Gressett

The Fort Bragg City Council meeting Monday night has a kind of pre game warm up Monday morning. Mayor Lindy Peters is at the big table in City Hall sharply at 11:00 am telling everybody yes. It is his only good word, he doesn’t do No real well. If your Yes is someone else’s No he will get to you on succeeding days. After that, a busy day, and then the City Council meeting.

It is a tough thing to come to the meeting knowing that however strong your personal resolution not to do it might be, you could end up speaking before the council and therefore the people of the city. Only a few hardy souls do it and if you watch the meetings you will get to see a few of the city's true loose cannons, including me I fear, make errors and take tentative stands on shifting information.

I observe the city council from week to week, watching players on the city manager's sales team work the council on some particular, something that no one on the council or in the audience understands or has even heard of right down to that moment. That does not just happen sometimes, it happens all the time. The Fort Bragg City Council has elements of a TV game show where the contestants (the council) are puzzled by a surprise and have to put a creative spin on their agreements with things that they have not thought through. It can be very entertaining.

The “slider” (that means substantial context passing beneath the radar prior to a resolution) is basic to their method of getting things done efficiently. And let's say they are committing a slider, and as you listen to them do this there might be some unpleasant surprise. You bite your tongue but know in your heart that once it goes down into the river of forgetfulness that runs under Town Hall some minor wickedness will have become permanent.

So up you go for your three minutes to do your best while everybody sits politely in comparatively sane rectitude and lets you be at least partially wrong without blaming you.

There are things that you can do to prepare yourself. The agenda is the formal announcement — available the Thursday prior to a Monday meeting — that the cards have been stacked and also provides clues to the possible implications of the stacking.

You should read that agenda before you decide to speak. I never do. At every meeting I am resolved, determined and committed to never speaking at all, ever ever again. The only time I do it is when I get so spontaneously annoyed by tactics not referenced in the agenda that my distress progresses to the point it becomes more untenable physiologically to stew than to blather.

What does not confuse me is that the public speaking ept and inept, good, bad, and ugly, all does some good. It is at the very least a reminder to the council that the voters in their collective mass have a range of views. We underline the fiction that the common citizen deserves their attention and we confirm to ourselves that at least we if not they remember their promises to represent us in an exemplary way. The watchers on the internet are spiritually confirmed by the real time speakers. While the commenters are up there commenting the viewers on line seem to be looking down from virtual space silently saying, We are out here watching. You own the theater but you don’t necessarily control or even know our opinion of it.

Talking on a three minute limit in front of the whole town is not fun or gratifying. As an habitual public commenter I would like to say that the only thing you can say about it is that it is nothing remotely like enough. The public comment is not the crowning culmination of government transparency. The issues before the council are not substantially clarified by means of this dingy little window.

The fiction is that since we have public comment we have been given the ultimate opportunity to point out anything radically untoward and so all things must be basically well. The truth is that public comment is a firefly's worth of illumination in a very big darkness. It means nothing at all.

In the Monday night meeting I used my public comment to bitch about the impending Hare Creek bigbox boondoggle.

I used my three minutes warning against dangerous complacency that I fear many feel — that the scale and general ugliness of the proposed big box is such a low bar that the city council would be pretty dumb not to jump over it.

Wrong! Every agency and institution that exists to protect the public from ugly is ducking this one. The city council, the Coastal Commission, even the land trust, bless their hearts, are not in it. And don’t intend to be.

I blamed the council for not standing up to the question, not having discussions, leading inquiries, making policy Hare Creek will define the city in a major way. What were they doing just sitting there?! The council regarded me silently as they are required to do.

At the break our councilman Will Lee approached me. What a gem the city has in Will. I have occasionally disagreed with him and expect to in the future. I utterly distrust his dangerous reliance on the City Manager. But Will himself sees all sides. We are not allowed to even mention the project, saith Will Lee, for if we do, we will have to recuse ourselves in the vote. We are not allowed to comment on anything that the council will have to vote on later.

Did I misunderstand him?

Who told you that?, I asked him.

If the city council is not to comment on anything that they will vote on, was that not some sort of paradox out of Kafka?

It worried me less that there could be such a regulation, which seemed impossible, than that Will had been convinced by someone of this odd fiction and that the meaning of that weirdness might be sinister indeed. Was this a really big story?

I slept.

The next day as the Tuesday morning sunshine bathed Laurel Street, I marched on City Hall, my Headlands Cafe double espresso firmly in my hand and my heart set on comprehension.

Development Director Marie Jones herself, sensing my distress, kindly emerged from her cave to help me. She explained that there were matters that came before the council which were legislative in nature in that they regarded some matter in which a resolution was made. The council can talk about those. But then there were matters before the council which are judicial. These are those things that are not a making of law by resolution but interpreting the law as the planning commission is required to interpret law.

In matters judicial where a vote of the council will decide an issue, no comment on that issue can be made by a councilman. If they squeak they will be deemed to have been prejudiced and must recuse themselves from the vote. Ok.

Now I note here a curious thing. And I do not mean to make too much of it. But in light of what I had been told by Will Lee they got a little excited. And in light of that excitement they went with assurance to the books of law where this important rule lives, so they could show it to me.

But they could not find it. Marie came out first with zoning law books. And I admit that although I have a grudging admiration for Ms Jones' competence, if not for every aspect of her administration of the development department.

I was a little surprised to see that a matter of such fundamental primacy would be living among common zoning ordinances. There was some happy pitter patter between bureaucrats and they agreed, No it is not in the Ralph M. Brown Act. No no no, they were sure of it that the rule this confining was not in the Brown Act. They were looking hard in the zoning ordinances.

Linda Ruffing appeared and agreed that, No it was not in the Brown Act. She made some suggestion and they went to get other books where they could not find it either. It must be somewhere. I will let you know where the rule says a local council can't discuss a pending development on pain of later disqualification. Or if it is a fiction, which I think is possible.

If a city councilman may not comment on a matter about which there will be a hearing, are they allowed to listen to comments or read reports? Would not those prejudice them as well?

Even if you don’t admit to having one, most people who vote have an opinion. Keeping it to yourself adds drama to the vote, but I doubt if mandated silence is good for much else besides its power to surprise. I would have thought a good rowdy dialogue would be better for everyone all the way around.

Stay tuned.

16 Responses to Mendocino County Today: Friday, May 12, 2017

  1. james marmon Reply

    May 12, 2017 at 5:35 am

    This should help

    Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy

    “Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the sweeping criminal charging policy of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed his federal prosecutors Thursday to charge defendants with the most serious, provable crimes carrying the most severe penalties.

    The Holder memo, issued in August 2013, instructed his prosecutors to avoid charging certain defendants with drug offenses that would trigger long mandatory minimum sentences. Defendants who met a set of criteria such as not belonging to a large-scale drug trafficking organization, gang or cartel, qualified for lesser charges — and in turn less prison time — under Holder’s policy.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sessions-issues-sweeping-new-criminal-charging-policy/2017/05/11/4752bd42-3697-11e7-b373-418f6849a004_story.html?utm_term=.79b98a444d29

  2. Lazarus Reply

    May 12, 2017 at 7:56 am

    I agree with your Supervisorial piece, nice job…but…it’s a Tarot reading, me think…not a “Tarot toss” words still matter.
    As always,
    Laz

  3. Stephen Rosenthal Reply

    May 12, 2017 at 9:14 am

    I agree with your assessment of Dr. Croskey and am optimistic that she will prove to be an effective advocate for the citizens of Mendocino County. Give her a chance – in my experience veterinarians are usually compassionate and trustworthy. It sure seems better than propping up another lackey from the good ole boy (or girl) network. It may prove to be the only good thing Brown has done in his entire reign as Governor. Maybe it’s nitpicking but she is a veterinarian; when referring to her shouldn’t she be addressed as Dr. Croskey rather than Mrs.?

    • Bruce Anderson Reply

      May 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      I’m going to ask her which she prefers. Dr. seems kinda stuffy in the Mendo Supe’s context, but I’m sure she has a preference.

    • Eric Sunswheat Reply

      May 12, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      Perhaps Supervisor Croskey, is correct name title protocol as a seated public official. Last week former Mendocino County Supervisor David Colfax, who I believe is a Ph.D., and thus could be addressed as a ‘doctor’, perked up his ears when he was addressed as Supervisor Colfax, while buying mousetraps at Friedmans in Ukiah. He was all ears, absorbing my info that fresh ground organic cashew nut butter, to mice, is like honey to honey bees, a guaranteed ‘gotcha’.

  4. Jim Armstrong Reply

    May 12, 2017 at 10:36 am

    How do you turn off that stupid animation?

    • Harvey Reading Reply

      May 12, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Go to another web site? Turn off the computer?

    • LouisBedrock Reply

      May 12, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      With the MacBooks, you get download something called Adblock. It will block all ads–animated or not.

      I imagine that similar tools are available for other computers.

  5. Jim Updegraff Reply

    May 12, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Another dismal report on the Giants. Lost to the Reds 3-2. Blach went 7 innings with 2 ER but Strickland in relief gave up the winning run. Giants had only 7 hits in the game. Aside from Posey the Giants just are not doing much in hits and runs.Record is now 12-24. A’s had a bye.

    • Stephen Rosenthal Reply

      May 12, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Jim,

      Actually Giants had 11 hits but left another 18 on base, which is an ongoing story. They can’t hit, especially when it matters (almost all their home runs have come with nobody on base). I’ve never been a believer in Strickland. Reminds me of Samardjiza – big, strong, imposing on the mound but with a very flat and hittable fastball.

      Speaking of Samardjiza, the other day Krukow said (paraphrased), “if Samardjiza could just get his fastball going he could hold up to the likes of Kershaw. He’s got all of his other pitches going. I really believe he has it in him to be a 20 game winner. It’s coming, he just needs some time.”

      I like Krukow and he certainly knows a lot more about pitching than I do, but Samardjiza is 32yo, 9 years in the majors, lifetime record 59-77, 4.10 ERA. If he was 23 I could see it but at this point he is what his record says he is. In short, a below average pitcher and another horrendous contract that will clog the Giants payroll for 4 more years.

  6. Harvey Reading Reply

    May 12, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Re: ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

    Brought to mind one of the very few episodes of The X Files I ever saw, I’m guessing somewhere in the latter half of the nineties. It concerned the agents investigating extreme longevity and slowness of the ageing process among humans in a town whose industry was a chicken processing operation. In a scene near the end of the episode, the agents are at the edge of a waste pond fed by the processing plant. One of them fishes out a human bone …

    I watched the show a few more times, but nothing offered matched that story.

    Oddly, what comes to my mind at the moment is Kennedy’s famous first inaugural(?) line about folks asking not what the country can do for its people, rather what its people can do for the country–

  7. Jim Updegraff Reply

    May 12, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Sessions is going after the recreation and medical marijuana dealers. Quite a loss of income for northwest counties. Now there is no need to figure out how to get the money into a bank.

    • james marmon Reply

      May 12, 2017 at 10:47 am

      I smoked pot for years and nothing ever happened to me.

  8. Zeke Krahlin Reply

    May 12, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Re: “I KNOW a guy who sleeps in his truck where he works.”

    Here in San Francisco where I’ve lived for more than four decades, a Pilipino man sold newspapers from a small, enclosed wooden stand. Right here in the Castro, San Francisco, on the corner of 18th and Castro Streets…smack dab in front of Walgreens in fact (and where the Star Pharmacy once stood before the Big W pushed ’em out).

    In his late forties or so, he was of typically diminutive stature for one of that nationality. Thus he fit in there quite comfortably…greeting each day with a smile, upon unlocking and swinging open the flimsy, plywood panel. I don’t think he spoke much English, but he cheerfully plied his trade for more than twelve years–happily nodding at customers as they tossed him some coins or a bill–before the city declared that shack an eyesore. Which it truly was, like an outhouse transported from Li’l Abner’s Dogpatch. They replaced it with a tall, metal canister painted dark green, and with only enough room in which to sit or stand. It was called a “kiosk,” and many of them sprouted throughout the city at that time (about a decade ago).

    It wasn’t until his last year working from that ramshackle cubicle, that I learned from another long-term resident, that he slept there every night! I can’t imagine his life story, if he migrated from the Phillipines on his own or with family and friends, if maybe he was evicted from that large Pilipino residency bulldozed in the early 70’s to make room for the Moscone Center, if he knows anyone here, or if his only social outlet were these customers, some of whom paused to chat from time to time.

    He was no longer there, once they put up the kiosk…but another Pilipino had replaced him (this time a female), so perhaps he had some family or friends in his world. Who knows? Considering the ever-increasing number of bedraggled homeless here in Baghdad by the Bay who don’t even have a ratty wooden box to sleep in each night, perhaps he considered himself one of the lucky ones. His bright smile every day on that corner, come rain or shine, fog or wind, certainly seemed to indicate that.

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