Off the Record (June 14, 2017)

by AVA News Service, June 14, 2017

FROM LAST WEDNESDAY’S Press Democrat: "The city is collecting data to understand just how much time police officers and firefighters spend responding to calls involving homelessness — and whether there are better ways to solve the problem."

CALL ME OLD SCHOOL, but right here in the USA we once enjoyed a tax funded system of hospitals where all persons unable or unwilling to care for themselves were housed and, in many cases, helped to regain themselves. But then we lost our way, and demagogues in the service of the very wealthy convinced lots of ordinary Americans that government was bad, that government couldn't do anything right and cost so much that, well, gee, suddenly all these cripples showed up on the streets and now what do we do?

I'D RECOMMEND re-instituting the fair system of taxation we once had in this country, out of which we all once agreed to fund common social amenities that made life in America much happier than it is now. What happened to the assumption that the rich should pay their fair share?

FIRST FIVE of Mendocino County is the latest non-profit to pipe up to ask for up to 20% of the County’s pot tax revenue. (First Five is funded out of the cigarette tax, about a million of which is kicked down to Mendocino County annually to do good things for people who need good things done for them. Little good gets done for anyone except the people nicely paid to do the good things that don't get done.)

IN CLUBBY MENDO, First Five is a jobs program for a half dozen or so Clinton Democrats drawn from the same pool of connected liberals who dominate the county's public bureaucracies and it's many non-profits.

BECAUSE FIRST FIVE has a built-in revenue stream from the cig tax, it's odd to see them appear with their begging bowls before the Supervisors, asking for money that may never materialize, at least not in the amounts the county is boldly anticipating.

ODDER YET, the County has already ramped up costly new staffing to roll-out the pot licensing program while fewer and fewer pot growers are signing up to be licensed.

RETIRED COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT Paul Tichinin, a long-time member of First Five's rubber stamp board of directors, and a man who has enjoyed rubber stamps as a way of life, made the pitch for pot money for First Five at Tuesday's meeting of the Supervisors. Tichinin said the Board should allocate 10% of the imaginary pot tax revenues to First Five now and increase that amount up to 20% in 2020. (The simplest of simple souls, Tichinin seemed very pleased with his numerical alliteration.)

ON THE GROWER END of the fanciful pot tax revenue bonanza the Supes are assuming, we found Laytonville pot grower Michael Bailey’s comment Tuesday morning to be both a good summary of the problems in trying to grow legal pot in Mendocino County, and a badly needed shot of realism about pot's potential as a revenue bonanza for Mendocino County. Besides all the permits and regulations and fees imposed on pot growers, there’s the Sheriff’s apparently unregulated pot raiders (COMMET, or County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team) out there busting people who are trying to get legal.

MICHAEL BAILEY: “I have done everything I could since I came to Mendocino County to comply with all laws. I know the Board is not the Sheriff and doesn't control him. But as I stand here today I have paid thousands of dollars in fees to grow cannabis on my property. I want to comply with the law. I want to be a good citizen. It's really important to me to be on that side of the line. As I stand here today, however, for all I know the Sheriff is out there on my property. I don't know. A few years ago, just after I bought my property, the Sheriff told me that two of his men came into my property and cut my crop down and then ran a friend of mine off the road on his quad. They could have killed him. If he wasn't young and strong he probably would have been killed. This is the kind of thing we need to avoid. I really don't want the fees that I pay going to lawyers to defend the county. I would prefer that if somehow there was a rule that the board could make that made it so I had a plaque on my property that showed that I am in compliance. Something that draws a clear line between me and looking over my shoulder at the Sheriff all the time. I just want to comply with the law. That's all. And I believe that you all have the power to create something like this. And I would greatly appreciate some consideration.”

LATER TUESDAY MORNING, during a brief discussion of the County’s plans to combine Mendocino County's varied but equivalently ineffectual “economic development” organizations, Fourth District Supervisors Dan Gjerde quipped: “Here in Mendocino County there’s a sort of a joke: Why have one organization when you can have three or four doing the same thing or sort of the same thing?”

ASHLEY TRESSEL writes in Tuesday's Ukiah Daily Journal: "…The county’s cannabis tax is expected to contribute 'significant additions' to discretionary revenue, according to the report. The Board of Supervisors had directed those funds go toward cannabis enforcement and fixing roads. The proposed budget recommends allotting more than $1 million for new corrective maintenance projects, nearly all from the cannabis tax."

THE SIGNIFICANT REVENUES “expected” are looking more and more like a fantasy. As we pointed out a few days ago, the recently approved County Budget is based on about 600 permit applications at about $3,000 each for the fiscal year running from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 for an assumed total of around $1.8 million. We had heard that there were something like 350 applications filed. But according to Jim Shields of the Mendocino County Observer that number is based on previous participants in the earlier 9.31 medical marijuana cultivation program; the actual number of paid applications (“non-refundable” as they say) is closer to 150 so far.

THE RECENT POT RAIDS in the Laytonville area and in Redwood Valley will probably discourage additional applications as the County’s good faith in giving legal pot growers a law enforcement pass is now in doubt. (I mean really, how is all this pot permitting not old fashioned racketeering? Pay us or we tear out your plants and arrest you?

OF THE $1.8 million in expected dope revenues, about $800k is already spoken for in the staffing budgets of the several county departments involved in the pot permit program, most of whom are already hired and at desks doing… Well, not much if there are only 150 applications. The $1 million for “new corrective maintenance projects,” i.e., road repairs, is where pot permit program revenue shortfalls will be felt most keenly.

WE EXPECTED some boulder-size bumps in the road in the pot permit program roll-out, but if it gets to the point that the County has to start dipping into the General Fund or from other departments to cover the pot-reg staffing already in place, the County’s “corrective maintenance projects,” will see our potholed roads become the kind whole vehicles disappear into.

WHEN LOVE KILLS, as explained by the Sheriff’s Department: On June 6, 2017 at approximately 6:34 PM, a caller contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center to report being involved in a shooting at his residence located in the 43000 block of Eureka Hill Road in Point Arena. The caller, a 43 year-old male, reported he was in his residence when Raymond J. White, 37, of Point Arena arrived, and the pair engaged in a shooting that ultimately resulted in White's death. Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded and subsequently confirmed White's death. Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives and investigators from the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office responded to conduct investigations into White's death. The investigation revealed White arrived at the 43 year-old male's residence and contacted his estranged wife (32 year-old female) in the driveway. During the contact, White physically assaulted his estranged wife and threatened to shoot her with a handgun which he had brought to the residence. White subsequently forced his way into the front of the residence while armed with the handgun. The 43 year-old male hearing the commotion in the driveway earlier, armed himself with a handgun. After White forced entry into the residence, the 43 year-old male encountered White. The pair fired multiple rounds at each other resulting in White sustaining multiple gunshot wounds and dying as a result. Initial information collected by investigators indicates the 43 year-old male and White's estranged wife were involved in a dating relationship at the time of the shooting incident. This investigation is still ongoing and any persons with knowledge of this incident are encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office by calling 707-463-4086 (Dispatch) or 707-234-2100 (Tip Line).

A SOUTH COAST READER WRITES: “The survivor of the Eureka Hill Road incident (shooter) is reportedly a housing/building contractor by the name John Schmidt. That is what the rumor mill has going around, and the lady (Jacquie) is a dear girl who works at Redwood Coast Medical Services in Gualala, and Point Arena. We are not sure what the decedent, Raymond White, did at this point, although he is said to have been a contractor as well. Eureka Hill Road is thick with grows all the way to the old Point Arena Radar Station with screened pot grows. I have not seen them, but I understand that they can be quite large. Which isn’t to say this shooting was pot-related, but is probably as it appears, an old fashioned love triangle now missing an apex, you might say. Whatever it was, it is a sad moment around here. “

“WHEN WILL SMART SERVICE START?” the Press Democrat wondered last week, as the Rose City daily wonders every month or so as no trains appear on the spiffy, rehabbed track between San Rafael and north Santa Rosa.

DRIVING south early one morning last week, I had to laugh at the fully illuminated Cloverdale Train Station, looming up out of the morning mists like an ethereal depot dropped out of the sky. A visiting motorist might think, "Hey! I think I’ll park my car and catch the train over there at that spiffy little depot.” Not in our lifetimes, Bub, if ever.

IN 1960, two trains a day, two southbound, two northbound, ran between Sausalito and Eureka. If your ultimate destination was the city, you rode the ferry to and from across the Bay at Sausalito. Even more miraculously, from the Mendocino Coast at Fort Bragg, you could once board an eastbound train to make a south or northbound connection at Willits.

FAST FORWARD TO 2017, and you have the hugely expensive and continually postponed SMART train perpetually poised to run from San Rafael to the airport area north of Santa Rosa, at no convenience and prohibitive ticket prices to the daily commuters it was supposed to serve.

THE OLD NORTHWEST PACIFIC RAILROAD primarily hauled freight; its route was designed for that purpose, not passengers, although there were always a couple of passenger cars. But the SMART train runs along the old Northwest Pacific route which, mostly, skirts the Bay south of Santa Rosa, well beyond populated areas and far from the convenience of commuters.

SMART is dumb for most of the people commuting by car along 101 whose congestion SMART was sold as relieving.

THE WHOLE RAILROAD show, as it has devolved over the years into the Northcoast Democratic Party scam it is today, is a kind of railroad version of the movie, Chinatown, with former congressman Doug Bosco as the real life mastermind of what is essentially, a swindle.

POOR CLOVERDALE. They agitated for their train station for years until they got it in the middle 1980s, confident that train loads of day trippers would be dropping loads of cash in the town’s fleshpots. Cloverdale fell for every sentence of SMART propaganda, "If we build a depot the trains will come." Cloverdale is still waiting, and will be waiting perhaps forever, for the old ’88 to pull into town.

A QUARTER-CENT sales tax imposed on Marin and Sonoma was passed into law after two prior failed tries. It promised that a SMART train would link Cloverdale and Larkspur in 2010 (!)

SMART doesn't own the tracks it runs on. Bosco, er, the Northcoast Railroad Authority, owns the tracks with Bosco handsomely paid to function as general counsel for the track's owners, the Democrat-created, North Coast Railroad Association. SMART, when and if it runs on a regular basis, will also pay Bosco, aka the NCRA, for use of the tracks.

NCRA's "code of ethics" (sic) prohibits any member of its board to discuss anything the full board has approved. If you happen to be a dissident board member, you can't reveal anything you might consider wrong on pain of excommunication.

THE RECENT SALE of the NCRA's Ukiah station for the new County Courthouse on West Perkins that nobody wants and maybe ten people outside of Ukiah even know about, a new courthouse which will further damage central Ukiah's struggling business district, is one more inside job by the Northcoast Democrats.

OUR OVER-LARGE Superior Court is joined at the hip to the Northcoast Democratic Party, which in turn is joined at the other hip to Bosco and the NCRA. It was insider baseball all the way as the valuable West Perkins property belonging to the NCRA was designated, then sold to the state for the new Courthouse nobody wants except our Superior Court judges. It will consist entirely of courtrooms and their majesties' "chambers." Toot-toot. All aboard!

ANYONE INTERESTED IN THE PARTICULARS OF THE NCRA SCAM can find them at these links from the AVA, LostCoastOutpost and Friends of the Eel River:

http://theava.com/archives/21860

https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2013/oct/10/read-north-coast-railroad-director-bernie-meyers-b/

http://yournec.org/content/what’s-really-holding-railbanking-north-coast

ONE OF THE CONCLUSIONS: “The Northwest Pacific (NWP) Railroad operator is using the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) and its Democratic Party powerbroker connections to make millions by doing overpriced repairs on segments of the line south of Willits, then charging high interest on the money they loan to themselves.”

THE MANY FAILED PROMISES OF THE SMART TRAIN is the title of an informative deconstruction of the SMART train’s economic and operational assumptions which can be seen on youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4yc_ntkHiM

A READER WRITES: “I was Judge Keith Faulder’s traffic court recently after I was ticketed by the CHP while driving out of a garden supply store on the coast. Somehow a bag of perlite in the back of my pickup flew out, landed on a CHP Patrol vehicle’s window and exploded. The courteous officer gave me a ticket for littering and I spent several embarrassed minutes cleaning it up. Soon after the perlite explosion I was heading up Mountain View Road toward Boonville I came across a traffic jam caused by a Mexican truck driver who spoke only Spanish driving an oversized flatbed which had high centered on a rough spot while trying to take a steep curve. As several of us who were stopped in blocked vehicles got out to help, I realized that since I spoke Spanish I could translate for the man who spoke no English. He told us that he took Mountain View Road after using Google maps, not knowing that the road would be a problem for his oversized truck and trailer. We finally got him loose. While we were doing that the same CHP officer whose window my perlite exploded on came up and complimented me and the other good Samaritans for doing a good thing but that he couldn't withdraw the ticket. When I showed up in Judge Keith Faulder’s traffic court this week, he was very gracious and told me that I had to plead guilty with explanation. So I did and after the explanation he dismissed the case without a fine or penalty. I’m glad I voted for him.”

PHIL'S BOAT. Back in the middle seventies when Warrior's tickets were still affordable — under $20 — two or three times a season we'd drive from Boonville to the Coliseum and then drive back after the game, a ‘round-tripper,’ as Boonville sports fans call it. One night a young guy we were dropping off in Oakland asked us to stop first on the frontage road parallel to I-80. He said his father lived on a boat in the nearby Berkeley Marina. The kid led us through the roadside brush to a surplus PT boat still painted Navy gray and berthed among the sparkling white leisure craft owned by the East Bay’s weekend sailors. A tall, smiling Rastafarian appeared. He introduced himself as "Phil." He thanked us for giving his son a ride. Phil said he'd like to take us out for a cruise on the Bay but his "vessel," as he called it, was "under repair." It was seriously listing to its port side, and we later wondered how Phil could live at an oblique, so to speak. He was soft-spoken and gentle, a "sweet man," as ultra-amiable men are sometimes described. Phil invited us into his "guest house," and told us we were welcome to stay as long as we liked. Phil’s guest house was a house-size portion of the roadside brush. He proceeded to lead us from bush to bush from which hand-lettered cardboard signs designated the various rooms. A large bush was designated "Master Bedroom and bath," another bush "kitchen" and a tiny bit of scrub was the "laundry room." Phil said it was a standard suburban three-bed, two-bath place. He was a genial host and quite proud of his accommodations. I asked him if he entertained much. "Oh, I have lots of guests in the summer months." We thanked Phil for his offer of hospitality and said we had to get down the road to the ball game. I read somewhere a few months later that the marina was having a difficult time evicting Phil, who was considerably arrears in his berth fees. The other sailors said Phil's boat was an eyesore and had to go. It eventually went, and Phil became a landlubber, I suppose.

IN COUNTY COUNSEL KIT ELLIOTT’S summary from last Tuesday’s annual budget review we learned that more than half of Ms. Elliott’s legal staff is dedicated to Health and Human Services, and most of that is for Child Protective Services legal work.

FOLLOWING Ms. Elliott’s summary tacitly confirming the ongoing disaster at CPS, Supervisor Dan Gjerde asked what could be done to reduce the apparently high number of prisoner “writs.” Supervisor Gjerde assumed the writs were nothing but “harassing the jailer,” but Ms. Elliott said they had reduced the number of writs by improving jail policies, meaning that at least some of the prisoner complaints were valid and required policy changes. At the end of the clip Supervisor McCowen seemed to agree that better supervision and more adherence to policies will also help. However, no one asked why so much legal time is being taken by CPS cases or what can be done to reduce those complaints. (Hint. Maybe hire a smart, compassionate, sensible person to supervise the unit. That might help.)

(YEARS AGO, when I was held in the old County Jail on Low Gap for the most charges of disturbing the peace in state history — 13 in all —, the first of several stays of less than a month each for me, I organized a mass inmate writ about conditions, beginning with illegal over-crowding and on through the unhealthy physical conditions of the jail itself. A bunch of people were immediately released and a new jail was built, which itself is now falling apart. Not saying my writ got the new jail underway, but I am saying that it is definitely good that judges take jail writs seriously. But given the givens of contempo-incarceration, there are seldom sustained complaints about Mendo jail personnel brutalizing inmates, which is just about the worst things that can happen to a prison. Our jail is more like a time-out center for adults. Incidentally, in the old jail, lying around outside on the lawn listening to jail birds swap crank recipes and make plans for the crude crimes they’d commit when they got out, I was startled at a sudden prisoner rush at a small object, with guys piled up scrambling and grappling for the thing. “People drive by out on Low Gap Road and throw tennis balls stuffed with dope over the fence,” came the explanation. Those were the days.)

“THE FACT is that there is no good reason why the county has to make somebody do a complete application less than a month after the ordinance was finalized and only weeks after the proposed state regulations, that mandate very technical provisions on qualifying…To demand the only legitimate way forward is to make people choose… How much money and jewelry did these deputies pocket this time…. Just goes to show… NOBODY Can Trust Mendocino County Sheriff ALLMAN or the Mendocino County Sheriff Department…. .. and definitely not the Sneaky Organization known as Commet or Major Crimes Task Force! Haven’t we all learned our lessons that they will lie, steal and kill! Yeah, go give them your name and address and wait for them to show up, point guns at senior citizens and children, trash and destroy your home and farm, steal your hard earned money, slander you in the press as “destroyers of the environment” while they cut your fuel lines, empty your water tanks, go through your personal property and steal and seize your assets….. bunch of lowlife crooks and thieves make up the MCSO Commet team and Major Crimes Task Force….. donkeys! HOW MUCH LONGER WILL WE ALLOW THIS ARMED GROUP OF THUGS TO STEAL OUR PROPERTY, STEAL OUR MONEY, LIE TO US “IT WAS ANOTHER DEPARTMENT OF THE SHERIFF DEPARTMENT”?… HOW MANY MORE FARMERS WILL BE SHOT BY THIS “ERADICATION TEAM”? How many more people’s lives uprooted by armed aggressive thieves and thugs hiding behind a badge? How many more children will be ripped crying from their mothers arms and taken away by social services to be placed in abusive Mendo County foster parents? …. How much more can the good cannabis farmers take from a government system which has made a business and income by stealing from their neighbors and community to fulfill their wasteful budgets and contracts with their buddies? Enough is Enough, rise up Mendocino Cannabis Community, Take Mendocino County Back from Allman and his lawless band of the Ives and oppressors! The time is now! RISE UP AGAINST THE CLAWS OF REPRESSION And REPUBLICAN CONTROL."

THE ABOVE OBSERVATIONS are from the comment line on Kym Kemp's Redheaded Blackbelt site. It's similar in specifics and tone to a letter we have from a man presently incarcerated at the Mendocino County Jail. Over the years, we've occasionally heard complaints from arrested persons that the cops have stolen cash found during dope raids. We've never been able to verify these accusations, except in one case of an accused officer now deceased. Another cop confirmed the deceased was "dirty." But that was years ago.

THE CONFISCATION of children, or the threat of it, by CPS at the behest of raid teams....Well, if true, the tactic is way, way over the line, and if it's happened to you we'd like to hear the particulars. We do know that CPS is widely regarded as a threat by many people when it’s supposed to be a trusted agency that protects children from harm.

WHATEVER YOU THINK about this person's complaint, it's certainly true that the County of Mendocino has poisoned its own pot-gro licensing program by unleashing COMMET on growers in the process of getting themselves legal. The raided addresses were registered with the county's Ag Department. Meanwhile, at the Adanac Ranch… And meanwhile crank and heroin is all over Mendo County. How about taking down a crank distributor once in a while instead of people signed up with their names and addresses with the County’s Ag Department.

BRUCE McEWEN REPORTS that the long-delayed Bear Lincoln jury trial, previously set for this coming Monday, will not be going forward after all. At least for now. It's not posted on the DA's website. And it no longer appears on the court calendar for Department B where it’s set. DA David Eyster is personally handling the prosecution. If and when it does go, it will be the first pot trial since the passage into law of Proposition 64.

LINCOLN was arrested at a large grow — 9,000 plants — on and around his property in Covelo in August of 2016. Two loaded weapons were also found there. Of course, finding weapons and pot in Covelo is like finding cheeseburgers and fries at McDonalds; assigning ownership and responsibility for pot and guns is quite another. But Bear is a convicted felon, and you can be sure the cops will try to pin the guns on the guy they've been after ever since the famous shoot out that led to the deaths of Deputy Bob Davis and Bear's cousin, Leonard Peters, for which Lincoln was acquitted in 1997. (The entire Lincoln saga can be found on the AVA website at theava.com)

WE WERE WONDERING when a press release on the two armed robbery suspects displayed in the Sheriff’s Booking Log a few days ago would show up. The Mendocino Sheriff’s Department didn’t issue any explanation of the event, apparently because they were only one among multiple agencies involved, and none of the other law enforcement organizations saw fit to generate a comprehensive presser.

FROM what we can piece together from on-line reports, the two armed robbers, Rashard Lafrance and Donovan Saari, lead police on a “wild car chase” down Highway 101 from Willits to Healdsburg, where the southbound bandidos crashed.

THE ROBBERY occurred at the decidedly downscale Edgewood Motel in downtown Willits when a pot deal collapsed in a way these transactions often do. Instead of getting cash for his pot, the Willits seller found himself staring at the wrong end of a handgun, forced to the floor, and robbed of his dope, cash and other unspecified belongings.

SAARI and Lafrance then took off south on Highway 101. For their part, Ukiah Police said, “On June 6 at about 4pm. UPD officers heard via radio of a robbery that occurred in the Willits area. The suspects had fled in a vehicle and one was reported to have a handgun. While looking for the suspect’s vehicle, a UPD unit located it headed southbound on Highway 101. Officers attempted to perform a traffic stop on the vehicle in the Hopland area. The driver failed to stop and led UPD officers on a high-speed pursuit, southbound on Highway 101 and into Sonoma County.”

SONOMA COUNTY Sheriff’s deputies took over: “Our department was requested to assist Ukiah CHP with a high speed pursuit coming southbound through our county from Mendocino. The suspects were reported to be driving at about 130 miles per hour in a silver Toyota Camry. It was reported that the suspects had just committed an armed robbery in Mendocino County and stole (sic) an undisclosed amount of marijuana using handguns.”

THE ROBBERS’ Camry couldn’t negotiate a traffic backup just south of Healdsburg and ended up crashing into a guardrail and then into a halted VW bug. Neither Lafrance and Saari nor the people in the Bug were badly hurt. The two perps took off in opposite directions as armed cops arrived.

“DEPUTIES formed perimeters on both sides of the freeway. They located one suspect hiding near a boat and RV storage area on the east side of the freeway. The second suspect was found hiding in a vehicle parked at a residence in the 12900 block of Old Redwood Highway.”

COPS found ammo, drugs and other “evidence” in the abandoned Camry which was then towed back to Ukiah.

UPON being booked into the Mendocino County Jail, Saari was identified as a Sacramento resident, and Lafrance from Miramar, Florida. Bail was set at $150k each.

Lafrance, Saari

WILLITS POLICE were assigned to investigate the initial robbery and false imprisonment. It's not known if the seller got his product back.

THEN there was the armed robbery on Harrison Street in Fort Bragg on Sunday by three bandidos from Illinois, one of them a juvenile. Three guns, three young men, six or seven pounds of dope taken from the Harrison Street address. How did the Illini geniuses find their way to a dope house in Fort Bragg? They met the Fort Bragg person at a dispensary in the Bay Area, and from there it was, “Hey, you look like nice kids, come on up to my place in the redwoods. I’ll cut out the middleman for you fellas on a real good deal on bulk product. Maybe we’ll have time for a walk on the Haul Road and a sea food dinner down in the harbor.” Instead, the nice young men from the Land of Lincoln pulled their gats and soon, as they frantically threw guns and marijuana out their car window near Willits, they hit the spike strips the cops had waiting for them.

A READER ALERTS us that the perennially troubled and often incompetent Children's Protective Services (aka Family and Children’s Services) agency of Mendocino County may be the object of an NBC Television investigation. In-county complaints about CPS have been ignored for years. We blame the Superior Court for turning a blind eye, as they dependably do when CPS has committed crimes against children, but the Supervisors bear their share of responsibility, too: "I know people working in the Ukiah CPS office who tell me that working conditions there are worse now than they were before the first Grand Jury report two years ago. The middle level management has not changed in years and they continue to make disastrous decisions that leave many kids unsafe. It is only a matter of time until this careless treatment by CPS leads to a severely injured child or, worse yet, a dead child. [Ed note: It already has, as readers recall the Baby Emerald case out of Fort Bragg.] The NBC reporter is very interested in hearing directly from any of the readers in your subscription area who have had problems with Mendo CPS in the past, to call and speak to her and tell her their stories. She will keep their identities confidential if they wish. This would include professionals who are mandated reporters or people who have dealt directly with the department, or former clients who feel like their rights have been violated by CPS, virtually anyone. This will be a story on TV in the coming few weeks. However, time is definitely of the essence because she will be completing her investigation soon. The reporter I speak of is named, Vicky Nguyen, and you have probably seen her prior investigations on NBC Bay Area news. Ms. Nguyen can be reached at 408 432-4584 or Victoria.Nguyen@nbcuni.com. "

THE MOST GROTESQUE Mendo accident in years: “On Saturday, June 10, 2017, at about 4 pm, Mr. Charles Welch, 57, of Yreka, and his wife were pushing their stalled vehicle, a BMW sedan, up an incline on the Russian River access road just north of Highway 222 (Talmage Road). The BMW began to roll towards Mr. Welch who was pushing from the front of the vehicle and his wife got into the driver's seat in an attempt to gain control of the vehicle. The vehicle continued to roll and rolled on to Mr. Welch. Mr. Welch and the vehicle continued into a dry creek bed where the vehicle came to rest on top of Mr. Welch. As a result of this collision, Mr. Welch suffered fatal injuries. The cause of this collision is still under investigation. CHP Officer D. Rowan”

INTERESTING one-man fish restoration project carried out on Ukiah's fish-free Gibson Creek by Sean White, better known as Director of Water and Sewer for the City of Ukiah (and formerly in charge of the Russian River Flood Control District): https://youtu.be/qQnwhbek4Is

FURTHER EVIDENCE of why Ukiah is broke and will stay that way despite management claims that the city will have a budget surplus of about $2 million. The Ukiah City Council is about to approve a $100 million budget for a single fiscal year. They're spending $4 million on salary increases, including big ones for their managers, a defensible but probably underestimated $42 mil on a recycled water system, an indefensible corporate give away to Costco for "infrastructure improvements" in the Big Box neighborhood of Airport Park that Costco demanded before they would condescend to do business in Mendocino County.

ONLY historical amnesiacs could think of the FBI as an apolitical national police force. The FBI, since its inception by a cross-dressing paranoid, has always made political policing its first obligation. (J.Edgar Cocktail Dress famously exempted organized crime from scrutiny because they knew how the self-promoting G-Man spent his evenings.) Even the friendliest history of the FBI confirms the agency political purpose.

CURRENT FBI DIRECTOR COMEY, battling Trump to see who can leak the fastest, of course looks more plausible alongside Orange Man, but if Comey were the pillar of a-political rectitude he pretends to be, he wouldn't be trying to zap Orange Man before Orange Man zaps him.

LOCAL EXAMPLE of the FBI at work is the Bari Bombing case. The feds managed not to see Bari's ex-husband among the primary suspects, and soon said they were closing the case "because no one would talk to us," neatly pointing directly at themselves as involved, not in the bombing itself but in protecting people who were.

WHAT KIND of reputable police agency stops investigating because criminals won't talk to them? In the Bari case they never did investigate because they knew what they would find and they could not afford the exposure, especially not long after the FBI was caught in the act of trying to frame Dave Foreman, one of the founders of Earth First!

THE SUMMER OF LOVE. I missed it. Had to work. Truth to tell, the whole faux innocence of Flower Child-ism — the repellant Wavy Gravy being the archetype — was at the time a minor irritant, especially in the face of the large political crimes underway in ’67, and especially irresponsible among people who claimed to be "hip." Hip to what? I've always wondered.

THE LOCAL ANGLE here, too: The back-to-the-land movement that populated the logged-over outback of the Emerald Triangle was majorly inspired by the extraordinary levels of Bay Area street crime in the late 1960s running through the middle 1970s. The city had become comprehensively awful, and just up Highway 101 all the way to Ashland, land was cheap. The less energetic hippies never got past West Marin and West SoCo. The more enterprising made it to Mendo and Humboldt, while the truly intrepid kept on going to Trinity County.

ARGUING with people who don't know socialism from a peanut butter sandwich is a waste of time, and I wouldn't bother if we didn't hear some yobbo or other constantly denouncing socialism as the equivalent of the End Times. The tiny minority of Yobs who do know the diff, deliberately conflate socialism and liberalism, but they’re paid to lie. As a matter of historical fact, we owe socialists for the scant social protections we have, beginning with the child labor laws and the eight-hour day. Of course we all know the horrors at work in the socialist hells of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Canada, the UK, and all the other millions of people of people yearning to be free of single payer. Ask a Norwegian what he thinks of socialist policies and he'll tell you he lives for the day he can put his idle ten-year-olds back to work in the coal mines. Hell, we all know this stuff. Fox News and the rest of the armchair warriors blame socialism for the current state of Venezuela. The president of Venezuela was democratically elected, and he is a socialist. He isn't doing well for a fact, but Venezuela was a very poor country to begin with, briefly benefitted under Chavez's socialist policies that Chavez funded out of inflated oil prices, but with those windfall billions gone with the crash of oil prices Venezuela is now headed for civil war as its owning classes hope to unravel the social protections brought to them by Chavez's socialists, not Chavez's communists. There's a difference. Me, myself and I think we're headed for social chaos in this country, and many others, regardless of how their economies are organized, because industrial civ has reached its limits via the false and globally destructive capitalist assumption that unrestrained free enterprise can keep the human population up with the Kardashians, that no matter how many people there are they can all get more stuff endlessly. That's the thinking that's got us where we are — the brink of catastrophe. (It was heartening to see Jeremy Corbyn and the UK's Labour Party crush both the Blair-ites and the Tories in the recent elections in England. Apparently, young people, whose long-term prospects consist of hopelessness, turned out big time for Labor, just as young people here turned out for Bernie. Knowing who your true friends are is the beginning of wisdom.)

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

(1) Between birth and graduation from High School I cannot actually recall reading a book (i.e. a novel) but surely I MUST have. I DO remember reading a short story titled “Leinnigen Versus the Ants” which I found so exciting that I read it a couple of more times over the years. I don’t think I have read any other title more than once.

But, around May 1958, after I had been accepted to St. Joseph’s College (which later became a University), I received in the mail a letter from the college which said, effectively, ‘by the first day of classes you will have read the following six novels:”

I swallowed hard and began to read David Copperfield, if memory serves me……. and it was 737 pages. It took me the entire summer. So I read just one of the required six. As it turned out I was the only student in my English class who had read even one. The prof was forced to extend the time period for reading these six books to the end of the first semester.

Unfortunately I am a very slow reader but David Copperfield and the other five novels started me on a reading mission of sorts….. not an obsessive reader but infinitely more so than Donald Trump.

(2) TRUMP does not have the intellect and discipline to head up a “fascist” regime. He has no coherent ideology other than the deep conviction that the universe revolves around his ego and the world longs to hear his wise tweets. He does not have a united party behind him. He does not openly advocate military conquests, as Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japanese military leaders did in the 1930s. He has a military dominated but divided cabinet. He is strangely dependent on his daughter Ivanka (35) and her husband Jared (36), whom he keeps by as comfort blankets during his meetings with foreign leaders. But these are Kim Jung-Uns: young, dumb and dangerous.

(— Paul Street)

(3) When this continual Stock Market rise turns into a bloodbath and companies stop completely, and it will, does anyone actually expect The Donald to raise a calming hand and stop the panicked race to get the hell to some kind of safety? Does anyone expect a compassionate intervention to put people back to work again? If the US ‘strikes’ N Korea, which sounds like it might just do, will anyone trust that The Donald actually knows what he is doing when the unintended consequences speed out of control? When will Sean Spicer quit? My God, the latest news briefings are now so full of disrespect on both sides they might as well stop doing them. This is beyond a reset fix. Trust and respect has gone, and the smell works its way upwards; all the way to Trump.

I think a nasty time of protest and violence could break out at any time as this continues to unravel. It won’t take much to light the fuse.

(4) Oh yeah! Get those [marijuana] permits, people! Sign up and pay your fees and taxes right here….and then we will put you on our route for visits and inspections and if you change anything at all from what you signed your name to then you are immediately illegal and we will definitely fine and penalize you!! Sign up and ‘Step into the Light” you stupid cowards!! Do it quick- before it becomes totally clear that you are getting plowed under anyway by the huge corporate grows in the Central Valley! Yay for “legalization” and handing this industry over to mega-corps and regulators!! Feeling safe enough yet?

(5) The Repeal Of Glass-Steagall has turned the United States into an unstable economic, political, and social system. We have a situation in which millions of Americans who have lost full time employment with benefits to jobs offshoring, whose lower income employment in part time and contract employment leaves them no discretionary income after payment of interest and fees to the financial system (insurance on home and car, health insurance, credit card interest, car payment interest, student loan interest, home mortgage interest, bank charges for insufficient minimum balance, etc.), are on the hook for bailing out financial institutions that make foolish and risky investments. (Paul Craig Roberts)

(6) You know, the United States took a long time to be united. I think it will take a while to break itself up. A kind of Manifest Destiny in reverse. So, maybe what we’ll see is a “great unraveling” of the country, as states and territories, and alliances of states and territories, dribble & melt away slowly over time, in an inverse relationship to federal power. For most people, Washington DC is a long, long way away. It certainly is for me and for my neighbors here in northern Minnesota. The national capitol is a kind of a fuzzy idea. It exists out there somewhere. It exudes powers that we occasionally see on a periphery & generally an indirect way. However, if it went away, how much would we really notice, or care? I don’t know. Perhaps people will look towards regional capitals, particularly if the infrastructure falls apart.

(7) Gregory Peck would have made a marvelous Comey, the quintessential last honest man in Dodge City in a movie like we now have, but in reality he is a self-righteous putz. Also of note, the committee looked like a gaggle of failed used car salesmen trying to play grown up cuz it’s showtime… Trump is the new Sasquatch. They don’t like him because he is another species, the new car sales manager that threatens them every Monday before they go out on the sales floor to nurse their hangovers and hustle the rubes.

(8) The Democrats are shooting themselves in their collective foot over the “Russia hacked the election” story. The fact that no mention of exactly how they supposedly influenced the election has been put forth, not to mention no evidence being presented, has not escaped the more discerning members of the electorate. Or even the normally intelligent ones who are paying attention. With all the real problems that need to be addressed, the fact that the party is pushing what is self-evidently a tale told by idiots is inflicting severe damage on the party’s credibility among a very important constituency.

Five million fewer voters voted for Hillary than voted for Obama in 2008. I’m guessing that most of those 5 million simply stayed home, not being able to vote in good conscience for either major party candidate. If the Democrats keep it up, I predict another 5 million sitting out the 2020 election as well.

One Response to Off the Record (June 14, 2017)

  1. Jim Gibbons Reply

    June 22, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    You mentioned the old Northwest Pacific Railroad that ran between Sausalito and Eureka in 1960, which made me wonder if you’ve seen some of the old photos online or in the Sausalito Historical Society’s book, Images of America: Sausalito.

    I picked it up at the new Book Passage bookstore in Sausalito, which was built right wear the old Ferry Boats used to dock, to transfer riders from rail to ferryboat. Quite busy before the building of the Golden Gate Bridge (1936).

    There is a photo (page 59) from 1914 that shows passengers preparing to board the “Spiker’s Special,” that went to Willits.

    Sausalito has a fascinating history, and this book is a gem.

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