Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017
by AVA News Service, August 5, 2017
PROP. 57 UPDATE
District Attorney Press Advisory
There’s new information now available on the District Attorney web page (mendocinocounty.org) on inmates likely to receive early release due to criteria and regulations implemented by the state because of the passage of Prop. 57 by voters last November.
Please go to the county web page and click on District Attorney link. Once on DA web page, click on prison commitments tab on left column, and then look for new category under 2017 called Prop 57: Expedited Release Inmates.
Hope you find this helpful. Part of on-going efforts by DA Dave Eyster to make the functions of the DA’s Office the most transparent ever.
COMPUTER MALFUNCTIONS prevented me from editing down the long, long story posted last night called ‘One Murder, Four Deaths.’ I'm trying to draw attention to the fate of Tai Abreu, 19 when he got life without, but I intended to do it in condensed form, not the serial length it appeared as at the time.
TWO of the three Fort Bragg kids who committed the tripartite killing will be out soon, although in August Stuckey's case he's got some psychological qualifiers on his sentence to meet before he's free. Aaron Channel will be home in a year or two and is unlikely to ever re-offend. By themselves, and from all accounts, these three would never have offended in the first place.
TAI ABREU will never get out, although if there were any justice in the justice system he would either get a new trial or a judge would simply set aside his conviction. Since the justice system is entirely a pay to play arrangement, and Abreu has no money, and judicial courage is unlikely, Abreu's grossly incompetent public defender, Linda Thompson, might as well have pulled out a handgun in the Ukiah courtroom and shot the 19-year-old when the jury delivered its verdict.
ABREU'S TRIAL lasted one day. Public defender Thompson had convinced the kid to take his non-case to a jury so she could argue that his confession had been illegally obtained. The nut of her argument was that Abreu hadn't been re-read his Miranda rights the second time he was interviewed the day he confessed. The jury was out about thirty minutes before they came back with a unanimous guilty verdict, and the boy was buried alive. Abreu's two confederates wisely pled out. They both got, basically, twenty years to life.
MENDO PROSECUTOR KEVIN DAVENPORT told me he did everything "but get down on my knees" to convince Thompson to take the plea offer extended by DA Norm Vroman. But the delusional Thompson, probably in the clinical sense in her case, told her 19-year-old "client" that he had a good shot at walking free, but instead, thanks to Thompson, walked into prison for the rest of his life.
I'M NOT SAYING the murder of Perez wasn't horrific — doubly horrific given its sadism. What I'm saying is that if two of the three teen potheads involved get out in twenty years while the one guy who functioned as lookout man goes down forever, where's the justice?
ABREU did not suffer "ineffective assistance of counsel." He had no counsel. Well, he had a person paid tax money standing there in court but, and you will agree if you read the transcripts of her performance, Thompson argued like a second prosecutor, called no witnesses on Abreu's behalf and portrayed the kid to the jury as the worst 19-year-old who ever lived. A rational judge, a fair judge, would have declared a mistrial on the spot.
I'M LOOKING for someone who might take the Abreu matter back to court. I have no idea if that's even possible given the terrible givens of the appellate processes. His appeals so far have been restricted to what went on in court — no defense in Abreu's case — and, of course, the appellate court magically found the kid had received a fair trial, an impossible conclusion to anyone who reads the transcripts. Of all the crummy things that go down in the Mendo courts, this is the worst I've seen. The second worst was The People vs. Tate Laiwa, which you can find in the AVA's archive at theava.com.
THE THIRD WORST was the Mark Sprinkle case. Sprinkle got 40-to-life for 90 seconds of sexual touching, and has been denied parole ever since, although his record inside is flawless and the Mendo DA, this time around, did not oppose parole.
HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED: Three underage girls asked Sprinkle for a ride in his cool-o restored automobile. Out on deep Low Gap Road, the lead girl, a fourteen-year-old with the anatomy of a 25-year-old pole dancer, suddenly yelled, "Let's race," and all three took their clothes off. Sprinkle says he didn't touch them. The testimony of the three junior floozies — the youngest was a ten-year-old — claimed that Sprinkle chucked the voluptuous girl's breasts, touched another girls "pubes," as the alleged victim put it. Sprinkle was offered 3-5. He didn't take it, went to a jury and got sentenced to what amounts to the rest of his life in prison for touching each girl.
LET'S PUT, say, a male officer of the court, preferably a judge, or almost any male adult, in Sprinkle's position behind the wheel that day. Would he, could he have restrained himself? Well, that's not the point, is it? The girls were underage. Period. But the totality of the situation doesn't mean life in prison.
A WRITER asked for a paragraph on Judi Bari. Here goes:
Judi Bari was a regionally prominent Earth First!er who was nearly killed by a 1990 car bomb. Bari herself, and her partisans, blamed a leftwing checklist of preferred villains — timber corporations; the FBI; Christian fanatics; men generally. The revolving cast of preferred suspects always excluded Bari's ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, a man with a long association with the bomb-throwing wing of the 60's left. Post-bombing, Bari became something of a cult figure among lockstep "progressives" and their megaphones at KPFA, Democracy Now, and public "free speech" radio stations in Mendocino and Humboldt counties, where dissenting views on the case were not allowed. Bari parlayed her alleged martyrdom at the hands of the mentioned forces into a winning federal lawsuit that claimed she'd been libeled by the FBI and Oakland Police Department, whose representatives had prematurely claimed Bari had been knowingly carrying the bomb that nearly killed her. Several million dollars won by Bari and Darryl Cherney in their lawsuit, which was co-edited to exclude any mention of who did it by Bari's "movement" attorneys and the FBI's federal attorneys, enriched Bari and Sweeney's already wealthy daughters. Cherney invested his share of the bogus suit in a Humboldt County pot farm. The FBI announced that they'd closed their investigation into the bombing "because no one will talk to us." The case remains unsolved, and is referred to now as a "mystery," while the only mystery is why the biggest elephant in the smallest room ever, the ex-husband, got a free pass from law enforcement to try to kill his ex-wife. The only honest investigation of the Bari interlude was done by Steve Talbot, formerly the producer of PBS's Frontline series. Talbot's documentary for KQED is called "Who Bombed Judi Bari." An idiot's version, also called "Who Bombed Judi Bari," was produced by Darryl Cherney and the Bari Cult. Talbot, speaking live on KQED's "This Week In California" news show, said that Bari had told him she was certain her ex-husband was responsible for the injuries she suffered in the bombing that killed her in 1997. How many ex-husbands could not only get away with bombing their ex-wives but never even be considered the prime suspect?
"DETROIT," the movie. I don't read movie reviews because there are no reviewers I trust. I just pay my way in and report back to both you people. I did read a couple of reviews of Landline after I saw it, one from The New Yorker, the other from the NYT. Both reviewers liked it, proving that they're either morons or afraid of not being invited to show biz parties. Probably both.
THE KLAN will love "Detroit." The libs will like "Detroit" because it portrays cops as psychos, which a number of Detroit cops obviously were in '68. The Klan will like it because it features white cops and soldiers beating and killing black people. This thing is based loosely, very loosely, on the infamous Algiers Motel murders. The confused narrative focuses on deranged white cops beating and murdering teenaged black kids for about 90 straight minutes then, natch, the cops are acquitted despite overwhelming eyewitness evidence against them. Which is what happened in real life. "Detroit" will raise racial tensions wherever it's shown except in Marin where I saw it in the dying Northgate Mall. The only thing likely to touch off a riot in Marin is a sudden ban on decaf lattes. For an honest account of the '68 Detroit uprising, I recommend John Hersey's masterful "The Algiers Motel Incident."
I empathize with your struggle with dope but don’t exactly know what to say about it. I’m not even sure if you regard it as a struggle. For me, it just came down to a kind of terrible emotional crash where I knew I had to turn something around in myself or suffer horrible consequences. Some of those consequences I was already under the influence of and it began to really bear down on me in a way I couldn’t handle any more. I came very close to destroying just about everything that really meant something to me—my relationship with Jessica [Lange], my kids most of all. I couldn’t believe the amount of self-destruction I was capable of and I became so isolated and removed from everyone that I thought I might as well take a look at this alcoholic situation to see if it really applied to me. I still couldn’t believe I was alcoholic when I entered the meetings for the second time in New York. I kept drinking through about the first week of meetings and then, slowly something began to bend—I guess it was my pride more than anything. I had a hard time seeing myself in the same exact bag as my old man, who I swore I would never resemble. In a way, the decision to stop drinking was the easiest part—of course you go through about a three month stretch where you body has to detox and get rid of all the poison you’ve built up and through that time there’s a lot of craving and self-pity but then the “need” for booze kind of leaves your physical self and the psychological part takes over. That’s the tough one for me because it all has to do with this thing of loneliness and the inability to have easy relationships with other people. It’s the very reason I started drinking in the first place—the bar, the “Nightlife”; the excitement of meeting strange women; the “Adventure”—this whole notion that there’s something out there I’m missing out on and booze was definitely the ticket that opened the door. The false courage that drinking gave me allowed me to indulge any idiocy that came along with never any thought of having to pay for it down the road. Also, there was the “romance” with the bottle—I was a writer, I had a license to drink. All writers drink, even great ones. I was a “tough guy.” I could take it. I didn’t give a shit what anybody thought and I didn’t really give a shit what I did to other people in the way of abuse or denial. I was my own guy! I’m amazed I lived through it actually: blackouts on the road doing ninety miles an hour, winding up sleeping in ditches; fist fights with Marines; hangovers that went on through half the day and were only remedied by more booze, strange women who could have been carrying anything; pool games til the crack of dawn with Italian Mafioso types where I lost hundreds of dollars, terrible fights with the ones I loved; the shakes, vomiting, shitting my pants on the street—Sounds like fun, huh? From the outside one might say well, sure, it was probably time for you to take stock of yourself but I never saw the least little part of it. I thought the world was fucked up and I was just reacting like some kind of underground hero.
Anyhow, the long and short of it is I know that you and I are somewhat similar in the area of our difficulty to get along with other people and the world at large—this isolation thing. It may be one of the reasons we’ve maintained such a friendship over the years. No one else will dain [sic] to talk to us! I think the personality type that we both carry (I don’t know the name of it or the category it might fall into on anybody’s chart) is particularly prone to addiction of one kind or another. I know there have been times I would do anything to get out of this feeling of being completely cut off. But we’re both lucky in that we’ve found amazing women in this life; we’ve stumbled our way across actual esoteric knowledge and had the good fortune to meet men like Pentland; we still get a kick out of stringing words together and concocting images and feel the importance of trying to attempt to get down something of our experience through time and those blessings seem to more and more out-weigh the temporary trances of being smashed and carried away with images of myself as some kind of fascinating fellow. I don’t think too much about booze anymore but when I was up there in Vancouver doing the film and every night going out to dinner with all these actors and movie people around—Sean Penn, Nicholson et al; and everyone was drinking and telling stories and carrying on—I thought—the “thought” crossed through my mind of how easy it would be to just order a little shot of bourbon straight-up and knock it back and feel that warm glow of confidence and giddiness and stupid arrogance again and just have a grand old time sitting around ogling girls and telling lies and letting all the bullshit fly but then something else came in that flat knew that if I did that I would be long gone down the lost road again. I’m not saying I’m on the “found” road now but I can tell the difference between a dead-end and an open highway. It’s very clear. And I don’t even know exactly how I came to it but I think I had to come to that very severe bottom end before I ever considered the alternative. I’m three years sober now but there’s still always the possibility that the maniac could leap up one day and decide to have a “little drink.” Who knows? It’ll probably always be there. And I could say, “Well, I’ve been a very good boy for three years and I actually deserve a little drink. What the hell!” And there I’d be—right back where I started. I was looking at the Aphorisms in the back of Views from the Real World the other day and happened to stick on this one: “If you already know it is bad and do it, you commit a sin difficult to redress.” Of course, words like “bad” and “sin” don’t sit real easy with any of us anymore but somewhere we know exactly what he’s talking about and somewhere we might even begin to taste the beginnings of a conscience—“woe is me!.”
I’m off to New York soon but I’ll write some more and you do the same. Regards to Scarlett and the big dog. Hope things stay sunny down there.
Que via bien!
— Sam Shepard
11,412 MARIJUANA PLANTS ERADICATED, 1,153 POUNDS SEIZED, THREE ARRESTED AFTER THREE-DAY HCSO-LED RAID
Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release:
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office’s Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) conducted a three day operation and served six search warrants in the areas of Burr Valley and Larabee Valley this week to investigate allegations of illegal cultivation of marijuana. The private parcels in question had no applications on file with Humboldt County Building and Planning and no permits issued for the cultivation of commercial marijuana. The following agencies assisted DEU with this investigation: Wardens from California Fish and Wildlife, Environmental Scientists from California Fish and Wildlife, CAL Fire Law Enforcement Officers, specialist from the Humboldt County Environmental Health and HAZMAT Unit, Humboldt County Code Enforcement officers, and personnel from the California Army National Guard Counter Drug Unit.
Search warrants were served on six different private parcels. A total of 11,412 marijuana plants were eradicated. Processed marijuana in the amount of 1,153 pounds was seized and destroyed. Three arrests were made and one fire arm was seized. The following subjects were arrested and charged with felony marijuana cultivation (HS 11358 (d) (3)D), Conspiracy (PC 182(a)), and Stream Alterations (FG 1602):
W.Woods, B.Woods, Passio
William Woods, age 32
Brian Woods, age 29
Stephen Passio, age 31
William Woods was also taken in to custody for outstanding felony warrants. The property owners associated with these private parcels are still under investigation. California Fish and Wildlife, Cal Fire Law Enforcement, County Code Enforcement, and the Environmental Health HAZAMAT Unit all located violations during the three day operation.
California Fish and Wildlife conducted a parallel investigation on these parcels and discovered violations for Fish & Game Code Sections:
1602 (Streambed alteration and water diversion) Violations: 9
5650 (pollution) Violations: 8
5652 (trash) Violations: 1
CALFire officers conducted a parallel investigation and discovered timber conversion violations. Persons responsible for the violations were issued citations.
Humboldt County Code Enforcement officers conducted a parallel investigations and discovered violations for: Unapproved Sewage disposal, Construction without a permit, Grading without a permit, Junk vehicles, using property as a junk yard, and Commercial cannabis permit violations.
County HAZMAT Unit discovered the following violations: Failure to submit a hazardous materials plan for a 125 gallon propane tank, Unauthorized hazardous waste storage, and Discharge of waste oil to soil.
All criminal violations stemming from the marijuana cultivation investigation will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office for review. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office maintains a cooperative relationship with all agencies that participated in this investigation. All future investigations into non- compliant marijuana operations will continue to be investigated in this manner.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445- 7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268- 2539.
AVA contributor Katy Tahja is on her way to Burning Man soon and can take one passenger, with a ticket, along with her. If anyone from the "Boonville Cabaret" camp needs a ride, or another Burner, give her a call at 937-5854. Ride-sharing is the way to go.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Nice dog. Nice doggy. Gawd, I get tired of that. I'm not all that nice, really. If I thought I could sink my canines deep into the labonza of one of these people, and get away with it… Well, even little dogs have big dreams.”
ASSEMBLYMEMBER JIM WOOD visits Plowshares in Ukiah and writes about it for the shameless media of Mendocino County who present it as news...
by Jim Wood
Assemblymember Jim Wood visited Plowshares on Tuesday, Aug. 1. Wood spoke with volunteers and staff to learn about the various operations at Plowshares, including the dining hall and kitchen, personal care center, partnership with Ukiah Valley Street Medicine Team, and Meals on Wheels program.
Lloyd Gerboth, one of Plowshares’ many dedicated volunteers who has served with Plowshares for over 14 years, explained how the Meals on Wheels route sheets are prepared each day for the drivers and “runners” who deliver the freshly prepared hot meals to over 140 Meals on Wheels recipients.
Wood learned from Plowshares Executive Director Traci Boyl about her hopes to revitalize the garden, to offer training opportunities for volunteers and staff, and to eventually expand the Meals on Wheels program.
Boyl shared her support of the proposed Redwood Community Services Community Center and how she believed the center would positively affect the guests at Plowshares and the community in general by providing a safe environment for people to shower, do laundry and connect with resources during the day.
She shared her appreciation to Wood, who recently recommended Plowshares for a donation from AT&T, which they received. A very special thank you to Assemblymember Wood for supporting Plowshares and our community.
The AT&T Investing in California Awards provide corporate contributions to organizations and programs that improve lives in their communities by advancing education, economic growth, new technologies and essential community services
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 5, 2017
Anderson, Brown, Delgado
KORY ANDERSON, Ukiah. Burglary tools, probation revocation.
ANIKA BROWN, Ukiah. DUI.
JOHNY DELGADO, Fort Bragg. Probation violation.
Diggs, Dress, Fillion
AUSTIN DIGGS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CHRISTINA DRESS, Upper Lake/Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.
HAZEL FILLION, Chico/Ukiah. Under influence.
Lozano, Luna, McDougall
NATASHA LOZANO, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
STEVEN LUNA, Covelo. Trespassing, disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.
VITALIC MCDOUGALL, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
McGrew, Parmely, Sears, Valentine
JACOB MCGREW, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
JACOB PARMELY, Ukiah. Parole violation.
DEBORAH SEARS, Redwood Valley. Grand theft money, labor or property.
RONALD VALENTINE JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE DAY
One of the mags had a front page title blaring “Intersex”. What do we make of it? It’s in keeping with “elite” narrative don’t you think, about fluidity of gender identity and sexual preference.
This sex and gender stuff is part of a passel of idiocies stridently promoted by elite opinion makers like the NYT. Now, to us bozos who only know what our eyes tell us, naval ships are crowded, high-stress environments, packed with high explosives, highly inflammable fuel and complex technology. So, given all that, I guess it’s perfectly ok to have a couple hundred hormonal twenty-something men cooped up with women crewmates. Right? Nothing will happen, right? Tell me, what dick-heads cooked this up? And yes, yes, yes, of course, women fuck like men, see, because Cosmopolitan sez so. And so I’ve read that the next James Bond should be a woman. And why not? Women can do what men do, right? And besides, what about gender equity?
Don’t be fooled, this shit is all diversion, they distract with mirage so as to not deal with reality. The writers of crap are in the upper echelons of peckers in a social and economic pecking order that has no hope in hell so disastrous are the economic and political contradictions built into it. But they enjoy their status and power and they’ll do what they must to hang onto it. Naysayers beware.
So, a female James Bond. Is there a problem? There might be. Will the idea sell? See, a movie isn’t reality, they require a lot of money to create, movie goers can’t be compelled to watch, and if movie makers want to make money, they’ll require a willing suspension of disbelief on the part of the paying movie-goer. Bondian death-defying adventures require bones and muscle and connective tissue typically found in men. In the interests of financial self-preservation, they might want to think about that. The military establishment might want to think about the concept too.
And, in the interest of societal and individual self-preservation, we might want to think about what our betters require us to think. Does it comport with reality? Because reality doesn’t bend.
* * *
MARIJUANA: You are so pro-gro that you never acknowledge the ugly underbelly. Never. Light blazing greenhouses, blaring generators, poisoning and shooting of wildlife, bad neighbor relations, infrastructure strain, water diversion, unpermited cultivation, etc, etc. Admit for fucking once it's not all rainbows and unicorns. I know so many people that are dealing with asshole neighbors it's unbelievable. You can't reason with these growers. So, please, have some god damn respect for people who are fed up with grower bullshit.
* * *
SF IS NOW A VIOLENT, DANGEROUS CITY.
SF has the 3rd highest violent crime rate (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault) of *any* city in CA – behind only Oakland and Stockton
SF violent crime vs.
San Jose = 236%
San Diego = 195%
Bakersfield = 161%
Fresno = 141%
LA = 122%
Chicago = 86%
New Orleans = 82%
Compton = 78%
The Mission is basically an expensive Compton, or a bad Chicago neighborhood but with nice weather.
The reason this is *not* widely publicized:
Because the local dumpster fire media is asleep at the wheel, posting Listicles (“Image 1 of 102” … Seriously ?!?)
And/or too busy cheerleading Progressives like Gascon / Newsom / Kamala Harris for The Party than to hold politicians’ feet to the fire for a disastrous decline in public safety
And also too financially compromised - by selling overpriced real estate advertising together with dumb clickbait slideshows as a business model - than to bother with journalism. It took the NY Times to - parenthetically - break the fact SF had the highest property crime rate in the entire NATION
And SFPD has a terrible clearance rate for violent crime of only 30% (less than half NYC, and 2/3 that of LA)
Anyone who has lived here for a while can tell you that things have gotten a LOT worse over the last year or so – I now see discarded needles regularly in my neighborhood, my building was broken into for the first time in a decade, and the ZPB* has skyrocketed
*ZPB = Zombies per Block = an impromptu measure of aggressive / demented / drugged out people most locals will instinctively make when scanning the sidewalk ahead of them whilst walking down the street to avoid trouble in the next block.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WAY IT FEELS AND THE WAY IT LOOKS.
"There'd been six of us at the outset, but after Smythe took a poisoned dart to the chest, Buddlestone fell from the top of a cliff, Stevens and Mayhew were swallowed by quicksand, and Tait-Harris was eaten by ants, only I remained to bring you our amazing tale." -Anna McDougal
The recording of last night's (2017-08-04) KNYO Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is ready to download for free and enjoy at any time of the day or night, via http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
Besides that, as usual also there you'll find a fresh batch of links to other interesting things I collected for you while putting the show together, that might not necessarily work on the radio because of being mostly visual. Such as:
Giant puppet spider and fire dragon.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3Mufk0B9AE&t=4m48s
Teenage fashion of the 1980s.http://tinyurl.com/TeenageFashion1980s
Thrillingly attractive antique motorcycles. Even considered only as sculpture, wow! I'll take any one of the Clevelands, I think, or the 1906 Thor, or the Flying Merkel.http://newatlas.com/motorcycles-2017-monterey-car-week-auctions/50663/
And we've all been in some analog of this place. I like the brave little girl who steps up, steels herself for the task ("Okay, let’s do this!") and goes for it! But I equally like the sensible woman who looks over the edge, says, /Fuck that!/ and climbs back down the ladder. And the tall seemingly determined boy who practically defies the laws of physics to change his mind. And the way they all talk to themselves to make or confirm their decision to go or not. ("No," a woman whispers, "I don't have the guts." But then...!) And Linus and Frida, who discuss it and negotiate about it, whether if one goes the other will actually go, and Frida admits that if Linus jumps she might weasel out of their deal if she sees that "an arm flies off, or something"; they’re so easy with each other; they’ll be happy together the rest of their lives. I give up, I like them all. This is so moving, revealing, human. What a great project, to remind us of the important difference between the way something feels and the way it looks.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8-Oc_TOPDI
HERMANN HESSE: HOW TO LEARN TO FLY
by Manuel Vicent
Translated by Louis S. Bedrock
Hermann Hesse was born on July 2, 1887, in Calw—a town in the middle of Baden-Württemberg in the south of Germany, in the historical region of Swabia. He was the firstborn child of a Baltic missionary and a mother who was, in turn, the daughter of another missionary, who was a famous linguist and scholar as well, and who lived in India.
Nurtured in a home of fanatical Pietists, the child reached adolescence while being crushed by the Bible. He received his early education in missionary school. In this school, the psalms, the organ, and prayers were the main sustenance—to which were added forays in the meadow where Hesse talked with the birds, dips in the lake during summer, and the truths learned from spirits of the forest and from friendships with the shoemaker, the butcher, and other simple artisans of the village.
These excursions were the only escape from the strict religious education to which the child was submitted: through which he could nourish his imagination. His early years passed by between barely trodden virgin nature and the whip of conscience. The vitality of the boy came into conflict with the dark life of his family which had destined him for the Church—to be anointed by the Lord. But from the first until the last moment of his life, Hermann Hesse struggled to choose the form of anointment with which he wished to be consecrated.
—Samuel anointed David but holy oil will not make me a king.
In spite of everything, he couldn’t avoid the clerical inertia of his parents. He had to study Latin, Greek, grammar, and style to prepare for the state exam of Wurttemberg through which he could attain free training as an evangelical theologian in the seminary of Tübingen.
Hermann Hesse was a pallid, cloistered adolescent who could do nothing more between the humid walls of the Maulbronn Monastery than remember the freedom he enjoyed in his childhood among the black poplars and the alder trees by the lake, the silence of the snow among the firs, the magic of the games played with his companions in the small square, and the knowledge of animals, plants, and the stars. After a long period of imprisonment, he decided to escape.
One day, he leapt over the wall of the seminary and returned home with scant luggage among which the Bible was not included. Just when this levitical adolescent believed that he was free, his torments began. Hermann Hesse wanted to be a writer but he would not reach this goal with impunity.
His parents put the young man into a religious healing center at Bad Boll and then, seeing he was not cured of his dreams, took him to the famous exorcist Blumhardt to dislodge the demon from his body as he had done for other possessed persons of the region.
In the midst of that rite, far from foaming at the mouth, the boy imagined the branch of the fir, illuminated by the summer sun, from which his possessed body swung as he listened to the songs of the birds; or he saw himself swallowed up in the bosom of the lake whose waters had magnanimously received his happy plunges accompanied by the chorus of shouts of glee from his companions.
After a suicide attempt, his parents placed him in the hands of a psychiatrist in a clinic in Stetten and the torment continued until the young man found salvation by himself through rebellion.
He would not be anointed by God, but would be a watchmaker, librarian, or bookseller—work that, carefully examined, might also be considered divine. Shy, prone to falling in love, and always frustrated, Hermann Hesse began to forge his own identity with help from his readings of Heine and Goethe until he finally wound up as a poet. While he was working in a watch factory in Calw or doing an apprenticeship in a bookstore in Tübingen or Basel, he now dreamed of leaping over his own wall and running away to Brazil; but he began to write poems, short stories, and novels as another form of running away: an interior flight.
Later, he traveled to Italy, married María Bernoulli, and lived with her in a country house in Constanza next to the lake. From that independent existence amidst nature, he extracted the essential aspect of his literature: the veneration of the five senses.
Man is not here to find the Truth. He has come to this world to enjoy himself and to suffer; thus, the way to develop the spirit is to select the most subtle pleasures and struggle against suffering as if it were a frontier.
Freedom, anti-intellectualism, poetic sensuality, and the always ironic departure from skepticism were his literary conquests. And in face of the catastrophes of war that advanced upon Germany in 1914, Hermann Hesse also proffered the rebellion of pacifism against the warmongering spirit of his countrymen.
Many young people, burned by an internal ember, confronting the horizon of rubble that was Europe after the ravages of The Great War, discovered Hermann Hesse and adopted him as a spiritual guide. Since then, the slender writer with a delicate bone structure, light colored hair, and burning blue eyes, who was shy but had a robust voice, who revealed the tautness of a bird of prey in his face, became a literary reference point to whom successions of young people have held on as they began their flight away from bourgeois morality—which had also been devastated.
In the 1970s, when the hippies opened various routes toward the places of initiation on the planet, they carried in their Apache knapsacks, next to the small stash of marijuana, one of three indispensable books: Damian, Siddhartha, or Steppenwolf—well worn from the examinations of customs officers. In these books, Hesse provided guidelines for soaring above every kind of wreckage, including the kind one carried in the heart. In turn, the writer never forgot the strength he needed to free himself from bondage and restraints, among which were the rope with which he tried to hang himself.
He traveled to India—perhaps in search of a new spirituality, perhaps to liberate himself from the painful connections to his parents. He brought back nothing from his travels that he couldn’t find in Lake Constanza, which provided him with an interior power that enabled him to transcend the schizophrenia of his wife, the serious illness of one of his children, other lost loves, and the rejection through which German patriotism attempted to avenge his critical posture toward the evil of its wars.
He was censored. His name disappeared from the newspapers. He wrote using a pseudonym. He adopted Swiss nationality. He settled in Montagnola, in the region of Ticino, and in the arduous struggle for freedom of the spirit, he suffered several collapses. He was rescued from these nervous cataclysms by Doctor Lang, a disciple of Jung, and by his friendship with Thomas Mann, with whom he developed an extensive correspondence.
During the Nazi period, his books were burned in a square in Berlin with the flames stoked by the Gestapo; however, at the end of World War II, he was awarded the Goethe Prize and The Nobel Prize.
Hermann Hesse died in 1962 in Montagnola and there he is buried. It is there too where readers, who learned to fly in the pages of his books, flock in pilgrimage.
It has been said that Hesse was old in his youth and young in his old age. Here are the lessons of initiation: free yourself from ties to painful attachments; dissolve into the illusion of nihilism; be the creator of your own soul and synthesize opposing forces in it; absorb the magic of nature that is beyond the borders of all countries; grab onto the handle of the wind to become whatever you desired to be when you were reading about it as you were emerging from adolescence, lying in a hammock in the shade of the poplar trees.
Who among us has not dreamed of being, like him, a wolf of the steppe?
Scott M. Peterson
TATTOO TYPOS are the first signs of a loser. Not just on their skin, mind you. But on the Internet — for the whole world to see. Like the fellow who wanted to memorialize Bob Marley with a tattoo of — uh — Jimi Hendrix on his arm. And then published it on his Facebook page. Oops! Then we have the case of a wannabe gangbanger who considered himself to be awesome. So he had that word emblazoned on his back — but spelled it wrong. Once again, it appeared on his Facebook page. Darn!
THERE’S AN ENTIRE gallery of ‘Facebook Photo Fails’ where you can see a panoply of losers. It’s online of course. The names have been omitted to protect the stupid. But you can still get the picture. Then there’s the ‘Hall of Fame for Facebook Status Updates’ — where people get Facebook mixed up with Google. Like ‘Gracie’ who typed ‘vagina smells funny’ on her Facebook page and then couldn’t take it down. Shucks! No harm done if you do that as a nobody in the big city. But what if that happens when you’re living in a small town and become an overnight celebrity? What then?
MENTAL HEALTH professionals weighed in on that question back in 2014. According to psychologist Douglas T. Kenrick, there are seven ways that Facebook can be bad for you — no matter where you live. One of them is sharing information that might affect your employment opportunities. Confusing Bob Marley with Jimi Hendrix on a permanent body image doesn’t bode well for hiring these days. Especially when you put a photo of it on the Internet.
COUNTY RECORDS show that Donald Lynn Peeler was born on December 16, 1968. By all accounts, he’s been a good citizen. Winding up in the newspaper only a few times. Once for getting married to a sixteen year old named Jimmie Hopkins in 1988. Another for a traffic accident near Philo earlier that year that wasn’t his fault. And then to mourn his kid brother Greg, who drowned picking abalone in 2004. His mom is Judy Valadao of Fort Bragg, who’s a thoughtful individual. It seems that Don’s a pretty nice guy too. At least until he got tangled up with a fast buck artist named Ed Komski.
KOMSKI saw a huge opportunity in the California real estate market through an aging fraternal order — the California State Grange. As old time Grange members died off, their gathering places became vulnerable to certain — ah — pressures. Including the one at Inglenook, just north of Fort Bragg. So in 2014, Komski started an organization with the exact same name. And then began putting the squeeze on.
MEMBERSHIP DUES were the first line of attack. Fort Bragg Grange No. 672 — remember that number — was in arrears for four years worth. The membership at the time was around 100 people. So at $35 a pop, Komski was looking to collect around fifteen grand for his brand new enterprise. In exchange for nothing more than a large framed certificate showing just that. Which is something that Fort Bragg Grange No. 672 already had. That wasn’t adequate, according to Komski. They needed a new one. And he needed the fifteen thousand dollars. If they didn’t come up with it, he’d take their property away and put a new man in charge. Somebody really scary.
KOMSKI’S NEW GRANGE wasn’t going very well. He’d applied to the State under provisions that it’d be a nonprofit that could hold assets. That was the whole point. But on August 25, 2015 the State balked at his application and gave him a for-profit permit that couldn’t hold assets. Putting the kibosh on his little scheme. The only thing left to do was pretend it never happened and run the old people off that property. That’d take two scary people.
MARILLA ROSE WEAVER was born on January 26, 1970. She and Mr. Peeler have been together for a little over six years. Marilla works for an eye doctor in Fort Bragg named Kyle Smith. She got married at age thirty to Daniel Freitas of Fort Bragg on October 27, 2000. Freitas filed for divorce against Weaver on May 18, 2011 — three weeks after she started a relationship with Peeler. Marilla has held the title of Worthy Matron for the Order of Eastern Star in Mendocino since 2010. She also keeps the records there. However, the IRS hasn’t gotten any filings from her since — oh, say — 2010. And the fact that she could sit on records that long must’ve interested Komski. Because he was sitting on the notice from the State that his little operation wasn’t a nonprofit at all.
EASTERN STAR is a branch of the Masonic Order. Where everything is communicated ‘word of mouth’ — naturally. That suited Komski just fine. So that’s how he recruited Don and Marilla Peeler to become the new officers of Fort Bragg Grange No. 672. Let me repeat that again — No. 672. But first he needed them to force their way into the Fort Bragg Grange hall and lock the others out. They did just that on March 27, 2017. Prompting the old timers to break in and force the Peelers out. And that’s when things got scary.
ON JUNE 22, 2017, Marilla ran a scathing editorial in the local papers. Calling the folks who own the hall every name in the book. And insisting — repeatedly — that Fort Bragg Grange No. 672 was here to stay. But under hubby’s gavel. A quick look at his Facebook page showed what they were up against. The Peelers flew a Confederate flag from their front porch. Marilla posed with an assault rifle in her pajamas. They sported husband-and-wife Trump t-shirts. And best of all, Don had a photo of himself holding the charter to the Fort Bragg Grange. Now what was that number again?
FORTUNATELY Marilla took that photo in high resolution — so you actually read the darned thing. Including the date of organization which is March 29, 2017. Two days after the Peelers broke into Fort Bragg Grange No. 672. Which leaves them both twisting in the wind for the break-in. You can also read the number on that new charter. It’s 572 — not 672. Translation? The Peelers have nothing to show for their loyalty to Mr. Komski. And now they’ve got dues to pay on top of it.
OBVIOUSLY the Peelers had no idea they’d just been burned. Don — the new president — didn’t bother reading the silly thing. And Marilla — who works for an eye doctor — didn’t notice the gigantic switcheroo. And photos of the huge framed certificate were posted to both of their Facebook pages. At least they were.
I SPOTTED the swindle July 7, 2017 on Don’s Facebook page along with all the scary photos. Then figuring he’d be taking them down soon, I made copies of the really choice ones. After which, I sent him an email with a link to the one of him holding the huge certificate. Not to his Facebook page — but to my Google drive page. Mr. Peeler never responded to that email, but I’m pretty sure he got it. Why? Within minutes, all of the scary photos had been taken down. Including the one of Don holding the giant framed certificate — with the wrong chapter number on it. So just for fun, I emailed him a low resolution sampler of the other photos I’d copied. To see if they might scare him.
KOMSKI GOT SCARED a while ago. His Facebook page — once packed with intimidating photos — bears only one today. Appropriately, it’s a snapshot of a spent volcano. All the heavy lifting is done at the California State Grange website. The latest news posted there is that of a lawsuit against another group of senior citizens in Bennett Valley to take their property away. At no point in the fifty-five page complaint does Komski mention the fact that his organization was never chartered to hold such property. Nonetheless, he’s dumped that all on the National Grange to sort out.
TAKING PROPERTY you’ve never owned is a tall order in the Golden State. Especially when you’ve declared — under penalty of perjury — that it was never yours in the first place. Form 990s from the National Grange don’t claim chapter properties. Ditto for Komski’s new operation — the State Grange. The best that Komski can do is to pose as the old State Grange. And that’s never claimed chapter properties either. Adding to Komski’s difficulty is not being able to keep up with his legal fees. The last Form 990 on file is for calendar year 2015. That puppy shows $24,880 in assets he wasn’t even supposed to have — according to the State of California. Which is the same venue he’s suing in.
NEEDLESS TO SAY, it’s all on the shoulders of the National Grange now. The entity it’s now suing is a California State registered charity called the Bennett Valley Guild. Something that can hold property. The intent of National was made clear in a November 11, 2015 memo — that it was aiming for a ‘re-integration of Grange assets in California into the National system.’ But that it could only be done with ‘the voluntary cooperation of others and continuing the work that has ensured the National Grange has had a continuous presence in California.’ Translation; ‘We can’t legally take your property — but we can sure the hell bully you into giving it to us.’
NATIONAL’S legal bills have skyrocketed over the past few years over actions like this. In 2014, its legal expenses ran $743,490 — over 77% of its operating revenue. Ouch! The only lawsuit it ever won was over the name ‘Grange’ — and its right to say who can use it. But once it lowered the boom on California Granges, they simply dropped the name and stopped paying dues to National. That put National in such a bind they haven’t been able to keep up with their paperwork. The last Form 990 on file for them was December of 2014. If they can’t file the ones for 2015, 2016 and 2017 by next April 15, their charter is automatically revoked by the IRS. Which not only puts their lawsuit in jeopardy — but their property too.
BETSY HUBER leads that organization today. She’s got a Facebook page too — but only seven photos are on it. None of them show the Stars & Bars flying anywhere. Nor is anybody revealed posing with an assault rifle in their pajamas. Ditto for both of the Fort Bragg charters — No. 672 or No. 572. Huber’s got a whopping 943 friends listed there. But Don & Marilla Peeler aren’t among them. Which is no surprise after the way they got hornswoggled. Huber’s net assets have dwindled precariously since the lawsuits started. In 2004, they were $1.3 million plus. Ten years later, they’d shrank to less than $650,000. That’s not counting the last two years worth of legal fees. And since Huber has no attorney on staff, she’s gotta keep on paying for them.
BENNETT VALLEY GUILD has one. That’s Craig Harrison — State Bar Number 226094. The Fort Bragg Guild has one too. That’s Ron Britt — Number 60664. The only bar you’ll see for Ed Komski is the one that serves cold beer. And the only numbers the Peelers know about are the kind that get rolled. Meaning that today’s Grange organization is — top to bottom — stacked with losers.
THE WORST PHOTOS of all showed Marilla & Don on a deer hunting expedition. I know a thing or two about that. Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve killed eighteen of ‘em. Every single one was taken during deer season and all were bucks with antlers. I went home empty handed more often than not. But I never took a doe — much less bragged about it. Three of the photos I downloaded from Don Peeler’s Facebook page showed just that — Marilla posing with her trophy — a dead doe. That’s not just bad sportsmanship. It’s the mark of a loser.
ALL OF Don Peeler’s Facebook postings today carry water for the white supremest movement. The Confederate flag may be gone, but the sentiment sure isn’t. Nobody with African-American heritage catches a break there. That gave me an idea. Doesn’t Mr. Peeler’s servitude equate to black slavery? Bruce Broderick of the Fort Bragg Guild helped me out there. Broderick told me, ‘I believe he is a tool for Komski and the other good ole’ boys in the Grange because he is easily manipulated through his alt right racist belief system.’ And if that’s not a loser, I don’t know what is.
THE STORY OF Marilla Peeler is equally complex. The Order of Eastern Star she belongs to has been openly criticized for its ‘blatant racism’ by the Catholic Church. That position is something that Ms. Peeler appears to have condoned in allowing the Confederate flag to be displayed outside her home. And the last time I checked, the Confederacy lost all property claims in the civil war 150 years ago. So she certainly doesn’t identify with winners. Nonetheless, I wanted to give the Peelers a chance to respond by citing a single victory in their quest for control over Fort Bragg Grange No. 672. To that end, I sent them an email invitation to do just that. But at this writing, I’ve yet to see any chicken dance.
BEFORE YOU START feeling sorry for Don & Marilla Peeler, consider this. Ed Komski published Don’s name and email address on the Internet as the primary contact for all Fort Bragg Grange business in March of 2017. Then Marilla ran that editorial in the local papers under her own name with Don’s name and phone number for the same purpose. This writer attempted contact with the Peelers four separate times through his email address, but they never responded to my invitations for comment. Does that sound like winning to you?
FBI DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER WRAY, RUSSIA OBSESSION ECLIPSES, AND OTHER ISSUES.
KMEC radio, Monday, August 7, 2017
Sue Udry, email@example.com @defenddissent
Udry is executive director of Defending Rights and Dissent, a national civil liberties organization. The she just wrote the piece “No Commitment On Mosque Surveillance, Muslim Registry, Racial or Religious Profiling, or Police Accountability From Wray. But He’ll Be Confirmed Anyway.”
Udry writes: “Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee believe that Trump’s nominee for FBI Director, Christopher Wray, did not pledge his loyalty to Donald Trump, and will not sweep the Russia investigation under the rug. And apparently very little else matters to them.
“The Committee unanimously approved Wray’s confirmation [Thursday], clearing the way for full Senate confirmation before the August recess.
“Unlike members of the committee, we were not satisfied with Wray’s testimony at his confirmation hearing, and his response to additional Questions For the Record (QFRs) posed by Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee do little to allay those concerns.
“As is often the case in these confirmation hearings, members of the Senate are forgiving of forgetfulness and inability to recall important incidents and conversations, as well as general ignorance on issues that are vital to the job the nominee is applying for.
“Wray told Senators that he doesn’t know what the FBI is up to with regard to terrorist recruitment, isn’t familiar with how hate crime statistics or police use-of-force incidents are reported, doesn’t know much about the FBI’s budget, can’t comment on a host of matters including voter fraud, anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric, and unabashedly admitted that he hasn’t even reviewed the Attorney General Guidelines for FBI Domestic Operations (the rulebook that governs FBI investigations) recently.
“Senator Hirono submitted some detailed QFRs based on questions recommended by Defending Rights & Dissent, to try to understand the role race, ethnicity, religion and national origin will be used as factors to open investigations (described as ‘assessments’ in the AG Guidelines). But Wray dodged the questions. …”
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