Off The Record (Aug. 9, 2017)

by AVA News Service, August 9, 2017

I THOUGHT it was my very own conspiracy theory until a friend told me that he’d heard basically the same thing from Alex Jones, the mega-loon, and the go to guy for lots of Mendo nuts of the paranoid type.  My conspiracy theory was that General Kelly has been inserted into the White House as site-prep for a kind of soft coup, which will be announced in a few months as "a public-private partnership to help the president stabilize the economy and bring order to the cities of America. President Trump has suffered a mild stroke; he will be medically confined henceforth, with his family, to Mar-a-Lago where he will remain under full military guard until he is able to fully resume his duties. In the meantime, the Joint Chiefs of Staff will caretake the country. We have disbanded Congress, and commencing tonight at 2400 hours, in all cities and towns of populations greater than 5,000 a dusk to dawn curfew is in effect until further notice…" The general, falsely assuming he was off-mike, turned to an aide and said, "This goddam clown show is now over." There were gasps from the press corps before they rose as one and saluted.

CROSKEY, we hardly knew ye. Georgeanne Croskey, freshly appointed 3rd District Supervisor, will serve out the rest of her term but will not run for re-election. The meteoric supe appointee is re-locating to Ohio where her husband, a detective with the Sheriff’s Department, has been offered a job he says he can't refuse.

A READER COMMENTS on Supervisor Croskey's recently announced departure: "All speculation: Surely she and MSCO husband must’ve known when she accepted that appointment that they were planning to – or at least hoping to – bail on Mendocino County. You don’t find another law enforcement job and sell a veterinary practice in a matter of weeks. Why did she accept the appointment? ‘The governor does not like to appoint placeholders,’ we were told, after the Board of Supervisors endorsed Pinches, an appointment which would have made sense. The Governor did not want to appoint an ‘interim’ candidate, but one who would run again. Governor got played."

ANOTHER READER WRITES: "When an online commenter said the Governor should appoint the runner up to Ms. Croskey, he did not mean Jolly Holly [Madrigal]. The short, short, list for the appointment was Croskey and Skip Lucier, brother of former one term supervisor Tom "Digger" Lucier, the town undertaker. Tom thought his job was to show up for meetings and vote the way Delbar voted. When he ran for re-election, he came in third behind Hal Wagenet and John Pinches, with Wagenet winning the runoff. Four years later, Pinches ran again and beat Wagenet. Holly then challenged Pinches and lost. When Johnny retired at the end of his last term, Holly tried again but lost to the virtually unknown Woodhouse, which makes her a two time loser. Holly can't get elected and won't be appointed. Holly also just landed a real job at the Community Foundation. But the Governor can only appoint if there is a vacancy, and right now there is not. But will Croskey finish out her term like she says? Ohio to Ukiah for the Board meetings is quite a commute. And whether or not she resigns, and whether or not the governor makes another appointment, the seat is up for election next June. Who's next?"

DEPARTMENT OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: Mendocino County's famous lawman, Pete Hoyle, at the mere mention of whom the drug community hyperventilates, is currently one-third of a homeless outreach program focused on the area of Ukiah's WalMart, a kind of gathering place for transients. One member of the team is a social worker, another one a fuzzy warm from mental health (I think), and Hoyle.

THE SCENE. Walmart parking lot. A scruffy young man approaches the outreach team. Spotting Hoyle's name tag, the man says, "I'm drunk and I just snorted a little crank, but what I really need, Officer Hoyle, is a great big hug." Hoyle, through gritted teeth, replies, "One step closer, punk, and you'll never need another one."

INTERESTING FOLLOW-UP on the Interpreter strike at the courthouse, involving Celcilio Bautista and Marcelino Bautista, indigenous people from Oaxaca, Mexico, charged with cultivation of marijuana in Mendocino County.

Carlos Benemann was brought in – he not only speaks Spanish fluently enough to work (on contract, not as a courthouse employee) as a certified Spanish language interpreter, but he also has a degree in Meso-American anthropology.

So, as Mr. Baird was engaged in the other six courtrooms, Mr. Benemann was working with another contract interpreter, this one specializing in the Triqui language — which these defendants spoke in their native village.

District Attorney David Eyster was prosecuting and he scoffed, professionally, at the idea that these guys needed the Triqui interpreter. And it was certainly apparent that these two guys were nodding their heads eagerly before Judge Leonard LaCasse’s words had been translated into their native tongue — as soon as Mr. Benemann gave the Spanish version, they seemed to understand.

Afterwards, I asked Benemann if he thought they could understand Spanish.

“Certainly they understand a little Spanish. But they don’t speak it in their village, and in fact they’re both illiterate. So, taking the DA’s proposition that they can understand Spanish, let me ask you this: Did you ever take any Spanish in High School or college?”

“I did, yes.”

“Okay then, let us say you go down to Tijuana and have a few drinks and some kid runs out in the street and you hit him with your car, and he dies. Now, when you get to court, and the Mexican judge asks you if you want an interpreter, what will you say? Will you rely on your high school Spanish, which you probably haven’t used much, or will you take the services of the interpreter?”

“Okay, Carlos, I get it. Are these guys brothers?”

“No, I don’t think so. Everyone in the village is probably named Bautista — and they were probably named that by the Spanish.”

(Bruce McEwen)

ED NOTE: Carlos Benemann, born in Argentina the son of a Luftwaffe pilot, is a former mayor of Ferndale and a high stakes poker player. If any other Courthouse worker has a more varied pedigree, please send in your bona fides.

POT SHOTS: Really, isn't it time to re-think the educational mission if you need a cop at a junior high school? There's been one at Ukiah High School for years, and now another one, Isabel Madrigal of the Ukiah PD, is patrolling the restive halls of Pomolita Middle School. The unspoken sub-text here is that parents who can afford St. Mary's, or can finagle their way into a charter or private school, long ago fled the Ukiah schools, leaving the schools to deal with junior gang bangers, psycho kids and youngsters otherwise hostile to learning what the public schools have on offer. Which, unless they've changed since I was a kid, consists of “Line up. Sit down. Shut up. We aren't there yet. No, you just got back from the bathroom. Don't call me by my first name. One more word outta you and…"

THE NEW SWEENEY. A young man named Robert Carlson has been offered the General Manager of the Mendocino County Solid Waste Management Authority. Carlson is expected to accept the offer to replace Louisa Morris who recently resigned without giving a reason. (Ms. Morris replaced Mike Sweeney, Mendocino County’s most interesting man.) Mr. Carlson was chosen by the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority Board last week. Apparently he is an “enviromental scientist” who previously worked for the California Office of Resource Recycling and Recovery (aka CalRecycle, formerly the Integrated Waste Management Board) in Sacramento. Our advice to the kid is play nice with Sweeney and, just to be on the safe side, he should also get a ten foot bamboo pole, affix a mirror at one end of it, and have a look at the under carriage of his vehicle every morning. A quick look under the driver’s seat is also recommended.

AS IT HAPPENS, a book writer just asked asked me for a paragraph on the Sweeney-Judi Bari interlude: 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; heterosexual white men generally. This 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 soon parlayed her alleged martyrdom at the hands of the mentioned forces into a winning federal lawsuit. The suit 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’s winnings in a Humboldt County pot farm. The FBI had much earlier 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 case 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 Northern California" news show, said that Bari had told him she was certain her ex-husband was responsible for the injuries she suffered in the 1990 bombing that finally killed her in 1997. By the time of the ’90 bombing, Sweeney, for years prior a cult Maoist, had reinvented himself as a grant funded (via the Democratic Party) recycler, parlaying that work into a sinecure for himself as a highly paid Mendocino County trash bureaucrat, and life goes on and on in Mendocino County where history starts all over again every day and you are whatever you say you are.

PROP. 57 UPDATE: There’s new information now available on the District Attorney web page ( 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 website,  click on prison commitments tab on left column, and then look for new category under 2017 called Prop 57: Expedited Release Inmates. All part of on-going efforts by DA Dave Eyster to make the functions of the DA’s Office useful to the general public.

COMPUTER MALFUNCTIONS prevented me from editing down the long, long story posted over the weekend 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 I wrote it. Abreu is one of the four deaths.

TWO of the three Fort Bragg kids who committed the tripartite killing in 2001 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 revise his sentence to bring it into line with his confederate’s sentences. 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 dead 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.  Even an articulate attorney would have a hard time convincing anybody of that one. The jury was out about an hour before they came back with a unanimous guilty verdict, and the boy was buried alive in state prison. Abreu's two associates 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 to Abreu by DA Norm Vroman. But the delusional Thompson 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 the pure sadism involved. 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 with him 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 court and its rigged appellate processes. Abreu’s 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 or knows anything about the case. 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

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. Sprinkle knew all three, one of whom was his former girlfriend’s daughter. 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 girl’s "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 PLACE, 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 shouldn’t add up to life in prison.

"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 also 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 beating and killing black people. This thing is based loosely, very loosely, on the infamous Algiers Motel murders that occurred during the riots. The confused movie 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." Hersey’s heirs, incidentally, wisely declined to sell the book’s movie rights to the people who made this thing.


(1) We won’t change. History has proven over and over again that societies in the midst of catastrophic collapse foolishly double down on the lunacy that got them there in the first place rather than come to grips with the painful change that might possibly save them, or at least minimize their collapse. But at this point, that ship has sailed as well. We’re committed to our current course of (in)action now, no matter what the consequences. Frantic, red-hot money-printing by the world’s big central banks have made it possible for very many people to ignore the unfolding reality. This “solution” is highly flawed because the imbalance such an excess creates will at some point be a whole new problem in and of itself, or some “Black Swan” event will throw the system into disarray. I think this will actually happen quite sooner than most folks here realize.

(2) The reckoning is indeed upon us. The real monkey hammering will happen in a few years when the fuel pumps run dry. The average person will freak, ask why the government isn’t helping them, and generally blame others for their situation. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. I thought we might be there already but demand destruction has helped to forestall the inevitable. More time to get gardens growing and cultivate plants and malleable minds is a welcome thing. I never thought I would think this way but given the current state of lack of accountability and moral decay in everything that this country once stood for, I will welcome this final decline into chaos.

(3) Bottom line is people elected a dick. They elected a dick because they thought a good strong dick could come in and kick ass. They elected a dick because when they were kids there were numerous big dicks in positions of power, and things were better then. Now that they have a dick in the White House, they can count on the president doing the “dick” thing whenever confronted with a problem. “What would a dick do?” That’s the only question that need ever be answered. “What would a dick do?”

(4) This liberal vs conservative thing, or to put it another way, the educated and enlightened vs the uneducated and unenlightened, or to put it another way, the diseased, cum-spattered Hollywood degenerate vs the wholesome, clean-living, pious church goer, or to put it another way, the America haters vs the proud American patriot, proved its utility as a diversion for the few decades it took a relative handful of super-wealthy and connected thieves to loot the vaults and demolish the American economy. But, as you said a while back, Kansas isn’t buying that bullshit anymore. They’re seeing thorough the smokescreens. Maybe Americans are liberal on the issues. Groovy. But how the fuck does that help make the rent? Surgically altered men in dresses and hormonally ravaged women with beards are a miniscule percentage of the population. A woman might need an abortion once in her life. Maybe. But she needs to eat everyday, preferably more than once a day. Michael Moore may be a smart guy but he needs to refocus his attention.

(5) 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.

(6) When Jesse Ventura ran as an Independent, he discovered he could get matching campaign funds–but only when the election was over.

When a homeless black man filed to run for the Senate, the media questioned where he got the money–but never asked why the filing fee was $30,000 in the first place. How many ordinary people, even with jobs, have that kind of money?

And lest you forget, Ralph Nader was tied to a chair outside so he couldn’t join in the presidential debates (which are controlled by both parties. They also continually refuse to include all third parties.

The entire system is rigged, so the only way to demolish it is from within.

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