Off the Record (Oct. 18, 2017)

by AVA News Service, October 18, 2017

LEGENDARY UKIAH STREET PERSON, Kelisha Alvarez, was in court Tuesday morning seeking a pass to get out of jail for an interview at a rehab program. She kept interrupting Judge Moorman to say she wanted to go check on her "home" while she was out on pass and get some of her "stuff" -- "You guys are all worried about your homes, but you don't care about mine!"


MS. ALVAREZ tried one of these programs before, her lawyer, Marci Baldock said, but they didn't have the right medications.

"That's not for her to decide,"  the judge said.

Ms. Baldock will have to call the program facility and arrange the interview, then the judge will decide whether to issue the pass.  If Kelisha gets into the program, then her sentencing on the violation of probation, now set for Oct. 19th, will be continued until she completes it — or otherwise. (Bruce McEwen)

INTERESTING post on nakedcapitalism called “The High Price of Cheap Cannabis” by Yves Smith. (Hat tip to Susie de Castro for pointing it out.) The part that got our attention was this item about Casey O’Neil of the California (pot) Growers Association which allegedly helps small pot growers. O’Neill now seems to have taken up with the enemy, Flow Kana aims to corner a big chunk of the emerging pot business by setting up a mega-processing, distribution and sales facility in Redwood Valley at the old Fetzer Winery.  Flow Kana is not under-capitalized; they paid upwards of 3 mil for Fetzer. Apparently O’Neill doesn’t consider Flow Kana “a threat” — “so far” to mom and pop growers.

I WAS RECENTLY FORTUNATE to have been included in a small-group tour of The Wild Gardens project at the Grace Hudson Museum, Ukiah. Led by the infinitely informed Sherri Smith-Ferri, the Museum's charming and patient director, I was thoroughly disabused of cynical preconceptions. I thought all the construction next door to the Hudson was aimed at bum-proofing the place. And I've had some harsh things to say about the museum, specifically its exclusion of all mention of the true early history of Mendocino County. Not to dwell on it, but Mendo was ground zero for the state-compensated massacre of our native populations, initiated by, of all people, California's first state supreme court justice, Serranus Hastings. (Boalt, of Boalt Hall, was nearly as murderous as Hastings, if not in fact certainly in intention. Depending on your opinion of the legal profession, both law schools may or may not be "appropriately" named.)

IMAGINE MENDO'S Edenic setting prior to the first white-native interface. Then imagine, say, the 600 or so residents of San Quentin's Death Row being handed guns and told, "Boys, head to Mendocino County where you can do whatever you want." Our noble pioneers, as celebrated at the Hudson and other local museums, arrived after Hasting's site prep, and if they disapproved, not much in the historical record says they did.

MURDEROUS CAVEATS ASIDE, I like the Grace Hudson and make a point of going to see the exhibits whenever they change. Simply driving by the Wild Gardens installation I'd assumed it was aimed at keeping Ukiah's outdoors leisure class, drink and drug subset, from annexing the Museum itself.

I WAS WRONG. The Wild Gardens are a kind of mini-re-creation of the plant and wildlife that pre-slaughter native populations lived from. With Smith-Ferri explaining what we were looking at, I fully realized for the first time how ingenious the first people were, inspiring the follow-up revelation of how well they managed what was their edible landscape without harming it. Knowing this stuff from books is one thing, seeing it is the real instruction. The Project is still being planted, but when it grows up and out and is fully complete, it will provide an essential ongoing lesson of what life was like over the thousands of years preceding State Street.

I SAID I thought HBO's new series, "The Deuce," got off to an unencouraging first episode, as in, "Why am I watching this?" I'd looked forward to it, especially given that the same people who gave us the brilliant "The Wire" were writing and producing "The Deuce."

A READER RESPONDED: "Give The Deuce another’s not easy to watch. It’s damn depressing, and that 70's looking film stock does not help; it puts me on edge. But Simon and Pelecanos write slowly, and like the Wire, they introduce a lot of characters all at once, and then flesh out everyone's story arc until things kinda coalesce. For me, any new show by David Simon is guaranteed to disappoint because I am always comparing it to The Wire, which I think is the best series ever. I don’t love The Deuce, but it just got interesting, in Episode 5 or 6."

I DID. And, uh, it continued bad, I would say, but artfully sordid, sometimes funny, but unrelievedly and gratuitously ugly.

DAVID MUIR, Mr. Sincerity at ABC News, looking very, very concerned for a guy with advanced degrees in faking it, said on the national tv news last week that the fires were going to get worse, and gosh was he ever sorry. I could tell Dave was worried sleepless because he scrunched up his face. And the equivalently phony Scott Simon of NPR, who could school morticians in unctuousness outdid himself in pure mawk over the weekend.

LIFE GOES ON. Fort Bragg convened a joint city council and planning commission meeting Monday night, 7pm, at Town Hall which, ironically given this week's events, wouldn't exist if the Cocaine Cowboys of '87 hadn't burned down the library and the old Ten Mile Justice Court. The meeting will discuss the Mill Site plan. (We’ll have a full account.)

I PREDICTED several months ago that Trump would be out by Christmas. He's right on track. Every day a new provocation. This system runs on the delusion that it's rational. Trump is living proof of how irrational it is. He's destabilizing the necessary bipartisan fantasy that it's not the grand Ponzi it is. The system needs a blandly non-threatening person at the helm, not a guy who blows it up every morning, although Orange Man gets high marks for sharpening the contradictions, as the commies used to say. Obama was the perfect System Guy, charming his way through 8 years of accumulating catastrophes, steadily doing his bit to add to them. But now? When you have people inside the administration publicly insulting Trump as a fucking moron (begging the question of what kind of fucking moron goes to work for him), the countdown to his removal has begun.

A DISTURBING STORY in the current New Yorker is called "Birth of a Supremacist" by Andrew Marantz. Marantz describes the intellectual descent of a liberally-raised shock jock, podcast division, called Mike Enoch. Enoch’s real name is Michael Peinovich. Enoch, and apparently many thousands of his fellow neo-fascists, says he'd been "programmed" by his parents and his schools to believe in universalism and equality but, after a long journey through the Jerky Boys, libertarianism, Chomsky, Trotskyism, and what-all, he had finally liberated himself from life as a "shitlib" to the truth of nazi-ism. He says liberals "are fucking religious fanatics. They believe in the equality of human beings like a Muslim believes that he has to pray five times facing Mecca, or like a Southern Baptist hates the devil... If you're a liberal, you've never thought twice, you've never reconsidered, you've absorbed what you were taught in the government schools and by the TV."

JUST A MINUTE THERE, Mr. Jackboot, this here shitlib, like my zillions of fellow shitlibs, certainly didn't wind up on the Left via the public schools. The schools, and most colleges, didn't even begin offering the flabby multi-cult curriculum until, what? 1980 or so? And when they did, what kid with even a crude hold on reality didn't know that the world outside the classroom bore no resemblance to the world inside the classroom? Left geezers of my vintage got to where we are by a combination of hard experience and our own reading, not by anything some hapless “libtard” of a school teacher taught us.

THE INTERNET fascisti have clearly gotten many thousands of cruel-minded, naive, haphazardly schooled young people believing similarly, and the fact that this Enoch character has thousands of followers should leave all us shitlibs prepared to engage them wherever and whenever we can.

SO FAR AS I'M AWARE, Mendo is relatively free of them — neo-fascists, not shitlibs. Shitlibs are coming in the windows on the Northcoast. I've argued with a couple of young, local doofi about their flying the Confederate flag, and from their replies they've obviously been tutored by on-line fascists. They aren't stupid, but nobody ever said fascism was led by dummies.

ONE PROB is that us shitlibs are so heavy on candy assed piety and irrelevant issues that the estranged young white boys turning to fascism don't hear from, ahem, lib-progs in terms they can relate to. "Yo, Numbnuts. That Confederate flag and that swastika going to get you a living wage?" Etc. I'm not crazy about the way Antifa operates, but I like the way they're taking the initiative against so-called white nationalism in lieu of aggressive opposition from the rest of us. There isn’t a family in this country who didn’t lose someone fighting fascism, and here we have these punks parading around with swastikas?

THE ODD CASE of Alan Flora. The number two man in the administration of Mendocino County has disappeared from Mendo's public employment rolls. And local life, although he apparently isn’t dead. When she was asked about Flora via e-mail, County CEO Carmel Angelo simply replied that he had gone. I wonder if the Supes and Angelo will now go Full Stalin by removing Flora's name and photos from all County documents. We'd assumed the guy was poised to succeed Ms. Angelo when she shuffles off into Marin's golden embrace, but here he is non-personed. We thought Flora had all the tools for the Boss Job, being smart, articulate, fully informed, and even charming. Of course Mendo being Mendo those qualities may also have doomed him, but still...

SAMPLE BALLOTS for the November 7th election have arrived. It's a one-item ballot, consisting only of the full text of Measure B and a supporting argument. No one, not even Jared Carter, wrote an opposing argument.  Our very own psych center would be funded from a half-cent bump on the sales tax for five years, and one-eighth of a cent thereafter. We get mental health facilities, which we assume is written facilities, plural, because of ancillary mental health efforts outside a central building, probably the old Howard Hospital in Willits. Of course as big spending shitlibs we're for it, but not because we harbor any illusions that the rising tide of local insanity will be entirely or even partially rolled back, but because an in-County facility other than the County Jail is much more humane and, overall, the County will be spared the huge expense of dispatching our severely mentally ill to distant facilities. The long-term answer to many of the walking wounded is the re-institution of state hospital systems, but given the national givens, that’s not even on the political agenda. The shrinks don’t make anyone better. All they do is juggle meds and shove the crazy person back out the door.

PEBBLES TRIPPET has written a lively mini-history of marijuana in Mendocino County, "a Mendocratic Perspective," she calls it. As the grand dame of the marijuana movement, Pebs is an advocate, of course, who views the downside of the movement as entirely due to marijuana's illegal status. But her pamphlet is valuable she says as "a Mendocratic Perspective" on the Emerald Triangle's primary export crop. Send her a couple bucks to get your own mendocratic perspective. Here's the intro: "With this book, we honor Mendocino County Sheriff Tony Craver (retired), a catalyst for respectful relations between law enforcement and the medical marijuana community. After Prop 215 passed, Tony formed an ID card program out of the sheriff's office, promising a fair shake and written garden site guidelines. Without his enlightened law enforcement approach respecting our rights we could not have had a working whole. In the Craver-Vroman era, collaboration between former adversaries was proven productive at Law & Medicine Working Together, at the Medical Marijuana Patients Union Conference 2004.”

The last address we have for Pebbles is at the Medical Marijuana Patients Union, PO Box 2059 in Fort Bragg.

MY HISTORY of marijuana in Mendocino County re Sheriff Craver would remember him as the first Mendo cop to realize that the pot brigades were not only numerous but they voted in large numbers. Taking a hard line against pot people was a sure way to get yourself un-elected.

A READER sends along the September 4th issue of Time magazine whose cover features a suited-up 10-year-old eyeballing an incoming pitch. The story is about the professionalization of youth sports, and we're talking little kids on traveling all-star teams whose parents spend a fortune on gear and instruction and travel. If you're like me you haven't been around youth sports for many years, and I hadn't been around them since my own children were Little Leaguers. But I had misgivings even about Little League. It seemed to me even in 1970 the fun had been removed from ball games by nutty parents and uniforms and a general regimentation. It's all gone much farther, and obsessive parents are much more obsessive, pushing children into adult regimens aimed at propelling Junior into the Bigs. Personal note: My grandson, age 6, is drawn to baseball and basketball. He's strong for his age and he's quick on his feet. He's already been recruited in to a special weekend class for little kids who are taught and drilled in the fundamentals by a former pro hoopster. Is it bad for him? No, he enjoys it. Will it get bad for him? It could if it goes hyper-competitive and he doesn't enjoy it. We'll see. It's half-cracked to even be discussing organized sports at his age, but Marin is teeming with youth teams for boys and girls, and I haven't seen any kid who didn't seem to be having a good time.

THE DRAMATIC SUICIDE last Wednesday (October 11th) in front of the North Coast Family Health Center in Fort Bragg has been identified as Jeff Bruning, a former doctor at Coast Hospital. Bruning, with horrified witnesses looking on, shot himself through the head with a scoped rifle at 5:20pm. Mrs. Bruning, a registered nurse, sits on the Hospital's board of directors.

MENDO COUNTY has settled a wrongful death suit in federal court with Joelle Burgess, daughter of the late, legendary Henry Burgess over the death of her mother Gloria while  Gloria was incarcerated at the Low Gap Rehabilitation Center.


We live in a dangerous time. People are angry, violent and more prone to engage in conduct that a generation ago would have been considered immoral and unethical if not illegal. Point in fact is aggressive and even reckless driving. More and more I see drivers refusing to follow traffic rules by tailgating, refusing to dim their high beam headlights, passing on the right, driving 20-30 mph over the speed limit, running red lights and driving vehicles with non-standard equipment. I see this more frequently with white male drivers behind the wheel of 6 ton behemoths that cost as much as some homes. Not long ago a woman was traveling on one of our interstate highways on her way home with 3 children in the car. A driver in a large “decked out” pickup decided she was not going fast enough and began to tailgate her. Frustrated because she would not speed up the driver tried to pass and clipped her bumper putting her car into a spin at 75 mph. The car spun around and ran off the road striking a tree and killing two of the occupants. The driver of the truck did not stop. He was pursued by other drivers but sped up to over 100 mph and was never caught. It’s not just driving. It is everything we do. More and more we refuse to be civil, polite and compassionate to each other. We deserve whatever is coming.

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