Off the Record (Nov. 8, 2017)
by AVA News Service, November 8, 2017
THERE WERE 17 of us watching the Supervisors last Tuesday morning, some of whom will surely agree that Tammy Moss Chandler and Nash Gonzales are doing a truly excellent job expediting the County's end of the massive reconstruction now beginning after the fires that devastated parts of Redwood and Potter valleys. They answered all questions this morning crisply to the point, referring those they didn't know the answers to to somebody who did. Theirs is not a simple task in the face of angry, frustrated often misinformed fire victims, but they got an all-purpose help center going at the Raley's shopping center on North State, Ukiah, and have almost seamlessly coordinated local help with the Corps of Engineers and FEMA. In fact the FEMA rep was present this morning, a certain Mr. Ball, to point out that FEMA has leased a number of hotel and motel rooms for displaced people with no other place to go. Our overall impression is that FEMA is getting better at the logistics of catastrophe, probably because there's been an accelerating number of them over the past decade.
A WOMAN WRITES: "Your harangue about LSD inspiring more of a rape culture, is hogwash! As a female, I can tell you the most common drug in a rapist's system is booze. Take another run thru Mad Men. Date Rape and martinis. … I don't like acid, personally, but there is no connection. I also blame the internet, providing porn of all kinds to every perv. Not to mention the notion of male entitlement. Even small local liquor stores have stacks of porn mags for sale. The hippy culture empowered females to fight back… Maybe you never used the ladies loo at our local bars, where hippy women would list sexual offenders on the wall. Sometimes a thrashing was necessary."
I SAID I thought the neo-prevalence of the "rape culture" was a combination of factors, including, as you say, internet pervery. I also said, in so many tedious statements of obvious historical social fact that may occur solely to me, that when I was a kid, circa the late Ice Age, ordinary men did not disrespect women, let alone mistreat them. I thought Mad Men seemed like an accurate picture of office life in the fifties, but I don't remember it depicting Harvey Weinstein-like assaults. Mad Men showed lots of leering advances, but not unwanted touching. Like every other male child of my formative years we were taught to honor and defend the dignity of women. Our fathers tipped their hats to women, opened doors for them, gave up their seats on the bus for women, threw down their London Fog raincoats over mud puddles for women. Teenage girls did not wear see-through tights and mogambo blouses to school. There were social standards. Lots of now-common public behavior practiced, say, in 1955, would have gotten the practitioner locked up. I'm not saying it was better then, but I am saying that when the great beast of human sexuality is unleashed, as it has been, expect criminal sexual behavior — lots of it.
ACID, at least in the experience of this 30-tripper, was not an aphrodisiac. Hippie males were all sexual predators because it was part of the great liberation from stuffy convention, right? Women paid the price, and seemed to assume being referred to as interchangeable "chicks" and "old ladies" was the natural price paid for the privilege of hanging out with unhygienic mumbling idiots. To me, the entire hippie interlude was a front-to-back bummer, and thank the goddess hippie kids had the good sense to do a 180 from the macrame-heads who raised them, er, check that: the macrame-heads who occasionally remembered to feed them until they got old enough to escape.
A FEMALE READER COMMENTS: "An expensive Bay Area high school hired a female principal who isn't even a bit afraid of enforcing a dress code. The previous male principal was, in her words, 'afraid to even look at a female student below her chin.' The new principal sends girls home all the time to change their clothes (in the face of many parent complaints). Men have a harder time in these entitled areas these days…"
THE MANAFORT INDICTMENT: A big bleeping ho, a bigger bleeping hum. You can't throw a rock in DC without hitting a bagman, and besides the whole charade is aimed at Orange Man, who even the FBI, a national political police force since its founding by a guy who wore dresses at night, may seem like pillars of rectitude to the uninformed but, like, since when? Orange Man being the target, why not go straight for him? And Hillary, too, while we're indicting crooks?
RECOMMENDED READING: "Empire of Pain" by Patrick Radden Keefe in the current (October 30) New Yorker, the definitive explication of the OxyContin epidemic, and especially interesting as it reveals the pharmaceutical drug pushers who market all the way up to the billionaire Sackler family, a family of pious frauds now pushing the drug in unsuspecting countries like Brazil and India.
THERE'S BEEN at least one arrest of a Ukiah doctor for opioid prescription fraud, but since the feds cracked down on the wholesale medical abuse of the drug, doctors are very careful about who gets the Oxys. These days, probably them and their friends but not everyone who asks for them.
MARK SCARAMELLA on his oxy experience: "When my brother was dying of prostate cancer in 2013 the drug store clerk required that I provide a handwritten prescription form from Hugh’s doctor and a formal notarized authorization from Hugh before I could pick up his pain pills. When he was in the nursing facility in Ukiah, the staff refused to give him any more pain pills than the doctor authorized, even though the doctor’s authorization was made when he was in much less pain before the cancer spread. It took to days of painful rigamarole to get the doctor to get the word to the nursing staff in the nursing facility to give my brother the number and strength of pain pills that he needed. Once this was set up so that the nurses could recommend dosage to the prescribing doctor, however, it became easier to increase the dosage as his condition worsened in the weeks before he died. When he got to the point that he couldn’t swallow any more, the nurses on their own recommended that he be switched to fentanyl patches and that was continued until his death. Hugh became increasingly delusional from the effects of the stronger and stronger drugs, but he didn’t appear to be in pain.”
A READER WRITES: “Being a young female in the sixties, it seemed there were more predators among the admen in Connecticut than the hippies I hung with in NY. Wife swapping was as prevalent as free love. Other sexual threats were gangs, frat boys, and some star athletes, guys who felt entitled. Maybe Mendocino had a broader spectrum of hippy demographics… There were clean, educated, married hippies who bought land, or paid rent, owned homes, kept an eye on their kids… Folks who made money elsewhere and dropped out, for a while anyway. Some started businesses here… Also teachers, professors, artists — and great music. If we weren't scuzzy, were we disqualified? It was the shared ideals of peace, love! Environmentalism, concerns about overpopulation. Non-conformists, anti-establishment, yadayada. Is it possible the Anderson Valley attracted more of the scabies-ridden crowd?”
OF COURSE there were hippies and then there were hippies, but my take away recollections of the Mendo counterculture period are the world class maniacs who sheltered here, secure in the prevalent Do Your Own Thing-Ism, five in Anderson Valley alone — Manson; Leonard Lake; Charles Ng; Tree Frog Johnson; Kenneth Parnell — and a host of lesser predators. I liked Mendo better when it was logging, fishing, farming, and the late Supervisor, John Cimolino, asking his fellow Supes during public expression as the late Richard Johnson approached the mike, "Do we really have to listen to these nuts?"
SPEAKING OF NUTS, today's mail brought a lengthy article sent in by a probably astounded Aptos reader called, "Wizard of Cruz — Santa Cruz's Oberon Zell is credited with kickstarting the modern pagan movement and continues to school wizards." Zell, natch, got rolling in Mendocino County at the Greenfield Ranch where he was a fast friend of mass murderer, Leonard Lake. He and Lake wowed the hippies by super-gluing a horn on a goat and calling it a unicorn. The hippie movement in Mendo, the more I think about it, was rather terrifying — no peace, less love.
WHEN I FIRST HEARD the terrible news I gasped and steadied myself against my desk. Sexual harassment at NPR? My gawd, has the world gone completely mad? And he's the boss man, too, and a former bigwig at the New York Times! Apparently these slavering, priapic monsters are everywhere! I can only hope that the management at Mendo Semi-Public Radio, Philo, has taken all necessary precautions against the libidinous beasts roaming its echo chamber.
JUDY VALADAO WONDERS, "With the millions of dollars being handed over for mental health care each year I would like to know how many have actually been helped or are getting the help that so many obviously need."
YOU'LL NEVER KNOW, Ms. V. None of us will. Auditing, such as it is, is all in-house, even when there is cursory supervision of public dollar-outflow. If someone has actually been helped, if his or her mental ship put back on course, that miracle has never been revealed. Pardon this gross generalization here, but myself, I've only met a couple of "helping professionals" who even seemed to possess ordinary human compassion; a whole bunch have been mentally troubled themselves, too screwed up to be of effective help to themselves, let alone anybody else. I could name a hundred people right here in the Anderson Valley whose sympathetic kindliness would make them much better at providing help for the mentally troubled than the master-degreed neurotics getting paid to do it. Mendocino County is badly managed; not all of it, but the mental health bureaucracy certainly is.
JEFF BLANKFORT WRITES: “I’m sending along this latest from Ray McGovern with a suggestion that you reconsider your long held position that the Warren Commission was right and that Oswald was Kennedy's assassin and acted alone.
I was never a supporter of Kennedy but smelled something wrong with the story from the beginning. Speaking from experience I know that as a defector to the USSR and then, as an all too visible "activist" for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans (of which he appeared to be the only member) and then becoming noticeably agitated when turned down for a visa at the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, there was absolutely no way he would have a job and still be working at the Texas State School Depository on the day of the assassination (or any other day) if he was not working for the federal government as a paid agent. This was at the height of the Cold War and the FBI made sure that people whom it considered to be subversive, and Hoover had 17 million in his files, would have a hard time getting and keeping their jobs and he did that by having FBI agents visit their places of employment and urging their bosses to fire them. Under the circumstances there is no way that Oswald would have a job with a Texas state institution unless someone in the FBI or the CIA wanted him to have it. The book that McGovern praises by James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, Why He Died and Why it Matters, is the very best book on the subject that I have read and recommend you read it as well if the subject still grabs you."
ED REPLY: I'm going to get the book and I'm going to reconsider and report back. The case still fascinates me, as it does millions of people. Of course the "intelligence community" was, at a minimum, fully aware of Oswald, especially at that time ('59-'63), and Oswald was certainly a shooter if not the shooter, and someone was funding him, and and and… Yeah, I'm reconsidering. But there were some unlikely dudes moving around in left circles in those days, including the Americans who fought with Castro in Cuba like William Morgan. Morgan was in Cuba's early command structure but later executed by Guevara as a spy for Yankee imperialism. Interesting guy who inspired an interesting book by Michael Sallah called “The Americano: Fighting with Castro for Cuba’s Freedom. Morgan and Che Guevara were the only foreigners elevated to commandante status.
ABDICATING RESPONSIBILITY, EXHIBIT A: Fort Bragg City government announces: "The Fort Bragg City Council would like you to be a part of the recruitment for the new City Manager. The executive recruiter selected by our City Council, Phil McKenney, of Peckham & McKenney, has agreed to review your comments and will use this background information in his screening process. Comments will be accepted until Monday, November 20th, 2017. We thank you for taking the time to help the recruitment efforts. Click on the link to leave your comments as to what qualifications and experience you think our next City Manager should have."
ELECTED PEOPLE are supposed to select a city manager, not a headhunting firm which, in any case, will ignore citizen input, assuming some people will be saps enough to participate in the survey the mercenaries get paid to conduct. The headhunters are paid wayyyyyy too much public money to do what the city council is elected to do. Besides which, there are at least two perfectly capable women in the present apparatus qualified to assume the job. Why go through the expense and charade of a disinterested search, which will mean some poor dupes will pony up all their bona fides, appear for interviews, etc. while the headhunting firm wires the job for some pal of theirs. Fort Bragg gets ripped off more than any municipality its size anywhere, although Ukiah, for its size, is right up there as victims of civic larceny. Point Arena, of course, gets mugged on a daily basis and, per capita, is victimized by their government at a higher rate than, perhaps, any population of Americans anywhere in the country.
THAT WAS QUITE A SALES PITCH County CEO Carmel Angelo and SICPA* VP Alex Spellman made on KZYX with Cannabis Hour Host Jane Futcher on Thursday morning. Angelo and Spellman were touting their Track & Trace scheme they’re trying to sell to local pot growers trying to go legal. We wonder if the CEO and/or Spellman kicked back something to KZYX for the air-time? The show was an hour-long infomercial that made SICPCA seem like the best thing since Purple Kush.
FOR YEARS Mendo pot was sold in extremely high volume for extremely high prices and nobody questioned the claims about where it came from or who grew it, how it was grown, who packaged it, how many guns they owned, whether it was stolen or not.
FOR MOST of those same years grape growers were a legal version of the same thing: The grape grower, bottler, and marketer stuck clever names and beautiful labels on their bottles that said the drink was made from this specific grape, that appellation, this brand and so on. The claims on the labels largely determined the price, yet seldom did anybody doubt those claims because a) nobody could really tell the difference, b) there are laws that supposedly regulate it, and c) the retail wine buyers have no idea what goes on during growing or processing and generally don’t want to know.
SO HERE COMES MENDO’s own version of Track & Trace for dope which is supposed to keep track of Mendo pot from farm to table. Why are pot growers subject to an onerous pedigree system when grape growers are not? Why do people assume that grape growers are truthful, pot growers need to be tracked and traced?
AFTER THE OPENING sales pitch about how SICPA’s expensive Track & Trace system is a boon to the pot business — pot growers are required to use it as part of the permuting process — Ms. Futcher asked a few questions, which were replied to as if the entire process was no more complicated than sending a UPS package.
CALLERS were skeptical. Why wasn't SICPA’s system not chosen as the statewide Track & Trace program by the State of California if it’s so cool? How will SICPA interface with the state's version of track and trace? Why will local growers have to pay for two track&trace systems? How will people with slow or no internet (e.g., Covelo) use it? Will retailers retain the Mendo label, and so on.
IMAGINE the confusion if Mendo had its own alcohol and wine rules different from Sonoma which was different than Napa which was different than Lake County. In Napa you can grow x grapevines on y acres with Napa’s own grape tracking system, but in Mendo you need more acreage and pesticide training, but less paperwork. Etc.
IT’S A FUNDAMENTAL error, and it dooms Mendo's track and trace to allow each County in California to have its own rules about this branch of statewide ag.
TOWARD THE END OF THE SALES PITCH, Noel Manners of Covelo told Angelo and Spellman that not only was the system hard to connect to in remote Covelo, but that the few growers who are using it have to have one employee dedicated to Track & Trace because it’s so hard to use and time consuming. Instead of answering the question, Angelo and Spellman simply thanked Mr. Manners for the feedback, saying that they plan to work the feedback into their “future development plans.” Angelo, who seems more estranged from reality by the week, added that pot growers can use the WiFi at the Library!
HOST OF THE PROGRAM, Ms. Futcher, wanted to know if the Sheriff would have access to the Track & Trace data. Ms. Angelo again hedged: “Right now, the only three departments that have access to that data are Ag, the Executive Office and the Treasurer.”
“RIGHT NOW”? We'll take that as a "If the cops demand to see it, well, uh, gee, they're here with a warrant and…”
A CLEAR-THINKING caller summed up. “I’ve heard the words, Hope and Believe and Our Goal and Absolutely many times, but you’ve hardly answered the questions at all.” Jane Futcher, sounding chastened, said, “Sorry.” (Mark Scaramella)
*WE DON’T KNOW what the acronym SICPA stands for. They're one of the a computer software outfits that has developed a track and trace program several of whom have proposed their individual systems to California and to the many California counties. According to their website: “Founded in 1927 and headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, SICPA is a privately owned company providing secured identification, traceability and authentication solutions and services. Today, SICPA is an international organisation with offices and factories on five continents. With around 3,000 staff of over 50 nationalities, we provide technologies and services in more than 200 countries around the world. We are a trusted security provider and adviser to governments, central banks, high-security printers and industry. The company is organised around three global businesses: security inks; government security solutions; product and brand protection solutions. The executive management team of SICPA, together with several group functions, are based in the Lausanne Headquarters.”
UKIAH NAMED one of the top hippie towns in the country, the Chron doing the naming: “Ukiah is near the start of the ‘Emerald Triangle,’ the three Northern California counties long known as the world’s best marijuana-growing region. Ukiah is the largest city in Mendocino County and is home to a few popular hot springs and the City of 10,000 Buddhas, an international Buddhist community and monastery which is open to visitors and includes a vegetarian cafe. The allure of weed, and the recent successful legalization efforts, have fueled a land rush in most areas of the Emerald Triangle, starting in Ukiah.”
AT BOOK PASSAGE in Corte Madera, I asked the lady clerk in the new book section who the guest speaker was that the store was advertising to appear that very day. She said, "He's very big on YouTube." So are cat videos, I didn't say, but YouTube has become a book store standard? No, I had no idea who the alleged author was. I was trying to think of an author I'd make an effort to see in person, but couldn't think of one. The last one I made an effort to see was V.S. Naipul at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco. He read from one of his Biswah novels for 45 minutes then took one question from the full house: "How do you like America, Mr. Nipple?" Naipul replied, "I like it," and walked off the stage. I could hardly blame him, but the three or four other writers I've seen at the Herbst did the the same thing, read from their latest book, took a few questions that required rote answers, and walked off with a big check and a pocketful of cash from book sales in the lobby.
DAVE SMITH recommends "How to live in your car on $800 a month." I do, too. The ingenious older woman who manages a comfortable life out of her car is probably a lot more together than most of the homeless and has delivered a how-to that shows how to make a virtue of the necessity facing thousands of people. Of course her life isn't pegged to drink and drugs, but for anyone with their wits about them the car lady shows how you can liberate yourself from the landlord class. https://youtu.be/b0EoyTzcFOI
ADMIT IT, YOU LAUGHED: “If he wants to live his life as an old lady, fine” — OJ Simpson takes a swipe at former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner after she claimed she knew the football star was guilty of murdering his ex-wife
DOOMSDAY thinking is now fairly widespread, and small wonder given the daily deluge of bad news. A reader passes along this paragraph from, I think, the Daily Beast.
"The apocalypse is on so many people's minds that an article in the New York Times Style section cheekily detailed survivalist must-haves for the "swelling class of weekend paranoiacs." Could that be you? Just remember, if you've got apocalypse on the brain, you're not alone. For company, just head over to Reddit and check into dozens of "prepper" threads. Getting ready for total social meltdown and the ensuing chaos depends, of course, on where we live and what we can afford. For the real preppers, stocking up on canned goods is only the beginning. You need to be seriously ready when the government fails and total anarchy ensues. Do you know how you will take care of yourself?"
NO. Probably because I lack imagination, but whatever the nature of the apocalypse, short of nuclear, in which case there is no viable prep, things probably won't break all the way down. Boonville, and small towns everywhere, are good places to be because you're among people you know, only a few of whom you'd have to shoot on sight as a precautionary survival measure. I would hope to be in Boonville rather than Marin, though. From the grim looks on the faces of the people behind the wheels of the mammoth vehicles Marin people drive they'll go feral real fast.
118 PAGES OF MENTAL HEALTH GIBBERISH describing their programs and plans in the County’s recently released “Mental Health Services Act Three Year Program And Expenditures Plan 2017-2020,” (available on line) and not one word about their “clients,” what kinds of conditions they suffer from, what “treatments” they receive,” how many people are in various categories, no reports of people served or denied, nothing about inpatient days, outpatient release plans completed, no plans to manage or track any of the programs described at excruciating length to see if they do any good… Instead, this meaningless paperwork is typical of what the County pays more than $26 million for every year:
THE APPOINTMENT of Carly Dolan to the Mendo Superior Court bench, an inside-the-Courthouse assessment: "She’s smart, hard working, single mother of two. Her husband Jason Dolan, son of the Paul Dolan, died a few years ago of a rare lung disease. I’d describe her as quiet but personable, diligent and easy to deal with. Less clear about her lawyerly skills. I mean she’s been working under Ms. Thompson in the Public Defender's Office.. Law enforcement probably favored the other contender, former Deputy DA Shannon Cox who is now in the County Counsel’s Office."
HARV READING, applying his strict vigilance for left deviationism on our website (theava.com), writes: “Dress codes are just another way of brainwashing kids into mindless obedience, and unquestioning respect for patriarchal authority, with the goal of ensuring that the kids become good little unquestioning, low-wage employees. Such monstrosities as dress codes, the mythology that is taught as history, and the other subjects taught to some standardized test written by middle class white people, society ensures that independent thought is stifled at an early age. On the bright side, it is a temporary situation, and will end soon, with the extinction of the species. The kids have the wisdom to see that, despite all the brainwashing."
WHILE we await extinction, and assuming most of us still think the function of the schools is to instill minimal facility with one's native tongue and the ability to perform a few basic math functions, school uniforms would spare the principal a lot of time haggling with hormonal teens over "appropriate" dress — sexually provocative dress by girls, and gang colors, sags, etc. by boys, all of which are major classroom distractions. And dress codes save parents a lot of money they don't have to spend caving in to their children's fashion demands.
HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY, as its taught in Mendo anyway, seems to be a kind of purplish jumble heavy on ol' Whitey's crimes, although I spotted a kid writing (copying) a paper on the Wobblies not long ago. I asked her who the Wobblies were. She said she could care less, that she had to do it to pass the class. The grim fact is, out of any public high school graduating crop, most of the grads will be lucky to land a job that will get them a thirty-year, flex mortgage.
HOWEVER, and as a Doomer, I think we're in a countdown to some serious upset, a violent actualization of the pervasive bad feeling out there, not to mention an inevitable collapse of the giant grift called the financial system. Throw this in with accelerating natural disasters and the Big Picture grows darker and darker.
JUST IN FROM the Independent Coast Observer (Gualala): "Mendocino governing agencies find Grand Jury's claims biased." Which is exactly what Mendocino County's governing agencies have said ever since Jim Jones was Grand Jury foreman back in, what? … '74? The fundamental problem is that the GJ's appointing judges permit the county's bureaucracies' non-responses, or allow them to say the GJ is biased without identifying the bias. In the case of the historically mis-managed Mendocino County Recreation and Park District, and its arrogant and unaccountable board of directors to accuse the GJ of "bias" is the usual Mendo blaming of the messenger.
THE SUPERVISORS are spending $844,000 to beat back the mold and do other repairs at the County Museum in Willits where a new regime is in place. Allison Glassey was compelled to resign as director of the Museum for financial improprieties. Glassey, a long-time administrator for the County, was installed in the Willits job seemingly as her reward for keeping certain County skeletons behind nailed closet doors. The ethically flexible Glassey, who stalled hiring of a qualified curator for the years she presided over the seldom visited collection, will (finally) be replaced by a bona fide curator. We've agitated for a centralized collection of Mendo stuff for years, a tripartite recognition of some kind that linked the Held-Poage, the Grace Hudson, and the County collection at Willits. And throw in the fascinating trove of court cases a-mouldering in the Courthouse basement; the old handwritten accounts of civil and criminal cases from yesteryear is, so far as we know, unexplored.
THESE DAYS, Library Director Karen Horner is nominally in charge of the Museum, but Janelle Rau of the Executive Office is also involved. The Bartleys are off the payroll and out the door and, we hear, not happy about it. Glassey hired the Bartleys but for what purpose is not known. They were given a room in the museum and, as far as anyone knows, they worked only on projects they were interested in. Once Glassey was put on administrative leave it became obvious that she and the Bartleys were running the Museum into the ground financially. Instead of being paid her full salary and benefits to stay home month after month, Glassey quickly resigned. We understand that when she was confronted with evidence of her questionable financial dealings she resigned on the spot.
SLEAZIEST LETTER to the editor ever? “As I anguish with friends, neighbors and countless others over the wildfire catastrophe that has devastated major urban concentrations, towns and isolated communities throughout northern California, I am tormented by the realization that year in and year out our country’s armed forces inflict this same kind of horrific tragedy, and much worse, on millions of civilians around the globe. Russell H. Bartley, Fort Bragg”
BARTLEY’S LETTER appeared in Sunday's Ukiah Daily Journal under the Journal's title, "Destruction Everywhere." Gee, I hope you've been able to get some sleep, Russ, with all that anguish and torment. But really, taking advantage of local tragedies for a cliched shot at American imperialism? Apples and oranges, dude.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Kevin Spacey is gay, always has been. He got drunk and propositioned a teenage actor. Teenage actor is now a 40 something. Kevin claims he doesn’t recall the incident. He apologizes to said actor. And admits the reason he was attracted to said actor in first place is that he is gay. Not sure why his admission he is gay, which is no big surprise, is so insulting to gay community. It’s not like gay men aren’t above such behavior as any other man. Or woman for that matter. He should be given credit for owning up to it regardless that he doesn’t remember a specific night. I believe him when he says he doesn’t remember. And the anti-gay peeps are always gonna point to any gay man and say he’s a pedophile. That’s their sorry lot. Whoever you are, if you screwed up, own it and make amends. Final summation: Kevin Spacey still has my vote for president.