Off the Record

by AVA News Service, August 12, 2010

THE BOOK STORE, Fort Bragg, will be closed by the middle of September. It's bad news when any book store closes; it's doubly bad news to lose this one, the oldest in Mendocino County and a treasure trove of hard-to-find books, local history, ephemera, and unusual pieces of art. Jennifer Wolfman started out on Franklin, then moved to 223 E. Redwood where she has remained for many years. I've spent many happy hours browsing her stacks, as have all us Mendo book people, and I'm sorry to see the end of what was, for many of us for many years indeed The Book Store. Beginning Thursday (12 August), books are 30% off; the following week 40%; doomsday week 50%.

HOW TO TELL an election is coming up: Barbara Boxer dispatched a couple of staffers to Ukiah to meet with constituents last Monday "between 3 and 5pm." Everyone except the Senator was at work, of course, but it's the thought that counts. And I'll bet Boxer's office had to do a MapQuest to find Ukiah.

LOTS OF GRUMBLES about the Mime Troupe's ticket prices when the Troupe appeared in Point Arena recently. Thirty bucks at the door? For everyone, including the kids?

SIX VALLEY VIEW Skilled Nursing Center employees were arrested last week for elder abuse – suspicion of elder abuse, that is. As some kind of weird prank the Valley View Six allegedly greased up several dementia cases to make them "slippery" for colleagues working the next shift. Valley View's management turned the six in.

EVER VISIT Valley View? Makes Dante's Hell look like Schat's Bakery, not that staff should be getting laughs at the expense of the poor souls confined to that depressing dump. But it's a crime in itself, simply for existing. Surely you're aware that in the civilized countries of the world the elderly are cared for in their homes, with their families getting the help they need to care for their senile elderly from their governments, for which care the citizens of the civilized countries pay high rates of taxation in return for their civilized ways of living. Not here. Soon as old Granma starts talking crazy and wetting her bed she's off to Valley View, but you'd be doing the old girl a big favor if you simply took her out back and put a bullet in her head.

IS THIS a good idea? Speaking of how she performs her duties as Mendocino County’s Chief Executive Officer to Fort Bragg Advocate-News reporter Connie Korbel, CEO Carmel Angelo said, “Part of embracing a job is really getting to know the people socially. It always helps when you work together. I enjoy having people in my home. You can really make connections and talk about things that can benefit that you don't talk about in the interruptive office setting.”

MS. ANGELO doesn't invite line staff over for wine, cheese and huggsy-wuggsies. She entertains her peers, her fellow managers, none of whom are in any danger of losing their jobs. If CEO Angelo were hosting line staff it would be, "Come on over," said the spider to the fly. "We'll have a few drinky winkies then, first thing Monday morning, I'll chop your head off."

FRED GARDNER writes of the recent arrest of the legendary Dennis Peron in San Francisco: "The raid on Dennis's Cozy Castro Castle was not entirely about weed. Among the people he puts up are troubled youths. Many of them are tweakers, some of them are hustlers of one kind or another. Everyone on the premises was arrested (twelve in all) including the apparent landlord. It's true that the August 4, 1996 raid on Dennis's cannabis buyers' club by the Bureau of Narcotics was intended to influence the Prop 215 vote (and backfired, thanks to Doonesbury).  But I doubt very much that this one was intended to influence Prop 19. I doubt with less conviction that the timing of the raid — just as the Castro was celebrating Vaughn Walker's ruling that a ban on same-sex marriage in unconstitutional— was coincidental. (Not that it had been a night of celebration for Dennis. He has a word for friends who get married:  "SIGS." It stands for "straight-identified gays.") Those who scold Dennis for allowing young hustlers to hang out at his house should bear in mind that many of these kids have experienced  starvation and would otherwise be sleeping in alleyways. Some will say the episode proves the wisdom of those who usurped the leadership from Dennis in '96.  I say being driven out of the leadership was profoundly demoralizing and led to his present situation. The charges, which have been dropped, involved running a house where drugs, including marijuana and methamphetamine, were used. Dennis has yet to see the search warrant. He did not have a lawyer. He has not fully recovered from the stroke he had in LA in February (approx).  Still slurring his words and maybe not thinking clearly...   He did not have a seizure during the raid but says he couldn't breathe. He'd been having trouble breathing and had gone to the ER the day before the raid and been given inhalants, etc. Twelve people were arrested at the house —'including one guy they pulled off the street,' says Dennis... He thinks the timing was SFPD's way of commemorating the 1996 raid."

CAN THIS MARRIAGE BE SAVED? According to the Sheriff's Department's press release, "On August 6, 2010 at approximately 2:45pm, Mendocino County Deputies responded to the 3100 Block of North State Street regarding a domestic dispute. When deputies arrived on scene they contacted the female adult victim. The victim reported that her ex-husband, Paul Baughman, had rammed his vehicle into the rear of the vehicle the victim was in and had threatened her while holding a large knife. They also learned that suspect Baughman had their children in his vehicle during the incident. Baughman was located at about the 3800 block of North State Street and taken into custody. He was then incarcerated at the Mendocino County Jail with bail set at $30,000.

ALBION'S NAOMI KERWIN, 76, went for a walk with her dog Rosie last Saturday and didn't come back to her Albion Ridge Road home. She was found alive and well off Road J about 7 Monday evening, apparently none the worse for two full nights outdoors. About 18 months ago Ms. Kerwin and Rosie disappeared under similar circumstances. That time they were found after one long, cold night out, her faithful Rosie huddled against Ms. Kerwin to keep her master warm and safe. by Doug Roycroft and Ms. Kerwin's tenant, a man identified only as Mike found their wandering neighbor that time, and that time too Ms. Kerwin was just off J Road. Ms. Kerwin's latest disappearance last weekend resulted in an all-out search involving some 160 people, including an inmate crew from Parlin Fork, Sonoma and Marin search and rescue teams, CalFire, police dogs, search planes, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department, and the CHP. "J Road," Doug Roycroft tells us, "is a logging road and is unused except by hikers and bicyclists. I take my dog there so he can run off leash. The searches went through the night.... they divided a map into grids and looked everywhere. This must cost a bundle! Her son is here, arrived yesterday afternoon. She was only wearing a light windbreaker, not good to be lying in the forest on the ground. Yes, Naomi has grown senile, don't know if it's Alzheimer's or not. I take her trash to the dump and she often forgets that she's already paid the dump bill in advance and tries to pay me again when I bring her cans back. I hope they fit her with a tracking device. It will save a lot of grief. They put one on my autistic grandson, and it sure is a comfort, because he can be gone in a flash and does not talk. I hope I don't outlive my wits. I aspire to be shot by the jealous husband of a teen aged bride when I'm 101."

FOR YOUR FRAUD FILES, I submit the following annotated press release from the Bari Cult, extended comment to follow with my annotations in parentheses: "Oakland- Just after the 20th anniversary of the May 24, 1990 car bombing and attempted frame up of Northern California Earth First! organizers Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, attorneys Dennis Cunningham and Ben Rosenfeld filed a motion in Oakland Federal Court at 4pm on August 4, to prevent the FBI from destroying two sets of bomb remains and to allow those remnants to be turned over to Cherney for DNA and other forensic testing to determine the identity of the bomber. (Cherney is the repository of this evidence? Being a key guy in Not Finding The Bomber, he hardly inspires confidence.) The case stems from the FBI and Oakland Police attempts to pin the bombing on the victims rather than look for the terrorist who tried to kill Judi Bari by placing a motion-triggered pipe bomb hidden under the driver's seat of her Subaru station wagon. (The cops prematurely charged the dynamic duo, then, suspiciously soon thereafter, the FBI said it couldn't investigate further because no one would talk to them, as if cops stop investigating crimes because the crooks won't talk to them. The FBI did make it clear that they thought the husband did it.) The explosion interrupted a musical organizing Earth First! roadshow that Bari and Cherney were on, heading to UC Santa Cruz to perform on that fateful day. Oakland police and FBI agents declared Bari and Cherney as the only suspects despite proof of dozens of death threats provided to FBI and OPD on the day of the bombing and despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. (There has never been evidence of "dozens of death threats," and if either the ace sleuths of the Oakland PD and FBI or the Bari-ites have them they've never made them public. I knew Judi Bari quite well and I was aware of maybe five threats, none of them any more menacing than what a newspaper gets in a good week.) Bari and Cherney's successful civil rights lawsuit, filed in 1991, claiming their First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the FBI and Oakland Police falsely arrested them and illegally searched their homes and arrested them instantly--all in order to silence their activities to organize protests to protect ancient redwood forests via the Redwood Summer 1990 campaign. (The civil rights suit was a scam of almost breathtaking proportions. Carefully co-edited by Bari and Cunningham and their federal government co-dependents to exclude mention of who might have done the bombing, the suit made Cherney rich enough to buy a ranch outside Garberville and to hand Bari's two already wealthy daughters a couple of million on top of their family inheritances. The lawsuit was sold to the Pacifica Network Gullibles as somehow beating back the police state while doing something for the forests when in fact it benefited three private individuals while it shoved a few bucks at self-certified "activists" like Karen Picket, Tanya Brennan and Noelle Hanrahan, all of whom took a nice whack of the fund raising., which went on for years.) The events took place in a highly charged year. It was the 20th anniversary of Earth Day and a ballot initiative--Forests Forever (Proposition 130) would have reformed logging practices by banning clearcutting, preserving ancient forests and endangered species and expanded stream protection zones among other proposed policies. The timber industry seized advantage of the bombing case to state that the initiative was supported by terrorists. It was defeated by just over one percentage point in a major setback for environmental protection advocates. (Pure fantasy. The timber corporations had perfect foils in Earth First! Nothing like a bunch of jive hippies occasionally running around logging sites harassing loggers to advance the corporate clearcut of Mendocino County. Which is what happened. The timber corporations looted the Northcoast and ran. Would Prop 130 have made any difference? We can't know, but by the time the millionaire environmentalists got it on the ballot much of the damage had already been done.) Darryl Cherney, Bari's fellow organizer and her passenger in the car, has continually conducted his own investigation, with Bari until her 1997 passing from breast cancer, and subsequently on his own. (There's bullshit and there's bullshit. This statement is pure bullshit. Cherney said if the phony baloney federal defamation lawsuit was successful he'd post a big reward for the perp. It was successful, but instead of posting a reward he bought himself a pot farm in Garberville. He and Bari hammered the FBI as a fundraising strategy, knowing that any implication of FBI villainy is pure gold among the Pacifica types. There was never a serious effort to find the bomber who, as a Mendocino County bureaucrat and resident of Running Springs Road west of Ukiah, was eminently findable.) Up to the present moment he has engaged in collecting and testing evidence in a relentless pursuit (har de har) of the bomber the FBI appears intent on burying the identify of. (As does Cherney and the rest of the Bari Cult.) A letter taking credit for two bombings, including the bomb in Bari's Subaru, signed "The Lord's Avenger," provided detailed information of the design of a bomb that barely went off at the Louisiana Pacific sawmill in Cloverdale, CA as well as the one in Bari's car. The bomb in Cloverdale is nearly in tact (sic), has much duct tape and other materials that could provide DNA and fingerprints that could be most helpful in identifying the culprit. (Er, which hadn't occurred to you twenty years ago?) FBI and Oakland Police conducted no testing of any kind--not even fingerprint comparisons--to determine who bombed Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney. (Cherney did have the DNA on the Lord's Avenger Letter tested. It came up male and female, as if a man had licked the stamp, a woman the seal, not that the samples were in those proportions. If a law enforcement agency would confirm these results then match them against the DNA of the most likely suspects, it would be case closed. The FBI should certainly not be allowed to destroy anything related to this case. As a side note here, I'd lent Bari my bullhorn. It was in her Subaru the day her ex-husband blew her up. It's now part of the evidence, I suppose.) A jury awarded the two--in Bari's case, to her estate--$4.4 million which was later settled post-trial for $4 million plus two other conditions. (Which is not the pretext on which the money was raised to bring the case; the Bari-ites said it would go to saving the forests and reining in the blue meanies, and the left-lib chumps, among whom there is no longer a cognitive surplus, duly chipped in somewhere between 2-4 mil to pay the Cunningham crew to get the thing into court strictly as a defamation suit. Exactly how much money was raised – under non-profit auspices – we won't know. A lot of it was cash and Pickett, Cherney and Bari opened the mail.) That the evidence be turned over to Cherney, and that May 24, 1990 be proclaimed Judi Bari Day by the city of Oakland, which did, in fact, occur; and that any evidence the FBI seeks to destroy by claiming it is contraband, has to first be run by the plaintiffs in order to give them a chance to motion for its preservation, which is what occurred by the filing of this motion on August 4."

TWENTY YEARS later nobody wants to find the bomber except me and Irv Sutley, the man the Bari Cult has tried to pin it all on. If the bomber, i.e., Sweeney, were arrested, the Bari-ites would have to give the money back, and Sweeney would tell the world all about what was really happening during Redwood Summer. Neither the Bari-ites nor the feds can afford that. It's that information, I believe, that keeps Sweeney out of prison. As Judi often said, "My ex-husband is the smartest man I know." Cunning, but not quite smart enough. If his bomb had exploded as designed, Bari would have died, not lived to pretend her ex hadn't done it. (She told Steve Talbot of PBS that Sweeney had done it, as Talbot subsequently confirmed on Belva Davis's This Week In California public television program.) Sweeney can still bring a lot of people down, including, I'm convinced, the FBI agents active on the Northcoast in 1990, which is how he has eluded perp status all these years. Gotta hand it to the little guy. So far he's pulled off the perfect crime.

I THOUGHT something might be up on the Bari case when Cherney started squeaking about how he was still out there looking for the bomber, carpooling, I supposed, his search with Scott Peterson and OJ until Scott and OJ went off to jail and poor Darryl had to go it alone. And then the perp, the biggest elephant in the smallest room ever, Mike Sweeney, pops up on Mendocino County's roster of people permitted to carry concealed weapons. Always a couple of steps ahead, Sweeney's getting ready. For something. And here's hoping it's Officer Hoyle with a federal warrant. Sweeney, as maybe five of you know – everyone else is either dead or drops off to sleep at the first mention of the alleged mystery – is Mendocino County's top garbage bureaucrat, although he has a long history of being in the immediate proximity of bombs and murders all the way back to the 1960s when he began life as a Stanford Maoist. By 1990, when he built the bomb that finally killed his ex-wife seven years later after it exploded beneath her, Little Mike wasn't just any old ex-husband – he and Judi had blown up a hangar at the old Navy airfield in Santa Rosa in 1980, and before that Little Mike was with Venceremos, the Venceremos that segued into the SLA. Sweeney knows more about violence than most Middle East vets, but even by Mendocino County's amnesiatic standards his reinvention of himself is truly spectacular. And Judi Bari? She married the guy, and told lots of us she was afraid of him. But when she hired the late Susan B. Jordan to go to the FBI with a request for partial immunity from prosecution, knowing who bombed her and why, Judi Bari was not just another female victim of male violence; she was a living relic of the murderous legacy of the 1960s. The FBI turned down her request because, they said, you can't get a promise of immunity from prosecution while you're a suspect in a federal crime.

SUPERVISOR JOHN McCowen, then and now a shield and shill for Sweeney, stopped arguing about the case when I asked him, "McCowen, you lying sack of guano you, what was your relationship with the FBI in 1990? Did they rent your premises at 106 West Standley as their Redwood Summer listening post?"

McCowen, who hung around with Earth First! and lent his property near the mouth of the Navarro as a so-called base camp for Earth First!, became uncharacteristically silent. Sweeney had his own keys to the Mendocino Environmental Center, and he was there the day Judi conveniently parked out front. Sweeney slipped the bomb under her driver's seat and Judi drove south to Oakland where it exploded the next day.

IF YOU REALLY want to irritate me, walk up and say, "Gee, Bruce, I just can't believe Mike Sweeney would do something like this?" As if your credulity ends the discussion. And there are all kinds of people popping off about the case who simply don't know what they're talking about, haven't bothered to inform themselves, pay no attention to the arguments. (Our side's case can be found at theava.com. I defy you to put it up against their side's.) So, why doesn't Sweeney sue me? He says (1) I'm not sue-able because I don't own anything and (2) my rich nephew would pay my legal bills. Sweeney could get an injunction against me at virtually no cost to himself if he could show a local judge that I'm lying about him, which he can't, which is why he doesn't try. The last place the crafty little psycho wants to find himself is in court under oath. And if you believe my nephew would pay my legal bills, well, only in Mendo and KPFA could Sweeney find anybody who believed that.

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