Off the Record
by AVA News Service, August 18, 2010
FIRST THINGS FIRST: What's wrong with Lincecum? Imagine yourself at age 22 suddenly nationally famous then, at age 25, a multi-millionaire. And single in San Francisco. It could throw a guy off his fastball. I thought maybe Tim was on the pipe a little too often to stay all the way focused on getting the ball over the plate with his previously unhittable stuff on it. Todd Walton thought maybe Lincecum wasn't on the pipe enough. Which is also possible, especially with an introspective personality like his who seems to need to stay loose to function. Considering that Doc Ellis, a multi-substance abusing man throughout his major league career, once pitched a no-hitter loaded on acid, an unprecedented feat memorialized in an hilarious YouTube cartoon, and the ballplayers of yesteryear often played drunk or seriously hungover, maybe Lincecum should be encouraged to toke it up like he did before he got so famous and so rich and all the pressure on him to become The Man for the Giants came down on his sensitive head. Maybe the bluenoses and the puritanical jock brigades ought to let Tim smoke all he wants. (And let Pablo stay at 245 instead of bugging the guy about his weight. Even Pablo now thinks he's too fat to be effective! When he was fat and happy and nobody was force-feeding him tofu and granola he hit .345.) What's sad to see with Lincecum is his deep dive into himself, his withdrawal into endless self-speculation about what's wrong. And mid-season changes to his wind-up. All bad signs. You get a kid doubting himself and you run the risk of making a permanent head case out of him. Don't think about it, Tim. Just throw the ball. Light up in the dugout if you feel like it. The rest will take care of itself. Go, Giants!
SUNDAY'S LEAD STORY in the Ukiah paper by Tiffany Revelle was called "Ukiah man proposes pot forest patrol by citizens." Who gets to pop off next? How about me? "Boonville man proposes summary execution of school superintendents. Says American education would be radically improved." But seriously, folks, a bunch of camo fat guys hunting Mexicans in the Mendocino National Forest is not a good idea, although it would certainly reduce the local Fox News demographic as the Mexicans picked off the camo buddies as they waddled up outback trails.
MEXICANS? CARTELS? Who knows for sure just who's growing dope in the National Forest? Some guy with an Hispanic surname and his brother-in-law is a cartel? Please. When Bulgarians are arrested in nearby Covelo for cultivation, Italian nationals on Spy Rock, Israelis on Low Gap Road, Spaniards in Laytonville, Chinese in Ukiah, and pale Americans everywhere well, golly, it's kind of hard to blame the enterprise solely on the Mexicans, isn't it?
CALL ME OLD SCHOOL, but the headline on the front page of Monday's Ukiah Daily Journal struck me as, well, a little vulgar to slam us with right out front. "Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band"? I had to take my mom's picture out of my wallet and apologize to her. And hey! Aren't salacious references to female anatomy regarded as sexist? I'm surprised someone hasn't called the Appropriate Police.
A PRISONER WRITES: "I've given some thought to your question about the percentage of truly dangerous psychos in here. I believe your ten percent figure is low, but not that far off, I'd put the figure at 20% or maybe even 25%. Sex offenders are a problem, as are a cross-section of everyone else in the system. The problem is that most have a determinate sentence and are released automatically. Yes, some sex offenders go to a state hospital for evaluation and treatment after serving their sentences, but not enough of them. My solution would begin with fixing the Parole Board/Governor's Review, then repealing SB42, the determinate sentencing law. Everyone would come into the system with a life top sentence again. Take the politics out of the system and keep it out with some sort of third party oversight. Put some meaningful rehabilitation in place and let the system separate the wheat from the chaff. You can significantly shrink the size of the system, cut overall costs, have true rehabilitation, and restore public safety. As it is the only segment of the population in rehab mode is lifers, as they are the motivated ones. Here's a prime example: of the 1,500 prisoners on this yard maybe 150 attend AA, yet something like 90% have a documented alcohol/drug problem. But the rehab groups are over 90% lifers. It's rare that I see a determinate-sentenced prisoner in any voluntary rehabilitation group. Anger, stress, domestic violence (new this year), AA, NA, Victim-Offenders, Prisoner Outreach – they are all voluntary programs and are all 95% lifers at a facility that has maybe 20% lifers and 40% sex offenders. It all comes down to motivation to change. Life top sentences are one hell of a motivating tool. Want to have meaningful local rehabilitation? Follow the example of the California Youth Authority. Charge the county for housing a prisoner in a state facility. It sure worked on the CYA problem. Local hands-on is more effective and efficient. Want to motivate the habitual drunk driver and druggie? Give them a local program with oversight and hang a 5 to life over their meth head. The word will get out and they'll start paying attention. Sure, it's not going to work on everyone, but anything is better than what is going on now. They say it costs $47,000 a year for a California State prisoner. You can have a lot of warm-fuzzy moments for that kind of money. Plus the money would circulate locally. What about public safety? Well, what about it? Take that Fort Bragg kid you've written about. Anyone believe he will come out of prison better for the experience given all he does is some time in here? Not going to happen. Reform the Parole Board, then use the carrot and stick as motivation."
IT WAS JERRY BROWN, when he was Governor, who did away with indeterminate sentences, and rehab, as our correspondent confirms, went right out the window. If you know you're going to get out no matter how you behave inside, where's the incentive to do anything but leave prison and come right back again? Meg Whitman will only accelerate the ongoing state fiscal disaster. She certainly won't improve the prison system. But Jerry Brown, all his lib-lab rhetoric aside, won't fix the prisons either. He's made everything worse wherever he's touched down. Name one progressive thing Brown has done as AG? Ron Dellums has been a disaster as mayor of Oakland, but it was Jerry Brown as mayor of Oakland who set the table for Dellums. The real problem is a bankrupt Democratic Party. All of them from Obama down through Pelosi, Mike Thompson, Wes Chesbro, Joe Wildman, Rachel Binah, and Val Muchowski has got to go.
MENDOCINO COUNTY'S Man Beater of the Week is Ms. Christine Halas of Ukiah, age 22. Christine is alleged to have inflicted "corporal injury" to her spouse, and whoever that wimp is he oughta be ashamed to call the cops on a pretty lady a mere five feet six inches tall and 125 pounds.