Press "Enter" to skip to content

MCT: Friday, November 8, 2019

* * *

MOSTLY CLEAR SKIES will prevail across interior northwest California, while areas of persistent low clouds and fog will linger along the coast for at least another couple of days. No rain is expected through all of next week. (National Weather Service)

SPEAKING OF NO RAIN: during October, the lead-off month of rain season, we saw virtually no rain here. Less than a tenth of an inch. The official amounts for the month were .04" (Yorkville) and .07" (Boonville). Compare those to the record-setting amount of 10.36" (Yorkville) for October of 2016.

* * *


For those concerned and wishing to help Bill and Judith Ray after their home and possessions were destroyed by fire during the PG&E outage, when there was no electricity and therefore no accessible well water on their property, the Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Ukiah and Willits branches, have offered a means to assist. Going in person into either bank, simply ask to deposit a donation in the William Ray account — not Bill Ray account, please. Their computer does not comprehend nicknames. Mailings are also accepted. This arrangement will be temporary. The tellers have been notified about the circumstances. The Rays wish to extend their gratitude for the community concern about their loss and future.

* * *


A dynamic new approach to homelessness with roots in settling the West: Conestoga Huts. The trend started in Eugene and the supporters are hoping it will spread through the Northwest.

* * *


Reggie Sanders lost his life on November 3rd in a fatal car accident. He leaves behind his wife Jennifer and two young sons. He was the soul financial provider for his family. Let’s rally around Jennifer and her boys and help her out with funeral and living cost so that she can get back on her feet. Even if you can only give a little, every bit helps. Thank you everyone for your love and support


RVHS sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Reggie Sanders who passed last week in a car accident. Reggie was an amazing referee in many sports for our Mustangs. Reggie was always good with our kids and was a superb ref who always called games fairly. He will be missed in Round Valley and throughout Northern California.

MSP dealt regularly with Mr. Sanders over the years when he was refereeing and he was nothing but a perfect gentleman and great impartial official. We send our heartfelt condolences out to his wife and family. He'll be missed.


* * *


Pleasure and pain as mating turkeys distract themselves from the coming Thanksgiving ax…

* * *


‘Armed Robbery Arrest’

Harbor Jetty Parking Lot; 211 PC (Armed Robbery), 422PC (Criminal Threats), 459PC (Burglary)

Suspect: Matthew Vicchione, 37 years old

Location: Coast Cinemas

On November 4, 2019 at 7:18 p.m., Officers were dispatched to Coast Cinemas for the report of an armed robbery which had just occurred. Once on scene, Officers determined that a suspect entered the business at approximately 7:10 p.m., brandished a semi-automatic handgun, and demanded money from an employee at the cash register. The suspect then fled the location with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was physically injured during the robbery.

Since the day of the robbery, Sheriff’s Office personnel and Parole Agents have been instrumental and critical to the identification of the suspect and his whereabouts. With their invaluable assistance, members of the Fort Bragg Police Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, including the Mendocino County Regional SWAT team, and agents from State Parole, took the above named suspect into custody for the robbery and other criminal charges. The suspect was transported and booked at the Mendocino County Jail in Ukiah.

Anyone having additional information related to the case please contact Officer Ferris at (707) 961-2800 ext. 126 or Anonymous tips may be left on the Crime Tip Hotline at (707) 961-3049. Questions regarding this press release may be forwarded to Sergeant O’Neal at (707) 961-2800 ext. 120 or e-mailed to

(Fort Bragg Police Presser)

* * *

* * *


According to police, a woman called police saying she was trapped in her car after crashing into the trailer. When police arrived, they found the car lodged inside the trailer.

* * *

HIT MAN GUILTY AT LAST! Chinese organized crime comes to Mendo…

It Took Four Years But… (AVA, May 23, 2017)

As soon as you get off the pavement in Mendocino County you can find yourself in another country, a kind of United Nations of dope growers that includes Bulgarians, Chinese, Mexicans, Russians, Italian and Spanish nationals, to name a few of the representatives of foreign countries arrested recently in Mendocino County.

A Toyota mini-van was only a few hidden feet from the pavement off Highway 20 near Fort Bragg, not far from the area locals call the "bark dump” on the mild fall afternoon of October 17th, 2013.

The van hadn't moved in a couple of days, a fact noted by residents of the nearby trailer park.

Inside the otherwise spotless vehicle, Sheriff's deputies found two dead Chinese.

Cindy Bao Feng Chen, 38, of San Francisco was dead in the driver's seat, Jim Tat Kong, 51, of San Pablo, was dead in the passenger's seat. They each had been professionally shot in the backs of their heads, one shot per victim.

Ms. Chen was a wealthy San Francisco property owner, Kong gang affiliated. Why she was with him is not yet known.

Murders are common enough in Mendocino County, but murders of Chinese aren't.

What could this have been about?

It's about a lot of things, but specifically it's about Mendocino County marijuana gardens owned and operated by Chinese gangsters based in San Francisco.

Four years after the executions of Ms. Chen and Mr. Kong near Fort Bragg, and many hours of inquiries by gang task forces, federal investigators, and Mendocino County officers, Mendocino County police and FBI agents arrested Wing Wo Ma, 50, at his Oakland home a month ago. Ma has been charged with the murders of Chen and Kong, plus drug trafficking charges.

Wing Wo Ma

The United States Attorney's Office in San Francisco will be prosecuting Ma for the homicides of Chen and Kong but doing it in Mendocino County; Ma is being held in federal custody in the Bay Area.

Mendocino County, DA Eyster says the case is “all very simple. Rivalries and suspicions in the tong [gang] spilled over to include their marijuana business here in Mendocino County."

"Kong,” Eyster says, had been running several marijuana growing operations in the county, including an outdoor garden in Redwood Valley, as well a 150-plant garden raided by a narcotics team earlier that year [2013] also in the Redwood Valley.”

DA Eyster himself had prosecuted the Redwood Valley dope case — twice — but the prosecutions failed because the local court ruled that the original law enforcement entry onto the property — in follow-up to the fire department's entry to put out an illegal garbage fire — through the unlocked, but closed driveway gate was a search and seizure 4th Amendment violation.

“Kong," Eyster says, "had been spending more time in Mendocino County because he was in bad standing with some very powerful Chinese gangsters in the Bay Area.”

Federal investigators said the apparent hitman, Ma, was acting as a double agent — getting paid to build greenhouses and other infrastructure for illegal cultivators as he tipped off detectives about who he was working for, in which case he’s lucky he didn’t get a bullet in the back of his head himself.

Ma had told a detective he was heading to Mendocino County with Kong to look at properties to acquire for additional marijuana operations.

The investigator didn’t outline a precise motive in the killing. But Ma, in a statement to investigators, admitted he’d "followed Kong and Chen in his truck the morning of October 17 because he was concerned Kong was visiting a marijuana farm without him."

November 7, 2019 — A federal jury in San Francisco convicted Wing Wo Ma, a/k/a Mark Ma, a/k/a Fat Mark, of murder, drug distribution conspiracy, weapons, and bribery charges, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. The verdict follows a three-week trial before the Honorable Charles R. Breyer, United States District Judge.

“The jury’s verdict makes clear that Wing Wo Ma will answer for the brutal killings of Jim Tat Kong and Cindy Bao Feng Chen,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson. “The verdict also ensures that Ma’s personal crime wave, including murder, drug distribution, bribery, and conspiracy, has come to an end.”

“This trial brings a measure of justice for the families of Jim Tat Kong and Cindy Bao Feng Chen. Wing Wo Ma committed these homicides in cold blood and showed a blatant disregard for the rule of law,” said Special Agent in Charge Bennett. “The arrest and conviction of Wing Wo Ma shows the FBI’s commitment to get dangerous criminals off the street and protect Northern Californians from violent threats.”

According to the evidence submitted at trial, Ma, 53, of Oakland, shot and killed Jim Tat Kong and Cindy Bao Feng Chen on October 17, 2013, in Ft. Bragg, Calif., while the couple was seated in their minivan. Beginning in January of 2013, Ma had borrowed money from Kong for several business ventures including a marijuana grow and a real estate scheme in Mendocino County. Fearing retribution from Kong upon finding himself unable to repay the money, Ma met with Kong and Chen on Chen’s birthday. While seated in the car, Ma shot each of the victims with a single gunshot to the head and then left their bodies in the minivan parked in a secluded, wooded area in Mendocino County.

Further, Ma was convicted of bribery. The evidence demonstrated that Ma bribed Harry Hu, an inspector employed by the Alameda County District Attorney and a former Lieutenant in the Oakland Police Department. Ma bribed the inspector with airfare for multiple trips to Las Vegas, free accommodation at high-end suites and hotel rooms at Las Vegas casinos, meals and entertainment in Las Vegas and San Francisco, female hostesses at private room bars in Las Vegas and San Francisco, music concert tickets, use of a new Mercedes Benz, and labor for the remodel of the DA investigator’s personal residence. Ma bribed Hu in an effort to protect himself from prosecution and investigation by Hu and other law enforcement agencies. Ma also collected money from criminal associates for the purpose of bribing Hu and represented to criminal associates that Hu was an investor in Ma’s fraudulent investment projects. As part of the bribery scheme, Ma used Hu’s name and reputation to attract investors to Ma’s fraudulent schemes.

On April 6, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Ma, charging him with one count each of conspiracy to cultivate, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B); discharging a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A); and use of a firearm causing murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j). On October 11, 2018, the grand jury handed down a superseding indictment adding one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and bribery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 666, 1343, and 1346. In finding Hu guilty of all charges, the jury found that Ma’s conspiracy included the intent to possess 100 or more marijuana plants, that he discharged his gun in connection with his drug trafficking crimes, and that he murdered Kong and Chen with malice aforethought and premeditation.

Judge Breyer scheduled Ma’s sentencing for February 12, 2020. Ma faces the following maximum statutory sentences:

Conspiracy to cultivate and distribute and to possess with intent to distribute marijuana: maximum term of forty years imprisonment, maximum fine of $5,000,000, at least four years, but up to lifetime, supervised release. (Mandatory minimum prison term of five years.)

Use of Firearm Causing Murder: maximum lifetime imprisonment, maximum fine of $250,000, maximum three years of supervised release.

Use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime: maximum life imprisonment, maximum fine of $250,000, maximum five years of supervised release. (Minimum consecutive penalties include the following: 5 years consecutive mandatory minimum, 7 years if the firearm is brandished, and 10 years if the firearm is discharged.)

Bribery: maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment, maximum $250,000 fine, maximum three years of supervised release.

However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant United States Attorneys Christiaan Highsmith and William Frentzen are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Jessica Meegan, Kimberly Richardson, Morgan Byrne, and Lance Libatique. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, California Department of Justice, and Oakland Police Department.

Department of Justice presser

* * *


* * *


ms notes: In a normal world, this laughably non-compliant “agenda (affiliation)” notice would be declared a violation of the agenda requirements of the Ralph M. Brown Act. “Each agenda must contain sufficient information to inform the public of what actions will be taken by that legislative body,” and “Agendas must have enough information to enable members of the public to determine the general nature of subject matter of each agenda item to be discussed.”

This agenda does not state clearly what specific action is contemplated. If someone were to file a Brown Act complaint on this meeting, as should be done, the Board would have to re-post and re-hear whatever they’re trying to hide here with a proper, clear, descriptive agenda item. If they don’t, they’re subject to sanctions from the DA and/or legal fees for anyone who might take them to court for refusing to correct a Brown Act violation.

Also, this notice is not dated, but special meetings require 72 hour notice which this notice also violates on its face. Something fishy is going on here.

* * *


Power companies have two jobs: Keep the lights on and don’t kill your customers. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. of Northern California flunks on both counts.

* * *


Two years have passed since voters cast support for the Mental Health Sales Tax known as Measure B. In light of the upcoming Behavioral Health Forum (Nov 25, link below), I'd like to hear your questions and concerns about execution. I know the 5th district will be brutally honest, but the most helpful feedback to catalyze progress will be specific ideas. Give us marching orders -- it's your money.




(Note: Ukiah Police Chief Justin Wyatt already proposed pursuing this at the September Measure B Committee meeting, but the idea was loosely pawned off on the local NAMI rep who expressed no real interest in it at the time and without even a deadline date to report back.)

From my report of the September Measure B committee meeting:

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article “The program in Eugene is unique because Cahoots (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) is wired into the 911 system and responds to most calls without police. The name Cahoots was intended to be a humorous nod to the fact that they are working closely with police. Cahoots now has 39 employees and costs the city around $800,000 a year plus its vehicles, a fraction of the police department’s $58 million annual budget.”

Ukiah Police Chief Jstin Wyatt said the Eugene program works well and should be considered by Mendo and the Oversight Committee. Of course there was a long conversation about it and how California’s new stricter “use of force” rules for cops would make the crisis van even more valuable, especially in cases where someone is suicidal but not otherwise violent or with a weapon. Wyatt said the CAHOOTS crisis van allows mental health staffers to “meet people where they are.”

Redwood Quality Management Director Dan Anderson said he was familiar with the concept and that his company gets “occasional requests to be mobile. We struggle to do that. But it’s haphazard; not coordinated with dispatch or law enforcement. We don’t know when; there’s no plan. It’s inconsistent and stressful. There are no clear directions. It’s off kilter.” In other words, a standard Mendo approach.

Anderson added that the idea would be “important to pursue. We would love to partner and be more mobile. It’s a good program. CAHOOTS is a place to begin. We should invite somebody down from Eugene. It would also allow patients to de-tox.”

The County’s Mental Health Director, Dr. Jenine Miller, agreed, saying she worked on a similar program in San Francisco before working for Mendo and it worked well. (So why didn’t she bring it up long ago? Don’t ask.) Miller also thought that the crisis van staff should have the ability to administer meds in the field. However, Miller muddied the water by suggesting they look at “the full spectrum of [crisis van] models.” (This alone means that any real consideration of the idea will be delayed by who knows how many more years.)

Measure B Committee Chair Dr. Ace Barash said he expected that the subject would be on their agenda next month when they would conduct a “robust discussion” of it. (Translation: We will talk about it for a while but never do a single thing. If they were serious, they’d have tasked somebody to do a presentation on the viability of a pilot program next month. But that’s obviously too much to ask.)

(Update: the item was NOT on the October Measure B agenda. It wasn’t even mentioned.)

TWO: GET THE MOPS PROGRAM GOING AGAIN by having monthly status reports from Dr. Miller about what they’re doing to staff this FUNDED program. Do not accept lame excuses about hiring difficulties, etc. If they can make the status of hiring a program manager a monthly reporting topic, they can certainly make the much more directly useful MOPS program status a monthly topic.

THREE: GET (LEASE/BUY) A COMMERCIAL MOBILE CRISIS MODULAR UNIT and put it on the vacant lot the County just bought back from RCMS. Then, if/when a facility is actually built there, move the modular to the Coast to reduce the ER crowding at the Coast Hospital Emergency Room.

THERE IS NO EXCUSE for not doing these three very specific things NOW. How can Mendo officials let the Measure B mandate be delayed for years when there are workable interim solutions like these available? It’s downright disgraceful! All three of these proposals would also serve as a useful pilot or training program for when the longer-term facilities finally open someday.

AND DON’T GIVE ME SHERIFF ALLMAN’S lame excuse that a mobile or modular facility is “not a long term solution.” At the rate the Supes and the Measure B Committee are going now there will never be a “long-term solution.”

STOP FIDDLE FARTING AROUND! Measure B has been taken over by the usual Mendo Meeting “WHENEVER” Mentality. Meetings are not action! People need these services. Get off your ass, Mendo!

* * *


Not dropping it — Supervisor Williams

Board of Supervisors, November 12, 2019 Agenda, 6c

Agenda Title: Discussion and Possible Action Including Direction to Staff to Develop a Cannabis Cultivation Amnesty Transition Pathway

(Sponsor: Supervisor Williams)

Recommended Action/Motion:

Direct staff to formulate a cannabis cultivation amnesty program along a path of least resistance and realistically sufficient to transition all commercial cannabis cultivation from black market to legal market, requesting assistance from the State where necessary. Further, directing staff to return to the Board of Supervisors with the draft program, including necessary variances from the State to reach collective goal of fully compliant cultivation.

Summary of Request:

Onerous regulation by the State has impeded the ability of our cannabis cultivators to come into compliance with the emerging legal market. This has left cultivators in fear, county services starved for revenue promised by legalization and the environment without protection. More than 90% of present cultivation might be outside the permit framework and without a clean slate amnesty approach, this trajectory will not change. State regulation was an abrupt change for our legacy cultivators. Systems do not respond well to abrupt changes. An amnesty program offering ample years to come into compliance will allow cultivators to remain in business while gradually transitioning. State assistance will be necessary to permit first and address compliance issues in reasonable time. It is requested that staff be directed to formulate a cannabis cultivation amnesty program including any necessary variances from the State, and return to the Board of Supervisors for final approval of the program.

* * *

* * *


LISTEN UP, SPORTS FANS! Anderson Valley Boys Soccer, perennial small school powerhouse, will be playing this Saturday against Tomales right here at home for the semi-finals of the North Coast Section Division Championships.

OUR DISTAFF Boonville powerhouse, the Anderson Valley Girls volleyball team, got into the playoffs but lost in the second round of the championships to Calistoga, world famous home of the mud bath and the great running back, Louie Giamomma, the great pitcher, Bob Knepper, and the great coach, Dick Vermeil. Mud baths worked for them big time.

ENDLESS SUMMER. One eerily warm day after another with no rain in sight. George Hollister rightly pointed out it's like that dry year of the 1970's, the year Marin County piped in water from deep in the East Bay, neatly bypassing equally parched Richmond. Here in Anderson Valley, neo-home of Mendocino County's wine industry, the monarchs of the vine have their vast sprinkler systems going full blast. We understand from reliable sources inside the quality booze biz, that many vineyards are finally compelled to pay labor a better wage, if they can find labor, because of an ongoing shortage of farm workers. And advertised high end real estate around here, wildly over-priced to begin with, languishes on the market. Orange Man's daily boasts about the robust economy he's allegedly created doesn't bear local scrutiny where we have hundreds of employed people surviving on food stamps.

MORE BOONVILLE COMMENT: The sound we all dread, have always dreaded in the Anderson Valley, is the sound of sirens, never more unnerving than in this year of Biblical-quality fires. And we can hear the siren for what seems like forever as they keen through Boonville almost all the way to Philo. This morning, Thursday, the dogs, as always, went off first, a chorus of moaning, howling canines that's always the siren precursor. Then, as we snap on our scanners, Anderson Valley's emergency services vehicles whine past and, finally, a CHP vehicle screams all the way over the hill from Ukiah, through Boonville, and on to whatever vehicular catastrophe awaits, our length of Highway 128 having become a regular Blood Alley.

PS. This morning's siren were apparently inspired by, in the words of a local, "a big white truck with a camper van smashed into a tree in Philo."

HALLUCINATIONS? FANTASY? This week's Supes' discussion under "Affordable Housing" was apparently pegged to the delusion that loosening up the rules on Coastal Zone second units, euphemized as "accessory dwelling units,” would somehow work towards housing the houseless. Excuse me, but the Mendocino Coast's sprawling, ocean view dentist's complexes are unlikely to ever erect "affordable housing." At some point, the Supervisors will have to actually initiate something in the way of truly affordable housing rather than endlessly discuss it. It's not as if there aren't innumerable creative housing ideas out there. Hell, their travel and conference budget alone could build a coupla tiny houses.

WITH THEIR HONORS Benke and Reimenschneider shuffling off into "retirement," it occurs to me I've lost track of how many Solomons Mendo has out there polishing their lush golden years as visiting judges up and down the state. Last time I checked that reconstructed old hippie, Richard Kossow, for one, a guy who emerged from a couple of years of stoned grab ass in the hills above Philo, was still out there picking up the big per diems. What a great swindle that was! The conversion of Mendocino County's mostly once-a-week justice courts to superior court status, with all the perks of that lofty position in an outback county whose the average wage is short of forty grand a year. The magic upgrade was only the beginning of Mendo judicial bunco with 9 highly paid judges for a population of 90,000 people, and, I dunno, twenty or so retired legal hustlers presiding from San Diego to Crescent City. Then we were sold the Ten Mile Justice Court in Fort Bragg on the promise that Coast matters would be heard on the Coast except, like, when they were inconvenient to the judicial apparatus. I remember Judge Combest, a low ability character out of Covelo who somehow passed the bar exam, complaining that as a justice court judge in Round Valley he had to fill in at Point Arena one day. And had to drive all the way over there! And here comes another grand scheme by the Robes to replace the present County Courthouse with a glass and steel eyesore three blocks south of the present Courthouse which, of course, could be re-modeled to re-create the truly beautiful original County Courthouse and accommodate present operations all in one go. If you came in late, the new Courthouse will house only the judges and their gofers. Please keep a close eye on Supe's candidates and vote against any of them who are for this massive boondoggle. (Uh, how do you know, Mr Negative, it'll be an eyesore? Name one new courthouse erected anywhere in America after 1945 that isn't a glass and steel eyesore. I refer you to the federal courthouse in Eugene, Oregon, for the archetype.)

Wayne Lyman Morse United States Courthouse

* * *


* * *

* * *

THE KINCADE WILDFIRE burning in Sonoma County was fully contained by firefighters yesterday evening. The fire, which ignited on Oct. 23 for reasons still unknown, ballooned to more than 77,000 acres before firefighters were able to stop the fire’s progress. A total of 174 residences and 11 commercial buildings were destroyed by the fire. No other structures are believed to be threatened. Four first responders were injured while battling the fire. No deaths have been reported.

* * *


* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, November 7, 2019

Amador, Britton, Campbell, Clark

AGUSTIN AMADOR, Willits. Failure to appear.

NICHOLAS BRITTON, Covelo. Vehicle theft, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, controlled substance, probation revocation.

ROBERT CAMPBELL II, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent Flyer)

JOSHUA CLARK, Albion. Failure to pay, failure to appear.

Cook, Galindo, Johnson

JOHN COOK, Ukiah. Parole violation.

THOMAS GALINDO JR. Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)

DAVID JOHNSON SR., Ukiah. Parole violation, failure to register. (Frequent Flyer)

Johnston, Klinges, Monthei

DAVID JOHNSTON, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

STANLEY KLINGES JR., Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

DAVID MONTHEI JR., Willits. Parole violation.

Nielsen, Sanders, Swinney, Wolfe

MARK NIELSEN, Nice/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

CHUCK SANDERS, Willits. Sex registrant failure to register address change.

JUSTIN SWINNEY, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

SHAWN WOLFE, Ukiah. Under influence, possession & transportation of controlled substance, probation revocation.

* * *

* * *


by Norman Solomon

For many decades, any politician daring to fight for economic justice was liable to be denounced for engaging in “class warfare.” It was always a grimly laughable accusation, coming from wealthy elites as well as their functionaries in corporate media and elective office. In the real world, class warfare -- or whatever you want to call it -- has always been an economic and political reality.

In recent decades, class war in the USA has become increasingly lopsided. The steady decline in union membership, the worsening of income inequality and the hollowing out of the public sector have been some results of ongoing assaults on social decency and countess human lives. Corporate power has run amuck.

Now, the billionaire class is worried. For the first time in memory, there’s a real chance that the next president could threaten the very existence of billionaires -- or at least significantly reduce their unconscionable rate of wealth accumulation -- in a country and on a planet with so much human misery due to extreme economic disparities.

In early fall, when Bernie Sanders said “I don’t think that billionaires should exist,” many billionaires heard an existential threat. It was hardly a one-off comment; the Bernie 2020 campaign followed up with national distribution of a bumper sticker saying “Billionaires should not exist.”

When Elizabeth Warren stands on a debate stage and argues for a targeted marginal tax on the astronomically rich, such advocacy is anathema to those who believe that the only legitimate class war is the kind waged from the top down. In early autumn, CNBC reported that “Democratic donors on Wall Street and in big business are preparing to sit out the presidential campaign fundraising cycle -- or even back President Donald Trump -- if Sen. Elizabeth Warren wins the party’s nomination.”

As for Bernie Sanders -- less than four years after he carried every county in West Virginia against Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary -- the state’s Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin flatly declared last week that if Sanders wins the nomination, he would not vote for his party’s nominee against Trump in November 2020.

Some billionaires support Trump and some don’t. But few billionaires have a good word to say about Sanders or Warren. And the pattern of billionaires backing their Democratic rivals is illuminating.

“Dozens of American billionaires have pulled out their checkbooks to support candidates engaged in a wide-open battle for the Democratic presidential nomination,” Forbes reported this summer. The dollar total of those donations given directly to a campaign (which federal law limits to $2,800 each) is less significant than the sentiment they reflect. And people with huge wealth are able to dump hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars at once into a Super PAC, which grassroots-parched AstroTurf candidate Joe Biden greenlighted last month.

The donations from billionaires to the current Democratic candidates could be viewed as a kind of Oligarchy Confidence Index, based on data from the Federal Election Commission. As reported by Forbes, Pete Buttigieg leads all the candidates with 23 billionaire donors, followed by 18 for Cory Booker, and 17 for Kamala Harris. Among the other candidates who have qualified for the debate coming up later this month, Biden has 13 billionaire donors and Amy Klobuchar has 8, followed by 3 for Elizabeth Warren, 1 for Tulsi Gabbard, and 1 for Andrew Yang. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has zero billionaire donors.

(The tenth person who has qualified for the next debate, self-funding billionaire candidate Tom Steyer, is in a class by himself.)

Meanwhile, relying on contributions from small donors, Sanders and Warren “eagerly bait, troll and bash billionaires at every opportunity,” in the words of a recent Los Angeles Times news story. “They send out missives to donors boasting how much damage their plans would inflict on the wallets of specific wealthy families and corporations.”

The newspaper added: “Sanders boasts that his wealth tax would cost Amazon owner Jeff Bezos $8.9 billion per year. He even championed a bill with the acronym BEZOS: The Stop Bad Employers By Zeroing Out Subsidies Act would have forced Amazon and other large firms to pay the full cost of food stamps and other benefits received by their lowest-wage employees.”

For extremely rich people who confuse net worth with human worth, the prospect of losing out on billions is an outrageous possibility. And so, a few months ago, Facebook mega-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg expressed his antipathy toward Warren while meeting with employees. As a transcript of leaked audio makes clear, Warren’s vision of using anti-trust laws to break up Big Tech virtual monopolies was more than Facebook’s head could stand to contemplate.

“But look,” Zuckerberg said, “at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.”

The fight happening now for the Democratic presidential nomination largely amounts to class warfare. And the forces that have triumphed in the past are outraged that they currently have to deal with so much progressive opposition. As Carl von Clausewitz observed, “A conqueror is always a lover of peace.”

(Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of He is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and the author of a dozen books including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.")

* * *

* * *



Saturday, November 9, 5pm-8pm • Free admission

The Mendocino Art Center hosts a free Second Saturday Gallery Reception each month. Enjoy snacks and wine, view the four new exhibits, and listen to the classical guitar sounds of Sergei Bassehes. During the reception, Mendocino Art Center’s Artists in Residence will open their studios to the public. Watch the artists work and purchase newly created art direct from the artists.

Currently on exhibit, 11am-4pm daily

“How is Your Rhinoceros Inspiring You?”

“Salt Silver & Gold”

“The Second Oldest Profession, Nomadic Shepherds from Around the World”

“Seven Dimensions of the Unseen & New Work”

Mendocino Art Center
45200 Little Lake Street at Kasten Street, Mendocino

* * *

* * *



One of the criticisms on PG&E’s issues stems from its long, cozy relationship with the California Public Utilities Commission, which is located in San Francisco, where PG&E has its headquarters. It didn’t matter whether Democrats or Republicans were in control of California, PG&E seemed to gets its way. The CPUC’s focus is energy, communications, water and transportation. Yet it seems to lack resources and bandwidth to be effective in all areas.

Let another California agency handle passenger carriers like limos and shuttles. And relieve the many rail agencies like SMART and BART from reporting to the CPUC, which only causes delays and costs money. There is enough oversight to make sure these agencies will make the right decisions with an effective board of directors.

Finally, move the CPUC out of San Francisco and to Sacramento to give better oversight by the state Legislature and governor. Too often California governments are like dinosaurs and refuse to change with the times. Use the PG&E bankruptcy as a way to strengthen oversight and make sure utility-related fires and blackouts become a distant memory.

Andrew Smith

Santa Rosa

* * *

* * *


Don’t believe the mystique of Pete Buttigieg’s reputation for speaking seven languages. I know it’s hype, because I do speak seven languages (English, French, Hebrew, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish — in that order), and the online evidence of his vaunted multilingualism sometimes seems little more than a parlor trick.

* * *

* * *


"Tell me, why is your life so dull, so colorless?" I asked Belokurov, walking home with him. "My life is dull, heavy, monotonous, because I'm an artist, a strange man, from my youth I've been shaped by jealousy, dissatisfaction with myself, lack of faith in what I'm doing, I'm always bored, I'm a vagabond, but you, you're a healthy, normal person, a landowner, a squire — why do you live so uninterestingly, why do you take so little from life? Why, for instance, haven’t you fallen in love with Lida or Zhenya yet?”

"You forget that I love another woman," Belokurov replied.

He was speaking of his friend, Lyubov Ivanovna, who lived with him in the cottage. Every day I saw this lady, very stout, plump, imposing, like a well fed goose, strolling in the garden, in a Russian costume with beads, always under a parasol, and a serving girl kept calling her, now to eat, now to have tea. Some three years before she had rented one of the cottages as a dacha and had simply gone on living at Belokurov’s, apparently forever. She was a good 10 years older than he and ruled him so strictly that, whenever he went away from the house, he had to ask for permission. She sobbed frequently in a male voice, and then I would send word that unless she stopped I would give up my lodgings, and she would stop.

When we came home, Belokurov sat on the sofa and frowned pensively, and I began pacing the hall, feeling a quiet excitement, as if we were in love. I wanted to talk about the Volchaninovs.

"Lida can only fall in love with a zemstvo activist, whose passions are the same as hers — hospitals and schools," I said. "Oh, for the sake of such a girl you could not only join the zemstvo, but even wear out a pair of iron shoes, as in the old tale. And Missyus? How lovely Missyus is!"

Belokurov, with his drawn out "E-e-h," began talking at length about the disease of the age — pessimism. He spoke confidently and in such a tone as if I were arguing with him. Hundreds of miles of deserted, monotonous, scorched steppe cannot produce such gloom as one man when he sits and talks and nobody knows when he will leave.

"The point isn't pessimism or optimism," I said irritably, “but that 99 people out of 100 are witless."

Belokurov took it personally, became offended, and left.

(Anton Checkov)

* * *

* * *


NEW THIS YEAR! For your musical insight: 30-minute Pre-Concert Lecture with Jeffrey Ives at 6:30pm Saturday, 1:00pm Sunday

Advance tickets $22.00 Available - Harvest Market FB, Out of This World Mendocino, or online through Brown Paper Tickets at

$25.00 at the door ~ Youth 18 & under FREE

Bring-a-Parent Project!

Admits one adult at no charge when accompanied by one or more students 18 & under.

Passes available at the Will Call table at the concert or online at

Educational staff 1/2 price with id card.

* * *

* * *


For 27 years we have said yes!

Mendocino Coast Children's Fund
P O Box 1616
Mendocino, CA 95460
Cell 707-684-6644

* * *



  1. Eric Sunswheat November 8, 2019

    The Australian documentary, “The Monsanto Papers,” reveals the secret tactics used by global chemical giant Monsanto (now owned by Bayer AG1,2), to protect its bestselling herbicide, Roundup…

    Only 13 animal studies and half a dozen epidemiological studies have looked at glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential, and the vast majority of those studies show a correlation between glyphosate and cancer…

    Evidence suggests Roundup is highly toxic, and evidence unearthed during legal discovery shows Monsanto has been well aware of its toxicity, and has been covering it up…

    The film… “The Monsanto Papers,”
    (link – free viewing online, 42 minutes).

  2. Kathy November 8, 2019

    11/8/18 – a day of infamy and survival for my family and for THOUSANDS of others. #ParadiseStrong #CampFire

    • Louis Bedrock November 8, 2019

      I’m glad you and your family survived.
      My heart is with you and all the other victims of this almost unimaginable nightmare.

  3. James Marmon November 8, 2019

    Didn’t get much sleep last night, some guy is holding his child hostage a couple of blocks from my house. Helicopter flew all night, law enforcement is everywhere. SWAT has brought in the heavy artillery, tank and all. Life in the Clearlake Avenue’s.

    James Marmon

    • Louis Bedrock November 8, 2019

      Hang in there, James, and be careful.
      I have no idea why I like you, but I do.

      • James Marmon November 8, 2019

        This thing started yesterday morning. They are holding back going in because of the child. My next door neighbor told me that the guy is her brother in law, and the child her nephew. Started out as a custody dispute.


        • Lazarus November 8, 2019

          A few years ago we had one of those. Valley Oaks trailer park, east of Willits, as I remember it did not end well…
          As always,

    • James Marmon November 8, 2019

      Hostage situation in Lake County draws multiple agencies, Sonoma County SWAT team

      “A hostage situation stretching into a second day Friday has drawn multiple law enforcement agencies to the Lake County town of Clearlake.

      The incident, involving family members at home near 29th and Boyles avenues in southeastern Clearlake, started about 8:40 a.m. Thursday when Clearlake Police officers responded to a call involving a man brandishing a rifle, Clearlake Police Chief Andrew White said in a Friday morning call.”

  4. Harvey Reading November 8, 2019

    “Name one new courthouse erected anywhere in America after 1945 that isn’t a glass and steel eyesore. I refer you to the federal courthouse in Eugene, Oregon, for the archetype.)”

    The building in Eugene looks OK to me, very modern. But then I consider modern cars much more attractive than the ugly monsters of the 50s and 60s and prior, even if I cannot tell one from another by brand unless I am standing right next to them, close enough to read the nameplate. As far as I am concerned, old buildings, like old highway bridges, are generally very ugly.

  5. Harvey Reading November 8, 2019

    “+ A new study suggests that regular exercise might improve memory and stave off dementia. Which begs the question: do we really want to remember the era we’re living in? Hell, I still remember the Reagan administration, which, I suppose, is the definition of dementia…”

  6. Eric Sunswheat November 8, 2019

    Price was a highly-accomplished scientist, researcher and dentist who, in the 1930s, spent the better part of that decade evaluating people all around the world … as they transitioned from native, traditional diets to westernized diets…

    The take-home point here is that native, traditional foods contained 10 times as many fat-soluble vitamins, which are vitamins A, D and K2, four times as many water-soluble vitamins, which are all the B vitamins and C … and one and a half to 60 times more minerals than did the American diets of his day …

    I’ve simplified it down to refined white flour, sugars, polyunsaturated vegetable oils and trans fats. When we consume these foods, we develop … chronic non-communicable disease. This includes heart disease, cancers, stroke, [high blood pressure], Type 2 diabetes, obesity, all the autoimmune disorders and so forth.

    • Lazarus November 8, 2019

      “Build the huts.”

      Yea, why not. The state should designate a piece of its property, put up trailers, modular’s, or scratch builts, whatever. Employ young hearty types, pay them, have retired/willing contractors or journeymen tradesmen show the way, and set up and or build communities for the homeless, disabled, and others to live in safety and peace. The tent cities on the sidewalk must eventually be ended. It would likely be cheaper than what it’s costing taxpayers now. Perfect remedy…? No, but if half of the people would cooperate with the program it could defiantly improve what’s currently happening.

      I know…I can already hear it, “The Camps”, the horror!

      During the Great Depression, there were communities, building programs, etc. for the down and outers, my father worked and lived in one before the war, WW2. The Country’s got to try something, the problems get bigger every day.
      Oh yea, and relax all the bureaucracy BS, and just get it done.
      As always,

  7. Scott Ward November 8, 2019

    The state legislature and governors are the reason housing costs are now averaging $300 per square foot. The codes are changed every 3 years and are increasingly complex due to every Tom, Dick and Harriet’s elected official subservience to the environmental lobby, the unions, product manufacturers, Building Industry Association and stupid ideas from unelected desk jockeys in state departments and commissions. When I started as a rookie building inspector for Mendocino County in 1988 the codes (building, plumbing, mechanical and electrical code) were the size of a paperback novel. Now they are over a 1000 pages in each code, some having two volumes. Additionally the state has come up with the California Energy Commission and the California Green Building Code. The new triennial state code mandate for the new and improved code is on January 1, 2020. Any guesses as to whether the new code will be simplified or more complex and more expensive to comply with? There is not much a city or county can do to make housing affordable when the state legislature and governor are working against them.
    Scott Ward
    Certified Building Official, retired

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *