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MCT: Friday, November 15, 2019

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LIGHT RAIN expected in some areas Friday morning. A warming and drying trend is expected over the weekend and into Monday. Additional light rain and cooler temperatures will be possible Tuesday and Wednesday. (National Weather Service)

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Alan Graham Rodier died peacefully at home in Ukiah on September 18, 2019 at the age of 70. Alan is survived by his wife Margaret Rose Rodier of Ukiah, Julie Mary Rodier of Aurora, Colorado. His sister, Carol Rodier of Lompoc; niece Deborah Lossing of Shell Beach, and his stepdaughter, Mariah Panely of San Jose. He is preceded in death by Armand H. Rodier a Bakersfield and Norma D. Rodier of Arroyo Grande and his beloved wolfdog, Ruger.

Alan was born on November 24, 1948 in Perth, Western Australia. At age two his family moved to San Francisco. Alan was always a hard worker with an entrepreneurial spirit. Alan attended San Francisco City College and eventually graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1979. Then he went on to attend Lincoln Law School in San Francisco all while supporting a small family as a grocery clerk. Upon passing the bar, Alan started his law practice in San Francisco as a sole practitioner on Union Street. Moving his office to Battery Street became a key turning point for him professionally. He shifted his practice from criminal law to personal injury law and workers compensation. He prided himself as an applicant's attorney, working for the "little guy." His clients and colleagues remember him as a kind and determined man who was fair and benevolent. He moved his practice to Santa Rosa in 2004 and covered cases throughout the greater Bay Area. His pride was maintaining his Honda Pilot of which the odometer reached 540,000 miles. This is a testament to his loyalty and dedication.

Alan was an accomplished rifleman and enjoyed taking annual hunting trips. He was a dedicated individual who loved to constantly learn and who was passionate about challenging himself and others to do well. He also built a 40-acre olive grove outside of Cloverdale which still exists today. Bottles of extra virgin olive oil from Pine Mountain Olive Farm can be purchased at the Ukiah co-op.

Alan did not wish to hold a formal funeral ceremony. Instead, a celebration of life is scheduled for Saturday, November 30, 2019, at his Ukiah residence. All are welcome to attend. Please contact Margaret at 463-1833. Leave a message and she will return your call. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the American Heart Association, Phoenix Hospice, or the Humane Society for Inland Mendocino County. The family would like to thank the caregivers at Advantest Health Ukiah Valley, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Rosa intensive care unit and Phoenix Hospice for their efforts and dedication.

The celebration for life is Saturday, November 30, 2019 at noon at 781 Riverside Drive in Ukiah. Please park along the cross street, Blue Oak Drive. Wear sturdy shoes and dress warm as the event will be in the backyard. Please bring a dish to share and folding chairs that work when ground is uneven. The celebration will begin at noon, ceremony begins at 12:30 with story sharing about Alan, followed by a potluck and celebration. A bonfire at three will wish Alan well on his journey. Please RSVP to Margaret Rodier at 707/490-2895, call or text.

(Ed note: Mr. Rodier was a candidate for Fifth District Supervisor last November.)

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(photo by Susie de Castro)

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I have been confined in the California State Prison System, currently at the California Institute for Men, for almost a quarter of a century, convicted for the crime of "touching" two underage girls. In point of fact, the accusations were in several particulars highly suspect — and to the degree that even now higher courts are reviewing both the outcome and the process.

I have recently received notification that on February 14, 2020, I will again appear before the Board of Prison Hearings (the so-called "Parole Board") for consideration of my "suitability for release to parole." This will be my fifth appearance. In point of fact, despite the conviction, I state again that I am factually innocent and have offered forensic proof of this by the introduction of evidence of altered phone recordings. But the purpose of this letter is in no way intended to reopen the old "he said/she said" debate and argument.

What I would like to be known is that the Mendocino County District Attorney, Mr. David Eyster, has stated that my parole will not be opposed if I will comply with the condition of not returning to Mendocino County. I have agreed to this condition.

I would be extremely grateful for any letters of support on my behalf that can be sent to my attorney, Adanna Ukah, at P.O. Box 1425, Lake Forest, CA 92609. Or letters of support can be filed directly to the Board of Parole Hearings at P.O. Box 4036, Sacramento, CA 95812 — Attn: Board Hearings.

The general public does not seem to be aware that simply to house the average prisoner of my age exceeds $100,000 annually. Far too many men and women are being confined, essentially for crimes such as "touching." I would welcome so very much the opportunity to finally rejoin society, living quietly as a productive citizen. I hope that you will assist me in that endeavor.

Mark W. Sprinkle, K-24619

California Institute for Men A2-186

P.O. Box 368

Chino, CA 91708 0368

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by Mary Callahan

There had been no obvious sign of trouble, no advance warning, in the moments before the Miss Hailee suddenly began to tilt onto its side during a routine fishing trip off the North Coast last weekend, according to Brian Kelley, whose family owns the commercial vessel.

Then, for reasons still unknown, the boat capsized and sank so quickly the four people on board barely had time to escape with two survival suits and two life vests to divide between them, Kelley said.

The resulting loss of a young deckhand, Arnulfo “Amigo” Santiago, has left his tight-knit group of co-workers grief-stricken, as people around Fort Bragg’s Noyo Harbor mourn a hard worker and friend.

The three others, including a federal fisheries observer and another deckhand, survived the Nov. 9 accident some 20 miles west of Jenner, though longtime boat Capt. Leo Vargas is still recovering from severe hypothermia, his father said.

Vargas, 60, had no immersion suit to wear and waited unprotected for about 90 minutes in the frigid ocean for rescuers to arrive. The other two, whose names have not been made public, fared better, as they had thick neoprene dry suits on.

Vargas hasn’t wanted to talk about the incident since returning home from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital earlier this week, said his father, Leo Vargas Sr.

After most of a lifetime on the water, he’s struggling with losing a member of his crew under circumstances no one can yet explain.

“He was worried about the crew,” Vargas Sr. said. “He tried to keep them all together. He said, I think, they kind of drifted apart, or something like that. Right now he’s not willing to talk about it at all.”

The accident has proved a sobering tragedy for members of the North Coast fishing fleet and a reminder of the vagaries that rule existence on the ocean, often beyond the control of mere mortals, several boat captains said.

“Freak accidents happen every day” in the fishing industry, said Scott Hockett, a commercial fisherman and owner of Noyo Fish Company restaurant.

The Miss Hailee, a 54-foot wooden vessel, was built in Fort Bragg in 1970 and long served the Kelley family. It is owned by Richard Kelley and other family partners, said his son, Brian Kelley.

Kelley was reluctant to discuss the accident and said he is deeply distressed about all of it, but particularly how deeply he knows this is troubling the skipper and how painful it is to lose his friend.

“I don’t care about the boat,” he said. “I care about losing my friend.”

He disputed reports from the U.S. Coast Guard that a large wave had capsized the boat, and said something else must have gone awry — possibly “something we didn’t see.”

He also said that ocean conditions that had been described as “rough” were moderate for someone with extensive fishing experience like those on board the Miss Hailee on Saturday.

But he said the shock and mystery of what happened has left “everyone shaking their head.”

“I think there was something that was just not seen there,” he said.

The crew had reportedly fished off Fort Bragg first before heading south to top off their load when trouble struck around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

When the vessel suddenly lay on its side, Vargas tried to right it while the observer and perhaps others tried to grab flotations and throw them in the water as the boat quickly sank, sending them all into the drink. An electronic satellite distress signal likely activated by contact with the water eventually made its way to the Coast Guard’s Sector San Francisco at 3:42 p.m., officials said.

The Coast Guard station in Bodega Bay was alerted as the San Francisco station tried to raise those on the boat via emergency channel, without success. At that point, a Dolphin helicopter with an estimated travel time of 30 minutes took off from San Francisco, and a 47-foot motor lifeboat was launched from Doran Beach with an ETA of 90 minutes, said Boatswain Mate Third Class John Schaefer, who was aboard the boat.

The lifeboat was briefly diverted by an unrelated mayday call in the area of Tomales Point but later returned to its original mission, Schaefer said, traveling through 6- to-8-foot swells, and some as high as 10 feet, and winds gusting to 30 mph to get to the site where the Miss Hailee went down.

“It was a nasty ride,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Dolphin arrived to find Vargas and the two others clinging to one another in the water. Schaefer, whose vessel arrived later, said he saw almost no debris from the boat. The Dolphin crew lifted Vargas to safety first — a video of the rescue showing him so frozen he appeared almost unable to move. His father said he was cold for days and had difficulty regulating his heartbeat.

The others were in better condition because of their survival suits, Coast Guard personnel said.

The lifeboat, a fixed-wing aircraft and a good Samaritan crew aboard a tugboat called Cochise searched the area for Santiago by moonlight without success. The Coast Guard search continued until the next afternoon, when it was suspended.

Santiago, originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, according to a friend, had come to Fort Bragg from the Sacramento area and worked for the Kelleys for 12 or 13 years, both at Brian Kelley’s fishing shop and on the family’s commercial vessels. Hockett, who also employed Santiago at one point, said he thought he was about 31 years old.

Bill Sanborn, harbor master at Noyo Harbor, said he was “a very well-known young man.”

“He was a bang-up guy, just a go-get ’em young man, and there are very few of them these days,” Sanborn said.

Vargas also had worked for the Kelleys for many years and “loved that boat more than us, probably,” Brian Kelley said of Miss Hailee.

He said it was well maintained and fully equipped for safety — not least because it was attached to a particular kind of limited federal permit that required the periodic presence of a regulatory monitor who was on board the day of the accident.

The woman, whose full name has not been made available, worked for about a year for Seattle-based Saltwater Inc. and was based out of Fort Bragg, program manager Stacey Hansen said. She had gone out multiple times on Miss Hailee, representing the National Marine Fisheries Service and documenting the vessel’s trip and catch to ensure compliance with the federally regulated groundfish fishery.

“They’re not part of the crew, however they go through a very robust training program,” Hansen said, noting that part of the training involves learning to don a dry suit within 60 seconds. “It was her training that is provided by National Marine Fisheries, and safety drills on the boat, that led to the outcome that she had.”

Petty Officer Taylor Bacon said the Coast Guard is investigating the accident, though it could be some time before any conclusions are released.

“It typically takes time,” he said.

(courtesy The Press Democrat)

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(From the County CEO Report for November 19, 2019)

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by Mark Scaramella

Northcoast Assemblyman Jim Wood appeared before the Supervisors at last Tuesday’s board meeting for his annual report to the Board. Of course, at the top of his list of topics was PG&E’s recent “Public Safety Power Shutoff.” Mr. Wood went to such lengths to distance himself and the Public Utilities Commission and the Governor from the shut-off that we became immediately suspicious that he and the governor and the PUC knew it would be a fiasco so they just stood back and let PG&E go ahead and do it on their own and let them take the blame.

Mendo was one of several counties in Mr. Wood’s district which tried to point out well before the shutdown that it was going to be riddled with problems and that PG&E shouldn’t be allowed to do it on their own — to no avail.

Mr. Wood made no visible attempt to push the issues that the County raised to the Governor or the PUC or PG&E. Now here’s our Assemblyman blaming it all on PG&E:

Wood: “About the only good thing [?] about the PSPS and the [Kincade] fire [in Sonoma County] was an opportunity to spend more time with the Governor. What you hear in his press conferences and what you read in the press is not exaggerated. He is very angry. He is very frustrated. He is very committed to a process [sic]. The most recent is he is bringing the players to the table…”

WOW! The governor is so “angry” that he’s so “committed to a process” that he’s “bringing the players to the table”! Such a bold political move!

Wood continued: “One of the big things that is hampering PG&E from being able to get out of bankruptcy and do what they need to be doing has been a challenge of victims and creditors getting together to come up with some resolution. So that process will be ongoing.”

“That process” is the bankruptcy court judge who is considering only two recovery options: PG&E’s own self-serving proposal or a Wall Street vulture capital creditor/investment fund buying PG&E on the cheap and then selling it off in pieces for a big profit with no clear outcome. We haven’t seen Wood or the Governor stepping in to over an alternative program — just a “process.”

Wood continued: “Should PG&E fail to reorganize in a way that provides safe, reliable, affordable electricity and gas to us, he [the Governor] hinted [!] that the state may step in in a larger way.”

OMG! Now Newsom is going so far as to “hint”! Such a threat! What’s next? Urge? Suggest? Beg? Chant?

Wood continued: “What that ultimately looks like, we [sic] don't know. But the plan for the PSPS was — not just here but they did it in other places as well, they did it in Southern California as well — was not devised or implemented by the PUC. It was their plan. And it is clearly not good.”

“Not good”! Strong words from the Assemblyman!

“The destruction to businesses, schools, the loss in the economy related to that -- in Sonoma County alone during the first shut off between the October 9th and 11th cost in economic dollars between 50 and 70 million dollars for a two day shut off. The cost to the state and the cities and the businesses is completely unacceptable.

“Completely unacceptable”! Maybe even inappropriate!

“There has to be another way. We [sic] have to continue working on hardening and vegetation management as well. And we [?] will continue to do that. And that takes time. Even local projects take quite a while with local support. And [a brush clearing project in the Ukiah west hills] was one of the highest priority projects in the state. There is a huge urgency. This cannot go on. The anger among my constituents is palpable.”

But that “palpable” anger apparently didn’t manifest itself in the Board chambers.


Board Chair Carre Brown: “Thank you so much for coming and informing us each year. We truly appreciate it. I need to go to public comment. You probably would like to hear some too!”

Wood: “I'll be happy to step aside.” But before that, Wood first introduced his staff members who came along. (They didn’t say or do anything, but they were able to take time away from their hard work on future PSPS’s and so forth…)

Brown then continued: “We are going to go to public comment. Anyone from the public that would like to speak, please come forward.”

Silence… Long pause…

Brown: “Seeing no one, it is back to the board.”

Silence… Long pause… Supervisors offer nothing…

Brown: “We are all going to say thank you again and we will recess for lunch.”

(Mark Scaramella)

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MURALIST LAUREN SINNOTT: "The “community” panel, the 4th of 29 making up the monumental historic narrative I’m painting on the Ukiah Valley Conference Center! We are still in the millennia of Native culture before Caucasian contact. AND there are modern people who not only advised and lent materials, but also modeled! You’ll see here White Wolf James, local Pomo historian, retired museum professional, and awesome friend, whose face is that of the elder making clam shell money. I told him, don’t worry, I’m going to paint you much older than you are! White Wolf also lent Pomo objects like the stick dice I put in the scene. @ Ukiah Valley Conference Center"

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VICTORY!! SEIU Local 2015 has a tentative agreement with Mendocino County to significantly raise wages for over 1,400 IHSS home care workers. This increase will bring millions of outside dollars to our community. It's a massive win for all residents of Mendocino County and our local economy.

I'm very proud and honored to work alongside our dedicated bargaining team, who put in countless hours to assemble a new contract that starts to honor the work caregivers do which is so much more than minimum. The bargaining team recommends a Yes Vote and now the fun work begins! No more minimum wage contracts! United we bargain, divided we beg.

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Glenn McGourty Enters Race for 1st District Supervisor

Contact: Glenn McGourty - (707) 468.8632 -

Educator and Agriculturalist Glenn McGourty Enters Race for 1st District Supervisor


Talmage, CA — As the primary election approaches, longtime 1st District resident, educator, and agriculturalist Glenn McGourty has entered the race for 1st District Supervisor.

In addition to being a founding member of the Mendocino County Promotional Alliance (Visit Mendocino), McGourty’s record of public service includes terms as a member of both the Ukiah Unified School District Board of Trustees (2009-13) and the Ukiah City Parks and Recreation Committee (1989-93). Professionally, McGourty has served as the UC Cooperative Extension Winegrowing and Plant Science Advisor for Mendocino County since 1987, providing education and research to support farmers, winemakers, horticulturalists, and gardeners throughout the county. Additionally, he currently serves as County Director for the UC Cooperative Extension office.

“With the many challenges faced by our communities, Mendocino County needs trustworthy leadership with experience and local knowledge now. The 1st District is Mendocino’s home to some of our most vibrant communities and amazing people. I’m excited to announce my candidacy for County Supervisor, and to continue building a more prosperous and vital Mendocino County,” says McGourty.

The 1st District spans Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, and most residential areas surrounding the eastern boundaries of Ukiah. Carre Brown, who currently serves as 1st District Supervisor, announced her retirement from the Board of Supervisors in January 2017. The primary election will be held March 3rd, 2020.

To learn more visit

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(Probably the Farm Bureau's Next Supervisor)

by Mark Scaramella

Glenn McGourty, UC Extension Farm Advisor, Mendocino County branch, is a truculent little fellow paid out of tax money to give free technical advice to grape growers about how to nurture their thirsty fruit.

McGourty's advice is water-intensive. The grape growers plant shallow rootstock so growth can be controlled and pesticides delivered via drip irrigation lines. Shallow-rooted grapes are more vulnerable to frost than the old-style, deep-rooted, dry-farmed grapes such as those grown by Mendocino County’s original grape growers, those hardy sons of the soil, pre-Prohibition Italians. Deep-rooted vineyards can be planted in more frost-prone areas where less water is needed to protect them from spring freezes.

In December of 2009 McGourty and his fellow crybabies traveled to Sacramento where they informed the State Water Resources Control Board that any regulation of their water intensive irrigation and frost protection methods could retard high end booze production.

McGourty was accompanied by Mendocino County Supervisor John McCowen and former Ukiah Supervisor Richard Shoemaker. The latter at the time sat on the Russian River Flood Control District Board which exists for the primary purpose of ensuring that inland Mendocino County grape growers get more than their fair share of Eel and Russian River water at rates far lower than household water tolls. Shoemaker’s fellow board members were and continue to be more vineyard-friendly than he is, if that’s possible.

Elected in theory to represent the welfare of all their constituents, and magically regarded by many of those constituents as “liberals” and “environmentalists,” McCowen and Shoemaker function mainly as advocates for one enterprise — the inland wine industry and its ungaged, unregulated draws on the Russian River.

The hearing in Sacramento was prompted by a fish-kill near Hopland in the spring of 2012 when several vineyards simultaneously turned on their huge pumps for “frost protection,” sucking up so much water from that stretch of the Russian River that there was no water left for the stranded fish, which are nearly extinct in the county to begin with.

Some environmental groups were at the hearing to say that something should be done about the grape people’s habit of “self-regulating” themselves into massive fishkills.

McGourty, McCowen and Shoemaker, accompanied by a hyper-indignant grape grower named Dennis Murphy, opposed water regulation — any water regulation. The three of them insisted that the wine industry has built ponds to store water for frost protection and that an “educational” program has been devised to inform grape growers that the wise use of water is, well, wise.

Anderson Valley grape growers have built hundreds of ponds and they still get socked by the spring freeze. The ponds may theoretically help the fish by leaving more water where God put it, in rivers in the dry months, but only if the wine industry limits itself to taking water during high winter flows. And even then, not too much.

Murphy was so overwrought as he spoke to the Water Board that he was nearly in tears: “I’m extremely upset that a federal agency could come up here and make direct accusations about growers and the consequences of irrigation. And then clam up claiming it’s under investigation. That’s wrong! That’s not right! These are rumors. We need to know more.”

Murphy and his political gofers, Shoemaker and McCowen, were basically saying that the government shouldn’t accuse the wine industry of anything unless they have a smoking gun. Several thousand dead baby fish is not that gun, according to wine grape growers. But, of course, there’ll never be a smoking gun because the guns are ungaged, if you'll excuse the failed metaphor. Without gaging, there's no way to measure water extractions or identify the extractors. The grape growers have also staunchly resisted giving water regulators access to the Russian River’s tributaries were huge water draws for grapes also occur.

Over the years the Mendocino County Grand Jury has strongly recommended gages in the Ukiah Valley, but the Supervisors, also captives of the wine industry, refuse to even introduce a gaging ordinance.

Gages, if you still don't get it, would tell us who’s pumping how much and when, and we need gages on the County's major waterways because vineyards continue to be planted literally everywhere and there's simply not enough water to supply all of them without at least some regulatory apportionment.

The hysterical opposition to even the idea of monitoring was effectively captured at the Board of Supervisors meeting a couple of weeks earlir when Coastal Supervisor candidate (and B&B proprietor) Wendy Roberts told the board that “the idea of wine industry regulation scares me to death!”

No one had proposed wine industry regulation, just the “consideration” of it.

But leave it to McGourty to make the single most ridiculous statement at the hearing.

“Regulations never work. Look at marijuana. It’s illegal as heck and yet we have marijuana all over northern California and our county in particular. So people don’t necessarily go along with regulation.”

The difference between the two industries, Glenn, is considerable. The wine industry is legal, ultra-legal you might say, extra-legal perhaps, complete with its own elected representatives all the way up to Congressman Thompson. It also has fixed addresses and the names of its owners are public record. The dope industry at the time of the Water Board meeting was not legal. It can't be regulated until it is legal (and since then, as we’ve seen, it’s become so over-regulated and costly that most growers prefer the unregulated black market). Both the wine industry and the pot biz steal a lot of God's water and, of course, both industries exist to get God's children loaded, closer to God its partisans might argue. But according to McGourty, Mendo’s tax-paid ag advisor, neither need regulation. And neither would abide by it even if there was any.

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Just a quick check in to the members of this page and all Mendocino County residents.

Some of you already know me personally and know my busy work schedule, but most don’t. As we get closer to March 3rd (Election Day) more people want to know about the candidates, me being one of them. I apologize for not being able to respond to your questions and comments, but my priorities now are with the Fire Survivors in Redwood Valley and Potter Valley.

The job of District 1 County Supervisor begins January 2021. If elected, aside from my family, the job of County Supervisor will be top priority. Right now, campaigning for that job is not a top priority, getting families back in their home, is.

I will reply to facebook posts when I have the “extra” time, but if you’re seriously wanting to discuss something with me and time is of the essence, please don’t hesitate to contact me personally. My cell number is 707-489-4647 and my email address is

I look forward to working for the entire county at some point, but for now, I have commitments to those who simply want to go home.

Jon Kennedy, Potter Valley

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Drop in from 4 to 7 on Thursday the 21st and have your questions about joining us answered. Full disclosure: you'll go home with an application! Olie is on grill duty, cooking up tri-tip so bring the fam. No presentations, no speeches, just open doors, dinner, and shooting the breeze.

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Telephone Scam Warning — On November 5, 2019 the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call from a concerned citizen about a potential phone scam. The citizen stated a person called from a number which mirrored that of PG&E’s actual public phone number. The subject identified themselves as an employee of Pacific Gas and Electric, and even provided a badge number. The subject informed the citizen due to a recent company data software issue, the customer’s account had been suspended. The subject stated the customer was several days past due on their account, and needed to pay the outstanding balance immediately. The subject then directed the customer not go to a local PG&E office to pay the fine, as the company's system was down. The subject instead directed the subject to go to any local convenience store and purchase a money order or money gram. The subject then stated a service technician from the company would then be dispatched to the customer’s physical address, and scan the money gram bar code. Additionally, Deputies observed several social media posts from people stating they were contacted by PG&E to inform them of a potential public safety power shutoff. The call then directs them to talk to an operator to get the exact time of the power outage. The subjects on the phone then inform the customer of similar circumstances about their account being suspended, and attempt to obtain personal and financial information. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office urges anyone who receives a call of this nature to not provide any personal information or provide any payment as it is an obvious Identity Theft-related activity.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 14, 2019

Alvarez, Ayala, Martinez

CARLOS ALVAREZ, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.

JOSE AYALA, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.

JORGE MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

Miller, Oliver, Olsen

SHANE MILLER, Ukiah. Substance similar to toluene, probation revocation.

LUIS OLIVER, Covelo. Controlled substance for sale, failure to appear.

JACOB OLSEN, Redway/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Samuelson, Smith, Whipple, Wyatt

MATTHEW SAMUELSON, Albion. DUI-drugs&alcohol, enhanced by child under 14 passenger.

DEVIN SMITH, Willits. Domestic battery, failure to appear, probation revocation.

TINY WHIPPLE, Covelo. Suspended license (for DUI), probaation revocaiton.

GARY WYATT, Ukiah. Attempted burglary, disorderly conduct-loitering, under influence.

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by Jonah Raskin

When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?

Radical priest John Ball to English peasants, 1381

It’s unlikely that many TV viewers will remember that veteran Welsh actor, Vincent Regan, played Colonel Edward (“Ned”) Despard in the show Poldark, which is based on the novels of Winston Graham, and that traces the life and times of a British soldier during the time of the American Revolution. Ned Despard is a minor character in the TV series that ran on the BBC for five seasons, and, while it won some applause, a reviewer in the Guardian noted that in the final episode, “There were times when as a viewer you just didn’t know whether you were coming or going.”

Historian Peter Linebaugh, a contributor to CounterPunch, has made Despard into a kind of major minor figure in his tome Red Round Globe Hot Burning (University of California Press; $34.95). The book is subtitled “A Tale at the Crossroads of Commons & Closure, of Love & Terror, of Race & Class, and of Kate & Ned Despard.”

The title comes from a poem by William Blake, who wrote “They inclos’d my infinite brain into a narrow circle,/And sunk my heart into the Abyss, a red round globe hot burning/Till all from life I was obliterated and eraded.” Linebaugh thinks that Blake’s image might refer to the war between France and England, or the rebellion of slaves in Haiti, or the industrial revolution, or the planet Earth itself on fire. The image also suggests torture and death, which Ned Despard experienced as a prisoner, held without bail and identified by government informers as a conspirator in a plot to foment rebellion by seizing the Bank of England, the Tower of London and assassinating King George III. A jury found Despard guilty of high treason. The Lord Chief Justice sentenced him and six other men to be hanged, drawn and quartered. After public protest, the drawn-and-quartered part of the punishment was removed. On February 21, 1803, before a crowd of at least 20,000, Despard was executed on the roof of the gatehouse at Horsemonger Lane Gaol. So much for British civilization.

Linebaugh uses Despard and his wife and comrade, Catherine (“Kate”), as signposts of a sort in an epic tale about life in Europe and in the Americas at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th, with special attention to the revolutionary changes that turned the world upside down, transformed relations of property and labor and touched every aspect of rural and urban existence. Ned and Kate were an odd couple, indeed. He was born in Ireland in 1751, and for a time was a loyal son of the British Empire. She was probably born in what is now Belize. She has been identified variously as Creole and Jamaican. Linebaugh calls her an “intrepid African-American revolutionary,” who apparently vanished from “the archival record into historical silence.”

He went looking for her grave, and, while he didn’t find it, he says that he did find “some expressions of the causes for which she lived.” Those causes are the subject of his book, along with the social and economic conditions that prompted Ned and Kate to become lovers and rebels, and in Linebaugh’s eyes, heroes for our time who would not be driven apart by all the powers of the state.

Red Round Globe Hot Burning offers unconventional biography and unconventional history. Linebaugh goes where biographers and historians are often taught not to go: to places where there are no archival records and where a writer has to be inventive and imaginative. In the last chapter of his book, the author asks what Kate and Ned meant when they expressed the desire that “the principles of freedom, of humanity, and of justice will finally triumph over falsehood, tyranny and delusion, and every principle inimical to the interests of the human race.”

Linebaugh is especially curious about the phrase, “the interests of the human race.” He wonders what Kate and Ned had in mind and suggests that, “we can conjecture or speculate.” He adds that “though frowned on by historians, speculation is essential when documentary evidence is slight,” and that “to speculate is to gain knowledge of the soul.” In this book Linebaugh occasionally suggests what might have been or what could have been. He doesn’t fictionalize, as Edmund Morris did in his 1999 book Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan. Linebaugh doesn’t have to fictionalize. His material is fictional enough as it is. The real historical figures who appear in this book—Toussant L’Ouverture, Gracchus Babeuf, Sally Hemings, the Marquis de Sade and Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as Ned and Kate—could be characters in a novel set against the backdrop of the global movement of capital and labor from Ireland to Haiti.

There are times when a reader doesn’t know for sure if the author is coming or going, and whether his story is moving forward or backward, but Linebaugh usually provides big signs that make it clear where his characters are headed and why the forces of history unfold as they do. Few tomes are as much fun to read. On almost every page there are memorable phrases, such as “coal brings an end to human happiness,” “the French Revolution opened prisons, while the English counterrevolution built them,” and “plantation workers produced calories for factory workers”—with help from dock workers. Linebaugh calls factories places “where humans were consumed,” soldiers “dealers in death,” and a commodity “that form of wealth separating desire from possession.”

The author hasn’t just speculated and conjectured. He has also mediated and reflected and combed history for timeless quotations that appear in his text, such as Mary Wollstonecraft’s question, “Was not the world a vast prison, and women born slaves?” which she asked in 1798 but that a latter day feminist, socialist, communist or humanist might ask in 2019. Linebaugh doesn’t offer the John Ball quotation that appears at the top of the piece, though he might have. It’s right up his alley.

Red Round Globe Hot Burning ought to be assigned reading for history graduate students from Harvard to Berkeley and beyond. For the rest of us, who can choose what to read or not to read, and who won’t be tested on our understanding of the text, Linebaugh’s love story calls out passionately and asks freely, “Won’t you open these pages and see a world you’re missing?”

(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)

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Opening for vegetable grower, couple or individuals, with the experience, skills and capability to operate a 1-2 acre garden for an established biodynamic 50-70 household CSA at Live Power Community Farm in Mendocino County, California (Covelo/Round Valley) with the possibility of growth to 4 acres. Low carbon foot print draft horse and E-tractor tillage and solar electric pumped water and on farm biodynamic compost available. Active Waldorf school class visit program maintained by founding farmers.

Lease with conditions, profit sharing or salary? On farm housing available. Non smoking please. Biodynamic interest/experience preferred. Long term position or permanent future for right persons.

For more information on whole farm organism please see Farm founders are semi-retired, live on farm, and can mentor.

Please send letter of experience, interests, and references to Stephen and Gloria or call 707-983-8196.

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Who’s pulling the strings? The Fratello Marionettes, that’s who!

The Fratello’s, well known and loved by all, return to the Fort Bragg library on Saturday December 7, 2019 at 3 pm for a special performance of the children’s classic, Peter and the Wolf.

Come visit the forest home of Peter and his grandfather, listen to the debate between the bird and the duck and see how the hunters capture the wolf. Accompanied by the majestic score of Russian composer, Sergei Prokofiev, it’s the perfect way to introduce children to classical music and European puppetry. Peter and the Wolf is a must-see for this holiday season.

For more information, please contact the Fort Bragg Library at 707-964-2020 or via email at


Join us at the Fort Bragg Library on Friday, December 13, 2019, at 6 pm, for a live reading of stories that are sure to bring light to the darkest nights of the year. This joyous holiday event, Tales of the Winter Solstice will feature the vocal talents of R. Bobby and Linda Pack.

This is a free event with snacks provided by Friends of the Fort Bragg Library.

For more information, please contact the Fort Bragg Library, by phone at 707-964-2020 or via email at

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Stop Building a Spaceship to Mars and Just Plant Some Damn Trees

Researchers found that there’s room for an extra 900 million hectares of canopy cover.

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"IT'S AN OLD, OLD STORY," Mr. Flood said. "I've heard it told 16 different ways. I even heard a muxed-up version one night years ago in a vaudeville show. I'll tell it the way my daddy used to tell it. There was an old farmer who lived beside a little branch line railroad in South Jersey, and every so often he'd get on the train and go over to Trenton and buy himself a crock of applejack. He'd buy it right at the distillery door, the old Bossert & Stockton Apple Brandy Distillery, and save himself a penny or two. One morning he went to Trenton and bought his crock, and that afternoon he got on the train for the trip home. Just as the train pulled out, he took his watch from his vest pocket, a fine gold watch in a fancy hunting case, and he looked at it, and then he snapped it shut and put it back in his pocket. And there was a drummer sitting across the aisle. This drummer leaned over and said, ‘Friend, what time is it?’ The farmer took a look at him and said, ‘Won't tell you.’ The drummer thought he was hard of hearing and spoke louder. ‘Friend,’ he shouted out, What time is it?’ ‘Won't tell you,’ the farmer said. The drummer thought a moment and then he said, ‘Friend, all I asked was the time of day. It don't cost anything to tell the time of day’ ‘Won't tell you,’ the farmer repeated. ‘Well, look here, for the Lor’s sake,’ said the drummer, ‘why won't you tell me the time of day?’ ‘If I was to tell you the time of day,’ the farmer said, ‘we’d get into a conversation, and I got a crock of spirits down on the floor between my feet, and in a minute I'm going to take a drink, and if we were having a conversation I'd ask you to take a drink with me, and you would, and presently I’d take another, and I'd ask you to do the same, and you would, and we’d get to drinking, and by and by the train’d pull up to the stop where I get off, and I'd asked you why don't you get off and spend the afternoon with me, and you would, and we'd walk up to my house and sit on the front porch and drink and sing, and a along about dark my old lady would come out and ask you to take supper with us, and you would, and after supper I’d ask if you'd care to drink some more, and you would, and it'd get to be real late and I’d ask you to spend the night in the spare room, and you would, and along about two o'clock in the morning I’d get up to go to the pump, and I’d pass my daughter's room, and there you'd be, in there with my daughter, and I'd have to turn the bureau upside down and get out my pistol, and my old lady would have to get dressed and pick up the horse and go down the road and get the preacher, and I don't want no God-damned son-in-law who don't own a watch."

—Joseph Mitchell, “Old Mr. Flood,” 1944

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I just want to move away from here…

On 11/14/2019 2:42 PM, AL Nunez wrote: Me and my neighbor had gotten into an argument over me not cutting her grass on time…

Marco McClean: It's odd, I'm late for work and I find myself sitting here composing all sorts of advice for you, having been in the same pickle, of course, many times -- not the concussion and the c-word, but similar badmouthing from people in private that I much later, too late to fix, found out had screwed up opportunities for me… But as soon as I type out any helpful advice and look at it I realize how full of shit I am on this and just about every subject where someone is genuinely unhappy. It's enlightening, and I'm sorry all these things keep happening to you, but I love your stories, especially how I can hear your voice while reading them. You tell a great story, Al, and I'm looking forward to reading more. You're always welcome at KNYO when I'm doing Memo of the Air from there, like /this/ Friday night, for example, and you know where it is and what time. If you're up for it and if you want to come by, come by, like last time, a couple of months ago. That went well, I thought.

And the same goes for the persons of c-word. Let's just straighten it out on the radio. Why not? Run it up the antenna and see who salutes.

Marco McClean

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  1. Lazarus November 15, 2019

    Found Object

    MY EYES, MY EYES…..!

    As always,

  2. John Sakowicz November 15, 2019

    Yesterday, a fourth candidate announced for the 1st District Supervisor. Clearly he was recruited.

    Recruited by the Farm Bureau. Recruited by Mendocino County Inland Water & Power. Recruited by the wine industry. Recruited by powerful interests looking to protect cheap water and the status quo.

    This new local development mirrors national politics in the Democratic Party’s 2020 Presidential Candidates race.

    Establishment Democrats, also known as “corporate” Democrats and “power elites”, fight to retain control over our country at a time when our country cries out for “progressives” and new leadership.

    The deciding factor in 1st District race will come down cannabis farmers.

    Can we organize? Will we vote? Will we take their rightful seat at the Farm Bureau. Will we fight for water rights? Will we fight for farmer co-ops? Will we fight for a collectively owned and operated supply chain? Will we fight to have cannabis zoned as ag, and not as commercial? Will we fight for a simplified and streamlined permit process? Will we fight for a path to amnesty for legacy farmers?

    In short, will we fight for equity?

    John Sakowicz, Candidate 1st District Supervisor and proud member of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance

    • George Hollister November 15, 2019

      “Recruited by the Farm Bureau.”

      Not by Farm Bureau. Glenn McGourty recruited himself, and he’s very serious, and not shy about putting his hat in the ring. He’s not carrying water for anybody.

      • Harvey Reading November 15, 2019

        Not even his own self-interest?

        • George Hollister November 15, 2019

          His self-interest in terms of his vision for Mendocino County, yes.

          • Harvey Reading November 15, 2019

            Obfuscation at its finest, George. Nice try, but…

          • Bruce Anderson November 15, 2019

            McGourty’s “vision” is cheap water for wine grapes and continued un-regulation of the booze biz.

            • Lazarus November 15, 2019

              Is Mr. McGourty any relation to Jan McGourty of Mental Health Mendo fame…?
              As always,

      • James Marmon November 15, 2019

        George, I’m sure that when we get a list of his campaign endorsements the truth will reveal itself.

        James Marmon MSW

        • George Hollister November 15, 2019

          Like most candidates, his donations will come from those who like what he says, just like most in the race. Same for those who vote for him.

          • Harvey Reading November 15, 2019

            Somehow that sounds like a restatement of almost exactly what James wrote.

  3. Craig Stehr November 15, 2019

    While Waiting to Vote for Bernie, and for the Impeachment, Mendo Liberals May Enjoy Poetry

    Kali the Mother
    The stars are blotted out, the clouds are covering clouds.
    It is darkness vibrant, sonant.
    In the roaring, whirling wind are the souls of a million lunatics
    Just loosed from the prison-house, wrenching trees by the roots, sweeping all from the path.

    The sea has joined the fray, and swirls up mountain-waves to reach the pitchy sky.
    The flash of lurid light reveals on every side a thousand, thousand shades of Death,
    Begrimed and black–scattering plagues and sorrows, dancing mad with joy.
    Come Mother, come!

    For Terror is Thy name, Death is in Thy breath,
    And every shaking step destroys a world for e’er.
    Thou ‘Time’, the All-destroyer!
    Come, O Mother, come!

    Who dares misery love, and hug the form of Death,
    Dance in Destruction’s dance
    To him the Mother comes.

    –Swami Vivekananda

  4. James Marmon November 15, 2019


    It looks like all the layoff’s are going to be in Redwood Valley


    “Today, Michael Steinmetz, CEO of Flow Kana, announced the distribution business which has formed partnerships with many Emerald Triangle farmers specializing in sungrown cannabis, would be cutting up to 20% of its workforce.
    However, when reached for comment this afternoon, he assured us that no workers employed at either the Whitethorn or Laytonville facilities would be laid off.

    “Sourcing and packaging and selling product hasn’t been affected at all,” he told us. But, he said, “All of the growth initiatives related to expansion in 2020 have been put on pause until the market catches up.””

    • James Marmon November 15, 2019

      From the above story’s comment section

      “Wonder if the Bell Arbres property in Redwood Valley will be sold? No need to have that place if all the crews in Laytonville or Whitethorn. Pretty long commute…”

      -Mendocino Mamma

  5. James Marmon November 15, 2019

    It looks like Kaeperdick might get another shot at the NFL, most likely as a bench warmer.


    • Bruce Anderson November 15, 2019

      He’d be starting for most NFL teams. Clear case of blacklisting by the NFL’s swinish owners.

      • George Hollister November 16, 2019

        He would be starting in a pre-Knute Rockne football world, if there was an NFL then.

  6. Harvey Reading November 15, 2019


    Earth a decade from now.

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