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MCT: Monday, December 30, 2019

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HIGH PRESSURE will result in a couple days of dry and seasonably cool weather, with a mix of sunshine and morning valley fog. A passing front will bring some light rainfall on Wednesday. Slight chances for rain will continue later in the week near the Oregon border, but any substantial rainfall should stay to our north. (NWS)

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by Marilyn Davin

As we wake up to Old Man Winter’s icy mornings to pull on our coats, hats, and gloves to scrape the overnight ice off our windshields, the issue of the county’s homeless naturally grows more urgent, as it does around this time every year. Different groups with vested interests or divergent philosophies take up their usual, unsurprising positions: businesses fret over a loss of revenue over the lucrative holiday season as homeless residents crowd the sidewalks (and presumably discourage downtown shopping); churches marshal their flocks to serve meals and, in some cases, provide extra beds for those with nowhere else to lay their heads; liberals cluck impotently over the unfairness of it all while hardliners mutter about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps; helping professionals hired to do something about this intractable, seemingly endless problem dig in to estimate the depth of the problem and what it will cost the county to at least stick a finger in the dyke as they prepare their PowerPoint presentations and public-ready updates, and hospitals and law enforcement, respectively, brace for more emergency room visits and more arrests for vagrancy, violence, drugs, alcohol and the many other social and legal ills connected with living outside on the streets in the depths of winter.

What’s a city to do?

Ukiah’s Inland Winter Shelter on South State Street, operated by Redwood Community Services, Inc., doesn’t look anything like it did the last time I visited in the early spring of 2018. It was pretty bare bones back then with none of the showers, laundry, Day Center (which opened August 6), and other amenities that today provide a safe, more comprehensive gathering place off the streets.

In its early days, the shelter was basically one big room where our homeless relatives, friends, and fellow Mendo residents slept during the coldest months of the year.


On one of those recent cold, late December days when I visited the shelter, 46 “guests” (the preferred reference to the homeless individuals staying there) had slept in the shelter dormitory the night before. According to the latest stats that Homeless Housing Manager Sage Wolf shared with me (for October), 100 visited the Day Center, 40 took showers, and 30 did their laundry.

Though the numbers had not yet been tabulated when I visited, Wolf told me that November’s numbers were higher. There’s no kitchen yet, per se, though there are toasters and microwaves where guests can cobble together mostly non-perishable foods when not taking meals at Plowshares across the street or at churches and other local places where meals are prepared for people living on the streets who have nowhere and nothing to eat.


A recent addition to the dozen or so full- and part-timers who make up the shelter staff, Lead Peer Support Counselor Dan Twyman, has worked at the shelter for about a year and a half; he moved to Ukiah from Tennessee with his wife so she could accept a teaching position at the college.

Irrepressibly cheerful and upbeat and speaking in a soft, lilting southern accent, he said that, compared with last year, the shelter is running much more smoothly with its expanded facilities and services. “Last year we had a lot of tension because we had such limited services,” he said. “A lot of people come in with walkers, or on crutches. We also deal with a lot of people in some state of intoxication.”

Twyman said the goal is to keep the homeless off the streets and connect them with other services like counseling or housing, and to basically keep them out of the hospital and out of jail. He added that reaching this goal is difficult when individuals have drug addictions. “This is Meth Country,” he said, “and meth addicts are not fun to watch.”

Despite these difficulties Twyman said that helping others is a calling for him. “I really like working with people who are struggling,” he said. He stressed that no cookie-cutter description fits Mendo’s local homeless folk, and that the county’s housed residents need to resist black-and-white thinking. “Many people right on the edge have moved from lower middle class to homelessness,” he told me. “Once you’re off the map you start losing resources and you end up sleeping outside in the bushes. It doesn’t take much to end up homeless in America these days.”

'Pepper' Lemmons

Like, for instance, shelter guest Charletta Lemmons, known to everyone as Pepper.

Pepper, who has neither substance abuse issues nor mental illness, became homeless after a hefty rent hike she couldn’t afford; she ended up sleeping under the Ford Street Bridge until last July, when she moved to the shelter. Impeccably dressed and articulate, if you saw Pepper on the street you’d assume she was a secretary or some other member of the legions of office workers in downtown Ukiah. She lives at the shelter at night and babysits her toddler grandbaby during the day so her son Jeffrey can go to his fulltime job at Applebee’s. He lives with his young daughter at the Ford Street project where Pepper said she’s not allowed to live with them. “I can’t jeopardize his housing situation,” she said.

She clearly regrets the choices she made many years ago as a young mother. “There was a time when I wasn’t there for him,” she said, quickly wiping away tears. “I was selfish and I make up for it every day.” She, like Twyman, said there’s no one-size-fits-all for those who find themselves homeless and living on the streets.

“Some of us weren’t born with silver spoons in our mouths, some of us were born as welfare children,” she said. “I have children who were welfare children…but who aren’t welfare people. They have jobs and homes.”

Depressingly, one thing never changes from year to year: there’s just nowhere to live around here. Housing is the Catch-22 sticky wicket that just won’t go away. In addition to the uphill battle the homeless face from bad or non-existent credit, no stable place to live, poverty, and often a history of either addiction or legal problems (all captured forever in integrated computer systems just a keyboard click away for potential landlords (and employers), in the words of recent protestors around California, “The rent is too damned high.” Lack of housing, in all of its quirky manifestations, is a major heartache for Sage Wolf and the one thing she would change if she were granted just one wish. “We’re trying to scrounge up apartments all the time,” she said. And she said it’s especially discouraging for those who spend months qualifying for Housing Choice vouchers (formerly Section 8 or, simply, HUD vouchers), which expire after a few months so that when applicants can’t secure housing they have to start the whole, lengthy application process all over again. She said that some landlords use the federal voucher dollar limit, which is based on an area’s average rent, as tools to freeze out applicants by charging rent just slightly above what the voucher will pay. In Mendo that amount is currently $1,050, a hard figure that can’t be negotiated, for a two-bedroom apartment.

Even with a sliding scale that determines how much HUD will kick in for rent, Wolf said that few homeless applicants can afford rent that high. Saying that a new rent stabilization law taking effect the first of the year could be “a game changer” in forcing landlords to accept housing vouchers or face charges of discrimination, Wolf said she’s optimistic that the new law will help.

A quick review of that law, the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, suspiciously unopposed by landlord associations, contains some all-too-familiar red flags. First of all, like Dianne Feinstein’s hard-fought assault weapons ban, the new housing law has a sunset date – in this case 10 years. Secondly, it’s called “stabilization” instead of “control” because it mandates a rent “cap” with a rolling calendar. The way it works is that rents can go up 5% every year, plus inflation. Cities that already have rent caps can keep them if they meet this standard. In the case of Los Angeles, for example, cited in several news articles on the new law, this translates into an 8% rent increase every year. Lower, to be sure, than some of the more egregious run-away hikes we’ve seen in the recent past, but consider: The non-profit California Policy Center released a study comparing average annual wage increases in California in recent years. It’s 2% for private-company employees (government employees earn twice as much to begin with). Sooo…if your rent goes up 8% every year (each increase based on the higher amount set the year before) or thereabouts and you’re getting a 2% salary increase, how many years will it take to get priced out of the housing market — again? Plus rentals built within the past 15 years are exempt from the new rent cap (supposedly to stimulate recent developers to keep on building, a dubious assumption).

And the coup de grace: landlords who kick you out without cause now have to compensate you – for a whopping one month’s rent! What a deal! And who will enforce any of this for the state’s nearly 9-million renters? Hey, we all know that many laws evolve over time and I hate to be a niggling pessimist, but this one is blazing with red flags, at least in my view after reading about it.

Back at the shelter, it remains to be seen how all this will shake out. Life goes on, space is expanding to provide shelter for even more guests, and counselors and other staffers keep plugging away at employment possibilities and helping Ukiah’s homeless navigate the maze of bureaucratic systems that could help them re-enter the employed, housed world.

Wolf, who’s been in the Mendo shelter trenches for six years, says that she tries to focus on all the good the shelter and its staff do every day and every night. “You can get into this place where you feel helpless and hopeless, that we’re never going to be able to do enough,” she said. But as she reflected on all the ways that the shelter’s homeless guests network and support one another in ways large and small, she said, “In that way, they are more connected than housed people. People in this [homeless] community have big hearts.”

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MSP saw this photo posted to social media by John Ruczak.

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(A preliminary list we hope readers will flesh out with their own awards)

MOST MONEY IN SALARIES TO LEAST VISIBLE EFFECT: Carmel Angelo; Sage Sangiacomo; Richard Shoemaker

PERP WALK VICS, FIRED WITH NO EXPLANATION: Barbara Howe; Heidi Dunham; Diane Curry; Harinder Grewal. Victim emeritas, Alan ‘The Kid’ Flora.

NAMBO PAMBOS OF THE YEAR: Dan Gjerde and Lindy Peters who agreed “not to go after each other” in the race for 4th District supervisor.

EYESORE OF THE DECADE: The new Savings Bank on Big Box Row, Ukiah. But, but, but it’s still under construction! (See existing Savings Bank structures.)

OSTRICHES OF THE YEAR: County admin for ignoring the Marbut Report on homelessness despite a direct order from Supes to implement it.

PRINCESS AND THE PEA: DA Eyster’s hard line on Willits Police officer Jacob Jones for a barely visible and perhaps non-existent offense in a previous job in Eureka.

SLAP ON THE WRIST: DA Eyster’s failure to prosecute as murder the killing of harmless street guy Jimmy Isenhart.

LATERAL PERSONNEL MOVE: Sheriff Allman retires, Under-Sheriff Matt Kendall appointed Sheriff.

LAMENTABLE PERSONNEL LOSS: Deputy Craig Walker who left Anderson Valley and the Sheriff’s Department for a cop job in the Bay Area.

INFAMOUS MENDO CRIME OF THE YEAR: Hit and Run death of Caleb Hunnicut and subsequent arrest of accused perp, Gina Bean. (More hits on AVA website than any other single local story this year).

HARD LUCK COMMUNITY OF THE YEAR: Anderson Valley beset by house fires, 7 of them since Thanksgiving leaving upwards of 20 people houseless and two giant piles of rubble in downtown Boonville including the perennial eyesore, cum fire hazard, the Ricard Complex, which remains standing empty, unoccupied for fifty years.

OTHER LOSSES TO ANDERSON VALLEY include the closing of Buckhorn Bar and Restaurant, the loss to fire of the legendary (former) Boonville Lodge and the closure of the Poleeko Roadhouse café in Philo.

BRIGHT NOTES: Founding of the Anderson Valley Village aimed at providing systematic help to keep the local elderly in their homes.

MOST CONTROVERSIAL LOCAL PROPOSAL: Drinking and wastewater system for Boonville.

MOST EXCITING DINNER: The one hosted at Rancho Navarro by Fritz Ohm where Michael Saner shot and killed Willie Martinez before the first course was served. (Saner was tried and sentenced this year.)

NOTABLE EVENTS: Boonville’s first drive-by shooting by rez dogs, Stillday and Knight.

MOST INCOMPETENT DRIVE-BY OF THE YEAR: Wannabe gangstas Stillday and Knight who shot at the wrong guy at the Boonville Fairgrounds parking lot.

VEHICLE OF THE YEAR: The AVA’s ’97 Honda wracks up 300,000 miles.

MAD DASH OF THE YEAR: Friday afternoon (April 5), Boonville’s pastoral stupor was shattered by a noisy high speed car chase barreling through Boonville a little before 3pm. It all began when a sharp-eyed deputy near Big Box Row in Ukiah spotted a Dodge Dakota with a license plate affixed to it that belonged to a recreational vehicle, not a pick-up truck. The stolen vehicle’s sole occupant was later identified as Robert Joseph Paul, 32, veteran tweeker out of Eureka.

FILM OF THE YEAR: The Murder Mountain documentary set in Southern Humboldt and the Mendocino County line. Accurate depiction of the love drug’s collateral damage.

BEST MEDICAL NEWS: Chris Skyhawk’s recovery from stroke.

BOOK OF THE YEAR: Katy Tahja’s “An Eclectic History of Mendocino County.”

WORST FOOD NEWS: The opening of Panda Express in Ukiah.

LONGEST RUNNING DEBACLE: Disposition of Ukiah’s Palace Hotel, empty for forty years but still the most attractive large building in the town.

MOST IRRELEVANT ELECTED BODIES: Ukiah City Council; KZYX board of directors; all the school boards of Mendocino County. (Perennial winners.)

LINGUISTS OF THE YEAR: The Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care announcement that they may adopt official definitions for different groups of homeless people intended to “determine priority and service path when working with individuals and families experiencing homelessness.” But doing nothing to help the problem.

NEPOTIST OF THE YEAR: Supervisor McCowen, whose bogus Climate Change Committee was created to make a highly paid job for a pal from the Mendocino Environment Center whose Ukiah premises McCowen owns but rents free to inactive activists.

INSTITUTIONAL IDIOCY: The lawyer-enriching, rate-payer screwing bureaucracies administered by the two most incompetent elected entities in the County — the City of Ukiah and the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District.

ZIONIST OF THE YEAR: Mike Koepf of Elk who declared criticism of Israel’s apartheid government to be anti-Semitic.

LEAST DELIVERED FOR MOST PROMISED AWARD: Measure B Committee: Promising to make a large dent in Mendo’s mental health problem by taxing locals for tens of millions of dollars, but in two years of meetings they’ve bought an old church building for a training center, bought an extremely expensive sound system out of the General Fund, hired a “100% illiterate” project manager, and rubberstamped the spending of “up to” $3.3 million for an unnecessary and time consuming “feasibility study,” but couldn’t even revive their own well-funded outreach service, much less get a crisis van going or lease a mobile unit to get a pilot psychiatric hold facility started while mental patients continue to be shipped outtahere for $1000 a day.

OAKLEAF CLUSTER to CEO Angelo for successfully dodging the Grand Jury’s complaints by pretending to agree with it but doing nothing about it while letting the Supes take what little blame they were willing to take as the CEO continued with business as usual.

MOST UNCALLED FOR BOARD CHAMBER REMARKS: Dan Gjerde’s peevish outbursts accusing Supervisor Williams of “Grandstanding” and accusing the County employees’ union rep of “unfortunately escalating” tensions in negotiations while failing to praise Gjerde for selflessly taking a minor pay cut.


HERE’S YER HAT AND WHAT’S YER HURRY: Dan Hamburg who served two somnolent terms as supervisor before leaving for exile in Oregon with his live-in therapist.

RUNNERS UP: Supervisors Carre Brown and John McCowen who are retiring without doing much more than attending lots of meetings and rubberstamping everything CEO Angelo did or didn’t want to do.

MOST DISAPPOINTING FIRST YEAR: Supervisor John Haschak who ran on a platform of “listening” to the public, but in the end failing to even suggest a single item of public interest for the Board’s agenda.

BIGGEST NEW SCAM: The Northcoast’s Democratic Party’s successful reinvention of Doug Bosco’s defunct Northcoast Railroad Authority now morphed into The Great Redwood Trail Scam which will never happen but will pay Bosco millions for bogus track maintenance.

MOST USELESS PUBLIC BUREAUCRACY: The Ukiah Valley Sanitation District, which adds no value to the Ukiah City Sanitation system but got tricked into wasting millions of dollars on a lawsuit on grounds that it had been overcharged by Ukiah.

BEST SINGLE DOCUMENT WITH LEAST RESULT: County Counsel Christian Curtis’s slam dunk refutation of MRC’s “we’re exempt from nuisance laws” position but which MRC continues to ignore — Curtis’s slam dunk, that is.

MOST DESPISED Northern California organization: PG&E Management which ignored the input of local governments like Mendo’s, inconvenienced millions of people with their “safety” power shutoff while leaving the power on at the Geysers where a PG&E tower/line fire caused the evacuation of entire North Bay towns.

BIGGEST FIZZLE: The Exclusive Operating Area (EOA) which was touted as solving the inland ambulance funding and service shortfalls was declared DOA when the City of Ukiah backed out leaving Mendo with minimal ambulance service inland and a funding/financing mess that will take years to even try to clean up.

BIGGEST OXYMORON in Official Mendo History: “Streamlining the cannabis program.”

CLEVEREST TAKE OVER MOVES: The Adventists proposal to operate Coast Hospital in Fort Bragg after waiting for the Hospital’s Board to give up on fixing their finances leaving Coast with no other choice but the Adventists who also will soon cash in on public frustration with the slow pace of the Measure B committee, recently entering the race for Measure B millions by offering to provide emergency mental services at existing Adventist hospitals.

LEAST TRANSPARENT OPERATION IN MENDO HISTORY: Camille Schraeder’s Redwood Quality Management Company, which continues to churn out reams of meaningless snapshot “data dashboard” reports which tell the public nothing about what they’re doing with the $20 million a year we pay them for mental health services which are in such bad shape that Sheriff Allman successfully convinced the public that we need to spend yet another $20 or $30 mil in Measure B sales taxes over and above what the Schraeder’s presently get to do exactly what for how much?

UNBRIDLED OPTIMISM AWARD: When Supervisor Williams asked when Mendo’s failed pot program would break even, Pot Program manager Sean Connell replied: “Well Before Never.”


Supervisor John McCowen: “The board has been asking for budget tracking. I think it should be on a monthly basis. Here's the budgeted amount, here's the expenditure to date. Both the total budget for departments and net county cost. Whatever the appropriate breakdown is. We should get relatively real-time information on how the departments are performing against the budget. I think that would be beneficial as well. We have given these directions in the past. I know everyone's busy doing everything they're doing. These are the types of things that I think would put the county in a position to better evaluate everything that we are doing appropriate or could it be done better.”

CEO Carmel Angelo: “I agree with you Supervisor McCowen that the Board has been asking for metrics on the departments and budget tracking. And I believe we have it down to every other month.”

McCowen: “Um…”

Supervisor McCowen was probably going to say that they don’t have it down to anything like that. But the CEO didn’t want to hear that.

Angelo: “Please let me finish Supervisor McCowen. I know that you in particular have asked for monthly. I can tell you that we are working on metrics and Deputy CEO Darcie Antle has been working on the departments. One of the first actions was educating the departments with more budget training within the department than we've had in the past…”

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A list of all of the calendar events for the next two weeks that are hosted by The Anderson Valley Village as well as events in our community at large. Plenty to keep you busy! Note: We try to maintain this calendar as events change, especially AV Village events. Other events listed here are subject to change without notice so contact the particular organization/ venue for the latest information. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us: Anica Williams 707-684-9829

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The present day social disorder continues to wash tragedy upon our shores and a recent one came with the news Jimmy Isenhart, a local beggar who exhausted the term “transient” a long time ago, had been murdered.

I read the news in Bruce McEwen’s front page Anderson Valley Advertiser account which came complete with a photo of the forlorn and dissipated Jimmy alongside that of his killer, Isaiah Bennet. From the photo Bennet appears to be a young and sturdy fellow and is a state prison veteran with a long and violent record. When arrested he told police he felt bad about what happened because he’d have to go back to prison.

Bennett, Isenhart

Jimmy Isenhart, blind and homeless and as sad a man as we routinely encounter, was sitting down when Bennet kicked him in the face and killed him. In court, Bennet told Judge Faulder “I was a little frustrated that day.”

A clear-cut murder case was mysteriously filed by the DA as assault with battery likely to produce great bodily injury. Stacking it up came to eight years in prison.

All things taken together I knew Jimmy fairly well. We talked when we encountered one another and I gave him small amounts of money. In conversation he had an eager, childlike enthusiasm and always painted his life in the rosiest of terms.

One cold frosty morning I spotted him at the Safeway entrance on State Street and asked how he’d fared the night before. “Great!” Jimmy said cheerfully. “I had this extra blanket I got yesterday so when everybody else was freezing I was nice and warm!” Lemonade out of lemons, that was Jimmy.

Just a blind beggar from somewhere else, a life not worth much. About eight years I guess.

Jimmy Isenhart wasn’t Aristotle, but neither was he a dog. One more tragedy tossed on the pile.

— Tommy Wayne Kramer (Tom Hine hands the microphone to Bob Dylan, 1962: ‘His face was all grounded in the cold sidewalk floor / I guess he’d been dead for a whole night or more / He was only a Hobo but one more is gone / Leavin’ nobody to carry him home…’ TWK says Happy New Year

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The MCHS, located at 603 W. Perkins Street, in Ukiah, preserves and shares the history of Mendocino County with its members and the general public. Beginning on January 1, 2020, the MCHS will be open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The MCHS is an independent, private, non-profit organization. In November, the California State Library selected Mendocino as the California History Section’s County of the Month. This distinction highlights organizations involved in local cultural preservation and outreach, as well as the varied local history resources available to researchers at the State Library.

The new archival building houses and provides access to photographs, books, maps, periodicals, pamphlets, and more, for study and research. It is open to the community and is easily accessible. Staff and volunteers locate information, guide research, organize and interpret historical material on Mendocino County. The Society also publishes materials, including a quarterly journal. Quarterly meetings are held in different locations around the county that feature guest historians. Recently, speakers have presented on such diverse topics as railroads, earthquakes, geology, and other historical curiosities.

The MCHS offers help with researching family history or other historical topics within Mendocino County. Drop-ins are welcome, or appointments can be made by calling (707) 462-6969 or emailing Guests are welcome to stop by 603 W. Perkins Street in Ukiah for a tour.

Alyssa Ballard


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Save the date for Mendocino’s beloved Sheriff Tom’s retirement party. On Saturday, Feb. 1, the community is invited to celebrate retiring Sheriff Tom Allman’s 40 years of service at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds Carl Purdy Hall in Ukiah from 4 to 10 p.m.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 29, 2019

Bernal, Burtleson, Colberg

OSCAR BERNAL, Ukiah. Protective order violation.

ERIC BURTLESON, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

KENTON COLBERG JR., Fort Bragg. Controlled substance for sale.

Crane, Farfan, Hawkins

MICHAEL CRANE, Manteca/Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DANIEL FARFAN II, Crescent City/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, parole violation.

JOEL HAWKINS, Fremont/Ukiah. Battery, petty theft-shoplifting.

Miller, Muniz, Ransom

ANGEL MILLER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, parole violation.

PABLO MUNIZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

MAURICIO RANSOM, Oakland/Willits. DUI-alcohol&drugs.

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The genius idiot: Elon Musk.

Few would dispute the value of Elon Musk’s achievements and lofty goals.

We need electric cars. We need to go to Mars. Steven Hawking, the noted scientist, says that if we do not have the capacity to progress to other planets, then we are all doomed as the human race.

Mr. Musk, I applaud your intentions. But sometimes you appear to be dumb as a rock.

I really did have to question, what in the world were you thinking about Tesla stock value, and your investors when you decided to smoke pot with Joe Rogan?

This is just what we need. There is no better way to instill confidence in your judgement and your products and stock value than to portray yourself as a stoner.

And what happened to Tesla stock? Was the effect more like Sativa or Indica?

Now, nobody is perfect and even bigtime CEO’s make big mistakes at times. But, Elon, what are you smoking?

Elon just did a promotional video showing himself throwing a steel ball against his new bulletproof Tesla pick-up truck. Twice. And what happened? Well, the glass shattered.

If a window on a space shuttle shatters, then what do you suppose would happen?

A youtube video of an astronaut being sucked out of a broken window?

Nope. I’m not being sucked out of any window into space, thank you very much.

And, again, what a confidence builder this showing was for Tesla stock investors as well as future truck buyers. Not.

But today, you took the cake. You won the genius idiot award.

I saw a commercial of your truck, spinning in a perfect circle, doing donuts like some foolish teenager at an Oakland sideshow, leaving tracks and marks in the road.

Man, there will certainly be a demand for a truck that can go nowhere and just create damage to our roadways.

Advertising genius. Sheer genius. And, I am supposed to board your spaceship to Mars, when you think it wise to promote an expensive futuristic truck that spins around in a circle?

Seriously? We need this? Elon, wake up buddy. You appear to be losing it, and either you are not listening to your personal advisors, or you are listening to your dope dealer.

Because, these examples would make anyone leary, like Timothy Leary.

And it would appear that you have already taken a trip to Mars. So, maybe, please Elon, come down. Please come back down to earth.


Johnny Keyes


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TRAVELERS CELEBRATE the opening of the Sepulveda Boulevard Tunnel, 1930. Photo California Historical Society.

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Bernie Is the Candidate Who Can Beat Trump. Here’s Why.

If Sanders brought that kind of unbridled energy to a general election against Donald Trump, it would amount to perhaps the most high-profile spectacle of class conflict in the modern history of American electoral politics.

The campaign ad practically writes itself. In 1940s New York City, two boys were born only a few years and a few miles apart.

One, the son of a real-estate tycoon, grew up in a white-pillared mansion, literally doing his paper route from the back of his father’s limousine.

The other, the son of a penniless immigrant whose family was killed in the Holocaust, grew up in a cramped Brooklyn apartment, sleeping on a trundle bed in the living room.

One, educated in the best private schools money could buy, devoted his life to the pursuit of profit and power, abusing tenants, stiffing workers, and flaunting his wealth in New York’s highest society circles.

The other spent his life working in the trenches on behalf of the vast majority — protesting segregation in Chicago, protecting poor tenants in Burlington, fighting for workers in Washington, and taking aim at the pampered elite who rule the economy from their penthouses.

This is a dynamic that we’ve never seen before in a presidential election. In fact, we’ve rarely seen anything like it in modern US history at all, so submerged has class politics been beneath the bipartisan pro-corporate consensus and its pablum about meritocracy and the marvels of capitalist free enterprise.

The self-seeking billionaire versus the lifelong crusader for the working class: it would be potent, resonant, and emblematic of the deep economic divide that people intuitively understand but don’t yet have the language for. It would be the kind of epic symbolic rivalry in which you can imagine people taking a side for the first time in their lives.

When people say that Sanders is a risk, they usually mean that his platform and his rhetoric are too far outside the Democratic political mainstream for comfort. But at this juncture in history, comfort itself is a risk. The Right has taken advantage of the public’s appetite for transformation in order to further enrich the masters of the universe. His opponents will have to take advantage of that same appetite to do the very opposite.

Sanders’s ambitious agenda represents a dramatic departure from the neoliberal Democratic consensus, and that’s exactly what we need to win. If we want to beat Trump and build a countervailing force capable of taking on the systems and institutions that produced him, we can’t afford not to nominate Bernie Sanders.

Carol Mattessich

Fort Bragg

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A letter sent to a bank by an 86 year old woman.

The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the New York Times.

Dear Sir:

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month.

By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it.

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years.

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and letters, --- when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.

From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.

My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an OFFENSE under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact which I require your chosen employee to complete.

I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.

Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, at MY convenience, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me.

I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further.

When you call me, press buttons as follows:

Immediately After Dialing, Press The Star (*) Button For English

1. To make an appointment to see me.

2. To query a missing payment.

3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.

4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.

5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.

6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.

7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required.

Password will be communicated to you at a later date to that Authorized Contact mentioned earlier.

8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 10.

9. To make a general complaint or inquiry.

The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.

10. This is a second reminder to press* for English.

While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?

Your Humble Client

And remember:

Don't make old people mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to tick us off.

Anonymous 80-year old

New York

* * *

* * *


You can’t tell the truth because the truth isn’t wanted. People structure their lives around howling lies, assertions they know can’t possibly be true but nonetheless feel compelled to accept as if they are. And why? Because their livelihoods and social standing depend on their public acquiescence.

How many times have you heard some respectable matron whisper that she wishes that Trump hadn’t said something or other the way he said it, but then goes on to say that somebody had to say something?

Borders? Are illegal Mexican immigrants as bad as Trump paints them? No, but somebody had to say something, and you can guarantee that whoever said it would be vilified as racist regardless of how it was said. I mean, come on now, you don’t step on the toes of Big Businesses that rely on the work of illegals. Do you believe that illegal immigration doesn’t matter because they only do the work that Americans won’t? Do you believe that lie? This is the Big Business talking point, and it’s been parroted by every liberal and “progressive” who purport to represent everything good, plus academics that do this make-believe routine of dispassionate research. Never mind exploitation of desperate people, and it doesn’t matter if you believe the talking point or not, you must talk and act as if it was the god’s honest truth. Trade? Same shit, you repeat the lies you are taught by your betters, that open borders, whether in terms of trade or investment or migration, are GOOD, and if you’re not on board with that, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. You mouth the required words or else.

Then came Trump and suddenly every issue unworthy of polite society came sprinting out into the open, like streakers on the White House lawn, and there’s Trump talking about stuff that maybe you’d been thinking but were too afraid to say.

You can say what you want about Trump’s unfitness for the august position he’s been occupying, but on a lot of issues that matter to huge swathes of the populace, he’s speaking truth to power.

* * *

DEBUTING SONGS from "The Fabulous Johnny Cash" at a Nashville press party, February 1959:

* * *


Deplorable Donald Trump

Is a self-pitiful disgrace

Two Articles of Impeachment

Right in Trump’s angry orange face!

Traitor Trump always blames

His crackpot crimes on anyone else.

Everyone gets thrown under the bus

Other than Donald Trump himself.

Who needs patriotic whistleblowers?

When Trump freely admits his guilt.

King Donald the First is above the law!

(Or so says corrupt Moscow Mitch.)

Trump says he’ll do whatever he wants.

So stay away from 5th Avenue,

Unless you’re looking to get shot.

Trump’s taxpayer funded attorneys

Actually argued this in a court of law.

Trump thinks he can shoot you, y’all!

The 25th Amendment

Should have been used long ago.

Republicans fell down on the job,

So Democrats picked up the load.

After Trump’s out, send him to Club Fed.

Unlike Jeffrey Epstein. Bill Barr will

Prevent Trump from ending up dead.

Moscow Mitch McConnell put in the fix

Instead of having a real Senate trial.

Let those Senators earn their pay by

Listening to fact witnesses for awhile.

Demented Donald Trump is 100% guilty.

If your eyes are open, this you can see.

Convict, remove, and imprison

This racist Russian stooge A.S.A.P.

Get rid of Putin’s puppet Benedict Donald

Before it is too late.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

United States!


Jake Pickering


* * *

* * *


Mark Twain was once published in this Northern California newspaper. More than a century later, the Mountain Messenger appears to be nearing its final days. Editor-publisher Don Russell had spent the last year trying to sell the state’s oldest weekly newspaper, with no luck. He is planning to retire by the middle of January, at which point publication will end.

* * *


Now here's the OTHER mushroom drink we've got ready for ya… the Maitake Mushroom Mocha. Espresso, milk, our delicious classic chocolate, and the Maitake mushroom simple syrup. You're really gonna love this one!

* * *



There are two kinds of actions regarding the homeless — those that make it easier for them to get out of homelessness, and those that make it easier for them to remain homeless.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors just approved spending $50,000 to give each of the 210 homeless people on the Joe Rodota Trail taxpayer-paid shelter, which only makes them “housed” homeless instead of “unhoused” homeless. This is the wrong kind of action. They need jobs. They need education. They need mental health care. They need drug rehab. Those will get them out of homelessness.

And, of course, as soon as homeless folks around the U.S. hear of this, guess where they will be headed? To Santa Rosa to demand their “free” housing at your and my expense, with no end to the number in sight.

Seriously, aren’t there many people more deserving of a $50,000 handout? We don’t have enough money to fix potholes, we have old folks living on a pittance, but we have enough to give $50,000 apartments to homeless people? Really?

Willis Eschenbach


* * *

MEDIA ATTENTION vs POLLING PERCENTAGE (green = positive; red = negative) for December 16-22

* * *



Mary Nichols was hired by Maria Shriver, Arnold Schwarzenegger's girlfriend. When Jerry Brown took over he gave Nichols full permission to start the CARB thing, another Democratic ploy to screw the American people out of millions and millions of dollars. CARB is designed for places like San Francisco and LA where we have a lot of traffic congestion. From Sonoma County to the Oregon border and over to eastern California and down the mountains there is no air pollution problem. None. How can this woman get away with taking the trucks away from guys who have been in business a long time, bought a truck, paid for it, kept fixing it, working on it, changing the tires, transmission, overhaul the motor, painting it, and keeping it up to make a living, an investment for their future? Nichols has taken them all away. If you don't have a truck that’s 2012 or newer you have to discard it. Junk it. They won't license it.

Democrats can spend time doing stuff like that but they can't even control the homeless crisis or open borders, first aid and driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, death row prisoners in perfect condition thanks to the ACLU stopping them from the death sentence while people are raging about the fact they lost their loved ones because these death row monsters committed rape and murder and heinous crimesand now they get to live in the lap of luxury because the ACLU will make sure it happens.

Governor Gruesome is sickening. Mary Nichols is sickening. Jerry Brown is sickening and the whole Democratic party that controls California is sickening and it has to change. President Trump is just about ready to do it, and I hope he does a whole lot more because I'm on his side.

Hundreds of people are disgusted with the Mary Nichols BS and CARB. They haven't seen anything until they see the war that will be started by this by Mary Nichols and her CARB thing. The homeless crisis will look like a picnic. Mary Nichols will regret the day that she shut our trucks down.

God bless Donald Trump. Four more years!

Jerry Philbrick


* * *

* * *


(If its destined to be a poem I must address it correctly…I mean its for Zuckerberg and Adam Neumann etc. at least I should say "you" instead of "they".)

Ay Ay Ay

Aleichem Shalom you

Aamhaaretz allrightniks.

Your averah is evident and

Your apikoros is apparent.

You are just Alter Kockers

If you ask me

Alav ha shalom


— Nate Duffy

* * *



  1. Lee Edmundson December 30, 2019

    I suggest a lot more folks in and around County government listen a lot more closely and carefully to what Supervisor Ted Williams has to ask and say.

    He’s a one-of-a-kind we don’t see the likes of often.

    So, please folks, listen to his questions and pay good attention to his answers. He’s not out to fix blame, only to fix problems; of which our County has plenty.

    And I’m trusting Tom Allman will remain up-to-his-elbows in the Measure B fiasco.

    And A Very Happy New Year.

  2. John Sakowicz December 30, 2019


    CARMEL ANGELO “MINI ME” AWARD — Janelle Rau, who is clearly being primed as Angelo’s successor. Ms. Rau’s big-girl hairdo and new wardrobe says it all. Lately, Ms. Rau has also been more sycophantic than her usual snarky self. And she’s covered up her tattoos.

  3. James Marmon December 30, 2019


    Only 47 people a night at the Schraeder homeless shelter, how many hundreds more are left on the street? Get them all off the street and sheltered. Especially people like Charles Hensley and Jimmy Isenhart. Leaving them to die in cold parking lots or creek beds is not a feel good story.

    According to Recent Homeless Count Reports from California Continuum’s of Care there are 645 homeless folks in Mendocino county. Down 591 people since Marbut caught them reporting false numbers to HUD, a 91.9 % decrease, ouch! There goes qualifying for more grants.

    Fortunately, Camille was able to use the stolen grant money gained by the inflated numbers in 2017 to buy and renovate her new facility on South State Street, but for only 47 people a night. It’s a nice building though.

    James Marmon MSW

    • James Marmon December 30, 2019

      That should be a 91.9% difference not decrease. The decease is slightly under 48%. Half of what Mendocino CoC reported in 2017.

  4. James Marmon December 30, 2019

    Great job by the 49ers last night, now they have two weeks to get healthy and host whoever at home throughout the playoffs.

  5. James Marmon December 30, 2019

    Section 8 vouchers are only band-aids and don’t address the root causes of homelessness. de Blasio, the worst mayor in American history after Gavin Newsom, continues to not understand rational thought when it comes to solutions.

    De Blasio pleads to Trump for help with homeless crisis

    “The problem ultimately is Donald Trump has not shown any willingness to give us the tools we need, most especially Section 8 vouchers, which allow people to live in rental housing,” de Blasio told Ed Henry on “America’s News Headquarters.”

    “The federal government needs to help us with Section 8 vouchers,” he added. “That’s the single-strongest piece we need from Washington that we are not getting right now.”

    James Marmon MSW
    Upstream Social Worker

      • Harvey Reading December 30, 2019

        “Padding Up-Stream with the Trump Administration”

        More like floating downstream, in a leaky boat with trumpo at the helm, approaching the waterfall.

        • James Marmon December 30, 2019

          Sorry Harv, but common sense is going to win out in the end. Trump may sound simple, but he has common sense. To know him is to love him.

          com·mon sense
          /ˌkämən ˈsens/


          good sense and sound judgment in practical matters.

          “a common-sense approach”

          “Four more Years”


          • Harvey Reading December 30, 2019

            Dream on, dear boy.

          • chuck dunbar December 30, 2019

            THE LOVER

            “Good sense and sound judgment”—
            That’s high praise for Mr. Trump,
            Surely not deserved, seems a tad pungent.
            But so says James, right here in the AVA.

            Alas, we think maybe he’s lost his way,
            Wondering-Musing—Could it be
            That nasty drugs now hold sway?
            If it’s so—may our man soon recover!

            Or one might think he’s into bourbon,
            Wine, vodka, or even plain old beer.
            Or could it be wicked absinthe he’s slurpin’?
            If it’s so—may our man soon recover!

            And we wish James well in the New Year,
            Even as he goes on holding his
            Mr. Trump so close, so near and dear.
            “To know him is to love him.”

            • James Marmon December 30, 2019

              Trump, Obama tie for Americans’ most-admired man

              It was the president’s first time achieving the top spot — and his Democratic predecessor’s 12th.

              :President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama have tied for the title of Americans’ most admired man, according to Gallup’s annual survey — marking the first time the current commander in chief has achieved the distinction and the 12th consecutive first-place showing for his immediate predecessor.

              Eighteen percent of U.S. adults nominated Trump when asked which man “living today in any part of the world” they admired most, while another 18 percent identified the most recent Democratic president.”


              • Harvey Reading December 31, 2019

                Just shows how stupid less than two-fifths of the people here are–assuming the poll has any relation to reality. Neither of the two scumballs mentioned are worth spit, and I suspect the numbers are exaggerated. How did the king of scumballs, Ronald Reagan, poll?

  6. Michael Koepf December 30, 2019

    Antisemitism enabler of the year: alt-progressive editor Bruce Anderson who continuously publishers disparaging reprints aimed at the people of Israel without seldom mentioning (if ever) the geographic neighborhood or historic context in which they live; a neighborhood very much controlled by Islamic terrorists who would gladly erase every Jew from the face of the earth. Hatred of Jews is on the rise. Murdering Jews is on the rise. Has Anderson read the news today? The progressive chic may think they’re absolved because they can cleverly parse the people of Israel from the concept of Jewishness in general. However, alt-progressives (who usually detest America as much as they do Israel) are blindly adding to the increase of antisemitism whether they are smart enough to realize it or not. Anderson is not smart enough, and his lack of published balance on this issue may point to something a bit more dark.

    • Bruce Anderson December 30, 2019

      Which reminds me: Your late girl friend, Roanne Withers told me that during the Redwood Summer period you made regular trips to the Federal Building in SF, gallantly leaving her to sit in the garage while you went upstairs to talk to the FBI. Is it accurate to call you Mike Von Snitchkopf?

    • Harvey Reading December 30, 2019

      You conflate anti-Israeli sentiment with antisemitism. They’re different. Israel IS antisemitic in its treatment of Palestinians.

      • Bruce McEwen December 30, 2019

        Hey, Harv …I owe you a tech-tip on how to italicize/boldface; here it is: to get small capitals — which I think you intended for IS, as in “Israel [emphatically] is antisemitic,” try Alt+Shift + K.

        • Harvey Reading December 30, 2019

          A three-keystroke code is more than I can remember these days, and my capitalization was intentional. Thank you nonetheless for your kindly provided information.

  7. Bruce McEwen December 30, 2019

    Re: TWK’s excerpt on Jimmy Eisenheart

    Steven Ryan, an older housed white man got 11 years for killing Christopher De’Shawn Davis, a younger homeless black man; not far from where a younger housed black man, Isaiah Bennett, killed Jimmy Eisenheart, an older homeless white man. It makes for a curious juxtaposition to set these two cases side-by-side and contemplate the obverse ironies… Over to you, James: Tell us what it all means.

  8. James Marmon December 30, 2019


    Lake County’s November jobless rate ties for fourth-lowest in three decades

    LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Lake County marked another strong month for employment in November, according to the latest report from the California Employment Development Department.

    In November, Lake County’s jobless rate was 4.5 percent, tying for the fourth-lowest rate recorded over the past 29 years. The county’s November 2018 unemployment rate was 4.9 percent.

    Lake County had its lowest rate in the past three decades – 3.7 percent – in September, as Lake County News has reported.

    November’s rate ties with August, also at 4.5 percent. In October, the county recorded a 4.1-percent rate and 4.2 percent in May.

    Lake County’s November jobless rate ranks it No. 36 of California’s 58 counties.

    Neighboring county jobless rates for November are: Colusa, 10.5 percent; Glenn, 4.7 percent; Mendocino, 3.4 percent; Napa, 2.6 percent; Sonoma, 2.4 percent; and Yolo, 3.6 percent, the report said.

  9. Lazarus December 30, 2019

    Found Object

    Hey Jay…! There’s that prick Jerry Jones?

    As always,

  10. H.H.Heller December 30, 2019


    Would Mr. Harvey Reading return home?

    • Harvey Reading December 30, 2019

      No way, not even to the foothills where I grew up. I’ve nothing against Clemens, just against frog jumping, mansions, and grape vines. I don’t even have the least desire to see California ever again. From the destruction I saw in 52 years, I am certain that it is much worse now. Glad I lived there when I did, except for the inevitable disappointment when yet another yuppie subdivision with monster houses sprang up.

  11. Harvey Reading December 30, 2019

    I’m all for loading ol’ Elon and his fellow rich scum onto a rocket, or rockets, and sending them on a one-way trip to Mars … with no oxygen or food. The world, in its final days, would be a better place without them.

    • James Marmon December 30, 2019

      Are you waiting for the “Rapture” Harv? I don’t think you’re going qualify.


      • Harvey Reading December 31, 2019

        That’s one of your stupider questions and observations, Marmon. You have outdone your past, paltry efforts at fascist humor.

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