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MCT: Wednesday, May 6, 2020

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MILD AND DRY CONDITIONS are expected today, with much warmer temperatures expected in interior areas Thursday through Sunday. Coastal areas will see a continuation of typical mild temperatures, with increasing marine clouds over the weekend. Cooler temperatures and rain are likely early next week. (NWS)

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by Chris Calder

After 49 years as a publicly run enterprise, the Mendocino Coast's only hospital and largest employer was handed over to California's largest rural healthcare provider at a balloon- and sunshine-filled ceremony May 4.

The ceremony was brief, as the hospital still has a COVID-19 pandemic to deal with, along with a top to bottom renovation of the aging facility under new and very different management.

Most of the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District's board of directors were present, but not in an official capacity. Board President Jessica Grinberg spoke briefly, joining the chorus of optimistic well-wishers.

Though the hospital is now run by a large private entity, the healthcare district remains custodian of the public funds devoted to healthcare on the Mendocino Coast.

That includes $4 million a year in property tax revenues from Measure B, a voter initiative billed as a bid to save the hospital, that passed in 2018 by a mere five votes. The healthcare district board is still in charge of spending that money.

But issues like that have faded into the background for now, in the face of COVID-19 and the end of an era at what was formerly Mendocino Coast District Hospital, now Adventist Health Mendocino Coast.

Jason Wells, President of all three of Mendocino County's hospitals now, struck a note of optimism, as might be expected on a gorgeous spring day with a task of gargantuan proporions ahead.

"The strategy is to collaborate and grow," he said.

Fort Bragg City Manager Tabatha Miller, who has engaged directly with hospital-related talks over the past year, noted the hospital's role as both a healthcare and economic lynchpin for the region.

"It's part of the economy and part of the safety net," she said.

Wayne Allen, the interim CEO who was hired by the board of directors in February 2019, essentially to accomplish the agreement that took effect Monday, handed a giant key to new CEO Judy Leach, an experienced Adventist Health executive.

With his trademark gentility and a bit of a twinkle in his eye, Allen, who's running up on 80, indicated that his plans are to head back home to Reno and relax for a while.

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First: Tabatha Miller, Fort Bragg City Manager

Over the last couple of weeks, many of us have noticed an increased level of tension and anger in our community. This is not unique to Fort Bragg and is reflected in nightly news stories and social media postings. As City Manager, receiving public input in all forms is my job. I also understand that “the City” or “the government” is an easier target for that frustration and anger. Truthfully, things are never black and white and it is almost impossible to strike the right balance, the feedback is often fair and offers a different but valid point of view. I signed up for it. But some of what I see and hear isn’t just blame or anger directed at government. It’s frustration taken out on those who are just trying to do their job, live by the rules and contribute to our combined health and safety. 

There are a few businesses which have and continue to operate in violation of the shelter in place orders. But almost all of the local businesses the City has investigated are legitimately operating within the current and sometimes complex 14-page County shelter-in-place order. What each of us would define as Essential is not necessarily what the Health Officer has defined as Essential.

We all know that the City relies on the transient occupancy tax (TOT) and sales tax generated by the hotels and other local businesses. But so does the community. These businesses provide jobs, generate local income that is spent locally and contribute or sponsor many of our community events and nonprofit organizations. These folks are neighbors and friends who like all of us are just trying to survive COVID-19 and the economic aftermath of the shelter-in-place orders.

I have spoken with several hotel owners and operators who are trapped by the state and the county’s shelter-in-place orders. When they tell potential guests that they cannot rent them a room, they are yelled at, spit at and receive scathing online reviews. The Police Department has had to respond to several calls to handle these outraged “guests.” Many of the online travel services are still taking reservations. These applications aren’t set up to screen for essential purposes or to know when the orders will be lifted. So those who made the reservations are angry when they can’t check into the hotel and many local citizens are angry that hotels are still taking reservations.

When hotel operators go through the efforts to vet a guest to ensure that they are traveling for essential business, the guest is insulted by the intrusive questions and requests for documentation. Finally, if a guest is confirmed as on essential business, and parks in front of the hotel, some become the target of verbal harassment, social media posts and shaming. Same goes for the hotel who may be reported to law enforcement for violating the order.

Fair or not, the shelter-in-place orders require that many businesses have to assist with enforcing the orders. In government, this is our job – again we signed up for it. But it isn’t what clerks, cashiers, bank tellers, or restaurant workers agreed to do. Businesses have a significant list of social distancing protocols that they must develop, implement, post and enforce. Their staff, those folks working on the front lines so that we can continue to have food, healthcare and basic services must also enforce mandatory face coverings, good hygiene and six-foot distancing, just so the business can operate.

Please, these individuals do not deserve to have our frustrations or anger directed at them. Like all of us, they are trying to follow the rules, make a living and survive. They are not taking a political stand or making a statement; they are just following the law. Why are we fighting with each other? We should support our local businesses and their employees. We are all in this together and we should look out for each other.

Second: Lack of Availability of COVID Testing Remains a Challenge

By William Miller, MD, FACP; Chief of Staff, Mendocino Coast District Hospital

Many, perhaps most, hospitals in the US continue to face problems with not having enough supplies to fully respond to the COVID crisis. The lack of readily available COVID testing remains a big part of that challenge. Supply chains for medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, have been disrupted. These supply chain disruptions are effecting more than just COVID related items, but also medications and equipment that have nothing directly to do with the pandemic. Our hospital is certainly effected by this and in speaking with some of my colleagues who are working at other rural hospitals it is much the same story elsewhere. There also seems to be a significant problem in coordination of efforts at state and federal levels that then trickle down to impact us locally. 

To keep things in perspective, there is a bright side. As a society, we are making amazing strides in developing testing given how long it took to develop a test for HIV/AIDS for example, which was about 4 years. We are into this COVID pandemic by only a few months. And, of course, it is reasonable that resources be diverted to COVID “hot spots”. Yet, one cannot help but feel frustrated.

Soon we will begin to start relaxing at least some of the shelter-in-place restrictions following the plan developed by our State leaders. However, much of that plan calls for testing using either PCR or antibody, to accurately determine the true prevalence of the disease. This type of testing is simply not readily available.

Last week, MCDH was poised to participate in a wide spread testing program through the Sonoma County Health Department that would have given us access to about 1,200 tests which would have been performed by the newly opened Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub Lab at UCSF. We excitedly starting making plans to open free, drive through testing. However, no sooner did the UCSF lab get up and running then it quickly became overwhelmed and we are now told not to expect any tests in the “foreseeable future”.

False starts, conflicting information and guidelines that change on a frequent basis seem to be the hallmark of our response to this health crisis. Having said that, I remain cautiously optimistic. We are slowly moving forward in our testing capability here. 

One reason for optimism is that Adventist Health (AH) started managing our hospital this week. We expect that this will increase testing capability and indeed, they were helping us out even before this recent step. Due to their sharing of their limited testing capability, we have the ability to do the Abbott test, with its one hour turn around, but we only have enough tests to use them on patients admitted to the hospital. We do have the ability to send out the test now to our sister hospital in Ukiah which has a larger analyzer. Also, we still have the ability to send to Quest. Turnaround times on the Quest test have improved and we have enough test swabs to move forward more aggressively in testing some of our population.

With a relaxation at some larger hospitals on the restrictions to do elective surgery, we are starting to get inquiries about the feasibility of doing pre-op COVID testing. That is a service that we want to provide and are working to set up.

In the meantime, we remain fortunate in that the prevalence of COVID out here on the Coast is extremely low as judged by the fact that we have no patients getting admitted who are sick with the disease. It remains our strong desire to be able to open up testing to the general community. Our lab and xray departments are open for business.

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COVID CONFIDENTIAL: A Message From Your Visitor

by Thom Elkjer

Really, I had no idea. We’re all ambitious in my family, but hardly any of my cousins have become as famous as me. Visiting every country in the world. Hosted by presidents, princes, prime ministers. Bigger than Gangnam Style. Bigger than The Beatles! 

And in just a few months!

I must admit, it’s not because I’m a genius or anything. Most of my relatives just don’t grab you that much. They’re into travel, really. Just want to hop the next bus, keep moving. Me, I like to settle in and get to know you. And that makes a difference for some people. Okay, a major difference.

You have to understand, it was never my intention to get famous this way. Everyone knows about my cousin influenza, who’s famous just for coming back to visit every year. My legacy is going to be different, I know, but I’m embracing that. You gotta be who you are.

And let’s not forget that most of the time, my hosts don’t even know I’m there. And if they do go all haywire, well, it’s not like they weren’t going to die anyway. Sure, some of them were going to stick around longer before they met me, but that’s just circumstances. You’re all toast in the end. You know that, no matter how much you pretend otherwise.

And you bring so much of it on yourselves. The traffic accidents I saw before you stopped driving? Unbelievable. The suicides, my goodness. If cigarette smokers could see what I see, half of them would quit right now. I have no compunctions about covering that tarry gunk in their lungs with my own fluffy blanket. Blaming me for something you all do to yourselves seems hypocritical, don’t you think?

But I’m going to get the last laugh, because I don’t die. That’s why I’m going for legacy now. The competition is down to a couple of plagues and my cousin from Spain. Even so, it’s going to be tough to ring up the big numbers they did. Your species lets money totally distort science and healthcare, but you still have weapons my cousins didn’t have to face in the 1300s.

Like soap. I hate soap. Such a simple piece of chemistry, but one of the wickedest things your kind has developed. You think I’m devious? Go find a picture of a soap molecule and check it out: one end of it loves water, and the other end hates water. Of course it would be humans who come up with that trick, because you’re so split-minded and full of contradictions.

For example, you love to say that I’m a great leveler. “We’re all equal in a pandemic!” Um, not. I’ve seen every type of socioeconomic status there is. Believe me, you are not equal in any way. Just a story you like to tell yourselves. And then the media loads you up with stories about all the various ways people cave in when I show up. Their lungs. Their hearts. Livers. Brains. They might be old, or middle-aged, with pre-existing conditions or apparently healthy. Yet you all talk like I’m the difference, not them!

You know what’s different? Children. Your doctors marvel at how your young host me like I’m nothing. Well, I’m not nothing, but I know what I like. And rich white kids whose parents keep them healthy are candy, baby. So clean and sweet. Even poor kids have such succulent cells! The other day one of my hosts was freaked because his cocaine dealer was on lockdown, and I could relate. Once you know your drug of choice, you don’t want to get cut off. That’s how I roll too. I love these kids!

And they will get older. They’re going to think they’re immune. They’re going to think I’m gone. But like I said, I’m going for legacy. That thing chickenpox does, taking a break and then coming back decades later as shingles? OMG. I love that! I’ve got some ideas along those lines, which we’ll all just have to wait for.

Meanwhile, you could show some respect. Some of the language is, frankly, offensive. You call what you do “population growth,” but when I do it, it’s “replicating.” Like I’m some kind of unfeeling machine that makes more of itself for no reason. But are we so different? I use your cells to replicate my DNA, just like you use your females. You keep them domesticated as second-class beings in most of the world, so you can continue to make more copies of yourselves, even when you’ve already made too many.

And if the women get too uppity, you squelch them -- which is exactly what you’re trying to do to me. Influenza doesn’t cause that much trouble, so you don’t squelch. You don’t bother to find a cure for it, the vaccines are only temporary, and only a fraction of you even get the shot. Everyone tolerates this weird situation in which huge chunks of the population are suffering, but it’s considered normal because you’ve done it forever. From what I can tell, that’s how it goes for the females in your species, too.

But now you’re coming for me with everything you’ve got. As if I were somehow evil, or personally want to mess with you. To me, that’s rich. I’m an entrepreneur, the thing you supposedly love so much. I’m “scaling” my “innovation” as they say in Silicon Valley. Wall Street’s numbers are like a yo-yo, but mine go in only one direction: up, up, up.

Another reason I laugh at your “battle” against me is that you’re losing a much bigger fight. I am the major news story every day because everyone can relate to me. But climate change is beyond your understanding – even though it’s one of the reasons your bodies break down so easily. Your whole planet has gotten so out of whack. And not just the air, water, and soil. Believe me, I sample them all. But I get into your shit way deeper than that. Literally. 

The countries you call rich are the sickest inside, in my humble opinion. So much meat coming into the bodies. And these weird fat cells that don’t break down! They come in as “food” and stay as fat. Fat that uses up energy, oxygen, and nutrients – for nothing. You want to know why overweight and hypertense people can’t handle me? Because fat kills. It’s like smoking, but without the stink. You know this and still do nothing.

Makes me wonder about your species’ mutational capabilities. I mutate too, but I get better. You constantly produce new genetic versions that are … how do I say this politely? … not that great. Your governments can’t govern. Your food is so full of chemicals I have to hold my nose in your gut. Your societies can’t share wealth in any reasonable way. You’re still fighting wars, for heaven’s sake.

So I gotta say again, the way you disrespect me is just not fair. Because what if we flipped the perspective, and I were your host, like the earth is? I’d look at your species and think, you’re the virus. And you’re killing me.

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(photo by Chris Calder)

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MSP heard from a couple viewers concerned about the rumor going around that the City of Fort Bragg will be closing the CV Starr Center until next year - without public input.

One said, "The City of Fort Bragg has proposed keeping CV Starr Center closed until January 1, 2021 regardless of the fact that the shelter in place order may be lifted sooner. The City owns the facility and collects a 1/2 cent sales tax amounting to approximately $950,000 per year to run the center. This money, along with the 45% of the property tax revenue (about $250,000) that MCRPD gets makes up the majority of the operating budget.

People that are concerned may want to get involved and let the MCRPD board know how they feel. It does not seem fair to the citizens that pay for this facility to NOT have a say in the decision!

At this point, there seem to be many avenues that have not been explored and this action seems very drastic. As a citizen, I am concerned that this decision by the city has not had any public input.

After a disaster, the need to return to normalcy as quickly as possible is a must for everyone’s mental and physical well being..."


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A BLAST FROM THE PAST from back in my "young" prosecutor days.

Can't remember why I was wearing the tuxedo in this picture but I should at least get a little credit for attempting to be stylish with the red tie!

(Yep, found in the bottom of that same drawer along with the Britney ticket stubs.)

(District Attorney David Eyster)

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Just like in Mendocino, and now Fort Bragg. Giant industrial mills, more like little cities - in Fort Bragg it flat out was a little city, not there anymore. There was no total separation in Fort Bragg between the town and the mill, even though it wasn't technically a company town, like Scotia.

But there still is a team spirit in Fort Bragg that is its legacy and makes it unique, and able to punch above its weight every time.

When they go, the mills leave places like this. Quiet, pretty places, or beautiful parks that thousands of people enjoy.

Logging people have taken an extremely bad and undeserved rap for decades. They are the ones who actually sacrificed, often with their family homes and livelihoods, for whatever environmental progress was ever made in Northwest forests.

The companies that took over in the last part of the 20th century? Now that's another and completely separate story. Loggers, like fishing people, have been around since before farmers. Think about it. You might not want to hate on em too bad.

— Chris Calder

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Officials at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville said they found 75-year-old Tuc X. Tran unresponsive in his cell with multiple injuries to his head and face. His next of kin were notified on Monday. He had been serving a life sentence for a Riverside County murder. 

They are holding his cellmate, James A. Norton, 39, as a suspect. He is serving a two-year sentence from Mendocino County for causing a fire on forest land.


Previously: Random Acts of Fshhhh & Swooof

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SOMETHING RANCIDLY FISHY about that dozen-man daylight "invasion" of Venezuela, variously described as an attempt to kidnap the country's president and the first wave of a larger attempt to overthrow Maduro's government. Photos show one of the captured former special forces soldiers with his hands up while he's still in the surf. The rest of them, all described as former elite troopers of one kind or another, are then pictured as captives, lined up prone like so many tuna.

WHAT KIND of cockamamie scheme was this? I'd say it's not as cockamamie as it appears. I'll bet it's the first act of a scheme to bring down Maduro that conveniently plays out to the advantage of the orange incumbent during the run-up to the November elections, that this suspiciously incompetent special forces team will be the pretext for an all-out attack on the Maduro regime. (You land on a public beach in broad daylight to capture a hostile country's president?)

THE CATERWAULING from relatives of the captured invaders and the armchair warriors has already begun. Don't hurt them. Let them go, or else. Just the kind of appeals to faux-heroic intervention that appeals to Trump, himself a man who claimed bone spurs to keep himself out of Vietnam. The invasion of Venezuela will have the triple purpose of re-electing Trump; freeing the Rambo boys; and "restoring Venezuelan democracy" even though Maduro, and Chavez before him, were democratically elected.

THE ODIOUS Lindsey Graham has written that “the US must be willing to intervene in Venezuela the way we did in Grenada.” The problem, Lindsey, is that Venezuela isn't Grenada. Or even Guatamala whose democratically-elected government was overthrown by pure CIA fakery in 1954. Venezuela is a big country with a big military whose government has a lot of popular support. Grenada, small as it is, managed to put up a pretty good fight, with the equivalent of a CalTrans crew holding off the Yanks for several hours.

SPEAKING of Guatamala, your Boonville global affairs expert thinks a convenient way to think of the influence of the county's wine industry, and its many accompanying impositions on the rest of us, is to compare Mendocino County to any of the Central American banana republics. I

IN GUATAMALA, for instance, when the United Fruit Company complained that uppity locals were complaining about their pay and working conditions, the Eisenhower government hopped to and the Arbenz government, democratically elected, was history.

WHEN the lords of the Mendo grape installed frost fans to protect their grapes after planting them in a known freeze zone, they claimed, with some truth, that the fans were environmentally preferable to water spraying against spring frosts. The wine padrones also invoked Right to Farm privileges, although the Anderson Valley was settled long before grape farming. Right-to-farm was written to protect existing farms from new neighbors who objected to farm noise. The farms were there first so tough it out, nabes.

BUT IN THE ANDERSON VALLEY, the nabes were in place long before 1970 when the first wineries of any size arrived, meaning to reasonable people that right to farm does not apply to the huge, noisy frost fans that first roared into life at midnight in April of 2014 and stayed on until 8am were an existing right to farm. 

AND THE FANS roared the next night, and the next, and the next for more than a solid week, disrupting the sleep of a majority of the people of the Anderson Valley. (On a personal note, my colleague's brother, dying of cancer, was surrounded by fans from three separate vineyards, making sleep impossible for him, and making his last days even more painful when the fans came on in April of 2014.)

SO MY COLLEAGUE, Major Mark Scaramella, USAF ret., sought legal relief which, in Mendo, would be like a Guatamalan peasant farmer seeking relief from United Fruit. In the frost fan case, Mendocino County seized the initiative on behalf of their wine industry padrones. The Major was informed by County Counsel, whose salary is paid in part by The Major's property taxes, that he would have to post a million dollar bond to have "standing" to sue Mendocino County to force the private wine industry to obtain use permits to install their enormous noise makers. Get that? The County of Mendo slapped that requirement on The Major, not the wine industry. And there it is — Guatamala=United Fruit. Mendocino County=the wine industry, the Supervisors, the Supervisor's tax-paid legal advisors, their police, their courts. The wine industry is literally above the law every which way when it comes to the wine industry.

BOONVILLE'S WENDY READ sums up the community consensus: "I hate frost fans. And every fucking member of the god damned av fucking grape growers association that allows this appalling behavior to continue. You have no right, legal or moral, to keep your neighbors awake night after night with the sound of helicopters outside their bedroom windows. The sick, the elderly, those on hospice — the grape people don't care — they have stated that their profit is more important than their neighbors’ health. No one can risk a compromised immune system for lack of sleep right now! I can't wait for you all to start having your fucking wine events again! I hope every last one of them gets sabotaged by the folks you have kept awake all season. A curse on you and all of your equipment!"

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SUPERVISOR JOHN HASCHAK announced Tuesday that Dr. Joseph Iser has been hired as Mendocino County’s new Health Officer. 

Dr. Iser retired as Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District (Las Vegas) in January. He will start on an interim/familiarization basis in May and take over as official replacement for Dr. Noemi Doohan on June 1, 2020.


New public health officer

Dr Joseph Iser, MD, DrPH, MSc will be starting as Mendocino County Public Health Officer June 1. Dr Doohan will continue consulting to ensure a smooth transition. Most recently Iser was Chief Health Officer of Southern Nevada Health District (2013 to 2020). Dr Iser will be relocating to Mendocino County. As a board, we interviewed him last week and I believe he will be a good fit. 

MD, University of Kansas School of Medicine, May 1979 DrPH, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, April 2000 MSc (Infectious Diseases), University of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, November 2004 BA, Anthropology and Sociology, University of Colorado (Boulder), May 1972 Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Missouri at Kansas City Affiliated Program, training completed July 1982 

[from Oct 3, 2019]


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District, Dr. Joe Iser, announced his retirement Thursday. He will leave the post on Jan. 3.

Iser had previously told a committee he planned to leave in December of 2020. He had come under fire for frequent absences for travel, but was awarded a contract extension earlier this year.

Iser received a contract extension and a 2.5 percent raise in February, despite whistleblower complaints that he wasn’t around the office. He was making $325,000 a year in salary and benefits at the time.

He was also awarded back pay for six weeks of vacation that he never used, worth $32,000.

Dr. Iser has been a polarizing figure during his six years as chief health officer. A statement issued Thursday boasts of his many accomplishments, but the one not listed is what he did for morale by stepping down. The I-Team’s was inundated Thursday with messages from district employees who are glad to see him go. 

In the I-Team’s report last week, it was revealed that Dr. Iser allegedly attempted to get rid of two employees who filed whistleblower complaints. 

I-Team: 2 whistleblower complaints filed by SNHD employees

One was about the alleged manipulation of HIV cases. The second alleged that Iser had ordered an employee to create two non- profits for his personal benefit.

The I-Team has documented that Iser is often simply not around. Instead he travels regularly to his home in San Francisco and is often seen during the work week at the airport,  but not in his office.

Here are excerpts from employee interviews the I-Team conducted earlier:

“I’ve seen him six times in the whole year we’ve been in this building,” said SNHD Whistleblower #3. “I never see him.”

George Knapp, I-Team Reporter: “His secretary moves his door?
Whistleblower: “Yes she opens and closes the doors and turns the lights on and off to make it look like he’s there.”

“People have given up; large amounts of people are quitting,” said Whitlsblower #2. “Nobody wants to work there anymore. It’s a miserable place to work.” 

Iser said he plans to travel and spend time with his family.

“I have several trips planned and a list of national parks I would like to visit,” said Iser. “I’m also looking forward to spending much more time with my grandchildren and to kayaking, fly-fishing, and being active in the community.” 

Dr. Fermin Leguen will serve as SNHD’s acting chief while the district conducts a search to replace Iser. Leguen is the current director of the Clinical Services Division.

Iser led SNHD through the purchase of its first building and a move from a Shadow Lane facility that had “dire” structural problems. SNHD’s new home is in a building that formerly housed a Target store at Decatur Boulevard and Meadows Lane.

An SNHD news release also credited Iser with securing funds to implement a Federally Qualified Health Center, the accreditation of a preventive medicine residency program, implementation of a primary care model, a mobile rural health campaign that provided immunizations and dental health services to underserved individuals, and responses to numerous outbreaks and public health issues.

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CEO CARMEL ANGELO told the Supervisors on Tuesday, “This is quite an interesting time,” as she introduced the third quarter budget presentation. There wasn’t much new in the the relatively rosy budget presentation which we previously covered except for a newly identified projected deficit the County will suffer of about $2 million in the Teeter Plan (which pays projected tax revenues to schools and districts no matter what the revenue is, but is theoretically recovered with penalities and interest when the late payers finally get around to paying). Supervisors McCowen and Gjerde said they were sure that these “IOUs” from the taxpayers will eventually come in someday plus penalties and interest which will ultimately benefit the County. But for a year or so, there’s a cash flow gap which wasn’t in the original third quarter budget presentation. We’ll have more on the seemingly unrealistic budget situation and some cost savings options the CEO and the Board discussed (to no conclusion whatsoever) in the next few days. 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 5, 2020

Bewley, Malone, Mora-Whitehurst

ANTHONY BEWLEY, Potter Valley. Domestic battery.

KRYSTAL MALONE, Fort Bragg. Under influence, resisting.

ALEX MORA-WHITEHURST, Willits. DUI causing bodily injury, hit&run resulting in death or injury, suspended license.

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I’M AN AMERICAN, and I’m a political animal, and Trump outrages me. I’m outraged at how stupid he is. But that’s not his fault. He is what he is. What really outrages me is his laziness. There’s a lot of stuff in that book A Very Stable Genius about his inability to buckle down and read the material. Read the material! That’s it. You could do a better job. I could do a better job. Because we feel a sense of responsibility. I mean, we’ve had stupid commanders in chief before. Gerald Ford was no ball of fire. When you watch Trump, David, I’m not sure the man reads very well. I know he doesn’t write very well. I would argue that anybody who can’t read and can’t write, can’t think. That’s what we have.

— Stephen King

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“There’s going to be a lot of trouble.”

No kidding, maybe sooner rather than later. Has anyone noticed that supermarket shelves are getting bare? I go to the supermarket every week and a half. On my last visit it had the same look as photos of bare store shelves in the collapsing Soviet Union. It’s scary. Friends who live elsewhere say the same is happening in their neck of the woods. Isn’t making sure the food system hangs together something the federal gov should be keenly interested in, or is the Golden Man going to say this a problem for the states to handle, like he has with critical medical equipment? Imagine there was no food for all the hungry jobless people sitting in their cars lined up for a handout.

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To the Editor:

What if you came down with COVID-19, and significant information about you as victim was shared in the newspaper and on the radio? Your age, where you live, your weight, how much you drink or smoke, your sexual orientation . . . .

When Mendocino County’s first case was described as a 20 year old woman in Gualala, I wondered how many 20 year old women live in Gualala. I wondered if anyone was offended to learn through the media that their friend was sick. Someone must’ve thought, “She probably caught it from one of those darn tourists. At least I don’t have any tourists hanging around me.”

The fifth official Mendocino County case was described as a man released early from prison. Already distressed that this detail of his identity had been revealed publicly, within a week I heard a rumor that he’d been on the loose for five days, infecting people all over the place, before being taken in by his sister. Recently I learned he’d been tracked by an ankle bracelet, with orders to quarantine himself, but it had taken some time before he was placed in a motel.

Actually, I should know nothing of this man’s lifestyle or location or lack thereof.

This virus does not care if you’re a criminal or an attorney or a nurse or the richest political figure or what sort of home you have. You can catch it from the buff and beautiful friend you ran into at the grocery store. You can pass it on when you have no symptoms. Knowing our fifth case was a former prisoner doesn’t help you stay safe from this virus.

Revealing this information to the public only increases our division and fear. Every one of us, celebrated or marginalized, needs and offers love. Let’s find our commonality and do our best to keep each other safe.

P.S. I want to take this opportunity to thank the workers who are keeping the food and supplies flowing, from farm hands to truck drivers to store clerks, and also the folks who sell fuel or repair vehicles. Much gratitude to those who are caring for the sick and to everyone who shows love and consideration, even from behind our masks.

Kay Lieberknecht


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Deep in the ancient forest the animals, birds and insects were gathered around a great clearing. They had come to discuss the faint and distant warnings that had recently reached them. 

From across the Mystic River whispers reached deep into the forest. Strange forebodings came on the wings of majestic birds. Insects buzzed with unknown dread. The deer moved in a wave of fear. Something unknown, perhaps deadly, was threatening to reach the Great Forest by winter’s start. The meeting went late into the moonlight. In the wee hours of the morning it was decided that a Forest Protection System was to be built on the far side of the Mystic River. The scorpion, known for architectural and engineering skills, would take responsibility for the important project to be completed by fall’s end. 

The next morning bright and early found the scorpion standing on the bank of the Mystic River. ”Hello turtle,” he shouted, “give me a ride on your back so I can inspect the other side of the river bank for construction preparation.” ”How do I know you won’t sting me with your stinger”, said Pleabie the turtle. "Don’t be ridiculous" replied Bougie the scorpion, "I would drown too.” Pleabie agreed and took Bougie across the river on his back. Many weeks later as the leaves were beginning to turn yellow and red, Pleabie poked his head high above the water to see how the Forest Protection System was coming along. He was shocked to see only a few moss covered boulders piled up in a heap by the river bed. 

Quickly he swam back to the other side of the river and called out for the scorpion. A few moments later, Bougie crawled out onto the river bank. Said Pleabie, “autumn is upon us already, why have you not built more of the Forest Protection System?” Answered the scorpion; “I have been too busy remodeling and fortifying my own house. We have plenty of time, don’t worry, take my word I have amazing plans for rapid construction. Now take me across the river again so I can prepare the work.” Bougie jumped onto the turtle’s back. ”Do you promise not to sting me” said Pleabie? “I promise” answered Bougie . 

Midway across the river the scorpion drove its stinger, filled with poison, into the turtle’s neck. ”Why did you break your promise?” cried out Pleabie. ”I couldn’t help it. It’s in my nature.” replied Bougie. Only a small drop of poison could penetrate Pleabie’s thick skin. He was still able to call out for help. Within minutes a giant golden eagle swooped down from the sky and with its powerful talons lifted the turtle into the air. The scorpion fell into the river and was quickly swallowed by the water. 

Once safely on dry land, Pleabie related his experience with the scorpion. After much consideration about the events of the day, all the animals decided that they must find another path to safety. As the sun began to set, they swiftly began to move deeper and deeper into the forest. When the darkness descended, there was only one thought burning in the minds of the forest-- never ever forget the lessons of the scorpion. 

Dr. Nayvin Gordon, 5/4/2020


PS. Dr. Gordon writes about health and politics and can be reached at

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Troll problems

On 5/5/2020 3:01 PM, Bill Cornelius wrote (Coast Listsever):

Here's how to block senders on MCN (2 ways), I seem to post this maybe once a week...

Marco McClean:

Keep it up, Bill, thanks, and maybe they'll get the message, or maybe not; you know how people are.

Everyone who's upset that the listserv isn't moderated can moderate the listserve for himself or herself. If there are only two or three people you hate and you can't stand to see what they write, it just makes your blood boil, block them, mark them as a source of spam, do whatever is easiest for you in that way and they cease to exist for you.

This is so intuitive and obvious, so I can only conclude that people still upset either are too stupid to follow simple instructions to spray for demons, or they want to police the world for others; I think the second thing is what it is: They can't stand that others might see something they hate, and maybe like it.

MakeAnOffer is an anonymous coward and a troll, his posts consistently have zero value. Two or three clicks and bye-bye, MakeAnOffer. Last time I checked, Zeke was posting two or three times every waking hour, sometimes it was an interesting article but often it's just swearing at people he imagines are hurting him in some way and calling people childish names. Bye-bye, Zeke. Maybe you don't like my notices about my radio show or you don't like reading the occasion crap I write, or you don't like it that I don't believe in whatever spiritual pseudoscience nonsense is the center of your life and I say so instead of ignoring it. Bye-bye, Marco. And whoever else... I mean, if it's just a handful of horrible, horrible monsters to you, that makes it easier to decide who to nuke.

And then it's done in a minute and for all time. It takes less than a minute. The only ones left are perfect and sweet and lovely to you, and the listserv sails on in a cloud of soma, moderated by you. Later if anyone else bugs you or some obnoxious fuck changes his return-email address and makes up a new name for himself and so gets through to you again and pisses you off, you know what to do. It's easy and fun. Try it.

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Portion of a panorama showing the September 13, 1920, rally and parade held by the League of Women Voters. Missouri Historical Society Collections.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA — As of now, Mendocino County school calendars for the 2020-21 school year remain unchanged, even after Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent remarks about possibly beginning the school year as early as July. Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools Michelle Hutchins explained that the governor did not—and likely will not—order all California schools to adjust their calendars.

She said, “Governor Newsom will most likely leave the decision to reopen schools in the hands of local leaders. California is a huge state with sparsely populated rural areas and high-density urban centers. A one-size-fits-all solution won’t work, and Governor Newsom knows that.”

Hutchins explained that local school districts are in the process of contingency planning, creating multiple scenarios to bring students back into the classroom safely. This is made more difficult as schools try to maintain social distancing within existing facilities.

“Our schools were designed to have students in close proximity. The only way to comply with social distancing is to change how we deliver education, which may include a blend of in-classroom and remote learning. As schools plan next year’s offerings, they must consider not only on-site classroom education but every service they provide, from transportation to food service. It’s a big lift,” Hutchins said.

One complicating factor is the California Education Code, which includes strict rules governing the services schools provide and the manner in which they provide them. “The Ed Code was developed with a certain paradigm in mind, one that did not include a global pandemic, so school districts throughout California need guidance on how to proceed—they need to know where the State will be flexible and where it won’t,” Hutchins explained.

Currently, Mendocino County Office of Education, Mendocino County public schools, and Mendocino County Public Health are working in partnership to keep local students safe and learning.

(County Office of Education Presser)

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Family picking tomatoes in the San Fernando Valley, ca. 1937 | Herman J. Schultheis Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

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On Monday, April 28, 2020, a Mendocino County Superior Court Judge issued an in the case of Steven L. Gomes v. Mendocino City Community Services District ordered the MCCSD to reimburse Gomes for roughly $128,000 in attorney’s fees he spent demonstrating that the MCCSD did not follow its own regulations in adopting since invalidated groundwater regulations. The award represents a little more than half of the total attorney’s fees Mr. Gomes incurred in the litigation. California law allows a successful litigant in an action against a government agency to recoup their attorney’s fees if the action resulted in the enforcement of an important right affecting public interest.

Gomes’ suit, was originally filed in 2015, eventually resulted in the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District voiding two MCCSD ordinances and a resolution when it issued a published opinion last year. The Court of Appeal found that the MCCSD failed to comply with statutory procedures regarding notice, hearings, and providing property owners with the opportunity to file protest letters. The District is now attempting to adopt similar ordinances that mandate the placement meters on its member’s private wells and set daily allotments on water use that are strictly enforced with potential criminal penalties.

The attorney fee order, found that Gomes’ lawsuit conferred a significant benefit on a large class of persons and that the “chief benefit” is that MCCSD must now adhere to the law when promulgating its water programs. The ruling also mentions that Gomes’ litigation shed light on the fact that the District had enacted a fundamentally new regulatory scheme without following applicable statutory requirements for notice, hearing and protest procedures to affected property owners. The ordinances that were voided by the Court of Appeal required every well owner in the MCCSD jurisdiction to have a meter and gallons per day allotment, whereas previously only new development or a change in use triggered such restrictions.

“The original mandate of the District when it first started regulating ground water in 1990 was to protect long established wells like mine, that has been in my family for 100 years, from overdraft by new development,” said Gomes. “More recently, the District has used the threat of drought conditions to place meters and allotments as low as 250 gallons per day on every property owner in the District. In the case of the ordinances that the Court of Appeal voided last year, it was undisputed in the litigation that even once the drought is over and done with, the meters and daily allotments were to remain permanently.”

“While Mr. Gomes is pleased with the Court’s recent ruling, he realizes, as do other property owners in the District, that a new round of litigation is on the horizon as the MCCSD is currently attempting to pass ordinances that are similar to the ones that were voided by the Court of Appeal,” said Gomes’ attorney Brian Momsen, of Carter Momsen PC in Ukiah. “It is unfortunate that a world class destination like the Village of Mendocino relies on private wells and annual rainfall for its water supply and that the local government just regulates private property owners nearly to death, instead of attempting to fund and develop a municipal water system.”

(Carter-Momsen Presser)

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A young girl wearing a worn dress stands beside a cotton loom in the factory where she works. For this image, photographer Lewis Hine chose a vantage point that emphasizes the enormity of the child's environment. A series of tall windows on the right illuminate the large spinning machine that recedes into the distance and dominates the room, dwarfing the figure. Hine was known to enter factories and warehouses under false pretenses to make photographs of child laborers. He would hide a pad and pencil in his pockets to note the names and heights of his subjects. Sadie Pfeiffer, pictured here, was forty-eight inches tall when Hine captured this image. Introducing middle-class America to the ugly truth about children's working conditions, Hine's photographs, made while on assignment from the National Child Labor Committee, were instrumental in the passage of child labor laws in the United States.

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Post Date: 05/05/2020 4:19 PM

As the Shelter-In-Place Order continues, the County of Mendocino with assistance from West Business Development Center have published a survey to capture current, ongoing, and cumulative data on the total amount of economic loss for businesses in Mendocino County due to COVID-19. 

County of Mendocino CEO, Carmel Angelo, stated, “It’s vitally important that business owners complete this survey at least once so we can gather data on the economic impact COVID-19 has had on Mendocino County’s business community.” The County of Mendocino based the survey on similar data submission being gather in Humboldt and Sonoma County. The total dollar amount of economic impact will be aggregated and that information used to inform disaster recovery agencies, such as FEMA and the Governor’s Office on Economic Development, which will in turn create funding to mitigate losses during this unprecedented event. 

Business owners can access the survey at The survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete and is designed to be taken multiple times so that business owners can update their submission as they continue to learn about their economic loss. All survey responses are encrypted and will be kept confidential. Information collected with the survey includes year-over-year revenue comparison, employee furlough/layoff information, whether business interruption insurance was in place, and if businesses have submitted applications for the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan and/or Paycheck Protection Program, or other financial assistance. 

The County of Mendocino encourages all small businesses in the county to visit their website at

For the business related support with surveys, loans, and cash management contact West Business Development Center at

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Marin's first civic center was a converted group of adobe buildings situated in downtown San Rafael. A bond issue for a new courthouse was finally passed in 1872, and construction was begun. The new, Neoclassical courthouse accommodated all of the county offices for nearly a century. By the 1950s, the growth of the county, spurred since 1937 by the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, required the construction of a new complex. The county retained Frank Lloyd Wright to design the Marin County Civic Center, the famed architect's last project.
Courtesy California State Library

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The orders previously made by our Presiding Judge affecting the operation of the Superior Court have been extended, with some changes, and are posted on the Court’s website and can be found here:

Quick summary of updates:

- Jury trials continue to be suspended through the week of June 15th. If you have received a jury summons for a week during May or through June 15th, you will be summoned for another date in the future.

- Eviction defaults and judicial foreclosures continue to be suspended.

- Small claims trials scheduled through May 21 will be rescheduled but trials will start taking place in the near future.

- Child support cases handled through the Dept. of Child Support Services will re-start on May 11, 2020.

- Restraining orders due to expire will continue to be extended as needed until a hearing can take place.

- Emergency protective orders issued by law enforcement will be in effect for up to 30 days.

- The Self-Help Center is open only on phones and emails, no in-person help. Phone #707-468-2020. Email: Hours are Monday through Thursday: 8:30 to Noon and 1 to 4 p.m.

REMEMBER: If you must go to or appear in court, you must wear a protective face cover. In a courtroom, you must sit at least 2 seats apart from others. Social distancing rules are enforced.

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* * *


Small business is the backbone of every community.

They support the community from within with their tax dollars and their donations to many community causes.

With the state mandated closures of many small businesses, these local mom and pop businesses are struggling to pay their bills with reduced to no revenue coming in. With small business and community at heart, a few local individuals put their collective thoughts together and came up with a means to support local business. From those thoughts, the Ukiah Valley Small Business Group was born. 

With input from Stephanie Dunken of Slam Dunk Pizza and Mary Chadwick from Chadwick Armory and Casey Nevill of Nor Cal Digital Media, was built. The idea is that businesses can list their wares that they have available on a locally operated website and community members can safely support these local businesses. Sorted by geographical area, this website allows visitors to browse local offerings and make purchases directly from vendors.

There are no membership fees and no cost for businesses to list or sell and purchasers aren’t charged extra fees to purchase. Any legal local business can sign up, list their products or services and sell! 

"We wanted to support our local Mom and Pop businesses and help them recover from these uncertain times." Says Mary Chadwick. “Some of these businesses have no way of generating money but they still have bills to pay." This puts them in a deficit. We need our community to really rally behind these businesses.

Together we can get through this and get to the other side. 

Businesses that want to participate are encouraged to go to and sign up for a vendor account.

From there, a virtual storefront can be built and products listed for purchase.

There is no limit to the number of items a business can list.

Payments are deposited directly into the businesses’ bank account via PayPal or Stripe. Participation is not limited to businesses that are open now.

Businesses that are not currently open to the public can sell items and digital or paper gift certificates.

These items can be shipped or arrangements made for pickup.

Businesses that are opened in a limited basis can also list items for pickup, shipping or electronic delivery. From services to products, with a little creativity business can build their own online store at no cost and generate income. 

The trio’s technology expert, Casey Nevill has created an easy to navigate website. “We tried to make it easy to navigate and simple to set up. Businesses are having to deal with so much right now so the less complicated the better.

Says Nevill, “We are happy to walk businesses through their account set up and even help them get a few items on the site. We believe in this community and want to do our part to help our businesses now and in the future.” 

Thanks also goes out to local radio stations 94.5 Kwine and Max 93.5. Not only have they promoted local businesses that are open at this time but they have sponsored this project with radio ads and even offered special advertising deals for local businesses to help them promote their business.

The public is asked to support local community by shopping at Our community relies on local business revenue and local business relies on the community. 

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Poor mother and children during the Great Depression. Elm Grove, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA. August 1936 by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration.

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Fort Bragg, CA, May 4, 2020 Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation announces "Winesong! 2020 - Until We Meet Again" After careful consideration, lengthy discussions and following the guidance of both California and Mendocino County Health officials, the MCHF Board of Directors has decided Winesong 2020 will be transformed from a live event to an exciting, participatory virtual event to be held online this year.

Because Winesong is a major fundraiser for healthcare on the Mendocino Coast, it is of crucial importance to continue. Currently MCHF has been raising money for its COVID-19 Response Fund and has supported several local healthcare organizations including The Street Medicine Program in Fort Bragg, Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County, Mendocino Coast Clinics, Parents and Friends, and Westport Volunteer Fire Department. In addition, MCHF has funded four ventilators and a new ambulance for our hospital.

Executive Director, Michelle Roberts notes "While we continue to develop the virtual event, we can announce that we plan to hold it in early September...with several days of auction item previews preceding the online bidding, which will be held over several days and culminate on our regular Winesong weekend, September 11th and 12th. Auction items will include wines from many of the outstanding wineries who have supported us in the past, weekend getaways, and vacation trips with a three-year window for fulfillment. We're thrilled to have another outstanding collection of our Coastal Artist's wine boxes and bottles - our signature items, as well as other outstanding art from prominent Mendocino artists."

"Winesong is now in its 36th year. We have so many community volunteers at Winesong whom we'll miss seeing this year, along with the restaurants and so many others who have been a big part of Winesong in the past. What we hope for them this year is to come through this period in good health and knowing we have been thinking of them," Michelle added.

For more information on Winesong, visit where details of the event will be updated regularly. For information on the Foundation, visit

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  1. Craig Stehr May 5, 2020

    “Love all, but trust a few” is a good policy in social dealings. To trust a few is, of course, not to be suspicious of everyone, but to be vigilant in every case, even when things are entrusted to others for execution or when some situations are involved in other personalities. One should not trust even one’s own self when the senses are in the proximity of their desired objects.

    Swami Krishnananda

  2. George Hollister May 6, 2020

    Not news, but the historic photos are good. The one of Bill Shine has me wondering where that was taken on the headwaters of Big River. Near the Upper Ranch, maybe? Frank Williams makes me think Williams Ranch.

    I looked up the family picking tomatoes, and that was taken in the San Fernando Valley in 1937. I bet those tomatoes were better than the store bought ones of today. Notice they’re ripe, and the implied care taken in the picking.

    The historical photo of the man with the red bow tie is good, too. I know none of this is news, but the Wuhan Virus news isn’t news anymore either.

  3. James Marmon May 6, 2020


    “Iser received a contract extension and a 2.5 percent raise in February, despite whistleblower complaints that he wasn’t around the office. He was making $325,000 a year in salary and benefits at the time.”

    Will Dr. Iser be working from his home in Nevada or will he move to Ukiah?

    James Marmon MSW

    • James Marmon May 6, 2020

      Oh, I see he has a house in San Francisco too. That’s a little bit closer.

      The I-Team has documented that Iser is often simply not around. Instead he travels regularly to his home in San Francisco and is often seen during the work week at the airport, but not in his office.


  4. Cotdbigun May 6, 2020

    Doctor Dolittle, San Diego is being replaced by Doctor Wereglad Yourouttahere, San Francisco. I suggest that the next Chief Health Officer, Doctor Letmeadd Anotherpension should live in Santa Rosa or even closer.
    I’m willing to do the job for 1/2 the salary, I’ll just copy the neighboring county’s mandates and promise to live here!I
    That will save the county money and increase the tax base, I’ll support local businesses and will not travel for a while.

    • Joe May 6, 2020

      Just a quick jab and it’s over, it won’t hurt a bit.

  5. George Dorner May 6, 2020

    No real worries here. Dr. Iser will probably last until he is unceremoniously fired, whereupon he can join the queue of litigants against the county for unlawful termination. Mendocino gummint as usual.

    • James Marmon May 6, 2020

      Get over it, if young Supervisor Williams has his way no county employee will actually live and work in Mendocino County. He’s all about technology, big savings ahead. The China Virus lockdown proved that virtual reality techniques can limit the need office space and much more.

      What is virtual reality in simple words?

      Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. On a computer, virtual reality is primarily experienced through two of the five senses: sight and sound.

      James Marmon MSW
      Living in the Material World Advocate

    • Lazarus May 6, 2020

      The proverbial “Rock and a hard place”. Dr. Doohan wanted out, this guy wanted in. Mendocino County is not now and has never been in a position to pick and chose the help. The choices have always been limited and in most cases no choice at all.
      Either you want it or you don’t…
      Be well,

  6. Randy Burke May 6, 2020

    Elkjer truly hit the nail on the head!

    Found Object: “Oh paleeze”

    • michael turner May 6, 2020

      Lots of “controversy” seems to follow Iser, pops right up when you google him. He seems to be another Doohan, moves around a lot, likes to be in the public eye, leaves behind a trail of dissatisfaction. On other words, perfect.

      • Stephen Rosenthal May 6, 2020

        I’ve come to the conclusion that Mendo doesn’t find these people after an “exhaustive nationwide search”, but rather these people find Mendo. When a place is governed by a bunch of backwoods rubes (Ted Williams excepted), the word gets out and the pickings are easy.

  7. James Marmon May 6, 2020

    Very bad news for lockdown tyrants, additional evidence it’s the directly vulnerable (underlying conditions) who are at serious risk. “Cuomo says it’s ‘shocking’ most new coronavirus hospitalizations are people who had been staying home”


  8. Lazarus May 6, 2020


    Charter members of the “Mile High Club”.

    Be well,

    • Randy Burke May 6, 2020

      Put them in a mile deep…think philbrick would concur.

    • chuck dunbar May 6, 2020

      Wow, this video news clip is interesting and really troubling. Dr. Iser sounds like the last person on earth that Mendocino needs, especially now. I hope the BOS sees this and takes a second glance at this strange hiring. Long ago a nurse who worked with CPS told me that the County often hired very badly, often choosing flat-out narcissists who were on the job mainly for self-aggrandizement. Another high level staff person who treats staff like crap, as well as other issues…. Sure looks like, as Michael Turner says, a disaster coming our way…

  9. Joe May 6, 2020

    How a bought some home grown talent ?

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